Ryan and Andy Present: The Halloween Overachievers’ 24 Hour Horror Movie Marathon

10/29/2015

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So maybe you’re thinking, “Gee, Ryan, it’s the last week of October. I feel like I should do something vaguely Halloween themed. Do you have any reasonable suggestions?”

How about a 24 hour horror movie marathon?

“No, I mean like maybe some fun event I could attend? Like a bonfire or a party or something.”

Or a 24 hour horror movie marathon!

“I’m sorry. That just doesn’t sound like my idea of a good time. Don’t you know of any local—“

I’m going to stop you there. I don’t have any insider scoops. I’m not the person to ask about activities that one might vaguely call people-centric. However, what I don’t know about people, I make up for with my knowledge of horror movies. That seems like a fair tradeoff, right?

So this Halloween, if you have nowhere to go and nothing to do, you have one of two options: you can either  mope about all those social endorphins you’re not releasing, or you can embrace the true spirit of the season and pop yourself down in a dark room for a whole day’s worth of ceremonial confrontations with death.

If the idea of a 24 hour horror marathon seems quixotic, then at least I’ve recruited the ideal Sancho Panza. Andy Johnston is a fellow writer and horror film lover. His latest film, “Sam vs. The Giant House Centipede” just screened in the Minneapolis 48 Hour Horror Film Project. They took fourth place and also won for Best Kill and Best Special Effects.

So Andy, we’re programming the perfect theoretical horror marathon. I’ll let you fire the first shot. How do you kick off this monstrosity?

6:00 PM
Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931)

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Andy: I know, I know.  You’re thinking “holy shit that’s an old movie, no way is it scary!”.  Or, if you’re one of those nerdy film nerds you’re thinking “couldn’t we watch Bride of Frankenstein instead?!”.  Either way, you’d be justified.  But look, this is a horror marathon. A 24 hour horror marathon.  The hope here is you learn something, or at least gain a better understanding of the scope of horror- and the best way to do it is to start with the granddaddy of them all.

Frankenstein matters for three reasons- the character of Frankenstein (both man and his monster), Boris Karloff, and James Whale.

Frankenstein the man is portrayed by Colin Clive, whose presence walks a tightrope between manic malevolence and earnest idealism.  It’s easy to forget Clive’s enigmatic performance in the shadow of the career-maker of Karloff’s monstrous creation, but it’s important to note that for the first act of the film, it is Clive’s Frankenstein that must arrest our attention- and he does so in such a way as to set the standard for every mad scientist to follow, his fierce eyes, enraptured voice, white smock and archaic laboratory earning the right to become cliche years later.

And so too does Karloff’s monster set the stage for numerous imitations.  To understand just what makes his lumbering, brutish creation so right requires understanding just why it could go so wrong.  Never again would a monster, be it Freddy or Jason or Michael or the Alien, be able to create a conflicting sense of sympathy and revulsion.  Hell, of all these “shapes”, as they are often called, not one is asked to emote.  We are not conflicted about these creatures- they must be destroyed.  But what makes Karloff’s performance extraordinary is that he doesn’t just accomplish this, but he sets the effing standard for it.

Finally, there’s James Whale, who is an unfortunate near afterthought in this conversation.  Whale was a genius in his own right, and ought to be considered a father of horror cinema (or perhaps cinema as we know it today- after all, the man did direct Showboat).  His treatment of Frankenstein and its descendent, Bride, not to mention the Invisible Man, could well have been a going through the motions (*cough Dracula cough*), but instead were landmarks of cinema, each endowed with a sense of sadness and weighty meditation.  It could have been enough in the 30s to just say “well, we put Frank on the screen first”.  But Whale had shit on his mind, and it started here with Frankenstein.

Not convinced? Just watch up until the infamous “it’s alive” line.  You’ve heard the line before, and no doubt have endowed it with a sense of how you think it must sound- now consider how it sounds in the film- and how much better it sounds.  That’s Whale’s touch.  That’s why this film comes first.

7:10 PM
Dark Star (John Carpenter, 1974)

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Ryan: I’m glad you opened with that one Andy, because it ensures that we will please very few people with our opening two picks. I’ve heard it said that for a horror movie to work, the audience has to believe the director is a psychopath. We have to believe that they’re really willing to kill that baby that they’re sticking in harm’s way, on camera, in the most graphic way possible. Otherwise we won’t worry about it.

