31 Days of Horror ’22: Week Two

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We’re back this week with the next seven movies in this year’s 31 Days of Horror. This is the second iteration of the 31 Days of Horror; you can find the one chock full of classics here. As for this year, we have classics, newbies and deeper cuts peppered in here and there. You can check out the first week here if you see a movie you missed on the calendar below.

There will be two more posts after this one: Week 3 and The Final Ten Days. Now that that’s established, let’s go ahead with days 8-14.

October 8th: The Funhouse (1981)

The Funhouse (1981) [31 Days of Gore] – The Goug' Blog

There is something cheesy and fun about this next film. The Funhouse from Tobe Hooper has quite a cult following and holds up as a creepy, odd film from the 80s. This is the film that put Hooper more prominently on Spielberg’s radar for Poltergeist, so you know it has to be good. Creepy clown like figures, terrifying animatronics and one helluva monster makes this a romp that one won’t forget. This definitely a sleeper hit from the slasher surge.

Of course, we have to lean in on the circus theme. Clowns always scare me, so I had to have my liquid courage based around the freaky guys. Therefore, go with the Clown Car Cocktail or if you are brave enough, go with the non-alcoholic Cranberry Clown Mocktail. Now, everyone loves a good snack mix. This one is on theme and does contain some polarizing things, so make adjustments as necessary. This Circus Snack Mix has the cherished (or dreaded) Circus Peanuts and other fun bits and bobs. In order to make this an epic double feature, pair this film with the wacky Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

Rent The Funhouse here on Amazon Video or own it in its newly 4K remastered version here. I made a design for this one as well featuring the creature itself, which you can check out here on Redbubble.

October 9th: Hereditary (2018)

Review: In 'Hereditary,' the Horror Is Slow-Cooked and Homemade - The New  York Times

Yes, this movie. It’s a slow burn, but good god does it pay off. I am an Ari Aster fan here and have rewatched both this and Midsommar multiple times whenever I’m in a mood to get disturbed. Hereditary is an intense film that deals with possession in multiple versions. That’s about all I can say without giving anything away, because if you haven’t seen this film, it will impact you the best if you go in blind. It’s a slow burn but stick with it as the last 15 minutes are some of the most intense minutes in film history.

For this one, I have an interesting cocktail that is directly inspired by the film: the Hail Paimon Cocktail. If the mixture of pomegranate and peanut butter into a shooter doesn’t sound like your style, maybe just stick with the peanut butter with this non-alcoholic Peanut Butter Milkshake that you COULD make alcoholic by adding a bit of Skrewball. Now, to honor Charlie, make these Homemade Devil Cremes and make sure NOT to put nuts in them.

You can rent Hereditary on Amazon Video and you need to add it to your physical collection ASAP if you want some brownie points with the cool indie kids. Buy it here. As for the design? I leaned way more on the inside joke side as it is a heavy supplied topic on Redbubble–check it out here.

October 10th: Green Room (2015)

Green Room (2015) - IMDb

This film is fantastic and seems to be forgotten. Brutal as can be, Green Room leans more like a thriller than a horror if you subtract the gore and violence. A punk band have a gig at a bar in the middle-of-nowhere Oregon (my state!). Little did they realize that the bar is a Neo-Nazi bar and the band they’re opening for falls swiftly in that genre as well. Deciding to take the gig anyways–to quote Stephen Stills, “a gig is a gig is a gig is a gig,”–they end up having to fight for their lives as the crowd is deadly. It’s an intense one as well as another A24 film.

For the food, we have to go hardcore punk in solidarity for this poor band. Therefore, I’ve gone with the strong but tasty Ankle Breaker Cocktail. Not into the booze? That’s alright, you can still be punk rock with this Molotov Mocktail. To echo the wish of them playing at a normal dive bar rather than this hellhole, we paired it all with these White Castle Copycats–a crowd-pleaser and made to accompany alcohol. Now for this double feature, I’m going a little lighter as I want to honor the late Anton Yelchin that delivers in this role and going with Odd Thomas–a cute but creepy flick.

