31 Days of Horror Viewing

It’s not quite fair to call 31 days of horror viewing in October a goal for me — I don’t generally hunt for low-hanging fruit. But it’s not about the finish line so much as the race anyway, so read on for this year’s checkpoints.

First, to the Island

The Island of Dr. Moreau – I finally watched this wreck after wrapping up September with the documentary Val.

Then, I had to follow that up with Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island. This documentary is a right romp, and great Blogtoberfest viewing for those in search of some spook, but not looking for a horror-induced panic attack.

Let’s Go Grave-spitting

I Spit on Your Grave I, II, III, and Deja Vu – I initially earmarked this series to serve as my Freaky Franchise for the year, but there’s not really a lot to say about 7.5 hours of torture- and revenge-porn. I didn’t even get a certificate for all of that work, but I can share that the original movie poster didn’t feature star Camille Keaton’s can, but that of Demi Moore — a fact I could’ve figured out without mental scarring, but here we are.

Four Houses, Unlimited Funerals

Funhouse – While not a masterpiece, the digital effects – and the animated panda villain – alone make this film worth a watch.

Madhouse – Not worth as much of a watch.

There’s Someone Inside Your House – Kind of an I Know What You Did Last Summer vibe from Netflix and Chills 2021.

The House That Jack Built – A serial killer acid-trip lead by Matt Dillon.

Songs of the Sutherland

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) – There’s nothing like some weird seventies terror footage to jumpstart your week. Donald Sutherland is awesome – and amazingly funny in the first half – and I forgot Jeff Goldblum existed before 1982. I also think we need to give Veronica Cartwright her due, already — this queen carries large swaths of this movie, not to mention she’s been working consistently and in some very visible roles for six decades.

Don’t Look Now – Another Donald Sutherland joint, and a really beautiful, classic horror. I think this film suffers from its terrible title; I’ve been skipping over it for years, and as such missing out on Sutherland-as-a-sex-symbol.

Throwing Darts

Stalker – sometimes, the itch to just see what’s out there hits. This Hulu scratch wasn’t half-bad; a solid thriller stocked with red herrings.

Death Trip – This flick had potential; a cool aesthetic, good actors, and a great score. But I must reiterate, this film had potential. And that’s that.

The Sitter – A 1995 junker that will be a special stand-out for Alicia Silverstone super-fans.

Old – M. Night Shymalan’s latest attempt, exploring the life’s a beach theory.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes – Found-footage mockumentary style that is served on a fairly convincing plate.

Eraserhead – In the ongoing quest to see all the horror movies, this was a big omission on my checked-off list. Now seen, I’ve joined the ranks of people who’ll never unsee it.

The Annual Rewatches

A year rarely goes by without viewing The Amityville Horror and The Craft, among other faves. Check and check, plus a full revisit of The Blair Witch Project franchise just to get my rock-piles off. Book of Shadows has its redeeming points, I swear.

I also threw in some Practical Magic to ease up on the horror, as well as the animated Addams Family.

Blogtober Viewing Part 2: The I know I forgot some edition

While I’m sure this list and its predecessor aren’t exhaustive — the insomnia is real — they represent a hefty level of October-appropriate programming. Part two of the Blogtoberfest Viewing list includes:

*Mom and Dad – A Nic Cage joint that started as my favorite horror film of the year and ended with me angry.

*My Bloody Valentine – Delightful early eighties romp through paper hearts and carnage.

*Leatherface – A new origin story for Leatherface starring the inimitable Lili Taylor and her right hook.

*DeadCon – A terrible take on modern social media culture.

*Truth or Dare – points for inventive ways to die, a la Final Destination.

*Black Mirror: Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too – A good story with good acting, if not a little too cute; starring Miley Cyrus.

It Follows – Tried this again to see what I missed. Still don’t see the appeal; snore.

*They Come Knocking – One of the better Into the Dark films on Hulu, each representing a different holiday. This one is Mother’s Day.

Beetlejuice – Still holds up. Still holds up. Still holds up.

*Amityville: The Awakening – Surprisingly good continuation of the Amityville canon. Bella Thorne is a solid final girl.

