It's finally October, the month in which three of my very favorite things--candy, horror movies and sexy costumes--are celebrated. As this is the case, Giant Electric Penguin will feature a whole (bloody) mess of SPOOOOOKY posts over the coming weeks, so BEWAAARE! You might want to read these posts through threaded fingers, gentle souls, because they are going to be downright, shit-sprayingly horrifying! YOU'VE BEEN WARNED...
I've made no secret of my love for horror movies. What I have kept to myself is the fact that there are some fright films out there that I've never been able to bring myself to watch. That's right: even I get scared sometimes. I know I act like a real tough guy; a macho man who ain't afraid of nobody or nothing, living or dead or visiting this plane of existence from the very flames of eternal Hell; a hunky stud with big metaphorical balls and the big, not-at-all-metaphorical balls to match; a chiseled, statuesque hero of a man who eats fear for breakfast, and shits it out in time for a buffet lunch of fear; but I'm really just a regular guy with regular fears and an aversion to needlessly gross things.
The films on this list might be pretty tame, but I'll never know, because I'm too scared to put them in my VCR and press 'PLAY.'
1. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
I don't really like serial killer stories. I prefer movies about vaguely-supernatural mass murders with a fondness for masks. Your Michaels Myers, your Jasons Vorhees: dudes like that. So, I don't feel particularly bad about avoiding Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer all these years. I do, however, realize that it is considered a classic of the genre, and Michael Rooker is pretty great in just about everything he's ever done, so I should probably just put on my big boy underpants--or any underpants really as I usually watch horror films commando or on the toilet--and just watch it already.
It's that box cover that has haunted me since I was little. Like any child of the 80's and 90's, I rented a lot of videos from my local video store (In Troy, where I grew up, we got our movies from Kernel Video, which was a super fun play on the words 'kernel' and 'colonel.' Yea.). I didn't really begin my journey into horror until high school, and it didn't kick into high gear until sophomore year of college when I saw Evil Dead 2 for the first time, but I did like to stroll down the horror aisle at Kernel Video and take a gander at the boxes for the movies I wasn't allowed to watch but didn't want to see anyway. What a trip down nightmare lane that was. I was such a wussy kid, so I don't know why I would subject myself to Freddy Kruger's charred face and Michael Rooker's dead-eyed scowl or this, but I did. Oh, you know what one really got me, besides the box art I linked to in the last sentence? The cover of Monkey Shines. Turns out, Monkey Shines is a pretty good movie and not really that scary, but the cover art (the leering, bugged-eyed monkey toy with the cymbals) utterly creeped me out as a kid.
Earlier this year, I watched a documentary on snuff films (Gigantic mistake!) which featured clips from Henry, and it was then that I decided I maybe still wasn't ready for the film.
Will I ever watch it?: There's a good chance I will, I just need to be in the right mood. (Note: I am rarely in that mood anymore.)
2. The Human Centipede (First Sequence)
There is no way The Human Centipede is as "bad" as I've made it in my mind. The concept, which I believe involves the sewing of one person's mouth to the butthole of another person's butt and so on, surprisingly, doesn't appeal to me in the slightest. Gore I can take, can even enjoy at times, but poop-related things are massively unappealing to me. Human Centipede has got to just be wall-to-wall scenes of poor, innocent people eating poop, right? In my mind, it's two hours of that, and that's two hours I will never get back.
Will I ever watch it?: No. Never.
3. Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom
Look, I get it, you're a filmmaker and you have something to say. Maybe it's profound, but I'm never going to know if you pack your film with rape, torture and poop-eating. You can read all about Salo on Wikipedia, but I wouldn't suggest enjoying a hoagie while doing so. You probably shouldn't care too much about your eternal soul either, because it will be slightly tarnished if you read every word of the plot synopsis. I suggest a quick skim to avoid any suicidal thoughts or notions of "hey, maybe I should check this out."
Will I ever watch it?: No. However, apparently there is a documentary about the film that I'd be interesting in seeing. I'd also like to read some critical interpretations of it because it sounds pretty sick and useless to me.
4. Cannibal Holocaust
I've had Cannibal Holocaust on my Netflix queue since the day I joined, and each time it has reached the top, I've immediately exiled it back to the middle or end. Recently, I removed it altogether because I don't think I have the stomach for it anymore. Plus, the fact that it features scenes of actual animals being actually murdered for little other reason than it is shocking to murder animals on film, is deeply unappealing. If it bothered me in a classic film like Apocalypse Now, it's sure as shit going to bother me in a crappy exploitation film.
Will I ever watch it?: Probably not. I have seen in various horror docs how some of the gore effects were achieved and that was pretty neat, but the whole "animal snuff film" angle of it kind of turns my stomach.
5. A Serbian Film
We've been having a lot of fun in this post, but I'd like to get serious for a second. A Serbian Film, a 2010 horror film from, appropriately, Serbia, has no viable reason to exist. I first heard about it on the Bloody Good Horror podcast, where it was mentioned in passing during a discussion of extreme horror films. Curious, I visited Wikipedia, typed in 'A Serbian Film,' and scrolled down to the plot description.
It was around the phrase "newborn porn" that I decided A Serbian Film wasn't for me, in fact, I wondered who it was for at all. I further decided that whoever A Serbian Film is for, I didn't want to associate with those persons. It is my hope that any people who have purchased or rented A Serbian Film have been placed on some kind of list and are currently under observation by the FBI. With my luck, they're probably putting people who mention A Serbian Film on their personal blogs on that list too, so I'm going to wrap this up.
Will I ever watch it?: ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY NOT.
6. United 93
Not a horror film in the traditional sense, United 93 tells the horrible true story of what happened on one of the airplanes hijacked on September 11, 2001. I'm sure it is a very moving, important film, but I'm not ready to see it yet, not even 12 years later.
Will I ever watch it?: Yes. I've been told it's quite good.
7-14. Any film based on a Nicholas Sparks book
I will literally cry at the drop of a hat. I'm serious. Remember that episode of Lidsville where Colonel Poom tripped over Madame Ring-a-Ding and fell on his face, shattering his monocle? I wept for hours.
But it's more than falling hats that make me cry. Commercials featuring non-talking babies; Chopped talking head segments in which a chef talks about his daughter; kitten calendars: these are all triggers for my tear ducts. I've heard that Nicholas Sparks movies are pretty sad, and I'm afraid if I give one a chance, I may start crying and never stop. I may completely dehydrate myself through sobbing, and I'm not willing to take that chance. I may also be touched in some way, and I'll be damned if I let something starring Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel touch me.
Will I ever watch one?: Luckily, every Nicholas Sparks film adaptation sounds horrible, so I have yet to be tempted.