October Horror Movie Challenge 2014 – Post Mortem

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That’s another month of horror film gluttony over, and once again I’m somewhat relieved. Horror is as much a part of my life as breathing, caffeine abuse and trying to type with a cat on my arms, but finding the time to watch and review a new film every day is knackering. I would get some sleep if I didn’t have 31 new sets of nightmares fluttering around in my head like anxious bats.

As was the case last year this batch of films held some real surprises, both good and bad. There were a a few mild disappointments, and a couple of major ones in the rape-filled repulsiveness of Humanoids from the Deep and the unremitting tedium of Anthropophagus. In comparison, the muddleheadedness of Escape from Tomorrow and the over-familiarity of The Canal were minor let-downs.

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Two of the more pleasant surprises were the ultra-low-budget productions I Am a Ghost and Found. For less that the cost of a mid-range used car, each of these films put more originality on the screen than most professional horror films. I hope they both find a larger audience and bring their creators more work.

The darkest film of the month was Joshua, which blindsided me all the more because of the more whimsical touch of Travis Betz’s other films. While I found Joshua powerful and affecting, my review seems to have turned more people off seeing it than I’d anticipated. Joshua is strong stuff, and may prove difficult viewing for parents of young children, but I recommend it unreservedly.

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I seemed to end up watching a lot of horror comedies this month, some of which were more grotesque than most straight-faced horror films. Inbred and 100 Bloody Acres were the standouts here, both subversions of the classic horror trope of outsiders taken prisoner by rural psychopaths, and both about as much fun as you can pack into 90 minutes. Exte was also manic, demented entertainment, but more absurd than overtly comic. Blood Feast was a lot funnier than it set out to be, and oddly endearing.

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Afflicted was almost well-made enough to overcome my aversion to the found-footage format. Almost.

I’m not sure I can pick a single favourite film from the month, as there were so many strong contenders. My short list would be 100 Bloody AcresExteTrouble Every Day and Horns. Each is so different from the others that comparisons are difficult and unfair. For sheer, unrelenting entertainment, however, I’ll choose the violent, unpredictable and dangerously funny 100 Bloody Acres.

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Last year I made some rash promises about keeping up reviews throughout the year, and then managed about a half-dozen. I’ll see if I can manage a few more than that before next October. If nothing else, Matt, Paul and I are discussing doing a few more film-based episodes of the podcast, and we’ll try to find some choice nightmares to share with you.

And, in the meantime, if you’d like to read some reviews by someone who actually knows what she’s talking about, I highly recommend Christianne Benedict’s film review blog, Krell Laboratories.

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