Monday, October 24, 2011

2011 Halloween Roundup: Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in My Neck

This year’s Roundup settles firmly into that most dependable little room in all of Halloweentown: the vampire’s coffin, that plush satin button-tufted Mystery Box with the same surprise, every time: the Vrykolakas, Wampir, Vampire—the Invited Guest, the Undead, the Right One (for all the wrong reasons).  And while we’re certain we’ve left out your favorite, here’s the lineup for our annual Dark Ride (with cheap pizza at dusk).  Drop on by Sunday, October 30, bring your favorite treat (optional—but we’ll take garlic, hawthorn or holy water), stake your claim (heh-heh-heh), pull up a casket and sharpen your teeth, kiddies, because it’s Roundup time.

WARNING: These are all R-rated films.
The Roundup won't let children under 17 attend
unless accompanied by parent or adult guardian.   'Nuff said.

1:00 PM Mr. Vampire/Geung si sin sang (1985)

And old Hong Kong favorite at the Roundup, this is as close as a vampire-only lineup can get to a kiddie matinee—although it may not be for actual kiddies.  Martial arts, broad slapstick, and indistinct mythology blend with obscure methodologies for dispatching hopping vampires—yes, like fanged pogo sticks—in a Jackie Chan-ish world of stunts and general foolishness. 

3:00 PM  Fright Night (1985)

Sorry, gang, but the original 3:00 show, Dracula (1993), is unavailable.  But we had this one in our pocket, the original Mom-let-the-wrong-one-in movie.  Roddy McDowell has fun playing Vincent Price, and Chris Sarandon is '80s hunky--but Stephen Geoffreys has the most fun of all as Evil Ed.  Dinner's in the oven!

5:30 PM  Shadow of the Vampire

Speaking of X-treme acting, here’s a movie that imagines the making of Murnau’s Nosferatu with John Malkovich as the famed director and Willem Dafoe as Max Schreck, his vampire.  I could tell you that in this version Schreck is a little too good at playing the rat-toothed Count, but the casting should be enough to scare you.  An overlooked Gem of the Genre.

7:15 PM  Let the Right One In (2008)

We’re not snobs just because we know that the average moviegoer is more afraid of subtitles than of vampires.  The only unfortunate side-effect of that fear is Absolutely Unnecessary American Remake Syndrome, an ailment that even the directors of the original can suffer from (see—or don’t—the remakes of The Vanishing and Funny Games).  Fortunately, there’s a cure for AUARS: Let the Right One In, a pale and frosty Norwegian original that reminds us how bad it is to be a vampire, even if you like it.  Along with Near Dark (1987), The Addiction (1995), and Nadja (1994)—with Peter Fonda as both Dracula and Van Helsing—Let the Right One In remolds the vampire movie in unexpected ways.  (Oh, and speaking of Norwegian horror films, do yourself a favor and watch Trollhunter (2010), a funny-clever-scary Blair Cloverfield Project—with the added bonus of the most stunning landscapes since Bilbo went a-wanderin.  You’ll be pining for the fjords before you know it.)

9:15 PM  30 Days of Night (2007)

Another chilly movie, we’re happy to end the Roundup with a David Slade picture, the man who gave us the terminally squirmy Hard Candy (2006).  But for 30 Days of Night he calms down, more or less, to give us a good-ol’-fashion CGI-fest—with generous slabs of thrill-ride satisfaction.  And you thought that almost-vice-president lady who looks like Tina Fey was the only scary thing to come out of Alaska.



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