Posts Tagged ‘found footage’

Today, I saw a full Halloween display in a supermarket. You know what that means. As of today, the Halloween season has officially begun! That’s right, it’s here! Break out the candy, dress up as something scary, carve up your pumpkins, and decorate your house like the Addams are coming to visit! Who cares if there’s a pandemic right now? We can still celebrate the season.

That being said, you’re probably wondering to yourself, what horror films should I watch this year? I’m sure plenty of you will be watching classics and beloved staples of horror/the season. Believe me, I will be too. But there are a bunch of films that don’t get as much love as they should. So I’ve come up with 11 films I feel would make great viewing for this year. Why 11? Because THERE’S SOMETHING WITH FANGS BEHIND YOU!

Anyway, on with the list. And in no particular order, might I add.

11. Overlord

A team of American soldiers parachute into Nazi-controlled France hours before D-Day to take down an operations center inside a church. However, the church is also being used to perform inhuman experiments in life after death. And if the soldiers don’t do something, the fate of the world might be at stake.

Whenever somebody talks about Nazi zombies, it’s usually in humorous terms. That, and the trailers for this film were all over the place, so nobody was really sure what audience this film was meant for. Horror? Action? War? Which is a shame, because Overlord is one of the best horror films I’ve ever seen. Its sets are atmospheric, the zombies are only used enough to be scary, and there’s an emphasis on psychological and war horror rather than guts and gore (though there’s plenty of that).

Make sure to check Overlord out. You won’t regret adding it to your watchlist.

10. As Above, So Below

An archaeologist leads a team into the Paris catacombs to find an ancient artifact. However, they stumble upon a gateway to hell, where their worst fears and guilt are used against them.

Coming out at the tail end of the found footage craze, this film was lost among audiences who were tired of shaky cameras and home video-style films. However, it’s found new life on home media, and it’s not hard to see why. The film takes advantage of its setting to deliver a claustrophobic and unnerving atmosphere. Not only that, but there’s a philosophical bent to the film that I spent discussing with friends for about an hour after we saw the film. It’s not everyday you meet a horror film that makes you think.

9. Carrie (2013)

I know the original Carrie is beloved, but I’ve always preferred the remake with Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore. Not only are the special effects much better, but none of the strange editing (like that infamous fast forward) and odd creative choices are present. For example, in the original, when Carrie starts her revenge, the students start panicking because the doors won’t open. Yeah, nothing overtly psychic has happened yet, just the doors won’t open. And yet everyone is screaming in terror. Whereas in the remake, the progression from students laughing at Carrie to screaming in fear is much more natural and believable. And Julianne Moore’s interpretation of Margaret White gets her crazy factor across way more than any actress before her. Those factors are why I prefer this version of Carrie, and why I’m recommending it for this Halloween.

8. Underwater

This came out earlier this year and didn’t receive that much fanfare. That being said, it’s become something of a hidden gem within horror. It’s a pretty compelling disaster flick set in an underwater base, with a Lovecraftian twist about halfway through. While it’s not as effective as scaring people as Hereditary or as memorable as 2017’s IT, it’s still a film I recommend you see.

7. Annihilation

Based on the book by Jeff Vandermeer, Annihilation follows a team of scientists into the Shimmer, a strange zone on the West Coast where nature mutates and changes, and perhaps our own selves are at risk of changing. It’s a creepy film with a great group of female leads, as well as a Lovecraftian angle in its approach to body horror and the final twists. In the end, you may have more questions than when you started, but you’ll enjoy the thrill ride along the way. As well as the dark truth hidden in the conclusion.

6. The House of the Devil

A film made to look like it came right out of the 1980s, House of the Devil follows a college student taking on a babysitting job, only to find something very dark at the heart of her assignment. You’d never guess it was filmed in 2009. Also, it’s damn hard to look away. A supernatural slow burn that lures you in and ends up surprising you with how terrifying it can be. I’m sad that it’s flown under the radar so much, but that’s why I’m happy to post about it and recommend it this Halloween season.

5. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Based on the graphic novel by Allen Moore, several of the greatest figures from 19th century literature come together to stop a terrorist from causing WWI fifteen years early. It didn’t do as well in theaters, but it’s become rather beloved since it came out on video. Action and horror, intrigue and steampunk/Victorian aesthetics. I swear, if this came out today rather than in the early 2000s, it might be something of a hit (though I do admit, its slow moments do bring down the film a bit).

Hell, my siblings and I nearly had a fist fight over our mom’s DVD copy when she was downsizing, we loved it that much. And half my sisters don’t even like horror! Given that, shouldn’t you check it out?

4. Van Helsing

Bram Stoker’s vampire hunter is reimagined as a badass monster hunter played by Hugh Jackman, going up against Dracula as the latter tries to bring a terrible plan to fruition.

A lot of people give this film flack, but I love it. It’s a great action-horror flick along the lines of the previous entry, and was one of my favorites as a teenager. It may be over the top, but if you’re looking for popcorn horror at its best, you could do a lot worse than Van Helsing.

3. Devil

Five people get on an elevator, only for them to get stuck and picked off by a supernatural entity. The devil has come for sinners, and it’s not going to stop till it has all of them.

