Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dan's Top Horror Movies 10-1

At long last the top 10.  These are my ten favorite horror movies of all time.  If you missed the previous 40 you can check out 50-41 here 40-31 here 30-21 here and 20 through 11 here.  They may not be in the top 10, but they’re all solid horror movies and there are some real hidden gems in there.

10. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

I love zombies.  If you’re keeping score this is the 11th zombie movie on this list to this point.  Shaun of the Dead is both a comedy and a zombie movie.  What sets it apart from other zombie comedies or “zomedies” is that it’s really a blending of two genres rather than say a parody of zombie movies.  If you took out the zombies it would still be an excellent romantic comedy.  I hesitate to call the non-zombie portion of the film a “romantic comedy,” although it has romantic elements the term “romantic comedy” has come to mean bullshit movies like, “Ghosts of Ex-Girlfriends Past” and “27 Dresses.”  The people that made this movie loved zombie movies and it shows, the zombies look great and the special FX are really well done.  For a British movie it seemed kind of weird that no one ate any Jelly Babies in the entire movie.  What gives?  I thought that’s what they ate there, that and tea.  And why did the people all have relatively nice teeth?
"Would you like a Jelly Baby?"

9. Army of Darkness (1992)

Hail to the King baby!
As I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten much better at not being a dick about my opinions, but if you don’t like Army of Darkness I’m just gonna come out and call you an asshole.  I don’t want to be mean or anything but if you don’t like Army of Darkness it’s kind of beyond me why you’d still be reading this list dickhead.  I still remember when my friend Devlin saw Army of Darkness, he was like, “dude you’ve gotta see this movie.”  There have been very few times in my life before or since that someone was so right about something.  Army of Darkness is about a regular dude that gets transported back to the middle-ages and has to fight the deadites with a chainsaw and a shotgun.  Army of Darkness combines horror with fantasy and Three Stooges style slapstick.  If that doesn’t sound like a movie you’d like, than you and I have very different taste in movies.  Maybe you should check out one of those blogs about Coldplay or traditional British style cricket or something.

8. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

A Southern Gentleman
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is definitely one of all time greatest movie titles in the history of the horror genre.  It’s a sweet movie too.  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is shot in kind of a low budget documentary-esque style, this is a fitting choice as most of the deep South is full of inbred subhumans like Leatherface.  It’s one of the most notoriously violent horror movies of all time, which is kind of weird because the movie isn’t actually that violent. It’s such a shock to the senses that everyone remembers it being way gorier than it was.   I think that’s testament to how effective the movie really is.  I must warn you however that the Texas Chainsaw Massacre game for the Atari 2600 is fucking terrible, and I wouldn’t recommend it.  It’s so bad it makes me think they somehow time traveled and retroactively based the game on that god awful remake (a women hid a gun in her pussy?  WTF?!?  How did that get into an internationally released major motion picture)  In any case, the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre is so good the greatest band in the history of music wrote a song about it.

7. The Wicker Man (1973)

The Wicker Man is definitely one of the most original horror movies I’ve ever seen.  The central plot revolves around a police detective investigating the disappearance of a little girl on an island off the coast of Scotland.  The island is inhabited with modern (well, 1970’s) Pagans, and their carefree sexy religious practices rubs the ultra-Religious detective the wrong way.  The islanders’ sexy but admittedly strange religious practices give the film a creepy vibe that’s different from anything I’ve ever seen in a horror movie before, which is certainly a big part of the reason the film works so well for me.  The film is also well cast and very well acted.  Christopher Lee’s performance as Lord Summerisle is probably my single favorite acting performance in a horror film.  If you’ve only seen the Nic Cage remake you may be surprised to find that there isn’t a single scene in the film where the protagonist puts on a bear costume and punches a woman in the face.
That chick's about to get jacked in the face.

6. Aliens (1986)

Whenever I tell people that Aliens is one of my favorite horror movies they always say, “I think Aliens is more sci-fi than horror.”  I don’t know about that, the first movie Alien is almost universally accepted as a horror movie and I don’t think Aliens is any more sci-fi than that.  If anything there’s more tech speak and scientific gobbilty gook in the first one.  At the very least there are monsters in both movies and monsters = horror.  Anyway, I think it’s the blending of genres that makes Aliens so sweet; it’s a sci-fi, horror and action movie all rolled into one intense film.  Intense is an apt description, few movies match the intensity level of Aliens.  Every time you think the movie is as suspenseful as it’s going to get the director (James Cameron) ratchets the tension up a few more notches.  Aliens was good enough to be nominated for seven Oscars, snagging two.  As kind of a side note, Bill Paxton is awesome in this movie.  He has the best lines and one of the best deaths.  He’s one of my favorite parts of Aliens and comparing him to Bill Pullman is a fucking travesty.  (See also his performance in Weird Science, Club Dread, and True Lies.)
Game over man.

