What’s the best scary movie? ‘Night of the Living Dead’ vs. ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein’

Karalee Manis and Leah Ulatowski

K vs l

In honor of Halloween, we asked our columnists Karalee and Leah to stop arguing about this progressives vs. conservatives nonsense and talk about something that actually matters, such as which scary movie is the absolute best. Here are their answers:


Karalee Manis: “Night of the Living Dead”

When I think of horror movies, I usually gravitate to something bloody and shocking. As this is my favorite genre of film, I’ve seen many and narrowing down a favorite or best is difficult.

As much as I like the gore, I have to admit that there are some great horror movies that are light on the blood and guts. Perhaps that is one reason they are so good, because they have managed to scare and keep your attention despite their lack of shock value.

But I have to admit, seeing people hunted down and gruesomely killed is a staple and satisfying element to these films.

Rightly so, I go back and forth on what makes a great horror film – the thrilling scares or the bloody, bloody murders.

Some of my top favorites include classics like “Halloween,” “The Exorcist” and “Carrie,” to more modern films like the “Scream” movies, “Cabin in the Woods,” the remake of “I Spit on Your Grave” and the “Resident Evil” series. And then there are the funny-scary movies like “Slither,” “Dead Snow” and “Shaun of the Dead” that are great as well.

The thrill of being scared, experiencing a character’s ultimate revenge, or seeing gross dismemberment is all part of the package.

For all the great horror movies out there, the absolute best could be endlessly debated. However, I am going to have to defer to the zombie sub-genre for this and at the top is “Night of the Living Dead.”

It’s a classic, has defined the zombie movie and set the mold for all subsequent zombie films to come. The influence of George Romero and “Night of the Living Dead” will always be the root of the elements that make a good zombie movie and be the measure to which these movies strive.

The haunting black and white images and the stark reality that unfolds make this film one of the best, hands down. Plus, ZOMBIES!



Leah Ulatowski:

“Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein”

Growing up in a Christian-conservative household, I wasn’t allowed to watch horror films, and unlike my brother Luke, I never felt the need to explore the slasher genre in adulthood. In fact, I would argue that there is no need to expose yourself to scene upon scene of unjustifiable homicide when there are plenty of traumatizing G-rated options—for instance, “Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein (1999).”

Now, these aren’t your modern break dancing, CGI-animated chipmunks voiced by washed-up early 2000’s actor Justin Long, washed-up early 2000’s pop star Jesse McCartney and Reid from “Criminal Minds.”

No, these are the chipmunks of our generation (if not, you’re too young for me, bro). I’m talking about the freakishly child-sized, hand-drawn chipmunks whose skin color would flicker different shades from scene-to-scene because that was as good as traditional animation for a straight-to-VHS movie was going to get.

Dave Seville would only show up to pimp his furries as the next Jackson 5 or to threaten to murder Alvin (this was before political correctness took all the fun out of hating your kids). But, then daddy would completely neglect the munks.

During one of these periods of parental abandonment, the chipmunks chill with Frankenstein. It starts cutely enough with the green-faced fiend becoming sentient and cooking pies.

But, then it gets disturbing.

Alvin is kidnapped by Frankenstein’s creator and taken to his dungeon. The old dude is implied to have a thing for lobotomy and has an unnatural affinity for his brain collection. He straps Alvin down, drugs him and tinkers with his brain, all while whispering in the boy’s ear, “I’ll make you a mindless zombie.”

There are Jeffrey Dahmer allusions galore, and even as a child who was too sheltered to know about serial killers, this film gave me a sick feeling.

Afterwards, Alvin grapples with grotesque deformities (e.g. bulging eyes). Seemingly possessed, the red-shirt of the bunch goes on to assault patrons at a movie premier while Frankenstein’s creator—now dressed in drag—continues to stalk him.

The film concludes with Alvin being restored with an antidote. Lard-booty Theodore says something about a “rumbly in his tumbly,” and everyone busts up laughing. The credits roll. It’s supposed to be a happy ending, but for this film’s scarred audience, there is no longer happiness—only nightmares of over-sized rodents having lobotomies.