I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve loved the horror genre before the action genre. My first real exposure to movies (aside from kid’s films) were horror followed by action movies. These two genres seem so seamless together. These two genres rely on big setpieces, violence, nudity, and bigger than life heroes to battle the evil villains. They’re pretty much twins in almost every way. So what happens when these two genres actually get together and intermingle with each other? A kick ass ride that’s for sure. Action horror movies are more frequent now than they were back in the 80’s and 90’s and for good reason as they provide some killer action alongside the enticing draw of gore and horror that is hard to resist.
Action horror relies on one single bit of criteria: it must combine a horror movie scenario and combine with action setpieces usually commonplace in an action film. Films like Aliens and The Terminator definitely paved the way for action horror type films to be made and be huge hits at the box office. These two films combined with ease the action genre with its numerous car chases and shootouts with the gore and tension that you would find in horror films and they work perfectly. Dog Soldiers is one of the best examples of an action horror movie done right. You have soldiers training in the woods and they are attacked by werewolves. That right there is like the best plot ever and it delivers on both camps. Deep Rising is a personal favorite of mine as it combines the isolation of Aliens and the action of Die Hard surrounded by the location of a cruise ship. Definitely Sommers’ best film thus far. Other films like From Dusk Till Dawn and Underworld have help bring in vampires to the mix and combine it with hardcore violence and visually stunning action sequences. Same goes for Resident Evil (no matter what you’re opinion on the films are). They certainly go all out with the action and zombies in their films. Grindhouse is another strong showcase of action horror done right mainly Robert Rodriguez’s entry Planet Terror that has to be one of the most gloriously over the top action horror films to date.
Thus far we haven’t seen much use for the action horror genre aside from those films above. The potential is certainly there for many films of its ilk to be exploited. Imagine slasher films against like special forces soldiers. Imagine a monster movie where a terrorist group and the good guys have to team up to fight the monster. Many things like these can be found straight to DVD, but the movie theaters could need a hefty dose of hardcore action with a side of gory horror to brighten up anyone’s day.
With Halloween just around the corner, even us action fans can enjoy the joy of watching zombies getting eviscerated via helicopter blades. Action and horror are two of the most beloved genres in film and anytime a combo of the two is presented is surely a sign to celebrate.