In the year 2011, Fangoria released their 300th issue. I celebrate this landmark edition as I have enjoyed the previous two centennial editions. If there’s one thing that a horror fan is good at, it’s marking special occasions or holidays with some much due pomp. Chris Alexander chose to do a look back at 300 of the top horror movies of all time. In his own words these would be:
“300 of the greatest fright films ever unleashed, as chose by Fango staff, friends and some of the highest-profile figures working within the genre, and around it s pop-culture-soaked peripherals."
This is a kind of reference guide to not only FANGORIA’s storied history, but the history of dark cinema full stop, penned not from a stuff know-it-all academic perspective but from the point of view of individuals who fell in love with horror when they were young, have devoted their lives to all things weird and wonderful and have never, ever felt any class of shame when flying their saturated, garish flags.”
The list is not meant to be a comprehensive list of the best of the best. The mission statement is clearly broad enough to include any number of genres outside of horror. “Fright film” could easily be a Disney picture as it could be Anthropophagus. While the list is inclusive of a wide array of persons opinions it is still Chris Alexander’s job to make the decision to put up an article of this type. So is it a good representation of our ever loved horror amalgam? I’ve been a Fango fan for life. Was the 300th issue written with me in mind? Let’s look examine further.
I admire Alexander’s contribution to Fangoria even though I know that some of his selections for covers or feature stories may be questionable (thinking Creature or the decision to put Nick Cage on the cover). Every editor is entitled to his opinions and we will never agree with everything an individual decides to feature in his publication. I accept that. There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t read a criticism of some step directed at Alexander from beyond the veils of chat rooms and social network alike. The man might as well have the paparazzi following him and be running for political office.
When I initially started my task, that being to have watched each of the 300 films listed in issue 300, my goal was one of a completist. Let me watch all the movies and not necessarily offer criticism of each an every one. Can you imagine reviewing 300 films in a year in addition to watching and offering fresh commentary on new pictures that are arriving on the scene each month? The task is mind blowing. For a short while I tried to keep detailed notes on every film I watched, but gradually realized that some of the films on the list really didn’t hold my attention. Some films didn’t even belong on the list or at least I had a few ideas for a suitable substitute. That is where our analysis truly begins to take shape.
We have already established that the concept of looking back at 300 movies is a valid way to spend an anniversary issue such as this but were the film selections appropriate? Did Alexander fulfill his mission as editor of Fangoria? Is Fangoria still relevant as a genre mag?
Chris Alexander and the contributors to the 300 gave horror fans a fine jumping off point to offer a veteran horror junkie or a newbie to the obsession a decent education. While some films do not belong on this list, and I personally feel there was an attempt to diversify the list to a more Criterion collection standard, the bulk of the films hold their own. Fangoria remains as relevant as ever as a general source of horror knowledge. Like all print publications it has to pay the bills, so if you feel that the mag is catering to certain films to entice advertising dollars or trying to fit the big blockbuster film on the cover in lieu of your favorite indy film, you may have a valid gripe. Let’s not forget though that all business is a political game. If you can’t keep the subscription numbers up and if you fail to give the big
Hollywood movie machine what it wants to
see, you will be eaten alive by it or your subscribers. It’s a balancing act.
The bulk of what you’ll find in any issue of Fango is quality. The news you
need that isn’t purely internet rumors recycled. Features and interviews that
give flesh to the bare bones we, the audience, might catch in a trailer or pop
up advertisement. Most of all you have some emotional writers who take personal
stock in their stories… like psychically created children (start thinking about
the Brood here people).
What we have here is a look at each and every film that was elected important enough to fulfill Alexander’s mission statement for issue 300. I’ll offer a little bit about the film, not necessarily a full review or synopsis, but something about. If I think the film shouldn’t have been included on the list of 300 I will try and offer a suggestion as to what might take its place. This will in no way be objective. You’re looking at the rambling of a mind that has spent the last year trying to dig up some old classics out of the dust bin and more less trying to make sense of a list that really has no underlying form except… THE HORROR. Oh, and unlike Fangoria, nobody pays me shit to write this blog. No advertising revenues. The biggest thing that ever happened to me was IFC Midnight decided to write me an email figuring out if I really wrote reviews or whether I was trying to steal their screeners copies. For some reason I find that at least mostly comical, but at least my request warranted a response. Enough. You came here to read a long winded diatribe about something. Let’s get this hurricane a-blowing!
THE FANGORIA 300 IS UPON US:
One last note before we get started… I carried my copy of Fangoria 300 around with me like I was a priest attending a perpetual exorcism. It is as well loved a book as any on my shelf from my youth. I marked each movie as I saw it with a sticker and would reread the descriptions provided by the Fango representative while watching the movies. I love this magazine. I am a life long fan. I may say some things below that are somewhat critical, but I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for this amazing fucking magazine. This is the John Holmes of horror magazines. Take that as you will.
1.Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
I love slap stick. I’m a big fan of Laurel and Hardy, The Stooges and somehow it just seems fitting that the first movie on the list is a comedy mixed with all the fun of a horror movie. After all, half the fun of watching horror movies is laughing when you get scared… or when the other guy pukes… or when someone is hung up by their tits. This is full of stars and a true classic. Absolutely the right decision to include this one.
2.The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
Every time I think that their could be yet a third film in the Phibes series I get a wee bit more than over excited. I’ve heard the rumors of scripts and even heard about the novel that is supposed to be the third installment. Let’s see here… what’s not to love? We have the Clockwork Wizards, robot band. A truly unique set of kill sequences based on the curses of Egypt. This will inspire Theater of Blood and countless movies like it. Volnavia is hot. Mrs. Phibes is hot. Creepy organ music and a cast of stars from AIP fame.
3.Alice, Sweet Alice (1977)
I have said this before in a recent argument. I like the rain coast/mask look. The rest of the movie is drivel. Oh, and who the fuck cares about Brooke Shields anyway? It’s got a nice cover art too. This one always left me wondering in the mom and pop video store growing up. I kinda wish I just left it alone and let the intrigue of the cover due its PR job.
I like the sequel better. (Boy does that quiet down a room fast). No really. I identified with the cast just a wee bit better and enjoyed the alien effects that much more. There’s something beautifully claustrophobic about this movie, and I would not speak ill of it. It’s fucking Alien for fuck’s sake.You’ve got a nice chest exploder sequence that will ring the bells of viewers even to this day. The influence of this film cannot be denied, and there’s enough written about it that you don’t need my poorly written paragraph to justify its inclusion on this list.
I have vivid audio hallucinations based around Bill Paxton’s relentless whining from this picture. I love every character equally except for the ones I hate. I also fear dog drool solely based on the alien drool from this picture. Come to think of it, there are quite a few lil fears I have based on this movie. Fear that I will be left to battle an alien queen and won’t have the proper skill set to work a full body suit, loading machine doo hickie. Fear of having my face hugged. Fear of my calamari laying eggs in me. And questions…. Like In Beetlegeuese, were the shrimp cocktail face grabbers related to the face huggers from Aliens? I guess we’ll never know.
All I can say is Creature Feature Week. That’s where I learned to love this movie. Robert Forster is my model hero and having only seen it on TV until my twenties I had no idea what a lady’s man he could be. The music is simple but effective. I kinda wish we saw some more skin when the alligator devours those French Maids. I had the chance to see this in 35mm at the Hudson Horror Show last year which only increased my absolute adoration for this picture. You know what else is hot? A naked red head herpetologist… even further? Michael Gazzo from the Godfather II! Thank you Robin Ryker for making a young kid have fantasies of hot doctors early on in the game.
7.Altered States (1980)
I tried to build a sensory deprivation chamber after watching this movie. No really! I mean I looked up the plans, realized I had no money and went about my day. Apparently the cost in Epsom Salt is quite cumbersome, but the real problem is finding enough acid these days to make the whole experience worth my while. I’m a big fan of this movie even if the effects start to let you down as the altered state beings to break into our world.
Ah yes… the movie heralded as a modern giallo style picture. Super artsy, ever so fartsy. Aside from a few choice pieces of imagery this one had me bored to near sleep. I know what it was trying to do. Maybe I’m just not smart enough to enjoy it (I’m really not you know… smart). Still, you have to admire its poster art. I’d say take this one off the list and give the Bird with the Crystal Plumage the spot. Sure it’s an obvious giallo film, but it’s got the soundtrack to back it up and Argento on the lens.
9. American Psycho (2000)
I’m a retro freak. I love 80’s music even though I might not really like all 80’s music. This movie was made for a freak like me. With one liners out the ass and one of the better chainsaw kills of our generation, we can safely say that this film gets the laughs and the “Oh Fucks!” I’ve heard the same rumors that you have about a remake. Rest assured, I do not need to see that one, and you know my take on remakes is a rather liberal one. I have also failed to see the sequel because I have taste (like chicken).
10.An American Werewolf in London (1981)
I like the Howling’s werewolf metamorphosis sequence better than An American Werewolf in London. I like the gory bodies in AAWL better. I think that this film is a damn fine comedy and has some nice scares to back it up. Whenever I go into a subway station it’s either this movie that crosses my mind… or Midnight Meat Train… or Raw Meat. I love the nurse. I love the choice of actors. The Blu ray was purchased for me this past holiday season, so maybe I’ll give some thoughts on that in an upcoming blog. I still remember my mom freaking out as she tried to cover my eyes during the porno theater scene. I kept moving her fingers to see the dead bodies and not the boobies. Now that’s dedication!
11.Angel Heart (1987)
Saxophone. Ruined. This. Movie. I don’t know why, but it’s stuck out on my head. Why was there so much saxophone? In my mind if we’re going to focus on a movie that in anyway involves voodoo, we need to be thinking First Power or The Believers. Definitely the Believers. I don’t understand this choice at all and I think that Rourke and Deniro had better days in the actor’s chair. Not to say it was a poorly acted film, but I just didn’t find it mysterious. I didn’t care about Rourke’s character one bit. I’ve felt more threatened by the Voodoo priest in Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors.
I had no idea what to expect from this movie, but the brief reviews I had read about it suggested that I would find it uncomfortable. I did enjoy this movie although I can’t say that I’ll watch it again. I don’t think I’ll show it to any friends either. I can fully appreciation genital mutilation and losing one’s mind. I love religious, art, gore pictures. Willam Defoe is a quality actor who gives a quality performance and if you can stand this movie, by all means watch it. If you’re looking for a movie to fuck with your friends, Antichrist and maybe Martyrs might make the perfect double feature-fuck you.
I’m not a huge fan of the whole J-Horror thing. I usually end up liking the remake of the original better and then feel guilty as fuck about it later. I very much enjoyed Audition. It stopped my J-Horror rant right in its track (although Pulse started it right back up again). What a quality ending to a nice build up. Emotive, gory. What a story about the art of quenching loneliness.
14.Bad Taste (1988)
I love everything Peter Jackson does. His movies are funny. His gore is fake-ish but perfectly fake. He’s not afraid to order the extra oil drum of gore. Bad Taste isn’t only a horror picture; it’s a social criticism and a slam on socially critical cinema. It’s almost self-aware. I don’t know why I had avoided this flick so long seeing as their was a strange alien being flicking off the potential viewer right there on the cover. I’m voting lack of availability when I was at my peak renting.
15.The Bad Seed (1956)
You know what stands out to me about this movie that has been previously reviewed for the BoH? The ending sequence that comes off more like a curtain call for a play rather than a movie. The little girl is creepy and the family is full of excuses. The Bad Seed is a vicious film that features a fun kill or two without actually showing anything (you know back when you could get away with things like that). Hollywood needs to learn from this film and indy filmmakers can take notice too. It’s a simple movie that relies on shattering your conception of reality with simple images.
16.Basket Case (1982)
Frank Hennonlotter’s masterpiece. It’s not exactly a scare flick, but it’s definitely a bit disturbing and the creature effects are will define everything Hennonlotter does in the 80’s. Yet another VHS box that as a kid kept me wondering, and this one was well worth the watch. Confession time, I never caught the third installment. I feel bad about that. I enjoyed the first two thoroughly.
17.Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
I missed this movie in 2006, but after watching it for the Fango 300 I can’t imagine having lived so long without it. It’s a quality satire on the slasher genre with a creep out twist, a great mask and some brilliant one liners. The effort to have a sequel made is in full force. Best get on the band wagon now while there’s still room. Leslie Vernon needs you!
18.The Beyond (1981)
This was my first Fulci film which pretty much means it popped my cherry. Thing is that when I saw it I was watching the 7 Doors of Death! It was released in the states under a different name with a different soundtrack and the directing credit went to Louis Fuller. Well years later I’ve obtained at least three other copies of this film, enjoyed every ounce of them. Those god damn tarantulas still freak me out in the library even though they’re faker than fake. Future tattoo: the symbol that marks the gateway to Hell in the basement. Oh, and this movie has made me terrified of coming in contact with lye. I won’t even stand in the same aisle as it in the hardware store. I enjoy both the real soundtrack and the fake American one… go figure.
19.The Birds (1963)
It’s not my favorite Hitchcock film (that would be Rope), but Tippe Hedron is stunning. The birds are truly terrifying, and I’m pretty sure this film could actually happen in the really real world. It pairs nicely with Birdemic Shock and Terror… no it doesn’t. Don’t you even think it. The master of suspense doesn’t have to do much in the way of anxiety building in this one. Birds are scary enough to do their own building. Think of all the cars and property covered in white goopy bird shit after the humans realized they could take out our feathered friends with blow torches aimed to the sky. What a mess!
20.The Black Cat (1934)
Growing up my father liked to show me the classics. The Black Cat was no exception. I love Bela and Boris equally although watching Burton’s Ed Wood makes me lean to the side of Lugosi every so often. Regardless of taking sides in the feud of the famous monsters, this is one of their better pictures. Hollywood started spitting out shitty films quite fast after the success of the Universal monsters. This one got in just under the wire before Boris went legit and Bela went off the deep end.
21.Black Christmas (1974)
How I hadn’t seen this classic if not the first slasher film on record is beyond me. I adore Silent Night Deadly Night. I’m a fan of holiday horror in general. Margot Kidder is a bonus as is the creepy image of a woman with a bag over her head and obscene phone calls. Add in some John Saxon for flavor and then give it a remake that I find wholly enjoyable as a separate film entirely even though it departs from some of the things that made the original great.
22.Black Sabbath (1963)
There’s nothing like an anthology film that stars Boris Karloff and directed by THE BAVA. Besides that the film inspired the name for one of the greatest heavy metal acts of all time. My favorite installment is the Wurdalak and may inspire a band name of its own, Dr. Jimmy and the Wurdalaks (future members apply here). Besides the influence and star power of this entry not to mention the almighty AIP as the backer, this film has the most amazing use of color that won’t see its equal until Suspiria over a decade later. Enjoy this film. My personal pick for a Halloween treat for the kids and their sleepover buddies.
23.Black Sunday (1961)
And another Bava film… that makes two in a row and this is in alphabetical order. Nothing new can be said about this classic, elegant picture. It’s got one of the most memorable masks in horror history (which I was lucky enough to hold at Monster Mania with Lamberto Bava and it was not the mask from Demons). Barbara Steele is a total Betty. Some prefer the name Mask of Satan. I for one flip flop yearly and per viewing.
24.Black Swan (2010)
I’m not sure that I can justify this film on this list. It’s an obvious choice of which to disapprove. Clearly not a horror film, fairly popular. It’s an Aronofsky film which puts in a great company. Yeah, I love Pi and Requiem for a Dream. I even let the Fountain grow on me. If we’re including Black Swan on this list than we have to start thinking about including movies like the Deer Hunter that are equally frightening. Even Deliverance might qualify once we let in Black Swan. If you want to include a non-traditional picture than chose the more fitting Aronofsky film, Requiem for a Dream. That movie is every bit as horrifying and unsettling and has Jennifer Connolly in her ass to ass scene (which we all hate, but secretly love).
After recently watching Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde also directed by William Crain you can see that there’s a formula that drive the Blaxploitation horror of the mid-70s. Pick Blackenstein. Pick any of the blax horror films and thoroughly enjoy them. This would be my choice to include as well. Blacula is a terrifying villain but I have to admit that I started rooting for him. He’s a love. He looks great. He’s surrounded by the sexiest of ladies. Watch this one and then remember to pick up the sequel Scream, Blacula Scream.
26.Blade II (2002)
When I saw that this film had entered the list I was very hesitant about watching it. Sure, I had seen the previews and heard about the hype, but I had well avoided the Blade trilogy. I caught part of Trinity at some point on a hung over afternoon and found it to be perfectly blah. I guess that’s what I get for not catching up on the back story, enjoy the effects work and appreciating the humor and homages paid through all three pictures. I’m a fan of it now. All three. Part two is my favorite as well; the effects work alone should tell you that.
27.The Blair Witch Project (1999)
I’m one of the few folks in a America who got to watch The Blair Witch Project when everyone thought it could just be real. My friends and I drove into NYC, saw it and then never stopped talking about it. What a great group of actors (who I will hopefully meet soon at Monster Mania). This film set the bar for found footage films even though it was not the first. We all got chills during the end sequence and the music is the sound of waking up at 2am in the middle of a nightmare.
28.The Blob (1958)
We have plenty of diners in New Jersey. We also have a distinct absence of blobs, and yet stepping into a pill box diner makes me looking for Steve McQueen. Not every time, but somewhere in the back of my mind I picture every pill box diner on the planet to have a picture portrait or an autographed photo of Mr. McQueen. The Blob is just a great move whose effects hold up… and if you disagree you would at least agree that there are campy and fun. My preference is Son of Blob because when that guy gets eaten by the blob over the back of his lazy boy I pretty much lost my shit when I was kid.
