Exploring Poetry – Horror Haiku

July’s poetry blog is a post on Haiku – specifically horror haiku (and movie reviews). I have a guest come and post on my blog each month talking about poetry so be sure to check out all the Exploring Poetry posts in the series and follow for more! Today I welcome Eileen Patterson! You’ll find out there’s other facets to haiku that are more important than syllable count.

Eileen Patterson (she/her/hers) loves books, cats, and horror movies.

Visit Eileen’s blog at https://youcanhaveabigbox.blogspot.com/?m=1 and follow her on X.

Eileen Patterson – The Horror Movie Review Haiku Challenge

What’s Haiku?

A Haiku is a short form of poetry that originated in Japan. It can be traced back to the influence of traditional Chinese poetry, and traditional Japanese Haiku consist of three phrases composed of 17 phonetic units (called “On” in Japanese) that are similar to syllables. These syllables occur in a 5, 7, 5 pattern; so

First there come five of

The syllables in a row

Seven, then five more

In a pattern like that. Traditional Japanese Haiku contain a kireji, or “cutting word” and a kigo, or a seasonal reference. There can be variations to this theme though. Haiku by traditional Japanese poets such as Matsuo Basho differ from the rule of having 17 On and don’t contain a kireji either.

Horror Movie Review Haiku

“Wait,” you may be thinking, “I thought this was a post about horror movies, why is she talking about the history of Haiku?” Calm down, I’m getting to that. A little culture never hurt anyone, and I wanted to explain exactly what Haiku was before I started breaking the rules and flinging poetry at you that doesn’t necessarily follow the pattern of traditional Japanese Haiku.

Well, these poems follow the 5,7,5 syllable rule, but they aren’t about nature. I discovered back when I was in college that sometimes using a strict poetry form like Haiku could help me compose my thoughts better on paper, so I would test my skills by trying to write my thoughts in the form of Haiku. This coupled with my love of horror movies eventually led me to want to try writing horror movie reviews in Haiku form. I know, fun, right? And it is fun. You just need to gather your thoughts about the movie, get the idea of what you want to say in your mind, and bring it all together to compose your review in the 5, 7, 5 pattern.

For instance with the movie “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” from the year 2010 with Guy Pearce, Katie Holmes, and Bailee Madison, my thoughts are mostly that I’m disappointed in the movie because it’s a remake and I like the original movie better, and the ending of the movie seems to be set up so they can make a sequel, so for my review of that movie, I wrote:

Don’t be Afraid of the Dark

Don’t be afraid of

The dark be afraid they will

Make a sequel now.

There! Now wasn’t that fun? Next, I turned to the film “Dead Silence” which came out in 2007 and starred Donnie Wahlberg, Ryan Kwanten, and Judith Anna Roberts. With this film, I was disappointed because I’m terrified of ventriloquist dummies so a movie about them SHOULD be an easy fix to scare me, but I felt like the movie was poorly crafted and the filmmakers spent more time creating the creepy poem included in the movie than they did building the actual plot, so in the end the only good thing about the movie WAS the creepy nursery rhyme, and I wanted to riff on that rhyme in my review, so I recreated it thusly:

Dead Silence

Beware the film of

Mary Shaw’s. It has no scares

Only many flaws.

That one was easy because there was already a poem that was a big part of the plot of the movie, so there was something poetic right there in the plot to help me poke fun at the movie. It was much harder to come up with a Haiku review for the movie “Wild Things,” which came out in 1998 and starred Denise Richards, Matt Dillon, and Neve Campbell, because the whole movie was one plot twist piled on top of another, and then the movie ends and there are still MORE plot twists to come over the end credits, so my Haiku review of that movie looked like this:

Wild Things

There is a plot twist

And there are some more plot twists.

The end. Psych! Plot twists.

For the classic 1984 horror movie “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” which starred Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, and Johnny Depp, it’s hard to find something to say that hasn’t already been said a million times before in the many, many reviews for that movie, but the medium of using a Haiku to express your thoughts can make the old seem new and fresh again, so I rifled on the plot of the movie and warned viewers not to sleep on this movie but to go out and watch it as soon as possible:

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Whatever you do

Don’t fall asleep. Nightmares are

Real and they can kill.

With a movie like John Carpenter’s “Vampires“, which came out in 1998 and starred James Woods, Sheryl Lee, and Thomas Ian Griffith, it’s a mess of macho posturing and rock video stylized vampire death scenes, and nowhere near as good as the classics Carpenter turned out in his glory days, so for that one my review looked like this:

John Carpenter’s Vampires

Dipshits, undeadshits.

When did Carpenter lose it?

Watch Near Dark instead.

There I panned the movie, made fun of the plot, said it wasn’t as good as Carpenter’s earlier work, and snuck in a recommendation for a much better vampire film: 1987’s “Near Dark,” starring Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, and Jenette Goldstein.

Finally, I want to leave you with a Haiku review of one of my favorite werewolf films, “Late Phases” (otherwise known as “Night of the Wolf”) which came out in 2014 and starred Nick Damici, Lance Guest, and Larry Fessenden. This movie has the distinction of being one of the horror movies that made me cry, and it emotionally destroyed me, so my Haiku review looked like this:

Late Phases

Old man who cried wolf.

One too many times. This film

Made mincemeat of me.

There, now wasn’t that fun? I suggest you try your hand at writing Haiku movie reviews and share them in the comments of this post! Try it, it’s fun and a rewarding way to try something new and get your feelings out about a movie, all at the same time!

Thank you, Eileen! Go ahead, dear readers, and try a Haiku movie review. Post it below for us to see! Here’s mine – guess what movie!

Potatoes and rings

Breakfast with fires of doom

Hope in the little ones

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