Little Miss Scare-All

A college goth trying to find her way in the world.
Alien Day: How to properly celebrate the new holiday

Alien Day: How to properly celebrate the new holiday

For us horror lovers out there, there aren’t many holidays to catch our fancy. Halloween only comes around once a year and days such as Thanksgiving and New Years Eve just don’t electrify the senses. With the sudden inception of Alien Day, however, it looks like things are about to change.

The holiday is very much in its infancy stage, with only a few hardcore fans catching on and celebrating, so local geek hangouts aren’t having any significant events lined up. If it grows to be a well-established day, which is certainly possible with the power of social media, this could end up not being the case in years to come. A chestburster can dream…

But enough about what this day can morph into. What matters is the now, so here’s a few ways you can spend your first ever Alien Day.

Treat yo self

Photo courtesy of Mondo

Photo courtesy of Mondo

Here’s the deal. Finding Alien merch in person isn’t the easiest thing to do. The series isn’t at Star Wars level nor will it ever be, meaning that store walls will never be lined with Xenomorph plushies or Newt shirts. And for those times that you do come across an item or two, selection is so small that chances are you won’t be interested in what you find.

As usual, I’m promoting the internet. This time around, Mondo is probably your best bet.

They’ve prepped up for the holiday, offering up items ranging from pins to vinyl to ugly Christmas sweaters. There’s even an adorable facehugger ski mask available. I won’t deny that the selection is a bit on the pricey side, but when your options are limited, you sometimes have to take the financial plunge.

Have a double feature

It’d be silly to go through the day without watching at least one flick in the series. I’d call the act blasphemous, even. Personally, I’d suggest sticking to the first two, and I’m sure many others would agree. While David Fincher is a god among men, Alien 3 is a release that should forever be ignored.

If you only have time for one of the movies, duke it out with your friends and determine whether the first or the second is superior. They’re both stylized in exceedingly different ways leading to contrasting atmosphere techniques and character roles, but they both have something to offer.

My vote goes for the movie that started it all; you just can’t go wrong.

Start designing a cosplay piece

Photo courtesy of cosplayer mostlymade

Photo courtesy of cosplayer mostlymade

MegaCon is right around the corner, but there’s still time to take out the ol’ sewing machine and make yourself into a Queen Alien. It’ll be the first of many sleepless nights, I’m sure, but the payoff will be worth it. Conventions are so full of Deadpools and furries that putting together such a piece is a definite way to make yourself stand out in the crowd.

For those of you who have minimal skills when it comes to costuming, there’s still hope to be had. A Ripley cosplay is rather simple to do, with most of it revolving around little details rather than a grand design. Hey, you can even pick up a patch from Mondo to go with your outfit.

 

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The Witch successfully summons unnerving ambience

The Witch successfully summons unnerving ambience

In the middle of a Halloween rewatch with my friend last week, I noticed that the best horror films have the most simplistic plots. A woman is paranoid that her neighbors are Satanists. A group of friends are being attacked in a cabin deep in the woods. The loglines are easy to come up with, yet their related movies are rich and memorable.

This holds true for The Witch.

The buzz has been going on and on about this particular flick ever since the unsettling trailer came out. I immediately knew that I needed to watch it, but I was simultaneously worried that it’d be all atmosphere and not much else. What happened instead was a pleasant albeit disturbing surprise.

Photo courtesy of A24

Photo courtesy of A24

It all begins with a religious Puritanical-era family leaving a village after the father, William (Ralph Ineson), disagrees with the leaders on how to worship. Their migration leads them many miles away to a seemingly secluded part of Northeast America.

It only takes a few months for their exile to turn sour, which is putting it lightly. A game of pee-ka-boo between older sister Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) and newborn Samuel morphs into a game of hide-and-seek when she uncovers her eyes and finds her baby brother to be missing. Unlike a horror movie from earlier this year, the forest right at the edge of this family’s living situation is actually creepy. It is here that the poor babe is taken, sacrificed by a witch for her devilish purposes.

