H-Day 2008: The Complete Experience

Eleven years ago, the founders of this site had another one called the Meekrat Entertainment Group. The name was born of a misunderstanding of the animal’s name and this set the tone for what followed and served as a precursor to what would eventually become the Fictosphere. In 2008, Mikenificent (which is to say me) decided he was going to undertake the challenge of watching at least ten different spooky movies on Halloween itself.

The ten movies were chosen for various reasons and, looking back, seems like a spur of the moment thing since the only post revealing its upcoming existence was on the 28th of October. Each review was also commented upon by ROB the Nintendo Robot and evaluated on a scale of one to five helpings of milk and cheese, a reference to Mikenificent’s failed movie review site whose title was a reference to a line in a novel which was itself a reference to the Evan Dorkin comic.

This particular throwback endeavored to simulate the experience of seeing these reviews pop up on the site in real time. Now they’re all here in one place in a frankly massive post.


And so I begin H-Day 2008. A quick recap: I shall do mini-reviews of at least ten movies today, perhaps more, barring sleep from my schedule until tomorrow’s Spider-Post (note: Mikenificent used to run the Amazing Spider-Blog which was a daily commentary on the Spider-Man comic strip. While it began as its own site, it was moved over to the Meekrat site in an effort to boost that site’s traffic.) goes up. The only thing I don’t currently have is a comfortable pair of pants, which should be rectified soon enough. Also, I didn’t do what anyone else would do and take a nap before all this. I’ve gotten two hours of sleep in the past two days, so this should be a rather interesting twenty-four hours. The movies I’ll be doing for sure are as follows:

  • Donnie Darko
  • Abominable Doctor Phibes
  • Hybrid
  • Behind the Mask
  • Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter
  • Last Man on Earth
  • Soul Survivors
  • The Order
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • Vampires Vs. Zombies

If I have time, I’ll also be reviewing these:

If I somehow make it through all of those, I’ll review yet another freaking movie. We’ll see how this goes. First on the list is Donnie Darko, so have at thee, Mister Darko. H-Day begins now!


Donnie Darko (2001)

Each review was short to accomodate the schedule. It should also be noted that this was the director’s cut of Donnie Darko.

Behold! The first review! May contain spoilers. All of these may contain spoilers, so look out.

What it’s About: A young man cheats death and proceeds to go on one of the most mundane time-travel adventures ever committed to film.

What I Thought: It’s not nearly as life-altering or mind-trippy as people told me. In fact, the whole thing is pretty straightforward. Which is not to say it’s a bad movie, mind you. It’s quite decent. However, it’s not really a horror movie. I guess it’s science fiction, what with the time travel stuff. Ah, there is a bit that takes place on Halloween, though, so I’m in the clear.

The whole thing is like a high school sophomore’s fantasy life. You have Donnie Darko, who has lots of issues and strikes me as a less-likable Tobey Maguire, having all this neato exciting stuff happening to him and finding out that he is, indeed, the center of the universe. All the other characters simply exist to forward Donnie’s place in the world and to help him on his grand quest. I do like the quest aspect of the movie, and wish they explored that more than how much of an awesome anti-establishment guy Donnie is supposed to be. I shall give it three servings of milk and cheese: a pleasant enough way to spend two hours, but nothing earth-shattering:


ROB Says: I found all of the characters distinctly unlikable, and was elated when the machines rose up and destroyed the Darko boy, saving the universe and making everyone else feel awkward. Take that, humanity!


The Abominable Doctor Phibes (1971)

As noted, I was already running behind but was determined to finish my mad quest. I had probably dozed off which probably helped later but was still annoying.

Oh, blast. I’m running quite behind…

What it’s About: A disfigured super-villain carries out a terrible revenge against the surgeons responsible for his wife’s death.

What I Thought: I thought it was pretty darn good, but considering how this was one of the movies on the list which I’ve actually seen before, that should come as no surprise. Doctor Phibes is the very epitome of a super-villain mastermind, carrying out well-planned deaths supposedly based on the Biblical plagues while being pursued by Scotland Yard’s Inspector Trout. Phibes even has a secret lair with a self-constructed clockwork band and a pipe-organ controlled elevator. It should also be noted that Price opens his mouth not once during the course of the film, for reasons I’ll not spoil for you here.

