#100DaysOfHorror 2020 Part 1
And so it begins: a horror hundred films I’d not seen before in the hundred days leading up to Halloween. A mixture of classics and new/recent releases, and a range of decades and countries (though not a wide range of countries just yet). I’ve been looking forward to this!
Here’s a complete round-up of last year’s experiences, if you’re interested.
#100 The Toolbox Murders (dir Dennis Donnelly, USA, 1978)
Entertaining Hardy Boys style mystery with added salacious bits and drill bits. Not as extreme as I’d been expecting from the title (Two Thousand Maniacs still haunts me from last year as one that I underestimated), and the soundtrack was simply adorable.
#99 1BR AKA Apartment 1BR (dir David Marmor, USA, 2019)
Bloody good film, and I am so glad I didn’t watch it when I was flat-hunting last year. Surreal in parts, squirmy horror in parts and atmospheric all the way. You can read more about why I enjoyed it so much in my full review.
#98 Let Me In (dir Matt Reeves, UK/USA, 2010)
Bit wary of this one, because I’m such a fan of the original and the book. But on the other hand, I’m a fan of Cloverfield too, by the same director, and I knew a lot of filmlovers admired this version, so figured I’d give it a go. It’s very well made, but left me distinctly unimpressed: I don’t see any added value in the remake at all. Several scenes were slicker in the original, and the absence of the local drunks was sorely felt for the richness they gave the range of characters.
#97 Mara (dir Clive Tonge, USA, 2018)
This film includes the most horrible instance of self-inflicted pain I’ve seen in a contemporary film! Other than that, somehow lands between annoying and average; see my full review.
#96 Mine Games (dir Richard Gray, USA, 2012)
Neatly constructed time loop horror, though with the usual tropes of almost indestinguishable twentysomethings (except for one with visions and one with mental health problems) who make inexplicable decisions. Actually, the story wouldn’t have worked without the visions – and I feel it would have been best if it had worked with the time device alone (like Blood Punch) – but the schitzophrenic guy was interesting: his condition was both sympathetically portrayed and a plot device.
#95 Nothing But the Blood (dir Daniel Tucker , USA, 2020)
Microbudget drama/horror film from Texas, about the arrival of an outspoken and controversial church in a small town. Great project, great team, but unfortunately not great writing. See my full review.
#94 Session 9 (dir Brad Anderson, UK, 2001)
Very impressed: scariest film of the season so far! Peter Mullan is especially excellent. As the film – about a team of asbestos removers working on an empty mental hospital – starts, it’s impossible to know what direction it will take, and I found it especially impressive how that direction emerges gradually and the film remains sinister throughout.
#93 Nazi Undead (dir Steven Spiel, USA, 2018)
Not a great film, but nowhere near as naff as it first looks. Actually kind of clever, and imaginatively gory… But why do Nazis crop up in horror such a lot? See my full review.
#92 Wish Upon (dir John R Leonetti, USA/Canada, 2017)
Perfect modern horror to watch with a young teen: slickly produced effects, nasty deaths, but nothing too explicit or close up. It was based on a classic short story, MR James’ “The Monkey’s Paw” and it also starred two of my pinups from half my life ago… ideal recipe for an evening with my adolescent son.
#91 Night of the Living Dead (dir Tom Savini, USA, 1990)
I consider the original film essential viewing for any horror film and had never considered watching the remake until recently. I’m glad I did: it’s interesting to see a different take on the same scenario, and with a central Barbara who is not at all insipid. Not quite as cold an ending as the 1968 film had, but just as tense throughout.