I spent a lot of time in October watching a number of the new fall television shows, and catching up with some old favorites, so I didn't screen as many films as usual. I only ended up seeing a few on the big-screen and, of those, I was only really taken with Paranormal Activity 3.
Of the older films I watched the best were mostly documentaries, including the magnificent and moving Koko: A Talking Gorilla, the groundbreaking works Before and After Stonewall, Melvin Van Peebles' important Classified X, the awesome Machete Maidens Unleashed and the surprisingly moving look at the rise and fall of Plato's Retreat, American Swing. I was disappointed with the No-Wave documentary Kill Your Idols as I felt it concentrated way too much on newer bands that in actuality have very little in common with such trailblazing acts as Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Mars and Sonic Youth.
Stepping away from documentaries I did watch some good narrative-based features including Joe Sarno's infectious A Touch of Genie, Jean Rollin's haunting final work Mask of Medusa, the Laura inspired Fiona on Fire, the chilling British Classic My Name is Julie Ross and the uber-strange French shocker Sheitan.
My favorite non-documentary films I saw for the first time in October were, fittingly, thrillers. I was really taken with Adam Green's Frozen, a work that is everything Danny Boyle's dreadful 127 Hours should have been, and was blown away by The Human Centipede (First Sequence), a truly original and wonderfully composed shocker that stands with the great works of horror I have seen in the past several years. I also greatly enjoyed Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1974 and am looking forward to watching the next two films in that trilogy in November.
The worst films I sat through in October were also horror films and the included the dreadful Bloodlust Zombies (which totally wastes Alexis Texas), the by the numbers Last Resort and the jaw-dropping bad Tintorera: Killer Shark.
Here's the complete lists for those interested and, as always, consider anything with a 3-star rating or more as a recommendation.
PRE 2011 FILMS:
A Touch of Genie ***1/2
After Stonewall ****1/2
American Swing ****1/2
Before Stonewall ****1/2
Bloodlust Zombies *
Fiona on Fire ***1/2
Kill Your Idols ***
Kingdom of Shadows: The Rise of the Horror Film ****
Koko: A Talking Gorilla *****
Mask of Medusa ****
Machete Maidens Unleashed! ****1/2
Melvin Van Peebles Classified X *****
My Name is Julia Ross ****
New Years Evil ***
One-Eyed Monster ***
Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1974 ****1/2
Tales that Witness Madness ***
Tamara Drewe ***1/2
The Human Centipede (First Sequence) ****1/2
The Last Resort *1/2
The Sentinel (1977) ***
Tintorera: Killer Shark *1/2
Dream House **1/2
Munger Road **1/2
Paranormal Activity 3 ***1/2