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31 Screams, Week 3

I’ve decided to watch 31 horror movies this month and then write about it. You can read the previous installments here and here.

16. The Stendhal Syndrome

I had intended to focus on mostly Giallo this week but this movie disturbed me so much that I was reluctant to go further down that route. Although I am generally a fan of Giallo in general and Dario Argento in particular, I just kept thinking about the fact that he was filming his daughter in incredibly sexualized rape scenes, which just feels so creepy to me.

Asia Argento in a blonde wig

The title is a reference to an actual condition where a person has an extremely intense response to an experience, particularly art — and the movie opens with Asia Argento’s character, police detective Anna Manni, being affected by it while in the midst of pursuing a serial killer/rapist. She’s captured by this killer multiple times and the focus of the movie is really on how this affects her, which was an interesting spin, despite the creepiness.

17. The Stuff

A miner wanders outside in the snow and finds weird white goo bubbling out of the ground and decides to taste it for some reason. Finding it delicious, he then figures (like a good capitalist) to start packaging and selling it. This 1985 horror movie has it all — a catchy jingle (enough is never enough, enough is never enough, of The Stuff!), a corrupt and useless FDA agent, a former FBI agent turned industrial spy, a gruff military man and a plucky kid.

Our hero, folks

If that’s not enough to convince you to watch it, then maybe this will do the trick:

I guarantee you this jingle will get stuck in your head

18. Observance

A claustrophobic indie horror about a man hired to watch a woman through his window for a few days, Observance feels like an attempt to merge Rear Window and David Lynch and it doesn’t quite work, in my opinion. The thing about Lynch is that I think he really gets the distorted nature of dream symbology, whereas in this movie it’s a bit more of a one to one relationship. Still, it’s quite tense and interesting, even if I found it somewhat less than satisfying in the end (mostly because I didn’t feel like it was quite as complex as it aspired to be). I do think it’s quite impressive to make a movie about a man getting paid to spy on a woman and still end up feeling sympathetic to him.

The face of man nearly crippled with grief

19. Home

This movie was terrible and angering and I still don’t quite understand how it got made. A religious young woman goes to stay with her mother and her mother’s new partner and their child (a girl named Tia) but it seems that their new home is haunted. I’m not sure I can explain my disgust with this movie without going into spoilers so suffice it to say, it’s not good. It does stand out for featuring an interracial lesbian couple but I’m not sure why they’re positioned against this ultra religious older daughter.

20. Monsters

Apparently this movie is what led to director Gareth Edwards given the 2014 American Godzilla movie to direct (a movie that I quite enjoyed — admittedly I watched it to fill the time left by a seriously delayed flight so my requirements were pretty low). I have such mixed feelings about Monsters. I really like that it’s more focused on the characters and their relationships than on “oooh, big scary monsters” and the two of them working together and relying on each other to make it through the infected zone where the monsters are concentrated. On the other hand, I’m always a little uncomfortable with “white people in trouble in foreign lands” as a premise. And this movie is rife with all of the worst stereotypes about Latin America, where it takes place. So disappointing.

So very white, these two.

21. Splinter

An outdoorsy woman and her nerdy boyfriend (who is not only a biology phd candidate but also a serial mansplainer) collide with a violent criminal and the girlfriend he’s on the run with end up trapped in a gas station by a bizarre and deadly parasite. This is a fairly classic siege style horror flick, maintaining the tension through to the very end. I enjoyed it despite wishing for the death of the nerd throughout the entire thing; also I learned something. It’s important to consider who you’re spending time with and whether you’d be okay trapped in a horror movie with them.

Seriously, this guy sucks

22. Encounters of the Spooky Kind

A kung fu horror comedy by Sammo Hung with the kind of fantastic and hilarious martial arts comedy action that is his hallmark. This movie is great!!! So much fun and completely ridiculous, down to the wizard battle at the end where Sammo Hung’s character is possessed by a series of of beings, giving him the opportunity to do some hilarious physical comedy while being a complete badass.

Doing the YMCA with the undead, just a typical Saturday night for our hero

Just one week left! What am I going to watch for these last several movies, I wonder… I guess you’ll just have to tune in next week to find out — or follow along on twitter with the hashtag #31screams!



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Game designer; sometimes I take a break from game design to talk about other stuff that matters to me.