Thursday, April 29, 2010

Film #22: Vampyr (1932)

Where does a vampire keep his valuables?
In a blood bank!
Ha-ha, ha-ha, ha-… wait, why are you not laughing.
Oh, I see. That joke just didn’t cut it, huh. Cut the mustard.
It was rehashed and cliché. Mildly entertaining, but overall just boring and lacking emotional substance?
Coincidentally, these characteristics are exactly what you will find in this week's film “Vampyr.” The joke and this movie are similar in composition, and will make you feel exactly the same.

One day Allan Grey decides to go on an aimless stroll through the German countryside. Along the way he finds an old creepy inn, and apparently not having anything better to do (not a Jew in sight to beat!) he decides to stay for the night. Why not?! You know, nothing better than staying the night in a random hotel which upon walking in you see an eyeless woman wandering about and witness a robed man worshiping the Devil. Hey, can’t be worse than the Mag Mile’s Red Roof Inn, right?

Seems Grey has a taste for the supernatural, so he figures he might as well check in to check out the spooks. Much to his surprise, Grey is awoken that night by a strange intruder who hands him a sealed book and instructs Grey to not open it until after his demise. Also, before shambling out of a wallpapered door (so gaudy), he warns Grey to do whatever it takes to protect “the girl who lives upstairs.”

A bunch of random, incoherent stuff happens after that, which isn’t worth the finger strength to type. Grey eventually goes on another wander-fest and ends up at the intruder’s home, where he promptly sees the man murdered by, gasp, a “shadow person!”

The old man dead, Grey can open his little book, which turns out to be a historical account/manual on those creatures of the night, vampires! Finally, we get to the plot!
Vampires are common in the area, as are their helpers, the creepy “shadow people” – individuals whose criminal lost souls forever walk the earth performing evil deeds for vampires, the devil, basically anyone who can provide three hots and a cot.

Grey is taken in by the intruder author’s family, which is comprised of a few servants and two lovely daughters. Soon one of the daughters, who lives in the upstairs room (the warning!) is bitten by the robed devil worshiper, who turns out to be the village's head vampire.

As the one daughter starts to fade to the dark side due to her bites, the other one starts to make eyes at Pretty Boy Grey. No time for love though, as Grey and the house servants must use the old man’s vamp book to help defeat the village vampires and return poor daughter #1 to health.
At least we think that is the plot. Really hard to tell for sure. Weirdness and boredom abound in the 1932 flick “Vampyr.”

RDHP Ratings and Reviews

C-Rating: 1.6
Chris Dimick bites:
“Vampyr sucked. And not in the way it is supposed to. If you are a vampire movie, Vampyr, then where the hell is the blood-sucking! Better yet, where are the vampires! I don’t recall either, you stupid asshole!
Okay…okay, calm down. Take it easy, Chris.
It’s just when a movie wastes my time as much as Vampyr did and then tries to pass itself off as a German Expressionism “classic,” it really gets deep in my craw.

This movie did not make sense from the beginning, and just continued on being confusing until its lame end.
To sum up Vampyr with one word, it was “boring.” Yes, boring. This is a first for me in the RDHP. Even if a film is bad, I can find something about it that keeps me entertained. Usually just the awfulness in itself will keep my eyes on the screen. But with Vampyr, if it wasn’t for Nick and me frequently joking around, I would have completely fallen asleep. I came real close at one point, my eyes closing for just a second. Seriously! Shame on you Vampyr, I have never even come close to falling asleep, ever, in a horror movie. You are my dirty first.

This movie couldn’t decide if it was a silent picture or a talkie. It was half silent, half talkie, and all horrible. The first talkie came out in 1927, so it doesn’t make sense to me why the director would film the movie as a silent homage only five years later, especially if they had full access to sound! Not only that, but the film isn’t truly a silent – there are some dialog exchanges and other sounds. But yet, these talkie moments are so horribly boring that they add nothing to the enjoyment of the film.

If you are not going to have sound, then damn-it movie, you need to dazzle me visually.
Dazzle me like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, or even Nosferatu. This one didn’t even come close. Sure, there were some inventive shots, namely the way the ghostly “shadow people” wrecked havoc across the set. Other shots were very nicely framed and pleasing to the eye. I'd even say many of the scenes were spooky.

