Review: THE 101 SCARIEST HORROR MOVIE MOMENTS OF ALL TIME: Shudder's Countdown to Scariest of All Time
The first episode in The 101 Scariest Horror Movie Moments of All Time premiers on Shudder next Wednesday, September 7th. We’ve seen it (maybe a couple more), and here’s what we think so far.
The eight-episode Shudder Original series comes from the producers of Eli Roth’s History of Horror. In the series masters of horror and genre experts have been corralled together to celebrate and dissect the scariest moments of the greatest and not-so-greatest horror films ever made. A few minutes is spent on each scene, exploring how the scares were pulled off and why they’re the most popular moments for horror audiences around the World.
Appealing to Anarchists they’re moments in horror film history that span decades (because we’re old) and the continents as well (see the ScreenAnarchy mandate). The show reminds viewers that even though certain regions were known for doing horror their way for the local audience these moments still spooked us globally.
The field of “experts” ranges from journalists, scholars, iconic stars, and directors. You have to have your icons, the likes of Joe Dante, Mick Garris and Tom Holland. You have to have equal representation as well, where the young crop of directors feature the likes of Gigi Saul Guerrero, Axelle Carolyn and Brea Grant. It is a thoughtfully assembled list of authoritative voices and opinions for the series.
Because the show is episodic we've been asked to only cover the first episode and if we desire, do everything week by week. We love you but we’re not going to come back week by week for what, a recap? There’s no ebb and flow to a series that is really 101 micro reviews of our favorite horror films from over the years. Oh my god, did they pull the rug out from its audience in episode 5!! Can you believe it!?! Of course we’re encouraged not to talk about each episode in any great detail either. Why ruin the surprise for you, waiting to tune in when each episode streams?
We said in news items leading up to the series debut, in jest, that the show was going to be divisive, causing all manner of “uproar” or “debate” on film Twitter about if they got the list correct, or, if they got the moments from each film right. Honestly, we see no reason for contention with the first batch because we really don't know what's coming up next. The discovery of the list should overrule any contentious thoughts about who or what made or didn’t make the list.
We’d consider ourselves a decent middle-ground horror fan. Part of the top-loader generation, during the boom of home video, where lazy Summer days were spent browsing video store shelves, picking up whatever they'd let us rent without word getting back to our parents. Our time here at ScreenAnarchy has seen us through the waves of horror out of Asian countries on through to their American adaptations. Yet despite our years and exposure to the genre there were still some cool discoveries to make in just the first episode alone.
Here is the reason why a show like 101 Scariest is a good thing and why we’re recommending it. We’re watching the first episode and are wondering, “Why is Joe Lo Truglio from Brooklyn Nine-Nine in this?” Why is someone who seemingly has no connection to the horror community commenting on some of these entries? So we went looking and were reminded that they will make their directorial debut with a horror film called Outpost. You see? The show prompted me to discover more horror. Another actress was commenting on some of the entries and again, I didn’t know what the movie was listed under her name. So I looked it up. Remember, we are a middle-ground horror fan here.
We get the the sense that you'd have to be pretty hardcore committed to the genre to have seen everything that will be on this list. The first episode features a made for TV mini series from the end of the 70s. We were six at the time. If we were a more devoted fan of all book adaptations by this one author maybe later in life we would have come across it. But until we watched the first episode of 101 Scariest we'd probably never have come across it.
Everyone should simply consider this an excellent opportunity to discover more horror films that maybe you haven't seen. Save the debate for later, film Twitter. Take each episode as they come and if you've seen everything, awesome. Got a difference of opinion? Also awesome. For the rest of us, we've probably got some holes in our horror history and a show like 101 Scariest will help fill some of them.