Archive for the ‘Horror Movies’ Category

Aside from tales of haunted houses, and ghosts, the religious horror genre is one of my favorites. These stories of people possessed by demonic forces are some of the creepiest in my opinion, because those demons can do crazy things to ordinary people! Now whether you actually believe in real world demon possession or not, these movies do have a basis in real life events. Maybe it’s not demons per se, but look at the things that mental illness can do to a person?! Still pretty scary.

Here are some of my favorite horror films in which exorcisms play a role:

The Exorcist (1973)

Source: thedistractedglobe.com

Source: thedistractedglobe.com

directed by William Friedkin

Of course I had to start with The Exorcist. No discussion of exorcisms, or even horror movies in general, would be complete without this fantastic film. I swear that the  more I watch this movie, the better and scarier it gets. A little girl possessed by a terrible demonic force just because she wanted to have a little fun with a Ouija board. I mean, that could have been me! The deterioration of her mind and body are terrifying, and her mother’s desperate measures to get her help are so moving. P.S. The book’s really good as well!

The Exorcist III (1990)

Source: denofgeek.com

Source: denofgeek.com

directed by William Peter Blatty

Now, while it’s no match for the original, I think the third film in this series still deserves a place on this list. This is an excellent film that has the police Lieutenant from the original film (now played by George C. Scott) investigating a series of murders that seem to link to a serial killer (modeled after the real life Zodiac killer) who is now dead. It seems that something (serial killer? demon?) is possessing an amnesiac, and traveling from body to body to commit his murders.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

Source: imdb.com

Source: imdb.com

directed by Scott Derrickson

Inspired by the true case of a young girl, Anneliese Michel, who died after an unsuccessful (or unnecessary) exorcism attempt, The Exorcism of Emily Rose tells the story of a priest who is on trial for negligent homicide after the death of a young woman, Emily Rose, who died while he was performing an exorcism on her. The movie flashes back so that we can see the events that ultimately led to her unfortunate death… and those events are very creepy… especially when they take advantage of Jennifer Carpenter‘s (playing Emily Rose) double jointed-ness. I really enjoyed this unusual take on the exorcism genre.

The Last Exorcism (2010)

Source: gorestruly.com

Source: gorestruly.com

directed by Daniel Stamm

This found footage movie follows a charlatan, Reverend Cotton Marcus, who performs fake exorcisms making a documentary exposing the truth about the acts he has been performing on unsuspecting people. Unfortunately for him, his next “victim” is actually possessed, and so he gets more that he bargained for when he meets Nell. I felt like the found footage genre was used very well for this particular movie, keeping the viewer on their toes, and keeping things moving along and intense as Cotton realizes that he was wrong in thinking that all possessions are hoaxes. This movie also has a surprise in store at the end.

Exorcismus (2010)

Source: moviehunger.com

Source: moviehunger.com

directed by Manuel Carballo

Again focusing on a young girl, this film has the girl in question, Emma, being the one to think she herself is possessed, rather than having someone else suspect it. In fact, her parents are convinced that something is medically wrong with her, and so decide to have numerous doctors look into Emma’s condition. After she exhibits more strange and dangerous behaviors, she becomes convinced that she caused has some kind of demonic force to take possession of her mind and body and convinces her Uncle, who is a priest, to perform an exorcism on her. All is not exactly as it seems though….

I’d love to hear about your favorite horror movies featuring exorcisms! I’m always on the lookout for a good one.

In the past several years, home invasion-themed movies have heavily saturated the horror  genre. I consider this type of horror movie to be the most terrifying because it is something that actually happens in our society from time to time. I am from Connecticut and I will never forget the Cheshire home invasion back in 2007, when two men killed a mother and her two daughters while the father was bludgeoned and restrained in the basement.

Below are five home invasion horror films that are horrific, but worth a watch if this is a topic you can stomach. Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself sleeping with a knife under your pillow after watching these!

Haute Tension aka High Tension (2003)

high-tension-movie1

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This French slasher is one of the most disturbing horror movies I have ever seen (and I have seen many!). When college friends Marie (Cécile de France) and Alexa (Maïwenn) take a break from school at Alexa’s family country house, a sadistic serial killer decides to pay a visit. If you can make it through all the grisly murders, there’s an unexpected twist at the end.

