Saturday, October 15, 2011

100 Horror Movies "You Must See Before You Die"

Yesterday I was invited to join a Facebook page called 100 Horror Movies You Should See Before You Die. I joined it because I love horror movies and I love lists. Then I couldn't figure out how to post my list to the page (it's too long to be a wall post and I couldn't find any other posting option) so I'm writing my list here and will post a link to it on the Facebook page.
First of all, the reason I put the second part of this entry's title in quotes is because I have a hard time with being told what to do. When I worked at the library I read 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. I called it The Bossy Book and spent a lot of time yelling at it for being stupid. (Honestly, they included Meet The Parents. In what way is that movie a requirement? I'd pay good money to have everything I remember about it (except the fact that I hate it, so I won't make the mistake of watching it again) wiped from my mind.)
So, to make a long story short (too late), I've put quotes around "You Must See Before You Die" because I am not the boss of you.
Also, the "You" in the title refers to people who actually watch horror movies. I don't think I'd recommend many (any) of these movies to my mom because she is not a horror fan and I wouldn't want to traumatize her.
One final disclaimer: There are eighteen movies on this list I haven't seen (yet) and six I don't even like. They are included because, regardless of my opinion or so-far-unviewed status, I think they're important pieces of horror film history and should be seen. (I'm not going to tell you which ones I haven't seen but I will point out the ones I don't like).
Anyway, enough with the further ado. Here is my list:

1. Alien (Ridley Scott)
2. A Nightmare On Elm Street (Wes Craven)
3. Babysitter Wanted (Jonas Barnes, Michael Manasseri)
4. Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon (Scott Glosserman)
5. Blood Feast (Herschell Gordon Lewis)
6. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Francis Ford Coppola)
7. Bride Of Frankenstein (James Whale)
8. Cabin Fever (Eli Roth)
9. Cannibal Holocaust (Ruggero Deodato)
10. Carnival Of Souls (Herk Harvey)
11. Cherry Falls (Geoffrey Wright)
12. City Of The Living Dead (Lucio Fulci)
13. Cloverfield (Matt Reeves)
14. Creepshow (George A. Romero)
15. Cube (Vincenzo Natali)
16. Dawn Of The Dead (George A. Romero)
17. Dawn Of The Dead (Zack Snyder)
18. Day Of The Dead (George A. Romero)
19. Dead Alive (Peter Jackson) -- I really want to like this one, but I don't. I've seen it a few times in the hopes that eventually it'll grow on me (eww) but so far no dice. (Except the line "I kick arse for the lord." That makes me giggle.)
20. Dead And Buried (Gary Sherman)
21. Dead Silence (James Wan)
22. Deep Red (Dario Argento)
23. Dracula (Tod Browning)
24. Evil Dead 2 (Sam Raimi)
25. Feast (John Gulager)
26. Fiend Without A Face (Arthur Crabtree)
27. Frankenstein (James Whale)
28. Friday The 13th (Sean S. Cunningham)
29. Friday The 13th (Marcus Nispel)
30. Fright Night (Tom Holland)
31. Fright Night (Craig Gillespie)
32. Halloween (John Carpenter) -- A lot of people would claim I need to have my horror fan card revoked, but I think the original Halloween is boring. A lot of people see atmosphere and creepiness but all that was lost on me.
33. Halloween (Rob Zombie)
34. Halloween 2 (Rob Zombie)
35. Happy Birthday To Me (J. Lee Thompson)
36. Hatchet (Adam Green)
37. Hellraiser (Clive Barker)
38. Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer (John McNaughton) -- This movie didn't bother me when I watched it but it's sat in my brain like a festering blob and the more I think about it the more disturbed by it I am. Once was enough.
39. High Tension (Alexandre Aja)
40. Horror Of Dracula (Terence Fisher)
41. House Of 1000 Corpses (Rob Zombie)
42. House On Haunted Hill (William Castle)
43. House On Haunted Hill (William Malone)
44. I Know What You Did Last Summer (Jim Gillespie)
45. Inside (Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury) -- This is possibly the most disturbing, upsetting movie I've ever seen. I highly recommend it to horror fans but I will never watch it again. The first twenty minutes alone would have left me depressed for a week.
46. Insidious (James Wan)
47. In The Mouth Of Madness (John Carpenter)
48. Ju-On (Takashi Shimizu)
49. Mad Love (Karl Freund)
50. May (Lucky McKee)
51. Night Of The Living Dead (George A. Romero)
52. Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau)
53. Parents (Bob Balaban)
54. Phantasm (Don Coscarelli)
55. Poltergeist (Tobe Hooper)
56. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock)
57. Re-Animator (Stuart Gordon)
58. Rosemary’s Baby (Roman Polanski)
59. Saw (James Wan)
60. Scanners (David Cronenberg)
61. Scream (Wes Craven) -- I hate that this has become important enough for me to have to include it on my list. I really want to punch this movie in the mouth and make it apologize for being insipid.
62. Session 9 (Brad Anderson)
63. Sleepaway Camp (Robert Hiltzik)
64. Sleepy Hollow (Tim Burton)
65. Slither (James Gunn)
66. Suicide Club (Sion Sono)
67. Suspiria (Dario Argento)
68. Tenebrae (Dario Argento)
69. The Beyond (Lucio Fulci)
70. The Blob (Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.)
71. The Blob (Chuck Russell)
72. The Burning (Tony Maylam)
73. The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (F.W. Murnau)
74. The Collector (Marcus Dunstan)
75. The Devil’s Rejects (Rob Zombie)
76. The Evil Dead (Sam Raimi)
77. The Exorcist (William Friedkin)
78. The Haunting (Robert Wise) -- I get that it's an excellent example of less-is-more, but it's painfully melodramatic, not as well acted as people would have you believe and (I hate to be this girl, but) absolutely shitty compared to the book.
79. The Last Horror Movie (Julian Richards)
80. The Lost Boys (Joel Schumacher)
81. The Manson Family (Jim Van Bebber)
82. The Midnight Meat Train (Ryuhei Kitamura)
83. The New York Ripper (Lucio Fulci)
84. The Old Dark House (James Whale)
85. The Omen (Richard Donner)
86. The People Under The Stairs (Wes Craven)
87. The Phantom Of The Opera (Rupert Julian)
88. The Phantom Of The Opera (Dwight H. Little)
89. The Return Of The Living Dead (Dan O’Bannon)
90. The Serpent And The Rainbow (Wes Craven)
91. The Silence Of The Lambs (Jonathan Demme)
92. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper)
93. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (Tobe Hooper)
94. The Thing (John Carpenter)
95. The Toolbox Murders (Tobe Hooper)
96. The Wolf Man (George Waggner)
97. Videodrome (David Cronenberg)
98. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (Wes Craven)
99. Wishmaster (Robert Kurtzman)
100. Zombi 2 (Lucio Fulci)

