Thursday, November 01, 2007


Just thought I'd list some of my favorite horror movies. Don't know what prompted that. Most horror films are pure crap. That includes just about all the teen slasher movies. I'm not the type who actually gets scared watching a movie so this is not a list of the scariest films. It's a list of the rare films in this genre that I think are worthwhile to watch.

In no particular order:

Psycho: The definitive work on audience deception. Hitchcock masterfully leads us into a story about a woman trapped in her own web of deception, then without warning, kills her off and reveals a new story about a man in his own trap.

Alien: The ultimate creature movie. This film has such a creepy tone. It doesn't hurt that it takes place in a cramped ship in an alien part of outer space.

The Shining: In the Overlook hotel where the winding endless hallways mimic the surrounding mountains, a family dwells in utter isolation. Does the terror come from outside unnatural forces or does the locale bring out the inner demons of each individual? The Kubrick film is great. The TV movie that is based more on the Stephen King book is weak.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 & 1978), Body Snatchers (1993): A movie so good, they've re-made it three times. I haven't seen the one that came out this year (The Invasion), but the three predecessors are all very good in their own unique way. "They're coming, they're coming! You're next!"

A Nightmare on Elm Street: Let me explain this very carefully, only the first one is worth the trouble. The sequels are just along the same lines as the Halloweens and Friday the Thirteenth movies. The first one though, is very good as it puts a new twist on the teen slasher. This time, he comes in your dreams. How can you stop him? How can you make anyone believe you?

Count Dracula (1977 TV Movie): This version of the classic story actually follows the novel quite faithfully. It's far superior to the very tame Bela Lugosi flick and the over the top, ridiculous Francis Ford Coppolla version.

Frankenstein (1992 TNT Movie): This is reasonably faithful to the novel and it certainly captures its themes quite well. The more recent Kenneth Branaugh film isn't bad but it's over-acted.

SSSSS: This is a campy B movie all the way but it is very creepy. "Red touch yellow kills a fellow."

Beware, the Blob: Also, a very campy B movie. It is hilarious. The blob devours everything including hippies, priests, and policemen. This is Larry Hagman's one and only movie he directed.

The Howling: This came out almost exactly at the same time as An American Werewolf in London. The Howling is much better, in terror, effects, and campiness.


Erik said...

You forgot the best most creepiest movie of them all IMO: The Exorcist.

Even scarier movie: Airplane


Robert E Wilson said...

I did not forget the Exorcist. It doesn't belong on the list.

The Exorcist to me, will always be the great horror movie that failed. It starts out so well as we are introduced to Megan, her mother, and Father Karras. Megan is shown to be a typical pre-teen girl. She's bright, cheery, and sassy.

When her troubles begin, the movie leads you into thinking this will be a psychological thriller. Early on, you wonder whether or not if Megan is really possessed or if she is having some kind of mental breakdown. Either one can be scary. It's a classic case of doctors vs. priests. If they had kept this theme throughout the film, we would find ourselves endlessly discussing whether or not she was really possessed.

Unfortunately, the film then goes on to remove all doubt with all the silly supernatural occurences (her head turning completely around, for one). This stuff may have been shocking or entertaining to some, but it was just silly to me and ruined a great setup. Father Merrin robotically chanting "the power of Christ compels you" turned me off as well.

Repossessed was much better. (Now, I'm joking.)

Erik said...

We will agree to disagree on that. I would have a couple of different movies in my top 5 but hey if you wanna see something really scary come out to Southern Rock Night @ Corbin on the 16th.