Cabin in the Woods challenge!

Frakkin TFrakkin T Currently Offline
Thanks to Andrew "The Commissioner" Mount for paying for this 'cast! I agree it was great fun and I think it probably lends itself to deeper discussion. There is a little discussion on the Facebook thread for it, and I would love to discuss it here but I wanted to do a more focused thread: At the end of the podcast the boys talked about a horror movie beginner's class--the roster of movies you would have someone watch to get them caught up on all the horror that matters, curated and ordered to maximize excitement and scares. 

I would start by listing the genres you need to cover, but it's not just genres. Sometimes you have to name either specific countries or decades or even years, then pick out what you want from there. You need slashers, obviously, and haunted house movies, found footage. You need Italian masters like Mario Bava and Dario Argento, and some of the recent French horror, and obviously some J-horror. You need 80s trash, 70s explotation/transgressive stuff, and you need classics. I would also add some recent American stuff that other people call "torture porn" but is really just a modern sub-set of body horror (think Cronenberg.)

As far as the order, I would group them loosely by genre/type and screen each entry in a group chronologically by release date. Start with the classics, then go into the found footage and haunted house stuff, then do slashers, exploitation, 80s trash, round the world with Italy, France, Japan, and end up with body horror. I would end with the international stuff and the body horror because that is what scares me the most. This is a very subjective list, obviously, and if I had to design a curriculum I would probably show the classics first and see what gets the reactions and take it from there. 

As far as which movies represent the best of each group, who knows? I can tell you which ones scared me, but not which ones are going to scare you. So here is a basic list: 

Classics: Psycho, Exorcist, Nosferatu, all of the Universal Classic Monsters

Found footage: I am not a huge fan of this genre, but I would include Blair Witch, Cloverfield, [REC], and maybe Paranormal Activity, even though I have never seen it.

Haunted House: House on Haunted Hill, Poltergeist, Insidious (just the 1st one), Evil Dead 1 & 2 

Slashers are my favorite genre,so I have a lot of picks. You HAVE to see John Carpenter's Halloween, the original Nightmare on Elm St, and at least 1 Friday the 13th movie. I would also add Scream, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, and Laid To Rest.

Exploitation/transgressive: This is also a wide genre, but you could get off with just 2 flicks, both by the same director (Wes Craven): Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes. (You could go pretty deep down this rabbit hole, but unless you have a strong stomach I would leave it at those 2. 

80s trash: take your pick--I liked "The Stepfather" with Terry O'Quinn (John Locke from Lost)

Italian: Argento's 3 Mothers Trilogy (Suspiria, Inferno, The Mother of Tears)

French: Martyrs, Inside, High Tension. 

Japanese: Audition (There is some wacky screwball J-body horror that I also love: Tokyo Gore Police and Helldriver are two of the best, but they are more parody than horror, I think. Still worth seeing.)

Then you get to the body horror, and you have to talk about David Cronenberg. Everyone has their favorites, but If you are talking about Cronenberg you need to see Videodrome and the Fly at least. I would also throw eXistenZ in there too. I would add Hostel 1 and 2 and Saw 3 into that mix too.

This list is incomplete, sure, and none of these films fit squarely in the box I've put them in, but it's a good list. What do you think?

HatorianTravis
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Comments

  • HatorianHatorian Dagobah
    edited August 2015
    I would add Sci-Fi Horror. Alien, Predator, The Thing. 
    Frakkin Tksa1001Travis
  • I also think you need to have a stephen king genre by itself. Shining and Pet Semetary
  • DrewDrew indianapolis
    I don't know which category it would go in as it's mostly a home invasion film but the movie The Strangers is one of the few post 2000 horror movies that genuinely scared me so I would love to see the guys opinion on that.
    Frakkin Tksa1001
  • HatorianHatorian Dagobah
    edited August 2015
    Drew said:

    I don't know which category it would go in as it's mostly a home invasion film but the movie The Strangers is one of the few post 2000 horror movies that genuinely scared me so I would love to see the guys opinion on that.

    I would add Vacancy to the home invasion movies even though its technically not the character's home.
  • Australian: Wolf Creek and Babadook.

    Dale and Tucker vs Evil should go with Cabin in the Woods.

    Also need to add Night of the Living Dead to Classics. 
    Murderbear
  • For body horror, I would also throw in the first Human Centipede. That is probably the most terrifying movie I've seen in the last 20 or so years. Maybe more.
    Frakkin TTaraC73
  • MurderbearMurderbear Cold Spring, Ky
    Hatorian said:

    Australian: Wolf Creek and Babadook.


    Dale and Tucker vs Evil should go with Cabin in the Woods.

