Sunday, October 6, 2013

Wendigo (2001)

Today I decorate the home for Halloween! I especially go all out on the front door - complete with a bowl full of candy for everyone everyday until Nov. 1st. I take pride in giving out the good candy too, not the crap candy everyone dreads getting on Halloween. That is my gift to you, fine neighbors, for putting up with all our patio parties year 'round. It's the least I can do.

But before I decorate, I have a movie to watch. A movie that cropped up in conversation during last year's October Challenge: Wendigo. There are simply not enough wendigo creature features out there and this is one scary beast! If you have no idea what a wendigo is then I'll let Wikipedia tell you. And what's this? Animal Planet has a shown some interest in them too?

In any case, werewolves and wendigos, man, they can scare the wits right out of me.

Let's hope this one does too, although I'm a little more fearful that the movie will be a bust. Although the New York Times calls it "...a genuinely bone-chilling tale.", I've not always trusted that paper so I'm just going to have to see for myself. See you after the show!


You know what folks, I'm going to have to agree with the New York Times. As well as the L.A. Weekly in that this is "A darkly beautiful, genuinely scary movie."

A line from this movie sums up the experience pretty well, "Nothing between the earth and sky is bad, but there are spirits that should be feared."

Wendigo is built on tension, of which builds very nicely. It builds so nicely, even with some of the cheese factor, that one gets the heart-sinking feeling that something bad is

I'd like to talk about the cheese factor for a moment. If one gets fixated on the very awful sweater the father wears at the beginning of the film then the movie will be lost to you. Because that sweater, and several other well played cheesy moments, will easily drag down the horror element of the movie unless you are paying attention. This movie is for serious horror movie fans.

In other news, why are small town pharmacies so scary...?

Okay, enough of that, back to Wendigo. This movie also revolves around the different elements of childhood horror - real and imagined. Although this movie captured (very well, I might add) the madness supposedly associated with the Wendigo creature, it also captured the fear and imagination commonly associated with childhood. Monsters under the bed, in the closet, outside, made of nature, human monsters, etc. This movie did such a good job of that that I remembered a particularly scary moment from my childhood.

I grew up on the prairie, left to my own imagination and devices. One cold day I came across a half-eaten deer carcass, seemed like a pretty fresh kill as well. I poked at it, examined it - because I was 9 years old and it was the first time I saw this element of nature in action, if you will. Suddenly I was struck with the idea that I was disrupting something. That I was interrupting order and disrespecting something far older than I could imagine.

I ran home. Afraid.

Never saw (nor looked for) that deer carcass again, but I feared that if I glanced out the chicken coop window - toward the part of the vast open prairie where I found the deer, that the deer's head - decomposed eyeballs, tongue hanging out and all - would suddenly pop up in the window and scream at me.

Yes, I've always had a wild imagination, but this movie brought that memory back to me. I found this to be a frightening film, a sad film (cried even!), and a genuinely good horror film.

Suggested pairing: Wine if you live in the city, beer if you live in a town. Popcorn and venison jerky.

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