Do you like your horror with a side order of bullets? Do you find that horror and kung fu are completely compatible? Do you wish there were more superhero horror tales? This week we’re talking action-horror in episode 117! Lights! Camera! Start the squibs!
Action-horror movies are the ones where the protagonist have a literal fighting chance for much of the movie. The power gap between the monsters and the humans is not quite as wide as it is with many others in this genre, and the good guys dish it out just about as well as the bad guys. Some say that these movies aren’t horror because the fear is absent from the action-horror sub-genre. But, for those of you who saw Aliens for the first time in the theater, you know what a white knuckle thrill ride that was in the theater.
That’s not to say that the monsters are at a disadvantage. Not at all. The road through an action horror movie is paved with the corpses of the would-be tough guys until you reach the final confrontation. Sometimes you get the nearly unkillable monster who ends up going toe-to-toe with the equally unkillable hero (Predator, Pitch Black). Sometimes you get a well-armed group of survivors who have to outlast the teeming hordes of creatures (Dawn of the Dead, The Descent).
Action-Horror is a big tent. It covers western-horror, kung-fu horror, superhero horror, war-horror, and many thrillers. One of the things that remains a constant, is that this corner of the horror universe might be the most viscerally fun corner of horror cinema. These are movies, when done right, will have you cheering and pumping your fists in the air. There is a vicarious joy in seeing the protagonists fight back.
This is also a trope heavy section of the genre. The headshot. The noble sacrifice. The boss battle. The horde. The big speech. If these elements make your pulse race, then this is where you live, cinematically. Check out what we at the Scariest Things