Gore Galore

Posted: October 29, 2008 by jerkmag in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

That's fucking scary...

Autumn is always pleasant – changing leaves, breezy weather (that belies an impending four months of tundra doom), discovering an overabundant number of ways to eat apples and…Halloween slasher films! I will shamelessly admit that I absolutely love horror movies. Whether they’re dark and macabre or just plain creepy, I will be deeply sidled in my uncomfortable theater seat for the whole bloodcurdling, gut-wrenching, cringe-inducing ride (admittedly with hands pressed to face and eyes warily peeking in between).

As of late, however, I’ve been rather unimpressed by this season’s crop of cinematic spookiness, so I have taken it upon myself to suggest five of my favorite flicks to rent for this notorious weekend! Get ready for chills and thrills and sleepless nights galore.

1) El Orfanato (The Orphanage)

There’s a widespread notion that foreign filmmakers just do the whole pee-in-your-pants-and-scream-like-a-banshee bit better than Hollywood does, and this film makes a clear case in point. El Orfonato is like the visual manifestation of a winter chill; even though you seek refuge indoors, it still takes a while to shake off the pervasive cold that’s gripped your body. You watch as the main character, Laura, who sets up a home for sick kids at her childhood orphanage, desperately tries to locate her son, who has suddenly vanished after talking about an imaginary friend (never a good sign). You ache as her mind slowly starts to unravel, questioning what and who around her are real and what else are simply figments of her own delusion. There’s a sense of painful dread throughout the movie and its success doesn’t seem to come from how many scares it can produce but the extent of which you’ll let it grip your emotions.

2) Identity

I don’t remember everything about this film but what I do recall is how mind-blowingly twisted the ending was. I’m a sucker for psychological thrillers and this one places high on that list. It can get bloody at parts but it’s more about discovering the bits and pieces of a mysterious killer’s actions, knowing that mostly everyone in the abandoned hotel will meet a rather morbid demise but still trying to figure out what the heck is going on before it all happens. The suspense is excellent, as you anxiously wait to see who’ll be punished next and hoping that you won’t be disappointed when all the flailing ends are finally tied together. (Note: You won’t be!)

3) The Shining

The face that still haunts me...

The face that still haunts me...


Okay, I’ll just come out and say it: Jack Nicholson gives me the heebie jeebies. The insanely arched eyebrows definitely play a part, but whatever qualms I had about his creepy demeanor were most assuredly confirmed when I watched the classic that spawned a million “Heeeere’s Johnny!” declarations around the globe (a sinister improvisation of Johnny Carson’s “The Tonight Show” introduction). Made in the ’80s, Stanley Kubrick proves that you don’t need new-age technology to deliver the audience an unhealthy dose of nightmares; Nicholson’s performance alone will upset you just fine. As Jack descends into utter mania and embarks on a single-minded mission to kill his family, dissonant string sounds screech in the background and the stark cinematography enhances each sudden movement, ghostly appearance and flare of rage.

4) The Ring

Here’s an American remake done right. No matter how much my friends may protest and deride this movie as silly and harmless, I am convinced that this remains one of the scariest movies I have ever seen. Granted, I’ve only seen it once, but I don’t really plan on watching it again because I literally could not watch TV by myself for two weeks afterwards without the inane fear that I’d see Samara in all her black-haired, corpse-like glory crawling out of my screen. Or pick up my phone lest I hear a raspy “SEVEN DAYSSSSS” on the other line and be doomed to a torturous week-long existence. Or ever look at seemingly innocent deer and their antlers the same way again.

Yeah, I was kind of traumatized.

5) Shaun of the Dead

Weapons of choice when attacked by zombies...

Weapons of choice when attacked by zombies...


Alright, I threw this one in just for kicks. This British zombie film parody (the title itself a play off of the cult classic “Dawn of the Dead”) is morbidly hilarious with all of England running around rather nonchalantly in the wake of a zombie takeover. There’s enough bloodshed, severed limbs and staggering gaits to satiate monster traditionalists, but somehow, someway, it’s all done tastefully.  The movie’s not as much farce as it is good-humored satire, paying homage to the half-dead while suggesting that ‘Hey! They might not be just like us, but they’re not so bad.’ (One transformed victim is tied to a tree and kept as a strangely endearing pseudo-pet at the end.)

Now go cry and terrify, and rejoice in the fact that you can leave your fears in the DVD player once all this is over. Makes you appreciate your unthreatened-by-ax-wielding-crazies-and-flesh-eating-androids life a little, no?  

~Sarah Lee (Check out Sarah’s film blog running every Wednesday!)



  1. Snow White says:

    Unfortunately, I have to disagree with the Identity suggestion–while I am not a big fan of gore myself, I was still disappointed to find that I had guessed the end result half way through…even with my hands over my eyes.

  2. […] there’s always the knock-off movie version of it. Jack Nicholson plays his usual rebellious, yet not-so-creepy role of McMurphy, and his Academy Award is well deserved for that performance. He brings such life […]

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