Posts Tagged ‘The Shining’

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

 

  1. Halloween (1978) From the opening scene, seen from Michael Myers point of view as a knife wielding 6 year old, to the stalking of Laurie Strode and friends 15 years later on Halloween,  Myers is the embodiment of evil.  This movie is gory, suspenseful, and has a great Halloween atmosphere.  Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie, the responsible babysitter, is perfect in the role, even though I have a hard time believing that she is a teenager.  She has always looked like an adult to me.  I bet that as a 10 year old she looked just the same.  Her friends break the rules of the horror movie, and thus die- drinking, smoking pot, and having premarital sex.  Michael Myers stalking her from the shadows is very creepy.  And of course who can forget Dr. Sam Loomis, the one who has tried to help Michael, and now realizes that he is beyond help and must be destroyed.  The music in the movie is also one of the most memorable and recognizable horror movie themes, as is Michael Myers’ Mask, whom some will recognize as an evil Captain Kirk!
  2. Scream (1996) – Now of course Scream is a horror-comedy, poking fun at the conventions of the horror flick, and parodying itself.  The movie discusses the rules of the horror film. Where it is stated if you drink, do drugs, have premarital sex, or say “I’ll be right back”, YOU WILL DIE!!!  This movie exists in the world of horror movie watching teenagers, and quite a few horror films are mentioned in this movie- Halloween, The Town that Dreaded Sundown, Friday the 13th, and Carrie, among others.  This movie became the most quoted movie in my life, and my fellow blogger Rebecca and I frequently quote it to this day.  “Liver alone, liver alone…get it? It was a joke.”
  3. The Descent (2005) – This movie made me never, ever want to enter a cave again.  It was scary even before the albino flesh-eating mutants appear.  The scene in which the women crawl through the narrow tunnel in the cave, and it begins to collapse on them, scared the living daylights out of me, and even though I have never been one to experience claustrophobia, just watching this scene gave me a feeling of what it must be like.  Of course the albino mutants are also freaky, and the thought of being in the dark with these creatures, which don’t need light to find and eat you is terrifying!
  4. The Shining (1980) – I love creepy kids in horror movies.  Danny is a really creepy kid, especially when Tony, “the little boy that lives in his mouth” is speaking. “Danny’s not here Mrs. Torrance”…..”Redrum, redrum, redrum”.  And of course the girls in the hallway that invite Danny to play with them forever, and ever, and ever, are terrifying, even before Danny sees them hacked to pieces with an axe.  Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance is the perfect actor in this role, and I was scared of him even before the hotel brings about his insanity.  Also disturbing is the feeling of isolation- the hotel is evil, the father is going crazy, and we are stuck up here with no outside contact, no transportation, in the middle of nowhere, and cannot escape.
  5. The Ring (2002) – I still have trouble watching the scene where the girl’s face is shown after she has been killed, or scared to death by Samara.  After a watching a film, you will die after 7 days, and also will be slowly driven insane by visions of a little girl.  The film that they watch is terrifying in itself; it seems like something out of a nightmare, with images of things that seem to be random, unless you take the time to investigate them.  And even if you do investigate, and solve the mystery, and find the little girl who was never properly buried, you are still cursed, because “she never sleeps”.  It is really hard for a film to scare me, and this film scared me!
  6. Shaun of the Dead (2004) – the first zombie comedy I ever saw, and still my favorite. Hilarious and disgusting, this movie still delights me every time I watch it.  Simon Pegg as Shaun and Nick Frost as Ed, make the perfect pairing.  I love the scene where they first encounter the zombie in the backyard, and think she’s just drunk until they push her over and she falls onto the pipe, stands up, and we see the huge gaping hole in her midsection, hilarious!  The debate over which records are bad enough to throw at the zombies while they try to stop them is always amusing.  Of course references to other zombie flicks are numerous- “We’re coming to get you Barbara”, and the gore is definitely not lacking.  I especially love David’s disembowelment scene- that’s what happens when you try to escape through a horde of hungry zombies!
  7. The Exorcist (1973)This movie just gets better, and better the more I see it.  It’s a scary thought that an innocent child could become possessed by a devil.  And how did this come about, was in through something as innocent as a Ouija board?  There are many scenes in this film that are cringe inducing- there is of course the puking of the pea soup, the peeing on the living room floor in front of party guests, the 360 degree head turn, the growing disfigurement of Regan, and the filth that comes out of her mouth due to the possession- “Your mother sucks cocks in hell”.  It’s terrifying that the priest finally had to draw the demon into himself and throw himself out of a window to rid Regan of this demon.
  8. House of Wax (2005) – Yeah, the one with Paris Hilton, I know, I know.  But this is one of those horror movies that is so entertaining, and has some great death scenes, not the least of which is Paris Hilton’s, being speared in the face with a rusty pole and slowly sliding down onto it.  Just awesome!  Imagine ending up in some creepy town that is full of wax people, and under the wax are real people.  It just makes me cringe to think of Jared Padalecki being paralyzed, having his hair waxed off (OUCH!!), then being sprayed with hot wax (double OUCH!!), and being displayed in the wax house.  And he is STILL ALIVE.  Then your friend finds you, and when trying to help you, peels off your skin!!!  I also love that our heroine gets such nasty wounds- its not every day that you get your lips sealed shut with super glue and part of your finger cut of with pliers!
  9. Jaws (1975) – A huge shark terrorizes the water off northeastern vacation spot.  This movie hit close to home, as my family and I would vacation on Cape Cod for a week every summer when I was growing up.  It’s enough to be afraid of jelly fish and horseshoe crabs, but now I have to be afraid of great white sharks too?  It always scared me that a killer shark could just come up out of the water and take a bite out of your leg.  Isn’t vacation supposed to be relaxing? Not off Amity Island!
  10. Final Destination (2000) – Imagine having a premonition of your death, being able to escape it, but then seeing those you saved once, still die.  So death is coming after you, you know it, and are pretty much powerless to stop it.  The ultimate movie in thinking that everything is out to get you- even when you think you’ve escaped certain death, you are never safe.  Instead of being killed by a train plowing at you when you’re stuck on the tracks, you will be able to get out of the car, but then be decapitated by flying shrapnel!  Even if you escape once, you will need to watch your back for the rest of your life- as evidenced by Clear Rivers (Ali Larter) in the sequel, who is resigned to staying in a padded room of an asylum in order to survive.  I love this movie for its wonderfully gory and creative deaths!

