A selection of horror gold
Who doesn’t like a good scary movie? I want to emphasize “good” here — those are few and far between these days. There’s an overabundance of horror films on the shelves, and I hope I’m not alone in poo-pooing them. Some are SO low budget that it’s embarrassing, others are far too glossy and overproduced to actually frighten anyone. Then there are the horror houses that continuously crank out redundant , anti-woman and damn-near pornographic movies for shock value. Don’t even get me started on the terrible American remakes of Japanese thrillers that weren’t even that good in the first place. Or any of ’em with a PG-13 rating. Look, if you’re not old enough to watch zombies eat the gooey innards of the slow-witted, well … tough.
I don’t mean to come off as a de-sensitized, violence-obsessed Echo Boomer, but when I see a horror movie I don’t want to be shortchanged. I want to be grossed out, scared or, at least, amused when an army of imaginary monsters feast on the blood of the innocent or aliens use human bodies as incubators for their young. I also don’t want to see a skin flick in which every female character is maliciously stereotyped, raped or sexually degraded, which is most of what you’ll get from contemporary horror. Yuck.
*A side note to readers: I had a hard time with the werewolf movies. So much folklore, yet so few films worth watching again. Any suggestions, lycan philes? Leave ’em in the comments section!
Army of Darkness (1993): Lead character Ash travels to 1300 A.D. and accidentally unleashes an army of the undead in his search for the Necronomicon, an ancient book that will help him return to his own time. Come to think of it, just watch the entire Evil Dead series. No, seriously.
28 Days Later (2002): Activists release rage-infected chimpanzees, inadvertently spreading an incurable disease throughout the UK that turns the infected into fast-moving, bloodthirsty zombies. Cringe.
Dead Alive (1992): Gruesome, graphic and hysterical. Depending on your tolerance, this cult classic might actually make you queasy.
Shaun of the Dead (2004): It’s funny, it’s bloody and it’s probably the most accurate depiction of what a zombie outbreak might be like.
Other suggestions: Re-Animator (1985), Dawn of the Dead (1978, 2004 remake).
Cocktail Recipe: The Zombie (naturally). You can make larger quantities of this, “punch bowl” style if you’re doing movie night with a group, just remember that this is a potent cocktail. Down two or more of these and you’ll probably feel like the walking undead. If you really like to party, you can also make Bloody Brains, a sweet and creamy shot! Mmmm, braaaaaaiiiiins.
Cronos (1993): A 16th-century mad alchemist creates the extraordinary Cronos device, a small golden scarab that grants eternal life — and a vampire’s thirst for blood — to its owner. Also, Ron Perlman is in it. BONUS!
Blade (1998): Try to forget that it’s Wesley Snipes with a high-fade and steps, and focus on the action and Kris Kristofferson and never, EVER watch the other Blade films. I like this one because it doesn’t skimp on the vampire folklore, but it’s a less-romantic depiction of the bloodsuckers than most. Also, the booze will help you tune out all of the awful late-’90s rave jamzzzzzz.
Let the Right One In (2008): Stunning and genuinely creepy. TCD’s Cultural Zero DJ Hostettler said it best.
Other suggestions: Nosferatu (1928), Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000-anime, ridiculously proportioned women, but otherwise good), The Lost Boys (1987)
Cocktail Recipe: Vamp it up with a Blood Sucker. (This recipe calls for Cointreau, but you can substitute with generic Triple Sec. Also, if you don’t have the fruit puree, use Grenadine instead.)
Miscellany and honorable mentions
Audition (1999): Japanese horror at its best! A widower stages a fake film audition in order to find a submissive new wife, but he has no idea what his deception will lead to. Weak stomachs, take note: the last 45 minutes are intense.
Night Watch (2004): Visually appealing and a bit frantic, this Russian film follows a group of hybrid humans with supernatural powers that maintain the balance between the forces of Light and Darkness. Sorry, more raver music.
Other suggestions: Alien (1979 — marry me, Sigourney Weaver), The Fly (1986 — sweet Cronenberg body gore), Session 9 (2001)
Cocktail: It’s a Scream!