Cracked does it again

I’m considering a longer post on this, but I just came across it and wanted to run it by my esteemed horror colleagues to see what everyone thinks. Cracked has another horror-related list that I’m just dying to pick everyone’s brains on, so if you have a couple of minutes check it out here and share your thoughts in the comments. I’m going to hold off on sharing the specifics of my own opinion until I’ve heard from some other folks.

5 thoughts on “Cracked does it again

  1. Us leaving the movie theater after seeing It Follows
    Jeff: Wow. Just wow.
    Me: Yup
    Jeff: That was an utter piece of shit. Anyone that liked that movie should be drowned in an outhouse. I mean, all that buzz for such a big fat turd of a movie.
    Me: I really liked it.
    Jeff: WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? AHHHH! (tries to throw a trash can at a car but can’t lift it) WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? (rips shirt off and tries to eat it) HOW? WHAT? WHAT?

    I contend that movie did most everything right. For whatever holes there may have been, it was superbly acted, well scored (You VEHEMENTLY disagreed) and created a unique and fascinating world.

    That being said, it is an exception as far as age of the characters. I agree, I like a horror movie much more with rational thinking adults. There’s been movies with scream and run teens for way too long in the genre. Directors have also forgotten the wonder of a real score in hopes to sell soundtracks with pop 40 songs. If the songs fit the theme and feel, then great, but they seldom do. Jamin Winans knows what a score does for a movie, which is why INK was so good. On TV, for an example, The Leftovers uses a score to amazing results.

    I would love to see Shyamalan do a horror movie. Before the elitist “What a twist” bullshit spouts off, I remind you all, he is one hell of a director. His writing is what fells him at every turn. His vision and execution is beautiful and unique. I always felt Bryan Fuller could do great horror, and then look what he has done on TV with Hannibal. John Singleton would thrive in the genre as would Steven Soderbergh.

    I agree with everything about self reference and the movie being about something. No good movie can be made without a solid script and the hipster culture is making a snide and ironic mess of everything.

  2. I don’t know…I love Cracked, but not much in this article strikes me.

    I’ll try to keep this brief because there are just my gut reactions to the items on the list, not something I’ve put enough thought into.

    1. I sort of agree with what he’s saying here, but I think he’s making it too subjective, but when he mentions Friday the 13th as a classic (I love the movie) it just seems like he’s mistaking movies he likes for good movies. It’s not like The Shining is a classic we can all agree on, and The Exorcist has never struck a chord with me like it has so many others. I never got into the 90s self referential horror, but they were incredibly profitable (well, some of them were) but I don’t think it was the age of the protagonist that alienated me from them – it was the style of film and the mindset of getting WB stars to appear in trendy slasher movies. I don’t want to be the old curmudgeon that preaches about how much movies were better in my day because I used to roll my eyes at people that did that to me 5-10 years earlier.

    I think it boils down to, many of the best ADULT horror films have adult protagonists. Young protagonists are just fine for teen films and there’s nothing wrong with teen films…they just haven’t been aimed at me for a while.

    2. Music is important, but I think sound in general is more important. Again, I think I feel the same way this guy does about the glut of 90s horror. I just don’t like it. I always just sort of thought the issue was more with me and not the movies. People seemed to really enjoy them. I even heard someone online recently refer to The Craft as a classic. I don’t know…I just remember too many 60s and 70s fans scoffing at the 80s output that I loved. I don’t want to do that to other people.

    As for music…I love a great score integrated into a film. Think of Suspiria or Phenomena without their music…It’s impossible.

    Still, there are some movies that had great scores where little else worked. I’m drawing a blank now, so maybe I’m wrong. I also think movies like I Spit on Your Grave work great because of the lack of music. Also, those “catchy” scores that really got popular through the 70s and 80s weren’t always the norm. I think of Bernard Hermann…but was anyone else doing it before him? Sometimes a good score is like a good edit, it’s invisible and affects you without you even knowing it.

    3. I know what he’s getting at here. I was always a little disheartened growing up when I would read an interview with the director of a horror movie I loved only to find out how much of a distaste he had for the genre. Then you look at a guy like Adam Green – I love listening to him talk about movie but I don’t really like anything he’s done.