The decline that follows is rapid. Mother Katherine (Kate Dickie) turns on her own daughter with a continuous glare of judgment and suspicion. William fails his family by producing a pitiful crop and not being able to hunt to make up for it. Suddenly this open space they live in feels like a trap. Physically speaking, the woods don’t move closer, but the threat it holds does.

Photo courtesy of A24

Photo courtesy of A24

Lucifer’s gaze shifts from behind the tree branches into the eyes of Black Phillip, a wicked goat that dashes onto their land. His stay is permanent, and the alarmingly young twins Mercy and Jonas immediately take a liking to him. Damnation has visited this family personally.

It could be easy for someone to write off the Satanic symbolism in The Witch as stereotypical, but it never once comes across as cheap. The haunting score paired with bleak cinematography allows for the natural placement of such moments for it’s these instances that add vibrancy to the setting. The most colorful images are the most striking, and it’s their spare use that allows them to be easily seared onto your brain.

This is a story of temptation. There’s various levels of sin in this movie, and Robert Eggers effortlessly explores every single one. There were a few shots that lingered longer than necessary or that weren’t needed at all, but it’s still incredibly impressive for someone’s directorial debut.

If you’re looking to jump out of your seat in terror, this one isn’t for you. If you’re hoping to have discomfort overcome you in a darkened movie theater, then go and buy a ticket. Come on, The Witch is Satanic Temple-approved; viewing it can at least work as a conversation starter.

 

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How to avoid the subpar horror releases of the year

How to avoid the subpar horror releases of the year

A new year means a new batch of horror movies will be making the rounds. You’ll be tempted by the good, the bad and the ugly, and at times it might be hard to know which releases are worth seeing. Most films in the genre are mere photocopies of overused formulas, so if you go in blind, chances are it’s going to suck.

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to know too much before entering the theater, there’s still a way to better your chances of paying for an enjoyable flick. All you need to do is watch the trailer

The easiest thing to look out for is the celebrity status of the movie. Are you merely excited because a specific actor is attached to the project? This is a common tool used by Hollywood to make up for weak writing. Audiences follow familiar faces similar to how consumers are more comfortable with products they constantly see on TV.

A recent example of this is The Forest, staring Natalie Dormer.

The promotion for this movie focused almost entirely on the actress, probably in an attempt to rein in Game of Thrones fans. It currently has an 11% on Rotten Tomatoes. What makes this situation happen over and over again is that casting directors are so focused on star power that they forget to analyze whether an actor can establish a slow progression into fear. Dormer, for instance, puts on too dramatic of a face to be believable.

Not all horror films with A-listers are unwatchable, but it’s important to ask yourself why they were given the role.

Tropes, the second thing you should look out for, are easy to register because we see them all the time. A creepy rocking chair, nursery rhymes sung by children, kids who look like they were raised by Lucifer himself. If the creepiest moments of a piece have been done over and over again, it stops being scary.

What upcoming movie is a perfect example of this?

I’ve been laughing ever since I saw the trailer for The Boy a few months ago. I thought we were over the whole doll thing but apparently not. However, tropes aren’t always the centerpiece of a horror film. When watching a trailer, keep your eyes open for what’s being presented as “scary.”

If you’ve seen the trailer and it doesn’t seem to rely on star power or overdone scare tactics but you still aren’t sure whether you should check it out, there’s one more aspect to look out for, and it isn’t as easy to spot as the others.

What makes a horror film forgettable is when it’s too focused on being a horror film. If you walk onto a set with the sole purpose of producing something that will terrifying your audience, you’ve already dedicated yourself to making a movie that will be defined by its inability to stand out. Without a strong foundation in story and character, your film will remain hollow.

With something like Amityville: The Awakening, I can’t bring myself to care about these people, and thus I don’t care about what happens to them. Their backstory of moving around is a sad excuse for a scene setter and establishment of teenage angst. These characters could be anybody. When all that matters is that something happens to the people in your story, it’s sure to be a film to avoid.

