Tag Archives: spooky

Pant-Soiling Scenes #21: SOLE SURVIVOR

This was a logistically difficult Pant-Soiling Scene. I only have a clunky old VHS copy of spooky 1982 proto-Final Destination film Sole Survivor so could not use software to grab stills. Instead, I had to hover before the screen with my camera and do my best to capture the creepy.

If you’ve not seen this low-key, slow-burn, rare little gem, it’s definitely one to source. Anita Skinner is the – duh – sole survivor of a plane crash and in the weeks after her recovery, she encounters various people who just sort of… stare at her from afar.

First is this little girl on a landing dock. Actually, the actress in reported to be none other than Susan Jennifer Sullivan: Melissa from Friday the 13th Part VII.

As the film goes on and more of these silent, unmoving (actually dead!) folk appear in parks, on the road, even on her front porch. Always… fixedly STARING.

In recent years, Asian horror has really done this to death but Sole Survivor is genuinely unsettling. From the kooky has-been actress who keeps receiving messages from the other side to the dim photography and zombie-like movements of the stary-squad.

Second choice of eerieness goes to man-atop-escalator when Anita finds herself alone in a car park.

This has the kind of horizon-of-dread tone that the powers behind Final Destination would kill for (in a wild and gruesome way, no doubt); it’s a stark, cold and lonely affair that deserves a hell of a lot more credit than it gets.

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Pant-Soiling Scenes #19: INSIDIOUS

Having totted up over 1,000 horror films, you’d think there’d be little scary stuff left to see. Slasher films take place in nicely controlled environments – killer and victims; zombie films have clear cut rules about survival.

Hauntings, however, can do whatever the fuck they want. They can be slow and unsettling or fast and bloody. No rules.

Therefore, when I finally got around to see Insidious last week, I expected maybe a little tension here and there. I didn’t expect to recoil in fright from some of the ejector-seat shocks, accompanied by thundering “gung” sounds.

The first one was when Rose Byrne went to check on her crying baby and encountered a damn creepy spectre lurking behind the net curtain thingy:

Shudder. It even looks like Michael Myers. That’s some eerie shit right there. However, it almost pales in comparison to Barbara Hershey (nicely cast in a nod to her role in the supremely freaky The Entity), who recounts a horrible dream she had about the haunting and then sees the face from her dream right there, behind Patrick Wilson.

Shudder again.

I don’t care if it was over-hyped, if the final act kinda went silly and ended up a marriage of Elm Street and Poltergeist II, this is one scary film the first time around and a warning to all ye who are astral plain explorers or whatever…

Pant-Soiling Scenes #18: DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW

In this day and age, TV horror movies largely consist of SyFy ‘originals': dripping in shitty cheap CG monsters feasting on washed-up actors and mute extras.

Back in ’81, however, the TV movie was a real event and, in horror terms, Dark Night of the Scarecrow stands as one of the most successful in terms of style and ambiance. A.K.A. it’s fucking creepy shit, as evidenced in the final shot of the movie.

…unless there’s another shot after. I can’t remember right this minute, but you catch my drift, right? Turns out after all the nerve-shredding tension that Bubba in Scarecrow form was the one reanimated and doing all the killin’!

No other scarecrow-themed film has touched it thus far.

Read a full review here.

More almost but not-quite slasher flicks

Another handful of horrors that hang out by the dance floor where all the slasher flicks are partying and flirt with them, trying to blend even though they don’t really fit in… See the last lot here.

DEAD SILENCE 2007

“From the makers of Saw” came this seriously underrated and unsuccessful scare flick, in which young couple Ryan Kwanten (later in True Blood) and Laura Regan (from My Little Eye) receive a creepy ventriloquist’s doll in the mail that somehow kills her, sending him back to their hometown of Raven’s Faire, a town apparently cursed by the ghost of Mary Shaw, subject of an Elm Street-like nursery rhyme that states if you encounter her in your dreams, don’t scream or you’ll lose your tongue, just as Regan did.

Kwanten’s investigations, hampered by greasy detective – and ex-New Kid on the Block – Donnie Wahlberg, seem to generate a fresh wave of creepy deaths and there’s one helluva twist at the end that I was totally blind to!

Why it’s not a slasher flick really: it’s a ghost story with a body count really, shades of Darkness Falls as well as Krueger-town (there was an additional murder in the deleted scenes) creep in, but not enough to swap sub-genres and they’re not likely to make a sequel…

DONKEY PUNCH 2008

Three northern gals holidaying in Mallorca hook up with a quartet of private school guys crewing on a luxury yacht and decide to party on the boat. Sex and drugs dominate and one of the guys decides to test a sexual urban legend – the Donkey Punch – which backfires, killing one of the girls. The boys vote to throw her overboard and say she fell and when the girls refuse to go along with it, a series of intensified confronations and misunderstandings lead to a second accidental death, then escalate to murder…

Why it’s not a slasher flick really: most of the deaths are accidents (including a neat outboard demise) and one person commits suicide. There’s a final girl of sorts but this is totally a Brit-grit situation flick.

HOUSE OF 9 2005

Another UK export; in this cut-price Battle Royale, nine strangers are abducted and wake up in a locked down house and informed that when only one remains alive, they will exit with £5million. Dennis Hopper is an Irish priest with a dodgy accent, Kelly Brook a shy dancer, Chardonnay from Footballer’s Wives a socialite, a rapper, an American detective, married couple and so on…

They argue about the situation until it leads to accidental death and murder, whittling down numbers until only one remains and exits. Cue semi-clever twist.

Why it’s not a slasher flick really: as with Donkey Punch, it’s all situational, there’s no one killer offing everybody one by one.

THE LAMP 1987

I love this cheesecake 80s horror film about a killer genie – or Djinn – which inhabits ye olde lamp that dim-witted, dungaree-wearing heroine Alex rubs when it arrives at her father’s museum. A field trip, a dumb teen idea to spend the night there (in a fucking museum…), Djinn-possession and the teens, some staff members and a couple of meathead racists find themselves done in in a variety of proto-Final Destination ways, some of which are suitably gruesome and clever, let down only by bargain basement effects work and a Djinn that looks like a Kinder Egg toy.

Why it’s not a slasher flick really: it’s a close one: there’s a lot in common with the likes of The Initiation and any number of collegiate prank slasher flicks but in the end it varies itself out of the equation.

THE UGLY 1997

A defence psychologist appointed to reassess a murderer, who proceeds to fill her in on his traumatic childhood and the slayings that followed. Despite warnings from the creepy institution doctor the shrink is soon sucked into his tragic tale of a nasty mother, school bullies and his one friend. All the blood on show is like black motor oil from a bunch of extras who are slashed up with a straight razor. Things go all Se7en with a downbeat twist ending, but it’s typically arty in the Australasian way.

Why it’s not a slasher flick really: a serial killer flick with grisly murders peppered throughout; no busloads of dense teenangers here.

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