The Bare Bones

Hopefully those of you who are not blood related to me, living with me or strapped to a chair Clockwork Orange style know a little about horror movies. This section isn’t really for you. It’s for all the lost little souls who are either budding or casual genre fans and for those who aren’t even there yet but are inexplicably still reading this.

This is my own little crash course in horror fandom and a hopefully helpful user’s guide for this blog. Let’s start with some abbreviations you may commonly find in my posts:

Bright Dyke- My awesome girlfriend. Not a horror fan but has the patience of a saint regarding my affliction.

This is the best fictional representation of Bright Dyke I could find...I did GOOD

Scare Bear- One of my oldest and best and queerest guy friends and a frequent partner in horror theater going. Hopefully I’ll be able to get him to do a couple guest posts because he’s effing hysterical.

Scare Bear's worst nightmare

Nanci- Another friend of mine who is horror intolerant but still wants to read my blog, you may occasionally see warnings posted directed at her to close her eyes or not read what follows. Also I am currently in the process of creating a rating system in her honor which I hope to implement by the end of July.

Nanci's best friend

Wall Cat- I did a review for The Legend of Hell House which features an ominous black cat on a wall outside a mansion. I finished the review…and now the little bastard refuses to leave.

Believe me honey I didn't stick around for the company...

FANGO- Shorthand for FANGORIA a popular and long running horror magazine.

Why aren't you fun anymore?

FG- Final Girl. You know the chick that’s still standing at the end of every Friday the 13th, Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Yeah the cute but strangely boring one? She has her very own and highly technical term.

The original and still the best

J-Horror- Japanese horror. The land of the rising sun has provided us with some of the genre’s best and most quickly remade material.

Using the remake to sell the original...that's fucked up Japan

“Name of film (o-yyyy)”- This format denotes I am referring to the original incarnation of a film which has since been remade to be soul crushingly bad.

Woo Hoo!

“Name of film (r-yyyy)”- See what I did there? I replaced the “o” in parentheses with an “r” now we’re talking about the soul crushingly bad remake.

Damnit!

The abbreviations section will be expanded as people become confused…and I get lazier.

Subgenre rundown:

There are essentially 10 types of horror movies. That is to say that by my count there are 10 distinguishable subgenres within horror. I’m going to give them to you in countdown format from “This thing needs an Oscar nom before I’ll consider seeing it” to “I’ll even watch the ones that make my eyes bleed”. To be extra helpful I have included my three favorite examples of each type, three you can give a miss and just for giggles a non-genre film that could theoretically make the cut with some severe (or not so severe) lobbying. For those of you who read this and start foaming at the mouth that I didn’t include something impossible to find, foreign, indie or over 50 years old I would like to remind you this is a beginner’s guide. Horror 101 if you will; and these are my essentials.

10. Undead/Superhuman (I Love the 20’s!)- The children of the night. Vampires, Werewolves, Witches and Mummies. Basically the first four or five Halloween costumes that made you feel sort of badass even though your mom thought you looked adorable.

Lords of the Underworld: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, American Werewolf in London and The Howling.

Put a stake in ‘em: Underworld Rise of the Lycans, 3o Days of Night, Van Helsing.

Attn: Stephanie Meyer...This is a REAL vampire...that is all

Unintentional Mention: Anything with Cher in it. (This IS a gay blog people and contrary to popular belief the boys don’t own her. I figure we have at least a 45% stake after Chaz-tity).

9. Possessed Objects (Toy Gory): Anything that can be voodooed, hexed, cursed, occupied or otherwise livened up by the forces of evil. The less inherently threatening the better. These are the ones that make you think your toaster is giving you the stink eye.

Top Shelf: Duel, Christine and Child’s Play

IKEA: Puppetmaster 2 through ad nauseum, Seed of Chucky, Demonic Toys

I was willing to live with Jennifer Tilly...but three's company dude

Unintentional Mention: The Brave Little Toaster- three points 1. Existentialist air conditioner 2. A junkyard crane that may as well have a swastika on it and 3.  It was a children’s movie made in the late eighties and therefore was required by law to be terrifying.

8. Religious Horror (Father, Son and the …HOLY SHIT!): The saying goes that if you believe in God you have to believe in the Devil; those who don’t believe this generally get starring roles in these.

Sacrilicious: The Exorcist, The Omen (o-1976), Rosemary’s Baby.

7th circle: The Omen (r-2006), Nun, Rite

The movie that changed religion...and pea soup

Unintentional Mention: The Passion of the Christ.

7. Torture Porn (Power Tools Behaving Badly): I hate this term but we’re going for brand recognition here. Now I know what you’re thinking; it’s low on the list so I must be a prude. WRONG! I love a good visceral, gory cringe fest just as much as the next girl- as long as the plot makes sense.

Industrial Revolution: Saw, Saw II, Martyrs.

