Colin Wessman

Shocktober Day 11: Prom Night

Prom Night (1980)

It’s hard to say what possessed me to choose the 1980 slasher flick Prom Night as one of my Shocktober picks. In fact, I don’t think I put really any thought into choosing it. I just saw Prom Night on Shudder, and saw that it starred a post-Halloween Jamie Lee Curtis and thought, “yeah, maybe that’ll be fun”. And was it fun? Well, it has its moments. Though it probably could’ve benefitted from a little more camp, and a little less trying to be a legitimately scary movie, which despite a few effective scenes, it isn’t. Continue reading

Shocktober Day 9: The Fog

The Fog (1980)

Sometimes there are films that for whatever reason, despite having a lot going for them, don’t entirely work. After all, there is a lot to enjoy about John Carpenter’s second widely released feature The Fog: the stylish vibe of peak Carpenter, the effective synthy score (again courtesy of Carpenter), the intriguing locale of a sleepy California sea town, and the mother-daughter pairing of Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh. Though despite all this, The Fog just isn’t that scary conceptually. Which doesn’t by any means make it a failure, since as I said, there’s plenty here that makes it a worthy entry from maybe the best horror director of its era. Continue reading

Shocktober Day 7: Nosferatu the Vampyre

Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)

You don’t usually get the chance to ponder why anyone ever remakes a film, seeing as the answer is almost always “because money”. However, this isn’t necessarily the case with Werner Herzog’s remake of the 1922 silent horror classic Nosferatu. After all, Werner Herzog has never seemed like a director who has ever done anything for the money (including his head-scratching turn as the villain in Jack Reacher).

So why remake a genre picture? Especially when it seems so far removed from the kind of subject matter that typically concerns Herzog’s career-long search for “the ecstatic truth”? Well, for one, Herzog described F.W. Murnau’s original as the greatest German film ever made. So it says something that Herzog had the ambition to take on this very influential film, while also managing to make a film nearly as good. Continue reading

Shocktober Day 4: The Wicker Man

The Wicker Man (1973)

The Wicker Man is a film that for years I’d only known a few stray things about, despite its status as a horror classic. Namely, the ending, which is a bit unfortunate, since other than it being the reason for the film’s title and being hinted at a few times earlier in the film, it comes as quite a surprise. Meanwhile, the only other frame of reference I had was the (supposedly) terrible Nicholas Cage remake, which apparently features a scene of Cage getting bee-ed, which isn’t even in the original. So it was nice to see that The Wicker Man is my kind of horror/thriller – one that doesn’t seem to have much in the way of onscreen violence, and yet the societal parallels it delves into are surprisingly visceral. Continue reading

Shocktober Day 1: Black Sunday

Black Sunday (1960)

Welcome to another Shocktober! I don’t know that I’m the most fitting person to kick off this year’s monthlong celebration of horror movies, marked by a review a day in this most spookiest of genres. After all, this thing was John’s brainchild nearly a decade ago. We’ve reviewed a lot of horror movies over the years (and by “we”, I mostly been John), and this is evidenced by today’s entry, since it is a movie John already reviewed on this blog several years ago. But as John would admit, it probably wasn’t the most whole-assed review, so I suppose I’ll try to throw my entire ass into this first review of Shuddertober.

To me, the 1960s seem like the definition of a transitional era for film. As the culture at large seemed to be slowly consumed by sex and drugs and violence, these things similarly we’re bubbling just beneath the surface of many landmark films during the first half of the decade. Black Sunday meanwhile, feels like a very transitional film for the horror genre, since it’s filled with the kind of gothic pretenses that were there in a lot of the horror films from the 30s through the 50s. Yet, it also has moments of violence that hint at a more savage breed of horror film that had still yet to arrive. Continue reading

Room To Grow

Noname – Room 25

There are a couple albums that would be nice to talk about before Mildly Pleased shifts into Shocktober mode on Monday, so here’s one that’s stuck with me lately. Noname is an artist that I had no recollection of when Room 25 started gathering rave reviews a couple weeks ago. But after a first listen, I recognized her voice from an appearance on Chance The Rapper’s Acid Rap mixtape, while also recalling the image of her last mixtape’s artwork showing up in some 2016 end-of-year lists. Obviously, this barely counts as having previous experience with an artist, so Room 25 has felt like a left-field breath of fresh air from a rapper who has clearly come into her own. Continue reading

Mildly Pleased Hall of Fame: Vampire Weekend by Vampire Weekend

We introduced this new feature, The Mildly Pleased Hall of Fame, back when we were celebrating our 10th anniversary in February, and I’ve long wanted to contribute to it. But it’s been hard to think of something worthy, especially in the realm of music. Because there seem to only be so many artists and albums that me, Sean, and John all have affection for. Though this one jumped out to me for many reasons, considering it celebrated its tenth anniversary around the same time our blog did. Also, I can’t speak for my colleagues, but to me, Vampire Weekend’s self-titled debut was such a potent snapshot of where the blog’s music tastes were at in 2008. Yet is also an album that still sounds great now. Continue reading