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MattFini’s Halloween Top 10 Lists: Overlooked Slashers

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It’s hard to surprise people when putting together a list of the best slasher movies and, in the interest of doing so, I thought I’d exclude all the genre mainstays from the list. This list doesn’t necessarily represent the “ten best”, but rather some of the slasher subgenre’s more ‘overlooked’ offerings.

MattFini's Halloween Top 10 Lists: Overlooked Slashers

10. The Mutilator (1985)

It can be argued that this film’s greatest asset is its amazing tag line (By Pick, By Sword, By Axe, Bye Bye!), but that’s doing a bit of disservice to director Buddy Cooper’s only attempt to run with the slasher big dogs.

First we’ve got one of the most preposterous killer motivations in the subgenre: a child, cleaning his father’s gun in an attempt to gleam his daddy’s affections, accidentally shoots his mother dead. Dad comes home, flips his lid and viola! Instant slasher!

If you track down the uncut version, you’ll get the goods when it comes to slasher mayhem – especially in that infamous hook scene. And dig, if you can, that annoying Fall Break song. I can’t say I love it, but it makes me laugh every time.

9. The Deadly Intruder (1984)

Unless you can’t get enough of them 80’s slashers, you’d do best to mosey on away from director John McCauley’s attempt to turn Halloween into a domestic thriller.

Following one of the most implausible institution escapes you’ll ever see, a psycho killer sets his sights on a small dinner party (populated by none other than Danny Bonaduce). There’s gratuitous nudity (courtesy of our heroine, Molly Cheek), ridiculous red herrings and some of the most ill-fated slasher fodder I can recall (check out the fate of the poor telephone line repairman). And if that’s not enough, you’ve got some of the most “hands off” cops ever seen – complete with farting dog!

Deadly Intruder isn’t great, but it’s a wholly entertaining slice of 80s slasher madness, with all of the violence and nudity you could hope for. Why, oh why, isn’t this on DVD yet?

8. Hospital Massacre aka X-Ray (1982)

The early 1980s weren’t the best time to be in the healthcare industry as it seemed like every few months another slasher was busy carving up the staff members of their local hospitals. In between Halloween II and Visiting Hours came Hospital Massacre, in which a diabolical madman targets Playboy Playmate of the year, Barbi Benton.

Barbi checks into a hospital for some routine tests but soon finds herself at a madman’s mercy. Having switched out her results for some that will keep her confined (against her will), he comes after her with a vengeance. There’s some solid gore on display through decapitations, stabbings and a nasty ‘axe to the head’ bit, and Benton shows us the goods in a gratuitous examination scene.

If you can swallow the notion that Benton somehow becomes trapped against her will, Hospital Massacre brings its A-game and slasher fans will not be disappointed.

7. Intruder aka Night of the Intruder / Night Crew: The Final Checkout (1989)

Having spent ten years of my life working in a grocery store, I’d often find myself thinking back to Scott Spiegel’s night crew-based slasher flick when my least favorite co-workers would work night crew. In this movie, a small town grocery store is slated to close down; only somebody doesn’t want that to happen!

Raimi brothers, Sam and Ted, are on hand as victims in this fast-paced slasher flick (with Sam’s death being one of the most vicious). Our killer’s identity isn’t especially difficult to determine, but the wide variety of gory deaths more than make up for the lack of surprises. Director Scott Spiegel makes great use of the setting and the 80 minute run time zips by.

This one’s as fun as they come.

6. Return to Horror High (1987)

In 1982, Crippen High was devastated by a series of brutal murders, but the killer was never caught. Flash forward a few years and a team of low budget filmmakers have descended onto Crippen’s grounds to recount the tragic story. Of course, that pesky, uncaught killer also comes a calling …

This one is plays it up for laughs, and the murder sequences are admittedly a bit on the silly side (the Biology teacher is pinned to his desk and sliced open), but these guys were trying to do something different within the subgenre. It’s not a high body count, but we’ve got more twists and turns than you can keep track of and the cast – yeah, Clooney’s in here – is fun to watch. Alex Rocco, in particular, is a standout as the sleazy producer.

I’m also a big fan of the theatrical trailer, which doesn’t have much to do with the movie but makes for one hell of an image!

