A few weeks ago, Blumhouse surprised horror fans with the surprise drop of Thriller on Netflix. A throwback to slashers like Prom Night, Thriller found a lot of love with audiences and we want to keep that train rolling!
To that end, we asked writer/director Dallas Jackson (interview) to put together a Dread X list where he picks 10 films that inspired his brand new slasher. While there are several classics on the list, there are a few movies that viewers may not have thought of as having had an influence. It’s a great list that showcases how cinema of all varieties can play a role in future titles.
“Years after a childhood prank goes horribly wrong, a clique of South Central LA teens find themselves terrorized during Homecoming weekend by a killer hell-bent on revenge.“
You can watch Thriller on Netflix.
This was the first movie that really freaked me out as a kid. I think because seeing the origin of Michael Myers as a child, seeing him kill his sister, and be sent away. Only to come back for his remaining sister. The camera movements and simple spookiness of Michael Myers is the genius of John Carpenter in his early stages.
The idea of a haunted car is just plain cool. The fact that the car could possess you and become “one soul” with you is also cool and so in-tune with how most people feel about their cars. I also just loved the simple of idea of a nerdy kid who finds a beat up car, fixes it up and not only does it make him cool, it allows him to get revenge gets against the crew who bully him. Another John Carpenter gem.
Nightmare on Elm Street
Another great horror villain origin story but Freddy Krueger had the power to invade your dreams and control them was something “new” on screen. Plus Freddy talked A LOT of shit and that just made him a very unique kind of villain. Wes Craven’s masterpiece.
Friday the 13th
I loved the revenge factor of this movie. A heartbroken mother who seeks revenge for those she feels are responsible for her son’s death, but you actually think it’s the son back from the dead… the double twist at the end has stayed with me for years.
Boyz in the Hood
The first inner-city drama of South Central LA that actually humanized the residence and gave you different kinds of people in an urban neighborhood. You had the gang-bangers but you also had smart teens, athletes, accountants (Laurence Fishburn’s Furious Styles still a classic on-screen black father figure) this movie broke so much ground for black film-makers and was the genius of John Singleton to capture South Central in its best and worst light. Something I wanted to do in Thriller with Compton.
Classic revenge story of a childhood bullying gone wrong and killer that returns for vengeance during Prom Weekend. This also made the idea of a Scream Queen come fully to light with Jamie Lee Curtis after Halloween. Some nice kills, including Jamie striking the killer with an ax in a bad-ass/cart-wheel move. Great twist at the end as well.
I thought this was unique in that it picked up on the SAME night as Halloween and built even more on the legend of Michael Myers. I keep debating if I do a sequel of Thriller, do I pick up the story where it left off or move forward in time. Halloween 2 proved you could return RIGHT to the scene of the crime and pick the story right back up. There’s something very cool about that.
Hitchcock was the definition of cinematic genius and that’s demonstrated in this film. He created the original psychological slasher movie with a twist ending. He also was responsible for creating the character of the “killer’s crazy mother”. Some of which I borrowed for Thriller.
This movie is just pure fun. It also provides insight into the hip-hop culture from a teen perspective which hadn’t really been captured in a comedy with a heart. There’s also some fantastic, music, comedy, and house party scenes. This is just a great movie and is right up there with Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles as a breakout teen-targeted film. Much respect to Reggie Hudlin who wrote/directed the film.
Wes Craven’s masterpiece is also a by-the-numbers breakdown of the slasher genre. I loved the archetype teen characters and wanted to apply that formula of types to Thriller. The jock, the good girl, the bad girl, the nerd etc, but all with a twist who have sealed their own fate. Scream really re-invented the genre with an injection of tongue in cheek humor. Kevin Williamson’s script is brilliant and Wes Craven proved once again why he was the master of the genre.