So the other night, after a long work week and feeling super tired, my roommate drove me over to our friend's place and we had a Halloween marathon. Pizza, beer I actually liked, snacks, and a great selection of movies. It was a fantastic, low-key, great evening with friends.
We started off with The Monster Squad, which I'd never seen before. Was kinda shocking seeing little kids swear like that in an older movie. I did love the effects and the actors. Some of the jokes were good, some haven't aged well. "Scary German Guy" was probably my favorite. I cried when poor Franky got sucked into the portal, because that's the kind of person I am. Dracula was just too cool, with his car and his swagger and his long take of beating up all those cops without any effort. It does bug me again though that here's yet another big bad monster man who goes for unwilling ladies instead of the hordes of willing women (or men) who'd be up for fooling around with a hot sophisticated vampire. Just once I want a vampire or a monster who like, goes to a Goth club or a comic con and picks up some enthusiastic partners. (Hang on ... I should take some notes ...)
Next we watched The Guest, one of my all time favorites. My friend hadn't seen it before and said she wanted to watch something "fucked up and super scary" so we put on The Guest. She was super freaked out and loved it. I loved watching her watch it for the first time. At the end, she was like "oh god, that just sunk in. Fuck that ending! Fuck that ending!" while grinning. I told her she should tweet that to Adam Wingard. Fantastic Halloween movie.
Then we watched the Twilight Zone episode, "The Masks." A little interlude between The Guest and our final film of the evening. It went where I was suspecting it would go, but still, can't beat classic Twilight Zone. My roommate suggested it because of the masks theme, and because it's the only Twilight Zone directed by a woman. He made a good choice.
We finished the evening with The Crow, which my friend and I hadn't seen and my roommate had. I'd been meaning to see it for years and I finally finally saw it. I actually really liked it and I'm glad I saw it at last. Yes, some of it hasn't aged well, and some of it wasn't the best, but considering the tragic death of the lead, I'm willing to forgive them for some of the pacing and editing issues, because it's likely they were working with what footage they had and not being able to do reshoots. It's always awkward when I see a classic movie and it doesn't resonate with me, and thankfully that wasn't the case here at all.
Mostly what I felt, besides surprise and relief that here's this classic movie I actually enjoyed quite a bit, was sadness about the tragic death of Brandon Lee. This guy was talented as hell and brought a lot of complexity to the role that I was expecting to be this like, dour angsty mess. I cried at this movie. There were real genuine moments of pathos in here. I felt for this guy a lot. Yes he goes around being a violent vengeance machine, and he's scary when he does that, but then he cries about lost love and treasuring what you have in life, and it works. He's also got this like ... impish quality to him in some of the scenes, like that bit where he skips to the side with his hands up or dangles from the ceiling. He's ... playful. I was expecting the angsty 90s Goth stereotype, and while I did get some of that, I also got the playfulness of a real life crow bird. I wasn't expecting that. I'm so happy that was there. And I'm so sad that he died. He would have had a great career ahead of him. Honestly, I couldn't help but look at his performance and think "... he could have played the Joker." And then I started thinking "... he could have played Deadpool!" because he had that playfulness to him as well as the hardcore badassery, he had that balance. If they'd made a Deadpool movie in the late 90s, if he'd been alive for it, you know he'd have been among those they auditioned. Really, this just makes me very sad.
Eric's scenes with little Sarah were very poignant. They humanized him in the perfect way. I think a lot of modern writers and directors need to look at this film and how they did this, because a lot of modern angsty heroic men miss out on that human element. It's necessary. You gotta do it right, it's tough, but you gotta do it.
Ernie Hudson's character was great. I really enjoyed his scenes with Eric. You wanna compare them to Batman and Gordon but that's not entirely accurate. They're something different, but something just as good.
The villains were, well, they were bad guys. We knew they were bad because they started off doing the most atrocious thing and spend the rest of the movie laughing about it. Sometimes that's all you need for a movie, and seeing as we had to be behind the leading man killing them off one by one in poetic ways, I suppose that's all we needed. It's not my favorite plot device, but I do love me a good revenge story.
The big bad, it was bugging me so much that I knew his voice but not his face. Turns out he voiced an iconic villain from my childhood, Scroop, from Treasure Planet. I find that hilarious. He basically spent this movie prancing around doing everything for aesthetic reasons, including having a cabinet of swords. I think half the Vampire: The Masquerade cliches are a result of him alone, and that's just beautiful.
I wanted to know more about the evil lady. Villainous couples who love each other very much and love being evil to other people are one of my favorite tropes. So it was nice to see her like, lounging around and doing weird stuff with eyeballs and him never being cruel to her. They were awful to other people, but not each other.
I'm also happy the cat didn't die.
There's something about the way the flashbacks were edited that ended up implying something I don't think they intended to imply. Since the flashbacks to what happened to Shelly are shown so much, and from Eric's POV, it seems to imply that the bad guys raped him too. I know they probably didn't intend that, but that's what it looked like in the film. There's probably an essay to be written about traditional and non-traditional masculinity in this movie.
Relevant note, my roommate is from Detroit. He loves it when films are set in Detroit. I had never heard of Devil's Night before, which he had to explain to me, as it's a big premise of this film. It sounds horrifying.
Hopefully my roommates and I will watch more movies this weekend. I'm busy with work and so are they, but we're trying to watch more this weekend too.