It’s that time of year again — October 2015 kicks off the fifth annual Halloween Movie Month (formerly known as “Scary Movie Month” but changed because I just didn’t want to review only scary movies)!
You might think that for such an auspicious occasion, I will have something special planned. Well… you’d be wrong. I don’t. I’m planning on winging it, quite honestly. Why? Because life. Lately, I’ve been pretty busy, and this has led to me being very tired, and so I basically have been writing reviews based on what I feel like, and I plan on continuing that for the month of October in regards to season-appropriate movie choices.
That being said, though, I am definitely looking forward to reviewing movies for this year, and I do at least have some things in mind that I want to get to. The first movie I plan on reviewing is a pretty big one, too, and is one that I’ve been meaning to watch for years but have, quite honestly, been a bit too intimidated by to really feel like I could give it its due. However, with the movie exiting Netflix streaming services at the beginning of the month, I felt like it was a sign for me to just do it before it’s too late. Which movie is it, you ask? Well, fine then, I’ll tell you: it’s The Exorcist!
So yeah, no formal plans for this milestone month, but, as with every subsequent year I do this, I increasingly look forward to expanding my exposure to the horror genre and other Halloween-related movies. Seriously, I’ve really grown in my appreciation for these things, and I always find myself holding back on reviewing certain movies until I can do it for this time of year. As always, though, I’m going to start the month off by leaving you with a convenient list of previous Halloween-appropriate reviews for you to peruse.
Produced by: Monica Aguirre Diez Barroso, Ryan Belenzon, Mia Chang, Jeffrey Gelber
Written by: Douglas Soesbe
Edited by: Jake Pushinsky
Cinematography by: Chung-hoon Chung
Music by: Jimmy Haun, David Wittman
Starring: Robin Williams, Kathy Baker, Roberto Aguire, Bob Odenkirk, Giles Matthey, J. Karen Thomas, Giles Matthey
Filmed in 2013, screened at Tribeca in 2014, and finally given a release in 2015, Boulevard was the final film release left with an onscreen appearance in the late Robin Williams’ acting career (Absolutely Anything is the last ever, though Williams appears in voice only). The role isn’t necessarily the one you would have probably expected from the actor had you only ever thought of him as a comedian. After still fairly recent comedic releases like The Angriest Man in Brooklyn and A Merry Friggin’ Christmas, this one last little dramatic film comes our way to at least remind us of what Williams was capable of, even when he wasn’t trying to make people laugh, often times far more effective at making us feel empathy for a character than anything. Read more…
Produced by: Marc Bienstock, Jason Blum, M. Night Shyamalan
Written by: M. Night Shyamalan
Edited by: Luke Franco Ciarrocchi
Cinematography by: Maryse Alberti
Music by: Paul Cantelon
Starring: Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie, Kathryn Hahn
M. Night Shyamalan – the guy’s name has basically become synonymous with “crappy movie with a twist ending.” The filmmaker was once purported to be “the next Steven Spielberg” when he released his first film, The Sixth Sense, and people continued to call him a master of suspense with the release of his second, Unbreakable. There was a brief time when Shyamalan’s name in the credits was reason enough to go flock to the theatre and see his latest work, but something quickly changed in the public consciousness, it seemed. It seemed to start at a different time for everyone. For some, it was his alien invasion film Signs, with its improbably prophetic twist reveal. For others, it was The Village, which seemed to promise one movie in the trailers and delivered something completely different and ultimately disappointing with the end product. Some were even willing to go as far as The Lady in the Water, but others even took issue with Unbreakable, while others claim that one’s still superior to his first. Read more…
Produced by: Susan Kaplan, Marianne Maddalena, Allan Miller, Walter Scheuer
Written by: Pamela Gray
Edited by: Gregg Featherman, Patrick Lussier
Cinematography by: Peter Deming
Music by: Mason Daring (score), Diane Warren (theme)
Starring: Meryl Streep, Angela Bassett, Gloria Estefan, Aidan Quinn, Cloris Leachman, Jane Leeves, Jean-Luke Figueroa, Olga Merediz, Kieran Culkin, Charlie Hofheimer, Rosalyn Coleman, Michael Angarano, Josh Pais, Henry Dinhofer, Justin “DJ” Spaulding
Based on a true story and inspired by the 1995 documentary Small Wonders by Allan Miller
Wes Craven was in many ways my gateway to appreciating horror. Though I had seen and enjoyed horror films prior to anything he had made, Craven was the one who enabled me to dig further into the classic slasher movies that most people think of when they discuss the genre. When I first decided to dedicate the month of October to horror films, three of the first movies I reviewed were Wes Craven-directed: The Last House on the Left, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. During that time, my unfavorable review of the first Elm Street film actually caught the attention of a group from pretty much the fan site for the series, and this encouraged me to review a few more of the films, including the Craven-produced Dream Warriors and the aforementioned New Nightmare, both of which I actually enjoyed more than the first.
Before even this, however, there was Scream, the film that both celebrated and satirized the genre Craven had helped form. Now, I actually saw the third film in the series first at a sleepover back in 7th or 8th grade, and even though it’s considered the weakest of the series, and though I had no familiarity with the characters to have much context for what was going on, I actually had a good time with it, and I subsequently sought out the rest of the films at the time and enjoyed those even more! During my time as a horror genre-hater, the Scream series remained my one exception whenever horror movies came up as a topic of conversation, as they were more fun than truly terrifying to me. It soon became apparent, however, that I really should see the movies that Scream was deconstructing, and so this actually put the pressure on me to finally give films like the Elm Street movies, Friday the 13th, Halloween, and even The Cabin in the Woods their fair chance. I didn’t always like them, but the process itself has been enjoyable, and I feel like the pressure has certainly given me a new perspective and appreciation for the genre as a whole.
Sadly, Wes Craven suddenly passed away this week after a quiet battle with brain cancer, and I actually felt a pretty great sense of personal loss when I heard the news. I’ve still yet to see other famous films of his like People Under the Stairs and The Hills Have Eyes, but Craven had unbeknownst to me actually cemented himself in my mind as a filmmaker I still greatly appreciated, if only because of his indirect encouragement to branch out in my movie habits. Craven will always be remembered for his work in the horror genre, but instead of reviewing one of those famous horror films, I figured I’d do something a bit different and honor the guy by reviewing his own foray into unfamiliar territory, the often forgotten Music of the Heart, a sentimental based-on-a-true-story drama that has been sitting in my Netflix instant viewing queue for quite a while ever since I randomly glanced at the name “Wes Craven” being tied to a film that had Meryl Streep, Angela Basset, and Gloria Estefan in the film’s poster. Read more…