This weekend marks the 90th annual Academy Awards. And if that wasn’t cool enough, this year we have two, count ’em, two horror movies getting tons of love from the Academy. Yes, Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape Of Water and Jordan Peele’s Get Out are nominated for a bunch of Oscars, including top honors such as Best Picture and Best Director to name a few.
I don’t think I need to tell any of you guys that it is more than a rarity that a single horror film gets a single Oscar nomination, let alone two films in the same year snagging multiple top honors. This is truly a year to remember, folks. And it is with this in mind we wanted to take a look back at some horror films that SHOULD have received some Oscar love, but sadly didn’t.
So let’s get to it!
To start things off with a bang, John Carpenter’s Halloween is hands down one of the best and most beloved horror films of all time. How the film managed to snag zero Oscar nominations is kind of baffling. Nominations this film should have easily scored are Best Picture, Best Director (John Carpenter), Best Original Screenplay (John Carpenter and Debra Hill), and, duh, Best Score (John Carpenter). Again, how this film didn’t manage to garner even a best Sound Editing nomination is something we will all puzzle at for the rest of time.
David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows is a film that will stand the test of time, no question. Poignant, timely, and above all else, scary as all hell, the film is one of the few horror movies to garner universal love right out of the gate. And yet it didn’t get so much as single stature, let alone a “thanks for the effort.” Nominations this film should have gathered include Best Director (David Robert Mitchell), Best Actress (Maika Monroe), Best Cinematography (Mike Gioulakis), and Best Score (Rich Vreeland).
I know Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook is a film that has fallen out of favor with quite a few horror fans, but all the same, the movie was a tremendous effort by first-time director Kent and the film should have at least scored nominations for Best Director (Jennifer Kent), Original Screenplay (Jennifer Kent), Best Costume Design (Heather Wallace), and Best Actress (Essie Davis). However, the film scored zero nominations and has instead become an LGBT icon. Time is a strange beast.
How in the holy hell did Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece of horror The Shining get shut out of the Oscars? This is one of the biggest mind-blowers of all time. I mean Kubrick should have been a sure thing for a Best Director nod, along with a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay (which he co-wrote with Diane Johnson). And how Jack Nicholson didn’t get a nomination for Best Actor is about as balls-to-the-wall crazy as his performance. While the academy notoriously loves Kubrick and Nicolson, they seemed to forget the two Hollywood heavyweights existed when this film hit. So sad and too bad.
I might get a bit of guff for this entry but all the same, if nothing else, I truly believe that Kevin Williamson’s subversive screenplay should have scored a Best Original Screenplay nod. On top of that, I genuinely believe director Wes Craven desperately deserved a nod for his work as Best Director. Hell, and while we’re at it, how about a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Drew Barrymore? Her performance is a showstopper and one for the ages. I love Scream with all my heart and it deserved more. Plain and simple.
Okay, maybe when this film was initially released it was looked down upon by the powers that be as little more than an early example of torture porn. But with the amount of undying love the film has rightfully gathered over the years since, the Academy should have been progressive enough to nominate the film for AT LEAST Best Picture. And Sound Design. And Score. And Best Director. Etc. But no, the film was just too much of a gut-punch and the year’s Golden Statutes were better placed in the hands of Paul Newman and Robert Redford’s comedy crime caper The Sting. Okay, Academy. Whatever you say.
George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is yet another utter classic of the genre that remains yet another film snubbed by the Oscars. This film is the definition of a “game changer” and the fact that the Academy boarded up its windows as George A. Romero’s revolutionary black & white horror film came stumbling out of the drive-ins and up to the gates of Hollywood is a simple act of cowardice. Nominations the film should have easily snagged include Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay (George A. Romero and John Russo), Best Director (George A. Romero), and Best Cinematography (George A. Romero).
