Duh-duhduh dhuh do do dodo duhduh dhuh…
That’s the theme song to John Carpenter’s classic horror flick Halloween. It’s not as effective written out like that, but I assure you it delivers a real chill when overheard on this holiday, coincidentally also known as Halloween.
Yes, the once-a-year celebration of all things evil is upon us once again today, and if you’re like me, you probably weren’t invited to any parties, which is fine because I happen to become an extremely judgmental jerk around six-packed bros in rented velvet pimp costumes (veiled racism!) and latchkey tweens dressed as sexually active bumblebees (broad pedophilia!). I’m no fun to be around. The only option I have on Oct. 31 is to sit home, pass out the remaining Almond Joys I haven’t gorged on, and watch horror movies.
For the Twilight crowd: I “get” Twilight, I really do. The mainstream public doesn’t want to see blood and gore — they want romance and sparkles and baseball and Mormon morality. Stephanie Meyer’s vampiric abstinence fable has spawned numerous imitators, creating a whole new subgenre of horror that focuses on good-looking, brooding teens who are full of emo angst about their newfound monstrous conditions. The makers of The Howling: Reborn (Anchor Bay Home Entertainment, pictured left), knowing this market full well, decided to have nothing to do with the previous seven (!) Howling movies, instead focusing on a geeky high-schooler (Landon Liboiron) who’s just discovered he’s a werewolf. He stalks, he broods, he dances to bad techno … it’s everything the kids love, minus the promise rings.
For the sequel crowd: Sometimes we’re afraid to try new things. That’s why a movie like, say, Insidious gets ignored during its theatrical run, but a not-very-good movie like Scream 4 (Anchor Bay Home Entertainment) is liked just fine by everyone else. There’s nothing wrong with that, though, because a movie like Scream 4 is the cinematic version of comfort food, something familiar that you don’t need to think about in the slightest. And there is absolutely no thinking needed when it comes to Scream 4. Filled with your old favorites (Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, etc.) and rising teens I’ve never heard of (Emma Roberts, Lucy Hale, etc.), it’s a decade later and the Ghostface killer is back, with all the prerequisite final-act twists you’ve comes to know and love. It’s a big steaming bowl of store-brand mac and cheese, but sometimes that’s all you need.
For the documentative crowd: From some of the creative forces behind the exhaustive Nightmare on Elm Street documentary Never Sleep Again comes a similarly thorough history lesson regarding the 1985 splatter comedy Return of the Living Dead. With More Brains! (CAV Distributing Group), director Bill Philputt and crew go above and beyond to tell the story of the “little horror movie that could,” filling every second with interesting (to horror nerds, at least) anecdotes and behind-the scenes gossip that is almost better than the actual movie they’re talking about! It’s awesome to live in an era when a cheap zombie movie like this would get a two-hour tribute.
For the Occupy crowd: Government sucks! Banks suck! But you know you really sucks? The cops, man! Walking around with their guns and night-sticks, kicking simple, peaceful peeps out of their city park campsites. Well, I got news for you: Those mean ol’ pigs are nothing compared to the Maniac Cop (Synapse Films)! Like the tagline says, “You have the right to remain silent … forever!” In this William Lustig classic from 1988, recently released on Blu-Ray, genre vets Bruce Campbell and Tom Atkins have to stop a deformed killer in a cop outfit before more slobs are victims of total police brutality. He might be the 1%, but you'll be 100% entertained at his law enforcement antics.