Paragraph Reviews 3.


Image courtesy of IMDB

Aidan Herklotz

Hello and welcome to paragraph reviews, where I review three good, bad, or classic films in one paragraph each. Today we’re doing horror, which is complicated. Horror is possibly one of the most polarizing genres of film and come in extremes: either a terrifying masterpiece, or a cheesy slasher; there really is no inbetween. So, keep that in mind as we get into it.

DISCLAIMER: This article will contain spoilers for The Thing (1982), Poltergeist (1982), and The Shining (1980).

Many have called The Thing an A-list of B-list movies, which makes sense. I can accept this, even though it’s one of my favorite movies. Yes, The Thing is horror, but it’s more of a mystery. A lot of horrors put us in the minds of the monster (or serial killer, or alien, or whatever) and what they do/kill. The titular monster in The Thing can perfectly replicate anyone it’s killed, and since they look, act and speak like that person, we never know what it’s up to. Even by the end when the Thing is “killed”, there’s still some ambiguity on who was replicated and who actually survived. This entire “who’s who” thing also leads to some great character moments. But, it’s still a horror, and The Thing simply wouldn’t be the same without those horrifying practical effects. I truly wish I could show you some right now, but they’re too grotesque. Just google it, you won’t be disappointed.  

Rating: 4/5 


Poltergeist is basically where Steven Spielberg found his formula and stuck to it. A family lives in suburban America and one day stumbles on the supernatural. The specialists (or the government) intervenes, and a small child is somehow connected with the paranormal and become the entire subject of the climax. In the end, everything turns out good in the end. Spielberg does this with countless movies (ET, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jurassic Park) simply because it works. While it may seem a bit played out today, that’s because we’ve set a sort of standard with new films to be innovative. Innovation is a really good thing, but sometimes it’s just nice to watch something that you know you’re gonna like, and I like Poltergeist. But regardless, this movie gets spooky. By far the scariest scene is where the ghost possesses a tree, smashes one of the branches through a window, and tries to swallow a child into its trunk, all while being sucked into a tornado. Who comes up with this stuff? And keep in mind, this is all done in those classic Spielberg effects which makes it that much scarier.

Rating: 4/5


Here’s Johnny! I can’t properly do The Shining justice. Not in a paragraph, not in an article, not in an entire book. This movie is the pinnacle of horror, and I can completely understand why it frequently makes “Top 10 movies of all time” lists. It’s just that good. This is mostly attributed to Stanley Kubrick’s film-making, which is masterful, who knows how to set a tone like no one else. From the first minute of the movie you know this is gonna be terrifying. This is something every horror movie should try to achieve, since I believe all horror is about setting a spooky tone. But The Shining isn’t all about tone, in fact, I don’t even know what it’s about (which I love). Is it about settlers taking native land? Is it about Kubrick faking the moon landing? Is it ghosts possessing an innocent man? Is it a very non-innocent man going insane and killing his family? Does the entire movie just take place in Jack’s finished book? This ambiguity makes the entire film a much better experience even though the book it’s based on is almost completely different (as most adaptations are). And don’t even get me on about how truly terrifying this movie is, but if you asked I don’t think that I could describe it. If you haven’t seen this film what are you even doing.

Rating: 5/5 Probably the best horror movie ever made.

For Halloween, I strongly recommend, no, I command you to watch these movies. There are no better selection of movies to put you into this time of terror.