Now, if you prefer to not watch trailers before giving a movie a shot, that works too. Just don’t I say I didn’t warn ya.

 

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New Years resolutions: What horror aficionados should pledge to do

New Years resolutions: What horror aficionados should pledge to do

As this year hides behind us, an array of New Years resolutions rise up from the depths of hesitance. Everyone pledges to eat healthier or to give up some bad habit. When admitting to their determinations for the year to come, people often finish with a sigh. Why is it that people are so unhappy with their plans? Shouldn’t this promised change be something they should look forward to? No wonder so many people give up after the first week or just don’t try at all.

Horror lovers have it a bit easier, so toss your taxing resolutions aside. These plans hold not a hint of bore.

Watch more foreign language horror

(photo courtesy of Moho Films)

(photo courtesy of Moho Films)

The genre has dug its roots deep into the globe, yet the movies most people seem to talk about come from English-speaking countries. This is the case for a lot of foreign films as well. I adore The Babadook, but other countries exist too, which is why I was excited about A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. There’s a beautiful array of culture out there in the world, and each of it brings its own folklore and shooting style to the mix. Open your doors to the world; you won’t be disappointed.

Check out the shorts

(photo courtesy of Shant Hamassian)

(photo courtesy of Shant Hamassian)

This is something I actually need to work on more. Other than catching a few shorts every so often, I hadn’t delved much into this side of things. That changed at Spooky Empire earlier this year when I attended one of the short film screenings. As expected, there were a few duds, but the rest were solid works of horror. There’s something intriguing about being able to frighten people or make them laugh at the macabre in only a matter of minutes.

Create your own pieces

(photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)

(photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)

Sometimes it’s not enough to just observe the evolution of horror around you; many movie lovers out there are host to a strong urge to create as well. What many people fail to realize, however, is that you don’t need to have access to film equipment worth thousands of dollars to satisfy this need. Although not a horror film, Tangerine was filmed on an iPhone, the high quality achieved through a reasonably-priced Moondog Labs anamorphic adapter. For a cast and crew? Use your friends. It’s all about the drive, so if you want to do it, go for it!

 

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Krampus sleighs its way into the Christmas scene

Krampus sleighs its way into the Christmas scene

You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not shout, or Krampus and his helpers will murder your entire family.

Set aside your hot cocoa and stockings, everyone; Michael Dougherty is back for another holiday adventure, this time following the German legend the movie takes its name after. For those unaware of the folklore, Krampus is a two-legged, horned, hooved and menacing beast who punishes the naughty children of the world. Santa gives coal? Ha! How tame. There’s a reason this fella is known as the shadow of Saint Nicholas.

What a cute lil fella.

What a cute lil fella.

The naughty ones of our story, other than our antagonist of course, compose an entire family. It’s only a few days before Christmas, yet not a hint of cheer can be found in this household of overly-critical individuals. At the center of it all is Max, a boy who’s kind at heart and just wants everyone to cherish the days ahead. When it becomes clear that this won’t happen, he abandons all faith in Santa and togetherness.

The snow begins to rumble down as the child’s anger draws Krampus into his suburban neighborhood. Now these people really have something to complain about. Mostly, you know, dying.

It’s a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously, never fully venturing into horror or comedy territory. Even with the majority taking place in darkness, it’s filled with a relaxed feel. This works for the first half, but it starts to lose its touch when there’s no real tension being built up. You can only do this for so long before every scene starts to feel the same.

The movie stars Adam Scott, Toni Collette and David Koechner (photo courtesy of Universal pictures)

The movie stars Adam Scott, Toni Collette and David Koechner (photo courtesy of Universal Pictures)

What I loved about Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat was that, despite its comedic foundation, it still led me to wonder what would happen next. The last story had me captured and anxious as I waited to see where danger would strike. Therein might be the problem. The move from an anthology format to a fleshed out feature film is a big one, and it seems that the director/writer missed a few steps.

