Halloween is easily my favorite holiday. Growing up, it didn’t have all the crap you get with a lot of the other big holidays. The family you never like to visit, the stress, the fights, the occasional fire being set. None of that. Halloween is simplicity itself. You dress up, you get candy. Boom. You’re done. As an added bonus you get to watch a lot of scary movies you might not normally sit down to watch throughout the year. In order to maximize this brief window of joy I try and watch a genre film every night for the month of October. Usually it’s a horror movie but sometimes I’ll venture out into Sci Fi or exploitation schlock.
I try and mix it up, too. Classics, not-so-classics that I enjoy, or new shit that I’ve just not had the chance to watch. Hell, some nights I’ll just pull up something random on a streaming service and see what I get. That... doesn’t always work out. (Seriously, fuck you Night of the Dribbler.) So, for this Halloween 2019, let’s see what I’ve got so far.
Movie 1: Pumpkinhead: I can’t remember if I’ve ever seen this one all the way through until now. If I have it’s been quite awhile but I wouldn’t be surprised if I had only caught bits and pieces of it over the years. Not a bad supernatural revenge movie that almost immediately shows you that sometimes it’s just not worth it. Kind of goofy at times with the teen actors but Henriksen gives it his all and the nice creature effects and lighting create a solid flick. Seriously, watching Henriksen break down during the movie is a sight to behold. It made me want to go out and kill some teenagers on dirt bikes.
Movie 2: Blood Rage: Shelved for 4 years before finally getting a release in 1987 and I’m real curious why. It’s not bad. In fact, there’s some good stuff in here. Interesting kills, decent shots, and Mark Soper does a bang up job playing the twins in the movie. Probably one of the better slasher movies I’ve seen in awhile. It’s also probably the best Thanksgiving based slasher movie I’ve ever seen. You see all the other big holidays get love but rarely Thanksgiving and most of those are garbage. Worth checking out.
Movie 3: Final Exam: A competently shot slasher movie? Not a lot of great stuff here. The kills are alright and the movie focuses more on college drama before we finally get to the nitty gritty of the movie. It doesn’t help that the actor playing the killer used a real knife (for some reason), which means there are several scenes where he is very obviously stabbing as far away from his victim as possible in order to prevent accidentally stabbing the actor/actress for real. There was the mock mass shooting/kidnapping that happened in the middle of the campus. That... wouldn’t go over so well now as a goofy “harmless prank.” I wanted to like this one but it was just kind of bland. I guess watch the mass shooting prank and you’ll see the most entertaining part of the movie?
Movie 4: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2: God damn! I love this movie. I’ve probably seen this one more than the first. While Texas Chainsaw 1 is scarier and more disturbing, this one is just so damn entertaining to watch. You’ve got good gore, Bill Moseley almost literally chewing the scenery, Caroline Willaims steadily going insane, and a (probably) coked up Dennis Hopper out of his damn mind by the end. Just so good. Two big ol’ dirty gorilla thumbs up.
Movie 5: Q: The Winged Serpent: It had been awhile since I watched this one. Not Larry Cohen’s best work (that would probably be The Stuff) but a damn fine creature feature starring David Carradine, Richard Roundtree, and Michael Moriarty. Oh, and a mime cop. Can’t forget that mime cop. Made on the cheap but Cohen got the most bang for his buck like usual. The story behind this one is kind of interesting. Larry had been fired from another movie before making Q. He had already paid for his hotel room in NYC and just went “fuck it, I’ll make my own movie.” This went on to become Larry’s most profitable movie. Not bad.
Movie 6: Errementari: This one was listed under “horror” when I was flipping through Netflix last night but is probably a lot closer to a slightly dark fairy tale. It almost feels like a lost episode of The Storyteller, in fact. Without getting into spoilers, it’s about a blacksmith who makes a deal with the devil during the First Carlist War, who then tries to get out of keeping his end of the bargain. It’s pretty interesting and I recommend watching it in the original Basque language with subtitles on.