30 Oct Halloween Time
Before we start, I know there’s a new version of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary arriving in spring of next year (the trailer has been running before Halloween screenings) and I just wanna say that if you are a fan of the novels, there is a thread between Pet Sematary and It. And if you don’t know about it…do some detective work!
But hey! Halloween is around the corner. So many great movies of course, but I was recently asked what sort of Halloween movie I would make, and having given it some thought, I think it would be a film based around the legend of Samhain. The original Halloween mythology is that it was the time of the year that the veil between the living and the dead was the thinnest, that the space between the living and spiritual world was the closest. And a lot of people thought that because of those things, the undead were entering our world much more profusely than usual. But aside from that, it was also tied into the fact that winter was coming. And 2-300 years ago, traditionally when winter came it signaled a lot death in terms of plants, trees and animals, you would have your winter slaughters to make sure you had enough food for the winter, so traditionally a lot of death came organically at that time. Going into every winter you never knew how it was going to be. Think about it, there was no weatherman or any of that! People were just hoping that there wasn’t a flood or blizzard or some other winter disaster. All of that has stayed with us as a civilization, it’s just morphed into something more contemporary.
I will always be attracted to the goth side at Halloween. I fall for the gothic setting because it is the traditional setting for horror, from Edgar Allen Poe to Lovecraft, and it just seems more “real” to me than modern horror, even though I definitely do like modern horror as well. It feels to me as though the current atmosphere this Halloween seems to include a heavy accent on post-apocalyptic thoughts and concerns. I like the genre overall, but there are just so many right now that I find myself gravitating towards things which veer away from post-apocalypse and into areas which are more original. One example is how we’ve seen an upswing in psychological horror films again, the whole thing of possession versus reality versus even schizophrenia, those movies that boil down to whether you’ve really seen reality or was it just your reality? Psycho was a good example of mental derangement, but really, you have to hand it to movies like Roman Polanski’s Repulsion for really hitting the mark on psychological horror. That film is great! It’s based on a woman’s mental breakdown, but really, a lot of slasher flicks carry the same idea. The protagonist has some sort of issue and mental breakdown, and as this manifests itself into some sort of slasher scenario. Polanski did another one called The Tenant, where the guy is basically a stalker, which makes it another precursor to slasher flicks, and so was Play Misty For Me. But Repulsion, like Psycho, were two of the first movies to deal with mental deterioration into wanton violence and destruction. In my opinion, without those movies, films like Halloween couldn’t really be done.
One of the most interesting movies I’ve seen recently –which ties perfectly in with our mental deterioration and wanton violence theme, is Mandy! It’s nuts! It’s less a horror movie than a revenge movie, like the way I Spit On Your Grave was. All those strange surrealistic characters enter the plot, and then you realize that the actual landscape of the film is slightly ‘off’ and different. It has a late ‘60s/early ‘70s feel to it, everything is in this vivid technicolor, some of the scenes look like they’re shot through actual colored lenses. By the end of the movie, you like everything you watched was shot in a different place at a different time, similar to our own reality but slightly different. Nicolas Cage is great! He is a great horror film actor, and he has proven how proficient he is when it comes to this genre. He’s a big horror movie fan –who collects posters- so he understands what it takes to put in a good melodramatic performance, so check it out!
I have to say, the movie that gets my top pick for your Halloween viewing is Hereditary. I won’t give too much away, but the plot is highly original and I love it. I can’t draw any comparisons subject wise, because it is basically about a family curse. House of Usher? That was a family curse movie I guess, but this has something very different. You think you know the protagonists but you really don’t, and Toni Collette does an amazing job in the movie playing the slightly unhinged Mom. When things start to happen, her facial reactions and body language are so convincing. So see it without a doubt.
As for where I’ll be this Halloween? Trick or treating with my kids like always! I usually like to dress up as a horror character, but this year, for some reason or another my kids wanted to be conceptual this Halloween and chose to make costumes of household products! So they will be garbage cans and I’m going to be a can-opener! Which reminds me, as I am out here on tour right now, I’d better get cracking making it because time is running out!
Until next time…and have a Happy Halloween!