The Horror Honeys: Covered in Blood & Talking You to Death!

Covered in Blood & Talking You to Death!

A Revenge Honey Mumblegore Top 5 by Linnie

I'm going to be up front before I present you with this Top Five list: I love the shit out of the mumblecore movement. If you don't know what mumblecore is, let me fill you in. While we can trace the origins of mumblecore back to French New Wave cinema, mumblecore as we know it today began in the early 2000s, with Andrew Bujalski's Funny Ha Ha. Filmmakers including Mark and Jay Duplass, E.L. Katz, and Joe Swanberg followed shortly thereafter, with movies like The Puffy Chair, Jeff, Who Lives at Home, and Cyrus. Characterized by low budgets, thoughtful scripts, and simplistic filming styles, mumblecore quickly dominated the indie film scene. But since many of these filmmakers grew up on horror films, mumblecore gave birth to the mumblegore genre, which made me a happy Horror Honey.

Mumblegore combines all of the realism, story, characterization, and carefully-crafted dialogue of its low-budget mommy, but combines it with some of the most suspenseful horror currently in production. The fact is, you probably love at least one mumblegore movie and may not even know it. E.L. Katz's Cheap Thrills, Roxanne Benjamin's V/H/S series, Adam Wingard's A Horrible Way to Die, and J. Davis' Manson Family Vacation... these are all fantastic examples of what mumblegore has to offer. And while I love all of these films (except V/H/S, but that's a taste thing and not a reflection of the genre), the following are my five favorite. You've probably seen some of them, but if you haven't seen all of them... get on it!

1) The Sacrament (2013)

Ti West's The Sacrament isn't a perfect movie, but it's a damn good one. The Sacrament essentially retells the story of the mass religious suicides at Jonestown in Guyana in 1978. The difference is, West spends the bulk of the film introducing us to the members of the fictional Eden Parish religious sect, which makes the movie's final act that much more devastating. I've gone on record stating how much cults terrify me, and West's film absolutely exemplifies why.


2) You're Next (2011)

Adam Wingard's You're Next is a Honey favorite for a reason: Simon Barrett's script deftly combines humor, gore, and an utterly badass Final Girl, all of which combine to make one of the best horror films of the last decade. Clever and endlessly quotable, You're Next isn't just mumblecore... It's meta mumblecore. And that is why it is establishing itself as an enduring classic.


3) The House of the Devil (2009)


The House of the Devil, written and directed by Ti West, is a mumblegore goldmine. Featuring genre stars Tom Noonan, Dee Wallace, and Mary Woronov, the film also co-stars Greta Gerwig, who is essentially the Reigning Queen of Mumblecore. But outside the casting, The House of the Devil is perfectly paced, gorgeously styled, and totally terrifying. For those that complain it's too slow... you clearly just don't know mumblegore. West may be a kid when it comes to mumblegore filmmakers, but he's one that is making a name for himself by understanding what it takes to craft a quality, and just as importantly, frightening, horror film.


4) Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)

From director Sean Durkin, Martha Marcy May Marlene is another mumblegore cult film, but a far more subtle one than The Sacrament. Elizabeth Olsen shines (pre-Godzilla... please stop doing that, Elizabeth) as Martha, a young woman who escapes an abusive cult in the Catskills and returns to her family. Paranoid that she hasn't really escaped anything, we follow Martha as she struggles to adjust to normal life, but finds herself trapped by her own delusions. Quiet, tense, and utterly creepy, Martha Marcy May Marlene is a film that will stick with you long after the credits roll.



5) The Signal (2007)

The Signal isn't just anthology film, no, it's potentially one of the most creative anthology films ever made. Featuring three different films of three different horror genres, but connected by the same story, The Signal was one of the first mumblegore films and set the bar for originality. The three films all focus on the aftermath when a mysterious signal spreads via telecommunication devices and drives every who hears it mad. Each film follows the same characters, but the films individually present very different horror styles. Fascinating and wholly original, The Signal is a movie worth adding to your collection.


Special Mumblegore Mentions:

Upstream Color (2013): Written, directed, edited, cast, designed, composed, and starring the remarkable Shane Carruth (Primer), what Upstream Color lacks in actual gore it makes up for in subtle terror and absolute mind-fuckery.

Sound of My Voice (2011): More MumbleSci-Fi than mumblegore, pretty much any movie starring/written by Brit Marling could go on this list. The woman knows how to streamline dialogue into a film full of creeping dread. Go into this film with as little information as possible. You won't regret it.