31 Days of Halloween Day 22 – A Nightmare On Elm Street

31 Days of Halloween – Day 22

A Nightmare On Elm Street (directed by Wes Craven, 1984)One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…”  Wes Craven’s greatest film almost never saw the light of day. A Nightmare on Elm Street seemed to be financially doomed during production. An eleventh hour deal with a European production company saved the movie. As it turns out, the box office success of the movie saved New Line Cinema, and birthed one of the most iconic figures in motion picture lore. Freddy Krueger was born. The ghoulish, burnt up man who slashes up the dreams of teenagers with his razor-fingered glove. Along side Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Frankenstein, Freddy is a true horror icon. The teenagers of Elm Street are having nightmares, and they all seem to involve a common element; a disfigured man, wearing a hat and a ragged old stripped sweater. As the dreams become reality, and kids begin to die in their sleep, a horrible event in Elm Street’s past come to light. The victims need to stay awake, or they will be next to die. Sequels aside, Nightmare is actually a very intense thriller. Freddy only speaks a few lines of dialogue, and by slasher standards, is not a very menacing figure. That doesn’t matter. What Freddy does have is the ability to manipulate dreams and impose his will in any manner he sees fit. When are we most exposed? In our sleep, of course, and Wes Craven taps into that vulnerability sublimely. Robert Englund plays the character of Freddy so convincingly that no one else will ever fill his shoes. The 2010 remake tried, and failed miserably, to kick-start the franchise again. One of the main reasons is because Jackie Earle Haley, a great actor in his own right, is not Freddy Krueger. Englund is, and always will be the `Springfield Slasher`. Nightmare also boasts some great death scenes. Tina (Amanda Wyss) brutally sliced up while being dragged up and down the walls and ceiling is bloody and beautiful. Glen (Johnny Depp) sucked into his bed, and then spat out in a tide of blood is creative and gory. Heather Langenkamp is effective and innocent as the heroine, Nancy. Some of her nightmares are straight up creepy, for example, when she is in class and sees Tina`s body-bagged corpse in the middle of the hall. The late, great Wes Craven is a master at bringing out the vulnerability in people through uncertainty. In Scream (1996), the characters do not know who the killer is, and that creates fear. For the residents of Elm street, reality and nightmare are blurred, which leads to confusion and dread. His inspiration was taken from articles he read about southeast Asian refuges inexplicably dying after awakening from nightmares. These men were healthy, and the unexplained causes of death intrigues Craven. The numerous sequels take the story off in so many directions that it is hard to take any of them seriously. Without the subsequent chapters, Nightmare would still stand alone as a diamond in the horror movie genre. Thirty years later, Elm Street is still very relevant, and stands up to anything released since its release. If you want an original, smart, and scary treat for a Halloween Netflix night, why not re-live A Nightmare on Elm Street. Just make sure you do not fall asleep.

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Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark
  • Day 12 – The Lost Boys
  • Day 13 – Child’s Play
  • Day 14 – Sleepy Hollow
  • Day 15 – House of 1,000 Corpses
  • Day 16 – The Devil’s Rejects
  • Day 17 – Night of the Living Dead
  • Day 18 – Dawn of the Dead (’78)
  • Day 19 – Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
  • Day 20 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
  • Day 21 – The Cabin In The Woods
  • Day 22 – A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

T.

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31 Days of Halloween Day 21 – The Cabin in the Woods

