We’ve been delving into the tricky art of breaking the fourth wall recently, but no genre delights in covering that pesky wall with bat-shaped explosive gel and detonating the piss out of it, Arkham style. Some of the most effective horror movies are the ones that wink at themselves and the audience (the ONLY time any kind winking is socially appropriate, BTW), so here are five times that horror movies got eerily, spookily meta. Also, obvs, spoilers lie ahead, kids.
Cabin in the Woods
We might as well start with the big dog, the not-so-secretly dope-as-hell movie that staked its entire being on a huge, impossibly gigantic middle finger to fourth walls everywhere. Cabin in the Woods used every single horror trope imaginable to explain exactly why they existed, and tied it into a classic Raimi-style flick turned Lovecraftian epic. It had its cake, ate it too, then threw it back up and had it over and over and over again. Sorry, but such an awesome movie deserves the most disgusting analogy I can think up.
The Scream franchise spent four movies and a TV series patiently explaining horror tropes and then subverting the hell out of them, often with its franchise-within-a-franchise, the cleverly-titled Stab series. Their advice was to basically live your life as if it’s a horror movie, something I will TAKE WITH ME TO MY GRAVE. If anyone ever says they’ll “be right back,” I basically assume they’re dead and accept my new life without them. Rules are there for a reason, guys.
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
Freddy Krueger got REAL silly and “bitch”-heavy for a good while, so WCNN, as the cool kids call it, was a sort of reboot for the Bastard Son of 1000 Maniacs™, one in which Freddy invaded the real world and terrorized the actors from his own films. It was also at this point that I realized Wes Craven (who, of course, pops up in the film) isn’t the devil himself, as I thought him to be from years of nightmares, but a kindly old soul that sorta looked like my grandpa. But also maybe the devil? Who can even tell at this point?
The Human Centipede 2
Take my word for it, this one is meta and fourth-wall-breaking and self-referential and all that stuff that’s on this list, just please don’t Google anything about it ever forever. The sequel is about a man that’s obsessed with the first film and, well, let’s go ahead and leave it at that and think about KITTENS.
A chilling tale of home-invasion and also the villains looking straight to camera, rewinding time to save their own lives and proceed directly into credits with some of the scariest damned credits music you’ve ever heard in your life. Whether it’s the original Danish film or the highly unnecessary shot-for-shot English remake, made by the same director no less, it’s terrifying and hilarious and weird, like a nightmarish version of Click. Well, an even MORE nightmarish version.
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