On behalf of Rue Morgue and Netflix Canada, thanks to everyone who entered our recent Halloween contest! We enjoyed reading every last entry, and wish we had 49 prizes to dole out. Alas, there can be only three, and we’re here to announce them.
If you’re just tuning in, the challenge was to curate your very own Halloween triple bill from Rue Morgue‘s Halloween Horrors list of streaming Netflix movies. We asked you to pick three movies, and to tell us why you picked ‘em. We chose the most creative/thoughtful/interesting answers as our winners.
FIRST PRIZE (a one-year Netflix subscription, a PlayStation 3, and a one-year digital subscription to Rue Morgue) goes to Colleen. Here’s her winning entry:
There once was a man named Ray
with ghosts and ghouls he did play
He used a proton pack
to lead the attack
and made the ghosts go away.
Tremors: A Song: sing it to the music of We will Rock you
Graboid you’re a boy make a big noise
Playin’ under the street gonna eat a big man some day
You got mud on yo’ face
You big disgrace
Flickin’ your tongues all over the place
We will we will grab you
We will we will grab you
Val you’re a young man hard man
Shoutin’ in the street gonna save the world this day
You got blood on yo’ face
it’s no disgrace
Wavin’ your hands all over the place
We will we will grab you
We will we will grab you
Earl you’re an old man poor man
Pleadin’ with your eyes gonna make you some sucess some day
You got mud on your face
It’s no disgrace
Somebody will put you back into your place
We will we will grab you
We will we will grab you”
SECOND PRIZE (a six-month Netflix subscription and a one-year digital subscription to Rue Morgue) goes to Crystal for her pair of lists (multiple entries were permitted):
I’m a big fan of themed movie nights, and for this triple feature, I’ve selected titles on the theme of claustrophobia. The Descent (2005) was the movie that brought me on-board with modern horror when I saw it in theatres. Finally, a contemporary film that was genuinely creepy, thoughtful, and anxiety-inducing, and with a relatable, realistic, all-woman cast, no less! I would be hard-pressed to name another film that so successfully imparts breath-holding dread as the characters shimmy through dark crevices. If you have any hint of claustrophobia, this movie will awaken it in you. My Bloody Valentine (1981) is a fairly straightforward slasher, but it certainly ranks up with other holiday horrors. The scenes set in the mines are definitely the most effective – dark, maze-like passageways allow for, say, a pick-axe wielding gas-masked killer to seek revenge on brazen teens. Cube (1997) is a piece of Canadian SF/Horror history, as important as any Cronenberg film. The characters find themselves within a system of thousands of identical rooms, many of which are rigged with traps resulting in numerous memorable death scenes. The concept behind Cube is excellent, and a feeling of panic, claustrophobia, and helplessness pervade as the characters crawl through the surreal, Kafkaesque rooms.
Interestingly, both Cube and My Bloody Valentine are Canadian productions. Is there something in the Canadian consciousness where, growing up with expanses of forests and prairies, we fear enclosed spaces? Dark, claustrophobic space is a common technique in horror, and I would love to play this triple-bill to watch horror rookies squirm with anxiety.
[North] American consumer culture horror triple feature:
(1) Dawn of the Dead, (2) They Live, (3) American Psycho
Horror films are often a reflection of our fears, anxieties, and modern social ills, and these three films have become canonical critiques of consumer culture, relevant not only to a specific Western era, but continuing to be prescient social commentary today.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Dawn of the Dead (2004), Snyder’s remake of the Romero classic, updates the ’70s mall setting with fake but recognizable brands and storefronts, reminding audiences how little has changed. While the dead have a “memory” or “instinct” to return to the mall, “an important place in their lives” (as per the 1978 version), the survivors engage in the memorable montage of Utopia/Apocalypse: unrestricted access to all the previously unaffordable contents of the mall. As Romero once said, the film “takes a satirical bite at American consumerism”, with 20th-21st century uncritical, compliant shoppers turning to instead consume human flesh.
