Five cheesy horror flicks you should see
Last week, we came up with a list of five streaming, high-grade horror movies that required your viewing, from haunted asylums and ghostly brides to gooey cave dwellers and flying succubi. But once you've got a taste, you need more. So we've risen from the dead to stage a horror-playlist sequel. This selection emphasizes works of a lower grade than round one: flicks that are cheesy and awesomely delicious. Don't expect Oscar winners or cinema pedigree here. Expect the enjoyable worst. Now, let's delve more deeply into the Netflix horror archives before the candy runs out and the fake blood dries up.
P.S. One of these choices will make you hate us.
Title: Grave Encounters
Tagline: "They were searching for proof... they found it."
Plot Summary: A film crew on a Ghost Hunters-like reality show, titularly named, investigates Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital, an abandoned asylum, to determine whether it's infested with ghosties. Guess what? It is! Found-footage-style, we watch as they lock themselves into the hospital (forever!) and dumbly traipse around its creepy, ruined rooms -- without ever setting their cameras down. In short, this is Grave Encounters' last episode.
Memorable Line: "This place is about as haunted as a sock drawer."
Why It's Worth Your Time: If you regularly haunt the VOD labyrinths, you know that low-budget found-footage movies are a plague. For every decent one, there are a thousand groaners. Like every other FF flick, Grave Encounters relies on cheap jump scares, but it's skillfully made and a cut above. You'll watch to the end, and you'll be frightened. The twist that the reality documentarians encounter, not to be ruined here, is ingenious, too.
Question: Why are there so many haunted asylums?
Title: Dead Snow
Tagline: "Ein! Zwei! Die!" [Translation: 1! 2! Die!"]
Plot Summary: Medical students on Easter vacation ascend to a remote cabin in a Norwegian mountain range. They cavort and fornicate, as horror heroes must, until they're interrupted by a mysterious hiker who tells them the mountain's story. After World War II, the townspeople of nearby Øksfjord chased some evil Nazis, led by Standartenführer Herzog, up into the mountain. The townspeople lost the Nazis, but assumed they died from cold and starvation. Nevertheless, bad Nazi vibes have lingered since. What the vacationing med students don't know is that they've awakened the Nazis' corpses and must now fight to live -- or die in the snow.
Memorable Line: "Believe me when I say this, these were evil sons of bitches."
Why It's Worth Your Time: Two words: Nazi zombies! Endlessly they plod through the woods, in their stahlhelme, in search of Norwegian flesh. If that doesn't convince you, know that the film moves like vintage Sam Raimi, and features a scene where two chainsaw-wielding dudes face off against an advancing zombie army. So much Nazi blood splurts.
Question: Will Nazis ever cease to be good villains?
Tagline: "Five strangers trapped. One of them is not what they seem."
Plot Summary: In a building where someone has just committed suicide, five people get stuck in an elevator. A detective named Bowden, haunted by his family's death and his clichéd backstory, investigates the suicide, but ends up transfixed by the stranded elevator's security camera. It seems that, whenever Satan is at work (are you following this?), a suicide comes first, and then he traps a posse of sinners in an enclosed space and knocks them off, one by one. Coincidentally, people on the elevator begin to die, and a demon's face appears on the security camera. Now, Bowden must save everybody before Satan, disguised as someone on the elevator, kills 'em.
Memorable Line: "You must consider that one of these people might be the devil."
Why It's Worth Your Time: While trying to summarize Devil feels ridiculous, somehow it all works when you watch it. It's cheesy as hell, but we dig a good, high-concept premise where most of the action takes place in a small space. (Think Die Hard and Phone Booth.) Much of the movie is a guessing game: Which character is Satan? Which people will survive? And, most importantly, will the stereotypically troubled detective beat his demons (plus the actual demon) and save the day? Probably.
Question: Does the devil hang out on every stranded elevator?
Title: The Human Centipede
Tagline: "100% Medically Accurate"
Plot Summary: A pair of American women, vacationing in Europe, ends up lost in a German forest when their car goes kaput. Whoops, prime horror (and Grimm fairy tale) territory. Stumbling through the woods, they find an empty house, an ideal safe haven they assume. Feeling sheltered, they fall asleep, and upon waking, discover they've been tied up, with an Asian man they've never met for company and with a fucked-up German surgeon, Doctor Heiter, as their host. The women learn that their doc has always harbored a dream. He wants to make a human centipede, and his three prisoners are his guinea pigs. Shades of the Nazis, again, right?
Memorable Line: "Feed her! Feed her!"
Why It's Worth Your Time: Now, just hold on. We know you've heard endless horrible word of mouth on this flick since its release a few years ago. People aren't wrong. It's a pretty brutal movie, especially if you mind watching two pretty women feed on a man's hindquarters. But The Human Centipede features all the essentials of solid horror. A devastating situation. Vulnerable characters. A villain we want destroyed. The way it all plays out is visceral and involving, and most of the disgusting stuff is handled subtly, not gratuitously. Give it a chance.
Question: Does consulting one doctor really make you "100% medically accurate"?
Title: Zombies Vs. Strippers
Tagline: "They want to strip your flesh."
Plot Summary: The zombie apocalypse has arrived, and our ground zero is a strip club named Tough Titty. "What's up with those slacked-jaw guys near the pole?" the strippers wonder. "Why are they so hard to entertain, and why don't they want private dances?" Eventually, the club's bouncers force the slackjaws out into the street, where they transform into zombies. The zeds attack Tough Titty; the strippers (and their bouncer buddies, plus a leather-jacketed punk rocker) fight back, in between lap dances. The end.
Memorable Line: "My band, Nancy Reagan's Vagina, just played down the street!"
Why It's Worth Your Time: All right, it's not. We watched this to determine what garbage is lurking if you look too deeply into Netflix's archives. From a movie like this, you can expect plenty of gratuitous bare boobery, as well as amateurish yet charming zombie gore, but you can't expect much actual entertainment. If you excise its Grindhouse-wannabe title sequence, the movie is only a hair over an hour long, most of it boring. If you can't make a movie about strippers fighting zombies mesmerizing, just give up, man.
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