Good Horror: Films

Seen any good movies or TV shows lately? Or anything so bad you just have to vent?
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Re: Good Horror: Films

Postby MrElzebub » Tue May 05, 2015 11:53 pm

The surprise gem of a horror movie I recently found is Jug Face. The movie can be dismissed as hillbilly, swamp dweller horror but there is a fascinating layer of subtext that the more I think on it, the more it disturbs me. As you watch the movie think about the evil that has been accepted. Has become common place. Even mundane.

A few that make my list of must see:
1. Halloween. This movie spawned so much horrible in its wake but forget about that and realize this was groundbreaking when it came out. I was copied so much because it set the standard.
2. Black Christmas. The original. This movie inspired so many of the great horror directors of the 80s. The remake lies somewhere between unwatchable and Jar Jar Binks.
3. Hellraiser. The closest we will get to a pure Clive Barker adaptation.
4. The Thing. Already mentioned and for damned good reason.
5. Event Horizon. So much of the director's vision is lost due to studio directed edits but there is still a wonderful movie about being trapped in space, in a ship that has been to hell, and brought it back.
6. Tucker and Dale Vs Evil. Not horror but a wonderful horror comedy that does an excellent job taking the piss out of the slasher genre.
7. The Devil's Backbone. Ghost story in an orphanage by the masterful Guillermo Del Toro.

I'll stop for a bit. Do you like foreign horror? There is some wonderful stuff out of Italy, Hong Kong and recently Korea.
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Re: Good Horror: Films

Postby Freemage » Wed May 06, 2015 9:56 am

Mr. Frost. This little gem is ~almost~ perfect. It's a 1990 Jeff Goldblum flick in which he plays a serial killer. The movie opens with his capture and commitment to a psychiatric facility. The entire rest of the movie is a psychological cat-and-mouse game between himself and a therapist. The reason for the "almost" is that much of the film's tension comes from the question of whether or not Goldblum is actually a supernatural power (he claims to be the devil come to Earth) or just a charismatic madman. Two brief moments spoil that tension. Still, this movie is the one that made me a squealing Goldblum fanboy.

Pan's Labyrinth. Some people will say this is not a horror movie. Those people are entitled to their hideously wrong opinion.

For people who enjoy horror films, Cabin in the Woods is a must, simply because it's such a magnificent deconstruction.

The Others is, indeed, a great take on a ghost story.

Speaking of ghost stories, if you really want to be a fan of the genre, The Haunting (1963 version, please) is vital. It does so much with so little in terms of special effects, and plays magnificently with the ambiguity factor.

Also in the 'classics' category, I'd add Psycho and Night of the Living Dead (again, the originals). While in many ways, these early films aren't as polished as their later imitators, there's a rawness that comes in for that very reason, often providing an authenticity that the subsequent takes on these sub-genres lack. As the progenitor of the 'found footage' sub-genre, The Blair Witch Project is also pretty significant, although you should be aware that many folks reported actual motion-sickness from watching the lurching, rocking footage at points.

And yes, we'll put Alien and Invasion of the Body Snatchers in the classics, as well. While obviously not the first 'creature from space' horror film, Alien was one of the first to realize the less-is-more approach's power in turning the viewer's imagination into an active participant in terrorizing them. Invasion, meanwhile, establishes a fantastically paranoid setting, and, if nothing else, the final scene (like that in Planet of the Apes) is one of those touchpoints in American cinema that gets parodied every few years, so you should at least know the context for it.
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Re: Good Horror: Films

Postby Noble Bear » Wed May 06, 2015 11:33 am

Don't know if these count, but these are personal faves that I keep coming back to. I tend to favor Story, Suspense, and Psychology or Gore Jump Scares or other, more visceral faire.

