Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

I am going to spoiler all up in this shit. SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS. Why? Because this movie pissed me off.


The Descent (part 1?) was introduced to me by my ex boyfriend who’s only redeeming feature was the fact that he exposed me to a lot of awesome horror shit. And, as was typical of the scary movies he showed me, I loved it. It was claustrophobic, wet, gross, frightening – watch it in the dark and even in a group setting you’re scared shitless. We watched a bootleg copy of the original English version and no one wanted to sleep that night. One of the things I reveled in (you know, with me being all full of feminist rage) was the strong presence of women in this film. There are essentially no men. Combine that with the fact that (according to Freud) caves are essentially big vaginas and I think we have the feministiest horror movie in existence.

Okay, pretty much all the women die, but it’s not because they suck, it’s just because they’re in the dark with these THINGS and that shit would be hard for anyone to survive. They’re all these strong women who went down there to climb shit and on its own that’s admirable. It’s good, trust me.

By the time The Descent made it to American theaters, I was with a different boyfriend, and I dragged him to see it on the big screen; singing its praises until we were finally sitting in our seats. And we watched the movie, and it was good, and the ending came… and American cinema fucked it all the fuck up. Instead of it ending with the main character dreaming of her escape, she actually DOES escape, in a typical ‘make the audience jump with sudden screaming’ formula. I was appalled, and spent the rest of the night raging to my boyfriend about the ending he was supposed to see. I struck that ending from my memory, and forever preserved the original ending in my mind – therefore ensuring that The Descent remained an untarnished trophy in the list of horror movies I’ve seen.

Last night Descent Part 2 showed up on my Netflix recommendations. It had decent (ha) reviews and so I moved it to the number one slot in my queue and anxiously clicked on it when I got home.


You know, it capitalized on a lot of the same things that made the first one scary – and in that sense, it became less effective. Basically 2 days after Sarah is found, they go back to the caves to find the rest of the missing women. … “They” being a bunch of detectives/sheriffs/police/spelunkers I don’t know. They take Sarah with them to help navigate the caves. Then a cave in occurs and from there on the clusterfuck keeps going. I vastly didn’t mind any of this, though I wasn’t particularly scared. I was a little baffled that they insisted Sarah be a part of the rescue party, as she was clearly traumatized from the experience. I mean, lady showed up screaming and covered in blood. Doesn’t that at least make her a suspect? Do you REALLY want to take her down in a cave with you? Plot holes aside, I watched it. Badly done fake blood aside (how hard is it to mix caro syrup and red dye?), I watched it.

Sarah winds up being paired with another woman who’s upset because she fears she’ll never see her daughter again. Sarah, having lost her daughter before the first film, becomes determined to get this woman back to her child. They get around silently because the creatures are blind and can only find you if you make noise. Included in the cast of final survivors is Juno, a character from the last movie, and some redneck man determined to prove that Sarah murdered her friends. But hey, Juno’s ALIVE. Female strength back in the game plan! Also going back into these caves sends Sarah into some kinda of freaky survivor mode. A lot of the creatures get their faces punched in by these ladies and it’s kind of amazing. At some point, Redneck handcuffs himself to Sarah and all I can think is “ah, perfect equation for you to get your arm chopped off later, sir!” …I can read horror movies like Louis reads Braille.


So, we’re at the final race to the finish. Sarah, despite hating Juno for sleeping with Sarah’s husband, tries to save Juno from one of the creatures but is unsuccessful. Woman with daughter tries to get Sarah to get up and go to the exit with her, but Sarah is too busy crying. Other Woman makes a break for the opening, but oh shit, there’s like a ton of those creatures blocking the way. In a valiant display of sacrifice, Sarah screams to get all the creatures to attack her, therefore leaving Other Woman free to run out the hole and escape. The whole scene of her climbing out is almost exactly the same as the scene from the first movie where Sarah climbs out, minus the extra drama that came from the fact that Sarah was tripping on bones to get out.

It’s all very dramatic and you’re glad that this woman made it out. Feminists rejoice.

