However you want to say and/or spell it—Halloween, Hallowe’en, All Hallows Eve, All Hallow Even, Old Scratch’s Feelgoodery Funtime—October 31 is indisputably the chocolate industry’s spookiest time of year. With that in mind, I present 31 Days of Horror, lists of my own and of my literary brethren both near and far.
These are personal, highly suggestive lists of recommendations, avoidances, and/or reminiscences. I make no guarantees, save one: if you don’t read the whole of each list, there’s a spider nearby.
October 10, 2017
Corey Redekop’s Gory Bledalot’s 24-Hour Horror Movie Marathon (Part Two)
In part one, we took the first six hours to acquaint ourselves with some classic horror films. In part two, more classics, but from a far more subjective viewpoint.
3pm-9pm, October 31 — Slimy Movie Monster Fun!
Where would horror movies be without slime? It’s the perfect go-to method for disguising effect flaws while making the audience squirm with disgust. Like most aficionados of the horror movie genre, a scare is fun, but sometimes all I need is a practical monster effect. Sometimes, a goopy tentacle is all a movie needs to raise it from the muck and make it something special. Oftentimes not, of course, but you get what I’m saying. CGI is a wonderful tool in the right hands, but nothing will take the place of a rubber monster dripping goo over everything.
So let’s get started!
The Thing (1982, dir. John Carpenter — 109 min.)
John Carpenter’s monster mash is as seminal a horror work as any of the classics from Part One. However, it has the added benefit of practical effects work by Rob Bottin, which topped everything up to that point and has still rarely been matched. The movie would have been great even without the goopy alien—Carpenter is nothing if not a maestro of suspense—but Bottin’s constantly-mutating alien pushes the movie into the stratosphere. Comparing it to the lesser 2011 sequel/prequel (also titled The Thing, and a fun movie in its own right) is an instructive lesson in how the same tools can lead to wildly different results. Plainly put, practical monster effects eclipse CGI every time. Plus (as an added bonus): freaky Wilford Brimley!
From Beyond (1986, dir. Stuart Gordon — 86 min.)
The movie that truly puts the “goo” in “goopy.” Stuart Gordon’s chief monster, the dimensionally disfigured Dr. Pretorius, almost puts Carpenter’s alien to shame with its overall shape-shifting malleability and gallons of ooze. The movie as a whole is an excellent exercise in mad science, alternate dimensional terror, sadomasochistic inventiveness, and squirrelly Jeffrey Combs-ian insanity. Making the most of a meager budget, Gordon bathes his horror in a gorgeous giallo lighting scheme and buckets upon buckets upon buckets of ectoplasm. By the finale, during a mucus-bathed battle that turns its combatants literally inside-out, From Beyond makes a compelling case for being the slimiest movie ever.
The Void (2016, dir. Jeremy Gillespie & Steven Kostanski — 90 min.)
To all of its detractors, you are right: The Void is derivative, wearing its influences on its sleeve and not bothering to hide said sleeve beneath, say, a parka. Yet this recent low-budget Canadian monstravaganza is also: a) full of slimy monsters, hence its inclusion on this list; b) a wicked tribute to the 1980’s works of John Carpenter, Stuart Gordon, Lucio Fulci, and many others; c) proof that you can fashion spectacularly goopy monsters with an incredibly limited budget if you only have the imagination and passion to pull it off; and d) a lot of gory fun. It’s all absolute nonsense, but as the slim plot follows a group of innocent bystanders through an abandoned hospital and down to Hell itself, it’s hard to deny its effectiveness.
Side note: put all three titles together and you have one hell of a great movie title. The Thing From Beyond The Void. The tickets will sell themselves!
Bonus content: If you cannot find some/all of the aforementioned flicks, here’s a quick list of suitable substitutions chock full of slimy scallywags:
- Society (1989, dir. Brian Yuzna)
- The Fly (1986, dir. David Cronenberg)
- The Blob (1988, dir. Chuck Russell)
- Slither (2006, dir. James Gunn)
And so part two comes to a close. Take another quick break, warm up some microwave nachos, and prepare yourself for the third set (coming soon!).
To whet your appetite: Hours 9pm thru 3am—those hours when evening transforms into night, and your mind is open to all sorts of wandering—will be devoted to brain-twisting horrors that toe the line between fantastical terror and science fact. Hint: think Quatermass.