Writer-director Robert Egger’s period horror film The Witch blew the doors off the film world altogether when it hit a few years back. But then the Academy Awards hid their eyes from the horrors contained within and merely acted like it didn’t exist out there in the dark woods. For shame. Nominations this film should have conjured include Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay (Robert Eggers), Best Actress (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Best Director (Robert Eggers). Hell, Black Phillip even deserved a Best Scary-Ass Goat nomination. Sadly none of these nominations came to pass.
How did John Carpenter’s creature feature classic The Thing managed to sneak past the Oscars? It didn’t. The Academy just straight up ignored Carpenter’s triumph. This film, perhaps above all others should have snagged Carpenter his Best Director nomination (if not a full-on win). But considering the Academy turned their noses up to Kurt Russell’s beard (Best Beard should totally be a new category) it looks like Carpenter will never get the love he deserves for his contributions to the genre. Plus the fact that the film didn’t garner a Best Make-Up Effects nomination (let alone a clean-cut win) is something that just shows how much the Academy looks down on horror. And that is f*cking tragic.
The movie heard round the world aka Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In should have been able to sink its teeth into at least a nomination for Best Foreign Film. But the Academy wasn’t even up for offering the film that, so now we have to wonder about the ceremony’s legitimacy altogether (as if we didn’t already). Let the Right One In – and even Matt Reeves’ remake – deserved much more than the freezing cold shoulder they were presented with. Weak, weak, weak.
Director Neil Marshall’s The Descent is one of the few horror films of the past decade, or so, that everyone not only cowers in fear of, but respects like a f*cking Clint Eastwood motion picture. And for good reason too. The Descent should have slaughtered the Oscars back in 2006, but instead, it was “forgotten” in the darkness like its lead heroine. Great, now I’m all sad and introspective. Seriously this list is getting ridiculous! Where was the love for The Descent, Academy?! Ugh. The film should have been nominated for at least Best Director (Neil Marshall) and Best Original Screenplay (Neil Marshall).
Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game is a more recent entry on the list, and along with Get Out and The Shape of Water, should have snagged Oscar nominations galore. Maybe it’s because the film was released on Netflix? Maybe. Let’s just say that’s the reason the film didn’t score nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and – duh, Best Actress for Carla Gugino. Yeah, let’s just say it was because it was a Netflix original film. That’ll help me sleep at night… until the Moonlight Man appears with his box of nightmares and finger-bones that is.
I absolutely adored first-time writer-director Julia Ducournau’s French cannibal flick Raw. Sure it’s a hard film to stomach, no question about that, but thinking about how this fine film was completely snubbed for at least Best Actress (Julia Ducournau), Best Cinematography (Ruben Impens), and Best Foreign Film Oscar nominations makes me want to throw up worse than when I first peeped that Brazilian waxing scene in the film itself. Gack! I need a moment. Gack! What a gorgeously moving motion picture. Gack!
Writer-director Alejandro Amenábar’s gothic ghost story The Others is a super prestige horror film and should have conjured up multiple nominations. At the very least the film deserved nods for Best Director (Alejandro Amenábar) and Best Cinematography (Javier Aguirresarobe) with no questions asked. Along with that, the film should have been awarded Best Actress for Nicole Kidman and Best Nightmare Hag for the blind woman who loves to throw open closet doors all willy-nilly. But not a single nomination was sent The Others’ way. And to put it bluntly, that is bull and shit.
I know, right?? It is f*cking crazy to think that writer-director Dario Argento’s masterpiece of technicolor terror Suspiria didn’t get a nomination for Best Cinematography (Luciano Tovoli) or Best Score (Dario Argento and Goblin). I mean the film is a staple of gorgeous cinematography from our galaxy to the next, and Goblin’s score (“La, la, la, la, la, la, la”) is the stuff of nightmares on ice. You messed up here, Oscars. Screw you and your gold naked men. Dario Argento’s Suspiria is an utter masterpiece and you should all be ashamed of yourselves.
