Friday, September 3, 2010
Movies that go bump in the night
by Jeaniene Frost
Originally, I intended for this post about writing and revising, but you know what? I didn't feel in the mood to talk about those things. Instead, my mind kept sliding to a totally different topic: horror movies.
Maybe because it's September, which means of course that next month is October, and leading up to Halloween, channel after channel on the TV will play horror movies. Ah, I love that time of year. Yes, I have the Chill channel to get my fix in the meantime, plus Netflix, plus the occasional horror flick on premium channels, but there's something about that October parade of cinematic carnage that just makes me happy. Yes, I realize this may put me in Strange column, but here on Supernatural Underground, strange is the norm, right? So I'm just trying to fit in, heh.
And since I love the horror movie parade almost as much as the candy that flows more freely during October, I thought I'd get an early jump on the season by listing some of my favorite horror flicks. Let's get to it!
Halloween 1 and 2, the originals (don't ever ask me what I thought of the recent remakes unless you have a spare hour to listen to me rant). Ah, Michael Meyers. You in your eerie white mask walking slowly to the beat of that terrifying music has haunted my nightmares for decades. Well done, Michael! You will always be the only Bogeyman for me.
Friday the 13th, the original 1 and 2. Who doesn't like a little slasher with their horror? Jason was a great villain for me because, like M.M. above, he just kept coming back no matter how many times you killed him. Add how I went to sleepaway camp as a child in a setting that looked *just* like Camp Crystal Lake - minus the dead bodies - and this movie franchise has remained dear to my heart.
Jaws. Come on, who watched this movie and then didn't look at the ocean with a shiver? I know the statistical improbability of ever getting bitten by a shark, but I can tell you that every time I've gone into the ocean, this movie has lurked in my subconscious.
Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness. I'm sure these weren't the first campy horror movies on the scene, but they were the first ones I saw, and it was love at first "give me some sugar, baby!" Bruce Campbell as Ash slashed and wise-cracked his way through the creatures after him as well as his own hand (and how hard I laughed at that scene disturbed my mother so much that she left the room. Poor mom was grossed out and could not understand why I found any of it funny).
Shaun of the Dead. Simon Pegg was brilliant as the bumbling but sweet boyfriend who ended up winning back his girlfriend only after slaughtering a whole lot of zombies. So many scenes in this movie had me laughing out loud. Mad props to the supporting cast, too.
Zombieland. "Time to nut up or shut up" became one of my favorite phrases after watching this movie, and while the main characters all gave stellar, hilarious performances, Bill Murray's cameo stole the show. Loved this movie, even though every time I see it, I end up wanting a Twinkie afterward.
The Ring. Yeah, it's not the best horror movie ever, but I can tell you that when I saw it on opening night in the theater, I screamed out loud (along with many of the other moviegoers) when that freaky little girl climbed out of the TV. And I kid you not, seven days later, I was giving my own television a wary eye. When a movie can make me do that, it's a win in my book.
28 Days Later. It didn't have many jump-in-your-seat moments, but what resonated with me was how this was the first zombie movie I saw where the zombies could move. No staggering shuffle that you could easily avoid, these suckers were fast. And even a scratch, or a drop of their blood into your eye could turn you into one of them. Props also to the creep factor of waking up one day to having literally no one around, and to the brutality humans can display to each other in dire survival situations.
Jeepers Creepers 2 (absolutely not to be confused with the first Jeepers Creepers, which I hated). Why do I call this thoughtful? Because, like many good horror flicks, the main drama didn't come from the creature; it came from interactions between the people the creature stalked. The premise of your true self being revealed under extreme circumstances was played out by a group of high school students trapped on a bus in this movie, and in addition to there being very good acting for a group of unknowns, I also loved the premise of harsh redemption portrayed through the vengeful father.
Wind Chill. It's hard to articulate what I liked so much about this movie. It was low budget, not terribly imaginative, but the protagonists really stuck with me after it was over. They started out pretty stereotypical - a geek secretly in love with snotty girl who'd never noticed him before - but by the end of the movie, they felt real to me. And the last line of the film hit me as so tragically sweet.
I could go on, listing some favorite SciFi horror (Pandorum, Alien, Aliens, Alien Versus Predator) but this is already a long post. So I'll close with this, the horror movie that had me sleeping with a light on for - no joke, ask my husband - six months because it touched on my deepest fear of trying to battle an evil entity that you can't even see and who resided in your own home: Paranormal Activity.
So what about you? We know you like books that go bump in the night *wink* but what are some of your favorite movies that do the same thing?