Films in 2020: October

I didn’t watch quite as many movies in October as I did in the previous two months (though I did still watch a lot!). That’s partially due to some TV viewing: my month-long re-watch of Twin Peaks: The Return, and finally checking out The Haunting of Hill House before watching The Haunting of Bly Manor. Of course, I watched a good amount of horror movies, which included offerings from the Criterion Channel’s collection on ’70s Horror, Hammer films starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, and Roger Corman’s Edgar Allen Poe adaptations starring Vincent Price. It was another fun movie-watching month, but I’m more than ready to dive into my favorite month of the year: Noirvember! So expect lots of film noir titles in next month’s post. But before then, a look back at what I watched over the past 31 days.

New-to-Me: 65

Re-Watched: 22

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1910s – 0
  • 1920s – 0
  • 1930s – 1
  • 1940s – 2
  • 1950s – 10
  • 1960s – 14
  • 1970s – 12
  • 1980s – 2
  • 1990s – 11
  • 2000s – 1
  • 2010s – 4
  • 2020s – 8

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. Beau travail (1999)
  2. The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
  3. Phantom of the Opera (1943)
  4. Enola Holmes (2020)
  5. Serial Mom (1994)
  6. Theatre of Blood (1973)
  7. Images (1972)
  8. The Ascent (1977)
  9. David Byrne’s American Utopia (2020)
  10. Real Life (1979)
  11. Modern Romance (1981)
  12. Krane’s Confectionery (1951)
  13. Meek’s Cutoff (2010)
  14. French Exit (2020)
  15. The Last Party (1993)
  16. The War Room (1993)
  17. Donnie Darko (2001)
  18. Gods and Monsters (1998)
  19. Dogfight (1991)
  20. Rafiki (2018)
  21. First Love (1977)
  22. Adoption (1975)
  23. The Erl King (1931)
  24. Daises (1966)
  25. Daughters of Darkness (1971)
  26. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)
  27. Shirley (2020)
  28. The Invisible Man (2020)
  29. The Nightcomers (1971)
  30. Trog (1970)
  31. Strait-Jacket (1964)
  32. The Witches (1990)
  33. Hocus Pocus (1993)
  34. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)
  35. The Mummy (1959)
  36. The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
  37. Tomka and His Friends (1977)
  38. Dementia 13 (1963)
  39. Black Sabbath (1963)
  40. Videodrome (1983)
  41. House (1977)
  42. Rebecca (2020)
  43. The Witches (2020)
  44. The Little Prince (1974)
  45. The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (1953)
  46. The Secret Garden (1949)
  47. Gerald’s Game (2017)
  48. Doctor Sleep (2019)
  49. Twice-Told Tales (1963)
  50. Tales of Terror (1962)
  51. The Comedy of Terrors (1963)
  52. The Addams Family (1991)
  53. Addams Family Values (1993)
  54. Fools in the Mountains (1957)
  55. The Best Man (1964)
  56. Primary Colors (1998)
  57. The Tingler (1959)
  58. The Bat (1959)
  59. The Raven (1963)
  60. The Haunted Palace (1963)
  61. Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
  62. The Premature Burial (1962)
  63. X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963)
  64. The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
  65. Them! (1954)

A Few Favorite Discoveries:

David Byrne’s American Utopia (2020)

David Byrne’s American Utopia (2020), directed by Spike Lee

As I mentioned last month, the New York Film Festival offered virtual screenings this year, which continued into early October. I had two more screenings in that last week of the festival, including David Byrne’s American Utopia, which is the filmed version of the musician’s Broadway production directed by Spike Lee. I was already excited to see this even before I finally watched Byrne and his Talking Heads bandmates in the famed concert film Stop Making Sense a couple of months ago, and it exceeded my expectations. It’s a minimalistic production, but it’s so beautifully put together with the choreography and dynamic between Byrne and his troupe, and with what is left on the stage. Lee also does a fantastic job of taking viewers to vantage points you wouldn’t see if you were there in the audience. It’s easily one of my most enjoyable viewings of the year, and I can’t get enough of the soundtrack.

Dogfight (1991)

Dogfight (1991), directed by Nancy Savoca

TCM’s Women Make Film series has been a great way to spend my Tuesday evenings, as I’m discovering a lot of worthwhile films, including some I hadn’t heard much of anything before, such as Dogfight. The title and the premise make it sound like a different movie than what it plays out to be, which is a tender romance between a young Marine and a lonesome girl, wonderfully portrayed by River Phoenix and Lili Taylor, respectively. Both actors make their characters feel like genuine, real people even in the 1960s setting, making their relationship all the more endearing to watch blossom. And even with the sweet romance at its center, the movie doesn’t lose its edge, also giving some interesting commentary on masculinity as the 18-year-old Marines soon become men with the Vietnam War just around the corner. It’s definitely a movie that deserves to be better known.

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), directed by Jack Arnold

I ended my Halloween viewing with a couple of ’50s sci-fi blended horror, including this film. Just based on the title and the stills I’d seen with the shrunken man being chased by a cat, I didn’t expect The Incredible Shrinking Man to be as deep as it got with its existentialism. In that sense, it kind of reminded me of something I’d see in a classic episode of The Twilight Zone, and I was really touched by where the film ended up going. Along with the fascinating psychological darkness imbued within, the movie also boasts some great special effects work, which I’m sure was especially impressive upon its initial release.

One thought on “Films in 2020: October

  1. I haven’t seen many from your ‘new to me’ list, but I really liked The Incredible Shrinking Man, Them!, and The Tingler! And I’ve always wondered about Dogfight, so know I think I’ll have to finally track that one down and give it a look. Looking forward to seeing what your November noir list looks like!

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