Jeepers Creepers 2

Scared Stupid

10 Dumb Things People in Horror Movies Do

Scream along with IFC's April Fool's Day Massacre all day today.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Thanks to movies like Scream and Cabin in the Woods, the tropes of horror movie morons have been well documented, but with IFC’s April Fool’s Day horror movie marathon upon us, we thought it was our responsibility to remind you of a few key things these idiots do over and over again. That way, you’ll know why you hate them, and feel a lot more comfortable rooting for them to die. Here are just a handful of the dumb things people in horror movies do that always get them killed. Feel free to try them out the next time you’re running away from a crazed killer in a Shatner mask.

10. Investigate weird sounds.

Renaissance Pictures
Renaissance Pictures

Hey, maybe take the Gates of Hell being ripped open as an excuse not to go check out that strange sound outside the creepy cabin you’re staying in. If Cheryl, from The Evil Dead, had followed that bit of advice, she might have avoided the worst first date with a tree since Saruman took one for the team in The Lord of the Rings. Time and again, these fools take any excuse to leave the safety of their homes, and go investigate the inky blackness on the other side of their locked door. I don’t know about you, but I could hear a marching band coming down the street at three in the morning, and I’m just locking my door and grabbing my gun. Then again, I hate marching bands.


9. Decide to give that freaky haunted house one more shot.

Poltergeist/MGM
MGM

Sure, it’s built on an Indian burial ground, and demons have kidnapped one of your children and taken her to The Nethersphere, but have you seen the finished basement in this house? You don’t just walk away from something like that. Haunted house movies would be awfully short if folks did what any sane person would do, and hightailed it out of there the first time the wallpaper started bleeding. Instead, these white-bread suburbanites seem to always find some excuse to put off the big move until something really awful happens. I mean, maybe just let the poltergeist keep the kid, right? They could turn her room into a home gym!


8. Fail to check the backseat.

Falcon International Productions
Falcon International Productions

How hard is it to take a peek in the backseat before you start up the car on a spooky night? Just a quick glance to confirm there aren’t any killers or old Starbucks cups taking up too much room back there. If there was a serial killer loose in my neighborhood, I’d be checking my backpack for him before putting it on. Instead, in everything from Urban Legend to Let Me In, pretty young people find themselves on the business end of something pointy because they didn’t just check to see if a maniac in a mask was crouched down in the back seat, uncomfortably waiting for his chance to strike.


7. Split up.

The Thing/Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

If there’s a monster hunting you and picking off your crew one by one, maybe stick together. You’ve got a better chance of fighting it off, or at least shoving the guy you like the least into its mouth and making a run for it. And yet, time after time, the best plan anyone in horror movies can come up with is to split up, snoop around in the dark by themselves, and report back after they die. It’s insanity, especially in The Thing, which has a monster that can transform to look like anyone. Hmmm, maybe if you stuck together you wouldn’t need to spend the rest of your time alive guessing who’s your annoying coworker and who’s an alien with a taste for bearded men.


6. Take off way too much clothing after getting hurt.

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Okay ladies, just because you got a scratch doesn’t mean you need to strip down to your undergarments. I know, you don’t want to bleed all over your good pair of jeans, but maybe consider the fact that you’re going to be running away from this killer or alien or desert slug for a good bit still, and you don’t want to have to do that in the near buff. Especially when your male friends are all suspiciously fully clothed.


5. Go into dark, scary basements.

Artisan Entertainment
Artisan Entertainment

Look, unless your basement has a foosball table and some sort of neon signage, I’m not going down there. Dark, dank basements are for storing Christmas decorations and getting murdered. And yet, time and again, from The Evil Dead to The Blair Witch Project, people decide that heading down the stairs instead of out the door is their best bet. Worst case, there’s a demon down there. Best case, you get thrown in a pit and asked to put some “lotion in a basket.” Probably better to just stay on the first floor, where no one ever dies.


4. Have sex in weird places.

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

We all like to mix things up. Skip the bed, and head all the way to the living room couch to get our freak on. But when you’re friends are being picked off one by one by a resurrected reject in a hockey mask, maybe it isn’t time to do the nasty in the abandoned mental hospital on the edge of town. Of course, when you get this many nubile young airheads together, they’re going to get a little frisky, but can’t they do it in a well-lit room with locks on the door? Safe sex doesn’t just apply to condoms, people.


