Posts Tagged ‘score’

What makes a horror movie? Is it a charismatic protagonist that everyone is rooting for? Is it an iconic villain like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers? Is it the suspenseful music that floods the speakers as the villain approaches? (I know you’re humming the theme for Jaws as you read this.) Are the reality based horror films that are the most frightening? Or are the supernatural monster movies the most horrifying? Is it the film’s ability to produce genuine fear in the audience? (Do you guys agree with this list? Top 50 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time.)

In my opinion, horror movies are typically a hit or miss. I usually don’t feel neutral toward horror films; I either really enjoy them or really hate them. I have a hard time identifying what it is that makes a horror movie worth watching. Obviously an interesting, well-executed plot is important. Horror movies have a reputation for being predictable and repetitive. There are only so many times we can watch a group of obnoxious teenagers get hacked up one by one, while on an overnight camping trip. However, when you get a horror movie with a never-before-seen storyline and an exciting ending, it really works. Acting is important in all films, but I think it’s somewhat difficult to give a convincing performance in a horror movie. Conveying genuine fear in a staged situation often comes off as fake and off-putting. Playing a deranged, psychotic killer can either come off as unconvincing or too exaggerated.

As horror films developed throughout the 20th century, viewers were given a bounty of horror films that have achieved status as cult classics. Films like Tod Browning‘s Dracula (1931), Alfred Hitchcock‘s Psycho (1960), Tobe Hooper‘s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), and George A. Romero‘s Night of the Living Dead (1964) are all milestones in the evolution of the the horror film.

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Most often, it takes time before movies are considered classics. Looking back, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, at the time of its release, was probably not iconic. However, after countless remakes and global recognition of the film’s antagonist, Leatherface (a name given to the character by fans of the franchise), I think it’s safe to say that this film is a classic. While we’re only in 2014, it seems like 21st century horror does not provide us with as many films that have the potential to be, one day, considered classics. It sincerely saddens me that Sharknado (2013) is as widely recognized as it is, however I find solace in the fact that its claim to fame is just how truly terrible the film is.

There have been a few films released this century that are either well on their way to reaching the status of cult classic, or have the potential to do so. The Paranormal Activity film series has been wildly popular since its release, prompting 4 sequels (most recently Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones). From filmmaker Oren Peli, the first film in the series was made on a budget of next to nothing. Filmed with handheld cameras giving the appearance of home footage, the film was released into select theaters after generating some buzz at film festivals. Having five films with a continuing storyline in the horror genre is fairly uncommon. These films are also pretty exceptional with the fact that none of these sequels have been largely disappointing for fans.

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Another horror film that I am particularly fond of is Insidious. Starring Patrick Wilson (I am mildly obsessed with him) and Rose Byrne, Insidious was released in 2010, and the second installment of the series, Insidious: Chapter 2, was released in 2013. The expected release of the 3rd film is April 2015. This film definitely had an original storyline (you can watch the trailer here) . There were just enough moments of comic relief, and I have nothing but positive things to say about the actors. The convincing performances of the actors in Insidious were precisely why I was very excited to see that Patrick Wilson had signed on to play Ed Warren, alongside Vera Farmiga (another one of my favorite actresses) in The Conjuring. This film is also one of the best that I’ve seen in a while. Here’s the trailer for it. Anyone else who also enjoyed The Conjuring will be happy to know that Wilson and Farmiga have signed on for a second installment of the film.

So I have, in this post and a few others, told you guys a few of the horror films that I really enjoy. My point for this post is that I really want to know what you all think makes a horror movie? What is it about the film that makes people want to watch it? What makes a horror cult classic? Please leave some of your insight in a comment below!

I added a poll with just a couple answers, but feel free to add your own. I want to know what you think!