Cabin in the Woods

31 Days of Halloween – Day 21

The Cabin in the Woods (directed by Drew Goddard, 2012) Once in a while, you come across a movie that thinks outside the box. Horror movies seem to go in genre waves. Whatever is in vogue that particular cycle seems to get beaten to death by Hollywood. Found footage was popular for a while. Vampires have their turn. Slashers get a go. Anything that movie producers throw against the wall, and sticks, is the new flavor of the month. The Cabin in the Woods starts off like any ordinary horror, but takes some big swerves of course through out, and the results are one of the most original films of the genre. I will not go into plot details, because if you have not seen the film, I do not want to spoil it. Five friends set off to spend the weekend in a family cabin. Sound familiar? That’s where the familiarity end. Drew Goddard (writer for World War Z and Cloverfield) and Joss Whedon (TV’s Firefly and Marvel’s The Avengers) wrote the story, while Goddard directed. What they have created is a highly entertaining film, which blends horror and comedy, with enough plot twists to keep you engaged from start to finish. The most recognizable faces are Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Bradley Whitford (TV’s Transparent), and the brilliant Richard Jenkins (Step Brothers). The interaction between Whitford and Jenkins is witty and one of the best parts of the film. I was recommended to see this by a friend, and I am glad I took his advice. The Cabin in the Woods is one of my favorites from the last five years. It reminds me of how great I thought the original Evil Dead was when I first saw it. If you want some Halloween scares with substance, watch The Cabin in the Woods. You will not be disappointed.

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Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark
  • Day 12 – The Lost Boys
  • Day 13 – Child’s Play
  • Day 14 – Sleepy Hollow
  • Day 15 – House of 1,000 Corpses
  • Day 16 – The Devil’s Rejects
  • Day 17 – Night of the Living Dead
  • Day 18 – Dawn of the Dead (’78)
  • Day 19 – Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
  • Day 20 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
  • Day 21 – The Cabin In The Woods

T.

31 Days of Halloween Day 20 – TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (’74)

31 Days of Halloween – Day 20

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (directed by Tobe Hooper, 1974) If I could be part of any horror film in the history of cinema, I would choose Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I feel that TCM is the pinnacle of terror cinema. The film is non-stop, nerve-grinding screaming, yelling, and brutality. You can have all of the torture porn like Saw and Hostel you want. I will take the dirty, stinking Texas summer heat of this Tobe Hooper classic. Leatherface is a man who wears other people’s faces after he hangs them on a hook and butchers them. What is more terrifying than that? Five young adults are traveling through Texas to return to a childhood home. Along the way, they run into an assortment of characters that should have set off one hundred warning bells to get the hell out of there, but they carry on for lack of better judgement. They arrive at the destination, and splinter off into a couple groups. At various points, everyone one of them stumbles upon the Sawyer residence, a creepy farm house. It is here that they meet their premature demise. It turns out that the Sawyers are cannibalistic psychopaths. There are scenes in this film that still wear on my psyche, even though I know what is coming. Every time a victim is hung from a meat hook, I get a sick feeling. Marilyn Burns (Sally Hardesty) does an inspiring job as the terrified lone survivor. After reading trivia about TCM, it seems like the actual production of the movie was far more horrifying than the film itself. The filming was done over twenty some odd days during one of the hottest Texas summers in history. Sounds like guerrilla style film making at it’s finest. Edwin Neil, who starred as Hitchhiker, claimed that filming the movie was worse than his service in Vietnam. That sounds intense, but whatever happened during production aside, these actors were part of something special. Gunnar Hansen was menacing as Leatherface. The moment that metal door slides open, and he emerges, horror movie villains changed forever. Since that point, most mute killers are big and menacing, but no where near the presence of the original Leatherface. Also, you know he meat business, as evident by the tie that he wears under his butcher’s apron. At the risk of sounding like a fan boy, Texas Chainsaw Massacre almost perfect. The only thing I don’t like about the film is the character of Franklin. He is the most annoying asshole of a human being ever. I’m glad he was sawed in half. I feel good inside every time I see it. That aside, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is first class example of how fear should be transposed to the big screen. So, this Halloween, slow cook a roast, put on your favorite lady face, and enjoy a good dose of Leatherface.

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Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark
  • Day 12 – The Lost Boys
  • Day 13 – Child’s Play
  • Day 14 – Sleepy Hollow
  • Day 15 – House of 1,000 Corpses
  • Day 16 – The Devil’s Rejects
  • Day 17 – Night of the Living Dead
  • Day 18 – Dawn of the Dead (’78)
  • Day 19 – Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
  • Day 20 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

T.

