Halloween is just around the corner, and the lead up here at Nerdbot has been stuffed with spooky goodness. We can talk all day about what horror movies to watch, what not to watch, and even fill those hyper-specific movie needs.
What you may not be aware of, however, are those sneaky horror movies. They linger in the dark corners of the theater…actually on the screen where movies usually hang out. But you don’t realize what you are getting into until it’s over. Sure, pop culture and the internet might tell you they are comedies, action, or even family movies, but when you look a little deeper there’s horror waiting right under the surface. Fear not! I’m here to drag these otherwise normal looking movies into the light by over-examining them and bringing the results directly to you!
5) Pinocchio: Body Horror…For Kids!
When Pinocchio came out in 1940, Disney decided to disregard any sugar-coating fairy tale crap and go right for the terror. Let’s appreciate for one moment that this is a cartoon Disney movie that features the main character drinking beer, smoking cigars, and confirming that his Pleasure Island bud is, in fact, a jackass. Perhaps this is why I picture a donkey every time I see someone vape…or it’s merely because they are vaping and that’s a primal response.
Lampwick, the red-headed adult boy from Pinocchio’s Pleasure Island escape has one of the most horrifying scenes in all of the Disney filmography. A mix of seeing him shapeshift into a donkey right before our eyes and the terrible shadow of his transformation combine to ensure that no kid will be sleeping that night. Or parent for that matter. I imagine there was more than a few moms and dads that drain-poured all their beer that night, and who could blame them!
Then there are the insanely terrifying shadow beasts that help the Coachman orchestrate this whole donkey/child labor racket. I totally forgot about them until I re-watched the above clip and audibly shouted at seven in the AM “What the shit are those!” As a middle floor tenet, I’m sure that went appreciated above and below me.
Luckily, Pinocchio escapes only having been partly transformed, confirming his wooden body is utterly useless if the same curses that apply to real boys also apply to him. Too bad that escape brings us face to face with the most terrifying whale of all time. Captain Ahab would have turned the ship right around and thanked God and all creation he only lost one single leg to this water demon.
This is also why whenever I went on the Storybook Land boats at Disneyland I was completely afeared to start our journey that sailed right into the maw of Monstro. Although the tour guide lady did say, his epic sneeze blew off his tail. Lady…you know that whale is dead right? Not that I’m complaining about this specific one but here comes Blackfish 2 is all I’m saying.
4) Ready Player One: Dystopian Video Game Hell
I love becoming immersed in a video game, losing track of time altogether, and explaining to my boss that I couldn’t just stop in the middle of trying to get the Biggoron Sword. I’m definitely the guy that sighs when some multiplayer aspect is added to what should just be a single player experience.
Enter Ready Player One. This seems like one of the most badass opportunities for any gamer, right? Step into the game world, quite literally, and go anywhere you want and do just about anything you desire. I could be fleeing in terror from chickens and never has it felt so real!
Then you take a look at some of the scenes. When Wade meets up with some of his internet buds for the first time he has to wade through…oh damn I didn’t even mean to…some of the most over-stimulating battle royal color and sound hellscape just to try and hang with some of his friends. Shots are going off all around him, coins are splashing everywhere as people get picked off one by one, and somewhere through it all, the best player is using a sword? Well, it’s pretty much just like most first-person shooter games. Multiplayer is an eye-stabbing shoot or be shot experience. And to have that be as realistic as possible? No thanks.
Then the true horror comes in: the real world’s economy.
So, this gaming world has taken the planet by storm it would seem. Everyone is in the streets wandering around aimlessly because they aren’t looking at where they are on the actual street they are dodging God only knows what on the virtual avenue. Maybe, you think as a sensible person, that you will just avoid this world completely. Oh, I don’t think so because everyone does it, which wouldn’t be a problem but everyone is so ensnared by this technology the biggest companies revolve around it.
Apparently, your success in this game world can bring you real-world products. We see Wade buy a suit inside the game world and have it delivered in the real one. So you can basically make money in here? But then your character is killed by some jackass 11-year old who has nothing better to do with his time and mommy’s credit card than take it all away from you. His character is better too because he bought all that sweet armor and weaponry from loot crates.
So you are stuck in the virtual world only making pennies at a time, and you are stuck in the real one because you live in a shipping container on the wrong side of the railroad tracks which don’t even need to be used anymore.
And in the end, nothing is really resolved…at all. Yay!
3) Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: Psychological Horror
If children literally licking the walls isn’t a sign that this one is going to be a little nuts, then I don’t know what is. I’ve talked about this one at length before, but it deserves a mention on the list here.
