One Sentence Judgments: Favorite Horror Films Edition
All of us here at Kino Club 313 love horror! So, to avoid covering the same ground again and again with our listicles throughout the month of October, we decided to join forces and provide you with a couple of collective listicles in which we limit ourselves to a one sentence judgement, the first thought that came to mind. Given that some of us can be pretty long-winded, this was a bit challenging but also a bit of a riot. Be on the lookout for our next edition, the “Trailer Edition,” where we judge a horror movie we haven’t seen based solely on the trailer. Enjoy!
Shelby: John Carpenter is a god and Halloween has one of the best opening sequences in horror film history.
Lacey: This movie epitomizes the Midwest; having grown up and lived in Illinois, this movie is both a terrifying and celebrated homecoming.
Tristan: It’s a simple slasher, yet very entertaining and creepy.
Ian: Literally has everything cool about horror: killer with an inexplicable motive, a commendable scream queen, trouble-making suburban teens, and the best synth score of all time.
Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Although Rick & Morty's "Scary Terry" character has kinda ruined Freddy Krueger for me, I can't deny that the Nightmare series is classic horror, on par with Halloween and Friday the 13th.
There literally exists no premise more horrifying than what happens in your dreams happens in real life.
I’m not sure which is sharper – Freddie’s claws or Johnny Depp’s cheekbones.
Johnny Depp couldn’t have had a better (or bloodier) debut.
The original that spawned one of the most creative horror franchises featuring the best non-Captian Jack Sparrow version of Johnny Depp.
Meta-horror back when that wasn't really a thing, and - at least partly - the inspiration for one of my favorite guilty-pleasure movies, Scary Movie (2000).
Editor's Fun Fact: The working-title for Scream was Scary Movie.
The meta-horror film that launched a genre of subversive, horror-deconstruction films (also the film that made 5-minute cameos of movie stars famous…and acceptable).
Oh, cool, Drew Barrymore is in thi…Oh.
The ‘90s was a pretty washed-up time for horror, but at least we had Scream.
This movie lampoons horror movies and stays extremely scary while doing so, so yeah, it’s still one of the greats.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Even knowing full well how the film ends, I can't watch the final montage of NotLD without crying – the lynching allegory is far scarier to me than the undead are, even though Romero claimed that racial messages in the film were unintentional
CLUE (The Horror Version): The little girl…in the basement…with the trowel *shivers*
Oh, cool, young Emma Thompson IS in this!
Gritty, disturbing, depressing- In one word, perfect!
In my opinion and also many critics’ this movie changed the course of horror and zombie films to come, and I think we’re right?
Arguably the best film adaptation of a Stephen King novel until this year's It reboot.
Aside from the infamous shower scene, Carrie is a terrific example of how the genre of horror allows women be something other than passive eye-candy; it allows them to become monstrous agents and that monstrosity is typically activated through constructs of femininity/womanhood, which is a connection worth thinking about.
No spontaneously choreographed dance sequence at the prom = teen movie fail.
Personally, my favorite adaptation of a Stephen King book, due to the ‘70s setting and Pino Donaggio soundtrack.
Puberty: The Movie, aka one of the scariest movies of all time.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
The original hillbilly horror film; absolutely visceral and stomach-turning.
Repetitive internal dialogue: Why? That is such a stupid decision. Idiots. Why? Don’t! Final Girl, Final Girl, Final Girl.
Reason #11,289 for why I’m terrified of the country.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget that dinner scene.
Still one of the most visceral viewing experiences I’ve ever had and that’s all I have to say about that!
Cabin in the Woods (2012)
This is probably the most interesting horror film to come out in the last 10 years; it manages to take meta-horror a step even further than its precedents (namely Scream and Behind the Mask), and has some genuinely hilarious moments to boot.
The horror movie that Thor did.
“Husband’s bulge”…there’s a joke there somewhere.
I’m normally not a fan of Joss Whedon’s work, but this has some fun and clever twists on a lot of worn-out horror tropes.
An awesome sub-genre bending satirical horror with just enough scares and twists for a rewatch.
Even though I know exactly what to expect from the iconic shower-stabby scene (doesn't everyone at this point), it is still so, so unsettling every time I re-watch this film.
Oh, cool! Janet Leigh is in thi…Oh.
Psycho started my love for all things horror and Hitchcock.
The shower scene is just the tip of the iceberg — Anthony Perkins was so great as Norman Bates, but you didn’t need me to tell you that!
The Birds (1963)
Only Hitchcock could take something as quotidian and innocuous as birds and make them absolutely terrifying; the 'eyeless corpse' scene will be burned into my brain forever.
I watched this for the first time in 2011, over holiday break and right after some 5,000 birds had fallen out of the sky in Arkansas, which naturally made any and all bird phenomena a hot news topic, and it increased the scare quotient of this film significantly.
Sorry, but birds just aren’t scary.
I love how there’s no score, it makes the movie all the more eerie.
Birds are terrifying in this movie and in real life. The end.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Although the final scenes of the film are so over-the-top as to undercut the serious nature of the story, Rosemary's Baby is still saying something powerful and disturbing about misogyny and sexual violence.
Patriarchy, the nuclear family, being raped by Satan…these all seem like pretty standard, daily occurrences for the average American.
