I went through my day today with a smile on my face. I was smiling because I knew October was upon us. The fall smell, the turning of the leaves, pumpkins and Halloween. It’s my favorite time of year, but not because of those things. No, what makes this month so great is A Penny in the Well’s annual Horrorfest.
No longer do I have to sit in front of my movie library or my Netflix queue and wonder, “What do I want to watch tonight? Comedy? Drama? Western?” During the month of October, there is no question of what I’m in the mood for, because October is Horrorfest. I’ll be watching horror tonight!
This is the 10th anniversary of A Penny in the Well’s Horrorfest, and as such it promises to be a good one. I’ve got some great classics planned, some exciting revisits, a couple of the worst horror flicks I could dig up, some great overlooked flicks that my secret horror seekers assure me will blow my mind, and a whole bunch in between. So put your John Carpenter scores on your iPods and get ready for another great Shocktober.
As always Hollywood puts plenty in the multiplexes during the month of October to make you squeam and scream. There are several cinematic releases I hope to see this Horrorfest, including the American remake of a great Scandinavian vampire movie “Let Me In”, the post-apocalypse freak show “Monsters”, and Clint Eastwood’s first supernatural foray “Hereafter”. I often miss out on the theatricals I desire to see during Horrorfest, so I can’t count on these, but “Hereafter” is the one I’m sure to catch.
In case I don’t catch up with “Let Me In”, I will be revisiting the original version on Blu-ray, and I expect “Let the Right One In” to be just as scary and fresh and beautiful the second time around. I’ll also revisit one of my favorite Horrorfest entries from a few years back, the Japanese Hitchcockian tale “Crazy Fruit”. And I’ll finally get around to a horror classic that I’ve been meaning to screen ever since I started Horrorfest, “The Shining” on glorious Blu-ray. Also for the first time on Blu-ray, I will re-screen the creepy second “X-Files” film “I Want to Believe”. And for the kids we’ll revisit Tim Burton’s “Corpse Bride”.
It’s been about 20 years since I saw the original “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. I didn’t like it then. It’s about time I revisited that horror “classic” to see if I’ve changed my mind. Unfortunately, the fairly critically unscathed remake won’t be available on DVD until November, but I will also screen the best received entry into the franchise, “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare”, to make up for it.
Other classics I will finally get around to will include, Dario Argento’s “Suspiria”, the 1932 German vampire tale “Vampyr”, the cold war giant bug classic “Them”, along with “Matinee”, a wonderful overlooked movie about the joy of seeing those types of movies at the time they were released, the chilling catfight picture “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?”, and Ray Bradbury’s cautionary parable “Fahrenheit 451”. I’ll continue to look at the works of the worst director in the history of cinema, Ed Wood, with his all time Z-classic “Plan 9 From Outer Space”.
As usual I will include several bad horror flicks for some amusement to go along with the frights. This year will see me screening what some call the worst movie ever made in “Troll 2”. I’ll also catch possibly the second worst “Leprechaun”, the original “The Stepfather” starring Terry O’Quinn from long before his “Lost” fame, Bruce Campbell’s send up of himself in “My Name is Bruce”, and last year’s college-based absurdity “Sorority Row”.
Perhaps the most anticipated films in this year’s Horrorfest are those that are fairly unknown but carry a great deal of buzz behind them. I read about the Belgian thriller “Left Bank” just after last year’s festival wrapped up. Lars von Trier’s “Antichrist” has been a polarizing picture over the past year and promises to be an interesting take on horror whether it’s any good or not. The 80’s throwback screamer “The House of the Devil” has only produced praise from the people I trust most on horror. The British import “The Red Riding Trilogy” garnered great praise from critics earlier this year. And just last night, the man most directly responsible for my obsession with horror flicks made a blind suggestion of the 1981 flick “Dark Night of the Scarecrow”. Even if he hasn’t seen it, if Trev suggests it, it’ll be worth the time.
There will be some changes in format for this year’s Horrorfest. As it has become more and more difficult for me to keep up with my analysis of the Horrorfest films over the years, I’ve decided to simplify my coverage a little bit. I will still report on the films I see, but my reports with take the same format as my weekly Penny Thoughts. For the month of October they will be known as Horror Thoughts. I will still include one Penny Thoughts entry to cover the entire month of non-horror films I watch. There won’t be many. Each week, however, I will submit my Horror Thoughts.
Enough about what I’m going to watch, it’s time to start watching… and start screaming!