Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My years in horror: 2009

2009, for my money, included some above standard remakes. Last House on the Left, Friday the 13th, and My Bloody Valentine 3D were all better than they should have been. (This, of course, gives us an out from saying any of them were great; I simply said they were all better than they had any right being.) We were also blessed with one of the best zombie horror-comedies not called Shaun of the Dead in Zombieland. By now, you should know how this goes: we name a bunch of good horror movies from the year in question before getting to the one we think was the best. So, Zombieland, even with its Bill Murray appearance, is not the best of 2009.

Because I am in charge, I name Drag Me to Hell as 2009's best horror movie.

Normally, I would tell you a bit about the movie and why I think it's the best of the year. Given that Drag Me to Hell was Sam Raimi's return to horror, you should have a good clue where that would go. Instead, I want to tell you a story about the second time I saw Drag Me to Hell.

Yes, the second time. I went by myself the first time and was impressed enough to convince my mom (who earlier this year went to the Evil Dead remake with me) to go with me and see it again. We went to the Spanish 8 in Spanish Fork, Utah, to see this PG-13 frightfest. I knew what was going to happen and I wanted to see it again. What I didn't expect was the two teenage girls sitting near the front of the theater getting the scare of their brief lives.

They didn't even last 30 minutes. After the first attack from Mrs. Ganush on poor, unsuspecting Christine, they were gone. And not just gone, but weeping in terror, wondering why they ever paid money to see such a thing.

Don't mistake this story for me poking fun at those girls. They didn't think what was going on was funny at all. I would never laugh at them for this, but I'd be a liar if I said my own experience was not enhanced by their tears. (Man, I am such a bastard. I get the same reaction out of people who scream and cry during Paranormal Activity movies and so far, I'm 4 for 4 in that area: someone always loses it.)

Even though there was about an hour left of the movie that those girls missed, they were still in the lobby waiting for their scheduled ride home. They were not yet 100 percent composed and I'd be willing to bet they didn't sleep well that night. I'm not advocating for prolonged effects from a movie (Keep telling yourself, "It's only a movie."), I'd hate to think those girls ended up despising the elderly or never going into a bank, but I do hope they learned a valuable lesson: horror movies should be dangerous. If you don't have at least one bad night's sleep after a really good horror movie, it must not have been as good as you thought.

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