Well the closest I’m willing to come to proving my baby killing credentials is opening a horror marathon with Dark Star. On paper it’s at least as influential as your pick. A collaboration between John Carpenter and Dan O’Bannon (who wrote Alien and directed Return of the Living Dead), this film is basically a first draft for Alien, The Thing, and all modern horror in general.

In practice the movie is a glorious, glorious troll. The closest it comes to genuine horror is a sentient beach ball. The climax involves an astronaut engaged in a philosophical battle with a bomb. If this film is related to Alien, it’s as its no account, smirking, jobless cousin.

But I love it anyway. And now I think the audience is sufficiently frightened of what we’ll choose next.

9:35 PM
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Weine, 1920)

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Andy: I honestly juggled between this and The Hands of Orlac.  Both share the talents of Robert Wiene and Conrad Veidt, but frankly, the vision of Cabinet is just so terrifyingly unique that to choose Hands would be damningly contrarian.

There’s no horror film I can think of before or after that is as visually distinct as Cabinet.  No film that establishes mood so keenly.  The premise is a simple one- a man tells a story to his acquaintance of a deadly somnambulist and its keeper, one Dr. Caligari.  To tell you any more would possibly break the story- let’s just say that this film writes the book on the visualization of dream logic and flashback storytelling.  From the country fair to the sanitarium to Caligari’s office itself, every setting has become engrained in my mind first viewing of the film several years ago, and even with subsequent viewings I am shocked by the visual inventiveness and beauty accomplished by the piece’s sets.

The actors themselves portray the austere European story with a haunting seriousness.  Most notable is the initial reveal of Veidt’s somnambulist, who might be one of the most unnerving horror characters of all time.  Every actor in this film carries a “thousand yard stare”, but perhaps the most unnerving anticipation of this film is just what we might find when the somnambulist himself deigns to plague us with his own.

Cabinet holds a special place in my heart because it was the first silent film I ever found myself engrossed in.  It’s one of those special pieces of art that is accessible both to newcomers and old critics of the medium.  And from a horror perspective- it saves the best, most devastating scare for last.

10:45
[REC] (Jaume Balaguero/Paco Plaza, 2007)

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Ryan: Cabinet holds a special place in my heart as well. I love the tradition of local bands writing scores for it. I will sit down and watch it as often as bands named something like Aftershave Brunch Commandos can pump out new theremin music. That’s a challenge.

Having said that, enough with the damn old movies! Let’s scare these poor people!

[REC] is my go-to movie when I don’t want to sleep well. Take a bunch of people. Lock em in a building. Start turning them into zombies. I’m on the fence about found footage most of the time, but here it serves a unique (possibly accidental?) purpose. With Blair Witch (which I also love) the handheld camera works to pull us closer into the action. We empathize with whoever is playing cinematographer. The artlessness of the camerawork makes us feel more palpably in danger.

With [REC] the opposite is true. We never once see the cameraman. He’s not really a character in the story. He kind of floats at a distance, never affected by the action. Meanwhile all the actual characters are beset by this massive, utterly justified persecution complex. The government is out to get them. The church is burying secrets about demon possession. The building they are in is full of secret passages and hidden laboratories. Their allies could turn on them at any moment. Basically take every single thing that gets the subconscious all worked up, this movie cranks it to 11.

Freud said imagination was the release of tension in the psyche. I’d be curious to see a study on how the structure and style of a horror film is more or less satisfying when it imitates the experience of dreaming (right down to the distant, observational perspective that never cuts away). For me, the effect is a nightmare I could watch a hundred times and never grow bored with.

And now, Andy, with that 1:20 runtime I’ve set the midnight movie for you to spike.

12:05 AM
The Blob (Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr., 1958)

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Andy: Ah hell yes, it’s midnight.  What better way to celebrate the witching hour than with the best absurdist monster film of all time?  Personally, I feel that midnight is reserved for films such as these- silly and yet altogether terrifying displays of practical ingenuity such as The Blob.

The Blob is great, and not just because of Steve McQueen’s portrayal as the world’s oldest teenager.  The Blob is great because it preys upon a very simple visceral fear- its name is is the beginning and the end of what it is.  It is a giant, all consuming creature that consumes all it touches.  You can’t kill it.  You can’t even slow it down.  With every kill it becomes larger and larger, and every kill is slow, painful and horrible.

In so many ways, from the film’s color choices to the theme song itself, the film is essentially childlike- a five year old could watch this film and grasp the very palpable extent to which this film’s premise could lead- what if the blob never stops growing?

