Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Our Favorite Horror Sequels
It has been said that a great movie contains three great scenes and no bad scenes. I would argue that Evil Dead 2 is comprised of ALL GREAT SCENES. All killer/no filler.
You got yer “Dancing girlfriend decapitation” scene. You got yer “Ashe’s possessed hand” scene. You got yer “Who’s laughing now/hysterical cabin” scene. You got yer “Shaki-cam as Evil Spirit POV” scene. You got yer “Chainsaw hand” scene. You got yer “Come to Sweet Henrietta” scene. You got yer “Eyeball flies across room and lands in girl’s open, screaming mouth” scene. You got yer “Groovy.”
But why am I writing all this? I am clearly preaching to the choir. Surely, you have ALL SEEN IT, HAVEN’T YOU?
With The Devil’s Rejects, Zombie gave us a gritty, almost too real at times, horror movie that feels like it fits perfectly on the shelf next to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Last House on the Left. Like those movies, Rejects makes me want to shower when it’s over. And I never shower.
Zombie likes to use stunt casting in his films, employing horror stars of the '70s and '80s in bit parts. And while I usually roll my eyes at the obvious fan service, for some reason I embraced the hell out of it this time around. I enjoyed seeing Ken Foree and Michael Berryman. It felt more like a tribute than a stunt. And while we’re on casting, Bill Moseley is brilliant in this movie. I may be the only person to ever use “Bill Moseley” and “brilliant” together, but I mean it. His performance is one of my favorites in any horror movie.
The Devil’s Rejects is the rare sequel, even rarer horror sequel, to transcend the original. And while Rob Zombie’s overall filmography isn’t very good (although I have a weird love of Halloween II), The Devil’s Rejects stands as a great addition to my horror library and it gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, he has another one in him.
First is Psycho II, a movie that shouldn't even exist, much less be as good as it is. Though it's couched very much in the '80s (it's gorier and trashier, but still restrained by the decade's standards), it doesn't just feel like a stupid cash-in. With Richard Franklin directing and Tom Holland contributing the script, Psycho II turns out to be a fascinating character study of Norman Bates years after the events of the first film. You do have to overlook some of the changes it makes to the mythology and where it takes some of the characters (cough Vera Miles), but the movie is worth it for Anthony Perkins' performance alone. It's not Psycho, but no movie will ever be. It's still pretty great.
Then, of course, there's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Tobe Hooper's 1986 follow-up to his original classic. Knowing that he probably couldn't touch the grimy realism of the first movie, Hooper (and screenwriter L.M. Kit Carson) turn the sequel into absurdist black comedy of the darkest order. It's ugly and it's shrill and it's gory and it's over the top and it's downright hellish in its production design. It's also brilliant, and the rare horror sequel that I prefer to the original movie.
it has IMAGINATION. Take, for instance, this quote: "Nilbog! It's goblin spelled backwards! This is their kingdom!" There aren't even TROLLS in the movie! Imagination, people. What more do you want in a horror film?