Staff Picks: Best Monster Mash Up Movies
Freddy vs. Jason
Calibertholomew Winfield: I’ve been a fan of Friday The 13th for as long as I can remember. My mom use to let me watch them on TV when I was a kid because they were edited, and she always watched’em with me. I had a babysitter who loved the films too, and would draw pictures of Jason & Freddy fighting, which I always thought were the coolest things on Earth.
So, you can imagine my excitement, 12 years later when I was sitting in the very first showing of Freddy vs Jason. With exception to The Expendables franchise, I’ve never been more stoked to see a film, and praise to the writers, because FvJ went through about 20 script drafts, all more ridiculous than the last, before we finally got the masterpiece that was laid out before us. It’s a great film that celebrates both franchises, and gives you a lot for your money.
My only beef is that Kane Hodder didn’t play Jason. The guy who did, Ken Krizinger, is a fine stuntman and all, hell, he was even in Part 8, as the cook that Jason throws into the wall, but he was no Hodder. He didn’t have the presence, or the menace. But despite that, the film is a fucking blast.
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
N. Retah: Vamp vs. Werewolf. Perhaps I’m a sucker for star-crossed lovers and origin stories because I’ve seen this movie more times than the other films of the series. This is actually the first movie I saw. I liked seeing Lucian when he was good and just wanted independence.
The Cabin in the Woods
Aidan Myles Green: I don’t like horror movies. I don’t like monster movies.
But THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is one of the greatest accomplishments ever achieved in the aforementioned genres. A masterpiece of meta-commentary on the complacency of modern horror filmmaking, this flick subverts expectations at every turn and blew me the hell away. Polarizing, controversial, and brave, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS’s final act meets this week’s Staff Picks criteria with flying colors.
Brandon Groppi: I can only but agree with Myles. THE CABIN IN THE WOODS was spectacular. From the ingenious minds of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, we were given a film that isn’t just about horror and mindless bloodlust, but a film that comments on the typical movie goer. A film that takes the typical film-goer and, not just turns them on their head, but shoves a middle-finger in their face in a way that doesn’t offend you but makes you appreciate it even more. If you can look past what’s on the surface of the film and can really see what Whedon and Goddard did, then you can sit back and laugh with them.
And if you say that the film’s ending is “god awful” then I can only quote the character Marty in the film: . . . What are you, stoned?
Derek Johns: I’m going to have to make it trifecta and go with Cabin in the Woods because really how could I ever pick against Joss Whedon? It serves as not only a satire of the state of the horror genre but the audience that has made it successful. Perhaps less then coincidentally horror movies have been noticeably better in the year and half since the release of this future classic.
Trick R Treat
Caleb Masters: There are a lot of great picks and I’m not sure I can say anything that hasn’t already been said about Joss Whedon’s masterpiece “Cabin in the Woods”, which is why I’m going with another modern classic, Trick R Treat.
Trick R Treat is the quintessential Halloween movie that also happens to include all of our monstrous favorites like werewolves, zombies, and pagan gods. It’s scary, it’s funny, it’s atmospheric, and most of all it has one kick-ass werewolf transformation sequence where we get to see Anna Paquin work her seductive magic. This is an annual watch for me and it captures the essence of what makes the monsters we watch on the big screen so interesting. It’s not the blood, the super powers, the magic, or any of that; it’s the myth that’s behind it all that makes these icons something truly dark, elusive, and terrifying.
Nightmare Before Christmas
Bethany Lewis: My choice is Nightmare Before Christmas. Not only is it a classic movie all by itself with amazing animation, great music, a fun story, and loveable characters, but it is the ultimate in monster mash up movies that both celebrates and parodies the horror genre. While almost everyone in the movie is a monster, it undercuts our expectations by making these monsters infinitely human, with hopes, dreams, loves, disappointments, and ambitions. They have an every day life that has nothing to do with evil-doings and the human world. In fact, the “evil” they commit is ultimately harmless and mostly simulated for show, or else the result of a cultural misunderstanding.
Jesse Blume: I was very close to selecting THE CABIN IN THE WOODS again, but instead I’m just going to go ahead and reveal one of my guilty pleasure movies. VAN HELSING. Yes, I know it is not a good movie. Yes, I’ll admit that the writing is cheesy at best, the acting is not good……. Yeah, the movie pretty much sucks, but I can still have fun with it. I do like the way the monsters were designed, especially the werewolves and Frankenstein’s monster. You can also see how it was a transitional film, by blending some pretty dang good CGI with the old school practical effects. When I was fourteen or fifteen, I bought a book detailing how the entire movie was made and I could see that almost everyone involved actually did give a shit about the movie. That book was one of my first experiences with learning how a movie is made, and I still have it to this day. VAN HELSING may not be a good movie, but I’d still rather watch it instead of crap like Clash of the Titans remake, and its sequel.
Grown Ups 2
Derick ‘d-rock’ Dotson: I wanted to go with a complex meta film like CABIN IN THE WOODS or a cult favorite like TRICK ‘R TREAT, but the amount of horrific characters in this film is too disturbing to ignore. For starters, not since Chucky has a small person been more terrifying than David Spade. Adam Sandler as the unfunny evil clown terrorizing movie souls is almost nightmare territory. Let us not forget the addition of Jacob from Twilight. That’s right… Wolf boy! Thankfully, Rob Schneider sat this one out or I’d be sleeping with my parents for weeks.
Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein
Shawn S. Lealos: You know, normally I would have put Cabin in the Woods here in my spot, but there is just something rubbing me the wrong way about the lack of appreciation for the classic Universal Horror Monsters in today’s society (not on this site, but among film fans in general). These are the monsters that started it all. Dracula gave us the vampire craze, The Wolf Man set the table for some fantastic werewolves in the future, The Mummy has been done many times over and Frankenstein’s Monster might be the greatest monster of them all, without which names like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees might never exist. There were a number of movies where the monsters even met up in the classic Universal library, usually under the “House of” titles, but those were never as good as the movies they spun-off from.
However, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein was noteworthy for a number of reasons. First, it was the final Universal Monster movie. At the time, World War II was showing movie fans real horror and monsters just weren’t as scary as nuclear bombs and communists. The Universal Monsters were fazed out and science fiction monster movies took their place with Godzilla and his ilk.
However, they got one last hurrah with the new kings of Universal Studios, Abbot and Costello. What made this movie brilliant was that Abbot and Costello did their comedy but the Universal monsters played their characters and roles completely straight as if it were a horror movie. And the amazing thing is that it worked perfectly.
Bela Lugosi returned to play Dracula for the first time in many years while Lon Chaney continued to be the greatest Larry Talbott in cinema history as the anguished and suicidal Wolf Man. The only downfall was that Glenn Strange played The Monster instead of Boris Karloff. It was a perfect send-off to the Universal Monsters, who then laid dormant until Castle brought them back to life two decades later.
Also, watch this movie and you will see one of the biggest influences on the Scooby Doo cartoons.