The last post was about the top 25 Horror movies I had seen, where fear and creepiness were the main factor. There are horror movies that make you turn all the lights on and then there are horror movies that leave you laughing from the thrills, camp, and comedy. So, if you aren’t particularly into handling feelings of dread or want something you can walk away from feeling entertained but not rattled, here are my ten choices. As last time, these are in no particular order.
1. Tucker & Dale vs Evil –
This movie pulls a switcheroo in the horror movie world, by pitting a bunch of idiot teens against two forest-dwelling (and innocent) simpletons. The slasher in this movie turns out to be wacky misunderstandings that leads to some gruesome deaths. Make no mistake, as funny as all of this is, it still provides a bit of fun tension. Written and directed by Eli Craig, the woods are still frightening but for the same reason you’re scared of stupid people operating heavy machinery.
2. All Cheerleaders Die
Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson direct this unpredictable horror romp about a group of cheerleaders who get caught up in a supernatural struggle for revenge. A group of cheerleaders are brought back from the dead after an altercation with a group of chauvinistic jocks. They have a thirst for blood and vengeance. There’s an element of old b-movies with lots of cheerleader boobage, dumb jocks, and preppy vs goth stare-downs. However, you could not prepare yourself for what spirals into sheer fun. It feels as if it is out of control sometimes, but there is a firm hand guiding the story quickly along. Gimme a Slumber Party Massacre! Gimme a Death Becomes Her! Gimme a Buffy the Vampire Slayer! What does that spell? All Cheerleaders Die!
3. The Host
One of the greatest monster movies ever made is a pretty assertive statement and very appropriate when it comes to The Host. A creature from the Han River surfaces and snatches a young girl. Her mentally delayed father embarks on a journey to save her, with the help of his sister. There are so many well developed and beautifully shot scenes mixed in with moments of appropriate humor. This movie is grand, touching, and bizarre. It is a long but satisfying story that rivals Godzilla in many ways, but stands on its own.
4. Jason X
The original series of Friday the 13th movies started to get extremely campy after the 3rd or 4th installment. What made it all the more silly was that the cast and crew took it so serious (Remember the “Carrie vs Jason” sequel with our hockey-masked killer fighting a telekinetic teen? Or when he started jumping bodies a la Fallen?) However, there was a breath of fresh air when Jim Isaac wrote this wild and funny sequel, because they were willing to laugh at the movie with us. Affectionately called “Jason In Space”, Jason Voorhees is frozen in a cryogenic chamber after authorities realize that he cannot be killed. However, hundreds of years in the future, an exploration teams discovers him and thaws him out. What follows is great puns, fun spit-takes, and a Jason cybernaut. The truly exciting aspect (for any sci-fi fans out there) is the casting of the gorgeous Lexi Doig and Lisa Ryder from the series Andromeda. They smartly change roles as “leader” and android.
Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson give a giant nod to slasher films and emit perfect casting skills with Scream. From the opening scene of pure brilliance with Drew Barrymore, this film proved to be a fast-paced mystery with a modern and youthful killer. Neve Cambell became the modern day Jamie Lee Curtis, when she was cast as Sydney Prescott. Fans were immediately stunned by the heart-pounding surprises and classic old-school characters (the reporter, the deputy, the ingenue, the comedian, etc.) Scream gave the horror scene a jolt and spawned countless other (less effective) teen fright flicks. To this day, I have not watched the pet door scene.
6. Cabin In the Woods
While not as smart as Scream, this homage to horror still has a unique story and commendable characters. Joss Whedon spins a tale…no many tales wrapped into one…about evil entities. Where the movie goes is unexpected, which keeps even the most distracted mind anchored down. There are many surprises and it leaves you wanting to know more, though it is probably best if they leave this as it is. One thing Whedon does well is character-handling. This may not be his best work, but you will not suffer from cabin fever watching this.
7. Final Destination
Outrunning death usually means outsmarting a killer. In this movie, it is literal. A boy has a vision of his plane crashing. He and a handful of other passengers are thrown off and the plane takes off. It crashes, leaving the survivors stunned at not only the death of their fellow classmates, but also the boy’s knowledge of the accident. Soon after, death itself aims to complete the deaths that should have taken place and goes after the survivors one by one. Cutting out the middle man (like a monster or mass-murderer) makes it an interesting and suspenseful adventure…like watching a tight-rope walker 500 feet in the air with no net.
8. House on Haunted Hill (1959 & 1999)
Both movies are fun for different reasons. Nothing beats watching Vincent Price at his best. His dialogue exchange with Carol Ohmart in the original is delicious to watch. Yet, the limo procession to the tune of Marilyn Manson’s version of Sweet Dreams was perfection. This is the classic “Invite-everyone-into-the-big-eccentric-mansion-and-spook-them” theme. Each movie evolves from a dysfunctional couple who are planning for a birthday party. They entice the guests by offering a large sum of money to whoever can last the night. However, strange things begin to take place and people begin disappearing. The ending to the 1999 copy is completely ridiculous, but everything up to that point is horror gold.
9. Grindhouse – Planet Terror
This movie is Robert Rodriguez’s contribution to a double feature (Death Proof is directed by Quinton Terrentino). It is meant to reflect the old 60’s/70’s style grindhouse movies. They weren’t pretty or perfect by any means, but they offered entertainment. Well, this is that but ramped up. A government goof causes zombies / mutations and the population scrambles to survive. There are plenty of wild characters, gore effects, and action sequences to quench your thirst. The angry twin babysitters, the bisexual anesthesiologist, and a stripper who gets her leg replaced with an automatic rifle that she can somehow fire at will; these are a sample of the craziness brought to the screen. It also has a fantastic cast; Bruce Willis, Rose McGowan, Josh Brolin, Michael Biehn, and Fergie (yes, Black Eyed Peas “Fergie”). It’s over-the-top nonsense that makes for good fun.
10. Drag Me To Hell
This was Sam Raimi’s return to horror (after doing projects like Spiderman). He did so with a bold movie about a curse and making the right decisions. The first scene in this movie was intense and disturbing. We watch a woman try to prevent a boy from being dragged down into hell. It was as big a deal as one could imagine. Our heroine is a loan officer who is tasked with approving or rejecting a request from an old gypsy woman. Wanting a promotion, she rejects the loan to prove she has a strong backbone. Yet, she isn’t as brave as she thinks when the gypsy puts a curse on her. The loan officer has to face one disgusting brawl inside her car with the gypsy woman, the option to sacrifice a kitten, multiple demonic attacks, and the decision to pass the curse to someone else. This movie is high energy and best watched with surround sound turned up loud! When the ending credits roll, you may need to take a breather.