Diary of an old cheeser

Hi there! Like other blogs, this is my chance to wax lyrical (some might say talk utter cr*p) about a) what's happening in my life b) all of my pet obsessions in particular music, tv, movies, books and other generally connected things, quite often of the retro, old and "cheesy" variety. Hence the title of my blog. Feel free to leave a comment if the mood takes you. There's nothing like a good chinwag about one's favourite topics and besides I love to meet new people! Cheers, Simon

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Okay, time for a quick post.

As you all might have guessed, it's HALLOWEEN!! Time to wear a witch's hat! Put a sheet over your head with two holes for eyes! Or don a Freddie Krueger/Michael Myers mask!! Actually the prospect of the latter is kind of horrid. Well, whatever takes your fancy...Actually I'm dreading the sound of my door bell tonight with lots of kids coming to bother me with "Trick or Treat"ing. Nooooo!!

And to celebrate the spooky season, I thought I'd post up some of my Favourite Scary Movies, in no particular order...

1. The Stepford Wives (the original)

Some might call it camp, some might call it kitsch and some may even claim it's not frightening, but it IS (frightening that is - okay so it's camp and kitsch too but that ain't no bad thing...) A female artist and her family move to the seemingly idyllic rural town of Stepford to find that all the wives are behaving very strangely, exhibiting a drone-like devotion to their husbands. Only recent arrivals seem "normal", then after a few months they "change" too. What's going on?

2. Rosemary's Baby
Another great psycho-drama with the elfin-featured Mia Farrow and smarmy John Cassavetes, playing a young couple who move into a New York apartment. She gets preggers but then starts imagining bad stuff about her neighbours, not to mention her husband. Or is she? A brilliant exercise in paranoia that keeps you guessing right up until the end.

3. Scream
I loved this when it came out. Ironic, satirical take on the teenage slasher flick with lots of great in-jokes and references to other movies. Very knowing. Plus Courtney Cox as a bitchy journalist and Neve Campbell as a sympathetic lead. And a particularly scary opening sequence with a cameo from Drew Barrymore getting harassed by a nasty voice on the phone...

4. The Haunting

NOT the tacky 1990s re-make with Catherine Zeta Jones. No, I'm talking about the 1960s original with Julie Harris and Claire Bloom. A group of paranormal investigators spend the night into a supposedly haunted house. If this sounds totally naff and unoriginal, it isn't. The film manages to terrify through the power of suggestion and the unseen e.g. one scene where the two women investigators hear loud banging on their bedroom door and strange voices...

5. Carrie.
Perhaps most "frightening" in terms of the damage someone can do if pushed too far by others. Sissy Spacek plays the lead of the title, a shy, introverted, naive schoolgirl with a religious nut of a mother (great performance from Piper Laurie) whose backward values are imposed upon her daughter. Then some of the bitchier girls in Carrie's class decide to play a cruel prank. The scene when Carrie and her partner at the Prom walk up to the stage in slow-motion, whilst the trap is sprung, is a truly nail-biting piece of suspense and brilliantly directed. And the violence that follows is completely horrid!

6. The Others.
Once you've seen this it's kind of pointless seeing it again, owing to the big twist at the end. But it's still a well-played, impeccable drama, again playing on the viewer's mind to clever effect. An icily prim Nicole Kidman plays Grace, mother of two children who suffer from extreme photo sensitivity, which means they must remain inside darkened rooms in their house, cut off from exposure to daylight. Then as the movie continues, it seems that the house is occupied by unseen and possibly natural "intruders". One of the children, Anne, says that she's being visited by a child called Victor...And what's with the servants?

7. Dressed to Kill
Very Hitchcockian and very bloodthirsty. Angie Dickinson plays a bored housewife who takes her knickers of in a taxi with a complete stranger, goes back to his hotel for a shag and then promptly gets knifed in a lift by a "female" in a flasher mac. Like you do. However tart with a heart Nancy Allen has witnessed the crime and is on the case...Also includes Michael Caine as a psychiatrist. There's some great suspense bits when the killer is on the loose.

