by Camela Thompson
I mentioned a while back that some friends and I have been live tweeting horror movies. We choose them primarily by title or poster art, definitely not by the ratings others give them. I've been known to love a two-star movie and hate a five-star, so taking a risk is okay even if it doesn't normally pay off. Remember, even the worst movies have writing lessons. Lately we've been wading in the depths of the horror-comedy. I either love these movies or hate them, and there's a fine line dividing the two.
Premise: Vampiric, water-dwelling monsters fall to Earth with the aim to suck the world dry. After discovering only near-pickled alcoholics are toxic to the monsters, the understaffed and overwhelmed cops on a tiny Irish island stage a drink-in at the pub to save the locals' lives.
What worked: The transition from serious horror flick to comedy occurred early enough to know that it was intentional. Solid CGI didn't hurt. The acting was well executed, the dialogue spot on, and the ridiculous antics were balanced out by a surprising amount of logic. For once it made sense for the humans to make idiotic decisions. They were wasted! Even an asinine shot with a full moon during a rainstorm was worth the contradiction because of the clear association with E.T.
What didn't work: There wasn't much that didn't work about the movie. Most of the frustrating character decisions were explainable. I will say both main Gardas came off as unlikable initially, but somehow it worked in the movie's favor.
Rating: 4.5 stars. Loved it.
Premise: A worthless, alcoholic cop with daddy issues is transformed into a werewolf and becomes better at his job.
What worked: References to werewolf mythology were sprinkled throughout this surprisingly intelligent movie. Gratuitous nudity struck early, and every trope was hit, but there were enough interesting bits to keep us entertained. I laughed really hard during a squirm inducing tryst because it highlighted major issues romance writers tend to skirt around. After seeing that scene, avoiding the transformed werewolf love scene altogether is definitely the way to go.
What didn't work: The acting was a little tedious at times, particularly between Jesse and Tina. I'm not sure if this is a problem with the acting or the written dialogue. Either way, it was strained. The makeup wasn't great. If you can't switch off the part of your brain that needs high quality CGI and are easily offended, don't even try to watch it. The first time I turned it on, I wasn't in a good mindset and was immediately frustrated by the crappy cop trope.
Rating: 3 stars.
Premise: Toxic waste is spilled near a beaver damn just as three hot girls and an adorable dog reach their vacation cabin.
What worked: The title alone hinted that this could be something so ridiculous it works. Think Sharknado. Think Tarantula. Think Big Ass Spiders. Only don't think those things because you'll only be disappointed by frustrating characters. The psycho zombie puppets were so bad they were hilarious, and the human transformation was funny enough to work.
What didn't work: The minute a dog came onto the scene, I knew I would be ticked off. They delivered. The three of us live tweeting were so frustrated by the characters that we were rooting for them to die. Everyone was generally despicable and self-serving.
Rating: 1 Star
Cockneys vs. Zombies
Premise: Two bumbling grandsons team up with their cousin, a genuine gangster with a steel plate in his head, and an incompetent thief for a bank heist in the name of saving their grandfather's nursing home. Too bad it's in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. How will they save grandpa?
What worked: This movie was so over the top it worked. The characters had backstories and the main characters were very likable. There was a lot going on, but it helped rather than hindered. This movie has one of the most epic Zombie chase scenes ever.
What didn't work: Some of the elements were so over the top they were a little distracting. Romance in the middle of a biological purge bothers me. The connection between a robber and a bank teller just didn't quite work for me.
Rating: 3.5 stars. If you liked The World's End or Shaun of the Dead, you'll like this movie.
What do you think of the horror comedy combination? Do you have examples that did or did not work for you?
Freelance writer and Dark urban fantasy author featuring vampires with bite.