An Australian thriller that was released only a little while ago, Snowtown (or The Snowtown Murders) is an amazing, slow-burn look into what creates a killer, whether it be prejudice, boredom, anger, or pure psychopathy. I’m not quite sure why it’s under “Gory Horror”; if you’re looking for a bloodbath, you might as well stand outside a Toys R’ Us and wait for something heavy to fall on you. Snowtown is a disturbing ride nonetheless. The whole cast gives magnificent performances, with the standout being Daniel Henshall as the ridiculously scary John Bunting. It’s a role that cements Snowtown as this era’s Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, and one that will make you wary of any guy your mom dates, if, you know, you’re not already suspicious about that kind of shit.
Slashers and Serial Killers
Very rarely do I watch a slasher film that has no characters that I like in it, but The Burning’s cast seems to be made up of people whose only traits are “annoying” and “camping.” I’m not complaining about this though. People clamor for characters they care about in horror movies, to make the deaths more meaningful, and the makers of The Burning heeded this call with people so unpleasant that your caring looped back around into the want for something bad to happen to them.
Though you don’t see very much of it, Cropsy’s (the name of the killer in The Burning) make-up is kickass. It looks like someone melted a pig’s face and then attempted to repair it with the parts of an unwilling human. He also carries garden shears as a weapon, meaning that he cuts through just as much as he stabs. I know that that’s not very alluring to people who don’t care much about slasher films, but varying stabbing techniques does matter to the fans. We need the variety. Otherwise, it’s like a cheeseburger, without the burger. We’ll hate it, but we’re sure our vegan ex-girlfriends will be totally satisfied.
The House of the Devil (2009)
To call Ti West an up-and-coming director would be an understatement. He’s got such an assured hand for a relatively young creator that even his first few films seem to come from someone much more experienced. The House of the Devil is very confident in its pacing and never seems to waver or give in to what some may think is “required” to keep a modern audience enthralled.
It’s a story inspired by the “satanic panic” of the 1980s. The star, Jocelin Donahue, is very fun to watch as she explores the old house that she’s been employed to babysit in, and, despite nothing hugely elaborate in her performance, she owns the movie. It also features Tom Noonan, who was genetically altered at birth to be creepy and A.J. Bowen, who is a great staple of many recent horror films and a favorite actor of mine.
Campy Horror Movies
Empire of The Ants (1977)
Empire of the Ants was directed by Bert I. Gordon, king of the campy horror film. With a resume that includes things like King Dinosaur, The Amazing Colossal Man, Earth Vs. The Spider, and this movie, it’s been proven that Bert I. Gordon knew the best way to handle a movie when all you had was an amazing premise and production values made of whatever you had in your wallet and garage.
The story starts when ants are mutated by a toxic waste spill. The story also ends there, as you can imagine what comes next. The best part of this film for me is the way they showcase ant-vision, which looks like they put the camera inside of one of those playground structures with all the circular holes in it. Also, they used rear projection to put the ants in the same shot as the humans, so the ants will often drastically change in scale and sometimes appear to be floating above or around whatever they’re supposed to be attached to. This doesn’t hamper the film in any way, though, and if you go into Empire of the Ants expecting the first thing that comes to mind when you imagine “a ’70s movie about giant ants,” you will be completely satisfied.
Are you ready for Dockery’s video debut on Yell! Magazine? See him after the jump…
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