[31 Days of Horror Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan] Day 2 – Jason Goes to Hell (1993)

Director: Adam Marcus
Cast: John D. LeMay, Kari Keegan, Erin Gray, Allison Smith, Steven Culp, Steven Williams, Kane Hodder, Billy Green Bush
Screenplay: Jay Huguely, Dean Lorey
87 mins. Rated R for strong violence and gore, and for sexuality and language.

It’s October once again, so let’s dip back into the world of Jason Voorhees and discuss the most mind-boggling installment of the entire franchise (and no, we aren’t even talking about the space one). Imagine, for a moment, you are an executive at New Line Cinema in the early 1990s. Your studio has just acquired Jason Voorhees as an Intellectual Property, and you have to find the right franchise move to make to get maximum results from a box office and fan perspective. Why is it that the first movie that New Line puts out literally has “The Final Friday” in the title? We all know, of course, that the “Final” installment is rarely the actual finale to a series, especially in horror. In fact, Jason already had a “Final” installment in Part 4, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. He’s not the only one to have gone past the finale. Other franchises that have done this include:

All of this is a point to say that we, as horror fans, do not expect a final chapter to be a final chapter, but why would you aim for that with your first installment as a new owner of the property? Oh, we haven’t even started this review yet…

Some time after the events of Jason Takes Manhattan, the notorious Crystal Lake killer has returned home. There, he is beset upon by a trained government tactical team who kill him once and for all, or have they? Little do they know, Jason’s body is just a vessel, and his soul can transfer from person to person. Now, Jason (Kane Hodder, Daredevil, Room 9) could be anywhere as he searches for a way to return to his original form and continue his reign of terror once again.

There were a lot of ways you could continue the Friday the 13th franchise, and were I to guess the eventual direction, I would’ve guessed wrong. I don’t quite get how this idea got past the approval stage, but here we are, and hindsight is 20/20, so we can only really discuss the finished product, and I’m confused as to why this movie exists. From a story perspective, I don’t quite understand the need to add such an extravagant amount of mythology and exposition to the ninth installment of a franchise. Did we need an explanation for Jason’s survival from drowning or how he went from the boy who pulled Alice into the lake in Part I and grew to be gigantic by Part II? There’s a simpler way to deal with the plot holes of this franchise than devoting an entire movie to this ludicrous (even by this franchise’s standards) plot device of having Jason jumping from body to body.

How did Jason return after drowning? Any number of simple reasons ranging from washing ashore and living in the forest all these years to being brought back to life by his mother’s love. All of these reasons vary from okay to stupid, but we as fans have accepted that we don’t have that answer at this point and trying to shoehorn in mythology at this point to fix the error is unneeded. In fact, Freddy vs. Jason later explained Jason’s powers in a single line that fill in practically every one of the killer’s plot hole issues: he regenerates. Okay, good, moving on, right? It’s also interesting that this installment is working so hard to make sense of Jason throughout the entire franchise, and yet, there’s no explanation for how he’s back in Crystal Lake after the boat trip to Manhattan, and we don’t really need an explanation, and we, as fans, move on, so why can’t the team behind this movie?

What’s more frustrating is that this Jason, played by Kane Hodder in his third outing, is maybe my favorite Jason. I love the way Hodder plays Jason with this Jaws shark attitude of hunting his prey. It certainly would’ve matched Creighton Duke (Steven Williams, The Blues Brothers, Birds of Prey) and his very obvious Quint homage. Not only that, but this look of Jason is so disturbing to me that I wish we could’ve gotten him more in this movie. The idea that the mask has been on him for so long that it’s melded into his head, with Jason’s regenerative skin growing back around it, is sickening and grotesque, and I love it. I just wish he were in this movie more. Jason is Jason, and the body hopping just didn’t work because none of those actors felt like Jason.

Okay, so let’s actually talk about the movie, because I feel like I’ve been bashing the hell out of this thing, and it isn’t all terrible, so I would hate to spend all my time just beating a dead horse on the many problems of the movie because, if you’re reading this, you’re probably well aware at this point. Truth be told, though this is easily the worst Friday the 13th movie, I would still rather watch this one over Freddy’s Dead, Halloween: Resurrection, or Seed of Chucky. It’s bad, but like all car crashes, you can’t look away.

