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The Frighteners – 8

January 18, 2015 Leave a comment

Director – Peter Jackson

Cast – Michael J. Fox, Trini Alvarado, Peter Dobson, John Astin, Jeffrey Combs, Dee Wallace, Jake Busey, Chi McBride, Jim Fyfe, Troy Evans, Julianna McCarthy, R. Lee Ermey, Elizabeth Hawthorne

Release Year – 1996

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Horror consumes my life, but even then I have not seen every major horror film there is. The Frighteners is the most recent notable effort to be remove from such a list, and it was as good as I expected it to be. Michael J. Fox stars as Frank Bannister, a man who attained a unique ability to speak to the dead after the sudden death of his wife. Frank does not use his abilities lightly though, and has since become a con man who employs spirits to haunt unsuspecting / potential “customers” and leave them no choice but to call him to remove the “evil” presence. However, when a real demonic spirit invades the town and starts killing at will, Frank becomes the only hope in saving the living from the dead.

The story kicks off right away and gives you the impression that this is going to be a really scary movie, then you realize you are being fooled just like Frank’s “haunted” customers. It is then that you realize this flick is going to be more “fun” than scary, which I expected because over the years I never heard this film referred to as scary. The first act is highly comedic, with fun characters and consistent jokes for you to enjoy. These jokes come from both Frank Bannister as well as his restless undead companions, each with their own unique personality. Nearly all of the main characters was colorful in their own right, with FBI Special Agent Milton Dammers taking the cake as the most outlandish. He was written superbly awesome, in the weirdest of ways, and left me laughing in my seat on several occassions. During the second act the kills begin to hit the screen, with a Grim Reaper-esque being delivering death via squeezing the life out of his victim’s heart. Frank’s unique abilities allow him to see, in sequential order, who the demon’s next victim will be, but only moments before they are to be taken from this world. This gives him little time to save the person’s life, or even convince them that they are in danger, which of course increases the conflict and tension. A fair amount of kills are written into the film and paced at just the right times, but don’t expect much when it comes to gore. There is ONE kill that will leave gorehounds happy, which was added when the filmmakers realized they were going to be tagged with an R-rating with or without the kill. When the third act hits we are provided a unique development where Frank goes through a drastic measure to make himself closer to the demon. This was done because he was powerless beforehand, but now he can fight. Jackson and his longtime co-writer Fran Walsh include constant developments over what is going on behind the killings, and while not overly shocking I did find the revelations towards the end of the film enjoyable.

Jackson’s direction is as good as his writing, although if you are expecting this to be like his previous horror flicks, Bad Taste and Dead Alive, you are in for a rude surprise. He sets the fun tone early on with great performances from Michael J. Fox and his ghastly companions, however horror legend Jeffrey Combes steals the show as Milton Dammers. It was incredible to see Combes deliver such an odd yet wonderfully executed performance unlike any you have seen in his filmography. Several other notables provide supporting roles, like R. Lee Ermy, Jake Busey, and another horror legend – Dee Wallace. Jackson’s horror was good, and while not scary it definitely kept me entertained. I enjoyed the look of the antagonist and the kill sequences, while tame on the surface (heart attack via a squeezed heart) were executed in strong fashion. Sadly, the antagonist and everything that has to do with him comes via CGI effects, which naturally lessens the severity. The CGI was not terrible, but it was not good either. With Jurassic Park debuting a few years earlier it is obvious that good technology was out there, but it was not in The Frighteners. Thankfully, there is so much more going on in the film that you learn to forgive it for the CGI blasphemy. Just look at Peter Jackson’s works since then, his Hobbit trilogies are nothing without computer-generated imagery.

Overall, The Frighteners is a great 90s film that provides a fun story with great execution from one of the genre’s masters who has sadly refrained from returning. You won’t find many scares here, but this is a flick that you can enjoy with a group of friends.

