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Old 03-26-2013, 10:09 AM   #1
ImmortalSlasher
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Modern horror movies that push the envelope

I just started watching the remake of Night of the Demons. So far I'm impressed. Although it seems like they might be backing down a bit. The police arrived and everyone but the main actors are leaving the house. But the opening is good and surprisingly raunchy. Which gave me the idea to make this topic.

Are there any modern horror movies that really push the envelope. At least like I thought for example the early Friday the 13th movies did in the following categories:

1. Death scenes. I didn't know how the Italian movies influenced Friday the 13th Part 2 when I originally watched it. But stuff in this movie was wild. The bed spear and machete wheelchair death are all crazy scenes. Same goes for Friday the 13th Part 6. The whole movie is filled with creative scenes. Not just flat out gore either. Like some of the stuff in Hatchet that I think goes too far.

2. Nudity. This is a difficult one to get right. If it is too artistic it's softporn and boring. Go too far and it's pornography. Which no reputable actress/actor will do anyway. But Tom Savini did joke on that Starz special that some actresses in one horror movie were all pornstars. Again, Friday the 13th Part 2 and 6 got it right for the time. Part 2 full nudity scene which I don't think any modern horror I can think of has. Part 6 has that van scene which I thought was cut when I originally watched it. Apparently, censors still think it's too much for normal cable and they cut the scene even though there's no nudity.

3. Dirty Jokes/Raunchy Stuff. Some wild stuff is in Night of the Demons. What one girl does when they are talking about Brazilian wax was unexpected. There is a scene in a strip club too. I immediately thought they aren't going to go there. But they did.

So what have you guys seen that pushes the envelope?
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:46 PM   #2
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I'm not quite sure what you are asking when you say "push the envelope". When I hear that term used in horror, I generally think of films like August Underground, Nekromantik, A Serbian Film, etc. It seems you are speaking more along the lines of mainstream films and with that in mind, are you meaning in terms of creativity or actually stepping over the usual boundaries related to onscreen violence and nudity? You mentioned Friday The 13th Part 2 a couple of times, and as far as that film goes, there are films today that are mainstream and have full frontal nudity, like Piranha 3D or the My Bloody Valentine remake. There have been quite a few that have come up with some creative kills too since the 80's, films like Wrong Turn, the Saw series, Final Destination, and so on.

As far as creativity in the films themselves, it's rare that anything out of Hollywood takes a chance and most often you need to look to other avenues like foreign imports and independent films.
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:31 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by SaviniFan View Post
I'm not quite sure what you are asking when you say "push the envelope". When I hear that term used in horror, I generally think of films like August Underground, Nekromantik, A Serbian Film, etc. It seems you are speaking more along the lines of mainstream films and with that in mind, are you meaning in terms of creativity or actually stepping over the usual boundaries related to onscreen violence and nudity? You mentioned Friday The 13th Part 2 a couple of times, and as far as that film goes, there are films today that are mainstream and have full frontal nudity, like Piranha 3D or the My Bloody Valentine remake. There have been quite a few that have come up with some creative kills too since the 80's, films like Wrong Turn, the Saw series, Final Destination, and so on.

As far as creativity in the films themselves, it's rare that anything out of Hollywood takes a chance and most often you need to look to other avenues like foreign imports and independent films.
I couldn't think of a better term than "push the envelope." It's overused but I'm just looking for something new that makes you say this is the next horror movie. This is the movie that creatively goes beyond the others but isn't so disgusting like a Human Centipede (which I haven't seen). Were the Friday the 13th movies mainstream when they were released? I don't know. I haven't seen Piranha 3D or My Bloody Valentine 3D yet. I've heard good things. I missed seeing them in 3D and want to get a good sized 3D screen to see them.

I've heard about A Serbian Film. I watched a few reviews on youtube and read the wiki. It's definitely more gore and shock it seems. Not something I'm interested in. It goes too far. It's like a few scenes in Hatchet 1 & 2 when the pretty girls get maimed. I'll look into August Underground and Nekromantik. Never heard of those.
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:44 AM   #4
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I think "push the envelope" means to take the expected, the norm, further than you've seen it go before. Once you've got a pretty good grasp on a film's subject matter (as in- how it's been handled in films previously) / theme, you won't find the phrase half as open to interpretation. Except that what you define as pushing the envelope comes down to what you've seen before.

