CHAINSAWNUKAH 2012 CHECKLIST!
It's been a wild Chainsawnukah that took more than a month to wind down. What have we learned? Let's break down the numbers!
LOVECRAFT ADAPTATIONS: I’m
counting 5. Although NECRONOMICON was actually three adaptations in one
movie, and FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN is more a documentary. Two of those
adaptations, DUNWICH HORROR and DIE, MONSTER, DIE, are Arkoff/Nicholson
productions by the same director, and they’re both somewhere in the
vicinity of vaguely faithful translations of his stories. But really, I
think only the Chris Gans segment of NECRONOMICON really comes anywhere
close to getting Lovecraft’s tone and iconography right. And it’s mostly
pretty boring. Funny enough, the grimness and weird imagery of his
documentary biography might be the closest thing to a legitimate full
movie in the Lovecraft vein. You even get the classic Lovecraft framing
device of reading a story about someone else making disturbing
That’s 15 movies which include boobies, not individual boobies
observed. You can safely assume that number would be at least 30, and
maybe higher since I feel like a few of these had more than one set on
> or = HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS LEVEL GORE: 20.
I’ll be honest, nothing was really quite worthy of the great HGL title.
But there was some pretty good gore in there. I tried to only report
things which had some good over-the-top splatter in them and ignore the
smaller-scale violence. Surprisingly, I think the clear winner in this
catagory is HELLRAISER III, which features some pretty epic slaughter
and it’s exquisitely detailed aftermath.
SEQUEL: 5 sequels, 6 that have sequels (some --looking at you HELLRAISER-- both are sequels AND have sequels).
OBSCURITY LEVEL: Based
on my arbitrary appraisal. I went with “low, medium and high” for
levels of obscurity, but that proved insufficiently expressive so I
moved to a sliding scale, as observed below. Obviously by this point in
my career, I’ve seen most movies that might be low obscurity, but I was
glad to at least get a good spread. The scale is from the perspective of
a normal informed filmgoer, with “Low” being something like STAR WARS
which practically everyone knows and “High” being something like CORRUPT
which probably the stars don’t even remember filming.
Low Mid High
III IIII IIII III IIII III IIII IIII IIII IIII
MONSTERS: 16. Personal favorite? The skittering centipede-things from ABSENTIA. Ick, Ick!
Less numerous than I assumed they would be, but always memorable when
they appear. Next year I may transition to the more inclusive
“cultists,” which would have pushed this number way, way higher. I
thought Ernest Borgnine would be pretty much impossible to top as a Satanic maniac in THE DEVIL'S RAIN,
but Tom Noonan gave him a pretty good run for his money later on in the
running in HOUSE OF THE DEVIL.
Turned out to be more nebulous a category than I first assumed, as not
all reanimated dead people seemed to fit neatly. Are the reanimated
corpses that Pinhead makes into shitty cenobites in HELLRAISER III
zombies? I mean, they ARE dead bodies reanimated. But still. And what
about a guy like Nix from LORD OF ILLUSIONS? He definitely came back
from the dead, but not exactly like a zombie, more like a crazy wizard
or something. Actually I’m beginning to think this confusion is all
Clive Barker’s fault.
And man, do I want the vampire from V/H/S to hang out with Boya from
BLOOD AND DONUTS. I think he would be a good influence on her and help
her be less shy. Unfortunately she seems to have a much lower tolerance
for incredibly annoying douchebags than he does, so that might be a
stumbling block. Or, maybe she’d be a good influence on him too.
(non-slasher serial killers: 2). I’m not super into the whole slasher
genre, it just does nothing for me, so it’s no surprise that I only
really watched one movie which could be honestly called a straight-up
Slasher film (OPEN HOUSE) and that one was the worst piece of crap I
watched all month. The others were horror films of other types which had
at least a small part of the Slasher formula that was identifiable
enough I could include them. A couple others had serial killers,
including serial killers who did kill *through* slashing, but I dunno. I
feel like “Slasher” has a certain specific connotation of the way the
killer is presented and the way the story is told.
Various. But I’ll always treasure the explanation from Comrade
Exposition at the end of THE SHRINE. When someone finally has the brains
to ask him what the hell has been going on with the demonic
possessions, permanent fog and aggressive statuary, he helpfully explains:
It’s a curse. From a long time ago. Oh shit Captain Obvious, thanks for
the explanation, I had assumed that hammering big ass nails into growling
women was just a quaint local custom, but now that you’ve said that I
think we all understand so much better.
And then, of course, the Alex category. I
was curious to see if she’d spent more movies awake or asleep I season
-- it was neck and neck all the way throughout, but a final push at the
very end of the season put wakefulness on top.
ALEX MADE IT THROUGH AWAKE: 14
ALEX SLEEPY TIME: 10
ALEX N/A: 18
watched 42 movies this Chainsawnukah season, a pretty impressive number
by my standards (though it still doesn’t touch the nearly 80 movies
watched by my friend, compatriot and movie-enabler Dan Prestwich (see his journey here). They all had their charms and eccentricities, but I
was surprised at how many genuinely great things I watched this year. I
feel like I ended up stumbling on some unexpected new classics, which
certainly doesn’t happen every Chainsawnukah season. Even when they
weren’t the best, though, I had fun with all these movies and the
bizarre flights of fancy they sometimes took. So without further ado,
five convenient categories to tell you if you should watch these
HOUR OF THE WOLF
HOUSE OF THE DEVIL
INTERESTING BUT FLAWED
H. P. LOVECRAFT’S NECRONOMICON
HELLRAISER III: HELL ON EARTH
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: REANIMATED
THE BEAST WITHIN
THE DEVIL RIDES OUT
LOVECRAFT: FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN
HOUSE WITH LAUGHING WINDOWS
SERVICEABLE GENRE CRAP
THE CRIMSON CULT
HELLRAISER V: INFERNO
LORD OF ILLUSIONS
DIE, MONSTER, DIE
BARELY TOLERABLE, PERHAPS SLIGHTLY MORE BEARABLE WHEN AUGMENTED WITH MIND-ALTERING SUBSTANCES
PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES
THE AWFUL DR. ORLOFF
HELLRAISER IV: BLOODLINES
BLOOD AND DONUTS
EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC
HAPPY CHAINSAWNUKAH everyone! See ya next year!