Rent Green Room on Amazon Video or add it to your now growing A24 physical collection here. I also designed a very simple but very reliable design for this one. Check it out here on Redbubble.

October 11th: Ganja and Hess (1973)

BLACK HISTORY MONTH – GANJA & HESS — Beyond The Void Horror Podcast

Ganja and Hess came to my attention with the release of Clipping’s album There Existed an Addiction to Blood and I’ve been hooked ever since. This film is one of the most famous blaxploitation horror films out there and was released a year after Blacula. Dr. Hess Green gets stabbed with an ancient dagger by his unstable assistant and becomes a vampire. After the assistant goes missing, his wife Ganja Meda goes looking for him and falls in love with Dr. Green–who turns her into a vampire as well. It is a fascinating film with beautiful imagery and luscious symbolism. It was also remade by Spike Lee as Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, but due to critical reception, you’re better off sticking with the classic.

Want a bloodthirst just as mighty as our vampire lovers? Check out this macabre Vampire Vodka with a Syringe of ‘Blood’ which has a fun interactive element that will win over guests in a heartbeat. If you don’t need the heat of alcohol with your blood, try out this Raspberry Mojito Mocktail with the syringe instead. In order to continue your feast of blood, try out this sweet and salty Bloody Popcorn. For a double feature, you’re going to want more Duane Jones in your life. Therefore, pair this with the original Night of the Living Dead.

You can rent Ganja and Hess on Amazon Video or have it adorned on your entertainment center by purchasing it here. Listen to Clipping’s There Existed an Addiction to Blood to get into the spooky mood with some experimental noise rap that has killer bars. I did do a design for this film as well, can’t stop, won’t stop.

October 12th: Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Horror

I know a lot of people who have a soft spot for this film, myself included. Jennifer’s Body is a good time. Filled to the brim with cringy noughties’ humor and a film that has earned some respect among the LGBTQ+ community, it has aged quite well in a modern scope–as long as you don’t take it too seriously. Jennifer comes back from a sacrifice gone wrong and seeks revenge to those who have done her dirty–men primarily. It’s a romp that needs to be revisited if you didn’t like it the first go around.

If Jennifer can, you too can go both ways with Cheese + Chocolate Fondue. In terms of drinks, I had to find the iconic and morbidly named 9/11 Tribute Shooter in which they drink pre sacrifice, so make sure you have one before and after she turns (or as many as you want you wild animal you). I also found a virgin version, but make sure it’s a virgin beforehand. My double feature pick for this film is Ginger Snaps to go back-to-back with sultry, violent femmes.

You can rent Jennifer’s Body here on Amazon Video or add it to your (now-growing, yes?) physical collection here. Check out the design I made on Redbubble for this one.

October 13th: The Birds (1963)

Horror

This film is responsible for most peoples’ irrational fears of birds. One of Hitchcock’s tried and true classics adapted from a Daphne Du Maurier novella. It focuses on Melanie and her small town as they try and survive once the avian species in the area turn murderous. With iconic shots and terrifying tension, don’t sleep on The Birds as it is one of the best horror films of all time. One thing I will mention with this film is to watch it with consideration of what Hitchcock did to Tippi Hedren, more of which you can read about in my article all about Hitchcock.

I had to keep with the ‘bird’ theme when choosing these drinks. Therefore, I went with a Kentucky Bird, which is a variation of the classic tiki cocktail, the “Jungle Bird.” Due to it being a booze forward drink, my mocktail consists of one of the ingredients–pineapple juice. Therefore, indulge in this Pineapple Mocktail if you’re not into the strong stuff. In regards of food, I kept it very retro chic and looked for recipes around the 1960s. There, I came across one of my favorite snacky recipes: Bacon Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes. It’s delicious and bite sized that you’ll think you’re eating like a bird.