Silence of the Lambs

The Ring (US Version)

To a slightly lesser extent, I also enjoyed

The Conjuring
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Re: Good Horror: Films

Postby Chris » Wed May 06, 2015 11:40 am

Mikel wrote:1) REC and REC 2. Tense and tightly constructed, these movies do some really cool things with the found footage horror genre. REC is one of my favorite horror films.
4) Paranormal Activity. The open door alone adds a ton to the scary idea that this could be your house.
5) VHS---some of it. There are a few duds in this horror anthology but the first story blew my socks off.


Loved REC & REC 2
V/H/S and V/H/S 2 were very entertaining. Easily my favorite of the last few years. V/H/S: Viral was quite a letdown.




Europa Report - Great Space Horror
Apollo 18 - More space horror and "found footage" style but still a very good movie.



The Ring has always been a favorite
Sinister was also a good one to watch, simply because they made excellent use of old 8mm & 16mm film footage, which always has had a touch of creepy to begin with.

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Re: Good Horror: Films

Postby Mikel » Wed May 06, 2015 11:53 am

When REC 2 showed you how it was going to step up from REC, I was positively giddy. Everything about that should have failed miserably but it worked so well.
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Re: Good Horror: Films

Postby Freemage » Wed May 06, 2015 3:42 pm

Some other add-ons:

The Shining and Carrie. The two good Stephen King movies. The Shining has, in my opinion, aged better; the performances in Carrie were frequently a bit over-the-top.

Also, I completely neglected J-horror in my list. Let's rectify that:

Ringu (Of the ones I've picked, this is probably the one you can most justify watching the American remake of--it's still pretty solid); Tomie (this is a whole Japanese series, about an immortal girl who wreaks havoc); The Eye (this time, avoid the American remake).

And so long as we're outside the U.S., take a gander at the original Swedish Let the Right One In, possibly the only vampire movie to actually give me chills.
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Re: Good Horror: Films

Postby tombombodil » Wed May 06, 2015 5:50 pm

Thanks for all the posts gents, this is great. I'm a little surprised at how many there are I haven't seen yet.


One that really flew under the radar was Oculus. One if the most creative horror setups I've seen in a while. Great blend of psychological and supernatural horror, good scares, keeps you on edge the whole way.

@NobleBear I liked the conjuring way more than I thought I would. I was totally caught off guard by just how solid of a film it was, I've pushed it on anyone I think might be interested because it's another one I think a lot of people looked over.
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Re: Good Horror: Films

Postby BadMrMojo » Wed May 06, 2015 7:26 pm

Echoing a couple of previous mentions...

Babadook was terrifying for me because of the mother's performance. Her anxiety completely set me on edge and left me susceptible to some otherwise cheap scares. Mileage may vary substantially on this one, but it worked for me.

I really love Spanish horror. It's got a very distinctive flair - specifically, ghost stories set in orphanages with references to the Spanish Civil War - and El Orfanato and Devil's Backbone just nailed it, IMO. [REC] thematically differs wildly, but captures a bit of the same general sense of creepiness via shaky-cam and poor lighting.

Let the Right One In - or even Let Me In, the wildly unnecessary English-language remake - are largely successful because of the settings. They shouldn't work as well as they do (but like the performance in Babadook), the sense of isolation and despair work in their favor.

The first 2/3 of Europa Report was as good as the first 2/3 of Sunshine, which is high praise. The last 1/3 was better than Sunshine, which is not unlike declaring that the sky is blue.

Rather than horror movies themselves, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil and Cabin in the Woods are both great movies about horror movies.



Additionally, there's...

Shiver is another Spanish horror movie worth giving a spin. The Others is another one in a similar vein (in English, this time), but a little less engaging, IMO.

The first half of the Descent is wonderful. Right up until the point at which they blame everything on CHUDs, you can watch it as a movie where everyone is slowly going insane from oxygen deprivation and it's brilliant. Yes, that's also how I liked to watch Dexter - pretending that it was a darkly comedic version of Walter Mitty. Then it gets pretty weak, if you ask me. Not a strong recommendation, but a fun one for ideas.