Of course, big government steps in to lend a helping hand, and you can judge for yourself just how that goes.  That said, of all the midnight creature features- this is the best, and a damn fine filler for our midnight slot.

1:35 AM
Pulse (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2001)

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Ryan: I don’t know about you, but I’m always most vulnerable at 2 in the morning. That’s when the inhibitions come down (even sober) and the emotions of an especially melodramatic eight year old rise to the surface. This is when I catch myself getting weepy about old pets and Star Wars action figures lost during moves when I was seven. If I have any pending crushes, this is when my phone has to get turned off and ideally handed to a friend for safekeeping. All the letters I never send are written now.

Pulse exists for just such a time.

Kiyoshi Kurosawa is like the Japanese Guillermo Del Toro; great at channeling deep sincerity, especially in the context of horror. This story about ghosts who get into the internet and cause everyone to commit suicide is my favorite of his films, boasting (among other virtues) the best blend of gruesome murders and weepy pop ballads in contemporary film. At first it functions like a traditional horror film, with teenagers researching the mysterious circumstances around their friend’s suicide. Then it veers into apocalyptic territory that’s as unexpected as it is fascinating.

So let the tears roll over the goose bumps and connect with the totality of the blubbering, shivering hot mess that is your repressed emotional self.

3:35 AM
Seconds (John Frankenheimer, 1966)

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Andy: Well, since you’re already a blubbering mess from the last film, why not up the ante?  At 3:30 AM you’re starting to grow delirious from lack of sleep.  When I worked the graveyard shift, 3:30 marked the point when I could be certain that no one but the insane would be troubling me at the hotel desk, so I always considered that stretch from 3:30-5:00 to be the loneliest of the night.  So Frankenheimer’s lesser known “sci-fi horror” feels perfect.

Purists might argue this a mere suspense film, but after a couple of group viewings I am convinced that this is simply untrue.  Frankenheimer’s gut wrenching tale of a man who trades in his body for a “younger model” is one that appeals to all the sensibilities we find often engage in horror.  It visits a scenario we’ve all considered in the early hours of the morning- what if we could have a fresh start?- and the subsequent question- what would that cost? (The answer: oh god, what a cost there is…)

Frankenheimer’s shooting style is perfectly suited for such an offbeat story, placing us squarely in the shoes of Rock Hudson’s Arthur Hamilton, later to become Antiochus Wilson.  There’s a sense of paranoia and a whirling kinetic motion in his follow shots and POV’s.  The script establishes a tone we hardly trust, lending the film a fabric of nightmarish qualities.  Every performance is portrayed with a sidelong glance; not a single character can be trusted, and they all seem to know just a little more than poor Rock Hudson.

For you nerdy film folks out there- imagine if Ingmar Bergman and Rod Serling got together to do a feature- and you have Seconds.  A harsh, unforgiving film that captures the imagination and just won’t. Let. Go.

Come for Rock Hudson’s fine performance, stay for the greatest Murray Hamilton scene ever filmed.  Don’t expect a happy ending.

5:15
I Walked With a Zombie (Jaques Tourneur, 1943)

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Ryan: No horror marathon is complete without Jaques Tourneur. In this writer’s humble opinion, Jaques Tourneur is the greatest horror director who ever lived.

Let me qualify that statement a bit. I realize that for some genre purists horror did not exist before 1960. In some respects this is true. You can argue His Girl Friday is funnier than Trainwreck, but it’s hard to argue that even great films like Nosferatu are as scary as the current crop of horror. That’s a result of the increased sophistication of film language, the advances in technology, and the desensitizing of audiences (arguably the first horror film involved a train driving by the camera. You’ll notice we don’t dive out of the way anymore when we watch it in Intro to Film Classes).

One filmmaker who never fails to actually, genuinely scare me by a modern standard is Tourneur. Even his minor films like The Leopard Man and Night of the Demon have moments that stack of for sheer terror with anything released in the last forty years. And Zombie is his masterpiece; a movie so stylish and unique it would be regarded as an unsung artistic triumph if it weren’t released by a B movie unit.

Instead of going with straight up suspense and shock horror, Tourneur builds a hypnotic rhythm in his caribbean setting with meticulous camerawork and steady voodoo drumbeats that lure the audience in like prey. The film is also notable for its racial politics which, while not exactly modern, acknowledge the evils of slavery and the lingering effects of ancient wrongs with far more insight than the typically whitewashed studio faire everywhere else.

But the real achievement here is atmospheric. This movie scares, it disturbs, and it lingers, and it does so in ways that no movie I’ve seen before or since has achieved. It does so in ways that, if I saw a movie do that in a theater tomorrow, I would still be very impressed.

