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

Source

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!

 

Unknown

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…

Happy Saturday all you lovers of the macabre!

Last week, Emily named some honorable mentions to whet your grisly appetites for our 2012 pick for best horror movie. There were some great picks in there, but we think this one trumps all the others hands down.

The Cabin in the Woods (directed by Drew Goddard) 

Source: IMDB

Source: IMDB

Here are my reasons why this movie reigns supreme for best horror movie of 2012:

It Keeps you Guessing

Released on April 13, 2012 with the tagline, “You think you know the story”, The Cabin in the Woods (written by Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon, creator of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series) leaves you guessing from the opening scene of the movie.

The movie opens with two lab geeks (Richard Jenkins of Stepbrothers and Bradley Whitford of The West Wing) having a seemingly mundane conversation. I saw this in theaters and remember thinking that I might have walked into the wrong movie theater because these two guys seemed to have nothing at all to do with a scary movie. A few seconds later my confusion was dispelled when the movie title splashed across the screen in large red letters. Okay, I had walked into the right theater after all.

The Cabin in the Woods quickly switches gear, and focuses on the main character, Dana (Kristen Connolly) who is readying herself for a weekend away with four friends at a cabin in the woods. Aussie hottie Chris Hemsworth plays Curt, female Aussie hottie Anna Hutchinson plays Jules, pothead Marty is played by the awesome Fran Kranz, and Jesse Williams plays the sweet good guy, Holden.

The five college students head out of town on their backwoods adventure, and that’s when things start getting downright weird. An eagle soars over a canyon, smacks into an invisible electric barrier, and plummets to its death. The two lab geeks make more appearances as the plot unfolds, and you wonder what the heck they have to do with the cabin in the woods. The five friends stop for gas at a rundown shithole of a gas station in the middle of nowhere and are warned of their doom by a creepy, tobacco chewing redneck. They ignore him as young folks always do in horror movies, and head on to their destination. When they arrive at the cabin, that’s when things really start getting weird.

And still you wonder, where is this movie going? Well, I won’t tell you because it’s so bizarre and well-crafted that it will be ruined unless you watch it for yourself. But on to the other reasons this movie is so awesome…

Comedic Element

It can be difficult indeed for a horror movie to successfully straddle the line between scary and comedic but The Cabin in the Woods does just that, and with excellent results. There are many elements of suspense in the movie where you’ll find you’re bracing yourself for something horrific to happen. However, these scary moments are balanced by moments of lightheartedness.

Marty, who reminds me of a human version of Shaggy from Scooby Doo, is perfect for the role of the silly, but sage stoner. He may be high, but he also sees things that no one else is picking up on.

In fact, there are several ways in which The Cabin in the Woods reminds me of one of my all-time favorite movies, Scream. It’s got the comedy/horror juxtaposition, it pokes fun at some of the horror movie stereotypes as this movie also does, and Marty reminds me quite a bit of Scream‘s Randy.

Source: A.V. Club

Source: A.V. Club

It Offers Something Fresh

The horror movie genre has been pretty well picked over, and there hasn’t been a lot of innovation in recent years. We’re seeing a lot of remakes of old movies and redundant plot lines, and it’s just gotten…stale.

Enter The Cabin in the Woods. I guarantee this plot hasn’t been done before….

Creativity

In my opinion, this might be the most creative horror movie I’ve ever seen. The plot is out there and far-fetched but enjoyable, and in what other movie would you see homicidal unicorns, maniacal clowns, unhinged child ballerinas, redneck zombies, masked murderers, and a merman all in one place? I’ve gotta hand it to The Cabin in the Woods–it seamlessly connects a plethora of unconnected horror genres together into one big masterpiece.

Source: Dinosaur Dracula

Source: Dinosaur Dracula

293

Source: Dinosaur Dracula

76

Source: Dinosaur Dracula

Effects

The movie, shot in Vancouver, Canada, had a budget of $30 million and more than 60 artists worked on the effects before filming even began. The awesome special effects brings all the blood, guts, and fear to life in a tangible way.

Element of the Unexpected

I’m going to be vague so as not to ruin the movie for those of you who haven’t seen it, but suffice it to say, the movie breaks a lot of “rules”. No one is “safe” and don’t assume you know how the movie is going to end. I’ve seen a lot of horror movies but this one definitely went in an unexpected direction. And I loved it!

There’s so much more I could say about this movie, but not without giving it away.  If you haven’t seen The Cabin in the Woods, watch it and let us know what you think!  If you have, do you agree or disagree with our pick as best horror movie of 2012? Let us know, we love to hear from you!

R

Happy Saturday horror fans!

It’s almost 5 months into 2013, but since we were chained up for that year and couldn’t get to a computer, we are getting to this post a little late. Better late then never though!  Today I’m going to tell you about a few of my favorite horror films of 2012. Rebecca will be here next week to tell you what her favorite horror film of 2012 was! (P.S. It’s my favorite as well!)

The Woman in Black (directed by James Watkins)

The Woman in Black

Source: impawards.com

It’s very rare that I actually feel scared when watching a horror film. As much as I love them, I have seen so many that I seem to be immune from the feeling of fear I used to get as a kid. The Woman in Black was the first film in a long time to actually get under my skin. The combination of the huge, crumbling mansion, creepy old woman ghost, really disturbing dolls, dead kids, and the foggy setting on the moors of England, made this a highly enjoyable experience for me. Now I just have to see the original!

Sinister (directed by Scott Derrickson)

Sinister

Source: impawards.com

The second film of 2012 to get under my skin! I guess it wasn’t such a bad year for horror! Ethan Hawke stars as a true crime author who moves into a house where some murders have taken place and stumbles on more than he bargained for! This movie kept me guessing, and I liked where it led to. Like The Woman in Black, creepy children play a part (I just love those little creeps!), and although this took place in a suburban house rather than a run-down mansion, it was still haunting. I loved that this was a different take on the found footage sub-genre- instead of being found footage, its about the discovery of found footage. Pretty unique!

