Saturday, 31 October 2009

(500) Films of Empire - Day 45

A few days late in posting but here are my reviews for the 30th October, more horror films in the run up to Halloween, and speaking of that:

461 - Halloween - 3 stars
Earlier I had talked about Scream and how the characters knew the rules of the genre and this is the film that set those rules.
Don't drink or do drugs - check. Don't have sex - check. Don't ask who's there - check. Don't say "I'll be right back" - check.
A huge influence on the entire horror genre, the reason it remains scary after all this time is down to the music. John Carpenter's seminal score, all composed on a Casio keyboard, is almost as relentless as The Shape's pursuit of Laurie.
The film was screened to studio executives without the music and they thought it wasn't scary, and it wouldn't be, it would be 90 minutes of a man walking after Jamie Lee Curtis. Once the music was added, it becomes a scary thrill ride.
It pays tribute to another great slasher movie, Psycho. Donald Pleasance hams it up as Dr. Sam Loomis, it was also the name of Janet Leigh's boyfriend in Psycho and Janet Leigh's daughter is none other than Jamie Lee Curtis!
And who knew that William Shatner was so terrifying? Well, if you've heard him sing... just kidding, but it was a William Shatner mask that was used to make Michael Myers signature mask.

Fortune favours the brave as ITV2 had Shaun Of The Dead on tonight, and a chance for me to get the detailing correct on my Halloween costume.

231 - Shaun Of The Dead - 5 stars
People who know me well, will know that I am a huge fan of Spaced and the work of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg.
SOTD was born out of a Resident Evil 2 spoof on Spaced, and resulted into the best rom-zom-com ever made. It is also the best example of a TV series successfully transferring to the big screen, albeit with different characters.
Slacker Shaun attempts to win back his girlfriend and get his mates to the safety of the local pub during a zombie apocalypse.
Its merits lie in its absolute Britishness (cricket bats are weapons; zombies are in the garden, what do you do? have a sit down; "your idea of a night out and an inpenitrable fortress are the same place, we are in a pub!") and a comedy cast comprising of the best current British talent, including the scene-stealing Bill Nighy.
It is also intricately plotted as lines and entire scenes are repeated throughout the film but within a different context (just compare the two trips to the shop).
It succeeds where others have failed because it manages to find the perfect balance between horror and comedy, similar to one of its influences An American Werewolf In London.
The last half hour becomes darker and darker as we lose several main characters (including one who has a death similar to Captain Rhodes in Day Of The Dead), yet because we like them, their deaths mean more. Yet they know when to lighten the mood with a zombie beat down to 'Don't Stop Me Now' by Queen.
A cracking start to the 'Three Colours Cornetto' Trilogy by messers Pegg, Frost and Wright.

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