This year was the sixth consecutive year I’ve had my own little Halloween horror movie marathon — a Halloweenathon, if you will. The idea started when a nearby cinema was holding a 20 hour horror movie marathon for Halloween but the movies were rubbish and, being an historic cinema, the seats are far too hard to sit on for 20 hours. Thus, I decided to hold my own from the comfort of my own home with movies I could choose and while the sessions have shortened (20 hours is a really long time to watch movies) it has become somewhat of a Halloween tradition.
Generally, I choose films I love and occasionally sprinkle in new films. Out of 41 films in the past five years, there had only been three films I hadn’t seen prior to the Halloweenathon. I decided to mix things up a bit this year though.
I don’t really watch plague or disease movies because I’m a bit of a germaphobe. The only exception is the miniseries based on Stephen King’s The Stand because it is Stephen King and more supernatural than your average “cough sneeze dead” movie. But 2020 being what it is, I thought this is the year to knock some of the plague movies off my to watch list. Some of them delve into zombie movie territory but, since I don’t often watch much in the way of zombie media, I hadn’t seen them anyway and they focused on the zombie infections as viruses.
I also went into quite a few of the films knowing literally nothing about them other than that they were about viruses. So a bit of time was spent going “OH! That’s so-and-so! I know them!” or searching IMDb for people who looked familiar but I couldn’t place.
So armed with a fully loaded snack table, plenty of hand sanitiser and a faithful feline familiar, I embarked on this journey…
I really liked Outbreak, it had that magical thing 80s and 90s movies did where they can be about the most serious thing ever but still inject humour through character interactions. The all star cast took me by surprise. I knew Dustin Hoffman and Renee Russo starred, but they are also joined by Morgan Freeman, Cuba Gooding Jr, Donald Sutherland and Patrick Dempsey.
This was probably my favourite film of the day.
Contagion used a lot of terminology that has become commonplace this year and drew eerie parallels to current events for a film made nearly 10 years ago. With an all star cast and compelling storyline, Contagion has all the makings of a well-made film but I didn’t find it to be particularly entertaining.
The difference between Contagion and Outbreak felt like the viral version of financial films Margin Call and The Big Short. The formers being super realistic and driven with the latters aimed at entertaining while remaining factual.
An interesting watch but ultimately forgettable.
I didn’t expect to like 28 Days Later as much as I did. Granted, I didn’t even know it starred Cillian Murphy until several shots featuring him and horrendous facial hair so I probably wasn’t the best judge of whether or not I would like it.
28 Days Later is grungy and how a zombie movie should feel — complete with people making really stupid decisions. Above average, probably because of the British twist bringing a new perspective, but not something I would rush out to watch again in a hurry. (Speaking of rushing, I am still not okay with fast zombies.)
I just can’t with kids in horror movies. They are often the catalyst that do stupid things, like, oh, let’s say breaching the perimeter of a safe zone and finding a zombie hybrid that starts the second wave of a &#%$ing zombie outbreak … just off the top of my head.
Anywho, 28 Weeks Later is okay as a follow up to 28 Days Later but it doesn’t have the same charm that made his predecessor impressive.
Patient Zero is a great concept with an average execution. I felt like too much time was spent on inconsequential sub-plots than fleshing out the important points. That coupled with the fact that ambiguous endings are part of what I loathe most about zombie movies, had Patient Zero score lower than it could have with tighter editing and more story development.
I thought finishing the Halloweenathon off with a movie about the aftermath of finding a cure to infected people would bring the day to a full circle. Instead it just made me bored. The characters are flat and the story moves at a glacial pace.
If you have a different take or would like to chat about what you’ve been watching and reading, drop a comment here or hit me up on Twitter!
Join me on Friday when we return to our regularly scheduled Rapid Reviews for November.