And then this woman gets hit on the head with a SHOVEL by some bum-1fuck nothing of a character (a MAN no less) from the beginning of the film and then he drags her back to the hole and as she wakes up a creature jumps out at the camera and bam film is over.


I get that horror movies share a tradition of ending bad. But they took away the bad ending of Descent one, and copped out by having Sarah survive. Then they make us think this woman is carrying on the torch of survival, ONLY TO TAKE IT RIGHT BACK? In a display that makes NO SENSE? The SHAME.


The men in this film spend all their time sucking while the women are forced to be strong and independent and they get themselves to the end and some shit goes down and that sucks… but to waste Sarah’s sacrifice? This is outright unnecessarily cruel. This is being mean at the end NOT to make it a more powerful ending but just for the sake of being mean. I’m NOT okay with that. And I hate that my fellow Netflix community ahs just gone along with it. It’s just more of the same from the first film except it deflated any and all sense of female empowerment. Guys… it doesn’t make sense. Something is wrong here. Someone threw that in at the last minute just to make the ending extra upsetting. But it didn’t need to be that way.

Yes, I’m legitimately disgruntled here. The more all-caps I use, the more likely it is that I’m irate. And this… I can’t even have a comprehensive discussion about this because it’s not okay.

Bad move, all around. I wish I hadn’t seen it, honestly. I would rank the original Descent as one of my favorite horror movies, but this one just leaves a bad taste in my mouth, so much so that it’s turned me off the original for now. Granted, there were different writers, and a different director, BUT the original direct did oversee production and approved the script. He doesn’t get to escape the blame here, which is appropriate because that woman didn’t get to escape either.

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Before I set out on this horror movie challenge thing, I scoured the interwebs for recommendations, hoping that it would point me in the same obscure direction that gave me gems like Murder Party and Head Trauma (two movies I’ll discuss in my next top five list. Somehow I was directed to watch Tetsuo: The Iron Man, a Japanese film about a man who accidentally runs over a metal fetishist, and after dumping the body, he begins to turn into a walking pile of scrap metal.


It sounds messed up, but after half a month of watching nothing but horror movies, concepts like this kind of lose their edge. Listen. I watched a bunch of bees fly out of Tony Todd’s mouth and I had to witness a guy eating his own penis. Turning into a bunch of car parts has competitors for having the worst day ever.

I’m going to betray every art student ever by saying that this movie wasn’t my thing. It very much reads as an experimental film shot in black and white with incredibly stylized action scenes. You don’t quite get the word ‘stylized’ as a descriptor for this film until you see it, but it’s unfortunately the best I have. I was better off reading a plot description for it on Wikipedia than actually watching the film. Despite it being a foreign film, there’s not a lot of dialog; instead there’s a bunch of tinny sound effects that don’t always portray what I feel the director was trying to get across. By far one of the most ridiculous scenes is when the main character’s penis turns into a power drill and he chases his girlfriend around the apartment until something unfortunate happens.

It sounds AWESOME, doesn’t it? YES I want to see some guy with a drill for a dick! And then you see it and it’s just not what you want it to be. That’s the whole movie. Believe it or not, that’s not even the most ridiculous thing that happens.


I like to think I’m really running the gambit on all the different kinds of horror on this blog. Classics, box office, funny, foreign, understated… And, in my humble opinion, I think I have established that I don’t need a horror movie with a serious and dark tone in order to enjoy it. I tried really hard to finish this movie for the sake of saying I gave it a chance. It’s a fairly short film, and that was the saving grace for getting me to sit through it. Call me close-minded, but the way this was executed came out really dull to me. The only element that came off as serious and creepy was when the man first realizes there’s a shard of metal jutting out of his cheek. It’s actually a very real moment of confusion and fear, and then the rest of it is cheapened by the film’s pursuit in being edgy.