31 Days of Halloween Day 19 – Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

31 Days of Halloween – Day 19

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (directed by Danny Steinmann, 1985) I suppose you are wondering why I would choose the fourth sequel of the Friday the 13th franchise as the only Ft13 film on my 31 Days of Halloween list, and why choose the film of the series that does not feature Jason Voorhees (besides the original film, in which mommy was doing the killing)? Well let me tell you why my friends. This is my favorite of the Friday films. Yes, the story is completely lame, even by horror movie standards. There is so much cheese squeezed into this film, it’s like eating a box of Kraft Dinner made with TWO packages of orange power. Yet, I am completely entertained by this film, and know ninety-nine percent of the dialogue by memory. This is my guilty pleasure when it comes to horror movies. After being killed by Tommy Jarvis at the conclusion of Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Jason is a fading memory. Except to Tommy, who is now teenager, and living in a halfway home for troubled youth. He is still tormented by Jason through hallucinations and nightmares. After a resident of the home is murdered by a fellow troubled teen, the father (ambulance driver Roy) of the deceased teen dawns the familiar hockey mask and goes on a kill rampage under the disguise of Jason Voorhees. This movie has so many memorable characters and funny scenes that I never get tired of watching it. Victims include a leather-clad rock star named Demon (the incomparable Miguel A. Nunez Jr.) who lives in a van with his girlfriend, a motorcycle riding simpleton and his bitchy mother, a new-age goth girl who dances alone in her room, and a buxom gal who receives hedge clippers through the eyes. A lot of the murder scenes are original and well done, if a little far-fetched. A New Beginning does not have Jason except for a brief dream sequence at the start of the film, but that does not mean it is not a quality entry to the series. Compared to a couple of the sequels, Part V is a cinematic masterpiece. This Halloween, give Roy a chance. His hockey mask might have blue paint checks instead of red, and he may not be an unstoppable ghoul, but there is plenty of Jason to go around for all other occasions.

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Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark
  • Day 12 – The Lost Boys
  • Day 13 – Child’s Play
  • Day 14 – Sleepy Hollow
  • Day 15 – House of 1,000 Corpses
  • Day 16 – The Devil’s Rejects
  • Day 17 – Night of the Living Dead
  • Day 18 – Dawn of the Dead (’78)
  • Day 19 – Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

31 Days of Halloween Day 18 – Dawn of the Dead (’78)

31 Days of Halloween – Day 18

Dawn of the Dead (directed by George A. Romero, 1978) Though the “sequel” to Night of the Living Dead is much different than it’s predecessor, Dawn of the Dead is still a landmark in the zombie genre. Gruesome, grizzly, violent, and most importantly; fun. I saw this movie when I was seven or eight years old, and it is something that has stuck with me, but not because it scared me. I was completely taken with the special effects. The amount of gun shots, head smashes, ripped off arms, and everything else captured my attention. And imagine going on a long-term shopping spree, and all you have to do is survive the zombie apocalypse? It sounds amazing, unless you get bitten. Four people escape Philadelphia as it is being overrun by the undead. After escaping by helicopter, they take refuge in a shopping mall. Faced with the task of clearing the zombies out of their new home, the group does there best to make their unbelievable situation tolerable. Things begin to unravel, and everything culminates in a battle with an outlaw biker gang who have come to pillage the mall. The role of Peter, played by the bad ass Ken Foree, is one of my all-time favorite horror movie heroes. Peter is the perfect mix of serious and funny, and Foree has great timing with his dialogue. Monster make-up effects wizard Tom Savini does double duty as the films make-up artist, as well as playing the role of the leader of the motorcycle gang. Dawn of the Dead has the same feel as a lot of the great films made in the late 70’s; a great synthesizer soundtrack, tough but vulnerable characters, a great special effects. George Romero did his best to keep the tone of Night of the Living Dead serious, so with Dawn, it feels like he tried to have a little fun with a larger budget. Mission accomplished. Dawn of the Dead is a quintessential zombie movie, so it should also be mandatory Halloween viewing. Even if human flesh isn’t your thing, try it. You might like it.

