Halloween Week Day 5: Top 5 movie villains

Ever since I’ve been old enough to remember watching movies, I’ve loved the bad guys. I don’t really know why, but I find most villains charming and interesting, even though some of them truly are pure evil. So I decided to make a little top 5 of some of my favourite movie villains.

The Joker (The Dark Knight, 2008)

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It is without surprise that I start this list with the Joker (Heath Ledger) from¬†The Dark Knight. Not only has the Joker been one of my favourite characters of all time ever since I was a little girl, Ledger’s performance is one of the best ones I have ever seen in my life. He is truly disturbing in this role and does a great job keeping us at the edge of our seat throughout the whole movie. The movie definitely wouldn’t have been the same with anyone else in this role.

Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs, 1991)

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Another great performance, this time by Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in¬†The Silence of the Lambs. Some people don’t consider him as the main villain of the movie, some don’t even consider him as a villain at all (which is a bit weird), but I think that ultimately, he is one of the greatest villains ever created. He might appear as a “secondary” villain in this movie, but I personally think that he actually is the main one, he’s just extremely good at hiding his real intentions.

Annie Wilkes (Misery, 1990)

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Probably one of the most hardcore fans to ever “live”, Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) terrified me so much as a kid, I kept having this dream where she’d break my ankles. I didn’t even want to write for a little while, just in case she’d burst through the door and try to strap me to the bed. Yeah, I guess she’s got that kind of effect on people. First introduced to us as a seemingly overly nice and caring nurse, It doesn’t take long for us to discover the true nature of Annie Wilkes and her obsession over¬†Misery.

Alex DeLarge (A Clockwork Orange, 1971)

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Not exactly a villain per-say, Alex (Malcolm McDowell) is more often perceived as a anti-hero. But he does do terrible things; from rape to murder, from harassing to beating up people for no reason, Alex is a troubled young man going through life by being as violent as possible.¬†With his distinct look and attitude, Alex is quite a dangerous person, who doesn’t really care about anything and will stop at nothing to show the all the power violence makes him feel.

Patrick Bateman (American Psycho, 2000)

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Kind of like Alex DeLarge, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) is often seen as a anti-hero more than like an actual villain, in parts because of the ambiguous ending of the film. But no matter how you interpret the ending, I believe that Patrick Bateman is one of the most enjoyable villains to watch evolve during a movie. I also think he is a very interesting character; the way he describes every little thing throughout the movie really gets us into his head and allows us to understand how he thinks.

Honorable mentions

  1. Bellatrix Lestrange (the Harry Potter series, 2001-2011)
  2. Pennywise the Dancing Clown aka It (It, 1990)
  3. Norman Bates (Psycho, 1960)
  4. Scar (The Lion King, 1994)

Halloween Week Day 3: Halloween-esque movies for those who don’t like horror

I know a few people¬†really don’t enjoy horror movies, so I thought I’d make a little list of non-horror flicks you can still watch at Halloween. Many of these will be animated movies, simply because I really love animation.

 

Coraline (2009)

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Coraline¬†is one of my favourite animated movies. The stop-motion animation is honestly¬†breath-taking. The movie can be a little scary or creepy at times, but the story is really engaging. Coraline (Dakota Fanning) discovers a mysterious door in her new home, which leads to a fantastic new world at night. At first, everything seems really great and she has a lot of fun, until she discovers what really lies behind the door. The movie is filled with strange and interesting characters and places, some of which you kinda wish could be real (not in the universe they’re in though…).¬†All in all,¬†Coraline¬†is a lot of fun and will certainly keep you in the Halloween spirit.

Corpse Bride (2005)

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When I first saw this movie (I was about 9), I became kind of obsessed with it; I’d watch it almost everyday, I knew all the words and all the songs, I drew the characters everywhere… and I still watch it every Halloween. In¬†Corpse Bride, we are introduced to Victor (Johnny Depp) who¬†unknowingly gets married to Emily (Helena Bonham Carter), who has been dead for a little while. We travel to the land of the dead, which is very colourful and much more alive than the land of the living. It is a fun movie with great music and a pretty cool musical number from a skeleton. And of course, the animation is very beautiful.

