Most of this month, I’ve been pretty damn negative as I worked through the dregs of what Netflix has to offer in terms of horror. Well… that’s actually not true. Trust me, Netflix has MUCH worse stuff out there than lousy video game adaptations or embarrassing efforts made by once talented film makers. Either way, I want to end this on a happy note and give you five awesome horror films to watch this Halloween. These are listed alphabetically because I have no interest in ranking them. They’re ALL worth watching!
Children of the Corn 3: Urban Harvest
I’ve seen more Children of the Corn movies than any sane person should, but out of all of them I like the third one the best. Yes, even more than the original (and 666 which I did not expect to be as awesome as it is). It’s really silly and definitely has it’s laugh out loud moments, but those only add to the movies overal appeal. IT’s about two boys (Eli and Joshua) who are put in foster care after the “untimely” death of their father and are assigned to a family in the big city. Eli though, was responsible for his father’s death and has “the book” that gives him magic cult powers (or whatever) and starts to cause mischief there. I honestly can’t tell you for certain if this fits into any sort of continuity for the series (I doubt it), but it’s still a fun ride with plenty of gore, cheesy acting, and a lead kid who’s actually pretty damn good at doing the whole cult leader schtic. The ending is just the icing on the cake where I SHIT YOU NOT, there are monsters and Dragon Ball Z style energy blast attacks. The best part is that the budget was clearly running low by that point, so they had to come up with some… creative solutions. Seriously, if you love “so bad it’s good” or “so cheesy it’s great”, then you’ll LOVE this film.
Evil Dead 2
Do I really need to explain WHY you should watch this? No. I don’t. Go watch it because it’s a god damn masterpiece. What, you need more? Fine… Evil Dead 2 is essentially a remake of the original, in that the star has returned (Bruce Campbell), and the scenario is basically the same. Ash Williams (Campbell) and his girlfriend go to some cabin in the woods and find a book as well as a recording left by the previous visitor. The recording summons demons that overtake the girlfriend and try to overtake Ash, so our hero must do what he can to survive the onslaught while also dealing with his demonic girlfriend, new visitors to the cabin, and even his own dark side. It’s absolutely hysterical, genuinely creepy at points, and Bruce Campbell shines as one of horror’s most iconic characters. If you haven’t given this one a chance yet, or you haven’t seen it in a while, check it out this Halloween and see what all the fuss is about.
(Confession time: I LOVE Evil Dead 2, but I actually like Army of Darkness more which is not on Netflix)
The Fly 2
If you haven’t seen The Fly, then go do it even though it’s not on Netflix. Few people however have seen this follow up to the classic Cronenberg film, which I think is quite a shame considering it plays with ideas that we rarely see in the “monster on the loose” movies. We’ve all seen movies like Species, or The Guyver where something from a lab escapes and has to either be brought back or ends up getting revenge on the ones who imprisoned them. What THIS movie does though is spend the first half of the movie with the monster AT THE LAB! The movie is about the son of Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum’s character from the first movie) and Veronica Quaife who was adopted by the company who funded the teleportation technology from the first film. The company then raises the child in a laboratory setting so they can observe his development. The first half of this movie is fascinating because while the company has ulterior motives, they aren’t outright EVIL and the employees have a good relationship with the boy. By the halfway point of course, the kid finds out some shady stuff about the company and flees, but until then it was a unique take on a clichéd horror trope that I don’t think we’ve seen in any significant way other than Splice. Even then though, Dren wasn’t that much of a character, and the story was more about her parents trying to keep her a secret while raising her. The Fly 2 is not particularly scary, and the effects, while good, can’t match the original, but it’s still worth checking out for no other reason that to see that first half which is I find so damn interesting and unique in a genre that’s known for rehashing the same shit over and over again.
This adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft short story is probably the best modernization of the Frankenstein story ever committed to film. Starring the one and only Jeffrey Combs as a med student who found a formula for bringing dead flesh to life, the movie is a marvelous mishmash of horror, science fiction, and comedy that puts it up there with classics like Evil Dead and Dead Alive. Jeffery Combs as Herbert West is a fantastic mad scientist who effortlessly walks the line between brilliance and insanity, while his landlord (Dan Cain played by Bruce Abbott) does a great job as the audience avatar who helps Herbert because he wants this to be something that changes the world, but the more time he spends with the mad doctor, the harder it is for him to justify their actions. It’s the best kind of science gone bad movie because it places the blame more on overzealous misuse than the pursuit of knowledge itself. The movie is hilarious and gory, while still being smart and effective, (kind of like the original Robocop) and is one of the best horror films to come out of the 80’s.
Speaking of 80’s horror films, this is… not one of the best, but it’s still a hell of a good time. How many movies have gooey stuff as the main antagonist!? The basic plot is that a company finds some sort of goo in the ground and decides to package it and sell it to the masses. It’s a huge sensation across the country, but the eerie side effects start to pop up, and a few individuals who know that something is up begin investigating what the stuff is and try to stop the company and the goo itself. The story is no great shakes, and the comedy can be downright obnoxious, but the practical effects used for “the stuff” itself are downright amazing. Just having this semi sentient goo move around and bury people under it’s own mass is quite a sight to behold and is totally worth the price of admission to see. Not a classic, but still a great time.
So that’s my list! I hope you give some of those a chance because they’re SUPER fun! And above all, HAVE A HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!