Horror Challenge – How did it end?

So the last time I posted properly was during a challenge I undertook during October. The challenge I set myself was to watch horror films, a genre I’m not normally keen on. I put together a list of films from the last 31 years ending with the remake of The Evil Dead.

The original list is here. I managed to watch 24 of the 31, along side the list I thought about other films I wanted to see and those filed out the other 11 films I watched. For example I had Scream in the list, so rewatched #2 & #3 before seeing #4.

At the end of the challenge I had watched a total of 35 horror films. You can find them all on this list over on Letterboxd. The list is arranged in the ranked order that I enjoyed them from most to least.

For posterity here is the Top Ten.

1. Scream – 1996 – Wes Craven
2. The Blair Witch Project – 1999 – Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sanchez
3. The Evil Dead – 1981 – Sam Raimi
4. Re-Animator – 1985 – Stuart Gordon
5. Theatre of Blood – 1973 – Douglas Hickox
6. Dawn of the Dead – 2004 – Zack Snyder
7. Scream 4 – 2011 – Wes Craven
8. Carrie – 1976 – Brian De Palma
9. Evil Dead – 2013 – Fede Alvarez
10. The Fly – 1958 – Kurt Neumann

I actually enjoyed watching most of the films but I can’t say I was particularly scared at any point during any of the films, of course there are bits in many that make you jump, but that’s just horror film-making.

Horror won’t always be a go to film genre for me but at least I know now, that I don’t have to avoid it altogether!

Horror Challenge Week Two

This week I saw nine horror films and despite my aversion to the genre, I still haven’t been that scared. Perhaps I’m watching the wrong kind of horror?

The one film this week that made me jump and cower, was Arachnophobia. I’ve seen it before but that was around its release in 1990, it had that affect on me, as I don’t like spiders and there are lots in this film, they run and most importantly, they jump towards people and the camera/screen. So that was a fun but jumpy experience.

Here’s a look at the films I’ve watched so far and how I’ve ranked them on Letterboxd.

Week2 a Week2 b

The individual rankings are (new films in bold):

5 Stars

4 Stars
The Evil Dead (1981)

The Fly (1958)

3 Stars
John Dies at the End
The Fly (1986)
Children of the Corn

2 Stars
The People under the Stairs

Pet Sematary
Frankenstein (1994)

1 Star

Films coming up this week include: I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Faculty, The Blair Witch Project, American Psycho, The Others, Ghosts of Mars, House of 1000 Corpses & Dawn of the Dead (2004).

Horror Challenge Week One

In week one of my challenge, I saw seven films but skipped one of those from my original list. That film is ‘Child’s Play’, a sixth film featuring the Chucky character is due on DVD towards the end of this month, so I shall watch them all together when it is released.

The films I saw in order were: Christine (1983), Children of the Corn (1984), The Fly (1958), Re-Animator (1985), The Fly (1986), Hellraiser (1987) & Pet Sematary (1989).

I am ranking them in order of entertainment that I get from them, here is a screenshot from Letterboxd.Week1

The only film I had seen before was The Fly (1986) but that was some time ago. I was really surprised that I enjoyed the 50s original more. The 86 film feels more real and is far more gory but I liked the acting and the subtleness of the earlier film.

As I put my list together, I didn’t notice the number of Stephen King adaptations I had included. However they haven’t fared well so far, currently taking up the bottom three places. I was disappointed with Pet Sematary, as it sounded quite interesting but the lead character was just rather stupid, didn’t listen to advice, was carless with his children, acted foolishly and selfishly, all of which put me off.

The biggest surprise so far was Re-Animator, a film I had heard of but had dismissed as a gore-fest and nothing else, and whilst there is a lot of gore towards the end, in fact the last twenty minutes are bonkers, there is a really good and entertaining film in there. I fully expect it to be in the Top Ten come the end of the month but only time will tell.

The individual rankings are:

5 Stars

4 Stars
The Fly (1958)

3 Stars
The Fly (1986)
Children of the Corn

2 Stars
Pet Sematary

1 Star

A Month of Horror!

If you know me, you know I’m a film fan and that I will watch pretty much anything. The only exception are horror films. I’m really not keen on those.

I have watched some, just not the big classics of the last 40 years; Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Friday the 13th etc etc. The recent trend for ‘torture porn’ has also passed me by; Saw for example.

It being October and the run up to Halloween, it is common for film fans to watch a lot of horror this month. So I thought I would too. Even though I’ve listed four film franchises already, none of those are on my list to watch this month. Nightmare on Elm Street was but there are 7 films in the series and I would like to see them all, so I’m leaving that out for the moment.

What I’ve decided to do, is pick 31 films from the past 31 years, that way I can see I wider ranger of films.

