Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Top 5 Obscure Woodland-Based Horror Movies

I tend to list my horror movie collection in a way that makes it possible to find something depending on my mood; woods, darkness, beasts, devil, witches, haunted houses, stalkers… you name it. Different times of the year, I’m in different moods for horror. In the springtime, for some reason, I pull out my woods-themed ones. Perhaps because the world is starting to get greener again this time of year (yeah, even in Phoenix). My top 5 favorites of the most popularly known films about woods are: 1. Blair Witch. 2. The Howling. 3. Friday the 13th. 4. Wrong Turn. 5. The Evil Dead. But, there’s a wide variety in the genre that didn’t get attention, but are worth digging up. If you liked any of those listed above, these might satisfy your need for woodland horror. Listed in order of favorites using my adjectives as always.

1. The Final Terror: stalking, green/lush, “Predator”-feel. This one was made in the 80s with a some well-known stars in it like Adrian Zmed and Rachel Ward and a famous model—what the heck was her name? Anyways, the characters really make this film more than the plot. They’re a good mix with good chemistry. It preys on everyone’s fear of being vulnerable in the woods and the mentality of locals like “Wrong Turn” that can make your stay very frightening. This is one of my fav’s to put on when I just want to go deep into the woods and get lost (that is, without the stalker).
2. Blood and Chocolate: sexy, wolves, Eastern Europe, kicking soundtrack. I love this movie, it’s one of my favorite werewolf ones (along with the original “The Howling”). It’s sexy, beautiful, interesting, well acted, and the werewolf aspect is one of the coolest ones I’ve ever seen in a movie. I just adore this cult favorite. You feel like you’ve traveled when you’re done with it.
3. The Fear: psychological, suspenseful, creepy. It has an interesting premise but what really gets me about this one is the wooden mannequin. They could do a whole movie of this thing sitting around in your house and shocking you by showing up in the wrong place and I’d be creeped out. The psychological aspects of the film are interesting. It isn’t super cohesive, but it’s definitely creepy. I loved the Santa Village the best. That would be one of my top fav places to go alone in the dark!
4. Cabin Fever: psychological, gross, plausible. I thought this one did a good job of giving you a zombie-like situation that was creepy and seemed plausible. It was more about what happens with society breaks down and there is no law and only fear provoking people to do things they would never do in a “civilized” world. It’s like being alone with your darkest thoughts.
5. Just Before Dawn: vulnerable, creepy, scary woods. This one is pretty much your typical being-stalked-in-the-woods film, but it is very picturesque and you feel like you actually camped with these folks. It has a twist ending and some great chase scenes. I always like a hero who can think on his/her feet.


  1. Hey Autumn, hey. Great article! As an innovative take on lycanthropic films (born, not made), "Blood & Chocolate" is one of my all-time faves, too, by far. I'm surprised as far as scary forest flicks that you hadn't included Bruce Campbell's debut, which progressed into nothing more than comic book hobbyist fare by the time it reached its third installment, "Army of Darkness".

    Unlike your psychological interpretation of Eli Roth's "Cabin Fever", I saw it as what happens when an especially virulent pathogen, flesh-eating strep, is released into the populace unchecked.

    Roth was initially a stop-motion animator, whose claymation series The Rotten Fruit developed its own cult following.

    Then there's the über-disturbing Begotten filmed mercilessly in grainy, poor resolution B & W. The first release by then fledgling fimmaker E. Elias Merhige (better known for his Nosferatu behind-the-scenes spoof Shadow of the Vampire with a hilariously dedicated Willem Dafoe as the vampire & FW Murnau, the 1920's director's director, played by John Malkovich), Begotten portrays humans as little more than mindless forces in Nature, plodding through the backdrop as insignificantly as any other insect.

    What, I beseech you, could be scarier than that?

    Have a great weekend,
    Anadæ Effro ( ;-)}

  2. Whoopsadaisies! I forgot to mention Mexico-born fantasy filmmaker extraordinaire Guillermo del Toro's tear-jerker, El Labrinto del Fauno, better known stateside here as Pan's Labyrinth.

