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June 3, 2012

The Mike's Top 50 Horror Movies Countdown: #31 - The House of the Devil

Previously on the Countdown: Number 50 - Happy Birthday to Me  Number 49 - Prince of Darkness  Number 48 - House on Haunted Hill  Number 47 - The Monster Squad  Number 46 - Hellraiser  Number 45 - The Fog  Number 44 - Creature From the Black Lagoon  Number 43 - Zombie  Number 42 - Tales from the Crypt  Number 41 - Bubba Ho-Tep  Number 40 - Phantom of the Paradise  Number 39 - Dog Soldiers Number 38 - Pontypool  Number 37 - Dark Water  Number 36 - Army of Darkness Number 35 - The Legend of Hell House  Number 34 - Poltergeist  Number 33 - The Abominable Dr. Phibes  Number 32 - The Phantom of the Opera
The House of the Devil
(2009, Dir. by Ti West.)
Why It's Here:
I'm not a guy who throws high praise on newer movies too often.  Well, I generally do praise the ones I truly dig, but it's very rarely that I will throw them ahead of lifelong favorites when I'm doing things like list-making.  So I'm still kind of telling myself to slow down and not go so fast when it comes to The House of the Devil.  But, the thing is, I've already seen this movie like six times in three years and every time I'm more convinced that it's the best thing to happen to horror in a long time.  Ti West's meticulous chiller is endlessly fascinating to me, primarily because of the fantastic restraint shown by the director and his cast.
The Moment That Changes Everything:
Sometimes, the moments in horror that really work are the moments that don't have anything to do with the horror.  One such example comes near the middle of this film, where Jocelin Donahue's lead character provides a break to the unending unease by dancing around the old, ominous house to The Fixx's One Thing Leads To Another.  In a film that's packed with silence, this interlude actually adds to the tension by making us wonder what impact her carefree nature will have on her once the fearful stuff kicks back in.
It Makes an Excellent Double Feature With:
They really don't make 'em like this too often, which makes me feel like I should think back to past horrors when considering a partner for the film. Beautiful young woman meets slow and satanic terrors worked similarly well in 1977's The Sentinel, and - if nothing else - you can compare and contrast how city and country cults differ in methodology.
What It Means To Me:
I talk down to modern horror all the time, and really shouldn't.  There's a ton of good stuff out there, it's just hard to find it sometimes.  The House of the Devil doesn't help its contemporaries out, because it's such a fantastic reminder of how good a horror film can be if it focuses its energy on the right things.  I'll take extreme tension over extreme gore every day of the week, which is just one of the reasons I give The House of the Devil such a big edge over most recent horror films.


George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Great pick! I loved it too. Have you seen "Babysitter Wanted"? It's actually pretty similar to this one and almost as good. Give it a shot.

Girl on Gore said...

Loved this one!

Jerry Smith said...

I really love this type of episodes and movies because this encourage us for do something and reduce our fear. When I was child I daily watched Are You Afraid Of The Dark episodes because I love that one and I know I have bought DVD set of This most popular episodes..