Friday, October 2, 2015

Horror Movies: Best and Worst

Haunt the Halls
(an Ode to Horror Movies)

'Tis the season
to be scared shitless
Fa-la-la-la-la
la-la-la-la!

Blood and gore
And killers and monsters
Fa-la-la-la-la
la-la-la-la!

Come the terrible
cliched characters
Fa-la-la
la-la-la
la-la-la!

Start the movie and
hide behind your fingers
Fa-la-la-la
la-la-la-la!

--

Whoo-hoo! It's October! Which means horror movies! Horror movies are my jam! (In case you haven't already figured that out with the horribly written song.)

I don't really read horror stories; for some reason they're not that scary on the page. (Matter of fact, I hate Stephen King. I love the concepts but I don't like his style. There, I said it.) But one of my favorite ways to spend an evening is putting on a horror movie and cowering behind my bowl of popcorn. Or, alternatively, laughing my ass off at how ridiculous it is.

So I've composed this list for both of those purposes. The bad horror movies are listed for your amusement. The good ones are listed for your terror. Spoilers are, for the most part, nonexistent. Should they appear, you will be given ample warning, I promise!

(Oh, and if you think I'm leaving something out, contact me. I'll be sure to watch it this month.)

Let's begin!

The Worst


5. Sorority Row


Being a sorority sister, I almost hesitate to put this on any kind of list. It reinforces the stereotype of bitchy, slutty, stupid sorority girls.

But that's why the girls and I love it. We pop this thing in in our tiny TV, crowding in the living room of our dingy rented house, and when the scene opens in that mansion with the trampoline and the feathers we're laughing our asses off.

It's your basic slasher fic with an overused script and bitches who die. What's not to love?



4. Annabelle


This was disappointing. The Conjuring was great, so when I found out they were doing a prequel on that creepy doll, I thought, "Perfect! Same writers and everything? Sign me up!"

Nope. It has its scares, such as that scene in the basement. But everything about it is overused and cliched...such as that scene in the basement.

Good for cheap thrills. Just keep the expectations low.



3. Amityville Haunting (2011) 


This one was just...weird. Basic haunted house, with the Blaire Witch style 1st POV camera. The ending was pretty horrifying and the scares were great. So in that sense, it was actually a good horror movie.

But the acting was bad, and the characters were stupid. With everything going to shit so fast, you'd think the ex-marine dad would pull a strategic retreat and get his family out of the house where four people have been killed in as many days that he's aware of. Come on!



2. Hills Have Eyes (Remake)


Remakes are usually bad, anyway, but this one...Cannibal humans? Great! Super-conservative gender roles, cliched script, and zero medical rules? Boo!

Seriously. One of the kids gets knocked out and he's unconscious for hours. When he wakes up, zero brain damage and perfect memory. No, he should be comatose.

Oh, and that kid gets a handgun because he's a boy, but neither the grandmother, the twenty-year-old mother, or his older sister get a gun (which is part of the reason two of those women die). The son-in-law who's never fired a shot in his life gets one, though.



1. Undead 


SPOILERS!



Zombies are in Australia because aliens.

Don't get me wrong. I love zombies, and I love aliens. But it's like fruit cake. As Jim Gaffigan put it, "It doesn't add up! Fruit: good. Cake: great. Fruit cake: nasty crap." Keep the fruit and the cake separate, people!

Now, it may just be because it's an Austrlian film and I, an obnoxious American, have different standards. It may be that this was actually supposed to be a comedy film, not horror, but the advertisement got messed up so we were expecting a horror film, not a bad, semi-scary comedy.

Either way, it sucked.


Honorable mentions:


Supernatural (Yeah, I know, not a movie. But this show is kinda scary, even if it sucks. See my rant on Supernatural here.)

Walking Dead (They lost me in the second season due to that stupid love triangle and other needless social drama and cliches that just waste my time.) 

30 Days of Night: Dark Days 

American Horror Story: Freak Show (see the truly wonderful summary of that abomination here)

Every Saw movie.


The Best


5. Oculus 


Basically, a supernatural mirror likes driving people insane and getting them to kill themselves and each other.

"Christina, come on. A mirror? Just smash it!"

No, because it distorts perception. That's the whole point: you only see what it wants you to see. I love this movie because it's smart, horrifying, and original, a very rare combination in the modern horror movie.