I wish I had more for this. I’m sure there’s tiny fan base somewhere on a forum having deep an intimate discussions of how Tetsuo: The Iron Man really contributes to the world of film, but it’s too late for me. I bet some day it may show up as a high budget remake made for the cinema, but I think there are enough ‘karma’ films out there that I can find a bunch of alternatives to watch first.

“Our love can put an end to this fucking world. Let’s Go!”

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But Jade, you ponder, Saw is one of the most successful horror movie franchises in history! How could you wish you never ‘saw’ them? Nice pun, hypothetical person trying to argue with me, and indeed, their success in the box office AND in making people cringe is not up for debate. The Saw franchise and I, we have a history. It dates back to 2004, when the first movie came out, and I got it into my head that taking my mother with me was a good idea. To this day, she still likes to bring it up in conversation about how her daughter dragged her to this awful movie and how she’ll never trust me to take her to the theater again. Guilt aside, I do have a bit more reasoning to this one.
Saw did a good job of putting everyone through visual trauma as we watched the guy from Princess Bride and some other dude enact the worst hours of their lives. Saw was twisted, stressful, gross, and shocking, and for some reason it didn’t stop there. I’m not going to lie; I stopped seeing them in the theaters after Saw III. “He’s dead,” was my logic, “They can’t make any more.” That was when I stopped paying attention. And it wasn’t until a couple of months ago when I was listening to an intern at my office wax poetic about these movies that I discovered my assumption false. Baffled, and mildly curious, I set out to catch myself up on the movies, knowing then that the last installment was to be released come October. I absentmindedly decided to carry out this mission at the worst times; i.e.: when no one else was home, right before bed, after I had just made myself some soup, etc. It always was sometime around the 5 minute mark into the movie that I would ask myself the question: “Why am I watching this??” The situations that the characters are put in are no less than horrific; the epitome of the ‘man I’m so glad that’s not me’ scenario. Yet you can’t help but place yourself in those traps. To watch these movies is to pose the question: Could I cut off my arm to avoid having screws jabbed into my brain? Could I destroy my hands to prevent myself from getting sawn in half? Could I put myself through considerable pain to save my own life?
I was never a competitive person. I hate feeling pressured. I quit Tae-kwon-do because I didn’t want to spar with people for the sake of getting my next belt color. Jigsaw, I don’t like games. I don’t want to play your game. Let me die and make it quick.
My problem is that I know I would lose these games. I don’t like facing that truth about myself. And sure, they say you never know what you’re capable of until you’re faced with a near death situation, but I’m a real wuss about pain.


In trying to grasp a deeper sense of the problem I feel with these movies, I consulted with a friend of mine who has, in passing, expressed an actual hatred of the films. When I probed for a reason why, he explained to me his absolute disdain for torture – describing it as one of the most despicable things our species has created. He reeled over just why anyone would delight in watching these films and said that it posed the question: would people want to watch if it were real?
Point well received. I tried to rebut by saying that horror movies give us a ‘safe’ place to face our fears. Snuff films are a downright horrifying thing to fathom in the realm of reality, but give us a film like ‘Vacancy’ and we shell out the money to see it. What does it say about us, that these torture-porn films like Saw and Hostel rake in tons of money at the box office? Are we that addicted to the adrenaline? Do we just like knowing that it’s not happening to us? Or do these movies really send out a call to the darker parts of our humanity? I don’t think (or don’t want to think) that we actually ‘enjoy’ seeing the terrible things that happen to the Jigsaw victims. If I did, I wouldn’t have to cover my eyes the moment before the timer runs out in every movie.
Maybe this isn’t about the sick desire to watch someone die. Maybe this is about facing our own fears, desensitizing ourselves to our own fragility; our own mortality even. The reality of death surrounds us every day. And while the unfortunate factor lies in the truth that there are people who come to violent ends, on the whole, the Saw movies are an exaggeration on a pre-existing fear. No one wants to die a slow and painful death. The movies themselves like to hide behind the villain’s claim that he wants his victims to ‘learn’, but at the very core of it all – it’s about watching people die… creatively.
When it comes down to it, the Saw movies are just plain mean. They are depressing, the endings crush your hopes, and it makes you wonder about the people who *do* come up with the oh-so ‘clever’ traps. Quite frankly, considering that there’s going to be seven of them in total, I would say this is a monster that’s gotten out of control. The first one could have existed on its own and I think we all could have been satisfied. But all the movies contain so many loose ends, and I’m enough of an obsessive compulsive person that I’ll have to see how it plays out. I wish I never got started.


