The 25 best horror movies since 2000 (according to AVClub)
October 26, 2015 4:13 AM   Subscribe

"Ask horror-movie buffs to name their favorite decade for the genre, and you’ll likely receive a variety of answers. The ’30s had several of Universal’s classic roster of monsters. The ’40s had Val Lewton. The ’70s had zombies, and giant sharks, and Texas chain saw massacres. (The ’70s is a good choice.) But at the risk of speculating wildly, it seems safe to assume that not too many hypothetical fans would single out the current or previous decade as horror’s finest. Classics take time to solidify, reputations take a minute to build, and hindsight is 20/20. Plus, you know, Uwe Boll."

The List

25. Martyrs
24. Gingersnaps
23. Strangers
22. The Others
21. 28 Weeks Later
20. May
19. Wolf Creek
18. Kill List
17. The Host
16. Trouble Every Day
15. The Devil's Backbone
14. The Cabin In The Woods
13. Pulse
12. The Orphanage
11. The Ring
10. Inside

9. Let The Right One In
8. Cure
7. The Descent
6. Drag Me To Hell
5. 28 Days Later
4. The House Of The Devil
3. The Babadook
2. It Follows

1. Audition
posted by valkane (227 comments total) 68 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wrong. House of a 1000 Corpses deserves to be on that list. I don't care what anyone says. Pout.
posted by ian1977 at 4:31 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sad to see Session 9 didn't make the cut.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 4:32 AM on October 26, 2015 [13 favorites]


Oh and American Mary starring Margot Verger
posted by ian1977 at 4:34 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Drag Me To Hell?
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 4:39 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not really a fan of horror but have watched a decent number of these. I would likely have put Babadook ahead of Audition in terms of my personal enjoyment. However, in Audition's favour: I was watching it while my SO was reading the paper in the same room. She is not at all a horror fan and held up the paper so she could ignore what was going on. After a few minutes she got up, gave me a look of non-approval and left. It turned out just the sound of that scene was unpleasant enough to drive her out. When you bear in mind it was a subtitled film, and it was just the sound effects that affected her, that's pretty firm tick by the box marked 'disturbing'.
posted by biffa at 4:39 AM on October 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


The list is missing entries from my favorite horror sub-genre - - real life horror. My two favorites are Open Water and Frozen (no, not that Frozen).

Also missing are: The Mist, The Devil's Rejects, Slither, The Forgotten, Pontypool, Bug, and Mulholland Drive.
posted by fairmettle at 4:42 AM on October 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yes Pontypool!

And The Babadook does not deserve to be so high on the list. It's just newer that's all. I'm guessing history will have more accolades for The Ring than the Babadook
posted by ian1977 at 4:43 AM on October 26, 2015 [9 favorites]


I was all like, "No Blair Witch?! C'mon! BLAIR WITCH!!" Then I checked; The Blair Witch Project was released in 1999. Heh.
posted by valkane at 4:46 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, but so was Audition (arguably).
posted by Ian A.T. at 4:51 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hey, you're right!
posted by valkane at 4:54 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of surprised how few of these I've seen. Hell, I hadn't even heard of Inside, Cure, and Trouble Every Day.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 4:55 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ah, it was "screened", but not "released." Thus your (arguably).
posted by valkane at 4:55 AM on October 26, 2015


I would have added Pontypool (very original and tense, with a great use of a very small cast) and Session 9 (lots of atmosphere) and left off Drag Me to Hell, which has some fundamental problems, including one of the most leaden twisted ever twisted, and maybe one of the 28 Days films (do they both need to be there?), but I was really pleased to see May, which makes a nice double feature with Ginger Snaps.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:59 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Trouble Every Day has a great Tindersticks soundtrack. Here's the title track.
posted by Ian A.T. at 5:00 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's too early in the morning for me to complain about this list all that much. Being willfully blind to the list's faults, I love the inclusion of Ginger Snaps, May, The Ring, and Trouble Every Day -- good, underrated stuff. There's some junk here (The Others? seriously?), some flavor of the month rankings (I love It Follows, but it ain't that good), and the usual "I think you forgot"s (no A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night? are you serious?), but on the whole it's a pretty okay list.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:03 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Bone Tomahawk was storming my personal list even as I watched it.
posted by maxsparber at 5:17 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Amazing... Not only have I not seen a single one of the movies on the list, I have never even heard of them. Not sure if this makes me old, or a hermit, or what. (Or maybe Daily Reality provides more than my daily dose of horror these days so I no longer seek it as entertainment.)
posted by kinnakeet at 5:21 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Descent is the most I've ever, ever been frightened by a film, no matter what year it was made, and should be much, much higher. I'm almost certain that The Grudge came out in the last fifteen years, didn't it? It wasn't as good as Juon, but there were parts that I found much more frightening than in the original. The Ring, as well, works better for me than Ringu, just because the original is so horribly dated.

On the other hand, Pulse shouldn't be higher than anything... It's another in a long line of movies where someone had an idea for a really cool looking scene or two, but never realized that you need an actual movie to go along with the really snazzy ideas. I mean, there are some fantastic scenes in the film, and some good and proper scares, but it's just so poorly done.

If nothing else, I have a decent list of new horror to watch.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:30 AM on October 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


28 Weeks Later in the top 25? Ugh.

I've watched some truly dismal horror movies recently but I'd have to argue that Oculus or even Final Girls should be on here somewhere.
posted by trunk muffins at 5:34 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


My bad, I thought they were claiming the American version of Pulse was good. Carry on.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:35 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ringu had so much more dread than the American The Ring, so even though the former was before the cutoff date, I find it hard to include the latter on any best-of list.

My list would have to include 30 Days of Night, but that might be a reflection of how few recent horror movies I've seen (only three on that list).
posted by Foosnark at 5:36 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Tucker & Dale vs. Evil or GTFO.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:38 AM on October 26, 2015 [15 favorites]


That The Cabin in the Woods was included but Tucker and Dale Versus Evil was not, is the real horror here. Also Europe seems to be getting short shrift here with the absence of Trollhunter and Dead Snow.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 5:41 AM on October 26, 2015 [9 favorites]


Does Uwe Boll qualify as horror? I thought his work was so deliberately slipshod that it transcended the constraints of genre.
posted by acb at 5:41 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Foosnark, we'll have to disagree on the Ring stuff, but I love 30 Days. The copy that I saw, though, had no subtitles for the vampires, which honestly made it more terrifying than when I finally saw the proper version. Watching the whole film with the vampires and their bird like screeching not knowing what was being communicated made the moment when the lead vampire speaks English a truly frightening moment.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:41 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


My list would have to include 30 Days of Night,
Oh, man, Danny Huston was amazing and having so much fun in that movie. 'Course I'm of the opinion that Danny Huston is like Harry Dean Stanton; if Huston is in your movie, it's gonna be a pretty good movie.
posted by valkane at 5:43 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Went in looking for The Babadook, see it right at the top of the first image. I approve this message.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:47 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, does Battle Royale count as horror? I'd say it's one of the more influential films that's not on the list. It's hard to imagine the J-Horror craze really igniting in the U.S. without it, and the more action-oriented horrors like You're Next and The Purge seem to owe a certain debt to it. I think you could even argue that it's a key influence on the whole teen-dystopia genre, vis a vis Hunger Games and such.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:51 AM on October 26, 2015


No, clearly they owe it all to Tag: The Assassination Game.
posted by nom de poop at 5:56 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


You guys May is so good.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:15 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Battle Royale isn't horror. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to watch it. >__>
posted by Quilford at 6:18 AM on October 26, 2015


Checked list, worked down the list until I found one on Netflix where I am, and now I'm watching The Babadook instead of housework.
posted by tracicle at 6:25 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


I should not be this smug that the list didn't include anything by Eli Roth.

But I am.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:31 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is a good list, though I think The Orphanage definitely deserves the top ten, if not the top five. Other than The Grudge, it's probably the scariest movie I've ever seen.

Also yes to Pontypool and A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night should have been on the list. Also...The Conjuring isn't there? I thought everyone had more or less agreed that it was scary af?

Finally, I will never understand how Triangle isn't more widely known. It's a great movie! Very original and creepy! It should be making all of these types of lists.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:37 AM on October 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


The face that people think this list is missing their favorite titles really just helps make the point that it was a very very good decade for horror.
posted by dogwalker at 6:38 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is a fine list, but I couldn't not LOL at the typos. "Diffused Bomb" is my new fave. "Cuniligus" is also pretty great.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:48 AM on October 26, 2015


No massive changes needed to the list from me; not a huge fan of Drag Me To Hell, but what can you do. My must-adds:

Triangle
Rare Exports (Norwegian Santa horror, I mean come on)
Pontypool
Dark Water
Bug

Just watched It Follows last night, and while I think if I'd seen it "clean" I would have been super impressed, like I was with Triangle and The Babadook, but the amount of hype leading into it kind of left me not-so-wowed.

A Girl Walks Home... and Only Lovers Left Alive were good movies, in my eyes, but not particularly good horror movies. I was flat-out not a fan of Session 9, but I guess I'm in the minority there.
posted by Shepherd at 6:50 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


I should not be this smug that the list didn't include anything by Eli Roth.

Smug? I'm just relieved. I love horror, but hate torture porn. I've gotten so tired over the last 15 years of having to parse any given horror movie's potential for turning into a virtual snuff film. He's not the first to plumb the genre, but he's certainly a key popularizer.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:50 AM on October 26, 2015 [13 favorites]


But surely The Audition is torture porn-ish? I'm a serious horror fan, but even I couldn't watch the final few scenes of that movie with my eyes open.
posted by zenzicube at 7:02 AM on October 26, 2015


The face that people think this list is missing their favorite titles really just helps make the point that it was a very very good decade for horror.