  1. Christine (1983)
  2. Children of the Corn (1984)
  3. Re-Animator (1985)
  4. The Fly (1986)
  5. Hellraiser (1987)
  6. Child’s Play (1988)
  7. Pet Sematary (1989)
  8. Arachnophobia (1990)
  9. The People Under The Stairs (1991)
  10. Candyman (1992)
  11. Leprechaun (1993)
  12. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)
  13. Species (1995)
  14. Scream (1996)
  15. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
  16. The Faculty (1998)
  17. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
  18. American Psycho (2000)
  19. The Others (2001)
  20. Ghosts of Mars (2002)
  21. House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
  22. Dawn of The Dead (2004)
  23. The Descent (2005)
  24. The Wicker Man (2006)
  25. The Mist (2007)
  26. The Strangers (2008)
  27. Drag Me To Hell (2009)
  28. Piranha (2010)
  29. Fright Night (2011)
  30. The Woman in Black (2012)
  31. Evil Dead (2013)

Along with the 31 films I’ve picked, I also have a ‘mental’ list of films I’d like to see, if I can fit them in.

  1. The Fly (1958)
  2. Child’s Play 2 (1990)
  3. Child’s Play 3 (1991)
  4. Bride of Chucky (1998)
  5. Seed of Chucky (2004)
  6. Curse of Chucky (2013)
  7. Scream 2 (1997)
  8. Scream 3 (2000)
  9. Scream 4 (2011)
  10. The Wicker Man (1973)
  11. Species 2 (1998)
  12. The Shining (1980)
  13. Eyes Without a Face (1960)
  14. The Evil Dead (1981)
  15. Evil Dead II (1987)
  16. Army of Darkness (1992)
  17. Piranha (1978)

As you’ve not doubt noticed the majority of those are sequels or the originals of films in the 31.

My intention is to watch a film a day, in the order they are listed, anything over that is a bonus. It being the 5th of October as I write this, I have already made a start.

I’m tracking what I’ve seen on Letterboxd, where I’m ranking all the horror films I see (the 31 + others) in order of entertainment I get from them (most to least). I you’d like to see my progress then the list is here.

1001 Albums – The 1950’s

For those not familiar with why I’m doing this; it’s because a few years ago I bought a book called ‘1001 albums you must hear before you die’, it’s one of a series of books covering; music, film, books & paintings. I saw it in a sale and thought why not, it then sat on a shelf where I would occasionally dip into it but that was about as far as it went.

One day I was having a tidy and a dust (a rare event!) and saw the book and opened it to the first album in the list which is Frank Sinatra – In The Wee Small Hours. I listened to the album and went onto the next one. Around the same time I had been listening to various albums and posting my thoughts on a forum, that got to the point where I was listening to too much music and not posting anything.

So I decided to listen to the albums in the book and add my thoughts to my blog, which was a bit barren at that time.

I started the challenge in February of this year. It was my intention to listen to a few albums a week before posting my thoughts.

That started to go wrong as a number of the albums are jazz albums, and I’m not keen on jazz which made it very heavy going. It turned from a challenge I’d set myself to hear more music, to one where I stopped listening to music.

Today I have finally finished the 1950’s.

There were 23 albums by 21 different artists. Frank Sinatra and Miles Davis both had two albums in this section.

Gary’s listening entertainment rating 5 – 0
Gary’s listening entertainment rating 4 – 11
Gary’s listening entertainment rating 3 – 7
Gary’s listening entertainment rating 2 – 3
Gary’s listening entertainment rating 1 – 2

My favourite album was Marty Robbins – Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs.

Other favourites include:

The Crickets – The “Chirping” Crickets
Frank Sinatra – Songs For Swingin’ Lovers
Louis Prima – The Wildest!
Elvis Presley – Elvis Presley

When I started I had expected, Elvis or The Crickets or maybe Little Richard to come out on top, but it was the western stylings of Marty Robbins that won the decade for me. The combination of the music, the lyrics which I don’t normally go for and his voice/singing style just won me over and I’ve listened to it twice today, and I expect to do so again soon.

I haven’t particularly enjoyed listening to this section as a whole but I’ve listened to artists that I wouldn’t have even thought to listen to if not for this book, including; Marty Robbins, Louis Prima, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald & Billie Holliday.

I’m keeping a playlist track of all the tracks that I deem to be standouts, it’s a Spotify playlist and if you want to hear/see those I’ve picked then click on this link – 1001 Standout

Onwards to the Sixties!

A Film a Day?

I’ve kept a list of pretty much every film I’ve seen since 2004. Looking at the list this morning I noticed that I’ve seen a film every day this month, which is something I’ve not done before.

It’s down in part to my local Blockbuster ringing me and telling me that as I’ve not been in for a while, I could have 14 free rentals over a period of 14 days; one a day, miss it miss out.

So I took them up on the offer and in an effort to get ‘my money’s worth’ I’ve rented a film each day for the past 10 days. Coupled with seeing a few films over the Jubilee Bank Holiday brings me to my ‘film a day’.

Now I’m wondering if I can keep going and see a film a day for a complete month.