As a lead, John D. LeMay (Totally Blonde, Without a Map) is not bad as Steven Freeman, if you don’t include the really odd martial arts jump he performs about midway through the movie. A flawed protagonist with a bit of an edge, Steven is likable enough to lead and interesting enough for me to follow. I would have liked to see more of the dynamic between him and Jessica (Kari Keegan, Mind Games, The Prince of Pennsylvania). I like his dedication to making things right and course-correcting his fractured path in life. I like that he’s presented with an option to be a douchebag and chase some younger tail instead of making good on his promises, and he is rewarded for that (he isn’t horribly slaughtered like the random teens sneaking off to Camp Crystal Lake).

I also like the idea of Creighton Duke, especially with the charismatic and unusual performance from Steven Williams. I think Williams is doing the best he can, and again, I would have liked to see this character mean more in the finished narrative. In a lot of ways, the finished product of Creighton Duke bares little difference with Crazy Ralph. He warns of the death curse, brings the ambiance, and doesn’t stand of the way of Jason at all. Duke, like so much in this film, has the potential but not the deft hands behind the camera to put it all together. Duke’s inclusion is like the Necronomicon’s cameo in the film (can a book have a cameo, or is it a bookeo?). It’s a cool little wink that was apparently supposed to mean so much more, but it doesn’t really mean anything because there’s a disconnect between the creatives and the material, and a fundamental misunderstanding of mythology and story-building.

And that’s perhaps the ultimate sin of Jason Goes to Hell. I get the feeling, from the finished project, like Adam Marcus (Secret Santa, Conspiracy) just didn’t give a shit. Maybe he did, but looking at the movie and researching some of the more bonkers choices made gave me the sense that he wasn’t making a movie to satisfy an audience, and he didn’t understand his audience for this movie. There’s always an appreciation on my part for ambitious ideas in your storytelling, even if they don’t always work, but so much of the “ambitious” ideas in Jason Goes to Hell came about as throwaways. I’ll give another example. The ending stinger [SPOILER ALERT] that this film was most well-known for in the late 90s is that moment when all is good, Jason has gone to Hell, our heroes are walking off into the sunset, and we zoom in that Jason’s mask resting peacefully on the sand, and a very well known knife hand of Freddy Krueger comes flying out of the ground, grabs the Jason mask, and pulls it into the ground, telling us as viewers that Jason may return again (it’s also worth noting that Kane Hodder plays the Freddy hand in that scene, making him the only actor to play Freddy and Jason in the history of horror). That ending stinger seems to be setting up Freddy vs. Jason, an idea New Line had been playing with after finally getting their hands on the Jason character after years of stalled negotiations with Paramount for a crossover to please the audience hunger for it, but here’s the thing: there are multiple interviews where productions members have said that it was more of a fun little joke than anything being set up. Inside jokes like that work in films like Predator 2 (with the Alien Xenomorph skull on the ship), and in that case it actually led to a cinematic crossover, but having that be your ending stinger just because it’s neat is really poor execution as a storyteller.

Sure, part of that falls on the precarious situation that New Line was in with this movie. They couldn’t use the title Friday the 13th, so they had to come up with something catchy. They also couldn’t use Tommy Jarvis, the original lead of the film, because that character was still owned by Paramount Pictures. They had an ambitious 130-minute cut of the film that they felt needed to be trimmed into a more swiftly-moving narrative (an idea that, had Jason Goes to Hell been made today, would not have been as necessary). They also had a cut that was high on gore and needed to skirt the MPAA’s cutting hands. That’s why the Unrated cut of this movie is still the preferred cut here, if only slightly.

There’s a lot of stuff in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday that, ultimately, could have worked, but the finished product is an absolute mess of a film that feels sloggish even in its leaner run time. It’s a movie that mishandles Jason in an effort to give a much-unneeded booster shot to his mythology and narrative, and it fails to do so. There’s a way to examine and challenge established mythology in this franchise (show me Elias Voorhees!), but this isn’t how you do it. The movie’s got a worthy approach to its gore and mayhem, and I respect the more fair display of nudity and focus on returning to morals in slasher films in an updated way for the 90s (they got killed because they didn’t use a condom, get it?) but overall this is the toughest watch of the Friday the 13th series, which makes it all the more disappointing when you see the potential of these ideas had they been more polished.

