Halloween if you couldn't tell by my largely ghoulish and dour output so far, is my favorite holiday of the year. It is the season for me to discover films both old and new and maybe even write about them a little. So for today and today alone I'll break a personal rule of mine and make a list of my favorites of this season and some of my least favorites as well. HAPPY HALLOWEEN YA NERDS!!!!
Titane is the best film I've watched this year and I don't say that lightly, especially when one of those films is the recently reviewed "Devils" (read it). A story about transitions, much like her 2016 film "Raw' which focused on the transition to womanhood, Titane focus not only the transition from womanhood to motherhood but the transition into old age. Julia Ducournau is one of the best directors in film today not just horror and I look forward to whatever she does next. Titane takes many of the familiar elements of past horror movies and uses them to create an original narrative that questions what is masculinity, the family dynamic and sells the horror of an unwanted pregnancy. This was the first film I saw in theaters in over two years and seeing the confusion on the faces of the group seated in front of me was more than worth the price of admission. It's available to rent now so go out and watch it and yes I will give it a full review in the future!
I was introduced to Angel through schlockmaster and drive in enthusiast Joe Bob Briggs' Halloween special. I didn't expect to like it, the opening of the film made it feel like it was just another run of the mill exploitation movie, however as the film progressed what I saw was not exploitation at all but one of the most genuine and heart felt looks at victims of violence, marginalized people and a performance by the late Dick Shawn that should have netted him an award. This isn't to say it's not a fun movie, it is, but as much as I hate the review trope of "X film transcends Y genre" Angel far surpasses the genre of exploitation and is more than worth a look. It's available to watch on Tubi and Shudder so go out and give it a look!
What can I say about Audition that hasn't already been said about a thousand or so times? It's deranged, it's thought provoking, it's one of the best films I've ever seen. Takashi Miike has a cinematic lens like no other, sophistry be damned this a great film that's available on a variety of platforms, go take a look!
4. The Halloween Tree:
The most heartwarming entry on our list, The Halloween Tree has all the elements of an instant classic! Ray Bradbury's fantastic narration, Leonard Nimoy's Mr. Moundshroud, a trip through Halloweens of past and present Halloween Tree is a tale of friendship that celebrates the history of the Holiday and its many cultural origins. Many who know me have more than likely had to hear about my love of this film, it's one of the last hurrahs from the legendary Hanna-Barbera studio and one that sadly has not been shown the love it deserves in recent years, I would love to see it be given a proper home release with production interviews and the like or perhaps even a restoration. In the meantime it can be viewed via Tubi. "The pumpkins on the tree were not mere pumpkins. Each had a face sliced in it, each face was different. Every nose was a weirder nose, every mouth smiled hideously in some new way. A thousand grimaces and two times a thousand pairs of fresh cut eyes. Each blink held the remnant holiday spirit of years gone by."
Halloween Playcates sucked, somehow I enjoyed it more than the previous entry but by and large this was a tepid sequel to a tepid sequel. Wanna argue the kills are creative fine, wanna argue that it's not as bad as other entries in the series fine, but don't you dare try and argue this is a good film. Halloween Kills doesn't suck because it tainted the reputation of a stellar franchise, truth be told the Halloween franchise is anything but. It doesn't suck because the main characters are beyond bland and un-relateable, it sucks because it goes out of its way to be as inoffensive as humanly possible whilst saying "hey remember that thing from the first film.......here........uh you like Halloween 3 here's the masks again........ uh remember the sheriff and the nurse from the first film, they're too! We're fans you guys!" I would also be remiss if I didn't bring up a certain group of elitist horror fans who seemed to venture forward with this asinine narrative that the same people who hate Halloween Kills are the ones who buy 4k restorations of C & D movies from the likes of Vinegar Syndrome and can't let go of the past not realizing that the same demographic who purchase those titles are the same people who made Halloween Kills!!! If enjoying crap prevented us from watching highbrow art I sure as heck wouldn't have recommended a French horror film which was given the prestigious Palm D'or, nor would I have just reviewed a historical drama about the burning of an innocent man! If your argument is our standards are too high please scroll up and see my choice "Angel" realize that it was the choice of David Gordon Green to be featured "Joe Bob's Drive In" then shut up, take your didactic world view with you and stay far away from film criticism! We'll all be better for it.
Teeth was certainly a movie, a movie with deep meanings even. Whether or not that makes it good is up to you, can't say I was bored watching it, but I don't think I'll be watching this one again anytime soon. It was cool to see the kid from nip/tuck, I'll say that.
3. Muppets Haunted Mansion:
If you wanna be really depressed the reboot of the Haunted Mansion spent a decade in development hell and was even a Guillermo Del Toro production before devolving into a modern Muppets special. Muppets Haunted Mansion was 52 minutes long enjoyable but yet mostly forgettable. If I could compare the modern Muppets to something it would either be WWE or The Simpsons, things that peaked long ago but are caught between hanging onto the past and trying to seem relevant to current times while really being of neither. You could do far worse but do yourself a favor and just watch "The Great Muppet Caper" instead.
4. Repo: The Genetic Opera:
"Zydrate comes in a little glass vial A little glass vial? A little glass vial and the little glass vial goes into the gun like a battery!" Now that that's stuck in your head I'll just say Repo has so much edge that I got cut a third of the way through and am still trying to clean up all the blood. This may actually be a guilty pleasure going forward, but in context to the rest of what I watched during the season it's definitely a lowlight. To put it in sports terms it's the infamous butt fumble, so embarrassing you can't help but to keep watching!
Well hope you all had a happy and relatively safe Halloween! My next review is gonna be an early Christmas review so until next time BAH HUM BUG!