5. The Thing (1982)

A little Brimely for the ladies
Without a doubt The Thing is my all time favorite Wilford Brimely movie (sorry Cocoon fans!)  In The Thing Kurt Russell stars as a dude named Mac whom pours Scotch into computers.  He works at an Antarctic research station that becomes infested with aliens that look just like real people, and when they get dismembered the parts all grow their own legs and try to kill you.  Not a good situation to say the least.  Kurt Russell is left with the task of figuring out who’s a real guy and who’s an alien in disguise before the whole research station becomes overrun.  The movie is really tense and the special effects are second to none.  One question remains though, if someone with diabetes gets replaced by a The Thing does that The Thing have diabetes?  Does it like oatmeal?  Sadly, the film leaves these questions un-answered.  Rated R for extreme monster violence and oversized cowboy hats.

4. Halloween (1978)

Deranged killer Michael Meyers
Halloween set the gold standard for slasher movies and gave birth to the horror boom of the 1980’s.  Halloween is pretty much perfect.  The atmosphere, pacing, and basic plot have been imitated countless times over the 30 or so years since Halloween came out, but no slasher movie has come close to matching Halloween.  Jamie Lee Curtis stars as Laurie Strode, a girl being stalked by escaped mental patient Michael Meyers.  Unlike most female leads in a horror movie she has more than half a brain rattling around in her head and she fights back.  The film was a runaway success, grossing $60 million worldwide, making it the most financially successful independent film of the time.  Why is it John Carpenter has made so many hit movies, but he’s never moved to the A-list?  Usually when a director makes a no budget movie and it makes a ton of money they’re given the keys to the kingdom.  Right?  Anyway, to date there are 10 films in the Halloween franchise.  Halloween II and H2O are nowhere near as good as the first film, but they’re worth checking out.  Halloweens 3 is sans Michael Meyers and it’s pretty much unwatchable.  Halloweens 4, 5, 6, and Resurrection were all kind of just Friday the 13th rip-offs, which is kind of weird because Friday the 13th started out as a Halloween ripoff. Rob Zombie’s remake was kind of disappointing and pointless.  The only change he made that I liked was the addition of a lot more female nudity.  I’ve never seen Rob Zombie’s Halloween II, so you’re on your own there.  When you think about it they made 9 subpar (that’s being kind) movies on the reputation of the first Halloween.  That’s how good this movie is.  It’s on all the time, so watch it if you haven’t.
She was the little girl in part 4 and 5, and oddly she was one of the girls who took her clothes off in Rob Zombie's version.

3. Re-Animator (1985)

Re-Animator is one of the most violent awesome movies ever.  It’s based on the H.P. Lovecraft short story “Herbert West Re-Animator” and I think it’s pretty faithful to the spirit of the short story.  They change a lot of things to update it for a modern audience, but who cares.  As good a writer as Lovecraft was, most of his short stories read more like outlines for novels than proper short stories.  They also added a girl to the story, which is good because she takes her clothes off.  Anyway, Lovecraft’s stories are total sausagefest, and who wants to see a movie about a bunch of dudes?  To my knowledge Re-Animator is the only film that has a severed head eating a naked chick out.  That particular scene is referenced in American Beauty when Keyser Soze Kevin Spacey is smoking weed with creepy Ricky Fitts.  In fact “I want to borrow your copy of Re-Animator” is listed on urban dictionary as slang for buying weed, which reminds me, did any of you borrow Re-Animator from me?  I don’t smoke weed or anything, but I remember letting someone borrow that movie one time when I was really drunk. 
Barbara Crampton (severed head eating her out not included)

2. Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn (1987)

This movie is never included on lists for the “greatest horror movies of all time” which makes all of those lists null and void.  I don’t claim that everyone should like Evil Dead II, quite the contrary in fact, but if you don’t like Evil Dead II you have no business boasting any kind of expertise or authority on the genre of horror.  This movie rules.  I still remember when I heard about Evil Dead II:  I was flipping through Roger Ebert’s movie yearbook (a collection of his reviews.  The only way to read old movie reviews in the pre-internet days.) and I stumbled on a movie that had the same director and lead actor as Army of Darkness.  Holy shit.  I rented Evil Dead II as soon as I possibly could.  Like Army of Darkness Evil Dead II is a blend of horror and slapstick comedy, except it’s way bloodier than Army of Darkness.   If you haven’t seen this movie, you should definitely check it out.  If you have seen it, check out the audio commentary on the DVD.  It’s definitely one of the best.
Bruce Campell likes it enough to smile

1. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Best movie ever.

