Nov 15, 2012

My Favorite Horror Films!

Cover of "Frankenstein - The Legacy Colle...
There's so many to chose from really, and it was quite tough, but here it is! If you're interested in reading other things I write, take a look at my other site (link)

10 - Freddy Vs. Jason (2003)
I've never been the greatest of fans of the two major non-Halloween horror franchises of the 80s, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare On Elm Street. The first Friday The 13th has to be one of the stupidest films I've ever seen even if it does see the death of Kevin Bacon. Lakeside summer Camps and the word "slasher" seem purely put together for the sake of ticket sales achieved through the expectation of nudity and gore. Now I'm not saying I don't like the two but in that context it's pointless. Really it taken about 5 sequels before I was paying attention as it seemed the writers had abandoned any kind of ambition to create a sensible piece of cinema. Instead the franchise had descended into almost the finest form of comedy ever devised. To explain, I once discussed terrible films I'd seen at the cinema with somebody and they claimed that the worst film they had ever seen at the cinema was Jason X, claiming that they laughed all the way through the film. They actually couldn't see past the fact that the humor was deliberate. As amazing as it may seem to some, when the writer wrote down that two topless girls at the side of a holographic lake say "We love premarital sex", he did not think he was writing an epic poem. Even if you don't believe this surely if you laughed all the way through a film then you were highly entertained by it? There aren't that many films anyone finds themselves laughing all the way through! As entertainment goes, these two guys can't be beaten so obviously when the two meet in the one film you know you're in for a treat. This film is the culmination of all those moments in horror films that really shouldn't have been funny but were. I really struggle to imagine another film where they would get away with the line "Freddy died by fire, Jason by water. Can we use that?" (Funnily enough despite my suggestion that the makers don't take it seriously, I do remember seeing a bit on the DVD about how they deleted a scene where the main character says "It's Freddy Vs. Jason! Place your bets!" claiming that they thought the line was cheesy. To the makers of the film: I don't think anyone would've thought any less of you if you'd added it. Personally I kept playing that deleted scene it was absolute genius and had me in stitches every time!) Truly Freddy Vs. Jason is a great film. An understated work of genius.

9 - A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003)

I don't know much about Korean cinema. I've seen Shiri and the brilliant Brotherhood but other than that I couldn't tell you what's popular there and what's not. I can tell you that A Tale of Two sisters is one that's well worth looking out for. Girls who've been in a mental institution, Haunted houses and an evil stepmother; this film has them all. From the beginning you are compelled to watch as the distorted history of the twins and their family relationship is unraveled. As the haunting increase you are well aware that there is more than meets the eye and before long the foul play from the past comes back to haunt the guilty. It's great stuff and genuinely chilling.

8 - Frankenstein (1931)

I really struggled to resist starting this with "It's ALIVE!" (and I'm not talking about those silly It's Alive movies with the monster baby.) I love Shelley's Frankenstein. It's so full of the hopes and fear which fill the human mind that it's hard to resist. The creature is a beautiful creation, equally flawed and intelligent, the perennial lost child looking for meaning in the cruel, rejecting outside world. Boris Karloff to many is Frankenstein's creature. His facial expressions and unguided movements perfectly suit the abandoned soul. Of course, the film adds the madness of Colin Clive's eccentric professor as well as the particularly detailed procedure to reanimate the dead body parts in all it's lightning bolt horror movie glory!

7 - The Brood (1979)
It's actually been quite a long time since I've seen The Brood (and it's probably about time I went back to the old Cronenberg films since his lack of presence on this list is, in my opinion, pretty noticeable) so my memories of it are possibly distorted but nonetheless it still holds a place in my heart as a great showing of monstrous horror. Whilst I was looking for a picture to stick with this I noticed that many describe it as a horror Kramer Vs. Kramer (which, to the ignorant youth amongst us, is nothing like Freddy Vs. Jason or Alien Vs. Predator) a comparison which really didn't come to mind when I was watching it. Another scene some reviews mentioned, which I had actually completely forgotten about, was the afterbirth eating scene. Maybe I thought that scene was just there for the sake of it. Certainly the main reason this film stayed in my head was for the monsters in a nursery. In this scene some members of the eponymous Brood, a apparent group of midget monsters (that description is rubbish because it makes the film sound stupid which it certainly isn't) infiltrate a nursery class, dressed in bright colored children's coats, and beat to death the teacher in front of the children. An utterly frightening concept which most horror film makers wouldn't be brave enough to go through with. Oh yeah and it has Oliver Reed in it and every one knows that Olly was almost the greatest actor ever born. Also, and might I say rather interestingly, he belonged to the same dental practice as Christopher Lee. (Sadly the only mention of the masterful Christopher Lee this week but stay tuned for more.)