And now, here are sixteen movies I seriously considered including on my list but decided against because I don't consider them horror movies. They have horrific elements but I would not shelve them in the Horror section:

A Bucket Of Blood (Roger Corman) -- Comedy
American Psycho (Mary Harron) -- ... I don't know what genre this is. But I do know that it isn't a horror movie. I added it and removed it to my must-see list about five times (it must be seen!) before my I-Wouldn't-Call-It-A-Horror-Movie conscience won out.
Army Of Darkness (Sam Raimi) -- Action Adventure Comedy Fantasy. Just because it's the third movie in the Evil Dead series doesn't make it a horror movie. Even if it did, I still would have eventually removed it from the list. It's definintely the weakest of the three and I don't like it all that much. I really have to be in the mood for it, and I almost never am.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Fran Rubel Kuzui) -- Comedy
Frozen (Adam Green) -- Suspense Drama
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (Joe Dante) -- Comedy
Heavenly Creatures (Peter Jackson) -- Drama
Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (Robert Aldrich) -- Suspense
Killer Tongue (Alberto Sciamma) -- Weirdass What The Fuck Am I Watching Com...ed...y?
Little Shop Of Horrors (Frank Oz) -- Musical Comedy
Natural Born Killers (Oliver Stone) -- Experimental Action Drama
Repo! The Genetic Opera (Darren Lynn Bousman) -- Sci Fi Musical
The ‘Burbs (Joe Dante) -- Comedy
The Frighteners (Peter Jackson) -- Comedy
The Little Shop Of Horrors (Roger Corman) -- Comedy Rush Job
The Night Of The Hunter (Charles Laughton) -- Suspense

End of line.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

From Dusk Till Dawn

When it came out back in the mid 1990s, the only things I knew about From Dusk Till Dawn were that Quentin Tarantino had something to do with it (turns out he wrote it) and it was about vampires.
The truth is a bit more complicated than that.
From Dusk Till Dawn is about the Gecko brothers, Seth (George Clooney) and Richie (Mac Tonight), who have busted Seth out of prison, robbed a bank, taken a hostage and blown up a liquor store. They hole up in a hotel, kidnap a minister with a faith crisis and his two kids, and head for the border.
I really wish I could end my summary there, but I've already mentioned the crazy plot twist, which was the main focus of the movie's marketing campaign.
Once in Mexico, the group takes refuge in a strip club that happens to be owned and operated by vampires. And from there, From Dusk Till Dawn becomes less of a "crime" movie and more of a "gory action comedy."
The thing is, the vampire angle shows up about an hour into the movie and I feel like it was supposed to be a major "what the fuck?!" moment. A moment that is completely ruined by the fact that every preview for From Dusk Till Dawn was basically a video montage of "Look, everybody! Vampires!"
In spite of knowing more about it than I would have liked, I did love the movie. Robert Rodriguez tends to make movies that appeal to me, this was the first time I saw George Clooney as a badass (other than how I usually see him: regular, kind of forgettable guy), Tom Savini was awesome as always (he always plays a biker badass in Robert Rodriguez movies and it's always entertaining) and, interestingly, I was most impressed with Harvey Keitel as the minister. He was playing a part so different than what I'm used to seeing him play, and he probably put in the best performance in the entire movie.
I still can't figure out why they cast an old McDonalds mascot as Richie, though. I would have cast Ted Raimi.

End of line.