Thursday, October 13, 2011

31 Horror Films in 31 Days

--by Daniel Kraus (Originally published in Booklist, November 1, 2010)
They said it couldn’t be done. They said it shouldn’t be done. They called me a madman. Me! A madman! Well, I showed them madness. That’s right. I went ahead and did it. Don’t believe me? The blood’s still on my hands. Just look.

As if reading eight zillion books a month wasn’t already putting a damper on my “free time,” I decided to try to watch one horror movie a day for the entire month of October. Why did I do it? Because I tried last year and failed with the miserable total of 28. And why did I do that? Because I had the insane idea that if I forced myself to watch movies, I’d force myself to relax for a month in front of the TV, just like, you know, a normal person.

But as the deadline of October 31 loomed ever nearer, things got edgy around the homestead. “Well,” I’d say, “it’s time to watch a movie.” “But,” my wife would respond, “I don’t feel like watching a movie.” “No,” I’d reply – and here’s where my fangs would start to show – “you don’t get it. We have to.”

By the final three days, things were looking bleak — I still had eight movies to go. I wasn’t worried, though, because it was Halloween, and surely the airwaves would be clogged with nonstop horror. And then — it’s almost too horrible to talk about. It was a storm. A big storm. It roared through town and killed our satellite in cold blood. That’s right: no TV. It would take ingenuity, cunning, Netflix streaming, and — dare I say? — murder to complete my grisly goal. Was I victorious?

I’m happy(?) to announce that I did, in fact, watch 31 horror films in 31 days. And I will never do it again. Until next year, of course. When the sinister urge creeps up on me in the dead of night...

THE MOVIES (in order viewed):

1. THE EXORCIST. Little-seen film about small child with serious skin problems.

2. PHANTASM. Groovy musicians dodge flying knife-ball to avoid being shrunk down for alien slave labor.

3. DAUGHTERS OF SATAN. Tom Selleck, apparently born with a mustache, shrugs off witchly come-ons.

4. THE HEARSE. Middle-aged woman has love affair; thus, she must be a witch!

5. JENNIFER’S BODY. Megan Fox appears on-screen in front of some movie about I don’t remember what exactly.

6. TEETH. Teen discovers she has a vagina dentata, leading to good times for everyone involved.

7. CURSE OF THE CRYING WOMAN. Rubber ghost on a pulley fails to diminish impact of awesome dungeon scenes.

8. THE BEYOND. Lengthy acid-eating-face scene surpasses lengthy tarantula-eating-face scene.

9. THE VIDEO DEAD. Zombies come out of TV to devour hilarious non-actors trying to act.

10. THE DEAD HATE THE LIVING! The movie watchers hate the filmmakers!

11. SICK GIRL. Exotic insect hiding in lovers’ bed proves more destructive than even bedbugs.

12. PSYCHOMANIA. Motorcycle gang sings folk songs while doing sweet wheelies through ancient stone circles.

13. JUST BEFORE DAWN. Group of young people go on backwoods camping trip and have a delightful time.

14. MAGIC. This just in: ventriloquist’s dummies no longer considered adorable.

15. THE PIT. Evil teddy bear instructs horny 12-year-old to feed people to prehistoric creatures. Yeah, I really wrote that.

16. THE MONSTER SQUAD. Goonies rip-off lavishes attention upon Dracula. Mummy, ignored, weeps in corner.

17. X THE UNKNOWN. Unstoppable blob is, alas, stopped.

18. HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW. Sorority girls fail to live up to sweet, sensitive reputations.

19. THE SIGNAL. Broadcast signal drives people to insanity (see: this list).

20. DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW. Simpleton pitchforked, hillbillies revenged upon, audience sated.

21. FEAR[S] OF THE DARK. Bracket in title forewarns of French experimental animation and accordion soundtrack.

22. PICK ME UP. Dueling psychopaths beats odds by coming off as extremely dull.

23. PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES. Reanimated corpses satisfied with new careers as coal miners.

24. DEMON LOVER DIARY. Horror movie film shoot goes awry; actual shooting commences.

25. NIGHT OF THE BLOODBEAST. Warning: despite cute name, Bloodbeast is not especially cute.

26. BASKET CASE. Tiny mutant sibling lives in basket, steals panties, trashes hotel room, kills, etc.

27. WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? Unsettling, intelligent film proves itself resistant to one-sentence parody.

28. GIRLY. Pouty-faced teen begins to doubt career choice of “flippant maniac.”

29. THE SENTINEL. Ava Gardner, Burgess Meredith, Christopher Walken, Jeff Goldblum try to save Exorcist clone, do not.

30. THE CORPSE VANISHES. Bela Lugosi acts confused about who he’s supposed to what now?

31. THE DEVIL’S BRIDE. Fun with pentagrams.