We frequently disagree with movie critics on their critiques of horror films. It seems that the majority of mainstream film critics are not able to accept horror films for what they are intended to do: scare the audience and entertain. For a lot of fans, horror films are a form of escapism; they give viewers with an outlet to relax and unwind. We think it’s important for critics to consider the intent of a film when providing criticism. Not every horror film is meant to be taken seriously or to make a profound statement and we think that’s ok.
We are left wondering if mainstream film critics dismiss horror features as a lesser art form and perhaps tend to view them as not worth their time. In light of that, FEARnet has been running a recurring a piece exploring good horror movies that received ‘rotten’ reviews on the aggregate film rating site Rotten Tomatoes. Since the series has proved popular, we are bringing you a third installment.
Happy Birthday to Me 33%
This J. Lee Thompson slasher film is noteworthy for a crazy twist ending, a variety of unusual death scenes, and for featuring a grown up Melissa Sue Anderson (from Little House on the Prairie). Happy Birthday to Me is a really fun film; it doesn’t take it too seriously, but it shouldn’t be dismissed. Critics asserted that the film was boring, lacking style, and a mere footnote in the slasher sub-genre. We couldn’t disagree more; we think that Happy Birthday to Me is an eighties slasher staple with great effects that has mostly stood the test of time.
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter 24%
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter is one of the most well crafted entries in the franchise. It boasts fantastic effects, an epic ending. Joseph Zito (The Prowler) directed The Final Chapter and special effects wizard Tom Savini provided the makeup effects. This is a standout entry in the franchise for most fans. Unfortunately, not everyone saw that; the film was condemned for a variety of reasons. Critics seemed to think that the film, while it had a talented cast, was a waste of time. Perhaps they are forgetting about the Dead Fuck dance moves? Did they not see Crispin Glover moving around like he was having a seizure? Surely if the critics had witnessed this, the film would have a Rotten Tomatoes rating of ‘fresh’.
The Sentinel 50%
This Michael Winner (Death Wish) film is classic seventies horror cinema. It is noteworthy both for its well-executed special effects and the film’s creepy, surreal atmosphere. The way that The Sentinel melded religious elements with horror conventions made for a highly enjoyable viewing experience. The Sentinel boasts a very talented cast: Chris Sarandon, Jeff Goldblum, Burgess Meredith, John Carradine, and that’s just scratching the surface. Critics accused The Sentinel of being too derivative of Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, but in all fairness, the similarities are only skin deep. The Sentinel stands firmly on its own and certainly does not disappoint. The sequence with Alison’s father engaged in sexual exploration with two much younger woman is, truly bizarre, and totally unexpected.
Freddy vs. Jason 41%
Obviously, this Ronny Yu (Bride of Chucky) film isn’t Oscar caliber, but it is a lot of fun. Seeing Fred Krueger and Jason Voorhees together for the first time – other than a partial interaction at the end of Jason Goes to Hell – was a total blast. The third act features a final showdown between two of the most legendary silver screen psychopaths that is like a horror fan’s wet dream. Critics called the protagonists ‘dumb teenagers” and said that the film had no plot. Admittedly, the plot is a bit thin and the characters are not highly developed but if you’re looking for highly developed characters and an intricate plot, you are missing the point. The purpose of Freddy vs. Jason is to see two big time film legends go head to head and duke it out; on that level, the film fully delivers.
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane 41%
Directed by Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies), this contemporary slasher film is infused with a higher level of intelligence than most movies of its ilk. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is well cast; Amber Heard was a likable and convincing lead and the performances from the rest of the cast are above average. Critics asserted that the film wasn’t thoughtful or incisive and that it was popcorn entertainment at best. We think that Mandy Lane is a smart slasher that doesn’t conform to all of the traditional horror conventions. The film is a worthy slasher that you should seek out if you haven’t had the pleasure. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane was in distribution limbo for years but it has finally made its way to DVD and Blu ray.