Courting Creepy: 13 slots for an ever-shifting list of movies I have to see asap.

As I create these Courting Creepy lists, I repeatedly discover gaps in my viewed-films list. My knowledge of zombie movies, for example, was so thin that I had to ask a guest blogger to construct a 13 crucial zombie films list for me. Each time I write a supposedly definitive list, I receive suggestions from readers for additions and replacements. Though I stand by my choices, I must also admit that I haven’t seen everything and, consequently, I could be missing a great film. I’ve been trying to keep the list of must-see movies in my head, and/or on random scraps of paper. It just occurred to me, that this is a better way to keep track. Duh.

[Last updated July 21st, 2014.]

As with all the lists, feel free (even compelled) to make suggestions and recommendations!

Twin Ranch Drive-In Movie Theater, Cleveland, Texas by Patrick Feller
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nakrnsm/

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13 creepy movies I most want to see next:

I. Byzantium (2012) – DVD – vampires

II. Silent House (2011) – Netflix – ghosts

III. Absence (2013) – Netflix – recommended by Monster Men – aliens

IV. The Conspiracy (2012)  – Netflix – secret society

V.  House of Voices (2004) – Netflix – ghosts

VI.  Munger Road (2011) – Netflix – ?

VII.  A Haunting at Silver Falls (2013) – Netflix – ghosts

VIII. Stoker (2013) – DVD – strange

IX.  Grave Encounters (2011) – Netflix – ghosts

X.  The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh (2012) – Netflix – recommended by Scholar – ghosts

XI.  Don’t Look Now (1973) – Netflix – ghosts? psychics?

XII.  Case 39 (2009) – DVD – strange

XIII. One Missed Call (2003 Japanese version) – DVD – recommended by Craft Fear – time-slip? ghosts?

 

Films to be moved up, as needed:

Recommendations by The Horror Online follow:
Paranormal Activity (2007) with DIRECTORS COMMENTARY –  ghosts

Alone with Her (2006) – DVD – stalker
The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007) – saved on Netflix – serial killer
Home Movie (2008) – DVD – looks gruesome maybe? – strange
The Last Exorcism (2010) – DVD – demons
Troll Hunter (2010) – Netflix – monster
The Woman Who Came Back (1945) – DVD – ghosts?
Warlock (1989) – DVD – witches
The Witches (1990) – DVD – children, witches
To The Devil A Daughter (1976) – saved on Netflix – demons, writers
Witchfinder General (1968) – DVD – witches
The Devil Rides Out (1968) – saved on Netflix – witches
The City of the Dead (Horror Hotel) (1960) – saved on Netflix – witches
La Maschera Del Demonio aka Black Sunday (1960) – Netflix – witches