Rent The Birds on Amazon Video or flex your classic horror movie muscles by having it adorn your shelf, which you can get here. I made a very chic, very classic design for this film on Redbubble.

October 14th: Don’t Look Now (1973)

Horror

Speaking of Daphne Du Maurier, this film is a must watch if you haven’t seen it yet. A surreal horror nightmare, Don’t Look Now addresses some of the bleakest topics there is out there. Not only that, but it is also a visual masterpiece. Starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, Don’t Look Now reigns as a surreal psychological thriller that stood the test of time gracefully. There’s not much more I can say as going into this film with little information has a huge payoff.

This film will pair nicely with a Little Red Jacket Cocktail, both in feeling and in the literal sense of the red jacket seen several times in the film. As that cocktail contains Jägermeister, I wanted to see if there could be a mocktail that has same spiced taste. Considering Jaeger has 56 herbs and spices, I had to narrow it down to a delicious tasting mocktail that has no name relation to the content of the film: Don’s Virgin Sacrifice. Now, we’re ending the week fairly classic, so why not take it to the 70s with this Classic Cheeseball, perfect for spreading and stress eating the dread away.

You can rent Don’t Look Now on Amazon Video or own it physically by following the link here. Due to the film’s harrowing subject matter, I mashed up two films for the design to poke fun at a trope rather than referencing the movie itself. Check that design out here.

Coming Up Next

So, there’s the second week of the 31 Days of Horror here on The Void of Celluloid. Hopefully this spawned some ideas on what to make for any upcoming Halloween celebrations. For those that like to go hard and celebrate every day like me, go for it–I have given you the tools. We had Week 1, coming up next is Week 3 and The Final Ten Days which will be linked respectively once published.

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horror filled tomorrow. See ya next time.

The Final Girl: How Wes Craven Saves the Day

Horror movies had quite a rocky start in depicting women. Early horror and the age of monster movies depicted women as damsels in distress rather than the final girl archetype we see today. They were always preyed upon and scared into submission. Most of the time, they were helpless. We see from the start of horror all the way to the 1960s with Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Marion Crane isn’t really moving while she stabbed in the shower, which contradicts the ballsy moves she makes in the beginning of the film. She flails and she screams, but without the effort to do something, she dies naked, cold and humiliated.

Psycho Crane Sisters: Ancestors to the Final Girl - Ghoulish Media

It is important to remember that Marion Crane is not what horror fans know as the “final girl,” but rather her sister Lila that solves the mystery and escapes near death at the end of the film. Psycho did present a shift in the female protagonist, but Hitchcock is not the one to turn to for female empowerment. His following film The Birds is infamous for the mistreatment of actress Tippi Hedren. Instead, we are going to focus on the transition of the female protagonist in horror starting in the 1970s, and how the trope of the final girl went from empowering to demeaning. It remained that way throughout the years until the 1990s with the release of Scream, which destroys and rebuilds the trope once more.

1974: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was groundbreaking at its time of release. It determined what the slasher genre would be in the next few years. It was the next major exploitation horror film after Wes Craven’s release of The Last House on the Left, which is notorious for its brutality towards the two women. That film continued to push the narrative of damsels in distress–in high distress in this case–as they were put into a completely helpless situation. Yes, there is revenge as we see a mother and father rain hellfire on the rapist-murderers, but we don’t see the wronged women get justice themselves.

Marilyn Burns, Texas Chain Saw Massacre actress, dies aged 65 - BBC News

One of the first appearances of the trope that defines the slasher genre is Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This film is the standard of low budget grindhouse, and has the bare bones of what a final girl would look and be like in future films. Sally Hardesty is the last one left alive, and she does get out of the terrifying situation she finds herself in towards the film’s climax. She has good instinct too, but honestly, she gets out of there due to pure luck. She also drags that poor semi truck driver into the situation during the final scene. He is the one to deal the blow that saves both of them. That doesn’t dismiss her as a final girl, but instead of the typical showdown the final girl has with the killer, Sally takes the flight method rather than the fight method.

