10 Worst Horror Exposition Monologues!!!

Scream 3

Often times, a horror film has to take a moment or two to finally explain what’s been going on the whole movie. These exposition scenes are almost always eye-rollingly long and drawn out.

Not every film can have Richard Dreyfuss show up and offer a just perfect amount of information with a great performance. Sometimes you have to listen to Tony Todd pontificate instead.

Check out some of the worst offenders after the break.

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

Usually exposition in Halloween films is handled by Donald Pleasance’s Dr. Loomis. But along with basic quality, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers eschewed this convention and gave its big speech on the history of runes and killer children to Paul Rudd who delivers his speech as though he are some kind of autistic robot. The film is less than 90 minutes long, but scenes like this make it feel like a lifetime.

Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Nightmare on Elm Street 3, easily stands as the best of the NOES sequels, and in some ways even eclipses the original. But it’s also the film where Freddy’s backstory starts to get unnecessarily complicated. Pretty much any time the movie cuts to either a nun or Craig Wasson (no, that’s not Bill Maher), you know you’re entering exposition Hell.

Sinister

Sinister is a lot of fun, but it’s remarkable how much help Ethan Hawke’s character needs putting the pieces together. For him to finally understand the easily avoidable danger he’s put himself in, he needs help from a goofy deputy and not one but two Skype conversations from local academic Professor Talksalot (played by Vincent D’Onofrio). By the time he has the case cracked, we are all way ahead of him waiting for his drunk ass to finally catch up.

Scream 3

Each entry in the Scream franchise deserves a place in the Blatant Exposition Hall of Fame. Part 3 has to be the worse offender, though, because even after you sit through Roman’s (raise your hand if you remember Roman) whole spiel, you’re still not sure you completely understand what the Hell he was talking about. On top of that, he claims to be retroactively responsible for the whole franchise thus far, which in a way means we can blame Roman for the horrible explosion in all the films.

Saw 2

Like the Scream films, exposition scenes are one of the things that help define the Saw series. Any of the films could have made this list, but I’m going with Part 2 since starting at about the halfway point, we have to hear every character spill their guts about their backstory. Furthermore, with the whole Amanda twist, this is the first movie to really establish the methodology by which Saw would ultimately eat into itself to survive as a franchise.

Shutter Island

By the time we get to the Ben Kinglsey’s massive info dump near the end of Shutter Island, we’ve kind of figured it out for him. A little explanation would be fine, but he just keeps going and going. Pretty soon, he’s referring to anagrams on chalkboards and it’s almost to the point of self-parody.

Jeepers Creepers

A large part of what makes Jeepers Creepers work is the fact that we have no idea what’s going on. That all changes with the introduction of Jezelle Gay Hartman, who tells us basically everything we need to know about the film’s villain in one really long and annoying monologue. After this, the film is remarkably diminished, since The Creeper has now been revealed as a somewhat silly bad guy.

Silent Hill

People are often very down on Silent Hill. Watching it, you spend most of your time wondering why everyone hates it so much. Then the second act exposition fest occurs and you fall asleep. It’s still going on when you wake up, so you fall asleep a second time. When you wake up again, everything is chains and ash and blood and it’s a fun horror film again. But for those three-to-four hours spent explaining Silent Hill‘s backstory, the film is a nightmare, and not the good kind.

John Carpenter’s Vampires

I really like John Carpenter’s Vampires, but the middle section of the film often feels like an extended run of exposition interrupted with occasional Sheryl Lee episodes. We have to learn about the bad guy. We have to learn about all the vampires’ plans. We have to learn about James Woods’ tragic past. And, even though he’s talking to a priest specially trained for vampire work, we have to overhear as James Woods gives his new priest partner the whole spiel all modern vampire movies must give defining which bits of vampire lore adhere to this particular lot of bloodsuckers. Still, it’s worth it. James Woods is one of the more underrated John Carpenter heroes, and it’s always nice to see a film with that much denim.

Identity

I kind of want to give Identity a pass. For one, it’s a pretty fun and original take on the “Ten Little Indians” trope. On top of that, the premise of this film is so wacky, there’s no way anyone could explain it in a timely manner. But that doesn’t mean the big reveal doesn’t drag and dip its toes a bit into the waters of over-explanation. The film’s big twist helps distinguish it from other horror films for sure, but it also makes rewatching it a chore.

 
  • divisionbell

    Solid list my friend. I must admit, exposition aside, I can’t help but love Silent hill for just going for it. The first half is definitely better, but it’s just so damn out there it’s fun. Plus it’s visually incredible.

    I think Jezelle from JC was one of the worst characters ever. Still a sucker for that film though. Especially the very end.

    • Evan Saathoff

      I agree with everything you just said.

  • Aaron Emery

    I’m about to shame myself here, but ‘Halloween 6′ is a guilty pleasure of mine. It may be because I’m 23 and it was the first ‘Halloween’ film I saw (followed by the first) or maybe because I have a taste for bad slashers.
    I never found the exposition in ‘Sinister’ to be too bad, yes it was obvious, but it wasn’t so obvious that it felt stupid like, say…
    ‘Scream 3′ is just stupid, part of this reveal features Gale saying “it was Roman” in the Scooby-Doo detective voice that hindered the entire movie. Also the over use of the term “killer” is just unrealistic and sounds like a child.
    ‘Shutter Island’ was brilliant etc, etc.
    The creeper explanation in ‘Jeepers Creepers’ killed any terror built up until then and almost turned it into ‘Jinkies Creepers’.
    Also I love ‘Identity’ but you’re totally right.