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Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark
  • Day 12 – The Lost Boys
  • Day 13 – Child’s Play
  • Day 14 – Sleepy Hollow
  • Day 15 – House of 1,000 Corpses
  • Day 16 – The Devil’s Rejects
  • Day 17 – Night of the Living Dead
  • Day 18 – Dawn of the Dead (’78)

T.

31 Days of Halloween Day 15 and 16 – HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES and THE DEVIL’S REJECTS

31 Days of Halloween – Day 15

House of 1,000 Corpses (directed by Rob Zombie, 2003) Where do I start? Do I start with Captain Spaulding’s Museum of Monsters and Madmen? The sadistic Firefly family, who prey on travelers and cheerleaders? A physician who goes by the name of ‘Dr. Satan’, who performers experiments on unwilling participants all in the hopes of creating a race of super-humans? There are so many bizarre, yet memorable characters and insane situations in House of 1,000 Corpses that it is hard to keep track of. A group of young adults (including a then unknown Rainn Wilson from The Office) are on a cross country trip, in search of off-beat roadside attractions. The stumble upon the Museum of Monsters and Madmen, and become intrigued by the local legend of S. Quentin Quale, aka Dr. Satan. After receiving directions from the proprietor Captain Spaulding, the group head out in search of the “Satan Tree”. On the way, they pick up a hitchhiker who claims she can take them right to their destination. What they find instead is a house full of murder and mayhem, occupied by the Firefly family, and things do not go well here on out for the travelers. From top to bottom, this film is insane, and very entertaining. Taking inspiration from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as well as 1970’s Grindhouse features, there is an abundance of gore, plenty of violence, and a lot of exploitation going on. Rob Zombie’s typical gang of actors, Sid Haig, Sheri Moon Zombie, and Bill Mosley are all present and are all disturbed. Zombie’s first feature will not be for everyone, but House of 1,000 Corpses certainly leaves an impression.

31 Days of Halloween – Day 16

The Devil’s Rejects (directed by Rob Zombie, 2005) The sequel to House of 1,000 Corpses continues the carnage but takes a different approach than its predecessor. The Devil’s Rejects continues the story of the Firefly family months after the events of House of 1,000 Corpses. The family is cornered in their house by the authorities, and are out numbered and out-gunned. Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie) and Otis Driftwood (Bill Mosley) manage to escape and flee the standoff, and meet up with clown-faced Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig). The twisted family are on the run from hard-nosed and equally as terrifying Sheriff Wydell (William Forsythe). Wydell seeks revenge upon the trio of killers for the murder of his brother who fell victim to the family. While on the lam, the murderous Firefly clan cannot subdue their thirst for violence, so they leave another trail of carnage in their wake. Think Bonnie and Clyde meet Natural Born Killers. Devil’s Rejects takes itself more serious than House of 1,000 Corpses, and it works. The tone is grittier and more intense. Zombie does a great job in creating a gang of anti-heroes out of characters that we should hate. The final scene in this film is beautifully done, complete with Lynard Skynard’s ‘Free Bird’ as the background song as our “heroes” make their last stand. This Halloween, give yourself a double dip of mayhem, and make it a back-to-back Rob Zombie night with House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devils Rejects.

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Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark
  • Day 12 – The Lost Boys
  • Day 13 – Child’s Play
  • Day 14 – Sleepy Hollow
  • Day 15 – House of 1,000 Corpses
  • Day 16 – The Devil’s Rejects

