Spider-Man (2002)

Maguire’s lead turn adds consistent melodramatic cheese right from his opening voiceover (“Who am I? You sure you want to know? The story of my life is not for the faint of heart”) to his last one (“This is my gift, my curse”) but it feels authentic to the awkward, angsty, coming-of-age teen experience and works well with the other campy comic-book elements (Dafoe and Simmons leap off the page with their performances). Fun action and quirky humour (“up, up, and away web!”) top things off.

Evil Dead II (1987)

The fact that it has “II” in the title and people still confuse it for a remake of the first one shows how poorly it connects to it and how much it mirrors its plot. Still, this is a great horror flick that somehow manages to amp up the ridiculous gore of its predecessor while also adding lots of delightful absurdist horror-comedy that always keeps you on your toes and thoroughly entertained (see the possessed hand bit, laughing home decor). One-liner-spouting Ash is glistening and great.

The Evil Dead (1981)

Fittingly rough around the edges; the bumpy tracking shots and ramshackle editing is the perfect wrapping paper for the campy acting and over-the-top gore and jump scares that emerge from the classic dumb-young-adults-on-a-pleasure-trip premise (the only thing that didn’t fit was the unpleasantly dark tree rape scene). The wild third act and its ridiculous gore (bountiful buckets of blood and other unidentified fluids spilling and spewing and oozing out of everywhere) is truly amazing to behold.

JWM SPOOKATHON 2017: Army of Darkness (1992)


A man is accidentally transported to 1300 A.D., where he must battle an army of the dead and retrieve the Necronomicon so he can return home. (IMDb)
I was hoping for some campy horror goodness and was not disappointed: The stop-motion skeletons, creepy books, and aggressive old witches (and let’s not forget the murderous mini-mes and body double growing out someone’s shoulder) are only amplified in their goofy spookiness by the cliche medieval setting and entertaining zoom-happy camerawork. Would’ve liked to see a few more memorable characters, but the cheesy macho Ash is a solid, quotable lead (“Good. Bad. I’m the guy with a gun”).
7.5/10 (Really Good)
CREEPY QUOTE: “The book awoke something dark in the woods, something evil.” – Ash
SPOOKY STILL: 3ad1a109670d9dd1


Drag Me to Hell (2009)

A loan officer who evicts an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try and save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point. (IMDb)
The horror here is a deliciously entertaining concoction of classic haunted house suspense (a rattling door!), supernatural torment (a shadowy hoofed demon!), and campy gross-out blood-and-guts shocks (mostly featuring a creepy old gypsy lady), backed by an epic stringed soundtrack. It’s not that scary, but it’s fun, and despite mediocre acting and an average plot, the film fully succeeds in its execution of the torturous terror-relief cycle right through to its awesome climax and conclusion.
7/10 (Good)