Suicide Circle. If you've seen it, you know why.

Also, shockingly, before he fucked it up with Hostel: Part II, I say Eli Roth was making some very daring films. He's become a punchline to use when anyone hears a homophobic, racist, or sexist slur used in a movie (which is hilarious- didn't Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind do the same thing just as casually?) but he actually had a point for doing it. Granted, in Cabin Fever- I still can't figure out what the fuck it is. Except that I thought the twist of the old man saying the gun in his store was for "niggers" was very clever. Other people rolled their eyes, I thought it was set up and paid off very well... let's just hope they didn't go out and buy (Lemonade?) from the kids outside because then it would be completely pointless. "Word." That kind of thing is what made me think he deserved the benefit of the doubt on the parade of "gay"s throughout. I mean, he kind of didn't tie down the series of events after a certain point. Which I liked. But that's also what made the movie lose its' considerably freaky undertone. From "Pancakes!" on, the movie becomes a David Lynch film- totally void of sensation. Before that, the movie really gave you a feeling of strange gloom.

But I consider Hostel downright groundbreaking. Not in relation to shit like The Descent so much as youth culture in general (and the stuff that was so popular at the time and years prior like Laguna Beach and The Hills among others). When you show obnoxious young hot people partying and then you start carving them up, you inevitably make a potentially unwanted moral connection between their partying like stupid, selfish robots and punishing them for it. Especially when they also happen to be deeply homophobic (rather than casually, such as the Cabin Fever knuckleheads), patronizing, hypocritically sexist, and with a fairly low opinion of other people in general. The movie did kind of imply this is what you get for being a shitty person. And, I've heard some people say the chase ending killed the movie's momentum... this certainly isn't true of a couple of short moments thrown in for very good measure (the kid gang and the reunion of Alexei and Natalya). The rewatch potential is stunted but, it was released in an insane sea of survival flicks all taking themselves very seriously. Compared to just about anything else of its' time (especially the ultra-sexualized French "horror"), it walks away looking a great deal more intelligent and friggin' relevant.

Emotionally, I thought Wendigo took some pretty big risks. To make another comparison, it had the same basic idea as Blair Witch. Except before a character goes missing and you have no clue what happened to them- the film didn't make you hate them, you meet the hostile locals BWP theorists alluded to (this also happened in Wolf Creek... why was that again?), and the filmmakers actually utilized things like writing. And talent. For some reason, I found that the film had a duty to have the husband live in the end. You can't end with Patricia Clarkson in a new millennium horror movie actually reacting to a death like the life itself meant something. These were the Bush years, people are just pawns in a chess game. Surely this movie wasn't about to go there... It Went There. A believable human reaction to a realistic tragedy. I saw it and to say the least, I was truly surprised. That's not really the direction horror was headed at that time. People were becoming a dime a dozen in The Descent, Frontier(s), The Strangers, even stuff as early back as Final Destination. (Which I think worked for that movie. I wouldn't add that to the PTE list because it was kind of a horror version of Jumanji. The deaths were brutal and shocking but the movie didn't want to take the characters' lives very seriously.)

When I think back on the "horror" movies I hate the most from the last 10 years, My Bloody Valentine keeps getting a slight pass. Being told a thousand times ahead-of-time that it's just a dumb splatterfest isn't nearly enough to numb the pain I felt but the motel scene is a good example of what the movie could have been. And could have spared us the posery of Aja's Piranha.
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:25 AM   #5
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Martyrs
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:42 AM   #6
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Everything has pretty much been done before. Yes you could extend that, make it even more gory, raunchy, etc, and no doubt offend a great many people, but ultimately you're not creating anything new or groundbreaking. I don't care to watch films like that, not because they disgust me or anything, but rather because I find them boring and predictable.
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Old 03-27-2013, 06:40 AM   #7
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When I saw this thread, I immediately thought of the upcoming Evil Dead remake. The red band trailer has raised my expectations that it will surpass many of the failed reboots over the past decade. Only nine more days...
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImmortalSlasher View Post
I couldn't think of a better term than "push the envelope." It's overused but I'm just looking for something new that makes you say this is the next horror movie. This is the movie that creatively goes beyond the others.
But that could be anything, couldn't it? Some have already mentioned foreign films that go places most Hollywood movies won't touch. I can tell you it's NOT 3-D. That's still a gimmick, not a real creative step. How about self-referential horror like Scream (or the far better and less-insulting Cabin in the Woods)? What about "found footage" like The Blair Witch Project? One could also "push the envelope" by re-creating an older era of horror successfully. I'm thinking of The Others (which really reminds me of Hammer-type films) or The House of the Devil (which if you didn't know any better you'd swear it was made in 1983).