29.The Blob (1988)
The Blob remake has a special place in my heart. When I was starting out my Fango career, this movie was featured in one of my first issues. I love the colorful blob, the gore abounding; it was a blob film that could scare my generation of overly stimulated, MTV youth. I think you’re allowed to remake the Blob at least every 20 years. You can allow this simple plot line to evolve and the effects to be updated without fear of stepping on your favorite actors toes. No one really plays the blob and it’s nice to see what effects guys can do when asked to take a simple gelatinous form and turn it into a man eater.
30.Blood and Black Lace (1964)
Early giallo by one of its masters, Heir Mario. It sets the stage for what a masked killer should look like in a slasher film and in the giallo subgenre as well. It will feel dated to those of us who have had the pleasure to indulge in a Martino or Argento film, but if taken in context and placed in its proper place in the time line of horror cinema this film comes off as innovative and ever so Bava.
31.Blood Feast (1963)
Blood Feast is a close to my heart. It was my first H.G. Lewis film and the first film that introduced me to Crayola red blood. I had probably scene gorier films previous to that weekend adventure to my uncle’s house, but H.G. Lewis’s gore stuck out to me (and this was on a weekend that also featured Make Them Die Slowly). The 60’s organ music and the incredibly bad acting gave it that heir of creep that would carry through many of Lewis’s pictures. I even get a little sentimental and almost weepy about this picture. It makes me happy to know that a mom and pop video store in Kenilworth, NJ allowed me to rent this one at a particularly young age.
32.Bloody Pit of Horror (1965)
Before seeing this picture I didn’t fully understand the Crimson Executioner. I get it now. I’m not sure that I find this nearly as important as Fango, but it’s got a great look none the less. How come this makes it on the list but Bloodsucking Freaks misses it? I just don’t have the answer to that question. Movies based on the Marqis de Sade probably trump a film that could easily slurp out the brains of Black Swan. Come to think of it I think I see a picture of that damn Crimson warrior at least once a day. It’d make a great Halloween costume.
33.Blue Velvet (1986)
I love this movie. Fuck Heineken. Pabst Blue Ribbon. Pass the Nitrous. Hyper super sexy and surreal. This is just a great film altogether. This is another picture that doesn’t quite fit the horror genre. I’m not sure it would need to really pick up the horror name to be on the list except I don’t really find it all that disturbing. It’s chaotic and Hopper is more fun that scary. David Lynch is a fine director but the only movie of his that should be on this list is Eraserhead.
34.Brain Damage (1988)
You know what’s better than having a little blue brain like creature with Zacherle’s voice forcing people to a blue serum/drug and then forcing those individuals to commit acts of sexualized murder? Yeah, nothing. A Henenlotter classic that missed my radar for years. I was very happy with Basket Case, but this is the superior film. It even beats out Frankenhooker even though that has its own 80’s film merits. Aylmer lives! Vote for Aylmer!
35.The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1959)
When I was a kid my parents gave this to me for Christmas as part of Elivra double feature release. I enjoyed it. Upon re-watching it recently I found it to be as relevant as ever. The mad scientist lives on even in our ultra-computerized world. It’s got a great title too that fits the special effects cadre.
36.Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
This just isn’t my favorite Dracula movie. It’s over produced and uses way too many special effects in lieu of using the arsenal of acting talent that was crammed into this picture. Not that I didn’t like the effects work. It was great, but it didn’t make this Dracula adaptation any better or any more closely tied to the original novel. The music is brilliant and Lucy Westernra is friggin’ hot hot hot. I don’t even mind Keanu Reeves whose role as young Mr. Harker is a commonly criticised. Just leave me to my Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Frank Langella world. I don’t dispute this film’s place on the list, but it wouldn’t have made mine… or maybe it would have.
37.Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
It’s got the one liners and one of my favorite monster creations of all time. You might even go a step further and say that without this movie the female as the monster doesn’t evolve until the 50’s. It’s nice to see Boris back in the make up in the only sequel to Frankenstein that really gives the guy a fair shot to me all the monster he can be. It’s a classic, and there’s no denying it. Make sure to enjoy the sweet cop a feel from the Fright Rags, We Belong Alive breast cancer awareness T. Stunning.
38. Brides of Dracula (1961)
I watched this movie and then rewatched this movie. Let me tell you that I wanted to even care about it, but I found it somewhat boring and didn’t really push the lore forward. It’s a wrong turn on Hammer’s otherwise well mapped course to dominating the Universal horror monsters. If you need to put a sequel to a Hammer classic picture than by all means use Revenge of Frankenstein which is at least funny. Nice poster art and there are some nice vamp ladies.
39.The Brood (1979)
I love this picture more and more with each month that passes since I have seen it. It has become apparent to me that Cronenberg was making the scariest pictures of all the top directors in the genre from the last 70’s on. I don’t mean that other director’s didn’t make better movies, but body horror is some of the scariest shit out there. Your own body is the evil that you must overcome. It’s a metaphor for disease and the oldest fear we all share, dying… admitted or not. The Brood itself is brilliant because of the troop of accomplished actors including my personal fav Oliver Reed. The brood themselves are well manufactured creatures that perform some particularly hideous acts. Cronenberg is the man when it comes to delivering a gross out to remember and this film is no exception.
40.Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)
If I wanted to watch a piece of historical fiction I’m sure Mel Gibson has made a movie or two that I could watch that would at least tell me a more entertaining story. I didn’t like this film or the effects there in. Just not my cup of tea. This movie succeeds quite well at combining historical fiction and horror, but again, not in a way to that appealed to me. I’ll give it this… I’ll be sure to watch this film again someday as it deserves a second look.
41.Bubba Ho-Tep (2003)
People swoon over this movie. I do not. While it fulfills my Bruce Campbell quota, it also has a bit too much cheese for my liking and I’m a friggin’ Troma fan. It’s funny. Clearly not scary and it has a scene or two that kept my interest. I can’t see including this on a list of my favorites and I’m not sure how people love this film. It’s not Campbell’s best and it’s not as a funny as it wants to be.
42.A Bucket of Blood (1959)
I love a movie that can feature Dick Miller as a wannabe Beatnic, murderer who’s really just trying to fit in by making art out of dead things. Roger Corman has made so many great movies that could never hope to make this list that I’m glad to see this one on here. It’s strange because in the outset of the Fango 300 it seemed as though Fango history would somehow be taken into account when creating a list of this type. Corman was at the forefront of nearly every issue in the first few years of Fango’s production. I’m not sure how Little Shop of Horrors is overlooked given its influence in film culture.
43.The Burrowers (2009)
I liked this movie when it was called Tremors and didn’t suck. I get why people like it… it’s because they watched a Tremors sequel or cheap knock off and failed to realize that this is just another creature underground flick that ripped off a movie that dominates that genre (sorry Seed People… you didn’t make the cut either). There were some nice special effects to give it kudos for something.
If I have to tell you about why I adore CHUD than I think we need to send you back to horror 101. I realize full well that it’s been 26 years since this movie was made, but damn if it doesn’t feature a plot that is still relevant and B cinema qualities that make you laugh so hard you forget that the special effects are as bad as they are. Interesting to note that two of the film’s stars, Daniel Stern and John Heard, were also in Home Alone together. Maybe Kevin MacAlister is a CHUD?
45.Cabin Fever (2003)
Want a career in horror movies making the goriest, sickest films out there? Make Cabin Fever your debut feature. This movie could happen to any of us although I’m sure to a less dramatic, skin removing fashion. There are scenes in this movie that will get under your skin and there are scenes in this movie that will beg you to ask what you might do in the same situation. It’s a little formulaic at times, but what horror movie isn’t. We’re glad to have you Eli Roth. Thanks for making such a strong impact on your first outing.
46.The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
I first saw this movie in Film class my Freshman year of high school. I fell in love with the film and German Expressionism in general. Most German silent films from here on out would be given exceptionally high ranking in my all-time favorite films. The only thing that sort of bothers me is that finding the version that I so dearly beloved with soundtrack less classical more horror creep out is somewhat difficult except on YouTube.
That damn Rottweiler murder scene just breaks your heart doesn’t it? Also, I had a crush on Helen and was kind of turned on by the concept that by repeating her name five times in a mirror I might bring her to my bathroom. Most horror fans know why this film is great and for those of us who were more than happy to utter a few Bloody Mary’s in a dark bathroom as children, this movie hits in our soft underbelly… with a hook. Hey, even Farewell to the Flesh wasn’t half bad.
48.Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
This film features one of the most infamous bicycle seats in history. Deodato out did himself and pretty much topped of a growing genre that was beginning to skip like a scratched record. It’s got everything that the Italian cannibal cycle was famous for: naked natives, naked hotties, strange acts of murder and or rape, real animal murder. Remember when I said that Blair Witch didn’t start the found footage era? Well look back to this one. On a personal note the end rape, mutilation sequence completely astounds me to this day. Try seeing it in 35mm! Vomit bags are optional. (Thanks Hudson Horror Show)
49.Carnival of Souls (1962)
As many times as I’ve watched this picture the only thing I’ve truly enjoyed about it was the music. Sure it’s got plenty of surreal creepy imagery, but without a concrete narrative I feel like I’m always guessing my way through this one. I’d like to give it another shot, but every time I try I find myself asleep.
To take a completely different reason why this movie should be on this list…PJ Soles, Nancy Allen and John Travolta make this movie brilliant. Sure Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie are just brilliant opposing female powers that are worthy of Oscars, but the surrounding casting is what makes this movie brilliant. Sidney Lassick of Alligator infamy makes a marvelous bad teacher who deserves everything he gets. PJ Soles’ hat is worth actual gold bricks, check any exchange. Travolta’s drunken spat with Nancy Allen is hilarious; we should all be so lucky to have such drunken spats. Nancy Allen’s freshly licked lips… we don’t talk of such things in polite company.
51.Cat People (1942)
I’m not a huge fan of this movie. Oh I understand why people cling to it as a piece of horror from the golden age of Hollywood. It’s not a traditional monster movie but has some supernatural elements. No scares to speak of. Hell, up until the very end I might as well have been watching a B Clark Gable flick. Not for me, but I won’t chastise the Fango crew for putting it on the list. Nice poster art. Atrocious sequel.
52.Cat People (1982)
I’m not sure what exactly happened to make Cat People stand out as a remakable movie, but some folks actually did it. It’s more effective than the original with a hottie front woman in Natasha Kinski, a great soundtrack… Mr. Tarantino sends much thanks to Mr. Bowie for the borrowed song clip that definitely gave his Inglorious Basterds a bit of 80’s pizzazz. As a whole the movie has never done it for me and only in select scenes do I get anything out of it. It’s definitely got the right idea even if hindered by some over artistic filmmakers in the background trying to substitute flash for narrative.
53.Cemetery Man (1994)
I stumbled onto this one in Video Plus around the year it came out and the name forced me to rent it after catching it on a Showtime preview. A great name can go a long way and never more so than in the late days of the VHS marketing war. This turned out to me one of my favorites. It’s a love story and a zombie story. It’s got the fantasy edge that makes it feel just a bit more magical than your average horror flick. Anna Falchi’s breasts are worth the price of rental. There are some talented actors that go beyond the sum of their body parts. Michele Soavi is a very gifted filmmaker. Also see Stage Fright if you want something to unnerve you.
54.The Changeling (1980)
There was a time in horror when séances were all the rage. This definitely happened on that tropes’ watch. George C. Scott has been in some of my favorite films. I loved him in Patton and Dr. Strangelove… he was fantastic in Cujo. The best ghost story he was ever in was A Christmas Carol, but this comes in a close second (I’m perfectly alright with Charles Dickens not making it into the Fango 300). From iconic cover art to stellar performances this is ghost story works without all the jump scares of our modern ghost fodder.
55.Child's Play (1988)
When I was a kid the commercials for this flick absolutely got under my skin. The doll was a doll that anyone of our suburbanite parents might have purchased for us. Remember “My Buddy”… wherever I go, he goes? Well it’s a direct take off on that. I knew a couple of kids who had them. They all remind me of the little boy in Child’s Play. Toys coming to life is a totally valid fear. I fully expect you to remember my fear of the movie Magic and ventriloquist dolls. It doesn’t help that this possessed doll has some pretty damn good kill sequences under his belt including sequels that range from super funny to super corny. Either way they work. This film is another that was featured in one my first purchased Fangoria’s so it holds a special place in my heart. The pictures enhanced all my homicidal toy theories.
56.The Children (2009)
Right off the bat let me make it perfectly clear that I prefer The Children from 1980; the movie about the kids exposed to radioactive chemicals with black fingernails that would microwave you if they touched you. This The Children works as well. It plays off some of what worked in the Good Son only it pushes the envelope as to just how bad the kiddies are allowed to be. It’s a great story that will have you checking your kids text messages and making sure they are under constant supervision at all times. Some tremendous kill sequences that aim to disturb with pin point accuracy.
57.Children of the Corn (1984)
The opening sequence is fantastic but the hour that follows never quite got me the way it got my siblings. It’s a fine movie, but an even better story by Stephen King. It’s one of the few that I take issue with as far as King’s film adaptations go. I’m not a purest by any means. I don’t need spot on renditions of King’s work, but this one failed me. I suppose I stopped believing the characters even though the actors were fine. It’s just not what I was expecting from children in the Midwest start a sacrificial slaughter kind of film. What did get me was just how scared all the kids were of the ruling faction (and not He Who Walks Behind the Rows)
58.A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)
This movie did exactly nothing for me. I loved the effects work late in the movie, but I liked the effects work in Neverending Story and wouldn’t put that on this list. Drop this movie like a bad habit unless you’re a fantasy fiction nut. Nothing scary here.
59.City of the Living Dead (1980)
I can’t say enough good things about the Gates of Hell as this is also known. It’s one of Fulci’s best works. It’s got the gore to gross you out, the metaphysical outlook on Hell on Earth to make you question your own belief system and ZOMBIES. What’s more it has some of the best cemetery footage of any zombie flick. You might site Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue as its equal in this regard. Also an amazing score from Fabrizzi. See this movie and complete the trilogy with the Beyond and House By the Cemetery. Don’t be a pussy
60.A Clockwork Orange (1971)
My dad pirated this movie and put it on the same VHS tape as some kid’s movie when I was younger. I’d watch the kid’s movie and end up eyes deep in pubic hair, rape and a giant cement cock used as a weapon. It’s a terrifying movie even if not a horror flick. The overlying message about violence in the things we watch and listen to impacting our behavior and then pairing them off in Pavolovian style with nausea inducing medication is as relevant has ever. The MPAA is one step away from forcing your eyes open and feeding you meds to make you yack and hate good rock n’ roll.
Returning from New York City and the immediately going to see this flick definitely got my blood pumping. It’s one of the few POV films with extreme motion sickness inducing camera shake that I will tolerate. I love the look and the decision to not show the monster right off the bat. It’s got everything I love about the traditional large monster movies with men braving rubber suits only with effective CGI. Seeing this on the big screen probably helped too.
62.The Company of Wolves (1985)
I had walked past this flick every time I went to the video story as a youngster. I was always curious about it but would usually opt for something that had more gore on the cover. After finally getting to watch this film I think it’s brilliant. Sure it’s effects are lacking at times but the multiple tales of wolf lore all built to create one quilt of lycanthrope magic has never been done so successfully if at all. It’ll feel dated to non 80’s fans and the scares aren’t’ there, but there’s something to be said about original stories like this one. It’ll make you wonder how anyone could green light The Howling Reborn when there are obvious novel ideas to put onto film.
63.Count Dracula's Great Love (1972)
I saw this on the Creature Feature week as a kid. It was cut to ribbons. Wouldn’t you know that I was surprised as shit to find that this picture had an X rating at one time. Loads of Drac sex is exactly what vamps flicks are lacking. Paul Naschy steals the show as one might expect and as far as a Stoker adaptation is concerned well… we’ll give this one a pass on that.
64.Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
Aside from the iconic creature and the 3-D gimmick there’s not much too this monster flick. Sure it’s entertaining and the aesthetic is there, but aside from the superficial this film lacks any real substance. That does not mean that I take offense to it or have any problem with it. I thoroughly enjoy me some 50’s mindless monster entertainment. I would like to know how this one stood out more than say Robot Monster or It Conquered the World in terms of monster design to capture our imaginations. I’m just as stumped as anyone and I think the thing is brilliant.
If you want to know how much I adore this movie you simply have to search my blog for the movie title and see how many entries I’ve done on it. I remember swinging on our old, rusted swing set on a cold falls day reading the comic book adaptation. I remember staring at Adriene Barbeau’s boobs in the comic book and seeing just a hint of nipple. I remember looking for the advertisement for the voodoo doll that appeared in the comic in the movie to no avail. Most recent favorite thing about this movie: Eli Roth’s fake trailer for Thanksgiving features the music from Creepshow.
Cronos is a mixed bag to me. On one hand we have an innovative look at vampire lore. On the other we have Del Toro pounding typical Guillermo into our heads (even if it is an earlier work). If you like Del Toro’s work than you will rather enjoy this picture. I enjoy his work and found it a lacking on action and just taking too god damn long to develop. At least it wasn’t centered around the downtrodden children of the Spanish Civil War.
The Cube is very close to this former math majors heart. The concept is innovative and well ahead of the “gaming” genre of horror films that would embraces the early 2000’s. Some marvelous kills and a near unparalleled level of suspense with an anti-climax to make you watch the movie on repeat begging for a different fate for our characters.
Stephen King is adamant that Dee Wallace should have won an Academy Award for this performance. I’ll agree to it if you give the dog and effects guys awards as well. I think it’s terrifying because this story probably happened once. Maybe it wasn’t a St. Bernard and maybe it wasn’t Rabies that drove the dog to it, but animals are the really real world’s monsters. It’s great to watch SPCA commercials and shed a tear, it’s another thing to watch a giant fucking dog nearly kill your son.
