It’s the end of October! It’s also Halloween, and I know many people who are more than happy that it falls on a Friday this year.
My family doesn’t celebrate Halloween for religious reasons – some of which, after studying the lore, I can understand. But I do enjoy the autumn scenery, and being a fan of horror, I enjoy using the holiday as an excuse to stay up into the wee hours of the morning with a movie marathon.
This year, the marathon is question is going to be an Evil Dead-athon, watching the original trilogy and finishing with the reboot which I haven’t seen. As I mentioned before, The Evil Dead is my all time favorite horror film, but when you’ve seen as many horror films as I have, it’s hard to really narrow it down. For the sake of that previous post, I omitted quite a few other movies that carry the ‘horror’ label, but lean further on a comedic tone. I am a HUGE fan of black comedy, and if I had included these, the previous list might have gone a whole different direction.
So we’ve had our (subjective) list of best horror movies, here’s the my (subjective) list of the top five best black comedy/campy horror films!
Freddy vs. Jason
Now, to some people, they might truly consider this a horror film. After all, it has two of the genre’s biggest stars duking it out in a battle of murderous dominance. And admittedly, it does have a little bit of fear working for it – mostly in the range of jump scares, but hey, whatever works.
This is number five on my list because it is a LOT of fun. The fight scenes between Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees are really only reason to watch the film. The story, while decent, wasn’t executed in the best way. The characters are ‘eh’, with stereotypes and tropes guiding them the entire way, and the acting is equally ‘meh’.
But like I said, the movie is really about the two killers, and that’s where it shines. The reason for their feud is decent enough, and some of the ideas really work. I enjoyed the separation between the two domains of Freddy’s dream world, (signified by the color red), and Jason’s Camp Crystal Lake reality, (signified by the color blue). It really added some nice contrast, and I enjoyed the fact that they each were more powerful in their own realm.
I also enjoyed that they included the weaknesses between Freddy’s fire and Jason’s water. It added some nice background, and it really made it seem like a battle of the elements.
But don’t get me wrong, FVJ is a camp-fest. Right down to the overuse of Freddy’s oneliners, Jason turning into a deformed man-baby after being confronted with water, and that scene where Freddy throws Jason around and it makes pin ball noises? I mean, once the pin ball noises were added, it became camp.
Nevertheless, it’s an entertaining movie, no matter what people say. A good movie? That might be stretching it. But entertaining it is, and very much worth the hour and thirty eight minutes.
This movie… I’m sorry I have to put it at four, because that makes it seem less worthy than it really is. I would say that number four and three could easily be interchangeable, and this was merely a choice that had to be made.
I really, really like this movie. I watched the trilogy (which is all that matters in my book, they ended it just right and the forth one doesn’t count) about a year ago, but I’ve been wanting to watch this movie since I was about ten years old. The Ghostface costume was popular, and I wanted to wear it for Halloween (back when we celebrated it) and watch the movie so I’d know my source material.
I never did, but instead we settled on me watching Child’s Play and being Chucky. Eh.
But, later on when I was much older and could pretty much watch what I wanted, I gave it a watch and it was fantastic. It was directed by Wes Craven, the director of the original Nightmare on Elm Street, had this fantastic meta feel to it AND had a legitimately good twist.
The weird thing about this movie is that I feel it’s half and half on the comedy/horror spectrum. It is a genuinely freaky movie, because this is just some dude in a common costume. It isn’t supernatural at all, and it makes it very real.
But some of the actions of the characters… the very nature of the premise, and the meta feel in general I believe allows me to put it on this list. After all, I don’t think anyone will say that watching Scream scarred them for life.
But definitely give this a watch, and the entire trilogy if you have a chance. It is a very good progression, and it honestly got better each movie.
Just leave the forth movie alone.
Army of Darkness
Like I said, you can safely change number three and fours place back and forth if need be. But what kind of list would this be if I didn’t include Army of Darkness?
Despite not having the Evil Dead name, (apparently it was supposed to be called the Medieval Dead, which is brilliant and I don’t know why they scrapped it), this is the last movie of the Evil Dead trilogy, and picks up where the last movie finished. Ash Williams, now the ultimate epitome of a man, has gone through a portal to the Middle Ages and must save a kingdom from the Deadites by retrieving the Necronomicon and saying the magic words, “Klaatu barada nikto”, which came from the 1951 film, The Day the Earth Stood Still.
I saw this film when I was very young – six, seven, eight… it was one of the few movies my family had on VHS, and I was allowed to watch it due to its light horror. I had no clue it was part of a series until many years later.
This movie, like it’s predecessors, is a LOT of fun. This film relies on slapstick humor for most of it, which I typically don’t enjoy. But it just works SO well here, perhaps because we’re already accustomed to seeing Ash take the abuse.