Some other horror flicks that were considered for my list:

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – Don’t we all love deranged and cannibalistic families?  And who could forget Franklin?

Psycho (1960) – The famous shower scene is still shocking to this day!  Even though every one knows now that Norman Bates is the killer, the revelation that his mother is a corpse is still horrifying!

The Hills Have Eyes (1977) and (2006) – Terrifying mutants stalk family stranded in the desert!  Mutants that we created due to atomic bombing! Both versions are quite frightening!

The Others (2001) – A scary haunted house flick, with more scary kids who are allergic to light!!

The Orphanage (2007) – Another flick that takes place in a big old house, with frightening kids.  Scary and sad at the same time.

~Emily

Halloween is fast approaching, and I thought, what better way to celebrate than to put together a list of my top 10 favorite horror movies?  A great idea in theory, but the task turned out to be much harder than I originally anticipated for a few reasons:

1. I’ve watched A LOT of horror movies

2. There are a lot of great horror movies that span the years, so narrowing it down to 10 was very difficult

3. Determining the order for the top 10 was even harder…it may be completely objective, but it’s still like comparing apples to oranges

4. My memory wasn’t as great as I’d hoped, and I may not have considered a few I should have

Difficulties aside, here’s the list I came up with.  Maybe some of your favorites are in here too!