    He does list some great example of non horror directors who made great horror movies – but they’ve all had success in several genres. But Kubrick’s movies have always been dark. Dr. Strangelove may be his scariest. Hitchcock’s suspense movies would still show up at a horror family reunion. I still consider Raimi and Carpenter horror directors. So what if they do other things? I’m primarily a horror fan, but I’ll still watch other movies. They can be horror directors and leave the genre. Same goes for Craven, Romero, and Peter Jackson.

    4. I again, I agree…sort of. Self referential humor is often a crutch for bad writing. It’s annoying and not really funny nor scary. But those notable exceptions can still be horror. I would include Man Bites Dog and Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon in that category. I think we’re only arguing about semantics when the point of contention is whether a story IS horror or IS ABOUT horror. I’m more concerned with whether or not something is engaging.

    1. There’s room for both. There are some blow-hards that can argue that anything is about something because they’re afraid to just enjoy something that is fun. Sugar might not make you a better person, but it sure can be tasty. I think of my love of 80s slashers. It might be fun to pontificate about the ramifications of Regan-era politics and morals but that’s not why I love The Burning, Sleepaway Camp, or Hide & Go Shriek. It’s equal parts nostalgia and fun for me.

    That said, I enjoy a good think piece, too, but it has to have at least a little sugar in it too. Romero’s best movies certainly have a lot of subtext, but I have to really enjoy the surface as well. Dawn of the Dead and Knightriders (I know, not horror) are perfect examples. There’s interesting social commentary to discuss if you’re in that frame of mind, but there’s also a terrific movie there to revel in.

    1. (the other 1) – I don’t even really like the term found footage. It worked for Blair Witch because the film is supposed to be presented as it was found. But a lot of these are what I would consider subjective camera movies (now I sound pretentious). The camera recording the events figures into the story. It doesn’t necessarily make a movie good or bad.

    Diary of the Dead is considered found footage even though one of the characters clearly states that she’s editing the footage, adding music, and uploading it online. Yeah, that footage was “found” in that same way that anything I look up on youtube is found. I found it online.

    If it’s done well, it removes that sheen and gloss of film that makes an audience feel comfortable. It’s different to watch pretty actors get killed than it is to watch dirty people get killed. It’s potentially more disturbing. Blair Witch used this well, as did Cannibal Holocaust before. Because there is a potential profit for such a low investment, these will continue to be made. Just because 90% of them will be junk doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep our eyes peeled for the 10% worth watching. You can take any trend and point out that the majority of it is shit.

    That said, I don’t generally like this type of stuff either. It’s crazy that I can argue with a guy when I share most of the same tastes.

    Anyway, sorry to be so long winded. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

  3. Some thoughts, in no particular order:

    1. That Benny Hill supercut made my day. It’s possible I watched it a few times in a row.

    2. We’ve already established that you and I are on opposite sides of the fence when it comes to It Follows (especially the soundtrack), so suffice it to say I agree wholeheartedly with his take on the importance of ambiance. Same goes for the quality of the direction/cinematography.

    3. I almost looked up the author and proposed marriage when I read “swole lumberjack Buffalo Bill”.

    4. I don’t fully agree on the whole “adults protagonists make a good horror movie” bit. I think his statement would have held more weight if he had said “mature protagonists” or even “well-developed characters”. (For example, Let the Right One In.)

    5. If no one ever made a found footage film ever again I would not be disappointed.

    6. All of his points actually mean absolutely nothing when you consider that the whole point of making a movie is to entertain. If people are entertained by teenagers getting dragged around by their hair by invisible Puritans, then by all means make Ouija 2: Return of the Spirit Board or whatever. I don’t own a copy of Magic Mike because I think it’s a serious take on the economic struggles of the middle class. I just want to watch Channing Tatum dance to Ginuwine.

  4. I’m so intimidated by the three comments above me that I almost just clicked like and moved on … but that would be wussy.

    I thought the guy’s points and conclusions were better than his examples. (But then I am the only living horror fan who hated The Babadook.)

    I agree that the best horror movies have adult protagonists, and that’s not just because I am now SERIOUSLY in the “adult” demographic. In my opinion, the best ghost movie ever was The Changling in which a full-grown, level-headed MAN, played by George C. Scott is terrorized by a little ghost.

    Yes, orchestral music features prominently in my list of great horror. (That’s one list he got right.) I have a hard time imaging similar music being used now … at least without it seeming ironic.

    And that’s what I think about that 🙂

    Now I have to go watch the Benny Hill thing, because I skipped right past it.

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