Is there a movie more 80s than Dan O’Bannon’s genre bending zombie classic Return of the Living Dead? One need only glimpse at its punky spiked-hair cover art to conclude this film is indeed as 80s as 80s can be. Every contemporary aspect of the decade is fused into the film, a decade known for being a frivolous colourful spectacle, where vapid sensibilities and consumerism ran rampant in the streets. However, there’s more to the living dead than pop music and extravagant hoop earrings. Hiding just six feet under the surface of this seemingly meaningless romp of a zombie film is a nasty moralistic warning that carries with it such bite, it could surely chomp right through your skull and into your juicy, delicious brain.
Author Craig Stewart
The clone: a derivative film that garners its strength from a well established formula and dares not deviate from its set path for fear of failure. It’s basically an assembly of familiar elements, which once proved effective, but now appear stale and lifeless due to over saturation. Arguably, the genre most plagued by this phenomenon is horror. Once a truly great horror film is unleashed upon the world, it’s almost immediately cloned. We’ve seen this before many times with Halloween, Dawn of the Dead, The Exorcist, and now with Paranormal Activity. However, The Devil Inside is more than just a clone, it’s a freak gene-splicing clone made from several different sets of demonic DNA.
As Christmas horror films go, this one is near the top of the list. It’s a jolting jolly holiday slay ride into the damaged psyche of Harry Stadling, a lone man who wants nothing more than to bring the true spirit of Christmas to life. How does he accomplish this? By becoming the one thing Christmas can’t exist without: Santa Claus.
The fire crackles and pops, dancing light across the colourfully wrapped array of presents eagerly awaiting the glorious day when the girls of the sorority house will delight in the treasures they conceal. But first, someone needs to answer that incessant phone. It’s ring calls out through the room like a dirty secret everyone knows, but no one wants to talk about. It’s no mystery to the girls what awaits on the other end of the line: a threatening androgynous voice as angry as hell, spilling obscenities and screaming for blood. One by one the girls go missing until only Jess is left to discover the secret behind the caller.
In the evil child genre, one thing is always true: the characters cannot fathom an evil child. The horror is hidden in a veil of innocents, keeping its true malicious intent a secret from the people who need to know it most - the adults. How else could a young person half the size of everyone else in the story cause any damage above the knee? Orphan is no different.
A group of promising kids travel off the beaten path and end up suffering for…
As the film frantically tumbles towards its operatic ending, you may start to ask yourself… What have I been watching? Which seems to be exactly the response director Alex de la Iglesia was looking for. This film is absolutely out of its mind in the most wonderful way possible.
So, one night at the bar, Poltergeist got really drunk and fooled around with The Exorcist. This is their insidious child, named accordingly, who inherited almost every classic (some could argue clichéd) haunted house moment. However, the sincerity with which the creep-out moments are executed make each familiar scare tactic seem as fresh as they were in Robert Wise’s The Haunting.
There’s a pedestal that exists and it’s shared by the top horror icons of cinema. Balancing on its precarious surface are the likes of Frakenstein’s Monster, Dracula, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and of course, Freddy Krueger. These characters transcend the screen and become a permanent part of culture, immortalized by their ability to represent some horrible communal fear. They are both contemporary and timeless, forever kept alive by our dreams and nightmare… Well, mostly nightmares.
The power of the Paranormal movies has always come from the idea that a force beyond our understanding has turned all its energies toward terrorizing some seemingly innocent, relatable person. We never really know why it’s there and despite characters theorizing and investigation, a sufficient veil of mystery is always draped. It’s about the terror of dealing with some destructive force you can’t reason with, you can’t prevent or hide from; something that’s completely out of your control.