Horrorfest 2016 Presents: The Old Dark House (1932, James Whale)


the-old-dark-house-1932

James Whale created some memorable and classic horror films. The Old Dark House is one of those films, and while it’s not as good as his best work in the genre it’s still very good. I loved the dialogue in this movie, which is sharp and funny, along with the wonderful characters. This is one of the most delightful bunch of people I’ve ever encountered in a horror comedy picture. It also helps that most, if not all, are British and have that “What, me worry?” take on things that always amuses me.

A trio of wary travelers end up in an old mansion where the butler is played by horror legend Boris Karloff, who of course has a scar and his usual imposing presence. This film helped create many horror cliches, from people stuck in a creepy house in the middle of a storm to someone possibly crazy being kept locked up in the attic. I didn’t really care for the last act but the rest of the movie works and I think it’s a fun, if not scary at all, movie.

Horrorfest 2013 Presents: The Cabin In The Woods (2012, Drew Goddard)


When I first heard about The Cabin In The Woods it was a film that had an original release date of 2009, and then was pushed back to the point where those anticipating it were wondering if the film would see the light of day. Well thankfully the movie was finally released in 2012, with director Drew Goddard and the famous Josh Whedon being its principal writers. This is a movie created for horror movie fans, and also for those who love all of the famous cliches that the genre has offered up over since the dawn of cinema. Thankfully I avoided most of the film’s trailers and also did not read any reviews, as both would offer up spoilers one way or another; my goal with this review is to attempt to do the almost impossible and talk about the film without actually tipping its hand. Still I shall do my best.

Meta in horror movies is nothing unique or new, and funny enough the horror genre was brought back to life by one such styled horror movie: Scream, which is a modern classic and a favorite of mine. I also mention that film since it plays upon famous horror conventions and was rather stylish, original, and entertaining. The Cabin In The Woods is in a similar mode, and I was surprised that it actually had some decent scares and a creepy atmosphere up its sleeve. The humor elements in this movie are also a combination of sharp and silly, mixing slapstick with sarcasm at times. In that regard this is a fine addition to the list of horror meta films, a sub genre that does not get enough credit as it has resulted in some really good horror/comedies that straddle the lines between bleak humor and nasty horror moments.

Oh and the characters for this movie are really quite good. Almost too good for a movie paying homage to the slasher genre first and foremost, and one that plays upon the grace notes of famous horror films. There is even a tip of the hat to the infamous special character, the old guy who warns the characters of the evil despite never moving away from the evil. That’s just marvelous. Few horror movies-hell regular movies that I’ve seen recently-have lived up to the hype quite like this one. Special horror films come along too few and not enough, and they should be recognized and enjoyed. The Cabin In The Woods is one of those movies.

Some last couple of thoughts: those opening credits reminded me of the ones for the 1997 controversial film Funny Games, which I saw last year and which I thought was merely solid at best. I then realized that The Cabin In The Woods is the movie that Funny Games should have been. Sorry if you are a fan of Funny Games, but that’s one horror/drama/satire that failed to live up to its promised reputation. There’s nothing worse than a movie you don’t hate or love, or even like, although I guess I gave it an 80/100 so that’s something, I guess. This is a movie also that I will have to view numerous times. And that I want to see numerous times. Plus trying to find an image for this movie that is not spoiler filled is hard. Really hard.

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