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I have made this brilliant observation that the previous three movies all feature one similar element: penile castration. Surely by now you think me either a raging feminist or a blabbering male sympathizer. What can I say? Our genitals, whether through cultural conditioning or instinctual inhibitions are a sacred space for man and woman. And I feel like these movies really have pushed the boundaries on horror by taking the violence to these places. Men don’t have the Oedipus complex for nothing. The vagina dentata didn’t originate because men feel their instruments are indestructible. No, we know them fragile and as things to be protected. Women however push babies through their genitals and bleed out of them every month – what’s tougher than that? Regardless, this is simply a tangent built upon a couple of similarities – only Teeth focuses on castration as the main drive of fear in its plot. Rest assured, no one loses their penis in the next film, they just lose everything else)

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Blair Witch Project, eat your heart out. …Literally. Cannibal Holocaust is the oldest movie on my list, and despite its age, it still remains one of the most controversial horror films released, and is banned in several countries.
A group of documentarians (thank you Wikipedia for that glorious word) venture out into the Amazon to film some cannibals and get… well, eaten by cannibals. None of this is discovered however, until way after the fact when some guys goes to rescue them and finds their films instead.
This movie made the cinematic phenomenon of ‘documentary gone wrong’ cool. It’s a wonder it took so long for the concept to be picked back up again by movies like The Last Broadcast and Blair Witch Project, because it keeps the unknowing audience guessing as to the credibility of the content. Cannibal Holocaust was so realistic that director Ruggero Deodato was arrested. If that doesn’t gain you some horror-cred, I don’t know what does. In this film, we have yet more castration, rock-rape, impalement, and abortion, and you think that would be enough to make you think twice about showing this movie on a date night (which I did once. I’m a romantic. Weirdly enough that guy and I only made it a couple of dates).
Remember when I said I would watch pretty much anything save for animal cruelty? No one really warned me about Cannibal Holocaust in that respect. Perhaps there were just bigger things to worry about with this film for some people. I do not remember with any degree of vividness what happened to the animals in this film. I reckon my brain has long since pushed out the memories to protect my little hippie world in which I shop organic produce and don’t eat meat. But some horrific shit happened, and the animals were real. I know, this was made in a different time and a different country, and these days no one would get away with it. But I don’t like seeing it, and that’s what really pushed me over the edge and got this movie to number 3 on the list.

I wanted to add another photo, but all of the pictures that came up for this movie were pretty horrific. Ok, I get it, I’ve been writing about horror movies. But this blog isn’t a gorgasm, y’know. I have limits.

Number 2 coming up sometime later. It’s a bit of a bonus round, because it encompasses more than one horror film I wish I never saw. Hur hur hur.

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…No, wait.


There we go.


Really, that’s kind of enough of a reason. Luckily, this is a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously and in that sense, it actually carries rather well. New Zealand accents help too.
You know, we’re getting into this age where over-the-top horror can sometimes only be dealt with by placing it alongside something funny. With the aforementioned ‘Teeth’ the concept of a woman biting of a man’s penis is just so damned horrible that we have to laugh to deal with it. …I’m not saying that weresheep tap into our primal fears, but falling into a pit of bloody sheep matter DOES tend to lose some of its edge when you have a ditzy animal rights activist there to pull out her aroma therapy candle.
Mentioning Black Sheep counteracts my whole thing about animal cruelty, but again, I pull out humor and the ridiculous factor. Hurting real sheep? Baaaad. (HA) Hurting crazy-ass puppet zombie sheep? You gotta do what you gotta do to survive, man.
So, we’ve got weresheep, we’ve got zombie sheep, OH, we also have zombie sheep-fetus, which was fun. We have an incredible scene where a heard of sheep attack a bunch of people, and we have a badass grandma figure with a gun. Overall, fun movie. …but then of course there’s the sheep fucking. This film pushes and pushes your reality threshold, and then sees the villain turning into a sheep as an oh-so-perfect opportunity to say what everyone’s thinking. Don’t worry too much though, he gets his just rewards in the end once he turns back into a human and has the thing bitten off. Yowch.
It’s bloody, it’s ridiculous, you practically don’t have the ability to scream about it because you’re too busy being bewildered.

