Posts Tagged ‘Trick ‘R Treat’

The ‘00s were a great 10 years for the horror genre.  There were so many memorable, and genre changing films.  There were an incredible variety- zombies, vampires, mutants, ghosts, haunted houses, killer kids, serial killers, and many more.  It is incredibly hard to pick my absolute favorite films of the last 10 years due to the wide variety, and the numerous criteria that I would have to try to decide on to choose my favorites- do I go by emotional impact, re-watchability, just plain fun, and so on.  I have decided that instead of doing my top 10 favorite films (because I just can’t decide), I would instead just highlight 10 films of the ‘00s that I loved.  There are many more that I loved, but that would keep me writing for hours and hours, and I would never finish.  So at the end of this post I will just include some honorable mentions, and just let those speak for themselves, for now.

The Ring (2002)

The Ring remains one of the scariest movies I have ever seen in my life, and no matter how many times I see it, every time the deadly video starts playing, or we see the faces of Samara’s victims, I am instantly creeped out.  The Ring was really the movie that began the J-Horror remake craze, and sparked many people’s curiosity about Asian horror.  I have seen the original movie, Ringu, and while I may be in the minority, I prefer the remake.  I just think it’s creepier.  I love the mystery surrounding Samara, I love the research the Naomi Watts has to do in order to solve the mystery, I love the dark and somber tone, and the downer ending, and the creepy music…..and I love a killer kid, especially a ghostly killer kid.

The Descent (2005)

Caves are terrifying places.  If you’ve ever been in one, which I have (although it was a touristy cave with a tour guide and everything), you’ll know that caves are scary places.  They’re dark, and mysterious, and maze-like, and filled with weird creatures.  Being in a cave that has been mapped is scary, so exploring a cave that no one has ever mapped out, where you can only see with the light of a torch, and have no idea where passages lead, and if there is even another way out, in case the way you came in gets blocked…..it gives me the creeps just thinking about it.  So add to that grotesquely mutated creatures who only want to hunt you down and eat you, and the terror is intensified a million-fold.  This is definitely one of the most terrifying, and unique movies I’ve ever seen in my life.

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Shaun of the Dead was probably the first ZomCom I ever saw.  I saw it in the theater with fellow Scared Shirtless blogger, Rebecca, without ever hearing anything about the film.  I have to say that I was utterly blown away by its awesomeness.  It definitely ranks up there in my all time favorite movies, not just horror movies.  The humor in Shaun of the Dead is pop-culturey, British, and sometimes juvenile, but because its humor is all over the place, it has something that appeals to everyone.  You may not get all the jokes, but it still works.  It is also a loving homage to zombie movies, in subtle and not so subtle ways.  Sure it incorporates one of the most famous of all horror movie lines, “We’re coming to get you Barbara”, but it also incorporates some more subtle zombie movie cues, such as music cues, that only the zombie movie aficionado would pick up on, and this allows the movie to work on several levels.  Much as a Disney movie can work on different levels for kids and adults, but still appeal to both, this movie works with the beginning horror movie watcher, and the most jaded.  The movie also works as a comedy about friendships and relationships in a world that just happens to have zombies in it.

The Others (2001)

I love haunted house movies, creepy kids, big gothic mansions, never-ending fog, and creepy housekeepers, so The Others works perfectly for me.  The elements of this movie are brought together in a great atmospheric ghost/haunted house mystery.  It joins The Innocents (1961), The Haunting (1963), and The Changeling (1980) as one of my favorite chilling gothic mansion haunting stories.  Nicole Kidman is wonderful as the tormented mother of two children allergic to the light, who is trying to look out for her kids and their well being, while also desperately awaiting the return of her husband who fought in the war, and has never returned.  When I watched this movie, I knew immediately that something was up with the housekeepers, but the twist came as a surprise to me- this was before I had watched a million other movies with a similar twist.  One of my favorite parts of this movie is when Nicole Kidman leaves the mansion to try to get to town to visit the priest, and gets lost in the fog.  That type of disorientation and having lost all sense of direction is just petrifying.

