I’ve fallen behind.
But I’m back.
Day 22: Carrie
In Stephen King’s long career, he’s written some crazy stories. Carrie, King’s first published novel, is one of his most accessible and cinematic stories. Sissy Spacek plays the title character in the Brian De Palma film. Carrie is the most unloved teenager in her high school – she’s picked on by her peers and her teachers, she’s awkward as all hell, and she’s abused by her self-righteous tyrant of a mother at home. Carrie’s also special: she has telekinesis. And when forced to the breaking point, she will unleash her power on the bullies and the innocent alike.
I’ve never been a huge fan of this film. Every time I watch it, I expect my opinion to change and I’ll embrace it in a big, blood-drenched hug or something. It just never happens. More than anything, I feel that Carrie is one of those films that’s so familiar to pop culture that it hurts the film. It’s a film that builds and builds and builds until it reaches its iconic sequence at the prom. But that building isn’t particularly suspenseful or entertaining in my eyes. It’s all climax. Not a bad film but still not a favorite of mine.
Day 23: Sauna
In 1595, following a war between Russia and Finland/Sweden, men must journey across the country to define the new borders on the maps. They are led to a village that exists on the border line. The people who live there did not build the place, but rather settled in the ghost town and have no clue as to who built it. The natives also prove unhelpful when asked about the strange sauna in the middle of the swamp. There is an evil in this place but whether it’s always lurked there or has awoken to greet the new visitors is a mystery.
I hate to be that guy, but I don’t get this movie. It’s interesting, original, and often quite good looking, but I feel the film kept me at arm’s length for too long and I didn’t connect with what it was trying to do or why.
Early in the film, a character wonders if Hell does not exist beneath us, but is rather a place that is simply devoid of God’s attention and love. The discovered village would seem to be such a place. And if it is Hell they have wandered into, then fine, but the film doesn’t conjure an ‘otherness’ the way I would’ve liked. There is little sense of dread or alarm. The final moments manage a fright, but mostly I watched the film with a vague, detached puzzlement.
Day 24: Halloween III: Season of the Witch
I’m going to be doing a full review of this for City on Fire shortly but here’s the gist, ya’ll.
Halloween III is the oddball in the horror series. There is no Michael Myers going around stabbing people. And this time, Jamie Lee Curtis is only a disembodied voice and Dr. Loomis couldn’t be bothered to show up and rant about evil. Halloween creator John Carpenter never envisioned a series about a slasher haunting Haddonfield, Illinois. He wanted a horror anthology series with a Halloween brand, where each sequel brought new concepts and new scares to the holiday. Thing is, Halloween 2 was a Michael Myers movie, so it was assumed that Halloween III would be, too. When it wasn’t, fans rejected the movie as the ugly duckling of the series. With time (and new fans discovering the series on DVD), people have begun to appreciate Halloween III more, and that’s a good thing. Because while it doesn’t exactly fit in with the rest of the bunch, Halloween III is without a doubt one of the best films in the nearly four decade old series.
Owing more to Invasion of the Body Snatchers than slasher movies, Halloween III is original, high-concept horror at its best. If you’ve dismissed the film before, I suggest you give it another chance with a more open mind. It’s time to give the film its due.
I’ve changed the lineup on the last week of my 31 Days of Horror. The new schedule is as follows:
Tuesday the 25th: Gore Verbinski’s The Ring
Wednesday the 26th: Greg McLean’s The Darkness
Thursday the 27th: Mike Flanagan’s Ouija: Origin of Evil (in theatres)
Friday the 28th: Hong-jin Na’s The Wailing
Saturday the 29th: John Carpenter’s The Thing
Sunday the 30th: Jaume Balagueró’s [REC] 4 (on Netflix)
Monday the 31st: Robert Eggers’ The Witch (on Amazon Prime)
Writer of horror, science fiction, and dark fantasy. Lover of books and film. Lifelong Godzilla fan. Reluctant blogger.
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