Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Horror Alphabet: Once More, With Feeling!

In horror, there are a whole host of feelings we fans emote at any given time.  I got to thinking about how some movies represent certain feelings better than others, and this alphabet is what I came up with.
Not every word is an adjective, mind you - it's more of a consensus of my thoughts about certain descriptions of various elements of horror films.

What I'm trying to say, oh so un-eloquently, is this:  I made it through the entire alphabet and I even used Q and X!  So there!

A is for ANXIETY
In Let's Scare Jessica to Death, Jessica's anxiety about slipping back into madness brings a palpable tension to the film

B is for BRUTAL
Haute Tension contains some of the most brutal kills in horror, with plenty of red stuff to go around.

Irreversible has one of the most graphic, horrifyingly long rape scenes in film, and is at the top of the heap as far as controversy goes.

D is for DREAD
It's possible I've never felt more dread while watching a horror film than this particular moment in 2008's The Strangers.

E is for EVIL
Sometimes in a horror film, you can feel the evil emanating from a scene, which is how I felt during this scene from Insidious.

F is for FIERCE
It isn't always the men who are fierce killers in horror, as Josie Ho proves in the Hong Kong slasher, Dream Home.

G is for GRIM
Horror films with grim endings such as Eden Lake are all the more effective when things aren't tied up in a pretty bow in the final reel.

H is for HATRED
Michael Myers was inexplicably full of hatred and never showed it more than in Rob Zombie's Halloween II (2009).

No one is more insidious than the devil himself, and no film has ever done the devil better than The Exorcist.

J is for JUMPY
The Grudge is famous for all its jump-scares, and while they can be overused in horror, they still remain effective when done right.

K is for KOOKY
Recently, Dark Shadows set new standards for kookiness in horror.  Thankfully Johnny Depp was able to save it from completely faltering.

L is for LETHAL
Jack the Ripper is always a good example of a lethal killer, as in the scene above in From Hell.

Asian horror is always filled with hateful, malevolent spirits. I'm not sure a better example exists than Samara in  2001's The Ring.

Cannibal Holocaust is nothing if not notorious. With actual animal cruelty and deaths that looked so real the director had to prove the actors were still alive, it is a prime example.

Evil Dead II is one of the best examples of outrageous horror.  No one can resist Ash and his possessed hand!

P is for PANIC
Doubtful there's a better instance of panic than Marilyn Burns' shrieking, horrified run through the woods to escape a deranged killer in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Q is for QUEASY
I have never been more queasy or upset than when I watched La Femme perform a crude C-section with a pair of scissors in À l'intérieur (Inside, 2007)

It's a toss up who is more ruthless in I Saw The Devil:  the psychopathic killer or the fiancé of the victim.
My money is on Soo-hyun (Lee Byung-hun).  Powerful stuff.

(Come on, you knew Psycho would be in here somewhere!)
It wasn't Mother's corpse in the fruit cellar that shocked the hell out of people - it was Norman in his Mother get-up!

T is for TENSION
No movie has ever made me more tense than when I sat on the edge of the couch when I was 13 years old and watched When A Stranger Calls.   Have YOU checked the children??

Lucio Fulci had a whole lot of unpleasant, unsettling, and unbelievable scenes in his films, but none made me as uneasy as this gut-spewing moment in City of the Living Dead.  Gah!

V is for VICIOUS
How's getting torn apart by a pack of wild dogs sound for vicious?  Exactly what happened in Wilderness (2006

W is for WICKED
Hard to find a more vengeful, wicked character in horror than The Woman in Black, no matter if it's the original book or the many different versions in theater, television or film.  Nasty.

"Originating outside the organism or from a foreign substance introduced into the organism"
Aww, you gotta feel bad for Brundlefly. (The Fly, 1986)

Y is for YUCKY
Another xenogenic species, this dog-slash-thing is probably one of the best examples of yuckiness in the genre.
(The Thing, 1981)

Z is for ZEALOUS
While many serial killers are enthusiastic, Patrick Bateman (American Psycho) is a dedicated, impassioned psychopath who embodies the word zealous.  It's hip to be square!


Marie said...

This article is so much fuuuunn! Except I haven't seen Eden Lake and it is sad to see a dead Fassbender...

Christine Hadden said...

Ah! I totally forgot it was Michael Fassbender in Eden Lake! Must re-watch immediately!
(well, I have to go to work at the moment, but SOON!)

Alex Jowski said...

Very creative and entertaining post! This was great!

B.R. said...

Awesome ABCs. Truly, the likes as John Carpenter, George Romero and Lucio Fulci have schooled us well in the ways of terror.