Final Destination (2000)

I think the Final Destination series is one of the funnest horror movie series to be created.  Every movie is basically the same- some people escape a horrific accident when one of them has a premonition, but then death seeks them out and kills them in horrifying ways.  They are great movies to watch for their inventive death sequences.  A bit morbid, yes, but watching a chain reaction of events building up to the death of one the characters is somehow endlessly fascinating.  Maybe it’s human nature to be fascinated with Rube Goldberg-esque devices, and the deaths in these movies are very Rube Goldberg-esque, at least in my opinion.  The first movie stands out to me as a fun, creative horror movie, with likeable characters (some at least), creative deaths, interesting plot, and of course a Tony Todd cameo.

The Devil’s Rejects (2005)

The Firefly’s are one demented family.  I loved House of 1000 Corpses (2003), our introduction to the Firefly clan, with Baby, Tiny, Mother Firefly, Otis, Rufus, and of course Captain Spaulding, and who can forget Dr. Satan, but I prefer The Devil’s Rejects.  It might be because it is more realistic, and thus more terrifying.  The hotel scenes are cringe-worthy, in a good way.  We are able to spend more quality time with Captain Spaulding and his crazy clan.  The soundtrack for this movie is awesome, and now whenever I hear “Freebird”, I can’t help but see the Firefly family being blasted away as they go out in a blaze of bullets.

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

I love zombie movies.  Something about the living dead just makes me happy, and I love George Romero’s classic zombie flicks, so I was very happy to see this remake and have it be so much fun.  It’s not really a direct remake of Dawn of the Dead (1978). Obviously they both involve a group of non-infected the people holing up in a mall, but everything else is different.  I was glad to see that it was not a shot for shot remake, because the original is so great, it didn’t really need improving on.  Of course my favorite scene is the zombie celebrity shoot-out.  I feel like this movie had great character development, I truly cared about a lot of the characters and I was invested in their fate.  I felt especially sad about the fate of Andy!

Planet Terror (2007)

I absolutely loved this film the first time I watched it.  For some reason I was iffy about it when I saw the trailers, with the machine-gun leg, but when I actually sat down to watch the film, I fell in love.  The machine-gun leg was awesome, and inspired, as was everything else in this movie.  It was gory, and gross, and funny, and endlessly re-watchable.  I loved the tie in to Death Proof (2007), I loved the graininess, and the missing reel gag, and I loved Bruce Willis’ character.  I loved the over-the-topness of it as well.  I also love that it was unpredictable- poor Tony- “I want to eat your brain and gain your knowledge”.  By the way, I LOVED Death Proof as well, but it’s hard to classify it as horror, although Kurt Russell’s character is definitely a horror villain!

House of Wax (2005)

This was such a fun movie, despite the fact that Paris Hilton was in it.  There were likable characters, flawed characters that grew on you (I’m talking to you Chad Michael Murray), and an awesome setting with the wax town.  For some reason, I’ve always been fascinated with wax museums, and movies about them- I must have watched Waxwork (1988) every time it showed up on cable when I was growing up.  I love the fact that in this movie, it’s not just one wax museum, but a whole town that has been created.  It’s so creepy to think that under a lot of those wax sculptures there are real people- and Jared Padalecki’s death has to be one of the most gruesomely, painfully awesome deaths that I’ve ever seen.

Trick ‘R Treat (2008)

In my opinion, Trick ‘R Treat has become my favorite horror anthology movie ever.  I love Creepshow (1982), and Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) is fun, but never have I had the desire to watch them again immediately after viewing.  When I finished watching Trick ‘R Treat for the first time, I just wanted to start it again and watch it all over.  I wanted to explore the relationship between the stories, and get to know the characters better.  This now comes in as a close second to Halloween as my favorite movie about Halloween ever.

Other great horror movies from the ‘00s

–        28 Days Later (2002)/28 Weeks Later (2007)

–        2001 Maniacs (2005)

–        American Psycho (2000)

–        The Amityville Horror (2005)

–        Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

–        Bloody Reunion (Seuseung-ui Eunhye) (2006)

–        The Children (2008)

–        Dead End (2003)

–        Dead Silence (2007)

–        The Devil’s Backbone (El Espinazo del Diablo) (2001)

–        Dog Soldiers (2002)

–        Drag Me to Hell (2009)

–        The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

–        Feast (2005)

–        Frailty (2001)

–        Friday the 13th (2009)

–        Frontiere(s) (2007)

–        Funny Games (2007)

–        Hatchet (2006)

–        High Tension (Haute Tension) (2003)

