365 Days of Horror, Day 2: Muñecos Infernales [The Curse of the Doll People] [1961]

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Excuse the poor English dub, but, like YouTube’s poor rendering of an already bubbly print, you get used to it.

Yesterday was Dia de los Muertos and, in the spirit of the day, Muñecos Infernales/The Curse of the Doll People, by Benito Alazraki, was profferred by a half-Mexican ghoul/friend.

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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2017, Day 31: Hallowe’en [1978]

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Hallowe'en Halloween John Carpenter 1978

Yeah, I’ve seen John Carpenter‘s Halloween before. But, honestly, not for a long time, and never in a cinema, and certainly not in a screen full of other people who have seen it so many times that they laugh at both every awkward line delivery and the iconic moments when Michael Looks Really Quite Threatening and Scary.

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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2017, Day 26: Juan of the Dead [2011]

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juan-of-the-dead-poster

source: Ain’t it Cool News

Newsflash, Rotten Tomatoes users: THIS IS NOT AN HOMAGE TO SHAUN OF THE DEAD. How can anyone have fully watched this zombie movie with an incredibly overt political message and think it’s not inspired by the Romero classic?

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31 Days of Hallowe’en Day 2015, Day 25: Clown [2014]

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Clown 2014 eli roth jon watts

source: Cinemablend

I trusted you, Jon Watts, director of the brilliantly witty, knowing, colourful Spiderman: Homecoming. But your movie Clown, buried by studios, made me look like a fool to all of whom I recommended this after only having seen the first 45 minutes.

And what a 45 minutes. The first few shots, blunt cuts of birthday party debris overlaid with deafening children’s screams that turn out to be screams of excitement/joy, made it clear, at the time, that I’d be in for some grim fun. The almost immediate body-horror setup, in which realtor Kent (an affable, sympathetic Andy Powers, who I’ve never seen before but would watch more of him), dons a found, dusty old clown costume to fill in at his son’s birthday party and subsequently can’t remove – and the gruesomely funny methods he tries to rid himself of it, including a wonderfully deadpan doctor’s visit.

But he can’t. It’s become a second skin. Even Peter Stormare‘s welcome supporting role can’t fix things. Kent panics, and accidentally, awkwardly reverse-snaps a family friend’s arm in front of his consistently-disapproving father-in-law.

Then it gets horribly uncomfortable.

[SPOILERS HENCEFORTH]

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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2017, Day 22: Run [short] [2017]

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Haunting past the point of deeply unsettling, this 7-minute short by Mat Johns left me reeling with goosebumps a good two weeks and counting after viewing.

A backpacker (with a distractingly ropey American accent, the film’s only flaw) narrates a letter to his mother, his higher-pitched, soft-spoken voice concealing the horrors about to be shown on screen. It’s a good little chiller; simple but insidious. Anyone who has doubts trusting new people should probably stay away from this film. I actually don’t know if I can bear to watch it again.

Score: 🎃🎃🎃

31 Days of Hallowe’en 2017, Day 21: Pyotr495 [short] [2017]

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I saw this terribly drunk but was still able to formulate a coherent WhatsApp essay on why it disappointed me. Sold to me via the still-rather-excellent Short of the Week as a little film fighting the anti-LGBT power, this Russian short by Blake Mawson might be lost on my geographical demographic.

When I see any work emerging from a country that’s known for treating certain subsets of its population extremely poorly, it’s a lens through which I view said work. This story – of a young gay guy Pyotr who is lured and tormented by homophobic, nationalistic dickbags, but who is also hiding an intriguing body-horror secret – got my attention. But, after showing Pyotr to be a literally soulless demon who gruesomely eviscerates his captors, I’m not sure what audience this film was made for.

Pyotr’s captors are reprehensible, psychotic, enraging and disgusting, and have bile-inducing dress sense, so it’s fun to see Pyotr turn the tables on them. It’s revenge porn at its finest with a welcome progressive message (especially in that country). But there’s s feeling I can’t shake that it’s accidentally cosying up to the harmful propaganda that LGBT people are godless threats to society – regardless of some ‘you’re the monster!’-type one-liners our main character delivers.

That said, this is still an important film that Russia needs, and there is some impressive practical effects on display. I’d see more of this guy’s work.

Score: 🎃🎃

31 Days of Hallowe’en 2017, Day 18: The Crossing [short] [2016]

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A genuinely unsettling nerve ride, this dinky Russian short by Arseny Syuhin wears its emotional allegory (depression) on its sleeve, making it by turns chilling and affecting. It’s awful to watch our lead [I can’t find her damn name, but she’s very good], slowly feel herself robbed of the will to outrun an unseen entity as she desperately tries to call a loved one for help. But hell, when you do finally see said antagonist, you’ll marvel at the VFX work. Expertly made on all fronts, it’ll stay with you for days.

Score: 🎃🎃🎃🎃