Welcome to October of the Living Dead! In keeping with my tradition of devoting the spookiest month of the year to a film franchise--in 2020 it was October of the Corn and last year it was The Hellbound Halloween--this year I'm focusing on... Night of the Living Dead and Return of the Living Dead? Okay, sure. Those are closer to a top tier horror franchise than, say, any of the Children of the Corn films. And who knows, maybe by the end of this I'll like zombies more! Probably not, but it could happen!
black and white
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2005)
Now wait, you might be saying to yourself. Didn't he already cover this? Well, yes and no. Yes, I started this week with a post on the 1920 silent film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. But no, today's post is on the 2005 remake that I can't absolutely confirm is a shot-for-shot remake, but it's the exact same movie. Except the characters now talk. A lot. And it's not good.
The Cabinet of Caligari (1962)
It's December, which on this blog means... more Caligari movies? Hm. Last year, December was nothing but Christmas and/or winter holiday movies, but this year I'm breaking that pattern up a bit. See, I've been meaning to do these three Caligari movies for months now, so I'm forcing myself to do them now. Santa and all that will be coming eventually, but so will at least two breaks from the format since Spider-Man: No Way Home is coming out this month and there's another, non-winter movie I watched that I want to talk about. With that out of the way, let's dive into The Cabinet of Caligari, a movie hampered by its title.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
One of my goals for 2022 is to cover more franchises on the blog. Outside of events, most of what I do are stand-alone movies and that has not been conducive to clearing out my list of "movies I've mentioned on the blog but haven't covered yet." But it's never too early to start a project, so let's have a mini event this week, starting with the horror classic, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari! What's the theme? All in good time...
A while back, the Criterion Collection had a sale and I bought a couple DVDs that I'd had my eye on. I've already reviewed a few of the movies I picked up, namely The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp and Beau Travail. But I'd been sitting on the rest for a while now, and it's been a growing annoyance in the back of my skull. So I'm finishing up this week with a light theme! I'm going to be talking about 2 movies I picked up from the Criterion Collection that are surreal experiences from first-time directors released in 1977, starting with Mr. David Lynch's Eraserhead. Yup, that very specific description applies to more than one cult classic.
Carnival of Souls (1962)
I have a list bookmarked that ranks what most people regard as the best horror movies ever made. And I've... covered an embarrassingly few of those movies on this blog. I definitely have seen a huge chunk of these films! I just tend to gravitate towards garbage because ranting about something being bad is easier than making a post with nothing but praise. But I have plans to burn through a couple of my personal to-do lists, so let's kick off this burst of motivation by talking about something actually good for a change: Carnival of Souls.
Otto; or, Up with Dead People (2008)
Once upon a time, I started a movie blog. The twist of the story is that what I created was not this Chwineka Watches, but a different, earlier blog whose name escapes me at the moment (probably also Chwineka Watches). The reviews were more longform, with posts being around 4000 words and featured several screenshots that had quirky captions because I was obviously inspired by Cracked Dot Com. One of the movies I reviewed at the time was Otto; or, Up with Dead People, a film about a gay zombie, something I'm redoing here as part of Pride Month. Looking back years later on that early review is weird to me now, because I can see how my opinions and thought processes have changed over time. Lemme explain.
The Field Guide to Evil (2018)
I think this is the first anthology I've reviewed on the blog? The only other time I've used that tag was with The Star Wars Holiday Special, and that was mostly a "for lack of a better word" situation. The Field Guide to Evil is a horror anthology that focuses on multicultural folklore, broadening our horizons by showcasing creatures and demons from around the world. But unfortunately for this film, not every story is told as well as the others. There were some shorts I loved, and others that just left me feeling meh.
Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
Let's finish off a month of the worst movies ever with a classic. I gotta say, after falling in love with B-movie parodies like The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, I had to keep reminding myself that Plan 9 from Outer Space was absolutely sincere. I mean, assuming the film Ed Wood is to be believed, but that's a key ingredient in making a cult classic. Sincerity in ineptitude is what separates the men from the boys, and Birdemic: Shock and Terror from something like Taintlight.
Reefer Madness (1938)
Do you know someone held captive in the seductive grip of marijuana? Sorry, I mean, "marihuana?" If so, you must do everything in your power to help your friend see the light before they're driven to mindless violence! And if that person happens to be you, then God have mercy on your soul... Or so Reefer Madness, AKA Tell Your Children would have you believe. Man, the makers of this film sound really uptight; if only there were a recreational substance that could help them relax...