I'm on a mission to finally catch-up on all the modern classics I've never seen, and this month I've been focusing on modern classics of the horror variety because, you know, Halloween.
First I watched Alien (1979) which I really loved! One of my favorite attractions in Disney World is the Great Movie Ride at Hollywood Studios, which features set replicas and animatronic figures recreating classic films like Casablanca, Mary Poppins, The Wizard of Oz and.. Alien. I've always loved the Alien part of the ride (it's so creepy!!) but I couldn't really appreciate how incredibly accurate it was until I finally saw the movie.
Alien was the only movie featured in the ride that I hadn't seen before so I thought it definitely deserved a spot on my to-watch list. I ended up really enjoying it, especially since it reminded me of one of my favorite tv shows, The X-Files. It even starred Veronica Cartwright, who plays a key role in the mythology of the sci-fi series! The movie is about a horrific, violent alien that attacks a ship crew in outer space. I was definitely on the edge of my seat towards the end and might have jumped right out of it a few times, too.
Tonight I watched Carrie (1976) for the first time. This was a difficult movie to watch since me and my brother were both bullied in school. I think for anyone that's been on the receiving end of taunts, whispers and pranks, the genre of high school outcast films can be a tough pill to swallow. They seem to usually come in two varieties -- ones like She's All That (I can't believe how often I've mentioned this movie here recently) where the outcast winds up with the jock-with-a-heart-of-gold and everything is hunky dory happily ever after; and ones like Carrie where the outcast just can't take it anymore and things go horribly haywire. For most of us* on the outskirts of popularity, though, high school ends with a huge sigh of relief, not bloodshed or wedding bells.
That being said, Carrie was a very good movie. Although I think the bullying aspect made it more tragedy than horror, at least to me. I thought the whole film was just incredibly sad. Unless you've been living under a rock your whole life (if you have, skip this next part) you know that someone dumps a bucket of blood on Carrie's head at her prom. It's kind of like the Janet Leigh shower scene in Psycho -- you just KNOW that it's coming. And it makes it all the more sad to see her enjoying herself right beforehand, finally feeling accepted and liked. The pre-bloodbath prom scenes were shot like a dream sequence (if you're familiar with I Dream of Jeannie at all, they reminded me a lot of the scenes where Jeannie is watching her own wedding) and you just wish so badly that it didn't have to end... that she could hug Freddie Prinze Jr. and go to art school and be oh so happy. But somehow I think that ending is even more far-fetched than a girl with malfunctioning telekinetic powers.
This was only the second movie I've seen based on a Steven King story (the other being Secret Window, which I watched countless times during a little Johnny Depp phase in 2004) and I think, this being the month for all things spooky, I need to watch The Shining next. Do I need to have company for that one? I'm under the impression it's pretty darn scary...
*I'm lucky to be included in the "most of us" I reference. For the most part, I came out unscathed. But for a lot of kids bullying results in lifelong scars, depression, self-harm and, unfortunately, suicide. October is National Bullying Prevention Month and you can find out ways to help here.