For a significant number of years, the concept of slasher movies fell away. The major horror franchises of Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm St. and Halloween found themselves struggling to stay relevant with the demographic that made them classics. Meanwhile, in 1996, a single question stirred a new generation:
Do you like scary movies?
In 1996, the cinematic world was introduced to the first of what would be one of the more successful new horror franchise of the modern era. And interestingly enough, it would spring forth from the mind of one Wes Craven, already responsible for one of the most popular monsters in movie history.
At the time this came out, I was in college and without going into a lot of details, I was going through a difficult time in my life. School was not going well and I had personal issues that were leading to some fairly severe depression and anxiety. I was on break at my father’s house and decided one night to take a spin with a video rental, a new movie release that I had seen advertised but knew very little about. Continue Reading
The best part of being a horror nerd is watching protagonists make stupid decisions that normally end in the worst possible ways. We connoisseur’s of macabre, we horror fanatics can easily forecast who lives and who dies before the second act. Though, sometimes considered a terrible privilege, spotting who gets the ax isn’t as difficult a prediction to make. In fact, even those who don’t normally watch horror can feel in the deep places of their gut who will most unlikely survive past the ending credits. We all know the classic tropes, such as: the jock, the stoner, the cheerleader, the promiscuous teen, and each and every one are imminently endangered; while typically, the quite, mild mannered, morally chaste will live to see another sequel. However, these cliques can be broken if the character can exercise rational commonsense and avoid places like: rural rundown gas-stations, cemeteries, deserted hospitals, and any place with a single hanging light bulb. But then again, if everyone avoided the damp dank basement, there wouldn’t be much of a horror story, would there?
Another way to increase your chances of survival would be to team up. Typically, the “lone wolf” method only works for the morally virtuous tropes. So, unless you’re name is Laurie Strode or Nancy Thompson, you had better find that other doomed soul (and if things go south, you can always shoot in the leg and let the zombies have ’em while you escape). In my opinion, the best and also the worst team ups in horror movies have always been siblings. Strangers are good, but you’re less obligated to keep them around, and vice versa. One of my favorite sibling teams were Lex and Timmy from Jurassic Park (1993). They were totally believable, constantly teasing and picking on each other, but when the island lost power and some very ticked off and hungry dinosaurs started making sweet-sweet mayhem around the park, the brother and sister duo united and cleverly outwitted the brainy velociraptors. With that being said, sometimes these sibling duos do not work out very well for both survivalists. Sometimes, sibling duos in horror go horrifyingly wrong. Sometimes it simply doesn’t pay to be a sibling in a horror movie. In no particular order are my best picks for horrible horror siblings.
1. Dane & Lucas Thompson
The Hole is a story about two brothers and the girl next door who find a mysterious “hole” in the basement of their new house. Soon after, weird and unusual things begin to happen. Though, The Hole was directed by legendary Joe Dante, the story fell apart for me in how terrible the older brother was to his much younger sibling. Sure, the bickering and fighting were very much normal and expected, but when there’s monsters afoot, you don’t leave your little bro alone at night to go chasing after some girl you just met. In the end (spoilers ahead), Dane does redeem himself by saving his brother from their imaginary ghost dad, but the moment he left him on the lawn to go chasing some skirt was the moment my trust had been severed. The fact that both of the brothers and the girl survived astounds me; though, it does testify to the movies PG-13 rating.
2. Deputy Dewey & Tatum Riley
Scream (1996) proved that even though the 80’s were long and over with, slasher flicks could still be good. As Wes Cravens 90’s masterpiece, Scream told the story of a sleepy town with some very twisted residents. Some of the best characters were also sadly some of the worst. For our intents and proposes, Deputy Dewey Riley, the nit-wit cop, and Tatum Riley, best friend of the main protagonist, Sidney Prescott, were the brother-sister duo that could have survived, had they not been so horrible to each other. Sure, we should expect some level of malevolence, but where was Dewey while his sister was getting her neck broke in the garage doggy door? Out macking on local reporter Gale Weathers. The guy swore to protect both his sister and Sid from Ghostface, yet he does his “security sweep” in the woods, far away from the party were we all know something bad will happen soon enough. However, we cannot be to hard on him. Dewey was one of the more innocent characters, which is why he survived the knife in his back. But we can’t say the same for Tatum…poor, poor squeezing through a small doggy door Tatum. How she thought she’d fit through that thing is beyond me, but it definitely served as one of the most interesting kills. (Yes, I know there is something wrong with me).