Well, compared to what? I love Audition and agree that it belongs at the top of this list, but if I were making a list of the best horror movies of the 1970s, it wouldn't even be in the top 10. It might squeak in to the same list for the 1980s. The 1990s were kind of a lousy decade for horror movies, but if you populate that list with the movies from this list that really belong there (Audition, Cure, and even The Ring pretty much owes its spot on this list to a predecessor that came out in the 1990s) it looks a little better and this list, covering a full 15 years, looks a little worse.

But surely The Audition is torture porn-ish? I'm a serious horror fan, but even I couldn't watch the final few scenes of that movie with my eyes open.

Audition is not "torture porn" because there's a point to the violence on screen. It's an interesting movie about gender stereotypes and the perniciousness of casual sexism, and the revenge scenario is about pushing those points home in the most vivid way possible. It's not fair to decry it as "porn" if there's genuine social and political meaning there. (Actually, I don't like the term torture porn at all because I feel like there is socio-political subtext to Hostel and even the Saw movies, but Audition is pretty deliberately explicit about turning its tables on chauvinism and the male gaze — punishing its audience for its tacit complicity in and therefore approval of the shenanigans of the earlier part of the film — so that's really a bad rap to give it.)
posted by Mothlight at 7:12 AM on October 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


The Conjuring isn't there? I thought everyone had more or less agreed that it was scary af?

Wasn't that just Amityville Horror with a needless subplot about the ghost hunters touring college campuses?
posted by shakespeherian at 7:22 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


biffa: "I'm not really a fan of horror but have watched a decent number of these. I would likely have put Babadook ahead of Audition in terms of my personal enjoyment. However, in Audition's favour: I was watching it while my SO was reading the paper in the same room. She is not at all a horror fan and held up the paper so she could ignore what was going on. After a few minutes she got up, gave me a look of non-approval and left. It turned out just the sound of that scene was unpleasant enough to drive her out. When you bear in mind it was a subtitled film, and it was just the sound effects that affected her, that's pretty firm tick by the box marked 'disturbing'."

Good sound design can make all the difference in a scary movie for me.

GenjiandProust: "I would have added Pontypool (very original and tense, with a great use of a very small cast) and Session 9 (lots of atmosphere) and left off Drag Me to Hell, which has some fundamental problems, including one of the most leaden twisted ever twisted, and maybe one of the 28 Days films (do they both need to be there?), but I was really pleased to see May, which makes a nice double feature with Ginger Snaps."

May was and will always be amazing. But, seriously, I hope some day to see where all the Session 9 love comes from. I was just mentioning Pontypool to a college English professor with a Oxford D.Phil the other day....
posted by Samizdata at 7:26 AM on October 26, 2015


I really hate the term "torture porn." It implies a lot, and none of it is good or flattering to fans of horror (or of porn, for that matter). From what I can glean, it presupposes that (a) there are people who watch horror as one might watch porn, looking only for the gory stuff, which gets them off in some way, (b) these audiences are not interested in story or context or even suspense, but just want the gooshy parts, and (c) there are films that exist simply to deliver them. This to me is a very reductive look at the audience for violent horror films, as sketched by a person who does not like such films, possibly despises them, and certainly does not understand them. It would very easy to similarly dismiss slapstick as "laughter porn," drama as "sadness porn," romance as "happiness porn." What it basically says to me is there are critics who don't like a genre and so assume something must be wrong with people who do.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:28 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Strange Interlude: "Tucker & Dale vs. Evil or GTFO."

1f2frfbf: "That The Cabin in the Woods was included but Tucker and Dale Versus Evil was not, is the real horror here. Also Europe seems to be getting short shrift here with the absence of Trollhunter and Dead Snow."

Look, T&DvE is wonderful, but at best it is black comedy, not horror. This was a list of horror movies. I might even argue Trollhunter's basis for inclusion.

triggerfinger: "This is a good list, though I think The Orphanage definitely deserves the top ten, if not the top five. Other than The Grudge, it's probably the scariest movie I've ever seen.

Also yes to Pontypool and A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night should have been on the list. Also...The Conjuring isn't there? I thought everyone had more or less agreed that it was scary af?

Finally, I will never understand how Triangle isn't more widely known. It's a great movie! Very original and creepy! It should be making all of these types of lists.
"

Wow! The third person I know that has seen it. (The second person watched it with me.)
posted by Samizdata at 7:31 AM on October 26, 2015


No Under the Skin? That's easily the most unsettling movie since 2000.
I guess I'm an outlier, because I'd have Berberian Sound Studio and Upstream Color high on the list.
posted by rock swoon has no past at 7:31 AM on October 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


kittens for breakfast: "I really hate the term "torture porn." It implies a lot, and none of it is good or flattering to fans of horror (or of porn, for that matter). From what I can glean, it presupposes that (a) there are people who watch horror as one might watch porn, looking only for the gory stuff, which gets them off in some way, (b) these audiences are not interested in story or context or even suspense, but just want the gooshy parts, and (c) there are films that exist simply to deliver them. This to me is a very reductive look at the audience for violent horror films, as sketched by a person who does not like such films, possibly despises them, and certainly does not understand them. It would very easy to similarly dismiss slapstick as "laughter porn," drama as "sadness porn," romance as "happiness porn." What it basically says to me is there are critics who don't like a genre and so assume something must be wrong with people who do."

So, that makes the sadly underrated Bitter Feast food porn then?

Seriously, my definition of torture porn is whether the torture is

A] critical to the plot or just there for shudders, and
B] for lack of a better term, is the torture lovingly shot and dwelled upon.

One of my favorite examples is the scene at the end of the original Hostel when the male lead rescues the Asian girl. Did he really have to use scissors to remove the eye lying on her cheek without any sort of apology or warning at all? Further more, did we need an explicit closeup of the removal?
posted by Samizdata at 7:36 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


" It would very easy to similarly dismiss slapstick as "laughter porn," drama as "sadness porn," romance as "happiness porn.""

Slapstick or humour is supposed to induce laughter in its viewers. Drama (the sad dramatic kind) is supposed to induce sadness in its viewers. Romance is supposed to induce happiness in its viewers. However torture porn doesn't induce torture. It's called "torture porn" because it's a genre of horror that relies on showing torture as its main affect (I'm using "affect" to mean something that affects emotions.) Like "clown porn" is actual sexual porn that has its performers be dressed as and acting like clowns (I don't know either but to each their own) so torture porn is basically movies or whatever whose main thing is torture. But "porn" in this case isn't sexual but it just means that that's the biggest gist of the film like "earth porn" is used to describe photos of beautiful landscapes.
posted by I-baLL at 7:41 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Right, but I actually can't think of a "torture porn" film that fits that description. I do, however, think there are people so turned off by the horror genre that they can see a horror film and think they've seen a film that fits that description. It's kind of like being tone deaf and blaming the music.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:45 AM on October 26, 2015


I remember finding The Conjuring to be scary when I watched it but it didn't stick with me even a little bit. All I can recall now is that it has an awful, generic title that doesn't actually refer to anything in the story (literally nothing is conjured, nor does that work on a metaphorical level either) and that I hate Patrick Wilson in literally everything he's in, and casting him in the hagiographic version of a real-life scam-artist didn't help there.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:48 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


JASON X! Why no Jason X?! This list is anti-life and anti-mind.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:50 AM on October 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


ROU_Xenophobe: "JASON X! Why no Jason X?! This list is anti-life and anti-mind."

As mentioned above, I would count Jason X more a horror/comedy than horror.
posted by Samizdata at 7:54 AM on October 26, 2015


It would very easy to similarly dismiss...romance as "happiness porn."

Hey, thanks for the new term!
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 7:58 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Samizdata, I personally think a hell of a lot is going on in that sequence; Your Mileage May Vary insofar as its cinematic value is concerned. What I think is less defensible than the scene you describe is the one right before it, when the male lead finds the girl, and we have a closeup of the torture itself. It's an awful, shocking moment, and while I think it's earned -- at this point, we really want to know what the hell is happening to her, literally out of morbid curiosity -- do we need to look so long? Would the scene be more effective if we only saw the lead's reaction, and had to imagine for ourselves how bad all of it was? Maybe. Or maybe some audience members would have felt cheated, or maybe the film lingering on the injury is punishment for our own curiosity, or who knows? I personally felt that reveal was pretty damn long the first time I saw Hostel, but on a subsequent viewing, I realized it just...seemed long. It was not a thing I wanted to see. I got the idea. But this is what you sign in for when you see a movie like that.

The eyeball removal, though, is something I will defend, because its point is that we can't just walk away from the damage the murder tourists are doing; the hero has to actually somehow try to fix the situation, even though he's essentially incapable of it and probably makes matters worse. There's a really fine line here between real horror and the comedic gruesomeness of something like Dead/Alive, and the lead freaking out and whining "What do I do, what do I do" could have crossed it and become unintentionally funny, but I think it's a testament to the filmmaking that it doesn't.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:02 AM on October 26, 2015


kittens for breakfast: "Samizdata, I personally think a hell of a lot is going on in that sequence; Your Mileage May Vary insofar as its cinematic value is concerned. What I think is less defensible than the scene you describe is the one right before it, when the male lead finds the girl, and we have a closeup of the torture itself. It's an awful, shocking moment, and while I think it's earned -- at this point, we really want to know what the hell is happening to her, literally out of morbid curiosity -- do we need to look so long? Would the scene be more effective if we only saw the lead's reaction, and had to imagine for ourselves how bad all of it was? Maybe. Or maybe some audience members would have felt cheated, or maybe the film lingering on the injury is punishment for our own curiosity, or who knows? I personally felt that reveal was pretty damn long the first time I saw Hostel, but on a subsequent viewing, I realized it just...seemed long. It was not a thing I wanted to see. I got the idea. But this is what you sign in for when you see a movie like that.

