The Best Movie Critic + review

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Halloween Movie Fest 2010

Justin here with my thoughts and reflections about our second annual Halloween Movie Fest.

Bride of Frankenstein

Shockingly this was only the second Universal Monster Movie that I've seen. The other one was Robert Browning's Dracula which I didn't like at all. Luckily Bride of Frankenstein was awesome and weird. The homosexual subtext throughout the movie was really interesting and played well to the super literate crowd that gathered. This is a movie that has aged very well compared to a lot of its peers. The pace is brisk, there's plenty of action, and all the actors are fantastic. Colin Clive's Frankenstein and Ernest Thesiger's Dr. Pretorius are diabolically hilarious and Karloff's monster is as touching and funny as it is menacing. Bride of Frankenstein was a joy to watch.

The Omen

I've developed a really annoying habit lately that I've been falling asleep during movies. This is something that hasn't ever really happened to me until this year. Two or three weeks ago I sat down to watch The Omen and I literally made it within 10 minutes of the end before I fell asleep and couldn't go any further. Luckily it was Eric's pick and I got to see it all this time. This is a really great movie all around. Richard Donner is one of my favorite directors because he knows how to efficiently tell a story visually, what elements can be deleted, and most importantly how to stay out of the way. The Omen is a wicked little story about a well to do ambassador who discovers he is raising the spawn of Satan. It's a great movie, Gregory Peck is perfectly cast as the ambassador and the boy who plays Damien is superb. The last 10 minutes were totally awesome too.

The Gate

This was a weird one for me, because I'd seen it before but didn't really remember it. The first half came back to me pretty vividly, but I couldn't remember anything past the second half. I'm not sure what that was due to... This movie though is really great. It's full of the kind of lore that suburban kids concern themselves with, metal albums, second hand witchcraft and Estes rockets. The star of the show though is the awesome practical effects the movie employs. The satanic minions are the creepy product of rubber suits, forced perspective, stop motion and other tricks. Side note: I want to give props to Luke who made a dish of Seitan Mignon as a pun from those minions, it was delicious. Keith attended and said that a remake of The Gate is coming out. There is no way that the slick computer effects that it will use will come close to equaling what these filmmakers were able to pull off in 1987 with some latex, some camera tricks and a little ingenuity.

Vampire's Kiss

This was my selection. I don't really like most vampire movies. Vampire's are so played out that it's even a cliche to point that out. There are 3 vampire movies that I love: Lost Boys, Near Dark, and Vampire's Kiss. In Kiss, Nicholas Cage plays a literary executive who might be turning into a Vampire. Honestly I don't want to say too much about it, because if you're a regular reader of TMA, you are going to love this movie. The less you know about it going in, the more you'll like it. It went over really really well at the fest.

The Manitou

Miranda's pick was going to be The Manitou. Unfortunately the disc we got from Netflix was FUBAR and wouldn't play. This movie is coming to Watch Instantly soon and it's fantastic. It star's Tony Curtis as a quack tarot card reader who gets involved trying to help a young woman with a tumor on the back of her neck. The catch is that the tumor is the rebirth of an evil Native American shaman. From there it gets weirder...

The Wicker Man

Miranda selected The Wicker Man as an alternate pick. A quick survey showed that most of the people present hadn't seen it. It was about a perfect screening though. Those collected giggled in the right parts and were quiet and at the right parts too. I just wrote about this... here's the link to some more of my thoughts about The Wicker Man

The Return of the Living Dead

Ben closed Halloween Movie fest '10 out with The Return of the Living Dead. I thought that I had seen this, but what I had really seen was The Return of the Living Dead 2, which I didn't really like at all. This on the other hand was fantastic. Dan O'Bannon's script balances some genuine uneasiness with some laughs. The punks were fun to watch and the zombies were very menacing. Making it so that damaging the brain or even decapitation is not enough to kill them is way more effective than making them fast. There's one zombie in the medical ware house that is covered in oil or something that is really freaking because how he moves is so unnatural. He's also a practical effect. I think having the thing actually be in the same physical space as the actors are makes their acting much more convincing.

Horror Movie Fest '10 was an awesome time. The only thing better than watching a bunch of great movies is watching them with great friends too. Thanks to everyone who came, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

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