Morbidly Beautiful

Your Home for Horror


Our writers are exploring buzzed about horror films from the 80s to present day they previously missed out on, and you’re invited along for the ride.

Since we can’t hop on a plane, set sail on a cruise, or drive across country right now, our exploration of uncharted territory is limited to the small screen. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still great adventures to be had. While we may have been forced to cancel our summer vacation plans, at least we get to watch more movies now than ever before. It also means we can round out our horror education by finally tackling our “to be watched” Blu-ray piles or making a dent in our digital streaming queues.

In an effort to make the most of our summer staycation and encourage more new horror discovery, I asked the Morbidly Beautiful writing staff to pick films they’ve wanted to see for some time but still haven’t for whatever reason.

Previously, we shared the first time viewing experiences of ten of our writers, each of whom finally discovered a horror classic — from films released from the 1920s to the early 80s. Today, we’ve got ten more writers sharing maiden cinematic voyages. However, this time, our writers explore more modern horror films — ranging from those released in the mid 80s to just last year.

1. Re-Animator (1985)

Explored by Maggie Stankiewicz

I am not the woman I was before viewing Re-Animator. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to find that younger, doe-eyed, bereft version of me ever again. I don’t know what took me so long to treat myself to this campy, bloody, 86-minute Lovecraftian exploration of mortality, biomedical ethics, and luminescent serums. But I’m glad I finally got over those invisible obstacles.

After a bloody and memorable cold open that characterizes the titular re-animator Herbert West as a cold-blooded scientist, Re-Animator introduces viewers to medical student Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) and his slightly forbidden romance with Megan Halsey (Barbara Crampton), the dean’s daughter. Their tryst quickly becomes the least of their problems when Dan acquires a new roommate who is none other than Herbert West. It doesn’t take long for things to go completely off the wall, starting with the death of Dan’s cat Rufus who definitely maybe was killed by Herbert in the name of science and…re-animation.

This is the first film made by genre cult creators Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna.

With Gordon directing and Yuzna producing, Re-Animator was bound to be the mordantly hilarious body horror romp it turned out to be.

I had heard that this movie would be a lot of fun, but I was luckily spared the context of the humor. That was something I got to experience first-hand, and I’m sure glad it worked out that way. This is one horny movie – which only adds to its comedic flare. Disembodied heads are horny. Crawling hands are homicidal and horny. All while being drenched in buckets of blood and played out by a cast with incredible chemistry. Who wouldn’t call that a good time?!

This film’s sound design is as ooey-gooey as the blood-spattered on every single wall for half of the movie – and its practical effects deliver. So much so that I had to stop eating my popcorn part-way through the viewing. There was too much to see, to hear, and to worry about as Herbert’s re-animated experiments rose naked from the beyond with murder on the mind.

Re-Animator was truly a dark delight, and because of its influence, I have raised my standards for movies aspiring to find the perfect balance of camp, blood, nudity, and morally ambiguous doctors with perfectly pouted lips (I’m looking at you, Herbert).

Where to Watch

You can discover Re-Animator yourself on Shudder or Tubi.

2. Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)

Explored by Patrick Krause

I’ll be honest: I have actively avoided watching Killer Klowns From Outer Space until this article opportunity came up. I don’t have a good explanation as to why because I’m a fan of movies like Critters, Ghoulies, and Invaders From Mars, so it’s not like I don’t like cheesy, ridiculous horror movies. Killer Klowns From Outer Space was released in 1988, and that is right in my wheelhouse for when I was starting to discover a broader world of horror movies through local video stores that were beginning to open.

Until a few years ago, Killer Klowns wasn’t a blip on my radar. I may have seen an image of the clowns in a magazine, but the movie never registered with me. A few years ago, though, public interest in the movie seemed to explode out of nowhere. From an amazing Arrow Video release of the film to Killer Klowns getting a maze and a house at Universal Hollywood Horror Nights, the movie was suddenly back in the spotlight.

It was a Saturday night when I finally gave in to the pressure to watch this cult classic. I gave my wife fair warning about what was about to happen, smoked some premium bud, and hit play on Killer Klowns From Outer Space.

The movie was what I expected from a 1980s low budget horror film. Incredibly cheesy acting was on display from the start, married to some truly cringe-worthy dialogue, and trippy clown effects. Maybe I’ve been too groomed by the kind of horror movies I watch, but I had expected more gore. Fortunately, however, that’s about the only criticism I can muster regarding Killer Klowns.

I was absolutely gleeful over the alien clowns.

The design didn’t move the needle for me when I saw still pictures of the clowns, but seeing them in action was a different story. I loved that these alien monsters actually acted like clowns to lure and kill their victims. They used devices that turned people into pies, encased them in cotton candy to turn their prey into people smoothies, used shadow puppets to ensnare humans and more. The clown antics reminded me of the villainous devices created by the enemies of Batman in the 1960s television series.

Maybe it was the pot talking, but I fell in love with Killer Klowns by the time the end credits rolled.

I realized that more horror movies centered on clowns should take the same route with portraying evil killer clowns. The clowns we see in horror movies today are more like Pennywise in It or Art the Clown in Terrifier. They are terrifying, certainly, and entertaining to watch most definitely. But with this, my first viewing, I realized I want more T-Rex shadow puppets eating people, corpses turning into marionettes, and the use of cotton candy as a means for melting people.

Count me in as a rabid, new fan of Killer Klowns From Outer Space.

Where to Watch

Watch Killer Klowns From Outer Space for free on Netflix.

3. Audition (1999)

Explored by Bud Fugate

I often get distracted when it comes to movies to watch. I have a huge queue in about 4 or 5 different streaming services full of 80s horror, 70s kung fu and cheap 90s action. When it comes to Audition — a late 90s, Japanese horror film with subtitles — I always found excuses not to watch it. But finally, in these strange times of the year 2020, I decided to give this 1999 film from Takashi Miike a shot.

Mistakes! Have! Been! Made!

For about the first hour and a half, I was beyond bored and confused.  I’ve never looked into this film, never watched a trailer and never read a review — so I had no idea what I was in for. The first two acts are really nothing more than a bizarre romantic story about a man looking for love after the loss of his wife. Nothing spooky, nothing really eerie or even gruesome happens. On more than one occasion, a friend has suggested this movie to me, stressing, “It’s really fucked up.”  I thought they were talking about the main character luring women into a relationship with a fake casting call.

But then a man with no fingers, ears, feet or tongue emerged from a burlap sack in a woman’s apartment and ate her puke.