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31 Days of Horror: Alone in the Dark (1982)

“All right, they’re crazy. Isn’t everybody?” – Dr. Leo Bain, Alone in the Dark

I’m a horror fan, but I’m not that crazy about slashers. That’s what makes 1982’s Alone in the Dark so special. Directed by Jack Sholder (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge), the film mixes black humor with genuine scares, both of which elevate it far above the average slasher.
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The Ten Percent: The Great Escape (1963)

the-great-escape-poster

Original poster for The Great Escape, 1963.

“Ninety percent of everything is crud.” – Theodore Sturgeon

Welcome back to “The Ten Percent,” a regular column where every other week K. Dale Koontz and I take a look at the inverse of Sturgeon’s Law; in other words, the small portion of everything which is not crud. So many films premiere each year, but only a very few are remembered and revered years later. That’s not a matter of genre – the Ten Percent is a big tent, with plenty of room for comedy, drama, horror, animation, musical, science fiction and many more. But admission into the tent is not easy to come by. Films in this category last because they are high quality productions which demand more of their viewer than simple passive reception.

Before I talk about why 1963’s The Great Escape belongs in the Ten Percent, it’s worth taking the time to point out the film’s flaws. First, neither bicycles nor motorcycles were used in the 1943 escape from Stalag Luft III. Second, the “Great Escape” of 76 Allied POWs took place in unseasonably cold weather during one of the worst winters seen in Eastern Poland in 30 years. Third, there were no Americans among the escapees who were mostly British and Canadian. Finally, there was never any regulation which stated that Allied prisoners were duty-bound to attempt to escape. In fact, many, perhaps most, American and British POWs were generally leery of escape attempts.

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