Hello and welcome to the third installment of Hillary’s Horror Week. I’m eyeballing my list and it looks like there will be one or two more posts before I’m through. I’m apparently long-winded when it comes to horror, but in my defense? These are movies I adore and want everyone in the world to see so we can talk about them all the time, together, forever. ‘Cause, you know, they’re awesome and stuff. If you haven’t checked out articles one and two, do so, and enjoy today’s contributions!
This may very well be my number one favorite on all my lists. Is it the scariest? No. But it is one of the funniest. Leslie Vernon has the distinction of being the first and only mockumentary I’ve ever seen (which is defined as “a type of film in which fictitious events are presented in documentary format” – thanks, Wikipedia.) The premise behind Leslie Vernon is simple enough: a young man wants to be a horror slasher legend. He wants to be a Mike Meyers or Jason or a Freddie Kruger. So he goes about building a personae that matches slasher movie villain profiles and then undergoes years of training to become fit enough — physically and mentally – to embrace his dream.
We all have to have goals in life. Leslie Vernon’s is to disembowel you in an apple orchard. I’d tell you not to judge him, but . . . well, he sorta wants to kill you, so go nuts. He’s fucking crazy. Judge away.
Interesting fact: I much, much, MUCH prefer the book over the movie in this case. No, really. I worship the book as one of the all-time great horror stories. From the bloodthirsty topiary to the hideous final scene with the basement boiler, I’m hooked. It stands to reason I ought to hate Kubrick’s interpretation, then. He molded the base story into something else entirely. Erm, frozen hedge maze? Okay, no. And Halloran was not like that, and . . . well. What’s with the elevator? But you know what? If you distance Kubrick’s movie from King’s work — if you separate it entirely — it’s a fucking strong horror flick. The creepy twin girls alone are enough to make you poop your pants, never mind the scene with the dead chick getting out of the tub and scaring the crap out of Danny. Kubrick didn’t make MY Shining, but he did make /his/ and there are parts of that movie that are utterly terrifying.
The short version: there’s an evil stepmother, a pair of sisters, and a ghost woman in the house. The long version: A Tale of Two Sisters won a shitload of awards and is the top grossing Korean horror movie in history. There’s a reason for that. This is psychological horror at its finest. It was remade in America in 2009, but don’t bother. Deal with the subtitles. This movie is beautifully filmed and haunting in every way imaginable. There are plenty of flinch-worthy moments (the thing under the sink – good God) that’ll have you hiding behind your furniture to get away. The story is so engrossing, though, that you’ll peek up to get another look and IMMEDIATELY regret it.
Confession time: Hillary pretty much hates found-footage films. They feel cheap to me. Why would you use shaky camerawork and poor production value as a way to draw me in? I’m not going to forget it’s fictitious. It’s not like I’m going to REALLY think that Tommy is running away from a were-hyena. Admittedly, this attitude might stem from my HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT over the reveal that Blair Witch was fake (Goddamn you, Greg) but either way – unsteady cameras, bad angles, and “meh” soundtracks? I’m just not a fan.
Then I watched this.
Look, you need to be patient to enjoy Paranormal Activity. You need a quiet, dark room. You need to appreciate slow build-ups. You need to pretend the Ouija board scene didn’t happen (the only weak point in an otherwise strong film). IF you can do these things? You’ll love it. Even I loved it, and I’m notoriously prejudiced against this type of flick. Let me share a brief story from when we went to see this at the theater. Lauren, Dave, and I went to see it in a packed-house, arena-style seating cinema in Randolph. This is a crappy place to see loud movies, never mind a movie that requires your undivided, unyappy attention. People are always talking, always texting. You could hear a pin drop for an hour and a half. And when it was all over and the last great scare happens? Someone finally broke the silence with a loud, very masculine, “OH, FUCK THAT” that cracked us all up. It surmised what everyone in the theater was thinking.
Severance is another one of those movies that’s really funny and could technically fit into the comedy horror category of Tucker and Dale or Leslie Vernon, except it’s actually way, way scarier. When it’s not being hysterical and making you giggle, it’s horrifying you with the sheer brutality of the death scenes. This is a gory, gory movie – lots of blood, lots of gross-outs, and lots of tension. If you’re anti-violence? You’re anti-Severance. Considering how effective the scares are, it shouldn’t really work with the cheeky Brit humor, but it does. Perfectly. You’ll feel bi-polar, going from delighted to cringing in the span of a minute, but if you’re like me, you’ll love every minute of your movie-induced mood swings.
Welp, here’s the first and only MUSICAL horror movie on my list. I did a full review of Suck over here, so anything I’d have to say about it I’ve already said. Do yourself a favor and track this down. It’s fun, funny, and gruesome. Oh, and Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Henry Rollins, and Moby all make guest appearances, so you know it’s gotta be good, yeah? Yeah!