Premature Mutilation: Hostel, Turistas, The Human Centipede

He's gonna cut you so bad...you're gonna wish...well you're gonna wish he didn't cut you so bad

Unintentional Mention: The Passion of the Christ.  No that’s not an error I think Mel was going for a whole new subgenre here.

6. Infection/Natural Disaster (Mommy Nature Dearest): These can be some of the most terrifying films to watch when they’re done right. There is a certain added fear factor when what’s happening on screen can and does actually happen. Throw in a propensity for bigger budgets and bigger stars and you have a bonafide mainstream horror fest. Note* I know some of these teeter on the Sci-Fi fence but if it’s meant to scare you it deserves consideration.

Scientific Breakthroughs: Cabin Fever, 28 Days Later, Outbreak.

Wrath of an Angry God: Megafault, The Day After Tomorrow, Volcano

I don't believe in shaving my legs because it's an outdated patriarchal construct that has no real social significance...and Eli Roth.

Unintentional Mention: The Jersey Shore- you look at me and tell me those a-holes aren’t the Petri dish for the super virus that’s gonna wipe out humanity.

5. Zombies (Domination of the Dead): If the definition of total zombie apocalypse is the world overrun with Zed heads than they appear to have completed their mission; at least cinematically. You can’t swing a slightly decomposed brain thirsty cat without hitting a zombie movie in the horror section these days.

BRAAAAIN Pleasers: Night of the Living Dead (o-1968), Dawn of the Dead (o/r they’re both good), Planet Terror

Better off Dead: Survival of the Dead, Diary of the Dead, Flight of the Living Dead

Also gave us the awesome new colloquialism: 'Dude you totally just went all Tallahassee on___"

Unintentional Mention: Sex and the City/ Sex and the City 2- not just for the ‘ladies’; if you’ve seen their fans on opening nights you’ll know exactly what I mean.

4. Creature Features (Little Pet Shop of Horrors): Movies, which like to remind us that our position atop the food chain is tenuous at best and fictional at worst. If it swims, slithers, skitters or scratches I’m a fan. Also falls under the ‘could actually happen’ tag if you live in Australia: aka God’s petting zoo for animals that will eat your face and then sell your family to a forced labor camp.

Kings of the Jungle: JAWS, Cloverfield, Alien

Strays: Mega-Piranha, Sharktopus, Mega-Shark vs. Giant Octopus.

Chompa Chompa...motherfucker

Unintentional Mention: The Waterhorse- starts off cute and cuddly, and then your little misunderstood friend goes all bi-polar, eats a Bulldog and then tries to eat everyone else.

3. Psycho Thrillers (We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes): These are not the same as slasher movies. This point is critical. These are slasher movies’ over achieving siblings who went to Yale and double majored in astro-physics and just generally being better than you. They also have a tendency to be based (loosely) on true events or at least things that could conceivably happen within the known laws of the space-time continuum.

High Functioning: Se7en, Silence of the Lambs, High Tension

Under Medicated: Session 9, Hannibal, Zodiac

I'd hate to see what 'you were a dick to me in 6th grade' looks like

Unintentional Mention: Sleepless in Seattle- put down your torch and pitchforks Meg Ryan is STALKING Tom Hanks for half the movie. She was basically a leg splay away from Basic Instinct. What this movie teaches us is that insanity is ok if your victim falls for you before the credits.

2. Hauntings (Corporeally Challenged Houseguests): Hard to beat the classics. There are some things that just never get old; and a good ghost story is one of them. There is one caveat to this: I don’t want a PG-13 retelling of Casper the Friendly Ghost. Leave your misunderstood, attention seeking, unfinished business having plasmic ass at home; only truly malevolent spooks need apply.

Realtor’s Worst Nightmare: The Haunting (o-1963), Paranormal Activity 2, Insidious

Don’t Cross the Streams: Death of a Ghost Hunter, The Haunting of Molly Hartley, Amityville Horror II: The Possession.

Subtlety...making a comeback

Unintentional Mention: Star Wars- Seriously would you want your fifth grade math teacher following you around for the rest of your life? I mean Mr. Whitmore was awesome and all but come on imagine the things they would see you do.

  1. Slashers (They’re Behind You Right Now)- The bread and butter of (American) horror takes the No. 1 spot. Character development and logic be damned! They don’t like you, they don’t like your face and it doesn’t matter what you do they will keep coming for you. These are serial killers on steroids who’ve taken Santa’s little naughty list idea to a whole new level. So if you’ve done anything to bring yourself earthly pleasure lately: good luck with that I’ll take my chances in Australia.

A Cut Above: Halloween(o-1978), Friday the 13th (o-1980), Scream

Dull Around the Edges: Friday the 13th (r-2009), Valentine’s Day, Prom Night (r-2008)

I'll take 'things not to fuck with' for 800 Alex

Unintentional Mention: The Bond Movies- think about it; how many faceless cronies does 007 off on average per each of his 21 movies to date? This guy uses his license to kill like it’s a rewards card.

That should about do it for now.

Class dismissed.

 

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