The eyeball removal, though, is something I will defend, because its point is that we can't just walk away from the damage the murder tourists are doing; the hero has to actually somehow try to fix the situation, even though he's essentially incapable of it and probably makes matters worse. There's a really fine line here between real horror and the comedic gruesomeness of something like Dead/Alive, and the lead freaking out and whining "What do I do, what do I do" could have crossed it and become unintentionally funny, but I think it's a testament to the filmmaking that it doesn't.
"

Okay, I will grant you that. But, at that point, I was feeling a little numb by all the other torture.

I will at this point make an addition to my earlier list and say

C] Often imagination is better than having everything spelled out for you.

At that point, the completely irredeemable nature of the torturers is blindingly obvious. Do we need just one more example?
posted by Samizdata at 8:12 AM on October 26, 2015


But surely The Audition is torture porn-ish?

I admire Audition a lot, but I think that thing that truly separates it from Roth's work, as well as things like the Saw franchise, is that it's a truly transgressive work. Miike convinces the viewer that they're watching a Fatal Attraction-esque kind of femme fatale thriller, only to have it utterly transform in Act 3, breaking the unspoken contract between director and audience. Meanwhile, the Eli Roths of the world are giving their audiences exactly what they've conditioned them to expect. In any case, Audition is definitely one that I've only been able to watch once.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:13 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Conjouring is a pretty classic example of not sticking the ending, TBH.
posted by Artw at 8:18 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not surprised The Conjuring was left out. The only reason I remember it is because my teenaged niece audibly screamed in the theater at one of the jump scares. She was embarassed but I reassured her with: "You ensured a handful of people will never forget this incredibly forgettable movie." Which made her feel much better.

But I am surprised Insidious wasn't included. The first one was a really well done ghost story with a suitably creepy ending. The Babadook probably deserves a place for its ending as well.
posted by honestcoyote at 8:19 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Could someone please explain to me why they like Babadook so much? I enjoyed it, and think it is worthy of inclusion here, but it's not at the top of any of my lists and I feel like the minority at times.
posted by staccato signals of constant information at 8:23 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Look, T&DvE is wonderful, but at best it is black comedy, not horror. This was a list of horror movies.

And yet, I feel Cabin in the Woods is essentially the same thing. Just slightly more highbrow in the humor.

To my mind horror is not just gore, or just suspense, or just monsters, but a fluid thing that, much like porn, we know what it is when we see it. I guess I'm of the 'big tent' school of horror, whatever that is...
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:27 AM on October 26, 2015


Could someone please explain to me why they like Babadook so much? I enjoyed it, and think it is worthy of inclusion here, but it's not at the top of any of my lists and I feel like the minority at times.

I saw it about a week and a half ago, so it's still pretty fresh in my mind. That said, I saw The Fly for the first time a few days ago, and Babadook hit me even harder than that.

I think the thing with it, and like all horror it's going to be subjective and what gets under your skin will vary, is that the movie just shreds you with stress and sleeplessness and oh my god the worst fucking kid what are we gonna do about that fucking kid? before the "real" scares even start. The tone, plus Essie Davis' performance, make it just a uniquely immersive experience, up-to and including the delirious rictus-grin on the version of herself that she hallucinates having just killed her son.

Does that make any sense?
posted by Navelgazer at 8:30 AM on October 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


You know, I have been thinking about The Last Exorcism a lot lately, and I think that one deserves a place on the list. It's really underrated, I think.
posted by maxsparber at 8:31 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Right, but I actually can't think of a "torture porn" film that fits that description. I do, however, think there are people so turned off by the horror genre that they can see a horror film and think they've seen a film that fits that description. It's kind of like being tone deaf and blaming the music.

So I love horror movies and have been watching them for thirty-odd years. I won't quibble about definitions, but I know what I mean when I turn off a movie because it looks like it's going to be torture porn and so just not very much fun for me.

I mean, first, that there are not going to be any monsters or anything supernatural or the equivalent. There's just going to be some asshole or assholes, just plain old standard-issue humans. Second, I mean that what the asshole or assholes are going to do is torture. Not slash, not make their heads explode, not give them alien body rot, not piece them together into a cybernetic borg-enstein.

I get that tastes differ and that's fine, but to me it's about as much fun as watching a movie about Josef Fritzl's family rape dungeon or about a bank officer who enjoys foreclosing on people. Just more dreary than anything else. But you don't get to say that because I point at some movies and call them torture porn, and that I don't like them, that I harbor some irrational grudge against horror movies. I have spent way too much time watching monsters tear people limb from limb, and mostly rooting for the monsters, for that.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:31 AM on October 26, 2015 [17 favorites]


I also watched It Follows last night. Unlike Shepherd I did see it 'clean' and really, really enjoyed it (and I'm not a huge horror fan in general). Happy to see it so high on the list.
posted by soplerfo at 8:34 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Babadook struck a deep chord with us, though that might be circumstance as much as anything. We (my wife and I) had had a partocularly stressfull week with the kids, who were freaking out constantly as a four and eight year old often do, but we'd managed to get them to bed and we had a friend over to watch a movie with who had also had a rough week with similarly aged kids.

And so the movie we watched was The Babadook, and it was really, really oddly cathartic.

I think part of it was seeing people go through worse on screen, with a lot of familiar anxiety and dismay,but I think it was also because it really human used the devil kid and the stressed mother as well.

Also the ending is a really, really good ending, and not the dumb one you kind of expect.
posted by Artw at 8:34 AM on October 26, 2015 [8 favorites]


Kill List is one of those flicks where I can see why people really dig it, but I bounced off of.

I was going to make a nomination for Ravenous as a scrappy underdog substitution for some title or other, but it misses the 2000 cutoff. So instead I shall nominate the 2007 release The Signal, a fun little three-parter with a single overall story, but each part (or "transmission") by a different director and different in tone, from more traditional suspense-horror, to right in the "can really dark humor be called horror?" ring, to more abstract allegorical approach.

I am also one of the people who've seen Triangle, and recommend it happily.
posted by Drastic at 8:35 AM on October 26, 2015


The last movie we saw with that parent was Goodnight Mommy, which is pretty good and I would advise avoiding entirely.
posted by Artw at 8:36 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think I might have liked Sightseers slightly better than Kill List, but I loved both. I'm not even sure how to categorize A Field In England but that would probably be the best Wheatley for me.
posted by Artw at 8:37 AM on October 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


Hell yes. A Field in England is just the best thing ever.
posted by maxsparber at 8:41 AM on October 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


(The only film that would have made the list had it not been deemed ineligible after ballots came in was Under The Skin—and even then, just barely.)

Grrrmph.
posted by Artw at 8:42 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Pan’s Labyrinth being excluded is a bit weird. That said, even though I loved it I probably wouldn't put the more-marketed-as-horror Crimson Peak on the list, as I didn't really love it for horror based reasons.
posted by Artw at 8:45 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not really a horror fan, but I do admire (often from afar) films that do something truly interesting with the genre.

For my money, films that do this work mainly in your head, and aren't reliant on doing increasingly-awful things to humans on screen. That's cheap, to me. Consequently, I'm completely unimpressed by things like Martyrs or Audition. Regardless of whatever else is going on, those films got notoriety because of the extreme things shown onscreen. I'm not sure it matters to me what else you think you have going on in your script if you're also really invested in an onscreen skinning.

Interesting films on that list to me are things like The Host, The Babadook, Let The Right One In, or It Follows.

I'm not purist, but as great as it is I wonder about including Cabin in the Woods here because it's basically a deconstruction of the genre and not as much a participant (though it's certainly possible to do both).

That said, the emerging subgenre of "postmodern riffs on horror patterns" is pretty rewarding -- in addition to Cabin and Tucker & Dale, there's also the new The Final Girls (not to be confused with Final Girl, also out now, and (hilariously) starring one of the same actors)).
posted by uberchet at 8:45 AM on October 26, 2015


Thanks Artw and Navelgazer. I really did enjoy it, but I think it comes down to mileage variance. That said, I was super pleased with the ending.
I was actually really happy because I saw both Babadook and It Follows without knowing anything about either of them. I literally picked them up at random from Redbox, and got to watch them alone, which is very rare for me. I always prefer to go into movies "clean", as those above have said, and I think that was indispensable for my enjoyment of these two in particular.
With regards to It Follows, I really loved the whole aesthetic. I found it to be really immersive, and appreciated what they did with time setting. (Trying to talk around it so as not to ruin).

My top horror movies of late, although I think I've listed this here recently, in no particular order:
The Descent
28 Days Later
Blair Witch (outside the 15 year mark)
Pontypool
Cabin in the Woods (for rewatchability)
The Strangers (totally unnerving for me)

This weekend I watched The Battery and Spring, both of which were totally unknown to me. I really enjoyed both, and thought Jeremy Gardner (writer, director and lead in The Battery) was super watchable. He also had a minor role in Spring, which was a nice surprise.
As for Spring, it was really interesting and did some fun things with genre, which I almost always enjoy.
posted by staccato signals of constant information at 8:46 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, A Field in England is...what? Historical? Fantasy, kinda? I'm pretty sure it isn't horror, but it's a movie many horror people would like. I wanted to like Kill List much more than I did -- I liked the first half a lot, but the horror twists had the strange effect of deflating the movie for me -- but A Field in England is some weird near masterpiece.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:48 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm almost glad for Ponypool slipping the net, as just discovering Pontypool is the absolute best way to see it. We probably shouldn't even be talking about it, or saying its name.

Ponty...pool.
posted by Artw at 8:49 AM on October 26, 2015 [9 favorites]


Must lose:
Strangers - not scary, not tense, not anything.
Kill List - Ersatz Wicker Man that fizzles at the end.
Inside - Gore for gore's sake without the character work to ground it.

Must Add:
Honeymoon - tense and unnerving character-driven thing I won't spoil here.
Afflicted - Actually does found footage right.
Trick or Treat - The best damn horror anthology ever made.
Wyrmwood - Bonkers zombie apocalypse yarn with some real twists on the traditional tropes.
Evil Dead remake - the exception to the 'remakes suck' rule.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night - German expressionism meets Iranian culture meets skateboarding vampire in a chador.
posted by skullhead at 8:51 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Triangle and Pontypool are pretty much the MeFi horror crowd's default recommendations, and with good reason.

