Monday, October 31, 2011

My Halloween Movie of the Day: Day 31

40. Bubba Ho-tep - Not the scariest movie I could have gotten for today, but certainly one of the weirder ones. The concept (Elvis Presley and a black John F. Kennedy fight a mummy in a Texas nursing home) is pretty crazy, but it works because of the great performances by Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis. The low budget makes for a few silly moments, especially involving the scarabs, though they do what they can with camera and lighting tricks, but the actors still manage to sell it. There are some disturbing moments here and there, like a woman getting pulled down the hall near the beginning, but most of the horror comes from the setting. The nursing home is dark and dirty and depressing, and the movie makes good use of time lapse filming to emphasize the monotony and hopelessness of being stuck there. And the ending is just perfect.

Bonus: The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad - This was recommended to me here, so I thought I might as well give it a try, especially since it's fairly short. While I've never seen this before, I did have the adaptation of it with illustrations from the movie back when I was a little kid, so I was vaguely familiar with the characters designs, which, especially with Ichabod Crane, are a little more cartoony than I generally prefer, but I guess it is a kid's movie, so I can't complain too much. Especially since they're such fun adaptations of classic stories, though the Sleepy Hollow segment is much better as that. Like the story it's based on, Sleepy Hollow is a bit slow at the start, but has some fun visuals to keep it interesting, but the chase scene with the Headless Horseman is fantastic. Spooky at times, with some bits of slapstick to keep it from getting too scary, with that great ending of the Horseman's final attack. Definitely a great version of the story, and I'm glad I finally saw it.

Bonus: The Innocents - I've heard good things about this movie for a long time, like the fact that The Others is a lot like it, Guillermo del Toro choosing it as one of his favorite horror movies ever, and its appearance in Edgar Wright's 24 Hours of Horror (for the record, I added it to the Netflix queue long before I saw that, but it did make me feel better about setting it to get here right before Halloween). And it's clear that The Others took a lot of cues from this movie, but, luckily, the twist isn't the same. It's a quite unsettling movie, and manages to be so using mostly sound, a select few simple but creepy images, some deep, dark shadows and excellent use of empty space (which makes it somewhat similar to Bubba Ho-Tep), and a couple good creepy little kid performances. Also, there are some adorable dresses that the little girls gets to wear. It's a very well crafted movie, too, opening itself to several interpretations, and not necessarily tipping its hand as to which is the "correct" one, but doing so without feeling too loose, and with any of them implying some surprisingly dark and disturbing things going on. I feel like I need to rewatch it at least once (and it might help if I read the story it's based on) before committing to what I think was going on, but either way, it's a very good film.

All in all, I've been pretty happy with this little experiment. There are definitely some movies I wish I'd swapped a couple of the zombie movies for, and some movies that I usually try to watch in October that I didn't because I'd already seen them not too long ago, and some that I just didn't think of in time (like The Ring and The Shining) but the mystery of not knowing what I was going to get to watch each day was a lot of fun. Happy Halloween, everyone!


  1. Glad you liked "The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad" and I hoped you had as much fun watching all of these movies as we did fallowing along and reading your synopsis of each.

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