Cinema, Month of Madness

On With The Scary

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it?

-Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables

Well, who can be low for long, huh? It’s October! You know what that means…it’s time for my

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Woo!
So, the rules:

This is how it worked last year:

  • I must watch one film every day. A day without a horror film will effectively end the experiment.
  • The film must be well within the “horror” genre – no mystery, no suspense, no chicks in prison*. “Thrillers” are marginally acceptable, but must have a body count of at least two.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 films are acceptable, but again, the film must fall within the horror genre. Just having Mike/Joel and the Bots along does not automatically qualify a film. The same goes for other hosted shows, like Svengoolie, Commander USA and The WOW Monster Show.
  • I must write a capsule review for each film and post it here. I will even use a silly rating system.
  • A film started before midnight but ending after the calendar has turned to the next day counts for the day on which the film started. That’s fair, isn’t it?
  • Watching a film PornStyle™ – that is to say fast forwarding through the slow stuff to get to the good bits – is acceptable IF I have seen the film before in its entirety, at regular speed. However, this can only be used three times during the month.
  • No repeating a film during the month. Unless I absolutely have to.

But honestly, I’m not sure I can hold myself to them. At least not until we return from Japan, around the fifteenth. I mean, I’m going to be seeing things I’ve dreamed of for most of my life, and I can’t really rush back to my hotel to watch a movie each night. But I promise to try and watch a movie or two while I’m there. Maybe even in Japanese. Wouldn’t it be really, really cool if some channel just happened to be showing Tetsuo: The Iron Man?

I did, however, start the month off right. Last night I settled into bed with my codeine and Hammer Studio’s Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1973), a really solid production and the last of Hammer’s Frankenstein flicks. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, actually. Peter Cushing puts in an incredible performance, as usual, as the mad doctor F., and makes you go right along with his plan to experiment on the sad denizens of an asylum/prison, twisted sense of ethics or no, because how could you not? It’s Peter Cushing and there’s just no arguing with his methodical passion. Even if he’s wearing a bad wig here that he purportedly said made him look like Helen Hayes.

But Peter wasn’t alone here. The entire supporting cast was excellent from Shane Briant as the handsome, young psychopath surgeon to creepy John Stratton as the asylum director. Madeline Smith is a vision and lives up to her nickname as the mute “Angel,” but my favorite was Bernard Lee in a small but heartbreaking role as a doomed sculptor. Add to these choice performances some really icky gore, a tacky yet affecting monster, and an excellent score and you have one fine movie, indeed. Happy October!