3. Hide in the most obvious spots.

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

We get it. You’re scared. There’s a creep with a knife hot on your tail. You just want to curl up in a ball and die. Well, not die, but hide. Then you see a closet, or a bed, and figure, he’ll never look in there. He’ll just march through the room, back out again, and be on his merry way. But that never happens. Michael Meyers always checks closets. Kidnappers always “taken” you if you hide under the bed. These are obvious places for anyone who isn’t a moron. And your whimpering and choked back tears aren’t exactly helping matters. Get out of there, for the love of God. Instead, you’re basically hiding behind a potted plant.


2. Trip over everything imaginable while running away.

Vertigo Entertainment
Vertigo Entertainment

Why is it that the end of every horror movie has more pratfalls than a Three Stooges short? For some reason, a damsel in distress can’t run three feet without tripping over ever twig and crack she comes across. It doesn’t matter how much you yell “GET UP!” at the screen, they always end up on their knees. Look, just because you’re scared doesn’t mean you have to lose all equilibrium. Have some self respect. Stay on two feet. Most of these killers and monsters can’t lurch more than two miles an hour. A healthy jog is going to get the job done. Just keep it together, and remind me not to run a 5K behind you.


1. Say “I’ll be right back” like Scream never happened.

Dimension Films

Scream/Dimension Films

Scream blew this one out of the water, but not without cause. There are countless examples in the Friday the 13th and Halloween movies where someone says, “I’ll be right back,” only to never be seen again. And yet, somehow, movies like Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones still have folks using the phrase unironically. You know what, if those characters haven’t seen Scream, they deserve to die.

Check out some rules for horror movie “fools.”

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Rocky IV Paulie Robot

Mr. Roboto

5 Reasons Rocky IV Is Too Rotten to Miss

Catch Rocky IV Friday at 8P during IFC's Rotten Fridays.

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Photo Credit: MGM/UA/YouTube

When Rocky IV was released in 1985, the critics were not kind. (While it wasn’t around back then, the film’s 39% ranking on Rotten Tomatoes speaks for itself.) Less of a movie than a jingoistic music video starring a robot and a steroid-addled, monosyllabic Russian baddie, Rocky IV is a far cry from the Italian Stallion’s humble origins.

Still, more than any movie ever made, it exemplifies the whole “so bad its good” genre. This movie was made for us, the great-unwashed masses of the 1980s, who loved the band Survivor and hated those Commie bastards. Before you catch Rocky IV on IFC’s Rotten Fridays, let’s take a look at some moments that make this flick a “too rotten to miss” classic.

5. That Opening Shot

Rocky IV
United Artists

It takes all of 30 seconds for the audience to know they’re in for one ridiculous rollercoaster ride through a Cold War conniption fit of good vs. evil. Gone is the subtle tone and grounded reality of the first Rocky. In its place we see two gloves, one emblazoned with the American flag, the other with the Soviets’, hurtling toward each other. When they collide, sparks fly, and we witness an explosion decades in the making.

In case the symbolism is too subtle for you, director/writer/star Sylvester Stallone is trying to hint that this movie will be the clash of civilizations we’d all been waiting for, but instead of nuclear bombs, a humble palooka from the streets would be duking it out in the ring with the ultimate representation of coldhearted Communism. If it were up to us, this opening shot would’ve won Best Picture all by itself.


4. So Many Montages

Rocky IV has a running time of 91 minutes and 20 seconds. Its eight montages (yes, EIGHT) run a total of 29 minutes and 10 seconds. That is one third of the movie solely dedicated to montages. (Considering Stallone’s contempt for all things Soviet, we have to wonder if he knows it was a dirty Ruskie who invented the montage.)

During one of the many, many montages, director Stallone actually flashes back to a scene that had happened a minute and half prior, creating the impression that he might actually flashback to the montage we were just watching in the same montage. Stallone clearly loves a good montage set to an inspirational ’80s song, and so do we. Which brings us to…


3. A Soundtrack Full of Pumped Up ’80s Jams

Speaking of montages, they are set to the score of some of the cheesiest hits from the mid-’80s. For once, we’re spared tracks from Frank Stallone, with Stallone replacing his rocker brother with synth-y singles from Survivor, John Cafferty and Kenny Loggins. And of course, Robert Tepper, possessor of an ’80s mullet that could topple empires, crooning “No Easy Way Out.” The music in this movie is one step away from being a parody of the music in this movie. If you ever want to know what cocaine can do to the human mind, just listen to this soundtrack.


2. Rocky Ends the Cold War

Rocky IV speech
United Artists

In one of the most misguided, self-congratulatory, and immediately dated moments in cinema history, good ol’ galoot Rocky Balboa single-handedly ended the Cold War four years before the Berlin Wall came down.

