Halloween is upon us and for a horror movie junkie like me that means binging as many scary movies as I possibly can. In our house, as soon as the pumpkins are put away the Christmas tree is put out and Bing Crosby is put on, and it just feels weird watching The Exorcist while a giant inflatable snow globe is perched in my front yard.
I have watched so many scary movies and I watch them so much around this time of year they almost seep into my subconscious. So allow me a little catharsis if you please: This is YOUR “if the WWE roster were scary movies” top ten list of 2017.
Feel free to add your analogies in the comments below. Without further ado…
BRAY WYATT - THE VILLAGE
At the time The Village was released M. Night Shyamalan was on a roll. The Sixth Sense had been a legit movie phenomenon and though the follow-up, Unbreakable, was not as enthusiastically received, it was still critically hailed. Signs came next and it was another smash hit akin to Sixth Sense. Each of them featured a now-infamous twist ending. Spoilers:
In The Sixth Sense…Bruce Willis’ character is one of the dead people that Haley Joel Osment can see.
In Unbreakable, Sam Jackson is actually a comic book villain who needs to be defeated by Bruce Willis’ burgeoning hero.
In Signs…well (deep breath):
Signs was really about a fallen-away pastor (reverend? I don't recall) experiencing a supernatural occurrence from God in order to rekindle his faith. The "aliens" were demons, set free from Hell to act as the struggle for Mel Gibson to overcome (thus finding God again in the process). Meryl being so good at Baseball was a gift given to him by God as a youngster so that he could help save the day. The water his daughter kept saying was "contaminated" was actually just her misinterpreting her own heightened sense of holiness and purity given to her by God. The water was actually "holy water" blessed by her (lapsed) religious father. At the end the demon is defeated when brought into contact with the holy water, via Meryl's baseball bat. This brings it all full-circle as the Providence of God sparks an epiphany in Mel Gibson, who realizes it was all the Jews' fault.
After a trio of hits with twist endings, audiences had pretty much caught on to M. Night’s shtick. So when The Village was released, with its colonial-setting and promise of monsters who lurk in the woods, everyone spent the entire run-time just waiting for the other shoe to drop. And when it did, it did with a loud wet fart. It was a movie that looked the part, had moments of atmosphere and tension but in the end it was a punch-line not worth taking seriously.
BROCK LESNAR - THE RING (FRANCHISE)
The original Ring—or at least the US version—was a great horror movie, though it was definitely a product of its time. It had a solid cast (anchored by Naomi Watts), good direction (Gore Verbinksi, before he was shoe-horned as “that Pirates of the Caribbean guy”), and a simple, yet effective, villain.
The hook of the film was also a winner, with a video tape (again, it’s a dated movie) that kills you a week after you watch it. It’s a classic “haunting” sort of horror movie but with a good enough mystery woven throughout to keep things interesting. The money shot is of course the scene at the end, when Samara climbs through the TV screen to claim her victim. At the time it was one of the creepiest, most-effective horror shots I’d seen to that point.
A sequel came a few years later but though it promised more of the same it was only able to deliver…more of the same. It ended up fizzling out and the franchise disappeared for a decade. Suddenly, when no one was expecting it, The Ring returned with a new movie this year entitled “Rings.”
Unfortunately, the excitement that fans of the original had quickly dissipated as it became painfully clear that this movie was just a cash-grab, lazily going through the motions, offering up clichés repeated from the former film’s successes. It looked like the old hit, but it lacked the old hit’s well-roundedness.
SAMI ZAYN - CABIN IN THE WOODS
No one believed in this movie.
Everyone said it wouldn’t work. Everyone said it was too much this and not enough that. It was mocked for its cliché-ridden cast of characters, for its cliché-ridden setting, for it’s cliché-ridden horror movie set-pieces and tropes. People thought Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon were out of their minds and were wasting their time.
But then people saw it…and it all made sense.
