Thursday, September 29, 2011

Horrorfest ‘11

Temperatures are beginning to drop. The wind is rising up. And, WalMart has filled their front aisles with bags of candy as if shoppers are going to be handing them out tomorrow and knowing full well they’re going to eat them and come back for more before Halloween. That’s right. At A Penny in the Well that means it is time for the annual Horrorfest. I’m so excited.

Streaming movies has put a whole new twist on Horrorfest, now that I’ve really begun to capitalize on the technology. It means that Horrorfest can include potentially thousands of horror movies. It makes writing a preview for each new Horrorfest a little more difficult, as I can pick and chose movies more in tune with my daily whims. I’ll try my best to prepare my faithful readers on what to expect from this year’s Horrorfest films.

Some movies I know I will be watching this year include our opening film, David Cronenberg’s typically disturbing take on video game culture “eXistenZ”, starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and a young Jude Law. I’m not sure how much of a horror film this is, but with the organic video game controllers sported in the film, it’s sure to be a little quease inducing, very graphic, and ultimately unsettling enough to fit right in with the Horrorfest atmosphere.

Some of the recent theatrical releases that have made it to BluRay that I will be watching include, the video game adaptation “Dylan Dog: Dead of Night”, Nicolas Cage’s medieval supernatural thriller “Season of the Witch”, the latest Twilightian take on Little Red Riding Hood, which drops the “little” from its title, another swipe by Paul Bettany to carry a religious themed horror actioner in “Priest”, Anthony Hopkins nod to the exorcism route “The Rite”, and the team that brought us “Paranormal Activity” shows us just how scary kids can be in “Insidious”.

Speaking of kids, I am a family man, and as usual I will include some family programming in this year’s fright fest. One of my wife’s favorites from childhood is the comedy horror spoof “Transylvania 6-5000”. We’ll see how our kids feel about that one. The boys and I will also take a dark journey into the fantasy world of Jim Henson in “The Dark Crystal”.

The centerpiece of this year’s festival will be a look at the classic Universal monster “The Mummy”. We’re not going on an Indiana Jones inspired adventure with Brendan Frasier and Rachel Weisz, however. No, we’ll be revisiting the one that starred Boris Karloff wrapped in toilet paper, the 1932 original. We’ll also watch Universal’s resurrection of the franchise to capitalize off their other monsters’ success starting in 1940 with “The Mummy’s Hand”, and continuing with “The Mummy’s Tomb” (1942), “The Mummy’s Ghost” (1944), and “The Mummy’s Curse” (1944). That should be plenty of dead Egyptians for this year.

As usual, we will also be visiting an array of cult horror flicks thanks to the convenience of Netflix Instant Streaming and Crackle. Some of the titles will include, the French zombie flick “The Horde”, the controversially disturbing picture “The Human Centipede: First Sequence”, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s hallucinatory “Santa Sangre”, last year’s summer’s end sleeper “The Last Exorcism”, the second of Dario Argento’s Three Mothers Trilogy “Inferno”, and “Trick ‘r Treat” is a recent cult flick that I’ve always heard good things about.

We will have our requisite trip back to the silent era of filmmaking with a classic horror tale. German filmmaking great F.W. Murnau will darken Horrorfest’s door once again with his take on “Faust”. We will also try to endure the French erotic vampire film “Lips of Blood” without subtitles. The lack of subtitles seems to be the primary argument on Netflix keeping this movie’s star rating down. We’ll see if it’s all that bad or if people should just learn to get over the language barrier.

We’ll also tackle a new subgenre of horror for this year’s festival. In keeping with my desire to watch a western every week for this entire year, we’ll be taking a swing at the rather shaky looking hybrid of the horror western. We’ll be looking at the questionably titled movies “Quick and the Undead” and “Undead or Alive”. “The Burrowers” looks to be the only of this experiment that might actually be good. I don’t know if I can handle any more than three horror westerns, though.

And finally, we will try to grab a couple of horror flicks in the cinema for some full-length reviews. This year I’d like to try to see “The Thing”, the remake of the remake of “The Thing from Another World” with Mary Elizabeth Winsted in the Kurt Russell role. I’d also like to see if the “Paranormal Activity” crew can keep the quality of the franchise up with their prequel to the first movie in “Paranormal Activity 3”.

As is always the case when I write my annual Horrorfest preview, I cannot wait to start watching these movies. As with last year’s Horrorfest, our weekly feature Penny Thoughts will be replaced for the month of October with Horror Thoughts so all of you can follow along at home. Now, turn off the lights and watch some scary movies.

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