I love Stephen King’s novel “IT” more than I love my own children. Sure I don’t have any kids but still, the poor little ones are going to have their work cut out for them once they grace this mortal coil. It’s with this in mind that it surprises the hell out of me that I didn’t hate Andy Muschietti’s recent adaptation. In fact, I loved it. And the fact that the film didn’t gather any Oscar love is a crime that the likes of even Pennywise himself would be stunned at the sight of. Nominations the film should have scored with its hands tied behind its back are Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay (Chase Palmer, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Gary Dauberman), Best Supporting Actor (Bill Skarsgard) and Best Supporting Actress (Sophia Lillis).
To sum up here before I get too upset and start sending emails to no one in particular, let me say that three other films I believe needed more Oscar love. They are Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street (Best Director for Craven and Best Actor for Robert Englund), Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room needed nominations for every single category, and Fede Alvarez’s Don’t Breathe needed something, anything, even Best Sound Editing or whatever, just something. Urgh. Now my stomach hurts.
And there you have it. That is our rundown of horror films that deserved love from the Academy Awards but got nada. What do you think? Let us know below!
The 90th annual Academy Awards takes place on Sunday, March 4.
Exclusive: Talking Movie Theater Subscription Plans With Sinemia Founder Rifat Oguz
Have you heard of a monthly theatrical subscription service called MoviePass? More than likely by this point you have.
But what about Sinemia?
Via their official site, Sinemia is “a private movie club that provides discounted movie ticket subscription plans. Through a combination of easy to use technology and pre-paid debit cards, Sinemia has created an innovative solution for the movie-going experience.”
After announcing its U.S. launch, the high-end movie ticket subscription service was welcomed to the country with a lawsuit from competitor MoviePass.
Recently we had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Sinemia’s founder Rifat Oguz, and we talked about the services, the lawsuit, and our favorite movies in general.
Give the interview a look-see below and then let us know what you think!
Dread Central: First off, can you tell us a bit about how Sinemia works and what you offer?
Rifat Oguz: Sinemia offers different plans according to your movie watching frequency. The most popular one is 2 times in a month for $8.99. It’s free 2D or 3D tickets in any theater, for any movie, and includes features like reserved seating, the IMAX-4DX-XD-ScreenX-DBox experience, private screenings and more for one low monthly fee; support for advance ticket purchases and support for third-party ticket processors like Fandango.
DC: Where did the idea for Sinemia begin?
RO: I’ve always been passionate about movies. When I realized there were so many empty seats in movie theaters throughout the world, I decided to change that by developing an idea for a “movie ticket subscription” system.
DC: Sinemia is already leading the market in the United Kingdom, Canada, Turkey, and Australia. Can you talk a bit more about this?
RO: We don’t have any competitors, globally. Our only competitor is in the US. We are trying to create a global system for all the moviegoers on the planet.
DC: Why the move to the U.S.?
RO: Because the heart of the movie market is in the U.S.
DC: How does Sinemia differ from other services such as MoviePass?
RO: Firstly, we don’t track our subscribers or sell their personal data because we don’t need to earn money from data. We have a sustainable financial model. Our subscribers are our clients, not our product. As previously stated, Sinemia offers different plans according to your movie watching frequency.
DC: Speaking of MoviePass, the “rival” company recently filed a lawsuit Sinemia for “using its patented electronic payment technology without authorization.” Care to comment?
RO: MoviePass tries to block us because our sustainable and less restrictive model promises much more to customers and the overall movie market. The reason for their effort is to block serious, true competition.
DC: Where do you see Sinemia in 5 years?
RO: We believe that we’ll be giving service in all 5 continents to millions of movie lovers.
DC: I always end with this question: What’s your favorite scary movie?
RO: The Shining is a classic. But if you’re asking for a more recent movie, I think The Conjuring is my favorite.
Thanks for chatting with us today, Rifat!
For more info on Sinemia, visit the official site RIGHT HERE.