Dawn of the Dead is the only movie that actually scares me.  It has literally given me nightmares.  I can’t completely explain it but I think it has something to do with the whole apocalypse thing.  In Dawn of the Dead the zombies take over.  Usually in movies the end of the world happens pretty quick (Dawn of the Dead 2003) or off screen (28 Days Later, Resident Evil, The Road Warrior.)  In Dawn of the Dead the world dies slowly.  The film begins with the cities in chaos.  Zombies are everywhere, and most people deal with the situation by either looting or skipping town.  The main characters are four such individuals.  They didn’t like the way things are going so they stole a helicopter and took refuge in a shopping mall.  One thing you have to wonder about is what they talked about all day.  There were three dudes and only one chick.  Couldn’t exactly talk about women, except for the one, and she was pregnant with the one dude’s baby.  Awkward to say the least.  No sports either, or even VHS tapes.  I guess that’s why they seem so unhappy despite all their nice things (a delightful bit of social commentary.)  The movie is also really violent, so violent in fact that it was released unrated when it couldn’t get an R rating from the MPAA.  If all that doesn’t sell you on Dawn of the Dead I’ve got two words for you: zombie pie-fight.  There’s a zombie pie-fight.  Get on it.

These 50 movies represent my favorite horror movies, and while you may not agree with every movie on the list or the order in which they’re on my list they’re all endorsed by me personally.  Hopefully you’ll see something you like and check it out.  I guess that about wraps it up.  Feel free to leave a comment here or on facebook. 

Back to reviewing cheap beer.  Happy Halloween.
My favorite holiday

Oh, and Danzig still seems pretty serious about wanting your Skull. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dan's Top Horror Movies 20-11

Halloween rules

We’re in the homestretch people; the cream of the crop, the all important top 20.  If you missed the previous parts you can check out 50-41 here 40-31 here, and 30-21 here.  Let’s bang a gong and get it on like T-Rex.

20. 28 Weeks Later (2007)

28 Weeks Later is one of the most intense movies I’ve ever seen.  The movie starts out with people running from a blood-mad zombie horde, slows down for like fifteen minutes to set up the plot, and then the kicks it into overdrive for the rest of the 100 minute runtime.  The pacing and intensity alone puts 28 Weeks Later over its predecessor.  It’s also much gorier; people get burned alive, eaten alive, eye gouged, and shot.  The only criticism I have for the movie was the choice to have a main zombie hunting the protagonists.  Zombie movies work better with a faceless horde of rage-infected maniacs chasing their victims.  One more thing; how did Robert Carlyle and that chick that was living in a pile of filth have such a hot daughter?  Robert Carlyle isn’t just classically unattractive; he’s weird looking, right?  The girl that plays his daughter looks like she walked out of Proactiv commercial even in the bowels of a corpse laden subway.  Took me right out of the movie.
Hot damn

19.  Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)

At its core Creature From the Black Lagoon is about a fish-man that wants to have sex with a beautiful woman, but it’s also about environmentalism, desire, science gone wrong, and lagoons (aside from the Brooke Shields movie lagoons are one of the most underrepresented bodies of water in film.)  The filmmakers went to great lengths to make the creature look like a real monster; the suit is form fitting and doesn’t wrinkle or have a zipper.  The actor in the underwater scenes even had to be able to hold his breath for 4 minutes at a time so it would look like a real fish and not a SCUBA diver incognito.  The term “rubber suit” is usually thrown around as a pejorative, but in this movie it’s one helluva suit and I think it works better than CGI ever could.  For a movie made in the 50’s that takes place in a South American jungle there’s surprisingly little racism.  What gives?  I guess their guides were kind of swarthy, but I want ethnic guides to talk like Frankenstein and be afraid of white-man technology.  Good movie nonetheless.
That's more like it.

18. Blood Diner (1987)

Blood Diner is a horror parody and tribute to H.G. Lewis’ Bloodfeast.  I think it’s one of the most underrated horror movies of all time.  The movie isn’t even available on DVD.  It shows up “On Demand” from time to time, and whenever it does I watch it twice.  Blood Diner is about two guys that own a 50’s style diner that serves the best vegetarian food in the city, only the secret ingredient is human flesh.  The death scenes are as hilarious as they are gory.  The movie only has a 4.3 on IMDB, but anyone that gave this movie a low rating is a fucking asshole.  I don’t want to be a dick or anything, but seriously.  The kind of person that takes the time to go online and downgrade a sweet movie like this on IMDB is the same kind of person that complains about people boozing it up at the office Christmas party.  You don’t own the copy machine Bitch, and if I wanna Xerox my scrotum it’s my goddamned business.  I’m not cut off, you’re cut off.