*The Purge (TV; season one) – An infectious expansion of the Purge universe, if not one in which nights are 32 hours long. Interesting cameos include Fiona Dourif as a cult-leader and poor, typecast Dominic Fumusa as a bartender again.

*The Executioners – Torture porn that tries to become revenge porn but doesn’t really succeed.

28 Days Later – One of my favorite movies of all time.

*The Strangers – Hadn’t seen it before for some reason; thought it was meh.

*The Strangers 2 – Enjoyed it more than the original for some reason; probably Christina Hendricks.

The Blair Witch Project – Getting ready to play Hunt A Killer: Horror Edition.

* Denotes a first-time watch.

Mosquito_Girl_at_Groovy_Movies_Halloween_1995

2020 Blogtoberfest Viewing, part one

As part of my own personal Blogtoberfest celebration, I try to ingest at least 31 Halloween-appropriate movies or shows in October and share the list here, for anyone looking for ideas.

I think, given that I’ve already logged 24 spooktastic viewings, reaching 31 this year will be no problem. It’s a mix of new viewings, rewatches, kids’ programming for family time, and plenty of horrors, thrillers, and chillers.

In the parlance of Tik Tok, like for part two. 🙂

*The Last House on the Left (1972) – an infamous seventies slasher. Click here for a break-out post inspired by this viewing.

*The Last House on the Left (2009) – had to watch the remake for full measure. A great retelling; Aaron Paul makes an appearance.

*The Lodge – wintery psychological thriller starring Riley Keough with some strong Hereditary parallels.

*Goodnight Mommy – click here for a break-out post on this film, directed by the same team as The Lodge.

Nightmare Before Christmas – my daughter decided she likes this one, so we’ve been happily watching it on repeat since mid-September.

*The Worst Witch – a series on Netflix that’s also a fan favorite for the younger set. Fun fact — Headmaster Cackle is played by Clare Higgins, who’s been blogged here before.

*The Prodigy – creepy kid horror with a few solid jump-scares.

Friday the 13th parts 2 – 8 – I binged the meat of the franchise in a few nights. Always a joy.

*13 Cameras – Gross abduction and voyeurism thriller with a perfectly horrible villian.

*Child’s Play (2019) – a revised retelling of the original with Mark Hamill on vox for Chucky.

*14 Cameras – More gross peeping-Tomism ramped up for the sequel.

Cabin in the Woods – Always a fun romp with Bradley Whitford.

*Pledge – Illuminati horror that borders on a comedy-horror thanks to some funny writing for frat bros.

*Sinister – Ethan Hawke plays a brooding tortured-artist type – real stretch – and Vincent D’onofrio makes an equally typecast cameo.

*Border – I didn’t have much context going in to this one, and that’s a good way to enter. Just be warned that this Swedish fantasy-thriller-crime-feature gets weird.

*Wrinkles the Clown – a documentary, but unnerving nonetheless.

*Sinister II – Picks up more-or-less where Sinister leaves off. Not as good as the first, but a valiant effort with an appearance by Shannyn Sossamon  — who is considerably less bony than she was in the nineties.

digital illustration of jugsaw, villian from saw movie franchise

*Jigsaw – Basically Saw VIII, but a strong entry into the franchise — if not a little repetitive on theme.

*The Houses October Built 2 – Hard to tell what’s real and what’s fiction in this pseudo-documentary about haunted houses, which should have probably been an actual documentary about haunted houses.

*Denotes a first-time watch

Call for Blogtoberfest Entries!

I always welcome guest posts at The Jump, but I take the collection thereof more seriously from October 1 to All Hallows Eve. The results have been varied and awesome, ranging in topic from witches to zombies to Neil Diamond.

Over the years, Blogtoberfest Guest Post submissions evolved into a full-on contest, with winners, prizes, and the bestowing of appropriate amounts of online glory.

Winners will be decided by readers via an online poll at the end of the month. There’s no length requirement or limit, and posts need not be spooky. October is also the month of harvest, baseball, and Breast Cancer Awareness. It may be that you or your organization has an annual event this month that deserves a little publicity. Whatever the topic – if it says October to you is fair game!

