A good movie will draw you into the world it has created and make you feel part of it. So much so, that there’s a chance you’ll leave the theater after with a bit of an adrenaline rush. Maybe the latest Bond flick has you feeling like you can be the next 007. Maybe an over-the-top car chase has you pressing on the gas pedal and drifting like a pro. Maybe the story of a talented musician has you thinking you could pick up a guitar and strum a perfect rhythm.
Most of the time we’re left with wanting more. We want something similar, yet new at the same time. We don’t want to watch the same film again, we want to watch something that pairs nicely.
Here at ScreenAge Wasteland, we’ve selected six horror films that you should watch during quarantine if you want to sleep with the lights on for the next week.
Waxwork | Vincent Kane
In this horror film, an evil magician creates a wax display of famous monsters and murderers and invites a group of unsuspecting young college students to view the collection. However, when the kids are trapped in the deadly displays, one-by-one they soon discover that the wax models are more than they appear to be. Waxwork isn’t scary but it is a fun watch with some great set pieces and monsters. The best part of the movie is how it pulls you into the different attractions. It even had a meta feel to it years before that would become cool. Waxwork is able to walk a fine line of campy and serious with bits of comedy and horror in equal doses. Directed & Written by Anthony Hickox, Waxwork is ’80s horror with the likes of Zach Galligan (Fright Night), a solid atmosphere and knows exactly what it is.
Creepshow | Bob Cram
George Romero. Stephen King. EC Comics… well, in spirit, anyway. Creepshow was a staple of Halloween in my teens – one of those films that always got rented (if it was available, that is) around the 31st. It has a certain kind of ghoulish glee that I associate with a childhood love of monsters and horror movies. When horror was fun AND creepy.
Back in 1982, when Creepshow was released, I hadn’t actually seen any EC comics. I think they were out of print at the time, or only available via expensive hardcover reprints. Instead I associated the movie with the more palid horror comics that DC put out in the 70’s – The Witching Hour, House of Secrets and House of Mystery. I loved those comics – the illustrated equivalent of a fire-side ghost story – and never realized that they were watered down by the Comics Code Authority until much later, when I finally got to see copies of Tales From the Crypt and Vault of Horror.
At one point I had the comic adaptation, illustrated by Bernie Wrightson, and I just about wore it out reading it. I wish I still had a copy, but it’s disappeared in the intervening years – perhaps finally falling apart or maybe just lurking in a comic box in the basement, biding its time until it can lurch forth and… I dunno, give me a paper cut or something.
I don’t know where I’m going with this, so let me finish by saying the original Creepshow is great fun, with some of the most dynamic work from George Romero and King slinging some great EC comics-style comedy with his usual folksy horror. And it comes in bite-sized chunks! Also, here’s an illo of poor Jordy Verrill that I did for funsies.
Creep | Jacob Holmes
The Blair Witch Project may have popularized the found footage horror genre, but Creep might just be the best of them all. The premise is simple: videographer Aaron (Patrick Brice) responds to an ad on Craigslist seeking a filmographer for a day. He arrives to a secluded home to find Josef (Mark Duplass)who informs Aaron that he is dying and wishes to make a film for his son. Duplass gives an engrossing performance as the titular creep, although it’s never quite clear exactly what his intentions are. Brice is the perfect straightman for the adventure and his footage effectively puts us in his place, further establishing us in the story. At the end of the day, this is strangely a movie about an artist at work and just how horrifying that can be. Bonus: you can also stream the equally delightful Creep 2 for double the quarantine fun.
Paperhouse | Sailor Monsoon
I have no idea how this film was made or its history, but it feels as though Bernard Rose (the director of Candyman), took one look at all the terrible Nightmare on Elm Street sequels and said to himself “I could do that but better.” And he did. A young girl lost in the loneliness and boredom of reality finds solace in the imaginary alternate world she’s created for herself, but soon she’ll discover that hers isn’t the only fantasy world and that the inhabits of the others need her to escape. The best way to describe Paperhouse is, imagine a stripped down live action Coraline (without all the circus characters and the talking cat) or a Guillermo Del Toro directed Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland. It’s brilliantly constructed dark fantasy that deals with childhood trauma in a realistic way. This is the kind of horror film Jim Henson would’ve made if he ever got tired of those damn Muppets.
It Comes at Night | Lee McCutcheon
The plot of It comes at Night is certainly relevant today and might hit a little too close to home for some. Basically, an extremely contagious outbreak has ravaged the planet and left it with few survivors. Paul (Joel Edgerton) and his family live in a secluded house deep in the woods, when one night they capture an intruder who apparently thought the property was empty. Eventually, the family end up taking in said intruder, his wife and young son to live with them, on the assumption that more people would make it easier to protect themselves in the event of an attack. What follows is a tense affair with plenty of psychological scares and no shortage of the more traditional horrors as well. The levels of paranoia are off the charts and will keep you guessing throughout.
13 Cameras | Marmaduke Karlston
This film only works because of Neville Archambault. The man looks so repulsive as Gerard that he alone would give you enough scares to last a lifetime. Otherwise, the story plays out like a lot of by-the-beat horror movies: a newlywed couple moves into a house and have no idea what is coming. The titular 13 cameras refer to the fact that their landlord Gerard has cameras set up around the house and spies on them at all hours. I don’t want to go into spoilers, but the ending reminded me of Don’t Breathe (yeah, that part). There’s also a sequel called 14 Cameras. I haven’t seen it yet, but I will one day because I need to know if Gerard will ever get justice for his utter creepiness.
And yes, after watching you will definitely look around your house for cameras if you are renting it from someone. Sorry in advance.
What horror movies have you recently watched?