17. Scream (1996)

The most important scene in an important film
Throughout the 90’s horror movies, particularly slasher movies, seemed kind of passé; a relic from the previous decade.  Then Scream happened.  It was a monster hit, grossing over $161,000,000 worldwide.  Horror was back, and I was at just the right age to see every horror movie released to theaters.  Most of the movies were copycat pieces of shit like “I Know What you Did Last Summer” and I quickly stopped seeing every horror movie.  They were all so goddamned derivative; they assembled an ensemble cast of attractive young people and had a maniac kill them (just like Scream!)  Worse still, those movies usually had barely any blood and no nudity, as if that would somehow make the film “hip” and “edgy” like Scream.  I’ve talked a lot about Scream’s legacy, and it should go without saying that I really like this movie.  I liked it a lot in Junior High, and unlike Sudden Death it has held up surprisingly well. 
Here's Jean-Claud fighting a godamned giant penguin

16. Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Fuck yeah!
Night of the Living Dead was written by two Pittsburgians in 1968. George A. Romero followed it up with Dawn of the Dead, and co-writer John A. Russo wrote Return of the Living Dead.  The script for Return of the Living Dead sold in Hollywood, but the studio thought it was too serious and jettisoned everything but the name.  The studio then turned to Dan O’Bannon (the guy that wrote Alien) to turn Return of the Living Dead into a comedy (a comedy that still managed to scare my wife.)  Also brains; or should I say brrrrrrrraaaaaaiiiinnnzzz!!! I’ve seen countless zombie movies, and off the top of my head this is the only one where the zombies actually moan their famous catchphrase.  This film also boasts one of the best “girl taking her clothes off in a cemetery” scenes I’ve ever seen. BONUS FACT: my DVD case for this movie glows in the dark.  It wasn’t advertised or anything, just a little bonus feature I discovered about a year after I bought the movie. Cool.

15. Dawn of the Dead (2003)
This is pretty much what my nightmares look like

When I heard they were remaking Dawn of the Dead I was incredulous to say the least.  They were remaking the zombie classic “Dawn of the Dead” with running zombies?  Count me out.  Then they released a preview of the first five minutes of the film and it looked fucking awesome.  It was great: in a matter of minutes the whole world comes apart at the seams: a little roller-blading enthusiasts with no lips bite dudes in the neck, and people get eaten alive. The rest of the movie was awesome too, but it had a few parts that were kind of dumb, like the zombie baby (that was fucking stupid.) Zach Snyder has never been the darling of the critics, but in my book the intro to Dawn of the Dead earns him the right to make whatever movie he wants till the end of time.  Anyone else notice that Max Hedroom was in the movie?
Moments before he turned into a z-z-z-zombie

14.  Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

I kind of wish the tile was “Freddy v. Jason” so it would sound like a legal drama, and then total squares would rent the movie expecting some boring courtroom movie with lots of stupid speeches and get their nuts rocked off.  The plot may be ludicrous and the characters may be stupid, but it doesn’t matter at all.  This movie is about Freddy and Jason fighting each other, and by God it delivers.  As perfect as it is, the movie took a surprisingly long time to come out.  New Line and Paramount were in talks to make a crossover film as early as 1987.  In 1989 New Line acquired the rights to the Jason Vorhees character and didn’t do anything towards making a crossover film until they teased us with Freddy’s arm in Jason Goes to Hell (1993).  Ten years later the movie finally came out.  It was kind of like Duke Nukem Forever or Chinese Democracy, except it wasn’t disappointing on every level.  The movie went on to make $113 million at the box office.  Immediately there were rumors of a sequel in the works.  Since then there’s been a whole lotta nothing on that front, but hey it only took 16 years to make the first Freddy vs. Jason.  I’m sure I can look forward to another one in 2019.  Fuck.  Why won’t these people let me give them my money?
This was going to be the sequel to Freddy vs. Jason.  It would have been the greatest movie of all time.

13. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Black people are cool
Night of the Living Dead is the first modern zombie movie.  Before Night of the Living Dead zombie movies were about hoodoo and black magic, witch doctors and such.  Night of the Living Dead made zombies into the flesh eating ghouls we know and love today.  It’s also one of the first horror movies to have a black guy that wasn’t just monster-fodder.  The black dude is the only person in the entire movie that the audience can identify with, and he kicks the shit out of zombies.    Generally I try not to get too nuts prattling on about how influential a film is.  I mean, Birth of a Nation is about as important and influential a film there is that doesn’t make it good.  Night of the Living Dead on the other hand is very good, and it’s public domain.  You can usually find copies of the film for less than $5 and they usually show it on PBS completely uncut around this time of year, or you can wait till March.  I don't know if they still do this, but on PBS Chicago they used to show Night of the Living Dead  with a green tint around St. Patrick’s Day.  I guess there weren’t enough public domain Irish movies.
Zombie raid!

