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31 Days of October Madness – Part 2

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Dream Warriors

Welcome to the second chapter of our October Madness feature! Here are five more titles I highly recommend visiting on your October movie nights.

Stay tuned next week for more, and be sure to share your choices with us in the comments section.

Related Story: 31 Days of October Madness – Part 1

Happy Halloween

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS

Easily the best film in the Elm Street series next to Wes Craven’s original, Dream Warriors strikes the right balance of chilling atmosphere and inventive fantasy courtesy of Chuck Russell and Frank Darabont’s superbly written script. This is also the entry in the series that introduced what closely resembles the wise-cracking vaudevillian version of Freddy Krueger that became more and more absurd in following sequels, but here he’s the right amount of frightfully menacing and comic relief. There’s a really fun cast of characters in this entry that inhabit unique imaginative powers in their dreams to battle the homicidal dream demon, not unlike a horror movie version of the X-Men. Another example of this movie keeping its balance in tone is the music that combines a delightfully eerie score by David Lynch regular Angelo Badalamenti and fun, campy glam metal tracks like “Into the Fire” by Dokken. What truly makes this the highlight of the Elm Street series and the most fun to revisit is the sharp elaborate mythology, imaginative kill sequences, and most of all, the impressive blend of elaborate fantasy and creepy imagery.

Dream Warriors

TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL

The heart and soul of Eli Craig’s directorial feature debut are without a doubt the most lovable duo since Shaun and Ed of Shaun of the Dead. An equal heartfelt celebration and satirical deconstruction of the hillbillies in the woods slasher formula, the chemistry between Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk is the driving force behind this razor-sharp horror comedy that never stops being a joy to watch throughout its 89-minute running time.

Not only does this gem flip the script on genre expectations in clever and hilarious ways, there’s some great character development, and the laughs are just as exciting as the gallons of blood that splash throughout this fun, heartwarming adventure. Equally impressive as the titular heroes are Allison, portrayed by Katrina Bowden, a refreshing female character who’s empathetic and never a cliche, and Jesse Moss, who delivers an equally funny and sinister performance as the yuppie Chad. With Tucker & Dale vs. Evil you can do no wrong!

Tucker and Dale vs Evil

KILL LIST

Nothing punched me in the gut harder in recent years than Ben Wheatley’s sophomore masterpiece Kill List. If his directorial debut, Down Terrace, welcomed Wheatley as a filmmaker to keep your eyes on, his follow-up was a revelation by an extraordinary talent who demands our undivided attention. Not since the work of Kubrick has any film been able to hypnotize and unsettle an audience with texture and mood quite like Kill List, and Wheatley wisely uses naturalism to lure his audience in as the narrative gradually unfolds while constantly remaining tense and engaging. With terrific acting performances from top to bottom and jarring twists and turns, Kill List is an immersive and stunning piece of work that’s best seen cold and even more impressive on second viewing.

Kill List

TREMORS

Kevin Bacon felt that his acting career hit an all-time low while making a movie about underground worms, but little did he realize that Tremors would end up being one of the most entertaining creature features of that decade and a massive hit on home video. One of the first things you’ll notice when watching Tremors is how well the screenplay sets up the characters and setting before introducing the monster carnage. Beneficial to Tremors‘ success is the approach of establishing quirky characters that have enough personality and depth to get behind and embracing the campy elements while taking the horror elements seriously. Aside from two interior settings, the majority of Tremors takes place out in the desert, giving it a western vibe with a nice underlying score by Robert Folk. Tremors is a kind of genre movie that doesn’t get made much anymore because it’s sincere and not snarky about itself like you’ll find in most Syfy channel movie crap. Tremors is good old-fashioned monster fun and well worth your time!

Tremors

MAY

Lucky McKee’s complex and character-driven May is equally heart-wrenching and creepy, full of black humor, and commits completely down its absurdly dark path to a morbidly frightening destination that’s completely earned. The titular character is weird, charming, sympathetic, and often frightening courtesy of an outstanding performance by Angela Bettis; and her journey is like a disturbing rabbit hole you can’t claw your way out of. The striking cinematography by Steve Yedlin (Looper) gives May an eerie feel that unfolds like a surreal dream as the narrative subtly gets darker. McKee’s script is insightful in how it touches upon our animal instinct and compulsive tendencies towards perfection.

May is a haunting dark fairy tale that will have you laughing; it touches your heart as easily as it rips it out of your chest.

May

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