Monday, October 29, 2012

Countdown to Halloween Day 29 -- 5 Self-Aware Horror Films

5. Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil -- This recent horror-comedy tells the story from two points of view:  a group of college kids who stumble across a pair of creepy looking hillbillies and then start dying off; and the two hillbillies themselves, who are innocent of any wrong-doing but who keep stumbling into situations that make them look like crazed killers.  The humor is largely derived from contrasting the kids' media-savvy expectations against the hillbillies' confusion and consternation. 

4. Scream -- Some self-aware films comment on their genre's tropes in subtle ways; the Scream movies opt for having characters straight up say "We're in a horror film, better watch out for these tropes or we'll die!"  The fact that the film often tries to subvert the tropes even as its lampshading them is a point in its favor.

3. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon -- This faux-documentary about an up-and-coming slasher about to make his first kill treats the world of slashers as real, with the slasher giving behind-the-scenes glimpses into choosing his victim, preparing his cardio for big chases, and rigging the killing location to herd his prey right where he wants them.  Much like with Scream, many of the tropes he waxes philosophic on are turned on their heads later.

2. Shaun of the Dead -- Packed with more zed-word-film-related Easter Eggs, Shaun of the Dead does the least straight-forward verbalizing of its self-aware nature, but even a passing fan of the zombie genre, such as myself, can instantly pick up on its many shout outs to the work of Romero and others. 

1. Cabin in the Woods -- Once again, I don't want to say too much about this so people can go into it fresh; suffice it to say that certain characters in this film are very, very aware of what genre they're living in, and the concordant conventions.

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