Open Water was one of the most terrifying movies I've ever watched. That may say more about me and my control issues than it does about the movie, but the idea of being wildly out of one's element (in the very classical sense of 4 primary elements, in this case) is an incredibly primal kind of fear and every time the camera bobs below the waterline I jumped out of my skin.

Teeth also belongs in the brilliant deconstructions of the genre category as a coming of age film told with a horror spin.

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Re: Good Horror: Films

Postby Timespike » Wed May 06, 2015 8:45 pm

I'm not much of a fan of horror, so these are the things that made it above the "Sturgeon threshold" for me.

Identity: An absolute psychological mind-screw of a movie, and one of the few times I've been genuinely surprised by a twist ending AND didn't call shenanigans on it.

Pandorum: The poster will lead you to believe this is a body horror film. It's not. Anything else would be spoilers.

30 Days of Night: The grimmest, bleakest, and yes, most horrifying movie I have ever seen. Sadistic vampires cut off and systematically terrorize and murder a remote Alaskan town during the winter when the sun doesn't rise for 30 days. It was incredibly well-executed, but I have NO desire to see it again. Once was enough.

The Ghost and the Darkness: A telling of the tale of the lions of Tsavo that had me looking for a lion in my back seat as I drove home from the theater. Very intense.

Night Watch: I'm not entirely sure this is actually horror, but it's an amazing piece of urban fantasy in any case. Its Russian origins mean it doesn't have a lot of the typical western tropes, which makes for some neat changes of pace. The sequel, Day Watch, isn't quite as good but is still worth watching.

Brotherhood of the Wolf: Horror, action, conspiracy, martial arts... ...a really fun and stylish tale about the beast of Gevaudan. You will almost certainly get gaming ideas.

Cloverfield:
A "found footage" movie about a kaiju attack. The perspective characters are douchey hipsters, which is kind of annoying at the beginning, but the movie is still pretty cool.

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Re: RE: Re: Good Horror: Films

Postby tombombodil » Wed May 06, 2015 11:59 pm

Timespike wrote:I'm not much of a fan of horror, so these are the things that made it above the "Sturgeon threshold" for me.

Identity: An absolute psychological mind-screw of a movie, and one of the few times I've been genuinely surprised by a twist ending AND didn't call shenanigans on it.

Pandorum: The poster will lead you to believe this is a body horror film. It's not. Anything else would be spoilers.

30 Days of Night: The grimmest, bleakest, and yes, most horrifying movie I have ever seen. Sadistic vampires cut off and systematically terrorize and murder a remote Alaskan town during the winter when the sun doesn't rise for 30 days. It was incredibly well-executed, but I have NO desire to see it again. Once was enough.

The Ghost and the Darkness: A telling of the tale of the lions of Tsavo that had me looking for a lion in my back seat as I drove home from the theater. Very intense.

Night Watch: I'm not entirely sure this is actually horror, but it's an amazing piece of urban fantasy in any case. Its Russian origins mean it doesn't have a lot of the typical western tropes, which makes for some neat changes of pace. The sequel, Day Watch, isn't quite as good but is still worth watching.

Brotherhood of the Wolf: Horror, action, conspiracy, martial arts... ...a really fun and stylish tale about the beast of Gevaudan. You will almost certainly get gaming ideas.

Cloverfield:
A "found footage" movie about a kaiju attack. The perspective characters are douchey hipsters, which is kind of annoying at the beginning, but the movie is still pretty cool.

30 Days of Night is another movie that was surprisingly good and doesn't often get the respect it deserves outside of the horror fan niche. I really liked it's relatively unique version of vampires. Animalistic and very predatory without being quite as supernatural as others.

I saw a bit of director commentary where they talked about making the blackout contacts deliberately narrow the actors so they had to turn their whole head to look at things like predators on nature wood (wolf, cougar, etc). Very cool.

The ending was also surprisingly emotionally powerful.
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