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This man is an absolute genius. I could write an entire book about why Christopher Nolan is amazing. He is my absolute inspiration. As you can see above, some of his films include Following, Memento, Insomnia, The Dark Knight trilogy, The Prestige, and Inception. If you’re reading my blog, I assume you’re somewhat interested in film. If that assumption holds true, I bet you’re familiar with at least one of Christopher Nolan’s phenomenal stories. If you have any experience with Christopher Nolan, you’ll recognize that he has a very distinct style. Mind bender plots, that don’t always progress chronologically. If you’ve seen one of these films, you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about. I’ve made it a personal goal for myself to watch anything that Christopher Nolan has been involved in, simply because he is awesome. He’s done some production work on Transcendence and Man of Steel, and has a new movie, Interstellar, coming out later this year. I’m going to review a few of my favorites from Nolan’s filmography, but I encourage you to check all of these films out.

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This is one of Christopher Nolan’s most well-known films. Inception. This film took Nolan ten years to write, if that gives you any indication of how mind blowing this movie is. This film features an all star cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Michael Cain, Marion Cotillard, Cillian Murphy, and Tom Hardy. You’ll see plenty of these characters in Nolan’s other films. This film was my first IMAX experience, which made it even more amazing. This story is extremely complex, and you’ll need to be paying close attention to grasp the story. Watching it more than once will probably help. I’ve seen this movie at least 100 times, and I still can’t completely determine my take on the ending.The story completely blows me away every single time I watch it. The actors are all incredible, but Leo (of course), along with Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt give exceptional performances. The basic premise of the story is that Saito, played by Ken Wantanabe, makes a deal with Dom, played by DiCaprio, and his team. The team specializes in extracting information from people’s minds through their dreams. Saito wants them to implant an idea into the mind of his business rival: Inception. If I tried to explain the plot in detail, I would just confuse you and take away from the story, so you can check out the trailer for yourself. This is one of the best movies ever made in my opinion. The story completely blows me away every single time I watch it. The actors are all incredible, but Leo (of course), along with Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt give exceptional performances.

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I know that people have very strong opinions concerning superhero films. This is my particular opinion, but feel free to share your own with me! To say that I love this film would be insulting. I saw this movie seven times in theaters, three times in the first 24 hours of its release (judge me). The cast is fantastic. Christian Bale will forever be the image I see when I think of Batman. Tom Hardy as Bane was absolutely incredible. With the majority of his face covered by a mask, and his voice altered, he still manages to convey emotion perfectly. Gary Oldman is one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood, who doesn’t receive enough credit. His portrayal of Commissioner Gordon in this film is no exception! Joseph Gordon-Levitt was great in Inception, and his performance in this film did not disappoint. I do have one complaint about this movie, and that is Catwoman. Sure Anne Hathaway did okay, but of all the people they could’ve cast, I don’t understand why they picked the star of The Princess Diaries. But never the less, this movie was still phenomenal. On a side note, Hans Zimmer composed an incredible film score for this movie (and the other two in the series). The composers don’t seem to get a lot of recognition, and this score is definitely worth mentioning. Here’s the trailer for the movie. All three of Nolan’s Batman movies are great, and definitely worth watching (Heath Ledger as the Joker is one of the greatest performances ever), but this is my favorite in the series.

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Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called “The Pledge”. The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course… it probably isn’t. The second act is called “The Turn”. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige”.

As with most Christopher Nolan films, trying to explain the plot of this movie would serve no purpose. Here’s the trailer so you can get an idea of the story. This review will give you a bit more about the plot. This film stars Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale as two rival magicians. This story is pretty unique, but I love the theme of magicians. The overall look of the film is very appealing, and everything just works. It took me a while to get my hands on this film. Waiting for a movie to hit the shelves of Edward McKay Used Books & Movies (because if you’re a broke college student, that is what you do) doesn’t always work. I finally broke down and ordered it on Amazon. Like the review I posted above says, in the beginning of this film, nothing makes sense. But by the end of the film, you’ll fall in love with it.

If you guys have any films or directors you would like to see up here, please comment and let me know! Or if you simply want to share your opinion about one of the films I’ve reviewed, I’d love to hear it. I also really want some film recommendations from all of you, so please share a small portion of all the cinematic wisdom that I know your mind contains. 🙂