Let’s cut to the chase: you still don’t watch that boat tunnel scene, huh? Disgusting bugs are creeping all over the walls, Wonka looks like he’s about to murder all his guests right then and there, and we just saw some kid probably meet his demise in the chocolate river knowing that’s 100% what we would have done in his place. You could easily cut a trailer of this movie and make it clear this is, in fact, a horror movie using the scenes from this damn boat ride. I’ll gladly return to the Storybook Land boats, thank you very much.
One by one this horror movie kills off the kids. Oh please, you can’t convince me that giant blueberry of a girl was rolled away and fixed! Come on! Is this really any better than the Coachman from Pinocchio? It’s almost the same thing except the shadow beasts are Oompa Loompas, and I can’t decide which are creepier. Although both probably have some racist connotations which make it all the worse.
Does anyone even remember the candy from the movie? Nope. We all just remember the terrible fate of each child and the horrible technology that brought those deaths about. Worst of all, each vehicle throughout the movie only has seats enough for how many people are left. So Wonka knew damn good and well a child and parent would be disposed of at each major point in his factory. All according to plan.
Then the “winner” of his little tour is given the factory and shot off into space via a glass elevator. Damn…what was in that chocolate river anyway?
2) Avengers (Franchise): Mutant War Fallout Horror
Ooo yay, the Avengers are here to save the day! What a super cool world that would be to have actual superheroes flying around and protecting us good citizens. Not only would we have some fantastic role models to look up to but we would finally have the security we all desperately look for.
Except that us normies, as we would soon be called, would be entirely at the mercy of these demigod dictators.
Think about it, how many lives have been lost to the escapades of just a handful of these people? I’m glad that the Marvel Cinematic Universe actually deals with this question in Civil War, but they handle it oh so very sloppily and then basically don’t pay attention to the consequences from the decisions of that movie after the fact.
You are having your morning coffee in the office, looking at some spreadsheets about whatever the hell goes on spreadsheets and suddenly the Hulk is slamming into the building using it as nothing more than a stepping stone to wherever he’s going to smash something next. And there goes the whole damn day.
Don’t you think the less than savory organizations and governments would immediately begin trying to see who else might have super powers if they do indeed exist? They would be flooding unlucky normies with gamma radiation every single day! This is especially true if we throw the X-Men into the mix, which Disney will soon enough. Once mutant powers manifested a handful of times, there would pandemonium trying to find others like that or make them.
All those classic horror tropes involving martial law and quarantine would start to play out because wings are growing out of your shoulder blades!
All the while the Earth is facing some crazy dangers. All it would take would be the Avengers losing once, and something terrible would happen to the planet. And there’s shit they don’t even know about as a whole. The world was almost consumed by a giant purple raisin, probably one of those singing ones, in Doctor Strange and he had to fix it by himself. Who knows what else is out there. Probability would say that eventually, the Avengers fail and with the snap of a finger everything would be horribly changed forever.
Well, at least the line for Storybook Land will be shorter.
1) Disaster Artist: Social Introvert Horror
One thing we can all be thankful for is that most horror is so outlandish that none of it could possibly happen. I may not watch any VHS tapes that show any kind of a well just in case, but I think we are in the clear.
That’s where this supposed comedy movie comes in. Not only is Disaster Artist plausible, but it’s also essentially a biopic, and this stuff actually happened!
Let me set the scene for you. It’s early in the movie, and we know that Greg, played by Dave Franco, is a terrible actor. To make things worse for him, he is being taken under the wing of Tommy Wiseau who is so bad that he has made a career out of it. They are going over the lines of a play for their acting class, and in the middle of a full restaurant, Tommy stands up and begins reciting dialogue as dramatically as possible.
The movie does a fantastic job of putting you right into Greg’s shoes and the horror that I would personally experience if this were to happen in real life. The social anxiety this one scene created was enough to nearly have me covering my eyes and ears hoping someone would tell me when it was over. The worst part is we just have to sit there and watch this play out mercilessly.
This isn’t the last time this happens either. Throughout the movie, a point is made just how awkward everything is about Tommy Wiseau. We have to watch him redo a scene dozens, no, hundreds of times. We have to see Greg miss the chance to work with Bryan Cranston and continue dating Alison Brie, what a horrible one-two punch. There’s nothing more disturbing to me than a movie that showcases a character making terrible career decisions.
Even right through the climactic ending where Tommy must sit and watch his terrible creation of a movie, the awkwardness is shoved down our throats. The entire audience is laughing at him, and Greg, as they watch this movie that’s so bad that they would later make a very good film about its creation unfold before them. We have to sit there and watch the man crumble before us. That’s real horror folks. Putting yourself out there and being destroyed for it.
God, my armpits are sweating just thinking about it. That’s horror that lasts.