8. The Cabin in the Woods
So let’s simply check off the list of the clichés this movie has in the Cabin in the Woods genre. A group of teenagers go to an isolated cabin free of technology? Check. The group is comprised of stereotypes, like the jock, the nerd, the slut, the stoner, and the innocent virgin? Check. Suspicious rednecks who heed warnings that are completely ignored? Check. A basement filled with something dangerous? Check.
What makes the movie unique is that all of this is done as a simulation, where a bunch of office workers operate the situation so that it plays out like a horror movie. The movie even has a whiteboard full of monsters and the office workers place bets over which one gets picked by the teenagers. This is the type of humor that one must expect when going into this movie.
Although on the surface it might seem like another cabin in the woods type of movie, the movie is a parody of not just that trope from cabin in the woods movies, but horror movies in general. The parody elements are also only just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the content of the movie. The pinnacle horror comedy film of recent years, The Cabin in the Woods is a deconstruction of horror movies, but it also explains why horror movies are important, and why we as a society should feel ashamed for this.
It’s an excellent reflection on society and the message it sends is really thought-provoking. However, the biggest highlight is the ending that only chaos can describe. All I can say is that it’s called “The Purge.” Every horror movie fans will love this movie for both the message it tries to send, as well as the countless homage it makes with its numerous references. It’s the ultimate love and hate letter to horror movies.
9. Shaun of the Dead
Edgar Wright’s first movie in the Cornetto trilogy is a zombie movie told in a rather different way. Taking the idea of Dawn of the Dead and entrusting it to two slackers, the movie follows Shaun and Ed in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. And while most movies have some heroic main character who does the right thing, Shaun and Ed and utterly hopeless as they deal with the situation like what a normal person would.
And, like all zombie movies, this movie fills its blood quota, but it handles its violence with fun. The humor is unrelenting, from choosing which Vinyl disc to throw at the zombies, to pretending to act like zombies in order to get through a horde of zombies. There’s a really fun action scene set to the song “Don’t Stop Me Now” and is now the best use of a Queen song since “Bohemian Rhapsody” in Wayne’s World.
Shaun of the Dead is a great parody on zombie movies. It’s loaded with references to other movies, and it’s a movie that’s clearly directed by someone who loves movies. It’s as if the cast and crew had fun making this movie, and that usually translates into a fun viewing experience.
Edgar Wright’s humor is both unique and ripe with substance. He utilizes many visual humor gags, as well as clever foreshadows. With these references, it’s always fun to revisit his movies and find the moments that you missed out on from the first or second viewing.
Before he received critical acclaim for Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn made some lesser known films: Super and Slither. Both movies have a bizarre sense of dark comedy. With both the fifties paranoia of alien invasion, and the eighties introduction to Cronenberg’s body horror, Slither is an homage to different generations of horror movies and carving itself into its own one of a kind movie.
An alien parasite crashes down to Earth and takes over town folk, Grant, played by Michael Rooker. Unwillingly becoming the alien host, Grant infects the entire town using a swarm of pink slugs. With the intention to take over the world, these slugs leap into people’s mouths and control their minds, turning them into brainwashed zombies. It is up to the town sheriff, played by the famous Browncoat, Nathan Fillion, and Grant’s wife, played by Elizabeth Banks, to stop the invasion before it gets outside of the town.
A remake of Night of the Creeps, Slither is slimier and more inventive. There are many practical gore effects with a huge emphasis on makeup. It’s a B-horror movie with a budget, offering impressive visual ways to make the human body more disgusting than it already is.
11. The Wicker Man (2006)
As the remake of a cult classic movie about a literal cult, this movie is a failed adaptation in many respects. However, like most of Nicholas Cage’s bad movies, The Wicker Man is a joke on the internet. Nowhere should this movie be compared to the original. Instead, it stands as its own abominable snowflake.
Nicholas Cage plays a cop, who in the middle of investigating the disappearance of his ex-fiancé’s daughter, is taken to an island inhabited by a mysterious cult run by women. The island’s economy is solely run on honey and there has been a shortage of it. Nicholas Cage’s quest in finding the missing girl becomes a bigger mystery when it turns out this cult may not be all they claim to be.
Everybody likes to reference the infamous “Bee” scene, and although this scene is only in the more mature unrated cut, it’s easily the best scene in the movie. In it, Nicholas Cage is beaten and tortured, when all of a sudden, the torturers pour bees on Cage’s face. Mix with bad CG, this scene depicts Nicholas Cage at his most psychotic.
The movie has a message about how creepy society can get if it’s entirely women driven, and although this was supposed to be creepy, it was more of a reason for Nicholas Cage to go around and literally hitting women. Nicholas Cage is a national treasure himself. Known for his overdone performances, he gets to ham up every scene whenever he gets the chance. The movie portrays misogyny and it’s very distasteful, yet that’s why this movie is hilarious.