31 Days of Halloween- Day 14 -SLEEPY HOLLOW

31 Days of Halloween – Day 14

Sleepy Hollow (directed by Tim Burton, 1999) What would Halloween be without the tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman? I am sure most of us have seen the old Disney cartoon based upon Washington Irvine’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, in which Mr. Crane comes face to face with the ghoulish Headless Horseman. In 1999, Tim Burton took the legend, made a couple changes to the story (minor changes), and brought us his version, Sleepy Hollow. If anyone in Hollywood can take a classic American ghost story and make it great, Tim Burton (Batman, Edward Scissorhands) is that someone. After being labelled as eccentric by his peers, Constable Ichabod Crane is sent from New York to the village of Sleepy Hollow to investigate some mysterious and grisly murders. Someone is decapitating victims, and keeping the evidence. The town’s people are convinced that a local legend, a Headless Horseman is responsible, but Crane at first does not believe in their theory. Ichabod soon realizes that Sleepy Hollow is a place steeped in lies, deceit, and supernatural occurrence. He must now uncover the mystery of the Horseman and find away to send the Hessian back to hell. Like the vast majority of Tim Burton’s projects, the attention to detail is amazing. The turn of the eighteenth century costumes and sets are brilliant. The cast, led by Tim Burton mainstay Johnny Depp (Ichabod Crane), Christina Ricci (Katrina Van Tassel), and the great Christopher Walken as the Headless Horseman. Depp is great as the smart, yet often terrified Crane, and Walken is menacing as the antagonist. Sleepy Hollow is actually very violent and bloody, which is different from most of Tim Burton’s other more whimsical films. The color tone of the film is very grey and neutral that when the blood starts flying, it stands out that much more. As far as films go, you cannot find one that is more entrenched in Halloween lore than Sleepy Hollow. The Horseman even throws a flaming jack-o-lantern at Ichabod Crane’s head at one point, proving that everyone celebrates the eve of all Hallows in their own special way. If you are looking for a fun, spooky popcorn movie to watch tonight, Sleepy Hollow might just fit the bill.

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Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark
  • Day 12 – The Lost Boys
  • Day 13 – Child’s Play
  • Day 14 – Sleepy Hollow

31 Days of Halloween Day 13 – CHILD’S PLAY

31 Days of Halloween – Day 13

Child’s Play (directed by Tom Holland, 1988) Do you remember when you were a kid, and you wanted that special toy more than anything in the world? I bet that when you received the toy, it wasn’t possessed by the soul of a serial killer. After being cornered by the police in a toy store, psychopathic murderer Charles Lee Ray, the Lakeshore Strangler, transfers his soul, using black magic, into a ‘Good Guy’ doll before he dies of gunshot wounds. After purchasing this doll from a street person, Karen surprises her son Andy with it as a gift. It is not long after until Andy discovers that his doll “Chucky” has bad intentions. First off, I will say that if it was not for the acting/voice talents of Brad Dourif, Child’s Play would not be half the film that it is. Dourif (Lord of the Rings trilogy, Exorcist III) brings Chucky to like, and makes him the little menace he is. Chris Sarandon (Fright Night, Princess Bride) plays the detective who first track Charles Lee Haley, then tries to protect Andy and his mom (Catherine Hicks) from Haley after he becomes Chucky. Usually child actors annoy me, but Alex Vincent is really good as the boy Andy, who is the target of Chucky’s homicidal intents. I remember wanting to see Child’s Play in the movie theatre, but I was not old enough. I had to wait until it was released on home video, which seemed like it took forever. This was the first VHS movie that I “pirated” (did the old VHS-to-VHS copy), and watched the crap out of it for a year until I taped over it with some Stampede Wrestling. I understand why the movie was rated R at the time. There is some very strong (and humorous) language that flies from Chucky’s mouth. The movie is pretty short for a full length feature, clocking in at around eighty minutes, but perhaps more would have seemed like too much. Director Tom Holland (writer of Fright Night) has done some off-beat horror films, and Child’s Play is well done considering it is based on a possessed doll on a kill spree. The effects are good, and the animations for the Chucky doll are pretty believable, but like a mentioned before, Brad Dourif makes Chucky entertaining. Child’s Play will always have a special place in my heart (even though the sequels never live up to the original). Maybe you could find it in your heart to give Child’s Play a viewing this Halloween.

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Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark
  • Day 12 – The Lost Boys
  • Day 13 – Child’s Play

T.

