It’s been another bitterly cold few weeks and one of the pleasures of a chilly cold night is being able to wrap up warm inside, tuck yourself in and put on a good movie. And whilst Jack Frost may be nipping at your nose there’s more dangers lurking in the whiteout of the snow than just the icy weather. There aren’t many places where horror hasn’t delved at some point and there have been plenty that take full advantage of those wintry months and bleak, bracing backdrops.
THE SHINING (1980)
The absolute horror classic from legendary director Stanley Kubrick pushed boundaries in the genre like never before. The typically perfection-seeking Kubrick spent months trying to get this almost self-indulgent project complete and even though the basic premise was based upon the novel of the same name by horror author Stephen King it certainly went through a lot of changes before it made it to the big screen. There are plenty of theories as to the real meanings behind the project but we simply look at it as a great horror yarn which still plays on peoples minds long after they leave the theatre.
Jack Nicholson stars as a winter caretaker hired to look after an out of season hotel along with his wife and young boy. A hotel that he soon discovers has an unsettling history and just so happens to currently be inhabited by a number of spirits. But of course there’s always his flake of a wife or indeed his curious son and his special telepathic power to keep him company before the madness sets in.
30 DAYS OF NIGHT (2007)
Based on the popular comic book miniseries of the same name this wintery horror flick takes the classic vampire out of their typical setting and plonks them right into a chilly Alaskan environment just in time for a thirty-day long period of polar nights, when the sun disappears and the night sets in for 24 hours a day. So there’s certainly no need for any vamps to apply extra strong sun block. The movie version from director David Slade was met with some criticism and wasn’t particularly praised by fans of the original comics however it’s a solid horror outing and one that was certainly needed to help breathe a little life into the rather repetitive vampire genre.
As Barrow, Alaska prepares to shut down for the polar night period local sheriff Eben Oleson (played by Josh Hartnett) discovers that his town and the good folk around him are being terrorised and slaughtered by a group of blood hungry vampires. So along with his estranged wife, played by the gorgeous Melissa George (‘Triangle’, ‘The Amityville Horror’), his younger brother Jake and a small group of other townspeople they must fend off these fanged f#ckers and try to survive until the sun rises once more.
DEAD SNOW (2009)
Whether its movies or popular TV shows like 'The Walking Dead', the zombie genre continues to thrive. In spite of the vast array of feature films, series and comic books already out there zombies are once more becoming so popular that many online casinos and gaming companies are creating zombie themed slot games and mobile apps, which you can find featured on sites such as www.casinoonline.com.de. It really does appear that fans are still craving more from the undead. And writer/director Tommy Wirkola's Norwegian zombie outing was a humorous and memorable feast for all fans of the undead.
There's just something about zombies that work so very well in the horror/comedy subgenre and Wirkola worked this in beautifully for both this 2009 feature as well his 2014 follow-up 'Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead' which some could argue is even better than the first. A group of medical students get more than they bargained for when their relaxing ski trip turns into a horrifically bloody fight for survival against a horde of Nazi zombies, yet another popular new trend in the zombie genre. The movies' tongue is planted as firmly as possible in its own cheek and even though there are plenty of giggles along the way the wondrously gory effects and blood-filled sequences will appease even the most hardened gore-hound sceptic.
There are plenty of good examples in horror of how bottle movies can be just as effective as big budget thrillers. Any movie that manages to contain the action and hold the tension as well as the viewers’ interest for around 90 minutes or more has to be applauded. We’ve seen survival movies where the lead is either buried alive or trapped in between a rock and a hard place. We’ve experienced mystery puzzle-based thrillers where the action never leaves the room yet multiple participants still end up dying. And we’ve even been drawn into movies where the main cast spend almost the entire movie fighting for survival whilst dangling from a shut down ski lift.
In Adam Green’s 2010 horror ‘Frozen’ (not to be confused with the highly overrated Disney flick of the same name) we follow three friends who find themselves trapped high above the snow below on a ski lift. It would be bad enough having to deal with the harsh weather, severe frostbite and hunger but when a pack of wolves begin to circle the trio things couldn’t possibly get any worse. There are many life and death choices that have to be made and the tensions rise just as quickly as the temperatures drop.