Although “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” has gone down considerably well with audiences it might remain one of the most misunderstood movies of the year. The original books from Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell were compilations of urban legends, urban folklore, and original tales, the former of which had been shared for generations by many people. They began life as morality stories and then became campfire tales. Sure André Øvredal could have turned the books in to a normal anthology, but in the end he opts for something of more substance. “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” is about stories. The stories of the past. The stories we tell one another. The stories the characters tell each other to survive. The stories that can ultimately destroy us.
In a small, isolated town, a green glowing blob of sort attacks animals and humans alike, turning them into a mass of evil that swallows all in its path. Trying to survive this, a local young man, a visitor, and a young lady team up to try and outrun the take of over of this town during its yearly music festival.
I have to say that I hate that I didn’t like “Attack of the Demons.” Throughout its merciful seventy five minute run time I anxiously tried to love it, and wanted to recommend it thirty times over. But by the end, while I appreciated its approach and concept, it’s really just a dull demonic thriller in the end. There might be a new way here to tall a story, but it’s by no means a novel take on the premise of a demon apocalypse by Eric Power.
Jeremy Saulnier has managed to become one of the most original voices in indie cinema for the last eleven years, and “Murder Party” is an off beat debut that twists conventions left and right. Knowing Jeremy Saulnier as we do now, “Murder Party” is typical Saulnier, as he’s prone to trying to make a statement with every film he makes. Every time you think “Murder Party” is heading one way, Saulnier is a lot more content with delivering the unexpected, and I quite enjoyed what he had to offer here. Like most debuts, “Murder Party” is rough around the edges but it’s offbeat horror fun.
I really enjoy what Louie Cortes is going for with “Help Me.” It’s a very short but sweet horror treat that I loved for its ability to take a twist and make it so fascinating that you want to know more. When the short was finished I lingered for a while on the ending, and I was definitely interested in the ultimate concept that invoked “Invaders from Mars.”
Damien Leone has been pretty much grooming Art the Clown to become a cult slasher icon since his earlier films. He was even the somewhat paranormal narrator and ghoulish monster that ushered in various mediocre tales of horror for “All Hallow’s Eve” parts one and two. Apparently since the character has garnered some kind of momentum within the horror community, Art gets his spotlight as a bonafide slasher, who delights in viciously murdering people left and right on Halloween night. The results inspired a wholly ambivalent shrug from me overall, I’m sad to say.
Now with the easy accessibility of filmmaking technology and more filmmakers stepping forward, we’re getting more horror movies based around Halloween than ever. I’m just fine with that as Halloween was always a very under tapped mood back drop for such a long time in the horror genre. “10/31” is tailor made for Halloween and horror buffs looking for a good time with assorted tales of terror and black comedy. While it isn’t perfect, it’s a damn good treat nonetheless that I can’t wait to put alongside gems like “Tales of Halloween,” 2013’s “Mischief Night,” and “Trick r Treat.”
Just in time for Halloween! Vincent Price is in the spotlight of this week’s podcast episode of “The Online Movie Show,” and we celebrate his career as both a horror movie icon and a versatile star of stage and screen with film historian Troy Howarth.