On a day when I started watching Halloween 4 at 5:15 in the morning, while feeding my sleeping 4 month old son, I want to take a moment to celebrate the things I enjoy about Horror movies. Are some of them formulaic? Of course. Are some of them as old-hat as an Abe Lincoln stovepipe? Hell yes. But that doesn’t mean they don’t work. Wheels are still round, aren’t they?
Since we all love a good bracket (*Author’s note: in spite of the insufferably overused term “bracketology” I couldn’t resist. Clichés are something I completely detest but. . .when in Rome. Damn it.) and so here’s a quick one that I whipped up in between cramming my cram-hole full of candy and jamming my eye-sockets with so much Horror movie that there’s hardly any room for my pupils.
Jump in, debate, let me know what your take is. As always, audience participation is welcomed.
- The 1 V.S. 8 matchup here may seem was a no brainer for me. I know. . .I know. All you perv-jobs out there are probably shouting at your computer screen, “Wait just a damn minute!” And franchises like Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th are undoubtedly and irrevocably altered without their cheap-nudity staple: the shower scene. I will be the first to agree that there is something vulnerable, something a little unnerving about stripping down and jumping into a confined space with bad footing and closing your eyes for an extended period of time, but Creepy Kids definitely had too much going for it. When done right, the creepy kid movie can rattle you to your bone marrow, have you checking over your shoulder when you hear the sounds of a tricycle (*Author’s note: The Omen fans know what I’m talking about here) and have you turning down the invite to come babysit for cash.
Winner: Creepy Kids
- The 2 V.S. 7 matchup was a little tougher for me than the 1-8. While I am a firm believer that a terrifying, bone chilling musical score can alter the course of a movie, I also have (as strange as this may sound) a soft spot in my heart for psychopathic, demented, unstoppable serial killer/monsters. Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees, Freddy Krueger and the Leprechaun from Leprechaun all come to mind immediately. The last one leaves my mind just as quickly. The list goes on and on. However, two of my favorite movies of all time, horror or otherwise, are Jaws and Halloween. Each of those movies is completely different without their music. Another of my all-time favorite horror movies, The Shining, utilizes gnawing, nerve-jangling noises to put you nauseously ill-at-ease.
Winner: Pants-peeing music
- The 3 V.S. 6 matchup was another tough call for me. On the one hand we have the root of all evil. A sure-fire horror movie “don’t”. Underage drinking. If you booze in horror movies, you’re going to die. Probably brutally. Probably bloodily. You’re probably going to go straight from a keg stand to a leg/hand missing. The probability of you dying increases by 4 with each 6 pack you crush, by 6 with each keg that you purchase, and exponentially with each bottle that you steal/pilfer from your parents’ stash. But I love the look of a steadicam in a horror movie; the feel of it. It makes your skin crawl. Nothing puts you better in the murderer’s perspective than a slow steadicam approach from behind or a swift steadicam rush from the side. Nothing.
Winner: Steadicam shots
- The 4 V.S. 5 matchup features two other staples of the horror genre. The dream sequence and doing drugs. While I firmly believe that, in a unique and revolutionary new tactic, the D.A.R.E. program should splice together gruesomely unedited highlights of party scenes gone awry from every Friday the 13th ever to show kids what drug use will lead to, there just isn’t enough to topple the mighty dream sequences. Or am I dreaming right now? Uh-oh. . .Nightmare on Elm Street lives on this very idea. But, wait, what’s scarier than nightmares? The answer — and the reason that drugs wins this category? — BATH SALTS! The scariest thing ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Winner: Drugs = Death
IN ROUND 2:
- Steadicam shots shocks the world by upsetting Creepy Kids. I’ve told you this one, I’m obsessed with the way steadicams shots look in cinema. You could shoot a Michael Bay movie on them and they would be terrifying. Now, when you combine these two goliaths of horror? You get phenomenally terrifying horror flicks. Bless you, Stanley Kubrick.
Winner: Steadicam Shots
- Pants-Peeing Music sneaks out a win over Drugs = Death. Have you ever heard the theme song to Halloween? Three bars of that 6/8 time death march has me ready to sprint manically away from the nothing hunting me until my legs fall off (*Author’s note: in my current physical condition, that’s about 40 yards.). Kimbo Slice would wet himself the moment he heard the jarring strings, creaking vilely, signaling the complete mental collapse of Jack Torrance as he toes the line to murderous insanity. But on the other hand. . .BATH SALTS!!!!!!!!!!!!
Winner: Pants-Peeing Music
AND IN THE FINAL SHOWDOWN:
- Pants-Peeing Music wins in a heavyweight slugfest. There are just more movies that have utilized creepy-ass music to set the tone than have used the steadicam. While I fully blame directors for this egregious oversight, steadicams are also highly expensive in an industry known for being very low-budget. In the end, though, aren’t we all winners, horror fans?
Winner: Everyone everywhere. Wait, what’s that behind you. . .oh, no! Look out. . .it’s bath salts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!