The one Hollywood movie where getting married, settling down, and starting a family is not a good thing.
It deserves its reputation, but I still think Repulsion is Polanski’s best take on the horror genre.
I have actually met Rosemary’s baby and he’s pretty chill.
28 Days Later (2002)
Alex Garland (the writer of this film, as well as The Beach and Ex Machina) is the best thing to come out of Britain since Neil Gaiman and/or Cadbury Eggs.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen 28 Days Later, but thinking back to it, I remember how the film effectively merged genres (i.e., sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, and horror) to really create something new and exciting; additionally, we have to acknowledge how the film changed how the genre viewed zombies.
Zombies are, in fact, way scarier when they’re fast.
First-rate zombie flick with a sequel that’s surprisingly just as good.
I don’t think there’s been a contagion movie that tops the terror of this one since it has come out.
The Babadook (2014)
I can't decide if I like the Babadook more as a legitimately terrifying children's storybook monster, or as an accidental queer icon, but either way he's great and this film is, too.
I think of The Babadook and The Monster (2016) as a pair of films that belong together; their function is similar, and more than mere jump scare films, the two films underscore the fact that horror is all about manifesting our collective and individual fears in something that is “other.”
So, is the message that we shouldn’t read to our children?
Fantastic movie, definitely something you will need to watch more than once to appreciate.
This slightly overrated movie is now ruined for me because of the Internet, but I liked its disorienting vibe when I first watched it!
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
The perfect "bottle" horror film, even if its relationship to 2008's Cloverfield is less than clear; excellent and nuanced performances from John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and John Gallagher, Jr. create a tension and claustrophobia that is hard to match.
What an utter waste (#AlienSuckerPunch).
No joke, possibly the best John Goodman performance ever.
What a brilliant example of how not to write an ending.
Imagine dealing with a psychotic John Goodman for days and then immediately after battling an alien spaceship. Such an insane, fun ride.
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
I don't think there's anything I can say in praise of this film that hasn't been said before, so I'll just quote Hannibal Lecter: "I do wish we could chat longer, but I'm having an old friend for dinner."
Clarice Starling + Hannibal Lecter = #RelationshipGoals
No, Buffalo Bill, I would not fuck you.
Of all the serial killers in the vast world of horror, Dr. Hannibal Lecter is the scariest. Most PG-13 horror movies are terrible; this is one of the few exceptions to the rule.
One of the smartest, affecting thrillers of all time and one of my favorites.
Drag Me to Hell (2009)
This film features far too many bodily fluids spewing out of (and into *shudder*) orifices for my tastes; would not recommend viewing before, during, or after eating.
The old woman freaks me out.
Old people don’t play.
That hobbling scene makes me cringe every time.
Sam Raimi doing gross-out, hilarious horror at his best.
Annie Wilkes is possibly the scariest Stephen King villain ever (yes, I know that Pennywise exists); the "hobbling scene" is one of the very few horror movie scenes I physically *cannot* watch, even though I know exactly what to expect.
File under things you will never unhear: the sound of a sledgehammer breaking a man’s feet.
I mean, to be fair, he got a much better book out of it.
That hobbling scene makes me cringe every time.
Uhm, remind me not to add Annie Wilkes on Facebook…
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
2+ hours in which the scariest thing that happens is Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder utterly failing to affect British accents. FFS, FFC.
Best. Dracula. Ever. Because...Keanu.
Needs more Keanu.
I like Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee better, but Gary Oldman still plays a great Count Dracula.
This OG vampire isn’t emotionally abusive, nor does he twinkle in the sun!
It Follows (2014)
I'll admit that I've only seen the first half of this film (thanks to a crappy, scratched disc), but maybe that's a good thing since the part of It Follows that I *did* see freaked me out so much I couldn't help but keep looking over my shoulder for a week.
It Follows is a subconsciously creepy masterpiece; the mise-en-scene is intentionally designed to be ambiguous, to be both simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar, working to unsettle you in ways that you might not even recognize.
The disc I rented had a scratch on it, so I got as far as the following part.
I like the classic feel and the Michigan setting, but I don’t get the hype for this one.
I love everything about this movie, especially the shell-shaped touch screen phone.
Get Out (2017)
Jordan Peele should keep making horror movies forever; Get Out is the best horror film of 2017, no contest.
Social-satire wrapped in horror.
Reason #11,290 for why I’m terrified of the country.
This was my favorite horror movie of 2017.
If you watched Key & Peele, you knew Jordan Peele had a strong, creative voice, and now the world knows. Yay!
Final Destination (2000)
I'll admit that I only watched this series to see the progressively crazier ways the writers devised for killing off characters – the barbed wire fence and nail gun deaths (from FD2 and FD3 respectively) are probably the two most memorable, but the first in the series has its fair share of disturbing, Rube Goldberg-esque deaths.
Fun; Final Destination is like the Dawson's Creek of horror.
As someone who is paranoid, this is what the inside of my brain looks like.
I wouldn’t call it a good movie, but it’s certainly fun to watch.
Who knew CGI-ed freak accidents would be so fun to watch? That being said, I really hope a bouncing tire doesn’t rip off my head any time soon.