A few funny things happened between this week and the last time I wrote in this series about the 61 days of Halloween, there was an election, an insurrection, and I started teaching again. Needless to say, it’s been a while since Halloween and I need to absolutely finish what I started, so enjoy this late recap of the final slate of films for the 61 days of Halloween on Shudder.
#7 – The Creepshow Halloween Special
The animated special is a mixed bag, unfortunately. One of the tales, “Survivor Type” took advantage of the limited animation of the episode fairly well. Set on a deserted island occupied by an injured man and the remains of an unfortunate woman, the short benefits from the isolation and lingering images of the small dot of land in a large ocean. Kiefer Sutherland’s vocal work here is also very good, giving the short a great manic and fatalistic tone.
The second story, “Twittering from the Circus of the Dead,” featuring the vocal talents of Joey king, however, fares far worse. The Twitter aspect of the short feels largely built around someone’s impressions of what Twitter is rather than how it actually works, and the narration comes off far less interesting than that of “Survivor Type.” The short also suffers from the constraints of budget animation, not really doing visual justice to the overall concept.
#6 – May the Devil Take You Too
This Timo Tjahjanto film has a very strong Evil Dead vibe. While it is a solid, competently made film, there is very little that is memorable about it. There are only a pair of sequences that really stand out, yet that is because they pull from the work of Raimi in quite an obvious way. This seems to be a common assessment of the film on the internet, so Tjahanto definitely wears their influences on their sleeve.
The film is actually a sequel, so perhaps seeing the original might make this one work out a bit differently for me on a re-watch. The film follows a pair of sisters, still suffering from a trauma (explained in the previous film), who are kidnapped by a group of orphans who seek to use Alfie, our protagonist, in a ritual to remove a curse from the evil man who abused and cursed them as children in the orphanage.
Again, it’s competent stuff and by no means a bad movie… it’s just that I wasn’t particularly drawn in, nor did much stand out. There are worse ways to kill a couple of hours, however.
#5 – Tales of Halloween
This 2015 anthology is one of the many anthologies run during the 61 days of Halloween. Tales of Halloween was never really on my radar on release and having seen it, it is a shame I didn’t discover it sooner. Not all the segments land, and the continuity between the tales is loose. There is little unification in the concepts beyond each tale taking place on Halloween, either, but it is still a pretty fun time.
Among the segments to watch, the final segment, “Bad Seed,” is the most interesting and the most complete as a narrative. However, “Trick” may be the darkest of the segments and the one that stuck with me the most.
#4 – Haunt
Okay, so I already covered this one, technically.
#3 – The Fall of the House of Usher
One of the best, if inaccurate, Poe adaptations by Roger Corman and starring Vincent Price, The Fall of the House of Usher is a sumptuous feast of gothic imagery for the Halloween season.
I don’t really have much to say on it because it’s almost mandatory viewing for anyone interested in classic horror.
#2 – WNUF Halloween Special
Given the stiff competition of the granddaddy of Halloween films, John Carpenter’s Halloween, WNUF Halloween Special puts up a hell of a fight, and had Halloween not been on this list, would have been my number one choice. It’s just that much fun. The movie is structured as though it is a taped recording of a local news Halloween special, complete with segments of the nightly news, commercials for regional businesses, and network packages. While light on scares, the tension is solid, bolstered by a cast who perform admirably as broad archetypes.
The events play out as you expect, but the fun of it all is in the aesthetic and waiting for those bricks to drop. It’s not the scariest film on the list for the week, but it is a rollicking good time.
#1 – Halloween
There’s not a whole lot I need to say here. As you’ve likely seen on the other lists, I can be a bit of a traditionalist. But I assure you, Halloween taking the #1 slot for me this time around is more than that. The film just evokes something about the season and it’s also the same reason why Shudder scheduled the film on October 31st. Halloween is a perfect film for the season.
And with these final seven films, that is the complete list of 61 I watched during the months of September and October of 2020. What films were you personal highlights?