From Cameron to Boll: Four Action-Horror Hybrids

Any horror fan knows that for a lot of movies in the genre, it can be hard to sell non-enthusiasts on having the wits scared out of them. Thankfully, the genre covers so much ground and incorporates so much of the best of other kinds of film that it’s not hard to find something that can appeal to everyone while still satisfying those looking for scares. These are a few of the best movies that combine our favorite aspects of both action and horror.


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James Cameron took Ridley Scott’s tense and atmospheric 1979 thriller and put his own spin on it by applying his successful trademark Terminator-style action sensibilities. The result was an action-horror classic that holds up incredibly well today and remains wildly influential across pop culture. ALIENS introduced the concept of the space marine as we know it today and paved the way for countless future science-fiction franchises. The film even earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination for Sigourney Weaver, reprising her role as Ellen Ripley.

While none of the sequels managed to achieve the same resonance as the one-two punch of the first two films, that hasn’t done anything to curtail interest in the franchise. The prequel, 2012’s PROMETHEUS, was beautifully shot but met with mixed reviews as it sought to expand the mythos of the franchise (personally, I love it). Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that filming for ALIEN: COVENANT, has been troubled, and the production hasn’t been going as smoothly as some would like. Of course, ALIENS itself notably wasn’t completed until the week of its release, so maybe this will actually end up being a good thing.

 

 

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HOUSE OF THE DEAD

The haunted house is a horror trope that has been mined since time immemorial by both movies and video games. That goes for everything from film classics like THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL to video games. And in terms of the latter, the haunted house has gained popularity among the casual games at Gala Bingo’s casino portal. These games offer their own spins on the haunted mansion stereotype with spooky slot reels that make use of many of the haunted hallmarks, draw inspiration from the timeless setting to great effect. It’s a very effective and equally fun way to spend your free time and something I like to do in between writing and watching. Not only that, but lest we forget about HOUSE OF THE DEAD, a staple the light-gun genre characterized by great action combined with laughably terrible voice acting and cutscenes. However, the movie based on the video game took all of the wrong cue and focused on the latter, definitely falling into “so bad it’s kind of amazing” territory.

Honestly, we expect nothing less from schlock-meister Uwe Boll (a man who literally FOUGHT his critics). The movie follows Boll’s tendency to attract bizarrely big name actors, this time with Clint Howard and Jurgen Prochnow. DEAD is widely considered one of the worst films ever made. It still somehow doubled its budget, though, and received a sequel two years later that managed to be even worse. While you likely won’t be scared by HOUSE OF THE DEAD, except by how bad it is, it’s nothing if not action packed and horrible enough to leave you laughing yourself silly.

 

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Can you fly?! The original TREMORS is a horror staple that combines the best aspects of westerns, comedies, action movies, and monster movies as the citizens of the town of Perfection, Nevada try to survive against a host of unstoppable underground monsters. With a cast that includes stupendous performances from Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, and Reba McEntire, TREMORS was a modest success at the box office only to become a home video classic that earned itself an additional four sequels and a short-lived TV series. The second movie retains Fred Ward and the rest of the sequels hang their hats on the return of Michael Gross and his survivalist nutjob of a character, Burt Gummer. None of the sequels comes close to matching the lightning-in-a-bottle brilliance of the first movie, but they’re plenty of fun in their own right (minus that last one).

 

 

 

army of darknessARMY OF DARKNESS

EVIL DEAD and EVIL DEAD II are horror classics in their own rights, but ARMY OF DARKNESS is where the franchise went whole hog on the camp and cheese. It pit the franchise hero, Ash, against the titular army of darkness back in the Middle Ages, where the first two movies became icons of horror in their own rights.

ARMY OF DARKNESS cemented the hero as a legend and remains the silliest and most action-packed of the three. The movie introduced “boomstick” to modern parlance and helped to spawn two video games of its own, all of which received mixed reviews from critics. Ironically, despite its popularity, ARMY OF DARKNESS cannot legally be mentioned in the reboot television series, ASH VS EVIL DEAD, which is why, according to the gang over at Bloody Disgusting, Ash no longer works at S-Mart due to licensing issues with Universal.

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