Spooktober Movie-Watch Round-Up 2020: Week 5

Well, Spooktober is over, but I suppose I still owe one of these. Let’s hop right into it.

~ Halloween ~

The 1978 original. I don’t go back to this one as often as Friday the 13th or A Nightmare on Elm Street, so it was a nice change of pace. I was absolutely aghast that it wasn’t available on any of my usual streaming services. You’re going to make me pay to rent this genre-defining classic? Huff!

I don’t think I can say anything new or insightful about it, 40+ years later. I do appreciate that its scares are a lot more subtle than just constantly having teenagers chased and tormented by an unstoppable maniac. The scenes where Michael is just standing off in the distance, unmoving and expressionless, before vanishing a split second later are super creepy. If I saw someone just standing in my parking lot, staring up at my unit, I’d be more than a little creeped out. Probably wouldn’t leave for days after that.

It does bother me a bit, though, that Mikey is immortal. You don’t have to go in-depth on why the guy is a mute serial killer, we can blindly accept that. Especially in 2020, when we know a lot more about psychology and mental illness. But it doesn’t make any sense that he can recover from any injury. You can explain away the six or seven gunshot wounds by suggesting that he picked up a kevlar vest somewhere, but the dude got stabbed right in the neck. Characters in horror movies die from way less than that all the time. Outside of this one little detail, Halloween is very much grounded in reality, so it sticks out like a sore thumb. Oh well!

~ Pet Sematary ~

I went against my better judgment here and watched the 2019 remake, instead of the original. I’ve never actually seen the 1989 version of Pet Sematary though, so it’s not like I had any prior investment in this story.

And the story, as it goes, is about a family who moves into a sleepy backwoods town. Their cat gets hit by a truck, and a local hillbilly (played by John Lithgow) shows the father a secret place where you can bury dead things to bring them back to life. Only they come back somewhat more evil. Things escalate when the daughter also gets flattened by a truck and… Well, I think you can piece together the rest from here.

I can’t say that I really enjoyed Pet Sematary, but I was somewhat interested in the main plot line and how it would unfold. There was a secondary plot about the mom’s childhood trauma that really didn’t tie into the rest of the movie at all. Perhaps it was more meaningful in the novel (which I haven’t read), but here it was just an out-of-place distraction. The mom didn’t really have much else to do, but the writers should have been able to give the character a more relevant role.

It also made no sense that dad was able to dig up his daughter’s corpse and not be immediately besieged by a police investigation the next day. Someone would have noticed the gaping hole and empty coffin in the cemetery. It seemed to be right next to a main thoroughfare. There should have been a phone call, at least.

Uh, anyway, I wouldn’t really recommend it. I wasn’t bored or anything, but there just isn’t enough there to make it worth the watch. The characters are flat and there’s too much cruft. This didn’t need to be a two-hour movie. The premise was interesting, but not quite enough so to support a feature film, and it’s probably the most predictable movie that I’ve watched this season. John Lithgow was by far the best part, as he often is.

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