Goosebumps (2015)

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So¬†Goosebumps¬†definitely wasn’t spectacularly great, but it was an entertaining watch and I think it is rather fitting for Halloween. If like me, you read the books as a kid, it is fun to try to spot the monsters and guess which monster belongs to which story and all. Author R.L. Stine (Jack Black), alongside his daughter Hannah (Odeya Rush), his neighbour Zach (Dylan Minnette) and Zach’s friend Champ (Ryan Lee) must capture all the monsters from Stine’s stories, who escaped the books, before they destroy the whole town. I personally think that some of the special effects could have been better, the same goes for the acting, but it is entertaining nonetheless.

The Harry Potter series (2001-2011)

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Ok so I am a big¬†Harry Potter¬†fan; I grew up reading the books and watching the movies and I’ve learned English by doing so too. The first three movies are the most Halloween appropriate ones, according to me, but why not watch the whole series, right?¬†Who wouldn’t want to spend Halloween at Hogwarts? The movies succeed to transport you into this whole new world, and much like Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), you have a lot to learn and to become familiar with. It is a very interesting and, yes, magical world that you probably won’t want to leave. The¬†Harry Potter¬†movies are always a lot of fun to watch, whether it’s Christmas or Halloween.

Hocus Pocus (1993)

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This movie isn’t “great”, but if you’ve seen it as a kid, you probably really liked it and still watch it every Halloween, out of nostalgia. In this movie, teenagers (Omri Katz, Thora Birch and Vinessa Shaw) accidentally free three evil witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy) and must now try and stop them from becoming immortal. It certainly has a Halloween aesthetic and story, but it isn’t scary, so it’s perfect for people you don’t like horror. If you have never seen it before, you might not enjoy it as much as if you were a kid or had seen it as one, but you can still give it a try. I personally saw it when I was pretty young and really enjoyed it at the time.

 

Monster House (2006)

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I’m usually not a big fan of this particular kind of animation, but I don’t mind it so much in this movie; I think it actually works pretty well with the story. It doesn’t quite hold-up, but if you can watch past that, you can enjoy it. In this movie, three kids (Mitchel Musso, Spencer Locke and Sam Lerner) believe that a house in their neighbourhood is actually alive and eating children. They must destroy the house before Halloween comes, otherwise, the other kids in the neighbourhood will get eaten when trick-or-treating. The story is quite entertaining and my friends and I used to watch this movie pretty much every Halloween in elementary school.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

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Of course, this movie had to make the list. Kind of like the¬†Harry Potter¬†series, it is a great watch on both Christmas and Halloween. The many monsters presented to us in this movie are all pretty unique and entertaining, and really interesting to discover. This is the movie that made me fall in love with stop-motion animation; I wanted to make movies like this since I was a kid. The music is really good and you’re probably going sing the main song under your breath for like ever, but at least it’s great. This movie made me want to have a Halloween-Christmas day, where my presents would be real-life little monsters that I could bring with me everywhere I go.

ParaNorman (2012)

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This movie is amazing. Not only is the animation marvellously executed, it has ghosts, zombies, and even a witch. Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) can see and talk to the dead, but nobody believes him and he doesn’t have many friends amongst the living. One day though, a witch’s curse hits the town and Norman is the only one who can save the day. This movie is funny and intriguing, and kinda makes us wish we also had the ability to talk to the dead. Just like¬†Coraline,¬†this movie was made by Laika and proves once again that this company has great talent and imagination. It is definitely worth watching and is guaranteed to make you feel like Halloween.

Halloween Week Day 2 – Part 2: “Psycho” (1960) vs. “Psycho” (1998)

The original¬†Psycho¬†movie, directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1960, is one of the greatest movies ever made; it is a classic. Its 1998 remake, not so much. Directed by Gus Van Sant, the remake doesn’t stand a chance against its predecessor, and even if you don’t take the original one in consideration,¬†98’s¬†Psycho¬†isn’t that good.

Psycho (1960)

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This movie is a masterpiece.¬†Suspenseful, beautifully shot and offering us one of the most iconic movie villains ever created,¬†Psycho¬†is definitely an important movie, not only for Hitchcock’s career, but for the entire History of cinema. We are first introduced to Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), thinking we are meeting our main character, only to later be¬†outplayed by the film itself; something not many movies succeed to do. For most of its running time, the movie seems to be going in a certain direction, but in the end, we realize how foolish we were not to concentrate on the other part of the story.¬†I also have to mention¬†the use of the black and white colouring, which is amazing. It allows the movie’s Film Noir vibes to stand out distinctively. As for the acting, it is great, especially Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, who really does make us feel uncomfortable, even though we also kinda pity him. He brings a certain boyish charm to an otherwise uncanny character.

