So, as I had mentioned in previous entries, I decided that since I was going to be spending Christmas Day all by my lonesome (don't worry, all my Christmas celebrations were either last weekend or Christmas Eve), I'd be spending that time watching a few horror movies that I've been putting off of watching. I just got done and let me say that doing nothing but spending roughly 6 hours in bed watching scary movies isn't the greatest of ways to spend your day. I'd probably like to go into the movies in a bit more detail but I won't for two reasons: 1) I don't wanna ruin anything for people who haven't yet seen them and 2) I got a bit of a headache and am feeling quite lazy. A part of me just wants to play a little game of New Super Mario Bros. Wii and bring out my inner Christmas child. Of course, I'm typing this up, eating nachos and watching Wonder Showzen instead. And people wonder why I'm a bad person.
The first movie I watched was Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. In a world where the likes of Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers and Freddy Kruger are real, Leslie Vernon aims to join their ranks as a legendary serial killer and even lets a group of student documentarians tag along for the process. Oddly enough, instead of being a bloodthirsty maniac, Leslie is actually an affable Ryan Reynolds-type that spouts quips like "You know how much cardio I have to do?" and clues them in how exhaustive the process of being a truly creative serial killer can be. Of course, being a horror movie, things are more than they seem and the documentarians don't know what they've gotten themselves into until it's too late. Overall, the movie itself is a brilliant satire on the slasher genre that the Scream series wishes it was and any self-respecting horror fan needs to check it out now. However, if you're expecting to be scared out of your wits, that probably won't happen. The first half of the movie is practically a comedy but by the time shit got real, I was thinking too hard to be scared. Nevertheless, the concept is brilliant and the execution is top-notch.
Next up was The Midnight Meat Train. The story here is a down-on-his-luck photographer becomes obsessed with a man on a train who he believes to be kidnapping, and possibly mutilating, people that ride the late subway trains. Of course, as it usually goes with these sort of things, the deeper in he goes, the crazier he gets and the more he struggles to get people to believe him. But since this is based on a Clive Barker story, things are just a bit more messed up than your average horror film. At first, I thought the movie took a bit to pick up and some of the early killings are pretty overstylized but once you get into the thick of the story, it has your full attention, even if you completely don't know what's going on. Bradley Cooper proved that his newfound popularity with The Hangover is no fluke as he went from dashing romantic lead to batshit crazy and Vinnie Jones was the perfect choice to play the killer Mahogany. Despite his pedigree of Japanese martial arts flicks like Versus and Azumi, Ryuhei Kitamura does a great job at showing off his signature style (like the camera spinning around a subway car to the point of motion sickness during the final showdown) yet retaining the creepiness evident in Clive Barker's classic Hellraiser. Once again, a must-see.
The Descent was the final movie on my list and I saved it for last as I've seen it placed high in plenty of lists of the best horror films of the decade. To me, The Descent was definitely scary, but maybe for reasons that possibly didn't quite scare everyone else. Sure there were ravenous blood-thirsty monsters deep within the cave that terrorized our dauntless crew of spelunkers, but they didn't really show up until halfway through. No, what really got me was the overwhelming sense of dread caused by the claustrophobic caverns and the chance that they would never even see daylight before the creatures even appeared. But just when I was ready to believe the acclaim was justified, then came the "happy" ending which wasn't even all that happy which kinda ruined the movie for me. Luckily, this was pretty much the only case ever where the fake-out ending worked and I was happy again. Of course, guess which ending was picked for the US Theatrical Cut?
Yeah, Hollywood can be morons sometimes. Whether it's choosing an inferior ending, only giving it a theatrical run of a week or not running it at all, Hollywood oftentimes doesn't quite know what to do with horror. But despite living in an age of remakes and sequel-itis, there are plenty of great horror flicks being made.