The Jersey Ghouls' Cure for the Holiday Blues
4 Horror Films to Beat the Holiday Blues
Merry Holidays, Ghouls. Halloween is over. For the rest of the world, this means turning off the horror movies, putting away the spooky decorations, and embracing the warmth of the season. For the Jersey Ghouls, however, it’s a bitter-sweet occasion. Sure, we have an excuse to binge Thanksgiving- and Christmas-themed horror. But when the rest of the world goes bright, the world of horror goes back to being a somewhat dark and lonely place. When surrounded by festivities and good will, the isolation associated with loving horror can feel that much more magnified. In honor of our annual bout of post-Halloween, seasonally-charged sadness, we sought out some new horror offerings. The first three films are newer offerings, while the last is an older, relatively obscure offering from the French extremity sub-genre. So, when the holly and jolly have gotten to be too much, check out the picks below; these films will definitely help you put the ho-ho-horror back into your holidays!
1. Neon Demon
If you are like us, and you don’t like to spend money on your horror, then start out with Neon Demon, new to Amazon Prime on November 1st. This is not your typical horror film. It’s more of a thriller, with a touch of horror. Audiences seem to either love it or hate it. We would try to give a plot summary but, frankly, it’s too complicated. Basically the film revolves around our world’s obsession with beauty. Elle Fanning certainly gives a strong performance, and it plays with themes that are relevant. So give it a shot, and then be sure to hit us up on twitter or Facebook and give us your thoughts (https://www.facebook.com/JerseyGhouls/) .
2. Don’t Breathe
Originally released in theaters this summer, this film gained a lot of attention for its brutality and interesting premise. This Hailing from Fede Alvarez, the director of the Evil Dead remake (which I’m sure JG will be tackling soon), it’s the story of three kids in Detroit who decide to rob a blind man. The tables quickly turn, and the teens find themselves battling to survive.
Jane Levy continues to solidify her horror queen status, and the film touches on some interesting existential issues. It's also chock full of fun kills and some serious gore. It’s finally coming to Amazon and iTunes on November 8th, with a DVD release on November 30th.
Ahhh… Rob Zombie. Love him or hate him, he definitely brings a great deal to the genre table. He’s not afraid to showcase lower class heroes, put his female stars on display, and give us intense levels of realistic horror. 31 introduces the audience to a group of traveling carnival workers on Halloween night. They are kidnapped and find themselves facing a crowd of bourgeois, powder-faced aristocrats led by Malcolm McDowell. They inform the lowly carnies that they are playing a game of survival against five clowns. The clowns have names such as Psycho Head, Sex Head, and Schizo Head. The rich people take pleasure in the chaos and destruction, sipping on wine and laughing arrogantly throughout the film. The only prize is survival.
As always, Zombie doesn’t do subtle. Thematically, his suggestion that we are all players in the game of the elite seems more relevant now than ever. His clowns are unaware pawns of the elite, exploited for their vices and deficits. And the “fighters” don’t stand much of a chance at all. They are beat before they begin, with every odd stacked against them. Not his best, but far from his worst, this movie will give you the gore, grit, and strangely profound monologues you have come to expect from Zombie.
We here at the Jersey Ghouls aren’t afraid of a little gore and horror. However, we feel it’s necessary to place a caveat on this recommendation. This film puts the extreme in French extremity. If you are unfamiliar with this relatively new sub-genre, you would be well served to check it out. To simplify, French extremity horror lives in the idea of decadence. However, that decadence, be it in the form of violence, sexuality, or psychosis, always has severe consequences for everyone involved. If you can get stomach the excesses, these films will always leave you questioning our humanity and existence. This one literally left us in a state of existential crisis.
And decadent it is. It makes Haute Tension look like a walk through the park. There are many instances of shocking acts of torture, child abuse, and violence. However, this is far from another American styled torture-porn horror film. The ramifications of the violence, as well as the social and cultural implications associated with it, are explored masterfully and in great depth. This somehow makes it meaningful. Brutal, but meaningful.
We don’t want to give away the many finer twists and nuances of the plot, so we will keep it brief. A young woman seeks revenge on those who wronged her as a child, and she spirals into a web of madness and torture, both psychologically and physically. This is a film that will stay with you long after you’ve viewed it. Just be sure to watch the 2008 original with subtitles, as the remake is terrible.
So trim the tree, bust out the holiday movies and music, eat that extra dessert, and, try to survive, or even enjoy, time with loved ones. But remember… the next time your air-conditioner goes on the fritz, or your washing machine blows up, or your video recorder conks out, before you call the repairman, turn on all the lights. Check all the closets and cupboards. Look under all the beds.
'Cause you never can tell. There just might be a….
Elf on the Shelf.
Seriously those things are creepy af.