The Collection (directed by Marcus Dunstan)

The Collection

Source: impawards.com

I loved the first film in this series, and had high hopes for its sequel, and luckily it didn’t disappoint. This film primarily takes place in the collector’s lair, and as you’d expect, he’s decked it out with insane traps, including those pesky bear traps. High energy, gory, and never boring, this is a plain old good, bloody time.

The Loved Ones (directed by Sean Byrne)

The Loved Ones

Source: impawards.com

So technically this is not a 2012 film, but rather a 2009 film, but it didn’t get a U.S. release until this year, so in my mind that counts! This tale of a deranged high school girl who decides to kidnap someone to be her date for prom was extremely well made, moving, brutal, and has the best ending of any movie I’ve seen in recent memory.

Rabies (directed by Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado)

Rabies

Source: impawards.com

Another film that did not gain a U.S. release until this year, Rabies is actually the first horror film out of Israel, and it is a great one! Good job Israel! When this movie began I was pretty sure I knew where it was heading as it begins like many horror movies before it, but it quickly veered off in the best of ways, and kept me on my toes throughout the entire movie. It was quite hard to watch at times due to the disturbing nature of certain scenes, and the gruesomeness of it, but there were also some darkly comedic spots throughout which helped to give a little breather. This film is definitely worth a watch!

Seen all of those films already? Here are a few more to check out: The Awakening (directed by Nick Murphy), Citadel (directed by Ciaran Foy), The Hole (directed by Joe Dante), Lovely Molly (directed by Eduardo Sanchez), The Pact (directed by Nicholas McCarthy), Paranormal Activity 4 (directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman), SilentHouse (directed by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau), and Sleep Tight (directed by Jaume Balaguero)

Source: The People's Movies

Source: The People’s Movies

Source: Forces of Geek
Source: Forces of Geek

Evil Dead has come a long way since Sam Raimi’s 1981 cult classic.

The premise is the same: five twenty-somethings travel to a cabin in the woods and unknowingly release an ancient evil. But I’d say that’s about where the similarities stop.

I may offend some people outright by not automatically expressing my allegiance for the original. But in truth, I’d say these two versions are a bit of a toss-up.  There are elements of both that I really enjoyed, and I would say that neither is better than the other. In fact, I think a hybrid of the two would have been best. Here’s what I think horror fans who have seen the original will appreciate versus maybe not appreciate so much.

Evil Dead (2013), Directed by Fede Alvarez

Why you’ll like this one

  • It’s got gore, gore, and more gore. I’ve seen a lot of horror movies and I’d say this is one of the bloodiest, nastiest ones I’ve seen. I think true horror lovers will find it to be a welcome improvement on the original, which had its moments but its special effects certainly couldn’t be called realistic. Alvarez’s rendition, riddled with self-mutilation and oceans of blood, is not for the feint of heart.
  • These demons are pretty freaking scary. Unlike the characters who were possessed in the 1981 classic and were almost comical, these demons are a bit terrifying. They don’t really taunt (except for Mia, on occasion), they attack their targets with a cold, dead persistence, more like a zombie. The suspense factor is elevated in the remake. And on a side note, I have to give props for the casting of Mia. Jane Levy is perfect for this role, which was originally given to Lily Collins. I like Lily and all, but I think casting her in this role would have been a big mistake.
  • There’s a little more to the story line. In the original, the group of friends heads to the cabin for a fun weekend in the woods. In the remake, the motivation for the trip is to rid Mia of her drug habit and support her through her difficult withdrawal. This addition adds to the film.  It gives others reason to doubt Mia’s crazy rants about seeing a girl in the woods and being attacked by trees. They don’t run when they hear this, they simply think the withdrawal is causing her to lose it and she’s looking for any reason to leave.

Why you may not like this one

  • It doesn’t have Bruce Campbell in it. I mean come on– Bruce Campbell is pretty much synonymous with the Evil Dead franchise. It’s hard to envision the movie without him. Shiloh Fernandez, the lead male character in the 2013 version is cute and all, but he doesn’t have the presence that Campbell does. In fact, he’s pretty boring.
  • The “summoning” scene is totally lame. Now, I know this is a matter of opinion, but I think the original did a much better job with the incantation of the demons. The premise of the original is that some friends drive to a remote cabin whose previous owner was a professor, and stumble upon the Necromicon (Book of the Dead) and the professor’s recordings. On the recordings it becomes clear that the professor was working to translate passages from the book, and in speaking the translated words, he unwittingly released total evil. In the remake, Eric, who finds the book, reads the words out loud even though it’s completely obvious that he should not! I think the original definitely gets kudos for creativity, and the remake falls short here.
  • The movie oversells itself. Case in point: the tagline. Here are both below:

             1981 tagline: They got up on the wrongs side of the grave.

             2013 tagline: The most terrifying film you will ever experience.

I don’t think anyone who sees the remake will agree with the preview tagline–this is NOT the most terrifying film you will ever experience. Putting it out there like that so confidently gave me high expectations and I wouldn’t call this movie “scary” at all. Gross? Yes. Suspenseful? Yes. Freaky? Yes. Scary, no.

Anyway, that’s my two cents. Both movies are awesome in their own right and up there on my list of favorites. Which one did YOU prefer? Let us know!

R

Interesting Facts

  • In the 2013 remake, the first letters of the five characters’ names (David, Eric, Mia, Olivia, and Natalie) spell out DEMON.
  • The original budget was an estimated $375,000, while the remake budget was an estimated $17,000,000. Slight difference, huh?