6:25
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegal, 1956)

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Andy: No journey through the classics would be complete without the American parable of invaders from outerspace replacing nice Mrs. Jones down the street with someone who is “a bit off”.

The film, which takes place over the course of a mere day or so, proceeds at a breakneck speed.  We follow a small town doctor as he discovers that his friends and neighbors have all become…different.  Not especially friendly or helpful, they miss basic social cues, skip doctors appointments without calling- why, even the kids don’t want to go to school!  Yes, they’ve become a damn sight close to resembling…millennials.

*ahem*

But all poor jokes aside, the film’s approach to the growing horror as being based in a conflict between “sensible” human behavior and that with seems socially unacceptable is what drives this it forward with such a frantic terror.  As more and more of the townspeople turn, we are left with a horrible question not unlike that posed by The Blob- what happens if no one stops them?

For its dated nature, there are legitimately shocking moments, even by 21st century standards.  The eerie performance of the pod people as they prepare to spread to the neighboring towns, the reveal of the actual pods, the growing mania of the once sensible doctor, and one particular scene where the protagonist locking himself in the closet actually SUCCEEDS in drawing some serious suspense- and why not?  The stakes of this scenario are exceedingly high.

The stakes, this film would have you believe- are your friends, family, neighbors- hell, your whole community might be at stake.

What’s horrifying about Invasion of the Body Snatchers isn’t that these things are on the line- but that after 80 minutes it really does seem possible that they could be.

7:45
Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)

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Ryan: I empathize greatly with that fear of being “alone in a crowd.” Body Snatchers is the golden cultural standard, but my other favorite film on the subject is this gothic horror classic. In this film there are no outside forces required to isolate the child heroes. Their whole community is in the thrall of a woman killing maniac masquerading as a revival preacher. Their father is killed because he’s a terrible person. Their mother goes from one bad guy to the next. Even the kindly old man at the dock turns out to be an undependable drunk.

For my money this is film’s greatest contribution to the art of William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor. Laughton was a Brit and his South isn’t those author’s lived-in reality, but maybe more fitting for movies, a passionate outsider’s approximation. The movie is painted in extremes as distinct as the LOVE and HATE tatooed across Harry Powell’s knuckles. The moon takes up half the sky. The river is divested of magical powers. Every house along the road is populated with archetypes of Biblical proportions.

The movie flopped hard on release (unfortunately it’s the only movie Laughton ever directed) but honestly I’m shocked it even got made. Mitchum is menace personified as Powell. His violence against women, and the language he uses to defend himself, still play shocking today. I can’t even imagine how that murder scene played in 1955. Oof!

And yet the scariest moment is of course a church service. The kids are surrounded by supposedly pious people while the hateful killer is up on stage preaching death and damnation. And they look over and their mothers eyes are almost rolled back in her head in rapturous agreement, along with everyone else. That is my definition of horror right there.

9:20 AM
I Spit On Your Grave (Meir Zarchi, 1978)

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Andy: Hokay. So, you’ve made it to 9 AM.  The sun is out.  You’ve seen some classic stuff!  Likely, you’ve felt plenty of general unease, maybe had an existential crisis or two, maybe Pulse or REC got you going with some of that supernatural zombie stuff, or maybe Frankenheimer’s camera work made you a little motion sick.  Maybe Mitchum’s preacher has actually disturbed you.

But brothers and sisters, this is no time to let up on the gas.  In fact, I’m going to suggest we zip tie your hands and put a brick on the accelerator- in other words, we’re done f****g around here.

I Spit On Your Grave inspired one of the angriest Roger Ebert reviews ever written.  Of all the revenge films I have ever seen, this is by far the most shocking, the most sickening- the most vile and yes, the most horrifying.

The film has no score.  No dramatic conflict.  The scenes are shot in singular angles, often holding for minutes at a time.  The actors are largely improvising their lines and reactions for the first 45 minutes, and the roles consist exclusively of evildoers and their victim.

So let’s not dance around the subject matter here- the first 45 minutes of this film is one continuous rape scene of the film’s lone female subject.  The remaining 45 minutes takes place a few days after the attack when the victim decides it’s her turn to have some fun as she systematically butchers her attackers one by one.

