So I totally forgot how to do this. This whole “blogging” thing. It’s been kind of a ridiculously long time. I’m not going to pretend that this harkens some return to form, or that I remember how to string words together to create sentences in a manner that is “interesting” or “entertaining,” or any other such horseshit. I’ll probably just hammer a few of these out this month and then just go back to ignoring this and trying to forget that I blogged for more than a decade and then deleted it all and then did a half-assed job for a few more years.
And so but anyway. A few people I know are doing this #31DaysOfHorror or #31HorrorMoviesIn31Days or whatever, and it’s something that I’ve always thought about doing but haven’t ever had the free time or wherewithal or motivation to do. But this year it seems like I might actually do it. What I’ll do is fall behind during the week, and then binge like crazy during the weekends to catch up. Just plow through it. I’m making a serious effort to only watch horror movies that I’ve never watched before, and I’ve been largely successful there, too. Just plowing through ’em.
My list so far. One of these, I’d seen before, but I won’t tell you which one, because then you’ll just judge me for it.
01. Leviathan (1989)
02. Eyes Without a Face (1960)
03. Trollhunter (2010)
04. Dracula (1931)
05. Dracula’s Daughter (1936)
06. Headhunters (2011)
07. Soultangler (1987)
08. Slime City (1988)
09. Hour of the Wolf (1968)
10. Landscape Suicide (1986)
What actually made me think about writing about these horror movies this year, instead of just sort of half-assedly, crappily instagramming it, is that in the course of this endeavor I’ve watched a few horror movies that I have really, really loved. So I wanted to share them, or share my thoughts about them, or maybe recommend them to… well, nobody, I guess. Does anybody read non-tumblr personal blogs anymore? I guess I read a couple, but I’m thirty-five. I’m an old man. It’s been nearly two decades since I first “blogged.” Just doing this now feels like I’m the tin man slowly skreeking towards an oil can. Or like pulling teeth. Or pulling off my own face.
So anyway, most of these movies were pretty good or even great (except Leviathan, which was… not great. But it had its moments. Plus it stars RoboCop, Winston Zeddemore, and one of the wet bandits. No way could that be all bad). None of the movies have been truly terrible– except for the ones that I knew going in would be terrible. I’m looking at you, Soultangler. Also you, Slime City. I watched those two in particular because I wanted to watch some hilarious b-grade schlock from the 80s. They fit that bill perfectly.
Some of these have absolutely impressed the hell out of me. The movies that have blown me away have been, in the order I watched them, Eyes Without a Face, Headhunters, Hour of the Wolf, and Landscape Suicide. I’m planning to write a blog about Eyes Without a Face, which will entail watching it again, and I’m actually kind of excited about that. Headhunters is more of a thriller, but it’s a fairly straightforward thriller. You should just watch it. It’s on Netflix. Landscape Suicide is a masterpiece, but it’s a weird mid-80s arthouse masterpiece. If you go for weird arthouse movies where ten minutes go by and you’ve watched three things happen with zero dialogue, you’ll probably like it. I liked it.
This blog is about Hour of the Wolf.
Hour of the Wolf was directed by Ingmar Bergman and came out in 1968. I like Bergman a whole lot– I went on a little binge earlier this year and re-watched a bunch of my favorites– but I’d never seen this one. It’s been referred to as Bergman’s only horror movie, which piqued my interest, but it was always hard to find. I’m glad I went to the effort (where “effort” here means “halfheartedly searching about a half dozen places on the internet”). This movie is everything that I love about Bergman. Deliberate pacing, beautiful lonely Swedish countryside scenes, shitloads of angst, incredible shot framing, and great acting. But you guys. You guys. This movie has something else completely new and awesome.
You guys, I discovered where David Lynch’s entire worldview came from. It came from this movie.
This movie was clearly a huge influence on Mr. Lynch. It’s got all the hallmarks of a great Lynch flick. Super-awkward dinner parties where the protagonist feels out of place amongst assholes. Tortured artists struggling in a world that feels just a little bit off. Sexual partners taunting the protagonist mid-coitus. Deep dark secrets tucked away in idyllic scenes of relaxed everyday life. Uncomfortably forward old women. Slow pans into disgusting meat products. Also: murder, deep-seated longing saudade-style, strange perversions, bizarre happenings that may or may not be hallucinatory in nature, the unreliable framing device, and truly strange supporting characters.
All of the images in this post were taken from Hour of the Wolf. Hell, most of them were taken from two ten-minute sequences. This movie is great.
I found myself alternately laughing, sitting stock-still with dread, reeling with disgust, wrinkling my nose with shame and embarrassment, and rewinding a few seconds to make sure I saw what I thought I saw. The end of this movie made me cry for no apparent reason.
This movie is pretty damn great.
I’m very conscious of “spoilers” and I really want to impress upon you, the potential reader of this blog, that you should just watch the fucking thing already, so I’m not even going to get into any of the plot points or characters. It’s not like it even matters all that much, really. If you’ve seen three or more David Lynch movies, you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Now I find myself having written something a lot longer than I intended.
That’s pretty good, I guess. I could use the practice writing non-technical things. And it’s not like anyone’s going to notice. Any readership I may have had when this thing was at its height are long gone, and any that I may gain back will hopefully come by after I’ve gotten a few more of these things under my belt.
And so but anyway. Watch Ingmar Bergman’s Hour of the Wolf. Let me know what you thought.