But by no means was any of it groundbreaking, even for 1932, which is well after Caligari (1920) and Nosferatu (1922). You could say, ‘Geez, Chris, go easy on them. It is an old movie, 1932! They did the best they could.”
This movie came out one year after the stunning “M”, which the RDHP reviewed earlier last year, so I know that German filmmakers are capable of much better cinema. This has no excuse, it is just bad.

Vampyr made absolutely no sense to Nick and me. We spent half the movie talking amongst ourselves trying to figure out the plot. It was like a German Expressionist version of a bad David Lynch movie. In fact, this movie made less sense than Phantasm, the granddaddy of stinkers in the RDHP!
I’ll concede that there were parts that were creepy, and were probably very scary in 1932. The movie played out as if the characters were in a never ending nightmare, plagued by shadow people and vampires. And don’t even get me started on the various infant human skeletons hanging in the head vampire’s home! Yikes!

But unlike many of the other silent and older talkies we have seen during the RDHP, this one just hasn’t stood tall against the hurricane of time. Viewing it today, it’s very outdated, cliché, and worse of all, boring.
I am not easily bored, especially when it comes to horror movies. Typically, I’m a very forgiving soul when it comes to plot, setting, acting, as long as the story is unique. But all the baby skeletons in the world couldn’t save this one from my sub-2.0 ratings dungeon.
I banish thee, Vampyr, down to the depths of movie hell! May your skin boil for eternity!

N-Rating: 1.4
Nick Rich bites:
"Reading Chris' synopsis of the film genuinely surprised me - because what he described was not what I recalled happening (NOT a good sign). There are movies that don't make sense, but in a cool way... sad to say, Vampyr could not pull this off, so I had to rate this one even lower than Phantasm.

First off, the film was restored poorly (if it was at all). At any given time there would be watermelon-sized blips that would obscure the shot. Which is not to say that the picture was clear when blip free - most of the long shots looked like how I experience the world when I remove my glasses (which is just disappointing). Flicks we've viewed from the 1920's looked crystal clear compared to some of the shots we were exposed to in this film, so I tend to think it was a result of poor camera work as opposed to equipment. It's fairly difficult to get into an already confusing film if you're squinting to see exactly what is happening.

Have we mentioned this film is confusing? If we have, I don't think we've stressed it enough to convey the randomness that abounds in this film. The plot isn't even conceived until almost halfway through the movie and when the details are revealed to help 'clear up ' the first half. I found myself perturbed instead of enlightened by the explanations provided (i.e. how you feel when a 'big reveal' makes you say, "and I care because...").

Don't even get me started on the copious amount of reading the viewer had to do when whole pages of the vampire diary were flashed on screen (sometimes for only a few seconds!) in the most difficult to read font EVER! I suppose I could have viewed this as some sort of rigorous training for an unforeseen future event, but mainly it was just frustrating.

I'm a nice guy, so I can concede there were some cool shots (shadow people) and interesting situations (one I can think off), but the soul-crushing boredom that abounded sucked any lasting life those moments could have had. Whenever said moments would occur I found myself thinking, "Oh, that shot was kinda-" then being violently launched back into the boredom abyss. At least Phantasm had the good sense to be cheesy so we could enjoy how horrible it was - this film gave us plenty of time to crack wise, but even that was unsatisfying due to the content.
Oh Vampyr, you wanted ever so desperately to be a serious flick, and serious you were... seriously boring.

The Skinny: Don't watch this film. Seriously, if you're tempted to watch a bad flick, just watch Phantasm. If you are assigned to watch it for a class just make something up - the teacher will not be able to tell the difference.”

Quote of the Viewing:
[Scene: Nick and Chris yell in horror at the various child skeletons hanging in a vampire's chambers]
Nick: “(In a sly voice) Hey Chris, what do you call a baby skeleton?”
Chris: “I don’t know, Nick, what DO you call a baby skeleton?"
Nick: “A beleton!”
Chris: (shakes head) “Booooooooooooooooooooo!!! Hahahaha. Boo!”

RDHP Salutes Things That Are Boring:
Vampyr was boring, really, really boring. But there are things far more snooze inducing that we unfortunately experience in everyday life. But you know what they say, ‘If you're bored, just get drunk!” Try that advice next time you come up against any of the following torture-fests.

