Archive for October 29th, 2008


Off the Trick or Treatin’ Path: Chas’ Halloween Movie Picks

Officially endorsed and sanctioned by Chas, here are my movie suggestions for Halloween:


“28 days later” (2002) – A bike courier (Cillian Murphy) wakes up 28 days after being side-swiped. Walking around, he finds that he’s one of the few not infected by the Rage, a virus that turns people into wild, thrashing, meat-craving zombies.




“An American Werewolf in London” (1981) – John Landis wrote and directed this tale of two American guys hiking through England; one winds up dead, the other a werewolf. Known for its transformation scene, the movie won Rick Baker an Oscar for makeup. After watching, remember to stay clear of the moors.



“Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’” (1992) – Francis Ford Coppola gave us his rendition of Bram Stoker’s story, with Gary Oldman playing the title character. Also stars Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, and Anthony Hopkins. Worth the rental, if not owning.




“Event Horizon” (1997) – The Event Horizon was a spaceship built to bend time and space in order to travel. It disappeared 7 years ago, and has mysteriously reappeared. A salvage crew, and the ship’s designer, go to find out what happened. When they find out what really happened, they do everything they can in order to escape.



“The Fog” (1980) – A John Carpenter movie, this deals with Antonio Bay and its celebration of its founding. Problem is, a crew that shipwrecked in the bay 200 years earlier has returned to exact their revenge for the gold taken from their ship to build the town. It’s the first movie in which Janet Leigh and her daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, appeared together in.



“In the Mouth of Madness” (1995) – Another John Carpenter movie with Sam Neill as an insurance fraud investigator hired to find reclusive horror writer Sutter Cane (Jurgen Prochnow) Creepy, based on the stories of H.P. Lovecraft. “Do you read Sutter Cane?”





“Session 9” (2001) – Brad Anderson directed movie about a hazardous materials crew cleaning out the abandoned Danvers State Mental Hospital. And then it all goes wrong. Stars David Caruso, Josh Lucas, and Peter Mullan. “Hello Gordon…”




And just for fun…


“Army of Darkness” (1992) – The third of the “Evil Dead” movies, Ash (Bruce Campbell) is sent back to the Medieval Ages. When he accidentally releases the forces of evil, it’s up to him and his chainsaw to rectify everything before being sent back to the present. “Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Low on gas.”



“Shaun of the Dead” (2004) – Simon Pegg stars as Shaun, and Nick Frost is his best friend Ed. Together, they must fight to stay alive against a world turned to –literal- zombies. Some of the best parodying/spoofing of the zombie genre.




“Student Bodies” (1981) – Early Eighties spoof of the horror/slasher genre. “The Breather” goes around creatively killing high school kids having sex. Trivia note: the voice of the “Breather” was done by Richard Belzer.


Where’d HE come from? The Gill Man

You see her swimming in the water by the boat. You wanna take her home, back to your cave. What will she think of a guy with webbed feet and hands, as well as gills? And her boyfriend would probably protest, getting a bunch of guys with harpoons to hunt you down. But how did you get here?


Following such horror authors as Poe, Bierce, and Maupassant, there lived one Howard Phillips “H.P.” Lovecraft (1890-1937). Lovecraft is known for creating the Cthulhu mythos, as well as stories involving guilt, crimes committed by forefathers, forbidden knowledge, etc. His work has been brought to the screen with such films as “Re-Animator,” and influenced such writers as Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. To cut to the chase, it’s theorized that Gill-man, a.k.a. “The Creature,” was based off of Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.”


But I’m getting ahead of myself, here. The Lovecraft story was seemingly based on “The Harbor-Master,” by Robert W. Chambers, a story about the last race of amphibious humans and “Fishhead” by Irvin S. Cobb, a story about a fish-man.


Published in 1936, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” deals with a man on a secret mission to Innsmouth. He says that he’s studying the architecture and general nature of the place, but there’s more to what he’s doing. When he comes across town local Zadok Allen, he’s told of Obed Marsh, a sea captain who brought the fish-frog men to Innsmouth so they can mate. The offspring can supposedly live forever. The narrator tries getting out of the town only to have the bus he’s waiting on experience engine trouble. While trying to stay an extra night he’s accosted by the local fish-frog men and escapes to the next town. In time he finds out that he’s a descendent of Obed Marsh and that he, too, will become one of the fish-frog men.


The “Creature,” or “Gill Man,” came to cinematic consciousness in the 1954 film, “The Creature From the Black Lagoon.” Directed by Jack Arnold and originally filmed in 3-D, the film centered on a group of scientists traversing the Amazon River (funny how it looks like Jacksonville, Florida) for fossils when they run across an amphibious creature. They capture him; he escapes but returns and falls in love with Kay, the fiancée of one of the scientists. Kidnapping her the hunt is on for him.


“The Creature From the Black Lagoon,” inspired two sequels, “Revenge of the Creature” (1955) and “The Creature Walks Among Us” (1956). H has also been referenced in the TV show “The Munsters,” as well as a pinball game and other merchandise. Currently, the film is being remade by Breck Eisner.