Prizes will be announced soon, and posts are accepted throughout the month, so get writing and send your entries to writerjax -at- gmail.com!

Oo-de-Lally: 10 Favorite Disney Films (animated)

Robin Hood and Little John walkin’ through the forest

Robin Hood

So no one else likes this one apparently? 52% on Rotten Tomatoes? Well, it’s still my favorite, as proven by watching it recently on Netflix with immeasurable glee.

Further, I swore I saw Robin Hood — and a slew of other Disney classics — in theaters as a kid, even though many of them were originally released decades earlier. Sure enough, a quick Google search reveals that Disney did indeed re-release several animated movies in the eighties to keep interest up in the new releases and avoid that pesky VHS fad. This was before they invented that stupid vault.

The marketing move seems to have had a big influence on my list, so read on with a grain of nostalgia.

 

The Little John – Baloo similarities are not lost on me.

 Jungle Book

Easily the best soundtrack of all of the Disney animated films, IMO, featuring Louis Prima and Phil Harris. Also my mum’s favorite, and one of the few animated films able to make vultures work as characters.

 

Fantasia Live at Boston Symphony Hall…

Fantasia

Another controversial pick – the critically acclaimed/panned Walt Disney passion project, a compilation of shorts set to classical scores.

I love all of the films, but what I think many people don’t love is that some sections feature dancing Hippos, while others include dying brontosauri and creepy nuns. I was a weird kid so it all sat fine with me. I understand from some friends, however, that they were emotionally scarred by Fantasia long before it was the name of an American Idol winner.

…it was a whale of a show. Shut up.

Fantasia 2000

The sequel was received a little better, and is a little less uneven. Great to watch in tandem with the original – American Rhapsody and what seems to be colloquially known as ‘the whale one’ are highlights.

 

WFRR was the first time Looney Tunes and Disney characters appeared on screen together.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Why is this – and, for that matter, Song of the South – on the animated films list and Bedknobs & Broomsticks is not? Does it have to do with sheer time of animation on screen? Regardless it’s annoying. But WFRR is still a great movie with a lot of innovation for its time, and enough animated character cameos (Betty Boop, Bugs Bunny, assorted dwarves) to keep me happy, and save its spot on the list.

 

An example of the early entourage

Sleeping Beauty

I like the little fairies.

 

I had the Oliver Christmas ornament from McDonalds foreverrrr.

Oliver & Company

Billy Joel as a dog! And you know who else voices characters in this one? Robert Loggia. Bette Midler. Richard Mulligan. I bet they recorded their parts in a smoky steakhouse with red vinyl booths in West Hollywood.

 

To infinity – and aisle seven!!

Toy Story

I was working part-time at KayBee Toys when this movie came out and we all reserved our VHS copies (by now, delivered in puffy plastic binder-sized cases instead of cardboard sleeves) right off the truck. We loved Woody and Buzz until Christmastime, when the sought after toys came out, and every parent on the planet turned into a psychopath. That might be one reason why Toy Story 2 isn’t on this list.

A Bug’s Life: the niche actor insect flick

A Bug’s Life

I remember this being released around the same time as Dreamworks’ Antz, and everyone was all, A Bug’s Life is lame! Antz is where it’s at!

But I always liked this one more. It has the geeks line-up of voice talent: Kids in the Hall‘s Dave Foley, Madeline Kahn, Denis Leary, and a pre-American Beauty Kevin Spacey, while Antz was a weird powerhouse showcase including Woody Allen, Anne Bancroft, Sharon Stone, and Sylvester Stallone. Huh?

A Bug’s Life also includes a ‘blooper reel’ at the credits that I fully appreciate.

 

Finding photos labeled for reuse is often hilarious.

 The Lion King

I feel like The Lion King just sort of has to be on the list. I mean, it was great; I saw it in the theater as an adult. It’s pure animated camp to me now, but at one time, most of us were caught up in the circle of life. Not as much as Julie Taymor though.

Bonus Question: What Disney-movie toys and books do you remember from your youth?