Reviews: Horror Movie Roundup!
Fun to see a straightforward slasher after decades of meta slashers, and Art the Clown is actually horrifying and David Howard Thornton's performance is fantastic. On the other hand,
TWO HOURS AND EIGHTEEN MINUTES.
Allie's death brings the movie into torture porn territory. Why is Allie tortured so extremely when every other character is dispatched comparatively quickly? Art's glee in this scene is truly unnerving, so maybe that's the only justification you need. The fact that I'm still thinking so much about this movie a day later shows that it's an exceptional slasher movie. Still,
TWO HOURS AND EIGHTEEN MINUTES.
What the fuck, people. Halloween was 91 minutes long. I guess I would be more forgiving of the bloated runtime if everything seemed essential, but there's a lot here that doesn't advance the plot or reveal character or scare us. Brooke dosing Sienna's drink is a long bit that doesn't go anywhere, all the bullshit with Dad's drawings never resolves satisfactorily, and the final battle plays out like the longest pro wrestling match ever, with both slasher and final girl apparently unkillable and also there's some bullshit with a water tank and a possibly-magic sword. Cut 30 minutes from this movie and it's a much better movie. Cut 50 minutes and it's probably an all-time great. As it stands, though, more is less.
With so many movies suffering from bloat these days, I appreciate a movie that gets its business done in 91 minutes. Some really stunning visuals, a fun, but not mind-blowing reveal, and the always amazing Danny Huston, one of my favorite nepo babies.
Ultimately kind of forgettable, and Jena Malone's performance is pretty one-note, but I was entertained enough to stay up late to finish it.
Dead & Buried
Very entertaining twist on the living dead genre. James Farentino is not quite actor enough to pull off the last third, but Dan O'Bannon delivers another stellar horror script. Not sure why this one is so obscure. It's better than most movies of its genre and era.
Definitely second-tier Argento. I like that this one, rather than being about color, is all about batshit camera work. There are several wonderfully memorable sequences, especially when the killer is identified. The needle thing is an iconic image, but he goes to the well too many times with that. The first time, it's shocking and horrifying. The third time, it's like, oh, yeah, there are the needles again.
So I would say good for Argento fans and/or fans of directors who like to go a little overboard with camera angles and movements, but for the general public, pretty missable.
Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein
Anything you read about Universal Pictures horror usually describes these movies as an embarrassment. But, as far as I can tell, horror comedy starts here. It's enlightening to watch this and see how influential it is, but, more than that, it's funny! The bad guys play it completely straight, which is key to a good horror comedy, and Lou Costello's terrified idiot is the blueprint for every terrified idiot at the heart of all the horror comedies that came after. A fun, cozy (to me and horror weirdos like me) watch.
Fun thrill ride anchored by Cassandra Naud's chilling performance. I saw the big twist coming at least an hour before it happened, but I didn't particularly care—still a very suspenseful, engaging and fun ride.
That's it. I have officially had it with “elevated” horror. You can tell it's not “just” a horror movie because the first half is boring as fuck! And if you're going to make an “elevated” horror movie, I would like to suggest that you put a little more into the effects because strapping a basketball to Maya's abdomen was a distractingly awful pregnancy effect.
In my ongoing efforts to overcome the sunk cost fallacy, I stopped watching after 45 minutes.