G Clark Hellery with Alien at Nine Worlds 2013

How I review movies, plus some of my favourites

Do you have a favourite movie genre? I do, it’s definitely horror and the trashier, more supernatural and silly the better.

I was recently asked to name my top movies and I really struggled. A lot of what I’ve been watching recently has had a very ‘U’ rating, but sometimes I’ll sneakily watch a horror while mini-human is napping. However, my movie watching has definitely taken a hit so my aim is to watch a horror a week and review it!

So what am I looking for in a ‘good’ horror? And why do so many have such a low rating on sites such as IMDB? Well, firstly I want scares, but in order to be scared, I need to care about the characters. For example, I love the 2002 movie ‘Dog Soldiers’, in spite of some dodgy sets and sometimes off scripts because I was cheering for each of those guys to survive, whereas in contrast I hated the ‘Blair Witch Project’ (1999) because frankly the witch took too damned long to kill them all! Which brings me to another thing that makes a good horror for me: the baddy. Now, this could be either the annoying, bitchy cheerleader you know is going to get a stake through one of her perfect boobs or the evil entity terrorising the block, you need a good, chilling baddy who meets a gruesome and fitting end (I was pinned to my seat in fear by ‘The Conjuring’ (2013) until they showed the witch, such a disappointment. Ditto ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ (1968), I found the whole thing very dull as no one seemed to get their comeuppance. However, I think we can all agree the end met by the killers in ‘Scream’ was fitting AND hilarious while paying fabulous tribute to the whole horror genre).

I also love an independent horror and often find these, with their lower budgets and sometimes dodgy acting, more frightening (in a wide interpretation of that word!). For example, I was terrified by ‘The Babadook’ (2014) and think it’s a shame it didn’t get the recognition it deserved outside of genre fans. Indie movies can be stylistically impressive such as the 2014 It Follows, although in that case I wasn’t really taken with the story or the characters. In contrast I loved ‘What We Do In The Shadows’ (2014) the blood-soaked send up of vampire horror movies. I’m eagerly waiting their sequel.

I’ve been catching up on my older films too and was recently scared stiff by ‘The Changeling’ (1980) and 0f course ‘The Exorcist’ (1973) has been scaring us all for generations.

One thing I don’t enjoy is the growth of ‘found footage’ films. I’ve yet to find one which has an original storyline, or one which I find has some good scares. The quality, both of the cinematography and script is often poor in my opinion and so I tend to avoid them. Ditto slasher movies.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy ‘bad’ movies, there are some fabulous independent horror movies, such as the ones I’ve mentioned above and I’ll really try anything. Keep popping back to see what I’ve been watching and let me know if there’s something you think I’ve missed.



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