I wish that The Woman got more acclaim, even as it's so thorny and upsetting that "recommend" isn't a word I would use to describe how I feel about it. I also think that, as flabby and meandering as its last act is, John Dies at the End is funny as all get-out, and is going to be a favorite of many, many people for years and years.

Teeth, Sliver, and Frailty probably would have made my list, too.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:52 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think we talked about Teeth, It Follows and Jennifer's Body as a horror triptych before.

If we're going to put anything with Doablo Cody involvement in the lust Jennifer's Body definitely comes before Evil Dead.
posted by Artw at 8:54 AM on October 26, 2015


Is Jennifer's Body the one where Satan's emo band goes looking for a virgin to sacrifice and sees Megan Fox and thinks, "Yes, her... that makes sense"? I remember hating that a lot. Do I need to give that another chance?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:56 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure what The Others is doing here as an example of one of the most guessable horror tropes ever. I'd recommend Haunter as a more interesting spin on that trope.
posted by Artw at 8:56 AM on October 26, 2015


Re: giving "Jennifer's Body" another shot: I would. We loved it.
posted by uberchet at 8:57 AM on October 26, 2015


I have to defend The Others. I went to see it knowing [spoiler], having been spoiled by a movie exec earlier that week (thanks, unnamed distribution exec for Miramax). So I'm watching it, having little frights, all fun and games. At the last big scare of the movie, I hear someone emitting a shit-ton of noisy, can't-breathe screams from nearby, and I think who is that making all that annoying noise? Then I realize, oh wait, that's ME!
posted by infinitewindow at 8:57 AM on October 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


I really enjoyed The Innkeepers as well. Fantastic atmosphere.

Add another vote for Pontypool. Stephen McHattie was fantastic.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:58 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised Ju-On didn't make the list. I'm by no means a horror connoisseur, but I found that movie really really creepy. The Japanese version was much better than the American version, which is funny because it's the opposite with The Ring.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 8:58 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


More films I would include on the list, or on an expanded list

Dog Soldiers
American Psycho
Suicide Club
The Mist
Paranormal Activity
Land of the Dead
Slither

And since they have your cake and eat it to by claiming they're not including horror comedies, but then include Cabin in the Woods, I'll add these:

Shawn of the Dead
What We Do in the Shadows
posted by maxsparber at 8:59 AM on October 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


Is 28 Weeks on the list to give NuZombie some form of token representation? Like most of that subgenre it's not very good and probably shouldn't be here.
posted by Artw at 8:59 AM on October 26, 2015


So, what is it that people love so much about Pontypool, because after hearing so much about it here I read about it (I don't actually watch very many horror movies, but I enjoy reading about them), and it just sounds so dumb. Like, the idea is just...dumb.

At least as a straight up horror movie. On the other hand, after watching how certain words (cf. "legit") infect and spread, I can see some of the appeal as an allegory.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:59 AM on October 26, 2015


What We Do in the Shadows

Really great stuff. On the Kiwi horror front of also recommend Housebound.
posted by Artw at 9:01 AM on October 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


Pan’s Labyrinth being excluded is a bit weird.

My spouse the library assistant provides a valuable community service by warning parents with toddlers that it is not, in fact, a lighthearted fantasy movie and it will, in fact, wreck your shit.
posted by Foosnark at 9:01 AM on October 26, 2015 [9 favorites]


Maybe I should give The Mist a try. The ending sounds like such a dumb persons idea of a smart ending though.
posted by Artw at 9:02 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


staccato signals of constant information: "Could someone please explain to me why they like Babadook so much? I enjoyed it, and think it is worthy of inclusion here, but it's not at the top of any of my lists and I feel like the minority at times."

See any of my comments about Session 9 ever.
posted by Samizdata at 9:02 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Foosnark - give 'em the Bowie Labrynth instead.
posted by Artw at 9:03 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maybe I should give The Mist a try.

It's just good monster.

Oh, that reminds me of another movie: Monsters.
posted by maxsparber at 9:04 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


We've all decided that Cloverfield can fuck off, right?
posted by Artw at 9:05 AM on October 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


No! Cloverfield is a masterpiece if you assume the storyline is that the monster doesn't like to be photographed and so spend the entire movie trying to get the camera from Hud.
posted by maxsparber at 9:07 AM on October 26, 2015 [9 favorites]


Haha, the ending of The Mist. I burst out laughing because the only thing I could think of was the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode bit where they took classic Twilight Zone ending bits and kept amping it up--dude breaks his glasses, panics at first then goes, oh well I can just hold the books closer and then his eyes fall out noooooo TALES! OF! IRONY!
posted by Drastic at 9:08 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not to turn this into a new Babadook discussion thread, but that movie is basically the horror movie dramatization of postpartum depression and intrusive thoughts. So if you know someone who went through that (as my spouse did), your appreciation for that movie will likely skyrocket way, way, way the hell upward.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:08 AM on October 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


staccato signals of constant information: "Thanks Artw and Navelgazer. I really did enjoy it, but I think it comes down to mileage variance. That said, I was super pleased with the ending.
I was actually really happy because I saw both Babadook and It Follows without knowing anything about either of them. I literally picked them up at random from Redbox, and got to watch them alone, which is very rare for me. I always prefer to go into movies "clean", as those above have said, and I think that was indispensable for my enjoyment of these two in particular.
With regards to It Follows, I really loved the whole aesthetic. I found it to be really immersive, and appreciated what they did with time setting. (Trying to talk around it so as not to ruin).

My top horror movies of late, although I think I've listed this here recently, in no particular order:
The Descent
28 Days Later
Blair Witch (outside the 15 year mark)
Pontypool
Cabin in the Woods (for rewatchability)
The Strangers (totally unnerving for me)

This weekend I watched The Battery and Spring, both of which were totally unknown to me. I really enjoyed both, and thought Jeremy Gardner (writer, director and lead in The Battery) was super watchable. He also had a minor role in Spring, which was a nice surprise.
As for Spring, it was really interesting and did some fun things with genre, which I almost always enjoy.
"

Wow. I had forgotten about having seen The Battery. It was pretty neat. Also, The Strangers did so much with sound and silence, it had me jumpier than hell before any action started.
posted by Samizdata at 9:09 AM on October 26, 2015


So, what is it that people love so much about Pontypool, because after hearing so much about it here I read about it (I don't actually watch very many horror movies, but I enjoy reading about them), and it just sounds so dumb. Like, the idea is just...dumb.

At least as a straight up horror movie. On the other hand, after watching how certain words (cf. "legit") infect and spread, I can see some of the appeal as an allegory.


Ooooh, no. The reason it's so scary is because we, the audience, don't know what's happening outside. Like the main characters, we know something is happening, but as we're locked in a windowless studio with them, we have about as much idea about it as they do. Anything we do learn we learn from hearing it, you don't actually see anything. Being able to convey that heart-in-your-throat fear through basically, dialogue alone, makes for a great horror movie.

My spouse the library assistant provides a valuable community service by warning parents with toddlers that it is not, in fact, a lighthearted fantasy movie and it will, in fact, wreck your shit.

This is like my former colleague who took his two young daughters to what he thought was a kid's movie because it had a tiger and other animals in it. It was Life of Pi.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:09 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


And yeah, the more I think about it, the omission of Ju-On is pretty striking.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:11 AM on October 26, 2015


There is a section from Stephen King's novella the Mist:

It was six-legged, I know that; its skin was slaty gray that mottled to dark brown in places. Those brown patches reminded me absurdly of the liver spots on Mrs. Carmody's hands. Its skin was deeply wrinkled and grooved, and clinging to it were scores, hundreds, of those pinkish "bugs" with the stalk-eyes. I don't know how big it actually was, but it passed directly over us. One of its gray, wrinkled legs smashed down right beside my window, and Mrs. Reppler said later she could not see the underside of its body, although she craned her neck up to look. She saw only two Cyclopean legs going up and up into the mist like living towers until they were lost to sight.

For the moment it was over the Scout I had an impression of something so big that it might have made a blue whale look the size of a trout-in other words, something so big that it defied the imagination.


That is represented so well in the film version that I couldn't believe it.
posted by maxsparber at 9:12 AM on October 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


DirtyOldTown: "And yeah, the more I think about it, the omission of Ju-On is pretty striking."

I think they were trying to stay clear of the (IMO) less than sterling US version.
posted by Samizdata at 9:13 AM on October 26, 2015


I'm not sure what The Others is doing here as an example of one of the most guessable horror tropes ever. I'd recommend Haunter as a more interesting spin on that trope.

Surely you agree that there's a lot more to a movie than whether or not it contains "guessable tropes," right? Because The Others has top-notch performances and spooky atmosphere to burn.

Thanks for the Haunter recommendation. I liked Natali's Splice more than many, and I didn't realize he had directed another feature.
posted by Mothlight at 9:14 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


I love horror though I don't like the more 'torture porny' ones anymore and I think I've become desentized to slasher types as they just don't scare me like they used. A lot of horror movies don't scare me like they used to actually. I think it has to do with seeing so many and I get a been there done that type feeling as well as just being able to too often predict whats coming.

I like being scared so I'm always hopeful when new ones come out but seem to be disappointed more often then not. I'm glad to see 'It Follows' on the list. It was the first one in a long time where I found myself scared and totally creeped out. A few scenes have stuck with me and make me shudder just thinking about them. I actually stopped the movie at one point to take a breather and hated leaving the safety of my blankets in order to go to the bathroom. I guess that's my current rating system for horror. If I'm scared to go to the bathroom in my dark, 150 year old house, it's a good one.
posted by Jalliah at 9:16 AM on October 26, 2015


Also, not for nothing, but please everybody come by and hang out at MeFi Horror Club some time on FanFare. We did The Loved Ones last week and I ended up talking to myself, which was a shame since that movie is pretty good.

We're hit or miss on how active threads are. Some are pretty lively. Others not so much. But the club keeps chugging on.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:18 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ju-On needs to be there. Blablabla confusing hard to follow bla, I disagree but regardless you just gotta admit a lot of the imagery was terrifying and got under your skin. Session 9, too. They did a great job of building up a sense of dread. There's also one called The Baby's Room that was shitpants scary at times, at least to me. The Conjuring was good too. Resolution was a pleasant surprise. I liked the Babadook but I'm going to cop to not really understanding the very end. But guys, The Host, guys. It wasn't all that scary and frankly the CG wasn't great either and a lot of the subtext has been done as well elsewhere. I found it pretty forgettable but I guess I'm more of a ghosts guy than a monsters guy.
posted by Hoopo at 9:18 AM on October 26, 2015


Wow, Splice is better than at least 40% of this list. And I didn't even think of it until Mothlight mentioned it! Maybe the last fifteen years have been better for horror than people think.

Re: The Mist...it's a great big bug movie where some really good actors get to have fun treating a big bug movie like it's something Serious, but that ending...Jesus Christ, man. It's not even the Tales of Irony aspect. Although that is an aspect, and it doesn't help. It's that King's story creates a sense of cosmic horror -- what Lovecraft in real life might look like (or what Cloverfield tried and failed at) -- and the last scenes of the film diminish it. The bugs are just bugs, and NBD. Misses the point of the story by a mile.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:23 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Re: The Grudge. Goddamn that whole series of events where the security guard is investigating and she's watching on CCTV. That messed me up for a few days.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 9:26 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


also seconding or thirding or whatevering Oculus, damn that one was good.
posted by Hoopo at 9:29 AM on October 26, 2015


Also, wrt Wolf Creek and Cabin in the Woods, part of the reason I love these so much is because as far as I'm concerned, the all-time best horror trope is the one with the person or people in the middle of nowhere being stalked by crazy killers. Either a car breakdown scenario (e.g. The Hills Have Eyes) or house in the middle of nowhere scenario (e.g. You're Next, Them). So if anyone has any other ideas for these kinds of movies PLEASE let me know. I'm dying for another car-breakdown scare fest.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:33 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


There's no way Black Swan is anything other than horror. I wish I'd never seen that movie.
posted by cmoj at 9:36 AM on October 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


+1 for Session 9 being pretty blah. Just because you found a set from Silent Hill doesn't mean you have a plot or characters or a good movie.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:37 AM on October 26, 2015


For me, Cabin in the Woods is the one that really didn't do anything for me. Which is weird, as I love horror, and self-reference, and Whedon, and all feel totally flat for me, like it was several drafts away from anything coherent or engaging.

I'd almost want to see Shaun of the Dead get that slot, but 1.) I know I'm in the distinct minority in re: Cabin in the Woods and 2.) as good as Shaun of the Dead is, it never approaches scary.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:37 AM on October 26, 2015


The ending of The Mist is so much worse than the story, which holds the great terror of the potential for hope. Having a stupid gut-punch literally three seconds before Deus Ex Irony is stupid.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:39 AM on October 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm a little surprised the first Saw movie didn't make the cut. I thought it was pretty decent and surprisingly not very gory, although from what I understand it's devolved into straight torture porn.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 9:41 AM on October 26, 2015


from what I understand it's devolved into straight torture porn.

Actually, what it has turned into is something far weirder. I don't know if it's good, per se, but it is utterly fascinating.
posted by maxsparber at 9:47 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Black Swan really wants to be a ridiculous Italian horror film.
posted by Artw at 9:48 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Black Swan is Suspiria with an updated soundtrack.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:50 AM on October 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


And by that you mean an infinitely inferior soundtrack.

THwiiiinnnnggg!
posted by maxsparber at 9:51 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


That goes without saying.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:52 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Black Swan is Suspiria with an updated soundtrack.

EQUESTRIAN VORTEX
posted by Artw at 10:04 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


DirtyOldTown: "Also, not for nothing, but please everybody come by and hang out at MeFi Horror Club some time on FanFare. We did The Loved Ones last week and I ended up talking to myself, which was a shame since that movie is pretty good.

We're hit or miss on how active threads are. Some are pretty lively. Others not so much. But the club keeps chugging on.
"

I have actually seen that one. Interesting and deliciously possible.
posted by Samizdata at 10:15 AM on October 26, 2015


maxsparber: "And by that you mean an infinitely inferior soundtrack.

THwiiiinnnnggg!
"

(Favorite only given for the sound effect. Brill jump scare.)
posted by Samizdata at 10:27 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


So, what is it that people love so much about Pontypool, because after hearing so much about it here I read about it (I don't actually watch very many horror movies, but I enjoy reading about them), and it just sounds so dumb. Like, the idea is just...dumb.

For me, it's not the idea but rather the execution. A small cast, trapped in a claustrophobic studio, listening in horror to a caller describing the slow death of local high school kid, as that kid whispers the same unintelligible gibberish being spouted by hordes of acquaintances turned suddenly unfamiliar, a raving mob. Plus the acting is just superb.
posted by Existential Dread at 10:29 AM on October 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


No one else for Frailty? We may have to do that one in Horror Club. I think people would dig it.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:32 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


My personal inclusions:
-Amer or The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears
-Suicide Club or Noriko's Dinner Table
-Inland Empire
-Gozu
-You're Next or The Guest
-American Psycho
-A Field In England
-Antichrist
posted by naju at 10:33 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


The ending of The Mist is so much worse than the story, which holds the great terror of the potential for hope. Having a stupid gut-punch literally three seconds before Deus Ex Irony is stupid.

See, I was hoping to watch this movie, but then you guys made me curious, so I went and looked, and now I am bummed, because that is truly a stupid ending.
posted by Existential Dread at 10:35 AM on October 26, 2015


Just because you found a set from Silent Hill doesn't mean you have a plot or characters or a good movie

I thought they did a pretty good job with the characters and plot; it almost felt like you were there with them, a part of the crew, working in this creepy old building with them and watching them fall apart as they get in over their heads, starting to wonder if someone is fucking with you and what for. I didn't think it suffered from not having enough background into the characters; they were relatable enough. Different strokes I guess.

it just sounds so dumb. Like, the idea is just...dumb

To be honest I agree. And I liked it anyway. In particular, everything leading up to the point where you find out what's causing it is excellent. I found it started to unravel after that, and I sort of hated how they resolved the situation, but it was still suspenseful and I found I cared about the characters right up to the end despite the premise.

Plus the acting is just superb.

I'll agree with the exception of the doctor. I didn't care much for him.
posted by Hoopo at 10:36 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


You're Next

OMG yes, I forgot about that movie, it was thoroughly entertaining
posted by Hoopo at 10:38 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, also, did anyone understand the very last scene in Pontypool? Because I haven't figured it out yet.
posted by Existential Dread at 10:39 AM on October 26, 2015


Another one that I loved when it was released (and probably need to revisit) that hasn't been mentioned yet is Thirst.

But I'll also jump on the bandwagons for Frailty and Splice.
posted by dogwalker at 10:42 AM on October 26, 2015


You're Next

OMG yes, I forgot about that movie, it was thoroughly entertaining


If you enjoyed it, make sure to watch Adam Wingard's follow-up The Guest, from last year. Pure cinematic candy!
posted by naju at 10:44 AM on October 26, 2015


Both You're Next and The Guest were produced by MeFi's own Keith Calder.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:47 AM on October 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


THE GUEST IS BEST MOVIE
posted by shakespeherian at 10:55 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Not sure this counts as horror since most(all?) of the movies on this list seem to have a supernatural or otherwise non-realistic aspect to them, but We Need to Talk About Kevin scared the crap out of me.
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:58 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Guest is a movie that reminds me that sexuality is a spectrum. Because while I'm almost entirely on the prefers women end, I can't say I didn't take notice of that shot of Dan Stevens getting out of the shower, because Jesus Christ.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:02 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh, also, did anyone understand the very last scene in Pontypool?

The one after the credits, in the completely different locale? Nope. best I could reckon was something about language breaking down to the point of reality breaking down, or the protagonists moving up to a higher order of reality after winning their battle with a language-defined reality. Or it was just the filmmakers fucking around and it didn't mean anything.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:04 AM on October 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think Marebito should be on the list. Maybe an honorable mention. That thing was goddamn weird.

And The Conjuring was pretty good up until the last fifteen minutes or so. It had the same problem as Deliver Us From Evil: Movie exorcisms have never been done better than in The Exorcist. It's almost foolish to try.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 11:15 AM on October 26, 2015


Well, they needed *something* to make it look like they had a plot and tie things up. I probably would have gone with the Warrens being utter frauds, but I guess they have other ideas there.
posted by Artw at 11:22 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


I found Sinister pretty good too.
posted by Hoopo at 11:25 AM on October 26, 2015


I've never heard of Marebito. Adding that to my list...
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:26 AM on October 26, 2015


Black Swan is considered horror? I thought it was a psychological romance / training montage kind of film. I loved it, and I can't deal with most horror.
posted by Theta States at 11:40 AM on October 26, 2015


So, what is it that people love so much about Pontypool, because after hearing so much about it here I read about it (I don't actually watch very many horror movies, but I enjoy reading about them), and it just sounds so dumb. Like, the idea is just...dumb.

For what it's worth, Pontypool is one of those pieces of art I sought out because I kept seeing it mentioned on mefi; I managed to avoid any big spoilers, and watched it with very few preconceptions other than "oh boy, I can't wait to see what this is about!"

And hey! I thought it was boring and dumb. I was amazed by how many people seemed to like it, as it felt to me like a huge waste of 90 minutes. The radio DJ's voice was nice, but that's about the most I can say for it.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:44 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh, also, did anyone understand the very last scene in Pontypool?

