Friday, February 4, 2011

Discussion Time : "The Best American Horror Film In The Last 20 Years"?

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When I posted last night's Cover Art Wars, I was not at all surprised to find that several of you guys not only disagree with the above quote from Stephen King that appears on the Region 1 Let Me In DVD cover, but are even bothered by the fact that it almost comes off like King is not privy to the fact that the film is a remake. Obviously King knows this, but I can't say I disagree with those of you who find that quote a little bit off kilter. Now I do agree with King that Let Me In is a pretty damn good movie, but at the same time I can't help but feel it doesn't deserve that kind of praise given the fact that the movie basically just plays out like Let The Right One In, only in English. Essentially what King is saying is that the best American horror film in the last 20 years is a movie made in Sweden, which I suppose is one hell of a critique about American horror movies of late. Something about the quote just kinda rubs me the wrong way and now that I see that i'm not alone on that, I wanted to pose a question to those of you who disagree with Stephen King on this one ...

If not Let Me In, then what is, in your opinion, the best American horror film of the last 20 years?

This question rules out a whole boatload of great horror movies in the past two decades, given the fact that a majority of movies that would comprise any given list of the best horror in the past several years were made outside of America, so it's not the easiest of questions to answer. After much careful deliberation, I feel comfortable proclaiming the following film as my personal answer to that question ...

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Though I don't think too many of you will disagree with me that The Devil's Rejects is one hell of a kickass movie, I do expect to get some critique over the fact that many out there seem to question whether it's a horror movie or not. In my mind it most definitely is. It's such an epic and well rounded horror movie that's so much more than the slasher film those who saw House of 1000 Corpses expected it to be, which may be where the genre confusion lies. Devil's Rejects transcends genre, touching upon the western, the action film and even taking dramatic and comedic turns at times, but it's ultimately a horror film at its core. So there's my two cents on that.

Though Rob Zombie's filmmaking skills seem to have taken a bit of a nosedive since he made The Devil's Rejects, I will always admire and respect him for the brilliant and masterful work he did on this movie; making us laugh, making us cringe with horror and (gasp) even making us come to love and feel for the hellish killers doing all the bad things. Right up until the sad and yet utterly satisfying finale - perhaps the greatest ending in the history of horror - The Devil's Rejects is consistently entertaining and engaging, no matter how many times you watch it (and believe me, i've watched it a whole fuckin' lot). It's a pitch perfect film from beginning to end and I can't think of any other American made horror movie in the last 20 years that deserves to be ranked higher than it. It truly satiates each and every one of my movie watching desires, like so few movies in the horror genre or otherwise have, and i'm pretty sure it will be occupying a pretty damn high spot on my constantly changing top 10 or even top 5 films of all time lists for years to come. It's just that damn good.

The floor is yours. Leave a comment with your answer to the question!

13 comments:

Dr. Jimmy Terror said...

I lean toward the House of 1000 Corpse experience. It wraps up the previous 30 years of horror quite nicely. Because of its "all encompassing nature" it seems chaotic, unfocused at times. I think it's less scary and more like a side show/freak show. Great soundtrack.

I could agree more about Devil's Rejects transcending the genre and touching on the western genre and 70's exploitation films. It's a fine movie. Just not as fun as I might like my horror (Creepshow, Night of the Creeps, Old Hammer... semi-camp with great story lines).

I'd really go with Grindhouse but that's more of an experience than a singular movie. I don't want to lump that whole shabang with the genre. Even if Nicholas Cage plays Fu Manchu and I will never look at Plymouth, MA the same again. Death Proof has the best soundtrack of a horror film in years.

Brad said...

I think High Tension gives Rejects a run for it's money. Don't give me that boo hoo about the ending, she was retelling the story, so it makes perfect sense!

RobocopsSadSide said...

Wow, it would be really hard to pin down best horror film in last twenty years, but I think Devil's Rejects definitely has just as much a right to be chosen as any. I don't mind Zombie's Halloween films, but I realize I am in the minority. I think Lords of Salem is going to be something pretty neat, though.

Okay, this may sound like a generic choice, but I am going to have to say Scream (and I can't believe it is almost 15 years old now). That may not mean it is my favorite horror film of the last twenty years, but I have to say it definitely pulled the genre out of a rut. And it unfortunately spawned a bunch of crappy teen horror flicks, but Scream itself was highly inventive in the way it pays homage to older films. It was smart and intense for its time. And while some people may have seen the ending from miles away, I was completely blwon away by it.

Sir Jorge said...

i'd say, funny games, house of 1,000 corpses, a perfect getaway, the ruins

Carl Manes said...

Easy: BEHIND THE MASK.

Johnny said...

Brad - I completely love High Tension, even if i'm not so into the ending, but that's a French movie!

B-Movie Becky said...

I can't possibly choose. Some great films that I second as good candidates: Scream and Behind the Mask.

Other potentials American horror films that comes to mind for me is Planet Terror.

Highly Caffeinated said...

Shit, I was going to say the Descent, but apparently that's British.
Just finished watching Scream like an hour ago, it's pretty high up there, was still good, with the new addition of the hilarity of the fashion.
Maybe Saw, From Dusk Til Dawn, Event Horizon...

teddy crescendo said...

That astonishing 20 minute attack sequence in the "Piranha" remake, quite unparalleled and unsurpassed in its magnificence. It sums up (perhaps better than any other sequence in any other horror movie) what horror film making at its absolute best and most unpretentious should be all about. By the way, just a word for "Zombieland", that was superb as well.

Quanthor said...

It's pretty sad that most of the best horror movies of the past 20 years weren't American. The 90's were also very weak which doesn't help either.

Session 9, The Ring, Trick R Treat, The Abandoned, Candyman, Scream ... that's about it.

Bjornabo said...

I'll jump on the "The Devil's Rejects" bandwagon :-) Love that movie.

I also really love the first two "Saw" movies. The atmosphere and the soundtrack in those two are just awesome.

Charles Perks said...

There hasn't been a good horror movie in the last 20 years. Rob Zombie is a hack. He made House of 1000 corpses, which was basically the flashy, MTV music video version of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Then a few years later, he's gotta make a sequel to his first turd, so what does he do? He rips of TCM2. Family of weirdos and a cop on a revenge path due to the events of movie one. But this time he cuts out the MTV style and replaces it with the "gritty grindhouse" style that has been getting so popular. That movie was well-recieved from the horror community, so now that Rob Zombie is done raping the TCM franchise, he moves on to Halloween.

I won't even begin to get into that fucking atrocity. It just makes me sick to even think about it. Rob Zombie just doesn't have an original thought in his numbskull head. Even his trailer in grindhouse was godawful.

Anyway, the American horror film is dead. The only movies in recent memory that were good horror flicks, were foreign. We need to stop this bullshit grindhouse revival. Mimicking something from 40 yrs ago and trying to instill a feeling of nostalgia is not how to make a good horror/ exploitation film. It's just grasping at straws.

Anyway, the best American horror film in the last 20 years was Jim Van Bebber's Manson Family. That movie had the look and feel of a film from the seventies, but you know how he got the scratches on his film? He fucking scratched it. He didn't put on some digital effect.

I love trash. But i fucking hate garbage.

Mr. Mike D. said...

I am with you Johnny... I love Devils Rejects. I am also a big fan of Behind The Mask. But one of the most fucked up and disturbing American Horror movies that I saw from the last 20 years was called Home Movies. It's about two evil kids who torture their parents... sick shit. It stuck with me for a few days after, and still creeps me the fuck out. If you haven't seen it, check it!!!