–        The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

–        The Hills Run Red (2009)

–        Inside (A L’Interieur) (2007)

–        The Last House on the Left (2009)

–        Let the Right One In (2008)

–        The Mist (2007)

–        My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009)

–        Oldboy (2003)

–        The Orphanage (El Orfanato) (2007)

–        Paranormal Activity (2007)

–        Plague Town (2008)

–        [REC] (2007)/Quarantine (2008)

–        The Ruins (2008)

–        Saw (2004)

–        Silk (Gui Si) (2006)

–        The Skeleton Key (2005)

–        The Strangers (2008)

–        The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

–        What Lies Beneath (2000)

–        Wolf Creek (2005)

–        Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2003)

–        Zombieland (2009)

I know that’s an extensive list, but I’m sure I’m still missing some!!  There are also a multitude of films from the ’00s that I have yet to see, so although this is a comprehensive list, it is in no way complete, and of course, this is just my opinion.

~Emily

Disclaimer: This is my top 10 horror movie list of 2009 as of now.  There are many horror movies released in 2009 that I have not seen, so this list may change in the future, but as of now these are the films that I enjoyed most, either watching at home or in a theater if I was lucky.  I know that many will not agree with me, maybe some of my top movies will be on other’s “worst of” lists, but wouldn’t the world be boring if everyone else’s opinion were exactly the same as yours?
By the way, I did struggle with making this list, and there are some movies that I wasn’t sure whether to add or not as they technically were not originally released in 2009.  As you can see, I did add a couple of movies to this list that were finished, and were seen by the lucky prior to 2009.  A couple of movies that I debated adding to this list were The Children which was released in December of 2008 in the UK and Let the Right One In which premiered in Sweden in January of 2008.  I suppose that since they both were unavailable in the USA until 2009 they should have qualified, but since I’ve already written this list, and I am lazy, I will just give them a shout out here!
  1. Trick ‘R Treat– I’m including this movie because, while actually being finished for about 2 years, it finally got a wide release on DVD.  I ordered this movie as soon as it was released, and I did not regret it one bit, the only thing I regret is that I was not able to view it in theaters.  I watched this movie about 5 times during the month of October alone, and every time I gained more of an appreciation for it.  This movie will become a staple in my Halloween movie viewings.  Trick ‘R Treat only improves on multiple screenings, as every time you watch it, you will see something new.  It also contains one of my favorite lines of the year- “Charlie Brown’s an asshole!”  It just makes me laugh every time.

2. Zombieland – It’s about time another ZomCom came out that lives (somewhat) up to Shaun of the Dead.  I had a great time watching this movie, laughing out loud for much of it, and it’s a movie that I would have happily viewed multiple times in the theater (if only I had the funds).  This movie employed smart characters who did not hesitate to blow the heads off zombies when push came to shove, and also gave rules on how to stay alive in a zombie-filled world.  I also loved the cameo from Bill Murray, it was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time.

3. Drag Me to Hell – A fun new horror movie from Sam Raimi, I thought the over-the-top-ness of this movie was exciting, and fun, and very disgusting.  Raimi’s obsession with bodily fluids in this movie was quite sickening, and really made me feel like gagging a few times, and if this was his goal (which I think it was), he succeeded very well.  Alison Lohman did a great job playing a girl who just wants to succeed at her job, and unfortunately has the task of saying “NO” to a repulsive old gypsy who has defaulted on her payments too many times.  I really feel bad for her, as she was just trying to do her job, and now she is doomed to be dragged to hell.  I wish that douchbag that she worked with had been cursed instead.  He really deserved it for being a jerk to her when she did a nice thing and got him his sandwich.

4. Paranormal Activity – Now, like Trick ‘R Treat, this movie has been out for a couple of years, playing at festivals and such, and finally, through word of mouth, this low-budget movie was finally able to get a wide release.  Like The Blair Witch Project, this movie is a low-budget found footage film that asks us to believe that what we are seeing actually happened, and this is the footage that was taken amaturely of the event in question.  I had very high hopes before seeing this movie due to the hype I was hearing about it, and ultimately I felt that it succeeded in living up to the hype.  I am a big fan of haunted house movies, and I liked that this movie took place in a normal house, that could be yours or mine, similar to the normal house that was haunted in Poltergeist.  I feel that this movie worked well especially in the bedroom scenes because I was on the edge of my seat during the scenes, with all my attention focused on seeing a little bit of movement, and so when that movement happened, or something made a noise, it really affected me because all my senses were heightened.  I liked the gradual escalation of the haunting, and I especially liked that the haunting was happening to the girl, not the house, because that made it plausible as to why they couldn’t just leave to make it stop.  I do admit though that Micah made me really mad due to his macho-ness and desire to take care of the situation himself- if only he had listened to his girlfriend and the demonologist.

