October obviously meant revisiting plenty of spooky favorites. But I always keep room for stuff that’s new to me as well. I found a definite new must-watch for Halloween season and discovered a few great new voices in horror.
Here are my Top First Watches of October:
Theatre of Blood (1973)
This truly feels, despite being made three decades before my birth, to be one of those movies just made for me. You had me at horror and Shakespeare. Vincent Price shines as a dejected Shakespearean actor bent on a vengeful killing spree of theatre critics. Each kill mimics something from one of the Bard’s plays, so knowledge of that definitely adds to the enjoyment. The ending even features a genuinely tender, tragic performance of King Lear between Price and Dianna Rigg as his daughter. Don’t let that dissuade you, though, as this is absolutely bonkers and entertaining enough for someone with zero context.
I was lucky enough to snag a ticket to the premiere of this at the BeyondFest Drive-In Screening, but you’ll get to see this soon on November 13th. This body swap horror comedy is exactly what the world needs right now. Think “The Hot Chick” but with a serial killer. It’s so much fun, with excellent performances by Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton, director Christopher Landon’s trademark humor, and some clever, gory kills.
Did you ever play make believe with your friends as a child? “Braid” explores what happens when the game never really ends. Two friends on the run hide out in their rich, isolated childhood friend’s upstate mansion. The catch is that they have to play her game. It’s a game that becomes an increasingly dangerous, psychedelic mind warp. Writer/director Mitzi Peirone brings such a fascinating visual style mixed with the personal philosophies she is exploring in the film to create an original horror film that’s kind of unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait to see what she does next.
I’m already seeing countless comparisons drawn to this ranging from “Whiplash” to “Black Swan.” Fair, since this is about the sacrifice that comes with fully committing to an artistic passion. In this case, it’s twin sisters studying classical piano at a conservatory. What “Nocturne” brings to this tale is the utter brutality of being a teenage girl. If I were to compare vibes from any movie, I would bring up “Raw.” It’s also another horror film made by an exciting new female voice in Zu Quirke. She directs this with a FORCE.
Hope everyone had a safe and spooky Halloween!