Back in August, I wrote with cautious optimism about the reopening of American theaters. While movie theaters in the OKC/Edmond area are still open for business under social distancing guidelines, including the recently opened Flix Brewhouse on Broadway Extension, audiences are understandably not flocking out to leave the relative safety of their own homes to watch movies on the big screen with several strangers who may or may not be carriers of the coronavirus.
The movie industry was betting everything in terms of its release schedule for the rest of 2020 on the performance of Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet.” While it certainly had respectable numbers given the circumstances, studio executives did not like what they saw. Many of them decided to push back their big releases to 2021 when, they assume, their films will have a better chance of making a profit.
This week there were no new movies out. Sure, I could have reviewed Adam Sandler’s newest Netflix romp “Hubie Halloween,” but I was only able to get about 15 minutes in before I had to turn it off. Since I am not interested in any of the new releases on streaming services, and it has already been established that big theater releases are not coming anytime soon, I am turning to the one source every movie reviewer can rely on when they are thoroughly out of ideas: the themed list. You heard me right. We have reached that point. Expect to see these pop up often.
With Halloween just a few weeks away, what better place to begin than my own list of horror recommendations? These picks cover a pretty wide range of genre, so hopefully everyone can find something to enjoy here.
“Shaun of the Dead”
Edgar Wright (“Baby Driver,” “Hot Fuzz”) is probably my pick for the best filmmaker working in comedy today. The first in his unofficial trilogy of genre parodies, “Shaun of the Dead” lovingly sends up the zombie movie while also standing on its own for those more unfamiliar with more classic entries in the genre. As in all of Wright’s work, the editing is exceptional and the movie is flooded with gags which might be hard to see on a first watch. “Shaun of the Dead” also might be one of the most well-structured movies I have ever seen in terms of character development and plot. I love each of the movies on this list, but the only one I would recommend to literally anyone is “Shaun of the Dead.”
You would be hard-pressed to find a person completely unfamiliar with the Xenomorph creature design from the “Alien” series. Even though most people could give you that name or even what movie it comes from, they have more than likely seen it before. Thus, it might surprise some people to discover that the classic “Alien” barely appears on screen in the original movie which bears its name. It spends most of its time in the shadows, but the audience feels its presence every second. Not only is “Alien” a definitive entry in the collection of any self-respecting fan of psychological horror/thrillers, but it also features some of the most awe-inspiring set and creature design in cinematic history. There are also many iconic shots and scenes in this movie, and if you have not seen it yet, you are doing yourself a disservice.
“The Thing” is my favorite horror movie ever made. The setting of a research outpost in Antarctica is absolute perfection. You can feel just how cold it is. “The Thing” is host to what are, in my opinion, to this day the most impressive use of special effects in any movie I have ever seen. The creatures dreamed up by the creative team are unnerving to look at. Look up as little about the movie as possible before going in and enjoy the ride.