Funny Games (2007)

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Funny Games, a remake of the 1997 German film by the same name, stars several well-known actors including Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt, and Brady Corbett. Husband and Wife (Roth and Watts) and their son are taken hostage in their summer home by a couple of deranged teens. Though this film isn’t quite in the “horror” genre, it’s so horrific it might as well be. The captive family is taunted and tortured for hours on end by the two sociopathic serial killers, and forced to play sadistic and humiliating  “games” for the killers’ sick pleasure.

The Strangers (2008)

thestrangers2

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This one is my personal favorite. The Strangers, starring Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler, begins when James (Speedman) proposes to girlfriend Kristen (Tyler), while attending a wedding reception for friends. When Kristen unexpectedly turns him down, they must awkwardly spend the evening at James’s parents’ isolated cabin, which James had decorated with roses and candles in anticipation of  celebrating their engagement. This depressing scene turns very scary when three masked assailants show up at their door in the wee hours of the night.

The Collector (2009)

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This movie takes a creative twist on the home invasion theme. Arkin, played by Josh Stewart, has a serious problem. His estranged wife owes a lot of money to a bookie, and she must come up with the money before midnight or she and their young daughter will suffer the consequences. To save his wife and daughter, Arkin decides to break into the home of a wealthy family he has been doing handiwork for in order to breach their safe and steal their money. The only problem is someone else has targeted the home and has murderous intentions. Arkin must try to save the family he planned to steal from by rescuing them from a series of elaborate booby traps.

The Purge (2013)

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And finally, we come to The Purge, released earlier this year. One day every year for 12 hours, all emergency services are temporarily suspended so that US citizens can commit murder and any other acts of brutality toward whomever they choose without repercussion. Referred to as “the purge”, this annual event is intended to give people the opportunity to blow off steam and release aggression, while they live the remaining 364 days of the year in a crime-free environment. Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey play James and Mary Sandin, a wealthy couple with two children. James owes his financial security to the success of his home security system. However, the night of this year’s purge things go horribly wrong when the Sandin family’s lockdown is breached by malignant masked intruders.

And later this year, You’re Next will hit the big screen. Imagine a family reunion gone horribly wrong when unwelcome guests appear on the scene…

Now that we are officially in the midst of summer, with temperatures getting into the 90’s in many areas of the country, and  people headed to the beach, lakes, and rivers in droves, it only seems appropriate that I give you some of my favorite  water-based horror films. Not only can water be dangerous and deadly in itself, but so much lurks in it’s depths, unseen by the world… unless it wants to be seen, or some sorry soul invades its territory.

1. Jaws (1975)

Source: listal.com

Source: listal.com

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Obviously Jaws has to have the top spot here. The epitome of the water-based horror film, this film pits the sheriff and residents of Amity Island against a terrifying Great White shark who has a taste for human flesh. The film has the honor of scaring people so much that they were actually afraid to step foot in the water, and it even had its own Universal Studies ride until 2012 (which I had the pleasure of going on years ago). The theme music for Jaws is one of the most iconic scores in all of movie history, and the fact that the shark is rarely shown in the movie just adds to the terror… something is always lurking even if it can’t be seen.

2. Rogue (2007)

Source: johnofthedead.com

Source: johnofthedead.com

Directed by Greg Mclean

Sharks aren’t the only thing lurking beneath the water, and oceans aren’t the only body of water to avoid. In Rogue, a group of tourists, on a cruise exploring the rivers in an Austrailian National Park, run afoul of a crocodile when they steer off their normal course. This is why you should sometimes not take the road less traveled, because in this case, it can lead you straight into the lair of a crocdile, and towards almost-certain death!

3. Open Water (2003)

Source: movieclips.com

Source: movieclips.com

Directed by Chris Kentis

This is one of the most terrifying scenarios I can think of. Getting stranded in open water, with no chance of being able to swim back to land, and with only a glimmer of hope that you’ll be found by a passing boat. How long would you be able to survive? It would be bad enough just having to tread water, but then to have sharks show up and start to circle you? And to think that this is based on a true story…

4. Black Water (2007)

Source: drunkenzombie.com

Source: drunkenzombie.com

Directed by David Nerlich and Andrew Traucki

Another terrifying tale set in Australia, Black Water also pits its characters against a crocodile when they become stranded in a mangrove swamp, far away from civilization. Note to self: don’t go on a tour of any rivers/swamps in Australia. If Rogue and Black Water tell you anything, it’s that these places are not safe!!