Now don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy this movie; it’s a B- in my eyes. It just bothers me to see someone go from a great film to an all right one. I know the potential is there, so let’s count this as a practice run I suppose.

If anything, seeing the folklore come to life makes me smile (the amount of screen time he’s given is almost Jaws-like), and the ability to make this seem like a family Christmas movie to a degree is commendable. It’s not next to Black Christmas on my holiday-viewing horror list, but it’s definitely on there.

 

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Horror shouldn’t be judged by how scary it is

Horror shouldn’t be judged by how scary it is

The Internet is abuzz with people stating that they’ve found the scariest movie of the past few years. These posts are so sure of themselves, that is until they find the next scariest horror film the following week. I’ve got one site declaring The Witch to be unbearably terrifying while another calls The Taking of Deborah Logan the most horrifying movie on Netflix.

I see posts like these all the time and while their air of certainty may vary, there’s one thing that stays the same: the comments.

A collection of screenshots I recently took from a Facebook comment section.

A collection of screenshots I recently took from a Facebook comment section.

An overwhelming about of them will be about how the movie isn’t scary at all which somehow leads to the conclusion that it’s a waste of time. What a narrow-minded and simplistic method of judgment. This one-step way of declaring a verdict would leave me without horror films to love.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching horror movies since my toddler years, but I’ve never once been scared by one, and yet it’s one of my favorite genres. While I’m sure it’s a thrill having a piece of entertainment leave you unnerved and suspicious of every dark corner as you crawl into bed at night, I see it as a mere bonus.

It’s telling that some of the classics aren’t host to a spine-chilling effect; I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t love Night of the Living Dead, but I’ve also never met anyone who’s been scared by it.

This is a journey of survival in a horror environment. Enjoyable without the need for absolute terror.

This is a journey of survival in a horror environment. Entertaining without the need for absolute terror. (photo courtesy of The Water Reade Organization)

I’ve been seeing a lot of praise for Kristy this week (sidenote: you’re better off watching You’re Next) but I don’t see many instances in which someone could actually be scared by it.

This is a genre routed in the psychological with an occasional dash of comedy. It’s why Rosemary’s Baby is more mysterious than anything else and why many people enjoy watching Black Christmas when December rolls in.

If a movie is actually scary, by all means, applaud it, but it shouldn’t be the most important box on the “Is a horror movie worth it?” checklist.

With the desensitization brought to us by the Internet age, there’s not much that can scare the general population anymore. I think the only person that’s been scared by a movie recently has been my sister, and that’s just because it’s not that hard to have that affect on her. If we don’t stop holding horror to currently unreachable standards, we’re all going to be a very unhappy bunch. Enjoy it for the ride; that’s what it’s there for.

 

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The Green Inferno is a satirical, bloody ride

The Green Inferno is a satirical, bloody ride

Cannibal Holocaust Pt. II came out today, but many of you probably know it by its official name: The Green Inferno.

The new movie from director Eli Roth has finally hit theaters after much buzz on social media, and if you like your horror with a side of comedy, it’s worth checking out.

It all starts with college freshman Justine (Lorenza Izzo) being woken by the chants of protesters outside her window. Their cries are intruding, their self-importance more so. They lack an inner Rosa Parks or a Gloria Steinem and instead encompass the role of those that think activism is trendy. They find themselves to be saints and saviors when really they’re privileged knights in rusting armor. Oh so edgy.

(photo courtesy of Blumhouse Tilt)

(photo courtesy of Blumhouse Tilt)

A lecture on female genital mutilation leads our heroine to this group, and it’s clear that she doesn’t fit in. As if her name doesn’t say it all, she genuinely cares about the people of the world. This is a stark contrast to Alejandro (Ariel Levy), the leader of the pack, who believes negative action leads to positive change. His solution to stopping female genital mutilation would be to go to the villages that partake in this custom and shame them for the world to see. A better life, he insists, as his air of superiority wordlessly labels these people as animals.