1.5/5
-Kyle A. Goethe

For my review of Sean S. Cunningham’s Friday the 13th, click here.
For my review of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, click here.
For my review of Steve Miner’s Friday the 13th Part 2, click here.
For my review of Steve Miner’s Friday the 13th Part III, click here.
For my review of Joseph Zito’s Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, click here.
For my review of Jack Sholder’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, click here.
For my review of Danny Steinmann’s Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning, click here.
For my review of Chuck Russell’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, click here.
For my review of Tom McLoughlin’s Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI, click here.
For my review of Renny Harlin’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, click here.
For my review of John Carl Buechler’s Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, click here.
For my review of Stephen Hopkins’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, click here.
For my review of Rob Hedden’s Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, click here.
For my review of Rachel Talalay’s Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, click here.

[31 Days of Horror: The Final Chapter] Day 21 – Body Bags (1993)

Director: John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper

Cast: John Carpenter, Tom Arnold, Tobe Hooper, Stacy Keach, David Warner, Sheena Easton, Debbie Harry, Mark Hamill, Twiggy, Robert Carradine

Screenplay: Billy Brown, Dan Angel

91 mins. Rated R for sexuality and horror violence.

 

Body Bags was to be the pilot episode of a series on Showtime to rival Tales from the Crypt. At some point during production, Showtime pulled the plug, leaving us with thoughts of what might have been. So was Body Bags not worth the time? I checked it out.

Body Bags is another anthology film, this one from John Carpenter (Halloween, The Ward) and Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist). It features three stories with wraparound introductions from a Coroner played by Carpenter in heavy makeup. The Coroner is showing us how the bodies ended up in his morgue. The first story, “The Gas Station,” is a classic small set horror story that you might find in a pulp magazine about a young woman by herself running an overnight gas station and a killer stalking her. The second story, “Hair,” features Stacy Keach (American History X, Cell) as a balding man named Richard who wants more than anything to have thick lustrous locks, and he’s willing to sacrifice anything to get it. The final story, “Eye,” features baseball player Brent Matthews (Mark Hamill, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Bunyan and Babe) who loses an eye in a car accident and gets a transplant, but the eye he gets isn’t the one he wants.

We’ve talked a lot about anthologies this month, and, as before, I’ll say it again: anthologies can be hit or miss. That being said, Body Bags is so much fun, the flaws hide behind the flavor. Having cameos from tons of other horror aficionados like Wes Craven and Roger Corman, Body Bags is a lot like desert for horror fans. It’s sweet and enjoyable and you can never have enough. I personally think the first story is the best one and it’s very simple, and Robert Carradine (Django Unchained, Tooth and Nail) is exemplary in it. The second and third stories are only flawed in that they are rather similar to each other. The framing device, though, is quite fun as John Carpenter just kind of lets loose and has fun in a very Cryptkeeper-esque role.

If anthologies and horror are your thing, then I highly recommend Body Bags. It’s not a film that pops up often and it isn’t always easy to find (I was able to hunt it down on my Roku for free, though), but if you can get a copy, I think you’ll be happy you did. It’s rare to see someone like Mark Hamill get to really flex some insanity, and that alone is worth the price of admission.

 

4/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of John Carpenter’s Halloween, click here.

For my review of John Carpenter’s The Thing, click here.

For my review of John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness, click here.

For my review of Tobe Hooper’s Salem’s Lot, click here.

For my review of Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist, click here.

 

For more Almighty Goatman,

200 Posts! Many thanks!

Hey everyone!

Earlier this week, I crossed the 200 post mark, and I just wanted to take a minute to thank all my faithful readers for tuning in for all the craziness as I get used to this again. Below, you will see links to my Top 10 Posts of the last 200 posts. Thanks again! Keep reading and I’ll keep writing!

  1. No Xenomorphs in Prometheus 2? What has all this been for?
  2. Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
  3. Horrible Bosses (2011)
  4. Leprechaun (1993)
  5. 2012 (2009)
  6. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
  7. Monkey Shines (1988)
  8. The Lego Movie (2014)
  9. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)
  10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

 

Lastly, I want to hear some feedback from my readers. Let me know what you want to see. I’m always looking for new ways to spark discussion!