12. The Devil’s Rejects (2005)

The Devil’s Rejects is a direct sequel to Rob Zombie’s directorial debut House of 1000 Corpses, and it’s better in every way.  In fact, the only thing I really liked in House of 1000 Corpses was the part where you see Sheri Moon Zombie’s ass.  But it's a moot point because in The Devil’s Rejects she wears jeans with a bunch of rips in the back so you kind of see her butt anytime she has her back to the camera.  House of a 1000 Corpses was also just kind of a run of the mill “attractive 20-somnethings find psychotic hillbillies” movie, although it was an exceptionally sick version of that movie.  The Devil’s Rejects is different.  It’s still a sick movie: there are no good guys and the bad guys are truly evil, but this time they have “character development” and “motivation.”  It would be easy for a film like this to descend into nihilistic savagery, but The Devil’s Rejects balances the bleak violence with just enough humor to let you catch your breath.  The movie also has the best use of Freebird anywhere.  In fact, whenever I hear Freebird I always think about The Devil's Rejects for at least a few of the song's nine and a half minutes.
This was the only part of House of 1000 Corpses I watched more than once.  I still didn't remember that Dwight from the Office was in the movie

11.  Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

Remember when I talked about how The Devil’s Rejects used humor to balance out the stark violence?  Well there’s none of that here.  Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is about a serial killer.  He murders people because he’s crazy.  He doesn’t even seem to enjoy it as much as I enjoy a tasty beer.  It’s just kind of what he does.  Filmed in Chicago in the 1980’s you get some great shots of the city in that era.  Remember when Lower Wacker had those weird green lights?  That was fucking creepy looking.  As much as I hate to spoil anything I must warn you of one particularly disturbing scene.  Near the end of the film Henry goes into a convenience store and the clerk says “How ‘bout those Bears?”  Henry replies, “Fuck the Bears.”  What kind of monster talks like that?  Raping and murdering an entire family is one thing, but let’s not say things we can’t take back.  Talk about harsh.
Two guys that don't "Bear Down" on Sunday.  This isn't even the 5th creepiest scene of the movie.

Almost done.  40 movies down and only 10 to go before Halloween.
Until Next time remember, Danzig still wants your Skull

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dan's Top Horror Movies 30-21

Throughout the month of October I’m counting down my 50 favorite horror movie.  If you’re just joining me now you can check out 50-41 here or 40-31 here.
30.  Night of the Living Dead (1990)

One of the most influential shows in my life was “Monstervision with Joe Bob Briggs.”  Every week Joe Bob would show two horror movies and during the commercial breaks he would intersperse the films with jokes and commentary.  It was the first place I saw a lot of classics, like From Beyond, Motel Hell, and Carrie.  But the first movie I saw on Monstervision was the Night of the Living Dead remake, and I loved it.  I’d seen a few horror movies before, but NOTLD was different.  I’ve been obsessed with horror movies ever since.  Critics were kind of harsh on the movie, calling it “unnecessary.”  I dunno about that, what’s wrong with having another Night of the Living Dead anyway?  The only thing I would criticize the film for was the dyke-y haircut of the female lead.  It’s like a red Moe Howard cut. 
Moe knows horror movies

29.  A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise descended into silliness and self parody at a much quicker rate the Friday the 13th series, which is surprising because from the beginning the Friday the 13th movies were fucking stupid and the first Elm Street movie was scary and awesome.  Nightmare on Elm Street is about a child murderer that gets burned to death by the parents that live on Elm Street.  His ghost takes revenge by invading the dreams of the children on Elm Street and murdering them.  The film is nearly perfect, except for the stupid bullshit tacked on ending.  It made no sense in the context of the film, and left the door open for numerous shitty sequels.  Next thing you know Freddy is zinging one-liners and doing stupid bullshit like going into videogames.  If you must watch any of the sequels I’d say check out Wes Craven’s New Nightmare or Part 3: The Dream Warriors.  Dokken did the song for Dream Warriors.  Dokken sucks.
Here's Freddy in a fucking video game.  This is an actual still from a financially successful film.

28.  White Zombie (1932)

Bela Legosi is at his creepiest in this delightful voodoo romp.  In fact, it’s kind of surprising that any of the other characters ever trust him. He looks like Dracula after all, and he’s got that creepy pointy beard. His character’s name is Murder Legendre for Chrissakes.  I guess that’s the kind of name you’d expect a guy that turns people into zombies for a living to have, but I still wouldn’t exactly invite him over for pizza and pop.  Almost all surviving prints of White Zombie are of dubious quality, but I find that the tinny sound and grainy picture kind of add to the overall dark atmosphere of the film.  At only 69 minutes the film moves quickly, and yet they still manage to cram the film full of hilariously outdated racial stereotypes.  Noticeably absent from the film was a jigsaw man that turns the world around with the skeleton hand, or a guy with dreadlocks that says “yeah” all the time.   It shows up “On Demand” with Comcast from time to time (as of this writing it’s currently available) and it’s public domain so you can usually find it on DVD for less than $5, so you should definitely check it out.
"Pull the strings!!!"