69.The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
It’s a tossup between Curse of Frankenstein and The Mummy for my favorite Hammer remake of a Universal monster movie. I think Christopher Lee is the ultimate monster man. Sure Karloff can play a better Frank, but Lee plays a Frank, a Mummy and a Drac and more convincingly so. Hammer era horror is Technicolor beautiful with enough blood to keep the Halo generation satiated for a bit while giving them a touch of culture. This soundtrack still hypnotizes me.
70.Curse of the Demon (1957)
You know why I watched this one? Because Phil Anselmo from Pantera told me to in his Bloody Disgusting column. Best decision I could have made. It’s a classic creep out. The only thing that detracts from it is the iconic monster because it just doesn’t fit how dark and spooky this flick is. It’s referenced in Science Fiction Double Feature from Rocky Horror Picture Show and is one of the early occult films that let us know that the witches were real.
71.The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)
Remember how I said I love Oliver Reed? Well that doesn’t go for this movie. Even though it’s Hammer. Even though it has a rad poster. In my humble opinion this is a waste of your time. That’s a very unpopular opinion, but I’d vote to kick this one off the island. The costuming sucks. Oliver Reed is a fine actor, but he’s no lycanthrope.
You spend nearly an hour bored. You’re pretty much ready to lose your shit when suddenly the movie shows itself to be the Cthulu story you were waiting for from a director like Stuart Gordon. Top notch effects and a nice amalgamation of several works of Mr. Lovecraft. If you can wait for it just a little… bit… longer… you’ll love this film as much as I do. It’s one of the few Cthulu films that show you just enough of the old ones to give the proper presence and scale to them without giving up the rubber monster suit.
73.Daughters of Darkness (1971)
The only thing that worked for me in this film was the straight razor as a weapon. It’s a great looking weapon. This may be my first Belgian film. I just don’t see what all the hype is about. This one is thrown out there by horror fans like it’s the Holy Grail when it has little bang for no buck.
74.Dawn of the Dead (1979)
When I was in high school a buddy of mine and I would watch various releases of this movie. Different cuts, longer, shorter. We’d stay up all night, but we’d always cringe in the beginning that would give us a nightmare or two and then laugh all the way to the Gonk. It’s the Romero/Savini classic that carried through the promise of the zombie film made in Night of the Living Dead.
75.Dawn of the Dead (2004)
I was as scared as anyone to see this movie. Not because I thought it could be terrifying or that it would somehow improve on Romero’s innovation, but because the remake cycle hadn’t always been kind to some of my favorite films. That’s not to say that I am over critical of remakes. Only one criterion by which to evaluate them should be comparison to the original. The trailer looked good enough, but would it hold water? I can’t think of a remake that I enjoy more… maybe Evil Dead II … if you wanna call that a remake which I often do. Highlight for me was the Richard Cheese “Down with the Sickness” cover/sex scene.
76.The Day of the Beast (1995)
What a funny movie. If you haven’t seen this flick you’re truly missing out on a great piece of horror comedy, but also touches on the creepy side. It’s nice to see a film take a subgenre and put it on its ass. For years filmmakers had been making the same possession, Satanic, exorcism based demon horror. This film jumps right out and takes shots at each film that predates it while not making it abundantly obvious that it is doing so. I think we can all identify with the death metal head in the picture. Under my breath I kept telling myself that I would have done each thing he would have done. The tongue is in the devil’s cheek.
77.Day of the Dead (1985)
Growing up I wasn’t sure how to take Day of the Dead. I believe I saw it before I saw Dawn of the Dead and maybe even before I knew that it was a follow up to Night of the Living Dead. It was on the USA network and my dad taped off TV. There was still a healthy amount of gore for a movie that had been edited for TV. This may have been my first real gore picture unless you’re willing to let me throw in Creepshow. I loved the opening sequence. Zombie movies need to have that one special scene that convey the complete bleakness of the post-apoc situation. Staring at a calendar in a room made of cinderblock is bleak enough for me. When I watch zombie films I still compare them to this one even though I have a few new favorites. Also, is it so strange that I identify with the mad scientist in the film? I just want to stick electrodes in dead bodies. I mean if it was the end of times it’d be ok.
78.The Day of the Triffids (1963)
You can see a poster so many times in your life and wonder what a movie is about. You can even here the song referred to in Science Fiction Double Feature from the Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack. Nothing will get you ready for just how excellent this B rate sci fi picture is. You have a really great alien/plant creature and half decent scares for a picture that didn’t seem to believe in itself. In my mind it’s a film that doesn’t get enough credit. It seems to fall behind Invasion of the Body Snatchers. If you haven’t watched this one make sure to give it a shot to wow you.
79.Dead Alive (1992)
Best use of a lawnmower in a feature length films goes to… I had seen Heavenly Creatures so I think I expected a little more of that. A little more girl meets strange strange world. Keep in mind I hadn’t as of yet seen Meet the Feebles or Bad Taste. When people tell me they hate horror movies because they don’t like all that blood and guts shit I make sure to show them this one. Those same folks need to see what gore can be; how it can be fun; how effects people can make you want gore. This is a movie that makes you want more gore. Maybe just as much as Texas Chainsaw Massacre II. Hey Peter Jackson, when you’re done chasing down a bunch of hobbits, we’re ready for more.
80.Dead Calm (1989)
This story had me thinking film noir. It had me take a look back at thrillers from the 40’s only it had some cajones. The most important thing that comes out of this movie isn’t that Nicole Kidman is a hottie. It’s that Billy Zane is the man when it comes to playing villains. I hope that this film somehow contributed to him being a part of Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight. It’s not my favorite horror flick, but it’s good the first time out. After that I know the twist and the movie becomes a reason to stare at Nicole Kidman again (which should not be the focus of this movie).
81.Dead Ringers (1988)
I catch this movie on late night cable TV every so often. No doubt that Jeremy Irons is a phenomenal actor. The story is absolute original and absolute Cronenberg. I find it just a little difficult to identify with the plight of the twins which doesn’t lend itself to repeat viewing despite the fact that I’m always watching it in short increments later in the evening. I have nothing bad to say about this movie. It’s a fine choice.
82.The Dead Zone (1988)
It’s a tossup between this and Salem’s Lot for my favorite Stephen King adaptation. It’s got the Walken who is absolutely touching. Martin Sheen who’s a fucking mad man from the other side of the nuclear age. I like this movie because it’s the story of an everyday Joe whose life is turned upside down. We’ve all been in a car crash. Some worse than others. Can you imagine waking up with a “gift” that was absolutely not what you wanted? All you wanted was your life back and time back. That gift would be a disease to you. I think we all have a story like this; a life changing event that leaves us used. The Dead Zone takes that very deep, personal connection to us all and throws us a challenge. It’s the great, what would you do challenge. Another Cronenberg film that simply works and makes you realize that you have body and it’s a scary place.
The Fango 300 brought me many a new movie to watch. I had read about this film just before watching it for the challenge in a compendium of films about zombies called Book of the Dead. It got so much mention for a film I had barely heard of that I was absolutely drien to watch it. Boy was they hype right. This film transcends generations and is imitated but never equaled. While I don’t know that I’d go all out and call this a zombie film, it’s an undead film. It’s got that same disturbing feeling as Who Can Kill a Child? or maybe even The Nightmare Maker. You think you know someone, but you don’t and what you don’t know can kill you.
84.Deep Red (1975)
Giallo done by the master of the genre. Many consider this Argento’s finest work, but it’s not my favorite. I haven’t seen it in quite some time really. I love the Goblin soundtrack and the iconic poster. The aka isn’t so bad itself, The Hatchet Murders. It’s an important piece of Italian cinema that deserves to be on the list.
85.Demon Knight (1995)
Hey, remember that Billy Zane character from Dead Calm? He shows up six years later to be in one of the most chaotic fun horror flicks since maybe Evil Dead. It’s an original story line with a most excellent heavy metal soundtrack. Dick Miller! Boobs. An introduction by the Crypt Keeper. The almost too crystal perfectly clear overlays of Zane’s voice tempting his would be victims is very Candy Man and seductive. His voice is like melted chocolate in your ears.
86.Demon Seed (1977)
I wish my computer would friggin’ rape me. It’s a great concept and one that worked in 1977 but the hole thing feels dated. I’m just not worried about my lap top having its way with me. I’m as big a fan as any of technology turning bad and taking aim at its creators. I’m even ok with the scientists creating machines for evil purposes. I guess I’m just not worried enough about Julie Christie. Now Camille Keaton… I’m worried about her.
After shaking Lamberto Bava’s hand and then realizing that I was too terrified to speak, I knew that I was in the presence of a truly great filmmaker. I’m not a huge fan of all his work. Some of it I find slightly overrated, but Demons is brilliant. The iconic mask is reminiscent of the use of his the mask in Black Sunday directed by Papa Bava. The music is a strange assortment of metal; a complete version can be somewhat difficult to get your claws on. It’s a fun story for the horror movie fans made for the horror movie fan and starring… the horror movie fan. Sacrilege time: the makeup effects in this movie blow the Exorcist out of the water! There I said. Haters go home.
88.The Descent (2005)
Claustrophobia is the monster in this movie despite what you may have heard. Sure there are creatures that live in the dark, cavernous regions of the underground, but the devil is inside your head. That’s not to say that the creatures aren’t unnerving or that swimming in a ball pit of skulls doesn’t unsettle the stomach. An all around good movie that play on our real fears. I won’t call this kind of movie a rarity, but it’s difficult to make an audience in an auditorium feel like the walls are closing in.
89.The Devils (1971)
Ken Russell died this year. It’s a blooming shame because Ken Russell is a rather good filmmaker who put out a truly shocking vision of the relations between Protestants and Catholics that featured what might only be described as debauchery. Naked nuns before it was fashionable to show them in their birthday suits and before they had big guns. Sexual acts involving the clergy. Oliver Reed (who was also in Ken Russell favorite, Tommy). Torture. I love a good witch hunt picture and my favorite may be Mark of the Devil, but The Devils might as well be peas to Mark of the Devil’s carrots.
90.The Devil Rides Out (1968)
I had wanted to watch this movie for some time and was given the chance when Turner Classic Movies featured Hammer films all through the month of October. I was first made aware of it via the Director’s Cut album by Fantomas in which Mike Patton and the crew cover horror/thriller soundtracks with a metal-ish twist. The Devil Rides Out is a metal mind fuck of a soundtrack especially when done by Fantomas. Beyond that bit of trivia it’s a great occult film. It’s always nice when Hammer went outside their comfort zone to bring movies of this ilk. Chris Lee will impress you.
91.The Devil's Backbone (2001)
Hey look another Guillermo Del Toro movie about the Spanish Civil War involving children in a time of crisis. I’m sure the entire movie is a metaphor for something or a god damn life lesson. It’s a fantastic piece of horror. All Del Toro’s stuff is, but I get tired of that repetitive premise. Sure this is before the Orphanage or Pan’s Labyrinth so I guess it can get a reprieve. Like I said this is a great film and has some very creepy moments with an original story line. That’s rare in a genre built off the reputations of its facsimile copy monster movies and remakes.
92.The Devil's Rejects (2005)
My wife says she can’t watch this movie because its too damn disturbing. Mostly the hotel scene. The rape scene. She actually enjoys Rob Zombie’s films despite not being a horror fan (she HATES horror). She’ll watch a slasher flick here or there, but she can actually back up Rob Zombie. I love everything that man does and when you throw in his wife, Bill and Sid I’m a goner. You had me at Hello. One thing before I leave this one; I like House of 1000 Corpses better. That’s not a particularly popular opinion but I enjoy the character development of the Manson-esque anti-hero rather than the really real world version of demented serial killers on the run paying their dues. I want the bad guys to win.
Yeah, I get why this movie is so damn hot, but it’s not my favorite and it made me pass out cold. It’s subtle and it’s French. Something about it felt too damn artsy. I’ll give it another go once the bad taste is out of my mouth. I haven’t seen the remake either.
94.Don't Deliver Us From Evil (1971)
I love everything about this movie. Kids doing violently naughty things always brings a smile to my face. It seems to me that in foreign countries directors get away with quite a lot. It’s a twisted flick and the ending had me near applauding. I kept looking over my shoulder to make sure the wife and kids didn’t come downstairs to catch me watching it. There are things in this movie that horror outsiders with moral compasses in hand might find offensive enough to threaten divorce over. Hope to catch this in 35mm someday alongside something equally blasphemous.
95.Don't Look Now (1973)
It’s Julie fucking Christie… again! Only this time she’s naked and hopping up and down on Donald Sutherland. It’s a long winded ghost story with a famous sex scene in the middle. There are a few twists and turns that keep you guessing, but the whole thing just feels long. Drawn out. That scaffolding scene had me ringing my hands so there’s at least one decent suspense seen. And the sex scene… yeah, it’s pretty good too.
96.Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1933)
People talk about Frankenstein and Dracula quite a bit but Jekyll and Hyde is the horror story for our age. I take this potion and I become someone different. It’s not so far off the prescription craze inducing a psychopharmacological coma on America. I guess the difference is that the potion that Jekyll takes turns him into a monster rather than a numb, emotionless zombie. Maybe there just aren’t enough prostitutes to murder in suburban America. Let’s get on that. Frederic March is a brilliant Hyde. This movie made me a believer in this Stevenson story.
I love the use of Swan Lake in the opening credits. Bela Lugosi was my favorite boogeyman for years and especially after watching Ed Wood. I used to be a huge Bauhaus fan and would wear the Bela Lugosi’s Dead t-shirt with pictures of him in Drac garb. I think that Dwight Frye is scarier than Bela Lugosi and doesn’t get enough credit for how far he can make his eyes bulge out of his skull. As a hole it’s a slow, quite movie and I hope to see the Spanish counterpart some day; rumor is it’s more terrifying than the English language version. I’ll be sure to catch it before this Halloween.
98.Drag Me to Hell (2009)
Sam Raimi did good. He came back to his genre after leaving to go tackled the webbed one for awhile and created a horror film that has everything a good horror picture shoud. Nice gore, Some laughs and an original story that gets to use all. We all hate our jobs, but the protagonist in this one is forced by “the man” to make a decision she would otherwise morally oppose and pays the price. Good horror does that. It makes you re-evaluate what’s important and makes you question the boss man.
99.Dressed to Kill (1980)
Brian DePalma makes one mean psychological thriller. Sisters was pretty damn good and who can forget Carrie. Hell, even Raising Cain was pretty friggin’ good. One criticism of this one is that the music doesn’t fit the movie, but that’s just fine because the opening nude scene has left me with plenty of to think about. I nearly forgot how bad the score was. Michael Caine does make a nice transvestite.
100.Dust Devil (1992)
Holy boring as Hell Batman. Let me get this straight. You send your film to Miramax. They hate it. They cut it themselves and released it without any of the supernatural elements. Then the director went back and got it recut so that his vision could be displayed to the world. Then recut it again. Then… This movie didn’t do anything for me. It was long winded. I spent way too long waiting for not a whole hell of a lot to happen. Namibia deserves a better class of horror film.
Eraserhead is the only David Lynch movie that deserves to be on this list. Sure it’s arthouse, but it’s terrifying. The story of a man a scared of becoming a father only to have his fear realized in a heinous, shocking image of a debauched mutated baby is definitely scary. I never said Lynch wasn’t a friggin’ amazing filmmaker. I don’t particularly enjoy his skip-to-my-loo editing of narrative, but if you give me the Cliff’s notes to any of his films I’ll be sure to give them a day in court. Does that make me anti-intellectual when it comes to me horror? You bet your sweet ass. I’m not always into movies for the brain stimulation. Sometimes it’s all about the prostate. Sometimes. And don’t you fucking love the Lady in the Radiator song? Especially as covered by the Pixies.
102.The Evil Dead (1983)
To this day I have a difficult time remembering whether I saw the original or the sequel first. I love them both as any good Sam Raimi fearing horror fan should. They have their own unique spin on the same story although I’d hesitate to even label the sequel a remake. It’s not. I can’t tell you how old I was when I saw either pictures, but I remember when Army of Darkness was released I was desperate to get to see in the theater at a young age. This did not transpire, however I was able to show it to a bunch of kids at a movie marathon, sleepover party and turned a bunch of non-horror folks into semi-Necronomicon literate, Ash lovers over night.
103.Evil Dead II (1987)
The gorier, more effect driven sequel really drives home that the Evil ain’t quite dead yet. From an effects lovers point of view this is the dominant film. This also captures the vision of the film as a horror comedy significantly better than the original. The iconography that has been established via the lore and quotes coming out of this film are a thing of legend. No longer would chainsaws be relegated to Texas (despite what Pieces may have done earlier). I guess what I love about this series the very most is that it doesn’t really let you know that it comes directly out of H.P. Lovecraft Cthulu lore. It does, and the face of the evil is always masked by the physical world as opposed to materializing on its own. Isn’t it nice to see someone pay tribute to Lovecraft’s unsee-able evil without you even giving it a second look?
104.The Exorcist (1973)
When I was a kid I watched the Exorcist at least one a month. It was a taped off TV version with all the good bits ripped out of it by the network censor and so I was left wandering what all the hype was about. Sure, the thought of a little girl possessed by the devil was less the Bible lovin’, but it wasn’t worth the scorn and ridicule of the church, was it? When this film was released in theaters years later, restored I stumbled into the theater, alone, on a head of codeine cough syrup. My opinion hath been forever changed and I can know I appreciate that yes Virginia, crucifixes can be used as sexual objects and women walk down stairs backwards… LIKE SPIDERS!