[Oscar Madness] Jurassic Park (1993)

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Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Ariana Richards, Joseph Mazzello, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, Wayne Knight, Samuel L. Jackson

Screenplay: Michael Crichton, David Koepp

127 mins. Rated PG-13 for intense science fiction terror.

  • Academy Award Winner: Best Sound
  • Academy Award Winner: Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing
  • Academy Award Winner: Best Effects, Visual Effects

 

I’m going to tell you a story now. When I was a young child, I was positively blown away by Jurassic Park. I just always wanted to watch it. Unfortunately for me, I was absolutely terrified of the film. I never got past the famous T-Rex sequence without running out of the room as fast as possible. Finally, when my next-door neighbor volunteered to babysit me one night, he made me a promise: We were getting through Jurassic Park tonight. And we did. And it remains one of the most thrilling examples of perfect filmmaking even now, 22 years later.

Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill, TV’s Peaky Blinders, The Hunt for Red October) and his colleague Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern, The Fault in Our Stars, Wild) have just been hired by John Hammond (Richard Attenborough, The Great Escape, Elizabeth) to look into his newest project, an amusement park on the island of Isla Nublar. They are joined by Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum, Independence Day, Mortdecai), an observer of the Chaos Theory, as the three discover that Jurassic Park is filled with genetically cloned dinosaurs. When the island’s security defenses go down, the dinosaurs are unleashed, and the scientists must find a way off the island before chaos takes them out.

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First of all, I want to discuss the screenplay from Michael Crichton and David Koepp. I love the original novel and this adaptation is pretty damn close in the overall scope and the tone conveyed. There are a few changes and a few scenes omitted in the name of time, but the script is pretty great for both an adaptation and a film in general.

The list of performers, Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and Richard Attenborough are so perfectly cast that it amazes me. Add in veteran character actors Bob Peck (The Black Velvet Gown, Slipstream), Martin Ferrero (Heat, Air Bud 3), and Wayne Knight (TV’s The Exes, Space Jam), and you have some genuinely perfectly cast players.

Director Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan, Lincoln) had so much invested in this project, and so much faith in it at the same time. It is refreshing to find a director that cares so much about a project. His care for pushing the visual effects envelope while maintaining his style and flair for the suspense and the fantastic.

The look and sound of the dinosaurs literally created the modern view of dinosaurs in film. The incredible sound work (the noises of the velociraptor hatching were created by cracking an ice cream cone and the squishing of a cantaloupe and pineapple) is what earns this film the realism that Spielberg so desperately wanted.

Lastly, I wanted to discuss the famous scene in which the T-Rex’s movement causes a water ripple in a glass. The sound originally came to Steven Spielberg while listening to Earth, Wind & Fire. His production team eventually, after many, many failures, created the effect with a guitar string placed underneath the fake dashboard.

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Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park stands as one of the most groundbreaking and equally effective films of its or any generation. The film still looks gorgeous and has stood the test of time. The special effects haven’t even aged all that much. My hope is that Jurassic World is even partially as good as this one.

 

5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

[12 Days of Christmas] On the First Day… The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

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Director: Henry Selick

Cast: Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, Ed Ivory, Ken Page

Screenplay: Caroline Thompson

76 mins. Rated PG for some scary images.

  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Effects, Visual Effects

 

Welcome to the 12 Days of Christmas, a celebration of Christmas and winter-themed films of all shapes and sizes.

We begin this yuletide tradition with The Nightmare Before Christmas, Henry Selick’s feature film adaptation of Tim Burton’s original poem.

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First off, before we start any of this thing up, I want to make a note. I refuse to call this film a Tim Burton film as Tim Burton really didn’t have all that much to do with the production. He was a producer and that is it. So no, I will be referring to this film, if in any capacity, as Henry Selick’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. But I digress…

After another successful holiday in Halloween Town, pumpkin king Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon, The Princess Bride, Safe) is tired of the tradition. He wants to experience something new. He gets the chance when he comes across a mystical forest with a tree that transports him to Christmas Town where he falls in love with a new holiday, though he doesn’t quite understand it. Jack takes it upon himself to bring Christmas to Halloween Town, including impersonating Santa (Ed Ivory, Nine Months) and giving out gifts to the residents of his home world.