  1. The Shining (1980): It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen this movie, it is just as scary and impactful every time I see it.  Those little twin girls telling Danny to “Come play with us forever and ever and ever” will remain branded in my brain forever, I fear, as will the creepy scene where Shelley Duvall finds Jack Nicholson’s manuscript and all it says for hundreds of pages is: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”?  And how about little Danny’s finger saying, “Mrs. Torrance” in that croaky voice?  Oh yeah, it’s spine-tingling.
  2. Scream (1996): Not exactly scary, but absolutely awesome for the way it pokes fun at all of its predecessors’ stereotypical plots.  Scream breaks down “the rules” for its audience.  You can’t drink, you can’t say you’ll be right back (because you won’t be), and you definitely can’t have sex.  Witty banter, a slew of gruesome killings(including The Fonze being scissored to death), and lots of horror movie references (“We all go a little mad sometimes”, “Corn syrup, same stuff they used for pig’s blood in Carrie“) make this movie an entertaining slicefest.
  3. The Devil’s Rejects (2005): Rob Zombie, please do not ever stop making horror movies.  Thank you.  But seriously, Zombie has a knack for films.  His plots are particularly twisted, his murders about as gorey and graphic as they come, his cinematography is excellent, he makes the coolest soundtracks, and never before have I watched a movie where I actually felt bad for the bad guys and sympathized when they met their demise.  This movie is not for the faint of heart.
  4. The Descent (2005): This is one of the freakist concepts for a horror movie I’ve ever come across.  Several ladies decide to explore the depths of a cavernous cave together…and are greeted by a posse of opaque, blind, flesh-eating mutants.  I don’t even know what these things are…are they human or otherwise?  Who knows.  One thing is for sure, their blindness doesn’t seem to slow them down much.  These suckers move fast and they’ll tear you to pieces.  I never had the desire to go cave-exploring…flesh-eating mutants pretty much seal the deal.
  5. Grindhouse: Planet Terror (2007): I chose only part 1 of the Grindhouse double feature because while I love Death Proof, I don’t consider it part of the horror genre.  Planet Terror was so awesome, I had to see it twice in theatre.  Rose McGowan plays a kickass babe with a machine gun for a leg who kills infected zombie-like people like its her job.  This movie explores new territory…it’s not very often a movie decides to show a kid shooting himself in the face.  Such things are fair game in Planet Terror.  Then there’s the Fergie cameo…she doesn’t look so pretty with half her head missing.  My vote for most awesome slaying scene, though, is when about 20 infected mutants are taken down by the blades of a helicopter.  If you’re easily offended, pass on this movie.  If you’ve got the stomach for it, I think you’ll find it just as awesome as I do!
  6. Night of the Living Dead (1968): Zombies are my personal favorite type of horror movie…I love the particular type of suspense in a zombie movie where these slow-moving, groaning creatures persistently stalk their victims for flesh.  This old classic is scary and will make the heart pound…”They’re coming to get you, Barbara.”
  7. The Others (2001): A spooky ghost movie with a twist at the end.  There are no grisly deaths, but somehow this movie scares me more than most others.  Nicole Kidman stars as a British mother of two whose husband never returns from the war.  She slowly starts to unravel, as unexplained things keep happening around her house.  Did I mention her kids are allergic to the sun?  One morning, she wakes up to find every curtain in the house has been inexplicably removed.  This film builds a quiet kind of terror as it develops.
  8. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974): The inception of the “family of killers” concept…a real house of horrors.  The way the movie begins, you think you’re watching crime scene footage from an actual real-life event.  Viewers are then taken back in time to a day when several teenagers break down in a remote Texas town, and are brutally tortured and killed off one by one by the chainsaw-wielding “Leatherface”.
  9. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978): The concept of aliens from outerspace replicating a person while he or she sleeps, killing the host, and slowly taking over the whole world is another seriously creepy one.  There are a few versions of the body snatcher movie, and while I really enjoyed the original film from 1956, the 1978 version with Donald Sutherland and Jeff Goldblum is my favorite (Leonard Nemoy even makes a cameo!).  I was especially impressed with the effects–the growing pod, the person being replicated.  It all seemed well ahead of its time.  Another thing I like about this one…there is no happy ending.  Even the main characters are killed off.  That’s perhaps the scariest part of the movie.  They win.  We lose.
  10. The Strangers (2008): This one, starring Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler, is one of my newest favorites and one of the most disturbing I’ve seen…plus, the acting is really good.  A young couple retreat to a secluded cabin for a romantic weekend, and are terrorized by masked people (the masks are so creepy!!) for no particular reason.   The masked maniacs toy with the couple throughout the movie, but I think the scariest thing of all is that they keep entering the house somehow, and the couple can’t seem to figure out why or how to prevent it…cell phones end up in the fire, items are moved, and so on.

And a few honorable mentions:

  • Dead Alive (aka Braindead) (1992): gory, gross, and utterly hilarious movie about zombies
  • High Tension (2003): an utterly horrific foreign film…I don’t even want to say anything about this one for fear of giving it away.  Just go see it.
  • The Hills Have Eyes (2006): a remake of the 1977 version…like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a family of deranged killers stalks a marooned family.  Only this time it’s out in the desert, and the killers are a mutant-looking, incestuous clan that suffers from radiation poisoning.
  • The Ring (2002): Watch a movie, and die in seven days.
  • Dawn of the Dead (2004): Another zombie movie–a remake of George Romero’s 1978 rendition.  Zombies take over, and a few living stragglers take over a mall.  Lots of suspense.  These zombies don’t walk, they run…fast.  My favorite scene is when the main characters play target practice on the zombies in the mall parking lot.  A Burt Reynolds look-alike zombie gets popped.

~Rebecca