5, Friday the 13th – Now as the 11th film in the Friday the 13th series (12th if you count Freddy Vs. Jason), this remake had a lot to live up to.  Especially after Jason X!! J This movie isn’t exactly a remake, as it only briefly touches on Jason’s mother as being the original killer.  It is more of a re-introduction of Jason as a territorial killer, who will kill anyone who strays into his neck of the woods.  This movie had some exciting death scenes, some funny and likeable characters (my favorite being Aaron Yoo as Chewie the “wood wizard”, and it brings us back to Camp Crystal Lake after Manhattan, Hell, and Space.

6. My Bloody Valentine 3D – My favorite Winchester brother, Jensen Ackles, stars in this slasher about a man who returns to his hometown 10 years after a Valentine’s day massacre, only to have the killing start back up.  I really enjoyed this movie, and even though I have seen the original, it did keep me guessing.  I really enjoyed that the movie began with a bang, and did not waste any time in getting to the massacring. I will definitely never look at a heart-shaped candy box the same way again.  I will always be afraid that there will be a nice bloody heart in it instead of candy.

7. The Final Destination 3D – As the fourth film in the Final Destination saga, this movie didn’t really break any new ground as a story, but as the first one in 3-D it did add that little something that this series was missing.  This series has always been about the elaborate steps that Death will take to kill you if you are able to somehow escape him, and those steps usually involve something flying out of nowhere and killing you, so with 3-D, the audience is now able to experience the thrill of having something seem like it is flying right at us!!  I think that the other three movies should now be adapted for 3-D, because this is the type of movie that only benefits from this awesome technology.  I know some people get tired of the jump scares, and the flying objects, but I rather enjoyed myself, and had a great time viewing this in the theater.  Now I just need a 3-D television so I can repeat the viewing experience at home.

8. The Hills Run Red – This was one of the more original horror movies I’ve seen in a long time.  This movie had me from the opening scene in which a kid cuts off his own face and then straps a porcelain baby face to the mess that was once his own flesh.  The Hills Run Red is about a guy who is obsessed with finding a lost horror movie, that was released in theaters and then pulled immediately due to its graphic nature, and is now lost.  His quest to find this film lands him and his friends in a lot of trouble.  This is one of the most gruesome movies I have seen in a long time, it’s well acted, and I felt that its twist was quite surprising as well.

9. The Last House on the Left ­ – I will admit that I was a little worried about seeing this movie, as I was scarred for life after I saw the original a few years ago.  It was one of the most disturbing movies I have ever seen, after Lolita and The Land Before Time.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there had been some updates made to the movie, and while still disturbing, it is now much more watchable.  I love that in movie the parents of the girl who has been raped and left for dead, take their revenge on the gang that did this horrible deed.  They are able to turn their role as victims around and instead become the assailants.

10. Grace – Another great, original horror movie that was not released in theaters this year was Paul Solet’s Grace.  This movie concerns a woman who is pregnant with her first child when tragedy strikes.  Her husband and unborn child are killed in a car accident.  She is told she should induce labor and deliver the child, but she instead decides to carry it to term, and give birth naturally even though it will be heartbreaking.  When the child, Grace, is born however, she miraculously starts to breathe.  There is something off about the baby though, she attracts flies, and would rather drink blood than milk.   While this movie is disturbing and heartbreaking, it is worth watching if you can stomach it.  Grace is a well-made, well-acted, and original horror film, in a genre in which it is hard to find novel ideas.  I very much enjoyed this film, although it’s one that I would not be able to watch every day.

Many people have a tradition on Halloween of watching scary movies, including myself of course, but what are the best movies to watch on Halloween?  Just any old horror movie, or a horror movie dedicated to the holiday itself?  In my horror movie watching history, I have come across few movies that really pay respect to Halloween, and fewer that evoke the feeling that I associate with Halloween, rooted in the Halloween celebrations of my childhood.  So what do I associate with Halloween? Trick or treating, Jack O’ Lanterns, costume parties, scary stories, horror movies, and of course candy.

