Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Stereotypical Horror Movie Victims' Halloween 2012 Hit-List

I spent a while thinking about how I wanted to structure this blog post. Originally it was going to be called "Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue" and I was going to spotlight a classic horror movie, a recent one, a remake, and whatever the hell "Something Blue" would entail. I still don't know what I would've done with that last criteria, so it's a relief that I didn't use the above idea.

Next I thought about taking the names of the seven dwarves from Snow White and selecting a horror movie to correspond with each one of them. For instance, Doc = a movie about an evil doctor/dentist, Dopey = a crappy movie, Sleepy = ???. As you can see, this was an awful idea and one whose origin I'm still unable to trace, but troubled by nonetheless.

Anyway, here we are and I think I've found the perfect structural device to give this blog post the panache it needs to really stand out. So, without further ado, I present to you:

The Stereotypical Horror Movie Victims' Halloween 2012 Hit-List

Odds are that you're familiar with the usual cast of characters in a horror movie: the virginal heroine and her foil the whore, the noble male protagonist and his foil the party animal, and then whatever other two-bit character(s) the film's creators decide to throw in the mix to up the body count. Well, I'm going to shamelessly structure my list of Halloween horror movie recommendations off of those aforementioned stereotypes, so bear with me. (I've avoided plot details for the most part, so as to keep spoilers to a minimum.)

The Virginal Heroine
This is the character who usually survives (until the sequel). She's chaste and honorable and, despite the idiotic decisions her friends make, she manages to outsmart her competition. Reminds me of a little film called Don't Look Now (1973) in which a grieving couple visits Italy where a series of murders are occurring at the time. This movie may not be flashy, but it remains true to its story and its characters and, in doing so, manages to outsmart most of the modern horror films out there today.

This movie is slower than what most viewers are probably used to. It's not cheap and it will earn your fear rather than exploit it. It isn't going to try and make you jump every ten minutes by having a cat run across the screen or a dismembered limb fall out of a closet. What it will do, however, is make you care about the characters involved and their loss and then wallop you in the gut at the very end and leave you wondering what the hell just happened.

If you're patient, it's worth your time. If you're not, try this next flick out:

The Whore
This character needs no introduction. She/he is the one out there banging the night away while her/his friends are getting methodically slaughtered one-by-one. She/he lives by the motto get in, get off, get out. The Whore's time in the movie is short and sloppy, but odds are you enjoyed watching their antics just the same because, well, people are twisted like that.

If we're talking movies which fall under those same criteria, then we're talking Night of the Demons (1988) about a group of teen sneaking into a funeral home overnight and unleashing a bunch of (what else?) demons. I haven't seen the remake of this movie and I don't intend to because the original is just too much fun. Do you want over-the-top gore, excessive nudity, and a plethora of strange and/or stupid characters getting axed in outrageous ways which you're invited to revel in? Look no further. This flick is all about getting in your face, blowing your mind, and then laughing on its way out.

Nothing says short and sloppy like an hour and a half movie which glorifies everything society is ashamed of. Take pride in this recommendation, readers. This movie is shameless.

The Noble Male Protagonist
This character comes in many different forms. Sometimes he's a jock, sometimes he's an introvert with a mysterious past close to the macabre shenanigans at hand, sometimes he's a frat-star (see: Jerry O'Connell, Scream 2). But no matter what, this character, despite his superior physique and heightened social status, will always stick out his neck to help the woman he loves, the bullied nerd, or just about any other victim whom he deems worthy of his attention. Of course, by doing this he pretty much guarantees his own death, but ya can't win 'em all, huh?

The House of the Devil (2009) fits this description perfectly. It knows we've been suffering at the hands of those who keep producing crappy remakes rather than genuinely good, original horror movies and it's here to lend a hand. Telling the story of a babysitter who gets more than she signed up for, this flick is slow, precise, and heralds back to a time when horror movies were pure and the market wasn't flooded with sequels of sequels and the abuse of gimmicks (i.e. found footage flicks) to try and engage the viewer.

Unfortunately, this film isn't perfect. Much like The Noble Male Protagonist who comes back to help the others, this film stutters along the way: the pacing lags at parts and the ending isn't 100% clear if you haven't been paying attention. All in all, though, this movie is a savior of sorts and deserves to be watched for that reason alone.

The Party Animal
Here's another character who's all about having a good time. This character is busy planning a party the same night the killer scheduled his massacre and nothing -- I mean nothing -- is going to stop that party from happening. While The Whore is all about screwing you, The Party Animal is all about screwing you up.

And if that's what you want, search no further than Blue Velvet (1986), a cinematic inversion of suburbia that will leave you wanting a shower.

I almost left this movie off because while writing, I realized this would have fit perfectly into my "Something Blue" category from the original structuring concept, but oh well.

This movie is well-shot, well-acted, and it doesn't seem that threatening at first. Good scenery, good company, no reason to be scared of this party, right? And then things take a dark, dark, dark, dark, dark turn. This movie blends sex and violence and it WILL make you cringe.

If you're here to get messed up, then Blue Velvet is for you.

The Other Two-Bit Characters Thrown In to Up the Body Count 
Here are a handful of other suggestions in case none of the above tickle your fancy.

Audition (1999) - Japanese horror movie about a single father looking for love again. First half is light and fluffy, the second half is creepy as all hell. Don't like subtitles? Trust me, it's worth it.

Re-Animator (1985) - Outrageous zombie movie about a med student and a hospital morgue. Half of it will make you laugh, the other half will repulse you.

Terror Train (1980) - Jamie Lee Curtis is on a train for a frat's costume party which is either to celebrate New Year's Eve or graduation even though it seems like Halloween and it doesn't have to make much sense because this is not a good movie, but it is a guilty pleasure movie, so if you're looking for a cheesy 1980's slasher flick, make it this one.

Them/Ils (2006) - Imagine a French version of The Strangers except creepier. This one's a winner.

Sinister (2012) - I know, I know, you can't rent or stream this one because it's still out in theaters. Bummer. But do yourself a favor and see this flick ASAP because it's probably going to be a long time before we get another horror flick of this caliber out in theaters.

That's all for this year, folks. Enjoy the suggestions and have a happy Halloween!

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