31 Days of Horror Movies: The Thing, The Exorcist, World War Z & More

The Thing

Another week, another segment of Cultured Vultures’ 31 Days of Horror, where we watch 31 horror films throughout the month leading up to Halloween, and tell you all about them. If you haven’t checked out Parts One and Two yet, then please do, but just know that so far, the best week for films has been the one you’re reading about right now. With that in mind, let’s begin!

 

Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)

Source: Yonder Media

A clever reversal of the Cabin in the Woods trope, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil follows two affable hillbillies visiting their newly bought ‘summer house’ (a cabin in the woods filled with various murderous accessories courtesy of the previous tenants), who are besieged by a group of college students who believe the titular duo are out to kill them. Although the general plot is somewhat predictable, this film keeps you hooked by executing a series of exceedingly stupid mishaps that continue to fire up the animosity between the two factions; each mishap more hilarious and gruesome than the last. This movie has a lot of heart, and important themes ranging from ‘you shouldn’t judge people by their looks’ to ‘college kids aren’t as smart as they think they are’.

Scare Rating: 1/5
Gore Rating: 4/5

 

The Exorcist (1973)

It’s kind of unfortunate that a film made in the seventies can be so good, because in comparison, it puts a lot of contemporary horror films to shame. The Exorcist follows an actress who finds that her daughter has been possessed by a demonic entity that claims to be the devil himself. Desperate to save her child, she seeks out help, both medical and religious, in an effort to find someone who can expel the creature from the child’s body. A film that’s fearless in its execution; tackling numerous subjects from mental illness to the strength of a priest’s faith, all the while providing some shocking imagery and dialogue (for the time anyway). Unfortunately, when viewed by a modern audience, some of the effects are more laughable than they are scary.

Scare Rating: 1/5
Gore Rating: 2/5

 

Final Destination (2000)

Source: Bloody-Disgusting

The first entry in one of the powerhouse horror franchises of the 21st century, Final Destination sees a group of high school students narrowly escape a deadly plane crash, only to find that no matter how hard you try, you can’t escape death when your time comes around. Featuring a series of situations that keep you guessing on how each imperiled character is going to bite the dust, this tense thriller is liable to make you wary of pretty much every facet of day-to-day life. However, the cast is a mixed bag, with characters ranging from natural and likeable to irritating and disposable.

Scare Rating: 1/5
Gore Rating: 3/5

 

World War Z (2013)

While some may question whether or not World War Z is actually a horror film and not just a blockbuster action movie, it has a lot of facets that make it deserving of its inclusion on this list. The primary factor is that unlike a lot of zombie films, the creatures seen in this flick are actually scary; not necessarily in looks, but in their actions – you meet and a band of these nasties and there’s a very high chance you’re going to end up dead. Furthermore, the blockbuster aspect of this zombie film gives it an impressive level of spectacle. While the third act does lull a bit in terms of action and excitement, we’ll give it a pass for featuring Peter Capaldi as a World Health Organisation (WHO) Doctor prior to his official casting in Doctor Who. Isn’t the world a funny place?

Scare Rating: 2/5
Gore Rating: 2/5

 

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

No offence to any contemporary Johnny Depp fans, but it’s quite nice to watch a film with Depp in his prime. You know, before his whimsical acting started to get out of hand, before the domestic abuse charges and before he tried smuggling his dogs into Australia.

Sleepy Hollow sees Depp take on the role of Ichabod Crane, a visionary but misunderstood police constable who is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of decapitations by the illusive ‘headless horseman’. Featuring a startling fantastic cast and an aesthetic that beautifully captures the feel of the late eighteenth century, this Tim Burton film takes the enduring classic penned by Washington Irving, and imbues it with all the amusing and eerie traits his films possess.

Scare Rating: 1/5
Gore Rating: 2/5

 

[•REC] (2007)

Source: Rivers of Grue

You may be tired of found-footage features, but this is one you should check out. This Spanish horror film follows two reporters as they visit a local firehouse to document what firefighters do while the rest of the city sleeps. When they answer a call, and find themselves quarantined by law enforcement in a block of flats housing a zombie, their need to tell a hard-hitting piece of news is outmatched only by their desire to survive the night. Featuring believable characters and some gruesome and realistic looking action, this creepy horror film spawned three sequels and won its lead actor, Manuela Velasco, a Goya Award for Best New Actress.

Scare Rating: 2/5
Gore Rating: 3/5

 

From Dusk Till Dawn (2006)

Source: Postard

So, these two guys take a family hostage, escape to Mexico and walk into a bar.
Bear with me, because this isn’t some strange, convoluted and probably ill-advised joke. However, like a joke, it does have a twist that you probably wouldn’t expect. Because that bar? Turns out a lot of its patrons are vampires. What starts out as your standard Tarantino-written crime thriller quickly gets more and more ridiculous as things go on, as two thieving brothers, played by George Clooney and Tarantino himself, fight off vampires, bikers, the law and Tarantino’s character’s unsavoury urges towards women. While each consecutive scene makes less sense than the last, the film is a load of fun, with the exception being a sequence where Tarantino once again demonstrates why everyone thinks he has a foot-fetish.

Scare Rating: 1/5
Gore Rating: 4/5

 

The Thing (1982)

A truly tense tale. The Thing sees a group of researchers in the Antarctic, whose facility is infiltrated by a shapeshifting extra-terrestrial entity who seeks to assimilate into the group and starts picking them off one by one. Like Alien, back in Week One, the strength of The Thing comes primarily from the extraordinary crafting of tension between the characters, as they are filled with paranoia and begin turning on one another. And if we ignore the rather outdated effects, it’s hard not to admire the creatively horrific look of ‘the thing’ itself, who is a gold-mine for monstrous imagery and truly scarring visuals. On top of all that, it’s got Kurt Russell as the lead, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a bit of Kurt Russell?

Scare Rating: 2/5
Gore Rating: 2/5

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