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Belittling Horror Excessively: 2017 Wrap-Up05:20 PM -- Wed November 1, 2017

Mikey: Well, it looks like we have now watched 31 horror movies. Actually 29 horror movies, one comedy (Netherbeast Incorporated), and one thriller (Stonehearst Asylum), by my subjective calculations. We have each awarded six five-star ratings (counting 5+ as a 5). So I guess the obvious first question is: What was the best movie of them all?

Solee: Wow. We’re just diving right in, huh? Okay … I am having a very hard time choosing. This is so different from last year, when I had a very clear-cut favorite. The Monster is high on my list. The acting was SUPERB in that. But I remember that could have had a stronger punch.

Mikey: I am surprised to hear The Monster get mentioned before Get Out from you! For me, the two of them fit a similar mold. I really loved what they were doing underneath - the meaning and the production itself, while the actual plot in both movies was nothing special, no big twists, just kind of a threat that the characters face and defeat (to varying degrees).

Solee: I’m getting to Get Out! Patience, grasshopper! (Although I agree with your assessment.) I legit can’t decide which is my favorite out of Get Out, Under the Shadow, and Train to Busan. I love them all for so many reasons. Primarily, they all had great stories that were told with skill. Maybe I need to hear what you have to say while I think about it. Which was YOUR favorite?

Mikey: I am finding myself in trouble as well. Maybe there doesn’t have to be one favorite. Train To Busan was really really fun, moreso than the others because it was just that: a fun movie. The others had all kinds of deep stuff going on. Looks like we are ignoring the other movie that actually earned a “5+” (Acting’s Highest Honor) from us: The Babadook. That might be my favorite. I don’t know though, to watch it again would entail hearing that screeching kid again, and that really puts a damper on it.

Solee: Yeah … I can see that I gave it a 5, but I don’t feel it still sitting on my heart the way the ones I’ve mentioned are. Those movies made a lasting impression. I thought The Babadook did … but it seems it didn’t last as long. I really liked that Get Out, Under the Shadow, and Train to Busan all had a level of “importance” to their story. They are addressing real issues through the medium of horror.

Mikey: BA-BA-DOOK dook dook! The allegorical depression film!? Seems like a real issue to me. I think it did such an amazing job of talking about the issue.

Solee: Ugh. You’re right. I can’t have FOUR favorites, can I??? We watched too many high quality movies this month!!

Mikey: I think we screwed up pretty badly. But since nobody wants to just hear us agonizing, I guess we can close out this segment by just telling people the movies they need to see: The Monster, The Babadook, Get Out, Under The Shadow, and Train To Busan.

Solee: Yep. How about you tell us some of the stats you gathered this month? What did we watch? How?

Mikey: I am SO full of stats you should stop me when you hear something interesting to discuss. We watched movies from the average year of 2010.7, which averaged 95.71 minutes in length, and on average I rated them 3.11, while you rated them 3.35 (so generous!).

Solee: Last year, I had a slightly higher average rating, too. I’m clearly just nicer than you.

Mikey: Yep. Fifteen of the movies were rated R, five were rated PG-13, and eleven were not rated. We do watch a lot of unknown stuff!

Solee: The unrated stuff … is that the lower quality and indie stuff?

Mikey: Definitely less well-known… However, Train To Busan is one of the unrated ones, and it’s not even indie. I guess just not released in US theaters.

Solee: So is Babadook!

Mikey: I kinda wonder if some of them are just oversights, but IMDB is usually quite accurate. Also of note, back to being nice, is that we are somewhat nicer than the critics and other human beings: our combined average rating is 18.71% higher than the critics, and 13.41% higher than the Rotten Tomatoes audience ratings for these movies. I always attribute that to the fact that we judge them as horror movies though, and not just as general movies.

Solee: That’s a lot of data, Mikey! One of the things you track all month are tags like “witch” or “pregnant” or “insane”. I know that we worked hard to spread our choices out among different tags. Are there any that we hit last year but didn’t hit this year?

Mikey: Well, we had a different set of foreign films - this year, we had two Aussie movies, and one each of Italian, Filipino, Iranian, Korean, and British. Other than that, I tried to make sure we found stuff from all the same categories, but we failed to discover a first-person movie (two of those last year! The only two I’ve ever seen!), a courtroom drama (quite rare in horror…), and a musical (sad face). The other big difference is that last year it felt like just about every movie made the female protagonist pregnant to up the danger, and this year we only had one movie - Train To Busan - where pregnancy was any real factor at all.

