primer for vampire movie fest [halloween movie fest, 2016.]

Here we go. Halloween Movie Fest 2016.

First, a primer in part one of this year’s HMF.

As promised, the first half is all vampires. A movie fest within a movie fest. Like the cream in one of those Halloween themed orange and black Oreos, but where the cream filling is actually a monster who will grant you a grotesque immortality if it likes you, or merely exsanguinate you if it doesn’t.

DRACULA (1958)

The mini movie festival within a festival is rooted in last year’s HMF. When I was doing some reading on The Wicker Man after I watched it, I learned that it was a big deal for Christopher Lee to be the understated villain in this (mostly) subdued horror film. Until then he was mostly famous for his role in the Hammer Films Dracula series as the titular vampire.

I’ve never seen any Hammer Films, but they were clearly notable in the history of horror, so I read up on them a bit. The Hammer Films rabbit hole led me to a few other vampire films I’d never heard of, one thing led to another, and I realized that at the very least I was going to need to make half of HMF16 vampire movies.

This is fun for me, because it gives me a style of ‘Another Day, Another Movie’ I haven’t done in quite a while. I love Halloween Movie Fest, but it’s much more varied and diverse than other versions of ‘AD,AM’ I’ve done.

It’s different doing ‘AD,AM’ with a more specific genre, like Westerns or Noir films. It changes the way I watch because I’m focused in on the nuances and boundaries of that genre, whether those boundaries they are heeded or ignored. I start to inhabit the language, style, and palette of that genre. It becomes the story ecosystem I live in for a bit. This pointlessly fun activity gives me this big frame of reference for each film, which is obviously always there, but is easier to see and discern in the context of the geeky rhythm of this sort of endeavor.

The closest I’ve come to this within HMF is zombie films, because the genre is so young and the rules are so clear. Every departure from the tropes is really obvious, every stylistic choice stands out, meaning you need fewer films to really sense what a particular storyteller is trying to do.

Anyway, this year I get to fully add that element back into HMF by watching ten vampire films in ten days.

Next up, night one: Near Dark.