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Stacie Ponder – The Weather Outside Isn’t the Only Thing That’s Frightful


This is my second winter as a resident of southern California, and the fact that I’m walking around outside in a T-shirt in December still weirds me out big time. See, I’m a native New Englander, where T-shirt weather doesn’t last through the end of September. All this warmth and sunshine at the start of holiday season gets me pining for a real winter; as I look at the palm trees on my street, I think about turtlenecks and hot cocoa and how it’ll be ever-so-great to be home for Christmas and wouldn’t it be rad if it snowed?! Then I think about all those miserable winters I spent before I moved out here — scraping frost from car windows in the dark of the morning, living in apartments so drafty I had to wear a hat to bed — I think about all of that and I say to myself, “Oh yeah, I almost forgot: Winter’s such a jerk!” The coldest season isn’t all bad, though; I mean, hot cocoa is delicious… and there are some sweet horror movies that take place when it’s bitter outside. Who says summer gets to have all the fun?

The Brood (1979)
The first time I saw David Cronenberg’s horrifying riff on child abuse and motherhood, I was woefully unprepared and I think it broke my brain a little bit. Samantha Eggar turns in an intense performance as Nola Carveth, whose stay at a psychiatric clinic nestled on a snowy hillside doesn’t do much to quell her anger. She’s so angry, in fact, that she can create evil rage babies with the power of her mind, which certainly has its advantages. If nothing else, The Brood taught me an invaluable life lesson: Never trust anyone wearing a snowsuit.

The Shining (1980)
Snow is as central to The Shining
as is… well, the “shining.” Getting paid to hang out all winter in a
luxury hotel with all the food you can eat sure sounds like a great
idea. Then you find out there’s some soggy naked lady rotting away in
the tub in one of the rooms… and things feel kinda iffy. The next
thing
you know, there’s a raging torrent of blood rushing out of the
elevators and your husband tries to go all Lizzie Borden on you;
suddenly being trapped in a luxury hotel behind insurmountable
snowbanks seems like a real drag. And it is — trust me, I’ve been
there. (OK, so maybe there was that one time it snowed, like, two feet
overnight and in the morning I had trouble opening my front door. But
it was really stressful!)

The Thing (1982)
John Carpenter’s loose remake of The Thing From Another World
is a masterpiece of gross-out scifi terror and a great exercise in
what paranoia and mistrust can do to a group of people in a short
amount of time. Though it may seem it’s nothing but the simple tale of
a shape-shifting alien life form that infiltrates and decimates an
Antarctic research station, The Thing does answer a question
that has long plagued society: Can a man wear a kind of-sideways cowboy
hat and still be cool? The answer is yes, but perhaps that answer is
only true if you’re Kurt Russell as R.J. MacReady. Yes, he wears that
hat, but he flies a helicopter and swears at aliens before he blows
them up. He could wear that stupid hat and a dress and he’d still be
cool.

Jack Frost (1996)

You know the end of Frosty the Snowman,
where he melts and there’s nothing left but his corn cob pipe, button
nose, and coal eyes floating in the Puddle Formerly Known as Frosty?
That always choked me up as a kid. OK, so it still chokes me up. Yeah, they say he’ll be back, but he dies! Dies, I tells ya! And if there’s one thing I learned from Jack Frost,
it’s that next year, when Frosty comes back, he may have murder on his
brain. Or, at least, he’ll have murder… on the… ah, snow of his…
head. Or something like that. Yes, Jack Frost is confusing:
How, exactly, would snow + chemicals + serial killer blood = evil,
murderous snowman? The answer, I suppose, has something to do with
science… but then, I’m a girl so I find stuff like science really
hard and I just don’t get it. Therefore, I just sit back and watch in
simple-minded, slack-jawed glee as a snowman goes on a killing spree.
Sometimes it’s the little things that make life so good.

Shredder (2003)
When I gave Shredder a whirl, I
wasn’t expecting much more than a slasher flick about some kookadook
skier who kills snowboarders for whatever reason on some abandoned
slope. Alright, that’s not entirely true: I was hoping to pick up some
“radical” snowboarder lingo so I could feel young and socially
relevant. The funny thing about having low expectations is that
sometimes they’re surpassed; sure, I’m still as out of touch as ever
(although I do try to “shred” whenever possible nowadays), but Shredder
proved to be more fun than it had any right to be. It’s one of those
odd little horror movies that’s either good because it’s kinda bad but
it’s winking at us or it’s good because it’s so bad. Either way, it’s
awfully entertaining…”dude”. See how cool it made me?

You may have noticed that I’ve not mentioned any
Christmas-flavored horror movies, of which there are many. But why
should Christmas be the only thing that comes to mind when we think
about cold-weather fright flicks? It goes without saying that psychotic
Santas have deserve their place of honor in the genre pantheon, but I’m
just saying, winter horror is about so much more! Let’s not neglect the
snowsuit-clad rage babies and killer snowmen; they, too, can be
positively chilling.

Feel free to groan at that one.

A fan of horror movies and scary stuff, Stacie Ponder started her blog Final Girl so she’d have a platform from which she could tell everyone that, say, Friday the 13th, Part 2 rules. She leads a glamorous life, walking on the razor’s edge of danger and intrigue.

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