Horror You May Have Missed
Confession: In my youth, I didn’t care much for horror movies. As you might guess from the career and catalog, my imagination tends to be slightly overactive. Mix that with being a kid and scary scenarios… yeah, definitely not my jam. But, as I’ve grown older and braver, I’ve been dipping my toe into horror more and more. Now that we are finally in October, time to turn these blogs spooky, and I can think of no better way to get the month started than by recommending some horror films that you may have missed or given a pass.
This is a bad movie. Let me be upfront about that. It isn’t a movie that has aged poorly, it was bad from the beginning. And yet… I still can’t help recommending this thing. Plot-wise, it’s about a bunch of security robots turning evil and killing teens, so nothing ground-breaking there. Acting, action, budget, all of it is where you’re expecting given that title. The redeeming thing about Chopping Mall, if one can even use that word, is how quintessentially 80s it is.
As it stands, the movie blows, but there’s a kind of time capsule magic to it. If watched like it was made intentionally bad, through the lens of our modern fascination with meta-jokes and deconstruction, it suddenly becomes amazing. The thing is so deeply steeped in crappy tropes that it works as an unintentional satire of the entire 80s slasher genre. Maybe that’s me giving it a lot of credit, maybe it’s the fact that my friends and I have yet to watch it sober. Regardless, the film is something to experience, and if you go in planning to make fun of it and laugh your ass off, you’ll be in the right state of mind to get maximum enjoyment from the process.
Any Leprechaun Movie
I feel like the Leprechaun movies get a bad rap. We’ve been talking about horror series a lot amongst the A&D group for our Tournament of Terror, the first episode of which debuted a few days ago, and in the course of our discussions it’s come up that most series go up and down in quality. Some Jason movies are great, some are pure shit. With Leprechaun, there’s not so much of that. True, none of them are great, but they are reasonably consistent. All of the Leprechaun movies deliver about the same level of lazy jokes and over-the-top killings. If you like what they’re selling, then you’ll enjoy yourself almost the whole way through.
It goes without saying, but stick to the original series for this, I’m not counting remakes or reboots in this or any other entry on the blog. Warwick Davis added a lot of humor and life to the character that few movie monsters get to have. There’s no plot, or even lore, continuity between movies, so pick up whichever one seems the funniest and give it a go. I’m partial to Leprechaun #3 because of how insanely bad the “casino” setting they sprang for was, but you make your own choice. Just make sure you’ve got a boozy head start for #4, Leprechaun in Space. You want to be wrecked for that one.
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
I think more and more people have been discovering this one lately, but it still warrants a shout-out for those who’ve managed to miss it. This is a true deconstruction, not a projected one like with Chopping Mall. Structured as a documentary about an aspiring horror killer, the story digs deep into the mythology, tactics, and viability of famous movie slashers. With great acting and dynamic plot that always keeps you a little uncertain what is really happening, this film is flat-out fantastic. Plus, as of the writing of this blog, it’s free on Amazon Prime, so there’s no excuse to give it a miss. I’ll keep this one brief, since the movie doesn’t really need much pushing.
A Netflix Original that I very nearly skipped right over, The Babysitter appears to be little more than a stock-idea slapped on top of a simple script, from the name, description, and even preview. And, in truth, that’s probably intentional. This movie starts from very core premises, specifically so it can deviate from them or take them to the extreme. I won’t sit here and tell you The Babysitter is brilliant plotting and cinematography that changes the game. Hell, someone with more movie knowledge might even tell me it’s got a lot of technical flaws, and I could believe them. It’s by no means a perfect film.
But goddamn, it is fun. Full on, no apologies, fun. If you came for jokes, action, and gore, then this movie pays out big time. Great actors and creative writing turn stock-characters into weird, interesting people that draw you in. A bizarre style that feels deeply reminiscent of the most flippant Edgar Wright moments somehow fits the tone perfectly, flashy and strange, just like the film we’re watching.
Most people I’ve talked to enjoy this movie. If you’re one of the many folks giving it a skip as you scroll through Netflix, looking for something fun, take a chance on this flick. It might not end up your new favorite; however it’s definitely worth a couple of hours to check out.
Kill Me Now
For the folks who missed the old days of Cracked.com and their stellar video team, here’s a blast from the past. Kill Me Now stars Michael Swaim and other Cracked alum in a comedy-horror film that feels almost like a more serious precursor to Dude Bro Party Massacre 3, which makes sense since both are internet-indie horror movies. The plot is simple, and there are clear flaws due to budget and relative inexperience, yet the product is still enjoyable to watch overall. It’s great seeing talented creators cut loose, even when not every swing connects. I hope this one eventually gets a sequel, or Swaim makes a similar effort in another genre. Given that this is a first attempt, I’d bet he can create some awesome stuff with more time and resources.