You have to be really sick to take pleasure in doing math. I’m talking Eddie Gein sick.

Don’t give us that “But, I love my job” crap. Every job has its boring moments. You know, those “I’m about to jump out the window just to end this meeting” moments. Why do people looooooooove to hear themselves talk?

Traffic Jams
After two hours stuck in the same spot on I-94, not even the radio can help stave off the boredom bug. Try passing the time counting the number of anger veins popping out of your forehead.

NASCAR TV Broadcasts
Who watches this? People go to these events for the crashes, but are they really all that exciting through the glass tube? Who sits for hours on a Sunday afternoon watching cars run around a loop? Soooooooooooooo boring! Pass the Maker’s Mark already!

Vegetables in general are boring, but beets are the Ben Stein of the veggie world. Name one good thing that is made with beets? Thought so…

Hippy Jam-Band Music
There is a reason fans of The Grateful Dead and Phish get Pluto-level high at their concerts. The music is so uninspired and boring they need something to help power through. You know, any music sounds great when it is being piped into a head full of acid.

Tuesday at 2:13 p.m.
This exact time is the apex of boredom hell. First off, it’s Tuesday, a full three days until the next sweet weekend, and much too long since the last weekend to still reveal in its exploits. Welcome to the Dead Zone, in the Dead Hour. Lunch is long gone, and even so that sandwich, pretzels and pear you ate wasn’t that stimulating to begin with. With three hours left till quitting time, no end is in sight. Such torture.

Wedding Dress TV Shows
When the wife puts on “Say Yes to the Dress” or any of the other wedding themed shows plaguing cable these days, it takes all a man has not to grab the closest pens, stick them in his eyes, and slam his face into the coffee table. Just kidding, sweetie! (no, seriously, so boring!)

Things the RDHP Learned from Watching Vampyr:
-Chris can’t stand doors that blend into the wallpaper. It enrages him.
-Ghosts can shoot people with shadow guns (so be careful).
-When going on an aimless journey, always bring your butterfly nets.
-Death is a great reason to invite a stranger to stay in your home.
-Bondage was big in 1930s Germany (see movie still below)
-Giving blood produces the same effects as LSD. To the Red Cross!

RDHP Presents: Smart Men Who Look Crazy

The doctor in Vampyr (above) who fought to treat a vampire-bitten girl was surely a smart man… but you just couldn’t trust him due to his wild hair, google eyes, and stumbly walk. I’m sure he was likely sane, but he just looked so crazy! Below, we honor other great and smart men who really embrace that fashionable look of “cat-crap bonkers.”

Albert Einstein
Help! A nutcase just escaped from the asylum and is running… oh, wait, that is just the father of modern physics. What?! I guess all that thinking about E = MC2 made him forget to brush his hair.

James Carville
Amazing commentator and political strategist. He also looks like a freshly hatched alien ready to gnaw through your skull.

Steven Hawking
First look at this guy, out of context, and you’d think man had finally created a cyborg. Bless his astrophysics knowledge though, because without it poor Steven would be just another crippled guy having his wallet stolen by the nursing home temp.

Doc Brown
He invented the flux capacitor and helped get Marty back to the future, but with eyebrows like that it is no wonder Doc was committed to the psych ward in alternative 1985. If you don’t get this reference, shame on you non-BTTF worshiper!

Lou Piniella
Arguably a baseball managerial genius with a World Series ring on his finger and six division titles. Yet, those eyes belong stuffed in a white padded room. In his defense, the Cubs can make any man look crazy.

Rain Man
I wouldn’t get within kicking distance of this loon, unless he was playing my $100 at the blackjack table.

The Burger King
Yeah, he breaks into your house only to sneak into your bed, and has a face that puts the willies down any spine. But don’t call the men in white yet. The man makes a mean burger.

High School Math Teachers
Why do these guys all look the same. Frazzled, broken, and a look in the eye that at any moment they’re going to take your slide ruler and stuff it up your “multiplication sign”. Give them some credit though, no matter how many times they strike out trying to get a piece of Miss. Yuppie the Art Teacher, they can do some mean calculi.

Impress Your Friends!
Stupid Vampire Jokes!
This was a stupid vampire movie. To go along with it, some stupid vampire jokes. Memorize them all for fast party ice-breakers! Unless you party in Transylvania… now that would be awkward.