105.Eyes Without a Face (1960)
Hey, if you had a daughter whose face needed replacing wouldn’t you try and replace her face with the face of a pretty young girl? Wouldn’t you? Sure, we all would. Would the laws against kidnapping stop you? NEVER. How about the laws against murder? Why ever would they? The movie could have been made yesterday and been as relevant and aside from some dateable dialogue or medical procedures, it could very well have been shot yesterday as well. It’s not my favorite horror picture, but it’s got imagery that haunts and a story line that most daddy’s can get behind.
106.The Fall of the House of Usher (1960)
I love the Corman/Price/AIP Poe adaptations. They’re as cheesy as I want them to be with great sets, pure quotable dialogue sung by my favorite horror actor, Vincent Price. What more could I ask for? This may not be my particular favorite in the cycle. I’ve always thought that Price looked a bit strange without facial hair, but I agree with any selection being included in this list that involves Price.
107.The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967)
For years I had heard the name dropped… The Fearless Vampire Killers. I had no idea how funny this flick could be. It might as well be called the Marx Brothers meets the Vampire! Roman Polanski is more effective than I’d ever seen him on camera and that may have something to do with my hatred for The Tenant. It’s not his best directorial work. I’ll stake my claim to Rosemary’s Baby for that honor. I’m sure I’m not alone in that.
108.Fiend Without a Face (1958)
I didn’t get much out of this movie other than the expertise in B special effects design. The idea of invisible monsters makes sense. What you can’t see is more scary than anything we can create, right? Well, the brain looking creatures aren’t exactly scary, but they are exactly original. I’m not sure I’d rate this one high on my list.
109.The Fly (1958)
Anything starring Vincent Price is fair game. This movie could be on this list soley for its infamous one liner, “Help Me”. It could also be on this list for inspiring a tremendous remake by Mr. Cronenberg (coming up next) and it could also be on the list for spawning a sequel that would yield a song by the Misfits (Return of the Fly). The creature design isn’t scary by today’s standard but it’s memorable and offputting. Pop culture loves The Fly.
110.The Fly (1986)
You know what scene really gets me? When our hero tries to save Gena Davis from the now mostly fly, somewhat man, Brundle hybrid and gets his arm melted clean off. It’s an acid effect that trounces Alien or Aliens or any other acid melt, human flesh combo you can imagine. I still cringe. It’s another Cronenberg body horror piece that started off much more sci-fi than horror and ended anything but sci fi. The music is fantastic. You want an Oscar winning horror movie, look no further. Also, I got to see this in 35mm at the Exhumed 24 Hour Horror-thon a year back. The big screen transforms this movie into something you can’t watch alone.
111.The Fog (1980)
John Carpenter during his mid to late early period was doing some fantastic work. This is absolutely a delightful ghost story with all the viciousness of pirates and the voluptuousness of Adrienne Barbeau. I waited a number of year to watch this full uncut and I’m glad that I can fully appreciate it even though it wasn’t part of my childhood horror encyclopedia.
Beyond the quotes that have become synonymous with this film there’s the special effects. Beyond the brilliant effects work is the use of dark and shadow to conceal everything from the monster to our mad scientists face. Beyond the cinematography there’s music that haunts and disturbs and before all that’s there’s a preface. A simple warning that shows that even in the 20th Century filmmakers were afraid of Christian back lash. Art is never safe. All that controversy aside, I love the bits of humor found in horror pictures of this era. There’s always a token funny man trying to lighten up the mood. Take Elizabeth’s father. An old man in a shriner’s cap, obviously drunk and rambling, hysterical. This one also shows you that you don’t need to be faithful to the initial source writing to be a successful, enjoyable movie.
It’s a love story first and foremost. I’m sorry, but this movie does very little for me. Yes, there’s the fact that you have some real side show folk doing the acting, but I don’t find that scary. I don’t find them all that odd. I find it a piece of history more than anything and for that I thank Browning. I do not think this movie has a place on this list.
This may be the only time you hear me say this, “what a boring fucking Hitchcock movie”. I struggled through this movie. I barely made it through awake and when I did it wasn’t bloody worth it. I grew up with a monster movie book with a picture of the killer from Frenzy in it. I thought it was one of the scariest things I had ever seen, but unfortunately that was a ridiculous farce. Nothing scary to see here. Walk away with your Hitchcock between your legs.
115.Friday the 13th (1980)
Before there was a mask, there was Kevin Bacon. Shot just 35 minutes away from my lifelong home town, this film pretty much could have been shot in my back yard growing up. As such it hold an historic place in my heart. I’ve seen some of the shooting locations without even looking for them. I’ve reenacted the movie with Legos. I’ve sung Manfredini’s score to my three month year old daughter and received laughter and “kicky legs” in response. This movie is as ingrained in my life as the first uncut rated R horror flick I had ever seen on HBO, A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2.
116.Fright Night (1985)
If you don’t like horror hosts you might as well not like horror movies at all. Peter Vincent is one of the greats, real or imagined and who better to play him than Roddy MacDowell. The overall movie is a mad 80’s dash of successful comic genius and horror effects nightmares. I remember the Fright Flicks trading cards as a kid that had still frame images from the movie with funny captions underneath. The spirit of those cards rests in this movie. This movie was built for those cards. The sequel appeared on one of my first issues of Fango that I ever purchased at Walden Books.
117.The Frighteners (1996)
What starts off as a horror comedy evolves into one of the creepier works of Peter Jackson. Jake Busey and Dee Wallace at the helm for the baddies and Michael J. Fox among the good guys. Oh did we forget to mention Jeffrey Reanimator Combs!? High action, good cast. This is a horror film made for those who love horror films with enough Tim Burton level horror to entice the non horror aficionado. I’ve heard some snobs deride this work as a piece of pop trash. Shame on you. MJF was fucking Teen Wolf you filthy dogs!
Fangoria, you picked the wrong Frightmare. The 1972 film is a kinda boring all be it a little on the weird side. The correct Frightmare to pick was from the 80’s and had an early appearance by Jeffrey Combs… from The Frightners remember? Frightmare was about a group of kids who steal a dead horror actors body from his tomb and then attempt to give the corpse a send off into the great beyond. What the do not anticipate is that the corpse will send the grave pilferers straight to the grave. 80’s funny. 80’s cheese. But it’s god damn original and it’s a whole lotta fun. Who needs a psychodrama piece about serial killer style murders in fucking Britain when you have a dead horror host named fucking Conrad.
119.From Beyond (1986)
Three in a row? In alphabetical order? That’s right, this one also stars Jeffrey Combs. What a delightfully strange Lovecraft inspired work with amazing effects loads of 80’s pomp and a whole lot of weird. Make sure to stimulate your pineal gland while watching this slightly disgusto-erotic picture.
120.From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
My favorite modern vampire movie. Don’t get me wrong. I’d choose Hammer and Bela over this film any day, but From Duck Till Dawn is comfort food. Not only does it have some funny performances from Tarantino, George Clooney, Fred Williamson and Tom Savini not to mention Danny Trejo, there’s also a seductive dance by Selma Hayek. The vamp transformations leave something to be desired, but I look past that easily with all other effects parameters meeting over satisfactory markers. Yes, Juliet Lewis, we will eat your pussy.
121.Funny Games (1997)
Talk about a surprise mind fuck. I had never heard of this movie and kept mistaking it for Fatal Games from the 80’s. That’s a complete 180. Funny games makes you think that the good guys are going to win only to rewind the film and take away your hope like a pacifier from a small infant. Remember that. When you start to watch this film you don’t win. It won’t leave you with that happy day, feel good, Bob Marley smoking a dube feeling. If you’ve pressed play get ready for nihilism. Get ready to hate some fuckers. Get ready to yell at the TV.
122.Ginger Snaps (2001)
First impression was that this was one hot chick werewolf flick. The more I watched it, the more I realized that it was about being a teenage girl (or boy really) and watching your body change. It’s really not a werewolf picture so much as it is a Cronenberg esque body horror flick. Never the less it fills a nice void in the werewolf canon.
My seven year old loves this movie. She roots for the monster (as you’re supposed to) and she doesn’t even know who Raymond Burr is because she watched Gojira. One of my favorite things to do is to play it with subtitles and read them to her. It’s like reading a book but you’re watching a movie. I hope she can appreciate subtitles. It’s not a dying art, but it isn’t for everyone. This movie holds up surprisingly well, and I can’t wait to see the Criterion version.
Every kid loves Gizmo, but every single one of those little goobers freaks the fuck out when they catch their first image of Stripe. There are scenes in this that still get under my skin. I suppose we all find someone to identify with. Mr. Futterman (Dick Miller) is like my alter ego if I was a vet, blue color plow guy. I mean he’s nothing like me really, but somehow I get in his corner when the Gremlins come a knockin’. For years I thought he died when the Gremlins came through the front of his house. Thank fuck the sequel cleared that up.
I fell in love with this movie on a head full of Percocet one rainy Sunday afternoon in May of 2007. I’ve never looked back. Talk about a film that embodied my favorite genre stereotypes with great dialogue, music and effects. I’ve written more than my fill on this film and I probably shouldn’t continue to write about it. I cannot do it justice and I come off sounding like a Twilight freak. I’ve dreamed of racing cop cars while listening to the Death Proof soundtrack. My baby even looks like Cherry Darling’s bundle of joy at the end of Planet Terror. I tattooed the fucking poster on my arm. Nuff said.
The real version of Halloween is the TV edit. The one with all the extra scenes of Loomis putting the Myers case before a panel of psychologists trying to plead his case. It’s a tremendous scene and you can’t find it in the theatrical edition (I’m sure there’s like 500 versions available on various formats). The only thing missing from the TV version is PJ Soles’ tits. These should regarded as national treasures. Icons separate from Ms. Soles herself (so much respect for this woman that even my grade school attempt at humor has me feeling bashful). It’s strange that I used to watch this taped off TV, with commercials and edits. To me the movie Halloween includes a station bumper for a Halloween showing of the movie with the promise of Halloween II and III coming up in the following days. I’d get out of school, flip on the VCR and watch these three films in sequence over and over again. My favorite in the series is Halloween II, but I’ll be god damned if Halloween III isn’t terrifying in its own right. I reserve this spot in the 300 for the entire series. I would not say that for some of the other slasher fav’s.
With all due respect to Mr. Adam Green. Fuck Hatchet. This movie is just not worth mentioning on this list. It fails as an homage. The killer make up designs left me feeling very Tobe Hooper’s Funhouse without the benefit of a clever back story. The sequel is equally atrocious although somewhat funny. Sure there are some worthy kills. Do not doubt that Green is a creative motherfucker. This just didn’t work for me and I’d rather see any number of slasher style films in its place. You pick.
128.The Haunting (1963)
I watched the remake of this film before seeing the original. I can it a “remake” because that’s probably what most people would consider the film that came out in the late 90’s and somehow tried to pass for a ghost story. The Haunting from 1963 is a tremendous haunted house tale. It stands the test of time and can still give you the willies to this day. Rob Zombie showed us that its more than memorable in the dialogue department. Do yourself a favor and forget the found footage craze for five minutes. Give this one a gander. It was one of the best things I ever did while working at Blockbuster Video. I probably should have stolen the VHS clean off the shelf.
There’s something truly terrifying about the horror films of the silent era. The imagery had to be just that good. Good enough that we’ll still talk about them today and still get the heebie jeebies. What’s more is that you can put just about any soundtrack you like behind them to set the proper mood and their great fun at Halloween parties as background footage. Haxan is a fabulous recount of witchcraft through the ages. Now I won’t say that it’s accurate by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s got a little something for everyone. Dramatization. History lessons. There is imagery in this film that is scarier than any conception of “witches” that you may very well have seen out the window of Hollywood. Take note. This is right up there with Caligari and Nosferatu.
If it wasn’t for Hellraiser I’m not sure that I would have full understood S&M. That doesn’t mean that I fully get it now. I’ve had my nipples twisted and been choked with a belt and all of that hoopla, but if sure does make a whole lotta sense when people are sexually aroused by men without skin. I realize that the sequels can be considered individual abominations. I enjoyed up until part 3 before I closed my eyes to the series. I’ve caught the more recent efforts here and there and with the exception of a few scenes find them to be monumental failures to recognize what made the original so great. Stephen King was right when he said that he had seen the future of horror and it was Clive Barker. Can somebody please get me a Great and Secret Show adaptation!?
131.Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1990)
Got to see this in 35mm this past year at the Exhumed 24 Hour Horror-thon. It’s one thing to sit in the comfort of your living room and watch women get brutally raped and mutilated. It’s a wholly other thing to do so with 300 horror fans. The performances in this movie are Oscar worth and outstanding. Rooker is a genius. As I’ve said before… I have a little crush on the female lead even though I can’t remember her name currently. Let’s just say she didn’t go on to do much.
132.High Tension (2003)
You fuckers love this movie. If there isn’t a one of you that doesn’t rave about this up and down. I watched it when it first made its way out and I enjoyed the first half of the movie. It was pretty dark and there were certain stylistic elements to the killer that I was more than happy with. Then the whole switch, plot twist, fuck you ending happened and I didn’t believe a god damn thing I was watching anymore. Oh the concept was great, but the execution left me raw. The entire film didn’t feel right after that. Whole scenes are completely discounted by the plot twist, but it’s the best movie ever, right? I’ll watch it again in a few years .When I want to watch the masturbation scene.
133.The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
Wes Craven at his finest. Take a reasonable fear about crossing the country and ending up in a more remote part of it with no one to save you and then turn on the mutants. This is more than just a B picture done during the early days in the career of one of the latter day saints of horror. The camera work is designed to make you feel like you’re being watched and before Halloween even. The remake was great as were the sequels. One note: RV’s in the 70’s were the sleep away camps of the 80’s. The perfect killing ground.
134.The Hitcher (1986)
This movie flat out fucked me up. I had waited years to see this even though it wasn’t short on recommendations. Everyone told me to see this flick. Well I finally did and now I’m terrified of Rutger Hauer. I also have a strange level of sympathy for C Thomas Howell that the Outsiders could in no way invoke. I’ve rarely felt as powerless to effect the outcome of a movie as I did while watching this one. You know what I mean. When you repeat your intent over and over again in an attempt to alter the events of the characters on screen even though you can’t change the footage. Well, this movie had me fucked at every turn. For all the shock and discomfort the thing didn’t even push any boundaries. It just played by the rules and fucked my mind out.
135.Horror Express (1972)
It’s not that I didn’t enjoy this film. It’s more or less that I thought I would like it more given the cast. Cushing, Lee, motherfucking Tele Savalas. It was hard to come by even thought it was recently released on Blu Ray. Who knows? I could’ve been in a crank pants mood and totally given it lower marks for my own ineptitude. Happens to all of us I’m certain. We’ll give it another look see on Blu Ray. Again, this cast demands that pleasure be gotten from watching this movie. It’s only natural.
136.Horror Hotel (1960)
This movie actually got under my skin. So much so that I felt the need to site it as a rather scary movie during my Halloween Blogathon. Christopher Lee is damn gorgeous. I love everything that man does… except the fucking Sinbad movie. That was unforgiveable. Horror Hotel comes off like a Black Sunday/Mario Bava rip off but takes many a different turn. It’s also one of my favorite Misfits songs.
137.Horror of Dracula (1958)
Another Lee film. I used to love adore Bela Lugosi as the Count. I really did. I owned my Bauhaus Bela Lugosi’s Dead T and used to recite lines straight out of Ed Wood decrying Bela’s superiority in every way to other horror actors with the exception of Vincent Price. Times have changed. I’m more of a Lee man now. After watching just so many Hammer classics and trying to stare down the Count every time, I fail. Only Lee can do that to me. Even up against Langella… now that ain’t hard.
138.Horror Rises from the Tomb (1973)
Damned if this wasn’t my first Paul Naschy flick in years. I hadn’t really stumbled across him much. I’ve seen a a nod here or there as an amazing actor. I even remembered him from Dracula’s Great Love. Watching this film puts together everything I love about horror in a way that only a guy like Naschy can convey on screen (an Fulci behind the camera). Cheese gore. Sexy organ freak outs. I love the story. I love the whole god damn thing and I hope that someday I am man enough to have Paul Naschy tattooed somewhere on my person.
139.The Host (2006)
The return of the non-SyFy channel monster movie. This flick is innovative, ready for the big screen or the small screen creature feature week. It’s a great story. Tongue is firmly in cheek as well, something sorely missed in modern horror. Either film goes over the top comedy with light horror tones or it’s one big sarcasm fest. This is well balanced.
140.Hostel: Part II (2007)
I’m not entirely sure I agree with putting the sequel on this list here. The first film was innovative and it just freaks people out. The eyeball seen nearly made the wifey loose her tacos. I can respect that. Hostel II did have the better kills. Isn’t that point of a great sequel. The expansion on the hunting club lore is tremendous (I’d even go as far as to say Hostel III brings it even farther). The Lady Bathory scene alone is worth the price of rental or purchase. I don’t debate that it belongs on the list, but maybe this is a chance where original and sequel could make the list together.
Aside from the friggin piano eating someone in pre-80’s, 80’s effects I’m over this movie. Sure it’s surreal and a ghost story. I don’t debate that its horror. I just don’t think it rocks the boat quite enough to make its way on this list. Even the artwork is triptastic.
142.House of Dark Shadows (1970)
This was my first experience with Dark Shadows (no…. YES!) I’m a fan of Mr. Collins and the entire look of the series. I’m a fan of the characters in general. You know what kept me away from this picture? Laziness. I thought I had to watch the entire series prior to watching the actual movie. Well, that’s just not the case and one of these days I’ll get around to watching the full thing anyway. This movie was too good not to enjoy the TV varietal.