Rating: 8/10

…Additional Stills…

Jeffrey Combs

Top 10 Horror Movies of 2009

August 11, 2010 8 comments

Many have doubted the 2000s as a good decade for horror, but despite the usual horrendous films that come with every horror decade the horror realm closed out the 2000s with some great quality horror films, several of which will stand the test of time.  I now give you the top 10 horror movies of 2009, along with 5 honorable mentions.

10. Thirst

– After giving us the infamous “Vengeance” trilogy, South Korean writer/director Park Chan-wook(Chan-wook Park to us American arseholes) finally entered the horror genre with this film, and turned the vampire sub-genre on its head.  While Thirst comes off as a horror watch, and is marketed as such, it is so much more than that, which almost makes it hardly horror at all aside from the vampire element.  So why does this make the list?  Well, because it gave us a look into the vampire realm that we have never seen before, and comes with so many different elements going on that it provides us with a unique watch despite tending to drag at times as a result of Park’s genuis.  Read my full review for this film here: Thirst

9. The Human Centipede (First Sequence)

– This had to be one of the year’s most hyped horror films, and for obvious plot-related reasons.  We have never before been given a plot so horribly brutal, yet so genius as well.  Horror and the medical field are seldom brought together these days, so this was a fresh breath to the horror genre that proved an awesome watch as well.  Much like the next film on this list, this film will leave you with an experience you will never forget.  Read my full review for this film here: The Human Centipede (First Sequence)

8. Antichrist

– Asshole director Lars Von Trier broke away from his entirely dramatic-leaning films and mixed in a heavily element of horror and drama for this one.  Deemed pretty much the most controversial horror film of last year(yes, more than The Human Centipede), Antichrist went where no horror film had gone before…back to the origins of our world…back to the “Garden of Eden”.  Symbolism reigns high in this film, with many pagan references to Christianity, numerous references to the evils of women(which some deemed heavily misogynistic), and visuals that were beautifully shot and crafted.  Those who view this film leave with an experience unlike any other film experience, and I am sure that was Von Trier’s intent.  Read my full review for this film here: Antichrist

7. Triangle

– Director Christopher Smith really made a name for himself this past decade with films like Creep, Severance, and now his personal best…Triangle.  While we horror fans truly enjoy no-brainer horror films that we can just sit back and enjoy with some food and drink, we all enjoy the horror films that make us think.  Triangle is one of those films with a plot not overly convoluted, but one to make you think and engage you with constant developments that force you to give your all into the film.  Usually these films are psychological horror, and while Triangle settles on psychological horror it focuses heavily on the element of déjà vu, and may leave you questioning your own sanity with this film’s climax.  Read my full review for this film here: Triangle

6. Paranormal Activity

– After sitting on the shelves for two years this very low-budget($15,000) spookfest from first-time filmmaker Oren Peli gave the ultimate middle-finger to Hollywood executives with it not only being a huge success in margin of profits, but was actually a pretty damn scary movie as well.  In fact, this film is scarier than 99% of the horror films that come from Hollywood, and you’d think that would give them to hint to give smaller filmmakers a chance huh?  Anywho, Paranormal Activity does what The Blair Witch Project failed to do in that it gave us a credible story with some darn good scares as well, scares that show little but the reward is big.  Read my full review for this film here: Paranormal Activity

5. District 9

– It seems 2009 is the year of “F*ck You Hollywood!”, and it continued with District 9.  We rarely get alien-oriented films this day that are not related to the Alien franchise, and this flick proved that you can take a very low-budget, mix in some creativity and ingenuity, and turn out a blockbuster of an alien film.  The story is a sweet one and is reminiscent of human politics that still exist to this day, and the direction and special effects are superb and make big-budget Hollywood films look like a Uwe Bole film.  Read my full review for this film here: District 9

4. Moon

Moon may be a questionable addition to some, because this is not an outright horror film, but the horror it contains warrants inclusion in MY list.  The plot is subtle at first, but the horrors Sam experiences while up alone in space are truly horrific in nature, especially when you put yourself in his shoes.  This is hard to explain without giving away too much in spoilers, but when you are alone in space, and your only allowed contact is from your employer, you have no power whatsoever, and that can never end well.  Read my full review for this film here: Moon