At one of the group’s meetings, it’s announced that a trip to the Amazon is being organized to stop a construction company’s path of deforestation which would displace many indigenous peoples. The plan? Bring their cell phones along (of course!) so the world can see the chaos stirred up when they chain themselves to trees in the bulldozer’s path.

No one should be shocked when things don’t go according to plan. Stuck in the green inferno and in the hands (and eventually the stomachs) of a cannibalistic tribe, the clueless and sometimes malignant nature of these SJWs comes to light.

(photo courtesy of Blumhouse Tilt)

(photo courtesy of Blumhouse Tilt)

The Green Inferno is bloody although surprisingly not as gore-filled as its namesake. Each death is comedic and every struggle these students go through merits a chuckle. It’s enjoyable seeing these people, who care more about publicity than their cause, suffer, and this is where it varies from Cannibal Holocaust. The tone of the latter, especially in the last act, is serious and unnerving. Here, life is simply mock-serious; it’s a laugh at 20-somethings who feel that they know the world just because they took a sociology class their first year of college.

It’s not groundbreaking by any means, but it’s still a fun, quick ride. Even with a lackluster ending, somewhat bearable acting and an unnecessary mid-credits scene, I think it should be added to people’s watch lists, albeit their Redbox one.

 

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Iconic horror villains are an endangered species

Iconic horror villains are an endangered species

If we turn one way, a dirtied, eerie hockey mask meets our eye. On our other side is the chewed up bubblegum countenance of a killer. Whether they’re concealed or not, these faces along with a slew of others, are classic horror villains and they’re splattered on every type of merch imaginable.

They’re also on the brink of extinction.

Maybe it's would've been better if they didn't make their villain look like a member of Slipknot. (photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment)

Maybe it’s would’ve been better if they didn’t make their villain look like a member of Slipknot. (photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment)

The classic horror villain used to be a renewing concept, but this past decade has seen the idea slip away. There have been some films that have decided to follow a villain, such as the Sinister series, but their antagonists are unable to seep into the pop culture subconscious of viewers.

Weak plotting or bad acting can be blamed, and I’m sure that’s at least partially true, but it goes beyond that. Maybe their appearance isn’t all too memorable. Again, another possibility, but when it comes down to it for these characters, I think personality is simply way more important than looks.

Sticking a character in the serial killer slot and not building upon that leads to a static frame. These horror villains exist just like the victims in the story. They run or they stumble or they dissipate in one spot only to appear in another.

Michael Myers is known for his unhurried walks towards his next murder victim. He doesn’t need to run; he’s comforted with the notion that it’ll be a successful kill. This exudes a confidence in his craft that we can all feel.

When you can imprison your character and still have him freak people out, you've done a phenomenal job. (photo courtesy of Orion Pictures)

When you can imprison your character and still have him freak people out, you’ve done a phenomenal job. (photo courtesy of Orion Pictures)

On the borderline of the genre is Hannibal Lecter. He’s one of those talky types, a man whose every word stings with self-aware intelligence. All movements are calculated  you can see it in his eyes  which is what adds to the thrill of the story.

You look back decades earlier, and these kinds of character were being pumped out left and right. The last horror villain I find to be truly iconic is Jigsaw, and he made his debut almost 12 years ago. Have writers gotten lazy or did people let go of their inner Robert Graysmith and not need to know anything about the antagonist.

Earlier this week, Rob Zombie made a claim on his Facebook page that one of his characters from his upcoming film 31 will reach iconic horror villain status.

“DOOM-HEAD (aka Richard Brake) does not fuck around. This guy is one fucking intense dude.

I predict that he is the next great villian of horror.”