I have grown to love this movie. It has everything that a new and engaging film should have. It has a unique story idea that seems wholly goofy yet fully realized. It has an enchanting screenplay by Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands, City of Ember) that makes the magic real. It has terrific voicework from leads Sarandon and Catherine O’Hara (Home Alone, A.C.O.D.) as well as secondary performers Glenn Shadix and Paul Reubens. Let’s not forget Ken Page (Dreamgirls, Cats) as the sadistic and demented Oogie Boogie. Henry Selick (Coraline, Monkeybone) understands the stop-motion medium and knows just what is enough.

The music here as well is catchy, simple, and engaging to even the musically-declined. Each song is more like a taste and doesn’t wear out its welcome, making the film tight and finely-tuned allowing for multiple viewings.

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Now Jack’s story perhaps could have been trimmed a bit more and the secondary characters could have had a bit more to do, but as a completed work, The Nightmare Before Christmas has entombed (see what I did there?) itself as a Christmas classic and a Halloween classic, a feat damn near impossible to pull off.

 

4/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

31 Days of Horror: Day 14 – Leprechaun (1993)

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Director: Mark Jones

Cast: Warwick Davis, Jennifer Aniston, Ken Olandt, Mark Holton, Robert Gorman

Screenplay: Mark Jones

92 mins. Rated R for horror violence and language.

 

It’s tough to place a film like Leprechaun. In one way, it’s far too childish to be scary. On another, there’s too much gore and horror for it to be a kid’s movie. So what exactly is it?

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Well, Leprechaun is a bit of an enigma. It’s the story of an evil little leprechaun (Warwick Davis, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Jack the Giant Slayer) who has his gold taken away from him and is willing to stop at nothing until he gets every piece of it back. The leprechaun is eventually trapped in a crate for several years until Tory Reding (Jennifer Aniston, TV’s Friends, We’re the Millers) and her father move in. Once he is free, he goes on a murderous rampage to get his gold back.

This film is stupid. Really stupid. It suffers from genre confusion. The original idea was for a scary kid’s movie which eventually evolved, thanks to studio heads, into a comedic yet more adult horror film, though it still doesn’t fit into either category. I find it tough to blame writer/director Mark Jones (Scorned, Rumpelstiltskin) as I’m sure he had little measure of success once his film was tampered with, but even so, the acting is horrid. Jennifer Aniston has never been an actress of particular depth, and I’ve never been truly impressed by her worth, and her first starring role is no exception. She is given a band of merry men who turn in wretched work and the entire film falls to Warwick Davis’ portrayal of the evil leprechaun. Now, Davis does fine work with this ultimately not scary role, but he just isn’t scary at all.

That’s what boggle me about this movie and, in fact, the entire series. Not one of them is scary. So why do we classify them as horror. Likely due to the gore factor, and the films do have that.

But, if there is a silver lining to this movie, and I think there is, it is that it is kind of fun to watch. This is usually my go-to for St. Paddy’s Day movies alongside The Boondock Saints and The Departed. It has a relatively odd premise played out to its lengths.

leprechaun1993c

And there is that line of bad movies. Some of the Leprechaun films (I’m looking at you Leprechaun 4: In Space) are so horrid that it is tough to sit through them. On the other hand, some are just goofy enough to be fun. On that line, Leprechaun does end up on the so-bad-it’s-good side more so than the take-me-out-to-the-pasture-and-shoot-me side. So for that, I give the film its rating.

 

2/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

For more 31 Days of Horror, click here.

31 Days of Horror – Extra Bits: [Take 5] Horror Musicals!

Hey everyone, well, October is well upon us, and for my first entry in the 31 Days of Horror, I talked about a horror musical called The Devil’s Carnival. As you might recall, I didn’t love it, but it got me intrigued about horror musicals. I know they can be pulled off, I have seen some pretty fierce ones and they can ride that line of camp or darkness or sometimes both. So, today, I’m starting a new feature called Take 5, where I give you a list of five movies that are horror musicals. Now, this is not a list of the only five horror musicals ever. It is also not a countdown, but merely five movies that I’m trying to bring to public knowledge more. The idea came from a casual reader that asked me about marathoning movies for Halloween, and I thought back to a weekly movie night I hosted at my home, and one night we did a horror musical night, and all the horror musicals listed here were up for contention. So, I’m not going to drag that out much longer and just present you with this week’s Take 5!

