31 Days Of Horror Movie Challenge: Day 1

Each day in October, three brave souls from our gang of Groovy Goolies (co-editor Paul Childs, Boardgames Master Aaron Nash and Ultimate Movie Geek Nathaniel Jepson) are watching horror films from around the world and across a wide spectrum of the horror genre, so expect slashers, ghosts, cultists, demons, vampires, cannibals, zombies, kaiju, aliens and more!

Paul’s Choice – Children of the Corn (1984)

Last year I did this challenge and wrote about on my own blog. Something which regularly came up in discussions the next day was how I’d seen many of these films when I was younger. Children of the Corn was one such film. I remember watching it with my parents and not being all that scared by it. Until towards the end, in particular, the climactic scenes with Isaac and Malachai, and then I was terrified.

Watching it back almost thirty years later, unfortunately, the knowledge of that shock moment robs the film of a lot of its power and the first hour is actually extremely slow. In its defence though, much of the cast of child actors are not at all precocious or annoying. Malachi is a truly menacing presence and Job’s chipper outlook and jokey nature in the face of some horrific events did make me laugh a few times. However, John Franklin’s performance as Isaac seems much less creepy and more than a little hammy.

Sadly, it was not as exciting or scary as I remembered it.

Aaron’s Choice – Candyman (1992)

I love this film both as a horror film and as an almost methodical detective thriller. Its story is much deeper than a lot of horror films, focusing less on the murders and more on creating a thrilling yet imposing atmosphere. Much of this is done through long lingering camerawork and a seminal score by Phillip Glass. It seethes tension and fear while being somewhat beautiful and enticing.

To say that it’s just about a researcher looking into the myth of the Candyman is to do it a great disservice. It’s about fear, the pain of loss, the human mental condition and ultimately belief. The move from Clive Barker’s original short story’s location of Great Britain to America could have destroyed what was a powerful little story, but the pulled it off. It works so well on all levels and is easily one of my favourite horror movies of all time. From Tony Todd’s phenomenally creepy yet somewhat sorrow-filled performance to the deep mythos that fully fleshes out the character, Candyman is such a great creation.

While not often cited among the classics of the genre, I believe it is up there with the very best.

Dare you say his name 5 times into a mirror? Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman…Candyma…

Nathaniel’s Choice – Tales From The Crypt: Demon Night (1995)

Our resident YouTuber is going to be sharing his thoughts via a video every day – you can read more about that (and find links to the video) here.

Paul Childs

As well as writing for Den of Geek and Your Truth, Paul also runs Badgers Crossing, a site for ghost stories. He loves the 1980s and thanks to a keen interest in Public Information Films he has never been electrocuted or set himself on fire.