    Also need to add Night of the Living Dead to Classics. 
    Tucker and Dale vs Evil is criminally underrated. That movie is fantastic.
    JimHatorian
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    Great topic, and really sheds light into what a neophyte I am at all of this.  I am completely ignorant of the Italian subgenre, and really have shied away from the "torture porn" films as unpleasant, although I do see your point that they're essentially the end game for body horror, which is up there for me in terms of personal scariness.  However, a really good paranormal / supernatural film, the one where you can get goosebumps and hairs on the back of your neck are hard to beat.  I found The Conjuring really scary.  That thing where the ghost started playing the clapping game with the family, jesus christ. 
  • edited August 2015
    For Italian films, I would also recommend Mario Bava's A Bay of Blood - a big influence on slasher flicks.
    Frakkin T
  • ArctorArctor The Netherlands
    You should add "It Follows" to the list of legitimately scary modern films. I'm well versed in horror but that is one of these rare recent films that actually has you creeped out a lot.
    Dee
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    Here's an idea.  We need to limit this to the Horror genre, period.  Predator is an action film.  Shawn of the Dead is a comedy.  Blade is an action movie.  

    To treat them differently would be to say The Exorcist is a "religious film".  

    You can say the same about Sci-Fi.  Alien is a horror film.  Aliens is not.  The Thing is a horror film,  Independance Day is not.  That's not to say they don't have horrific aspects, but it's not the primary intent or genre they're working in.

    Agree? Disagree?
    TaraC73
  • I like where you're going with this.  

    There probably needs to be a "monster movies" category for stuff like The Thing, The Blob, Phantoms, etc.

    Then there's stuff like The Shining which is more of psychological horror movie than it is a slasher film, but certainly a must-see.  Where would that go?

    Maybe there's a better way to map this out than by category?
    TaraC73
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    Is any given Godzilla film a horror movie?  King Kong?  I say yes, Jim says no.
  • Just wanted to say that I don't think you have to be well versed in horror to be aware of horror tropes and enjoy Cabin in the Woods. I think most horror tropes are general cultural knowledge by this point.
  • JimJim
    edited August 2015
    There's a pretty good breakdown of the subgenres on wikipedia
  • Jim said:



    Then there's stuff like The Shining which is more of psychological horror movie than it is a slasher film, but certainly a must-see.  Where would that go?

    I always thought of The Shining as a ghost story/haunted house type of film. I've also seen it listed as a demonic possession film, but I don't agree with that.
  • I just love a good, scary ghost story. The Changeling, an old movie with George C. Scott, not the newish movie with Angelina Jolie, is one of the scariest movies I've ever seen. It was not successful at all, but I've been recommending it for years.
    DaveyMac
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    I would not consider King Kong or Godzilla to be horrors.
    ksa1001TaraC73
  • Here's an idea.  We need to limit this to the Horror genre, period.  Predator is an action film.  Shawn of the Dead is a comedy.  Blade is an action movie.  


    To treat them differently would be to say The Exorcist is a "religious film".  

    You can say the same about Sci-Fi.  Alien is a horror film.  Aliens is not.  The Thing is a horror film,  Independance Day is not.  That's not to say they don't have horrific aspects, but it's not the primary intent or genre they're working in.

    Agree? Disagree?
    Yea. Predator is action. I would remove that after thinking twice. technically its the same reason i didn't put aliens after Alien. 
  • Is any given Godzilla film a horror movie?  King Kong?  I say yes, Jim says no.

    Interesting question. So I would say Jaws is a horror film and one we all missed. Monster genre. Godzilla 2014 certainly tries to go for a Jaws feel as well so I can see where some would say yes and no to those monsters. 
  • AManIsNoOneAManIsNoOne Greensboro, NC
    edited August 2015

    Is any given Godzilla film a horror movie?  King Kong?  I say yes, Jim says no.

    I vote yes...and I'd throw Jurassic Park in that same category. 

    Edited: But they certainly belong in a category all their own. I personally think to be classified as at least partially horror, the main plot needs to be centered around a scenario you'd be horrified to be in. I'd say these movies fit that description. 
    HatorianTaraC73
  • Frakkin TFrakkin T Currently Offline
    Monster movies are definitely horror, and I'm sorry I missed those in my initial post. I had Cloverfield in the found footage genre but it owes a lot to Godzilla and all the Kaiju. 


    Here's an idea.  We need to limit this to the Horror genre, period.  Predator is an action film.  Shawn of the Dead is a comedy.  Blade is an action movie.  


    To treat them differently would be to say The Exorcist is a "religious film".  

    You can say the same about Sci-Fi.  Alien is a horror film.  Aliens is not.  The Thing is a horror film,  Independance Day is not.  That's not to say they don't have horrific aspects, but it's not the primary intent or genre they're working in.

    Agree? Disagree?
    I like the idea but if you go pure horror with no crossover you are cutting out large chunks of history. A Best of Horror list is bullshit without Alien on it, likewise the Evil Dead trilogy. You could also say that horror can be more effective when you don't know it's a horror movie. I'm thinking of Audition here, which for its first couple of acts plays no differently than a romantic comedy with some slightly ominous overtones. Being able to play with genres and still scare the hell out of you is a great tool in the horror director's arsenal and you just can't do a "best of" without a lot of these genre-benders.