This was originally supposed to be part of a trilogy, but M. Night Shamaylan, who directed the first film, was unable to follow it up. That being said, I find this film to be creepy and a lot of fun to watch. It takes an interesting concept and adds a time-is-running-out element to it. I loved it when I first saw it, and I still kind of like it. Maybe you will too.

2. The Reaping

A professional debunker of miracles is called to a small town in Louisiana when a little girl is accused of killing her brother and bringing the ten plagues upon the town. There, she finds a Satanic cult devoted to bringing about the end of the world, and this girl may be the vehicle to do so.

The mystery of the film isn’t that hard to figure out, but the film has its moments and its got some great performances from Hillary Swank, AnnaSophia Robb, and Idris Elba before he was famous. Plus, when you reach the end of the film and realize the final twist, 2020 as a whole makes a lot more sense (you’ll have to watch the film to get what I mean).

1. Clown

Released three years before 2017’s IT, Clown follows a man who puts on a clown suit he finds for his child’s birthday. However, what he doesn’t know is that the suit is cursed, and is slowly transforming him into a child-eating monster. This is a bloody and terrifying monster movie with lots of effective body horror, and I’m honestly surprised more people haven’t heard of it. Hence why I’m recommending it here.

 

That wraps up my list. I hope it gave you some ideas of what to check out this year. But tell me, what are you planning on watching this Halloween season? Any other films I missed that should be on this list? Let’s discuss.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. Until next time, stay safe, pleasant nightmares, and no opening doors to Hell without me there. I make it a lot more fun.

Remember this famous scene?

Or close to that amount, anyway. And by the way, if you enjoy found footage horror movies and don’t want me to spoil them, you might want to just leave this post. Trust me, you’ll thank me in the long run.

The other day I had an idea for a found footage horror movie. There’s been a lot of them in theatres lately, including Paranormal Activity, The Blair Witch Project, Chronicle, and Entity, just to name a few. I remember when Paranormal Activity came out, how it was such a big deal and how even people who weren’t fans of horror were holding huge conversations and spirited debates on it. I saw the commercials of people lined up around theaters to see it, and I remember some friends of mine telling me how they went to see it, and near the end one of them got up and started shouting, “I’m a bitch! I’m a bitch! Get me out of here!” I was so mad that I had to wait till it came out on DVD to see it (those were the days when I had to rely on my parents if I wanted to go see a movie in theaters, and they only took us if it was a film the whole family could watch. Guess how many of those were horror films? That would be none).

Anyway, I realized then that there are a lot of similarities between found footage films, at least the popular ones that make it into the theatres. The most glaringly obvious (besides the method of filming, of course) is in terms of plot:

  1. Characters become aware that there is something supernatural going on and resolve to investigate. We may also be informed that the footage we are about to watch was found after a certain amount of time, usually after the deaths or disappearances of the characters.
  2. Characters investigate, and start to realize that there is something strange going on.
  3. The strange events escalate, becoming more and more sinister in nature.
  4. The characters start to get anxious or angry and start fighting among themselves.
  5. The strange events reach a zenith, during which time the terror is (hopefully) very high and most, if not all of the characters die off.
  6. The film ends, and we now know why the characters have disappeared and only the cameras and film were found.

In addition, most found footage films are made very cheaply (Paranormal Activity was made on $15K and Blair Witch Project was made on $20K to $25K, while major horror films like The Conjuring and Sinister were made for 20 million and 3 million, respectively). And for some reason, the characters always have their cameras on and holding them up to get the footage, even in awkward situations. We as the audience either forget that most people, even filmmakers, wouldn’t place such emphasis on getting everything while our lives are in danger or we just overlook it. Also, there tends to not be title cards or opening or end credits. None at all. Helps to make it seem like these events actually happened, I guess. Oh, and also the characters tend to be isolated somehow. Whether they’re trapped in their house or lost in the woods or in an abandoned factory in the middle of nowhere, they’re cut off and there’s no knight in shining armor to come to their rescue. They are alone, and it’ll be their undoing.

Look out behind you!

But yeah, that’s basically most found footage films out there.

So if these films are so similar, especially in terms of plot, why do horror filmmakers keep making them and why do horror fans keep going to see them? Well, I guess it has to do with the execution. These sort of films may be as predictable as your run-of-the-mill romance novel, but there’s so much room to experiment and try to new things. And even if you have a basic idea of how the plot is going to go, you don’t know what will be behind the corner or what will jump out and terrify you. You can’t know, so if the movie’s any good, you’ll sit on the edge of your seat wondering what the heck will happen next, and screaming when it does.

So with all that in mind, could I possibly make this found footage film I came up with myself? quite possibly. I plan on buying a video camera after I get back from my study abroad trip, so it wouldn’t be inconceivable to make a film. I’d just need a little funding, a cast and crew, and a location. Plus the time to do it and some marketing. It could possibly happen. I even have a title in mind: The Red Monk. Good title, right?

Well, if the opportunity comes along, I’d love to do it. And you never know what could happen. It could be a very big thing.

What do you think of found footage films? Love them or hate them? Do you think they’re a bit predictable?

If I did make a film, would you see it? Would you even want to be part of it?