As broad as the horror genre is, there are relatively few examples of it playing nice with other genres. Comedy seems like the easiest fit as it relies on much of the same tricks as horror though to get a slightly different reaction (we will call this the the Monsters Inc paradigm). We’ve already checked out some great examples of horror melding with science fiction but what about action. You could argue that every horror movie is in some sense an action movie: like action movies, horror is based a lot around set pieces designed to evoke the symbols of its genre. Lets take a look at the admittedly few examples in which action and horror comes together in perfect unison.
Let’s begin with my pick for the best movie that has its feet firmly planted in action and horror. Overlord throws us into Nazi-occupied France as we follow an American platoon charged with taking out a radar tower based in a small village that hides a monstrous secret. Combining body-horror, the Nazi’s penchant for the occult, and some frankly ridiculous action and you have the best horror action movie of recent years.
For the next entry, I had to decide: what is the best action horror movie that features vampires? Either the best of the Underworld series or the best of the Blade series. While both series’ quality dropped drastically after their second installments, the choice was simple. Blade 2 wins due to the presence of Guillermo Del Toro behind the camera. Del Toro is most famous for being the modern monster director but Blade 2 and later Pacific Rim and the Hellboy movies show what a brilliantly inventive action director he is.
Australian horror will always have a place on this blog, and the brilliant The Furies takes the survival horror to the next level. Action-packed, gory, inventive, and unpredictable, The Furies pitches kidnapped young women against monstrous killers in the outback – but all is not as it seems, as things swiftly start to shift into something different.
Director Neil Marshall is most well-known these days for his work on Game of Thrones (though his best work on television is the Hannibal episode The Great Red Dragon), but he began his career with this wickedly sick soldiers versus werewolves movie. This is a Saturday night movie in the best tradition, full of British character actors being really British about those fucking werewolves.
John Carpenter’s remake of The Thing from Another World is an absolute miracle of a movie. Pitting Kurt Russell at his gruffest and a crew of scientists against an alien creature that can mimic and infect them is a perfect exercise in tension. The effects get all the credit, but Carpenter deserves praise for the action that uses the oppressive Arctic camp to the creature’s advantage.
By Kevin Boyle
Header Image IMDB