Nato And Remy’s Last Stand: Home Invasion Horror

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With The Purge and You’re Next right around the corner, Remy and I thought now would be an appropriate time to discuss “home invasion horror.” You know, those films that show a family or group of people minding their own business in either their own house or someone else’s, only to have some sick, twisted bastards show up and crank the horror knob up a few notches. Whether it’s a robbery, for fun, in honor of Satan, or for any reason, home invasion films are effective because of the terrifying realism that anyone can break into your house at any time. Your home is supposed to represent safety, a sanctuary from the outside world if you will, so the utter thought that someone can just barge in and threaten your safety at will is prime material for a horror flick, causing nothing but irrational fear. Sorry, did you want to sleep tonight or something?

Instead of describing our favorite “home invasion movies” though, we thought it might be more fun to talk about our favorite home invaders. Honestly, we’d just be repeating some of the same films we always mention, so actually talking about the villains behind the acts gives us more room for new discussions. Think about it, all those nights you spend alone, by yourself, in your dark house, you aren’t afraid of the specific movies, right? You’re afraid those masked Strangers are going to waltz into your living room and take you hostage, torturing you with no means of escape – in your own home.

Join Remy and I as we discuss which home invaders keep us on edge every night, human or not…

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The Pretty Boys from Funny Games

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Yes, I am talking about this movie again. Truth be told, after much deliberation, I truly think Funny Games is my favorite horror film ever. Why? Because outside of Cabin in the Woods, it is the only horror movie that seems to know, and relish in the fact, that it’s a horror movie. But I am getting side tracked. The real reason we are here is to talk about the invaders. In this case, it just happens to be two well put together young men, who just happened to be dressed like they just got off the green at the country club. So what do you do? You let them in. YOU let in the people who are going to murder you, and you do it willingly. Why? Because we are a society that judges on looks, and if someone “looks” innocent, we allow them into our homes.

And what is really fucked up about this movie is that most of us would have done the exact same thing. In that sense, they are two of the scariest villains of all time.

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Hayley Stark from Hard Candy

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OK, I know one can genuinely argue if this is a horror movie or not, but Ellen Page’s role as supergirl/psychotic torturer Hayley Stark is nothing short of terrifying. For the common viewers, the horrors stem from Haley’s sick, twisted, maniacal torturing of Patrick Wilson’s pedo-character Jeff Kohlver, but for f#ck’s sake, could you imagine another pedophile bastard watching Hayley in action and thinking “That could be me.” Messed up to actually say that, and in no way would I bat an eye if it happened in real life, but damn, talk about a pedo’s nightmare come true.

Ellen Page’s unflinching role is really what cements Hard Candy as an incredibly tough watch to stomach, making viewers question who is actually the victim in this scenario. You know, the whole “hunter becomes the hunted thing,” but concerning a social issue which we still unfortunately see in today’s world (Dead Giveaway?). Just watching the mental mind-f#ck that is Hayley’s sick game of revenge raises the horror of watching what appears to be a sweet, innocent little Red Riding hood looking girl turn into the evil mastermind she is – barring talk about her motivations.

Right or wrong, you’ve got your opinion, but either way you look at it, Hayley Stark is a terrifying little manipulator.

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The Strangers from The Strangers

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Much like Funny Games, here’s another case of victims only getting murdered because they were home. And the irony was, the two people victimized in this film would have not been in that house any other night. But wrong place, wrong time as they say.

Admittedly, every mask in The Strangers scares the shit out of me. Pillow case head is terrifying. Pin up girl is soul-ruining. And Baby doll is the worst of all. They are not bloody, and they don’t have horns, but honestly, they don’t need any of those to be monsters. Just the shot of Liv Tyler in her kitchen, with the pillow case head guy standing behind her in the shadow of the other room, is one of the creepiest shots in the last decade of horror.

And that final shot, with all three of them, standing calmly over the tied up couple, ready to end it, is really unforgettable.

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The Prowler from Black Christmas (1974)

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Time to meet a home invader that lives in your home, calls your phone screaming perverted sexual threats, kills housemates one by one, and does so during the most joyous of holidays – Christmas.

Black Christmas happens to be one of my favorite horror films, so it’s no surprise that I include “The Prowler” on my list of horrifying home invaders. Living in the attic of a sorority house, “The Prowler” lures his victims away from the group one by one, killing them off in brutal fashion. Not only dabbling in physical violence though, he also repeatedly calls the house as I mentioned before, psychologically tormenting the girls as they attempt to prevent becoming the next victim.

I do have to specify this only goes for Bob Clark’s 1974 version though, because 2006′s remake absolutely destroyed all the ambiguous tension that made Black Christmas so terrifying. A completely different beast of a film, and not a good one in my opinion, the “remake” took too many creative liberties that just didn’t have a solid leg to stand on. Stick with the original!

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The Kids from Ils (Them)

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So did you notice a trend in my choices? Out of all three examples, the perpetrators of these vile acts are teens or young adults. While ages are never given, it is safe to say that the guys in Funny Games are pretty young, and the kids in The Strangers are pretty young. Well, in this case we KNOW the villainous bastards of this movie are kids, but you don’t fully know until the end of the film. When the movie ends, the final shot is the kids, running from the house where they were just tormenting a couple, and getting on a school bus – a big, yellow, innocent school bus.

Wait, they just murdered two people and then went to school for the day?

Well, that is beyond fucked up. But this leads us to ask one of the greatest horror movie questions ever posed: Who could kill a child?

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Barbies/Commando Elite from Small Soldiers

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Alright, let’s get past the fact that Small Soldiers is a children’s movie, let’s get past how f#cking awesome it is, and let’s get past how it’s not supposed to be scary in the least – then let’s all admit how terrifying it would be if your house was attacked by murderous toys which have a mind of their own.

Seriously, look at the big picture implications here. Scientists have the technology to bring plastic soldiers to life with a complete military mindset, capable of killing without any remorse. Armed to the teeth with knives, scissors, and any other sharp, metal object they can get their grubby hands on, they then upgrade their armory to flaming tennis ball shooting contraptions which can cause mass devastation. Sure, you could hold off twenty, thirty, fifty Commando Elites if need be, but an entire army? Just think of all the Commando Elite toys one company could make – and then imagine them all escaping. Gorgonite eradication may be their prime objective, but you better believe there will be human casualties.

No way man, the last thing I need is to be stabbed by a deformed barbie doll who is just another henchman reporting to Major Chip Hazard. As he says himself – “There will be no mercy.”

Alright, so which villains do you fear will break into your house and torture you mercilessly? Did we miss any big ones?

*A special thanks to Remy for stepping in to guest write! Feel free to follow either of us on Twitter for even more insanity and updates:

Matt Donato

Remy Carreiro

Like what you read? Check out last week’s article where Remy and I talk about our favorite underrated zombie movies!

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