143.The House of the Devil (2008)
We all know what a talented man Ti West is by now. The Innkeepers was released this year and it was also pretty darn awesome (if a little slow for this reviewer). You know what I loved about this film more than 95% of it? The opening credit sequence. Truly retro. I had the opportunity to purchase the VHS/DVD combo recently and failed to do so. Now that damn thing is selling for multiples of ten over the original purchase price. Same thing happened to me when Todd MacFarlane’s Spiderman was released in the 90’s. When do I get lucky god damn it.
144.House of Wax (1955)
It’s a Vincent Price movie so it has to be good by percentage of good to bad films alone. Released in 3D on the big screen, this movie represents what Price could do before the Poe cycle. Before the William Castle cycle really. Still haven’t seen the infamous remake with Ms. Hilton. Guess I should get with the times huh?
145.The Howling (1981)
This movie features my favorite werewolf transformations of all time. Beats out American Werewolf in London in my book even though I thoroughly enjoy those transformations and that movie as well. Dee Wallace was a young hottie and she plays such a great victim (and cute werewolf). When people ask me who I feel is the ultimate horror baddy I usually go with Eddie Quist among a few other choice names. Eddie’s a perve. Eddie is a loose cannon. Eddie is a killer despite his charm.
146.The Human Centipede: First Sequence (2010)
The Human Centipede has enjoyed a nice cult following followed by near National recognition. It plays on some of our worst fears. Women and men alike cringe when they hear the term “ass to mouth”. Poop don’t go where food go. It’s very Mongo type stuff. There’s nothing ultimately cerebral about why this movie gets under our skin even if they combining of humans to form an insect is ultimately cerebral. The sequel did very little for me save being a fan of the male lead.
147.I Drink Your Blood (1970)
I play on this title and I Eat Your Flesh at least once a year when picking blog titles. I can’t fully explain why the title appeals. I mean it’s partially due to I Spit on Your Grave which won’t come around for a few more years. As a movie, I don’t understand the current obsession with it. I suppose upon its release it was something edgy, but fawning over this movie feels like fawning over a fairly descent informercial.
148.I Sell the Dead (2009)
An excellent combination of black humor with traditional horror concepts along with an overabundance of effects work. The effects will leave you happy even if they are comical at time. The twists are unknowable. This is a movie you have not seen repeated ten times over by genre zealots trying to write the next big thing. This is a movie about people making a unique horror pictures with some original plot devices.
149.I Spit on Your Grave (1978)
When I was a youth I watched this picture on a head full of codeine cough syrup (noticing a trend)after an all night Sonic the Hedgehog binge. Now that should tell you that I probably shouldn’t have been watching the ultimate rape pic (not a fan of Ms. 45 no matter how much you love the poster). Camille Keaton is innocent even as she gains revenge. She is a warrioress for all women. The kill methods are top notch. The production is totally 70’s. Don’t fast forward through the rape sequence. It allows you to identify with Keaton and makes her revenge so much more sweet.
150.I Stand Alone (1999)
Welcome to the re-invention of modern shock cinema. Instead of creating beautiful movie environments with which to share our tales of rape and exploitation we are resigned to a more realistic film depicting the end of our moral code. I Stand Alone has some genius moments and breaks you down. By the end of this picture you’ll be asking yourself if you’re allowed to feel sympathy for anyone. I’m sure we can argue about when shock cinema made it’s late 90’s early thousands turn toward “I can out shock your picture using the latest taboo”, but this isn’t a bad place to start looking.
151.I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)
When I was growing up my mother watched Highway to Heaven religiously (yes I went there, no I won’t take that back). She also watched Little House on the Prairie every single day. You know what? I dug ‘em both. I liked Michael Landon as an actor and just as a damn fine individual. So when I watch I Was a Teenage Werewolf all I see is Michael Landon. I see Little Joe. The iconic teen wolf look is great. The story line is perfect for its time period although totally dated (relevant story, told in a dated way). You won’t catch me watching this over and over again, but I’ll definitely let my kids watch it around Halloween to introduce them to werewolves alongside Monster Squad.
152.In a Glass Cage (1987)
I didn’t see this one coming. You read the description and it sounds more like a drama that might find its way into an award show. It did disturb me just as everyone said it would. It’s nice to know that you can take something so simple as a sick man who’s done some bad shit, put him in an iron lung and then torture him in any number ways. It’s clearly not torture porn. It’s not as obvious as those films. For 1987 we’re looking at a very intelligent torture picture. Beyond the exploitation greats of the 70’s but before the ingenuity of the 2000’s.
153.The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
I think I saw this flick when I was a kid. It’s a special effects geek’s wet dream. It’s the Jack Arnold classic that showed the world what could be done with special effects in the 50’s. The effects are still impressive. The god damn spider scene is near impossible for me to watch, but I could say that of at least five other movies and some of them have completely fake spiders. This one is important to include on the list. Fango history demands it.
154.The Innocents (1961)
Robert England was the guy who did the write up for Fango on this one. It’s a great picture. Clearly influential. I believe The Others was spun off this tale so maybe when I watched this movie I had the newer version in my mind. Also, the cover kinda looks like Nicole Kidman. I’m glad I’ve finally seen this flick that’s one so many best of lists. You know what movie had me totally spooked, didn’t make the list, but has the same atmosphere as The Innocents? The Uninvited from 1944. Check that one out.
Leave it to me to start a movie challenge that forces me to watch a horror movie about a prego lady under attack. Her attacker is trying to take her fucking baby from out of her stomach. Great. In the year that my wife is expecting our new bundle of joy I’m watching pregnancy horror at its best/worst. What a great movie. It fucks with you in all the right places, and I can’t imagine actually being a pregnant woman watching this. Horrifying. Well done. This was put out by the Dimension Extreme collection. Fuck yeah! I will never look at a pair of scissors the same way.
156.Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Kevin McCarthy was just a fantastic actor. That’s not all that has to be said of this film, but it’s good enough for me. A movie of this influence that epitomized an era and still appealed to the general public always gets my vote. You don’t even truly know what your afraid of in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. You just know that you’re being phased out. For the best look at this movie and the remakes and origins, get your ass inside a HorrorHound magazine. They did an amazing retro on the series. Sorry Fango, it’s fucking bad ass.
157.Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
Nothing terrifies me more than the scene where Donald Sutherland is on the phone, doesn’t identify himself and then the caller magically knows his name. The subsequent reaction petrifies me. I get goose bumps. Check me if you don’t believe me. Another great cast, updated nicely for the 70’s and it the thing is just as scary today. This is when Hollywood knew how to remake a horror film. Jeff Goldblum and Sutherland in the same movie? Count me in. Definitely among my top ten movie sets I would love to have worked on.
158.The Invisible Man (1933)
I love the Invisible Man’s laugh. Claude Rains gets ‘er done. The effects are also still brilliant. When you are hear about how they were performed you won’t let this one play second or third to Frankenstein or Dracula again. The look is very mad scientist meets the modern man and it’s a shame that somebody thought that Clark W. Griswald should be given the chance to play this character years later. Chevy Chase… stick to your vacation films.
159.Island of Lost Souls (1933)
This movie must be on the list for its literary accuracy. I’m not sure that would be a qualifier for me when picking a movie to go on a fright countdown. Nothing much going on here and while I enjoyed the film I kept scratching my head.
160.It's Alive (1974)
Speaking of pregnancy horror… this is a fucking gem. The sequel is just as good. The poster says it all and is just as terrifying as the movie and because it was made in the 70’s its downright fun too. A little sci fi. A little action/adventure. This one is a whole lotta movie and I don’t think it gets the credit it deserves. I’d say this one is safe up until the beginning of the second trimester… after that you might want to save it for a midnight feeding.
161.Jacob's Ladder (1990)
I get it now. Now that I’m older I understand this movie just a little bit better, but when I was a kid and this movie came out on HBO I was mortified. There are scenes in this movie that just grab your guts and make you scared to get out of bed. Tim Robbins is plays the vet role well (before he went all obtuse on us… just kidding Mr. Robbins). People forget this movie when throwing out truly terrifying mind fucks.
Again, I’ve written so much about this film I feel that I might as well just start reciting the dialogue from the movie and we can have a trivia game to see I remember EVERY line in the movie. Growing up this was one of my absolute favorites. There was a summer that I spent learning to swim in my buddies swimming pool that I spent staring in to the deep end, underwater, waiting for what I thought was a giant fucking shark to attack me. I remember it vividly. Just try going into a pool, looking at the deep end underwater. It’s not too good is it chief?
163.Kill, Baby...Kill (1966)
Another Bava classic. Beautiful Bava score and color. I’m not sure this one would have made it on my list, but it’s too close to call. I guess my question is why this film? I read what the caption writer scripted. It just didn’t add up. Nothing truly different from any other great Bava work and I don’t think it’s his best. Still great.
164.Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)
It’s so nice to see a movie featuring a Dickies song in the countdown (countdown?). If you’ve seen this movie, then you know why it’s on the list. If you haven’t seen this movie and you’re reading this list, that means you died before 1988 when the film was released. It’s as funny as it is quirky as it is sexy (killer klowns with large bossoms are still sexy… don’t judge). The music is epic and the ingenious killer klown technology still impresses me. Rumors of a sequel have surfaced and despite my icky yuck yuck feeling in the bottom of my stomach I’d love to see the right folks give it a go. No remakes necessary guys.
165.King Kong (1933)
There was a great round of articles on the Blood Sprayer about men in gorilla suits last year. It had me thinking about which of them was my favorite. I was never a big Mighty Joe Young guy. My dad liked it, but I think that Kong is your ape. Faye Wray come out and play? That slut! (what?)
166.Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)
Talk about a movie that makes my knees go gooey. I friggin’ close my eyes and squeal like a little bitch when this movie comes on. Even thinking about it makes me check the bed for movement. I can’t go in a car without checking the visor. I can’t stick my hand inside a spare tire. I can’t move to the Southwest. I’m about as paralyzed by this movie as one gets from watching a movie. It’s got William Shatner which is an absolute mega bonus. That scene where the light bulb explodes and he gets tarantulas all over his head… real. Somebody call Bones! You’ve gotta love that they recycle the old Twilight Zone music from the TV show throughout the movie. Hey it was used in many films, but Shatner starred in a few Twilight Zone episodes and so did the song. Coincidence?
Everybody knows that I love the portmanteau films of Amicus. I find that those films set a pretty high bar for the rest of the contenders. Well, this movie didn’t quite do it for me. It’s a film that has historical relevance, but I don’t t know that that alone qualifies it to be on this list. The Woman in the Snow was my favorite tale. Still not scary though. I have to be honest. This one had me wondering if every horror picture of the Criterion collection was automatically accepted for entry on the list.
168.The Lair of the White Worm (1988)
I had the poster from the local video store on my wall growing up. I hadn’t seen the movie (parents sorta forbid it after seeing the back of the box). So I’d see stills in Fango and wonder what could be inside that my parents would find so inappropriate for their youth. I do enjoy this movie. The effects are quite lovely and its nice to see a horror film be sexy, but not come off like a cheap harlequin romance novel. It also didn’t jump off the stripper pole and into a film can. Well done.
169.Land of the Dead (2005)
I’m a Hopper fan. I’m a Romero fan. This film did some good things to my brain, but the zombie effects were not Romero’s best. The story was superb. It was exactly the message that the modern horror film goer needs to hear, but it felt like in an effort to gain some success for the film, maybe Romero took his eye off the prize. Still love that the main source of distraction for the zombies is fireworks. I totally believe that would work too. One of the best kill scenes of any zombie flicks is featured in this movie. Keep your eye on the priest.
170.The Last House on the Left (1972)
Piss your pants! With those words, we know it’s on! David Hess is a great bad guy. He was so great in this movie that they kept putting him the same role. House on the Edge of the Park. Hitch-Hike. Hey, it’s okay. He was great in both of those pictures too. What’s brilliant about his performance in Last House on the Left is that he can be ever so charming one minute. The guy you just might bring home to meet the parents and then the next minute he’s killing your daughter. The music was fantastic as well. Expect big things from Sean Cunningham and Wes Craven someday.
171.The Last Man on Earth (1964)
A Vincent Price movie that has been made over a couple times. I think it’s just a great story and it will probably be remade over and over as we find new ways to be scared of the post apocalyptic. It’s not quite the zombies of Night of the Living Dead, but it’s got some bad guys that you want to run from at all cost.
172.The Last Wave (1977)
Short but sweet: who cares? Another Criterion collection entrant and I’m still pondering why this movie was included. Still. Every time I see its name on this list I go back and try to find something worthy. Something that knocked out The Monster Squad. Something!
173.Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural (1973)
This movie is on the list because of the total creep out imagery used in the film. It’s a rather dramatic vamp plot that doesn’t do much for me, but I think you could show this to a youngen and freak them out. I don’t dispute its inclusion because the imagery was so memorable, but I wish I had seen this when I was less jaded. Funny enough, Let the Right One in is on this list and I’m a fan for life.
174.Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)
I prefer to call this movie Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue. More people need to talk about and see this zombie film. It’s brilliant in every aspect. It’s got some giggles when you need them. Some good scares. Some good zombies and a great zombie origin myth. The movie is well rounded. If you’ve seen Shaun of the Dead and think that you only neeeed to watch Night of the Living Dead or Dawn of the Dead to get that movie, try this one on for size.
175.Let the Right One In (2008)
I love this movie. I love Let Me In. I love them both for completely different reasons. This one has the better ending and I identify with the complete movie better. I was that boy. Picked on at school. Totally awkward. We didn’t have a swimming pool in my school, but if we did, I would have been the guy unable to swim in it. It’s a vicious film. It’s an honest film. The score melts my heart and has me thinking of the score from the movie Chaplan. Only that pulled my heart strings in the same way. See the both. Encourage people to watch them both. Aren’t the people of Scandinavia just nailing it lately?
176.Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971)
Stills from this movie have haunted me since I first set eyes on them when I was a youngster flipping through An Album of Modern Horror Films. When I was older and finally saw the movie I was just a wee bit let down. It didn’t have the punch I wanted. It didn’t scare. It was a great looking production and true 70’s cinema. Pleasantly disorienting, but I’ll stick with Ghost Story for my spook scares. This still wins the bad ass movie title award.
Lifeforce comes across as something that Mario Bava might have imagined in the 60’s. I swear the plot was derived from the title Planet of the Vampires. An elegant sci fi horror classic with stunning imagery. Strangely sexy and ultimately a pretty scary movie, Lifeforce only suffers because too few people know it even exists. For me it was simple. They showed it on channel 11 when I was a kid, but it had all the good bits whittled out.
178.The Living and the Dead (2006)
Slow moving rather boring little piece of cinema. I’ll have to rewatch this when I have a fresh brain because it seems to get critical acclaim everywhere it goes. It’s possible that it’s just not my style of movie, but I struggle to think why anyone would list this on the Fango 300.
179.The Living Dead Girl (1982)
Jean Rollin doesn’t do it for me. I get why Rollin is successful and why this movie appeals to so many, but unfortunately aside from the opening sequence and the ending I’m bored to tears. I might as well be watching Interview with a Vampire with actresses substituted from actors and then blended on pulverize. I may not be snooty enough for this type of picture. Jean Rollin fans do not hate me too much. I’ll make sure to check out a few more flicks before I call it a day.
180.The Lost Boys (1987)
HorrorHound magazine did an absolutely complete retrospective on this film recently and even laid out a graphic guide for all movies vampire. I highly recommend picking that up. As for my take on it, this movie will always be a favorite. It’s done so well, so fun and so… sexy? Something like that. Favorite scene is the god damn saxophone player at the carnival gyrating. I think it’s hilarious even though I adore the song. The whole damn soundtrack is good as is every cover song for the sequels. Speaking of the sequels they did not turn me on. This is not exactly a surprised since the movies go out of formula altogether. What’s not to love. It’s everything that was a great about the 80’s plus vamps. The comedy relief doesn’t hurt either. This is the movie that made me want to collect horror comics.
181.Lost Highway (1997)
Including this movie on this list is a total sham. It’s not a horror flick. It’s not scary. It’s David Lynch. Somebody who created this list had a hard on for the man. Not that I don’t love the fucker as well (at least a little), but I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit back and watch a list that has so much promise get dominated by him. Side note for my overly opinionated diatribe: greatest friggin’ soundtrack. The Marilyn Manson “Apple of Sodom” track was downright inspirational. This is the first place I ever heard about Rammstein which would become one of my favorite bands.
182.The Man Who Laughs (1928)
The look of this movie is offputtting and unforgettable. It’s a nice piece of early creep and for that I’ll give it a place on the list. I’m not sure that it’s horror, but it’s got something edgy especially for 1928.
Totally fucked up. Thank you Tom Savini for dying so wonderfully in this movie and for doing effects work that is still admired to this day. I have little to say about this flick in the way of criticism. Every so often I think it loses its way and it takes a bit o’ effort to steer itself right. Still some of the most iconic imagery in early 80’s slasher films and one of the best VHS covers on the wall. Shotgun blast effects of the future beware.
I only saw this movie for the first time recently, but I’m quite sure I would have adored it during my years as a “dressed in black” Goth kid. It’s an original take on the vamp lore that works, very modern and still holds up. Hell, I remember trying to fill a bottle of vodka with my own blood. For some reason I thought the vodka would preserve the blood and the flavor. The coagulation would clearly say otherwise and yep, still tasted like vodka (not my favorite). George Romero needs to be recognized for his non zombie work as well. It’s just so easy to pigeon hole him with the undead. Martin is a touching film. Great for teenagers who are obsessed with death. Just keep an eye on your kids.
You know what movie you hear about on the Facebook group scene when the immortal question arises, “what’s the most messed up movie you’ve ever seen?” Well it’s this one, Irreversible (recently) and Inside. Martyrs took me by surprised, but I’ll be damned if those French don’t make some of the most diabolic films ever created. The torture is delightful. The transformation is mesmerizing and the overall message is more disturbing than most of the taboos you’re used to by now. It’s the new taboo.