Guess we'll find out soon enough. (photo courtesy of Front Row Filmed Entertainment)

Guess we’ll find out soon enough. (photo courtesy of Front Row Filmed Entertainment)

Zombie is familiar with reaching cult classic status due to the Firefly Family’s success, but I’m not too sure he’ll experience that again. Everyone but me seemed to hate The Lords of Salem so it’ll be difficult to burrow into the hearts of horror lovers again.

Horror’s dry spell is wearing off, with the past year having been a phenomenal ride for the genre. Plot has picked back up again as have scores. Maybe they’ll let the next batch of horror villains hitchhike for the ride. Nubbins Sawyer would really appreciate it.

 

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Forget Netflix: 3 streaming services for horror lovers

Forget Netflix: 3 streaming services for horror lovers

The dawn of horror streaming services is upon us, and it’s not going to be found on Netflix.

A variety of websites have been popping lately, challenging the aforementioned streaming services giant in regards to the theatrical realm of terror. This attack should come as no surprise; Netflix’s horror section is notoriously bad. Gems such as The Guest and Starry Eyes shine on the site’s list of movies, but even that doesn’t make up for the general lack of watchable horror.

If you’re not an enthusiastic lover of the genre, I would recommend to stay with the popular streaming service; there’s a thin surface to scratch, but its enough to satisfy the itch of a casual viewer. If you’re a horror lover like me, however, then these streaming additions have the ability to be heaven.

Here’s the top three you should keep your eye on:

1. Shudder

(photo courtesy of Shudder)

(photo courtesy of Shudder)

The most popular of these streaming services additions comes from the workers over at AMC. The site is still in a stage of infancy, as seen by the fact that the service is only available in the U.S., but it’s alluring nonetheless.

It follows the expected pattern of debuting movies every month, but it conquers Netflix by allowing members to have a say in what those movies are. To put in a request, one only needs to provide the name of the film and the director involved. If the member wishes to be informed if and when the movie is added, they can include their email in the request form.

This local library-esque way to manage the business shows a care for the customer that Netflix seems to lack sometimes. I wonder whether this form of conducting business will continue as the company settles its roots and moves past the beta stage.

For a service that’s still in its beginnings, it’s surprising to see that its digital library is so vast and full of movies worth watching.

There’s some big name classics (Carnival of Souls, An American Werewolf in London) placed against more recent releases (Kill List, I Saw the Devil), combining itself into a succulent, bloody feast. There’s some bad movies, of course (please don’t watch Exorcismus), but that’s to be expected.

It costs $4.99 a month, but it’s only $49.99 if you pay for the year all at once. If you’re not sure whether you want to commit or not, a two-week trial is available.

2. Screambox

(photo courtesy of Screambox)

(photo courtesy of Screambox)

Screambox has been around for a year now, and, like Shudder, is in its beta stage. Despite that there’s no big name company backing this project, it has done well for itself, having gained a bit of a following on social media.

New movies are added every week, but the types of movies that are added tend to be for a more niche audience. Even the about me page for the site talks about their less-than-commercial collection, mentioning that those involved want to avoid putting up mostly old school horror that everyone knows about.

What’s found instead is a lot of foreign movies originating from Europe and Asia as well as some lesser known American releases.

There’s some downfalls here. With such a limited budget, I don’t see this site having an overly impressive stockpile any time soon. Even now, the shelves look a little bare. If any of the services on this list is to fail, it’d be Screambox. No matter how good your product is, you usually need something well known to draw people in, and Hellraiser along with a few Elvira titles isn’t going to do it.

This site is more for the horror fan that has already seen the majority of the genre and now wishes to explore a much more obscure path.

A monthly subscription is available for $3.99. For those looking to try out the service, there’s a 30-day trial period. It’s currently not available in the app store.

3. SundanceNow

(photo courtesy of SundanceNow)

(photo courtesy of SundanceNow)

I know, I know. SundanceNow isn’t exclusively a horror streaming service  it offers many genres to choose from  but it has such an impressive horror section that I had to add it to the list.

