Horror 365, Movie(s) 113: 5 Favorite Horror Movie Deaths

Well it’s a celebration of sorts here at Castle Blogferatu. Currently a thunderstorm rages outside. Nice to know that once again the skies weep for the day of my emergence. There’s a tattered banner drooping in the main hall, some poorly inflated black balloons, a homicidal clown, and even though it’s probably a lie, the castle’s deadly computer JanOS assures me there will be cake.

As a wee prezzie to myself, therefore, here’s a little life-celebrating list of 5 Of My Favorite Horror Movie Deaths. I’m surprised it’s taken me so long to get to a list like this one. I mean really. This entire blog could be just about my favorite horror movie deaths. I guess one might call that, uh, overkill. Yeah, I know. It’s a yuk tsunami up in here.

I’m purposely staying away from major scenes in big, well-known slasher and torture porn franchises and focusing on individually cool, quirky, outlandish demises from underrated or lesser known flicks. Fair warning, obviously this is rife with spoilers. Aaalllrighty let’s jump in.

#5 Dodgeball (Fear No Evil)

Andrew is, it turns out, the son of Lucifer and begins really coming into his demonic power whilst in high school. Sounds like a fun idea. Wow does it not go anywhere. Convoluted story, massive plot holes, two-dimensional heroine, fizzled out ending. Great soundtrack though. How often do The Cramps make it into a movie? But then–gym class. For being 54 seconds late, Andrew has to do push-ups while the class plays dodgeball. He seethes at this and, possibly by accident (it’s not quite clear), causes a ball to smash one of his peers into a wall and kill him. Easily the best scene in the movie, and possibly the only good scene.

#4 Roaches (“They’re Creeping Up On You,” Creepshow)

Few things make me physically squirm. A big ol’ heapin’ heppin’ of bugs will usually manage to do it. Not all bugs–ants, tarantulas, bees, wasps, scorpions, locusts, cicadas, praying mantisessesses, etc. Those are all fine. And before anyone comes at me, I know the difference between insects and arachnids. But centipedes (especially 6 inches or more), spindly-legged spiders, earwigs, roaches, no thank you. Especially *shudder* roaches. So yeah, even knowing how they did it, the final scene with all those creepy crawlies spewing out of E.G. Marshall…

#3 Frog Mask (The Abominable Dr. Phibes)

There are so many outlandish, over the top deaths in both Dr. Phibes movies that I could do a list just for them, so it’s difficult to pick just one. But if I have to narrow it down, I’ve gotta go with the frog mask. Elegant yet zen-like in its simplicity. Phibes puts the mask on one of his enemies during a costume ball. Its clasp is undoable and slowly constricts one notch at a time as the victim wanders around the party until he, y’know, croaks.

#2 Hang Glider (Massacre At Central High)

I can scarce overstate how the gleeful homicidal abandon of this movie makes it one of my all time favorites. Roger Ebert even liked it! What’s great about this particular execution is its total improbability. After a handful of high school thugs semi-accidentally crush his leg, David seeks revenge by orchestrating a series of unfortunate accidents of his own. One includes sabotaging a dude’s hang glider. But put that check book away; there’s more! It’s not enough that the sabotage should cause the lad to crash to his death. Oh no. Somehow this manages to happen at just the right moment to hit some power lines. There was just so much that had to line up just right for this.

And to nobody’s surprise, #1 Shovel (Psycho II)

I will mention this scene every chance I get. I can’t help it. This movie is so underrated, and this particular scene, *chef’s kiss* mwah. Norman has been cleared of all suspicion for a recent string of deaths, so he really is, it seems, rehabilitated. In a circuitous little plot twist, his actual alive and well for really reals mother (not the dead woman he kept in Psycho) is now sitting in his kitchen. The last thing he says to her is “You sure you won’t have a sandwich.” It’s soft-spoken, almost deadpan, followed by the greatest whunk of impact ever. The first time I saw this was on VHS, and I rewound it to that spot at least a dozen times. Cracks me slap up.

Horror 365, Movie(ish) 112: 50 Things I Hate About Going To The Movies

watersBefore I start, I have be honest (1) which is something I’m not typically good at. I totally stole this idea from Crackpot: The Obsessions Of John Waters. On page 24, you’ll find “Hatchet Piece (101 Things I Hate).” I’d like to say this was homage (2) to him, but as he said in This Filthy World, when Rugrats used his Odorama idea, they called it homage. “A check would’ve been homage” was his response. So this is an outright rip-off. I think he’d understand.

