Last of the Monster Kids

Last of the Monster Kids
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Halloween 2010: September 26

All right, it's time to stop fucking around. October 1st isn't until this Friday, but the Halloween season has fucking started. All the cool kids agree. Time to get the annual month-long horror-a-thon rolling.

I've got a shit load of plans. In addition to my write-ups here, I also plan on debuting Director's Report Cards for George Romero and Mario Bava. I have a huge list of things I want to watch, a bunch of old classics I want to revisit, including re-watching "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" in its entirety. The local Apollo Theater is showing a series of classic public domain horror flicks as well as Rocky Horror late in the month. The monthly Horror Remix at my local Alamo Drafthouse is Halloween themed this month, obviously. I'm not sure when my small home town got so cool, but I'm not really complaining.

Also, for the first time in forever, there will be a bunch of actual horror movies in theaters soon. Clint Eastwood's "Hereafter," despite not really being a horror film, is the most exciting release and the director's first interesting flick in a long time. "Monsters" seems to be the little indie horror flick that could this year. If it's any good or not... Well, I'll be the judge of that. Depending on reviews, I might give "Let Me In" and "Paranormal Activity 2" a look. "Hatchet II" and the "I Spit on Your Grave" remake are bringing unrated horror back to theaters, which is pretty cool. Naturally, "Saw 3D" is also arriving to further undo any good graces that franchise might have left.

Anyway, enough of my yammering. Let's get to the mini-reviews.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)
I don’t know how I manage to miss seeing this one until now. What I first noticed is how different this movie is from the Universal Monster movies of the same era. While the Universal films are distinguished by heavy Expressionistic atmosphere and static direction, the visual direction in this film is spectacular and ahead of its time. Director Rouben Mamoulian makes great use of point-of-view and visual motif. March makes Jekyll and Hyde distinct characters, one a moral but frustrated man, while the other is a sadistic monster. His make-up is iconic. Over all, this rightfully stands among Browning’s “Dracula” and Whales’ “Frankenstein” as a classic of horror. (9/10)

Subspecies (1991)
Looks pretty cheap and the plot plays fast and loose, but Radu is a badass horror villain, I like the cheesy Full Moon effects, and the movie does get some actual atmosphere out of the real Romanian location. (7/10)

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? (2010)
Despite getting coverage in “Fangoria” magazine, this is only the most marginal of horror film. Not because murder and madness are hardly exclusive to that genre, but more because of the down-to-Earth, nonfantastic direction Herzog brings to the proceedings. He roots the David Lynch weirdness in a sensible, quietly nihilistic reality. (7/10)

Habit (1995)
Larry Fessenden’s horror films are hard for a lot of people to get into but I love his mixture of classical horror ideals, modern neurosis, naturalistic direction, and tasty sociological subtext. This is actually an example of the filmmaker at his most personal and accessible. (8/10)


Kernunrex said...

I've read the book and seen plenty of Looney Tunes versions, but I don't think I've ever watched a Jekyll and Hyde movie. Is the 1931 one considered the definitive version? Friend of mine wants us to watch Jekyll and Hyde... Together Again this season, actually.

Bonehead XL said...

The '31 March version is probably the definitive take, I'd say. You might want to also watch the silent version with John Berrymore, which is also pretty well regarded. (I wasn't all that crazy about it.)