Great Campy Horror – A List Sure to Generate Arguments!!!

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*Disclaimer ! I know many folk that take this genre rather seriously so, please don’t beat me up for this!

***After writing this I realize that I put a whole lot of stock on where the lead characters eyebrows are going to lead me…what is that all about??

CHUD (1984)

Murders in NY City point to a group of grotesquely deformed vagrants living in the sewers. Well, that is about it, seriously. But look at the name!! Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers…hello? Oozing awesome out of every cannibalistic pore!!! This is the epitome of GONZO horror. You can literally see where the actors are ad-libbing lines, the whole runs amuck in campiness. It is one of those movies that you almost want to jump into because you can tell it was a blast to make. And did I mention the name makes me giggle??

Toxic Avenger (1984)

Seems like it must have been a trend in 1984. This one is so bad that it should be under comedy, but insert gore and you got horror/superhero movie.

Naïve health club mop boy falls into a vat of toxic waste after trusting the wrong people. He then transforms into some sort of alter ego and the Toxic Avenger is born. A new superhero to a town armed with his trusty and deadly mop. Straight down to the awesomely bad (good) music this movie is so far over the top. The acting alone blows low grade away.

Empty the brain, except the cheese (low grade 7-11 processed cheese), and totally enjoy this movie. Needs a whole new lower alphabet to even grade, because grade Z movie is too high.

Evil Dead (1981)

Evil Dead II (1987)

Army of Darkness (1992)

Okay, you can bitch and moan all you want about how predictable these 3 are. But there are a reason that they are predictable, they are just that kick ass!! So shut it!

Evil Dead- This was done with a $50K budget and Sam Raimi truly wanted to make an honest scary movie. I think with Bruce Campbell’s facial expressions alone, and his own humor poking through here and there that no matter what his intentions were campiness abounds.

5 friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release a demon. The Necromomican or Book of the Dead is introduced to the world as well as the very best of B Bruce Campbell and a legend was born. Campbell parrots leading men of era’s gone by, but his cheese delivery makes him the Master of all B. ( Can you tell I am a bit of a fan?)

Evil Dead II

The lone survivor of Evil Dead, Ash (Bruce Campbell brings his girlfriend to a cabin in the woods, where he plays a tape of passages from the Book of the Dead. The spells turn his girlfriend into a Deadite (demon). Ash then fights for his life as the demon tries to turn him, as well. Chainsaws, shotguns, gore, demons, and a few flying eyeballs…Pure hilarity.

In this movie Raimi plays on the fun that came out of the original, and recognized where the talent lay (in Bruce Campbell’s eyebrows). I laughed every time Bruce C Campbell said his own name ( I even ended up naming one of my kids after the character). The scene where his hand gets processed made me laugh so hard that I think I may have peed myself a little.

Army of Darkness – Ash is now time warped to a Medieval kingdom and besieged once again by demonic forces. He is seen as the Kingdoms savior and nominated to find the Necronomicon, the book that can save them from evil. He screws up just about at every turn. I for one think it is one of the best tongue and cheek performances evahhhhh! By now Bruce Campbell’s Ash is fully developed, he somehow has channeled some Elvis swagger into his cocky (bumbling fool) performance. His delivery of lines is spot on, and his one liners are the things of legends.

Raimi still delivers the gore and some pretty amazing monsters ( you can tell the budget is much higher on this movie) and demons. But Bruce Campbell and his eyebrows make this movie one of my all time favorites.

*on a side note, I am a huge Campbell fan (obviously) but if you love him and expect the same humor out of his books lower your expectations. ” If Chins Could Kill” and “Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way” are good reads. But you begin to realize he is NOT Ash….or was I the only one that totally was under the impression he was???

Re-animator (1985)

Medical school student and his girlfriend get involved with is weird roommate ( mad scientist) experiments on re-animating dead tissue.

The scientist Herbert West is creepy and weird in a kind of hilariously, full of gore, but kind of sympathetic evil way. He is obsessed with performing his experiment on a fresh corpse.

There are a few I need to hide part of the TV with a pillow moments. The worst is actually not that gory but more disturbing and super graphic, it gave me goose bumps (not a feeling you usually get from camp). Moments like that blended with the humor and over the top acting reminded me this was still a horror movie.

So tons of gore, nudity, great villain ( whose eyebrows were almost as creepy as he was), and some true blue horror….made for a pretty good but still silly movie.

Death Proof (2007)

Okay – a group of girlfriends stops to party at a bar on a trip alone to the lake. In the bar, they meet “Stuntman Mike” who has been stalking them all day. Mike ends up taking one of the girls at the bar home in his “death proof” car.

Time passes and Mike turns up again tormenting another group of girls, these ones are turning out to be pretty bad ass.

Another “Okay” inserted here, this is Tarantino so you know the formula, filled with fetishes (hello, feet anyone??) and themes. Even his dorky main character that always ends up being the most hazardously brutal person in the film.

This is a sleaze fest, crotch shots, hot pants, t-shirts so tight you can see areola. She-Ra alpha females oozing sex appeal. I recently found out that QT was also the cinematographer on this so that explains A LOT! Such a genius of a perv.

Kurt Russell is so flipping good as Stuntman Mike, dodgy as hell, dorky, brutally scary, and at times absolutely insane with a smidge of vulnerability tossed in there at times.

As always with QT movies there is colossal amounts of dialogue some celebrated, but also some just seems to be ego.

But, this movie is bloody, vulgar, visually beautiful, funny as hell, over sexed cheese!!! Think more stylish 70’s porn with a laugh ( don’t forget the M18 this got rated)!!

Planet Terror (2007)

The Grindhouse movies did awful in the US when they were released together so they were split for the European release. I enjoyed seeing them separately, it gave me time to really appreciate the differences.

After a bio-weapon is released (sooo original) turning people into zombies, or “sicko’s (just another cute pet name for a zombie awwww) a group of characters ( they sooo are) try to stop the people who created this mess and stay alive.

This movie is Robert Rodriguez’s ode to absolute excess!! Which means it is kick ass fun!

Starting with the fake trailer for Machete in the opening credits (already gore and cheese even before the actual movie starts..grab your beers!! Woo woo with a capitol WWWWOOO)!

Rodriguez’s take on creating a Grindhouse movie sticks to its roots and goes about it in a simple, straightforward fashion which makes it all that much more believable and fun. Big plus missing from Tarantino is that he left his ego out of the film.

The cast is impressively grand and each do their part in creating notable characters, Cherry is larger than life badass and cheeky and helloooo she has a shotgun as a leg how joyful is that? Naveen Andrews (Sayid for Lost fanatics) is a merry testicle collecting bad guy and as far as testicle collecting bad guys go he is the most rad! Bruce Willis and Tarantino have hilarious cameo’s.

The whole movie is a good time. There is enough gore to make Terantino films look like a Saturday morning kids show, hits top rung with blood, guts, and oozing flesh.

Now some may argue with remaking movies of a certain genre cannot be genuine or the best but I say that they should rate at the top because doing them better than most of the original GH flicks actually makes them the leaders in creating a whole NEW genre…Or so my twisted logic tells me.

This needs to be up there with one of the top zombie moves made!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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