Boy, 31 days just isn’t enough time to talk about all the good stuff out there. I could have done the entire month, recommending double features. I barely touched on Asian horror cinema or the giant monster movies.
Since I still feel like I have a lot to say, let’s take a fast look at several more horror films and try to slip some in before the month closes out.
When I think of Japanese horror movies, two pop into my mind instantly. The first is Godzilla. Of course, it would be, right?
The giant lizard comes rampaging out of the ocean to really piss all over Tokyo’s parade while spewing radiation like an old radium watch. The success of this movie speaks for itself.
As good as it is, my favorite Godzilla movies are actually sequels. Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster, Godzilla vs, Ghidora and my all-time favorite, Godzilla 1985 aka Godzilla 1984: Godzilla Returns. I saw Godzilla 1985 in the theater on release and I was the only one in the theater. I still love it.
The other J-Horror movie I think of is The Audition. It’s more of a psychological horror movie and it builds right up until the end. It has one of the most revolting things I have ever seen in a horror movie. And the end, Jesus, it’s intense in the extreme. Not for the faint of heart if you go into the movie cold with no spoilers.
My personal favorite J-horror movie is also one of my all-time favorite movies, Battle Royale. In the not too distant future, Japanese high schoolers are put on an island and forced to kill each other until only one remains. This is the Japanese government’s new solution for teen violence. It is a solid gold masterpiece of violence.
There is a world of J-horror and K-horror out there just waiting to freak you out.
When I was about 10 I made the mistake of sauntering into the local Mom and Pop VHS rental store and renting a little art-house film called Make Them Die Slowly or, as you Limeys know it, Cannibal Ferox.
I’m not going to explain anything about it because the plot doesn’t matter. I will say it has the most realistic looking castration scene I have ever seen. Watching that at 10 left an impression, and ever since movies with genital destruction scenes have really made me squirm.
I’m not going to recommend the old standby Cannibal Holocaust because I don’t think it’s all that special. Better cannibal horror films I would recommend are Cut And Run and Last Cannibal World. It goes without saying that these are ultra-violent on a level that few people are comfortable with.
Who doesn’t love watching horny teenagers get hacked to bits? It’s a tired trope-filled formula now, but I admit, I never get tired of it.
The Burning is a classic that isn’t talked about much anymore. Sleepaway Camp, a movie that would make any TERF proud, Silent Night Deadly Night is a classic that fired up the Mommies of America enough to stage protests at the time. Santa killing people with an axe is worth every penny in my book. The Prowler and My Bloody Valentine are superb slashers, with The Prowler having some of the most gruesome and mean-spirited kills you will see in a slasher.
The Italian Pieces is another one of my favorites, a brutal slasher film with some great kills. It delivers exactly what the title promises too. It has probably the craziest final shot I have ever seen in a horror movie.
One of my favorite slashers features mall security robots as the foes. Chopping Mall. Kids hide out in the mall to partake in evil premarital sex and fun when the mall’s security robots go all Skynet on them. They get locked in and have to go all John Conner to make it out alive.
Speaking of, The Terminator is a horror film, and it very much follows the slasher formula in a few ways. Dan O’Bannon’s timeless masterpiece Alien is also a slasher once the facehugger comes off poor Cane’s face.
Yes, I am as tired of the genre as you are, but there is still some good stuff.
Zombie, The Italian “sequel” to Dawn Of the Dead. A shark and zombie fight and we get to see a broad get impaled through the eye by a wood splinter. What else do you want? It’s also known as ZOMBIE2.
Of course, there is Day Of The Dead 2, the real sequel to DOTD and depending on who you ask, it does or doesn’t live up to that timeless classic. It’s ok, the real attraction is the perfected gore effects.
Zombie3 is a sequel to Zombie2 and has its own charms. A bio-weapons lab accidentally releases a chemical that makes the dead not quite dead over in the Philippines. The fun starts from there. My advice is to stop at that one with all the Italian Zombie sequels.
I love comedy horror when done right, and no one is currently doing it better than the boys at Astron6. Father’s Day is their real break out comedy horror. A man is out to track down a famous serial killer known as The Fuckman, who rapes and kills Fathers on Father’s Day. Turns out he is possessed by a demonic spirit and the story goes batshit insane and hilarious.
Their second is The Editor, a love letter to Italian Gallo film that is so well done you will think you are really watching a 70s-80s Gallo film. Just recently they put out Psycho Goreman, an extremely violent, bloody film done up to seem like a kids movie with a Power Rangers cast of characters. It is a blast. The fellas of Astron6 also do straight horror. A few years ago they made the superb Lovecraft horror film The Void, which I give my highest recommendation.
What Else We Got?
Some other great titles that are horror, but not easy to put in a box are some of the best and most fun you will watch.
Dead Heat. A buddy cop, action shoot’em up movie where two detectives stumble onto a scheme that has a company bringing people back from the dead. The subject’s second chance is short though and once they hit the limit we get to see them rot at 10x the speed. I can’t recommend this one enough.
Ms. 45. The world’s most unlucky broad who is deaf and mute gets raped twice in a day. She manages to kill the second rapist and acquires his pistol. She then goes on a rampage of revenge that ends up making her the villain.
It Follows. A young girl has sex on the first date with some smooth dude who gives her an STD that no amount of condoms can save her from. He passes on a sort of curse of an evil being the stalks the victim relentlessly, and once it catches them… It ain’t pretty.
The Sentinel. A fashion model moves into a swanky new apartment building in Brooklyn and starts seeing some really disturbing things. Turns out her place is Hell’s own entrance. Don’t miss that one.
Stage Fright. Another Italian horror film. A bunch of pretentious actors lock themselves in the theater for a night of rehearsing for an upcoming play. Unfortunately for them, a violent nut job who just escaped from the loony bin is in there with them. Arguably, he has better aesthetic and artistic taste than any of the actors.
Green Room. A masterpiece, directed by Jeremy Saulnier, is non-stop tension and violence. A punk band desperate for a gig plays at a neo-nazi club and walk back into the green room just in time to see something they shouldn’t. They get trapped and have to fight their way out. For you Star Trek dorks, Patrick Stewart is in it as the leader of the bad guys.
Maximum Overdrive. Yea, I know it’s supposedly bad, but I love it. Super asshole and all-around Twitter idiot, Stephen King, was coked out of his mind when he made this movie. But I love it. It is just an excuse to see people get killed by machines come to life.
I better leave something for next year. I could go on and on. I tried to include some stuff that you may not have seen, and I hope you give them a try. Unless you are a laminated card-carrying Film Snob, you will be surprised by how much fun you have.