All the movies listed on the site are independent releases. Other than with exceptions like The Babadook, this makes it harder to find the movies available here on other streaming sites. That’s the allure of it all and the only upside.

Unless you’re rolling in the deep end of a pool full of money, SundanceNow isn’t the most economical option to get your horror fix. At first, it’s easy to believe that these movies are offered for free because registration costs nothing, but that’d be too good to be true. Once it comes to actually watching something, you have to pay for the movie individually, with most of them being close to $5 to stream or download.

It’s a little treat you can offer yourself every once in a while and is also a means of keeping up with the indie horror releases that gather buzz on the web.

 

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Bad horror flicks are as necessary as good ones

Bad horror flicks are as necessary as good ones

The acting is more cringe-worthy than the kills, jump scares run amok and clichés find their foothold in every scene.

It’s a bad horror movie through and through.

No matter how much I love the genre, I can’t deny that the majority of it ranges from mediocre to mind numbing. Every time I turn on my TV, I seem to come across another uncreative, supposedly scary addition to the film world that will quickly be forgotten by history. I don’t plan to watch most of these, but occasionally one surfaces that’s so bad that I have to tune in.

I’m not the only one; part of being a horror lover, especially a dedicated one, deals with willingly running into terrible, badly written theatrical arms. We relish it, and there’s a reason why.

(photo courtesy of Dimension Films)

Rubbernecking is alive and well, as exemplified by the thousands of angles this scene is shot at. (photo courtesy of Dimension Films)

Think back on the car accidents you’ve driven past. Your eyes are more focused on the scattered steel than on the road ahead of you, and the way that passenger door is crushed resembles a silent death notice. Traffic slows as every driver looks on, and even though you know it’s not something you should be looking at, you watch on, mesmerized.

If you added some cheesy one-liners and handed us viewers a bucket of popcorn, that reflex ends up resembling the horror experience. Looking into the eyes of death, in this case, a nonsensical one, demands you to stay on the channel.

Hell, it’s fun.

Take for example Hard Rock Zombies. This eighties production is kissed with gratuitous nudity and twists that make no sense. It’s one of those pieces of art (yes, I said art) that shouldn’t capture your attention but will anyway.

Hitler shows up at one point, only to become a zombie of the non-hard rock denomination a few minutes later. The campy way of shooting the characters’ exaggerated deaths makes no sense, just like the setting it all takes place in. After the second montage, I lost track of how many times they crept up in such a short movie.

The eighties was an interesting decade indeed. (photo courtesy of Patel/Shah Film company)

It was an interesting decade indeed. (photo courtesy of Patel/Shah Film company)

This was bad, really bad. When I saw this one, I had been spending the week watching critically acclaimed movies, and then there was this.

But I enjoyed it. It was hilarious, in a sadistic sort of way, to realize that these actors would have put this gig on their resume.

Much like Santa’s Slay and ThanksKilling, Hard Rock Zombies is intentionally deplorable, but that’s not the case most of the time. While the aforementioned have unearthed the formula of the bad movie and have used it to their advantage, others are just examples of poor filmmaking.

Birdemic: Shock and Terror is the first to come to mind. The forced dialogue pairs well with the pathetic attempt at special effects that the actors blindly try to respond to. Watching this movie is the definition of secondhand embarrassment, especially when one remembers that it’s supposed to be a homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.

It’s unintentional gems like this one that work perfectly for group viewings. Every character exchange merits a laugh, and it’s a nice way to take the edge off if the last few horror films you’ve watched are more on the serious side.

(photo courtesy of Moviehead Pictures)

I’m shaking. Whether from laughter or fear, I can’t tell. (photo courtesy of Moviehead Pictures)

These works are never going to win Oscars, but they’re always going to be made. Whenever an impressive film comes out, a million godawful ones will follow. It’s comforting that they’re so dependable.

Bad movies serve this world and they serve it well.

 

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