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Posts Tagged ‘horror comedies’

John Dies At the End

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

tn_johndiesDon Coscarelli is really underappreciated. Including by me. Everything he’s done is good, right? I haven’t seen his first two, but one (JIM, THE WORLD’S GREATEST) is not on video and the other (KENNY & COMPANY) I’ve heard nothing but good things about. All four PHANTASM movies are pretty great. I like THE BEASTMASTER. I like SURVIVAL QUEST. But he’s a low budget independent guy who wants to do his own thing, so he takes a while. It’s been 10 years since his last movie, the one-of-a-kind BUBBA HO-TEP. It’s been 7 years just since his last TV work, INCIDENT ON AND OFF A MOUNTAIN ROAD, easily the best Masters of Horror episode I’ve seen.

So he’ll be out of sight for years and then he’ll travel through the portal of time to bring us one of these distinctive sort of fringe horror-ish movies. This time he brought us JOHN DIES AT THE END, probly the closest thing he’s done to an actual comedy. You could compare it to something like JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER or maybe CABIN IN THE WOODS or TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL, but still with enough weird, non-jokey horror in its guts to keep me satisfied. It arguably leans a little bit more to the left on the horror-to-comedy spectrum than those ones, but not by a huge amount. (read the rest of this shit…)

Gremlins

Friday, July 20th, 2012

GREMLINS is a weird only-in-the-’80s mix. Like POLTERGEIST it’s a Spielberg production of a PG-rated horror movie directed by a legit horror director, Joe Dante. I mean, we can’t pretend THE HOWLING is on the level of THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, but I think it’s a minor classic at least, genuinely creepy horror only overshadowed by that other even better werewolf movie that came out the same year.

But the other important factor at play here is that while Dante came up under Roger Corman he’s more of a goofball and cartoon nerd than a horror master. So his monsters are vicious bastards but also funny. Like the martians in MARS ATTACKS! they seem to live more to fuck with us than to kill us. And they plan to do both.
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The Cabin in the Woods

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

tn_cabininthewoodsWARNING: This review contains major GRUMPINESS

I liked THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, but it’s the kind of movie that people who don’t like horror movies say is THE BEST HORROR MOVIE IN YEARS. Of course it seems that way to them because 1) they don’t have that much to compare it to, they just have a hunch about what those other ones are like, those bad ones, and 2) since they don’t like horror movies that much they prefer one that’s not really that much of a horror movie.

If you say that I hope you’ve seen THE WOMAN, MARTYRS, INSIDE, maybe THE LOVED ONES, DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, HILLS HAVE EYES, HOUSE OF THE DEVIL. Throw on FRONTIER(S) maybe for good measure. Maybe P2. Hell, HALLOWEEN II. Not saying you’ll like all of these better than CABIN, but you gotta have something more to compare it to than PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and SHAUN OF THE DEAD.

Sorry to rant, but as a proud Fangorian-American I take this kinda shit personally. To me, CABIN IN THE WOODS isn’t a horror movie. It’s horror-once-removed, but an enjoyable example of that, like TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL. It has a clever way of playing with some of the more obvious horror cliches. It has a good cast, likable characters and alot of laughs. But I call bullshit on the idea that it also works as a legit horror movie. And you know how I am. I prefer the real deal.

Look, all I’m saying is that horror comedy is to real horror as smooth jazz is to actual jazz. That’s all. Nothing wrong with that. Real horror is an acquired taste, it isn’t for everybody. Alot of people prefer something gentle, like a songbird. I don’t look down on you for that. Freedom to, you know– pursuing liberty, or whatever.

Good, we all agree. Now, The Internet has decreed that the premise of this movie is a spoiler. If so I’m not gonna try to write a spoilerless review, because that would be a pointless review. So from here on out I’m assuming you’ve seen the movie. (read the rest of this shit…)

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

Monday, October 31st, 2011

tn_tuckeranddaleTUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL is a corny name for an enjoyable comedy that plays off of the ol’ slasher tropes in a clever way. It starts like a real slasher movie, with a group of college kids heading out to the woods for Memorial Day weekend. And for a minute it really could pass for an authentic modern day (but not necessarily good) serious non-comedy horror movie. When they stop at a gas station to get beer they have a run-in with creepy rednecks, just like I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE or similar movies. But of course the rednecks are the titular Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine), two completely innocent guys who just get nervous talking to women and come off as scary to kids like this. I wonder if that’s what the deal was with Leatherface?

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Monster Squad

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

tn_monstersquadAfter catching up with NIGHT OF THE CREEPS I knew I had to see director Fred Dekker’s second movie that I’d always avoided. You know, he’s one of those directors who wears his horror nerd-dom on his sleeve, and some members of the internet community have too much loyalty to guys like that. There’s this whole “he’s one of us!” idea where if they swear they love some comic book or something that proves they’ll do a good job of making a movie. But of course, we all know ten guys who love that comic book who we wouldn’t trust to return a movie to the video store on time, let alone direct one.

So I was always skeptical about that claim with Fred Dekker. ROBOCOP 3 did not seem like the work of a born director. But it turns out it was – his first two movies are real gems. Two against one. (read the rest of this shit…)

Night of the Creeps

Monday, October 26th, 2009

tn_nightofthecreepsMan, I knew everybody loved NIGHT OF THE CREEPS, but the way people talked about it I always figured it was some nostalgic grew-up-in-the-80s thing like GOONIES or heavy metal. No, it turns out NIGHT OF THE CREEPS is truly fucking great! You guys should’ve been more clear!

It’s a movie with a really unique feel. The only thing it reminds me of is RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, but for nerds instead of punks. It has a similar tone of funny-but-serious, similar stylishly cartoonish effects and puppet zombies (see thumbnail), similar confident visual style and storytelling. It lets the horror unfold a piece at a time (aliens, ax-murdering escaped mental patient in the 1950s, cryogenics, zombies, space slugs) and it just seems to know what it’s doing so I never questioned that it would all come together and make sense. And it did. It’s just great writing and directing – Fred Dekker, I forgive you for ROBOCOP III. (read the rest of this shit…)

Zombieland

Friday, October 9th, 2009

tn_zombielandMan, ZOMBIELAND was just begging for me to hate it. You know how picky I am about the balance between horror and comedy. And who the fuck makes a zombie comedy now? It feels exactly like that moment when somebody’s dad makes a reference to their favorite band from three grades ago, like he’s just catching on but he thinks he’s on the cutting edge. I was already sick of people talking about zombie movies back when SHAUN OF THE DEAD came out, and to be frankly honest even that one I didn’t really see what all the fuss was about.

I would’ve been even more skeptical if I had read up on it before seeing it, because I would’ve known it was written originally as a TV show by reality show producers trying to cash in on the “fast zombie” love during that couple weeks after the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake came out. It’s two writers and one of them says he’d only seen a couple zombie movies before (didn’t specify which ones), the other one had only seen SHAUN OF THE DEAD. And the director isn’t big on them either and had only done commercials before. (read the rest of this shit…)