So I fucking did it: 31 days of (mostly) soft horror recommendations! I know this sort of thing is easier for some folks, but damn, I’m fucking exhausted.
As I’ve previously mentioned, my wife and I have a long-running tradition of just tucking in for Halloween, wrangling wings from BW3 a.k.a. Buffalo Wild Wings — sorry, not sorry as their spicy garlic wings are some of the best things on Earth — and eating candy and watching movies.
Beforehand I send her a list of film suggestions that encompass ‘classic’, ‘cult’ and ‘contemporary’ horror films and she chooses three from ‘em based on trailers and descriptions. (I do not want to be one of those asshole dudebros that force works onto others. Also, this year, just like with Horrorclature 2023, they were all cozy horror films.)
So here’s what we decided on this year. (These are just brief notes! I got other shit to do, y’all!)
This is the first Soviet horror film and it’s all spooky witchy folk horror goodness. Goddamn, the production design and casting here is perfect, especially during the three days the philosopher is stuck in a church with a witch. I still can’t believe that the Soviets went ~40 years without making a horror film.
THE PHANTOM OF PARADISE (1974)
This has been on my watchlist for a while, and we always love a campy musical, and this delivers in a very Brian De Palma way. If you are a film nerd, you know that De Palma is all about extolling works he loves, and this modern rock opera interpretation of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA delivers. (I’ll note: it predates Webber’s version by over a decade!) From his split-screens, to his hallmark adoration for Hitchcock, to his fondness of THE WHO’s rock operas and remarkable characters, this is quintessential De Palma and I love it.
Also, it features Jessica Harper, as in motherfucking SUSPIRA lead Jessica Harper. Also in SHOCK TREATMENT! What more could you ask for?
WEREWOLVES WITHIN (2021)
I rewatched this just a few weeks ago, but I was so stupidly excited to rewatch it again. This film is so, so, so much fun. It is the perfect amalgamation of cast and script and direction and camerawork. It is funny and witty and spooky and occasionally gory and a glorious ride of a film.
Due to scheduling matters, we ended up screening the above the weekend before Halloween, but decided to watch one more scary work on Halloween proper, which I already featured yesterday: MILLENNIUM’s The Curse of Frank Black. There’s no trailer or anything, so you’ll have to settle for my write-up: