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Scare-a-thon: Roam About Mike’s Top-10 Horror Movies

The scariest thing since the ‘third person’ title of this post.

Schlock, camp, gore, slasher, thriller, suspense…I. Love. Horror. Movies.

Last October I watched 66 Horror movies.

There, I said it.

I’m not bragging here, admittedly, I didn’t have much of a life back then, worked a shitty job, and my cohabitating girlfriend almost left me on principle – begging for a Rom Com, or Ken Burns PBS special, anything, just not another blood-soaked movie where some mutated beast preys on virgins.

I’ve tamped the Horror-a-thon this year, but wanted to share a highly subjective list of my top-10 favorite horror movies of all time; one of the hardest, most revised posts I’ve ever composed. October is just not the same without these films:

#10. Session 9

Whoooo are you? Who? Who? Who? Who? Photo Source

Starting things out with a sleeper pick. Who’d have thought, a movie with David Caruso would ever make my Top 10 (he doesn’t whip-on his sunglasses after a witty quip like he does on CSI: Miami). This movie has this tangible, creepy-as-hell atmosphere, and is totally underrated (It’s also play now on Netflix for those Netflixers *patiently awaits sponsorship).

Turn off the lights – crank up the sound…let this movie seep in –  and it will – long after the credits.

#9. American Psycho

I’m Batman, er, Bateman…shit. (PHOTO SOURCE)

Bruce Wayne and Hannibal Lecter’s lovechild – with severe Oedipal issues and a healthy dose of Megalomania; a character you absolutely hate, but, sort of root for by the end. American Psycho is a dark comedy, yes, but ultimately, a horror flick on a few levels:

1. The Brett Easten Ellis novel is an absolutely brutal, gore-fest containing a scene involving a car battery, a rat, and a female body part that shocked through even my normally impervious core.

2. I worked at Lehman Brothers in NYC for a spell; the scariest part of this movie is that Patrick Bateman really exists.

3 a b & c. Chainsaw scene, “Feed Me a Cat“, and Jared Leto getting axed in the face.

#8. Suspiria

How much is this cab ride to hell? PHOTO SOURCE

A ballet dancer travels to Germany to study at a prominent dance school, which is a front for a Covent of evil witches.

Hauntingly beautiful – Technicolor genius – Italian Director Dario Argento’s masterpiece – with one of the scariest endings in horror; what happens when Heironymus Bosch paintings come alive, and you’re on mind-altering drugs.

#7. Army of Darkness

This is my boomstick. And this is my boomschtick. (PHOTO SOURCE)

Not many horror movie these days end without the Sam Raimi POV-shot montage homage. Montage homage? This will be the new name of my prog-rock band. Or, Montage a Toi. Ohhh!

Anyways, the Evil Dead prequels were sharpening the skills and comedy for Raimi’s (possible masterpiece) Army. If only this would have happened with the Spider Man movies. Then again, I’d cast Bruce Campbell as Spiderman over Tobey ‘Mope-Face’ MacGuire 10/10 times.

And this is why I chose ‘Army’ over the ‘Evil Dead’ prequels; stride-hitting Bruce Campbell absolutely crushes this movie.

#6. Friday The 13th

Look out, girlfriend! It’s Gary Busey! (Photo Source)

Sex, Drugs, and Kevin Bacon getting skewered through the neck. Camp/slasher – whatever you want to call it – every time I go camping, I think of this gd movie.

Friday the 13th is why I never: talk to odd-townie folk, hitchhike; wear a bandana around my neck, or 80’s man-dukes, go boating, say the phrase (or similar), “I heard something in there, I better go check it out”.

I will also never be completely calm at a campout, with smores/fire because of a hockey-masked asshole’s mother’s, and subsequently – his, revenge upon happy campers.

#5. Shaun of The Dead

Electro N-E-C-R-O (Photo Source)

I love zombies. I love to laugh. I love this movie.

Simon Pegg seamlessly melds two genres to create one of my all time favorites – a tongue in cheek, cliche, yet somehow completely original story around the formulaic ‘everyday Joe saves his friends, and relationship…from zombies’.

Like a bacon-wrapped shrimp, but the bacon is undead.

If you haven’t seen this self-proclaimed Zom Com, rent it, tonight.

#4. Night of The Living Dead

Turn Ons: Men with Brains (PHOTO SOURCE)

Romero shows why he is truly the godfather of Zombie in the movie that started it all.

Vehemently rallied against in 1968 due to the graphic content, ‘Night of the Living Dead’ was selected by the Library of Congress to be preserved within the Nation Film Registry due to its cultural, and aesthetic significance.

Scary, classic – would you run if the undead came back, or hole-up in a house and hope for the best?

#3. The Thing

My 2012 Halloween Costume. Don’t believe me, check out the beard pic below (THING PHOTO SOURCE)

Grow Faster!!

I want to snuggle with John Carpenter. Not in a sexy-way, just in an, ‘I hope I can absorb some of your talents through this osmotic cuddle ‘kind of way.

I LOVE this movie, and had a hell of a time picking it as #3 and not #2.

A Nordic research team in Antarctica exhume an alien from the ice – it thaws, slaughters them, then morphs into a dog, and warms the hearts of the American research team…I’m sorry, did I say warms? I meant rips out their hearts.

#2. Halloween

Who wants to play Scrabble!?!? PHOTO SOURCE

Again, see the John Carpenter/RoamAbout snug. There’s something terrifying about a William Shatner-masked killer, devoid of emotion, slowly ambling about town, gashing sexually active teens in the face with a knife, or (fill in the blank weapon).

“Oh shit! He’s right there, turn around or your going to get stabbed…too late. Told ya. Abstinence is the key to surviving a slasher flick!”

Before hocking digestive pudding – Activia, Jamie Lee Curtis was THE scream queen.

Whilst carving pumpkins, there’s nothing better than watching the Halloween franchise, except for Halloween III, which doesn’t count, but all the others are as comfy as flannel sheets…and nothing beats the original Halloween.

Well, I take that back, there is another…

#1. The Shining

Writer’s Block? Just go bear-shit crazy! (Photo Source)

I watched The Shining the first time while babysitting my little sister when I was 15.

Home alone, parents out for hours, I turned off the lights to trying to scare myself. Oh, I scared myself, and did some permanent damage to my psyche in the process. This movie freaked me out. Like, couldn’t sleep for a few days .

“What’s wrong, Mike?” Mom

“Can’t sleep.” Me

“Why?”

“Because I watched a movie where a beautiful naked lady in a bathtub seduces Jack Nicholson, turns into a corpse during their make-out session cackling maniacally while Jack backs away in terror.”

“Oh, that’s nice, Dear”

It’s Steven King; it’s Jack; it’s Kuberick; it’s cerebral; it’s creepy; it’s still the best.

*************************************************************************************************************

Controversial Omission

‘The Exorcist’. I understand its place among the Horror elite, and get yelled at when mentioning it’s not in my top 10, let alone my top 15. I’m prepared to be flamed for it, but I’m just not a fan of this movie. The power of christ compels you to understand.

Movies left out due to real-life fears

‘Arachnophobia’, and ‘Vertigo’. I can at least watch ‘Vertigo’ because it’s quite possibly the greatest movie ever made, but seriously, fuck ‘Arachnophobia’.

So, how did I do? What are your favorite/least favorite horror movies? Let me know! And Happy Horror-ing! – Mike

56 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nathaniel Hahn #

    Great post…The beard is coming along nicely! I’d vote JAWS in as one of the greatest horror movies of all time…especially after seeing it on the big screen this past summer. What about Carnosaur? Bad dinosaur special effects aren’t scary enough? hahah…I also LOVE Arachnophobia…the best is the screaming spider at the end! And I never got how Jeff Daniels didn’t get bit at the end by ANY of the spiders filling the house. Would have been sweet if he was in his Mutt Cutts costume from Dumb and Dumber…still wanna go to aspen…OH YEAH!

    October 16, 2012
    • Thanks, man!
      Jaws was definitely in the running but Carnosaur…now THAT’S a movie! Almost as good as Birdemic.

      Hahaha! Yeah, him from D&D and John Goodman as Walter Sobchek could of taken those pesky arachnids down.

      October 16, 2012
  2. Ziggy with a Neck #

    No room on the list for Anoconda?

    October 16, 2012
    • Is it true they used a real snake in that movie?

      October 16, 2012
      • Ziggy with a Neck #

        #1 on the list is a lock. My brain would have melted down trying to populate the remaining 9 slots. So many good movies over so many years! Life isn’t fair.

        October 17, 2012
      • Ghoulies 3!

        October 17, 2012
  3. give me the bat, wendy.

    October 16, 2012
  4. Actually, I quite enjoyed the genial zombies at the top.

    October 16, 2012
    • Especially the one with the dress and boobs. Not creepy at all.

      October 16, 2012
  5. Oh… and it’s the psychological horror flicks that get in my mind… and force me to vow never to watch them again. Ever. *shudder*

    October 16, 2012
    • Oooooo my favorite kind! The ones that just sort of stick around for a few days, and give you second thoughts about going into the basement.

      October 16, 2012
      • Tisha #

        Or check your closet or bathroom, all the while realizing you’ve become the people you yell at in the film that go to explore… I even terrified myself mistaking my hanging scarves and hats as a person in the corner of my room. True story.

        October 16, 2012
      • Hahaha been there. I sleep with a bat next to my bed. True story.

        October 16, 2012
  6. Great list. Definitely feel you on The Shining. Empty hallways AND twins still freak me out.

    Troll (which is what I call A Troll in Central Park) didn’t make the cut, huh?

    October 16, 2012
    • It didn’t make it, BUT I own the Troll/Troll 2 double feature on DVD, which should suffice. I can send a copy to Japan if you want…

      October 16, 2012
  7. I’ve not seen all these, Mike. I can’t handle zombies, I just can’t. Since the old B/W George Romero it creeps me out. There’s one called the Resurrection of Emily Rose that’s way creepy and another one, Strangers, that’s seriously messed up. Both “based” on true stories. Now, The Shining — one of the best all time ever scary flicks.

    October 16, 2012
    • No go on the Zombies? Too scary?
      Exorcism of Emily Rose – yeah, that one is definitely spooky. I’ve never seen Strangers – will have to check it out.
      I can’t think of a better ‘jack’ movie than The Shining.

      October 16, 2012
  8. Ben #

    despite including one of my all time favorite actors, Paul Newman, “Message in a Bottle” is the scariest movie watching experience of my life.

    October 16, 2012
    • You have know idea how close I was to putting ‘Waterworld’ as number 7. Great minds, my friend!

      October 16, 2012
  9. And people thought I was nuts for watching one a day…though I watched more like 50 last year.

    October 16, 2012
    • You’re not nuts, just dedicated. Any highlights from last year’s 50?

      October 16, 2012
      • Eric Benac #

        I think “In the Mouth of Madness” by Carpenter is underrated. That was one I watched last year.

        October 16, 2012
      • Agreed. Coincidentally one of the gems I found last year. Much man-love for Carpenter.

        October 16, 2012
  10. are you watching, ‘american horror story’ at all? it’s pretty good. we watched one episode and wifesy wouldn’t allow me to close the shower curtain for a full week. the culprit was a murderous clown from a scene in that episode. feckin’ clowns. lol. xo, sm

    October 16, 2012
    • I haven’t watched the second season yet, but marti and I were HOOKED season 1. It was like all my favorite horror movies in one show.
      Is season two almost done? Is that bastard from Maroon 5 ruining it?

      October 16, 2012
      • sweetmother #

        loooooool. wifesy just said that to me last night. she was like, ‘it’s that guy…’ in a promo for american horror or something. we are going to netflix season 1 because we are LOST! but, we did like what we saw in that one episode and wifesy was TERRIFIED. LOL.

        October 16, 2012
      • Holy shit you have to netflix it NOW! That show is so effing awesome, and Marooned 5 isn’t in the first season.
        All I can say is Jessica Lange…

        October 16, 2012
  11. I loved The Shining and Halloween, but you wouldn’t catch me watching any of the others.. Too gross! Eeeuww!
    Love your field of zombie Mikes photo!

    October 16, 2012
    • Haha, Yeah, I guess they are kind of gross, but that’s why I love ‘em!
      That pic is more terrifying than any of the movies listed…

      October 16, 2012
      • susielindau #

        And you’re smiling!

        October 16, 2012
      • Even Worse!

        October 16, 2012
  12. I love this post. It may be my most favorite of yours because it tells us who you are and have been since you were a kid. When we first got a VCR, I rented the Exorcist (I was 15), my parents were out, I was alone in the basement (no idea where all the siblings were), had a butcher knife and a german shephard with me and still scared the crap out of myself. What is wrong with teenagers?

    Shaun of the Dead is so great. The Shining is tremendous. Really good picks. I have queued up the David Caruso movie.

    Marti is a strong woman.

    October 16, 2012
    • Aww, thanks, Maggie.
      See! Why did we do that to ourselves? Damn kids and their crazy ideas.

      I’m curious to see if you like Session 9. I’ve had two others really enjoy it, so I hope you do as well.

      She is. Physically too. Strong like bull.

      October 16, 2012
  13. kost-a-saurus #

    man o man… i was hoping to see “the drive” game recorded via VHS on this list. Hopefully my weekends of freedom can return soon before I miss the entire Bartok Film Society Season.

    October 16, 2012
    • That’s not horror, that’s a snuff film.
      Friday’s the next one, you in?

      October 16, 2012
  14. Fish Out of Water #

    I’m a total wimp when it comes to scary movies. It’s all because of The Shining. It ruined me. Seriously, we watched Paranormal Activity and while everyone was laughing at how ludicrous it was I was cowered under a blanket almost in tears. On a side note, Shaun of the Dead is the greatest movie ever. Pretty much anything Simon Pegg does is brilliant.

    October 16, 2012
    • Well, if you are to be ruined, it’s a good one to do it.
      Awww, did you at least like Paranormal?
      I almost crapped myself the first time I saw it. Marti and I were watching, and a coat fell off the hangar in our closet during the demon scene and we both screamed like children.

      I love that you love Shaun of the Dead.

      October 16, 2012
  15. Very well done. Strange that I claim to dislike scary movies yet I’ve seen most of those.

    October 16, 2012
    • Thank you thank you. You’re a closet horror fan! admit it!

      October 16, 2012
  16. Udo Kier’s oeuvre was quietly omitted I see. Honestly, Time Out was right about Threads. That’ll need to be on the list for next year. And Salo (feeling like I need a shower now).

    October 16, 2012
    • Udo was in Suspiria!
      What did Time Out say about Threads? Still haven’t watched it – I apologize.

      Salo…better than WaterWorld.

      October 16, 2012
  17. twl #

    Earliest memory of horror film was about 11 and watched Trilogy of Terror and have never forgotten how scared I was. Havent seen it since and its probably really bad but always remember how I felt that night. That is until I saw, Alexander with Colin Farrell. Horrified by the end of that one. Zzzzzzz Great post Mike.

    October 17, 2012
    • I’ve SEEN that! There’s this little troll/guy with a spear that runs around and kills people…sorry, this is probably bringing up terrible memories for you.

      Bwahaha! The infallible Colin Farrell….

      THanks for stopping in!

      October 17, 2012
  18. free penny press #

    Ever since I saw this horror flick with some guy named “Pinhead”, I have not seen another. That movie permanently scarred me forever..LOL.. damn what is the name of that movie ?

    October 17, 2012
    • Yeah, he’s evil, and scary. From little movie called ‘Hellraiser’ – a surefire way to test if you like Horror or not. :)

      October 17, 2012
      • free penny press #

        Oh yeah, Hellraiser.. man, that movie scared the hell out of me. If you can take that, you can take anything!

        October 17, 2012
      • That’s the truth – that movie is a pretty disturbing gore-fest.

        October 18, 2012
  19. workspousestory #

    Damn. I could swear I answered a similar question not that long ago, and once again I wanna run before getting there but something keeps me here.
    I’m not a good one for horrors. I genuinely freak out. I loved The Shining, of course. But I’m scared of the flesh-eating and other ugly stuff varieties, like 28 days later… or Hellraiser (V)! Or The Ring! Damn. Scary. No more!

    October 19, 2012
    • When the girl came out of the TV in The Ring, I think I soiled myself a bit. :)
      Don’t give up on horror movies yet! :)

      October 20, 2012
  20. The Shining still freaks me out. I totally get you with Arachnaphobia. I cant even watch the trailer.

    October 25, 2012
    • Hey Rob!
      Yeah, heebie jeebies just thinking about that stupid movie.

      October 25, 2012
  21. I really liked your top three picks out of the ten. I really liked The Poltergeist, Phantasm, and Night of the Living Dead, which you have on your list.

    October 29, 2012
    • Good ones! Poltergeist is definitely up there. Phantasm as well. Beware, the Tall man! :)

      October 29, 2012
  22. Great pick for number one! The Shining was disturbing on a much deeper level than any other horror flick I’ve seen. It’s psychological. I actually just saw it for the first time this past October, and it really got into my head. It’s something about the pace of the movie I think — the slow pan shots throughout. The movie really makes you slow down as the watcher. It’s almost unavoidable. Jack’s dialogues really pull you in too — especially the first scenes when he’s sitting at the bar, drinking by himself, and the scene where he’s in the bathroom talking to the butler/waiter. Kubrick is a tweek! A Clockwork Orange is another weird-ass movie that has the same effect. Great post!

    December 2, 2012
    • Absolutely agree 100% with everything you said Adam. The Shining is simply the best.
      A Clockwork Orange is full of a hyper-violence, a definite commentary on present society – more-so now than when it was made.

      December 2, 2012

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