October 2-3: Horror Movie Fest 2014

It can be very difficult to fully get into my annual October Horror Movie Fest during the work week. My day job – Practice Support Manager of a local cancer center – is very taxing sometimes. I put a lot of myself into my job, and it rarely ceases to leave me exhausted by the end of of the day.

Then add in the current heat wave hitting the area combined with the lack of air conditioning at home, and it’s a near perfect storm for an early bed time.

But I did still manage to fit in a few flicks to keep October running prior to seeing the newly released Annabelle from producer, James Wan (Insidious, The Conjuring) on Sunday with my mom.

The Cottage (2008)

The Cottage caught me pleasantly by surprise.

I picked up the DVD of it at my local library based upon the B-movie quality cover art and the premise about kidnappers who fall prey to something worse than them.

As the credits started, I immediately realized my misconception of the film. The music is playful as the camera looms overhead in a parody of Kubrick’s stunning opening to The Shining (1980). And things only get more camp as the movie progresses.

That is until the real danger shows up and things go truly sideways for these bumbling characters.

It stars Andy Serkis, most known for his acting which is mostly then covered by CGI as Gollum (Lord of The Rings Trilogy) and the ape, Caesar (Dawn of Planet of The Apes).

If you’re looking for something with the feel of 80’s camp and a light touch of Shaun of The Dead, then The Cottage might just make your evening.


Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark (2010)

First seeing Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark a few years ago, it instantly became one of my favorite horror movies.

Although hardly deserving of its R-rating, for me, it brings back childhood fears about the unknown. What is hiding in the dark under the bed? Is there something moving in the shadows just beyond sight?

Feeling like a low calorie version of the usual Guillermo Del Toro film (Pan’s Labyrinth), it is actually a remake of a made-for-TV movie from nearly 3 decades prior.

Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark is the story of little girl, Sally (Bailee Madison), who is sent to live with her father (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend (Katie Holmes) who are restoring a mysterious old mansion in the country. After unwittingly discovering the hidden basement to the home, Sally becomes the target of faerie creatures.

The expert craft of the creatures is part of what makes this movie great. Although they are shown far too much and too often to build the highest level of suspense, they are expertly rendered in CGI to seem both real and otherworldly.

Perhaps part of the draw of this movie is how these creatures seem like the grown-up version of the troll that tried to steal Drew Barrymore‘s breath in Cat’s Eye (1985).

The best way to view Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark is – not surprisingly – in the dark, alone. But isn’t that almost always the best for a good horror movie?


The Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1988)

Claiming to be based upon the original The Howling novel by Gary Brandner and its two sequels, The Howling IV: The Original Nightmare is so badly crafted that I couldn’t even finish watching it.

Looking and feeling like a low budget early 80’s movie, it was actually made in 1988, the same year as Cronenburg‘s Dead Ringers and Romero’s Monkey Shines. Although I should point out it also was the same year Killer Klowns From Outer Space reminded everyone of why they should both laugh and fear heavy face make-up and squeaky noses.

I’m sure I’ve seen it as a child, but when The Howling III: The Marsupials (1987) looks good compared to this, you might realize what you’re in for.

If you’re really in the mood for werewolves, do yourself a big favor and pick up any or all of the the following true classics:

Or lastly, the first and only movie in the series worth watching, The Howling (1981).

NOTE: 1981 was obviously a big year for werewolves in cinema.


Trailers from some of the other movies mentioned in this post:


One response to “October 2-3: Horror Movie Fest 2014

  1. Pingback: October 7-8: I like big butts and I can not lie | Below Zero | Above Infinity·

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