Brennan Went to Film School: These Aren’t Your Daddy’s Strangers
“Brennan Went to Film School” is a column that proves that horror has just as much to say about the world as your average Oscar nominee. Probably more, if we’re being honest.
WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
If you’re a die hard horror fan, you were probably pleasantly surprised when you sat down to watch The Strangers: Prey at Night, the decade-later sequel to Bryan Bertino’s potent little 2008 shocker, and discovered that it was a full-barreled homage to John Carpenter and synth-drizzled 80’s cinema. But once you scratch past the surface, it makes perfect sense why digs up the horror tropes of yesteryear.
You see, the movie is inherently about the war between two generations that has been playing out in the media over the past couple years. You’re probably familiar with the cavalcade of articles about millennials killing everything from the napkin industry to the lottery to Applebee’s. It always happens this way: older generations are frightened by the shifting tastes and perspectives of new generations, and the way a world shaped by them is going to look. It happened with the introduction of video games, rock ‘n roll, and even novels way back in the day.
Now the Internet age has made things especially frightening and unrecognizable. Kids and teens now have access to the broadest spectrum of information in human history, and their attempts to carve out their own identities alongside this rapid increase in social and political awareness have received a lot of pushback from the parents and authority figures in their lives.
The Strangers: Prey at Night is essentially about transposing that generational battle onto a grand, bloody canvas. On the micro scale, there’s the literal reason our family foursome is facing the evil trio of murders: their young daughter Kinsey has “behavioral issues” that frighten her parents, who just don’t understand, so they are sending her off to a boarding school. The trailer park where they’re staying on the way to drop her off becomes the site of their own gruesome demise. “Out of sight, out of mind” is the idea, but what they end up with is “out of time,” as the Strangers rip and slash their way through their faux domestic tranquility.
Which brings us to the macro side of things: The Strangers, along with being a literal dredging up of the past (these particular villains haven’t been onscreen for ten years – time sure flies, doesn’t it?), bring a whole horde of classic horror tropes and stylistic elements with them, from Adrian Johnston’s glorious synthwave score to the neon-splashed coloring to the Texas Chainsaw infused finale. In fact, the lead Baghead villain finds it impossible to kill without an 80’s track blaring on his truck’s stereo. He’s basically Baby Driver’s evil twin. All these elements of older horror films are the exact things being used to torture and terrify the teens in this trailer park.
In two entirely different contexts, the older generation is seeking to hold these kids back and prevent them from being independent, especially Kinsey, who finds herself a particular target for their torment.
But just as past generations always eventually surrender and give way to the new, the siblings in Prey at Night triumph over their attackers. The senseless, random violence that claimed the lives of the victims in the original Strangers is no match for this duo of smarter, more capable protagonists. They are able to unmask, unsettle, and eventually destroy the Strangers without the help of any adult.
It’s no coincidence that Kinsey uses the very symbol of her teen rebellion (a cigarette lighter she uses as a performative way to show just how punk she is) to escape certain death, by igniting a puddle of gasoline under the lead Stranger. The knife-wielding antagonists eventually go the way of Applebee’s thanks to two kids who strove to be more than their now-dead parents and succeeded, though certainly not in a manner any of them could have ever predicted.
Also, if you think about it, The Strangers: Prey at Night is in and of itself a child. It was born from the original film, but it feels completely different from its predecessor. It sees the plot and tone of that film and strikes off in its own new direction. Thus, the generational war plays out on the biggest scale possible for this universe: the very existence of the movie itself.
This constant battle between old and new has an inevitable conclusion, and the people who made The Strangers know it. This is a film for a new generation about a new generation, and the infinitely more connected kids we’re seeing these days are capable of a previously unimaginable strength and solidarity. That’s reflected in the less downbeat ending here, which shows that the new generation has a chance in battling the senseless violence and grim patterns of their parents.
With more understanding and self-actualization, they’re going to create a brand new world that would be unrecognizable to previous generations, though hopefully one that hasn’t forgotten just how awesome Carpenterian synthwave music is.