To quote the Italian Stallion himself: “In here…there were two guys… killing each other. But I guess that’s better than millions. What I’m trying to say is… if I can change… and you can change…everybody can change!” And just like that the Soviet public, generals and even the Premier himself rose to their feet in applause, realizing what fools they’d been. This guy beat Mr. T for Heaven’s sake. He knows what he’s talking about!


1. Paulie’s Robot

Okay, let’s all take a deep breath and really consider this for a moment. Rocky IV has a robot butler in it. A movie franchise that began back in 1976 exploring the gritty reality of a bum fighter trying to prove himself somehow limped along long enough to turn into a weak Short Circuit rip-off in which an alcoholic mooch with a history of domestic abuse now gets his coffee served to him by a robot. A robot that he has programmed with a “sultry” lady voice!

Stallone was inspired to include the real life robot Sico in Rocky IV because of the work it did to help autistic children like his son Seargeoh. That’s all very moving, but doesn’t explain why he decided to write a scene where Paulie dubs poor Sico “the love of my life.” It’s a testament to Rocky IV‘s “too rotten to miss” status that Paulie’s robot girlfriend/personal servant isn’t even the craziest thing that happens to Rock and the gang.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” movie Rocky IV this Friday at 8P on IFC. 

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Swimming To Cambodia Spalding Gray

Gray's Anatomy

Everything You Need to Know About the Movie That Inspired “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”

Brand new Documentary Now! airs Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Cinecom Pictures

This week Documentary Now! spotlights a master monologist with “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything.” Before you tune in at 10P this Wednesday on IFC, check out our guide to Swimming to Cambodia, the 1987 film that captured writer/performer Spalding Gray’s acclaimed one-person show.

Spalding Gray 101

Swimming to Cambodia
Cinecom Pictures

Actor and renowned monologist Spalding Gray spent two years on stage perfecting his Obie Award-winning “Swimming to Cambodia” monologue. In it, Gray tells the story of his eight weeks in Southeast Asia while shooting the 1984 Academy Award-winning movie The Killing Fields. He had a small role, but the experience gave him several anecdotes about hanging out with the film crew and experiencing the local culture, all while searching for “the perfect moment.”

Directed by the Silence of the Lambs Guy

Hannibal Lecter
Orion Pictures/Everett Collection

Acclaimed filmmaker Jonathan Demme took Gray’s two-night, four hour performance and crafted it down to 85 minutes. His use of dramatic lighting, stylish camerawork and a score by performance artist Laurie Anderson was praised by critics and earned the film a cult following. No stranger to groundbreaking docs, Demme also directed the 1984 Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense, which Documentary Now! pays tribute to in this season’s episode “Final Transmission.”

All about the Voices

While it may have been a one-man show, Gray created a repertoire of characters all with distinctive accents. (He portrayed conversations between himself and others just by turning his head.) Our favorite impressions are of his demanding girlfriend Renee and Ivan Strasberg, the South African director of photography on The Killing Fields who, as depicted by Gray, sounds a bit like a Jamaican surfer.

The Original Cranky New Yorker

In one memorable scene, Gray rants about how his noisy upstairs artist neighbors are driving him and Renee crazy. Even in the mid-’80s, there were New Yorkers complaining that the city wasn’t what it used to be.

Show and Tell

Swimming to Cambodia
Cinecom Pictures/YouTube

A big fan of visual aids, Gray used pull-down maps to illustrate his travels. This helped to bring Swimming to Cambodia to life, since he’s basically sitting at a desk the entire time.

Inspired One-Person Shows

Gray’s groundbreaking performances in Swimming and other documentaries like Monster in a Box and the Steven Soderbergh-directed Gray’s Anatomy (about Gray’s struggle with a rare eye condition) paved the way for future one-person shows. (We wouldn’t have everything from Carrie Fisher’s “Wishful Drinking” to Mike Birbiglia’s “Sleepwalk With Me” without him.) Even Doc Now! star Fred Armisen got into the one-person show act for his recent SNL monologue.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Spalding Gray when “Parker Gail: Location Is Everything” premieres Wednesday, September 28th at 10P on IFC. 

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Rocky IV Stallone Lundgren

Burning Heart

10 Reasons Why Rocky IV Is the Ultimate Rocky Movie

Catch an all-day Rocky movie marathon this Friday, September 30th on IFC.

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Photo Credit: United Artists/Everett Collection

Sure, most people love the first Rocky for its heart, gripping boxing scenes and the classic training montage. Or, you might love Creed for being both a return-to-form and a new exploration of the Rocky mythology. Maybe the thrill of seeing Mr. T and Hulk Hogan in the same movie makes Rocky III your top pick. Well, sorry, you’re wrong: Rocky IV is the greatest of all the “Italian Stallion”‘s movies.