27. Bride of Re-Animator (1990)

Lots of serious H.P. Lovecraft fans hate the Re-Animator movies, because they have a serious stick up their ass.  Furthermore, most serious Lovecraft fans think “Herbert West Re-Animator” is one of Lovecraft’s worst because it’s accessible and actually kind of funny.  Their loss.  Bride of Re-Animator is noticeably sillier than the first film, but just as violent (assuming you watch the unrated version.) The bad guy in the movie looks exactly like former Presidential hopeful John Kerry, only he’s an undead severed head, meaning he’s far more vibrant and full of life than the Senator from Massachusetts.  I would be remiss if I talked about Bride of Re-Animater without telling you all, that Alotta Fagina from the first Austin Powers movie, takes her top off.  It’s just as cool as you thought it would be when you were 13.

26. Candyman (1992)

 Candyman takes place in the scariest place that ever existed, Cabrini Green in the early 90’s.  Today the Cabrini Green Housing Project is a vacant lot in a yuppified neighborhood, but back in the day there were snipers.  Literally snipers.  Candyman is about Virginia Madsen’s investigation of an urban legend originating in Cabrini Green about a black guy with a hook for a hand that spits bees all over the place, as if a black guy in Cabrini Green wasn’t scary enough already.  The film is based on a Clive Barker story and handles the subject of urban legends much better than the turdfest “Urban Legend.”  You also see Virginia Madsen’s booby.
Cabrini Green was so tough even this map has "street-talk" on it.

25. Dead Alive (1992)

Zombie baby, fuck yeah!
Dead Alive isn’t the first zombie comedy on this list and it won’t be the last.  It’s set in New Zealand in the 1950’s, but the movie is so awesome it took like 5 viewings before I realized it was a period piece.  The movie is seriously pretty sick, with zombies porking, zombie babies, and a priest doing kung-fu.  When I reviewed The Frightners I said it was easy to see why Peter Jackson got the LOTR job.  After watching Dead Alive it’s hard to see how a studio could justify giving someone who made such a sick awesome movie hundreds of millions of dollars to make the biggest trilogy since Star Wars.  If you’re a fan of zombie movies I guarantee you will like Dead Alive.  If you’re not a fan of zombie movies, I seriously wonder why you’re still reading my list.

24. The Crazies (2010)

Horror remakes have become a trend over the last decade or so, but unlike the piece-of-shit Psycho remake The Crazies is awesome.  The Crazies (1973) is a perfect example of the kind of movie to remake; a lesser known movie with good idea that wasn’t done as well as it could’ve been.   Personally I love George A. Romero’s version, but I like how Breck Eisner updated the original by adding terrifying shit (not jack-off noises) like a dude with a pitchfork stabbing defenseless hospital patients or the crazy dude with a shotgun at the Little League game.  Scary as that is, what makes The Crazies so good is the characters.   The main characters are all relatable and not dumb as a box of hammers, so I actually gave a shit whether they lived or died.  Interestingly, The Crazies is also the only horror movie I can think of off the top of my head set in Iowa.  I guess the film is supposed to take place in a small town in the middle of nowhere, and Iowa is about as nowhere as it gets.  But still, Iowa?  Actually come to think of it, that’s not that interesting.

23. American Werewolf in London (1981)

If the guy that made Animal House and the guy that made the music video for Thriller teamed up and made a movie it would probably look something like American Werewolf in London, which is exactly what happened (they were both directed by John Landis.)  AWIL isn’t quite as funny as Animal House or quite as scary as the video for Thriller (I was like 4 the first time I saw it,) but it’s probably the best werewolf movie ever made.  It even won an Oscar for the special effects.  American Werewolf in London is about SPOILER ALERT: an American that gets turned into a werewolf in London.  As I’ve discussed many times before, werewolves are a serious problem. As I’ve discussed very few times before, the chick in this movie is a total babe.  Why was she was only in like two movies, but there’s like 10 Kate Hudson “comedies” every fucking year? 
"I saw a werewolf at Trader Vic's.  His hair was perfect."