5. Silent Scream (1980)

One of the most criminally neglected genre films, Silent Scream isn’t all about the body count, making a solid effort to build lots of ambiance through its ‘old, dark house’ setting, which means it’s worth a look for those among you who don’t revel in dead teenagers (shame on you!).

We’ve got the creepy house, a truly crazed slasher and an attempt to give Psycho a run for its money not only with a shower scene, but also in a young man with mommy issues. The pace is slow, but it builds suspense, unfolding into a very memorable climax.

One of the classiest of all slasher films, this one won’t please those who want an endless display of sex and violence, but it’s among the most well-crafted. Rumors are that we’ll be getting a DVD release sometime in the near future, let’s hope it turns out to be ture.

4. Slaughter High (1986)

”Marty majored in cutting classmates.” And that tagline doesn’t lie, either. Here, one of our most diabolical slashers somehow stages a dummy five year reunion and successfully manages to lure back all of those who wronged him.

Don’t watch this one unless you’re fully prepared to roll with the stupid: Characters react in ways which go beyond dumb, and this five year high school reunion is home to the oldest looking twenty three year olds of all time (a popular, but valid criticism). But Marty’s jester mask gives him an intimidating presence, despite the nonsense, and this one dabbles in some solid gore (just make sure you’re getting the uncut version).

Harry Manfredini, Mr. Friday the 13th, supplies us with a vaguely familiar score, and Caroline Munro is one hell of a sexy final girl. Plus, there’s enough hijinks here for three movies. Nah, it’s not really that good. It’s awesome.

3. Satan’s Blade (1984)

This slasher mixes elements of the supernatural in with the ‘stalk and slash’ formula and the end result makes for one of the best!

When some poor sod stumbles across an old, cursed knife, our soon-to-be madman becomes possessed by an evil spirit and goes on an immediate rampage at a nearby ski lodge. Lots of attractive college girls fall victim to the blade and there’s a really nice, claustrophobic feel within the isolated ski lodge.

This one has its share of clunky bits, but also enough mainstays to keep slasher fans happy. I’m not sure why this one has become so much of a rarity over the years as it’s worthy of rediscovery. If you’re a fan of masked madmen, track it down.

2. Madman (1981)

Okay, this one isn’t really that overlooked. It’s got a fairly steady following and the OOP DVD has become a highly sought after collector’s item on eBay. But, you know what? I’m such a fan that I’m including it here.

From the opening campfire story (distinguished because our main character sings it) to the genuinely creepy first appearance of Marz, right down to the classic ‘hood decap’, this one is a must see. You’ve also got a hot tub love scene that defies description and one of the very best endings in the subgenre’s history.

Marz is an intimidating killer, to be sure, and that’s more than enough reason to recommend this one. See it on the big screen if you can to realize just how much of a difference the theatrical experience can be!

1. Just Before Dawn (1981)

The Oregon mountains are the setting for this slasher flick, which pits five twenty-somethings against a backwoods, hillbilly killer. The deaths aren’t plentiful, but each of them memorable. Most notably is Jamie Rose’s ill-fated skinny dipping sequence. Gregg Henry is quite good as the tough guy survivalist who grows weaker as the movie gets longer and Deborah Benson’s short, short, short s are almost worth the price of admission alone.

Plus, you have to love the way in which our killer is bested in this one – one of the very best scenes the subgenre has to offer. Director Jeff Lieberman makes fantastic use of the nature setting and moves the action along quite nicely.

Suspenseful and bloody, it’s easy to forgive some of the nonsensical character behavior because everything else is executed so perfectly.

MattFini

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13 Lesser Known Found Footage Films That Just Might Restore Your Faith in the Genre.

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Found Footage.” Are there any two words as polarizing in the horror community? Once the cutting edge of indie horror, now the simple utterance of the words is enough to turn people away at the door. To be fair, it’s not like the genre has been kind to us. For every quality film like The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity, there are dozens of films that can only be described as, “some dude had three friends and a camera.” Even major theatrical releases are no guarantee of quality.

Personally, I have some kind of sick obsession with found footage. I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve whittled away on Amazon Prime, scrolling through the unending horde of found footage, searching for the next diamond in the rough. I have watched so many groups of friends get trapped in abandoned asylums that I could probably draw a map from memory. Seriously, I don’t even need their contrived reason to get locked in whatever building overnight anymore. I just assume their goal is to get ghosted to death.

