Written by Shawn Funk
For some fucked up reason, we humans revel in being frightened. Our fascination with pain, violence, fear, and death brought forth or inspired by some supernatural being or force serves as the basis for the horror genre. Horror gives us a glimpse into the terrifying, the grotesque, the ugly, and the evil that remains hidden in our day-to-day lives. Indeed, it’s a chance to see all of the disgusting shit that would turn most of us green in real life while experiencing the terror of the moment from the safety of our homes. Want to see a decapitation? Or, maybe a classic dismemberment? Want to experience terror? Ever seen a man gouge his own eyes out of his head? Ok, well, that’s why we have the movies. Check out the titles below from the 1990s, a time of practical effects, gory scenes, and suspense. I have chosen these titles because when I first watched them as a child, they had a significant effect on my underwear. Happy Halloween!
Event Horizon (1997)
“Libera te me”
Distress signal from the ship Event Horizon–translated as “Save me.”
A spacecraft with an experimental engine disappears in 2040 without a trace. 7 years later, the ship mysteriously reappears in a decaying orbit around Neptune. A mission to salvage the ship and rescue any survivors is undertaken by a military crew aboard the ship Lewis and Clark. Along for the ride is the builder of the Event Horizon, Dr. Weir. Shortly before the crew arrives, they receive a disturbing distress signal from the Event Horizon that translates from Latin as “save me.” The mystery of the Event Horizon’s disappearance slowly reveals itself as crew members are consumed by the evil that has found its home in the ship. At one point in the film, a character claws his eyes out while laughing maniacally. If that’s not enough to disturb your sleep, I don’t know what is. This film blends horror and science fiction to a bone-chilling result.
New Nightmare (1994)
“1, 2, Freddy’s coming for you…”
A Telephone call to Heather Langenkamp from Freddy Krueger
Does evil really die? After wrapping up the Nightmare On Elm Street series with the death of Freddy Krueger, the star actress of the franchise Heather Langenkamp and her small boy, Dillon, begin having dangerous visions and are psychologically terrorized by an unknown entity that appears to be Freddy Krueger. This movie is called a meta-horror, meaning that it repeatedly refers to itself, or other horror films. It is, thus, a movie about the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise, set outside the Nightmare universe. Lastly, the classic scene when Freddy’s unwitting victim is gutted and dragged up the side of the wall and onto the roof is rehashed in New Nightmare with terrifying effect. Check it out, bitch! (The last sentence to be read in the voice of Freddy Krueger)
“Be my victim!”
Candyman to Helen
A graduate student named Helen, who is studying urban myths inadvertently awakens a century-old evil and quickly finds herself up shit creek when a scary man with a really deep voice and a big hook for a hand begins stalking her. Can Helen defeat the Candyman, or will the evil consume her too? This movie is genuinely scary as fuck. It’s gory, ultra-violent, supernatural and suspenseful. Bonus, the soundtrack is absolutely terrifying, and the urban mythology that is built into the Candyman backstory is super cool. Watch the Candyman split a man from groin to gullet with his large hook, a promise that he makes early in the film that I am glad he kept. That’s morbid.
Army of Darkness (1992)
“Gimmie some sugar, baby!”
Ash to a girl he just met
Ash, a shotgun-toting man’s man who works at S-mart, and his shitty old car are hurled back to medieval times when a portal opens in the woods. To return to his own time, he must quest for a mysterious book called the Necronomicon. However, while retrieving the Necronomicon, Ash, through no fault of his own, awakens an entire army of the dead and leads them all back to the castle. Will Ash defeat the army of the dead and return to his crappy department store job in 1992? This movie is not scary, but it is funny as hell. It is a parody, and it succeeds in all of its irony. It’s campy, action-packed, predictable, and utterly ridiculous. Watch for the hilarious scene when Ash faces off against a dozen or so mini-Ashes; so funny.
House on Haunted Hill (1999)
“From here on, it gets really scary”
Vincent Price–Owner of Price Amusement Parks
A wealthy and eccentric businessman, Vincent Price, dares five strangers to spend one night in an old insane asylum with a horrifying history for the chance at one million dollars each. Price rigs the house with scare traps and cameras, yet his devious plan to scare the shit out of his guests is ill-fated when he discovers the place is haunted and the house has awoken. Not many characters make it out of this one. One guy gets his head lopped off. Another gets his head hollowed out from the front, and one of the gals gets gutted and pulled into the walls. I commend the level of gore, and I couldn’t think of anything more frightening than a haunted insane asylum.