Better Late Than Horror

I know, I know.

I finished my 61 Movies in 61 Days journey almost 4 months ago, and never really wrote about it, even though I promised to on social media, and have with every other spooky watch-fest I’ve done. Listen, I got lambasted by CHUDs on Twitter and needed to clear up some misconceptions about the Seattle CHOP/CHAZ and homelessness, then it was the New Year and it’d be silly not to write about what a year 2020 was and what a year 2021 is likely going to be. But honestly, the main reason I’ve been putting it off for so long was that I knew I could save it in my back pocket, for when I ran out of relevant things to write about, or wasn’t inspired to discuss any happenings on social media or the world at large.

But now, here we are. That day has come. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty with my recap/review of #61MovieIn61Days!

For review, since there were a lot and it was approximately 4 months ago, these are the movies I watched last Halloween season:

The first thing that stands out is that I used this project to catch up on a bunch of series that I had either fallen off of or never seen before. Saw, Child’s Play, and Leprechaun fall into that category. Last year I did the same thing with Scream, and I’m so glad I did. What a great series! And the effect it had on modern horror is palpable. Jason X was famously a much more ‘serious’ movie before Scream inspired studio execs to make it more meta and add more jokes. 

But I didn’t watch Scream this year, I watched Saw, Child’s Play, and the 2nd half of the Leprechaun series. I had seen the first Saw when it came out and remember enjoying it, then watched the 2nd one shortly after it’s release, but didn’t enjoy or remember it as much. Since neither were super fresh, I just decided to watch through the whole series. I know Saw gets a bad rep for being “torture porn” or “gore porn”, and I guess that’s kind of accureate, to an extent, but boy howdy, the story makes it all worth it. I actually had a friend in college, who does not enjoy horror, but would read the plot synopsis for the Saw movies on Wikipedia because the plot was so compelling. There are definitely a couple duds later on, but the saga of like 1-4 are pretty masterful at telling their stories and connecting everything together. 

‘Child’s Play’ was another one that I had only watched the first movie, but I had seen it a couple years ago, so I didn’t feel like I needed a refresher, so I just jumped right into Child’s Play 2. This series was a trip. And I obviously loved (most of) it. The first blog I posted on this site was about how much I loved ‘Seed of Chucky’ for being having a fairly progressive portrayal of gender identity and potentially Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), despite having a title that referred to semen and including an opening title sequence that included CGI sperm. I’m sure it’s pretty divisive, but I even enjoyed the “remake”, though it’s more of a reimagining, since it’s a completely different story. I would love to see that series continue alongside the “Chucky” series. Heck, I’ll even get a little fanboy and say that it would be fun for them to build up both versions of Chucky enough for them to have a showdown in the future. I don’t know what the legal situation is with all that, but I’d be down to see an army of evil cyborg dolls take on evil satanic Chucky and his army of…other versions of him, I guess. Which brings me to the only sour grapes I have about that series: ‘Cult of Chucky’. I read that the creator of the series, who has been with it the whole time, has always wanted to do a multi-Chucky movie, but it just feels a little…weird. That wasn’t even the main issue I had with the movie. It was just super anticlimactic. It was AWESOME that they brought back Andy from the original trilogy and Kyle from Part 2 – I love the continuity – but they didn’t do anything. The whole movie builds up to Andy sneaking into the facility and then he wastes all his bullets on one doll and gets locked in a cell without much of a fight. Even Jennifer Tilly seemed super bored just being in the movie. That said, I’ll keep watching them, if they keep making them. It’s such a good series, overall.

I loved the ‘Leprechaun’ series as a kid but once I got to ‘Leprechaun in Space’, I tapped out so I never watched the ‘Hood’ movies. I have nothing to say about them other than they’re weird and an example of something that could likely never happen today, probably for good reason.I remember when the WWE Studios ‘Leprechaun’ movie came out and I never had any interest, again, for good reason. Obviously WWE films are bad, but at least ‘Santa’s Little Helper’ had some charm and you could actually see the Superstars that were cast. Poor Hornswoggle didn’t even get his face on screen. All bad, as expected. Weirdly though, I also watched Oculus, which is another WWE Studios film but features a distinct lack of any WWE Superstar because it was halfway through production when WWE jumped on. That’s probably why it was so good, too.

Oh, and I guess, on a smaller scale, I watched some of the ‘Silence of the Lambs’ movies (which are great, aside from the stuff that didn’t age well) and the last couple ‘Final Destination’ movies that I hadn’t seen. When I was in college a friend and I took a trip to London for a class and we watched the first 3 ‘Final Destination’ movies on the plane ride over, because of the plane bit in the first one. I liked that the last one tied back in with the original by having them be on the plane that crashes at the end. Good stuff.

This one is a bit long, so here’s a pic of Poutine to break things up a bit.

I’ve written too much at this point so I’ll just skim through some standouts now. ‘Color Out of Space’ is great cosmic horror. Nicholas Cage in weird surrealist horror is my favorite, especially if it’s on Shudder. ‘3 From Hell’ was a bad, unnecessary sequel to ‘The Devil’s Rejects’. ‘The Lighthouse’ and ‘Society’ were weird. Both ‘The Babysitter’ movies are true hidden gems of horror comedy. Check them and the ‘Creep’ series out on Netflix, if you get the chance. ‘The Curse of La Llarona’ was not great and felt like it was the most contrived at trying to fit into The Conjuring-verse. Conversely, ‘Annabelle Comes Home’ is probably my favorite Conjuring spin-off, probably because it was so closely tied to the rest of the movies. I also watched some silly ones like ‘Hubie Halloween’ and ‘Birdemic’, which were fun, and some cult classics (I don’t know if that’s the right word) like ‘Eraserhead’ and ‘Cannibal Holocaust’, which were…a lot. ‘Fright Night’ and ‘An American Werewolf in London’ were fun 80’s spook-taculars. ‘Death Becomes Her’ and ‘The Witches’ are both great movies that I had never seen before and I watched off of recommendations, and I’m glad I did. ‘Priest’ was, unsurprisingly, a big disappointment, because I was a big fan of the comic by Hyung Min-woo. If you ever get the chance, skip the movie and just read the comic, it’s great. 

Finally, the two biggest standouts for me, aside from the series that I went into earlier, were ‘WNUF Halloween Special’ and ‘Train to Busan’. WNUF is another incredible hidden gem that exists on Shudder. It’s done like a tape recording of a local TV station on Halloween night, commercials and all. It’s such a fun original take on the found footage genre, and I’ll always be a sucker for that late 80’s aesthetic. I highly recommend you check it out, if you can. What can I say about ‘Train to Busan’ that hasn’t already been said. It’s like a masterpiece. It’s probably my favorite piece of zombie media out there. They do such a good job of making me care about all the characters, something Walking Dead failed to do around the time Negan showed up (in the show and the comic), to the point that I was weeping by the end. It reminded me of why the zombie craze got so big in the first place. Just *chef’s kiss*, a perfect movie, and the perfect way to end things.

Oof. That was a lot. I could’ve gone on and on though. I just love horror movies so much. They’re great. And so are you, if you actually read all that. Thanks for sticking with me. If you have any recommendations of niche horror movies, send them my way, cause there’s only 8 more months until October.



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