Q: Why did the vampire attack the clown?
A: He wanted the circus to be in his blood.

Q: What is Dracula’s favorite fruit?
A: Neck-tarines.

Q: What happened to the two mad vampires?
A: They both went a little batty.

Q: What do vampires cross the sea in?
A: Blood vessels.

Q: Which vampire tried to eat James Bond?
A: Ghouldfinger.

Q: When do vampires bite you?
A: On Wincedays.

Q: Why is Hollywood full of vampires?
A: They need someone to play the bit parts.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

At Least You're Not in a Horror Movie

Nick is in the agonizing throws of sickness this week.
His head aches, his nose is full of slime, and we won’t even get into what’s going on in his privy.
Yet, a smile should be on his face. You see, at least he isn’t in a horror movie.

Illness has postponed this week’s Rich-Dimick Horror Project viewing. So while Nick gargles saltwater and rubs Vicks on his jungle-like chest, I’d like to use this movie break to discuss just what it is about horror movies that keeps folks like Nick and I so enthralled.

There are many reasons I just can’t stop watching scream-flicks. But here are three:

Reason #1: Better Them Than You

They may be violent, terrifying, disgusting, and at times so depressing you need to hide the razorblades. But regardless of a horror movie’s content, when those credits roll you have to admit you feel better.
What goes down in a horror movie is so bizarre, outlandish, and horrifying that it makes whatever problems you have going on in life seem small in comparison.

Sure, you might have just lost your company $20,000, stubbed your toe on the front porch steps, forgot your spouse’s birthday, and caught the Swine Flu. But at least you are not chained to a dirty bathtub with your only escape the inevitable dismembering of your foot! At least your RV didn’t just break down in the middle of the cannibal infested desert! At least you didn’t just recite a passage from the Necronomicon that summoned evil demons now on a mission to swallow your soul!

Horror movies provide a profound escape into a world that is always much worse than real life. No matter how bad of a day I have, I can pop in Evil Dead 2 and know Bruce Campbell is having a worse one. That is a comforting feeling that cannot be consistently delivered by drama, action, comedy or sci-fi movies.

Horror is the ultimate mood booster. Even if the movie is utterly depressing, at least you know the situation is worse than you’ll probably ever have it. And unlike life, the situation is resolved one way or another in a tidy few hours. Even unhappy endings at least have some resolve!

Reason #2: Like Crack, Minus the Wack

My name is Chris Dimick, and I’m addicted to horror movies.
Seriously, I just can’t get enough of them. For example, the beautiful Music Box Theatre in Chicago hosts a 24-hour horror movie marathon each October. Nick and I attended this fest last year, and after 24 sleepless hours of watching heart-pounding, puke-inducing, side-splitting, mind-freaking movies, we came back to my house and watched, you guessed it, ANOTHER HORROR MOVIE.

Great horror is like a drug to movie fans. Once you get a taste of that sweet sensation, nothing else compares to the buzz. It starts innocently… staying up late with your friends to catch premium channel scary movies after their parents go to bed. Next thing you know your entire paycheck is being spent on William Castle flicks. Rock bottom comes in a dark alley, offering Chinese piracy artists sexual favors in exchange for a copy of the latest "Saw" bootleg. Luckily, though my addiction is strong, I’ve avoided the latter seedy scenario by using Netflix (government controlled and delicious!).

The euphoric feeling at the end of a horror movie is comparable to runner’s high. After miles of frantic sprinting a person can slow to a walk, and feel relaxation wash over the mind. Exhaustion mixes with proud feelings of accomplishment. The journey was taxing and difficult, but it’s over now, and one can revel in the feat – both physical and mental.
The horror movie journey is similar. You have been scared, grossed out, thrilled, joked, and sometimes emotionally touched. As those credit rolls, and you look back at the preceding ride, you can be proud to have hung on for the duration.

Like any powerful drug, these euphoric feelings fade in potency as use increases. But every once in awhile a new stash of film is injected through my eyes that brings back that familiar feeling of ecstasy.
Ingesting a hundred weak “Phantasms” is worth just one “Let the Right One In” or “Inside.”
Horror is just so… far out, man.