Cabin in the Woods is one of the best works of satire ever made, certainly in the horror genre. Most horror movies of that kind are in the “spoof” category, such as the “Scary Movie” films, but this is pure satire. It plays it straight but will occasionally wink and nod at you to remind you to get in on the joke. It’s not really a horror film; it’s actually a delightful romp masquerading as a horror film because sometimes it’s nice to pretend you’re bad and have a little fun.
JOHN CENA - THE THING (1982)
At the time of its release, The Thing was met with disdain from critics and disinterest from ticket-buyers. The film—a remake of the popular 1951 sci-fi—was seen the way many remakes and reboots are today, with people saying “we don’t need this movie” and “the original was better!” In short, The Thing came along and all anyone wanted to talk about was how good things used to be.
It would be years before people came to appreciate the movie for what it is: One of the best, most “total package” horror movies ever made. The atmosphere was tense and tight. The acting was never over the top; even when things got really crazy, everyone was real. The special effects were some of the finest practical-effects ever filmed. The ambiguous ending is, today at least, lauded, and is a constant source of speculation and theory.
It’s a late-bloomer, but it’s nice to see it get the love it deserves. Whenever it’s on TV, I can’t help but watch.
ROMAN REIGNS - THE THING (2011)
The 2011 quasi-remake/prequel of The Thing tried every trick in the book to make you love it for trying so hard to be just like the 1982 cult hit. Instead, people hated it precisely because it was trying so hard to be the 1982 cult hit. Hollywood still hasn’t learned that people don’t actually want to see a remake for the sake of a remake; if the original is good, most are happy just watching the original. People want to move forward; people want to progress.
The 2011 version of The Thing didn’t fail because it was a remake, however. It failed because it was not a very good movie, remake or not. It had many of the pieces in place to be a good movie: A solid cast, a good budget, a great screenwriter (Eric Heisserer most-recently wrote The Arrival and Lights Out) and an eager director. Where it failed was it tried too hard to evoke the memories of the 1982 movie while missing a lot of what made that movie so great. The biggest sin was with the visuals: Instead of weighty, practical effects, it had an over-abundance of CGI. It made the new movie somehow look faker than the movie that came out thirty-years before.
Without a well-developed identity of its own, and with too much emphasis on reminding people of the greatness of the past, the quasi-remake was met with angst by audiences everywhere.
RANDY ORTON - THE VVITCH
Competent. Occasionally great. Mostly boring. Will be remembered forever despite doing very little of anything that makes you say “wow.”
KANE AND/OR BIG SHOW - PARANORMAL ACTIVITY
Originally cheesy but effective. Slowly they’ve devolved into sad, one-trick-ponies. Diminishing returns has seemingly killed the franchise off, but the movies are cheaply made and someone out there seems to dig them, so it’s only a matter of time before they rear their ugly heads again and clog up good box-office space that could be given to more deserving properties.
THE FOUR HORSEWOMEN (NXT) - THE DESCENT
A bunch of close-knit ladies who are very good at what they do take a new journey together and are eventually split apart and eaten by cannibals? Yeah.
NEW DAY – GHOSTBUSTERS
I mean…this is a no-brainer right? The original idea was “The Blues Brothers, but with ghosts.” I’m sorry, but that’s a dead-on-arrival storyline. It would have been too derivative. Instead the idea evolved into more of an ensemble comedy that allowed the individual personalities of each cast member to shine. The result is one of the most rewatchable movies of its era.
JINDER MAHAL - LEPRECHAUN IN THE HOOD
You can try and talk it up. You can try and make it scary. You can try and convince me that it’ll be worthy my time. It’s not going to happen. It’s Leprechaun in the Hood. There are simply too many things wrong with it that anyone can see without having to actually watch the movie. No thank you; hard pass.
VINCE McMAHON – NOSFERATU
Seemingly eternal, lives in a castle, if given enough time will eventually suck the life out of everyone that you love.