22. Dagon (2001)

Another H.P. Lovecraft adaptation, this time from my favorite short story “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.”  This film probably the closest to portrayal of H.P. Lovecraft’s vision of epic horror on film; there are powerful old gods that are indifferent to the fate of humanity, moreover the human race is not special or important.  Civilization is at best temporary, and if by some miracle the human race lives on, it will degenerate into amorality and cannibalism.  It’s that level of bleakness on a grand scale that makes Lovecraft, and Dagon so scary.  Stuart Gordon directed Dagon, his third Lovecraft adaptation after From Beyond and the original Re-Animator.* Like his previous adaptations, Dagon is a horror classic with plenty of gore, a good script and totally hot babes.

*Gordon also directed “Honey I Shrunk the Kids,” although originally based on Lovecraft’s “Cthulhu Rising” all references to demonic six-headed goats and women coupling with octopi were ultimately left on the cutting room floor.  Fucking censorship man.

21. Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Silence of the Lambs is generally considered to be a “thriller” and not a horror movie. I don’t really buy it.  The movie is about the search for a serial killer that’s skinning fat girls and turning them into clothing.  There’s even a part where a chick is being chased through the dark by a maniac in night-vision-goggles.  I guess it was thrilling, but I’d mostly just call it scary.  I don’t see how it could be anything but a horror movie, except maybe a comedy, but I'm kind of a sick fuck.  I think the real issue is that Silence of the Lambs won five Oscars, including best actor, actress, director, screenplay, and best picture.  Critics would never let a horror movie win best picture, so they call it a “thriller.”  Thriller is a bullshit category anyway.  The list of the highest rated thrillers on IMDB includes Terminator 2, Pulp Fiction, Black Swan and Die Hard.  Does that make any fucking sense?  To confuse matters further the song and video for Thriller is about horror movies.
"I'd fuck me."

30 horror movies down, and only 20 to go before Halloween.  Until next time remember...
Danzig wants your skull.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dan's Top Horror Movies 40-31

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love Halloween

I'm counting down my 50 favorite horror movies through the month of October (Part 1 is here.)

40. Carrie (1976)

In Carrie Sissy Spacek plays Carrie, a girl with dirty pillows.  Like many high school girls Carrie is going through her “awkward phase.”  Her situation isn’t helped any by the nasty cunty bitches at her school or her crazy religious mother, whom drinks all the time and routinely locks Carrie in the prayer closet.  I may not know much about parenting, but that seems like the way to go; drink, complain about sin, and if my kids get mouthy I’ll just through them in the prayer closet.  As long as they don’t have telekinetic powers, and no one pushes them over the edge I’ll be just fine…
Taking Carrie to the prom is my favorite euphemism for menstration

39. The Frighteners (1996)

This is the movie that got Peter Jackson the Lord of the Rings gig, and it’s easy to see why.  I rented the Frighteners when it came out, and it’s the last movie I can really remember renting and watching over and over again (other than The Crying Game.)  Michael J. Fox plays Frank Bannister, a man that can see ghosts.  He uses mostly uses this ability to run a ghostbusting con job with his ghost buddies, until people start getting murdered.  Then the fun really begins.  The Frighteners is funny, kind of gruesome and above all cool.  It’s rated R but I’d definitely show it to kids.  I’m proud of myself for getting through this whole review without making even one joke about Parkinson’s disease.  
What a hot bitch

38.  Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)

My wife objected to the inclusion of this movie on my list, but I love this movie so here it is.  This movie has a lot going for it. I mean, as I touched on with Poltergeist lots of people find Clowns (Klowns) scary.  Personally, I’m not a little pussy so I don’t, but lots of people do.  That being said, the movie still has a few genuinely creepy moments, and everything about it is great.  When the Killer Klowns need to track down intruders to their spaceship they make smell-hounds out of balloon doggies.  Hilarious, right?  If nothing else, that kind of attention to detail sets Killer Klowns head and shoulders above your average horror movie, that and the lady klowns with giant inflatable boobies.      
"What about me Danny?  I'm a gay rapist and murderer."

37. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

Still awkward
It took me a long time to figure out that Gary Oldman was one of my favorite actors.  He plays characters that look and act different in every movie, and he can carry any movie he’s in (except of course for the shittastic Lost in Space Movie.) In Francis Ford Coppola’s retelling of the vampire classic he plays Dracula and he’s totally awesome.  Not even Keanu Reeves can bring this movie down.  My only major gripe with this movie comes from the first time I watched it, with my mom.  That lesbian vampire orgy scene was kind of uncomfortable to watch, and to this day I can never watch it without feeling kind of awkward.  That being said, this film inspired one of my favorite segments in The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror, and for that alone it’s worth checking out.

