Wednesday, November 13, 2013

31 Days of Horror Movies Wrap Up - Top 5 Movies of October 2013


Just like last year, I was a movie nerd cliche and watched at least 31 horror movies in the month of October. For the full list of movies I saw, check out my Letterboxd profile here. I highly encourage everyone to check these picks out so I put the Netflix/Hulu links after each entry.






 SANTO CONTRA LAS MOMIAS DE GUANAJUATO
One of my biggest insecurities as a movie nerd is my lack of knowledge of Mexican cinema (I hope it's clear that I'm Mexican). It just so happened that Hulu has a huge amount of Mexican movies, so I managed to watch three of the Santo movies during this month, and this one was my favorite. If I'll be honest, the biggest reason why I wanted to watch this movie is that it capitalizes on my home state of Guanajuato's rather odd feature where the soil naturally mummifies any corpses buried there. For those not in the know, Santo was a famous wrestler, whose real name is Rodolfo Guzm├ín Huerta. Given his folk hero-esque status, he would go on to do a series of action movies. It just so happens that he also did a series of movies with him fighting variations of the famous monsters as well. This one features an undead wrestler, Satan, who has come back from the dead to fight Santo, the descendant of the wrestler who defeated him in life. There's a mistaken identity plot, zombies, and amazing Mexican luchador fights. While not at all scary, it's an amazing fun time. There's also something insanely charming about a shirtless guy in a luchador mask just walking around and no one thinks it's weird. It's available on Hulu here.




THE VINEYARD
This was a really great treat to stumble on from Netflix. I'm not sure why it was on my queue/list, but the idea of an evil winemaker capturing women in order to take their blood so he could make a fountain of youth type of potion sounded nutty enough to check out. I can't necessarily say that this is a great movie. If anything, I have been comparing it to the likes of THE ROOM and MIAMI CONNECTION in that each of the three movie's "auteurs" seem to have no idea how people actually behave in real life. James Hong wrote, directed, and starred in this movie, and man is he generous to himself. Within the first scene, he is seen having sex with a much younger woman, and this trend doesn't let up throughout the movie. The movie is strangely stereotypical in its portrayal of Asian characters. There is a particularly awkward party scene that will make you cringe like the most uncomfortable Seinfled-esque moments. While it might sound like I'm complaining about it, I actually loved it for all of the reasons mentioned above. It's a very strangely made movie and in general it's a weird. It's available on Netflix here.





FUNNY GAMES
This isn't a particularly huge revelation or an unknown movie, but this was my first time watching Michael Haneke's FUNNY GAMES. After being completely enthralled with his 2012 nominated AMOUR, I wanted to see more of his back catalog knowing full well the director has been criticized of being "cold" and "calculating" in his direction. After watching this movie that he would later remake, I have to say that cold and calculating is an apt adjective for his style, and I absolutely loved it. This is a very sadistic home invasion movie with two young men terrorizing a family of three in the remote countryside. The movie has a weird tendency to break the fourth wall, and a frustrating tendency to "rewind" certain events, but it's very unique and sadistic movie. It's available on Netflix here.





THE WOLFMAN
The Alamo Drafthouse presented a Sunday afternoon series of the Universal monsters all throughout October, so of course I jumped at the chance to check them out. THE WOLFMAN stands out to me due to just how tragic this movie is. The main character, Larry Talbot, is a wealthy, but well-meaning guy just trying to uphold the Talbot family name. The first part of the movie does well enough to establish the cast all-around likable people, so when Larry is afflicted by the werewolf curse, it's all the more tragic to see not only him suffering but the woman that he loves/loves him, Gwen Conliffe, as well as his father. The ending was something I saw a mile away, but it never the less bummed me out. It's available on Netflix here.




THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN
This one I liked for just what a bizarre movie it was where a fictionalized Mary Shelley is sitting around a fancy fire with fancy friends, and they beg her to tell the "untold version" of her Frankenstein movie. Picking up directly right after the original FRANKENSTEIN, BRIDE shows us that the Monster did not die, and that he is now out for revenge on Dr. Frankenstein. For one, this movie does a tonal 180 degrees by having a goofier and more comedic tone than the original thanks to an assortment of background caricatures littering the movie. What's more interesting is seeing how Frankenstein is coerced into making yet another undead monster by a former professor of his. What's hilarious is that this professor is so obsessed with created a "bride" for his student's monster that he neglects the fact that he created miniature people! Also, the Monster gets more characterization which leads to some scenes. The ending of this movie, however, happened so fast I didn't even know what had transpired. Still, as a sequel, it's interesting to see how insanely different two movies can be. It's available on Netflix here.


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