Solee: I see our most common tag was ghost (7), followed by serial killer (6) and found footage (5). There were significantly more ghost (12) and driven insane by ghosts (11) movies last year. Do you think we avoided them this year or were there fewer to choose from?

Mikey: There were quite a few movies this year that I couldn’t quite tag the “monster type” for. The Ruins is about evil plants, Get Out is just … I don’t know, bad doctors? And others. I do think it was a very different batch of movies. Last year was your typical bunch of haunted houses, and we had very little of that this year (I’m gonna guess about 7!). This year I got to tag two movies’ villains as “disease” (Cabin Fever and The Thaw), which is a new category (even if The Thaw was really bugs). It’s not an exact science.

Solee: It certainly gives us an interesting perspective on our viewing habits though.

Mikey: One habit we developed this year was watching Amazon Prime movies. It was our biggest source of movies - Twelve of them were on there (second place was Netflix with seven). And we watched 2 movies in the theaters this year, both of them their opening day! That would be It and Happy Death Day. Which incidentally makes Happy Death Day our most recently released movie, while Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) is the oldest, and also happens to be my age!

Solee: I notice we paid (beyond our regular subscription fees) for seven movies this year, compared to nine last year. We’re cheap! If we can’t get it for free, we tend to skip it. Luckily, there are a plethora of free horror movies to access.

Mikey: Plethora hardly begins to describe it! All the streaming services are just buried in cheap, terrible, horror movies. I want to drink them all in. So, beyond pointless numbers, are there are any deep insights we’ve gained with these movies? How have we grown as people after 31 days of enforced entertainment?

Solee: I want to celebrate movies as a form of cultural understanding. I mentioned this in one of our reviews, but I think that watching horror is an interesting way to look into a culture on a deeper level. Our fears are based on things we learn from the moment of our first breath. I appreciate horror as a way of learning about other cultures and gauging my own understanding. Like how they say you know you understand a language fluently when you can make/understand jokes. Not that I am saying I understand the Filipino or Australian cultures … but I got some insight into what I don’t know about those cultures through the movies. Or something deep like that.

Mikey: I think there are some things we saw that were unique to foreign cultures. The Filipino movie (Haunted Mansion) really showed off the Catholicism that’s such a part of their culture. The Iranian movie (Under The Shadow) was all about the women’s issues in Iran. The Korean movie (Train To Busan) was heavily focused on issues of workaholism that I’ve heard about from there before. And the Aussie movies? 95% kangaroos.

Solee: I’m also reminded of how we discussed the social commentary in the horror movies last year. This year we definitely saw more of that with the allegorical studies of depression (Babadook), single parenting (Train to Busan, The Monster), people with disabilities (Disappointments Room), mental health issues (Stonehearst Asylum, Split), and, of course, racism (Get Out).

Mikey: I feel like we did get a lot more depth than I am familiar with seeing in the horror genre! All those messages and depth instead of kids getting stabbed with machetes. It’s weird. I guess that’s what comes of looking up too many “best horror movies” lists. Turns out that’s what makes them good. In fact, we probably only avoided the deep stuff when we skipped the lists and just picked movies based on their cover art. Which did lead to some garbage (Mark of the Witch).

Solee: Ugh. That’s how we marked off the “score of zero” box! Anyway, I’m sure we’ll do more horror movies next year. Do you think we should go for high-brow informative horror or get back into the cheesy monsters?

Mikey: You know, I’m not sure what the right solution is. But I will say what we did this year felt pretty good. We got a nice mix of crap and quality (overall, our rating average was only about 2% higher than last year), and we honestly got surprised on the regular by incredible movies. I definitely don’t mind that experience! I think I’ll be back to something similar next year. Why not? I’m always up to have my mind blown!

Solee: I just realized what we haven’t done much of that I want to work into the rotation next year: old classics! I want to dig further back into the roots of horror and explore some of the originals! We did that a little with Chainsaw Massacre this year, but I want to go back to the 50s and see what they thought was scary then!

Mikey: Hoo boy. I’m always hesitant to do that without 2 robots and a man in a jumpsuit sitting in silhouette in front of the movie. But we definitely didn’t do much of that this year. We watched only 2 movies from before 2000 (Nightmare On Elm Street 3 and Texas Chainsaw).

Solee: I’m the robot! You’re the man in the jumpsuit! Any last words for this BHE Wrap-up?

Mikey: Hmm. I wish I could remember some terrible line from one of these movies to throw out for a cheap laugh. So just remember kids, watch horror movies! They could help you learn how to manage your depression, or at least battle your inner/outer demons.

Solee: Terrific. Done. Now it’s time to decorate for Christmas, right??

Mikey: THE HORROR!
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