Saturday, October 29, 2011

Horror Movie Recommendations: Part 3/3 (The FUN movies.)

These are horror movies that I love because they're fun. They might not push any boundaries, or qualify as the pinacle of the art, but they are the bread and butter of my horror movie life. This was the hardest of the 3 lists to cut down to recommendations that I thought would be both interesting and useful, so some movies  don't make the list just because I'm sure everyone has seen them (Evil Dead II for instance, or Shaun of the Dead). So, I hope you enjoy these movies as much as I do!

Thirteen Ghosts (2001 remake) There's no way I could write this list without Thirteen Ghosts. I've written about my love for this movie in much more depth before, but I'll sum it up here. Thirteen Ghosts is a movie in the true spirit of the William Castle original. It's totally more of a ride than a story. The big crazy mechanical house is a mechanism for moving the characters from one encounter to the next, and it moves us along with it. The alive people on screen are almost exclusively boring and obnoxious (with the exception of Matthew Lillard who is perfectly in his element here as a scenery chewing depraved psychic ghost hunting pillhead), but the ghosts are wonderful. The filmmakers put every bit of their love and care into the set design and the monster design, and as a showcase for those the movie is perfect. It's like a really interesting silent movie with the music replaced by idiotic dialogue.

Constantine (2005) Keanu Reeves is perfect as the main character, his disaffection coming across as part of the role, rather than detracting from it. Tilda Swinton is sexy and dangerous in equal parts as the androgynous angel Gabriel. Peter Stormare is even sexier and more dangerous as the devil, Lou. The visual direction is great, and everyone seems to be really enjoying themselves. I love this movie's take on magic and ghosts, and connecting with the other side, but I won't try and convince you that it is a smart movie. What it is, however, is a very fun movie.

The Perfect Host (2011) The plot of this movie is simple - a fugitive on the run takes a man hostage. The hostage is David Hyde Pierce, a very urbane (read: gay) man who is preparing to have a dinner party that evening. Also, he's a fucking maniac. The movie swings through twist after twist, but the real pleasure comes from watching Pierce playing crazy to perfection. You can't look away, because you get this feeling that this is what David Hyde Pierce is really like. He's the kind of villain that we need more of in this world of ours. Also I think people should say "Maniac" more.

The Addams Family (1991) This movie is SO GOOD. The jokes aren't laugh out loud funny, they're just off kilter. Everything in the life of this family is just askew, and it captures the alternate halloween universey feel of Charles Addams' New Yorker cartoons well. I can probably quote this movie from beginning to end, from Raul Julia and Angelica Huston's pillow talk ("Don't torture yourself Gomez. That's my job." - or - "I would die for her. I would kill for her! Either way, what bliss.")  to the pride these weirdos have in just being themselves. ("The Addams family credo: We gladly feast on those who would subdue us. Not just pretty words.") This movie had a huge impact on my view of the world, and I love it. (Morticia: It was my first funeral. - Gomez: You were so beautiful. Pale and mysterious. No one even looked at the corpse.) I love the sequel, too!

Piranha (2010) I've written about this movie as well, and so I'll just post a short summary here. This movie is TERRIBLE for the first hour, and then becomes AMAZING. The last half hour of this movie mixes gore with T&A so indiscriminately that it hurts to think about it too hard. A woman in a bikini gets sliced from her shoulder down diagonally to her opposite hip. She has that stunned, "I just got cut in half" look on her face, and then the bra falls open, showing off her breasts. After a moment of breast exposure, the two halves of her body slide apart with a sick wet sound, and then the top half falls lifeless toward the camera. Tit first. In slow motion 3D. A woman is para-sailing topless, and they keep her in the water too long, only to speed the boat up so that she hangs bloody and naked from the parachute. Another character is eaten from the waist down and then the Piranhas fight over his penis. Then one of them throws it up.  It's like an emotionally stunted and yet imaginative twelve year old boy directed huge chunks of the movie.


Part 1 of the recommendations was "important" movies. Movies that are important to me, and to the horror genre in general.

Part 2 of this recommendation list was "Interesting" movies. Movies that aren't exactly successful, but which try something original or different and are definitely worth watching.


  1. Have you seen Severance? So funny and intense and awesome.

  2. Gotta say, Piranha had one of the greatest last deathbed lines of a character EVER. "Wet t-shirt."

  3. Keanu Reeves is hit or miss for me but I actually find something compelling about The Devils Advocate.

  4. I watched The Perfect Host a couple nights ago at your recommendation and liked it a lot. Thank you for that. David Hyde Pierce needs to go back an film an episode of Frasier as Warwick Wilson.

    A movie on my fun list is The Signal (2007). I would like to think that if the world loses its mind, the first thing I will do to protect myself is find an outdoor lantern pole and duct tape knives into the wire mesh tip.

  5. I would definitely second both The Signal and Severance. The Signal is a really great blend of funny, disturbing, and touching.

    Another great, fun movie is Botched (2007). Stephen Dorff squares off against the descendants of Ivan the Terrible in a heist gone wrong. Funny, gory nonsense, but Dorff is great. I just read he's reprising his role of spooooky vampire man Deacon Frost for a trilogy of Blade prequels. I'm definitely not a fan of the franchise, but I loved his character from the first film.

  6. I just watched "Perfect Host" at your suggestion. Fantastic & horrifying! Keep on writing.

  7. Hey, I found the blog a month or two back via A Softer World, and I just want to thank you for putting this out there. Your taste in horror movies is rather similar to mine, and so your recommendations are always spot on for me. I'm making better horror movie choices now that I'm seeking out your recommended favorites instead of just playing whatever is on Netflix Instant that has an amusing description. Don't ever stop blogging!

  8. Sorry Joey, but I refuse to watch Constantine. Have you read the comics that the movie was based on? They are incredible. Keanu Reeves couldn't do John Constantine justice.