Halloween is here, IT has already scared the bejesus out of the nation, so what better time to reacquaints ourselves with the movies of the master of horror himself – Stephen King! Not only is he the brains behind the epic and potentially-best-film-of-all-time, The Shawshank Redemption, but the undead-loving sicko has written over 50 novels and spawned a horde of bloodcurdling movies including Carrie, Cujo, The Dead Zone and Children Of The Corn. Tonight, though, me and my mate Dave are sitting down with beers and pizza to watch eight hours of horror from the man himself in the form of The Shining, IT and Salem’s Lot. Yep, the original IT was three-hours long – not a good time if you don’t like guys with red noses and big feet.
We’ve got to start with the classic. Regarded as one of the greatest horror movies of all time, 1980’s The Shining tells the story of aspiring writer Jack Torrance and his family. What a delightful and heart-warming family drama this could be if Jack wasn’t as mad as a box of bollocks. Spending weeks in the isolated mountain with nothing but your wife and child for company is enough to wind you up, sure – especially in the days before Netflix – but Jack takes things a little bit too far when he decides to try out his axe swinging skills on a door. Of course, that’s a spoiler. Here’s how we got there.
4:40 – Oh good, the small child talks to his finger. That’s not creepy at all.
22:00 – Why is everyone afraid of the number 237? It’s just the bus to White City.
27:40 – This kid is having the funnest time. “I wish I could ride a trike around my house,” says Dave. We could try it at work but it’d be even more like Nathan Barley than it is now. It’s well Mexico.
35:14 – What is it about twins talking in unison that’s so freaky? Even the Olsen twins would shit us up if they said everything in time.
43:06 – Jack is asleep and screaming at the bar. We’ve all been there, Jack.
51:25 – “It’s never a good sign when your wife runs into the bar crying and carrying a baseball bat,” says Dave. It sounds like he has previous there.
57:20 – Argh! Where did that old lady come from? Someone pass the sick bucket. “It’d be like kissing a jelly made of wet scabs,” says someone.
1:15:50 – No TV and no beer makes Homer something something.
1:31:32 – Why is he repeating the name of a racehorse over and UH-OH THE KID HAS A KNIFE WHO GAVE FINGERBOB A KNIFE?!
1:36:40 – Heeeeeeeeere’s Johnny!
1:42:00 – “Was that a mole sucking off the bar man?” says Dave, from out of nowhere.
1:48:35 – Quick Daniel, run to the person with the giant knife, not the person with the axe!
1:52:00 – Wait, what? He was in the picture? So who was in the hotel? Or is he a ghost? Is his wife aware she is married to a dead guy? Or a guy who is much older than he says? Maybe he has a doppelganger. Just… what?!
Senseless violence: C’mon, that door was asking for it.
Body count: Wasn’t everyone dead already? Apart from Dick Hallorann, who didn’t deserve it.
Creepiest bit: The old lady in the bath. “I don’t want to be ageist, says Dave, “but…” And then he says something very ageist.
Best line: “I’d give anything for a drink. I’d give my goddamned soul for just a glass of beer.” Sounds like press day in the office.
A remake just hit cinemas and apparently there’s already a sequel planned, but the tale of Pennywise started in 1990 with Tim Curry’s red-haired psychopathic clown. Long before Juggalos were a thing, there was just one Insane Clown, and he spent his time traumatising the town of Derry every thirty years, targeting children in particular. And 27 years after a group of schoolkids defeated the circus act, they have returned home to put a nail in this clown’s coffin for good. Oh, and did we mention that Pennywise can shapeshift and only be seen by certain people? That’s sort of a big deal. Here’s how it played out.
3:16 – Three minutes in and a kid’s dead.
10:11 – Never, ever, in the history of paper boats has a paper boat ever floated like that. We all know that they stay upright for a second then turn into a damp inky mess.
10:35 – Yeah, it’s just a clown chilling in the sewer. Seems legit. Let’s hear what he has to say rather than RUNNING TO THE MOON.