In tribute to Halloween, here is a list of Halloween themed movies that you may want to add to your own Halloween horror movie watching tradition.

  1. Halloween (1978)- Well of course Halloween has to be included on this list, for me it is the quintessential Halloween movie. This movie has it all- trick or treating, pumpkin carving, horror movie watching (in this case The Thing From Another World), and of course the BOGEYMAN!!!! Now I like to watch the original on Halloween, but certain sequels to this original would do as well….Maybe watch Halloween 4 or 5 which has Michael Myers terrorizing Jamie Lloyd two years in a row, or Halloween H2O. This is one of my favorite in the series, despite the fact that the entries past Halloween II in the series have been disregarded, and despite that fact that there is no Dr. Loomis.

2.  Trick ‘R Treat (2008) – A new entry into Halloween themed horror, this movie has finally been released on DVD and just in time for the holiday. Set up as an anthology with four stories, inter-linked with some characters, settings, and overall theme. This movie really embodies what Halloween is really about- tradition. It includes some history of Halloween, as told by our Halloween expert, Rhonda- “Samhain, also known as All Hallows’ Eve, also known as Halloween. Predating Christianity, the Celtic holiday was celebrated on the one night between autumn and winter when the barrier between the living and dead was thinnest and often included rituals that included human sacrifice”.  This movie really makes you want to respect all Halloween traditions, because someone or something will get you if you don’t!  So don’t extinguish your Jack O’ Lanterns before the night is over, don’t smash them, and ALWAYS CHECK YOUR CANDY!  I found that this movie is best viewed multiple times because you will pick up something new every time you watch it!

3. Night of the Demons (1988) – On Halloween night a group of teenagers have a party at an abandoned funeral home, “Hull House”, built on EVIL land, and where the whole Hull family was massacred years before. There are of course the requisite stereotypes, and some mean-spirited humor, and some awesome 80’s music.  Of course the teens decide to have a séance, causing a demon to be released, which ends up possessing most of them…..then the death starts!  Another reason to watch it is for the amazing dance scene- its like a demonic version of flashdance, of course to much darker music.

4. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) – Now, I’m including this entry separately for obvious reasons. It was made as an entry into the Halloween series, due to the fact that originally this was going to be a series of films about Halloween, an anthology, rather than a series about Michael Myers. This was the only one made with the anthology in mind, before the “man” decided that Michael Myers was much more popular.  Due to the lack of Michael Myers, this is a controversial entry in the series, and is frequently dismissed as sub par. I admit, I too dismissed it until fairly recently. I have watched it since, and realized that it is much better when viewed as its own individual film, and you’re not just wondering “when is Michael going to show up?”  It really does evoke that sense of waiting for Halloween, the countdown to Halloween…and that Silver Shamrock song will be running through your head for days after.  I do find it a weird, but entertaining film, and it is a scary thought that wearing one of these Halloween masks can kill you,  One question though…..why only 3 masks? I find it really strange that the kids only get three choices.  It seems to me that when I was growing up, I was always trying to find a costume that not everybody else was wearing, but oh well, it’s just a movie.

5. House of 1000 Corpses (2003) – So this movie isn’t really about Halloween per se, but it does take place on October 30 and 31st, and there are some disturbing scenes involving a really creepy and disturbing Halloween show put on for the guests by the Firefly family.  I think that its gruesome, sinister, troubling, and supernatural nature makes it a worthy selection for watching on Halloween.

    And a very special selection:

    Hocus Pocus (1993) – So this is really a family/kid’s Halloween movie, but it’s one of my childhood favorites.  This is one of my Halloween staples, about a kid (Max)  who hates Halloween (How is this possible?) who has moved with his family to Salem, Massachusetts. On Halloween night he lights the black flame candle, and because he happens to be a virgin, brings some witches- the  Sanderson sisters – back to life. Now he, his sister, and his love interest have to find a way to get rid of them before they suck the life out of all the children in Salem. Thora Birch (American Beauty) is hilarious in this movie as the little sister. Also starring in this movie is Vinessa Shaw from the remake of The Hills Have Eyes.

    ~Emily