5 Horror Films to Watch on Election Day
No matter your political leanings, this election cycle has been extremely brutal for everyone. The debates, the attack ads, and the unrelenting media coverage has made me approach this presidential election as a child might approach watching a horror movie: by covering my eyes with my hands in terror. That terror culminates tomorrow, on Election Day. Because horror is no stranger to socio-political commentary, and because if you, like me, would rather be doing anything else than watching the trainwreck unfolding tomorrow than I suggest watching these 5 perfectly themed horror films for Election Day:
At first glance this South Korean monster movie doesn’t seem to have anything to do with politics. The plot is centered around a dim-witted father trying to reclaim his daughter from a giant amphibious creature. Equal parts funny and tragic, the Bong Joon-ho directed flick set the South Korean box office on fire. However, the film is inspired by an actual incident in 2000, that saw a Korean employee working for the U.S. military dump large quantities of formaldehyde down the drain. It stirred up a lot of ill-will toward the U.S., and the chemical used in the film to combat the creature is a satire on Herbicide Orange, aka Agent Orange. The director has even stated that his film does serve as political commentary about the U.S. As such, it’s one of the rare South Korean films to be a praised by North Korea. Considering how important this election cycle is in terms of world relations going forward, not only is The Host a excellent film, but it’s also very relevant.
Surprise, surprise, Eli Roth’s modern classic is more than just “torture porn.” For context, a lot was going on in the U.S. at the time of when this film was made and released. The president at that time was George W. Bush, who was heavily involved in the Iraq war. Which in and of itself is a lengthy topic, but it was the photographic evidence of military torturing prisoners at Abu Ghraib and journalist beheading videos that really motivated American xenophobia. And it was that precise xenophobia that formed the core theme of Eli Roth’s Hostel. While Roth’s characters aren’t the most likable, they’re not supposed to be. Roth wanted to drive the point home that Americans tend to have an ignorance of the world around them. A harsh truth that hasn’t evolved much since.
As with Eli Roth’s Hostel, Frank Darabont’s brilliant adaptation of the Stephen King novella also serves up some dark commentary on post 9/11 America. David Drayton becomes trapped in a New England grocery store with his son and a number of other community members when the store becomes enveloped in a thick mist containing unknown, deadly creatures. It causes a mass wave of paranoia within the store, and before long all sense of community is gone. When a single mother desperately needs help getting to her children, not even protagonist David is willing to lend a hand. That fear of the unknown, foreign enemy and its reverberating consequences serves as an allegory for the U.S. finding itself in the midst of a terrifying new war. The prejudices that becomes prominent within that grocery store seems even more socially relevant now than it did when the film was initially released.
A blunt and simple premise that says it all: a lone rifle-toting gunman takes it upon himself to hunt down the truck full of Mexican immigrants trying to cross the U.S. border illegally. The gunman also happens to have a dog trained to rip out throats. It’s simple, bloody, and violent, and serves to make an obvious point about racism. While the movie’s villain is a bit over the top in his ramblings about doing his patriotic duty to keep his country safe, and the movie could tone down the blunt force trauma in its message delivery, there’s no denying that it’s a perfect film for this particular election cycle.
You’re not really surprised to see this make the list, are you? While technically any of the Purge films would make for an excellent choice, it’s this third entry that is easily the most fitting to watch on Election Day. The franchise has transitioned from home invasion thriller, to revenge thriller, and now to full blown political thriller. Female Senator Charlie Roan is attacked and forced out onto the streets for survival from the New Founding Fathers who want to maintain their political dominance. Talk about election rigging, am I right? Writer/Director James DeMonaco continues to make uncomfortable, yet accurate truths behind the veneer of frenetic action fun. Even if The Purge: Election Year seems a bit too obvious, it sure seems more entertaining than the actual Election.