11:34 – “Seriously,” says Dave. “How does this clown get any work? He’s not funny at all.”
26:49 – Why does everyone’s haircut look like one of the joke choices from The Sims?
28:39 – Ben, uh, your dad doesn’t live in the sewer. Just FYI.
1:20:32 – Dave: “Whatever happened to the good ol’ days of hunting clowns down sewers? Kids today with their iPads don’t know they’re born.”
1:21:30 – WTF? Belch was taken by the light and eaten like a snake by a poop pipe!
1:30:02 – There’s a clown over there digging graves in broad daylight. How has nobody noticed?
1:53:40 – Bev has fainted at the mere sight of her grown-up friends. I blame Bill’s ponytail.
2:01:30 – The fortune cookies are full of eyes, blood and bird fetuses! “That’s a one-star TripAdvisor review right there,” says Dave.
2:26:50 – Oh god Ben, you’re kissing the clown! This is worse than Jack in The Shining.
2:37:40 – Richie makes a good point, why don’t they just take a gun?
2:47:30 – Eddie basically said he wants to lose his virginity to Bev. Did anyone else hear that?
2:53:14 – Four grown adults beat up a spider.
Senseless violence: The sheer amount of blood that one clown can produce is frankly mind-boggling.
Body count: Millions. Mainly kids so you can’t really cheer. (Belch being eaten by a pipe full of poo was brilliant, though.)
Creepiest bit: A clown coming out of the shower room floor has ruined gym changing rooms for life.
Best line: “Be afraid. You all taste so much better when you’re afraid.”
The final movie in our marathon is the oldest of the three and the most monster-filled. Salem’s Lot is the 1979 film about a haunted house in a small town, and the activities of a certain antiques dealer that recently moved in to town. Slowly but surely, more and more of Salem’s residents are turned into vampires and head out across the night to recruit more bloodsuckers to their gang. Of course, it takes an author (!) to really get to the bottom of what’s going on, and he heads into the haunted house to take down the vampire overlord once and for all. Here’s how.
0:01:30 – “If you steal holy water,” ponders Dave, “is it still holy?” Someone get René Descartes on the phone.
0:05:44 – Why have they named their town after the cat in Sabrina The Teenage Witch?
0:08:50 – Hey look it’s Fred Willard from Anchorman!
0:24:55 – What is it with writers and spooky buildings? First The Shining now this!
0:38:20 – “Hey, come on now,” says Dave. “Kill all the people you want but don’t kill the dog. That’s a step too far.”
0:49:35 – There are two guys who are like the Chuckle Brothers of home delivery. They might as well have ‘We Die First’ written on their shirts.
0:56:50 – WHY DO YOU HAVE A CHILD IN A BIN BAG?
1:04:30 – Flying vampire children! Oh sure, just let him fly in.
1:51:15 – Everyone in this town has bay windows. “Vampires could probably be defeated by decent double-glazing,” says Dave, not unreasonably.
2:08:30 – AH! THE KING OF THE VAMPIRES IS HERE!
2:28:18 – Everyone in town has caught the tiredness. It’s like the Hammer office on Mondays.
2:36:34 – Turns out that the terrifying infinite power of the undead isn’t going to be defeated by a Hanson lookalike with two sticks. What a surprise, like.
2:53:00 – It’s way harder to drive a stake into the chest of a vampire than you think.
2:58:03 – So we don’t even get a happy ending? Oh, man!
3:00:46 – Now SHE’S a vampire!? “She’s hot,” says Dave. Get a grip, man.
Senseless violence: There was still no explanation as to why that crate exploded in the basement.
Body count: Lots of dead kids floating around at night time, but the guy getting spiked on the wall definitely looked the best.
Creepiest bit: Uber-vamp turning up in the jail cell outta nowhere! We definitely didn’t scream.
Best line: “Stop, Holy man!” It might be the beer or the fact it was 2am, but this was very funny.