Hmm... perhaps when I offered you this option, I should have had some funny little family stories in mind.
Let's see. I could tell you about my family's yearly tradition of lightlooking... but this year we worked that adventure down to about a 35 second experience.
I could tell you about my family's first experience with a turducken, or... as they referred to it "turkenducken", "churchucken", "urckenturd", and "just plain wrong." But... we were all pretty disappointed when we cut into it and found it was mostly turkey cutlets with some indistinguishable chicken and a duck nugget (I know... but I don't know what else to call just a tiny piece of duck meat).
I could also tell you about playing with my
What I will tell you about, dear readers, are the horror films that punctuated the time I spent at home with my family. For some reason, there were a lot them this Christmas. Not quite the idyllic white Christmas post you had in mind?
I'll start with my favorite, just in case this is the only review you read.
High Tension /Haute Tension (2003)
This French film is flawless. Perhaps that's a lot of praise to give away, but I don't pretend to know anything about legitimate film review, so I'm okay with that. Basically, two friends drive out to the country to spend some time studying and visiting the one girl's family. How-ev-er... before they even get a chance to see the farmhouse in the daylight, a crazy psycho killer makes life very interesting (and bloody) for both of them. The movie is disgusting, empowering, unnerving, and a really good time.
My recommendation: Watch it more than once. The second time with newbies. And please, please, please watch it in French with subtitles, if necessary. Dubbing is an extremely poor choice for this film. Anyway, once the good stuff starts to go down, there isn't much talking at all.
Well... this Stephen King gem is a classic. And... that is about all I can say about it. My brother had been after IT since I arrived in VA (and probably long before that... but I wouldn't know), so when we started it just before I left to come back to GA we were all atwitter. Sadly, the clown is not that creepy, the "special effects" are laughable, the acting is subpar and overall the film seems to be more about the evils of bullying than the evils of that yellow-fanged clown. There are reasons you should watch IT though; John Boy (of The Walton's fame, duh) sports a rockin' ponytail but you totally wouldn't know it from the feathery banged front. It's like the ultimate party-in-the-back situation.
Caveat: I didn't finish IT. I watched the first DVD but started falling asleep about 20 minutes into the second DVD.
Watch this clip, starting at 8:15, to see the most tender love story I've seen in a long time. And don't forget to admire the ponytail. See how you'd never guess it were there from the front? Amazing.
The Plague (2006)
Now this one is not so easy to peg as High Tension (love!) or IT (snore!). The Plague, an indy film about the reawakening of all children aged 10-19 who became catatonic a decade ago, boasts a cast that includes... James Van Der Beek... and no one else we've heard of. The previously catatonic teenagers closely resemble zombies and their killing is ritualized and creepy enough, but the production value of this piece is what really sets it apart. For instance, I'm pretty sure that they used a high school in the first third of the film, hung plastic along the interiors and posted a sign about renovations, and used that same high school as the sheriff's office of the 20 minutes of running-around-scared action.
My recommendation: Watch it with those friends who will help you create a Mystery Science Theater atmosphere. The best part of this movie for me was when my friend yelled out, "OH! She got her with the pants pistol!!!"
This Christmas I also kinda watched The Hills Have Eyes, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, and another one that I can't even remember that involved zombies and a "To Be Continued" that has... well... yet to be continued. But... the three movies I presented you with here were the standouts for me.
Take away message of this Family Oddities post, Winter '09 edition: My family is odd. Given the opportunity to be together and have warm chestnut-roasting times, we will play nice during the daylight hours and do our very best to horrify each other come nightfall.
I'll leave you with a statement my dad very quietly made in the kitchen one night while my brother, sister, and their friends watched one of the Texas Chainsaw movies in the livingroom:
"Ya know, I have a chainsaw... "