1974: Black Christmas

Released the same year as the previous film, Black Christmas is an underrated slasher pioneer. It released the same weekend as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but carries a different tone. While both are gruesome, Black Christmas takes a different approach with its characters. Many tropes trace back to this movie, and considering this movie inspired John Carpenter to make Halloween, I say that Jess Bradford is the pioneer of the final girls. For more comparisons between Black Christmas and Halloween, check out The Ringer’s article ‘Black Christmas’ Was the First ‘Halloween’.

What sets Jess apart from Sally is that Jess seems to have a functioning brain and does not shriek at anything and everything in sight. That is a real insensitve take, I know that the traumatizing situations justify Sally’s reactions, but it isn’t the usual image of a final girl. Instead a final girl does what she needs to do, which involves being sneaky and keeping quiet. It also involves a headstrong attitude. Jess exhibits both in the action of the film as well as the other plot points, most poignantly the discussion she has with her boyfriend in regards to her plans for an abortion.

FINAL GIRL PROFILE: Jess Bradford, Black Christmas (1974) - The Black  Museum: Lurid Lectures for the Morbidly Curious

There is something deeply unsettling about the fate of this final girl, as the ending is ambiguous and it leans more towards killing off the final girl, since she receives the damning phone call. This is why I claim this movie and Texas Chainsaw pioneering films. The main reason being that their final girls do not fit the modern day image of the final girl. However, I give it Black Christmas to kick off this trope, as there are similarities between Jess and our next final girl Laurie Strode.

1978: Halloween

Laurie Strode is always the first to come to mind when I think about final girls. John Carpenter set the groundwork for the strong female protagonist with his 1978 film Halloween. She is a quiet, reserved teenager responsible for babysitting a kid Halloween night. She is on edge throughout the beginning of the movie as she sees Michael Meyers lurking in the shadows. Therefore, in the beginning and by the constant harassment of her friends, we as the audience are meant to view her as “lame”. That’s not it at all though. She is self aware of herself and her actions, which is why she kicks it into gear when she realizes Michael picked off her friends one by one.

In Praise of the Shy Girl: Halloween's Laurie Strode (Women In Horror  Series) | by Kelcie Mattson | Applaudience | Medium

With Laurie being the stay-at-home-and-study type in contrast with her somewhat reckless friends, it is sometimes read that Laurie’s survival is like a reward for her purity. This is a stripped down, male gazey version of Laurie Strode and the Final Girl as a whole. Whether we like it or not, the standard for women is lowkey pedophiliac its focus–more like obssession–on virginity. This aspect supposed to be admired about the final girl. This is the wrong way of looking at it. Rather than glamorize the idea of virginity, it should praise not succumbing to peer pressure and holding standards for yourself. Her friends tell her to loosen up multiple times in the film’s beginning. Laurie stands her ground and continues to be herself, all the way up to the end of the film. Tragically, the first train of thought is what the horror industry ran with.

1980: Friday the 13th

The next big slasher is what gave us the so-called “rules” of the genre: Friday the 13th. This has a big plot point of punishing the act of sex, as that is the reasoning Mrs. Voorhees attaches to her son’s death, and rightfully so, as neglect to watch over the swimmers led to him drowning. But they push that punishment to the extreme, with Mrs. Voorhees striking during or right after the act. It’s mindless revenge as none of the counselors were around Camp Crystal Lake during Jason’s death. Therefore it comes off more as a senile woman punishing the act of sex rather than getting revenge for her son.

Friday the 13th: Why Alice was Killed for part II – Mack's Musings

Alice Hardy is our final girl in this film. The film exhibits her prudishness with the strip poker scene and her childlike crush on Bill, therefore it establishes the assumption that she is a virgin. What makes her the standard for the final girl is her epic showdown and kill of the villain. The seemingly innocent Alice is fed up and lops Pamela Voorhees’ head off, which according to her character we saw in the rest of the film, it is fairly unexpected and has us cheering for her. While Laurie Strode served as influence for Alice Hardy, the ideal final girl is Alice when the trope is analyzed by itself.

