Part 2: 10 Most Influential Horror Films of the Last 10 yearsPoppaScotch
So here we are again with the second installment of Ten Most Influential Horror Films of the Last 10 Years. ( You can read Part 1 Here ) I wanted to take this chance to say thanks so much to everyone who participated in the comments and gave their input and discussion. I’m not going to make this long because I’m sure that you want to see the rest of the list, but I just wanted to reiterate again that this is a list of what I personally feel are the most “influential” horror movies of the last ten years, not necessarily the best (though honestly most of the films would overlap).
I feel that in some major way as compared to their peers all of these films will influence the future of horror. Please keep that in mind and if you don’t agree with the list then let me hear about it in the comments! On with the list!
5: The Devils Rejects (Rob Zombie – 2005): Why was it influential?: Quite simply put, this is one of the best films about the anxieties, fears, and subsequent actions of an entire country after 9/11 (didn’t see that one coming did you?). This is personified most notably in the Sheriff Wydell character. He constantly strains and bends the laws in order to not only catch and convict the Firefly family, but also to make them suffer in the ways that they tortured their victims. He goes on to talk about how he “tried to walk the line, but there is no line” and saying that they are competing on a level that most people will never see.
With news stories crying out from Guantanamo Bay in regards to suspected terrorists, it all starts to hit pretty close to home. I’m trying to discern if Rob Zombie was conscious of all of this. Of course it was all in the back of his mind, but did he consciously think “I am going to make a film about 9/11”. I don’t know but I’m leaning towards no just because it would be interesting to make the comparison between The Devil’s Rejects, The Thing, and The Fly. John Carpenter’s The Thing and David Cronenberg’s the Fly were both obvious allusions to the AIDS virus but both filmmakers stepped forth and said they never intended to make a movie about AIDS. Is their genius hidden in the back of their mind waiting to come out on the screen? Is that how Rob Zombie thinks as well?
4: Shaun of the Dead (Dir: Edgar Wright - 2004): Why was it influential?: Shaun of The Dead was a film made by huge fans of the zombie genre who in turn, made one of the best zombie movies there is. At the core of this film, it truly is a horror movie under the veil of a comedy. The absurdity of the situation is accented heavily and there are a ton of well placed and well executed acts of hilarity. It’s influential not only because of the fact that it’s an amazing comedy and an amazing horror movie, but it’s also important to note how seamless the transformation between the two genres is. Do you remember the moment when the movie got serious? I don’t, but I do remember it turning into a legitimate horror movie after I had already grown to love the characters. That’s solid filmmaking that needs to be studied in the new Hollywood.
3: Teeth (Dir: Mitchell Lichtenstein – 2007) Why was it influential?: I feel that this movie has the possibility to have a much larger impact on the horror genre than we all originally thought. It is an extremely disturbing movie with a strong and dynamic main character. Dawn starts off the film as a pillar of abstinence who gets raped, and by the end of the film she is a strong female protagonist using the weapons that god gave her to enact vengeance on people who deserve it. This isn’t one of those strong females that you have previously seen in the horror genre, this is something entirely different. It’s a strong female protagonist who is stuck forever in a grey area of deceptive power. Will he film be emulated though? I think it most definitely will.
2: Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (Dir: Scott Glosserman - 2006) Why was it influential?: What makes this movie so influential is the legs it had as soon as it hit DVD. This was another one of those low budget pictures that dissected the horror genre much like Scream did but in a different and inventive way. The movie takes on a reality show aesthetic for most of the film, then when the horror payoff goes down (which we totally saw all of the preparation and set up for) the movie flips into a legitimate horror film. It’s like watching a slasher from the killer’s point of view where as the killer is someone with the desperate personality of Jim Carrey trying to make social friends (they feel like they always have to be “on”). It’s another one of those films whose story and execution greatly outweigh the budget. Add to that the already cult status of the movie and you have something special here.
1: Blair Witch Project (Dir: Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez) Why was it influential?: Blair Witch Project is without a doubt the most influential horror film of probably of the last 15 years or more. The film used its small marketing budget to make a website and a small documentary that treated the film as if it were a completely real event. The internet wasn’t in its baby stages yet, but then again not too many people felt like they could trust the news the read on their computer so it created a perfect situation for this type of marketing to be just believable enough to stir up massive buzz. That kind of buzz with that small of a budget is probably the equivalent of you taking down 30 Marines with a waffle ball bat. It’s just doesn’t happen. With the odds against them, Artisan and the Filmmakers were able to mix the low key nature of the release with the hype in order to push the release well beyond its actual potential. Thus viral marketing was born.
This film was also at least partly responsible for the shaky camera phenomena. Apparently this made the film look more real and once everyone in the world picked it up, we got introduced to the theory that shaky cam = realistic. This theory you have already seen ad nausea in every cop show ever made since 2000. Those are two major innovations that the Blair Witch Project pioneered and in all honesty no matter what you feel about the movie itself, you can’t dismiss those accomplishments.
Other notables include – Let the Right One In, The Signal, The Mist, Session 9, [REC]