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.

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