Reason #3: Best of all Worlds

When you walk into a horror movie, you never know what genre you are going to see. Will it be mixed with zany goof-ball antics, or will the plot revolve around dramatic personal relationships? Will it be set in the vast reaches of space, or take place in 1700s France.

One thing I have always loved about horror movies is they are not bound to a single genre. They can be comedies, dramas, sci-fi epics, period pieces, war movies, westerns and everything in-between – as long as the situation or plot contains some element of fear, terror, darkness, or horror.

This freeness is refreshing to a movie-watcher. You never truly know what kind of horror movie you are going to get. Also, you never know just what emotions you are going to feel in a horror movie. Sentiment, love, anger, terror, empathy, warm-fuzzy, you name the emotion, you can feel it in a horror movie. Granted, not all movies strive to break new ground. There are definitely piles and piles of rehashed, run of the mill, crap horror movies out there that are just blatant rip-offs of older films.

But even horrible, mind-numbingly stupid horror movies are a blast to watch. If a movie is too bad to respect, one can enjoy it for its awfulness. Expletives and funny comments can be shouted at the screen. You can marvel in its wretchedness, thinking "what in the hell was this writer thinking," and feel good about yourself that you’d never make such a mistake (except for that $20,000 down the drain, but who noticed that anyway).

Bad horror movies are just as fun to watch as great ones. Some quick suggestions, Troll 2 and Feeders are about as awfully good as it gets.
Whether good or bad, a horror movie will in some way always entertain. You just can’t loose with this genre!

Chris’ Top Ten Favorite Horror Movies:

There are dozens of reasons why an individual loves horror films. Above were just three of many personal reasons why I enjoy the genre. Over the years, many great movies and wonderful viewing experiences have built my passion for horror. The following are ten such movies I can never get tired of watching.

A “favorite movies list” should always be evolving. That said, the following list is not meant to be any sort of official endorsement either of my own views on horror or the RDHP. My favorites list is day-to-day, changing with my mood, life situation, and personal experiences.

I’m not saying the following movies should be considered great by others, either. But to me they are perfect. They have affected me in various ways: freaked me, made me laugh, provided an escape from life’s troubles, and represented great times gone by. With that disclaimer, I can say that if you have never seen any of the films on this list, take a chance and give them a watch. They are worth a couple hours of your time.

Top Ten Favorite Horror Movies (in random order):

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Superb writing, quirky directing and unforgettable characters. To this day, no villain has scared me more than Buffalo Bill. This flick gives me chills every time. So tense! It puts the lotion on its skin!

Halloween (1978)
The best slasher movie of all time. Though copied a thousand times over it still feels fresh with each viewing. Carpenter’s music is perfect, and Curtis shows she truely is the queen of scream.

Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives (1986)
The best installment of the Friday series. This one relies more on humor and creative “kills” than scares, which makes it endlessly fun to watch over and over. Jason finally becomes undead in Part 6, a nice move.

The Shining (1980)
The most interesting ghost story ever put on screen. Leave it to Stanley Kubrick to produce one of the few horror movie masterpieces. Excellent scary setting and stunning performances. I get chills every time little Danny rounds that corner on his tricycle.

The Mist (2007)
This is a monster movie with a brain. Not only are the creatures freaky, but this movie shows that when disaster strikes it is not the fifth dimension bugs we need to fear, but each other! Great social commentary mixed into a fast and fun movie about killer monsters from beyond our world.

Grindhouse (2007)
Two master filmmakers lending their personal style to the bygone grind house horror genre. Rodriguez’s Planet Terror is bloody, trashy campiness at its finest, while Tarantino’s Death Proof offers the viewer a smooth talking, visually beautiful carmageddon. Throw in some fake trailers from horror’s greatest, and this double feature is perfect modern horror.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)
The film that started the zombie genre. And it is still its best. The zombies are the right mix of intriguing, gross, slow and scary. A great message mixed into the horror. This one packs a deadly bite, and can even still give me goosebumps if watched in the right setting.

Evil Dead 2 (1987)
The whiplash pace of this over-the-top comedy-horror never lets up. What a ride it provides. Regardless of my mood, I can watch Evil Dead 2 and end the movie smiling.