I’ve always loved going to the movies. Still do. But somehow it gets more complicated the older I get. There’s first the eternal problem of finding a movie at a time and place I actually want to see it (3), and there are certain lines I simply will not cross. The only thing I avoid like the plague even more than a movie’s opening night (4) is going on any Friday night (5). Crowds (6) are nerve-wracking, and long lines (7) give me moderate angina. Getting to the movies is a no-win situation. If it’s at a nearby mall (8), there’s the drive to the place (9) and parking (10) to deal with which means there’s either a nearly full parking garage (11) or no parking garage, thereby guaranteeing a downpour (12) will start the second I get out of the car. No matter. Once I cross the threshold into the tranquil sanctuary that is the cinema, all will be well, right? Oh don’t be naive. For one thing, I’m always compulsively early. For everything. It’s only with undue effort that I’ve managed to scale this back considerably. When I was a teenager, I’d sometimes get to the theater two hours before showtime and would still get completely stressed out (13) if there was traffic (14), construction (15), or just a slower than average driver (16) on my way there.

Being early doesn’t accomplish as much as you might think in terms of stress reduction. One problem with being compulsively early is the lobby itself. On one hand, most of the movies I go to will, by their very nature, preclude the dreaded presence of little kids (17). On the other hand, there are usually plenty of them running loose (18) and shrieking (19) all over the lobby. Then again, there was all that parental hue and cry (20) after people took their kids to see Deadpool despite the ad campaign warning against such stupidity. Really there’s no telling how much longer I will continue to be safe in the cheer and comfort of an R-rated horror flick. Another downside of being early only applies when I’m meeting up with someone. This is not a criticism of anyone who goes to movies with me. This character flaw is entirely mine, but any amount of time I spend waiting for my movie companion to show up (21) is psychological torture. Even if my movie companion shows up 30 seconds after I do, that 30 seconds plenty of time to render me an anxiety-riddled mess. After I look at my phone to see what time it is, roll my eyes, and exhale audibly, the inner monologue begins. It starts with, “Great. There won’t be anywhere decent to sit (22)” and immediately becomes a downward spiral of negative energy that ends with, “And I better not miss the fucking previews (23)!” Invariably all is well.

Right. So I’ve made it past the concession stand, a monumental act of white-knuckle willpower once I smell popcorn. Because my fucking cardiologist (24) has relegated me to involuntary veganism (25), I’m no longer able to eat movie theater popcorn (26). At over 1000 calories and over 40 grams of fat, the man has a point. “No matter what I do,” I tell myself, “I’ll still end up just as dead one day.” But another little voice, an annoying one (27), always pipes up, “Yeah, but it doesn’t have to be from a massive heart attack while you’re watching Krampus (28) at a cineplex or the god-awful final cut of Blade Runner (29) at an arthouse joint.” Soon it’s time to go find a seat, but not before a final compulsive trip to the bathroom (30). Don’t know why, but I can’t not do it.

There’s rarely anyone in the theater when I get there, so I can almost always sit exactly where I want: last row, dead center. People behind me (31) make me paranoid. Now all I have to do is hope it’s a sparse crowd so I don’t end up with anyone sitting within two seats of me (32) either, especially if that person has marinated in an egregious amount (meaning any amount) of perfume (33), cologne (34), or any amount of any iteration of Axe Body Spray (35). I’m generally misanthropic, so it astonishes me when someone walks into a nearly empty theater and sits in close proximity to the only other person in the place (36). It’s still early. If I’m at Naro Expanded Cinema, at least the music is good. If I’m at a multiplex, I get to watch their dumbass ads, National CineMedia’s FirstLook (37) being the most irritating.

Finally, the previews start. I know people who hate previews. Not me. And given the bent of my film tastes they sometimes turn out to be the best part. For the record, I’ve broken up with several girlfriends who made me miss the previews (38). To be fair, I’m not exactly a basket of kittens, so it was no great loss for any of them either, but I do have standards damn it! That said, when I saw Rogue One, I experienced something new: thematically organized previews (39). Seriously. All the previews were for stuff like Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2, Logan, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Transformers: The Last Knight (40), stuff like that. Don’t get me wrong. I can’t wait to see some of these, but at least throw me more of a horror movie bone than Tom Cruise in The Mummy fer fucks sakes.

