I have this thing with horror movies - horror as a genre in general in fact.
I’ve read scary books since Goosebumps were a thing but they did not sate the dark need that I had for reading about macabre occurrences. I moved on to Fear Street and Point Horror which had some twisted ideas but I was still left wanting because they were not graphic enough.
That was when, as a teenager, I moved over to adult horror. The gore, the sex, the language. Oh how I loved it. I read my first Dean Koontz when I was about 13 years old and have never looked back.
My passion for horror didn’t just stop at books. I recall going to the video store (yes VIDEO store) as a little girl and hiring horror movies on VHS. I have no idea how I got it right, how the sales people allowed me to check them out or how my parents allowed me to watch them. But I had this fascination with being scared.
If I think about it, my childhood was tumultuous, filled with lots of tears and confusion, it was difficult growing up as a scared little girl. I think what I did was take my literal fear and replace it with the fear that horror movies put in me. Instead of being sad at my life and situation, I could focus my attention on the monster that was going to get me when I flushed the toilet instead. It was slightly cathartic, releasing my pain as the fear of a villain manifested. Not the healthiest, but it was something I guess.
As I grew up, that turbulent lifestyle sort of waned away. I mostly forgot about my childhood or at least no longer dwelled on it in my adult years. Eventually I moved into my own place where the thought of watching horror movies terrified me beyond measure because living alone frightened me on a daily basis.
As a female living in South Africa, I am a generally paranoid and fearful person of the harsh realities that are our lives. I once slept with a pair of scissors because I heard scary noises outside my bedroom. What I was going to do with those scissors, I am not too sure.
But since moving in with my boyfriend I have almost been freed up of that burden. Granted he does come home after dark sometimes, but his presence is my safety.
And since the installation of fibre and paying for Netflix, a world of horror has been opened up.
Not just any horror – but some super crappy, low budget, poor acting horror.
I watch it now with a strange fascination. Chasing that slight fear high but also giggling at the atrocious quality every now and again. I have set myself a task to watch every horror movie available on Netflix. It’s a tough job but I am brave enough to put myself to the test. I won’t give away any spoilers, just my take on each movie that I have watched so far.
This article has been a few months in the making and finally I can report back on what I have seen:
Satanic: featuring Haley from Modern Family. The ending was ridiculous. I don’t know why she agreed to act in it.
American Poltergeist: the name is a misnomer because it is utter garbage.
American Poltergeist 2: HORRIBLE. The acting is probably the worst I have ever seen. Do not waste your time with this one
Most likely to die: pretty bad. They went for gruesome but again the ending was pathetic.
The secrets of Emily Blaire: it is a creepy idea. A random lady becoming possessed. She did pull off the scary demonic performance pretty well but average at best.
Dead Silence: dead boring. This was about a killer ventriloquist dummy. I couldn’t even finish it.
Circle: Horrible. A movie with two entire locations. The first being a game room where a whole bunch of people get killed by the random thing in the middle and they have to figure out who is next. Lame
I am the pretty thing that lives in the house: weird. I was working while it was on but it didn’t strike me as very scary. The lady’s voice was very eerie. She speaks in this soft tinny whisper that crackles and fades in and out a lot. That was pretty creepy but everything else was based on shadows and there was quite a lot of glare on the TV so I couldn’t see much.
Friday the 13th Part 7: The new Blood: terrible. Basically low budget porn with some hilarious murders thrown in.
1920 London: I put up with this one because I recently returned from an overseas trip to London. But it turned out it was like a Bollywood style. The first then minutes contained singing and dancing and subtitles. I don’t mind subtitles if the movie is good. I fast forwarded through the singing, and the acting was horrific. In the end I couldn’t make it through the entire atrocity.
Krampus the Christmas Devil: not the one with Adam Scott in it, cos that one is totally enjoyable. It started off in a documentary style and then some very horrible actors began performing. I could not sit through the whole thing.
Clowntergeist: this was on YIFY. Absolutely terrible. I could literally see his skull cap as he was pretending to be the demon clown.
13 Ghosts: I recall this movie terrifying me in back 2001. Watching it again, it was just OK.
Lake Placid: I remember when this came out in 1999 and being fearful of giant crocodiles. It’s very average but at least it has Mad Eye Moody in it.
Zombie Strippers: horrible. Full nudity is about the best that you will get from this. Everything else is just terrible.
Tale of Halloween: HORRIBLE. The acting is atrocious. They have a bunch of short films all put together. Good to watch on Halloween if you don’t really want to scare anyone and rather just bore them with poor acting.
