Tag Archive for season

Son of 31 Nights, 31 Frights: Below

Bruce Greenwood in 'Below'

Those of you who followed along last year may recall my affinity for ghost stories. In keeping with the best of them, director and co-writer David Twohy unravels this terrific little mystery that is, aside from being a good horror movie, an exceptionally well done World War II submarine thriller. Bruce Greenwood, always adept at stolid leadership, here overseas a motley gang of ragged sailors.

Son of 31 Nights, 31 Frights: Hannibal

'Hannibal'

You can keep your Silence of the Lambs. I’ll have none of it. Anthony Hopkins took a truly fascinating and authentically creepy sociopath and turned him into a farce, particularly when set against Jonathan Demme’s boilerplate police procedural. Fortunately, Ridley Scott came along and wrapped the character in a wonderfully tragic opera, giving the now legendary cannibal an appropriate outlet for his ostentatious theatrics.

Son of 31 Nights, 31 Frights: Treevenge

Treevenge

Depending on your disposition, after seeing this you may either get an artificial Christmas tree and spend the rest of your days in solemn repentence of your genocidal past, or buy a plot of land, plant some trees and wish that Christmas would come everyday (I suspect Eli Roth would choose the latter option).

Son of 31 Nights, 31 Frights: The Fly

Jeff Goldblum in 'The Fly'

In the remakes-can-be-good file comes this doozy of a gorefest from the captain of creepy, David Cronenberg. Retaining the basic foundation of the 1958 original, he amps up the flesh-defying transformation and truly heartbreaking tragedy. Utilizing Howard Shore’s bombastic score to soulful effect, the slow disintegration of lone and lonely genius Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) is simultaneously horrifying and wrenching.

Son of 31 Nights, 31 Frights: The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys

It’s hard to believe now but there was once a time when Joel Schumacher could make a popular film that was actually good. The vampire genre had been more or less languishing in spoof purgatory before Tom Holland came along with Fright Night to make them scary again. But who would have thought that the man behind the brat-pack classic St. Elmo’s Fire would make vampires not just sexy but sexy-cool?

Son of 31 Nights, 31 Frights: Sweeney Todd

Sweeney Todd

A bloody good film in every sense. Tim Burton has never done and will likely never do better than this grand guignol musical horror show. Dante Faretti’s production design reveals a Burton-esque soundstage version of 19th century London that has a Universal Pictures monster movie appeal.

Son of 31 Nights, 31 Frights: Salem’s Lot

Salem's Lot

Insanely goofy by today’s standards. However, as a nine-year-old boy this was the most terrifying initiation into the world of horror that I could have expected. In 1979 a mini-series would span the same day across two weeks. That meant that after taking a terrifying beating with part one on Saturday, I went back for seconds the following Saturday.

Son of 31 Nights, 31 Frights: Lake Placid

Bridgette Fonda, Bill Pullman and Brendan Gleeson in 'Lake Placid'

The rampaging crocodile at the center of this film is merely incidental. It’s really just a flimsy excuse to get a bunch of likable actors together (Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman, Brendan Gleeson, Oliver Platt, Betty White) and riff on David E. Kelly’s playful script. Veteran horror director Steve Miner nicely balances the horror with the humor, always keeping an emphasis on the latter.

Son of 31 Nights, 31 Frights: The Return of the Living Dead

Tarman from The Return of the Living Dead

George A. Romero may have created the modern zombie, but this movie gave them their insatiable craving for braaaiiins. Mixing equal parts horror and comedy, director and Alien scribe Dan O’Bannon disposes of the dead-serious political undertones of Romero’s movies and instead opts for straight-up goofball hijinks at a medical supply company located next to a cemetery and conveniently stocked with cadavers.