Over the last few years, I have been establishing a tradition. Every Halloween I pick one horror franchise and watch it from start to finish. Two years ago I did Nightmare on Elm Street and I followed that up last year with Halloween. So, to knock out the slasher hat-trick, there was only one place to go in 2017, Camp Crystal Lake for a date on Friday The 13th. It was a challenge that I quickly regretted taking up.
Noel Clarke has something that a lot of actors would kill for. It doesn’t matter who is playing, or in what genre, you want to like him. That likability is not the sole reason he’s been able to succeed as a writer, director and performer, but it’s certainly helped. Sadly, it’s not enough to save The Anomaly from what it is, a bit of a stinker.
Sleep is a frequent collaborator with horror. From the long nights of Paranormal Activity to the boogeyman under the bed. The dark of the night when you are curled up in bed is often the moment when the spooks decide to play. Should you try to stay awake? Or would you rather not see what is coming?
Zombies are so overdone that even writing about them being overdone feels overdone. We’ve had zomromcoms, we’ve had biological zoms, and we’ve had Arnie trying to be emotional with zoms. In fact, we’ve heard the word zombie so many times that it’s stopped feeling like a real word. Frankly, it’s all been a bit too much.
Horror has delved into many strange places. From biting female genitalia to Nazi zombies, there aren’t many worlds it won’t explore. Yet, to make a serious horror film about a bathroom. That seems ambitious for even the most out there of genres.
The original Cabin Fever could be packaged up and presented as my first horror movie. If you see it before you’ve dived into that world, you’ll probably enjoy it, but going back to it after watching Evil Dead and Last House On The House makes you realise quite how derivative it is. All of which makes you wonder why the hell you’d decide to remake it.
There are few filmmakers as frustrating as M. Night Shyamalan. When he’s good, he can shock and awe but when he’s bad he feels like a rip-off of himself. Someone trying to capture a magic that they don’t understand. While Devil didn’t come under his direction – that joy goes to John Erick Dowdle – it does come from his script and his fingers are all over it.
Last year I sat down and watched every single Nightmare on Elm Street film and splurged my thoughts about them on the internet. It was an endeavour that went from the dizzying heights of the first film to the genuine surprise of Dream Masters and New Nightmare to the absolute horror of Freddy’s Dead. It was also great fun. So, this year I decided to do the same and delve into another slasher franchise, Halloween. Now, obviously this would have made a lot more sense around a week ago, but there are ten fucking films so give me a break. (I’ll try to keep spoilers to a minimal, but when discussing an entire franchise there will be the occasional titbit dropped.)
‘So there’s some food, right?’
‘And it’s like Toy Story, so they are alive, but humans aren’t aware of it.’
‘Except, and this is the really funny bit, they swear and talk about fucking a lot.’
Smoke fills the air, and they giggle.