Well here we are – Schlocktoberfest 2014 is officially in the books. I just wanted to take this time to say that this was some of the most fun I’ve had in quite a while. At the end of September I was throwing ideas around on how to bring The Direct 2 Video Dungeon back in a way that would celebrate the build up to Halloween all the while having an easy way to update the blog. The idea hit me like a bolt of lightning to incorporate my twitter account & tweeting completely random (sometimes funny) thoughts while watching a movie. I must admit reading some of these tweets back to myself makes me think I tend to ramble a little too much but than again this is what made Schlocktoberfest 2014 a success.
In terms of the method I used to compose this year’s list a majority of the entries were found on Echo Bridge Entertainment’s Midnight Horror Collections (Volumes 2 and 8 specifically) as well as a random 10 movie horror pack from them as well. The screening process I used was a combination of Internet Movie Database ratings, trailers/previews on Youtube, reviews on independent horror movie blogs & word of mouth. A majority of these features were downright excruciating to try & get through and ultimately had to be cut all together.
On the other hand I purposely made sure to even the playing field by including several well known cult classics that defined their specific genres. Since we’re on the topic of genres I feel there was a good representation of zombies, werewolves, hostile alien invaders, presidential vampire hunters and giant monster destruction.
Before wrapping things up here is my top 10 recommendations from the last 31 days that are well worth your time this Halloween season:
1. John Carpenter’s The Fog – I always make it a tradition to watch one John Carpenter film on Halloween. The Fog has high replay value, solid acting, & bone chilling atmosphere.
2. Godzilla (2014) – I was shocked the amount of hate Godzilla has received since hitting theaters this past May. Japanese Kaiju movies are a special breed that you either get or you don’t. Gareth Edwards made a true love letter to die hard fans and while yes it could of been improved a little more the final result is downright breathtaking.
3. All Hallows’ Eve – The only thing I sort of regret with this is featuring it on the very first day of Schlocktoberfest. I also was getting my bearings in terms of where I wanted to go with the 1 Horror Movie A Day In October concept and only posted several tweets about the movie as a whole. Anthology horror is for the most part a mixed bag (no pun intended) & centering the stories around Halloween is a even more daunting task but All Hallows Eve is a gory blast from start to finish.
4. Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon – We’ve seen the slasher formula become stale and repugnant. A group of teenagers left to their own devices make idiotic choices while being stalked & done in by a murderous psychopath. Behind The Mask flips the idea where you get to know the slasher & even like him to a point that you realize there’s no method to his madness instead he’s like a mailman or street sweeper everyone has to have a skill/trait that their good at.
5. Dog Soldiers -Werewolves that are big, nasty, vile creatures that won’t think twice about ripping you to shreds and look like actual wolves (okay these look like wolves that have been doing massive amounts of HGH) this is a fun action film that just so happens to blend in red corn syrup and silver bullets with a style and grace all its own.
6. The Faculty – More along the lines of Sci-Fi thriller than actual horror there isn’t one thing I’d change about this sometimes overlooked late 90’s sleeper. The cast is spot on, you can cut the tension with a knife, and even though Robert Rodriguez sort of ripped off one particular standoff scene from John Carpenter’s The Thing that moment is actually almost as gripping.
7. Killjoy 3 – A surprisingly fun thrill ride in the killer clown genre. Trent Haaga steals every scene he is in through a nonstop assault of one liners and unnerving mannerisms. Its tacky, low budget, and wasn’t really necessary but I’ll give the devil (or in this case the demon) his due Killjoy 3 is highly entertaining.
8. Prom Night/Terror Train – Before everyone says that its cheating to include two movies in one spot I want to point out that I was torn between what one had the better execution. Both take quite a while to get going but once they do all bets are off not to mention when you’re paying tribute to the definitive scream queen of that era, Jamie Lee Curtis, it was difficult to pick out the stand out performance. Terror Train had a thrilling conclusion that kept you guessing right up to the very end whereas Prom Night had Jamie Lee showing a little more skin helping her shed her tomboy image. Watch both and then decide which one is better chances are you’ll be stewing over that answer for quite a while.
9. Alien Abduction – Cliched? Yep! Predictable? Very Much So. Been done way too many times before? Indeed! So why is this making the list? One reason and one reason alone – effective jump scares. Make a bowl of popcorn, turn off the lights, & put this on. How many times the popcorn goes flying will most likely surprise you but hey sometimes we all need a cheesy little jump scare to make us feel more human.
10. The Coed and the Zombie Stoner – The Asylum is always ridiculed for their attempts to cash in (or mockbust) and this will never be uttered in the same sentence as Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland. For extremely low budget fare it does capably hit its marks and maybe I laughed much more than I should have. Considering I’ve seen my share of low budget trash The Coed and the Zombie Stoner proves that The Asylum will satisfy its core audience all the while continuing to p!ss off those who just don’t get it.
And there you have it. At this time I’d like to thank everyone for joining me on this wild ride. I’m sure many of you who followed the first incarnation of the Direct 2 Video Dungeon are wondering where things will go from here??? Well the blog will remain active. I’m currently developing a new review format and will return within the next couple months. I’m going to continue doing this at my own leisure so when the D2VD is updated, its updated.
Until then please feel free to share your thoughts on Shclocktoberfest 2014. What were your favorite entries? What would you like to see in next year’s installment? Any suggestions? Pass them along my way!
Take care & Happy Halloween!
– The Dungeon Master