Written by Briant Laslo
My goal here is to go throughout the year and each month pick out five of the best films, in my opinion, that in some way or another fit into the horror genre. They may not have been box office smashes. They may not have been critical successes. Some of them might even be more funny than scary.
But, all of them will have made some kind of contribution to the genre or, at the very least, made their mark on me personally. We are moving into the third month and completing our first quarter of reviews.
While March is a little thin, this is the first month of the year where we are starting to see a bit more choices. Because of that, this month will mark the addition of a small section at the end including the Honorable Mentions Top five lists are, by their very nature, subjective and meant to be fun, conversation starting pieces. So, I encourage everyone to get involved in the comment section. Give us your top five, or talk about any of the films I mentioned. So, without further ado, here are the Top 5 Horror (ish) Movies Ever Released in the month of March!
Resident Evil, March 15, 2002. Obviously, this is as much action movie as it is horror and it relies nearly 100% on the jump scare for any kind of fear. Sure, there are a number of creeping through hallway not sure what’s around the corner scenes to build tension, but the only time you really have any kind of fear in this one is when something (un?)expectedly jumps out at you. However, I felt it still needed to have a spot on this list as it’s one of the few movies that did more than a halfway decent job of adapting a video game into a feature-length movie. The movie really does capture the feel of the videogame, and while there have been multiple sequels, I don’t feel any of them have lived up to the original. In the end, this is a fun movie, and if you are a fan of the original videogame, then you are probably a fan of the movie. An important note, you don’t NEED to be familiar with the videogame to enjoy the movie, but I do think it helps.
Final Destination, March 17, 2000. I think this is an overlooked horror movie. It’s more of a comedy/horror in my eyes. There’s really no scare at all other than jump scares, but I love the concept. I was always a fan of playing the old mouse trap boardgame and love Rube Goldberg machines, that’s basically what this movie is. Multiple overly complex, frequently ridiculous sequences of events that wind up in somebody getting murdered because they escaped death when they were not supposed. There’s plenty of jumps, plenty of blood, if you’re like me there’s also plenty of laughs. Someday I may rewatch all of the Final Destination movies and put out a list of which ones are my favorite, I mean best, deaths, but I felt the original needed to be here just based on originality.
10 Cloverfield Lane, March 11, 2016. In my experience, the Cloverfield series of movies has always been very dividing. Almost everybody falls into one of three groups-I love the Cloverfield movies! (I believe this is the smallest group)… The Cloverfield movies are okay… I despise the Cloverfield movies with the heat of 1000 dying suns! (Seemingly the largest group) I fall in the middle, I’ve liked each of them to one degree or another, I again appreciated the originality and the way the larger story has been told. However, none of them really blew me away. But, the second Cloverfield movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane came the closest and in my opinion is definitely the best of the three when it comes to horror. My favorite horror movies are ones that are able to depict something (the environment, monsters, zombies etc.) as dangerous, terrifying and so on, BUT display that in these situations, much the same way as everyday life, humans can be the real terrors. 10 Cloverfield Lane does a really good job of this, and also is able to maintain a mystery throughout until the very end: is John Goodman’s character crazy, having given into conspiracy theories and a “fake videotape” from the first movie, or, was the first movie real and he has a good reason for hiding? Whether you are a fan of the overall story arc or not, I think this one is worth the time to check out just on its own, and you won’t have to deal with all of the shaking camera syndrome from the first!
Pontypool, March 6, 2009. Pontypool is a little known movie out of Canada with a virtually unknown cast, other than Stephen McHattie who has been in basically everything (Orphan Black, The Strain, 2012, multiple Star Trek shows. He has 216 acting credits on IMDb, you’ll recognize him). The movie itself is very low-budget, pretty much shot on one set, but incredibly original. Stephen plays the main character, a radio DJ in a very small town where people start getting sick and strange things are happening. I don’t want to give away the great concept as to how the disease spreads (which is not in any way plausible in our reality) but this movie really has a little bit of everything. Some great tension building, some good blood, some good jump scares, unique storyline. This is one that has very possibly eluded a lot of people, but I hope you give it a shot.
Psycho, March 8, 1960. While there are some movies I feel I need to leave off of this list because they are too obvious (like My Bloody Valentine last month), there’s no way to do that with Psycho. This movie is 62 years old and it is still AMAZING with some of the tension building. The scene at the top of the stairs STILL makes me jump! Some of the camera angles Hitchcock uses remain almost revolutionary today. You just don’t see them anywhere else. His ability, especially in this movie, to misdirect you into expecting something to happen in one part of the screen, and then coming at you from somewhere else completely is genius. Obviously, the blood and gore isn’t on par with movies of today and if that’s your gig, then you probably are not a Hitchcock fan. But, if you love some great storytelling and fantastic tension that you already know how great Psycho is!
Honorable Mentions: Dawn of the Dead (remake) March 19, 2003, Children of the Corn, March 9, 1984, The Birds, March 28, 1963.
And there you have it everyone, inarguably, the best 5 horror movies ever created and released in the month of March! Look forward to your comments and I’ll have another one out for you all next month.
Find Brian Laslo on his Patreon at: https://www.patreon.com/BLaslo