3. Trick ‘r Treat

– Horror anthologies are infamous in the genre, and although they are few and far between the majority of recent anthologies have been downright horrible(such as Tales From The Darkside, and Tales From The Dead), Trick ‘r Treat has immediately planted itself as one of the greatest horror anthologies of all time, and possibly the best holiday horror film to date.  Many horror films have taken place on Halloween, but those films only take place on Halloween, focusing on a masked killer or creature.  Trick ‘r Treat differs from those in that it focuses on the actual holiday itself and the lore involved.  Each of the tales told in this film are beautifully crafted and fit together perfectly for a very satisfying climax in this awesome and completely Hollywood-underappreciated horror film.  Read my full review for this film here: Trick ‘r Treat

2. REC 2

REC 2 took off right where REC(the best horror film of last decade) left off and provided horror fans with 80 minutes on non-stop action and terror.  The awesome demon element employed by the first film is upped in this one as we get tons more demon action supplemented with some nice developmental twists and turns.  The scares are good and the chaos never relents until this flick’s shocking climax(that I saw coming miles away).  Read my full review for this film here: REC 2

1. Drag Me To Hell

– Of course, it is only fitting that Sam Raimi’s epic return to the horror genre would grant him the best horror film of 2009, and it was not fate alone, but extreme talent and a nose for all things true horror that earned Drag Me To Hell this title.  The King of Demons brought back the fun and truly scary slapstick horror with his excellent camerawork that made his name, as well as his knack for writing some of the spookiest demon sequences ever.  Few films have the guts to tackle the demon sub-genre these days, and those that do never execute them as well as Raimi does.  We all know that demons love to toy with their victims first, but it seems as of late that Raimi is the only one to fully endorse this awesome element of horror.  Read my full review for this film here: Drag Me To Hell

Honorable Mentions

(Close But Not Close Enough)

The House of the Devil

– If you are a devout horror fan, then there is a heavy chance that you have a strong appreciation for the moody and atmospheric horror films the 80s provided for us, and The House of the Devil is a true shout-out to such fans.  Shot and executed as if it were filmed in the 1980s itself, Ty West’s slow-building atmospheric film provides just the right tension at just the right places, and comes with a horrifying climax you should have expected, but never saw coming.  Read my full review for this film here: The House of the Devil

Zombieland

– After the success of zombie/comedy Shaun of the Dead, it was only a matter time before we Americans took a big-budget shot at a zombie/comedy, and this one came with surprisingly positive results.  The “fun” level is high, and while this flick never truly takes itself seriously it does come with some nice zombie action and a slew of colorful characters as well.  Oh, and this also comes with possibly the greatest celebrity cameo of all time.  Read my full review for this film here: Zombieland

Saw VI

– The monster that is the Saw series continued its year-by-year reign of moral commentary in 2009, and thankfully Saw VI was a big upgrade from the horrendous Saw V, and gave us Saw fans what we wanted to see.  Before the health care/financial reform crisis made its impact on the country Saw VI had already tackled the horrors of the health insurance industry, and gave us normal folk a nice taste of vengeance at the cost of those who heartlessly cheat their clients out of their hard-earned money.  Read my full review for this film here: Saw VI

Pandorum

– I have always been a fan of horror/sci-fi films, and I think most of the genre fans feel the same way.  Sadly, horror/sci-fi films come rarely these days unless they have to do with Aliens fighting Predator, but Pandorum gave me what I wanted to see without ripping off other franchises.  The opening act has to be one of the most tension filled of all the films listed in this list, and while things tend to get a little silly as the film goes on it still manages to be a fun watch for those looking for some nice horror/sci-fi action.  Consider this the Event Horizon of the 2000s.  Read my full review for this film here: Pandorum