They Live (1988)
A critique of Regan-era politics, the elite of Carpenter’s They Live are aliens conditioning passivity and sheep-like consumerism in the middle-class masses via subliminal advertising. Often campy and unintentionally funny, They Live remains relevant today with the prevalence of guerrilla advertising, product placements, arguments over political media bias, “dogwhistle” phrasing in political discourse, etc. In particular, Keith David’s character Frank has lines that may perhaps echo through history, as events such as controversial industry bailouts recur: ‘We gave the steel companies a break when they needed it. You know what they gave themselves? Raises.’
American Psycho (2000)
Recalling the mastermind social elite of They Live, American Psycho takes a different perspective – a vision of 1980s Wall Street where the super-rich are preoccupied with the trivialities and minutiae of expensive consumer products that represent their status and affirm their identities. Only sex workers and homeless people breach the insulated sphere of wealth, and then, only as victims of Patrick Bateman. American Psycho has a number of scenes and motifs now synonymous with shallow, superficial consumerism: business card stock choices, five-star restaurant reservations, regurgitation of political media sound bites, and over-analysis of inane 80s pop music. Patrick Bateman has fashioned his life by imitating what he sees. He adopts consumerism as modeled by advertising and his peers, and imitates violent murders and dramatic sex as modeled by horror movies (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and pornography. Not only did Mary Harron achieve the momentous task of adapting the Bret Easton Ellis novel to an accessible, enjoyable result, but created a Great horror film on par with those from genre auteurs like Hitchcock, Polanski and Argento.”
THIRD PRIZE (a one-year digital subscription to Rue Morgue) goes to Byron for his “horror next door” list:
Given the choices, I would like to see a triple bill that explores the themes of ‘the horror next door’ as well as providing a nice cross-section of the genre’s evolution over the last 30 years.
What frightens audiences will change with the times but what makes horror scary has always been the prospect of something unknown encroaching on our daily lives. Good horror works when you leave the theatre convinced you are somehow less safe than when you went in. The world changes and the recluse next door may not be a vampire anymore, but he most certainly could be eating people.
Starting with “Fright Night” would ease the audience into a fun supernatural romp while introducing them to the theme. The suburban setting and classical horror tropes are there, but mixed with enough tongue-in cheek nods and genuine scares to really set the mood and get people pumped with the energy of an era long past. (The 2011 remake just couldn’t tap into it)
Barreling on through to “American Psycho” would maintain the twisted humour vibe but throw the audience headlong into a more realistic take on the modern psycho. Though the story is set around the same time “Fright Night” was made, there’s no denying the mid-nineties grittiness and charred sense of humour. “American Psycho” drags the ‘horror next door’ theme into the light of the larger world and can even be viewed as a precursor to the recent spate of wall-street mistrust.
“We Are What We Are” rounds off the night with the most grungy and lifelike depiction of urban horror. We are still planted firmly in the ‘horror next door theme’ Only this time there are no twists or gimmicky literary elements to save us. This horror is real and anyone who tunes into world (or even local) news from time-to-time has to recognize that horror films have craned their necks and are staring deep into the dilated pupils of our nerve-wracked society. There is nothing more horrible going on today than the things which eventually squirm onto the late news behind “disturbing content” banners. Events just like those depicted in “We Are What we Are” have happened before and will happen again and that will be the lone thought quivering around the minds of those who huddle their loved ones while leaving the theatre after this triple bill of horror.”
And since we really like to give stuff away, we also selected three runners-up to receive whatever nifty prizes we can dig up at the House of Horror. The runners-up and their entries are:
“Black Death haunts me because, as a Christian, I know it’s on the mark historically. The Jesus of the ‘crusaders’ in the film is essentially a zombie Christ — a distortion and corruption of the actual Jesus of the Gospels. Worship a zombie and you become one. It’s a film with a very timely warning about the dark price of zealotry and self-righteousness. The film is also further proof that Sean Bean was born to wear armour and wield a sword.
Blair Witch Project spawned a genre. When I saw it the first time I was reliving every camping trip I’d ever been on: the one where I got disoriented in the Eastern Ontario bush; the one where my canoeing buddy and I snapped at each other because we were hungry and wet; the one where something cracked heavy branches outside our tent in the middle of the night yet left no tracks. I also had flashbacks to the times as kids we’d explored the abandoned farm homes in the back hills. For me there isn’t all that much faux in this faux documentary.
