I’m on to knitting my second blanket of the season. Don’t be impressed. The first is for my youngest niece and she’s pretty tiny. More so than the ahhh of flipping the calendar to October, knitting puts me in the mood for horror. It’s part of my conditioning – Freddy, Michael and Jason basically raised me. When long needles are in my hands and yarn in my fingertips, the lights go off and I’m ready for long walks down dark corridors. Knitting while watching scary movies isn’t nearly as problematic as drinking red wine when The Shape approaches and John Carpenter’s unnerving score won’t relent. I’ve stained clothing and my couch this way.
My childhood favorites get a visit every year or so. Halloween is my first love and, in my opinion, one of the best horror movies ever made. Freddy Krueger is still the ultimate boogieman. The Friday the 13th series is pretty terrible, but it’s still fun to watch late at night. Like many fans I’m always on the hunt for what I haven’t read or seen. Due to some health annoyances I’ve spent lots of time indoors lately with skeins of soft, fluffy yarn and stacks of horror DVDs and novels. Thanks, library, Netflix and sometimes YouTube.
In Reel Terror (review coming soon), a romp through horror cinema’s 100-year history, author David Konow quotes Clive Barker:
Most genres are judged by the best in their fields. Horror, unfortunately, is often judged by the worst. … It’s a very subversive but relevant genre.
Here, here, Barker. When people roll their eyes at horror I bet they’re not thinking about Psycho. It’s easy to get turned off when you grab a random movie with a creepy cover and wind up staring at a mess of bad acting, zero story and lazy camera work because the people who made it didn’t care.
As expected, I’m finding greatness and wanna share it. Also, I’m going to try and make the hours I wasted on schlock worth something by steering others away if they can be steered. I’ve already written about a few books and movies, so here’s where we’ve been:
Past horror love! Starting with books:
The October Country by Ray Bradbury – Yes!!!!!
The Shining by Stephen King – Lives up to the hype. I found it scary.
Salem’s Lot by Stephen King – Mmmm good.
The Terror by Dan Simmons – Ice monster goodness, yes!
White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi – Extremely well written eerie story of twins and haunting
Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin – Vampires and steamships to tide you over till Winds of Winter.
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill – Good times.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson – You may have heard of it.
The Small Hand and Dolly by Susan Hill – Short stories, a little scary but they feel like they belong in a museum.
Red Rain by R.L. Stine – Meh
The Shining Girls – Not my favorite book, but there’s a time traveling serial.
The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon – Wouldn’t call this a horror, but it is a creepy, atmospheric murdery mystery.
Coldheart Canyon by Clive Barker – Old Hollywood + ghosts
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson – Entertaining YA possibly featuring the ghost of Jack the Ripper
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff – Not a fan, but the books plays with the changeling myth and has a nice cover.
In the Shadow of Blackbirds – Not a fan. YA set in the chaos of the Spanish flu.
The Scowler by Daniel Kraus – I hated this psycho dad book, but lots of people like it.
Asylum by Madeleine Roux – Not a fan. YA, boarding school in an old asylum.
Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore – YA. Not a fan. I think this was trying to be horror-like.
The Hitch-Hiker (1953) – Calling all film buffs
Cabin Fever and Devil’s Pass – good for movie nights
The newest little horror indie that could! It Follows is a new favorite. There are a few logic problems, but the pacing, mood, nightmarishly ambiguous story and beautiful construction makes this one a new classic. Yes it does.
Seeing this movie in a theater was a satisfying experience. Over time my affection has waned a bit. It’s well made, well acted, well written and the story adds up, but I hate the ending.
Okay. That’s where we’ve been.
Here’s the first horror movie I watched during this latest party.
Hallow’s Eve (2013) (Not to be confused with All Hallows Eve)
Around this time of year, lots of farms transform cornfields and barns into haunted houses, hayrides and $15 walks in their woods with teens wearing masks jumping out at you. This is set on one such farm. And on that farm there was a girl who was taunted by teens and had a run-in with a tractor. Ten years later the girl’s face is scrambled and someone wants revenge.
This is among the worst things ever. The trailer made it look like a silly B movie, but it doesn’t deserve to be called a movie. 100% terrible. I think someone handed a couple of schmoes a camera and told another bunch of schmoes to pretend to be stoned teenagers. About 10 minutes in it starts falling through the massive plot holes. I fast forwarded to the death scenes and still was not amused. Oh, and in case you’re wondering what happens when a face is tapped against a car three times, here you are:
This bit of magic is the highlight of the movie.