Monday, October 3, 2011

My Halloween Movie of the Day: Day 3

6. Poltergeist - This is another movie I have something of a personal connection to because I saw it when I was too young. This one made me scared of mirrors for a while, though, if you've seen my pictures on Fetlife, I'm sure you've realized I've gotten over that fear by now (That sounds kind of arrogant - I just mean that I take a lot of pictures in/with mirrors). It's also possible this is where I got my slight phobia of clowns from, because of that super-creepy clown doll. I was sure this movie was directed by Steven Spielberg, so I was pretty shocked to see Tobe Hooper's name in the credits instead, especially once the film got past the opening sequence and to a view of 80s suburbia that just seemed to scream Spielberg. Then his name did pop up as one of the writers, so it was good to know I wasn't completely crazy. I was also kind of surprised by how long it takes for the movie to tip its hand that it isn't really just about a family living out in the 'burbs with a little girl who is possibly just a sleepwalker, and, more importantly, how well the movie works as being just that. Most of the time in horror movies, the set-up tends to be pretty bland, and you're just waiting for the real action to start, but here, I wouldn't mind watching a movie just about this family. That chair stacking thing is a pretty nifty one-shot trick, though, and, yes, the mirror scene still freaks me out a little. I'd forgotten this movie also did the "pulled onto ceiling by invisible forces" thing, but I have to say, Nightmare on Elm Street did it better.

7. The Thing (1982 version) - It's kind of interesting that I got this today, as just yesterday I saw a trailer for the prequel/remake-but-with-Ramona-Flowers-in-it, and thinking that, much as I dislike remakes (and yes, I know that this is one, too, and I have seen, and enjoyed, in a different way, The Thing From Another World) it actually looks pretty good. I might even go see it in theaters, and I haven't been to a theater since I saw Super 8. This is a movie that, like Suspiria, even though I didn't talk about this yesterday, really makes me wish I liked the rest of the director's work. There are some other Dario Argento and John Carpenter films that I enjoy, but Suspiria and The Thing were the first of their work that I ever saw, and nothing else I've seen from them comes close to matching up, quality-wise. It's also kind of the opposite of how I feel about Poltergeist... From the start, they're in a rather unusual circumstance, but honestly, much as I like the film, I find it hard to care about much in it until the dog explodes. In fact, I unfortunately wound up missing that exact moment this time around because I was only half paying attention at that point. I really hope the remake doesn't go completely CGI for its creature effects, because this version really proves just how disturbing practical effects can be. But, good as they are, it's really the sense of paranoia and isolation, growing throughout the film until it just becomes this crushing weight by the end, that makes this a classic. I remember the first time I watched it, just staring at the screen for several minutes after it ended, floored. I don't get quite the same effect anymore, but it's still an incredibly bleak ending. Again, kind of the opposite of Poltergeist, which basically ends on a joke.

Funnily, both of these movies, whose sequence was determined randomly, remember, were released in 1982. I don't think I have any other movies from that year coming up, though E.T. was one of the last movies I convinced myself to take out of the pool, only because I just watched it a few months ago.

1 comment:

  1. I love Poltergeist! Also, there's rumors that Spielberg did more of the directing than was let on (he had a clause in his contract on E.T. that he couldn't direct anything else at the time, so he couldn't be officially credited).