I give this film three and a half helpings of milk and cheese, plus an additional half-serving because it’s Vincent Price. I watched that one Scooby-Doo series simply because he was a regular on it. (note: this is a lie, I just like Scooby-Doo. Price’s presence certainly didn’t hurt.) This movie only goes to show that revenge can be fun to watch, carried out properly.


ROB Says: I found all of the characters distinctly unlikable, and was elated when the machines rose up and destroyed the Darko boy, saving the universe and making everyone else feel awkward. Take that, humanity!


H-Day 2008: Hybrid (1997)

There’s only two movies from this event that I no longer own, and this is one of them. I think because it was quite bad and kind of gross.

I am running so far behind right now, but should be able to finish the original ten movies at least…

What it’s About: A group of several soldier-type people come across a scientific installation in a post-apocalyptic world. Hi-jinks ensue.

What I Thought: When/if I start doing full reviews of movies, this movie is at the top of the list. Everything looks fine, and I’m sure if I watched it with the sound off, then I would think it was a somewhat better movie. However, once you hear the characters talking and whatnot everything falls apart as they speak in one-liners and cliches. They’re also surprisingly immature for people who have supposedly spent over a year wandering around a post-apocalyptic wasteland, filled with that special sort of angst you only seem to get in bad movies. Sadly, the characters mostly lack any sort of characterization past this all-consuming angst.

Ah, there’s also a monster, the Hybrid of the title. I suppose the monster is okay, except it suffers from the all-consuming angst of everyone else. It really should have started killing people sooner. All in all, this was like a slasher film set in a science fiction environment, except without the charm those movies can have. I give it one and a half helpings, with an extra half-helping for having an absurd opening sequence.


ROB Says: I found all of the characters distinctly unlikable, and was elated when the machines rose up and destroyed the Darko boy, saving the universe and making everyone else feel awkward. Take that, humanity!


Behind the Mask (2006)

Four down, at least six to go… I’m not going to get to any of the auxiliary movies, am I?

What it’s About: Several graduate students set out to make a documentary about an up-and-coming psycho killer.

What I Thought: There were so many ways this movie could have been complete and utter garbage, but I’m glad to say it’s not. It’s an interesting look at the whole slasher genre and how the whole thing might work if it took place in the real world. There’s a change in style about two-thirds through the film, but it’s not so much abrupt as something you can really see coming pretty early on. Also, it helps that it makes Leslie Vernon a charismatic sort of fellow. You almost hope he gets to go through with his plan to slaughter a house full of high school students.

My one complaint with the film is this: who on Earth would the grad students have shown the completed documentary to? I shall give it three helpings of milk and cheese, plus an extra half because Robert Englund is in the movie and I like him.


ROB Says: I found all of the characters distinctly unlikable, and was elated when the machines rose up and destroyed the Darko boy, saving the universe and making everyone else feel awkward. Take that, humanity!


Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter (2001)

For some of these, I opted to include a link to buy the DVD but I’ve removed all these links. In some cases, like this one, it means the only title image is a tiny thing.

How did I lose my eight-hour buffer? Seriously, how did that happen? Oh well. Halfway done…

What it’s About: Jesus Christ battles vampires in order to save mankind.

What I Thought: Every so often, a movie comes along whose very premise puts itself at the forefront of your mind. For me, this was one of those movies, and finally getting to watch it uninterrupted allowed me to discover that it has lived up to the hype produced in my head. After all, Jesus is not alone in his battle: he receives aid from the great Santos! Most of the fights are fun in an over-the-top way, too. Heck, even if this movie wasn’t about Jesus fighting vampires, and they replaced Jesus with some schlub, then it’d still be pretty darn good.

My one issue is that the whole thing looks and sounds like a grindhouse film. Picture-wise, that’s no problem. Sound-wise, it means the soundtrack feels as if it was dubbed in later. However, it’s much better than most grindhouse films, so don’t worry about that. I give it three and a half helpings of milk and cheese:


ROB Says: I found all of the characters distinctly unlikable, and was elated when the machines rose up and destroyed the Darko boy, saving the universe and making everyone else feel awkward. Take that, humanity!


The Last Man on Earth (1964)

The best thing about this is you can clearly see my enthusiasm and energy dwindling over the course of the day.

Four more!

What it’s About: …the last man on Earth, supposedly.

What I Thought: There’s really not much to say. The movie is competently made all around, and it features Vincent Price. Four helpings of milk and cheese.


