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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
“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.
‘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