David’s Teen Horror Fast Five Films
Oh, the sadistic fun we derive from watching teens get slashed, diced and gutted. Our morbid satisfaction never fades as we live vicariously through the killer’s eyes. He punishes the slut for her whorish behavior and bludgeons the jock for his good looks and arrogance. Teen horror is both sadistic and masochistic, and we get a devilish sense of Roman-coliseum satisfaction from watching Jason and Freddy kill ’em for us. It isn’t until the end when we turn our identification from killer to survivor as the smart—not-too-pretty—girl outwits the killer to stay alive, ultimately reducing our sadistic and moral guilt.
Carrie is perhaps the first horror film where the girl who is socially and physically victimized by society takes control of her life and becomes the vengeful killer. Perhaps she’s influenced by the ’70s women’s lib. Forget Coal Miner’s Daughter, Sissy Spacek was born to play Carrie. Though not a masterpiece, Carrie is full of many iconic moments of film horror: blood-drenched prom queen, Amy Irving laying flowers on Carrie’s grave, and Carrie’s crazy-Christian mom, “They’re all gonna laugh at you!” But the scariest image of all, those ruffled 1970s tuxedos.
Yes, it’s dated, yes it’s low budget and poorly acted, and yes, it’s a classic. Halloween gave us Michael Myers and the queen of scream, Jamie Lee Curtis (Terror Train).
Horror-teen formula at its best: slutty girl equals ax in the face. This classic cabin in the woods pièce de résistance featured a young and horny Kevin Bacon and introduced us to a young and waterlogged Jason Voorhees.
The gloves with knives projecting from the fingers, the burned and angry skin, and Freddy’s sinister smile have certified that our beloved Mr. Krueger will forever terrify our dreams. Don’t sleep! A tablespoon of instant coffee anyone?
The rules of teen horror are explored and analyzed in this comedy, slash fest that brought us “ghost face” and an easy Halloween costume for the not-so-creative party guest.
Just for fun, a couple honorable mentions:
The first twenty minutes of Stranger are an edge-of-your-seat, masochistic delight. I remembered the beginning of this movie as bloody and violent, yet upon rewatching it, I discovered that there’s no blood or violence, just a brilliantly-paced scene and an unforgettable phone call, “Have you checked the children.”
Happy Birthday to Me (1981) How can anyone resist Little House on the Prairie’s Melissa Sue Anderson in a slasher flick. We always knew Mary was the evil one.
Myrna’s Teen Horror Fast Five Films
What will you think of me? I must admit I get great deal of glee in seeing snarky, sullen, I-know-more-than-you teenagers get their due. Though I don’t think I’m alone in this since there were so many teen horror films to pick from. It was hard to leave Carrie, Lost Boys and the Final Destination series off my list but here are the gems I went with. Enjoy!
Fright Night is a wildly entertaining concoction that perfectly blends horror and comedy. Roddy McDowall steals the show as TV horror host Peter Vincent.
2. Phantasm (1979)
One of the definitive ’70s horror pictures, a raw blast of sensory information, Phantasm is a low budget cult horror classic.
Tall Man: “You play a good game, boy, but the game is finished. Now, you die.”
3. Teeth (2007)
Much like Carrie, Teeth is inspired by female puberty as it revives the myth that is vagina dentata (you don’t need Latin to tell you that means women with teeth in their vaginas). Destined to make the men in the audience cross their legs and wince, it strives to be more than just another shocker.
A modern horror classic. John Carpenter can never receive enough praise for bringing the “boogieman” to life, in the form of Michael Myers.
A fantastic horror film that still holds up today. Inventive and terrifying, A Nightmare on Elm Street explores the world of dreams and the ability to turn nightmares into reality.
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