WERESHEEP though. Seriously. That should be enough.

#3 is up next. Are you hungry?

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Halloween is right around the corner, and you know what that means? Okay, yeah, it means costumes and candy and the way too early emergence of Christmas decorations at the mall. But MORESO than that – it’s horror movie season.

Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, The Ring, Hostel; as the years go by, self-dubbed masters of horror plunge themselves into the world of film, hoping start the next revolution in fear and gore. If they’re lucky, the resulting movies are the things that nightmares are made of.

In the quest to scare our increasingly desensitized populace, we’ve had to set down concepts like running from the killer only to trip in the middle of the woods. Nope, instead, we have to go for hard core , blood on the camera, guy ripped to pieces, never breaking away from the violence, and at the very end *everyone* dies sort of angle. There’s really no hope for the next generation of movie-goers; we’re going to have to start actually spattering blood into the audiences. But until then, we have more and more movies finding new and appalling ways of making us shudder. And some of them, well… they take it too far.

The following list is for those that have reached a special level of gross in my eyes. When I say I wish I never saw them, it’s not because they were necessarily ‘bad’ in a cheesy horror story way. These are movies that would make the most seasoned horror aficionado blush.



As if we needed more of a reason to make gay men hate vaginas; the vagina dentata, after spending thousands of years in mythical obscurity, finally took to the world of cinema in 2007. The long of it: Teenage girl preaches abstinence to a bunch of kids, then inevitably becomes a slave to hormones only to find out that men are pigs and that she is a living example of vagina detata. The short of it: It’s a film about guys’ dicks getting bitten off by a girl with teeth in her snatch. It’s icky. Even as a member of the female persuasion I cringed at the screams and the expressions of shock and betrayal smacking their way onto the faces of her victims.
Granted, a horror film preaching this much female power is something to be applauded. True, the men in this film did get what was coming to them. I’m all for feminism and I’m all for putting women in a place of control when it comes to sex. I even appreciated the fact that the movie poked fun at the abstinence crowd – going so far as to having her parents (while proud of her) poke fun at how things were different back when they were young. At first, the heroine giving into her sexual desires seems a weakness, but soon it becomes her strength. She grows from someone who makes me roll my eyes to someone who makes me cheer her on, and there’s something to be said for that.
I know all the praise kind of contradicts my “I wish I’d never seen it” argument, so I’ll be honest on a couple of points. All of these movies come with a set of ‘bragging rights’ for having seen them. Me being who I am, I’ll seldom turn down an over-the-top horror movie so long as it doesn’t boast animal cruelty. In the case of ‘Teeth’, I don’t regret seeing it, it’s simply made the list for going to a place no other horror movie had before. And seriously, the first time that thing crunches down on victim #1, it’s one of the most painful, cringe-worthy things I’ve ever witnessed. Also that scene with the dog…
A note: When I started to write this article, I realized that my memory of a couple of the films was not as crystal clear as I wanted it to be. I would like to be able to report them back with some level of authority, so this is how I ended up watching ‘Teeth’ for the second time. It’s been over two years since I’ve seen it, and I’ve since grown accustomed to the concept of severed penises rolling around on the floor. The second time watching it was by far less shocking than the first.

Oh, and I’m sorry. That first image is way too subtle. Try this one.


Stay tuned for #4 tomorrow! Hint: It’s not that baaaad.

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