5. The Bay (2012)

Source: beyondhollywood.com

Source: beyondhollywood.com

Directed by Barry Levinson

Think that crocodiles and sharks, and other large creatures are the only menace that lives in the water? Then you haven’t seen The Bay, in which the danger comes from a much smaller creature that has infested the water- mutant parasites that infect humans, and turn them into blood-thirsty hosts. This found-footage movie shows the destruction that an ecological disaster and government cover-up can cause.

6. Piranha (2010)

Source: cinefantastiqueonline.com

Source: cinefantastiqueonline.com

Directed by Alexandre Aja

This over-the-top horror film pits a multitude of spring-breakers against a horde of giant man-eating piranhas. When an earthquake unleashes the piranhas into Lake Victoria, after being sealed up in an underground lake for eons, all hell breaks loose. Bloody, gratuitous, and funny- this movie is not to be taken seriously in the slightest, but the gore definitely lives up to expectations.

7. The Reef (2010)

Source: horrorhappyhour.com

Source: horrorhappyhour.com

Directed by Andrew Traucki

Another water-based horror film from one of the directors of Black Water, this film once again pits our heroes against those pesky sharks, when their sailboat capsizes out near the Great Barrier Reef. The dilemma they face is whether to stay with the boat, and hope that help comes along before it sinks, or to try to swim to a near island before they get too weak. Either scenario includes avoiding the deadly sharks. What would you do?

No wonder my boyfriend’s greatest fear is the water… and the creatures that lurk beneath the surface!!

There are many, many horror movies I love… I think that’s pretty obvious, but there are less that I can watch over and over again, and always enjoy. Slither (written and directed by James Gunn) is one of those films. It’s funny, and gory, and gross, and as many times as I’ve watched it, I have never grown tired of it.

Source: impawards.com

Source: impawards.com

So what is it that I love so much about Slither?

Alien Invasions and Mind Control

Some of my favorite horror/sci-fi films take on the alien invasion topic (The Thing, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Faculty, Night of the Creeps), and Slither holds its place up there with these other films. The thought of an alien species crashing into Earth, and taking over through parasitic creatures is creepy. I love the fact that Slither has these creatures share a collective consciousness that binds them all together with the purpose of taking over the world. Not only do they infiltrate the humans and bring their history/knowledge with them, they also retain some memories/thoughts of the person they are taking over.

Source: headinjurytheater.com

Source: headinjurytheater.com

This movie is HILARIOUS

Horror-comedy is another of my favorite sub-genres of horror, and once again, Slither does a great job as blending humor into the film in a natural way. This film never feels forced, or like a parody, but rather is comedic in a loving way.. not as a way to make fun of the genre. This movie is very raunchy at times (especially the character of the mayor played by Gregg Henry), but in a wonderfully hilarious way. I especially love the descriptions of Grant’s transformation, as he is describes as looking like a squid… and I love that the mayor’s explanation of what is wrong is to say he must have Lyme disease.

Source: rottentomatoes.com

Source: rottentomatoes.com

Grossness Factor

The effects in this movie are great, especially Grant’s transformation, and by great, I pretty much mean gross. As Grant transforms he becomes more and more disfigured. His face becomes disfigured (something he attributes to a bee sting), he then grows tentacles out of his stomach (which he will use to plant his offspring), and eventually he will absorb his victims into a huge, slimy, monster. Brenda’s transformation is also disgusting, as she grows huge and becomes a giant pulsating ball of worm-like aliens.

