Horror Movie Madness - A Year in Review — Horror Movies
It's no secret that I have an affinity for the horror film. As some women turn to romantic comedies for that soothing feel-good feeling, I inevitably turn to murder and mayhem for those same warm fuzzies. It's not that I'm a crazy weirdo or even a bad person (I wouldn't hurt a fly!), I just have the macabre in my blood, a Nosferatu-shaped shadow in my soul, Bernard Herrmann's compositions playing in my head like my own personal soundtrack to life.
I find that most horror movies aren't horrific at all, and in fact most of them make me giggle. Rarely do I actually get frightened by a film though there are those times that I am horrified, and yes, there's a difference. I know a lot of people who can't watch horror movies because they frighten easily or would be plagued by nightmares, but what scares me more than a bunch of actors and fake blood is the news and American Idol. Horror movies entertain me endlessly so it's there that I indulge my senses, and indulge I do. I read Rue Morgue magazine - the quintessential guide for a horror lover, I research directors and writers and read reviews, I watch old and new, foreign and domestic, low budget no budget big budget - I see them all. But no matter if I get scared by a movie or find it endlessly amusing, no matter if it's good or bad (or so bad it's good), I honestly believe that the horror movie is a work of art like no other. And now, for fear of rambling on about the art of bad horror movies, I'd best get on to the meat of this post - a short list of some hits and misses I've seen this year, so that someone, anyone, may benefit from the mass pulsating horror movie knowledge that I have growing inside my brain.
Horror Movie Madness - A Year in Review
10.) Chosen Survivors (1974)
9.) 5ive Girls (2006)
8.) Splinter (2008)
7.) Eden Lake (2008) - British
6.) Harper's Island - Miniseries (2009)
5.) Damien: Omen II (1978)
4.) Cold Prey (2006) - Scandinavian
3.) Drag Me To Hell (2009)
2.) Let the Right One In (2008) - Scandinavian
1.) Martyrs (2008) - French
Best of the Rest
1.) Dead & Deader (2006)
Disappointing High Hopes
1.) Book of Blood (2008)
So there you have it horror fans - my lists of what's what. Now, I admit, some of my loves and praises may not be for everyone. My taste is all over the place, from slow atmospheric "horror" of the 70's to kill 'em all cheeseball 80's, from low budget contemporary gore fests to a wide range of old and new foreign horror films. And while it's currently widely popular I'm actually not the biggest fan of most of your gut-and-go teen screams of today, or as they call them in the biz, "torture porn". They're bloody and agonizing but ultimately boring and I tend to only watch them when I'm in a really bad mood (die! die!). With that being said, I hope I've steered you toward some horror movies that you will enjoy and can recommend to others. And whatever you do... don't look behind you.
You forgot about "Pumpkin Head", you loved my version when your were younger.............scary indeed!
I didn't forget it! But this list is only some select movies I've seen this year. It doesn't include favorites of years past. God, I don't know how I would even compile such a list. It would be an epic investment of time!
Out of curiosity, which is your preferred variety of horror - thriller or slasher? The reason I ask is because a film's ability to scare its audience seems more a requisite of the former than the latter. I've always found that, when a slasher flick can drum up some scares, it's a bonus, because the film's main objective is to revel in the gore and brutality (and, when well acted, the unnerving but titillating spectacle of victims in terror). Thrillers, on the other hand, are all about the suspense and keeping the audience jumping out of their seats.
So, yeah... do you differentiate the two, and if so, do you have a preference?
It honestly all depends on the mood. One of my favorite types of horror movie is the slow-burning 70's horror, where the atmosphere is thick and the story is meaty and mysterious. There you don't see too much in the way of gore and sometimes not even a lot of deaths. But it's always very macabre. Or sometimes I'm just in the mood for lots of bloody deaths and that's where the slasher movie comes in. Or something in the same vein wherein there will be a large body count and blood. It's rarer these days that that you can get both qualities in one film but it does happen. Thrillers still don't scare me though, even the more recent high production ones. I've just seen too much to really be affected by them. A movie has to be really unique and off the beaten formula-track to get me worked up. Like the movie Martyrs that I mentioned in the post. But my absolute favorite type of horror that combines both thriller-mystery and lots of gore is old 70's & 80's Italian horror. Directors like Dario Argento, Mario Bava, and Luci Fulci do that genre really well.
And when you mention "keeping the audience jumping out of their seats" I still wouldn't qualify that as a scary movie. Scary movies, to me, stay with you long after you leave the theater. They follow you like some suggestive shadow and compel you to check the closet for monsters and to lock your windows at night. They turn innocent house creaks into malevolent spirits. Mere shock technique in a movie is fun and exciting and jumpy and squealy but it's not scary.
Of course this is all just how I'm affected. I'm sure most people who haven't seen 1,000 horror movies are adequately scared by most teen screams out there today. That's an interesting point actually, I wonder how many horror movies I've seen. List time!
419 - I only included movies that were actually categorized "horror" so the list does not include "supernatural thrillers" or "thrillers".
Sadly, the majority of your bad movie list was seen with me. :( I take no responsibility! lol
But we saw Martyrs together! That was a special night...
Murder Party needs to be on here!!! Thrilled with that movie still, and that's a good sign. Everytime I think about it I chuckle.
It DOES need to be on here! Sadly it was watched after this post was made so it'll have to wait for next year's post! I need to watch it again, ASAP!
Phil Kerbawy wrote:
You know, contrary to what some say, I liked "Let the Right One In" despite it differing from the novel (which is a WONDERFUL read, btw), but don't know how much I agree with this American version that's coming soon titled "Let Me In". We'll see how it goes I guess.
Phil Kerbawy wrote:
Oh and by the way, you've got me curious about the "Harper's Island". Makes me think maybe a more recent "Twin Peaks" (which I absolutely love!).
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