4 Weeks of Halloween: Week 2

This week's lineup features all British made horror:
  • Hellraiser (trailer)
  • The Legend of Hell House (trailer)
  • Count Magnus, by M. R. James (short story)
  • The Wicker Man (1973): This film is usually labelled horror, but it's not your typical horror film. For one thing, there are several musical sequences (this isn't just scenes that heavily feature music, it's the actual use of music and singing to further the plot - like in a musical). For another, there isn't any blood or gore (lots of nudity though). The deaths are few and far between. On the other hand, the entire movie is overshadowed by an ominous tone, and it's got a fantastic and haunting ending. The story follows a mainland police officer who goes to an island village in search of a missing girl. The locals are none too cooperative, most denying that the girl even exists. The island's inhabitants have many unusual beliefs and religious customs, much to the chagrin of the devoutly Christian police officer. This is psychological horror film. A slow burn that grows into a hell of a fire in the end (literally and figuratively). I haven't seen the remake, but after watching this, I'd say it was probably unnecessary. It's very unusual, and probably not for everyone, but I liked it. ***

    The titular Wicker Man
  • Severance (trailer)
  • The Descent (trailer)
  • Twilight at the Towers, by Clive Barker (Short Story from Cabal)
  • Dog Soldiers (2002): Writer/director Neil Marshall's debut is about British soldiers on a routine training mission that encounter a pack of werewolves and must fight for survival. It never had much of a theatrical bow, but has picked up a lot of steam on DVD. It's certainly not a perfect film, and there isn't anything really new here, but it's well executed and fun to watch. The film mashes two sub-genres, the werewolf film and the war film, quite effectively. The focus is more on the soldiers, and it helps greatly that the talented cast turns in excellent performances. The film could have easily slid into camp, but Marshall doesn't overcorrect and make it too earnest either. It's still a little cheesy. There are some rather stupid horror movie moments (We're in a house, surrounded by werewolves. I think I'll stand by this window here.) and other cliches (for instance, one of the soldiers is bitten by a werewolf, and we know where that's going - but this is at least well crafted) and the story slides into the realm of the unprobable as it progresses, but by that time the film had built up enough goodwill in me that I didn't mind. An entertaining, well done B-movie. ***

    Dog Soldiers
  • 28 Days Later (trailer)
  • 28 Weeks Later (trailer)
  • Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman (short story)
I didn't even realize the two films I got from Netflix this week were British, but it worked out well for this post. I meant to have a third film in this post, but ran out of time this week (also, it probably wouldn't have been British)... More to come next week. I have tons of horror films in my queue, but if anyone has any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment.