The average freaky horror movie isn’t going to cut it this year. Just face it. Watch something as terrifying as it is ridiculous. Some are bad. Some are forgotten. And some are downright disgusting.
Dude Bro Party Massacre III
The kickstarter for Dude Bro Party Massacre III says, “A movie this crazy would never get made unless it got kickstarted” and that is absolutely true. One part lampoon comedy, one part slasher send up, this movie hangs with the goriest and most explicit films to ever get a hundred needless sequels on a shoestring budget. If you are a fan of The Room you might appreciate the rare appearance of Greg Sestero, who played Mark, as one of the Dude Bros of Delta Bi. He’s one of the many unexpected cameos in the film from Larry King getting speared in a high school locker room to Patton Oswalt playing some sort of dark wizard/police chief. This film crosses so many lines of common decency that all the sneaky moments of genuine artistry, like an uncalled for yet oddly excellent miniature sequence , get kind of backgrounded. You can watch all the crazy bros, kills and parties through video on demand service VHX here.
House of Wax
2005’s House of Wax is the spiritual successor to the 1953 film of the same name and 1933’s Mystery of the Wax Museum. This time around, though, we have done-to-death slasher movie clichés, legitimately gruesome kills, numerous pointless twists, a uniquely unnerving setting, and—most terrifying of all—Paris Hilton trying to act. House of Wax presents the perfect mix of nonsense to point and laugh at and moments of genuine horror and disgust. The movie naturally follows a group of teens played by the lovely Elisha Cuthbert, the charming Chad Michael Murray, among others as they attempt to take a road trip to a big football game in Louisiana. But since this is a horror movie, they don’t quite make it and end up in a secluded ghost town. The main attraction in the desolate village is the titular House of Wax, and the teens soon find out the owners are looking for a new exhibit. While trying to avoid capture and being turned into living candles, the town’s dark history unfolds before their eyes. If you want both the funnies and the frights this Halloween, House of Wax is definitely a movie to melt your heart.
Back in high school, my friends and I would watch every D-list scary movie we could find at Blockbuster and on Netflix. On a particular Friday night, we came across what is now a confusingly prominent memory of my youth – The Gingerdead Man. If you haven’t heard of or seen The Gingerdead Man, this Halloween weekend is prime for this pastry horror gold. Made in 2005, The Gingerdead Man stars Gary Busey as a wickedly insane gingerbread man with the soul of convicted killer Millard Findlemeyer sentenced to death by the electric chair. Findlemeyer’s ashes are mysteriously delivered in a box labeled ingredients to the bakery owned by the daughter of his last victims. Not only does she not question a random box being dropped off at the back door, she instantly puts these “ingredients” in a batch of dough. To be sold. To the public. While mixing, her assistant accidentally cuts himself and holds his blood-dripping forearm over the dough, presumably to add a little flavor to the batch. Nonetheless, so much could have prevented the catastrophes. What stands out to me the most about this movie is the body of the gingerdead man: a six inch, silicone man-child dripping in grease and/or sweat with the mouth movement of a muppet. I came for the poor graphics and stayed for the baking puns and his jabs at the Pillsbury Dough Boy. The cast’s acting is a true gem – you can witness crying without producing tears, flailing arms and flying buns in a fight scene, and awkward, dead-eyed heart-to-hearts while a murderous cookie is on the loose. There’s nothing I don’t enjoy about this movie. Gather a group of friends together with the biggest bowl of popcorn and spend 75 minutes poking holes in the plot and trying to decide who you’d want on your team in a gingerbread man rumble.
Maniac is a 1980 B-movie about a serial killer in New York City. There was a remake in 2012, but from my own experiences with classic horror movies the originals are almost always better. The maniac’s victims include everyone from a couple lying on a beach to a prostitute to a nurse to a model to a photographer. He sleeps with dolls that he dresses up in his female victims’ clothes and hair, which he scalps straight from their heads. He does this as a way to keep a woman’s presence by his side to compensate for his mother’s untimely death and the abuse she inflicted on him as a child. The whole movie is extremely disturbing, but the most horrific scenes are when he shoots a bullet straight through glass and exploded one of his victims’ heads and the very end, which is worth a watch. Maniac is available to watch on YouTube for free to suit your Halloween viewing displeasure.
Mary Jo Contino
Vincenzo Natali‘s 2009 suspense film Splice, starring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley , is not bad by any means. It’s truly a forgotten film. Clive (Brody) and Elsa (Polley) are geneticists that specialize in hybrid species. Ignoring their company’s orders, the two start conducting experiments using human DNA, which results in an intense-looking hybrid human they name Dren. Her extreme intelligence and accelerated growth threaten Clive and Elsa, who quickly try to understand the creature they created in secret. The end of this film goes on my list of most explosive film endings of all time. It’s half disgusting, half brilliant, which awarded the film 3/4 stars from Roger Ebert, himself. The acting performances are stellar. Brody can do no wrong, and Delphine Chanéac as Dren makes her equally beautiful and terrifying. Splice is both ridiculous and brilliant.
A 64% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and underwhelming 3 stars on IMDb, Grave Encounters is pretty far down the barrel. Perhaps not the exact bottom, but some of the crusty bits that stick to the walls after said barrel is empty. However: this found-footage film is any thing but lackluster when it comes to scares and psychological terror. Directed by The Vicious Brothers, this film gained a cult following despite mixed reviews. Based around a paranormal reality show, Grave Encounters covers the crews last episode as their last haunted sites shoot turns out to be the real deal. Led by their fearless leader and host Lance Preston, the crew turns their investigative lens on an abandoned psychiatric hospital called Collingwood. The door bears an ominous yet cheesy warning of “Death Awaits”. Naturally, the crew decides to not only spend the night in the hospital, but to lock themselves in as well. It’s all about the ratings right? As the crew settles in, the spooky goodness begins to happen. From doors slamming shut on their own to disembodied voices, the scares are plentiful when night falls. A wonderfully, brain twisting and horrifying moment occurs after the crew wakes the next morning to wait for the door to be unlocked by the caretaker: it is still night time. Confirming so on their watches, hours have passed and daylight was long over due. They decided to smash down the main entrance door on their own, only to find that it leads into another hallway. Than the fun begins. One by one, the crew all become victims of the now fully awakened abandoned hospital and its past patients. They come across demonic children, suddenly finding patient bracelets on their wrists, and finally happening upon the master of ceremonies: a ghost of a doctor who has lobotomized the past mental patients. This all occurs over 76 hours of tape. All the while, it is still nighttime outside. Lance is the last man standing before he too receives a lobotomy by the ghost doctor. He signs off one last time: “I’m all-better now. I can finally go home. For Grave Encounters, I’m Lance Preston signing off.” The 2 million dollar budget was put to good use in terms of terrifying CGI in the forms of ghosts with voids for eyes and the ghost doctor. While found footage films can go either way in terms of entertainment and scare factor, this underdog of the horror world is a fantastic watch. Overall, I am all the more fascinated and terrified of abandoned psychiatric hospitals.
Sleepaway camp is described as a slasher teen film, but since it’s an 80s film, I viewed it more on the comedy side, in some ways. That is, a comedy clad with insane characters and interesting twists, but a comedy nonetheless. I would recommend this film for anyone who is not a fan of the myriad of blood and gore that is associated with most, if not all, slasher films. The beginning is a flashback of two kids and their dad, and there is a horrible boat accident which sets the mood for the rest of the film when it fast forwards about 8 years later at a camp for young teenagers. The characters include creepy camp counsellors, angst-y teens, and quiet, yet suspicious kids.
The movie carries itself with a series of suspicious killings during the nighttime at camp and due to the copious amount of questionable characters, it could be anyone. This is why you keep watching the subpar movie.
Sleepaway camp has quirky characters, but also bad acting, which brings in the comedic angle. If you’re not into horror films, but want a good laugh, and a somewhat thought-provoking plot (which leads to the twist), then this movie is the one for you this Halloween season.