Since this is Halloween month, I thought I’d have a little fun and give you my Top 10 list of my favorite horror flicks of all time. I’m going to attempt to steer clear of the obvious ones so this list will exclude them because it is assumed that these are already awesome classics which need not be mentioned because, well, AWESOME. Namely:
- The Exorcist
- The Shining
- Nightmare on Elm Street
- Friday The 13th
- The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
- The Howling
- Night of the Living Dead
- The Amityville Horror
I prefer to dwell on more lesser-known fare so as to provoke some discussion. I am a fan of the genre and I think it’s worth it to mention some of the films that I have found the most frightening over the years.
Here goes nothing…
In no particular order…
- Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark – True, that the film is about onion-shaped creatures that live in the basement. True, that it’s not–by modern standards–as grotesque. But there’s something menacing and creepy and overly icky about this movie. I didn’t eat onions for fear that one of them would grab a kitchen knife and stab me with it.
- Trilogy of Terror – Karen Black is a scream Queen. One of her best roles was in this oddball film which presented 3 horror vignettes. However, when this creepy voodoo doll came to life to kill Karen’s character, it left an indelible mark. I’m still undergoing therapy.
- Happy Birthday To Me – This movie terrified the bejeezus out of me. I refuse to have guests at my birthday parties.
- Dead Ringer – Who knew Jeremy Irons was so strange? This film is psychologically creepy and it makes me nervous. That’s how I know it’s a cult classic.
- The Re-Animator – The opening scene is so disturbing that I refused to use cotton swabs afterwards. That’s how you know it’s gooood.
- Psycho – The original, of course. The remake should be burned. Or, placed in a shower and stabbed to death…either way…
- American Psycho – What is it about psychos that makes us keep watching? This guy’s a corporate creep that could be your manager, your lawyer or your broker. The only trouble is, he’d kill to keep you as a client. ‘That [color] is bone. With raised gold-lettering.’ Creepy…
- In The Mouth of Madness – This movie is creepy in that it revisits the limits of the mind in an inescapable town that turns out to be hell. The end will have you dying laughing. Literally.
- Ginger Snaps Trilogy – As far as werewolf movies are concerned, these films are all awesome. It balls up teen angst, isolation, mental hospitals, and sisterly bonds into realistic morality tales. What would you do if your sibling could kill you and everyone around you? Watch it and decide for yourself.
- Ravenous – We’ve all seen cartoons where two guys are trapped on an island and through each other’s eyes each one looks like a burger or a hot dog. This movie’s kind of a take on that. Only, for real. Ewwww….
So that does it. In addition, I had some runners-up that [pardon the pun] didn’t make the cut. But, rather than wait until next year, here’s a looksee:
- Sweeney Todd – Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter may be loveable, but this film is pretty graphic for a musical. The dark concept of cooking people and baking them into pies is shown in all its murderous splendor. The humor: black. The backdrop: black. London didn’t have any sights to see but it’s still worth a rental because it marries theater, music, and film and is really awesome. Don’t care. Awesome.
- Creepshow – Forget the werewolves, the blood, the guts. This movie features something that has etched itself in my memory forever: ROACHES. Cringe-worthy. Disgusting. I love it!
- The Dark Night of the Scarecrow – No, this has nothing to do with Batman. Not your typical horror flick, this revenge-film will keep you thinking…even while having the willies.
- The Omen – The original kid just looks in your direction and you freak out. That’s what a good horror flick does. It brings up all of those dormant “what-if-my-son-is-the-son-of-the-devil” feelings without overstating it.
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers – Another classic that makes you look twice at your friend in the movie theater. Are you one of them, mate? I’m not waiting until the lights come back on to find out.
- The Serpent & The Rainbow – This movie plays on our fear of zombies. It also has a killer coffin scene. Creepy.
- Rosemary’s Baby – This movie makes you fear your own children more than Children of the Corn ever could. Little Timmy, is that A TAIL?!
- Hard Candy – This movie makes the NBC’s To Catch A Predator series look like child’s play.
- The Others – Okay, so it’s Nicole Kidman. Her wan, super-white complexion is scary enough. But this is a movie that reminds its viewers that large mansions with expansive grounds are not something to aspire to but to run from. Kudos.
- The Thing – Usually the Kris Kristofferson, Woodsey Adams look makes me want to chop trees. But this is a genuinely well-acted horror flick set in the Arctic and Kurt Russell really does a great job of scaring the audience. The tentacle creature called, THING is just that. No one is safe.
So there you have it. A summary of some really good films. Not in here are some indie films in the psychological, horror genre that I have currently discovered. Also left off the list are stupid, cheap knockoffs of re-made Japanese horror flicks. The originals are way more successful at creeping me out and don’t star Sarah Michelle Gellar (Sorry, Buffy). Also left off the list are goofy horror / comedy mash-ups like “Evil Dead” and “Night Breed”. But, not every B movie need be mentioned here.
Okay, I’m done. Your turn. What are some of your faves?