31 Days of Horror Movies, Part 2: Gerald’s Game, Death Note, Psycho

Psycho
Psycho

Welcome back to Cultured Vultures’ 31 Days of Horror. We covered the rules in part one, but in case you missed it, they’re pretty simple – you have to watch 31 horror films; one for every day of the month (but not necessarily one on every day of the month – we’re not your boss; you can do your own thing). Having covered six films so far, we’re knuckling down for another round; this time looking at nine films reaching back all the way to 1960.

 

Gerald’s Game (2017)

Gerald's Game Review

In a world where Netflix is rapidly taking over the film and television industries, an alternative Stephen King adaptation has been released for all those people who have a Netflix subscription and don’t want to fork out money for an IT ticket (which is fair, it’s good – but a bit overrated). Gerald’s Game sees a wife trapped alone in her holiday home, after her husband handcuffs her to the bed to spice up their love life, before promptly suffering a heart attack. Based on that premise alone, with no real supernatural elements and no potential serial killers out to get her, you may question how the film can go on for the 103 minute runtime. Fortunately, the story justifies its length by effectively delving into her mental struggle against the ghosts of her past and the gravity of her situation. On top of some strong performances, the film cleverly establishes what you think is a low level of gore going forward, before serving out a few truly disgusting scenes.

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

 

Zombieland (2009)

Zombieland
Source: Bloody Disgusting

Even if you’re not a big fan of gory horror films, Zombieland is probably a flick you can get on board with. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Woody Harrelson, Zombieland follows four disparate survivors of a zombie outbreak, who band together to find a family, some fun and a twinkie, respectively. This film really does go all-out with the gore, and there are some scenes that may make you feel a bit queasy, but at its heart, Zombieland is a hilarious ride with lovable characters whose poor decisions and bad habits you can easily forgive.

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

 

Psycho (1960)

There’s a reason that Alfred Hitchcock is held in such high esteem. Even with the restrictions of 1960s film production compared to that of the modern day, Pscho is truly phenomenal, and deserving of its moniker of ‘one of the greatest films of all time’. With a strong cast, some great twists and excellent cinematography, this film is a must watch, even if you’re not a fan of older films. It’s just a shame that if you’re fortunate enough to have no knowledge of the film going in, that the ‘special edition’ DVD spoils most of it in the blurb.

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

 

The Babysitter (2017)

The Babysitter

The newest film on the list, The Babysitter is the story of a young boy who’s forced to face off against his hot babysitter, a psychopathic jock, a sassy fashionista, a self-centred cheerleader and their token black friend, after discovering that they’re conducting a satanic ritual in his living room after he goes to sleep. A high-quality film, this is not, but with a cast that deliver some humorous performances and a story that doesn’t take itself too seriously, this film is proves a fun romp for when you’re in need of some easy-watching entertainment.

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

 

Alien: Covenant (2017)

Alien: Covenant release poster

Having looked at the original Alien in part one, we’re going back to the franchise to see how much things have changed in the newest entry of the franchise. Although the horror aspect of Alien: Covenant is ramped up, and there’s blood-and-guts aplenty, the film has lost the tension of the original. And although the Xenomorph does appear in the main portion of the film (unlike in the previous entry, Prometheus), it gives up a lot of screen time to other antagonists; its sister-species, the Neomorph, and their calculating android creator; showing a misstep in the film’s direction. We’re here for alien action, not a punch-up between two Michael Fassbenders.

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

 

The Grudge (2004)

Probably the scariest film on this list by default (if only because none of the others are scary, at all). The Grudge centres around a house that has become cursed by a horrific incident committed inside, and now the ghost of a young woman haunts and murders all those who enter. Bringing unexpected twists and turns to expand upon the otherwise conventional horror story, this film is a beautiful mesh of Japanese and American horrors of the time. Unfortunately, the fact that whenever the ghostly antagonists squeal as they get close to their victims is more laughable than scary, stops this from being a truly terrifying watch.

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

 

Death Note (2017)

Netflix Death Note

Going into this film without any knowledge of the manga, anime or films that came before it means that your viewing experience probably won’t be as bad as it could be. Death Note is about the titular book; property of a ‘Death God’ named Ryuk, which is delivered into the hands of a high school student, who, along with his crush, use its power to kill whoever’s name is written on its pages, to rid the world of evil. Unfortunately, the promising set-up soon gives way to a rushed story. The priority is given to the cat-and-mouse chase between lead character Light and his rival, L the detective (who, frankly, is increasingly annoying). If this film were given a longer run time or perhaps was stretched out into a sequel, it may work better. But as it stands, beyond an entertaining performance from Willem Dafoe (who voices Ryuk) this film spends too much of its limited time focusing on the wrong things.

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

 

Ringu (1998)

Everyone know’s the story of The Ring. After watching the cursed videotape, the viewer has seven days before they’re killed by some otherworldly force. Any phobia of subtitles should be put aside for this film, if only so you can say you’ve seen the original entry in this popular franchise. However, don’t bother getting your hopes up by expecting a film far scarier than anything Hollywood can come up with, because for the most part, Ringu is just a couple trying to figure out a murder mystery. In fact, the well-known shot of Sadako climbing out of the TV screen only occurs once, and quite late on in the film. Still, it’s a well-written story worth sticking around until the end for.

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

 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

We’re going to round this out with something quite blasphemous. While it has been somewhat disappointing that none of the films so far have been all that scary, out of all 15 films, none of them are more misleadingly titled or disappointing than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The film follows a band of teens who venture out to an old family home. After an odd encounter with a hitchhiker, the group find themselves picked off one by one by his family of cannibals, seemingly led by the monstrous chainsaw-wielding ‘Leatherface’.

Except, by the time you’ve got most of the way through the film, you come to realise that not only is Leatherface not the leader of this villainous group, he’s also the least threatening. Furthermore, it’s hard to have any pity for those he murders because they push the horror trope of making stupid choices to forward the plot to such extremes that it’s not even entertaining.

And the most offensive part, beyond the idiotic characters and disappointing antagonist is that only three people get wounded by a chainsaw. One is already dead. The second is in a wheelchair and unable to escape. And the third is Leatherface, who falls over and cuts himself by accident. In short, murdering one person with a chainsaw does not a chainsaw massacre make.

The fact that this film was deemed so horrifying on its release, and amounted such an expansive franchise and cult following, is baffling.

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

More horror movies:
15 of the Best Horror Movies On Netflix This Halloween
13 Alternative Horror Movies for Halloween
10 Best Indie Horror Movies You Need to Watch

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