People often ask me why I torture myself so, usually as they walk into the living room and witness a version of Ted that has become more couch than person. Maybe I am just an eternal optimist, genuinely believing that this next one might just be great. Maybe I really like the gritty, indie feel. Or maybe I just hate myself. Regardless, every once in awhile I do stumble across something that shows me just what the found footage style is capable of.
Now, I get that a lot of people are just sick of found footage. Spurned too many times and drowning in crap, many have decided to board the S.S. The Genre Is Dead To Me and sail above seas of shit looking for dry land. But wait, what’s that in the distance? It’s Ted, manning the lighthouse to safe harbor. After years of diving through the roiling waves of turd, here and there I’ve found some gems. So let me take you on a journey of the 13 Lesser Known Found Footage Films That Might Just Restore Your Faith in the Genre.


13) Final Prayer/The Borderlands (2013)

Now, stop me if you’ve heard this one. A priest, religious brother, and cameraman walk into a church. The ghost in the alter goes, “ooga booga.” Someone lights a sheep on fire. General spookiness ensues.

My favorite kind of movies are those that throw in a twist that makes you go, “wait, the fuck just happened?” If this were a list of most unexpected endings, Final Prayer (known as The Borderlands outside of the US) would be way closer to the top. Mixing religious skepticism with a hefty amount of spooks, Final Prayer bucks found footage trends by having characters you actually care about. There’s a bit of spotty logic (especially in the “who found this footage” department), but by the time the end rolls around you will be genuinely disturbed.


12) Afflicted (2013)

Answer quickly and honestly: would you be a vampire? Of course you would. Supernatural powers, living forever, homoerotic undertones with Tom Cruise, sounds great. If only you didn’t have to kill people to maintain your unholy existence… It’s that pesky little killing people catch that most people fail to really think about. It’s always touched upon in vampire movies, but is vastly overshadowed by the sexiness of eternal life and beauty. You just can’t really buy that the vampire is super upset about their endless bloodlust when they just look so fabulous while brooding.

Afflicted does things differently by taking this personal struggle and making it the focus of the film. Protagonist Derek Lee suffers from AVM, a malformation of the brain that can cause his death at any moment. Deciding to live life to the fullest rather than spend it in fear, Derek and his best friend Clif decide to travel the world. Documenting their trip for a series they call “Ends of the Earth,” their plans are altered dramatically when Derek comes down with a bad case of vampirism. Initially reveling in his new found strength and vitality, things take a darker turn when the bloodlust turns Derek into little more than an animal.

This is one of the rare films where the found footage style really works to enhance the film. You get an intimate sense of Derek’s personal struggle, caught in an impossible situation with no easy answer. But the story isn’t the only thing that sets Afflicted apart from other found footage films. The camerawork is smooth and clear, without any of the cheap “static” effects so common to the genre. It makes the frequent action scenes far more impressive, since you can actually see what’s going on. Even if you’re not a fan of found footage, chances are you’ll like Afflicted.


11) Rorschach (2015)

If I were to pick one reason why people are so tired of found footage, it would be that it’s predictable. Four friends investigating an asylum, you say? Perhaps you should start by establishing some pointless romantic tension that won’t enhance the plot at all. Maybe have a few false start scares involving puckish pranks and people jumping in front of the camera. Don’t forget to have a door close behind the main characters when none of them are looking! Nothing says spooky like ghosts emulating a strong breeze.

Now by all logic, Rorschach should have been a movie that did nothing special. Following a pair of paranormal investigators looking into a single mother and her daughter’s haunting, it’s the stock standard setup to a forgettable found footage movie. Hell, it’s even got a creepy doll, in case just plain ghosts wasn’t unoriginal enough. I watched the whole thing on YouTube of all places, and from minute one you can tell that these are amateurs with no budget.

So how come it’s on this list? Despite the clear lack of experience and budget (or perhaps even enhanced by it), Rorschach manages to feel incredibly real. The haunting is subtle, with small things like scratching at the walls and sweaters falling off of chairs. Shit never goes full crazy, and even during the film’s climax the most the ghost does is slam some doors. Hell, no one even dies in the movie, which must be a found footage first. If you’re looking for a slower burn that actually manages to use the found footage style to feel real and believable, Rorschach might just surprise you.