 

Take 5 Horror Musicals:

 

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

the-nightmare-before-christmas-movie-poster-1993

(Dir: Henry Selick)

Nominated for Best Visual Effects (1994 Academy Awards)

Now, I want to exclaim this right now. I haven’t seen this movie in a number of years. To be honest, I have always respected it, but it just never got me like it got so many.

The Nightmare Before Christmas is the story of Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon) who lives in “Halloween Town” and ends up finding his way out through a doorway leading to a mystical forest of sorts. Spotting another doorway and entering through it, Jack finds himself in “Christmas Town” and decides to celebrate this newly discovered world. It features some absolutely powerful music (this is music that gets stuck in your head, even when you don’t know any of the lyrics, and you just can’t stop singing them) as well as some wholly terrifying voice work from the stop-motion characters. I want to point out that Tim Burton did not primarily direct this picture, but it has his look all around it.

 

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

(Dir: Tim Burton)

Awarded Best Achievement in Art Direction (2008 Academy Awards)

Nominated for Best Actor (Johnny Depp) and Best Costume Design (2008 Academy Awards)

Now, Tim Burton did direct this feature, based on the musical theater production from Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler. It tells the tale Sweeney Todd (Depp) and his slow descent into madness following the loss of his wife and child. He decides to hone his skills as a barber in order to lure men into his home and murder them before sending the bodies to Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter) to make into meat pies. His main target is Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman), the man behind the inciting treachery. This movie was released right at the time where Tim Burton wasn’t really holding my love, but I was in a musical renaissance where musicals were big for me. Maybe it was the emotional pain of youth, but I had to see this movie. I loved it, and it was one of my favorite movies from 2007, which was a pretty great year for movies already.

 

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Little_shop_of_horrors

(Dir: Frank Oz)

Nominated for Best Visual Effects and Best Original Song (“Mean Green Mother from Outer Space) (1987 Academy Awards)

Another fan and critical favorite is this 80s classic, which has an interesting backstory. I actually studied this movie in college and it holds a special spot in my heart. So, it is based on a stage musical which in turn is based on a Roger Corman anti-classic B-movie from 1960. It stars Rick Moranis as Seymour Krelborn, an unlucky slumper who comes across a very unusual plant while walking the back streets of New York City during a “Total Eclipse of the Sun!” and decides to name it Audrey II after the woman he loves (played by Ellen Greene). Things get complicated when he finds that Audrey II talks and only enjoys blood and flesh. Morbid, campy and all things terrific, this is a movie that I have to watch regularly and I dare you to watch it and try not to sing.

 

Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)

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(Dir: Darren Lynn Bousman)

I highly recommend this one to anyone who is curious about The Devil’s Carnival or someone who has already seen it and needs to wash the taste out. Repo! is set in the future where the one thing on everyone’s mind is surgery: make yourself better, look hotter, and live longer. Shilo (Alexa Vega) is stuck with a blood disease which is slowly killing her, and her relationship with her father (Anthony Stewart Head) is dying from his wanting to protect her from further harm. But father has secrets of his own and Shilo won’t follow his directions any longer, as she gets more and more into the mystery surrounding the death of her mother Marni. A gruesome and violent rock opera, Repo! is an addiction all its own, and features Anthony Stewart Head belting out the music in some his most powerful work to date.

 

The Rocky Horror Picture Shown (1975)

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(Dir: Jim Sharman)

Celebrating its 40th Anniversary next year, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a film that everyone needs to see, though most picture will not like or understand it. The film is a send-up to the horror films of back in the day, a campy but lovable triumph of fun and music, and also a satire of many heavy themes about politics and gender and sex and, well, the movie is about so many things that it’s hard not to take something new away every time you see it. My advice, watch this movie once in your home, then head to a midnight shadow cast (you’ll learn more when you go), preferably on Halloween. I have seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show Live for the past seven years in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and if able, this year will be number eight.

 

Take-aways:

All five films here are winners, and I suggest them to you for your Halloween pleasure. Little Shop goes together well with Rocky Horror, as do Sweeney Todd and Repo!, and will make for a grand marathoning. Happy singing!

 

For more 31 Days of Horror, click here.

 

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