(Visual) Notes on Culture
  Onward to Halloween
Most years I find myself in the Halloween spirit toward the end of September. Recently acquired DVDs, pervasive candy, and idle chatter about costumes make it all but inevitable. Owing to an especially busy month, though, this year is a little bit different. I have not had my usual dose of horror, will be in class during All Hallow's proper, and don't have any real excuses to do anything but fall asleep amongst a pool of candy wrappers and bottles of Pumpkin ale.

I have, however, been giving it a bit of thought. Some recent films I've watched that are especially geared toward this time of year include In Dreams (1999), The Monster Squad (1987), Shaun of the Dead (2004), Carnival of Souls (1962), Hell of the Living Dead (1980), and Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990). I've got a big old stack of stuff I own but haven't watched - though in some cases, have seen before - including The Tenant (1976), Mortuary (2005), Body Double (1984), Masters of Horror: Chocolate (2005), The Dead Zone (1983), Night of the Living Dead (1990), and Son of Kong (1933). To top it off, I've got a big old list of recommendations and a few things I would like to revisit.

I have, however, seen nothing "amazing" in the horror genre of the things I have watched. Put another way, this is the first year that I have not discovered any truly fantastic, groundbreaking, or transcendent horror film(s) that were previously unknown to me. I can think of a few reasons. For starters, this is about the 7th consecutive year in which I've been actively seeking the boldest and most beautiful the genre has to offer. As I've long been familiar with the biggest, its now a matter of finding the weirdest. Sometimes this is good, as when I recently had occasion to watch Brian De Palma's early shocker Murder a la Mod (1968). It often has to do with lack of ready availability, as there are some things that are still totally impossible to get. And, there is always that excessive jaded streak I've been cultivating, but that should be besides the point. But, I've sadly been exempt from any revelatory experiences this year. What is great about being a student of film production and aesthetics is that one can almost constantly find new/interesting things. This year, some of the candidates include The Red and the White (1967), Late Autumn at the Hotel Ozone (1967), Hot Fuzz (2007), and 24 Hour Party People (2002). Where is my shocking, aggravating, brilliant horror?!? Will it be recent (doubtful), non-American (likely), or easy to get a hold of (not likely)?

If you have any pointers for a slightly aimless (only for the time being, I hope) viewer like myself, do not hesitate to let me know.
Kevin -
I'll be curious to hear what you think of the films I recommended. It's been a while since I've been truly surprised by a horror film... this year, I think I might stick with a lineup of lively favorites: American Werewolf, Return of the Living Dead, Evil Dead 2, Re-Animator, etc. I've also been considering the Hammer Frankenstein series.
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