Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dan's Top 50 Horror Movies 50-41

God, I love Halloween

I'm a big fan of the genre, and Halloween is nigh, so I thought I'd share my list of my favorite horror movies.  I don't guarantee that these are the best horror movies of all time, but they're certainly my favorites assembled in order from least favoritest to most favoritest. 

50.  Hellraiser (1987)/Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

Hellraiser is about a girl who accidentally summons the creepiest of God’s creations: The Cenobites, to shoot chains all over the place and scare the shit out of everyone.  I’ll put it like this; Pinhead is the like 3rd creepiest looking Cenobite, and he’s nowhere near the most disturbing thing in the movie.  Hellraiser is crazy and weird, but it’s based on a Clive Barker story so it’s kind of grounded in a plot.  Hellraiser II on the other hand is completely fucking insane.  There are people running around with no skin and lampreys with spinning blades for teeth.  I don’t do drugs, but based on what I learned in D.A.R.E if you show this movie to someone on PCP they will murder you and eat your eyes. Sidenote:  Why does spellcheck know the word Cenobite?  What kind of sick fucks work at Microsoft?   
Yup, it's that kind of movie

49.  Carnival of Souls (1962)

Sometimes a whole town will come together against all odds to make a little independent film.  Usually said film will be a piece of shit like Boggy Creek II: The Legend continues, but every once in a while you get a gem like Carnival of Souls.  Watching it today, the film is still impressive even though a lot of the more interesting elements of the plot have been ripped off by other movies over the course of the last 50 years.  Still, the movie has a creepy vibe and atmosphere that can’t be imitated, not even by Boggy Creek II.  (Talk about your all time crappiest movie monsters.  It looked like Chewbacca in a dollar store Halloween mask.  Fuck that movie.)

48.  Blood Feast (1963)

Back before the MPAA existed Hollywood was ruled by the so-called “Hays Code.”  Instead of giving films ratings (e.g. PG-13) they simply did not allow movies to be made with anything that Hollywood’s self censorship board deemed “objectionable.”  Thing was, back in ’63 the Hays Office had all sorts of rules about nudity, blasphemy, and interracial romance but very few rules about violence.  Director H.G. Lewis recognized this loophole in the code and decided to make a movie about an Egyptian caterer that hacks off women’s limbs to sacrifice to his “Egyptian” goddess Ishtar.  Thus the slasher movie was born.  Viewed today, the movie can be seen as an allegory for Western intervention in the Middle East.  Not really.  If you want to watch a bloody movie with comically bad acting you should definitely check out Blood Feast.  If you want to watch a movie about Western interference in the Middle East check out Aladdin 2.

47.  Redneck Zombies (1989)

Sorry, the woman on the box isn't in the movie
Redneck Zombies boasts of being the first feature length film to be distributed nationally that was shot on tape and not film, meaning it has about the production value of a SyFy Channel original movie.  What sets Redneck Zombies apart from other similar movies is that it’s a comedy, and not just a tongue-in-cheek piece of shit.  Instead of a using an schlocky inflatable pterodactyl “special effect” to get a cheap laugh the dialog has what’s known in the industry as “jokes” and the plot has what some would call “humorous situations”  Stop ripping off Ed Wood, you no talent hacks.  I mean, ripping off Ed Wood? Fuck, what is this world coming to?  I used to watch Redneck Zombies a lot, but unfortunately someone borrowed my copy and never returned it.  If you’re reading this now please check your DVD collection for my copy of Redneck Zombies.  It’s the one with the zombie I drew on a blank DVD case with a red magic marker. 

46.  The Invisible Man (1933)

Most classics are classics for a reason, and The Invisible Man is no exception.  Creepy and atmospheric like most of the Universal horror classics (e.g. The Wolfman, Frankenstein) the film is helped tremendously by the special effects and Claude Rains’ (Captain Louis Renault from Casablanca) performance in the titular (tee hee) role.  Based on a novel by Ralph Ellison, the film departs drastically from the source material.  Honestly, the book was kind of depressing and didn’t actually have an invisible man in it at all.  It just had some black dude. 
The Invisible Man?

45.  The Stuff (1985)

"My daddy was a miner and I'm a miner's son..."
The Stuff is a brilliant parody of consumer culture in the United States.  Some miner’s are out defusing Statego bombs when out from the ground comes a bubbling sludge.  Stuff that is.  White gold.  Texas …ugh..coolwhip?  They inadvertently discover that the stuff tastes pretty good, and before you know it “The Stuff” has become the number one snack in the United States; however it turns out that weird white shit some hillbilly miners find in the ground might not be good for you, tasty as it is.  The Stuff is definitely a diamond in the rough, and to my knowledge it’s the only movie in the world that Garrett Morris was ever in.  Fun fact: The Stuff is not a sequel to The Right Stuff.
"Yes, have some."

