Horror Movie Roundup #5: Classics Edition (Suspiria, Halloween, The Omen)

As October draws to a close, so does my month of horror. Here is one final batch of mini-reviews to end the month. Happy Halloween!

Suspiria [1977]
Suspiria [1977]
I feel like my expectations may have been too high for this one. The plot is paper thin — an American transfers to a prestigious ballet academy in Germany, only to find out it is run by witches — and the film suffers from poorly dubbed dialogue and subpar acting. Taken on these merits, there isn’t much to Suspiria. However, as an audio/visual experience, this is unlike anything I have ever seen. Director Dario Argento uses a wide array of vivid colors to create vibrant imagery, and this is enhanced by progressive rock band Goblin’s screeching soundtrack. The music is a “hate it or love it” type deal. Sometimes the frightening music works masterfully with what’s happening on screen, while other times it feels forced and unnatural. While I’m a bit surprised to see the universal praise for this film, it is certainly a unique offering despite its flaws. 6/10

Halloween [1978]
Halloween [1978]
I hadn’t seen John Carpenter’s classic in many, many years, so I was more than due to give this another viewing. Halloween still holds up remarkably well today — the first person POV shots, the “Boogey Man” appearances of Michael Myers, the iconic score. Everything about this is top notch, which is especially intriguing given the simplicity of the plot. It’s also interesting to look back at this film that influenced so many slasher movie tropes, yet it’s one that has a relatively low amount of violence on screen. Even with several years perspective, Halloween remains startlingly effective without needing to do very much at all. 9/10

The Omen [1976]
The Omen [1976]
The Omen isn’t so much of a “scary” film as it is a well-told story. It moves along at its own pace, and it works more on building suspense rather than opting for cheap thrills. The story has seen all sorts of variations over the years — couple has a stillborn and replaces it with an adopted child that just so happens to be the Antichrist — but it’s still effective. I believe part of this is due to Gregory Peck playing the lead role. His presence gives the film additional dramatic chops, and he is a perfect fit for the role of U.S. Ambassador. My only complaints for the film come from a couple of cheap deaths, as they could have clearly been avoided with minimal effort on the part of the characters. Regardless, I have no qualms with calling The Omen a great film. 8/10

And that wraps up this month of horror. What do you think of these classics?

Poll Results: Favorite John Carpenter Film

No doubt about this one:

The Thing

– The Thing: 14 votes
– Halloween: 9 votes
– Big Trouble in Little China: 6 votes
– Assault on Precinct 13: 3 votes
– Escape from New York: 2 votes
– They Live: 2 votes
– Christine: 1 vote
– Escape from L.A.: 1 vote
– The Fog: 1 vote
– Memoirs of an Invisible Man: 1 vote
– Prince of Darkness: 1 vote
– Starman: 1 vote
– Village of the Damned: 1 vote
– Dark Star, Ghosts of Mars, In the Mouth of Madness, Vampires and The Ward: 0 votes

The results weren’t too far off from what I expected, but I’ve gotta admit that I was hoping for more votes for They Live. Can’t argue with The Thing winning — that movie holds up remarkably well today.

This Week’s Poll: Continuing with the month-long horror poll theme, I would like to know what you consider the absolute best long-running horror franchise. I generally included only those with five or more films, and I’m asking you to take into account the whole franchise. When looked at as a whole, which one is best?

The Warning Sign news:
No weekend roundup this time. Instead, I have two announcements pertaining to this humble little blog:

1) I have had my first ever blog interview! Jeff from Just1MoreLevel was kind enough to interview me about The Warning Sign, and the full post can be found at his great gaming blog.

2) I was invited to partake in an epic Out of the Park Baseball league organized by Seamheads.com. Dubbed the “Laundry League”, there are 30 of us participating (including a handful of ex-MLB players, authors and online personalities), and we were each given a team filled with players from throughout the entire history of MLB. It’s a pretty awesome concept, and each team is stacked with guys who are rated based on the best year of their careers. I will be the Chicago White Sox. The full results of the inaugural draft can be found over at Seamheads.

While I am on the subject of discussing The Warning Sign, I would also like to invite everyone to “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. This blog has grown exponentially over the past year, and I would like to continue pushing forward in that direction. Thank you to everyone for your continued support — without all of you, none of this would exist!

Poll Results: Best Thursday Night NBC Sitcom + Weekend Roundup

The winner for best Thursday night NBC sitcom:

Parks and Recreation

– Parks and Recreation: 7 votes
– The Office: 4 votes
– Community: 3 votes
– 30 Rock: 0 votes
– Up All Night: 0 votes

I had a feeling Parks & Rec would win, but I’m a little surprised that The Office managed to sneak into second place. I guess there are still some out there who remember its glory days rather than its current mediocrity. The big question here: where are the 30 Rock fans??

This Week’s Poll: In honor of Halloween, I am going to present horror-related polls for the rest of the month. First up: a look back at one of the true masters of horror, John Carpenter. What is his best film? The iconic Halloween? The Thing with Kurt Russell’s legendary beard? Or perhaps cult favorite They Live? Due to his extensive filmography, I am allowing for TWO votes per person.

It was an especially busy, yet very fun, weekend for me. I had family come down to visit, and it’s always a good time showing them around Chicago. We hit up a few different neighborhoods and even stopped at some places I had never been to (including the popular Wicker Park taco joint, Big Star). I was also honored to take them to their first ever midnight screening — a special showing of new cult sensation, Miami Connection. That film was absolutely ridiculous but in the most awesome way possible. I plan on writing about it this week, but this trailer will tell you everything you need to know:

And that’s a wrap for September. This month looks to be a little quieter for me, so expect more new material in the coming days/weeks.

How about you guys? See anything good over the weekend? What are you voting for this week?