Mike Lunsford, Editor
It’s Halloween time ladies and gentlemen! And what better movies to watch during this time of year than horror flicks! What better way to celebrate this wonderful time of year than a list of my favorite horror films?
Now, I’m not a normal movie fan. I’m really picky and a movie has to do something to make itself stand out in a sea of mediocre copycats for it to make my list. So here it is…in all it’s glory:
6. Candyman (1992)
Is there any other horror movie with a story like this? Candyman stands in a category all his own. It’s inventive, creative, and intelligent. Plus, when the Candyman makes his frightening presence felt, and tells you how you’re going to die, he does it so eloquently. It’s like being murdered by an English professor. Sure, you’re dying but at least you kind of agree with your killer’s thesis.
This movie is not just straight-line horror either; it’s part psychological thriller, part suspenseful mystery, part bloodbath style horror movie. Tony Todd has one of those voices that makes you want to listen to everything he’s saying and a young Virginia Madsen is not bad to look at either.
5. Event Horizon (1997)
I’m sure there are people out there who will say “Mike, this isn’t horror, it’s Sci-Fi.” To those people I say Wikipedia says it’s science fiction horror, so kick rocks. This movie is so horribly frightening that it definitely is some form of horror. It’s horribly gory and visceral that it’s hard to shake this movie after viewing it.
Doctor Grant from Jurassic Park invents a way to travel across the galaxy with minimal time using an engine that creates a portal for the ship to travel through. Unfortunately, this “portal” happens to pass through a place no one wants to travel. Dallas. Just kidding… it opens a portal to Hell (If you’ve been to Dallas in the summer, you may think these names are interchangeable). Horrible things begin happening and Morpheus needs to save the day and get his crew off this ship before they all end up victims of horrible fates in Hell. This is one of those flicks that you can’t watch without turning a light on…or all the lights…in the entire house…for like a week or two.
4. The Shining (1980)
There was a time when this was my favorite horror movie of all time. It’s such a slow burn, it takes forever to get going, but when it finally does….it is so worth the wait. This movie is chilling, it’s a nail biter and what a payoff in the end. Plus it makes you wonder if Jack was crazy to begin with or did the hotel take him over? Was he always part of the hotel or did it just swallow him and add it to it’s collection of ghouls?
What knocked this movie off the top of my list was the book. I finally read it about a year ago and it was SOOOOO GOOD! It explains things that were confusing about the movie (like the guy in the dog suit for example) and has SO MUCH MORE detail and tells a story that is scarier and more involved in the supernatural. This movie is still on my top 6, but that’s how good the book was. I feel like I’m an advertisement for childhood reading advocacy. Read books kids; there are way more details and you can ignore people and they’ll think you’re smart!
3. Carrie (1976)
This movie isn’t meant to be funny, but the part when Carrie finds out about her “womanly curse” and the other girls throw tampons at her… I can’t help but laugh. Ultimately, you feel sorry for the poor girl. You’re not meant to root for the “monster” in horror movies, but she just had the odds stacked against her: psycho fanatical religious mother, being “different” in high school and not being friends with John Travolta is a recipe for disaster.
When Carrie gets the pig blood dumped on her, this movie almost turns into an awesome revenge flick. Carrie got her vengeance on those who tormented her. Granted a lot of innocent people died and that was horrible… but John Travolta and Officer Lewis from Robocop got offed and that was gratifying. The final fight between Carrie and her psycho-Christian mom is one of the greatest final fights in all of movies. This Stephen King adaptation is one of a select few where you can see why the killer did what they did and you can almost understand why. Granted, 99% of the students and faculty die and she was really only mad at like 3 or 4 people, so maybe Carrie was a monster. A very cute, horribly abused monster.
2. 28 Days Later (2002)
Do you like the current version of zombies? Ya know, the ones who are ultra-violent, sprint everywhere and consume living matter like a horde of locusts? You can thank 28 Days Later for that.
Director Danny Boyle followed in the great George Romero’s footsteps and made this more than just a movie about a zombie plague. It analyzes human nature, specifically how fragile our technology-based society is and our propensity as humans towards violence. There’s a point in the movie when our main characters are “rescued” by the military who are trying to save society. After staying with them and witnessing their horrific plan the audience begins to wonder if the real monsters are the “infected” or the survivors. We even see one of the main characters consumed with rage as he attacks one of the soldiers. One of the other survivors remarks “how do we know you’re not infected?” Holy crap. Rage doesn’t just infect you from the outside, it can come from within and be just as deadly. That’s a horrifying realization.
1. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
This wasn’t like most horror movies where the lines seem forced and cheesy. It may have to do with the way the script was written: it wasn’t. The actors were essentially given a framework for the story and the lines were improvised. Every morning they would get instructions for what was to be filmed that day. The main characters had never used video cameras before which really gave the movie a realistic “found footage” feel. One of the producers used tactics that he learned from his military training, in which “enemy soldiers” would hunt trainees, make them travel long distances and then harass them at night. This may sound like torture, but it gave this movie a frantic feel that the actors didn’t have to “find their motivation for.” The fear and sleep deprivation was real.
The Blair Witch Project was one of the first movies to use the internet as a marketing device and it worked wonders. It made nearly $250 million worldwide and is one of the most successful independent movies ever. The magic with the marketing was that many people believed that this was based on real events. The Sci-Fi Channel even aired a documentary on the events of the movie that piqued a lot of people’s interest in this film, only furthering the belief that it was all real. That ending though… it is so disturbing and jarring that few movies have been able to duplicate.
Psycho (1960) – Norman Bates: the ultimate mamma’s boy. Now…I personally feel that this movie is more thriller and suspense flick than horror movie, but it is the granddaddy of them all. Any slasher film can thank Psycho for it’s existence. It keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire movie and then that ending…when you finally get to meet Norman’s mother…
The Amityville Horror (2005) – Ryan Reynolds normally plays the role of pretty boy funny man in all of his movies. In this one, he’s disturbing and frightening as he becomes a monster. There’s a part in this excellent remake where the ghost of a little girl runs into her old babysitter…I won’t ruin it for you but it sure is memorable. It’s a remake, but it leaves it’s predecessor in the dust.
Halloween (1978) – Is there anything more frightening that a murderous rampage for no good reason? Michael Myers has no motivation, he has no dialogue, he just wants you dead, even his own family. Doesn’t matter how hot Jamie Lee Curtis was in the 70’s, she’s got to die.
The Evil Dead Trilogy – The first one was INTENSE. It doesn’t let up! There’s a scene in the woods…well…you need to see it yourself. The second one somehow manages to be even more intense but had a certain humor about it. It’s bloody, gory, violent and frightening…and then comes the 3rd one. Army of Darkness is quite possibly the greatest B-movie of all time. It has a little bit of everything; action, comedy, horror, and at times it’s downright weird. I saw this movie as a kid on cable and was immediately blown away.
It (1990)- Technically, it’s a mini-series that was made for TV but it is still horror none-the-less. If you didn’t like clowns before this movie, you HATED them after it. Pennywise still haunts the dreams of adults who grew up in the 90’s and saw this mini-series. The only gripe I have with this adaptation is the crappy rubber spider at the end. I know it was just a manifestation of the energy that “It” really is, but still…just a bit lame.
So that does it for my favorite horror movies, but we have a few more articles coming up here real soon by other ComicsOnline writers!
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