It goes without saying that there’s a special circle in hell for people (41) who talk/make noise during the movies (42). That includes the previews. There’s a smaller, much more painful circle for people (43) who text at the movies (44). Surely the smallest, most excruciating circle of cinematic perdition has to be reserved for people (45) who try to record the movie on their phones (46). I’ve seen people doing this but never ratted anyone out for it but only because someone always beats me to it (47). Still, watching someone being led away for it is almost as gratifying as turning them in, so I’ll take what I can get. All else aside, once the movie starts, I should be fine barring any fuckwit who comes in late (48) or even worse comes in trying to find someone (49). If someone’s phone goes off (50), there’s a better than average chance I’ll start running my mouth which could conceivably lead to an assault charge and/or trip to the emergency room for one of us.

Either way, bring co-pay/bail money.

Horror 365, Movie 111: Venom

Whew. After The Bunny Game even the more, uh, worldly and jaded of us here at Castle Blogferatu felt the need for a bit of a palate cleanser. Something light and refreshing…

and Venomous.

In truth, I debated writing this one. I mean, for one thing, some people may not classify this as a horror movie. Sometimes I worry about that, but several good and dear friends of mine routinely point out that A) I worry too much about audience, B) it is my damn blog (which I get paid zero for writing), and C) anyone who claims to have the ultimate definition of the genre, well, we’ll just say the truth is not in them.

Also it’s a Marvel flick, and I’m ironically not all that into comic book movies. But it’s Venom. I’ve loved Venom since that day in 1984 when Peter Parker stumbled upon the wrong machine on Battleworld. True, Venom doesn’t follow this story arc, but the “Planet Of The Symbiotes” arc from the  Venom: Lethal Protector series. But enough of that. Let’s talk movie.

I should point out the fact that I’m not the biggest Tom Hardy fan (much to the dismay of my friend Angela over at The Late-Night Picture Show). He was fine in Fury Road, but I liked Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult more. On the other hand, I loved Hardy as both Krays in Legend. He played the roles well, and his look was positively eerie. Check him out, actual Ronnie Kray in black and white:

 

Venom got fairly mixed reviews three years ago, and I kinda wrote it off for a while. Then I saw a trailer somewhere between February and now, and it sparked something. Little bit of backstory, along with horror, I’m a big fan of violent, destructive, single protagonist vigilante justice. Batman, Josey Wales, Paul Kersey, Dirty Harry, Dexter, High Plains Drifter, you get the idea. Then I saw the clip where Venom monologues on the guy shaking down Mrs. Chen at her convenience store and asks “Do you feel me?”

I was smitten.

Further, I was deeply impressed that Hardy voiced Venom as well. Based on all Venom’s comic appearances that I’ve experienced, Hardy gives him the exact voice I would have imagined. I mean, look at that dialogue bubble. How the hell could it sound like anything else?

Plus he’s got some fantastic, Deadpool like lines, especially when he and Eddie argue in Eddie’s head. Now, I do love me some Deadpool, but to be fair Venom’s appearance predates Deadpool’s by a good few years. Plus plus, Reynolds gives Deadpool a fine air of mentally off-balance sarcasm while Hardy delivers even Venom’s outlandish one-liners with a gleefully mismatched matter-of-factness.

As I was saying, given some of the parameters of this movie, I wasn’t originally itchin’ to watch it, but that gave me the perfect perspective for going into the movie in the first place. Instead of setting the bar too high and thinking “Okay impress me,” I just didn’t even set a bar. Kinda like the first time I ever saw the 1977 Rankin/Bass Hobbit (y’know, the good one). I’d read it but nothing beyond it, so I wasn’t steeped in the lore.

In both cases I was surprised. I wasn’t at first. Before Eddie and Venom “team up,” things move just a little slow. The big motorcycle chase has some coolish moments, but this ain’t supposed to be Baby Driver, so it goes on a bit longer than it needs to. I like how Hardy handles Eddie Brock, but man I love the personality he gives Venom–even more so the interaction and arguing between the two:
Venom: “Parasite?!”
Eddie: “Yeah it’s a term of endearment, that’s all.”
Venom: “Apologize!”
Eddie: “No.”
Venom: “APOLOGIZE!!

And that kids is some primo shit right there. Most everything in this movie is super entertaining. Like Deadpool before it, Venom was fun, an absolute blast to watch. I’m officially calling it my current favorite sci-fi horror action comedy. True, I can’t think of anything else to put on that list right now, but surely there’s a sequel coming. And now, time for Tater Tots. And chocolate.


SKULLS- 9
BODIES- I’ve only watched once, so my own count isn’t official. From what I’ve looked up, I’ve seen it range from 51 to 99
For purchase (not rental) on Apple TV, Google Play, Prime, Vudu, YouTube