First, it's non-linear, with two plot lines going at once (a pair of siblings watching the mirror drive their parents crazy, then those same kids--now adults--getting revenge). That's hard to do, and when done right, it's impressive.

Second, the characters and acting are amazing, with realistic family drama rather than the usual eye-rolling crap. The boy spends the ten years between the plot lines convincing himself that he was hallucinating about the mirror, just something he made up when he was a kid to deal with the fact that his parents died horribly. His sister, on the other hand, has spent the past ten years researching the hell out of this mirror and meticulously planning on how to bring it down.

Which brings me to the third point: the characters are smart. Really smart! There's no stupid horror movie mistakes! Whoo-hoo!



4. 30 Days of Night


Based off the graphic novel, 30 Days of Night is a vampire film. Near the poles, (and this is a real thing) due to the tilt in the earth's axis, when summer comes, the sun never sets. When winter comes, the sun never rises. Hence, thirty days of night.

And the vampires decided, "Time for a vacation!"

Coming around the same time as Twilight and Vampire Diaries and all those other preppy, sexy vampires, these guys are terrifying. They are not sexy. They are predators. They completely take over the town and butcher everyone they find.

The love interest is a bit overused, but it's forgivable, because the focus is more on the vampires and how they're killing everyone.

Just don't watch the sequel (a good rule of thumb for any horror movie).



3. The Nightmare Before Christmas


Not a horror movie, per se, but come on. What Halloween could be complete without this Tim Burton classic? And the best part: you can watch it again at Christmas!



Saw this fanart while looking for the movie poster and holy sh!t.



2. Cabin in the Woods 


This one's a horror movie that makes fun of other horror movies. It answers questions like, Why are there usually 5+ young people? Why is there always a dumb, promiscuous girl? Why is there always a virgin? Etc.

And the bad guys aren't really bad guys. Yeah, they're making these young people die horrible deaths from their cozy spot in an underground lab, but they have their reasons. It's not black-and-white. So it's a great horror movie that also makes you think. (I talk a little more about the villains in this post)

Plus, the guy who did Buffy the Vampire Slayer wrote it, so...yeah.



1. Evil Dead (2013 Remake)


I know! A remake made the top of the list!

It helps that the creators of the original were in charge of the remake, so they kept the original vision while expanding on it.

The reason this is number one is because it was absolutely terrifying the first time I saw it. I missed at least half of the movie because I was cowering behind my palm. And when we got home from the theater, I was up until 3am because I was too scared to sleep (which never happens to me, ever). Just when I was drifting off, I heard a creak (because we live in an old house). Didn't get to sleep for another hour after that.

My only complaint: the '79 original had this amazing scene where the demon-girl's on the verge of going nuts. The other girls are playing a card game, where they're trying to guess the next card in the deck, while demon-girl stares listlessly out the window. And then suddenly, she starts listing the cards ("Queen of hearts, three of spades, four of clubs...") and the girl with the cards is flipping them over one by one, realizing the guesses are spot-on, and then everything goes south.

But what the remake did do was expand on the mythology of the Necromicon, get deeper with the characters, and was without a doubt the scariest thing I've ever seen in my life. I'd watch them both, then grab a someone to bunk with that night.




Honorable mentions:


The Visit (full review here)

Evil Dead (1979 original)

The Thing (both the original and the recent prequel)

Children of the Corn (because kids freak me out)

American Horror Story seasons 1-3, and 5 (Coven and Hotel were best, Haunted House second, Asylum third)

--

Know a good show, movie, or book? 
Do you have an idea for a future blog post? 
Any questions or complaints? (all criticism is welcome, so long as it's respectful) 

Then PLEASE contact me
(Social media also on that page.) 

Thanks for reading! :) 

6 comments:

  1. Awesomeness all over the place SWEET!

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  2. Cabin in the woods is crazy! All those people betting on the monsters were hilarious and the ending is superb. You don't actually know if you should laugh or scream.

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  3. By the way, talking about Australian Horror, have you seen The Babadook? I found it kinda boring. What do you think?

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    Replies
    1. I have not, but I've heard it's good. Half a dozen people have recommended it to me. I don't know; I'll give it a shot if I can find the time.

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