    Home invasion is another good genre--forgot about that one too. The Strangers was excellent, as was You're Next and Vacancy. There are so many sub-genres and sub-sub genres it seems almost pointless to try and come up with THE definitive list, especially because the notion of what is scary differs so much from person to person. 
    TaraC73
  • DaveyMacDaveyMac Tokyo
    edited August 2015
    I second "The Changeling" and "Audition".

    I would also throw in "The Orphanage" and "The House of the Devil". Two of my favorite horror movies of this century. The first being a great ghost story and the second being a great throwback to the seventies and eighties and things like "Rosemary's Baby."

    For monsters other than the original "Godzilla" I'd throw in Bong Joon Ho's "The Host."
  • edited August 2015

    I think Possession films need a genre of their own with The Exorcist head lining and The Exorcism of Emily Rose and The Conjuring also featured.

     "When a Stranger Calls" should be included in any list of Horror films that everyone should watch especially females.  It's a horror rite of passage film.

    Chainsaw Massacre (the original) has to be on the list  although I'm torn as to which genre I would put it in.  Slasher or 70s exploitation???

    I think there is also a need for Fantasy Horror.  I put Pan's Labyrinth at the top of this list.  I would also put Ridley Scott's Legend here (although it could be considered an action film)

     

  • This definition of horror film on wikipedia seems correct to me...  "seeking to elicit a negative emotional reaction from viewers by playing on the audience's primal fears."  Maybe the keyword in there is "primal", some kind of shared fear that all humans experience.  Most of that probably stems from the unknown and being powerless.

    I dunno, I'm just trying to come up with some baseline that we can all agree on or this whole challenge is going to go down the drain fast.
  • bizmarkiefaderbizmarkiefader San Francisco
    If this is a guide for people to get into horror they probably aren't looking for recommendations for popular action movies that vaguely fit the definition of the genre like Godzilla or King Kong.
    Frakkin T
  • Frakkin TFrakkin T Currently Offline
    Jim said:

    This definition of horror film on wikipedia seems correct to me...  "seeking to elicit a negative emotional reaction from viewers by playing on the audience's primal fears."  Maybe the keyword in there is "primal", some kind of shared fear that all humans experience.  Most of that probably stems from the unknown and being powerless.


    I dunno, I'm just trying to come up with some baseline that we can all agree on or this whole challenge is going to go down the drain fast.
    Ok @Jim,  I see your point. We have so many categories and so many good choices for each one I think it will be near impossible to come up with a list that a) most can agree with and b) is not 200 movies. So here is what I propose:

    Everyone posts a list of their top 20 horror flicks, in no particular order. When we compile the lists, any movie that only gets one mention gets tossed out. A movie with 2 mentions gets 2 points; a movie with 3 mentions gets 3 points and so on. Tally the points and rank the movies from 1 (most points) to 25 (fewest points.) 

    Use Jim's wiki definition up there when making your choices, and try to limit it to a movie whose primary purpose is to scare you. They don't have to be in any order, as we are just adding the number of mentions. If you pick a movie that nobody else mentions, it will be thrown out, but maybe we have a bonus round where you can take a crack at convincing everyone else that it deserves a place on the list. 

    Sound good?
  • Frakkin TFrakkin T Currently Offline
    edited August 2015
    1. Psycho 2. Halloween (1978) 3. The Shining 4. Alien 5. The Exorcist 6. Poltergeist. 7. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 8. Suspiria 9. Nightmare on Elm St. (1984) 10. The Hills Have Eyes (2006 remake) 11. Videodrome 12. Hostel. 13. Blair Witch Project 14. Evil Dead (1981) 15 Dawn of the Dead (1978) 16. Creature From The Black Lagoon 17. The Wolfman (1941) 18. All The Boys Love Mandy Lane 19.Audition 20. Cabin In The Woods 

    I'm sure nobody else will say Suspiria or All The Boys Love Mandy Lane, but I am ready to throw down and defend my picks. In cases where there is a reboot of the original, I've specified the original in every case but one: The Hills Have Eyes. The production value is pretty bad in the original, and the reboot surprisingly retained a lot of the social commentary and upped the ante on the shock value. 
    Hatorian
  • HatorianHatorian Dagobah
    edited August 2015
    no order but I tried to get a bit of everything. Monsters, psychological, supernatural, slasher, hauntings, possession, etc. 

    1. Alien 
    2. Jaws 
    3. Night of the Living Dead 
    4. Tucker and Dale vs Evil 
    5. Poltergeist
     6. Jurassic Park 
    7. Vacancy 
    8. Pet Semetary 
    9. Wolf Creek 
    10. Pan's Labyrinth 
    11. The Conjuring 
    12. The Sixth Sense 
    13.  The Ring
    14. House on Haunted Hill
    15. Misery
    16. Final Destination
    17. Tremors
    18. American Psycho
    19. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
    20. Nightmare on Elm Street
    Frakkin T
  • @Frakkin T Great idea. People do this over at Letterboxd all the time with community lists. It's a lot fun. Is there gonna be a deadline for this, or will it be a list that changes over time as more people put theirs up?
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