ROB Says: I found all of the characters distinctly unlikable, and was elated when the machines rose up and destroyed the Darko boy, saving the universe and making everyone else feel awkward. Take that, humanity!


Soul Survivors (2001)

This is the other movie from this event that is no longer in my possession. In this case, likely because it was just super boring. For both of them, I swore I’d revisit them but I suppose now that’s a bit more difficult.

What it’s About: There’s a car accident, and then things just sort of meander for an hour and a half until we find out the devastating twist ending. (SPOILER: It was all a dream, more or less.)

What I Thought: If this movie had a face, I would punch it. It’s really boring and nothing ever really happens. Pretty much the entire movie is main girl Cassie wandering around feeling for herself, then something weird happens, she freaks out, and then she calms down and goes back to feeling sorry for herself. It’s not creepy or weird, just really freaking annoying.

I will be coming back to this movie later to give it a proper review, like Hybrid, but for now I’m only going to give it one helping of milk and cheese. Since I hate it.


ROB Says: I found all of the characters distinctly unlikable, and was elated when the machines rose up and destroyed the Darko boy, saving the universe and making everyone else feel awkward. Take that, humanity!


The Order (2003)

Out of all the movies reviewed for this, this is the only one I’ve revisited for anything other than entertainment.

Three more to go.

What it’s About: A priest discovers a conspiracy involving the Roman Catholic Church, and decides to get to the bottom of it. Hi-jinks ensue.

What I Thought: I remember the trailers for this one. They made it seem like a pulse-pounding experience where some priest was going around swashbuckling and encountering ancient evils. That doesn’t happen, so much as he cleans up the messes of other people who encounter the ancient evils. He does meet one ancient evil, but that’s towards the end, and by that time I was just sort of zoning out and looking at the last two movies I’m going to get to tonight, and then I cried because one of them is bound to be terrible and the other one is Shaun of the Dead.

Anyway, The Order is all right, I guess. Not as bad as Soul Survivors, and a bit more horror-y than Donnie Darko. In fact, it’s more horror-y than Soul Survivors, too. I really don’t like that movie, people. I’m sorry, but it’s left me angry and bitter at the state of humanity. I’ll give it three servings of milk and cheese.


ROB Says: I found all of the characters distinctly unlikable, and was elated when the machines rose up and destroyed the Darko boy, saving the universe and making everyone else feel awkward. Take that, humanity!


Vampires Vs. Zombies (2004)

I’ve seen this movie three times and couldn’t really tell you a single thing about it other than its basic premise. Also, this is another one whose title image is really small.

One more, then the finale!

What it’s About: There’s some vampires… and some zombies… and then I got lost because the whole thing is really bloody confusing!

What I Thought: This movie nearly drove me mad, cementing its place on the list of films I shall review in-depth quite soon. For now, I shall give it one and a half servings of milk and cheese, since it’s at least not boring. Confusing as all get-out, but not boring.


ROB Says: I found all of the characters distinctly unlikable, and was elated when the machines rose up and destroyed the Darko boy, saving the universe and making everyone else feel awkward. Take that, humanity!


Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Last one! I’m really tired, and not all that coherent! I shall do my best!

What it’s About: A young man loses the love of his life, and decides to do whatever he can to win her back. Also: zombies.

What I Thought: A nice way to wrap up this little event o’ mine since it’s actually a really good movie. Simon Pegg is fantastic as the titular Shaun. All the other actors were pretty spiffy, too. Ah, and there’s this one scene where they beat a zombie with pool cues set to the Queen song “You’re My Best Friend”. I really like this movie, guys. Four and a half servings of milk and cheese!


ROB Says: I found all of the characters distinctly unlikable, and was elated when the machines rose up and destroyed the Darko boy, saving the universe and making everyone else feel awkward. Take that, humanity!


Well, folks, but that was an experience and a half. I may do it again next year, except maybe settling on five or six movies instead of ten or more. Here’s what I learned from this:

  1. Even though my mind is more than ready and willing to stay awake for twenty-four hours at a time with only two hours of sleep to back it up, my body will fight it all the way. It will also win, which explains the gaps between Abominable Doctor Phibes and Hybrid.
  2. It’s more fun to write about things which aren’t that good, and hard not to rant about things which are bad.
  3. Soul Survivors is really bad.

That was H-Day 2008. Will we ever attempt anything like this again? More than likely.

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