44.  Poltergeist (1982)

Remember when the TV used to just play the National Anthem at the end of the night and go to static?  Those were the days.  Now we have goddamned infomercials for toothbrush sterilizers and other shit no one could possibly need.  Anyway, in the movie Poltergeist, when the TV station signs off for the night ghosts show up and terrorize Craig T. Nelson and his family.  This movie is often credited, along with Stephen King’s “It,” and that nightmare part in PeeWee’s Big adventure, for making an entire generation terrified of clowns.  A box office hit, and critical success (three Oscar nominations) Poltergeist is a 1980’s horror classic.  Poltergeist was directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and produced by Steven Spielberg (1941.)  Spielberg tended to imply that he directed the movie in interviews, and resultantly reaped the lion’s share of the credit for the success of Poltergeist.  Tobe Hooper on the other hand had to go back to B-movies (like the hella-sweet Lifeforce.)  Personally, I don’t think Spielberg was ever sick enough to put a lot of the cool shit (Craig T. Nelson smoking weed, rotten corpses in the swimming pool) that makes Poltergeist so awesome.
"Smoke weed everyday."

43.  Jaws

We need a bigger boat
I watch Jaws pretty much every time that I see it’s on television.  The only reason it’s not higher on the list is because I don’t think it completely fits into the category of “horror movie.”  It’s a problem I struggled with throughout the compilation of this list.  It always pisses me off when I see a list some critic’s list of horror movies missing gems like “Army of Darkness,” but full of movies like “Flowers in the Attic” (huh?).  Generally, I think I know a horror movie when I see one, but for some reason that I can’t entirely explain I don’t really consider Jaws a horror movie.  I mean, it’s certainly scary.  I find sharks to be the single most terrifying thing in the world.  I do not like to go to deep in the ocean because I am worried, like a little kid, that sharks will eat me.  Jaws plays on that fear to great effect, and it should probably be higher on the list.

42.  Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

This kind of puts things in perspective doesn’t it?  Every movie included on this list so far is by any measurable criteria better than Jason Takes Manhattan.  So why is “Jason takes Manhattan” number 43 on my list?  Well, it’s the stupidest and therefore funniest Friday the 13th movie (before the franchise descended into self parody with Jason X.)  There are those that would argue that Part I and Jason Goes to Hell are better movies, and they’d most certainly be right, but none of the Friday the 13th movies are good movies so who gives a shit?   My buddy Brian argues that Part IV: The Final Chapter is more iconic, and that’s also true.  But I like Jason Takes Manhattan the most.
The city of New York sued over this poster, for serious

41.  The Fly (1986)

The Fly is a remake of a Vincent Price movie of the same name, but this time it’s directed by David Cronenberg (Naked Lunch) so it’s weird, gross and awesome all at the same time.  The Fly stars Jeff Goldblum, playing a quirky Jewish scientist.  Shocking, I know.  Ian Malcolm David Levinson Seth Brundle  Jeff Goldblum meets Geena Davis at a party and naturally wants to impress (sleep with) her.  So he shows her some scientific experiments, and Geena Davis starts sleeping with him, based on his amazing scientific prowess.  Just like real life, nerds.  Unfortunately, the scientific magic combined Jeff’s DNA with that of a housefly turning Jeff Goldblum into an oozing, barfing mess with no fingernails.  Still, he got to sleep with Geena Davis, in the movie and real life.  The film is helped by strong direction, solid acting, and the best special makeup effects you’ll ever see in a movie.  You should definitely check it out, just don’t watch it during dinner, especially if you eat donuts for dinner. Fatty.
I'd tamper with God's laws for her too.

Well that’s it for now.  10 down and 40 to go before Halloween. 

UPDATE: Part 2 (40-31) is here.


  1. I have to agree with Brian on Part IV, but it is really damn close. Manhattan can boast teleporting Jason, Crystal Lake somehow linking up with the Hudson River, and death by guitar, but only Part IV can claim the line, "Jesus Christmas! Holy Jesus goddamn! Holy Jesus jumping Christmas shit!" which sets it apart in the end.

  2. I'll argue that Friday IV is the best Friday, but I sure have watched Manhattan more than all the others combined. I respect your choice, good sir.