20 Scares of October, 2018


And unfortunately, none of those is interactive.

Robert Jiang writing from Shanghai, China. Halloween here is merely a reason for shops to have themed sales and promotions. I mean there is no real trick or treat fun routine. But those English schools for young children sure try their damnest to come close.

For me, it’s just an excuse to indulge myself in the Horror genre for the entirety of October. This year, after watching 20 pieces of horror eh, cinematography (as identified in the Copyright law), varied in length and quality, I felt compelled to write something about it. Here they are, and please, don’t ask me how I got to watch some of those in the land notorious for censorship and that access shall not be named here.

(In the order of viewing.

Rating from best to worst: Terrific, Good, Scary Enough and Terrible)

1.Devilman: Crybaby (Good)

It is only fitting to start the 10th month of calendar year with a 10 part animated series. Made by Science Saru, an anime studio famous for surrealist imagery, and scripted by Ichiro Okouchi, a writer who would do “fridging” as elaborate as making Tiramisu, this animated series on Netflix took an old Japanese comic book (Nah, I’m not going to use “Manga”.) and made into it one of most gory and disturbing piece of horror fiction available out there. If you are tired of Japan’s broadcasting regulation, this series came recommended on its giving you a glimpse into what would happen if the gloves are off alone.

2.Return of the Living Dead (Good)

(Watched with Film & 40s podcast)

“Braiiiiiiiiiins!” Dan O’Bannon’s zombie comedy sure started a thread of its own instead of simply making fun of its own genre. Framed as a reality in which George Romero’s Night of Living Dead was based on true event, Return is more hilarious than horrifying. Plus watching it while listening to 4 people getting increasingly drunk during the witching hour is fittingly ridiculous way to start the first weekend of the month.

3.Halloween III: Season of the Witch (Good)

The weird one out in the then still new Halloween series. Even though dismissed by the series fans as “the one without Micheal Myers”, Season of the Witch is a perfectly fine horror movie stand on her own. I mean what could be more terrifying than hordes of bugs crawling out dead children’s caved in heads? Shout out to the lighting during several potential bloody scenes in the movie, if it was not so dark, I would not have watched this one via streaming service Youku in Mainland, China. And thank you, Mr. Klepek of Waypoint for recommending this one.

4.Halloween: 20 Years Later (Good)

A direct sequel to the 1981 Halloween II and fitting ending for the old Laurie Strode “trilogy” (Bye, Resurrection, I hardly know you.). Like Scream before it, there are references to other horror movie that would please a long time horror fan. Thank you again, Mr. Klepek.

5.Killer Klown From Outer Space (Good)

(Watched with Film & 40s podcast)

Another on the list that is more of a comedy. This time something of a Body Snatcher parody when homicidal clown-like aliens running havoc in a small town. And yet again, watching it with the Giantbomb New York team commenting is a fun weekend time.

6.Haunting of the Hill House (Terrific)

The first item on this list worthy of the label, “Masterpiece”. Actually more of a drama about sad people than simply a piece of horror fiction. But when residents of the Hill house, no matter how long ago or whether they are still alive, are all sad people for different reasons, horror can often come with sadness . This roughly 10-hour journey on Netflix would hit you with various emotion impacts along with lots of good scares.

7.Scream (Terrific)

This definitive Meta-slasher is so good at making fun of its own genre that I question whether the spoof comedy Scary Movie should even exist.

8.Apostle (Good)

Given how bloody and scary the 2 Raid movies can be, their director Gareth Evans can probably make a good horror movie. And he did. And like lots of truly good horror movie, this one took the stand that the dark side of human nature is something much more terrifying than any super natural menace one can imagine.

9.Versus (Scary Enough)

Well, picked it up out of coincidence. Not a particularly good action movie, and not that scary either. This undead slaying movie’s co-writer and director Ryuhei Kitamura would make something better later in his career (One of which would appear on this list.), but the only value his first feature movie gave me is making me appreciate the next item on this list more.

10.Battle Royale (Terrific)

(Rewatch with Film & 40s podcast)

And it made me appreciate the fact that watching horror movie with the right people around would make the horror imagery stand out more. In this case I was around people virtually and belatedly. All the variables of “Oh, GEEZ!” in the commentary podcast made me more aware of the already horrifying and violent scenes in this movie. I don’t think the PUBG references would make the Giantbomb East team’s commentary age poorly, given that Fortnite can not provide BR movie level horror imagery with it cartoon aesthetic

11.Friday the 13th Part 2 (Terrible)

Al’right, this is a real stinker. I watched the first Friday movie on July, 13th, this year, which happens to be a Friday. So last Friday (As this was written on November 1st.) October 26th (Which can be seen as a double “13”, in my humble opinion.) came by, it was only logical to watch the second one. After 10 horror things better than this one, I have nothing to say but that this movie sucks. It did not fail as an horror movie, given the pieces of horror imagery were well rendered in their own way. But it fail as a movie in general, like in the department of character development and such, thus robbed the movie of its potential to be real horrifying.

