I was going to forward this post with more enthusiastic jibber-jabber about horror movies and RA-RA SCARY STUFF, but I realized you’d all be like BLAH BLAH BLAH. BLAH BLAH BLAH SHOW ME THE MOVIES BLAH BLAH BLAH.
As such . . .
I know, I know. Once you know the twist of The Sixth Sense it’s sorta all over, but if you can go into it blind without one of your asshole friends telling you a spoiler? This movie is brilliant – M Night’s one truly beautiful thing. From the little girl in the tent to the gallows at the courthouse, there are some wonderful scenes in The Sixth Sense that’ll have you jumping and recoiling from your TV screen. I didn’t even mind the blue light/red light filters used throughout – heavy-handed, yes, but when I better understood why he filmed it the way he did, I could appreciate his technique.
Kind of an aside here. The Others came out RIGHT after Sixth Sense, and I remember going to the theater to see both. The Sixth Sense was a blind pick for me — I didn’t even know it was a horror movie when I went in — but imagine my delight to be scared shitless at no additional admission cost! Problem was, when I went into The Others, I said “wouldn’t it be funny if it had a plot twist, too?”
. . . notice there are no Others on any of my lists. /SIGH, HILLARY-BRAIN. SIGH./ I did that to myself.
(Oh, AND ANOTHER THING. M Night says his screenplay was based on an episode of the popular Nickelodeon kids show called Are You Afraid of the Dark. Want to see that episode? Here ya go.)
More creepy dead kids! Act surprised. So, a composer loses his wife and kid in an accident. Alone, trying to recover, he buys a big house across the country. It’s a Victorian. Victorian houses, as we know, are all haunted and have spirits living in their attics. Enter The Changeling. I’d never seen this movie until a couple years ago, and I remember Dave looking at me and saying, “NO WAY, REALLY? You will love this.” He was right. It’s probably pretty evident to my readers that I prefer ghost stories above all other scares. I’ve seen a ton of them, too, so finding a new one (well, new to me anyway) is always a delight. The Changeling made me twitchy and shuddery in all the good ways. From the ball that rolls itself into the room to the seance scene, I was hooked. Scared and hooked, but still hooked. See it. Do it now. Arnie says so.
Joss Whedon just gets cooler all the time, doesn’t he? From Buffy to Angel to Firefly (DAMN YOU, FOX) to his comic book writing to The Avengers, he does no wrong. He just gets awesomer by saying or doing more awesome things that allow us nerdling fangirls and boys to bask in the glow of his awesome and . . .
I’m being excessive. A moment.
Okay, I think I’m done now. So, I like Joss Whedon. Tickle-me-pleased when they released another one of his movies into the theaters. Tickle-me-STOKED to discover it was a horror movie. Yes, Joss is a phenom so it had to be good, but I had NO IDEA what kind of horror movie this was until I sat through it. And Wow. Just WOW. Cabin’s strength is its delivery of its scares. It’s aware of the tropes within the horror genre and it GLEEFULLY exploits them for a laugh or a shriek. It’s got a great cast (tons of OH, HEY, I KNOW THAT GUY FROM SOMEWHERE) but the star of the show, no holds barred, is Fran Kranz. He’s spectacular as the stoner-kid Marty.
Cabin’s smart, it’s fast-paced, it’s legitimately creepy sometimes, and it’s utterly hysterical. Also? There’s a killer unicorn. Who doesn’t want to see a killer unicorn?
Iiiiit’s the cop procedural movie from Hell! Yay! Silence of the Lambs is like Se7en in that it gives you that gritty realism that makes psychological thrillers so effective. You can put yourself in the shoes of the main character — in this case Clarice’s fake pumps — and you can believe that everything you’re seeing really happened. You buy into the threat of the crazy, skinning serial killer. You buy into the chick trapped in the well waiting for her turn to be peeled. And, unfortunately for everyone, you can buy into Hannibal Lecter and his brilliant insanity. HOLY CRAP ANTHONY HOPKINS. PUT YOUR CREEPY AWAY. Lecter steals the show here, no questions asked. Without him, Lambs doesn’t work. With him, its a near-perfect movie. It’s intense, it’s gross, it’s scary, and he’s such a convincing psycho that you’re shivering every time he delivers one of his perfectly-articulated lines. At some point a while ago, I’d compiled a list of my favorite villains in film, and Lecter topped it (over The Wicked Witch of the West and Darth Vadar, so he had some stiff competition). If you’re one of the five people in the universe that hasn’t seen Silence of the Lambs yet, FIE UPON YOU I SAY and get thee to a dvd place. So you can whimper in the corner with the rest of us.
This movie could fit into about three categories and they’d all be appropriate – horror, fantasy, drama. It’s a mixed bag of everything, but I personally view it as a dark fairytale that got SO dark, it became horror somewhere along the way. You may disagree and that’s okay. Everyone’s wrong from time to time. (I did a funny there!) This is another Guillermo Del Toro offering and I gotta say, he’s really cornering the market on hauntingly dark visuals these days. That crown used to belong to Burton, but I dunno, man. Del Toro’s giving him a run for his money. He’s so artistic and everything is so precise in his movies. I never really considered a goatman scary before, but here’s Pan and isn’t he just a terrifying thing to behold. Beautiful, yes, but that’s the thing about Del Toro’s horror stuff – he gives you a loathsome creature and somehow manages to make it gorgeous, too. Watch the scene I posted above and tell me that’s not breathtaking. Yeah, it’s creepy as shit and you wanna poop your pants, but it’s filmed perfectly. It’s so . . . I dunno. It’s like Goya’s picture of Saturn Devouring His Son. You know it’s fine art, it’s just terrifying fine art. You may only want to look at it once, but that’s enough to make the image stay in your brain forever. If that’s not the mark of a great movie, I don’t know what is.