Doomed! You’re all doomed!
Friday the 13th is considered unlucky due to the the associations both Friday and the 13th have (Friday being Jesus’s apparent day of Crucifixion, and 13 being seen as an unlucky number).
For most of us though Friday is the last day of the working week (which is a lucky thing) and 13 is just another two digit number.
However you take it, I’ll take any excuse to watch some good horror and tonight I plan to see the classic Friday the 13th.
The charm of this film is its mawkishness. Teen counsellors find themselves in trouble-danger when they go camping at a “cursed” lake. Enter Jason, enter slaughter, roll film credits.
It’s nothing new now but it is fun to watch a film which spawned a franchise and still manages to sprout sequels in cinemas (see Jason Vs Freddy 2: The Rematch), even if they are complete crap.
My friends and I also decided to watch Friday the 13th because it’s on a free movie channel we have at the moment. Otherwise I would probably choose to revisit some of the following, which I highly recommend:
Nothing beats the humour and fun that goes along with this film. When it was first released in the cinemas (and even later, when it was released on vhs) we’d all pull out our Scream masks and Talkboys (see Home Alone) and scare the b-grade crap out of one another.
Not only do we get to see people killed by garage door and vocal chord puncture, but we’re privy to bad play-on-word one-liners like “Liv-er alone!”
Don’t let the PG rating scare you off; this film is loaded with witty dialogue, creative imagery and disturbing themes.
Sure it’s set in a quiet suburban town, and no one really dies but there’s something deeply unsettling about the parents hearing their daughter’s cries for help and knowing that they really can’t do anything about it. Also, the people-eating tree and clown will make you shart yourself a little.
Night of the Living Dead
This film didn’t scare me too much but I found it highly engaging and smart.
Perhaps the scariest moment in this film is at the beginning, and the most disturbing part of the film comes closer to the end (and I’m sure those who have seen the film can pinpoint which moments these are from two words: cemetary and girl).
What makes this film work is its pace: A somewhat slow initial progression builds as aggressively as the increase in zombie quota. Any director of a good zombie film will probably tell you that in order to scare the audience they need to feel more and more harrassed to get the general notion of the world coming to an end at the mercy of the undead. NOTLD definitely achieves this, without getting lost in it (notice the themes of gender, race and family hacked at throughout).
Which brings me to…
28 Days/Weeks Later
Althought slightly convoluted these were the first films to really properly explore the idea of a zombie EPIDEMIC.
Rather than simply a kill-and-come-back approach, survivors fleeing from some now monstrous humans have to be careful not to get any of the blood (which, of course oozes from every possible body part and orifice) in their system, otherwise they too will become vile, unreachable rage-ers.
Add to that the fact that the zombies are alert enough to run (rather than waddle), and angry (rather than hungry for human flesh), and it really makes for some harrassing viewing.
Danny Boyle’s films always set out to confront the viewer (see, The Beach and Sunshine) and Juan Carlos is true to Boyle’s vision in the second installment.
In space no one can hear you scream.
So goes the tag which kicks off this quadrilogy.
I hesitated seeing the first film for a long time because I thought that, as an alien film it wouldn’t be too true to home (literally and figuratively, ha!). Generally I find boogeyman films and films where humans are the evil, to be much scarier than creature features.
But once I started watching I quickly learnt that these are films about human evils. The aliens merely enable this.
Without boring you with too much analytical detail, it seems to me that the scariest thing in all of these films (with the exception, perhaps, of the third film: what’s with the alien dog?) is that the characters are never who they seem to be. Some of them surprise us by betraying another crew member, but some of them surprise themselves by selfishly trying to save their own skin without considering the safety of their friends.
This is all perfectly illustrated in the famous scene where an alien interrupts a friendly dinner by birthing out of someone’s chest.
The Blair Witch Project
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Evil Dead 1 and 3