Thursday, October 20, 2011

2011 October Horror Challenge (Part 5: Day 14-19)

Suddenly the month of October is more than halfway over. Fall is in the air. The spirit of Halloween is everywhere (especially at the stores). My Little Monsters are looking forward to Halloween of course. And, the October Horror Challenge goes on...

Here's what has transpired so far on this thirty-one day journey:


Item No. 20: THE THING (1982)

Like I mentioned earlier, even though it would have been appropriate, I was glad that October 13 didn't fall on a Friday this year. Instead, it fell on a Thursday. On Friday October 14 the new version of "The Thing" was released. This is the third time that this story has been put on film, after "The Thing from Another World" (1951) and John Carpenter's "The Thing" (1982). It's amazing to think that this new one comes nearly thirty years after the last one. That's almost the same amount of time between the 1951 and 1982 versions! Actually, this new one is supposed to be a prequel of sorts rather than a remake, but it shares the same name as the 1982 version and has pretty much the same look as far as the title and poster go.

I'm interested in going to see the new "The Thing" at the theater, but as much as I love movies I have to say that one of the greatest real-life horrors for me is movie crowds. I love going to the movies but generally always hate the crowds there. It's a bit of a catch-22 for me. Anyway, I watched the 1982 version of "The Thing" on videotape with one of my best friends back in 1985 when my family got our first VCR. It was quite an experience. That same friend and I are planning on going to see the new "The Thing" once it's been around for a while. More on that later. In the meantime, the opening day of the 2011 version of "The Thing" seemed like the perfect time to watch my DVD of Carpenter's 1982 version again. It really is a great movie, and I hope that the good things I have heard about the new one are true.

Friday the 14th was also the opening day of the annual Rock and Shock show in Worcester, MA. I went to the show on Friday night and also was planning on taking The Little Monster on Saturday before we went to the Worcester Sharks (AHL) home opener that night. Along with other things we had going on I didn't think that there would be too much movie watching getting done over the weekend. But there was some...



The month (and the Challenge) started of on October 1 with a double feature of "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy" and "The Incredible Shrinking Man" on THIS TV. Well, on Saturday the 15th THIS had another nice retro double feature. I was able to catch "Creature from the Black Lagoon" (1954) at 1:00, but missed out on "Island of Lost Souls" (1932) at 3:00. Like both the films that started the month off, I own "Creature from the Black Lagoon" on DVD (and I also saw it on the big screen in 3D last October too), but it just seems like an event of sorts to see it playing on TV.


I was also able to finally watch most of the pilot of "The Walking Dead", called "Days Gone Bye" (2010) on the 14th. I knew there was a lot of buzz about this show when it started last year, but since we don't have cable I never got a chance to check it out. Now that I've seen the pilot on Netflix streaming I think I'm going to have to watch the rest of the show. It's very good. In a way it feels very much like a continuation of the zombie scenario in George Romero's Living Dead trilogy: "Night of the Living Dead" (1968), "Dawn of the Dead" (1978) and "Day of the Dead" (1985). Part of the reason for watching it now was that one of the guests at the Rock and Shock show on Friday night was Addy Miller from the show's pilot. She has the distinction of being the very first zombie seen in the show--and was also the first one killed. There were supposed to be a number of other cast members of "The Walking Dead" at Rock and Shock, but apparently AMC decided that they should cancel and go to a Comic Con in New York City instead. After watching most of the pilot I took The Little Monster to the Rock and Shock show Saturday afternoon, where we not only met Addy Miller, but also met Sherman Howard, who played Bub the zombie in "Day of the Dead", and hung out with Penny Dreadful and Garou the wolfman from the show "Penny Dreadful's Shilling Shockers"!



After one day with nothing to add to the October Horror Challenge I got back into it on the 17th and watched "Return of the Fly" (1959). After watching "The Fly" (1958) earlier in the month I wanted to see its two sequels too. I had never seen "Return of the Fly" before. It was pretty good. While the first movie opens with the fly monster's death and then goes back to tell the whole story, the sequel doesn't introduce the monster until about twenty minutes before the end. Of course we have the knowledge of what happened in the first film (and what we just know is going to happen in this one). Plus, it also has Vincent Price again--which is always a good thing!


Item No. 24: THEY LIVE

Another guest at the weekend's Rock and Shock show was "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. I didn't get a chance to meet him (all the big name guests were charging thirty bucks for an autograph and I simply couldn't afford to do that this time). But I did see Mr. Piper at his table. He seemed to be a bit frail and was wearing a neck brace, which just seemed wrong. I just had to watch John Carpenter's "They Live" (1988)--which starred Roddy Piper. It had been a few years since I'd seen the film, but it's always a fun watch. It includes one of the great fight scenes of film (between Roddy Piper and Keith David) and and one of the best lines of all time (uttered by Roddy): "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. ...And I'm all out of bubblegum."

The Wife actually watched about half of the movie with me before going to bed. It was the first thing from the Challenge that we've watched together--seeing as how we chickened out on watching the "Bigfoot" episode of "Monster Quest" when we were staying at the cabin in the woods last week. See Part 3 for more on that incident.

Item No. 25: THE WALKING DEAD Episode 2: GUTS

After watching "They Live" I finished up the pilot of "The Walking Dead" (which I started back on the 15th). Then I also watched the second epidode, "Guts" (2010). While I'm trying to limit this year's challenge to movies as much as possible, "The Walking Dead" certainly falls into the realm of appropriate subject matter (zombies, horror) despite being a TV show. It certainly is cinematic in its scope and quality level.



Keeping with the theme of watching all kinds of stuff from all different eras, I watched the original "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" (1958) on the 19th. The movie was remade for cable in 1993 (starring Daryl Hannah), but I still haven't seen that version. The original is pretty low on the quality scale, but falls into the "so bad it's good" category. Also, this is one of the few films from the era that was really a horror movie for women. Allison Hayes plays the title character, who is a woman betrayed by her cheating husband before the circumstances that make her grow to fifty feet in size. Luckily, her increased height enables her to exact revenge on both her husband and the floozy he's shacking up with. There have been other films about people growing to extraordinary size (or shrinking to a tiny size, like "The Incredible Shrinking Man"), but this is the only one I know of that seems to have a bit of a feminist side to it. A nice touch, and something to distinguish it from other movies. My favorite giant-human movie is "The Amazing Colossal Man" (1957), but this was certainly a fun one.

We're getting closer and closer to the end of October and Halloween. The Challenge is going well so far, but it's certainly not over. Stay tuned for more updates...

Monster Dad - 26
October - 19

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