A Couple of Fun Horrors

Again, some more rambling reactions I had to a couple of movies from years back. These weren’t linked when I wrote them, but I felt they have a lot in common so decided to slap them out here together:

Just watched Black Sheep.

Basically it is a horror set in New Zealand with sheep going nuts and killing people. Not much of a plot, it’s the usual ‘chemicals make them bad’ thing, and the characters are decent enough. Strong level of gore, especially when down the hole in the ground or the sheep attack while the speech is going on, but often it is done with a hint of humour.

That’s what I liked about this one. It isn’t a great horror movie, it goes along well, but it has a quirky tone and a wry look. It knows even mad sheep aren’t scary, so doesn’t try. It lets you laugh while they do terrible things, and that makes it more effective. If it had tried to be serious, then you would scoff and look away. When a sheep attacks a man driving his truck, it has to bring a smile to your face, so they go with that. On the one hand he is fighting for his life, and on the other he is banging the sheep’s head into the steering wheel. Because it lets you see the silliness, you don’t lose the drama.

If you can stomach the gore element (I found it easy but then I’m an Evil Dead and Living Dead nut) then you can sit and enjoy this. Nothing amazing, but a decently made movie with good characters and killer sheep.
Killer sheep. Just to make it clear. Seriously. Oh, suit yourselves.

And then:

Watched Lake Placid. This is one of a set of movies that are good fun horror american movies, often done cheap and independent, with very good characters and actors. This one, Slither, Tremors, the Burbs, – that kind. They don’t take everything too seriously, but do keep the scares in.

This isn’t that scary, but is good fun. It is basically a great big croc eating people. They even had a big croc on the poster if I remember right – parody of Jaws in a way. But you don’t care too much. This isn’t focused on the monster and what goes on, much more about the four characters. You have Bridget Fonda and Bill Pullman as the main two, and are very good. But you also have Brendan Gleeson and Oliver Platt in what would be secondary roles yet they are brilliant and take up a lot of the movie with their bickering.
There’s some good swearing in this too. ‘Thanks a lot, fuckshit.’

But a very good horror which can be watched a lot, simply because the characters and actors are engaging in a way most horror doesn’t do. This, Slither, Tremors, Burbs, also Evil Dead (especially 2) and Gremlins (especially 2 for humour), are just damn fun horror movies.

So those were two posts I wrote on a forum years back. I have to say that I watched Lake Placid again recently and it is still very enjoyable. Great cast. Betty White is good too. The sequels seemed to miss the sense of fun ride of the original.

But I really do love these comedy horrors. It doesn’t have to be comedy, truth be told, just a sense of adventure and acknowledgement that this is kind of daft when you think about it but who cares? The Burbs remains one of my all time favourite movies. Tremors is a perfect movie for what it is – you want scares, laughs, monsters, weirdness and a group of characters you give a damn about? Tremors is your film.

There remains something brilliant about being able to laugh and gasp in horror while watching the same movie. I love my tense, grim horrors. I love my silly comedies. But I am a horror nut and watching a movie that makes me feel relaxed and grinning away, until the shocker kicks in, is a great way to be entertained and also enthralled.

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