I went on a horror movie bender in 2017. The number of hours I’ve spent watching really bad movies this year is staggering. But at least when a movie is bad, I can do something useful while it’s on – like checking Facebook, Reddit, or grading students’ work (oh wait, I shouldn’t have said that part).
Back in 2015, I decided to go through the entirety of the “classic” horror franchises and watch all of them, no matter how bad. I even sat through Hellraiser: Revelations and Jason Goes to Hell. In 2016, I didn’t watch many movies (that’s all relative, of course: I watched 118 in 2015 and only 57 in 2016 – lame! I’m up to 143 here in 2017 with a couple of weeks left to go. I don’t think I’ll make it to 150, but we’ll see). Most of the movies I watched in 2016 were horror, but in no particular pattern.
In 2017, I got an itch to dive into another horror franchise and picked Final Destination. And then I decided (apparently after some significant head injury that I don’t remember receiving, but there is no other explanation) to just go ahead and get through as many of the second rate horror franchises as I could stand. And man, I could stand a lot. I looked for sets of movies with at least 3 or 4 in the series, and that could include remakes, reboots, and so on. For example, there are a bunch of Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies, but they don’t really line up as “sequels”, rather, they just form some sort of mobius strip of a timeline of reboots, reimaginings, and rehashings.
Anyway, here are the movie sets I’ve watched in their entirety this year:
- Final Destination
- Blair Witch
- Wrong Turn
- Texas Chainsaw Massacre
- Hayride (only 2 of them)
- The Hills Have Eyes
- I Spit on Your Grave
- Prom Night
- Children of the Corn
I think that’s just a hair less than 50 movies altogether if you count them.
I’m also in the midst of some general themes, such as watching lots of old Wes Craven movies, and finding really awful found footage movies. I have four Toxic Avenger movies still in my Netflix queue, but I have not been brave enough to seek out the Leprechaun films.
Here are some random thoughts from the experience this year:
- The set that was the most fun overall was probably Final Destination.
- The set that was the least fun was I Spit on Your Grave. I should not be surprised by that.
- The award for “yeah, they were bad, but it didn’t hurt as much as I thought” goes to Children of the Corn. (The last one, CotC: Genesis is on the way to me right now, so I may change my mind about that one.)
- Based on reviews and internet screeching I’d seen, I expected to hate Adam Wingard’s Blair Witch. It turns out, I liked it. A lot! And, that movie improves the experience of the very first Blair Witch Project, too, based on what we learn.
- The first Prom Night movie is excellent! Jamie Lee Curtis was in 3 horror movies in the space of about a year when she burst on the scene: Halloween, Prom Night, and Terror Train. I listed them in order of how much I enjoyed them.
- I just watched Pumpkinhead 4: Blood Feud last week. I don’t know what to think about it. It’s either one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, or a work of high level genius. Take some Americana, a bit of Romeo and Juliet, and a monster, then mix it up, and you have this movie. The movie centers around the feud (duh) between the Hatfields and McCoys – seriously, folks – who in this movie are alive in the early 21st century, I guess, but still living and talking like it’s 1870. The Pumpkinhead monster gets involved with the feud and things get so hairy that the families call off their feud because of all the carnage. But to get rid of the monster for good, the person who called it up has to die … will the McCoys sacrifice their own kin to help save the Hatfields? I mean, if you strip the names Hatfield and McCoy out of it and just take a high level look at the “flowchart” of events between two feuding groups of people and what it takes to calm the feud, there’s actually a really interesting moral quandry hiding in there. But on the other hand, we have the Hatfields, McCoys, and Pumpkinhead. So I don’t know what the hell I just watched.
- My favorite horror movies this year (whether part of a franchise or not, and whether released this year or not – I just need to have seen it for the first time this year) have been Split, Get Out, Train to Busan, The Girl With All the Gifts, It, Prom Night, and Blair Witch.
In 2018, I might ease up on movie watching and try to play some video games. I’ve only finished about 6 hours of The Last of Us!