10) They’re Watching (2016)

A long long time ago in a galaxy far far away, I wrote a glowing review for They’re Watching in conflict with another Dread Central critic. It’s pretty rare that I’d outwardly go against another contributor like this, as even I must admit I’m frequently wrong about shit. Hell, I think I even gave The Gallows a 4/5 at some embarrassing point in the past. But in the case of They’re Watching, I just couldn’t keep quiet. This film is simply glorious.

I’ll have to curtail this a bit by saying that I don’t think anyone will be actually scared during They’re Watching. It’s pretty damning to say that a horror movie isn’t scary, but They’re Watching definitely leans to the comedy side of the horror/comedy marriage. From Moldovan Nathan Fillion to the bitchy producer Kate, the exaggerated characters give the movie far more life than your typical found footage fare. There’s a ton of little things they do to spice up the world, even inventing their own fake chocolate bar that you’d have no idea was fake if you didn’t google it.

But the real reason this movie is here is the ending. Oh sweet Jesus, the ending. It goes from a pretty subdued but believable comedy to 11/10 schlock in a split second. The glorious final 15 minutes are a cavalcade of gore and debauchery worthy of a Cenobite orgy. The first time I saw it, I literally hurt myself laughing. A dude gets turned into a pile of frogs for Christ’s sake. It’s the closest man will ever come to filmmaking perfection.


9) Marble Hornets (2009-2014)

When Slender Man first graced the Something Awful message boards back in 2009, no one could have predicted it would eventually lead to two girls stabbing someone in the woods. In the years since its creation, Slender Man has gone from obscure meme to full blown cultural icon. He’s got his own video game, several indie films, and billions of amateur knockoff stories. Chances are you’re already sick of Slender Man, and he hasn’t even gotten his major motion picture debut yet.

Chances are you have no idea about the long and complicated history of Slender Man. While not technically in the public domain, the character has been shaped by the modern internet zeitgeist. He’s more of a campfire story than a character, growing and changing with each new telling. And no Slender Man tale has been more influential than “Marble Hornets.”

Now I will warn you, don’t try to get into “Marble Hornets” unless you are willing to dive in head first. The series is 92 episodes long, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are numerous side channels, interwoven plots, and full blown theory boards that you’ll have to check out if you want to get the whole pictures. An entire alternate world has been set up around the events of the series, and the world is vast. This really is way more than just a series of YouTube videos.

As for the series itself, it’s undeniably rough. The acting is very stiff, and camerawork amateur. Camera malfunctions are now cliché, but “Marble Hornets” takes them to the max. Expect grating audio distortion and nauseating visual cuts in every single episode. But it’s part of what gives the series its charm. There’s so much going on, so vaguely explained and hinting at something much larger, that it practically begs you to comb through every episode looking for every detail. You’ll scan the screen, looking for something out of place in every scene. There’s really nothing else like this out there, something that you can really get lost in.


8) The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007)

I really struggled with putting this movie on the list. I’ve watched The Poughkeepsie Tapes twice, and doubt I ever will again. It’s not that the movie is bad. It’s just far too effective. The Poughkeepsie Tapes legitimately disturbs me.

Following the exploits of a serial killer that comes to be known as “The Water Street Butcher,” the footage they find is all filmed by the killer. We get to see first hand the killer’s sadistic exploits, and all too intimately. Without ever showing his face or explaining his motivations, we still get a sense of exactly who this man is. He’s pure evil.

The actual tapes themselves are sufficiently disturbing, but it’s only part of the picture. The crime documentary style interviews giving some context to his methodology paints an even larger pictures of a man who is not only sick, but incredibly intelligent. He does everything he can to avoid detection, tricking investigators at every turn. The extents that he goes to in services of his killing spree are truly fucked up. This is a game to him, and every move leaves a trail of bodies.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes created a villian that genuinely upset me. He isn’t some force of nature like Jason Voorhees or simple maniac like Leatherface. He’s methodical, calculating, and infinitely sadistic. He is the worst mankind has to offer, and his tapes give us shots into his depraved world. The scene towards the end with Cheryl sickened me. I don’t like The Poughkeepsie Tapes, but I respect the hell out of it.