The Wolf Man (1941)
My favorite of the classic, golden age of Universal Studios horror movies. The Wolf Man is just good, clean fun. It has a nice romantic understory, and a great villain/protagonist in the Wolf Man. Yeah, Frankenstein and Dracula are interesting, but they just never seemed as primal and cool as a man who turns into a wolf.

Scream (1996)
The horror movie that defined my generation. It was hip, stylistic, gory, original and fun. Watching it takes me back to my formative years. And that is always a great trip.

Honorable mentions:

Final Destination (2000)
A great turn-of-the-millenium horror flick with creative “kills” and interesting storyline pitting the Grim Reaper as the rare main killer.

Let the Right One In (2008)
The most unique vampire movie I’ve ever seen. I’ve only watched this once, but with a few more viewings I think this one is headed for the Top Ten.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Film #21: Scream (1996)

We learn so much from horror movies.
Friday the 13th taught us to be nice to disabled people.
The art of pulling an all-nighter was demonstrated in Nightmare on Elm Street.
And the importance of family dinner was shown in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
All good life lessons, no doubt. But for the teenagers in “Scream,” the lessons taught in scary movies are more than just suggestions for life-improvement. It is the key to continuing life itself.

A sadistic serial killer is running wild in the sleepy town of Woodsboro, murdering shinny teenagers only after quizzing them on their favorite scary movies. We have all wanted to murder Drew Barrymore at some point in our life. But the Ghost-Faced Killer of Scream gets all the fun in the opening sequence, disemboweling and stringing up olde mush-mouth from her front yard oak tree only after she flunks the killer’s movie test.

That murder puts the entire town on edge, especially loveable teen Sidney Prescott and her group of rowdy friends. The timing of Drew’s death is a little awkward, seeing as it occurred almost a year ago to the day that Sidney’s mother was raped and murdered. You’d think that might give a teen girl some issues, but that doesn’t stop her creepy boyfriend Billy Loomis from wondering why their once hot-and-heavy R-rated relationship has suddenly turned all PG. Ahhh teens, even horny when a serial killer is on the prowl!

Sidney is the next person to get a home horror-movie themed killer call, and only narrowly escapes the Ghost-Faced Killer’s blade. Conveniently, her Dad had gone out of town on business for the week and left her alone. Or did he? Seems olde Dad never checked into his out of town hotel. Hmmm. Suspect?!
Right after the near slaying of Sid, olde Billy jumps through her bedroom window with that evil of all evil devices, a, gasp, cell phone! He must have been the person who called Sid! Only killers have cell phones in 1996! Cops arrest him, and peg him with the murders though Billy screamingly denies any role. Double suspect!

Sid stays over at friend Tatum’s house, protected over by Tatum’s dorky deputy sheriff brother Dewey. But even in the mighty presence of the law, the killer calls again for a sequel terror chat with Sid. Yet, Billy was in jail at the time! Whaaaaaaaaa? Ooops!
Everyone’s a suspect, including that creepy horror movie nerd Randy who works at the video store and keeps screaming about how the killers have brought a horror movie to life!
As the body count rises, dorky Dewey and local tabloid reporter Gail Weathers try to solve the crime.

Meanwhile, Woodsboro High School is canceled due to the murders. What better to do when a raging teen killer is on the loose than to get drunk, smoke dope and have sex! Sid, Tatum, Randy and others gather for a party to do just that. The night’s centerpiece is watching old horror movies, as well a lecture by Randy on how just to survive the mass killings by learning from the flicks.
If the Ghost-Faced Killer is trying to turn real life into a horror movie, then it is up to the teens to identify the stereotype pitfalls of the genre in order to survive.

A killer on the loose! Drunken teens at a house party! Horror movie code states the blood will surely fly. And it does, in the 1996 treat “Scream.”

RDHP Ratings and Review

C-Rating: 5.0
Chris Dimick screams:
“Scream defined a generation of horror movies. My generation. And because of this, the Wes Craven directed slasher has a very special place in my heart. There is just so much to love about this movie. The unique plot was mind-blowing at the time for any horror movie fan. Scream was the first self-aware horror movie – it took the clichés of the genre and addressed them head on.
Discussing the horror movie formula in a horror movie was the genius of screenwriter Kevin Williamson, who went on to pen several other well-loved teen horror flicks.