8. Halloween.
Naturally. Subsequent sequels got silly but this is how it should be done - and set the precedent for a million other stalk-and-slash movies. Jamie Lee Curtis is endearing as the young girl who gets followed a by a sinister masked guy who is none other than...her brother! Great use of suspense, tracking camera shots and who can forget that eerie piano score?

I actually wanted to list 10 films but my brain has kind of dried up...Anyway, Happy Halloween to y'all. And having just tagged a lot of people on the last post, I will spare you all this time round, however I would still love to know what your favourite horror flicks are, should you be so inclined to reply...

(Oh and if you want to see an example of a very good spookily-styled blog, try Mr Newplanet! Although I suspect after today, he will turn into a pumpkin...)


  • At 5:17 pm , Blogger Minge said...

    I want to join you for a The Others and Carrie filmfest!

  • At 8:45 pm , Blogger matty said...

    Great choices!!!!

    CARRIE, DRESSED TO KILL and ROSEMARY'S BABY ---- awesome!!!!

    We shall be watching Kubrick's THE SHINING on HD DVD!!!!

    ...that is enough horror for me. Shelley DuVall's hair alone will cause us a great deal of horror!

  • At 7:22 am , Blogger Steve said...

    The Others - my favourite "horror film" of all time! A proper, well-done ghost story. Good to see Eric Sykes on the big screen too and Nicole is just perfect as the overwrought, highly strung mother. Those kids are damn spooky even before you find out the truth about them. And Chris Eccleston too - sheer magic.

  • At 7:22 am , Blogger Steve said...

    The Others - my favourite "horror film" of all time! A proper, well-done ghost story. Good to see Eric Sykes on the big screen too and Nicole is just perfect as the overwrought, highly strung mother. Those kids are damn spooky even before you find out the truth about them. And Chris Eccleston too - sheer magic.

  • At 9:08 am , Blogger The Sagittarian said...

    We don't actually "do" Halloween here, my personal view is that it's an annoying Americanisation that we don't need here. However, am always up for a scary movie...why is that? I recall watching a film years ago (IT WAS EVEN IN BLACK AND WHITE) and it was set in an old farm house setting, complete with barn etc and you only ever saw the murderers boots right up until there was only one or two people it could be. No idea what the film was but it had all that tension thing going for it. I did enjoy The Others, and Sixth Sense for about an hour and then the penny dropped for me and the only tension was me trying not to let on to the othres watching with me!

  • At 10:23 am , Blogger matty said...

    I was completely fooled by Sixth Sense. I saw it opening afternoon and was expecting a lame Bruce Willis movie. ...and, then the floor drop'd.

    ...but, I think I was the only one in the cinema who had been fool'd -- but then it was a big hit and I felt vindicated.

    Tho, a few years earlier I saw THE CRYING GAME and was also totally fooled by it. I gasped at the moment of "discovery" and about 8 rows of gay men turned on me as if i was the biggest idiots. I'm sorry, but some women have big hands and lip sync to old sixties records. ...don't they??!@?!?

  • At 12:49 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    Minge - Okay hen!It's a deal! Just make sure you bring some cinder toffee!

    Matty - Thanks babe. Yep those are cool movies.

    Aaah "The Shining". Haven't seen that one for years. To tell the truth, I know people rave about Jack Nicholson's performance but it's a bit too hammy for me. Whatever happened to Shelly Duvall?

    Steve - So good you wrote about it twice, eh? Glad you like the movie so much. Although wouldn't you agree that some of the impact is diminished once you've seen the ending? I agree, the kid actors are very convincing (the girl who plays Anne is a little BITCH!) Yes, a pre-Dr Who Chris E...

    Amanda - You mean NZ doesn't do Halloween atall? Or just your family?

    I think we all liked to be thrilled and scared and to have the adrenaline rushing through our veins - and horror movies do all those things! I have no idea what that movie is which you mention, can anyone help out? You were obviously quick to catch on about "The Others" and "Sixth Sense", faster than me at any rate.

    Matty again! So "Sixth" fooled you too eh. But like "The Others" once you know the twist I think it's kinda hard to watch again.

    And "The Crying Game"! Ha ha, fooled again eh!I remember the hoo-haa when it came out - although don't recall if I knew "she" was a "he" before viewing or not. Whatever happened to Jaye Davidson?