Before you watch the all-day Rocky movie marathon this Friday, September 30th on IFC (with Rocky IV airing at 8P as part of Rotten Fridays), check out a few reasons to appreciate the fourth installment as the king of the series.

1. The Greatest Opening Ever

How many openings are able to sum up the entire conflict of the film in less than a minute and without a single line of dialogue? And how many of those movies have exploding boxing gloves? Just try to watch the opening sequence above and not be completely psyched for the pumped-up flick to come.


2. Montages!

We all know that the best part of any sports movie is the montage, and Rocky IV doesn’t give you one measly montage. There’s a recap of the previous films montage, a getting to Russia Montage, two training montages and an ending fight montage. That’s five montages! There’s probably a montage of montages snuck in there, too.


3. There’s a Full James Brown Musical Number

This movie is so packed with memorable moments, it’s easy to forget one of the first things that happens in the film: Apollo comes out to fight Drago dressed as a shirtless Uncle Sam, while James Brown and a full band play “Living in America.” To drive home the number’s patriotism, there are dancers in tuxedos and top hats, weird unitards and bowler caps, and bedazzled showgirls with headpieces for miles. Oh, and don’t forget the giant tentacled dragon statue on the stage. This is how every boxing match should start. Heck, this is how we always want to enter a room.


4. The Soundtrack

The Rocky IV soundtrack doesn’t just feature James Brown — it has rock anthems galore, all of which make you immediately want to hit the gym. From “Heart’s on Fire” by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band to “Sweetest Victory” by Touch to multiple Survivor jams, you’ll get pumped and stay pumped. Even the instrumental score rocks! Sure, sometimes it sounds like it was made on a kids Casio, but this soundtrack never quits and — to quote Robert Tepper — never takes the easy way out.


5. Abs!

Rocky IV weights

Every Rocky movie shows off Stallone’s incredible physique, but Rocky IV really ups the game. Not only do we get Dolph Lundgren mostly shirtless looking like a man machine, but we get a wide variety of scenes of Stallone doing impossible tasks. Stallone’s crazy dragon fly crunches, aka a thing no human should be able to do, automatically take this movie to the top.


6. Two words: Ivan Drago

Ivan Drago
United Artists

Not only does Rocky IV explore the global conflict between the US and the Soviet Union, but it encapsulates all of our fears of the Cold War in one perfect villain. Ivan Drago only trains with machines and science and looks like he stepped out of an Aryan Nations recruitment poster. He also only responds in short, cold phrases like “If he dies, he dies,” or “I must break you.” There’s never been a villain who we so clearly want to get the crap beat out of than Ivan Drago.


7. Rocky Makes Chores Look Badass

Rocky saw
United Artists

Rocky doesn’t need to be hooked up to machines to become the perfect fighter. All he needs are huge tires and some outdoor chores to do. No one’s ever looked cooler chopping wood and using tractor parts. Half of his training is lifting an old wagon, probably to fix a broken axle. If anything, this film inspires us to take care of that gardening work we’ve been neglecting.


8. Rocky’s Beard

Rocky IV Beard

Stallone’s beard game is truly on point in Rocky IV. And this isn’t some “I forgot to shave, here’s a little stubble” look. No, we get full out, lumberjack-style beard action. Does any other Rocky movie have our hero looking like an old Russian aristocrat? Another point for Rocky IV.


9. There’s a robot!

Again, there’s so much to Rocky IV, you probably forgot about the robot. Well, Rocky has some money now and he’s not going to spend it on frivolous things for himself. He’s going to buy Paulie a robot! The best part of this scene is how truly disturbed Paulie is by this new technology until he gives it a sexy lady voice.


10. Rocky Ends the Cold War

If you’re still not convinced that Rocky IV is the greatest, answer this question: Does any other Rocky movie bring peace between the US and Russia?

By the end of the film, Rocky rises up to beat the seemingly undefeatable Drago. He fights so well, that even the Russians begin to appreciate his skills. Then, instead of using his victory to prove America’s superiority, he gives a rousing speech of “If I can change and you can change, everybody can change!” The whole crowd goes wild, including all of the Russian government, who we assume give up Communism immediately based solely on Rocky’s words. Stallone’s call for international reconciliation through brutal fighting and a variety of montages makes this if not one of the greatest films of all time, certainly the greatest Rocky of them all.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” movie Rocky IV this Friday at 8P on IFC. 

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