Day 2 – Pumpkinhead (1988)
Pumpkinhead was AWESOME. The story goes that a man lives with his son and dog out in the middle of nowhere and a group of teenagers come along from the city to go on vacation in the woods. An accident happens, and the man seeks vengeance. He goes to some crazy old horror movie lady and she summons Pumpkinhead to ruin everyones’ day.
This movie has EVERYTHING. It has a monster who looks awesome, made with real, physical costume and puppetry and none of the CGI that isn’t very scary. It has stupid teenagers doing stupid things and *spoiler* dying horribly. It has mediocre acting (besides by the always-wonderful Lance Henriksen) that just really enhances the entire mood.
I couldn’t recommend this one highly enough. It’s not on Netflix or anything but it’s incredibly cheap online and in stores.
Day 3 – Absentia (2011)
Absentia is the story of two sisters: Tricia, whose husband disappeared without a trace seven years previous and who is now pregnant, and Callie, who is a state-hopping former drug addict come to move in. Tricia decides that it is finally time to declare her husband “Dead in Absentia” (HEY THAT’S THE NAME OF THE MOVIE), and immediately after doing so, she begins to see frightening hallucinations of him. As things get more and more bizarre, Callie and Tricia begin to question each other and themselves.
This movie was really cool, and it was directed by Mike Flanagan, who directed Oculus which I loved (HATERS, THERE’S THE DOOR). It has a sort of Lovecraftian feel to it (which I am a SUCKER for) in that you really don’t know why any of what’s happening is happening and also the concept of a world within or surrounding our own world. It deals with a lot of that stuff but in a really subtle way which is cool. And the end is also kind of horrifying and not for people with weak constitutions. Fair warning.
It also features a Doug Jones cameo (pictured)!
Day 4 – Stake Land (2010)
Stake Land is the story of a man and the teenage boy he rescues traveling up the United States during a
zombie vampire apocalypse. Along the way, they make a few friends and a few enemies, such as the fundamentalist Christian religious right wing crazy evil Brotherhood who can kind of control the vampires sort of.
Anywho, it’s very similar to The Walking Dead in that the vampires aren’t always the biggest threat, and there’s also a greater focus on human characterization and interpersonal drama than there is horror (but HOO BOY is there some horror!)
I liked this movie significantly more than I expected, and I expected to like it.
Day 5 – Fright Night (1985)
You may have seen the 2011 remake of the same name, and that movie was good, but this is a classic case of “you can’t beat the original.” With disgusting make-up and practical effects out the wazoo and a way more likable Peter Vincent (no offense to David Tennant, who was still great in the remake. You just can’t beat Roddy McDowall), 1985’s Fright Night comes out on top.
It’s the story of a teenage boy who basically sees his neighbor go all vampire on some poor woman. He tries to convince his friend, girlfriend, the police, and television and film actor Peter Vincent of this, and they all think he’s crazy until they don’t and then there’s a lot of goo and crazy make-up effects.
It’s funny, emotionally resonant, 80s cheesy, disgusting, and true horror all at once. I wish I would have seen it sooner.