Other recommendations:
Communion (1989) – DVD – aliens
Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (1973) – DVD – recommended by Hunter Shea – zombies
The Screaming Skull (1958) – DVD, very long wait – recommended by Parlor of Horror – psycho?
The New Daughter (2009) – DVD – recommended by Jimmy Smith – possession?
The Deaths of Ian Stone (2007) – DVD – recommended by parlorofhorror – time-slip? psycho?
The Echo (2008) – DVD – recommended by Scholar – ghosts?
The Bay (2012) – Netflix – recommended by Monster Men – monsters?
God Told Me (1976) – DVD – recommended by Wed’s Child – psycho? demons?
Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971) – DVD – classic, recommended by Daryll – ghosts
The Woman in Black (1989) – TV movie, also recommended by Daryll – ghosts
Prince Of Darkness (1987) – DVD – recommended by Hunter Shea – demons?
Candyman (1992) – Netflix – urban legend
The Howling (1981) – DVD – classic, think I’ve seen it, don’t remember well, werewolves
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) – DVD – recommended by pilgrim52 – ghosts
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) -DVD – ?
The Exorcist III (1990) – DVD – Saw it at the drive-in, needs a rewatch – demons
The Skull (1965) – DVD – recommended by Parlor of Horror – strange, possession
The Stone Tape (1972) – recommended by Mark Hill (obscure made for British TV – hard to find?) – ghosts
Peeping Tom (1959) – DVD – rough going, I’ve heard (caught part of it on TV) – psycho? serial killer?
Obsession (1976) – saved on Netflix – stalker
The Spiral Staircase (1946) – DVD – stalker
Final Destination (2000) – DVD – psychic? time-slip?
Wolfen (1981) – DVD – werewolves
The Company of Wolves (1984) – DVD – werewolves
The Desperate Hours (1955) – saved on Netflix – psycho? stalker?
They Live (1988)  – DVD – aliens
A Clockwork Orange (1971)  – DVD – strange, psycho
Darkness (2002)  – DVD – ghosts
Shutter (2004)  – DVD – ghosts
Al Final del Espectro aka At the End of the Spectra (2006) – psycho
Cronos (1993) – DVD – strange, time-slip?
We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) – DVD – read an intriguing review at IPC – strange
Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965) – tarot stories
The Eclipse (2009) – DVD – Irish – ghosts
The Hearse (1980) – saved on Netflix – ghosts?
The Awakening (1980) – Charlton Heston! – ghosts
The Girl in the Swing (1988) – saved on Netflix – ghosts
Deadly Presence (2012) – saved on Netflix – ghosts
Haunter (2013) –  Netflix -ghosts
 6 Souls (2010) – Netflix – psycho, ghosts
Apartment 1303 (2012) – Netflix – ghosts
The Quiet Ones (2014) – saved on Netflix -ghosts
Horns (2014) – saved on Netflix – strange
Wer (2013)
The Battery (2012) – zombies & BASEBALL 🙂

The ones I’ve bagged:

Under the Skin (2013)
We Are What We Are (2013)
JULY 2014^
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
House at the End of the Street (2012)
Transcendence (2014)
The Virgin Suicides (1999)
Mama (2013)
The Innkeepers (2011)
Dark Skies (2013)
Europa Report (2013)
Labor Day (2013) (not horror but certain creepy & sexy elements)
Gravity (2013) (sci-fi)
The Haunting of Julia (1977)
The Awakening (2011) – recommended by Tim Prasil
2014^
Twixt (2011) – writer list candidate
The Gift (2000)
Silver Bullet (1985)
The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane (1976)
Drive Angry (2011)
The Conjuring (2013)
AUGUST 2013 ^
The Devil’s Backbone (2001)
Lady in White (1988)
Gothika (2003)
Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
The Descent (2005)
BETWEEN DEC 2012 & JULY 2013 ^
The Pact (2012)
The Sentinel (1977)
DECEMBER 2012 ^
Kill Baby, Kill [Operazione paura] (Italy, 1966)
Burnt Offerings (1986)
The Skeleton Key (2005)
Ju-on: The Grudge (2002)
Ringu (1998)
Repulsion (1965)
NOVEMBER 2012 ^
The Mist (2007)
The Cabin in the Woods (2011)
Wake Wood (2011)
OCTOBER 2012 ^

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Courting Creepy: 13 crucial movies – for zombie lovers – at Halloween (or anytime.) By Pooka’s Beau.

Tonight, as promised, I bring you a new Courting Creepy list. As soon as I agreed to participate in the recent Blogger Virtual Zombie Walk, I knew I needed to craft a zombie movie list, so I’ve been thinking about it since late September. I racked my memories. I watched new-to-me films … which I didn’t much like. In the end, I was able to come up with only nine solid recommendations. That’s a shame, because I genuinely respect the genre. Some of the best horror movies I know are zombie films. (But then, so are some of the worst.) Eventually, I had to admit that most zombie films are just a bit too bloody and violent for me. In desperation, I reached out to my daughter’s beau who has a particular affection for zombies. He agreed to write up a list, using my existing lists as an example of format.

Please feel free to let The Beau know he should have a blog of his very own 🙂

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The Beau’s take on zombie movies:

If horror movies were liquor, then zombie movies would be vodka. You can add just about anything to vodka and get a palatable drink. The same can be said for zombie movies. Granted, you have your top-shelf zombie movies and your cheap b-list zombie movies. Beyond that, you have your flavors: zombie comedies, zombie action flicks, zombie science fiction … the variety is overwhelming, but all of it works in some way. It’s the various permutations of these films that ensure you are going to like some kind of zombie movie, you’ve just got to find the right variety.

