You could pretty much build an entire library of horror films based on or around scarecrows and their tendencies to provoke or be involved in inherent horror or the supernatural. There’s just something so mystifying about the scarecrow where horror creators always go back to that same device, and most times it works. Take 1981’s “Dark Night of the Scarecrow.” The horror thriller by Director Frank De Felitta and writer J.D. Feigelson, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, was unleashed on the CBS Network and managed to build a pretty loyal cult following over the years.
There’s a lot of world building in “Night Teeth” and that’s not always a good thing. What seems like a movie based around two vampires and their inadvertent victim driver, morphs in to a very layered (to a fault) crime thriller involving two warring factions of hunters and vampires, a vampire mob boss, struggles for power, and turf wars. It almost feels like they intended “Night Teeth” to be part one of a trilogy. But I doubt we’ll ever get the complete picture of it all.
Director David Gordon Green simultaneously delivers a sequel that does something completely new with “Halloween” and also promises to divide horror fans down the middle. There is no horror movie in 2021 that promises to polarize horror fans more than “Halloween Kills.” Rather than a movie that features Michael Myers killing, killing, and killing some more, David Gordon Green goes a different route and explores the fall out from his murder spree in 1978 and 2018.
The original Don Mancini 1988 horror film “Child’s Play” was both a slasher movie and a psychological thriller. We’re given an immense amount of exploration in to the mind of serial killer Charles Lee Ray, and we see him transfer his body in to the Good Guy doll. But when Andy is given the cursed doll, every time someone dies and the body count rises, there is the suspicion that perhaps Andy is committing the murders and Chucky is an outlet for his feelings of alienation. “Chucky” reaches back in to the original narrative and brilliantly adjusts it for a modern setting.
After whatever that MTV reboot of “Scream” was, networks and companies seem to be learning all the wrong lessons from it. Rather than breathe new life in to a once solid slasher series, Amazon has botched it from out the gates. Instead of a tense, white knuckle slasher/murder mystery, Lois Duncan’s novel is adapted in to an erotic teen drama thriller. Think less “Slasher” and more “Riverdale.” It’s a glacially paced glorified drama with a horror tint that downplays the horror and slasher aspects of the aforementioned movie series in favor of gratuitous sex, pointless nudity, and droning dialogue.
I never saw the original “The Collector” but at this point I think it’s fair to say that you don’t really have to. “The Collection” is definitely a follow up to what is meant to be a trilogy of films, and the storyline isn’t exactly episodic. “The Collection” is not at all a bad movie, mind you. But it’s not as labyrinthian in its narrative as the “Saw” series continues to be. It sure does try to be, as it tells us very little about who the Collector is.
“V/H/S/94” is finally out and streaming on Shudder, and it’s a fantastic reboot. It comes at a great time where Analog and found footage horror has garnered a small resurgence that promises to grow once everyone’s seen the found footage reboot. Analog Horror is trending on Youtube these days with visual artists and animators of all kinds delivering scary, weird, or bizarre videos that unfold for us a spooky alternate universe horror story.
With so many out there, these are my five favorite.
Regarded by many horror fans as one of the greatest horror movies of the eighties, and one of the greatest Italian splatterfests, “Demons” has carved a larger than life reputation in horror cinema, even in spite of its messy sequel line up. Lamberto Bava’s “Demons” is the essence of punk rock horror, a movie so unabashedly chaotic, violent, and gruesome, but one also packing a sense of mysticism. Its sequel is a pretty awesome follow up that repeats the original’s formula, but brings it in to a new arena where humans are hopelessly trapped.