Watching a horror film is a staple part of the Halloween tradition. The difficulty always comes down to which one to watch. So, on October 29, Leicester’s Phoenix Square cinema had a horror movie marathon, and to make life a little easier, they put on three films – two classics and a new film that is a worthy addition to the genre.
The Shining – Here’s Johnny!
From the opening shot, this film oozes fear. Opening with Wendy Carlos’s haunting bass resonating throughout the film, it lingers long in the mind, forever connected with Jack Nicholson’s grimace and helicopter views over the Rockies. The terror was just as palpable as when I first saw it many moons ago. Some people find children in horror films psychologically disturbing, and those two girls in their blue dresses contribute to the terror. It’s not something I get because personally I find the blood flooding out of the lifts one of the most horrific moments in cinema history. Others meanwhile find Jack Nicholson’s performance as Jack Torrance the most traumatising aspect of The Shining. The moment Wendy (Shelley Duvall) finds those meaningless scribbles from the typewriter is when we start to cower behind our hands. And of course when he starts running around with the axe, that’s when we get really scared. A great start to the triple bill.
“they can smell the blood of a Christian”
Zombies, aliens and monsters, ghosts and poltergeists, deranged killers, demons – surely it’s only trolls that haven’t been covered in their entirety in cinema? This must be a sub-genre defining film if ever there was one. After the terror of The Shining, comedy horror came with Trollhunter. So trolls can smell Christians, but can they smell the blood of Muslims? “I honestly don’t know” is troll hunter Hans’s response. The moment our band of heroes are in the trolls’ lair provokes the two great emotions of fear and humour in one go. Who would have thought a fart would be so funny and terrifying at once! Its reception in its home country of Norway has been mixed but over here it looks like it will be every bit of a success story.
(For Ed’s full review of TrollHunter For my full review click here: http://filmbuff-moviebuff.blogspot.com/2011/10/trollhunter.html)
By this time, because the air conditioning had broken down the heat in screen two was getting too much, despite both films being set in really cold places. There was great relief to find we were being re-housed into the other screen to watch our final instalment …
The Exorcist – It’s only a movie, it’s only a movie, it’s only a movie…
At the climax of William Friedkin’s classic, you could hear a pin drop in the theatre. Shown on 35mm film, it was cinema gold, it looked like a hand-made movie, like picking up a hand-made leather-bound book. Those precious moments when the devil takes over Regan are great fun and a wonder of technical proficiency. But it’s those little moments that add to make the whole – the very brief frames of the devil pale and gaunt; the devil reminding Father Karras if he could spare some change for “a poor old altar boy, father”; reminders about what he did to his mother by leaving her in the home. By the time Max Von Sydow re-enters from stage left, it was full throttle for the final battle of good versus evil.