The one after the credits, in the completely different locale? Nope.


That felt like SUCH a huge gambit on behalf of the filmmakers. There was nothing subtle about that scene, it implies HUGE THINGS, and I have such difficulty reconciling it and understanding it.
And I'm the kind of person that took notes during my 3rd watching of Mulholland Drive.
I need to make some order.

There MUST be some sort of official statement in regards to that somewhere, right? Something must have leaked out about why they did what they did when they created that scene, right?
RIGHT?
posted by Theta States at 11:44 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


DirtyOldTown: "No one else for Frailty? We may have to do that one in Horror Club. I think people would dig it."

Been a while, but sure!
posted by Samizdata at 11:47 AM on October 26, 2015


Home Movie? Anyone?

Really?
posted by Samizdata at 11:49 AM on October 26, 2015


The Babadook isn't all that scary if your mother was an emotionally abusive alcoholic.
posted by scratch at 11:52 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh! Also, I thoroughly enjoyed Creep if you're looking for something a little different. It's on Netflix streaming.
posted by naju at 11:52 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Pontypool is like a decent idea for a ten-minute stage show
posted by shakespeherian at 12:06 PM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


For all its flaws, I thought V/H/S was pretty good as well. The sequel not so much.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 12:13 PM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Pontypool is like a decent idea for a ten-minute stage show

Oh, crap. Language has gotten broken for shakespeherian. He's going to bite his lips off soon.
posted by maxsparber at 12:23 PM on October 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


For all its flaws, I thought V/H/S was pretty good as well. The sequel not so much.

The moment when the Indonesian cult goes into its death spiral in the sequel is one of the most frightening things I have ever seen.
posted by maxsparber at 12:25 PM on October 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


I liked the ending to The Mist, and submit that out of the three options -- the Stephen King non-ending, the major motion picture Hollywood ending, and the ending it had, it had the best possible ending.

If it had petered out into "bunch of people drive into fog", or gone with the standard, expected Hollywood everyone-is-saved ending, I don't think it would even be remembered in these conversations.

I was fully expecting the Hollywood cop-out, and the fact that it Went There genuinely shocked and surprised me in a very meta "okay, I can't believe I just saw that in a large-budget movie starring an at-this-moment bankable star." Compare/contrast with War Of The Worlds, which came out just a year or so before and had in many ways a similar concept and architecture.

Over the top? Sure, but I think Darabont made a good call and put himself on the line doing it.
posted by Shepherd at 1:06 PM on October 26, 2015 [10 favorites]


(seriously though if anyone wants to memail me about what the end of Babadook was supposed to mean I would appreciate it. Loved the ride but was scratching my head at the final scene)
posted by Hoopo at 1:13 PM on October 26, 2015


A small cast, trapped in a claustrophobic studio, listening in horror

Thius also mostly describes Coherence, which I imagine is loosely categorized as sci-fi, but I can't see the ending as anything short of horror.

seriously though if anyone wants to memail me about what the end of Babadook was supposed to mean I would appreciate it

Assume that the whole movie is a metaphor for managing mental illness long-term and it makes a lot more sense. (This is not my original insight, I think but whomever I cribbed it from is on the money.)
posted by psoas at 1:36 PM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Spoilers: If it's in a word, or it's in a look, you can't get rid of the Babadook.
posted by Artw at 1:38 PM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Mist also suffers from Stephen King Religious Nutso Is Unlike Actual Humans Syndrome.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:52 PM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oooh. Coming in to a bluelisticle thread near the end.

I thought Let Me In was a good movie...was it further down the list?
posted by Chuffy at 2:12 PM on October 26, 2015


Oh, Let Me In and Let The Right One In are essentially the same movies (sort of like The Ring)
posted by Chuffy at 2:20 PM on October 26, 2015


Seconding shakespherian's comment above, I really liked the original short story ending to The Mist. The "terror of hope" is a great phrase to describe it - that final "we have to try, since what other option do we have?" ending was a much scarier way of wrapping it up then the movie's "sucks to be you!" scene.

I still wonder why The Long Walk has never been adapted for film. I've always found that to be one of King's most chilling stories.
posted by longdaysjourney at 2:23 PM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


And the movie ending to The Mist makes all of the preceding just like a bad weird event that occurred in a small Maine town -- really terrible for the people involved, sure, but. The story horrified me when I read it because of the sheer irreversibility; these guys went through everything you just read just to get out of a damn grocery store, and now there's nothing but the whole rest of the world that is only bad from now on. But... maybe...?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:34 PM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Pontypool is one of those pieces of art I sought out because I kept seeing it mentioned on mefi; I managed to avoid any big spoilers, and watched it with very few preconceptions other than "oh boy, I can't wait to see what this is about!"

I saw it on one of the movie channels probably 5 years ago and had never heard of it. It kinda snuck up on me, I was thinking "oh boy, stuck at home and nothing on TV except Canadian content" and all of a sudden it's this kinda cool, kinda scary suspenseful movie with pretty good acting. And at some point I realized they weren't even going to change locations to pull it off, and then I was impressed with that, too, and wanted to see what they'd do next. But I think what you're describing would have ruined it for me, too. It's a fun little low budget movie if you go in with no real expectations. If it's been hyped up to be some great thing, it might be a bit disappointing.
posted by Hoopo at 2:48 PM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


So many Japanese films make top lists in the Horror genre. Yet I rarely see Japanese films in top lists in most other non-anime genres. Are Japanese filmmakes just really good at horror or are non-Japanese filmmakers just really bad at it, relatively speaking? Has there been any criticism written about the subject?
posted by Justinian at 2:56 PM on October 26, 2015


Also: Isn't Cure from the 90s? I OBJECT!
posted by Justinian at 2:59 PM on October 26, 2015


Is it too soon to call It Follows one of the great horror movies of the new millennium?

Yes
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:12 PM on October 26, 2015


It's a bold choice for being so new, but It Follows has layers upon layers. I think it will be watched, studied, and argued about for years to come. I've seen it three times now; I can't remember doing that for any other recent horror film.
posted by naju at 3:21 PM on October 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


Oh, also, did anyone understand the very last scene in Pontypool?

Oui
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:22 PM on October 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


Regarding Juon vs. The Grudge, the sprawl of Juon, the way the curse seeps into every aspect of the world that it touches (the scene with the girl in the apartment, and the shrine to her dead father is amazing), but in the remake, some of that is cut, which does lose some of the "holy shit it's that poisonous" effect. On the other hand, the choice to do that seems to have given The Grudge a more highly focused sense of terror.

I guess Juon, for me, equaled pervasive dread that wouldn't go away for days, where as The Grudge was more outright fear, even though I'd already seen Juon.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:26 PM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah Field in England should have been on it... Wheatley is one of my fave directors at the moment that film is his masterpiece (while I also love Kill List - watched it several times and notice new stuff in it each time)

Field follows a long tradition of British Rural Folk Horror that goes right back to MR James if not further but includes things like Wicker Man and Witchfinder General. I love that stuff. May be it's because I've spent most of my life living in rural villages... and we always make strangers welcome.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:32 PM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh and Dog Soldiers was great.. I've got a soft spot for Marshall even though his films got a bit overly pulpy after The Descent. Now he seems to be just doing tv... hope we can get another film out of him.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:35 PM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Cure is so so amazing (and was released in the US in 2000 or so, which is why it counts for the list). Subtle, creepy horror movies are so much more my thing than any other kind, they give me the screaming jibblies in the best possible way. Suggestions for more in this vein would be appreciated....

I also loved It Follows.

And I am surprised that there wasn't any discussion of the alternate endings for The Descent, the original (or non-US-theatrical) ending makes for a MUCH different movie.
posted by biscotti at 4:09 PM on October 26, 2015


The Babadook was okay (apart from the really annoying kid, who was 70% of the film) right up until the spooky protagonist was revealed as The Hitcher.

Wolf Creek was the last film I saw that made me spiritually uncomfortable while I was watching it. Going to boarding school in Charters Towers for three years, the streets were awash with men who were about one bank overdraft fee away from becoming Mick Taylors.

Overall this is a reasonable list but nothing we haven't seen before. C+
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:10 PM on October 26, 2015


There MUST be some sort of official statement in regards to that somewhere, right? Something must have leaked out about why they did what they did when they created that scene, right?

There are some interesting takes on Pontypool's ending in this previous thread on Metafilter, but the closest I think you're going to come to an "official statement" would be this interview with the director.
posted by webmutant at 5:52 PM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really hate the term "torture porn." It implies a lot, and none of it is good or flattering to fans of horror (or of porn, for that matter)...

The nature of most generic pornography is that it is intentionally one-dimensional. All of the interesting things that one expects in any film, like plot, character, lighting, editing, music, etc, are usually lazy and slapdash prefunctory, because the project serves one purpose and discards everything else. (Sometimes there's a kitsch element when it's so bad that it's good, but that's another late-nite story...)

The horror films that affect me the most are psychologically complex. Sorry for the cliche, but they "address the human condition" like they say in literature class. They raise interesting questions about human nature, using aspects of fear and vulnerability. The recent essay here on MF about 'The Exorcist' is a really good exploration of these ideas.
posted by ovvl at 5:54 PM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, I loved Pontypool, even though I didn't quite get it. It's like a thought experiment. I think it's an alien version of the killing joke, but I'm not certain...
posted by ovvl at 6:04 PM on October 26, 2015


The popular conception of "torture porn" as a genre does exist. And yeah, it's pretty pointless and repellent.

That said, the term is also frequently used flippantly and ignorantly by people who'd like to imply awful, insulting stuff about people who watch horror movies.