Source: horrornews.net

Source: horrornews.net

Source: dbcovers.com

Source: dbcovers.com

 

Smart and Likable Characters

I also love the cast and characters in the film. You have the raunchy, crazy mayor. The love-struck and laid-back sheriff, Bill (played by Nathan Fillion– who I always enjoy seeing in films), who has to take charge of the situation. You have Grant Grant (played by Michael Rooker), who starts as a devoted husband, and remains so even through his deterioration into hideous alien creature. And you have Starla (played by Elizabeth Banks), Grant’s wife, and Bill’s love interest, who actually makes smart decisions, such as tricking Grant into dropping his defenses so that she can try to kill him.

Source: screenjunkies.com

Source: screenjunkies.com

So those are some of the things I love about Slither! It’s an awesome film, and I highly recommend it!

In honor of Father’s Day, this next post is all about horror’s “bad dads”. We hope your dads are bit nicer and less homicidal than the ones that follow.

Source: CrimeLibrary

Source: CrimeLibrary

1. Jack Torrence (The Shining, 1980) – Arguably the scariest dad of them all, writer Jack Torrence (played by Jack Nicholson) takes a temporary position as caretaker of an isolated hotel during its off-season, where his family will join him. It should be an easy job, and Jack plans to work on his novel during his extensive downtime. Instead of writing, however, he stalks his own wife and clairvoyant son under the influence of the ghosts of people who perished in the malevolent hotel. Torrence is truly terrifying as his mental clarity disintegrates and he succumbs to the whims of the hotel’s menacing undead. Ultimately wife and son must find a way to put a stop to Jack’s homicidal tendencies.

Source: Just Mad About Movies

Source: Just Mad About Movies

2. George Lutz (Amityville Horror, 1979) – It is never, ever a good idea to move into a home where savage murders have taken place. You just might become homicidal yourself. Like The Shining’s Jack Torrence, George Lutz (James Brolin) begins to see spiritual manifestations after moving into a new home with his wife and children – which just so happens to have been the site of a multiple homicide. These apparitions have a lethal agenda and they want James to help them. If your dad comes at you with an axe, run the other way!

Source: Le Frelon Vert

Source: Le Frelon Vert

3. David Harris (The Stepfather, 2009) – When Michael Harding (played by Penn Badgley) returns home from military school, he learns that his mother has a new boyfriend. David Harris (Dylan Walsh) seems like perfect husband material – a charming widower who claims that he lost his wife and daughter in a car accident. But David has some secrets from his past and they’re quite unsavory. Michael’s suspicions begin when he catches David referring to his deceased daughter by the wrong name. He continues to question David’s background and motives when David lies about his college history, and installs padlocked cabinets in the basement, the contents of which he keeps secret and carefully guards. A warning: if you catch your mom’s boyfriend in multiple lies about his past, he’s probably a crazy psycho killer – kill him and then make sure he’s actually dead!

 

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4. Captain Spaulding (The Devil’s Rejects, 2005) – A follow-up to the 2003 Rob Zombie film House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects revisits the sadistic Fireflys, a family of sick and twisted murderers. The clan of deranged serial killers is led by their father Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), a bizarre redneck who wears clown makeup and runs a nearby shop of horrors and oddities. When the cops stage a seige on the Fireflys’ home and arrest Mother Firefly, Baby and Otis B. Driftwood escape and arrange to seek shelter with the father who raised them to be the vicious killers they are. Captain Spaulding and his kids go on a killing rampage as they attempt to evade the law.

Source: The Hollywood News

Source: The Hollywood News

5. Ellison Oswalt (Sinister, 2012) – Though he didn’t actually murder anyone, I would say that Ellison Oswalt (played by Ethan Hawke) is one of the worst fathers of horror ever. Oswalt is a washed up crime writer who had one huge hit several years back, but has since fallen out of the limelight. He badly needs a new hit to put himself back on the radar and make some major dinero. Oswalt puts his own family in serious danger and jeopardy by moving them into a home where a recent murder has taken place. An entire family, except for one daughter, have been savagely murdered – hung by a tree in their own backyard. The murderer is at large and no one knows where the missing girl has disappeared to. The townsfolk find Oswalt’s desire to write about the murders and move into the deceased’s home to be in extremely poor taste, but he doesn’t care. When he discovers the footage from the murder that took place in the home, as well as some extremely disturbing footage from other similar murders, he realizes that there is a serial killer on the loose. A smart man would take his family far, far away and fast. Instead Oswalt completely disregards the safety of his own family in favor of uncovering the truth of the murders to write his bestseller. He and his family meet and unfortunate an bloody end as a result of his extreme selfishness and thirst for fame.

