Tuesday, October 4, 2016
OCTOBER HORROR MOVIE CHALLENGE (10/1 - 10/3)
Challenge Totals to Date:
Movies Watched: 3
Total Movies Watched: 3
Total First Time Views: 2
Scare-A-Thon Pledges: $86.94
Remember, if you would like to make a pledge toward Scare-A-Thon 2016 (benefiting THE GREATER CHICAGO FOOD DEPOSITORY) at any time, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to say how much you would like to pledge. Your donation is tax deductible and, seriously, even a penny per film helps.
Nightmares in Precinct 7 (2001) d. Yau, Herman (Hong Kong) (1st viewing) 88 min
I’m usually really good about returning movies when I borrow them, so you can only imagine my shock and dismay upon discovering a couple of “video CDs” I had on loan from my loyal blood brother David Schmidt for probably the last, oh, FIVE YEARS. (And it also points up what a classy gent Mssr. Schmidt is in that he has never mentioned the overdue nature of said lending, despite the fact that his days are spent working in a university library. Maybe he’s just used to it.) Be that as it may, having recently unearthed them, I couldn’t think of a better means of kicking off this year’s October Challenge. Nightmares offers the novel scenario of a top cop who, due to a crime bust gone south, ends up with a bullet through his neck that sends him into a coma for two years. Upon waking in hospital, he finds he is blessed/cursed with the ability to see dead people, primarily a chatty former patient who schools him in the ways of the afterlife. Meanwhile, a serial killer is targeting nurses, which is unfortunate since our hero is falling for his lovely caretaker. Solid little horror/comedy that has some genuine laughs and an ending so blackly funny you’ll hardly believe it just happened.
Inner Senses (2002) d. Lo, Chi-Leung (Hong Kong) (1st viewing) 100 min
Another HK ghost story with another protagonist that can see things that others can’t. Haunted by spectral visions, the lovely Yan (Kar Yan Lam) is sent to Dr. Jim Law (Leslie Cheung) who adamantly rejects the notion of ghosts and gently guides his patient toward healing and peace. Is it all in her mind? Of course it isn’t! But that doesn’t stop her from falling in love with him or he with her, and as her troubled spirit quiets, so do her troubled spirits. The twist is that Dr. Law is actually hiding some dark secrets and has a good reason for denying the existence of lingering souls. Not a thrill ride, but delivers some fine moments of fright amidst the romancing.
The Hills Have Eyes (1977) d. Craven, Wes (USA) (4th viewing) 90 min
Craven’s stellar second feature is among my very favorites of his efforts, and Arrow’s new Blu-ray presentation is chock-full of supplemental materials for fans just like me. The juxtaposition of a “nice quiet suburban family” vs. a collective of desert-dwelling freaks is primal survival horror material, and Craven does a great job of wringing tension out of the various scenarios and showing no mercy to his characters or his viewers. This most recent viewing, I took in the enthusiastic and informative audio commentary featuring Michael Berryman (Pluto), John Steadman (Fred), Janus Blythe (Ruby), and Susan Lanier (Brenda), full of behind-the-scenes revelations and general conviviality over reuniting 40 years after shooting. Berryman, in particular, is eloquent and articulate, proving once again why he is such a fan favorite.