Welp, it’s Halloween today, and pretty much the only thing I’ve done in the spirit of the season is watch a whole buttload of horror movies. Most of them were absolutely terrible, and sometimes that’s the appeal, but once in a while there’s one in there that I feel was legitimately good. Those movies are the ones we’re going to talk about today.
What’s going to separate this from anyone running down a list of their favourite horror movies is my single criteria: I must have watched the movie for the first time this October. So all of these are new to me, and
Curse of Chucky – I love me some Chucky series, but I was a little worried about this one before it came out. It’s a direct-to-DVD movie, which is usually enough to confirm that a movie is going to be baaaaad. I was also under the impression that it was going to be a reboot, and reboots are dangerous territory.
Curse of Chucky is not a reboot. For the first half of the movie, it could be. The Chucky doll looks new, and there are no ties to the previous films. And then one of the characters notices that Chucky’s face has a layer of latex on it that’s covering up all his scars, proceed to peel the latex off, and BAM ITS THE CHUCKY WE KNOW AND LOVE.
And then, AND THEN the events of Curse all end up tying back into the very first Child’s Play and then Jennifer Tilly shows up right at the end and it all fits together and it is damn glorious. Unlike the two previous films, Curse is not a horror-comedy. It sticks to straight-up horror, and I like that they decided to go back to basics. Also, Curse has the best, most amazing post-credits scene ever filmed.
Curse of Chucky is absolutely the best direct-to-DVD movie I have ever seen, and it’s a fantastic sequel to a series that was having an identity crisis. Easily the best horror movie I’ve watched this season, and maybe even one of my favourites of the year at large. It’s creepy, it’s surprising, and it’s a big love letter to fans of the series.
Fright Night (2011) – I’m also a huge fan of 1985’s Fright Night. I mean, who isn’t though? It’s one of the legit best horror movies ever made. So you can understand why I didn’t really want to see the modern remake. But it was $5 at Wal-Mart and with a price like that, I figured it’d be worth the gamble. Oh man, you guys.
The remake of Fright Night is great. It’s pretty much exactly what I like to see in a remake: it’s got a lot of the same elements as the original, but mixes everything up enough that it’s its own movie. Kind of like how a good cover song works. If you know Fright Night well, you’ll have a good understanding of the basic plot of the movie, but it throws enough curveballs at you that you’re going to be shocked at least a few times.
It’s a really good thrill ride too. In the original, Jerry is a fairly passive vampire. He comes after Charley that one time, but mostly he’s just like “hey mind your own business kid.” In the remake, he is the most bad-ass vampire I have ever seen. 2011 Jerry Dandrige does not mess around. He will stalk you, he will threaten you, he will blow your mother-loving house up. It is magnificent, and I am so very sad that I hesitated to watch it for as long as I did.
World War Z – I think the theme of this list so far is “movies I thought would be bad but then they really weren’t” and World War Z is probably the most fitting for that title. You watch the trailer, and you see the wacky zombie tidal waves, and you think that it’s just going to be utter garbage. In fact, if I hadn’t gotten it as a free rental from Redbox, I probably still wouldn’t have bothered to watch it.
The thing you have to understand is that while World War Z has zombies in it, it’s not really a zombie movie. You could more or less sub in any kind of global disaster and tell the same story: Brad Pitt doesn’t give two craps about saving the world or finding a cure or anything, he’s just doing what he has to to keep his family safe.
So then what separates it from other, less great apocalypse movies like, oh let’s say 2012? Brad Pitt helps, that’s for sure. I mean I love John Cusack, but there’s really no competition. World War Z is also paced really well, and I dare say that using zombies as a disaster makes the situation much more interesting. The movie is very tense and interesting from beginning to end, and it’s absolutely more of an action/drama than a horror movie, but I’ll keep calling it horror so I can justify putting it on this list.
From Hell – This is a movie I’d never even heard of that Wifey picked up because it was cheap and it has a young(ish) Jonny Depp in it. It’s a slasher that gives an identity and motive to Jack the Ripper. But it’s not really about Jack, it’s more about the prostitutes that he kills. And also a detective that solves crime by having psychic visions while wasted on opium.
It all sounds a little silly, and it is. It’s very silly if you stop to think about it. But it’s a fairly enjoyable movie to watch. I especially liked that it’s a somewhat unique variation on the usual slasher formula. You know who doesn’t like it though? Alan Moore. The movie is based on a graphic novel of his, and apparently devolves his fine story into a goofy whodunit. I haven’t read said graphic novel (and probably never will), but the movie version worked for me, and that’s all that mattered.
Christine – You know the episode of Futurama where Bender becomes a were-car? Apparently that’s also an old horror movie! Well, not really, but I can’t seem to separate the two in my mind despite the fact that all they really have in common is the theme of homicide by automobile.
It’s based on a Stephen King novel, which is usually a good thing, and has a pretty good story and a handful of great characters. What really impressed me about Christine though, was the special effects. At one point, Christine (who is a haunted car), is completely destroyed. Shortly after, she magically restores herself, and the scene looks so friggin’ good. Like, these practical effects from 1983 are considerably more convincing than most of the computer-generated effects in current movies.
The only thing that really bothered me about the film is that there isn’t even a hint of an explanation as to why the car is haunted. I suppose that’s a fairly common omission is movies based on Stephen King stories, as they’re typically more about the characters and how they deal with the situation than the situation itself. Still, it’s a pretty great movie, and despite the difference in popularity between the two, I think it was way better than Carrie.