Tuesday, January 11, 2011


NOTE: As always, Let the Right One In is not only recommended, but encouraged
As I type this, I'm currently curled up on a couch with two of my favorite people in the entire world in Chicago, Illinois.  Above my Macbook screen lies three wide open windows exposing snowcapped trees and windowsills.  While I type away, the other two are effortlessly tiptoeing their fingertips across their books.  To set the mood, I've put on the Let the Right One In soundtrack and we let ourselves become fully encompassed with the snowed in, winter wonderland feeling.  Sooner or later, the bemused silence will become unbearable and we will obviously decide to pop in a movie in place of reading.  Unfortunately, the two people I am snuggled up with are NOT horror movie fans.  It is for this reason that I've compiled a list of films that work great with these sort of days.  I'm not talking about watching Christmas themed horror films, because it's January 11th...and if I have to hear one more lame "Santa Claws" pun, I'm cracking skulls. No, I'm referring to horror films set against a pure white setting, where the horror chills our bones like Jack Frost nipping at our noses.  Here is my list for the best horror movies for those snowy afternoons.
I've found myself to be one of the biggest crusaders for this British horror import.  The story follows a family meeting up for some New Years festivities in a winter home of some sort.  Suddenly, the children all start to fall ill and act very...strange. Vomit, blood, foot prints, and even cat guts are all contrasted beautifully in the snow.  The more I watch this film, the more foreshadowing moments I notice from the beginning, and the more I love it.  It's an interesting take on the "killer kid" genre, and a very well executed one at that.
One of Stephen King's "lesser known" works, this one is probably one of my favorites.  Crossing just about every genre border from horror, to sci-fi, to thriller, to psychological, action, and even a bit of humor here and there...this one just works.  It almost seems like Stephen King threw everything in there, including the kitchen sink, and it came out wonderfully.  The story deals with aliens, ghosts, diseases, mind-slippage, a ridiculous snow storm, and Morgan Freeman.   Honestly, can you ask for anything more?

I've said it before and I'll say it again, this is John Carpenter's masterpiece.  The undisputed best remake of all time and one of the most widely praised horror films in history, this story of an unknown creature attempting to take over everything in it's way is done flawlessly WITHOUT any shotty CGI.  The effects are marvelous, the story line is horrifying, Kurt Russell plays the bad-ass to end all bad-asses, and the snowy terrain makes things all the more chilling. 
While this film is notorious for the events that happen within the Overlook Hotel doors, we cannot forget that the reason the Lloyd family is stuck in the hotel in the first place is because of the snow storm of the century.  The snow even played a vital enough role to completely change the original ending of the novel in Kubrick's adaptation from the moving shrubbery to the ice labyrinth.  The very essence of cabin fever is perfect for when the snow traps you in your living room with your younger siblings and nagging parents. 

One of my favorite roles played by Christopher Walken, this Cronenberg flick is as stunning as it is haunting.  Hey, is anyone else noticing a pattern here?

Oh yeah, there's the pattern. Stephen King REALLY likes snow in horror films.  I find this to be completely acceptable, as he's the master of the horror novella and all of his stories give me the creeps.  Most of his movies end up being disappointments, but occasionally we're given something actually worth his merit.  This, my friends, is one of those examples. 

Surprisingly, I didn't get my grubby little paws on a copy of this until this winter.  I'm so glad that I did, because this film was a thrill a minute and I'm a little confused as to why it isn't better known.  In my opinion, it's completely underrated and was extremely aesthetically pleasing. 

10 comment(s):

Unknown said...

Winter really is a great time for horror, especially if you're snowed in. The Thing ranks at the tippy-top of my list. I haven't seen The Children or Devil Times Five yet, though. They both look very promising.

Verdant Earl said...

I saw Devil Times Five last winter as well for the first time. I agree...highly underrated.

Andreas said...

These are some great suggestions, especially The Thing & Misery, the latter of which perfectly captures the feeling of being nursed (albeit by a psychopath) when it's snowy and forbidding outside.

I'd also suggest Pontypool, which I recently saw, and which has some images of the icy Canadian winter; also, the original version of The Invisible Man is set in the dead of winter (which proves tricky for the often-naked anti-hero).

Unknown said...

Cool! Two movies to check out, amidst a slew of favorites!

Anonymous said...

Some great recs on here. I like how you used the snow theme! I'm also in Chicago, so as the snow hit hard yesterday and blanketed everything, my mind raced with the aesthetic possibilities for a good snowbound horror story... Thanks for the list. I've never heard of The Children but it looks good, can't wait to check it out!

jmcozzoli said...

I usually don't like evil kid movies, but the two you mentioned will be on my list. I'll make sure to have some cocoa and marshmallows while watching, too.

Mr. Johnny Sandman said...

This is a fantastic list!! I'm glad to see that somebody other than me enjoyed Dreamcatcher both book and movie.

Belle Dee said...

I've already watched 'The Thing', 'The Shining' and 'The Dead Zone' several times already this winter. Also Cronenberg's 'The Brood', is a good wintery movie.

Grey @ thedarkhours said...

I'm surprised that you didn't mention the Storm of the Century, another Stephen King story that takes place during . . . . well, the snowstorm of the century! You even mentioned it in the Shining blurb! ha ha

Will Errickson said...

I think cold weather is perfect for horror. DEAD ZONE is so wonderfully wintry, especially its soundtrack. Just saw FROZEN and it had one of the more unsettling horror-movie deaths I've seen recently. And if del Toro ever gets around to filming AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS, it will be the perfect addition to this list.

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