The Season of BOO!

Tis the season.

Which season, do I mean? Yeah...that's up for debate here at Awards Wiz.

Yesterday I closed the "Ten Minute Play Festival" at Theatre Oxford (for those of you unaware, TO is the local community theater I have been involved in for the past year) and begin in depth rehearsals for "The Mousetrap" by Agatha Christie in the next few days.  I'm also the head programmer for the LGBT block at the Oxford Film Festival. And then there is the big event, the Academy Awards.

As I have many years before this one, I have been debating how to approach this year's Oscar season. I have tickets for "Manchester By the Sea," "Certain Women," "Dark Night" at the Indie Memphis film festival this weekend but honestly don't know if I will make it or not due to my up in the air "Mousetrap" rehearsal schedule. I have a slew of films already released and available to rent that I hope to catch as well as a pile of screeners in my living room.  As theatrical release dates approach I have been hoping Oscary films might come to my tiny, but cultural town or make it to Oxford's closet metropolis, Memphis.  For example.  "American Honey" and "Moonlight," two films I very much want to see.  I know "Moonlight" expanded slightly this weekend, but not in Memphis.  But "American Honey" did indeed come to Memphis.  For one week.  ONE WEEK.  Sure, I could have gotten myself all hopped up on caffeine and driven to Memphis one night for a late screening but I also have a job that pays my rent and prefer to be alert in order to do it!! So, I missed it.

Although I am quite certain that "American Honey" will be left of the Oscars nominations list (unless the critics somehow rally beyond belief and it can't be ignored...although let's face it, it could get every critics Best Film and would only have a shot at screenplay when it comes to the certainly would have had a shot to make my top 10. Now that I give myself the break of not releasing my top 10 until the day before Oscars I might snag a viewing on DVD,,,but who knows?  Not being able to watch "American Honey" and my complete lack of desire to watch either "Sully" or "Birth of a Nation in the theater (as well as being caught up with OXFF screening duties,)" I decided to forget all about the Oscars and embrace the season of BOO with a horror movie weekend extravaganza!

I began in the comforts of my own home by watching "Suspiria" the often proclaimed horror masterpiece by Dario Argento.  "Suspiria" follows American student Suzy as she travels to Germany to study dance only to become wrapped up in "something far for sinister and supernatural amidst a series of murders."  Known for the incredible score by Goblin as well as cinematography by Luciano Tovoli, I found the film to be a little less thrilling on this repeat viewing. There was only one real scare near the end, and lacking any real substance for the majority of the film, it seems to fare better in stills than on play. Sad to say, I might not watch this one again any time soon. Although I am more interested in the remake that I originally was. Blasphemy? Perhaps. Feeling disappointed, less with the movie itself and more with the fact that it didn't resonate with me as the BRILLIANT MASTERPIECE that I had always remembered it to be, I decided to watch "Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy." This was MUCH more exciting than my rewatch of "Suspiria." Diligent readers of this site, as well as close friends know that my parents "allowed" me to watch the original "A Nightmare on Elm Street" at 9 years old. I quickly because obsessed with the genre and watched Nightmares 3-5 as well as "Freddy's Dead" and "New Nightmare" at the theater, on the front row, back when the front row wasn't the seat filling neck crane'r it is today. I found this behind the scenes look at the world of Freddy Krueger to be a wild ride, especially the look at the gayest horror movie of all time, "A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge."
I didn't simply sit at home watching horror movies, but did indeed venture into the movie theater, to mixed results.  First I went to see "Boo! A Madea Halloween." This was my very first Madea movie...having been a fan of the character for several years based on a YouTube video that occasionally pops up in my FB feed. The trailer for "Boo!" is brilliant, which led me to believe the film would be non stop hilarity. It was not. For the first third of the film, I tried to will myself to have a good time by laughing a bit uncomfortably with the rest of the seemingly unimpressed audience. Scenes seemed to go on and on with really no purpose other than to fill time. Eventually things picked up slightly, but all too often the jokes simply did not work. Then, finally things got good. And for approximately 10 minutes I laughed so hard I almost fell onto the floor. Honestly. And then, more extraneous plot/dialogue. I certainly don't regret the experience, but but can't imagine watching it again.

Finally, I had the extreme please of watching "The Shining" as part of FathomEvents (a first for me!) Over the years, "The Shining" has become known for being the Stephen King adaption unloved by Stephen King as well as for Kubrick's potential abuse of Shelley Duvall, and most recently for hidden theories and meanings portrayed in the documentary, "Room 237."


Going into the screening I had all of this baggage, but once the film began, with a long shot of Jack Torrance's car, traveling along a winding road on its way to the Overlook hotel while the credits scrolled, I knew I was in for quite the ride. Something that had seemed almost mundane on my television screen became quite unsettling on this grand theatrical scale. Then began the slow burn of the film.  Unable to escape the mood set by Kubrick with the haunting images of the twin girls, the river of blood, the woman in the bathtub and of course the furry, I found myself cemented in my seat. Finally, as Shelley Duvall's eyes portray utter terror in the final scenes of the film, I realized what a pure piece of horror this film is. How anyone who saw it in the theater could find it anything less than terrifying and masterful baffles me. It makes me wonder what films released today will become the masterpieces of tomorrow.


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