By 1996, the horror genre had become very tired. The slasher rage of the late 70s and 80s had been played to death, and in the early 1990s the mainstream horror movies coming out where boring and uninspired. Then comes Scream, a movie bent on exposing the horror clichés of the 80s and killing them off once and for all. Who better to do this than Wes Craven, who helped mold the slasher genre himself with A Nightmare on Elm Street.
That Craven could come in and simultaneously call out the banality of modern horror, while also celebrating it, was just incredible.

But the movie is about more than just an interesting plot. It is friggin’ scary too! At least, it was scary to 16-year-old Chris Dimick, back when I could still feel fear due to a movie (I’m numb now).
The quick, poppy opening scene with Drew Barrymore sets the horrific tone from the start. The energy speeds along with the plot, as Williamson truly keeps the audience guessing just who the killer is until the knifey end.

The plot is familiar (teens getting hacked up by a slasher) but also entirely fresh in the way it is presented. The dialog is snappy and entertaining, the performances are slightly over the top in an endearing, horror movie way, and the twist ending leaves everyone both smiling, laughing, and screaming in the end. Mix in several horror-movie genre references and cliché call outs, and it is a sure bet that anyone who appreciates scary movies would get a kick out of this flick. And that is just for people who appreciate horror. For those of us who loved horror back in 1996, “Scream” was like bloody catnip for our souls.

Many people, including 16-year-old Chris, had become saddened by the recent state of the genre in the mid-1990s. The slasher genre had run its course, and fans were waiting for a savior to arise from the endless crap being produced in Hollywood. We needed a hero, a film to restore the horror genre to its previous glory. Horror had become the bastard step-child of film, and those who appreciated it were deemed either dorky, crazy or just plain weird.

It wasn’t cool to be a horror movie fan in the mid-90s, at least not in my high school. As you can probably tell, I’ve enjoyed horror movies for a long, long time. But before Scream, many horror movie lovers like me tried to avoid ridicule by keeping their passion to themselves.

Sure, you’d stay up in your best friend's basement until 4 a.m. on a Saturday watching Evil Dead, Halloween, and random Skinemax Troma Movies. But you wouldn’t dare wear that Friday the 13th tee-shirt to school. Dorkiness and horror were one in the same. Then came Scream.
The movie was a cultural phenomenon, and basically re-launched the fledging horror genre into the spotlight. Scream caused a new renaissance in horror, and the number of quality green lighted horror flicks to be released in its wake skyrocketed, thanks to its trailblazing.
But more personally, Scream created a cultural renaissance in my high school in particular. Suddenly, it was cool to be a fan of horror movies. Everyone saw Scream, and couldn’t stop talking about how entertaining a “horror movie” it was.

In a way, Scream made it socially safe for me to unleash my true horror loving self. It made it okay to wear that Motel Hell tee-shirt in public, and openly discuss who would win in a fight between Freddy and Jason (even after a movie devoted to the subject, the jury is still out). You might say, ‘Well, why didn’t you just embrace your love of horror despite society’s condemnation.” It was high school, you know, the place you try to fit in and not out.

But after a life of keeping my horror freak tucked away inside, I was more than happy to unleash it on the world and fully embrace my love of the scare. Scream made me feel safe to do so, and I haven’t turned back. It wasn’t long after that I realized, “Who gives a damn if it is cool to like horror. I like horror and if anyone doesn’t like that they can go have sex with themselves.” Such is the wisdom that comes when the pimples go.
Horror movies taught the Scream character’s how to save their lives. In turn, Scream taught me how to embrace mine. Horror Chris was unleashed thanks to Scream, and I haven’t been able to contain him since.

I thought much too long about what to rate this movie. I was hesitant to give it a perfect 5.0, just because doing so, personally, carries a lot of importance with me (is anything in life perfection?). But really it came down to this. The movie defined a generation of horror movies; it was fresh, exciting, entertaining, and scary; I have a solid personal connection to the film. And above all else, for me Scream is solidly nestled in that most scared horror movie nerd’s possession: “The Top Five Favorite Horror Movies List.”

If you have never seen Scream, do so. It might not change your life like it did mine, but at the very least you take part in one hell of an entertaining ride. And if nothing else, you get to see Drew Barrymore die! And aren’t you sick of her already!"

N-Rating: 3.7
Nick Rich screams:
"At this point has anyone not seen Scream? Seriously, has anyone not seen Scream? Well, even if you have seen it, I still have a job to do, so here goes...