36. Cabin Fever (2002)

One of my buddies at work was talking about how if a girl came to his place to watch a movie he’d pop in “Rules of Attraction” and every time he did he’d manage to get lucky.  When he told me that I thought back to times I insisted that girls watch “Clockwork Orange” or “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”  Ughh.  “Cabin Fever” was the first movie my wife and I saw together in the theater.  If you haven’t seen it, Cabin Fever is about a bunch of twenty-somethings that get a flesh eating virus that makes them melt into blood.  It’s a testament to our relationship that my wife not only continued to date me after she saw the film, but she actually liked it.  Sweet.  Cabin Fever launched the career of Eli Roth, which has been kind of a mixed blessing to say the least.  After watching Cabin Fever it’s easy to see why they let him make another movie.  After watching Hostel, it’s hard to see how the American public didn’t rise up and kill Eli Roth in a mob action.

35.  Psycho (1960)

Another movie that should probably be higher on the list, but I couldn’t think of where to put it.  Psycho is kind of the prototypical slasher movie.  What sets it apart is that it’s pretty much better in every way.  Since 1960 Psycho has been ripped off countless times, most notably a shot-for-shot remake in 1998.  The most notable change in the remake was the addition of jack-off noises when Norman Bates is peeping in the bathroom.  Who decided that was a good idea?  Did someone sit down and watch Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece and say, “Ya’ know what?  Great movie.  There was just something missing…I know what it was, dick stroking sounds.  Took me right out of the movie.  Norman was staring at Janet Leigh’s massive jugs, and I didn’t hear an auditory clue that he might be choking the bishop.  Let’s spend a few million dollars to correct this problem.  Get Vince Vaughn on the phone.”  Often imitated but never truly duplicated, Psycho shows why Alfred Hitchcock was one of the best.
"Fap-Fap-Fap-Fap-Fap..." Disgusting

34.  The Exorcist (1973)

I heard that The Exorcist is pretty close to actual Catholic rites for an exorcism.  As a Catholic all I have to say is, Episcopalians ain’t got shit on us.  In all seriousness though, when a religion includes rites for dealing with demonic possession AND the book of Revelations do we really need to go completely off the grid with movies like Stigmata?  Isn’t there enough material out there already?  Well, unlike all those crappy Catholic conspiracy movies The Exorcist rules.  The Exorcist uses every trick in the book, from the creepy soundtrack, to gross out scenes, and “subliminal images,” all to make the scariest movie possible.  The proof is in the pudding, The Exorcist holds up 30 years later and the only thing anyone remembers about The DaVinci Code was Tom Hanks’ hair.  Also, remember when they used to play “Tubular Bells” at Hawks games?  That was kind of weird, right?

33. 28 Days Later (2002)

It's about damn time
Shot on digital video, in the land of funny accents 28 Days Later doesn’t exactly scream box office gold, but its unexpected success helped kick off the zombie boom we’ve been enjoying for the last decade or so.  When it came out I think I saw it at least twice in the theater.  As much as I enjoyed the film I do take issue with a few minor points.  For a movie about bloodthirsty monsters there’s hardly any gore or madcap bloodletting.  In fact the most violent scene of the movie is when a regular guy, not a rage infected maniac, drives his thumbs into another dude’s eye sockets.  28 Days Later is also one of those horror movies where the director kept trying to claim wasn’t a horror movie.  As a fan of the genre I take a little offense when someone acts like their zombie movie is Sophie’s Choice (Sophie's Choice is not a horror movie.)

32.  Alien (1979)

  If you’ve never seen Alien before, and you’d like to get the full effect don’t look up a plot summary on IMDB or anything and just go see it.  Remember it’s Alien singular not plural.  The biggest surprise in the film doesn’t have nearly as big of a punch if you know absolutely anything about the Alien franchise.  Unfortunately for me I saw Aliens before Alien.  I kind of knew everything that was going to happen.  It was still pretty awesome.  Near the end of the movie you totally see a close-up of a young Sigourney Weaver’s butt in tiny panties.  I’d post a screen shot, but that part of my VHS tape is all stretched out and snowy for some reason.  Remember when you had to adjust the tracking for movies?  Kids today…

Cutting edge special FX

31. The Dead Next Door (1989)

Black Friday or zombie apocalypse?
At one point in The Dead Next Door a group of zombie rights advocates are protesting outside the Zombie Squad building.  The Zombie Squad is the government agency in charge of killing zombies, which is kind of hard because according to the rules established in the film zombies can’t be killed.  Anyway a horde of zombies shows up and eats all the protesters.  That kind encapsulates what The Dead Next Door is all about: extreme violence, dark humor, and things that don’t completely make sense (why does the Zombie Squad go around shooting zombies if they can’t be killed?) Mix that all together with a Jim Jones inspired death cult, and you’ve got one sweet zombie movie.  Although parts of the film may seem inconsistent the movie’s awesomeness is totally consistent.

UPDATE: Part 3, movies 30 through 21 is located here.
One of the worst shows on television, but a good costume none the less.