Let’s start by talking about pure zombies. This includes George Romero’s “of the Dead” series, most of the remakes of them, and a handful of other examples, like 28 Days Later and (especially) the TV series Walking Dead. These are what I consider the top-shelf zombie movies. They stay true to the plots that started the genre. All other types of zombie movies are spinoffs of elements within these movies.

In these top-shelf movies, the horror comes from the setting. A zombie, by itself, isn’t that scary. These zombies are (usually) slow-moving and easily outsmarted. The real threat is in the fact that the entire world is overrun with them; there are millions of them out there and they will always be after you. Still-human characters have to find a way to live in the resulting world, and that is where the real drama of the movie comes from. Without normal societal norms, the characters revert to survival mode and you see just how bad human nature can become in the name of survival.

These movies inspire the viewer to ask questions of themselves. What would you do in a situation like this? Would you isolate your family? Would you murder other people who try to get into your supplies? What would you promise your squad of soldiers to keep them from killing each other? Maybe you’d just try to be the last civilized person on the planet, holding true to what you can remember of the law and order that once was, at least for a time. These questions also apply to the oldest story ever told: Man vs Man vs Nature. We live in this world with such questions in the deep, dark back of our minds, and we’ll leave the world (if we’re lucky) not knowing the answers.

The effectiveness of films like those above gave birth to the sub-genres of zombie films. Dawn of the Dead (both the original and the remake) shows us how much fun it can be to be the last man alive, for example. It introduces a light tone into the genre. That led us to Shaun of the Dead, a comedy which shows us the only people equipped to deal with the zombie apocalypse are video game playing slackers in their mid-twenties. The characters from Shaun, however – with their devising of zombie killing strategies and their indulging in zombie killing sprees –  gave rise to the action zombie films.

An important thing to remember about these films is that they are gory. Wait, don’t turn your nose up at that! A lot of people think gory = not scary but gross, but gore does have a place in horror. It’s how you validate your fears. Think of this…. If I were to tell you, “Hey, the Titanic sank,” how would you feel? You probably wouldn’t collapse in tears, even though it was a tragedy. But, if you were to watch the Titanic movie – and actually see the stories of the doomed passengers, then see them die – suddenly the tragedy hits home, it has emotional impact. The same idea applies to zombies, When a movie tells you, Hey, zombies eat people,” you aren’t going to be scared if the camera turns away. But, if you watch a gory zombie movie – and actually see a zombie tear the throat out of someone, then disembowel that same someone right before your eyes – suddenly it strikes home that “Zombies EAT people!”

If it helps those of you who are squeamish, just go into it with the intention of admiring some of the best special effect makeup ever done.

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13 crucial movies – for zombie lovers – at Halloween (or anytime.) By The Beau.

First, honorable mention to the TV series The Walking Dead. I know it’s not a movie, but if you want the best example of a great zombie story, go to that.

Dawn of the Dead (1978, original)
– One of the best and most influential movies of the genre. Special acknowledgement for best performance by a mall in film.
Zombie aka Zombi 2 (1979)
– Best of the foreign zombie films. Special acknowledgement for best fight scene: Shark vs Zombie!
Return of the Living Dead (1985)
– Splatstick comedy. Historically significant; the movie that started zombies saying “Brains!”
Day of the Dead (1985, original)
– Sequel to the much-loved Dawn of the Dead. A military bunker is the safest place in the world of the dead, but can the civilian population get along with the military leaders?
Night of the Living Dead (1990, remake)
– An updated and more action oriented version of the original that started it all. Special acknowledgement for best change of an ending.
Wild Zero (1999)
– Not going to make a list without putting a movie on it you’ve never heard of. Japanese zombie film starring a rock band that battles zombies using the power of rock. DVD comes with a built in drinking game, drink when: a head explodes, fire shoots out of something, someone says Rock N Roll, someone combs their hair, and many more.
28 Days Later (2002)
– Best zombie movies with no zombies in it.
Dawn of the Dead (2004, remake)
– Same premise, but different direction, than the original. Strong movie that stands side by side with the original, not in front or behind.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
– British comedy that is a lovesong for the genre.
Land of the Dead (2005)
– Interesting premise that falls apart with cliché characters and action sequences. Still stands up better than many other movies.
The Zombie Diaries (2006)
– A shaky-cam documentary-style take on the zombie apocalypse. Surprisingly good, better than Romero’s Diary of the Dead.
Planet Terror (2007)
– A modern homage to the cult films of yore. Extra gore, extra cult.
Zombieland (2009)
– Survival comedy that walks the line between homage and parody. Good entry movie for the genre, though it may make earlier films less scary.