As Gene Siskel often noted; a movie isn't about what it is about; it's about how it is about it. There are good and bad horror movies that have extreme violence... empty/awful ones and intelligent/well-made ones with serious things to say. You know, like every other kind of movie.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:08 PM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Another vote for The Innkeepers. It was significantly better than House of the Devil. I also suggest you all watch Absentia.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 6:20 PM on October 26, 2015


Irrespective of the merit of individual movies (and I would absolutely defend some as being complex and thought-provoking - Martyrs, Audition, arguably the first two Hostel movies) There are also some interesting things to say about torture porn as a cultural trend. Like, it's no accident that it became a thing after Abu Ghraib / Guantanamo / 9/11 human rights abuses came to light. The genre can be seen as a way of processing the trauma and unraveling moral fabric of Americans at that time, learning that there is monstrousness and extreme cruelty under the surface, committed and justified in the name of your freedom. I don't think I'm just spinning my wheels on this, there's quite a bit to read on the subject.
posted by naju at 6:21 PM on October 26, 2015


Pontypool is what happens when some filmmakers have an incredibly great idea but don't value the importance of laying proper storytelling groundwork to support it. It starts strong but then there's a ton of weird horror movie logic employed to jump to the next clever thing they thought up. The effect is kind of like a dream. Not dreamlike in a good way, like It Follows, but more like when you read an early draft of fiction and the scenes are jumbled and jump around because the author hasn't linked them all together yet and sorted it out.

It's worth watching but I wish I liked it more than I actually did. It's pretty fantastic for much of the run but then goes off. Probably some people will argue that's the point (language decoupled from its meaning) but it stars becoming nonsensical way before that element is in play, and I think that actually undercuts the eventual point they try to make. Like "Oh, it doesn't make sense now? Is that because reality is different or this is just bad storytelling?"

It reminds me a little of Snowpiercer in all that, but without the over-the-top wacky "allegory" aesthetic that makes me give Snowpierecer a pass. :( It's worth watching but I wish it was better than it is.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 6:26 PM on October 26, 2015


Solon and Thanks: "Pontypool is what happens when some filmmakers have an incredibly great idea but don't value the importance of laying proper storytelling groundwork to support it. It starts strong but then there's a ton of weird horror movie logic employed to jump to the next clever thing they thought up. The effect is kind of like a dream. Not dreamlike in a good way, like It Follows, but more like when you read an early draft of fiction and the scenes are jumbled and jump around because the author hasn't linked them all together yet and sorted it out.

It's worth watching but I wish I liked it more than I actually did. It's pretty fantastic for much of the run but then goes off. Probably some people will argue that's the point (language decoupled from its meaning) but it stars becoming nonsensical way before that element is in play, and I think that actually undercuts the eventual point they try to make. Like "Oh, it doesn't make sense now? Is that because reality is different or this is just bad storytelling?"
"

I think I need to track down the book and read while watching and vice versa.
posted by Samizdata at 6:30 PM on October 26, 2015


Yeah, this may be the case of a writer not knowing how to adapt his book to screen. I haven't read the book so I'm not sure if it makes more or less sense.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 6:33 PM on October 26, 2015


Solon and Thanks: "Yeah, this may be the case of a writer not knowing how to adapt his book to screen. I haven't read the book so I'm not sure if it makes more or less sense."

Found a copy. I will let you know my findings.
posted by Samizdata at 6:35 PM on October 26, 2015


Oh man Snowpiercer is fantastic and I don't care how little sense it makes.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:48 PM on October 26, 2015


shakespeherian: "Oh man Snowpiercer is fantastic and I don't care how little sense it makes."

Lovely and flawless effects. And I have an amazing mancrush on Chris Evans, which buys it ALL kinds of slack. (Plus there's some Tilda for her fans.)
posted by Samizdata at 6:54 PM on October 26, 2015


seconding the Absentia recommendation. well done.

loved the sound in It Follows but wasn't scared because the danger is easily avoided.

weird to have watched Babadook after the short. nice touches but not significantly better.
posted by sineater at 6:56 PM on October 26, 2015


sineater: "seconding the Absentia recommendation. well done.

loved the sound in It Follows but wasn't scared because the danger is easily avoided.

weird to have watched Babadook after the short. nice touches but not significantly better.
"

Have to admit, I got a huge grin during It Follows when...



SPOILER!




It followed through the window.
posted by Samizdata at 6:58 PM on October 26, 2015


28 Weeks Later in the top 25? Ugh.

I'm no connoisseur of horror (this is literally the only movie on the list that I have seen), but I have trouble imagining 28 Weeks Later belonging in any best-of list. It wasn't a bad movie at all, but didn't stand out as great in any way.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:18 PM on October 26, 2015


Absentia absolutely takes the academy award for all time for best spooky underpass, if nothing else.
posted by Artw at 7:47 PM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm ambivalent about TFA list itself (some glaring omissions as noted, and did we really need *both* of Danny Boyle's zombie flicks?) but as usual on Metafilter the comments supply plenty of good suggestions, thanks all. I'm a little surprised to not see Paranormal Activity here; maybe PA (the original at least) just happens to push a few of my personal buttons so I rate it higher? Definitely count me in the Triangle camp as well, so good.

Some others I've liked since 2000: Cropsey (true story!), REC, Splinter (if only for the creature design), Janghwa Hongryeon, Headhunters, and The Borderlands. For something a little different, there's Les Revenants or Series 7: The Contenders, maybe even Mothman Prophecies depending on your Richard Gere tolerance. For something a *lot* different, there's always Rubber.

A friend and I have discussed Babadook at some length and we're agreed that The Babadook works best as a movie about grief; in fact some parts of the movie don't really make sense any other way. You can't get rid of the Babadook, but you can learn to make peace with it.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 8:04 PM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Series 7: The Contenders

Having worked in the financial securities industry, this title leads me to all sorts of boring conclusions.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:07 PM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


When we watched The Mothman Propheciesvwe made up lyrics for the theme music, which went "oooooh-ooh, it's the Mothman prophecies!" - it may have removed some of the essential mood required for the movie to work, on the other hand it was a lot of fun.
posted by Artw at 8:07 PM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


shakespeherian: you know, Exam (2009) isn't far from that...

artw: Mothman is so weird because it's constantly in danger of collapsing under its own weight. It's especially awkward because the source material is basically a collection of stories, eyewitness accounts and such that they nailed together (see also the World War Z adaptation). And it's hard to take any horror movie seriously when you've got Mr. Pretty Woman making all these shocked and concerned faces. But if you can get past all that, there are a few genuinely spooky scenes I think, plus a lot of subtle touches that are easy to miss.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 8:16 PM on October 26, 2015


For fans of Kill List it might be worth checking out The Objective, which feels like a similarity American thing that doesn't 100% work but is super interesting nonetheless.
posted by Artw at 8:22 PM on October 26, 2015


No Bubba Ho-Tep? Thppppt.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 8:59 PM on October 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


The only film in the past decade to actually disturb me was Inland Empire—it's horrifying and I'm shocked it's not on this list. I agree that Wolf Creek is also unsettling and in retrospect, I think that the Funny Games remake poses a real challenge to how we think of violence in our culture.
posted by koavf at 9:12 PM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


and by easily avoided in It Follows I meant, there's only one at a time and don't sleep around. to be scared you need to be able to imagine yourself in that situation and It Follows is too exclusive to be scary. but technically excellent for sure.
posted by sineater at 9:13 PM on October 26, 2015


Another vote for Frailty. It's almost the anti-torture porn.

Sicario is a technically a drama rather than a horror movie, but about the first 2/3 could qualify as horror. It's got as much near real-life horror, shocks and tension as a really good horror movie, and it sticks with you. That movie is SCARY.
posted by cnc at 9:34 PM on October 26, 2015


I saw a similar (but much more problematic) list recently that placed Mulholland Drive in the top slot, which I think is a fair suggestion. I love Mulholland Drive, and think it's terrifying (and...other things, sometimes simultaneously). INLAND EMPIRE, though...it's such a weird hodgepodge of stuff, so inaccessible, more like a series of sketches and shorts than a coherent narrative. I don't know anyone who's seen it who really talks about it ever, and I know a lot of David Lynch fans. It is pretty scary, though.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:56 PM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Me! I talk about INLAND EMPIRE constantly! Ask my friends, I am quite insufferable.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:25 PM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


whoa Pontypool.
posted by daisystomper at 10:29 PM on October 26, 2015


I liked the ending to The Mist, and submit that out of the three options -- the Stephen King non-ending, the major motion picture Hollywood ending, and the ending it had, it had the best possible ending.

[SPOILERS, PROBABLY]

If it had petered out into "bunch of people drive into fog", or gone with the standard, expected Hollywood everyone-is-saved ending, I don't think it would even be remembered in these conversations.


Ok, as someone who hated the ending of The Mist (and wasn't really a fan of the rest of the film, either), I must object. Yes, I would've preferred the Stephen King non-ending, the people driving off into the mist--and they should've included that scene with the radio! Turning the station dial as sloooooowwwly as possible and arguing if they hit upon a signal--that's memorable in the novella and would've worked well in the movie.

But I digress. The reason the end of The Mist sucks is because it isn't earned. They set up this tragic ending and then...Things Happened...and then oh, look, it wasn't so bad after all, all is well!

If you build up to that moment, sure. But these characters spend the last 90 minutes of the movie fighting only to stop everything within the last 3 minutes. No! Maybe if it were the last 30 minutes, and as an audience we felt the despair with them, and could empathize. But it's just a tacked on ending, and it's pretty clear to me they filmed the original ending but went with the Shocker. And of course, a standard happy Hollywood ending would've been crap as well. But they ending they went with...nah.
posted by zardoz at 10:46 PM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Dear God, I just finished The Final Girls. Mkay, not so scary, but sweet, downright funny, and so brilliantly handles horror tropes it pretty much beats the pants off anything else doing tropes (yes, sorry Craven Fans, even Scream.) Can not recommend it enough.

(No, I have NADA to do with the film. I just don't want to see it fail like so many other things I like. I miss you, Better Off Ted, The Middleman, and Spicy Pickled Green Tomatoes (that's actually a food stuff, not a series, BTW) among others.)