Psycho (1960): A

Psycho (1998)

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Not only are most of the actors’ performances in the remake superbly¬†inferior, the characters also have a lot less depth and complexity. The remake doesn’t bring anything new to the story; most of¬†it remains unchanged, and the few changes that are made are definitely not in the favour of the film. Most of the movie is a poorly executed shot by shot, line by line remake. The original movie makes great use of suspense and the character of Norman Bates is really intriguing. The remake though, lets us know way too early how¬†deranged Norman really is, taking away a lot of the suspense of the story. Plus, Vince Vaughn’s portrayal of Norman Bates is incredibly off and we absolutely cannot take this character as seriously as we should in this version. It is almost as if the movie either doesn’t even try to be good, or tries a bit too much and fails impressively.

Psycho (1998): D

 

In conclusion, should you watch the remake? Not really. It’s not even a “so bad, it’s good” kind of movie, it’s just plain bad. You should definitely check out the original one thought, I promise you will not regret it.

Halloween Week Day 2: Top 5 ghost/haunting/possession movies

Day 2 of Halloween Week and I thought I might jump in with another top 5, because I actually have a lot of fun making these.

 

Poltergeist (1982)

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I was like 6 when I first saw this movie and I had nightmares for weeks. I had never been scared of monsters hiding in my closet before, but this movie totally changed that. It’s true, some of the special effects don’t really hold-up, but some are still pretty amazing, like * SPOILERS (I guess)* that scene where Marty (Martin Casella) rips his own face off in the mirror or the infamous clown sequence. *END OF SPOILERS* Plus, when you read about every eery things that happened during filming, the movie becomes scarier. This is probably one of the most iconic movies of the genre and is wayyyyyy better than its 2015 remake.

Beetlejuice (1988)

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Okay, so this movie isn’t exactly scary and it isn’t your typical ghost movie either, but it has a real Halloween vibe to it. Plus, it is one of the great Tim Burton movies (which is becoming quite rare, in my opinion, and it really hurts me to say that because he really was my idol growing up). Newly dead Barbara and Adam Maitland (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) want to scare off the new owners of their house with the somewhat unhelpful help of Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton), a freelance bio-exorcist. They also befriend Lydia (Winona Ryder), the new owners’ daughter. It is a really entertaining movie with a quite engaging story and characters. Also, the use of stop-motion animation is pretty cool.

The Shining (1980)

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This movie is honestly one of my favourite movies out there. Jack Nicholson is simply brilliant in his role as Jack Torrence and the movie really succeeds to keep a disturbing, eery feeling throughout. Rumour has it that Stephen King didn’t like the adaptation. Having read the book, I can understand why, but I still think the movie does an amazing job. Plus, it is a movie highly interesting to analyse (if you’re into movie analysis and The Shining, you should check out Room 237¬†(2012) by Rodney Ascher, some theories are quite interesting).¬†This movie has given us one of the most iconic quotes in cinema, and who could forget that funky hallway carpet?

The Exorcist (1973)

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After all those years, that little girl still freaks me the hell out. Just like¬†Poltergeist, I saw this movie wayyyyy too young (I used to sneak out of my room at night to watch¬†tv…) and it gave me a ton of nightmares. Not only¬†is the makeup disgustingly effective, the acting is really good. The movie was actually nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award, one of the very few horror movies to ever be nominated. I personally haven’t read the novel it is adapted from, so I don’t know for a fact that it is a faithful adaptation, but the screenplay was written by William Peter Blatty, who is the author of said novel. So I guess it is pretty faithful.

The Amityville Horror (1979)

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This movie is not the most entertaining one on this list and it has way too many unnecessary sequels and remakes, but I believe it is an absolute must-see nonetheless. It mainly has bad reviews from critics, but did pretty good at the box-office, and if you are interested in the History of horror movies, this movie is definitely important. Based on an apparently real-life story, and shot in seven weeks, The Amityville Horror gave us one of the most famous haunted houses ever, and a creepy little theme song to go with it. It does have a pretty traditional horror movie story (a couple moves into new house where a mass murder occurred and start experiencing a series of paranormal events), but at the time, it was pretty new and still effective.