Best for Halloween night: Night of the Living Dead (1968).

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Rising from the sickbed.

It’s alive!

In the last week,  my life has been very, very simple. I have worked at the hotel, come home and watched some TV (until my brain relaxed enough to allow me to drift off,) slept for many hours, awakened, tended to basic needs (like eating food I couldn’t taste and taking long, hot baths that my husband had to supervise so that I would neither scald myself nor drown,) then headed back to work.

It was nothing serious, just a cold from hell (stacked on top of a down-swing in my mood.) I still don’t feel 100%, but I can breathe again. I  am fully dressed. And, for the first time in a few weeks, I am getting started on a full two-day weekend that does not include working.

My plan is to aggressively re-engage with Halloween, the blog and life in these last few days of October.

Hunting Halloween:
This weekend, my son and I plan to go to Pinehaven Farm in Wyoming, MN. It’s a petting zoo and pumpkin farm we have been visiting faithfully for more than ten years. They also have a Dead End Hayride in the evenings. Right now we’re thinking we’ll go to that on Monday. As for Halloween night itself, we were pleased to find out that our building allows trick-or-treating. Our intention is to create a haunted treat station – complete with fog machine and spooky music – just inside our door. I’m tempted to buy a cheap set of basic makeup too, so that we can cobble together some spooky characters for handing out treats. Beyond that, I have a couple of pumpkins to carve and some traditional movies to watch.

One of the Pinehaven goats.

Here at the blog:
Getting back on the blogging horse always feels awkward, but I have the advantage of (too) many planned topics to choose from. The Courting Creepy movie lists have been popular and I have a couple that I really want to get up before Halloween. Tonight or tomorrow I will pick up where I left off – with zombies. My daughter’s beau agreed to construct the list, because I just had to concede that I am no zombie expert. Jason, on the other hand, is a connoisseur. All I have to do is format his work, which will be an easy task. It makes for a smooth transition into getting my head back in the game. (Thanks, Jason.)

When it comes to ghost stories, I feel fully qualified to make recommendations, so expect that list soon too – and it will be escorted by the long-delayed telling of what I saw in room 217, at the old hotel.

Obviously, I failed NaBloPoMo miserably. (Literally.) Still, I feel good about what I achieved, and I’m eager to continue a consistent – if less demanding – posting schedule.

And for those that worry about my bipolarity:
As the mad month of October winds down, I know I have to turn my attention to surviving the winter. Even though things haven’t settled as much as I’d hoped, and nothing big has been resolved, I have to establish some healthier routines. I need regular sleep, decent food, sunlight, exercise, social time and music. (Right now I’m listening to an old playlist. Yes, I’ve caught myself dancing in the chair as I write. It feels good. How dated – and ridiculously appropriate – is it that the current song is Wheel in the Sky by Journey?)

Perhaps more important than all those things, though, is writing – especially returning to writing fiction. I am contemplating a run at NaNoWriMo. Considering the experiences I’ve had at the hotels, I think that getting 50,000 words down, of an entirely new story, might be possible. Lately, while folding sheets, I’ve been putting together a straight-forward story in my head. Historically I’ve worked best with a detailed outline, but maybe something crazy like this would be an invigorating change. Or maybe it’s just insane. I’ve got a few days to think about it.

Who amoung you are thinking about plunging in? Are any of you veterans with advice to share?