365 Days of Horror, Day 1: Treaters [short] [2017]

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Right. As penance for missing a single day on year 4 of my Hallowe’en marathon, I’ve decided to ‘punish’ myself by trying, for the second time, to consume one horror thing per day for the next year. It’s probably too much pressure, but I have a friend who regularly watches this kind of crap with me, so perhaps he’ll spot me or something.

Last night’s entry was the perfect antidote to a Hallowe’en hangover (both literal and emotional): the sumptuously designed Treaters. Boasting production design and props that would rival most feature-length films, this perfectly encapsulates the spooky, colourful, indulgent wickedness of the season (and makes me sad that it’s over for another year).

Set in England, two teens meet up with a third kid they met online, a clown-costumed little shit who promises them the candy heist of their lives. Borrowing some of its tension-setting from both Don’t Breathe and every snacking kid ever, the trio must sneak into the odd setup of a woman’s lounge (where she’s watching some fairly fucked-up animation) to get to her wonderfully impressive sweet shop. Naturally, the gang go nuts – literally like kids in a candy store – but the plot thickens thereafter. No spoilers, but it toes just the right line between gruesome and magically Burton/Selick-y. A trick and a treat.

Score: 🎃🎃🎃🎃

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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 30: After Hours [short] [2016]

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On second viewing, I liked Kasey LaRose‘s short After Hours a bit more. For horror shorts, I’m a bit of a sucker for simple creature design, mostly because it’s cheaper to do (and harder to mess up), but also because it skirts the unsettlingly ambiguous line between demonic and real-life threat.

It also helps if you have a decent score (check), tight camerawork (check), and an actress that is easy to watch and root for (Shiloh Nyce Despain) (check). For a short though, it is incredibly short, yet there are moments that could have been chopped since it stuck with a single, in-the-moment strand of tension that so many early shorts go for.

Score: 🎃🎃

31 Days of Hallowe’en 2017, Day 29: Mannequin [short] [2017]

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I can’t hate on an student film when it’s clearly many amateurs trying very hard, not least the sole actress on screen who must carry the story by herself. And she (Amy Shaw) does a pretty decent job, though she’s let down by the (i’msorryi’msorryi’msorry) really quite distractingly bad voiceover work that doesn’t sound professional and just doesn’t fit and deflates any of the tension this is trying to build up.

It’s short (obviously) and sweet, and the editing keeps the creepiness afloat. Given its length, it might have benefitted from keeping the action in one room, particularly as it looks like they were going for an old-fashioned ghost story – something you’d tell around a circle at a Hallowe’en sleepover or see reenacted on stage as a short horror play.

Score: 🎃HALFAPUMPKIN

31 Days of Hallowe’en 2017, Day 28: Slash in the Box [short] [2017]

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Five days after watching this and I have very little memory of it. That doesn’t mean that this ‘cursed item’ short was bad, just not as memorable as the 30 other things I watched this month.

It’s a one-note affair that could even stand to have 2 minutes trimmed off, since it’s really just a showcase for some genuinely good practical effects, and especially as we know exactly how it’s going to end – just from the title.

Score: 🎃HALFAPUMPKIN

31 Days of Hallowe’en 2017, Day 27: Sloven [short] [2015]

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I must admit – despite the cheesy, Poundshop-looking quality of the creepy mask that’s heavily featured in Sloven, it ticks all the right boxes to genuinely freak me out – not least because of its wide, dagger-toothed smile and bulging eyes.

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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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