Honorable mentions

  1. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
  2. The Conjuring (2013)
  3. The Haunting (1963)
  4. The Sixth Sense¬†(1999) —- This one was actually going to make¬†the list, but according to me, it is not exactly the kind of movie intended for this list. Yeah, it’s a ghost movie, but not the kind you watch on Halloween. Idk, at least I get what I mean.

Halloween Week Day 1 – Part 2: Top 5 most annoying horror movie clich√©s

1. The jump-scare

In older horror movies, jump-scares are not that annoying; most of the time, they are put to good use, whether the scare is a real one or not, and there is not one every 10 minutes or so. In most recent horror flicks however, jump-scares, and especially false ones, are over-used and it is becoming truly annoying. How many times has a movie made us jump just because the music suddenly got really loud? Or because the main character bumps into a friend? If used once or twice in a movie, a false scare can be somewhat effective, but I feel like in horror movies nowadays, false scares constitute more than half of the scares in a movie. We are becoming so used to jump-scares that, whether real or not, they are becoming ineffective.

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2. “We should split-up”

Yeah, great idea. Why not just walk up to the killer and gently ask them to slit your throat?

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3. The black character usually dies first

Most horror movies are filled with clich√© and token characters:¬†the jock, the nerd, the slut (usually also known as the blonde girl), the virgin, the stoner, the black guy… the list goes on and on. Most of these clich√©s and tokens come in a few variations, but one thing is almost always certain: the black guy dies first. Why? Except inculcated racism, I can’t seem to find a reason. It has become so “usual” that every time you see a black character in a horror movie, you have a pretty good idea of what’s gonna happen to them.

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4. The phones don’t work

Whether you’re in the middle of absolute nowhere or in your own home, the phones never seem to work properly. I know it is supposed to give us the isolation vibe, make us understand that the main characters are totally alone against whatever evil is attacking them, but still, it is highly unlikely. And when the phones actually work, the main character often doesn’t even use it to call the police or, when they do, the police doesn’t believe them or gets killed upon arriving at the house. All in all, phones are pretty useless.

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5. The villain has to die twice or just can’t die

Whether you stab it in the heart or chop its head off, it never seems to be enough. The villain either has to be killed twice or just can’t seem to be killed at all. This clich√© is mostly used to create sequels (often unnecessary or unwanted ones (isn’t Jason X¬†(2001) the worst?)), or to provide one last “scare”, but we are so used to this clich√© that we expect it and aren’t surprised at all when it happens.

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Honorable mentions

  1. The car won’t start/Dropping the car keys
  2. The ankle-grab
  3. Adults and authority figures are useless
  4. People can’t seem to remember how to run

Halloween Week Day 1: Top 5 zombie/contagion/virus… movies

I thought since Halloween is coming, I’d write a post each day up to it, because I quite like horror and sci-fi and Halloween-esque movies. And yeah, I love zombie movies¬†so I thought my first post could be a sneaky little top 5 of my personal favourite zombie/contagion/virus movies.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

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Obviously,¬†George A. Romero’s¬†Night of the Living Dead¬†had to make the list. Not only is it one of the best zombie movies out there, it is also¬†the¬†movie that defined the genre; It has all the key elements of the zombie movies we know today. Romero’s first feature-lenght film was made with only $114,000 and it has become one of the most successful independent movies ever made. It is genuinely scary and the special effects and makeup work perfectly for the movie. Whether you like zombie movies or not, if you’re a film enthusiast, you should definitely watch this movie. (I also made a scene analysis for a class a few years back, you can read it here if you want.)

28 Days Later (2002)

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This Danny Boyle movie takes place in a rage-like-virus-infected-United Kingdom (what a phrase) and is quite stressful. Not only the infected people look terrifying with their bloodshot eyes, they can run, so yeah, unlike typical zombies, these ones are pretty fast. Little anecdote: I watched this movie with my friend and a vein in her eye popped and her eye turned all red and that was real scary. Anyway, the infected people are not the only threat in the movie; the army is also a quite dangerous group. The movie is quite eery, in parts because of the song that plays thought the film, but also because of the camerawork and the pretty serious themes present in the movie.