Ghostbusters – because as a monster kid in the 80′s this movie was everything you wanted: a story that was Disney on acid, cool monsters and hip heroes, and sex appeal (Sigourney not Moranis!). All that and a theme song that remains a cross-generational ear worm. Dad’s coveralls on – check. School backpack shouldered – check. ShopVac tubing and pipe connected – check. Power up!”
DEMON KNIGHT; I grew up reading EC comics like Tales From The Crypt and it was definitely my favourite TV show also. They made 3 Tales… movies but the first was the BEST! The storyline about Demons, the knights, and the apocalypse is amazing. The demon effects are even better than DEMONS, Ernest Dickerson is the only reason I still watch The Walking Dead, also heaviest soundtrack for ANY movie!! Melvins, Ministry, Sepultura, Rollins Band, Pantera, ect… (anyone who’s seen Ministry do Tonight We Murder live would agree) me and my brother owned the cassette and cd and wore out both copies from constant listening\m/
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE; One of the very few modern movies that I actually felt disturbed watching! I heard all the ’100% medically accurate’ hype, but when I watched it for the first time I was actually horrified, awsome!! Dr. Hiter is on par with Norman Bates, Leatherface, Hannibal Lector… but way more terrifying (and insane)!! At least if Norman or Bubbah killed you it would be… quicker. Hannibal is evil, but Hiter was a Nazi surgeon (Netflix had Philosophy Of A Knife awhile ago, it has actual footage of Hiter’s trade if you want to see REAL evil) I picked the first one over The Full Sequence because I can’t stop laughing every time I watch it (maybe the first one and the Southpark spoof have desensitized me, or maybe it’s just REALLY funny!) except the stillbirth part… ok I laughed at that part to! Also this is the only movie Beavis & Butthead have reviewed (a surprisingly intelligent review at that!!)
PET SEMATARY; Stephen King is the Elvis of horror, a fact of life (like everyone dies). I grew up reading everything of his I could get my morbid little hands on, also grew up watching The Munsters! Fred Gwynne’s most iconic role (Judd is still my favourite South Park character, even more than Cartman or Kenny!!) I chose this one over The Mist because it’s old school classic King, also this story is a very personal, moving metaphor for learning about death. I have a tough time watching this film now since I lost my little girls Lexx and Nova, but that is just a testament to the true power of this story. It should affect you deeply, if you have a soul. The music on Pet Sematary is all Rammones (Sheena Is A Punk Rocker/ Pet Sematary) and two of my favourite songs of all time (King knows rock n’ roll, see Maximum Overdrive\m/\m/)
If Netflix still had Visions Of Suffering from Andrey Iskanov, that would’ve been on this list (but would have been a tough ass choice on which one I’d replace, so I’m kinda glad it’s not!)”
The Blob (1958): Steve “Half-a-block-of-f-ing-air-on-the-streets-of-San-Fran-Bullitt” McQueen… running from a giant cup of Jello. And a hippie being eaten by a sink. This movie is the quintessential “fun” Horror movie. Best viewed with fellow hecklers.
Fright Night (1985) Sorry Colin Farrell, but you’ve got nothing on Chris Sarandon as a super-suave, porno-haired vamp next door who proves his unholy and inhuman might by terrorizing children. Roddy McDowell as one of his most memorable non-ape characters is the key to this film, as his over-the-top portrayal as an onscreen Vampire Hunter (and offstage wuss) is sure to keep you watching. Seriously – he’s the funniest, whiniest old guy on film since Lost in Space (the TV Show… not “Joey from friends in an astronaut costume”.)
They Live Wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper gets one of the best lines in horror not from Bruce Campbell. “I have come here to kick ass and chew bubblegum… and I’m all out of bubblegum.” THAT is where you first heard this. Besides the great-for-the-time alien effects, and the chilling Orwellian message that runs throughout, They Live has one of the best on screen fistfights ever filmed. Piper and the dad from Something About Mary beat the crap out of each other for about ten minutes straight- and they’re both exhausted after the first three punches. The reason they’re fighting? Keith David won’t put on a pair of sunglasses. Watch this movie. It’s awesome.”