Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Top 10 "Hey It's That Person! What's He/She In?" Horror Movies

There was once a time, young internet, when you didn't exist.  There was no such thing as an IMDB smartphone app and we that could play "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" were Gods among men.

Often, having no handy resource to frequent, recognizing an actor or actress was annoying. Sometimes it would even result in arguments, "I'm telling you, that's the guy from The Secret World of Alex Mack." "I've never even heard of that show, moron, it can't be that!" Cue fisticuffs.

It was a beautiful world that I miss quite dearly.

In lieu of a time machine, I thought I'd count down the Top 10 horror movies that could inspire such arguments.

10. Jeepers Creepers

This is one of those movies that I remember renting but I can't remember the film itself.  Like, at all. What I do remember is that it has despite-several-tries-he-just-can't-make-it-as-a-leading-man Justin Long in it. This was before our dear friend had charmed his way into our hearts playing "Mac" in the I'm a Mac/I'm a PC Apple ad campaign.  Really he was just that kid from that TV show Ed.  It's okay that you don't remember Ed.  It was brilliant, but nobody does.

9. Stay Alive

This movie is terrible. When I say terrible, I mean the Troll 2 kind of laughably terrible.  Its plotline combines the silly OMG-Video-Game-Come-To-Life genre with the historical murderer Elizabeth Bathory. Yes, the 1500s serial killer is using a video game to slay again.  How hilariously stupid is that?

Add Malcolm in the Middle's Frankie Muniz, Adam Goldberg at his Adam Goldbergiest, and the next great character actor Jimmi Simpson, and you're in for a fun evening of "Hey it's him from that!"

8. The Stand

This TV miniseries is brilliantly full of That Guys and That Gals.  I mean, seriously, the two first listed actors are Gary Sinese and Molly Ringwald.  It's also full of that chick from Just Shoot Me (Laura San Giacomo), That guy from Coach who's also the voice of Patrick Star (Bill Fagerbakke), and was that just Sam Raimi?

Why number eight then?  Have you seen this thing?  It's like watching a high school play version of a horror movie.  It's silly, terrible, but will always hold a special place in my heart because I watched it before I knew better.  M-O-O-N, that's how you spell special.

7. House of Wax (2005)

When future historians study our generation, it will be interesting to see what they have to say about Paris Hilton.  She was kind of the first gal to do the whole sex-taping her way to fame thing, and somehow we responded by giving her a reality show where she made fun of rural folk, and quite a few stabs at a film career.  The 2005 remake of House of Wax is actually one of her better movies.  It's not great or memorable, definitely not as good as the original, but it has Paris Hilton in it.  That's something.

6. Little Monsters

Imagine Howie Mandel, that crazy bald guy with OCD who hosted Deal or No Deal and was always at the beginning of Bobby's World, sitting through hours of prosthetics to become a vile monster that leads Fred Savage, that kid from The Wonder Years and Princess Bride, through a creepy monster world under every kids bed.

I think this was supposed to be a children's movie, but what works in this flawed vehicle is the imaginatively unsettling visuals and frightening practical effects.  It's one of those films that if you caught part of it on TV you'd swear you'd seen a chunk of 10/10 movie, only to find out when you rent it that it makes no sense if you start it from the beginning.

5. The Amityville Horror (2005)

Yet another sub-par remake on our list.  This movie is really weird.  Not only is it a remake of a mostly okay flick from the seventies that people only cared about because it was supposedly true, they stunt-casted heart throb Ryan Reynolds as the lead Jack Torrence stand in.

Why it makes this list is not Beardy McLaughpants trying to pretend he's a sadistic killer, though that is notable and silly; it's the kids!  This is a very, very young Chloe Grace Moretz's first film role. Also, her sister in the film is played by Rachel Nichols, star of current running show Continuum.

4. Cabin Fever

Ben has mentioned several times that he loves this movie.  I personally find it mostly okay.  Sadly, it wasn't what I wanted it to be, which was the big break out hit of Boy Meets World star Rider Strong.

Back when I was a kid and had hair, I wanted Sean Hunter's hair.  I wanted Sean Hunter's moves with women.  I made sure I had a cool leather jacket like Sean Hunter.  That's about all I could pull off.

Now that Rider is playing Sean Hunter again in Girl Meets World, I can maybe start to appreciate this movie for what it is.  It does have some amazing practical effects.  Albeit, the plot will always be a bit wonky.

3. I Know What You Did Last Summer

Even though Scream kicked them off, this movie will always embody the 1990's Dimension slasher phase in my head.  It's redundant, but still fun and stars just about everybody who was anybody in the nineties.  It's obvious to point out then star of Buffy Sarah Michelle Gellar, or Party of Five's Jennifer Love Hewitt.  Of course, I at the time was excited to see Johnny Galecki, that kid from Roseanne.  Of course, now he's that guy from Big Bang Theory, but he'll always be David Healy to me.

2. House of 1000 Corpses

This is one of those casting things that was fine if not perfect at the time, but now just feels weird.  If you haven't seen Rob Zombie's first entry into horror cinema, (What the heck is wrong with you?) it follows a standard horror plot where four travelling victims just end up in the wrong place at the wrong time and we spend the movie watching them get viciously killed.

What's strange is the two guys are played by Rain Wilson (Dwight from The Office) and Chris Hardwick (Host of Talking Dead and @Midnight).  The result is that the movie now seems almost like a SNL sketch that seems to never get funny.  Every time they are on screen, I can't help but to be waiting for them to make me laugh, even while they are being tortured by sadistic killers.

1. The Faculty

This is probably the best entry of the late nineties teen horror resurgence.  Although it falls short of other body snatching classics, it's damn watchable because of the highly recognizable cast. Musician stunt casting of Usher is fantastic.  Small roles for That 70s Show's Danny Masterson and The Daily Show's Jon Stewart are even better.  Then there's Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, and Christopher McDonald (Shooter from Happy Gilmore).  Almost every scene has you going "Hey, it's that guy!"

This list was a lot of fun to put together, but it's highly subjective and the ranking is nearly meaningless, like an Ohio State beauty pageant.  That is, unless we disagree.  Then I'm totally right. Regardless, be the Internet I know and love and tell me how wrong I am in our beautiful comments section.

1 comment:

  1. I can't disagree with your assessment of the programs you described in this post, especially The Stand. It really benefited from the talking dog idea: it's not that the dog has anything interesting to say; merely the fact that it's talking at all is amazing enough. A Stand miniseries should have been made well, not just made.

    The Faculty was definitely enjoyable; I had that "Hey, it's that chick!" moment twice from that film later on: Clea DuVall in HBO's Carnivale, which took too long to do anything interesting, and Laura Harris in Showtime's Dead Like Me, which was awesome in the first season and utterly sucky in the second.