 

Do you have a favorite father of horror that didn’t make the list? Let us know who and why he should be on the list. And Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads out there!

 

R

 

One of my favorite genres of horror is the pandemic/post-apocalyptic genre. Maybe because  I absolutely love zombie movies and these films usually feature zombie-like behavior from “humans” as a result of a widespread infectious epidemic.

My 5 favorites in this genre include:

28 Days Later (2002)

Source: Classic-Horror.com

Source: Classic-Horror.com

Directed by Danny Boyle

One of my all-time favorite horror movies ever, 28 Days Later opens with the protagonist Jim waking up from a coma in an abandoned hospital. Once Jim detaches himself from his medical paraphernalia and exits the hospital, he quickly realizes that more than just the hospital is abandoned–the entire city of London is a shambles. It seems that while Jim was in a coma, an extremely contagious blood-born virus called “rage” was released and overtook the population. Aptly named, “rage” caused the Infected to become extremely enraged and aggressive. The Infected behave much like zombies (though they sprint instead of lumber toward their prey), with seemingly no consciousness, merely grunting and attacking anything in sight. Jim meets a few uninfected survivors along the way, and the small group band together to ward off the enraged population. This film is extremely suspenseful and fast-paced, and paints a grim picture of post-pandemic London.

The Crazies (2010)

Source: Only Good Movies

Source: Only Good Movies

Directed by Breck Eisner

Okay, so it’s not quite a “virus” that affects the townspeople of Ogden Marsh, Iowa, it’s a toxin in the water supply that causes people to become homicidally deranged. However, I would still classify this creepy movie starring Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, and Joe Anderson, in the pandemic category. The 2010 film is actually a remake of George Romero’s 1973 rendition, but the plot is slightly different. After a plane carrying a biological weapon crashes into a bog that feeds into the town’s water supply, the townspeople start going inexplicably mad, emotionlessly and savagely murdering family and friends. Timothy Olyphant is the town sheriff, who is shocked when government military shows up and start mercilessly gunning down citizens. He soon realizes that it’s not just “the crazies” he needs to run from, but also the military, who have been sent to Ogden Marsh to contain the issue, at the expense of crazy and sane alike. Timothy, wife Judy, and Deputy Russell are eventually the only uninfected people left, and they must figure out a way to escape town or become the next casualty.

Carriers (2009)

Source: The Post Apoc

Source: The Post Apoc

Directed by David Pastor and Àlex Pastor

A bit more drama than it is horror, but nonetheless I really enjoyed Carriers. In the aftermath of a widespread viral outbreak in the US, Brian (Chris Pine), his girlfriend Bobby (Piper Perabo), Brian’s brother Danny (Lou Taylor Pucci), and their friend Kate (Emily Van Camp), are headed to Turtle Beach in the southwest in hopes that it will be a sanctuary from the plague that has overtaken mankind. On their way, they run into a father and daughter stranded on the road. The daughter is, in fact, infected and the father begs the gang to take her to a nearby school where a doctor is rumored to have developed a serum to cure the virus. This movie is a bit more cerebral than the others, but it’s got its moments of horror and suspense.

Quarantine (2008)

Source: My Zombie Affair

Source: My Zombie Affair

Directed by John Erick Dowdle

This film is actually a remake of a Spanish movie, REC, released the year prior. A found footage-style movie, it stars Jennifer Carpenter as Angela, a local reporter who is doing a story on the local firefighters. While Jennifer and her cameraman Scott (Steve Harris) are at the fire department, the department gets a call to respond to an emergency call from an apartment building. They could have not have made a worse mistake. Upon arriving at the apartment building to subdue a rabidly aggressive older woman, it becomes clear that something very serious is going on. The movie is seen from the point of view of the cameraman, who captures the chaos that ensues. It seems that a perturbed tenant, a member of a doomsday cult, stole a virus from a chemical weapons lab and released it in the building causing those who came into contact with it to present signs similar to rabies. Like The Crazies, this is another situation where the characters are plagued not only by the infected but also by the government who want to cover up and contain the catastrophe.