3. Johnny & Barbra
There is no way anyone could be disappointed with Night of the Living Dead. The 1968 black & white classic was the debut of the “Romero” styled zombie. Before Night of the Living Dead, the “undead” were typically voodooed victims, such as the classic Lugosi production, White Zombie, or (another Craven film) The Serpent and the Rainbow. George’s 60’s zombie flick was both shocking and created a lasting franchise. The story begins with a brother, sister duo and as expected, the older brother is giving his younger sister a hard time. The pair are visiting their fathers grave site and innocent Barb is a little more than weirded out at being at a cemetery. Johnny relentlessly teases her, “Their coming for you Barbra, their coming to get you.” However, when Barbra is attacked by an approaching zombie, Johnny jumps into action, pulling the”walker” off of her. Here, we really begin to root for the big brother, but unfortunately, his neck gets broke during the struggle…while his sister, who was standing idly by and could have helped, flees for the car. Laughably, for us anyhow, Johnny has the keys! As said before, there can be no disappointments with this movie. The only reason Johnny and Barb made the list is because they prove that during a zombie apocalypse, or any natural disaster, it is survival of the fittest.
4. Lewis & Fuller Thomas
What should have been a romantic cross country getaway for Lewis and would-be girlfriend, Venna, quickly turns into the road trip from hell. The story is really about two brothers who couldn’t be less alike. Lewis plays the more reasonably sound and morally upright brother, that is until his “black sheep” older brother, Fuller, purchases a $40 CB radio and conveniences good boy Lewis to play a practical joke on the wrong trucker. But, despite making the list as one of horrors worst siblings (because its never a good decision to play jokes on truck drivers), the brothers stuck it out and kept each other alive throughout the story and both lived to see another day.
5. Henry, Mark, & Connie Evans
Nothing brought me more joy in the 90’s than watching “Home Alone” go psycho! The story surrounds Mark (played by Elijah Wood), moving to stay with his aunt and uncle and cousins up in good old Maine…because, as we all know, nothing ever bad happens in Maine, right? In the beginning, Henry and Mark quickly become friends; however, as days go by, Mark discovers the darker side of his cousin and how he might not be all that sane, Henry might have two birds over the cuckoo’s nest, might be rudrum-ing the bathroom mirror, yada, yada, yada. Here, as siblings, it doesn’t pay to be any member of the Evans family, as “bad son” Henry goes all Michael Myers on everyone.
6. Blanche & Baby Jane Hudson
This wouldn’t be much of a horrible horror siblings list without mentioning, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? The story, as you might already know, is about two sisters who both happen to be actresses. While one flourished as a child star (Baby Jane), the other (Blanche) becomes even more famous with age. The delirious and jealous Baby Jane takes matters into her own hands and cripples her sister with their car, unbeknownst to Blanche. Entering their golden years, Blanche is constantly tormented by her sister and when she attempts to escape, she is impeded. Again, we see how it is not always beneficial to have a sibling in a horror movie, especially when the main antagonist happens to be said sibling.
7. Mia and David
This 2013 retake of the forever classic Evil Dead, surrounds the story of a group of friends and brother and sister pair, who venture out into a cabin in the woods to help Mia (the sister) kick a nasty drug addiction. A subplot in the story concerns Mia and her relationship with brother David and how he had abandoned her while their mother was dying of cancer. (PS: this is full of spoilers) Interesting enough, we discover that the only reason why Mia got hooked on drugs in the first place was as a way to cope with her brother leaving her with said dead mum. From the get go we get the picture that these two are not the pitch perfect brother and sister duo. And then things quickly go from bad to worse. Though, in the end, big bro proves his love by setting a fire in the cabin, because nothing says “sorry for leaving you alone with our ailing mother” like being burnt alive. In Evil Dead, it really doesn’t pay to be anyone in the story, but even more so than as a sibling.
8. Tina & Terri
What? You thought this list was going to end without mentioning a single Friday the 13th movie? Ha! A good example of poor silbingship could be found in part four, aka: the Final Chapter, as one of the more infamous Friday’s because of several noticeable reasons, such as: the introduction of then famous 80’s stars Corey Feldman and Crispin Glover (Back to the Future fame). The horrible siblings mention belongs to twin sisters Tina and Terri who join a rag-tag group of misfit teens in some drunken, pot filled debauchery near Crystal Lake. The beginning of the film picks up with the end of part 3, as the presumed corpse of Jason is being carted off to the local morgue. Unbeknownst to the hormone raged youngsters, but knowest to us, Jason is alive and well and making his way back home. As the party continues, more promiscuous sister Tina decides to hookup with nerdy Jimmy, forcing Terri to venture home alone…in the dark… during a thunderstorm, which doesn’t really work out for either of them. Had they stuck together… well, this is a Friday the 13th flick…they both probably would have died anyhow.
Sometimes having a sibling with you in a horror movie can be a good thing. You can team up and take down the monster. But, as some of the above mentioned films prove, that’s not always the case. When it comes to horror, typically these duo’s never work out for both parties. None know that story better than honorable mention for horrible horror siblings (for me at least) Trish and Darry Jenner from Jeepers Creepers. Here, curious George brother is the one who gets it in the end, instead of his more cautious sister. Jeepers Creepers teaches us, again, that commonsense trumps duos. Understandably, there could be more names listed in the pool of horrible horror siblings. What are some of your favorites?