    Crying after every viewing,
    Anadæ Effro ( :-)}

  3. Autumnforest-I hope you do not mind me doing an off-topic comment to your post -found out details to the ghost story that my mom had in her years as a realtor-great to see anadae here also! what happened was after my mom sold this womans house for her in tempe(woulda been late nineties)-she gets a call from the agent who worked for woman who bought the house -he kinda prefaced call laughing but serious also-and said to my mom -"you know the lady who bought this house is solid as a rock -college educated -good job-everything-but she is claiming that at different times when she is both gone from the home and there at the house that these 3 different things are happening1)garage door opens on its own 2)drapes in living room open or shut-depending on what the lady previously had done-opposite would be done 3) things are being moved around in kitchen (my mom said as she remembers call it was kitchen area only)my mom knew nothing about it and never felt anything herself in the place when she was involved selling it-here is the kicker-my mom calls lady that she sold house for and asks her "Hey did you ever notice anything strange going on when you were living there?" the lady (about 75 years of age) said -no kidding-"Of course -why the hell did you think I wanted out of there so fast!" my mom was kinda floored and didnt know what to do-in the end there was nothing she could do-and didnt know end of story-she had no knowledge of the 'haunting' when she sold the house-both ladies involved were single -my moms like i said around 75 retired-the buyers around late fifties-respected -good job-college-the works -I did ask my mom if she thought she could find house again-she thought maybe -but because of business ethics couldnt divulge info-that was the story I had brought up earlier -I had remebered many details wrong-best to you as always!!

  4. I'm totally in agreement about Blood and Chocolate. Seriously, I'd like to see a sexed up version of this because I think it lent itself well to erotica. I did mention The Evil Dead which I believe was the first installment by Bruce Campbell. That was up above in the top 5 famous woods movies I like. I admit, I liked the campiness--it worked well for him and, in fact, I think "Army of Darkness" was brilliantly campy and it was a classic. Still, there's a lot of Bruce Campbell fans out there, so I wouldn't consider him obscure. I really saw Cabin Fever like Lord of the Flies or Lost or any other plot based on people being in a bad isolated situation. It probably wouldn't have mattered if it were disease or a crazed killer, I think society breaks down when it can be isolated--just look at the freaky Mormons with 12 wives on the Arizona border? I'm going to have to check out the one you mentioned, Begotten. Sounds intriguing. I adore older films in B&W. I'm an addict to 50s Sci-Fi that way. Yeah, I did see Pan's Labyrinth and he is the most brilliant visionary, but I have to admit that it was so grim that it left me feeling like I witnessed a murder and couldn't stop the killer. I'm not usually into rosy endings, but one viewing of it was enough for me. It was lush and beautiful and exotic and very very innovative--love the creature holding his eyeballs. Still, I never really connected-maybe it's the cultural thing. I don't think that time period of the movie lent itself to any good outcomes. I have to tell you, though, I loved Del Toro's movie about the orphanage... wow! He hit the mark for me in that one, especially as a ghost hunter. That would be one of my top fav foreign haunted movies.

  5. Devin; what you're describing sounds like a genuine disturbance. Of course, if I had the place, I'd probably put up a camera for the day or go through a checklist with the rest of the family before leaving for the day and then come home at night and have them verify something was or wasn't on or off, opened or closed, but then I'm so damn practical. Tempe starts just east of I-10 and starts on the south side at between Ray and Warner. I could look up something about the canals and geology and see if the area has reason to have activity, but I know from experience that there's a lot of canals present day in that area and a huge holding area for runoff just north of Ray and south of Warner that becomes a lake when it rains. Don't know of any particular crimes in the area, but I could check that out. I'll let you know what I find. I love a mystery. Your mom did the right thing too. There's nothing that can be done if she sold the house without dislosure, the past occupant however might be at fault. I like the idea of a playful ghost, but opening my garage door--not cool. She probably should have reprogrammed her code just to be sure no one else in the neighborhood was setting it off. We had a neighbor with the same code--what a mess. We'd wake up hearts pounding when we heard the door open at 3 am. Their phone bled into our phone too so we had to switch that, as well, although I did enjoy hearing many sordid phone calls--hey, I'm a curious human!

  6. So glad you saw this Autumnforest-I hope Mike and Julie do too and James -others also-like i say-in a way not a lot here-but in another way very interesting -my mom never lies and is not a 'leg-puller' -I agree about a genuine disturbance -my guess is that the new lady was terrified of the events as she lived alone and was desperate to find out if way out of getting out of buying house-that is only a guess-but I think it was very hard for this lady to call the agent my mom knew and tell her story -I am going offline for the eve -I definitely hope to be back online tomorrow to read your new posts and others more thoroughly-I am a curious human too! best to you as always!