12.Jason X (Terrible)

(Rewatch with Film & 40s podcast)

Well, how about that. The 10th Friday movie just happened to be on the next Film & 40s, hours after I saw the second Friday. Despite a surprising David Cronenberg cameo at the beginning, it sucks in so many ways, as both a character in the movie and film critic Roger Ebert said. Apparently going to space could not re-animate this formula. But then again, without the bad one, how could I appreciate the good one?

13.Castlevania Season 2 (Good)

The long awaited follow up to last summer’s surprise good video game adaption break out. As far as decapitating vampire, this animated series focuses solely on their violent blood thirst rather than the sex appeal in the last decade. That alone makes this one a worthy binge in the Halloween month.

14.Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Scary Enough)

Speak of vampire, Count Dracula appears in both this one and the item above. And all I can say about this one is that Coppola had fallen far from Godfather movies and Apocalypse Now…Too bad given that there is a horror literature award named after Stoker.

15.The Midnight Meat Train (Good)

Yes, I prefer this Kitamura film over Versus. Based on a Clive Barker short story, this film about secret society, man eating creature and subway would make one think twice before taking the final train of the day…

16.The First Purge (Scary Enough)

Okay, I watched this just because Waypoint’s untitled rewatch podcast might do a podcast with this one with Election Year. I like the Assault On Prescient 13 homeage by the end, and that’s about it. I watched the Purge trilogy during this summer, now I guess I just saw them all.

17.Aliens (Terrific)

One never forget their first. I watched James Cameron’s Alien sequel the first October after my 17th birthday, thus made that month the first October I started to enjoy horror genre. Already played the first 2 Halo games, Gears of War and looking forward to the first Mass Effect back then, it was hard for me to ignore the influence Aliens has on video games. And 5 years after James “the Angry Video Game Nerd” Rofle made a comparison between this movie and Them! in his Monster Month video, I finally got around to watch the giant ant movie back in August. After watching Aliens a sixth time this week, I can say that Mr. Rofle as a horror expert was not kidding.

Here is my flag in the ground of Alien VS. Aliens debate: to you “Scoot fanboys”(I made this call jokingly, al’right.) who claim that Aliens is not even horror, Jaime Lee Curtis, aka the most respectable scream queen of Hollywood called Cameron a horror director, then how come Aliens could not be considered as horror?

18.John Carpenter’s Halloween (Terrific)

(Rewatch after listening to Halloween Unmasked podcasts)

Speak of Jaime Lee Curtis, what could be more fitting than a movie titled Halloween to be viewed on that day. There is no way to watch the new Halloween here in Shanghai timely. So I went to the second best thing, or in some aspects the “even better” option, the 1978 original Halloween. “Surprising classy” was my first impression of it back when I first watched it in 2014 and it has not changed. The Halloween Unmasked podcasts written and hosted by Amy Nicholson just made me appreciate the details more. So I would recommend that podcast series. Therefore I don’t have to type more and you all can get opinion from more professional movie critic.

19.John Carpenter’s the Thing (Terrific)
(Rewatch with Film & 40s podcast)

Speak of “timely”, I have long discovered that the season would affect one’s appreciation of the contents they consume. Back in June, 2012, I watched Thing for the first time, and it was getting hot, but not yet hot enough to justify turning on air-conditioner. To a point that I could not wholly enjoy the thriller set in Antarctica. Later that year, I actually enjoyed the 2011 prequel more watching in an air-conditioned room, even though that’s a lesser movie. This time around, it’s getting cold on Halloween day, and I can finally fully appreciate Carpenter’s paranoia filled alien terror, along with Bombers in New York.

20.John Carpenter’s the Fog(Good)

I was going to do a John Carpenter double feature this Halloween, then I found out that Fog is available on iqiyi (Many of you might know it as the distributor of Nvidia Shield in Mainland, China.) stream service, so sorry Premonition, you are off the list.

As the next horror from the crew who made Halloween, the Fog does share many similarities with the original Slasher movie. It’s still set in a small town, when everyone knows and care for (Since “love” is too strong of a word here) each other. The horror is still some ghost from the past back to haunt everyone, though in Fog’s case, “ghost” means something more literal. In the occasion of double feature, Fog would certainly make a better follow up to Halloween than Thing. Wholeheartedly recommend to who interested in the Carpenter library.

There you go, my horror movie list for October 2018 and first post on this forum. It’s no doubt rough, I mean I didn’t ever put up posters for those movies. I would try to do better next year. Might even make separate posts for each one. But for the October of 2018, Robert Jiang out, and a late Happy Halloween for the rest of Halloween week.