The first time I watched this film, I became physically sick.  I’m not kidding.  It ruined my week.  I felt absolutely effing terrible.  And yet- (I know, I know) there was shit to be taken from this experience.  This is the ULTIMATE revenge film- truly, the victim is never more justified than she is in this film.  The bad guys are never more deserving than they are in I Spit On Your Grave.  That in and of itself is a conversation.  The director’s deliberate naturalistic choices are fascinating.  The pacing is slow, painful, deliberate…and dare I say- perfect for the subject content.

And most importantly…it evokes a response unlike any other film.  Decades later it seems real, and for many folks, the reality is all too close to home.  I Spit On Your Grave is a film that I can only recommend to a very specific selection of film academics who understand the difference between consuming a film for pornographic purposes and consuming it for the sake of purpose driven art.

For the rest of you- I can’t recommend you see this film, but now that I’ve played up the emotional and moral trainwreck for all it is worth, I doubt there’s little I can do to dissuade you now, for better or for worse. Probably for worse.

11:05 AM
Possession (Andrzej Zulawski, 1981)

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Ryan: So glad you had this impulse, cuz I agree. We’ve endured over 17 hours of horror. Playtime is over. I can’t top Grave for pure shock value, but I can maybe up the bar on sheer WTF. If Harold Pinter and David Cronenberg had a child and that child was raised by Takashi Miike, that child might make something like Possession. This movie is menace personified. Outside of the theater revolution of the sixties and seventies, I can’t think of another precedent for these performances.

A woman has sex with a demon octopus. This would not crack the top 5 most disturbing things in this film. Isabelle Adjani plays a kind of disconnected neurotic who seems sympathetic at first, then later capable of anything. Sam Neill gives his best impersonation of his raptor co-stars from Jurassic Park. There is a sequence in this film involving a carton of milk and menstruation that needs to be seen to be believed. Then unseen, if at all possible.

The first time I saw this film, I was in a library. There was an old lady knitting behind me. Besides maybe I Spit On Your Grave, I cannot think of a worse movie to watch with an old lady knitting behind me. It’s two hours of sustained, fascinated discomfort that explores the darkest in human nature with refinement of Eli Roth. I’m not even sure it’s horror. It might just be the most horrifying art film you’ll ever see.

1:10 PM
The Collector (Marcus Dunstan, 2009)

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Andy: Because I am a masochist, I once went to theaters with a bunch of friends to see this.  I had my reasons.  There was once a time where I deeply cherished the ritual of going to a dark theater and enduring these experiences with a bunch of people I didn’t know.  Thanks to this movie, that time is now long gone.  But hey, this is a horror marathon, you’re alone, you just saw two horrifying films and are now beginning to suspect that we are in fact trying to raise your blood pressure to unsafe levels.

Time to up the stakes with this particular film, which fits the bill for two reasons- an encyclopedia in ways to abuse your protagonists, and aforementioned protagonists who really do seem to have a chance at “winning”.

Some background- The Collector is a movie about a man who…well, collects people.  He will invade your home and then kill everyone but one person, who he stuffs in a box until he makes his next housecall.  The way he decides on this dubious honor is by boobytrapping the entire home to thin out the herd.  If you’re beginning to suspect that the guys from The Saw might have had something to do with this, then feel free to take treat yourself with a pat on the back- cuz you’d be right.

Anyway, I’m usually pretty down for gore.  I just watched Scanners and had a good laugh when the famous head explosion happened.  But this flick…oh man, this movie just takes it to a new level.  I recall every single scene of this film with a terrifying vividness.  Everything from the room full of bear traps to the windows lined with razor blades to the room with the hanging fish hooks (which get caught in the protagonist’s eyelid, ugh, GAG) to the horrific bathtub torture scene involving a drill and a most unfortunate mother. God.  Why do people make things like this? The world is terrible.

Anyway, the point is, you get your fear and you get your gross outs- BUT- you also get one helluva protag.  The man of action we follow in this particular bloodsport is the immediately likable Arkin (played by a very understated Josh Stewart).  Arkin comes to this house initially to rob it.  Little does he realize that he has picked the WORST NIGHT EVER to rob a house.  What ensues is a game of cat and mouse between the Collector and a guy who’s not so innocent himself.

That’s actually interesting conflict! Will he rob the place blind and bolt like a free agent or will he pull his best Robin Hood impersonation to save the family?  There’s this lovely shot where Arkin, who has finally gotten out of the house, is standing outside, money or whatever he stole in hand, he’s ready to roll, when all the sudden he turns back and OH GOD WHY IS THE LITTLE GIRL STANDING IN THE WINDOW LIKE THAT COME ON YOU CAN’T GO BACK CAN YOU JUST HOW LONG IS THIS FILM?!

