Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Underrated Horror - Brian Collins ""

Friday, September 13, 2013

Favorite Underrated Horror - Brian Collins

Brian W. Collins is a writer for Badass Digest and a horror movie fiend. He runs the long running site 'Horror Movie a Day'(or HMAD) which is great stuff as well.
From his Badass Digest bio: "Brian, aka BC, has been watching horror movies since the age of 6, and twenty years later decided to put it to good use, both as a writer for Bloody-Disgusting as well as launching his own site, Horror Movie A Day, which Roger Ebert once read and misunderstood the points that were being made."
Brian is also very active on twitter so following him there is always entertaining:
ALONE IN THE DARK (1982; Jack Sholder) - for years it had to battle simply being obscure, now it has to overcome having the same name as a movie everyone hates. But there's no Tara Reid here; just a trio of beloved old school actors - Donald Pleasence, Martin Landau, and Jack Palance - as a doctor and two of his patients, respectively, who are housed at an institute with a particularly poor design flaw - the windows/doors are all opened when the electricity goes out. Needless to say, that happens, and what follows is an early home invasion movie with plenty of terrific scare/stalk scenes, some pitch black humor ("I want that hat!"), and a great twist that inspired another movie on this list - I'll let you guys figure out which one.

BELOW(2002; David Twohy) - There's probably a book's worth of movies that were unfairly dumped by Dimension, but this remains one of the most puzzling: a script by Darren Aronofsky, direction by David Twohy (coming off the hit Pitch Black), a solid cast, and the always popular World War II setting - why didn't they think it would catch on with audiences? Often overlooked even today thanks to its similarity to Session 9, it's a great contained psychological horror that seemingly will never catch a break - I recently spotted it on a budget DVD 2 pack with fellow Dimension orphan Darkness.

BLAIR WITCH 2: BOOK OF SHADOWS(2000; Joe Berlinger) - I've written defenses of this in the past, and dammit I'm going to keep on doing them until more people are on my side! Joe Berlinger's sequel is flawed, sure, but it's not his fault - if you listen to the shockingly candid commentary, many of the film's weak spots are the result of studio meddling, and he's more than happy to explain how his cut originally went, and discuss the themes that were unfortunately buried as a result. When tasked with the impossible (making a sequel to an out of nowhere, very unique phenomenon), he had a choice of doing the same old thing again or doing something interesting and daring - I for one am glad he went with the latter.

P2(2007; Franck Khalfoun) - I'm a sucker for any horror movie set at Christmas time, and I'd watch Rachel Nichols read a phone book, so this one was an easy sell for me. Nichols plays a young office employee who gets trapped in a parking garage (hence the title) with a psychotic attendant (Wes Bentley) who has understandably become obsessed with her. The logic doesn't always hold up, but it's got some great setpieces, gory deaths (the script was co-written by Alex Aja), and with the Maniac remake winning raves from horror fans, they might want to see where director Franck Khalfoun got his start.

VALENTINE(2001; Jamie Blanks) - pretty much the last studio slasher movie of the cycle that began with Scream, I never got the hate for this one. It's got a decent enough mystery (in that there are a number of red herrings), a quintuplet of lovely ladies (Jessica Cauffiel, where did you go?), and in my opinion the best modern slasher costume - the creepy Cherub mask and long black coat are as simple and spooky as Michael Myers' costume. Add in Jamie Blanks' stylish direction and some fun gags (the sick Valentines he leaves for each girl are a delight) and you have yourself a perfectly solid slasher film, and a fine sendoff to that period where such things were actually cool enough for Hollywood again.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I like to look at Book of Shadows as an Unsolved Mysteries re-enactment of events. Just imagine how strong it would be if there were Robert Stack cut ins!