186.The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
A Vincent Price EAP adaptation with some great poster promo art and a fan performance. I don’t have much to say about the Masque of the Red Death accept I find the overall aesthetic to be somewhat more shocking than other Poe adaptations that seem to have a second helping of camp alongside their Gothic horror tale.
May is for lovers or the loveless or people who have not been so lucky in love. Create your own love interest from the flesh and bones of the imperfect fuckers of this here world? Sure. I like your legs, your eyes, your tits… etc. And yes it’s a heart wrenching tale and Angela Bettis should have received an Academy nod if the Academy gave nods to films of this ilk.
188.The Mist (2007)
Hey let’s talk about a movie that absolutely fucked me up. I wrote a whole piece about this particular movie for my October blogathon in 2011, but the movie just doesn’t get old. I sat through this whole movie wondering what ever happened to our protagonist’s wife who was left home during the entire dimensional crossover/giant insect attack. When I finally learned how that situation resolved itself I continued to watch the movie with absolutely certainty as to how it would end. I knew that it would all work out. And it did… but didn’t. I hugged my family after this movie. Critics like to pan the effects. I like to criticize critics. Also, that damn religious zealot was the scariest thing in the whole damn movie.
189.Ms. 45 (1981)
It is quite possible that I have seen one too many rape/revenge films. I loved the poster art for this flick. The tagline. This movie should have been one that I loved, but when I put it up against I Spit on Your Grave or even Last House on the Left I had to take a pass on it. Hell, the movie Thriller makes this look like a Care Bear stare (hope you remember what that is). I know this film has a devoted cult following and I would not deny them that, but I find the vengeance subpar compared to I Spit on Your Grave or Thriller and the rape… uneventful. I suppose that’s a good thing in a way.
190.The Nameless (1999)
This flick didn’t really bite me the way I wanted to. Boy did I love the description. I nice psychological mind fuck from Spain, sure I’ll take that and eat it up. I found it uneventful.
191.The Nanny (1965)
I liked this one so much that I bought it for my sister for Christmas this year. Loved the psychological twist and Bette Davis never failed to give me the willies. My seven year old daughter happened to walk in the room while this was playing, sat down and watched the whole thing. This is a girl who loves the bright flashy cartoons of the modern age… you know the 80’s rip offs with computer animation. She sat through the whole thing, understood it, loved it and actually references it from time to time. Now that’s staying power. Wonder what she would think of the Bad Seed.
192.Near Dark (1987)
Yes, the Lost Boys gets all the credit for the vamp punk movement but we all know that this movie was at fault just as much if not more. We love to see our Lance Henriksen do his vamp thing alongside Bill Pullman. Jenette Goldstein and Jenny Wright are drop dead gorgeous and trump Jami Gertz soundly as a vamp. The only reason I like The Lost Boys better than this one is due to availability as a kid. I had The Lost Boys. I didn’t have Near Dark.
For some reason I always associate Joe D’Amato with this flick even though it’s not his. No particular reason. Let’s face it, we all bring home dead bodies to abuse sexually only to have our significant others prefer the corpse to us. That’s life. That’s marriage. It’s the reason you simply don’t have threesomes. Not for the casual horror viewer, but if you say you’re a horror fan then you’re watching this movie and getting yourself a cold one. … or a beer.
194.Night of the Creeps (1986)
Just picked this one up on Blu Ray and nothing makes me happier than to see that it is a director’s cut. I remember watching this cut to pieces on network TV and pretty much being terrified to take a dump in a public restroom for several years fearing that somehow my legs would become incapacitated and slugs would get in my mouth. Then I’d have to leave a recording for my best friend that would detail the slug/aliens trek into my brain. As long as Tom Atkins shows up to blow my brains out I’ll be just fine. The film style is stunning. The story line with flashback is intense and the one liners are flowing like Tom Atkins moustache.
195. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
My great debate about this film is whether I like it more or less than the sequels. Sure this is the one that started it all, but Day and Dawn are so fucking good. Don’t even get me started on Return of the Living Dead or the impact on the zombie genre (or initiation thereof). Don’t get me started on the socio political aspects of the movie. Don’t get me started on how quotable this movie is. It’s a triumph for the low budget filmmaker. It’s effective today. Fans of the Walking Dead who think you love zombies best watch this movie. It’s the flick that makes me think all film should be released into the public domain with some other form of compensation to befall the filmmakers.
196.The Night Walker (1964)
This was a hard find. Not available on DVD and none of the VHS to DVD conversion companies had it. Found it on Amazon on VHS finally. It was a nice hunt. Was it worth the digging? It’s a William Castle picture; one that I’ve never seen no less. The story line was almost obvious, but the traditional Castle picture doesn’t rely on heavy bits of mystery to draw the audience in no matter how hard he tries to make the shocking twist ending his shtick. What works for this film is the “let’s throw everything and the kitchen sink at the film and see what scares the audience” approach. I like the ghost/haunted house/dreaming of dead man angle. I encourage all fans of Castle to seek this out. Can somebody tell me why House on Haunted Hill didn’t make this list?
Clive Barker writes some great stories. Nightbreed is another shining example of that. This is a creature creation masterpiece and deserves every bit of cult classic status it has earned. Boy did I want to visit Midian. When Cradle of Filth released their Midian album I couldn’t help but think of this movie. Don’t overlook this movie even though it received some negative reviews when it came out. Join the movement to get the Cabal cut played near you.
198.A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
If this isn’t an obvious selection I don’t know what is. Nightmare on Elm Street is clearly deserving of this honor, but let me take the time to express my unhappiness with not seeing Dream Warriors on this list. Nightmare on Elm Street 3 is equally important in the evolution of Fred Krueger, has amazing 80’s sensibilities with some of the best kills in the genre. It turned the tide for Freddy and made him a comedian. Even non horror fans know the “Prime Time Bitch” line. I’d challenge you to find one who knows a line from the original. That Harryhausen Freddy Skeleton is one of the scariest things on film. The nurse that seduces Billy… well… that scene made me a man (wink wink, nudge nudge).
I’m not sure what drew me to this film when I was a kid. I saw it pretty early on and adored it. The story was familiar and the look of the vampire were absolute maddening. When a movie from 1922 can invoke terror without the use of sound or expert make up effects, you know you’ve got a special film. I’ve always wanted to write my own soundtrack for Nosferatu.
200.Nosferatu the Vampire (1979)
The images of Klaus Kinski portrayed the vamp in this picture have been with me since I first took An Album of Horror out of the library when I was young. I didn’t really know much about the film, but eventually would get to see it. Sure, it’s a fine piece of cinema. Werner Herzong makes Herzog pictures. There’s deviation from both Bram Stoker’s Dracula and from the Murnau classic. I don’t think it was as good a picture as the Fango crew, but I get it. It’s good.
201.The Omen (1976)
Every so often I wash my daughter’s hair and when I do I search for the mark of the beast. I know it’s not real and I know that it’s not there, but I check because God forbid I missed it and have a sweet loveable Antichrist on my hand I want to know about it as soon as possible. There’s gotta be benefits to that right? Remember Yonosh from Ghostbusters 2? Free parking! This entire series is splendid. I love the evolution of the story, David Warner is a guilty pleasure of mine and that beheading scene gives me the creeps. What a great story.
Fango, Criterion doesn’t always get it right. Are we trying to recognize the importance of more obscure foreign horror for some reason? This wasn’t a great scare flick. This wasn’t even a story that captured my attention. I know that you’re going to say that it’s all me. Maybe I’m not sophisticated enough to enjoy a film like Onibaba. I’ll go with that as soon as someone admits that somebody went through the Criterion Collection list and added the most obscure almost horror movies to the list of 300.
203.Open Water (2004)
When this came out I watched with a group of people who thought this was just terrifying. I pretty had to agree although I don’t think you can watch this over and over. You’ll lose all the power of the original watch. For me the terror stops once I realize that I’ll never go scuba diving or snorkeling. The whole concept that leads to the abandonment in this film is totally lost on me since I’ll never be in this position. Then again… how dissimilar is this plot from that of Frozen which was truly terrifying as well. I don’t go skiing and wont’ go on chair lift. Guess I either need to get more active in order to get more scared.
This Argento classic has some great music some great imagery and is an overall triumph. It won’t be long in Mr Argento’s career before he will hit the proverbial wall and start making some pretty bad productions with no answer as to why. At least we got this from Argento before he faded off into the sunset. Let’s hope that his new adaptation Dracula is the start of a new wave of good feelings in his career.
I was able to pick this up in the $5 bin at Walmart recently and that is a bargain. You’ve got some stellar acting performances. I’m not saying that I think that the story is believable, but it’s fun. It won’t take you long to figure out the ending of the movie, but you’ll wait with baited breath as you wonder when the rest of the characters will get with the program.
206.The Orphanage (2007)
As we all know Guillermo Del Toro movies have some common themes. This isn’t exactly an exception, but hey, it doesn’t take place during the Spanish Civil War. It does involve the plight of growing up a misunderstood child and what might befall children who wander into the dark. It’s a downright spooky film and if you’re lucky no one has spoiled the ending for you at this point.
207.The Others (2001)
So is this a remake of the movie the Innocents or not? I’m not sure that I’ve actually got that confirmed. I saw this in the theater when it came out and thought it was pretty darn good. It’s not hard to figure out what disease is plaguing the children who can’t go out into the light, but the reveal at the end should give you goose bumps. That’s if you can stand the long quiet movie and resist the urge to over guess the twist.
208.Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
What a beautiful movie. That’s rare to say of a movie on this list. I’d probably say that about Cemetery Man as well, but the effects guys truly do an outstanding job. Del Toro’s big blockbuster serves up some strange creatures with an excellent fable like story that will give adults something to think about and help them to remember what it likes to be a kid. Sure it plays on all Del Toro’s common themes, but in this movie they don’t stand out as “Del Toro Themes”.
This was another movie that wasn’t necessarily easy to find. Given just how fantastic this flick is you’d think it would have been on Netflix, but nay. A dark comedy about socialized cannibalism starring Randy Quaid. How does this movie even make it on to a top 300 list? Well it does so by being absolutely funny. Absolutely disgusting and absolutely scary. It was difficult to believe that this movie was made in 1986 and wasn’t a late 90’s production.
210.Peeping Tom (1960)
The POV kill shots combined with the crosshairs in the camera and the rather intriguing murder weapon make this early slasher style film a must see. Before you could stair through Michael Myers eye holes and kill his sister you could look through the eye of a camera to gain the perspective of a killer. Peeping Tom deserves all the accolades people thrust upon it.
211.Pet Sematary (1989)
I think there’s one thing we can all agree on: Gage is a fucking scary little kid. Beyond that we have a movie that pulls at your heart strings, includes a great Ramones song of the same name, includes quality kills and has Fred fucking Gwynne. It’s definitely a fun Stephen King adaptation and a well casted one at that. You know what Johnny… I don’t wanna be buried in a pet sematary either.
Every time I watch this movie I find something new to love whether it be it a camera angle or effect that I didn’t see before. Maybe it’s an appreciation for a kill that just hit me the right way. I have the chance to see it on 35mm in May and with a little luck I’ll get to see it. Also a fan of the sequels up until the third installment, but can’t get into after that. I’d love to know who stole the Jawas.
213.The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
I feel that this haunting tale was transformed into a horribly romantic love story, musical in recent years. People forget that it was a book first and while I haven’t tried to read that in years I found it quite dull. This movie on the other hand is filled some of the best make up effects perpetrated by Lon Chaney Sr.and is filled to the brim with horror iconography. I’ve always enjoyed the early attempt at using color in film.
214.Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
Anyone who thinks that Marilyn Manson only ripped off Kiss and Alice Cooper you have to see this movie. There are some make up jobs that scream Brian Warner. I love the Bowie/T-Rex esque musical numbers, the criticism of the music industry and the touching outcast love story. This is debauched and well acted as well as visually stunning. The Exhumed Films boys said of this film in their clue during the 24 Hour Horror-thon that it is the movie the Rocky Horror Picture Show wished it could be. Damn skippy!
I don’t refer to this movie as Phenomena unless I’m in certain company. To me this film will always be Creepers (the US release name). The box in the video store said Creepers. The cover art was so shocking I could help myself but to pick it up whether I was in the Mom and Pop video store or in Shoprite’s no rate video rental department. It was seated close to Creepshow and my mother absolutely refused to let me get it. Years later I’d pick it up and remember Jennifer Connolly from Labyrinth and my good friend Donald Pleasance. Keep your ears open for the amazing Goblin score and Iron Maiden “Flash of the Blade” contribution.
Some folks take issue with Piranha because they feel that it rips off Jaws. I don’t doubt that Mr. Dante was trying to catch some of the hype off the Spielberg release, but this movie holds up on its own. It has all the makings of a SyFy original picture from the late 70’s but some great performances mixed with a touch oh gore puts it in a whole other category. Yes, I’m afraid of lake swimming and that absolutely added to my enjoyment of this picture. The 3D remake is worth your time as well. Total camp out!
217.The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
This film is like a hodge podge of Poe and another Poe, Corman, Price combo. I’m a bit surprised to note that there are so many of these on this list given their budgets and similarity of storytelling. That’s not to say I disagree. Quite the contrary. I guess I just expected Fango to chock up all the Corman/Poe movies to sequel level films and list maybe one.
218.Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)
There’s really nothing scary about this movie. Oh there’s performances that will go down in history with Tor and Vampira on the graveyard shift. In all honesty this is one fun spook story. It’s original. The sour acting is laughable when it’s bad and every once in awhile, those performances that everyone loves to pan kinda pop. Lugosi rises from the grave to make a horror picture… go with it! Personal note: The Tim Burton film, Ed Wood should have been on this list. It’s a bio pic but I’ll be damned if that fucking movie doesn’t tell it like it is. Horror cinema post Universal but before the slasher boom. In fact, I think documentaries were left out entirely.
My wife is terrified of this. She grew up with blond hair and blues eyes. She swears that has nothing to do with the terror this movie in spires in here. I’ve never actually watched it with her, but I don’t think I could get her to put it on anyway. There are so many horrifying images at play in this movie that there’s no wonder it makes so many top ten lists. To tell you the truth, it freaks me out too even though I pretend not to be. I still look under my dead for a jester doll even though I don’t own one.
220.The Prophecy (1995)
I remember when this movie came out and the previews looked so damn good. I got to see it in the theater and I was impressed. I haven’t watched it in some time, but have absolutely no desire to. You know it really wasn’t that great. It’s got Chris Walken so if you do check it out and dislike at least you have a couple new one liners to practice. I don’t think this movie should be on this list.
If Janet Leigh doesn’t nail that shower scene the world changes. Slasher films won’t be made because America won’t fall in love with them. Dementia 13 might not get made leaving Francis Ford Coppola to dream of the Godfather. Jamie Lee Curtis doesn’t star in Halloween. Hell, Halloween doesn’t get made which means the 80’s slasher boom doesn’t happen. No Freddy. No Jason. I don’t think I get into horror if it’s not for Psycho. I really owe it more than I ever know. I don’t really site it as one of my favorites either but thoroughly love it.
I watched this movie twice this year inadvertently. Exhumed showed it and I had watched it for this challenge. First time out I didn’t fully understand what I was watching and couldn’t quite grasp why this flick was such a big deal. Guys on bikes selling their soul via some kind of Pagan rite… eh, sounds like someone’s trying to make a buck off the popular craze of the moment. The second viewing friggin’ turned me on. The big screen does something special to this movie and the soundtrack is one of my favorites in horror history. The bike helmets are great and the dark humor that lays into this film is essential to carry the story forward. The credit sequence is sweet.
I think this is the movie that let’s me say this with some confidence. I do not like J horror (that being Japanese horror). The American versions of these films always hit the nail on the head for me, but the Japanese version leaves me bored. It’s not just the subtitles. The pacing is all wrong for me and the story lines are fantastic, but always go too far. You take a great plot and then just when I’m starting to enjoy the concept… new unchartered direction. It’s uncomfortable. This particular entry just bored me.
Growing up this movie was featured in my Fright Flicks collectors cards. My father rented it and we watched it together. It’s a movie that we agreed was absolutely worth the watch. What fantastic creature effects. We rented it alongside Rawhead Rex and needless to say, that didn’t not make this list. Pity.
I avoided this movie like the plague when I was a kid based on the cover alone. Shame on me. Winged serpents in Manhattan atop the Chrysler building with loads of Crayola blood and some surprise appearances by my favorite genre actors… yeah I’m in. I encourage everyone to see this flick. Do not underestimate the pour of a Mayan deity.
226.Race With the Devil (1975)
Peter Fonda had me at Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry. I also like that little film called Easy Rider. Only Fonda can make an RV chase this fuckin’ cool. I have to admit that I’m partial to the strange cult, evil gang of bikers subgenre. I was overpowered by Death Wheelers aka Psychomania, but this one… well, it’s less fun and games with the undead/occult on motorcycles and more “we’re off on a vacation, whoops, we’re dead”. This is the best era for film. When anything was possible. Even an RV as the last bastion of hope for unsuspecting W.A.S.P.s can happen. Maybe a nice double feature would be The Hills Have Eyes. The RV Double Feature you’ve been waiting for…
227.Raw Meat (1972)
I caught this one a couple years ago upon the recommendation of Bloody Disgusting. They did one of those lists of great horror movies you’ve never seen. Dead and Buried was on that same list. When I was a kid staring down the pages of An Album of Horror Films there was a half eaten skeletal couple on one of the last pages in the book. I used to turn past it just as fast I could. It came from Raw Meat. Donald Pleasance picks another great flick. Perhaps this movie connects with me so well because I’ve always been fascinated by what might underneath the NYC subway system. I’m pretty sure there’s a great documentary about it, but I think I’ll stick it out with this classic tale.