This experience is misery.  Pure and simple.  But since when was horror ever meant to be pleasant?  The state of “modern horror” has only just recently become critically acceptable, but I’d wager that The Collector might be one of those rare pre-2010 gems that deserves just a bit more credit that it receives, even if I swear I’ll never ever watch it again.

2:40 PM
The Evil Dead 2 (Sam Raimi, 1987)

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Ryan: Okay, so everyone is sufficiently uncomfortable, right? Right.

Well I figure this is gonna be my last film and if you’ve made it through 20 hours of horror, it pays to go out with a bang. I want to be upfront here. The Evil Dead 2 is my favorite horror film. I would add that you don’t need to see The Evil Dead to enjoy it, but if you’re actually watching 24 hours of horror films, then you’ve definitely seen The Evil Dead.

A quick defense of why The Evil Dead 2 is my favorite horror of all time, over more serious or influential films like Rosemary’s Baby (which sits comfortably in second place) or Alien or The Shining. For me, horror comes from a desire for the most of everything; a story that excites the imagination more than any other. The origins of horror going back to Gothic and Romantic literature stem from this impulse. Some people don’t have the stomach for it, but once you develop a taste, it’s more satisfying than anything else.

Well no movie represents this for me better than Evil Dead 2. I laugh more at this movie, cringe more at this movie, and my mind is more excited by all the different storytelling dimensions it opens than anything else in visual storytelling. Within the space of 85 minutes, this film invents a mythology, subverts it, parodies it, and then doubles back on itself two or three times over.

Raimi’s camera draws from silent filmmakers as diverse as F.W. Murnau and Buster Keaton. Bruce Campbell also plays a Keaton-eqsue clown, albeit one whose possible insanity veers more into Beckett territory. The demon models come straight from the Harryhausen school of claymation. The camerawork is dynamic on a level that should be impossible to pull off coherently. Every influence is lovingly present; all the most exciting qualities from pulp history are channeled and have some of their best moments as a result.

Horror, for me, is the irrational love of storytelling. And no movie conveys that love better than Evil Dead 2.

4:05 PM
Hausu (Nobuhiko Ôbayashi, 1977)

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Andy: First thing’s first, cue this up for the sake of ambience- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lTImX7ke0I

Got it going?  Good.  It’s a nice song isn’t it? Anyway I hope you like it, ‘cuz it’s the only damn song that you’ll hear for the next 88 minutes.  No joke.  I personally think it’s a helluva way to wrap this thing up.

So as Ryan did before me, I’m ending with a film that really signifies the love and tenderness I feel for this genre.  Hausu is one of the quirkiest, most earnest films I’ve ever seen, and it’s this scattershot approach that allows it to successfully tackle the haunted house sub-genre with great success.

Horror audiences always skew young, which explains why you always see college kids getting skewered during their long weekends at the cabin. After all, that could be YOU should you choose to have premarital sex after drinking that can of bud lite!  That said, Hausu begs the question of why we don’t have more teenage horror films than we do.  Is it creepy to say I identified/tracked with the teenage girls of Hausu more than I did with any adult in the previously mentioned films of this series?  Yeah? Well, screw it. I did.

Hausu doesn’t follow much of a plot, but it certainly does its best to subvert what little of it it does have.  What it doesn’t accomplish with writing, it more than makes up for with visuals.  The director made his debut with this particular beauty, his only experience before hand in directing commercials.  Who’d have thought that that same manic energy required for advertising would actually work for a horror film?

In the interest of keeping this sorta short- here’s a list of visuals you’ll encounter- a demonic cat, a wicked witch, a floating head, dismembered fingers playing a piano, a basement full of blood, portals to hell, a piano that eats the people who play it, and a weird dancing skeleton that for some reason is in the background of 90 percent of the shots.  And that’s just the short list…there’s just so much more.

If that doesn’t convince you, then nothing else I say will.  That said, if I’d just been through the marathon you’ve been through, I’d want to leave on a high note with a good tune to hum- and Hausu sure as hell fits the bill.

Ryan: Well, technically we have half an hour left. So I’m going to throw in one last recommendation for all the 24 hour purists out there.

5:35 PM
The Drop of Water (Mario Bava, 1963 from Black Sabbath)

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Ryan: Short, perfect, and fulfilling all time requirements. Also not posted on Youtube, so you’ll have to seek it out on your own. Take my word for it.

And that’s all folks. Hope your Halloween is lovely.

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