Five Over-The-Top Horror Flicks for Halloween
Modern life is terrifying – our planet is frying up, governments are flirting with mass surveillance, there are rumbles of a looming economic crisis. The list goes on. This perhaps could explain the success of horror flicks in recent years such as with It and Get Out. There is an appetite for controlled fear where horrors are contained and dispelled by the end credits. Pennywise might have been scary but at least there was an end – unlike, say, anxiety for the uncertain future.
So what could be more cathartic than to have a good laugh in the face of doom? In the spirit of Halloween and with the hotly-anticipated zombie comedy Zombieland: Double Tap opening in cinemas tomorrow, here are five campy, over-the-top horror films to check out:
Bio Zombie (1998)
Way before it was cool to mesh humour with zombie killing, director Wilson Yip – who would go on to direct the Ip Man series of films – was already ahead of the curve. The film follows a pair of delinquent youths who run a VCD store, spending most of their time causing trouble and running errands for their shady boss. They soon inexplicably unleash the undead horde in their shopping centre. It’s basically George Romero’s Dawn of The Dead but filled to the brim with loveable characters and camp. And if that’s not enough, its wholehearted embrace of the 90s is sure to tug a few nostalgic strings.
Wild Zero (1999)
There is a drinking game that comes as bonus content with Wild Zero’s DVD release. Drink every time fire shoots out of something, when somebody says “ROCK AND ROLL!”, when someone combs their hair, when somebody drinks, when something explodes, and when a zombie’s head pops. Do not try it – you will lose.
(Check back tomorrow for our full review of Wild Zero!)
Almost half a century after Hitchcock terrified audiences with The Birds, director James Nguyen contributes to the surprisingly deep catalogue of bird-related horror with his masterpiece, Birdemic. The film follows the budding romance between a software salesman and a fashion model, before a swarm of killer birds descends on their sleepy town forcing them to escape.
Birdemic also happens to feature the aforementioned birds dive-bombing into buildings (complete with plane sounds and explosions), characters fending off terribly green-screened birds with clothes hangers, and performances more wooden than Groot. It’s a classic in the “so bad, it’s good” category of films that has to be seen to be believed.
Robo Vampire (1988)
Director Godfrey Ho, dubbed the Chinese Ed Wood, is notorious for his filmography of absurd B-movies. He has directed hundreds of films in his three decades long career – a feat possible through reusing and splicing together clips from separate movies in an attempt to form one cohesive narrative.
Robo Vampire contains a Robocop made of tinfoil fighting hopping Chinese zombies (or Jiangshis), hilariously passionate voice dubbing that somehow always manages to be out of sync with the lips, and earnest use of practical effects. The only thing disappointing about Robo Vampire is its lack of robot vampires.
Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness (1992)
Following the events of Evil Dead 2, Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) finds himself in the medieval ages and searches for a way back to his own time. Unlike the prior films, Army of Darkness is light on horror but fills that void with a chock-full of slapstick humour, all brilliantly carried by Bruce Campbell.
It’s hard to imagine pop culture today – especially with the horror comedy genre – without this film. Two decades later and the wisecracks of Ash Williams is still constantly referenced, while its relative success in the box office paved the way for mainstream hits such as Zombieland and Shaun of The Dead. Endlessly quotable and just a ton of fun, Army of Darkness is a must-watch for fans of horror comedy.
(Psst you can watch all these films online with some Google-Fu)