  • At 7:53 pm , Blogger matty said...

    Shelley does small parts in art films -- seems like most are out of Canada.

    And, Jaye serves me coffee at this dirty old diner in the Tenderloin.

    Very sweet, but such big hands!

  • At 1:19 am , Blogger The Sagittarian said...

    LOL, 'a dirty old diner in Tenderloin" - now THATS the stuff of nightmares!
    Simon, the Halloween thing really only has traction here due to a big chainstore deciding to import the costumes etc in recent years. Our family doesn't do Halloween and lots of others don't either. Most people here view it as a commercial rip off invented by aforementioned chainstore.

  • At 7:13 am , Blogger Steve said...

    Amanda, I have to say that I'm with you - I absolutely hate Hallowe'en and the entire money grabbing premise of it (I'm not keen on Bonfire Night for the same reason) - Karen says I'm a real humbug at this time of year but I know I'm right!

  • At 9:29 am , Blogger The Sagittarian said...

    Steve, you are sooo right! Mind you, I often wonder why we celebrate Guy Fawkes..its not like he suceeded eh? However, I think tis the old Colonialism that saves us and makes that one ok. Down here we celebrate what might have been I suspect!

  • At 11:57 am , Blogger MOTHER OF MANY said...

    I watched Carrie at an all night horror fest when it was first released,brilliant film.
    I also really liked The Others.

  • At 2:10 pm , Blogger newplanet said...

    Woo-hoo! Comments are back!

    Great Top 8 list! I also love 'The Others'. Some say the twist at the end if a bit obvious, but I fell for it hook line and sinker.

    Did you see my Halloween movie jack-o-lantern by the way?

  • At 12:53 am , Blogger Deemer said...

    They were showing Carrie at a restaurant I was at the other night. I was going to tell them to turn it off because I couldn't watch it and eat at the same time...too scary!

  • At 8:23 am , Blogger TimeWarden said...

    My favourite horror flicks were mostly made by Hammer in the late 60s, early 70s. Best ones from this studio include "Taste the Blood of Dracula" and "Twins of Evil". From the same time, I also adore "Blood on Satan's Claw", directed by Piers "Pennies from Heaven" Haggard.

    Slightly more recent horrors include the original "Hellraiser", and its first sequel "Hellbound"; the original "Alien" movie, and, again, its first sequel "Aliens"; together with David Cronenberg offerings "The Dead Zone" and his remake of "The Fly".

  • At 10:27 am , Blogger Minge said...

    I'll brew up a batch of cinder toffee - just for you!

  • At 1:29 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    Thank you guys for your multitude of comments!! I feel like a bat out of hell, aaaah haaa haaaa haaaa!!

    Apologies for slow reply, once again it's been busy at this end and I also don't have internet access in my casa...

    Matty - So Shelley is still around! And erm, are you joshing about Jaye? I heard he was now working in fashion but then again I suppose he might serve up the coffee to make some extra cash? Oddly enough "The Crying Game" was on the other night!

    Steve and Sagi - Don't know if I approve of Halloween or not. I can see what you're saying about it being a big money-making exercise, commercial exploitation etc etc, but then again couldn't we say the same thing about Xmas and everyone goes for that, don't they?

    Mother of Many - Yes those two movies are fab, glad you agree!

    Newplanet - Thank you! Yes if you haven't seen "The Others" it can still take you by surprise.

    No I haven't seen your jack-o-lantern! Checked on your blog...or am I missing something?

    Deemer - I can imagine the pig's blood bit might have been a bit unsavoury whilst eating. Hope you weren't noshing on any tomato sauce at the time.

    Tim - I confess, I haven't seen many Hammer films! Christopher Lee is of course the ultimate horror star.

    I have seen "Hellraiser" though, the original is brill (and author Clive Barker bats for the team!) The two "Alien" films are fab, sci-fi/horror crossover really. "The Fly" made me wanna hurl!

    Minge - Okay then pet, could you send me some toffee in a jiffy bag? That is, if you can't make it down to the Big Smoke...

  • At 7:51 am , Blogger TimeWarden said...

    Hope you get your internet connection soon, Simon, as I think I speak for all of us when I say we're missing your regular posts!


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