I am Legend (2007)

Source: Cinematic Thoughts

Source: Cinematic Thoughts

Directed by Francis Lawrence

And last but not least, I am Legend, stars Will Smith as Robert Neville, a scientist and apparently the lone survivor of a massive virus, which was originally created to cure cancer, but instead killed 90% of the world’s population. The remaining “infected” are vampire-like, avoiding daylight, and attacking anything in sight. All alone except for his dog Sam, Robert spends his time trying to develop a cure, which involves the dangerous task of capturing the infected and taking them back to his lab for vaccine trials.

Got a favorite that’s not on the list? Let us know which plague movies you love most!

Source: Scream Trilogy

Source: Scream Trilogy

To this day, Scream (1996) is one of my favorite horror movies of all time. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that I have watched it 30+ times. Why? For its time it was one of the most innovative films in its genre. In fact, I would venture to say that today it remains one of the most intelligent and complex horror films ever made.

Why do I love this movie so much?

It pokes fun at every single horror movie cliche out there

Scream mocks the entire horror movie formula throughout the movie. Horror movie buff Randy explains to his friends that there are certain rules one must abide by to successfully survive a horror movie:

1. Don’t have sex. Sex = Death.

2. Don’t drink or do drugs. Drugs and Alcohol = Death.

3. Never say “I’ll be right back,” because you won’t be.

Some people break the rules and pay the price. Sidney, however, manages to subvert the rules. She mocks “big breasted” actresses in movies who should be running out the door instead of up the stairs…then proceeds to do the exact same thing. In any other movie, that would spell the end for the character, but she manages to escape death. Sidney also starts out as a virgin in the beginning of the movie, but later decides to have sex with Billy. According to horror movie rules for survival, this should mean doom. Only virgins are supposed to beat the killer. But again, Sidney manages to beat the rules.

The Blend of Horror and Comedy

When it comes to horror movies, I usually highly prefer a seriously scary movie over one that injects moments of comic relief.  But Scream manages to be equal parts scary/thrilling/suspenseful and funny/ridiculous, and succeeds in seamlessly combining two completely different genres.

Famous Cameos

Scream debunks the usual assumption in movies that bigger stars are the ones who “make it” to the end. Drew Barrymore and Henry Winkler both play some memorable  parts in the movie. But their iconic status doesn’t save them from perishing!

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Source: That Was a Bit Mental

Source: That Was a Bit Mental

 

The Director Inserts Himself Into the Film

I love how Quentin Tarantino and Stephen King give themselves obscure parts in their own movies. Wes Craven plays a bit part in Scream as well, as a janitor named Fred who Henry Winkler stumbles upon after hours in the high school. “Fred” is wearing a red and black striped sweater and a large brimmed black hat that look eerily reminiscent of someone else….

Source: Screened

Source: Screened

Classic Horror Movie References Galore

Scream directly and indirectly references lots of well-known horror classics. Carrie, Psycho, Halloween, The Howling, and Halloween to name a few. There are also many parallelisms between Scream and many of the older horror classics, which are discussed in detail on the website Hello Sidney.

The Quote Factor

If you asked us to, Emily and I could probably reconstruct the entire Scream screenplay. That’s how much of the movie we’ve memorized!

Here are a few favorites…

Tatum: “Please don’t kill me, Mr. Ghostface, I wanna be in the sequel!”

Sidney to Stu: “Stu, Stu, Stu, the media are going to be looking for a motive. What are you gonna tell them?” Stu to Sidney: “Peer pressure. I’m far too sensitive.”

Billy (licking red off his fingers): “Pigs’ blood. The same stuff they used in Carrie.”

Randy: “Did you really put her liver in the mailbox because I heard that they found her live in the mailbox next to her spleen and her pancreas.”

Casey: “You better leave now. My boyfriend’s gonna be here any minute and he’s gonna be pissed. He’s big and he plays football and he’ll kick the shit out of you!”

Ahhh, I could go on and on, there are so many quotable lines!

These are a few of the reasons I so enjoy watching Scream time and time again. To me it’s a movie that gets better and better with every viewing. In fact, I think I might go watch it again right now…