Thursday, February 22, 2007

Horrific Numbers

There's a new horror movie opening this weekend. OK, I made that up. I didn't actually bother to check if there is a new horror movie opening or not, but I'm guessing there is. I know I'm not the only one who has noticed that it seems like there is one opening every weekend. I went back and counted and there were no less than 20 horror movies that opened during 2006* (listed below).

When a Stranger Calls
Final Destination 3
The Hills Have Eyes
Stay Alive
Silent Hill
An American Haunting
See No Evil
The Omen
The Descent
The Wicker Man
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
The Grudge 2
The Return
Horrorfest: 8 Films to Die For
Black Christmas

That list doesn't include movies I considered borderline horror like Scary Movie 4, Underworld: Evolution, Snakes on a Plane, Monster House and The Covenant. Also, I counted the eight movies of Horrorfest as one. While 20 movies may not even be one every other week, it's still a lot when you compare it to the breakdown of other genres. There were 15 CGI movies that opened in 2006, 11 romantic comedies or other such "light" fair, 11 movies aimed at black audiences (black comedies or inner-city gang life depictions), six superhero movies, five sports movies based on true stories, five Christmas movies, three movies with an environmentalist theme, two dance movies, two September 11th movies, two turn-of-the-century magician movies, one spelling bee movie and no Vin Diesel movies (unless you count his cameo at the end of 3 Fast 3 Furious: Tokyo Drift). There were also 16 sequels and 9 remakes released in 2006 (that doesn't include the horror movies which would change the numbers to 20 & 13 respectively).

While we're on the topic of horror movies, I would like to comment on Open Water 2: Adrift which went straight to video and is available this week. It is a sequel to the low budget Open Water released at Sundance in 2003 which is based on a real life couple that was diving near Australia and was left by the boat only to never be seen or heard from again. Sort of. The whole abandoning part is borrowed from real life, the rest is made up. In the sequel, "a group of old high-school friends embark on a weekend cruise aboard a luxurious yacht, only to find themselves embroiled in a fight for their lives. Out on the open ocean, what's meant to be a harmless prank turns out to be a fatal mistake, as Dan playfully tosses aqua-phobic Amy into the water and jumps in himself alongside the rest of the passengers, only to find they've forgotten to lower the boarding ladder. What's worse, Amy's baby is still on board. When the yacht proves impossible to climb, panic and anger soon set in, and the once-happy reunion turns into a battle for survival." Sounds like a winner to me. There's just one problem, the makers of this film expect me to believe that not one crew member saw that episode of King of the Hill where the exact same thing happened to Hank and the fellas? All they would need to do is puncture the fuel line releasing gasoline in to the water and then light the trail with the spare match that the group's smoker keeps in a zip-lock bag under his hat. The rescue helicopter will then see the smoke and come to save the swimmers. It's almost too easy. By the way, if horror movies are going to continue to borrow plot lines from cartoons, The Simpsons had quite a few Treehouse of Horror episodes they can use, like the one with zombies or the one with the house that kills people or the one with children at a wizard school or the one where a young boy with the shinnin' is chased by a axe-wielding lunatic father figure or the one where the main characters accidentally kill someone with their car and then try to cover it up only to be stalked by the person they killed because as it turns out he wasn't really dead. They're all great potential horror movies and all ripe for the plucking.

* Includes all movies that opened in 2006 and achieved Top 10 box office results for at least one weekend


Anonymous said...

Heather & I are big horror fans. We either saw or rented most of those. We are finding however that there should be a sub-genre within the horror movie that should be something like horror-torture, or horror-repulsive gore, or horror-shock-torture or something along the lines of nothing resembling suspense & just straight torture. Geez, just make a documentary type feature of just shocking gore & torture. but as for us horror fans, put some suspense, some build-up... Arguably the best horror movie to date... in terms of altering peoples actions in real life as it pertained to perception of fear from the movie screen ... "Jaws." Let the discussion begin...

morty said...

I don't consider myself qualified to discuss history's great horror movies because I typically don't watch them. I saw absolutley none of the 2006 horror movies on the list because I don't like the gore. I also don't like the evil stuff like what is in the Exorcist. But some movies that have good suspense that I have come across over the years include The Sixth Sense, Arachnophobia and Lady in White, all of which are mostly harmless, but I agree with the Jaws pick. I also liked the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers with Donald Sutherland. Plus, Alfred Hitchcock remains one of my favorite directors. Psycho, Strangers on a Train, Rear Window and Rope are among his best.