    So some of my own:
    ‘My Soul to Take’ I really quite like this batshit movie with space age dialogue. Listening to the characters explain to each other how they got where they were just a few minutes prior was so out of place and one of the biggest WTF moments this side of the California condor. Love that movie!

    ‘I Still Know What You Did Last Summer’ Benson. Ben’s son! What’s your favorite radio station Julie?

    ‘The Resident’ I’m sure I don’t have to explain why the retelling of the first half of the movie during the second half of the movie was out of place.

    ‘Scream 4′ I find the reveal in this one to be worse than part 3, if only because we have to endure Emma Roberts flailing around the house for so long after explaining her dumb ass motive.

  • Evan Saathoff

    Brian Collins is really on my ass to finally see My Soul to Take. The moment it’s on Netflix Instant, I’m finally going to have to check it out.

    • Aaron Emery

      You should listen! ‘My Soul to Take’ is totally Sam Strange material. It’s just so wonderfully insane.

  • horrorking95

    I’d be careful here because you’ve spoiled Scream 3 and Saw 2 and even hinted at the Shutter Island twist! Luckily I’ve seen them all, but I wouldn’t be happy if I hadn’t! Exposition never seems to annoy me, I loved the whole explanation in Shutter Island it was gripping stuff, as was Sinister.

  • H666

    nice list – but i’d add Wes Craven’s My Soul to Take

    • dr.lamb

      That whole movie was kind of an exposition, needlessly long for a quite simple and uninteresting story.

  • joesey

    you’re nitpicking some awesome films. why don’t you go pick on some shitty ass films like i know who killed me and house at the end of the street.

  • NixEclips

    I would just like to say: Pontypool. Dr Exposition nearly killed the movie, for me.

  • dr.lamb

    Good list. The makers often forget an important rule of movie making: Show, dont tell.
    You forgot to mention the “Blade” and “Underworld”- movies:
    Virus, blah, Vampire virus, blah, DNA, Super-Vampire, Half-Vampire, Bastard-Vampire, blah blah blah…ZZZZZ
    Still, expositions can be fun too if they are an organic part of the storytelling: “Demon Knight” did it allright.
    Best example -outside horror movies, but nonetheless- would be “The Matrix” where the exposition did not drag down the movie, but add to the tension. Perfect.

  • ljbad

    Don’t forget SH: Revelations. It was also pretty darn bad in the boring exposition department.

  • Daniel

    Good list. I’d add the bit at the end of Psycho where some random shrink comes out and explains everything.

    Filmmakers should drop the exposition. Have some faith in your ability to communicate a message without beating the audience over the head with it.

    • Aaron Emery

      I think in ‘Psycho’s case the theme wasn’t something dealt with daily in films, the explanation at the end was describing something most audiences weren’t familiar with at the time.

  • djblack1313

    ok, i’m confused. regarding SILENT HILL, “everyone hates it so much”???? really? most people i know or talk to liked that movie. i didn’t mind the explanation or it’s duration (granted you writing that it’s duration was 3 or 4 hours was really funny! LOL).

    as far as the JEEPERS CREEPERS explanation/insight into the Creeper and his deal, i actually loved it! what Mrs. Hartman says about what the Creeper does and what he is actually ADDED to the scariness/vileness of the creature.

  • evilfairydust

    While not perfect, Sinister is one of the best horror films I’ve seen in the past few years for many reasons. I actually really liked Deputy So-and-So’s character, and enjoyed listening to him talk! Even though I already had it figured out, I did not mind watching Ellison get there.

    The lame ghost kids bothered me ALOT more.

    • djblack1313

      evilfairydust, i agree 100%! :)

      i really liked the deputy as well as D’onofrio’s parts. the ghost kids and especially Ethan’s character’s god awful son (who i thought was a girl for most of the movie! LOL) were what i didn’t like about this otherwise very good movie!

      • evilfairydust

        Did you LOVE the music?? I think it’s one of the best horror scores I have EVER heard. (Not to mention creepiest!) There’s some genius stuff in there.

        • Aaron Emery

          The music was fantastic! Also I fell in love with Deputy So And So!

  • Ultrazilla

    I agree with some of these…but not with most. Exposition is important for story telling. I’d rather my movies have a few moments to explain shit, than just a string of action/Gore scenes with little story to tie it all together. The exposition in Silent Hill was interesting and helped make sense of things. The scenes in Dream Warriors with the nun and Dr were great and helped flesh out Freddy’s past. Seriously man…there’s more to films than just scenes of tits and blood.

  • JasonDidIt

    Did anybody proof read your article? Every sentence has an error.

    Also, Friday the 13th part 3, while not completely exposition, has the worst monologue ever put to film.

  • ThunderDragoon

    Speak for yourself, I loved Jezelle’s character and explanation in Jeepers Creepers. To me, The Creeper seemed more terrifying after we knew about him. I completely agree with djblack1313 on what he said about it.

  • Pulagatha

    “That’s not Bill Maher” I know, right? I think that every time I see that movie. Three is possibly the best of the series.

  • DeathsList

    Are you even serious? Silent Hill and Saw II were genius. Amanda’s reveal was literally perfect.

  • NonieBologna

    I didn’t think the exposition in Jeepers creeps was annoying at all. yes the woman was a spaz but she played her role prefectly. what would you expect from a woman who see’s people die in her dreams. You have to imagine how you would react.
    Also as fro scream, can anyone really take theses movies seriously. THey are sort of a joke anyways. but still wonderful.

  • c-s-a78

    i have to say:Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation!!!
    that ending was the wost ever i have see in any movie.i still today dont get it,no matter how many times i watch it!!!