Thursday, October 30, 2008

Feature of the Month: Wolfman's Got Gnards!

The horror genre is just fantastic and fun. And unlike most genres, you have to enjoy these films on the big screen the first time you see them. It's got to be dark, with loud music and screams all around you, and the energy of the people around you.

My favorites are the films that reinvent the genre or classic horror monsters, or those that simply pay tribute, and manage to make fun of the genre, while still scaring the crap out of you.

You've got the classic hollywood monster movies that pretty much made people crazy about the movies to begin with. Back then it was all about the images. Lighting and old school make up that created things no one had ever seen before, and were almost too terrible to imagine. Thank goodness they weren't real.

Then you've got the slasher movies that made the old hollywood monsters seem like senior citizens that just wanted you to be quiet during bingo. With Freddy, Jason, Myers, and yes, even Chucky running around, you had a new reason to stay awake at night. These movies relied on new special effects to expand your idea of terror, and relied on a basic story that was pretty grounded and slightly more realistic.

These new special effects led to reinventing old characters, such as Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Mummy. Like we are seeing with comic book characters these days, such as Spiderman, the Hulk, Iron Man, and my favorite, Batman, these classic characters were given detailed back stories. Now we knew how they came to be, and why they are out for revenge. As a result, we now cared about these characters, but they were that much darker and scarier too.

The slasher can get pretty predictable, and often the sequels are cheesy. But when you get a classic character such as Freddy or Jason, you just can't seem to get enough. Having these characters face off is the new trend . . . mainly because you are cheering for them rather than running from them. "Awesome kill Jason and great pun Freddy . . . let's go get a drink." But as much fun as these viewings can be (definitely in a theatre with a large crowd on opening night . . . it's awesome), real fans want something deeper. It's time for the remakes, and they are coming. It started with the classic monsters. So it's only fair that the slashers get their time too.

The best thing that ever happened to the slasher/horror genre was Scream. It managed to pay homage to what made these movies great to begin with, yet made them brand new again. It was because of scream that people realized a lot of people can put on a creepy mask and run around (or walk slowly) killing people. It's the story and characters that make it real and heart pounding. You have to care about who this is happening to, and you have to wonder why.

Finally, the new thing is movies like SAW and Hostel that are out to freak you out with extreme torture and gore. SAW is my personal favorite, because I find it to be a fun puzzle to watch unfold onscreen. If the film isn't keeping you guessing as you are squirming in your seat . . . it's an amateur copy cat. Ask for a refund on your way out (or at least a popcorn voucher).

So basically I'm one of those people that leaves the theatre saying, "That was cool. But they shouldn't make another one . . . it'll ruin it." Then a few years later, they announce the sequel, and I'm like, "SWEET!!!!"

That was a long rant, and introduction to my favorite horror movie of all time. But if you've seen the movie, you knew it was coming from the title of my review. I couldn't believe that I had to wait for it's 20 year anniversary to get it on DVD. In fact, it wasn't until I got it that I found out my favorite horror movie was a CULT CLASSIC. It makes me sad that millions of people didn't enjoy this when it came out. I must have watched it hundreds of times as a kid.


It's what Scream was for the slasher movies . . . only it was for the classic hollywood monsters. It's a bunch of kids (yeah, kids playing kids . . . pretty unique for horror) who have a monster club. They know all the rules about the classic monsters. Little do they know that the monsters are real, and they are coming out of hibernation to take over the world. Yep, a monster legion of doom, and no adult believes the warnings of a bunch of kids (picture the goonies with cigarettes in their mouths). Well these kids kick ass, and they decide to take down the monsters themselves.

Pay tribute to the classic characters, give them a fresh look, and throw in a new attitude (kids that curse and kick wolfmen in the gnards), and you've got a classic film. If you haven't seen this . . . don't rent it, buy it.


Megan said...

I'm actually going to see it because I haven't yet and was told by many people I need to. Thank you for paying homage to Scream - my favorite horror film.

Anonymous said...

I think that film, The Dream Warriors, and The Lost Boys are my all time favorite horror movies of the 80's. We used to play it at recess and everyone wanted to be Rudy.

Rock until you drop!

FilmNinja said...

Yeah - Rudy was pretty much the coolest kid at that time. Well, next to Data.

Don't forget about Goonies and The Explorers. Not really horror films - but they've got the cool kids acting like adults thing going on.

Anonymous said...

Oh for sure, I like that genre of kids films that you can still enjoy as a adult.