7) Savageland (2015)

When you think “found footage,” you think shaky camcorder footage of a forest/abandoned asylum/whichever actor’s apartment had the least amount of empty pizza boxes. Savageland does things a bit different, with the footage in this case being from a camera, and not the moving picture kind. Styled like a crime documentary, the pictures tell the story of a horrifying attack by unknown forces on a small Arizona border town. The official story is that the sole survivor, an illegal immigrant and amateur photographer named Francisco Salazar, went on a killing spree and murdered the whole town. The story that his pictures tell is quite different.

You might think that telling a story through a series of photographs is counterintuitive, but the constraints give Savageland a unique feel. You never really get a clear picture (no pun intended) of what exactly is going on, instead piecing together the general story through individual moments. Salazar is dead by the time the cameras start rolling, so the various experts and theorists can only speculate as to what actually went down. It keeps you engaged, and lets the plot evolve past the simple monsters/zombies/demons/whatever they are. Fair warning, this does get fairly political, intersecting the struggle of an illegal immigrant in the US justice system with the monster story. It grounds Savageland in some reality, making it feel more like a true story than your typical horror movie.


6) Noroi: The Curse (2005)

I discovered the works of Kōji Shiraishi back when I was on a J-horror kick in college (read as trying to hook up with edgy anime chicks). Not widely known to western audiences, Shiraishi has made a number of found footage films that are all worth checking out. There are actually quite a lot of Japanese found footage films you’ve probably never heard of, including a direct sequel to Paranormal Activity called Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Nights. But when it comes to which one to recommend the most, Noroi was an easy pick.

Noroi sets itself apart by avoiding pretty much every single cliché you’ve come to expect from found footage. Practically devoid of jump scares, this slow burn relies on atmosphere and storytelling to slowly fill you with uneasy dread. You aren’t going to jump out of you seat (maybe at the end), but it will make you squirm. There’s an inescapable tension that permeates the film, like something terrible is lurking just behind a curtain. While most found footage movies would rip the blinds aside and have a screaming ghost jump at the screen, Noroi is content to just let you stare and try to make out its figure while the real monster slowly sneaks up behind you.


5) WNUF Halloween Special (2013)

This might be the most “found footage” found footage movie of all time. Rather than being comprised of some shit the cops found in the woods and then inexplicably edited together to make a movie, WNUF Halloween Special is designed to emulate a home VHS recording of a local news broadcast. No need to explain away the editing or wonder why they are still filming. Someone just popped in the VHS, hit record, then stuck the final product in a shoe box.

This is another that falls more on the comedy side of the horror/comedy scale, but I doubt you’ll mind. The stellar performances and spot-on tone perfectly emulates a small town local news broadcast from the 80’s. It takes you back to another era, complete with hokey commercial breaks for local businesses and segments where it fast forwards. Sure, it’s not very scary, but it’s endlessly enjoyable. Even having seen it a few times, it still manages to slap a smile on my face.


4) Dark Secrets (2013)

I have yet to meet a single other person that has seen “Dark Secrets.” It was on Netflix a while back, hidden in some non-category away from mortal eyes. I honestly don’t even remember how I stumbled on it, but I’m glad I did.

“Dark Secrets” is a 10 episode, single season show that mixes SCP, “Unsolved Mysteries,” and “The Twilight Zone.” Now if that sounds awesome to you, it should. I seriously have no idea why this isn’t more well known. The premise is that during a demolition of an abandoned industrial building, a locked door is found in the basement. Inside is an archive of all sorts of strange paranormal events, collected by an unknown individual known only as The Teller. Building on these files, the show interviews various witnesses and experts to try to get the whole story.

Now of course none of this is real, but there’s a hilarious trend on the IMDb page of people not getting that. Seriously, some of the major criticisms against this show are people saying that they think it’s a hoax. This is a show where the first episode is about a house that eats people. You have to give it credit for emulating a real “Unsolved Mysteries” type show so well that people thought a house eating people was supposed to be taken at face value.