When you see a movie like Re-Animator on TV when you’re a kid you pretty much lose everything that’s fantastic about it all at once. I had seen snip-its as an adult but without the full impact as a kid, the movie never took hold like it did for so many… until the Exhumed Film 24 Horror-thon featured it as the finale at my first fest. What a perfect choice. I can safely say that I am now a reformed Herbet West addict. I love that green reanimation ooze. I love that a severed head can still go down on a woman. I love that a film can end so perfectly, so terrifyingly gory and yet still carry with it a sense of irony. I admire Mr. Stuart Gordon. I adore Mr. Combs. If there’s anything I have learned from watching Re-Animator later in life, uncensored its that showing kids movie that are cut for television is the moral equivalent of lying to them.
I wrote a little piece about this one for the 31 Day Blog-a-thon this past October. It was a movie that scared the shit out of me. I stand by the decision to pick that film. The sequel was just as good and if the third installment, Genesis, has anything to say about it I might have to watch the whole Goddamn thing wearing Depends. As I have often stated and never apologized for it, FUCK QUARANTINE. It achieves nothing but confusing viewers to think that they’ve actually seen REC destroying REC. Quarantine 2 gets a hall pass for being a fun ride and not imitating REC 2. Something about this flick harkens to the mid 70’s when everything was about demonic forces possessing the goodie good world.
230.Red White & Blue (2010)
This didn’t stick with me like I thought it might. Story sounds great. Trailer good. Poster art got me. Every once in a while these new fangled festival hits just fail to intrigue me. I’ll give it a second watch especially since it’s not just Fango that’s giving it the nod.
So Roman Polanski and I don’t always see eye to eye. People just love this entry into the apartment trilogy, but I found it boring, artsy and I just didn’t care. I even tried rewatching it. I have to think that its influence is mostly based on the cinematography. Sure that’s great. I think Polanski is a gifted filmmaker. I get why you’d like it, I just don’t.
232.Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Now this movie is absolutely terrifying, deserves to be on this list and is absolutely not a horror movie. I love this movie for every reason one might imagine, but if you want Mr. Toad’s wild ride, watch this on a head of drugs and then realize at the end you’ve wasted the last five years of your life. At that point you’ll realize that you need to make some serious lifestyle changes just in time for the words “ass to ass”. Ellen Burston deserves all the nice things you say about her. Ellen, we remember how you kicked some major ass in the Exorcist and think you’re just swell.
233.The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
I first picked this movie up to show to a bunch of horny adolescent boys at an all night horror movie marathon. Boy did Linea Quigley pick up a few new fans. I’ve written a few pieces about this one. I’m especially fond of the soundtrack. If I had my druthers I would cover the entire thing from start to finish and put on an almost Rocky Horror production of the whole thing. It’s not gonna happen and I accept that now. This film deserves to be your favorite list. It deserves to be on the AFI 100. It tells jokes that you still don’t get and its full of the most basic slapstick that a low budget film need to survive. This movie makes Kristy Jett just about as happy as a kitten in a room full of cat nip bongs and for that it’s all muy incredible
234.The Ring (2002)
I like the Ring better than Ringu (see below). Better effects. The story line felt more relevant to me and had that urban legend feel rather than being ghostly and impersonal. I know it’s the same movie, but it isn’t. That’s why Fangoria put it on the list twice. I can’t imagine showing this movie to my seven year old, but if she just so happened to walk in at the end of the movie she wouldn’t sleep for weeks. The video that the protagonists watch were is one step away from the Nine Inch Nails “Closer” video and I mean that as a sincere compliment.
I liked The Ring better, but I’ve never really been a huge J horror fan. I’ll say that all the American remakes stick with me better. They’re shorter and get to the point. I have no patience. So for all the Japanese horror flicks that came out during this period of time I probably like this one the best or at least it’s in my top five. Let’s say that my seven year old daughter walked in during the end of this movie and watched the whole thing and then laughed… well that wouldn’t be hypothetical. It happened.
236.Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Now I know that ya’ll think this movie is great because of Roman Polanski or Mia Farrow. No, it’s not John Cassavetes. It’s friggin’ Ruth Gordon. I believe that Ruth Gordon is just so saccharine sweet that its absolutely certain that she was working as an instrument of the devil. I love her like she was my dear grandmamma, but she plays Satanic cult well. I was even smitten with her Harold and Maude. Find anyone outside of Budd Car who will admit that and I don’t even think he’ll admit that. The music is perfect. The first time I ever saw anything having to do with this film I was twelve and a USA network Weekend of Horrors showed the ending. I was hooked. The book was okay, but nothing once you’ve seen the film. Bless William Castle’s heart. The founderof the feast indeed.
237.Salem's Lot (1979)
I watched this movie for three whole days straight looped on a head full of Benadryl during the worst case of poison ivy I ever did have. It was like a giant oozing mass grew on my neck, solidified and became an amber sheath. That’s enough of the gross stuff. I couldn’t sleep, but I could definitely eat up this Tobe Hooper classic. I can’t turn it off when I find it on TV. If you put it on and I need to go somewhere, I won’t leave. It’s a comfort movie. Remember, Mark Petrie’s model cemetery is still the most amazing thing I kid could own. I have fantasies about recrafting it in my basement someday. Maybe putting it on a train board and model railroading around it. The masks on the shelf in his room are still bad ass. This movie makes me long to be a child of the 70’s. Susan Norton… hot. I wrote all about I previously, but it bears repeating.
238.Santa Sangre (1989)
Hey, artsy motherfuckers who want to impregnate the best horror list of the last ten year’s with your “art” films… Back da fuck up. I get why everyone loves this film and maybe when I grow up I’ll like it too. Until then please remove me from your mailing list. I’ll find a Jodorwsky film that I like someday.
I’m a fan of torture porn. I’ll call it torture porn and you’ll friggin’ like it. This film is so well acted and before we all knew how it ended we loved it. It gets harder to appreciate this one after the sequels and after you’ve seen it for the umpteenth time showing girlfriend or boyfriend number twenty five a film you really enjoyed once. One thing is for certain, that bear trap face mask fucked me up good and proper. My jaw hurts and I didn’t suck any cock today. Ow! At least every Halloween we get a new horror film or at least up until recently.
The horror film dorks found a new hero in this one and it wasn’t Sydney Prescott. Randy. Jamie Kennedy. In what alternate reality does Jamie Kennedy get to be the hero in a blockbuster horror movie or at least the horror geek wannabe hero that we all kinda sort know we can be when the situation presents itself. Sure he doesn’t really save the day, but he recites trivia. That’s what’s really important. I thank Scream quite often. I thank it for giving Wes Craven something to do with all those demons.
241.The Sentinel (1977)
Hey Chris Sarandon… where are your fangs? You haven’t gotten them yet, but Fright Night is not far off. John Carradine is a creepy mofo. That’s why they cast him in this and the Howling. I also read the book to this and the movie just make it look like one of those cloth baby books with all the big pictures and large words. The Sentinel doesn’t get mentioned enough. It has scenes that horror fans have to see and has the cinematic equivalent of eye junk food every horror fan is crazy about. 1977 was a great year.
242.Session 9 (2001)
Why do I feel like I’ve seen this one before? Session 9 didn’t impress me and I thought the whole thing was one big let down. Every one talks this up like it’s friggin Jaws. What am I missing? Feel free to tell me why you love it so I can put it in my brain with all the other films that you can’t convince me are any good. I’ll rewatch this when the dust settles, but I don’t dispute its place on the list because I have no idea what people really dig about it.
You know what scene really stands out to me in this movie? The Morgan Freeman research in the library to classic music scene. Sure there’s stunning effects work done by some effects folks who should be commended. There’s Kevin Spacy. There’s a nice plot twist that had me and my dad foaming at the mouth as we left the theater (I was fifteen). I still wonder what it would be like to eat that much spaghetti. I suppose I’ve drank like that. Drank drank drank puked drank. Ain’t no thing.
244.Shaun of the Dead (2004)
A love story with zombies. Yeah that about sums it up. I wish Edgar Wright would make more horror flicks like this a Hot Fuzz. I wish Simon Pegg would star in more zombie movies. I pray for it. The one liners flow like brains and the simple truths… this film’s honesty is what makes it a special one. I still can’t believe it’s only eight years old. I feel like I’ve been watching it my entire life. Oh, and the soundtrack is worth mentioning. Killing a zombie mafia member to Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen is inspirational. So is singing White Lines while leaving a bar after hours and having a zombie participate in the chorus. I had that song played at my wedding because of this movie.
245.The Shining (1980)
My dad used to cover my eyes when the naked hottie came out of the tub. I never had the heart to tell him that he sucked at covering my eyes and I caught every beautiful piece of that woman’s body… until she turned into the crone with the green slimy back. Then I almost puke. I’m just glad to not have an old crone with a slimy back fetish. Sure it’s not “King’s vision” but who’s Stephen King anyway? It’s Stanley Kubrick we came to see right? It’s a great film and I love it to red rum, but I can’t help but think what if King’s vision had made it on screen with Kubrick lensing it and Nicholson playing the Jack Torrance that King wanted. Great music (you know that). Great hedge maze (you know that too).
I adore Cronenberg. This man makes body horror terrifying. The version of this film was so low quality that I thought the whole thing would be spoiled for me. Nope. This movie holds up to this day. The fears it touches on are fears that all of us can identify with. If your one of the effected then you’re afraid that you could be capable of such debauchery. If you are unaffected, you’re scared somebody’s going to try and attack your loved ones. Enjoy the fucked up Canadians. I fucking love those guys.
247.The Shout (1978)
Soooo. I do not think you need to watch this movie and I’m not sure why this one made this list, but you might enjoy the ending. Most of it didn’t sit well and I sat there trying to piece it together. I also tried to let it scare me. That didn’t really work. John Hurt… good, but he doesn’t save the whole movie. Um, do over. Pick another movie.
248.The Signal (2007)
Everyone kept telling me to see this flick and they were goddamn right. I think this is terrifying and has some of that same Shivers qualities that I love. The Signal had me fooled. I thought I was in for a one dimensional scare, but no… it switched gears and made me laugh for a bit and then immediately went back to scare me. Brilliant film. I only regret not seeing it sooner and if you ever ask me for a recommendation for a horror movie and I don’t mention this going forward, ball tap me.
249.The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
When you win and Oscar you’re no longer allowed to be called a horror movie. Even if no one would call you a horror movie before. You’re out of the club. Just kidding. Silence of the Lambs is so damn quotable. It’s thrilling and terrifying and creepy and makes you feel icky. It’s got the proper gross out to unsettle. It’s got Dr. Alex Chilton… eww. Um, I can smell your cunt. Would you fuck me? I’d fuck me. How about Goodbye Horses as a lap dance song? Not anymore. Can’t do it. I wonder if it ever did get the lotion on its skin and where is that proverbial hose. The lambs… have kept me up all night. Ask me to do my Buffalo Bill impression some time. I used to do it drunk so I might be a little rusty.
250.Silent Hill (2005)
Silent Hill was the reason I bout my first Play Station even though I had no money and was smoking heavily at the time. Well, that and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. I had a very short love affair with Silent Hill because it creeped me out, but more importantly it cut into every other productive action I would take during a normal day in the life. I had to drop it. I have never really gone back to games since taking my first journey into the world of the gamer. Now onto the movie. I adore it. I don’t watch it often because it feels a bit long, but that doesn’t mean that I love it any less. Some of the special effects actually get under my skin. Some of them out do the video games. The transitions because normal and dark world are perfect mind fuckers. Just writing this and thinking about it gives me the willies and makes me want to play the game again. The original. Sort of.
251.Silent Scream (1980)
I don’t see how this flick stands out against other slasher films of the time. It’s fairly early on in the 80’s craze but we’re not talking about anything spectacular. It’s fine for a slasher film plagued with every pitfall of the genre even in post production. There’s always Barbara Steele to keep you on your toes. I’d keep this one off the list and replace it with another generic slasher film or better yet, let’s get Pieces on the list.
Brian DePalma really makes one movie very well… good movies. This early effort has an intriguing story with a fun but slightly predictable twist. His cinematography is beyond comment and will get better with age. It also has some great poster/cover art. Of course it does have our beloved Margot Kidder who goes on to play Lois Lane and star in the Amityville Horror (with boobies in tow). This is also right around the time she’s filming Black Christmas. A true scream queen. DePalma really has a way with women, doesn’t he?
253.The Sixth Sense (1999)
Guess what Bruce Willis is through the whole movie? Not gonna tell, but if you don’t know by now, how’s that encasement in carbonite treating you? I was impressed with this flick when I first saw it and upon subsequent viewing it fermented nicely. Unfortunately, once you watch a few of M. Night Shamalamdingdong’s movies you know what’s going to happen even before the credit sequence is over. That doesn’t mean I dislike his movies, but it takes away the bite and makes me look for something else to latch onto in the movie. Good acting. Nice cinematography. Gripping story (sans the twist). I still enjoy the film even though I know Bruce’s secret and it ain’t that he’s not gonna throw the fight to make Marsalis Wallis a lot o’ money.
But Night of the Creeps is already on the list! Just kidding. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Great effects and “familiar” story help to make it a fun time. The director swears up and down that he never saw Night of the Creeps and I believe him. There’s way too much he could have capitalized on if he had seen it. I like to think of Slither as the sister movie to Night of the Creeps. It’s fast paced so even if the similarity bothers you you’ll get to the completely chaos of an ending quite fast.
255.Spider Baby (1964)
Hey Lon Chaney, Jr… nice fucking soundtrack. That song really gets me. It’s creepy and eerie. It makes me think that the boogeyman is absolutely real and that he’s lurking just at the end of the needle of my record player. Fantomas’ cover seals the deal. Let us not forget Sid Haig. Let us not forget absolutely debauchery and taboo bending wholesome goodness. This is the anti-breakfast cereal with four balanced food group movie on the list. Enjoy responsibly. Also, this movie has given the surname to one of my favorite webisode hostess, Leanne Spiderbaby. Horror fans who haven’t seen this haven’t lived and need to see if for no other reason than to compare it to other movies folks find shocking.
But Slither is already on the list!... Fooled you! Squirm has one of the best movie posters by far especially for just how B the goddamn thing is. I love watching worms attack people en masse after a power line falls and it rains like a motherfucker. I know it’s not perfect. Far from it, but it’s gross. I like gross. Also another movie that I became familiar with at a young age through An Album of Modern Horror Movies. Thanks Washington Township Public Library.
Michele Soavi directs this mindfuck in psychedelic giallo’s clothing. It’s got some truly psychotic images that will startle and upset. You may never feel the same way about owls again. It’s a well told story and the best part of all, it’s Italian. Soavi goes on to direct Cemetery Man, one of my favorites and a film I consider a crossover picture for me. It was a film that allowed me to start exploring foreign horror beyond Argento and Fulci. I truly wish I had seen this a bit earlier and not waited until the Fango 300 made it a priority. To be savored.
258.The Stepfather (1987)
When I watched this flick as a kid I wasn’t overly freaked out. I definitely enjoyed it and I enjoy it now. It holds up well, is well acted and the premise is close to home. I am a stepfather. I often times am forced to wonder what my stepdaughter thinks about me. I’d say a good portion of the time I’m probably on her nice list, but I bet that after we ground her for starting a food fight I become the evil stepdad. In her mind, am I a murderous villain as well?
259.The Strangers (2008)
Until I owned a home this movie didn’t really get under my skin. Now I think that ever sound is a bunch o’ folks in strange masks ready to torment and viciously murder me in an almost Manson-esque way. I remember seeing the trailer for this movie before its release and was quite spooked. The use of silence will leave you startled. The masks will haunt you. The end will shock you. I might as well be talking about a grindhouse picture from the 70’s.
260.Street Trash (1987)
You have to be careful with this movie. If you say you love it around the Troma fanatics they might dunk you in a vat of toxic waste. I guess there’s some healthy competition between Street Trash and some of Troma’s C budget, special effects fests. I love ‘em both. So I urge you to go out and drink bottles of Mad Dog 20/20 and re-lable them viper. Watch the hobo’s melt in the street. This film uses a style of effect that incorporates the best of the Crayola paint colors, an ooze option I appreciate. Do yourself a favor. If you enjoy Street Trash go hunt down the 2011 shorty indy movie Flesh Eating Fog. You’ll definitely enjoy the use of color and melting.
Today it was pretty much made official that Suspiria was seeing a remake to which I responded that those fans who are affected by this remake choice negatively should go into the theater and boom box the original Goblin score. It’s the only way to disrupt a quiet theater. The last movie to be shot in Technicolor definitely looks like it was shot in Technicolor. It’s vivid use of red and blue have provided the basis of comparison for me by which I judge color in most artistic/horror films. I love the effects. The music. I love Jessica Harper as the lead. I love the death sequence, but as I watched this movie for the first time on Christmas night when I got my very own VCR the thing that stuck out the most was the soundtrack. Goblin made their mark and would again and again. Italian Prog Rock should have its own equivalent of devil horns.
262.Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Sure it was a good movie and I love a horror musical ever now again. Hell I’ll even say that it paved the way for a few indy filmmakers to win some awards on the festival circuit because it broke some ground. But there’s Repo The Genetic Opera now (which I still plan to see one day and I own it) and Cannibal the Musical. I’m not sure this movie makes sense on this list of fright films. Sleepy Hollow was a better Burton/Depp collaboration and much creepier. Ed Wood would have been a better choice. I just don’t see it. Still like the movie and recommend you see it. I do think of it every time I go to the barber. Then again I also think of Floyd the Barber from the Andy Griffith show and from the Nirvana song .