31 Days of Halloween Day 12 – THE LOST BOYS

31 Days of Halloween – Day 12

Lost Boys (directed by Joel Schumacher, 1987) If you are looking for a film that represents the 1980’s, look not further than The Lost Boys. The movie plays like a ninety minute music video, with enough sizzle worthy of its MTV era audience. Although, this stylistic tale of vampires is not only flashy, it has some good substance. During the 80’s, the cinema was chalk-full of teen coming of age melodrama. These included Breakfast Club (John Hughes) and Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Amy Heckerling). So hey, why not take this idea and translate it over to the horror genre? Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim), along with their mother, move to Santa Carla, California to live with their grandfather. The boys soon discover that there is something unnatural and strange about the sunny coastal town. Besides being the murder capital per capita of North America, and having an abnormal amount of missing persons, Santa Carla is also home to clan of teenage vampires. Older brother Michael falls into league with this clan, and Sam has to race against time to save his brother and destroy the vampires. There are many memorable characters in The Lost Boys. Kiefer Sutherland is David, the charismatic leader of the fang gang. Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander are the Frog Brothers, vampire hunters and the only residents of the town that believe in Sam enough to help him on his mission. The film also stars Edward Hermann (Gilmore Girls), Diane Wiest (Parenthood), Alex Winter (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure), and Bernard Shaw (as the eccentric grandfather). From the cast, to the soundtrack, to the overall feel of the movie, this is the archetypical 80’s popcorn movie. I think The Lost Boys also had a lot to do with the renaissance of the vampire in pop culture. Director Joel Schumacher made this gang of vampires look young, and hip. They were the town bad boys, and not just the local ghouls that murdered the residents. Along with Goonies and Ghost Busters, The Lost Boys is at the top of my list for essential 80’s viewing. The last entry to my 31 Days of Halloween, I recommended Near Dark for viewing. Why not add The Lost Boys, and make it back to back blood-suckers for you Halloween festivities. If you still are not convinced, just watch it for the sweet saxophone solo during the concert scene during the first part of the movie. You will not be disappointed.

Sorry, couldn’t help myself…

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Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark
  • Day 12 – The Lost Boys

T.

31 Days of Halloween Day 11 – NEAR DARK

31 Days of Halloween – Day 11

Near Dark (directed by Kathryn Bigelow, 1987) Country boy Caleb (Adrian Pasdar, Top Gun, Heroes) meets a pretty, young stranger, May, which he has an instant connection with. What Caleb does not realize is that May is a “vampire” (although the term is never mentioned in the movie). After being turned into a creature of the night, Caleb also discovers that May comes with some baggage; a marauding “family” of blood thirsty maniacs who have no regard for human life. Caleb is not reading to accept his new way of life and crosses the gang, which results in a violent game of life and death. There are many similarities between Near Dark and Lost Boys, which I think are purely coincidental because they were released within months of each other. Where Lost Boys had a comedic element and has a more “Hollywood”, Near Dark is more dramatic and has an independent feel. This does not mean the film lacks style, because it does not. Near Dark takes itself more seriously. If you are looking for scares, Near Dark is probably not going to satisfy you. But if you are looking for a cool spin on the vampire genre, with some good gore, violence, and atmosphere, Near Dark is a safe bet. Veteran horror mainstay Lance Henriksen (Aliens, Pumpkinhead) plays Jesse, the leader of the “family”. Bill Paxton (Weird Science, True Lies) is Severen, a psychotic vampire, with a quick wit, and a desire to watch people suffer. Paxton’s dialog is worth the price of admission alone. Kathryn Bigelow (Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty) is an academy award winner and an amazing writer/director. This is only her second full-length feature, and you can see why she has gone on to an incredible career. She gets a lot out of the actors in Near Dark, which makes it believable and entertaining. The film fires on a cylinders; action, violence, characters, and even has an element of love story. It may not be the typical Halloween film, but typical can get boring, and Halloween should not be boring.

Cool Fact – In the background of one of the early scenes, you can see a movie theater marquee with “Aliens” now playing. Near Dark stars Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton and Jenette Goldstein are also stars in Aliens (1986). Director Kathryn Bigelow is also married to Aliens director James Cameron.

Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark

T.