As far as Slasher films go, its hard to go wrong with the 1996 classic Scream. It has it all: a seemingly ever-present killer, shocking death scenes and a plot as slippery as a freshly caught catfish. Just when you think you know what going on, the story twists just out of reach, making you wait for the big reveal at the end. For me, watching this film was like opening a time capsule. I was 16 when Scream originally came out and horror movies were fairly new to me, but Scream blew my mind! The story was great and the "wit" (I can see now how this film flavored my own), teenage as it was, really felt fresh and genuine.

Being an old man now, Scream doesn't hold quite the same appeal for me... the things in the film that were fresh have since been gratuitously repeated and subsequently I've begun to grown weary of "hip" teenage films. When you're 16, seeing a 25 year old actor playing a 17 year old calling another dude a @#$^rag seems supremely cool, but as an adult it makes you a) roll your eyes at teenagers and b) roll your eyes and scoff that Hollywood caters to them. But I can't hold that against Scream (well, I could, but I won't), it was a movie for its time, my time... which is why I rated it so high.

If nothing else, the RDHP has begun to change my taste in horror films and I find myself drifting away from movies like Scream, but am still able to appreciate them for what they are: popcorn entertainment.

The Skinny: Watch Scream if you're feeling angsty and want to relive your 90's-licious teenage years... or if you want to be thankful you weren't a teenager in the 90's.

Things We Learned From Watching Scream:
-Skeet Ulrich is the poor man’s Johnny Depp.
-In the millennium, motives are incidental.
-If you want school to be canceled, just start murdering people.
-Teen suicide is out this year.
-Big knockers + doggie door escape + masked killer = death.
-Saving a man’s life totally boosts book sales.
-The media “has a right to know” what it is like “to almost be brutally butchered.”
-You can call 911 using the Internet.
-The Internet existed in 1996.
-If you pause the movie “All the Right Moves” just right, you can see Tom Cruise’s penis.
-Your principal loves you.
-PG-13 relationships involve flashing boobs.
-The Fonze is cool even while playing a square (see below):

Nick Lements the Passing of 1996
Oh 1996 how we miss you!
With your sensible clothing, neon power suits and huge video tapes! You felt like you were the future today (I mean, you could call 911 through your computer!), but looking back you seem more like gawky teenage photos. It is during this awkwardly, futuristic time that we were introduced to Scream - and have never been the same since.

RDHP Presents Little Known Serial Killer Duos:
It is nice to do things you enjoy with others. Scream shows us such is the case with murder. Grab a buddy, and take a look at the below pairs who we suspect have more than a few bodies buried under their bunk-beds.

Bert and Ernie
What better to cover up their horrendous killing spree than to invite the children of America into their bathroom? Ernie was known to call each of his victims "rubber ducky" as he choked the life out of them.

The Wright Brothers
Why do you think they were so eager to fly away?

Princes Leia and Wicket the Ewok
Wicket would lure kind souls in with his disarming cuteness and Princess Leia would use her infamous tresses to dispatch them.

Hall and Oates
C'mon! If you were this untouchable in 80's, wouldn't you?

Quote of the Viewing:
[After the school's principal gets shivved by Ghostface, special guest RDHP viewer Melissa Rich gasps.]
Mel: "I forgot how many people get killed in this movie."
Nick: "It is a horror movie. Called Scream!"
Mel: "I know, but so many are dying!"

RDHP Salutes Whitey Tighty T-shirts:
In honor of Skeet Ulrich's dreamy penchant for whitey tighty t-shirts in Scream (Nick’s wife verified his dreamy-ness) we thought we would honor some other great wearers of the classic too-tight coverings!

Marlon Brando (A Streetcar Named Desire)
Even his mumbling couldn’t take away from his “desire”able fashion sense. My-grandma-had-the-hots-for-him-dreamy.

Jack Black (Orange County)
Good ol’ JB proves that it’s in the way that you use it… well, kinda. Sloth dreamy.

James Dean (Rebel Without A Cause)
With as much as he squinted, we’re pretty sure he needed glasses. Stigmatism dreamy.

Johnny Depp (when he’s not filming a movie)
Mel says: Skeet Ulrich’s babby-daddy is dreamy.