263.Tales from the Crypt (1972)
In my mind if this Amicus portmanteau is going to make the list then they all should. Well, maybe not all of them, but you know that I’m partial to a certain movie involving a certain Doctor and the House that might contain… horrors. Be that as it may I will agree that Tales from the Crypt is by far the best of the Amicus productions. The stories are varied nicely. The gore is perfect 70’s brit and the star power of this film alone sets it above the rest. I can honestly say that I get a bit spooked by this one. It was the first movie that had me looking at the score (Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor). It was also the first movie that had me wondering where it was filmed. Every time I think I have a favorite story, I think of the next one and it trumps it. There’s a special place in my heart for the Peter Cushing tale. The ending is pure gore-out and the cemetery Amicus used was a fucking horror show.
264.Tales from the Hood (1995)
What about Tales from the Darkside: The Movie? Another anthology of horrors only this time told in the ghetto. It’s a brilliant combination of modern, urban horror told in a traditional venue. There’s a feel of the Blaxploitation movies of the 70’s. I love that Fango chose this movie to be on the 300. I didn’t expect it at all. That gold toothed skull on the cover has more to smile about now.
I love the Boris Karloff gets to play himself (essentially) in the film while questioning the modern horror feature. I think this movie comes along at the perfect time to question horror. When Psycho and Night of the Living Dead are changing the face of the horror landscape, what scares people anymore. It’s always blood. Gore. More and more. The monsters just aren’t frightening anymore. So what is? Boris asks the question and then quickly learns the answer. I encourage horror fans old and new to check this one out. The fable it conveys is just as relevant today especially with the remake cycle in and torture porn rehashes in full tilt.
266.The Tenant (1976)
I think I’ve said just about all I want to say about the damn apartment trilogy although I enjoyed some of this movie. It moved slow. It never gets to the point. I didn’t think it was scary and aside from appreciating Polanski’s shots and style, I think I can leave this one off this list. I do enjoy the opening of the film. Something about negotiating the price of the room… I’m sure that happens every day. Especially when a well-mannered Polanski is in front of the camera.
What a strange work of metaphor and special effects wizardry. I would call this scary and I wouldn’t call it horror, but the stop motion effects will fuck with your head. You might as well be looking that Sledgehammer video by Peter Gabriel from the early 80’s only with very violent, sci fi, nihilistic imagery that will have you itching your skin for insects.
268.The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Before I saw this movie I believe I watched Robert Englund talk about it on the Fangoria awards. He was narrating the award that year and they were recapping the movie. The use of sound is more violent than any of the chainsaw attacks. Sharp piercing sound will definitely scare the shit out of you. The chemistry between this band of crazies is what really ties the movie together. It’s why you have sequels and remakes. Tobe Hooper laid the ground work for characters that represent different kinds of folks that we’re all afraid of meeting. The leacherous old man, father figure. The animal, Leatherface. The comedic insane hitchhiker who can play nice long enough to make you dead. My personal favorite is part II. Sacrilege I know. I also have a special place in my heart for Leatherface soundtrack. What wonderful metal.
269.Theater of Blood (1973)
When I was getting confirmed into the Presbyterian church, my sponsor gave this movie to me on VHS knowing just how much I adored horror films. This along with the added bonus of learning that peanut butter and bologna is a delicacy (fuck that shit) were the best things that came out of the whole experience. Vincent Price plays the Phibes role only Shakespearean rather than Biblical. It’s as funny as it is disgusting and educational too.
Though this one is somewhat dated I think it an important entry on this list. It embodied everything Fango was during the early 80’s. The special effects are quite enjoyable to this day if not a bit dated. The techniques used in creating the giant ants is still used today. This kind of movie is a perfect starter film for the new horror fan or the new sci fi geek. I don’t think exclamation points are used enough in movie titles.
Ils… yeah I watched Ils. People friggin adore this movie. Well I don’t. It bored me through and through and I have very little to say about it that fan boys are going to want to hear. It was paced all wrong. Maybe I was expected something more flashy for all the hype and I’m sure to watch it again someday. Maybe it’s me (not you).
272.They Came Back (2004)
Excellent living dead picture. It’s executed well to keep you entertained but thinking. I’d say that this film doesn’t get the recognition that it should with an oversaturation of zombie flicks hitting the scene in the last ten years. Pick this one up and enjoy the house that Romero built even if they aren’t traditional zombies.
273.The Thing (1982)
I like to watch this movie with my dad once a year. It’s hard to believe that the film is thirty years old given the lasting effects work and break out performances. Wilfred Brimley before the diabetes and before the oats got him. Kurt Russell before Overboard took ahold. Keith David before he met Jennifer Connolly and “took it out for air”. A soundtrack that you think is John Carpenter, but no… it’s Ennio Morricone DOING Carpenter. Most fans talk about the effects work on this film as untouchable. When the prequel was released it was the thing that everyone was looking at to see if it was comparable (it wasn’t but I enjoyed it just the same). John Carpenter’s remake is what a horror film should be.
274.The Thing From Another World (1951)
The movie that John Carpenter remade. Also the movie made from the story Who Goes There. You really don’t see the “monster” for nearly the entire picture and the anticipation is crushing. When you finally do see James Arnes in his alien get up it’s shocking and nearly Kanamid (from To Serve Man from the Twilight Zone). The music again is stunning. The movie holds up and still scares. I love that when you watch John Carpenter’s Halloween this flick is playing on the television and that you get to see the RKO introduction. That’s what they call foreshadowing…
275.The Tingler (1959)
It’s not enough that House on Haunted Hill simply isn’t on this list, but now a fellow William Castle movie equipped with promotional gimmick released around the same time IS in fact on the list. Let’s get it straight. House on Haunted Hill is my favorite William Castle movie. It has a pretty damn good gimmick although I will admit that The Tingler is the master of the gimmick. Inspiration for the movie Popcorn and home to one of the worst rubber creatures since the 50’s took on atomic creatures and space monsters. It’s a satisfying movie with some brains to it. This kind of cerebral shit was big in the 70’s what with Altered State and the like. I’m glad it’s here, but Vincent is also Frederick Loren.
276.Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971)
There are people who love this series like people love the movie Psycho or Jaws. I am growing into one of those people slowly but surely. This movie looks to have some pretty wretched effects… until they get under your skin and the story starts to kick some major ass. It deviates from some of the zombie stories up until this point almost reaching into Japanese ghost lore for its roots. But it’s a Spanish production. I’m not sure if it had any effect Lucio Fulci when he created the look for Zombi but there is a similarity in living dead design if only subtle.
Reba McEntire. Alex P. Keaton’s friggin Dad. The guy that got ran over by an angry mob caused by a fraternity and was stabbed through the neck on a certain Friday night. How about them grabboids? This has everything you want in a rubber monster movie. Giant monsters. Comedic presence. Cannon fuse. Lots of guns and explosions. It’s just a solid story and one that may not have complete basis in reality, but who knows what the fuck is under the desert anyway. It’s the new ocean… ya know?
I didn’t hate this movie. The circular plot structure had me slightly confused at first which is why I didn’t figure out what was going on until way late in the movie. By that point I was bored and even though it had it’s shock moments, there’s nothing here I consider special. One plot twist does not a great movie make. Unless of course that movie is the Sixith Sense.
279.Trick 'r Treat (2008)
Anthology horror is not dead despite what George Romero’s Deadtime Stories tried to do to it recently. The wrap around story is exquisite with one of the creepiest and loveable editions to horror iconography. Each story is a fun twist on some of our classic favorite monster tails. I can tell you that it’s the perfect film for Halloween. It’s a great costume for your kids, and the only thing that bothers me about it at all is that when I say I love the movie Trick or Treat everyone assumes I’m talking about this one and not the 1986 film featuring Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne (Hey Fango… how did that movie not make the list?)
280.28 Days Later (2002)
Zombies that run. It’s not the first time we’ve seen it although it’s come to be one of the most memorable occurrences. Some would say that Nightmare City had the running undead thing down, but Lenzi is quick to point out that they are mutants not zombies. What about Return of the Living Dead? If Trash can dance and leap then she can run. They’re pretty fast moving undead. 28 Days Later has quality actors, a brilliant story (that I think the Walking Dead pulls from a bit too much at times) and a fucking brilliant, somber soundtrack. Of course they “undead” are really infected with the rage virus, but we’ll let ‘em into the Zed club. At least I will, ya meanies.
281.28 Weeks Later (2007)
I love that this sequel is on the list. I think it might have a leg up on the original. Amazing soundtrack that borrows from the original. Terrific story continuation, but the opening to this film is where it really shines. A man leaves his family to be eaten alive by the Ragers after looking his wife in the fucking eye. That’s cold. I think under the circumstances it is understandable, but man it just give me chills. Great cast as well. Where’s my fucking sequel? Stop the remake factory for like five seconds and give me a 28 Months Later and then a 28 Years Later and then turn the lights off when you leave.
282.Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971)
Ever since I ordered my first import/bootleg horror VHS catalog out of the back of Fangoria I have loved the title of this movie. Bay of Blood may have “inspired” Friday the 13th almost ten years later, but that’s not why it’s brilliant. It’s BAVA for starters. The kills are fantastic and pretty much set the bar for the next ten years. Some directors may go for the gore/gross out but Bava really gives you some dead bodies to talk about.
283.Un Chien Andelou (1929)
So I read the explanation as to why this film is on the list and I cry foul. Just because your movie inspires an awesome Pixies tune doesn’t mean you get on the fucking list. It’s not scary. It’s not frightening. Slicing up eyeballs… well that’s a little gross, but let’s get the Faces of Death on this list then. Not matter how fake at least it’s horror related entertainment. Over the years its been easy to see that sometimes Fangoria has lost its focus on horror and monster related entertainment. It follows the popular movie. It will try to appeal to an audience too broad or too narrow. Well, this list is full of artsy fartsy movies that have no place in the magazine or on the list. They do belong on some fuckers 300 list, just not this list. I enjoy this early experimental cinema as much as the next nerd, but let’s save some room for films that deserve it. Frightening? Hardly. Don’t know about you… but I am … (that’s for the hipsters).
Spiral. I will give you this, you’ve got an original plot that’s executed well and really sort of creepy. Not my favorite movie, but it’s got enough to carry its own. The concept of being possessed by spirals or haunted by them, as if they were a conscious being that could change us and transform us sounds so damn Lovecraft I love it. I feel like after watching this, the next thing I should check out would be the a story about Erich Zhan. I’ve been very honest that I’m not the biggest Japanese horror fan, but I can still appreciate it for the most part. Uzumaki has something and I’ll watch it again someday with people that can explain to me what it is I cannot appreciate about it at present.
285.Valhalla Rising (2010)
Wasn’t thrilled with this. It’s got a nice cult fanbase, but if I want to watch a sword and shield-ish dark, brooding, scare flick I’ll watch Fulci’s Conquest. Might not be quite Viking, but at least it’s got some absolutely fantastically bad effects and titillating women.
286.The Vampire Lovers (1970)
Taste the deadly passion of the blood of nymphs! What a great tag line. I love hammer and vampires and lesbians and girl on girl scenes and blood in lesbian scenes and… this movie just ain’t that good. Quiet. Short on a relevant plot. This is pseudo porn that doesn’t need to be on the list no matter how much I adore Roy Ward Baker. Ingrid Pitt and Peter Cushing can’t save this one either. It was Hammer showing that they just might be on their way out of relevance. The Vampire Lovers should solely be on this list for the terrific marketing and tag lines.
Another movie about lesbian vampires? Somehow I didn’t like this one either, but I suppose this and Vampire Lovers can be credited with moving vamps in a sexy direction. Without these movies we might not have the True Blood, fuck and drain shows and movies of today. Again, nice marketing and good taglines. Just kind of a dull movie.
288.The Vanishing (1988)
Talk about a movie that came out of left field. It wasn’t exactly easy to come by and initially I had to watch it in another language entirely, but I’m glad I got to enjoy it. It’s the kind of mystery that we expect to happen these days and it was made over twenty years ago. I would even guess that without this movie’s influence we don’t see quite as many Turistas or Hostel style movies. It’s evil hiding in plain sight.
When I was a kid I remember flipping through magazines at Walden Books seeing pictures from Videodrome and asking my dad if I could watch it. It looked downright gross. What I didn’t know is that it had Debby Harry and would push my buttons many years later. Cronenberg can pretty much do no wrong. Not only can he attack your body in horrible ways, but he can turn your own mind against you. It’s time for me to reconnect with this movie and find the magazine with intestine TV on the cover and read the article that made me seek out this movie.
290.Village of the Damned (1960)
Damn Christopher Reeve straight to Hell. Well that’s take it a bit too far, but he kinda ruined this movie for me with his portrayal in the remake. The damn brick sequence with that intense “I’m taking a dump” stare infects my head in place of those fabulous child actors who go from cute to creep with one foul glance. One thing is for certain, during the 50’s and 60’s, folks were afraid of unknown factions trying to take over the world. Innocent people turned into killers or conquerors. Thanks Russia for the great movies. I think The Soviet Union should be listed as second director or at least assistance producer on all these movies.
Having watched the Last Winter by the same director recently I remembered how fond I was of this movie. He certainly likes his arctic, wintery madness movies double plus on the strange monsters that lurk behind the snow flakes. Wendigo was like the monster movie I had never seen and really plays on some old mythology to tell a spooky, all natural tale of winter madness. Ferocious.
292.Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)
People talk about this movie like it’s the second coming of Christ. It’s not my favorite Craven movie and I think it’s just okay. There were better Nightmare on Elm Streets even if this film did transcend the boundary between horror fantasy and the really real world. I’m glad to see Heather Langenkamp back in the saddle. I missed her. I enjoy it, but maybe we should have included Part III or maybe even Part IV because I’ll be damned if that isn’t entertaining with some shocking moments. Remember that cockroach? Remember that water bed? While we’re talking about other things to watch make sure to enjoy Never Sleep Again and go through the entire series for four hours. It’s totally worth it. Get lots of popcorn. Lots.
293.What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
Both of my sisters love this movie and since I love Bette Davis I love this movie too. Maybe not as much as they do, but when the 60’s did psychological horror they usually got it right. They hired the right people to play the role and get the almost Twilight Zone melodrama out of performances. Disturbing? Definitely.
294.Who Could Kill a Child? (1976)
I did a full review for Jenny Spencer’s delightful blog, The Bloody Iris, for this one. I was so happy to finally watch it and be utterly shocked by what I saw. I had no idea that I would watch this and Bloody Birthday in the same week and then the Children and the write a piece on it for the Blood Sprayer. Having kids is scary enough without making them the dominant killing machine in a secluded place with no one to save you. Some brilliant kills. Children are really amazing actors when they want to. What’s your motivation? Dad grounded me?
295.The Wicker Man (1973)
I watched this, a very cut up version when I was younger. It got four stars from Leonard Maltin and he never gave horror movies four stars. Well, I missed something at the time, but still enjoyed it. What I missed was the reason it was actually X rated. The movie has the nudity and sex to warrant a rating of this caliber (if we must rate movies). The twist is fantastic, shocking and holds up. Avoid the Nicholas Cage remake. Stick with Christopher Lee. Enjoy the sequel by the same director.
Animal horror can get under your skins especially when we’re talking about conscious rats bent on dominating humanity. I wanted to see this one so bad as a child that when I finally got my hands on it as an adult I realized that it wasn’t quite the out and out exploitation flick I probably wanted. Willard came along at a time when people were thinking about what was possible in the world. What might scare you. How the world could turn on you when you least expected it. Willard and the sequel Ben and even the remake will have you being friendlier to the rats in your apartment building. Maybe giving your pet an extra piece of cheese.
297.Witchfinder General (1968)
As far as overhyped movies go, this definitely is one of them. While I really very much enjoyed it you’d think this movie was Mark of the Devil. Even though it came before Mark of the Devil and played on some similar themes it’s not as brutal as Mark. Vincent price is impeccable and the marketing is beyond awesome. The poster art scared me more than the movie. Great title. I alter at it at least once a month to talk about some professional in some field i.e. goremaster general.
298.Wolf Creek (2005)
Nothing but a head on a stick… and with that line you pretty much freaked me the fuck out and I found a movie that I find difficult to watch. I’m still not sure why it bothers me so. It feels like it opens with a false start. I got the feeling like I was in for a strange alien adventure of supernatural thriller. Your car batter dies at a giant crater rim… what am I supposed to think? That an Australian Bubba is going to have his sadistic way with you? Nope. I didn’t see it coming until I was telling that nice group of kids not to eat his food.
299.The Wolf Man (1943)
I’ve never been particularly scared by this film, but the wolf transformation is thrilling. The technique is done and we’ve seen some real advancements, never the less the story is perfect and poor Larry Talbot never seems to catch a break. The iconic wolf make up basically set the standard until Botton and Baker got a hold of the fur and fangs. Lon Chaney Jr. makes a fine canine if I ever saw one.
I had to buy this one to watch it. Another one with an X rating to boot but this one for gore. I’m not sure if zombie vs. shark was nearly as big in the horror fan boys lexicon at that point. I couldn’t believe Mia Farrow had a sister. I didn’t even really know who Lucio Fulci was save that he was all over my Leonard Maltin book. The opening scene, the music and the zombies are beyond criticism. If you’re not happy with them well stick a giant splinter in your eye. Sure, I know that Fulci was just trying to capitalize on Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. I’ve come to terms with that. If you’re going to try to make a buck at least you can do it by making a fuck all, awesome zombie flick that inspires a genre and an entire country to make even more brilliant movies. This one’s on an early Fango cover with the famous Zombi head shot. Still gets under my skin.