In the over 100 years of movie history we've seen lots of horrifying creatures. As time passes the wants and fears of the audience shifts, and some ideas exhaust themselves. Horror filmmakers have to be creative with ways to scare the audience. Crazy men with knives and the devil himself just don't do it anymore. This can yield excellent results in the form of a haunted video tape or zombies that can sprint. But most of the time things can get just a little silly.
Horror directors often try to frighten moviegoers by digging into our childhood fears, and if handled well this approach can scare the pants off of you. Stephen King's
"It" single handedly caused every case of coulrophobia over the past 20 years, not to mention the success of the Child's Play
series. Still, not everything from our past can send us running under the covers with a flashlight, and 1996's "Jack Frost" proves that fact. Whoever came up with the "killer snowman" idea better have a pretty twisted childhood experience to explain himself - hopefully one that involves a drunk uncle's perverse version of Frosty the Snowman or a sledding accident that killed dozens. And while there's something to be said about a movie ballsy enough to have Shannon Elizabeth
get raped by a snowman, you just get the feeling that there are places where this money could have been better spent. Like curing cancer, or...bowling. "Jack Frost" isn't the only perverted take on holiday cheer. Just look at Gingerdead Man
or Santa's Slay
, the latter of which stars wrestler Bill Goldberg
as a monumentally pissed off Santa Claus.
Director Joe Dante's "The Howling" updates werewolf lore for a modern audience. It plays with the cult imagery from the Jonestown incident as well as the moral and physical decline of our major cities. The movie clicks on every level and builds layer upon layer of tension leading towards the werewolf's dramatic reveal. The transformation sequence is brutal and after almost an hour of waiting, we finally see the werewolf... and it looks stupid. Like a sort of evil Easter Bunny.
It's a shame, really. The movie comes really close to being both scary and smart, but every time one of the werewolves comes on screen it just looks pissed that someone hid its eggs. Even the movie's fairly brutal scenes of murder can't break your attention away from those spiky, ridiculous ears. Michael J. Fox
makes for a scarier werewolf
. It's just sad.
Ice Cream Man
Typically a parent's main concern when it comes to the ice cream man is that they just better not be pedophiles. Other than that, the only thing to fear is eating your Nestle Rocket too fast and permanently damaging the front portion of your brain. When you think about it, a movie about a deranged pedophiliac ice cream man could get pretty twisted. After all, they're the childhood equivalent of drug dealers. But 1995's "Ice Cream Man" doesn't go for that. Instead it hopes to turn your stomach by opting for the "makes people into ice cream" angle. Now, if dozens of episodes of "Iron Chef" can teach you anything, it's that a trained chef can make ice cream out of just about any ingredient. But people? It would taste like steak and pennies. Frankly, if you're going to be a murderous ice cream vendor, you have to lure the kids in with the sweets before you can grind them up in the back of your van.
Leprechaun: In the Hood
Sigh. In Leprechaun 4
he goes to space.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
First, go ahead and watch this:
Make it through? Did your head turn into a pile of bugs and snakes? No? Have you ever been afraid that a television commercial would turn your head into a pile of bugs and snakes? Didn't think so. "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" parts ways from the Michael Myers lore established in the first two films and instead takes a stab at sending home a poorly constructed socio-political message. The message? Television turns our children into mush. Not an entirely bad idea by itself, but "Halloween III" does it in such a way that you really have no idea what's going on until, well, you just don't. In summary, an evil corporation steals a large slab from Stonehenge, crushes it into pieces and puts them into Halloween masks. When the above commercial plays on Halloween night, it reacts with the crushed stone killing all of the mask wearing kiddies in the process. Also, killer androids somehow work their way into the plot as well. It's probably best not to ask too many questions.
Night of the Lepus
Logic dictates that anything significantly larger than normal should send you screaming down the street. If one of the ants from Them!
started chomping on your house, soiling yourself would definitely be the reasonable response. Director William Claxton's 1972 monster film "Night of the Lepus," on the other hand, stretches our imaginations a bit when it shows the American Southwest being overrun by giant mutant bunnies.
Now before you start dusting off your Monty Python
quotes about just how sharp a bunny's teeth can get, see for yourself:
The trick is that they lure you in with their cuddliness and then rip your throat out. Face it, there's nothing not cute about a herd of cow sized rabbits barreling down the street. Seeing rabbits that size in a small town just makes you wish they had little hats on and pretended to have jobs. Just imagine, the doctor bunny all tending to the cop bunny's sore throat, and prescribing a steady regiment of carrots and hugs. It's adorable.
Story by Kris King
Starpulse contributing writer