WPR Discusses: Horror Movies
It’s that time of year, Halloween is upon up this weekend, and so we thought that have a little staff discussion about their takes on horror movies would get some interesting thoughts flowing. I want to apologize if anybody got left out, feel free to leave something in the comments!
For me a horror movie is something that should make you feel a certain amount of dread and generally make you genuinely uncomfortable and somewhat scared…which is all too easy for someone like me who suffers from a Southern Baptist upbringing (meaning I get the demon fear a little too easy). It might seem a bit unorthodox, but here are
my 2 top horror movies:
1) The Devil’s Rejects – I loved and hated this movie at the same time, it brought back the amazing characters that Rob Zombie invented in House of 1,000 Corpses and made them 3x as real and much more terrifying. The scenes where Baby and Otis Firefly are torturing and killing the members of that family band were truly terrible and it really made me feel…oogy. The fact that the Sheriff essentially became a bad guy was one of those plot twists that made you decide who the real bad guys were. The very end scene though is one that I’ll never forget when the members of the Firefly family were gunned down by the police to Free Bird. Wow!
2) Wolf Creek – I’m less excited for this movie as I was my #1 up there, but still, REAL horror scares the living shit outta me, and the story of tourists being drugged, raped, and tortured by a crazy Aussie is another category entirely.
The Exorcist – When I was 16, they did the digital remaster thing, I asked my dad to buy it, which he got on Amazon and it shipped to our house. It was 1999 and I told my dad (who is the type who loves to scare people during movies) I told him it’s scary enough, you don’t need to amplify it. He didn’t need to scare me during that movie. Because I love demon possession, and believe in it, it scared the shit out of me for weeks. The graphics were laughable now, it’s so fake, and you can tell, but it was so built up in my brain, it scared the crap out of me.
Paranormal Activity – Everyone had all the hype, the ads on the TV and internet, it had to be demanded to be screened here by the community and whatnot. I saw it on a date, which give me a reason to be grabby on said date. When the demon was coming around, and there was that rhythmic low rumbling noise. I would grab my date every time that came around when the camera was in the bedroom scene I just kept telling him I can’t handle this movie, it was scaring the crap out of me. I tried to cover my eyes, but I was still watching through the little slots in my fingers. After all of that, I got home after midnight from my date, the room had this huge nervous energy. He offered to take phone calls because of how I was, I had to watch comedies and TV shows to get my brain off of it. I woke up with the low grumbling noise from the movie, my dog started feeding out of that and started freaking out, I’m freaking out, and what it was that my neighbors heat was turning on. I thought a demon was in my apartment to possess my body, but it was just a stupid heater. Because I believe in possession and demons, this movie freaked me the fuck out.
Hahahahahaha, horror movies? Fuck that noise.
The only movie that I watch continuously that would be considered horror would have to be the Saw series. The first one was a great film and now I just watch to see what type of traps they come up with. Needless to say I’m super excited for SAW3D. Should be a good time for all. Other than that, I avoid all horror movies. I’ve watched enough to know they aren’t for me.
House of 1,000 Corpses scared the shizz out of me. I had nightmares for a week after watching that movie. The scene when they’re driving away and the scarecrows come alive? HORRIFYING. I hate scarecrows to this day, because of that movie. It was disgusting, and scary, and the fact that it has Rainn Wilson in it is a bonus.
The Birds always scares me. Even though now I can see the wires on the fake birds flying around, it’s still scary. Crows are Satan’s spawn after all. When they zoom in on the guy whose eyes are pecked out, I get super freaked out. I know it’s coming, and dammit, it gets me every time! Whenever I’m in a place with a lot of birds sitting around, I can’t help but get a little antsy. Alfred Hitchcock is the man.
Honestly, I don’t watch most horror movies. Either they’re incredibly lame or just go for the gross-out factor. However, I’m a huge fan of Marble Hornets, which is a set of youtube videos that was featured by Ryan a couple weeks ago in his All-Nighter series. I have never been so sucked in or freaked out by a horror story as I have with Marble Hornets.
I’m going to list four and the reason is two are for mixed company/family friendly and two are for the grown ups.
In the family friendly:
1 – Dr. Seuss’ Halloween is Grinch Night. This won an Emmy in 1978 for outstanding children’s special. The story takes place in the fall, one one day a huge storm comes in. The Grinch decides to take advantage of the storm to scare the bejesus out of the Whos with his paraphernalia wagon. One brave who Eukariah, single-handedly stands up to the Grinch and saves the day. I love the music and I think the animation is the most “Seussian” ever done.
