Posts Tagged ‘slasher’

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.

dracula1931psychonight of the living deadtcsm poster

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.

MV5BOTE2OTk4MTQzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODUxOTM3OQ@@._V1_SY317_CR6,0,214,317_AL_ insidious conjuring

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!

Nothing Left To Fear is the first movie we’ve seen from Slasher Films – the cleverly named production studio of former Guns n Roses guitarist, Slash. I am an avid horror fan, and an avid rock n roll fan, so needless to say I was pretty excited to see this. I will say that I believe reviews were too tough on this movie. I will also say there was much room for improvement. Before I go any further, one shining element of this film was its fantastic score, composed by Slash himself. (Here is one of the kinder reviews with a synopsis of the plot if you’d like to read it. To be fair, here is a not so kind review of the film as well.)
This film really wasn’t scary in the least, but that’s not to say that I didn’t find it interesting. The film starts out with a pastor and his family relocating to Stull, Kansas (I’ll come back to why this is important). One of the daughters gets a feeling early on that something is strange in this town, a well-kept, dark secret among its inhabitants. Cliche, right? However, this film proved to be fairly unique, in my opinion, as the story continues. I think this film really had some potential with the plot, however I think with a bit more elaboration, they could’ve improved the plot significantly. A pivotal scene near the very end of the movie reveals the dark secret of the town… But you’re left with more questions than answers. The perfect opportunity is presented for the explanation of the strange happenings in the film to be made a bit more clear, but the filmmakers waved as the opportunity passed them by. I suppose it’s still worth the watch. I sort of enjoyed it aside from the negative points I mentioned. Sorry Slash, Rob Zombie is still the king of rock n roll horror.

 

Alone, I wouldn’t have felt this film worthwhile to review. However, I have come across some information that made it a bit more interesting to me. It turns out that the claims of dark secrets in the real town of Stull, Kansas may have some merit. Now I don’t know how many of you guys believe in any sort of paranormal/supernatural happenings, and to what degree, but I find this kind of interesting (does that make me weird?) This rural town in Kansas, according to many legends, is home to one of the gates to Hell. There are many versions of the legend of Stull, as well as countless different stories about passages to Hell, accessible on Earth, and what the repercussions would be to opening these gates. There are claims of portals to Hell in hundreds of locations from Turkmenistan to Belize and back to New Jersey. Some of them have more reputable claims than others. Stull, Kansas is one of the most widely accepted locations. You can read a few accounts about it here. The website itself has urban legends from all over the United States. It’s pretty interesting if you take some time to browse the site. Another gate is allegedly located in Pennsylvania; it is also featured on the website here. I’ve always wanted to travel around the US and see some of the famous haunted locations (if finding a portal to hell interesting didn’t make me weird, I’m sure that wanting to go look for it makes me weird). I don’t want to dabble in the occult, because I personally don’t want to star in my own real-life horror film, but I would (in the interest of science, of course) like to go check out some of these supernatural locales. Many people who have visited haunted sites have reported an overwhelming sense of a dark presence. It seems like an experience you just have to feel for yourself. I’d just like to experience it in some shape or form.

Here in North Carolina, we have our fair share of local legends as well. One of the more well-known legends is the Devil’s Tramping Ground, which is located near Bennett, NC (I’ve never heard of this town and have no idea where its general vicinity is). One extremely close to my hometown is the Hunt House. Everyone around here knows there’s something weird about it (it gives me the creeps every time I ride by it), and everyone has heard a different version of the story. I’m sure that’s how it is with most, if not all, urban legends.
So I’m curious. I’d like to know if any of you have any urban legends from your hometown or state? Or even just a story that you find interesting that’s from a different location. If you feel comfortable, please don’t hesitate to post a comment and share it with me! I’d love to hear about it! Also feel free to share your opinion about the film, or give me some other movie recommendations. Thanks!