3) Ghostwatch (1992)

Long before The Blair Witch Project would revolutionize film by making a generation of horror fans consistently motion sick, Ghostwatch shocked the UK. Styled to emulate a live BBC broadcast, Ghostwatch follows a group of reporters as they document the haunting of a single mother and her two daughters. Hounded by a ghost they call “Pipes,” the otherworldly assaults steadily escalate as the night continues. Unlike most other found footage films, it doesn’t just stick with the camera crew the whole time, instead switching between the studio footage and the crew at the house.

The effect is quite convincing, enough so that it caused a War of the Worlds style panic when it first aired. It’s reported that the BBC switchboards lit up with people trying to call into the “live” program, and there are actual reported cases of PTSD from children traumatized by the program. It was… a more innocent time. With decades of found footage seasoning my cynical mind, it doesn’t quite pack the same punch when watched today.

It doesn’t really matter though, since the movie is just damned scary. This is one of those films that really lives up to the promise of found footage. Things happen on screen that the characters don’t notice, and it’s up to the viewer to spot it. As recently as 2016 there have been new sightings of Pipes in the background of various shots. This is a film you can pick apart frame by frame to find all the hidden goodies. On top of that, it’s also damned scary. The haunting extends past the four walls of the family’s home, bleeding out to everyone watching. For the people that were fooled into thinking it was real, the effect must have been terrifying.


2) Lake Mungo (2008)

More than just a great found footage film, Lake Mungo is one of my favorite horror films, period. It’s my trump card when I need a movie I know both horror and non-horror fans will like. I’ve shown this to horror nuts, girlfriends, even my mother. All the while it still manages to be both interesting and genuinely frightening.

I don’t want to give too much of Lake Mungo away, as experiencing the twists and turns is a lot of what makes the film special. This isn’t what you expect. It’s about a haunting, but it becomes more than that. Aided by fantastic performances and a gradual pace that lets you come to know the characters naturally, the emotional core of Lake Mungo is miles above what you typically expect from horror. This movie will really get to you in ways you don’t expect.

It also doesn’t rely on cheap scares to be terrifying. A lot of build comes from simple descriptions from the main cast, making you wonder what you’re actually in store for. When the actual ghost does reveal itself, it’s slow, and without clear purpose. When you finally finish the film and it all comes together, you’ll want to go back to see what you missed the first time. This is a film that definitely benefits from repeat viewings. And if you’re like me, that won’t be a problem.


1) The Tunnel (2011)

If there is a theme for this list, it’s that the best found footage movies are the ones that do things different. There’s only so much you can get from four friends running around a dark building while doors slam. What makes The Tunnel exceptional is how it takes this basic premise and polishes it to a mirror shine.

The Tunnel follows an Australian news crew as they investigate a series of abandoned railway tunnels that have been mysteriously cordoned off by the government. Switching between present day interviews with the crew and the footage of their experience in the tunnels, you quickly find that there’s something far more sinister than they expected. While a story about four people being chased by a monster in the dark is pretty much the definition of stock standard found footage, the skipping of time and differing accounts raises it above its peers. The characters feel very real, and their different perspectives on what happened (and who to blame) gives the story a lot of mileage. The monster is also scary as shit, so bonus points.


Chances are, you aren’t going to like every movie on this list. That’s okay. I’m not trying to sell you on every found footage movie. Rather, I’m just trying to show you that found footage is far from dead. It might be stale, but that’s just because people keep doing the same thing with it. Between these 13 movies, you can see a wild variety that defies being crammed into a little box.

Now as you all know, Dread Central has partnered with Epic Pictures. Epic recently released The Monster Project on Amazon Prime, which a surprising amount of people I know are giving a pass simply because it’s found footage. It’s troubling to me, since I found The Monster Project to be a hell of a lot of fun.

Hopefully, something on this list will surprise and delight you. And if it does, maybe it’ll open up your heart a little to found footage. Not all the way of course, not everyone can binge watch crap like I can. But enough to at least give new found footage movies a second glance. Then maybe check out The Monster Project. It’s got a vampire, demon, and werewolf, all at the same time!

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Four Things You May Have Overlooked in IT

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This week saw the home video release of Andy Muschietti’s IT (review), the 2017 horror smash success that brought in nearly $700 million worldwide, a staggeringly high number for any genre of film, much less horror. Since the film has hit shelves at your local retailer, we wanted to do a fun little post where we highlight four moments in the film that you may have missed the first time you saw it.

