It’s October and that means horror, well at least for some people. Personally, I was grown on horror movies. Being the youngest sibling in the house, I would sometimes walk into things “I was not old enough for.” Let me tell you: with horror, I agree with the age limitations. I saw part of Evil Dead II when I was six years old – the scene where Henrietta bursts through the cellar floor. Needless to say, my basement and I became distant acquaintances for the next few years. Yet despite this (or maybe because of), I grew up loving horror films. The mark of any effective piece of art is its ability to leave an impression on the viewer. There is a real talent in being able to terrify someone with – essentially – nothing. Even the best horror movies have nothing on reality, yet they still leave audiences trembling. The problem is this: horror is a cheap genre to film. There is a plethora of horror cinema out there and most of it is not very enjoyable or scary. So what to watch? Thankfully, one man has taken it upon himself to answer that question.
James Rolfe, more famously known as the Angry Video Game Nerd, created Cinemassacre.com years ago. An amateur (now going professional) filmmaker, Rolfe clearly enjoys horror films more than the average theater goer. For the past seven years, Rolfe has been bringing a thorough and usually very insightful compendium to the horror film genre. He calls it: Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness. Every October, Rolfe creates a daily entry, which is usually confined to examining (in fair depth) one single horror movie. Most years have themes. In his first run, he outlined a history of horror. In this second run, there was the Godzillathon, and so on and so forth.
Many people have reviewed movies, just ask Youtube. More reviews than anyone can shake a stick at – some presented well, others not so much. What sets Monster Madness apart from the throng of other material is the sense of perspective that Rolfe brings to his work. Anyone can review a movie, but listening to Rolfe almost feels like a short lesson in film history. This is not simply some fanboy rattling off all the movies everyone HAS to see before they die. The writing instead contains a well thought-out approach, and does not overstay its welcome.
This ability to edit and show self-restraint sets Rolfe apart from a lot of other internet personalities. The viewer gets the sense that he is not doing this for himself, but rather from the simple love of a well put together creation of art. It is also refreshing to see him break from his Angry Video Game Nerd personality to actually provide more direct and reasoned critique.
Halloween puts people in a mood for scary, there’s no two ways about it. With Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness, audiences can at least know how to navigate the sludge of sub-par films they are bombarded with. Interested in checking out a new thrill? Ask James Rolfe. He’ll always give you something (spoiler-free) to think about. And that, is a job well done.