12. Ichi the Killer
This movie is a horror movie, a dark comedy movie, a yakuza movie, and above all, it’s a Takashi Miike movie. Interestingly, the main center of attention is not Ichi the killer, but Kakihara, a sadistic crime lord who loves to torture and be tortured. His character is the villain of the story, and he loves to be the bad guy.
After hearing news of a mysterious killer taking down a mob boss, Kakihara tracks down Ichi in hopes of finding someone who’s worthy of being just as sadistic as he is, as well as to satisfy is masochistic pleasures. However, he is distraught over the fact that Ichi is a coward and psychologically timid.
Takashi Miike directs this ultra-violent picture with no remorse to humanity. Playing off of uncomfortable humor, the movie is littered with moments that’ll make you laugh and question yourself as to why you’re laughing at the scene. With numerous torturing scenes, scenes of massacres, and a countless numbers of amputations, this movie tops the bloodlust of Japanese cinema.
13. Jason X
Is it possible to jump the shark so high that you end up in space? That’s what Jason did in the last movie in a long line of Friday the 13th movies before they rebooted it for good. He’s already been resurrected, he went to Manhattan, he went to hell, and he fought Freddy Krueger. Yet somehow, they managed to top all that by having Jason go into space.
Without the cabins in the wood, Jason is frozen in 2010 and then bought back to life in 2455 on a spaceship. Chaos ensues as Jason does what he does best by indiscriminately killing people in the most clever and unique ways. He dunks a person’s head in liquid Nitrogen and smashes her head into pieces. The movie gets some points for creativity for that.
This is a movie that involves head scratching from both the filmmakers and the audiences. Why was this movie a good idea? The entire idea is absurd. The franchise has officially run out of ideas. Why was this movie made? Jason X is the last Friday the 13th movie before they hit the reboot switch, and why not? Because Jason is up in the final frontier, where is there left for him to go?
14. Tokyo Gore Police
Based on a Japanese manga, Tokyo Gore Police is a movie that should have worked more as an anime. But because this movie is live-action, it’s more worth talking about. Set in an alternate dystopia, a private police force is hunting down a mad scientist who’s capable of configuring humans into mutated beings called Engineers. The Engineers are humans with weapons that are located on recent amputated body parts.
Tokyo Gore Police is a social commentary that dazzles the audience’s delight with its unrealistic yet reflective portrayal of Japan. The movie is in many ways the Japanese equivalent to Robocop. They both take place in a dystopia and the focus of the movie is on a police officer under scrutiny of a corrupt police force.
The movie also throws in fake TV ads that are a satire on Japan. Half of the fun is stemmed from the satirical nature of these TV ads; such as an ad for customizable razor blades for slitting wrists and an interactive game where the participant gets to slash a real life death row inmate through a remote and TV.
However, the other half of the fun comes from the copious amount of gore that’s creatively utilized. An over-exaggeration of the body horror genre, the movie is littered with unrealistic bloody amputations and ungodly disfigurements. The design of the Engineers gives the movie a unique flair to it. There’s an Engineer with a chainsaw for hand, and another with an alligator mouth for legs. Despite being one of the bloodiest films ever, knows how to add fun with its social satire and its ridiculous amount of gore.
15. Scream 4
The first Scream is undoubtedly a new take on horror that reinvigorated the slasher genre. The whole series uses a self-aware universe where horror movies and horror clichés are recognized. So why is Scream 4 on this list and not the first Scream?
First off, this is the last movie that Wes Craven made, and it seems right to make light on how he finished strong. And lastly, Scream 4 had the unburdened task to tackle the huge prevailing problems of horror movie remakes and how horror movies are becoming more extreme with their violence.
To give a hint to the madness of Scream 4, the movie starts off with a film within a film within a film. To give in context, Inception started with only a dream within a dream. 15 years after the events of the first Scream, Sidney Prescott visits Woodsboro again. This time to promote her new book on the events that transpired in the past films.
But trouble lurks as a new killer dons the Ghostface mask and terrorizes the town yet again. However, the killer uses the logic of horror remakes by imitating the murders from the first movie, as well as making them bloodier and visceral. The movie also makes light of horror clichés as well as bending them just for the sake of bending them.
The movie does what the Scream movies do best and mock the very nature of horror movies. However with the time period we live in now, Scream 4 has more material to poke fun at. It parodies the ideas of remakes, spitting the faces of these bad remakes by making one that’s just as bad. But if there’s a lesson learn in all of this, it’s that you should never f**k with the original.