It's a different era now. In those Friday the 13th days you speak of, that was pretty much the ONLY horror that existed; what got into the theaters. There were no film festivals, home video, YouTube, imports, etc. So the market is a little diluted and the "envelope pushers" often slip through the cracks. Takes a little more effort, and you have to sift through a lot of crap. But it's there if you look hard enough.
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:24 AM   #9
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Martyrs
Frontiere(s)
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:12 AM   #10
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V/H/S maybe? It's controversial (boring!/great!), combines anthologies and found footage with enough gratuitous nudity to make feminists blush.

Then there's Lake Mungo (2008), a fake supernatural docu-drama with "YouTube" and cell phone viewer appeal (for "realism") and an above average touching ending. Not sure about pushing any envelopes but it's special for sure.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:19 AM   #11
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Excision and Absentia. Also for ultra low budget done right, 36 pasos.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:43 AM   #12
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The Hong Kong movie Dream Home had me saying out loud "they did NOT just do that, did they?" several times...
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:59 AM   #13
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Dream Home nearly put me to sleep.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: you can not shock intelligent people without intelligence in your story and characters. Dream Home was gratuitous, flat, braindead, and nothing more. Clearly inspired by French horror. (I can't really prove that but right now, I strongly suspect it- the drugged out party scene reminded me a lot of elements of Frontier(s), a film so awful I literally clicked out of it after less than half an hour. And that's saying something: I actually sat through Trick 'r Treat in its' entirety. Even though it was years ago, I still expect to be paid for that.)
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:21 AM   #14
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Martyrs
yep. Also Inside and Haute Tension.

All three go to extremes. And for Martyrs, I don't think you could get more gratuitously naked than the lead does at the end.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:15 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hellbilly View Post
V/H/S maybe? It's controversial (boring!/great!), combines anthologies and found footage with enough gratuitous nudity to make feminists blush.

Then there's Lake Mungo (2008), a fake supernatural docu-drama with "YouTube" and cell phone viewer appeal (for "realism") and an above average touching ending. Not sure about pushing any envelopes but it's special for sure.
VHS is on my list. I believe I saw a poster for part 2 or S-VHS?

I thought Lake Mungo was a clever ghost story. I had a feeling on the twist early on but dropped it as there were so many changes in the story. But I did like the ending.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paff View Post
The Hong Kong movie Dream Home had me saying out loud "they did NOT just do that, did they?" several times...
The pregnant lady? I didn't believe it either. The lady in Dream Home went crazy. I posted about it on the other horror forum that I didn't believe she could snap and go that far. Someone said it was a satire I think. But she basically runs though the apartment like Jason. Someone compared Natalie Portman's character in Black Swan to Jason on another forum. I still need to see that one.

I guess I'm trying to prioritize what's on my movie list. There are so many and I don't want to waste time, at least not now on junk. Movies that you guys mentioned or I think might be good are:

Martyrs
Evil Dead - I can barely remember this one. So I'm going to start again with the remake.
House of the Devil
Drag Me to Hell
The Ward
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
Inside

I added a few from your posts.

Also, I thought about some movies that aren't horror directly but have wild horror elements that modern horror movies don't use.

Hell Ride - I think many see this as Grindhouse Part 3. It's pretty raunchy.

Swimming Pool and The Dreamers - I'm not sure if these are the over R rating. But both were pushing the nudity barrier. Maybe the rating people gave them a pass because they are foreign movies.

Doomsday - This movie has almost everything. Zombie types, Aliens references, and the one thing I thought was a joke until seeing it, cannibalism. I thought when that crazy guy says "we're going to catch them, cook them, and eat them" that he had to be joking. But nope.
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