1984: A Nightmare on Elm Street

This implication of slashers punishing the youngsters for sex and drugs carried itself on a box office pedestal throughout the 1980s as several knockoffs and sequels planted their roots in the home video-palooza of the 80s. Though some had their twists and turns, the final girls became more and more washed out. It was almost like the final girl was becoming a hollow shell of herself and they were hitting copy-paste with each new release. Wes Craven took on a different kind of final girl in A Nightmare on Elm Street by giving Freddy a different motive than the motiveless voiceless killers of the early 80s, but even then Freddy painted himself as a godlike figure doing punishing.

Why A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET'S Nancy Is Horror's Greatest Final Girl -  Nerdist

Nancy Thompson is smart and has a good head on her shoulders. She is feminine, which was forgotten in the 80s, with the purposeful masculinization of the final girls to make them seem tougher. However, due to the nature of the killer and her surroundings, she comes off as helpless quite a few times throughout the film. Another ambiguous ending confirms this helplessness in which it implies Nancy actually never made it out alive.

Instead of going in that direction, the rest of the films of the 1980s almost had a carbon copy of Alice as their final girl. We would continue to see this regurgitation for the whole decade, until Craven finally said enough is enough.

1996: Scream

Scream is brilliant, and I mean that in both adoration and critically. This film blends humor, horror and badasses, especially from the main protagonist Sidney Prescott. When I think of my ideal final girl, it goes to Sidney all the way. Despite her trauma and her poor taste in men, she doesn’t skip a beat to kick ass and defend herself and her posse. Her posse in both the original and its sequels also feature some badass women, with Gale Weathers being a secondary final girl and Tatum Riley, who scores some awesome hits on Billy before her unfortunate run in with the garage door.

Scream 5: Neve Campbell in talks to return as Sidney Prescott | GamesRadar+

Sidney destroys the final girl archetype as she breaks most of the “rules” Randy reminds of us nearing the climax of the film. She is not a virgin by the final showdown and she is not a innocent delicate flower. She is actively dealing with her mother’s murder and testified against Cotton Weary so effectively that she put him in jail on a life sentence. Sidney is a breath of fresh air and restores the internal workings of a woman into the final girl. Therefore she rises to the top of the hierarchy side by side with Laurie Strode.

Wes Craven did make an instant classic, which engraved Ghostface in the history of horror among the classic slasher villains. He also made Sidney Prescott a posterchild for aspiring young women. His writing of Sidney is almost like a true apology in regards to how he wrote women characters before. A lot of Craven’s previous work brutalized women quite a bit and put them in hopeless situations consistently. Therefore, to have Sidney Prescott persevere through all of this, I can forgive Craven’s depravity.

What now? Modern Day Final Girls

In modern horror, the final girl is still alive and kicking, but rather in the model of Sidney Prescott rather than Alice Hardy. Some key examples is Grace from Ready or Not, Rocky in the first Don’t Breathe, and Dana in The Cabin in the Woods–who plays a trope in but transcends it much like Sidney did. There hasn’t been much regression, and while sequel fever has sparked back up in the recent years, more paranormal based films are the ones to pick up sequels, which prevents the final girl becoming hollow again.

THE FINAL GIRLS (2015) • Frame Rated

A brilliant horror comedy that has come out in the past decade is The Final Girls. It truly is a romp and will become a cult classic as the years go by, but the way that this movie plays with the rules that the 1980s horror flicks set is creative and hilarious. This film is a feature in my 31 Days of Horror coming up, so check it out. Overall, I don’t think the horror community will allow this trope to return back to where it was, and when it does, it usually is in homage to something and likes to challenge the original ideas that caused such a prudish final girl. Final verdict: thanks to Scream, you can drink, do drugs and have sex and you can still survive a horror film. Just don’t say you’ll be right back, because you won’t be. Easy enough, right?