Happy November, friends!
The first snow of the season began falling on Asheville at midnight between Halloween and the first of November. It was magical. It felt like a gift just for me. I love snow, and I love November. It's my favorite month.
My lucky month.
Good things happen in November.
Last month—my second favorite month, and, yes, I rank everything—Jarrod and I participated in horror author Daniel Kraus’s annual 31 Horror Films in 31 Days Challenge. The idea is simple: Watch thirty-one horror films during the month of October, and tweet about each one with a brief description or review.
There's no prize. Just the glory of getting to say you've done it.
Well . . . WE DID IT.
Here's the full list of films we watched. Some of these tweets were more clever than others.* We watched these movies pretty late at night, okay?? My brain was tired.**
*The best were written by my husband.
**That's my weak excuse for two Kevin McCallister jokes. Cripes.***
***Also, I just really like Home Alone.
1. THE MIST (2007): Andrea, Dale, & Carol from THE WALKING DEAD get trapped in a grocery store & fight a parking-lot octopus.
2. SLEEPAWAY CAMP (1983): Crop tops and short shorts are killed in delightfully creative ways. Lock up your curling iron.
3. ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE (2006): Unfriendly friends go to a ranch for blow jobs. Heads are blown off instead.
4. RAVENOUS (1999): Cool setting cool cannibals OH NO THIS MUSIC AGAIN. Guy Pearce, you're great, but I *think* it's a comedy?
5. COCKNEYS VS ZOMBIES (2012): It'll make you wish the elderly were used more often in climactic chase scenes.
6. GRABBERS (2012): Irish island gets drunk for protection against alien sea monsters. Great characters. Gorgeous setting.
7. THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN (2008): Poor choices abound as Bradley Cooper photographs a butcher doing his work on the subway.
8. OLDBOY (2003): Keep your mouth shut. For multiple reasons.
9. FUNNY GAMES (1997): If their son had been Kevin McCallister, this home invasion would have gone very differently.
10. [REC] (2007): Blair Witch Outbreak in Barcelona.
11. SOME GUY WHO KILLS PEOPLE (2011): Some guy = ice cream man. People = bullies. Sad. Sweet. Funny. Quiet. Not really horror?
12. DETENTION (2011): Peeta and Dane Cook star in this 90s edition of Trivial Pursuit: Pop Culture.
13. HORNS (2013): Townspeople can't lie to Harry Potter's pointy nubbins.
14. DRAG ME TO HELL (2009): Rests beside CORALINE in the pantheon of films about evil buttons.
15. CANDYMAN (1992): It takes longer to call him than Bloody Mary, but it's worth it for his coat alone.
16. THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (2009): I'm having a hard time digesting this one.
17. THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2 (2011): What's black and white and brown all over? That one scene.
18. THE VANISHING (1988): Why you should never buy coffee at a gas station.
19. THE GIANT GILA MONSTER (1959): Teenagers, hot rods, and ukeleles. A regular gila monster. And then more ukeleles.
20. CURSED (2005): (A) Wednesday Addams, Mark Zuckerberg, Pacey, Kitty Sanchez, Ron Swanson, Lindsay Bluth. (B) Werewolves.
21. BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974): The call is coming from inside the sorority! A modern slasher made pre-HALLOWEEN. Impressive.
22. THE RETURNED (2013): Zombies have been cured! Oops. Medicine's gone. Cue humanity at its worst.
23. FRANKENSTEIN (2011, Cumberbatch as Creature): Wow. WOW. Been waiting to see this for three years. Danny Boyle did NOT disappoint! Outstanding.
24. THE HITCHER (1986): Killer hitchhiker finds perfect victim—a guy who, inexplicably, will never describe him to the cops.
25. PROM NIGHT (1980): Disco dancing! And other things that go bump in the night.
26. FRANKENSTEIN (2011, Cumberbatch as Victor Frankenstein): Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller switch roles. Creature becomes Creator. Phenomenal.
27. THE GINGERDEAD MAN (2005): Gary Busey is a tiny homicidal cookie. Yes, you read that correctly. Yes, you should watch it.
28. ERNEST SCARED STUPID (1991): When fighting booger trolls, don't forget the miak.
29. YOU'RE NEXT (2011): The Wet Bandits were lucky Kevin McCallister didn't use a blender, unlike this film's Final Girl.
30. SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004): My favorite horror comedy. Period. (You've got red on you.)
31. SLEEPY HOLLOW (1999): Is it weird that I've always wanted to live on this set? Christopher Walken's pointy teeth and all.
All of these films were new-to-us with the exception of Ernest Scared Stupid, which we watch every Halloween Eve while carving pumpkins, and Shaun of the Dead and Sleepy Hollow, which we watch every year on Halloween itself. Obviously, we love them! Tease me all you want about Ernest, but I'll still maintain that it's massively underrated. It actually did scare me as a child. And the troll in it (a man in a costume) is ickier than 95% of modern CGI monsters.
As for the new films, Jarrod and I were unanimous in our top pick: Sleepaway Camp. This one was BONKERS. And so, so wrong. I never use this verb, but: Bless this film for existing.
Also, thanks to everyone on Twitter who told me to listen to the Sleepaway Camp episode of How Did This Get Made? It made me laugh (almost) as much as the movie.
Seriously, guys. That movie is ridiculous. And I mean that as a compliment.
The other films that I loved: Grabbers, Oldboy, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, Candyman, Horns, The Vanishing, Black Christmas, and both versions of Danny Boyle's filmed play Frankenstein, which I saw in a movie theater via Fathom Events.
I also really, really, really liked Some Guy Who Kills People, though it seemed like it would be better friends with Little Miss Sunshine than Nightmare on Elm Street. It was great to see Kevin Corrigan, one of my favorite weirdos, in a leading role.
There was also plenty to enjoy about these: The Mist, Ravenous, Cockneys vs Zombies, [Rec], Drag Me To Hell, The Human Centipede, Cursed, The Returned, The Gingerdead Man, and You're Next.
As for the SCARIEST film, my tolerance for horror is high, so . . . none of them frightened me. I'm sorry! I know that's not helpful. But Candyman was the only film that made me vocally jump, and [Rec] was the only film that made me sick to my stomach. But that's because it used shaky cam. (Death to shaky cam!)
Funny Games was the hardest to watch. An hour and forty minutes of unrelenting misery. It wasn't graphic. Just bleak. And frustrating. With my least favorite type of ending to boot. The director accomplished exactly what he set out to do, and I can admire that, but I still hope I never have to see it—or anything like it—ever again.*
*I can't help but feel like the director (of both the original and the remake), Michael Haneke, would see this as a victory. Kudos to you, Haneke.
A few final thoughts:
Best title = The Midnight Meat Train
Runner up = Some Guy Who Kills People
Best title screen = You're Next, it's part of the actual plot
Runner up = Ravenous, vomiting Guy Pierce
Best kill = You're Next, blender
Runner up = Sleepaway Camp, curling iron
Best chase scene = Cockneys vs Zombies, elderly man with walker vs zombies
Runner up = Frankenstein, the entire film(s)
Best worst quote = Sleepaway Camp, "Eat shit and die." "Eat shit and live, Bill."
Runner up = The Gingerdead Man, "Got milk?"
Best costume = Candyman, the title villain's wicked sweet coat
Runner up = Sleepaway Camp, male crop tops and short shorts
Seriously, guys. You HAVE to see Sleepaway Camp.
Even though it's November.