I do love me some drama. As you may have guess from previous posts, I attract it in my life like a magnet…or maybe I’m attracted to it. But I also love watching me some drama, particularly on the big screen. I’m not talking of the “English Patient” variety (I guess that shit has its place)…I’m talking the true epitome of drama and high emotion: Horror. To me, a single mom battling against the odds to raise her children while she tries to keep her job at…*yawn*….yeah, never mind. Shit doesn’t hold a candle to a single mom fending off mutant serial killers attacking her home with nothing but a steak knife and a tight-fitting tank-top. Get my adrenaline going, don’t try to make me cry by killing a child with cancer while the family looks on and grows together because of…*YAWN*..fuck me…ANYWAY…so if you are of like mind as myself (good choice, wise choice), how do you find the top shelf in movie-land horror? The Oscars? No, you fucking idiot. You can’t look to the Academy for help on that one. Not anymore, anyway.
In the early days, horror got plenty of Academy love all they way up to Psycho, Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, and even Jaws. Then, horror was suddenly relegated to “Achievement in Special Effects” and shit like that. Except for Silence of the Lambs and The Sixth Sense, the Academy mostly treats horror like fireworks: “OHH…isn’t that…visual. How visual.” They generally ignore the horror genre almost as much as the comedy genre-which they routinely shit on and despise like the unwanted fifth child in a trailer-park family (YOU’LL SLEEP IN THE CLOSET AND LIKE IT!). They’re far too busy circle-jerking to art house films or “powerful” biopics. To them, that’s the sexy stuff. In fact, that really is what the Academy Awards are: It’s an institution set up by Hollywood, staffed by Hollywood, to give awards to people in Hollywood…it’s a giant, televised orgy that we are only allowed to watch. Like a couple who tape themselves having sex and wank-off to it…Hollywood just does it on the grandest of scales. And we all know what gets them going the best:
“Ohh…it’s foreign!” (faster…harder..), “Oh…and it’s in black and white!” (I’m almost there…keep going..), “My God! It’s a silent film…in 2012!” (MONEY SHOT!!), “THE ARTIST SWEEPS THE OSCARS!” (phew…will you get me a cigarette and a towel, baby?).
So, again, where do you go to get the goods in horror? I mean, there’s no shortage of them in the theaters, and a few of those big productions are pretty decent. But while the horror genre is a plentiful sea, the fucking system is set up so that only a handful ever get through the net to a theatre near you, and they are rarely hand-picked on quality…it’s more about marketability to the target demographic. If you don’t have hot teen models running from something scary, you probably ain’t getting through that net..and it’s off to the DVD basement for you. Others may make it through the net and hit a theatre, but get marketed like shit and disappear before you even knew they existed.
But that’s okay, because you have me. You’re welcome. Now let Uncle Rick take your hand.
Here’s a list, in chronological order, of ten horror flicks you probably have never heard of, and sure-as-fuck never saw, but damn well better see:
Last House on the Left (1972) : That’s right, 1972. NOT the fucking remake. I did not see the remake but I can tell you it’s inferior by default because it’s lacking one of the key qualities of this original 16mm shocker….it doesn’t look like shit. I mean, terrible film grade, grainy, seedy. It feels like your watching a recently found snuff film. And that’s why it’s so goddamn great. The story is shocking and there is plenty of gore, but this movie shakes you to the core for what it doesn’t show you just as much as what it does. Some scenes that it pans away from force you to imagine the rest in your mind…taking you to those nasty places you did NOT want to go. Also, read up on the release history of this movie…total “fuck the man” bad-ass-ness.
The Brood (1979) : If you’re even a moderate horror fan, you’ve probably heard of this Cronenburg flick. You might even have hazy memories of it. Watch it. Very dated but just beyond fucking creepy. And the schlocky, gross-out ending is just epic.
The Funhouse (1981) : I’m sure you know The Texas Chainsaw Massacare…but very few know of this other Tobe Hooper entry into the teen-slasher genre. Again, very dated, but very seedy and more disturbing than you would expect and a ridiculous amount of saliva for some reason. And a fantastic, highly mean-spirited ending which always makes me smile.
Wolfcreek (2005) : This should ring a bell, it actually hit theaters for a few weeks and made a little money and got some controversy going. But still too few have watched this Australian blood bath. Don’t want to give too much away…but SOOO worth it for the infamous “Head on a Stick” scene. I tried to get my wife to go as that for Halloween. No dice.
The Acolytes (2008) : Another Australian entry. They are fucked up down under. This is a truly brilliant look at the serial killer genre. What do three teens do when they figure out a local loner is a serial killer? The wrong thing. The VERY wrong thing. Fucking idiots. Some kick-ass, early acting work from Joel Edgerton too. That guy is boss.
The Burrowers (2008) : A horror set in the 1800’s wild west. Yeah. Think “Screamers” with cowboys and indians. Solid, brutal, and no happy endings.
Splinter (2008) : This was in theaters for like a microsecond and then off to the DVD racks it went. Shit, now it’s on SyFy Channel. You probably flipped past it on a saturday afternoon and thought “ehh…SyFy Channel?…fuck this.” Watch it. Brilliant monster movie on a shoe string budget, but the special effects are still top-notch and gross.
Carriers (US version) (2009) : Another one that made a brief entry to theaters and had some marketing..but bombed terribly and was pulled. Not sure why. Oh, probably ’cause it was waaaaay darker than the target demo was expecting. Extremely nihilistic and sad. No cute, stupid romances or last second saves. Slow but engrossing. Vile and depressing. Shit, isn’t that the recipe for an Oscar?
House of the Devil (2009) : A homage to very early 80’s teen splatter films..centering on that late 70’s/early 80’s satanic cult scare. Beautifully shot and edited. I’d fucking swear it WAS shot in the 80’s and I was on my dad’s couch sneaking in another saturday afternoon gore-fest before I went out to ride my Big-Wheel. I was waiting for a cameo from Kolchak. A VERY slow burn…but the tension builds nicely and pays off pretty well. Now this movie is NOT about the ending, it’s about the ride, so recognize.
REC 2 (2009) : From Spain. They are weird people. The kick-ass first one made enough of a splash to get remade in the US under the title “Quarantine” (which was also pretty decent). Continuing immediately where the first one ended, the sequel takes the “viral zombie epidemic” model of the first movie and turns it on its fucking head. Clever and bloody.
There, I’ve done all I can for now. Go forth and disturb the shit out of yourself.