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The Best Monster Movie Marathon

October 26, 2009 By Dennis Burger

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Let the Right One In
30 Days of Night
The Midnight Meat Train
Halloween (2007)

These spectacularly spooky Show-Offs will ensure your sub isn't the only thing going bump in the night.

Ah, Halloween: the weirdest of all holidays. The night when all the world turns into a Key West street parade and yard decorations run the gamut from tacky carved vegetables to toilet paper. Who could blame you if you decided to stay inside with the door shut tight and wait for the craziness to pass?

Holing up for the night doesn’t preclude you from celebrating All Hallows’ Eve entirely, though.

We’ve got a great Blu-ray horror movie marathon lined up for Show-Offs with something sure to titillate no matter what your taste for the terrifying may be, from vampire movies and city smashers to splatter flicks and slasher throwbacks—every one of them guaranteed to leave your home theater, and your guests, screaming in delight.

Let the Right One In
Best Chapter: 4—“Help Me”

Let the Right One In

Granted, outright horror isn’t everyone’s thing, so perhaps we should start off our spooktacular evening with something a bit more subtle. This beautiful—and beautifully filmed—little Swedish film about a 12-year-old boy and the little vampire girl he loves may boast a bit of blood here and there, but at its heart it is a tender story about adolescence and isolation. Think of it as a pubescent Twilight for literate folk.

But don’t let its sweet façade fool you: Tomas Alfredson has crafted a film that may be short on cheap shocks, but it thrills nonetheless with startling camera work and a frighteningly great Swedish DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. (An English dub is also included, but skip it at all costs; the mix is dull and lifeless by comparison).

Eli’s first onscreen attack is a perfect example: The soundscape as she lies in wait, fishing for a victim beneath the rustic bridge, is delicate to be sure—quiet, nuanced, barely creeping out of the front channels, but incredibly detailed nonetheless. That ethereal balance is quickly ruptured by a truck roaring overhead, ripping through the air like a cannonball, dragging eddies of turbulent air from the front of the room to the back.

It’s almost enough to prepare you for the subwoofer-and-strings assault that follows when Eli finally attacks her prey—the classic horror movie jump-cue elevated to an art form: a 10-megaton explosion of score music that will surely send the drivers of lesser speakers flying halfway across the room.

Don’t stop the disc when the action comes to an end, though. Let it play, and soak in some of the film’s sumptuous cinematography: a million and thirteen different shades of gray, all deliciously rendered to perfection, dotted with vibrant hues that almost look like special effects by comparison. The scenes of Oskar and Eli sitting together on the snow-covered playground—the only real hints of color provided by Oskar’s worn-out Rubik’s Cube—are sure to be some of the most stunning, if subdued, to grace your display in quite some time.

30 Days of Night
Best Chapter: 16

30 Days of Night

If Let the Right One In didn’t quite meet your body-count quotient to qualify as a real horror movie, this one definitely will. It’s a vampire movie as well, although the only thing this stygian thriller has in common with our first selection is all the snow. Whereas Let the Right One In is a beautiful wash of cool grays, 30 Days of Night is an outright explosion of chiaroscuro contrasts. Where the former is for the most part restrained, the latter is all up in your business from the word go.

Check out the epic final battle between the heroic Sheriff (Josh Hartnett) and his wicked bloodsucking nemesis to see what I mean. The sequence plays out with staggering detail against the blinding white of Alaskan snow, surrounded by shadows blacker than Winston Churchill’s liver, and cut through by raging flames that give the film one of its few dashes of color.

But even better than the visuals is the pulse-pounding score: It begins with hard-hitting percussion that calls to mind what Blue Man Group would sound like if they were minions of Satan—an ominous, throbbing rhythm that will surely rearrange the contents of your bowels. It evolves into a sort of swirling, ethereal, abstract movement that evokes celestial fingernails screeching across three-dimensional chalkboards in Hell.


Nice job, Dennis. I've gone the opposite route this year, limiting myself to the early 60's - late, late 70's horror films, one a night. One particularly disorienting and strange one I discovered was Eaten Alive. Suggested viewing for the utter strangeness of how it's shot.

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