In fact, it’s little things like this that keep me coming back to revisit movies multiple times. There’s a certain amount of joy in watching a movie and finding something new, even if it’s small. It gives you a reason to love that film all over again, all because you can appreciate one of those “little things” that are so precious and delightful.

So, without further ado, here are four things that you possibly overlooked when watching IT!


1) The Creepy Library Lady

Alright, this is probably the most obvious one but considering the intensity of the scene, it’s theoretically possible that this one slipped you by.

When Ben is in the library researching the dark and bloody past of Derry, there’s a woman in the background (who is never focused on directly) who stops looking at whatever books are in her aisle so that she can stare extremely creepily at him. She even appears closer and closer with each revisit to a shot of Ben, her presence looming like a shadow who just so happens to be wearing a grandmotherly floral dress, a dark grin adorning her face.

Then, when Ben gets up to investigate the mysterious red balloon that seemingly levitates across the room, that lovely, terrifying old lady is right back at the books, acting like she wasn’t just the creepiest thing to happen in the past few minutes. I’m onto you, Granny. I’m onto you…


2) The Upside-Down Chumash

This is one that many people may overlook simply because they don’t know Hebrew! When Stan is practicing for his Bar Mitzvah, his father chides him for his mistakes, seemingly disgusted that the “son of a rabbi” could do so poorly. Whatever will the townsfolk think of him if his progeny says “Barook” instead of “Baruch”?

Fed up, Stan’s father tells him to take his Chumash to the study, whereupon Stan closes it to reveal a slight and quite humorous goof: the Chumash is upside-down!

As a Jew, I’ll be the first to admit that Hebrew can be a very strange looking language to those who don’t see it with any frequency. In fact, I found this error to be kind of endearing instead of offensive, as some might think. It’s such a harmless, innocent mistake that I can’t help but shake my head with a smile and wish I’d been there to wordlessly flip the book around, pat Wyatt Oleff’s shoulder, chuckle a bit, and walk away.

“No gelt for you this Hanukkah!”


3) Pennywise’s Pyramid

This one falls more into the realm of trivia than something that might’ve been overlooked, especially because we never really got a clear, up close look at Pennywise’s sewer pyramid. However, I can tell you from having been on the set of IT that the tower of clothing and toys has a very cool little gimmick behind it: as you go higher up on the tower, the more you’ll notice that the clothes are cleaner and the toys are newer. That’s because Pennywise has been doing this for so long that he continuously stacks all those belongings on top of the old ones, leaving antiques at the bottom and more modern items at the top. Next time you watch the movie, see if you can spot this in those rare moments where the camera is higher up on the pyramid!

“This better not be some clown pyramid scheme, I swear to God…”


4) Tim Curry’s Pennywise

This one might be me cheating a little since I wrote about this after a trailer for the film had been released. That being said, not everyone who saw the movie saw my post, which is why I’m bringing this back up.

When the kids venture into the Neibolt St. house, there’s a part where Richie is locked in a room with a ton of clown statues and dolls. Filled with coulrophobia, Richie is clearly terrified and haunted by these overly cheerful visions. But one particular design stands out amongst the others because it’s a direct homage to Tim Curry’s design from the 1990 miniseries. Bearing that same elongated, porcelain head and the bright red skullet (it’s a thing, I promise), there’s no denying this nod to Tommy Lee Wallace’s adaptation.

“Is this some kind of weird “Take your kid to work day” thing I’m not aware of?”


You can pick up IT on Blu-ray through Amazon.


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The Best Horror Films of 2017 as Picked by the Dread Central Staff

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2017 is officially in the can, and it’s time for the Dread Central staff to compile all their “best of” lists into one neat little index for you to click on and swim through! Pull up a chair, and check ’em out!

According to our staff Raw (review), Kong: Skull Island (review), and Get Out (review) were this year’s big winners appearing on 4 lists each.

Runners Up: Stephen King’s IT, Gerald’s Game, Brawl in Cell Block 99, The Babysitter, Cult of Chucky, and Devil’s Candy.

What were YOUR picks? Tell us in the comments section below!

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