Despite coming from a series of rather scary films, the first being terrifying and the second, while a little campy, still fairly freaky – if you go on Wikipedia, they don’t have the word ‘horror’ any where it talks about genre. Instead calling it a ‘comedy-dark fantasy’.
But still. It has some good creepy bits, even if its almost always laced with humor. It’s a great movie, and the best part is you don’t have to watch the others if you don’t want too. It works well as a third entry in a series, and as a stand alone film.
When I first heard of this movie, I was expecting a budget film. It looked like it could be a fun romp at best, or a heaping pile of one hour and twenty seven minutes I’d never get back. I didn’t know anyone who starred in it at the time, and I just wasn’t a zombie fan.
Then I sat down and watched it, and for the next hour and twenty seven minutes… I was enthralled. The comedic timing, the acting, the bad-assery that is Woody Harrelson… this movie did so many things right. What I assumed would only have the bare minimum of entertainment value turned out to be one of the smartest, funnest, and despite the context of the movie… realest movies of that year, and maybe of the past ten years.
But still, it isn’t the best.
This next movie, like Zombieland, is another zombie film.
And it’s the best damned one… horror, camp, comedy, or whatever… I’ve seen.
Shaun of the Dead
This movie, put simply into one word, is brilliant. Just thinking about it makes me want to watch it again.
I am a big fan of the Cornetto trilogy in the first place. All of the actors are fantastic, the first two films were fantastic, the third was good… but this first movie is just it for me. I dunno, it just hits me in all the right places. Lubes my gears something swell.
Perhaps I’m biased. British comedy is my favorite. Would the movie be as good if it were American? Probably not. There is just something special about it. Something I just can’t pinpoint.
The chemistry between Simon Pegg and Nick Frost is just undeniably great. Never before, that I’ve seen, have two actors fit so well together. (Well, besides maybe Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, but that’s a different topic).
The little romantic aspect between Shaun and Liz isn’t too intrusive, or too overbearing. They don’t force it, it fits right within the story with ease.
The incompetence of Shaun and Ed is fantastic. Too often does a movie start off with leads that are bumbling idiots, but just by happenstance they do a complete personality change and end up as charismatic heroes that can take on anything. Shaun and Ed start off as fools, and for the most part… they stay fools. They get by pretty much on pure luck, not because any of them know what the hell to do, which feels a LOT more like what would happen in reality, but just simply they happened to do the right thing at the right time.
One of my favorite bits in the film was them beating on one of the zombies while Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ plays in the background. I enjoyed the record throwing scene, I enjoyed Shaun and Ed walking through the street drunk at night, singing, and a zombie provides background vocals. There’s so much to this movie to laugh at and enjoy.
It’s little things like that, that makes this movie so great. It is a movie about a couple idiots making their way through the zombie apocalypse, and yet it is so smart, so well done, so funny… this is some of the best that the zombie genre has to offer. Wherever you are, if you have an hour and thirty-nine minutes free, go swing by Wal-Mart and pick this movie up. Most Wal-Marts I’ve been too have it in their five dollar movie bin, so if you are looking for some of the best comedy around, this is great watch. The minutes will just fly by.
The Cabin in the Woods
This movie was an unexpected joy. It reminds me of Scream in the way that they both commented on the genre of movie they were trying to portray. At first, you are led to believe that you are going to be subjected to a sub-par Evil Dead type film, with stereotypes and tropes galore. You have all your classic characters – the jock, the stoner, the slut, the virgin girl… all college age and going away together for some good ‘ol hedonism.
But that’s not the case. It’s a movie that defies everything you know and it works EXTREMELY well in their favor. I won’t reveal anything, because you need to see it for yourself. So go on, after Shaun of the Dead, give this a whirl.
This is only getting honorable mention because while it is a great film… there wasn’t the special click with me that all these other films had. With this, I was enjoying a good movie. All of the others, it went on a much higher level for me, so that’s why it’s not up there.
And that’s about it on the film front for now! Once again, this is merely my personal list of best films. Our idea of best might be exactly the same, or completely different.
I hope everyone had a fantastic, safe Halloween, whether you’re young enough to be trick-r-treating, or old enough to not care if you’re young enough to be trick-r-treating.
And whether from my list or not, enjoy some horror movies. Tonight gives anyone the perfect excuse to enjoy any of the horror flicks that float your boat.
Also, tomorrow marks the first day NaNoWriMo! So you can expect frequent updates from me on the writing process, and the novel itself entitled ‘The Bright Side to the Dark Arts’. My Twitter will also be updated on a (hopefully) daily basis with progress.
And on Sunday, I’ll have a review on one of my most anticipated albums this year… I had high hopes, and as I write this I’m listening to the album for the sixth time.
So once again, have a happy Halloween and I’ll see you on Sunday!
And that’s all I have to say about that.
– Brandon, 6:48 PM