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October 27, 2010


Top 5 horror movies

The Descent

Eli Roth shared his Top 5 horror movies today--a good list, almost all 80's movies that upended or redefined the genre. On his list is Sleepaway Camp, Troll 2, Creepshow, Zombi 2, and Pieces. I've only seen a couple of those, but now Sleepaway Camp and Pieces are on the must-see list.

I suspect he partly included Troll 2 because now it's cool to be into that movie after last year's documentary Best Worst Movie. And sure, we all grew up watching Creepshow, but it wouldn't be on my list.

A couple of things I would add: Dario Argento is the perverse grinning granddaddy of Italian horror, and Suspiria is an obvious choice, but it's on my list. It's one to show the kids. David Gordon Green's remake has been on the radar for a few years now, but Argento apparently just released the rights over the summer. There's still no info about it on IMDb, but maybe now we'll get some action.

Peter Jackson's Dead Alive wins the prize for funniest horror movie. The gore is absolutely epic, but so surreal and goofy that it never gets stale, and those animatronic creature-monsters make it feel like some kind of grotesque Muppet horror. Two years later, he made Heavenly Creatures, which if you take them together might make you really glad you aren't Peter Jackson's mother.

And The Descent (photo above), one of my favorite movies ever. It starts out as an all-girl buddy movie, then becomes an adventure vacation gone awry, then becomes a gross-out creature-slasher movie. And works in some excellent scenes of breakdown of social order and whatever-it-takes survival. Plus features some of the toughest women in movie history, including Tarantino. I'm nuts about this one.

I hear that the French are doing the really truly sick stuff in horror these days, but I'm too scared to watch Inside or Martyrs. And I usually like the old stuff better anyway.

Here are all the movies AMC is playing for this year's Fearfest. Some pretty good stuff including 28 Days Later, the really great Dawn of the Dead remake, From Dusk Till Dawn, and They Live. Bad news is they'll all be edited.

Any recommendations of your favorite horror movies?

categories: Movies
posted by amy at 1:48 PM | #

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Favorite *ever*? Geez...

Martin (George Romero)
Dead Ringers (David Cronenberg) (does this count as horror? If not, substitute Videodrome. Does that count as horror?)
The Thing (John Carpenter)
The Haunting (Robert Wise)
The Shining (Stanley Kubrick)
Evil Dead 2 (Sam Raimi) (yes, that makes it six. But whatevs. What could I pull?!??!)

Posted by: That Fuzzy Bastarrd at October 28, 2010 11:16 AM

I can never decide if Cronenberg counts as horror or not. Maybe psych thriller rather than horror? Something like Rabid is straight-up horror, but I would probably call Dead Ringers and Videodrome something else, like "creepy study in human perversity that might make you never want to have sex again".

I've never seen The Haunting! It's going to be on TCM on Halloween night. Now I just have to decide if I'm going to go through with my Joaquin Phoenix as a pretend rapper costume idea or stay in and watch horror movies on TV.

Posted by: amy at October 28, 2010 11:29 AM

The films on Eli Roth's list are more crowd-pleasers than actually good horror films (and for these films in particular, its a very niche crowd at that)...for instance, Pieces and Zombi 2 have some great bits of gore but surrounded by lots of boring, poorly dubbed stretches that amount to dead air...so its the list meant to be favorites or actually good scary films? Sometimes its not the same thing...You mention Suspiria from Argento but I would suggest Deep Red or Phenomena...how about Re-Animator...how about the original version of any film that has been remade lately (The Fog; Hills Have Eyes and yes I prefer the originl Dawn of the Dead to the remake)...

Posted by: Christian Licorice at October 28, 2010 10:10 PM

Argento's Deep Red is another big favorite of mine, and has two exceptionally stunning murder/death/decapitation scenes. Definitely up there with Suspiria. The plot is pretty contrived and the identity of the murderer is purely incidental, but that just emphasizes that the real strength of the movie is in those few classic horror set pieces.

I forgot about Re-Animator--great one.

Posted by: amy at October 29, 2010 4:28 PM

Here's my list:

1.) Night of the Living Dead--I watch it for Halloween every year. Claustrophobic and apocalyptic, Romero never scaled those heights again (although he made some more fun movies).

2.) Aliens--Overwhelmed me with dread and doom.

3.) Night of the Demon--Fantastically stylish 1957 horror flick from Jacques Tourneur, who also directed my all-time favorite film noir, Out of the Past. He really learned some things working with Val Lewton.

4.) Jigoku--Japanese horror flick from 1960, gory and stylish. A young university student is haunted by a strange young man (is he even real?) and ends up in Jigoku (Hell).

5.) The Mummy--My favorite of all the classic Universal horror flicks. Sure Bride of Frankenstein is awesome, but there’s just something about Karloff in this one that gets me.

6.) Invasion of the Body Snatchers--the original is still the best; the terror of the intimate enemy in small-town America.

7.) Can I give a shout-out for Mr. Vampire? One of my favorite Hong Kong flicks, featuring the always awesome Lam Ching Ying as a Taoist priest busting “hungry ghosts,” or people who come back after being buried improperly. Not very scary, but hugely entertaining.

Posted by: Tim at October 31, 2010 1:07 PM

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