6 - The Happiness of The Katakuris (2001)
Nothing in the world could ever have prepared me for The Happiness of The Katakuris. It's a Japanese remake of a Korean I've never seen and from what I've heard is completely different. Mainly down to the greatest Horror sub-genre anyone in the world has ever imagined ever. Now if you've never heard of The Happiness of The Katakuris or know nothing about this film I recommend you brace yourself for this. The Happiness of The Katakuris is... now here we go... A ZOMBIE MUSICAL!!!! Even that description of this masterpiece doesn't quite give you the full picture. The film has random clay-mation sequences which bare little relevance to the story, there's an eclipse in the film just so the director could shoot at night and anyone who says they saw the ending coming is a liar. It truly is the most brilliantly bizarre thing you will ever watch and definite sign that Takashi Miike is either truly insane or the most wonderful genius on earth.

5 - Deep Rising (1998)

Wait! Don't leave just yet! (Actually if you're too much of a film snob to accept Deep Rising, do leave.) Now I know that most people who'll watch this film will consider it to be terrible but they are just not looking at it in the right light. What you have to understand is that this film is THE GREATEST HORROR-ACTION MOVIE EVER MADE!! (Some might argue here that Aliens is better but personally I thought that James Cameron totally destroyed all the atmosphere which Ridley Scott had put so much effort into.) Deep Rising is the sort of film which I just can't resist (and not just because of the Famke Jannsen content). It is filled with the sort of unadulterated fun that probably should be made available on prescription to cure any amount of the blues (or as Stewie in Family Guy once said, it's "so good it must be fattening") . Also, If I learned one thing from this movie it was that Treat Williams is the action hero who should have been but never was.

4 - Dead End (2003)

One night a couple of months ago I was sitting flicking through movie channels looking for something interesting to watch. (I love to sit and watch crappy horror films late night, especially ones that are so stupid and inane that they don't make it on to this list.) I came across this film presuming that it would be a dumb teen film about a road-trip gone wrong. Thankfully, and rather surprisingly, I was wrong. Dead End was a clever depiction of the average family, with their day-to-day squabbles and bickering, being dropped into the middle of some strange and inexplicable conditions. I'm not going to say that the film wasn't predictable but as they drive down a never ending road, for some reason, you are glued to your seat. It's utterly compelling stuff that grips you to the unavoidable finale. (Oh and the film has the best evil boat and car since... well, since

3 - Ichi The Killer (2001)

Not a horror film per se but undeniably in debt to the gore films of the past, Ichi The Killer has to be one of the most disturbing things you'll ever see. I included it simply because it's far more violent and psychologically disturbing than the average Hollywood slasher which consider themselves horror purely from the fact they include gore. (Well all that and the fact that the IMDb considers it horror, so I'm not alone.) Ichi The Killer is a tale of sadists and masochists. You know, the perfect sort of after-dinner  conversation between you, your parents and your grandparents. It's about blood and guts being spread everywhere. Once again, perfect fodder for your every wholesome family conversation. Most of all it's about how awkward and uneasy a film can make you feel. There are scenes in this where I dare you not to feel even the slight bit squeamish. If this had come out in the 80s it would've been branded a video nasty, and probably would have been more popular than it is because of that, as it is most definitely the pinnacle of the gore sub-genre! (Also for fans of the film: does anyone else think that it's really odd that not a single dvd/video cover or poster of this film actually has Ichi on the cover? Ok so Kakihara is way cooler but you'd think they'd give the eponymous characters some kind of attention. No wonder he turned to killing! On a separate note, AVOID the anime version of this as it is utter shite!)

2 - Day Of The Dead (1985)

Bub is the best zombie ever. It's not the nun or the nurse in Dawn Of The Dead, it's Bub. Look at that guy. There really would've been full films about him. He would've become the un-dead character of our generation. Sadly he seems to be remembered by few. Those who've seen this, the third of Romero's zombie films, will know that there is only one hero in this tale and he's not a scientist or a soldier, he's the innocent bystander; albeit a flesh-eating innocent bystander. There isn't another character in this that even comes closing to gaining the sort of sympathy we feel for Bub. I mean really, we all know that he just wants to be loved. When he sings along to Ode to Joy he shows that he's almost the most human character in this story with emotions that the humans have almost lost after the disaster that has befallen man that has resulted in the almost complete de-humanisation of man. So here's to Bub, zombie hero!

1 - Shaun Of The Dead (2004)

As soon as the makers of Spaced announced they were making a film, I prepared myself for a treat. The series was one of the best sit-coms of the last ten years, with its constant pop culture references and movie mimicking it was something completely new and original that became unmissable during its short run. Shaun Of The Dead was essentially the culmination of this achievement; a film that was at once mocking its predecessors whilst also being the giant homage to all things Romero. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost were the perfect comedy partnership throughout with their instantly recognizable odd couple act. Further proof that British cinema can stand up to American, the entire film was a slice of fried gold!

So, only one mention of Christopher Lee this week which is just not good enough!

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