The Presence: I didn’t see too much of this as I was editing but I was strapped for choice with movies. This is a German horror about three idiots who go to a haunted castle. Eh.
The Black Room: Also basically a low budget porn. Some weird demon lives inside a room in a house and it has an affinity for orgies.
The Ouija experiment: it was silly. Honestly. I saw what they were trying to do but the execution of the scary scenes was weak sauce.
Ouija resurrection: the picture is very misleading. It looks really scary but in reality it is even lower budget than the first one.
First Born: this one is set in the UK with a little girl who has the ability to see demons. Not too exciting.
Let’s be evil : average. Some chick gets paid to go watch over these super smart kids in the dark with these weird virtual reality glasses and then murders happen.
Sharknado The 4th awakens: I hadn’t seen any of the others so I put this one on while I was working. And even when distracted, it was absolutely terrible.
III The Ritual: this one was in Russian. I was surprised because I understood parts of it without realising. The movie wasn’t that great but it sure did have some horribly unsettling scenes. I still think about them and they creep me out.
Those are the absolute worst one available on the South African Netflix at the moment. There are a number more that are tolerable, some are actually even good and with Halloween hot on our heels, I thought it only fair to include them. Should anyone be in the mood to watch something halfway scary, I suggest you rather pick from this list.
Prom Night: it got a bad rating on IMDB but it wasn’t half bad. At least there was a bit of a story and Idris Elba was in it which is pretty badass.
Shutter: also not half bad, but not half good either. Set in Japan with Joshua Jackson. I think that the Asian take on horror is always terrifying but this was Americanised and bastardised a little but still a little scary.
The Rezort: it was an interesting idea. After the zombie apocalypse, there is a resort filled with zombies where non-zombies can pay to go and shoot the undead. But then things go wrong.
The Stepfather: not bad. That dude from Nip Tuck is the stepdad but he has a dark past.
Mirrors: Donald Sutherland is an ex-cop who is an addict and goes to work at an old burned down mall full of mirrors which make him see and do bad things.
Hush: a deaf lady is stalked by a creepy man. This one was good simply because the idea is so terrifying. All the things she couldn’t hear and had no idea about were super unsettling.
Little Evil: It was more like a horror comedy featuring Adam Scott. Not bad, I enjoyed it.
Holidays: a set of short films. One for each holiday including Valentine’s day. I didn’t mind this one too much actually.
The Babysitter: horror comedy again. It is brand new and is rather funny with lots of gore thrown in. It was pretty smart too. It was fun.
The Scream trilogy: they were a franchise. I enjoyed seeing something that scared me from a young age. They do get a little more budget and less coherent as they go on. The first one will always be the best.
Creep: now this one lived up to its name. An odd dude hires a videographer to come film his weird escapades. The ending messed me up for a few days.
XX: four horror films, most from a female perspective. I liked it, the stories were all very dark.
Hostel: I watched this for the first time because I was always scared it would make me not want to travel. It did just that.
Quarantine: this has Deb from Dexter in. It was good, again a scary idea and not bad execution.
Gothika: hectic. I remember watching it at the movies with my mom and how scared we were coming back home. It was very psychological.
You get me: alright. Not the best, not the worst. I have a thing for female villains. A girl who goes crazy and does psychotic things. Not a bad story line.
The invitation. I would definitely recommend this one. Friends all get invited to the house of a couple that became sort of estranged from them. And then things go very wrong.
Insidious 3: – pretty scary. Insidious is a terrifying franchise. It is more jumpy frights than anything else but still rather unsettling.
When a stranger calls: Also not bad actually. Turns out there isn’t only complete garbage on! A girl goes to babysit two kids and gets creepy phone calls that turn into something way more sinister.
The Conjuring: by far one of the scariest movies I have ever seen in my life. It messed me up six ways from Sunday. At the movie theater- a dude literally ran out because he was so scared.
Gerald’s Game: Seeing as Stephen King is on a roll these days, this one is definitely worth a mention. I read the book many many years ago and was never able to talk to anyone about it. It is dark and creepy with some intense scenes I literally had to avert my eyes for.
The Shining: A classic, if you don’t see any of the others, this one is worth a watch. Stephen King again but a pure classic that has stood the test of time. Unlike many other horrors. The terror remains even years on.
Whatever you end up watching, I hope it gives you the scare experience you are searching for and that your Halloween is full of sweets, drinks and fabulous costumes! I know mine will be :)