2 – Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. Nominated for best animation feature in 2006. If nothing else watch this movie for the voice cast. It features- Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Tracy Ullman, Albert Finney, Christopher Lee, and Danny Elfman. I love the music and the stop motion animation is just out of this world. If you haven’t seen this movie shame on you.
For the adults:
1 – House on Haunted Hill. It just isn’t Halloween without Vincent Price! Fredrick Lorin (Price) has decided to throw a party for a group of strangers in a Haunted house. Everyone that stays the night will win $10,000. At midnight everyone is locked in and chaos breaks out. Originally supposed to be scary and maybe 50 years ago it was, but I laugh all the way through. This is a personal favorite that I try and watch on every Halloween. On a side not this movie is “public domain” so can pick it up cheep in stores ( I think I paid $5, and you can usually find it in the “50 horror movies” box sets that are $10) or stream it on the internet for free.
2 – Evil Dead. The original and best of the three. This Cult Classic is directed by Sam Raimi and stars Bruce Campbell. A group of teens go up to a cabin in the woods and decided to have sex and read the necronomicon. What could possibly go wrong? Even though I have seen this more times than I can count, it can still make me jump, and the over the top parts still make me laugh. This movie is new to bluray this year and can be picked up for about $17 at Wally World.
A classic everyone should see is Arsenic and Old Lace. Cary Grant, two old ladies and murder. What more do I need to say?
A Nightmare on Elm Street is the first movie that ever scared me (well, I am sure there were some when I was a child). I saw it shortly after it came out and couldn’t walk home from my friend’s house. I got grounded for that. The first of many times…
I’m not a fan of horror either but you gotta love Alien. Also Dracula
1. Alien. Back in the day it was freaky and it was in space. what else could a geek ask for?
2. Dracula. Old school or remake, you can’t go wrong
I can’t stand the slasher/gross-out “horror” movies. (Except for maybe the Scream franchise because of the humor). One reason is because I have a bit of a phobia of blood, etc. (I know its fake, but the idea of it still gets to me), but I also think its cheap and completely unoriginal to use pure violence for scare tactics. You wanna really scare me, you gotta get in my head. I’ll give a few examples of movies that left their mark in this way for me:
Alien – I really like the creature features. Alien isn’t exactly a “Halloween” type of scary movie, but when I first saw this as a child, I was terrified. Part of what makes this movie so great is the acting style. The first bit of the movie is so “natural” that you get sucked into its world. That classic chest-bursting scene stayed with me forever. It tapped into my fear of the gross, but it was the look of believable terror on the actors witnessing it that stayed with me. (Apparently director Ridley Scott made sure the actors knew as little as possible about what would happen until they filmed it.) To this day one of my favorite movies, scary or non.
Blair Witch Project – Many roll their eyes when this is mentioned, but I think that’s because they want exactly what I despise in the horror genre (stylized violence, torture, porn). This movie scared the hell out of me when I first saw it, not because of any monsters or blood, but because it looked real. My imagination got the best of me, and I was able to put myself in the situation of watching real footage. When I first showed it to my sister, we told her that it was INDEED real footage. I think she wet her pants. That was fun.
One of my newest Halloween traditions is the Japanese mini series The Great Horror Family. Directed by the dude who made the Grudge movies, its a hilarious horror comedy that’s like mixing the Adams Family with classic Japanese style “scares.”
Top 2 horror movies. Mine might seem a little odd, but they were two that always affected me.
1) Watcher in the Woods. Talk about old-school cheese. This was a 1980’s movie about a family that moved to the country, and the daughter keeps seeing things. Especially this strange glowing orb. I will fully admit that if I were to watch this movie again, I would find it cheesy. But I won’t. I won’t go near it. It scared the piss out of me when I was 3 or 4. Enough, so that I have permanently filed “Watcher in the Woods” away in my mental “Danger” category.
2) Event Horizon. It was a bad movie. But I didn’t expect it to be a horror movie. I went and saw it in the theaters, by my self, in 1997 when it came out. I was expecting an awesome sci-fi movie. What I got was Hellraiser….IN SPACE!!. Nightmares. And for an 18 year old to admit he was having nightmares about Satan living in a parallel dimension, or eye ball bleed outs, or plucking your own eyes out and stitching your own sockets back together… No way. I kept that inside.
And for mine…
1) Zombieland – Yes, it was more of a fun zombie movie, but dammit, I loved the hell out of this movie. There is so much replay value out of it, I don’t know if I will ever stop getting enough.
2) Hellraiser (1987 movie) – I saw this when I was around 8 years old in the early 90’s, it scared the living crap out of me so much I had nightmares of Pinhead for a solid month. To this day, I will not go back and re-watch it, I can’t, it’s so psychologically imprinted on my mind that I psyche myself out of doing it.