Big Black Mariah

Today’s song title is from Rain Dogs.

In the month of October, we watched an assortment of horror movies, none of which had I seen previously. I’d like to share my thoughts on several of them.

Fright Night
Holy shit, this movie is great. Except for Stephen Geoffreys, who played the best friend. He was so bad that I feel a little bit sorry for the other movies he went on to star in. (Gay porn, if it matters.) Amanda Bearse was really terrific, and she and Chris Sarandon have the most graphic sex scene of all time, masquerading as a vampire bite.

I don’t know if I should count this, because it was an episode of MST3K. So let me just say that it’s as good as Mitchell.

Rosemary’s Baby
This is perhaps the second-best horror movie I know of, the first being The Haunting. Man, the 60s were good for something, I guess. Chilling, genuinely frightening, funny, sweet, heartbreaking. I love Mia Farrow. I loathe John Cassavettes (which I’d have previously believed impossible). I wish Ruth Gordon was my friend, and hope to be half as wonderful as her when I am old. But less of a Satanist. (Spoiler!)

The Omen
Not as great as I anticipated and hoped. Incredibly slow and very little sympathy for Gregory Peck’s character. I mean — I’m supposed to worry about this asshole who adopted the Antichrist so he wouldn’t have to tell his wife the truth? Please. David Warner (practically an infant at the time) was wonderful and Billie Whitelaw would have scared the bajesus out of me if this was a scary movie. One genuine chill came when the first nanny killed herself. Otherwise fairly unremarkable.

An American Werewolf In London
Blows The Howling out of the water. Really terrific dark comedy with some genuine scares. I spent a great deal of time worried about the characters. Also, awesome werewolf transformation. Special effects really hold up (unlike The Howling).

It is hard, if not impossible, to watch a classic without preconceived notions. For instance, all I ever hear about Jaws is how the mechanical shark malfunctioned during shooting so they used it for only a couple of scenes, effectively making the movie more scary because we don’t see the monster. Well, I expected to not see the monster, and it was in a lot more of the movie than I thought it would be. But I totally loved Robert Shaw.

The Hitcher
Maybe it is because the first movie I ever saw him in was Ladyhawk, but I just can’t be too frightened of Rutger Hauer. Oh, his eyes are pretty scary. But he’s no Powers Booth. A good movie, but I’ll watch anything starring Ponyboy. Yes, I even saw Soul Man. I am not proud.

This was another interesting one. Another classic, but surprisingly I knew less about this one. Not much in the way of frights, because I’ve seen all the movies it influenced. It did have the scariest single shot of any movie I can think of (when Laurie is in the hallway and Michael Myers leans forward into the light behind her). Peed my pants on that one.

The Beast of Yucca Flats
OH MY GOD. There are no words. Well, Will had a few.

This movie was totally awesome in the really bad drive-in sort of way.

House of Usher
Corman’s first Poe movie. Starring Vincent Price, of course. Really incredibly slow, as were most of those movies. Totally worth renting.

Spider Baby
This movie is really excellent and I should give it a real review. Since I doubt I’ll get around to it, though, here’s a few thoughts. I love Lon Chaney Jr. He is so sweet and wonderful in this movie. Jill Banner blew me away as Virginia. Her death in 1982 is a terrible disappointment. Who will I write creepy, lovely female roles for? Sid Haig was 22 when this movie was made and looks almost nothing like Captain Spaulding (out of the clown makeup), the role I know him best for. Obviously this one has my thoughts scattered. It was SO VERY GOOD. Please watch it.

The Vanishing Riders of Tombstone Canyon
Hee! This movie is adorable. It’s from Creepy Cowboys, which you should buy.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

8 thoughts on “Big Black Mariah

  1. Katherine

    November 23, 2006 at 10:59am

    Halloween is great because it makes Halloween II possible (“I shot him six times!”) and the Omen is great because of the nanny scene – which I still have nightmares about.

    I must be the only person on earth who doesn’t love Rosemary’s Baby. I like the other scary movie Mia Farrow is in much better – you know, Hannah and Her Sisters. ;-)


  2. yojo

    November 23, 2006 at 8:49pm

    I hear you on Spider Baby! I only discovered it as we ran around trying to watch all of the movies covered by Fantomas on “Director’s Cut.” Can you believe I am dating someone who’s never seen Rosemary’s Baby?!?

  3. suki

    November 24, 2006 at 12:38am

    I dunno how you did it. I can’t stand scary movies!! :P

  4. Snoskred

    November 24, 2006 at 5:06am

    I’m trying to visit as many of the NaBloPoMo blogs as I can and I thought I’d say hi, I liked your blog.. :) A lot actually, I’m bookmarking you and I’ll be back! ;)

  5. Laurie Ann

    November 24, 2006 at 4:51pm

    OH MY GOD!! American Werewolf In London is my favorite. David Naughton fresh from his Dr. Pepper gig, Griffin Dunne, and yes, awesome transformation effects. My best friend and I saw it at the theater in downtown East Stroudsburg, PA, and then had to walk home…in the dark…through the moors. When we got up to our houses, the block was swarming in cops, blue and red lights flashing, with someone (or something) apparently cornered in the field next to my house. It seems some guy broke out of jail and ended up in my neighborhood. But you’d better believe I was freaking scared to death.

    Also, I love Rosemary’s Baby.

  6. Sweeney Todd

    November 25, 2006 at 12:22am

    Fright Night has always been one of my all-time favorite vampire movies. “You’re so cool, Brewster!” The whole boy-who-cried-vampire story is just brilliant. Roddy McDowall kicks ass as Peter Vincent.

    The most brilliant thing about Rosemary’s Baby is the casting. Not just Mia and Cassavettes and Ruth Gordon, but casting Ralph Bellamy – sweet, good-natured Ralph Bellamy as that horrible, evil doctor. And that dream sequence where she gets impregnated always creeps me out.

    American Werewolf gets my vote for the best horror-comedy ever. And the opening twenty minutes or so, up to the end of that attack on the moors, is the stuff great horror movies are made of. It’s so atmospheric and unbelievably creepy.

    I love The Hitcher. I think it’s fast-paced and has tension to burn. I hate that they’re remaking it, even with the coolness that is Sean Bean. But then again (sacrelige!) I did like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake.

    And Halloween… well, Halloween is my favorite horror movie EVER.

  7. Rodolfo

    November 25, 2006 at 8:27am

    Now you have to watch Rosemary’s Baby again. It’s even better when you know what happens from the beginning.

    And it matters. It matters a lot.

  8. Betty

    November 28, 2006 at 10:21am

    Although I’ve probably seen half the movies in your list, it was so long ago that I can’t even remember their plots let alone how frightening they were! Having said that, The Omen first came out when I was just a kid and I remember being somewhat disturbed by it at the time. Chances are though that by today’s standards, it probably does come across as rather tame.

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