OCTOBER 10th - CREEPSHOW is total garbage. I gather it's actually well-regarded by horror fans, but as I have mentioned on many occasions, I am not a horror fan, and as time goes on and I discover more about the joys of living with previously-undiagnosed neurodivergence, I understand that people of my disposition generally tend not to get along with the genre, which is something I probably could have done with knowing well before now. Anyhoo, this is an anthology by the late George Romero, who even I like because of that time he just flat-out said he never put any social commentary into Day Of The Dead and people had just read what they wanted into it over the years, which is probably biting the hand that feeds you - there's a zombie joke in there somewhere - but it's still treated as some kind of anti-capitalist cinematic masterwork anyway, even though George kept trying to make people see that he just wanted to make blood-spattered nonsense in peace and not have smelly nerds asking him about capitalism at DISMEMBERFEST '97 when he's just there as a thank-you to the legions of 13 year olds who kept him in business. Bless him, I do hope he's not in Hell.
I didn't really like this anthology thing he did, though. Some nice creature effects, but to be honest, I'm on the side of the dad who throws the comic book in the trash at the start of the movie, as if this was the quality of stories in that comic, he's doing his kid a favor.
OCTOBER 11th - OLD is M Night Shama Lama Ding Dong's latest film, and it's... kinda okay? I gather there were lots of objections to it at the time of release and it certainly isn't perfect, but I enjoyed it as a Twilight Zone style romp, possibly because I don't remember his other films too much, so don't have that lingering disappointment that many other critics of his work seem to use as a lens through which to view everything he does. I recall his tv thing with Matt Dillon or whoever it was - I am not kidding when I say I can't remember his stuff - was entertaining, especially when it throws in curveballs like killing off the protagonists halfway through a season or spelling out its central mystery halfway through the first season rather than teasing it out forever, but apart from that, I'm drawing a blank. I think I liked The Village, and I can remember Last Airbender being pretty poor, even for a kung-fu movie - and I like kung-fu movies.
Anyway, back to OLD, which I thought was alright. Some decent gross-out moments, and I'm willing to overlook problematic depictions of mental illness given the latter reveal of the film - which isn't great, but is at least self-contained and doesn't require constant unpacking and nitpicking long after the credits have rolled. I've seen worse. The recent Twilight Zone reboot, for example.
OCTOBER 12th - PANIC, an 8-part teen drama - so you know this day was well spent - on Amazon Prime about a motley crew of very horny small town "high school students" who are clearly in their 20s and 30s competing against each other in an illegal and high-stakes version of Truth Or Dare in which participants face individually-tailored scenarios meant to frighten them into dropping out of the game - so kind of like a backyard version of Fear Factor.
It's okay, I guess. No big shakes, but for a show whose narrative arcs hinge on the negatives of small town wealth inequality, there's surprisingly little in the way of seeing how this manifests for the various participants in the titular game, so it's unclear what their stakes actually are. It does that usual teen drama thing where we're told that poverty has impacted a character, but we don't really see how it does so, it's just implied that they don't have access to some of the benefits of a capitalist society, even though when the plot demands it, a top of the range smartphone just drops out of the sky for them, or when they're painted into the plot corner of being homeless after one of the many soap opera threads padding out the running time, a character lets them move into their spare room on a massive farm, or when someone needs hospital treatment, they just get it, which is something that doesn't even happen now in the UK where healthcare is free, let alone a dystopian third world shithole like America. The obvious joke here is "I expected a more substantial critique of capitalism from Amazon", but apparently they're killing that over on The Boys, so... eh. What do I know.
Diverting enough, and not so long it outstays its welcome, but it felt like some of the "stunning plot reveals" could have had a bit more thought put into them, as there's at least one revelation that happens because a character finds a random bit of paper with a criminal mastermind's name on it just laying around.
OCTOBER 13th - ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER - is what I imagine could happen if someone gave the Asylum enough money or creative talent to actually make good on one of the shit-meets-wall pitches for their awful films instead of just knocking something out as quickly as they can with whatever ex-wrestler really needs a paycheck that week. It's actually pretty entertaining, even if it does that usual "this ain't your granny's vampires!" thing where it cherry-picks from the various versions of vampire lore which rules are or aren't applicable to its particular strain of bloodsucker, but that just helps underscore the feeling that what you're watching is a kind of live-action superhero anime, and that your expectations regarding acting and dialogue quality should be adjusted downwards accordingly. Fun while it lasted.
OCTOBER 14th - HALLOWEEN ENDS is another garbage sequel to another garbage reboot of a garbage string of sequels to an effective but bafflingly-influential pair of slasher movies from the late 1970s. I hadn't seen any of the Halloween movies until recently, but I had seen people say with a straight face that the Rob Zombie reboot and its sequel weren't the worst in the series, and then I saw those movies and thought "I never need to see any more Halloween movies if these are considered "not the worst" by the series' own fans" but I did anyway and honestly, I now couldn't name the worst Halloween movie if you asked me to, because at some point they all blur together into a sludge and even the notorious Halloween 3 isn't that bad anymore because at least it tried. I liked that Michael Myers was just a sad old man living in a hobbit hole, with barely any murder left in him, but even that gets abandoned rapidly in the final reel as he just becomes a supernatural killing monster again.
Anyway, this sucked. There were themes and visual callbacks in the film that illustrate there was a lot of talent and creative thought involved in the production, but that just means this movie is interesting as well as terrible.
OCTOBER 15th - VAMPIRE ACADEMY is yet another Superhero Hogwarts teen drama, this time about a school for Nosferatus instead of whatever the last bunch of these things have been about - magic or witches, usually. I dunno. I am happy to say that Vampire Academy is at least a good addition to this crowded field, but sadly that doesn't mean it is true.
Vampire Academy is terrible, terrible television, and if you told me someone made it for a bet after being told that there is no such thing as a show so bad that someone won't at least watch it ironically, I would believe you. It starts - as all of these YA shows do - with breathy voicovers infodumping, and it doesn't get any more original from there. It's an "apart from that, how was the play, Mrs Lincoln?" kind of deal, as the show is good apart from the acting, the script, the effects, the worldbuilding, the plot, and the central premise - fix all of those, and you might at least have had something that was merely tosh. As it is, though? Unwatchable.
OCTOBER 16th - HELLRAISER (2022) is the FLIPPING HECK eleventh entry in the increasingly-ropey series based on Clive Barker's short story/novella The Hellbound Heart, and while I liked that first and second movie, I feel that if anything brought forth from the mind of Barker onto the big screen should have spawned endless sequels of diminishing returns, it should have been NIGHTBREED. This franchise? I am not so keen, to be honest, but a reboot might invigorate things with fresh perspective on the concepts.
Except not so much. I did like the conceit of the main character turning down their heart's desire purely because they've seen enough Twilight Zone episodes to know that if someone offering to fix it so you "never feel pain again" also happens to be an avatar of an eldritch abomination made of clockwork parts and rotting flesh, they may have a different interpretation of that seemingly straightforward brief than you - someone who prefers their skin attached to their body - would, but otherwise we're in familiar Hellraiser territory: someone opens the box, the Cenobites come, people get torn apart with rusty chains arrgh arrgh my eyes please don't take my eyes arrgh my eyes they've taken my eyes arrgh god help me I can still see arrgh, then someone closes or destroys the box, the end, "or is it?", the end. It's well-made if nothing else, and while that alone sets it apart from all the films in the series that came after Hellraiser 3, it's otherwise by-the-numbers in terms of plot, and the whole thing is pretty much just cruising on brand recognition. Given cinema has entered the age of the Franchise, I suppose that will be enough to bring it success.
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