Brennan Klein is a writer and podcaster who talks horror movies every chance he gets. And when you’re talking to him about something else, he’s probably thinking about horror movies. On his blog, Popcorn Culture, he is running through reviews of every slasher film of the 1980’s, and on his podcast, Scream 101, he and a non-horror nerd co-host tackle horror reviews with a new sub-genre every month!
The Conjuring 2’s Elvis Scene Should Be Seen By Every Aspiring Filmmaker
What makes a horror movie actually scary? Is it the villains who threaten the lives of the protagonists? Is it the knowledge that anyone could meet his/her demise at any second? Is it the gore and viscera that sprays across the screen? Or is it something else, something deeper?
For me, horror only affects me deeply when I can empathize with what I’m seeing. As an example, it’s the reason that Dr. Gordon’s racking sobs towards the end of Saw caused tears to spring in my own eyes. The fact that we know that his family is safe only amplifies the anguish of the climax. I was begging for him to find some way of finding out what had happened so that he could find some semblance of peace. When he finally grabs the saw, my horror is met in equal measure with a terrifying understanding. This man thinks his family is being killed, so how can I fault him for doing what he’s doing? I can’t blame him or mock his decision, like I can in so many other horror situations. His love for his family, the guilt that encompasses him, it all spills over in a flood of fear, terror, and desperation. To this day, I still find the 3rd act of Saw emotionally difficult to sit through.
So what does this have to do with The Conjuring 2? Well, everything! What director James Wan has done with both films is he’s created a world where we spend time with the characters in ways that build up who they are rather than the situation they’re in. By taking the time to make me care about the characters, I care about what actually happens to them. And no scene in The Conjuring 2 enforces that point more than when Ed spots a guitar and plays Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
Here’s the scene I’m talking about:
I’m the kind of person who gets really uncomfortable with “cringe” videos and stories. If a comedy bases its humor on making fun of people rather than situations, I usually will hate it with every fiber of my being. I will pull my hood over my head and cover my eyes while putting my hands on my ears. I’ll do whatever I can to avoid the awkward uncomfortableness of the scene because it makes me feel like my entire body is crawling.
When Ed asks for the guitar, I originally thought, “Oh no, please don’t do this.” I was ready to curl up in the middle of the theater and suffer for the next few minutes. But what happened during that scene was quite possibly the most important part of the entire movie. After seeing the Hodgsons suffer without help and recognizing that each of them was basically at a breaking point, this interlude was a momentary, yet precious reprieve from seemingly unending fear. As an audience member, seeing those children smile and sing along with Ed Warren was, and still is, perhaps the best example of “heartwarming” I can think of.
But what’s more is what else is happening while Ed plays. It’s the sidelong glance he gives Lorraine that is full of love, a look reciprocated by her as we, the audience, see the love that these two have for each other only grow stronger. Because the film takes those few seconds to establish such a strong relationship, the later events are all the more dramatic. When Ed goes into the basement and the door locks behind him, the separation between him and Lorraine is heart-wrenching. Watching her pound on the door while crying his name between tears feels real because the story made it so.
It’s also seeing Peggy Hodgson as she sits behind her children, a huge smile on her face while she watches them sing along with Ed, brushing tears of happiness from her eyes occasionally. For all the struggles and horrors that they’ve endured, her love for her children has never waned and her want for them to have a wonderful, safe life is clearly apparent.
By building such strong relationships between the characters and, in turn, between the characters and the audience, any danger that they encounter feels all the more dramatic and threatening. Were I to not care about these characters, as I don’t in pretty much any Friday the 13th film or Amityville sequel*, then I would never be scared by the film. It’s because of my attachment to those on the screen that I feel terror.
To every aspiring filmmaker, I offer you my one piece of advice that I feel is the most important lesson of all: If you can make me care about your characters, you’ll make me care about your film.
*Not trying to bash these films. Just saying that they are definitely lacking when it comes to character development.
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