This month, for Shocktober, I watched three horror movies referring to past horror movies to make them something more, something special. I almost wish I had watched them all in a single day, because they work together in a way that separately are dull. Here's my reviews of each, with the final review wrapping things up.
Evil Dead II
This film is the King of Camp, this film spurred many comments from my daughter and I while watching:
"Epic shovel. Keep that with you."
"Some guys like it when their girls bite. I guess he doesn't."
Amazing car! It's faster than evil!"
"You can hide from evil, but not the camera."
"Favorite character: the Hand. Miracle fingernails!"
"Pretty red. Quite cinematic."
"If it weren't for stupid people, there'd be no horror movies. But honestly, I'm surprised he made it for a full hour and a half."
Comments like these is what makes movies like Evil Dead II worth watching.
Viewers tip: You don't have to watch the first Evil Dead to appreciate this follow up as it is not a sequel, but a mock remake.
A beautiful meta-horror film filled with references to horror films of the past.
Just to give you an idea, here are the three rules to not getting killed in a slasher movie:
1. Don't have sex (only a virgin can defeat the bad guy)
2. Don't drink/have drugs (that's just an extension of #1)
3. Don't ever say "I'll be back." (because the irony is too much to deny)
Of course, as this is said, a couple is having sex, a group of teens are drinking and a person leaves, saying, "I'll be back." Obvious, but still delightful.
By the way, I'd hate to be the serial killer in this film. He gets so beat up and punished throughout the film. I think I'd give up the serial killing business if I were in Scream.
It is interesting to compare this to the meta-horror film Cabin in the Woods. It is just as referencing past horror films and creating principles of horror, but Cabin feels less like a lecture on horror tropes and plays with them more.
Still, any movie that purposes to point out then reverse tropes is okay in my book, and entertains me.
Viewers Tip: Get with friends and have a drinking game for every time they reference another film. Certain to give you a bloated bladder.
Cabin in the Woods
The first time I watched this film last year, I felt that it wasn't all that I thought it should be. First of all, it was only occasionally. Secondly, it wasn't that scary. Yet somehow, I thought that it was a horror film I could show my teenage daughters, and they would enjoy it. Since last year I watched Scream and Evil Dead II, and the light turned on and I now know why this film is great.
Cabin is the ultimate expression of what Scream and EDII tried to capture-- the meta-horror movie. All three films attempt to explain the mythic core of horror stories and what makes them both successful and powerful. There is a basic moral story that communicate to us, especially young people, some basic sins that the universe demands must be punished, even if we, as humans, might wink at.
Cabin is the best of these three because it makes the meta story not only explicit, but integral to the plot. There is a double story-- the familiar one of the group of teens getting a taste of freedom without any authority, and the story of a secret government agency tracking their movements for some hidden, dark purpose.
Cabin is the best of the three because Scream references and summarizes all slasher films, Evil Dead 2 takes the plot a step far beyond the cabin story (poking tender fun at the genre), but Cabin speaks of not only the purpose of the genre, but the horrible end to it. It goes to the ultimate finale of the myth, which is satisfying in its own right.
Oh, and it truly has funny moment and is highly entertaining, like the other two. What a great triple feature, to watch all three, as I did this Shocktober.
Viewers Tip: Watch it again. It's good that way