Of course, this is merely my opinion, YMMV, and I may very well be completely full of crap (don't ask my ex-wife).
posted by Samizdata at 11:24 PM on October 26, 2015


Oh, yeah, pretty awesome too. You get to see Maeby blood spattered!
posted by Samizdata at 11:25 PM on October 26, 2015


No The Grudge? It was more relentlessly frightening than the Ring.
posted by axon at 2:08 AM on October 27, 2015


Just remembered [REC], the original Spanish version... that was a decent little film, may be overwhelmed by the US remake and its sequals
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:20 AM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's interesting re the Torture Porn thing as there were plenty of similar gory films before and plenty afterwards (including underground stuff that just reading the wikipedia description makes me feel a bit ill) but with Hostel and Saw it reach the mainstream and got a name, 'torture porn' by a critic that stuck for a while. And because horror is such a profitable genre you'll get loads of copycats trying to jump on whatever wave that comes along. So along with toture porn we've had j-horror (and k-horror) and their US remakes, the remakes / reboots of previous classic (yeah, that can die soon), found footage, PG13 spooky ghost stuff, tv horror like Hannibal... like jazz it just keeps going
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:35 AM on October 27, 2015


A small cast, trapped in a claustrophobic studio, listening in horror

Thius also mostly describes Coherence


Also Berberian Sound Studio, kind of. Although they're watching in horror, and we're listening.

Surely the thing is that in earlier decades there were so few horror movies that you could actually describe them as a genre, but now there are so many, and so diverse in their own categories that it's not possible to gather them together in the same way. At the very least, there's the distinction between visceral (which attempts to elicit a physical response from the viewer and psychological (which aims to disturb the viewer). Perhaps there's even the third category of emotional horror (Pan's Labyrinth would be a key text to this category - it doesn't shock us, really; for all the fantastical elements it doesn't disturb us; but it does make us really, really unhappy - another non-cinematic example I would give is the Plumber Baby sketch from Chris Morris' Jam).

The things that have scared me the most were the BBC M.R. James adaptations when I was a child - Whistle and I'll Come To You: I know it's just a sheet in slo-mo, yet I still can't get to sleep.

(I must admit, for all the critical love Val Lewton gets, I resent him for all those occasions his movies came up on TV when I was young. I would usually fall asleep before the dull people stopped talking to each other and something actually happened. Never had that problem with Hammer - at the very least there'd be an innkeeper's daughter with only minimal control of her breasts to keep one distracted.)
posted by Grangousier at 4:34 AM on October 27, 2015


Oh god I was just reminded about Lynch's 2002 web series Rabbits and my body just did a giant *SHUDDER*

that... that scream...

No. (please no.)
posted by Theta States at 6:51 AM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's interesting re the Torture Porn thing as there were plenty of similar gory films before and plenty afterwards (including underground stuff that just reading the wikipedia description makes me feel a bit ill)

OK so I read the descriptions of some of those Fred Vogel films and we have someone that has obviously made a career out of his snuff fetish.
posted by Theta States at 7:14 AM on October 27, 2015 [2 favorites]




Well, I am currently about half way through Pontypool Changes Everything, and I can see exactly why the movie is the way it is. The book is a very Burroughesque, hallucinatory, stream of consciousness thing told from the POV of the sufferers. Not an easy read, and I suspect nigh impossible to translate effectively to film, especially with some of the little language tricks Burgess seems fond of. I mean I was surprised when they tried doing Naked Lunch, and I am surprised when they tried making a movie of this.
posted by Samizdata at 11:57 AM on October 27, 2015


Rare Exports (Norwegian Santa horror, I mean come on)

Don't let the Finns hear you say that, or the horror you experience will be your own.

Norwegian, indeed.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:25 PM on October 27, 2015


At the very least, there's the distinction between visceral (which attempts to elicit a physical response from the viewer and psychological (which aims to disturb the viewer).

Stephen King notably said:
“The 3 types of terror: The Gross-out: the sight of a severed head tumbling down a flight of stairs, it's when the lights go out and something green and slimy splatters against your arm. The Horror: the unnatural, spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up and walking around, it's when the lights go out and something with claws grabs you by the arm. And the last and worse one: Terror, when you come home and notice everything you own had been taken away and replaced by an exact substitute. It's when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there's nothing there...”
Jonathan Carroll is a great example of the last (as is MR James, when he's in his best form) -- but I don't think anyone has ever made a Carroll movie....
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:30 PM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Commentator Lucius_Veratius, on Reddit:
I used to write content for reddit and other sites. A common thing to do is put in one item that will make the internet want to comment and tell you why that item is wrong. More comments = longer visibility and more views.

I'd usually do it in my "Top X" lists by rating a horrible movie one step higher than a beloved cult movie.

Example logic: Top 7 Horror Films of All Time

7-3 - good choices
2 - Texas Chainsaw Massacre (cult/internet favorite here)
1 - Paranormal Activity - The Marked Ones (or other mass marketed dreck, something "true" horror fans hate)

A lot of comments would be created by #1. "I was with your list until Paranormal Activity. WTF? This doesn't even belong on the list."
As a result, people would see the comment activity, be more likely to read the post and make their own comments. I actually did a lot of A/B testing for this. Whenever I tried to play it straight and make genuinely good content without comment traps, I'd only get 1/3-1/5th the traffic as the same posts with a "piss off the internet" choice.
(The discussion that followed on that thread is worthwhile if you have an extra 5 min.)
posted by rufb at 4:33 PM on October 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


That... that totally explains RPS putting Darks Souls as #1 in their RPG list. Now it all makes sense.
posted by Justinian at 10:01 PM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


And the true horror is exposed
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:14 AM on October 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


The 3 types of terror

On that note, check this PBS Ideas Channel video: Do All Horror Monsters Fit Into 5 Categories?
posted by Theta States at 6:27 AM on October 28, 2015


We've all decided that Cloverfield can fuck off, right?

No, no, it's a perfectly entertaining way to way a bunch of unlikeable idiot entitled narcissists get bumped off one by one. (/sarcasm)

(Seriously, I absolutely hated everyone in that flick within ten minutes, and while I sat through the whole thing I spent pretty much the rest of the movie hoping for a Bambi vs. Godzilla moment so we could move on to other less horrible characters.)
posted by soundguy99 at 7:45 AM on October 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, that list and this thread are significantly missing Stake Land and Mulberry St.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:49 AM on October 28, 2015


Thing about Cloverfield was everything around it... the PR especially the trailers, the ARG, the speculation in general was about a million times more interesting than the film itself turned out to be.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:46 AM on October 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


No, no, it's a perfectly entertaining way to way a bunch of unlikeable idiot entitled narcissists get bumped off one by one. (/sarcasm)

Trivia: Josh Trank worked on the party scenes at the start.
posted by Artw at 8:56 AM on October 28, 2015


Trivia: Josh Trank worked on the party scenes at the start.

Really? All I can find is that he had a meeting with Paramount re Cloverfield on how he did his viral video... though that did lead on to him thinking up the idea for Chronicle
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:27 AM on October 28, 2015


I got this from an interview with him, he may have oversold it.
posted by Artw at 9:30 AM on October 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


31 days of feminist horror films
posted by Artw at 3:03 PM on October 28, 2015 [5 favorites]




A little late to this but here's my 2 cents.

I think the linked list isn't bad. Includes the film that introduced me to Miike, 2 Kiyoshi Kurosawa films, and at least one Wheatley - all great. Strangers, 28 weeks later, Others, Inside are all a bit weak and I don't think of the Host as horror film. Oldboy director Chan-wook Park's version of Thérèse Raquin, Thirst, is a better candidate. But honestly I can live with the rest. I was pleasantly surprised by the Innkeepers - Ti West is definitely worth watching.

A little surprised we don't see the Guest on that list. A really strong film, easily the match for any of the other North American films on the list. Nthing Pontypool (CanCon doesn't have to suck), Bug, Slither, Splice, Stake Land (which I think works better than Mulberry St) - all very underrated. I liked the mood pieces of Amer & Strange Color of Your Body's Tears - art house takes on the style of Bava & Argento et al. Funny Games & Inland Empire (my favorite Lynch) deserve to be on there. I don't know how horrific it is but Strange Circus, sort of a Marienbad-ish tale of incest. I liked Shion Sono's Why Don't You Play in Hell? as well which is fairly gory I guess but it really isn't a horror. Simon Killer, Comforting Skin, Antiviral, and Back country are recent Canadian horror films I thought were not bad.

Mist
I think the ending of Mist would have worked better if for the whole movie we never see the monsters. That it is entirely suggested - maybe they are real, maybe they are not. If it was all about the madness of a group of people under extreme stress in a situation where they might be in danger or not, I think it'd work.

I think Marebito should be on the list.
Marebito is an acquired taste I think. I personally don't care for it - largely because it begins by promising / suggesting that the film might be the Richard Shaver mindfuck I've always wanted but sadly succumbs to the usual v-cinema half-assed euroguro. A missed opportunity.

Field in England
I really liked Field in England (not exactly a horror film) & Black Death (from the director of Creep - a more conventional period horror) and I recently watched Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell so... please UK Film & Television producers - MORE weirdo magicians in period costumes please! MORE Rural Folk Horror!
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:00 PM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Finally, I will never understand how Triangle isn't more widely known. It's a great movie! Very original and creepy! It should be making all of these types of lists.

So I watched it tonight based on the recommendations here. It started out pretty good, definitely creepy. And then it fizzled about two thirds of the way in, with the lamest ending. There was so much promise to it but it became so obvious after the first reveal. I'm still glad I watched it, though.

David Lynch did it much better in Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway.
posted by ashbury at 9:02 PM on October 29, 2015


Evil Dead remake - the exception to the 'remakes suck' rule.

I'd rather have to saw my arm off than watch that movie again. Who's laughing now?
posted by furtive at 9:23 PM on November 2, 2015


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