Re-Animator (1985)

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Don’t you just love campy 80s movies loosely based on a H.P. Lovecraft’s novella? Cause I know I do. This movie blends many genres, comedy, horror, sci-fi, etc., and the amount of fake blood involved in its making is pretty amazing. It has a Frankenstein-esque vibe to it, mixed with 80s special effects and a spectacular B-movie aesthetic: it is pure gold. Jeffrey Combs as Herbert West is a lot of fun to watch and the movie makes a few references to Hitchcock’s work (if you know me, you know I love to spot references in movies). This movie might not be the best movie ever made, but I personally think it has a lot to offer,¬†both as a cult movie and as an entertaining one.

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

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The first of Edgar Wright’s Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy,¬†Shaun of the Dead¬†is, in my opinion, one of the funniest movies out there. It¬†pokes fun at the zombie movie genre, by having Shaun (Simon Pegg) telling Ed (Nick Frost) not to say¬†the word “zombie”, for exemple, or by re-using zombie movie stereotypes, only to deconstruct them as the movie goes on. Absurd and genuinely enjoyable,¬†Shaun of the Dead is a great horror-comedy movie, with a pretty cool soundtrack and a fun use of foreshadowing.¬†Simon Pegg and Nick Frost work very well together, as usual, and so does the rest of the cast (Bill Nighy as Phillip, Shaun’s stepfather, is pretty amazing). And watch the other two of the trilogy as well (Hot Fuzz¬†(2007) and¬†The World’s End¬†(2013)), they’re all pretty great.

The Evil Dead (1981)

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This movie is more of a supernatural/demon-possession kind of movie, but the looks of the possessed people is quite zombie-like and therefore, I decided to include it in this list. Anyway. This movie is a bit disturbing, as you don’t always know whether to laugh or to be scared, and it gave birth to one of the most popular cult movie franchise ever. Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) has become¬†an icon of the cult movie type and the movie itself inspired many spin-offs, such as video games and comic books, and more recently, a tv series starring Bruce Campbell.¬†The Evil Dead¬†makes great use of stop-motion animation (as I mentioned in¬†I love stop motion animation) and even though the possessed laughter of a certain character is probably the most annoying thing in the History of cinema, this movie is a great Halloween watch.

 

Honorable mentions:

  1. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
  2. Dead Alive (1992)
  3. Zombieland (2009)

Favourite school movies

So I just started Uni last Friday, and it made me think about those¬†teen movies/”school” movies, so I decided to make a short list of some of my favourites. I know, teen movies aren’t always the greatest movies in the world, but the following three were quite entertaining and actually mean a lot to me.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off¬†(1986)

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True, this movie doesn’t really take place¬†in¬†school, but it’s still a “school” movie to me. Who never dreamed to skip school and have a day like this? I was 12 when I first saw this movie. My best friend at the time was sleeping over and my dad had bought the dvd. He told us it was great and all, but we didn’t really believe him, you know? My dad, recommending an old movie… At first, we watched it just so he’d leave us alone with it. But then we kinda liked it. And then the¬†Twist and Shout¬†sequence happened and we just lost it. It became our favourite movie, we’d never shut up about it. We’d dress like Ferris, we’d talk like Ferris, we’d dance like Ferris… We even started singing¬†Danke Schoen¬†on a regular basis.

The Breakfast Club (1985)

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In our fourth year of high school, on a gloomy Saturday afternoon, my friends and I sat down to watch this movie and let me tell you, it had the same effect¬†Ferris Bueller’s Day Off¬†had had. We just loved the movie. Like, we even associated each other to a character (I was Allison, aka the Basket Case). For a while there, we kinda wished we’d go to detention and have a great time like them. Of course, our school library wasn’t as big as theirs, but still. I guess what we liked the most about the movie though, was how even though the characters are all pretty stereotypical, they’re not 100% what they seem. That scene where they all talk about what got them into detention was, of course, our favourite.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

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I saw this movie for the first time with the same girls I watched¬†The Breakfast Club¬†with. We all liked the movie, but one of these friends in particular and I like, really liked the movie.¬†Come On Eileen¬†by Dexy’s Midnight Runners became¬†our¬†song.¬†What we particularly liked was how truthful this movie was. Unlike the two John Hughes movies that I mentioned before, this movie has quite a realistic story. Some of the things that happen in this movie actually did happen to some of my friends (or to myself). Plus, thanks to this movie, my friend and I discovered that the whole¬†Rocky Horror Picture Show¬†showings was an actual thing. And since then, we go every year on Halloween.