Daybreakers

– Much like Thirst, Daybreakers gave us an interesting look into the vampire sub-genre, this time not relying on the usual vampire antics but giving us a sociological look into a vampire world very reminiscent of our world today(in some ways).  Thankfully, this does not come off as a slow social-commentary film but one that blends the horror with several other unique elements very nicely, plus Sam Neil is evil, and that is always cool.  Read my full review for this film here: Daybreakers

My other Top 10 Horror Movie Lists

Top 10 Horror Movies of 1980

Top 10 Horror Movies of 1981

Top 10 Horror Movies of 2005

Top 10 Horror Movies of 2006

Top 10 Horror Movies of 2007

Top 10 Horror Movies of 2008

Top 10 Horror Movies of 2010

Special Post: Top 25 Horror Movies of the Last 25 Years

May 15, 2010 11 comments

2010 is the dawn of a new era in the horror realm. Last decade we were given some great horror films from great filmmakers, which I did my darnedest to properly represent in my Top 50 Horror Movies of the Decade entries.  2010 also marks another opportunity to express my appreciation for great horror, as I will give to you what I personally feel to be the top 25 horror films of the last 25 years, from 1985 to 2010.  In my most firm belief these films are not only forever horror classics, but films that bring joy and horror to all fans who view them.  Keep in mind, while some of these films may be better “films” than others ahead of them, I am basing my rankings on the quality of horror given to us, not “film” quality.  I now give you, the top 25 horror movies of the last 25 years, along with a few honorable mentions worth…mentioning.  Ps. Because this post embodies 25 years of films, there will be 10 honorable mention films instead of my usual 5 honorable mention films.

25. Opera

– Known as Dario Argento’s last GREAT film, this macabre twist on The Phantom of the Opera(while not a direct remake) comes with excellent horror thanks to great execution, stunning visuals, and a pretty cool score given this flick takes place in an opera house.  In my opinion, this flick’s antagonist is thee true PHANTOM of the opera, heh.  Read my full review for this film here: Opera

24. Cube

– This flick came in pretty much completely under the radar when it debuted in 1997, and what a shame.  Before we had the “wake-up-in-a-strange-room-with-no-clue-how-you-got-there” scenario with Saw, we got it with Cube.  Very ahead of its time, Cube perfectly blends psychological paranoia with mystery, and all with horrific undertones and horrific results.  This flick is a true under-appreciated hidden gem.  Read my full review for this film here: Cube

23. Shaun of the Dead

– While The Return of the Living Dead did the “zombie shout-out comedy” first, by about 19 years, Shaun of the Dead gave us a fun experience that stands on its own thanks to a much different setting and different(witty) humor.  Read my full review for this film here: Shaun of the Dead

22. The Return of the Living Dead

– This flick is every zombie fan’s dream.  A true homeage to the zombie sub-genre, it was THIS film that first introduced running zombies, way before Danny Boyle’s “infected” hit the screen running.  Combining both great horror and awesome laughs, this flick is a true reminder that zombies RULE.  Read my full review for this flick here: The Return of the Living Dead

21. Bram Stoker’s Dracula

– I am still rejoicing over the thought that such an iconic director, Francis Ford Coppola, would finally enter the horror genre after giving us such amazing classics like The Godfather I & II, and Apocalypse Now.  It is seldom that we get great directors to do their work in this genre, and this film shows that without any previous horror experience a formidable director can give us a classic.  PLUS, Keanu didn’t suck in this.  Oh, and did I mention the sequence in which we first see the Count is one of horror’s greatest scenes EVER?  Read my full review for this film here: Bram Stoker’s Dracula

20. Drag Me To Hell

– In 2009 Sam Raimi returned to the demon-infused horror genre after 1992’s Army of Darkness, and with fantastic results.  Drag Me To Hell is what we fans of 80s horror have been waiting for from the modern horror realm.  Lots of gross-out effects and gags, great demon action, and Sam Raimi’s expert touch on direction make this flick a very enjoyable and awesome horror film.  Read my full review for this film here: Drag Me To Hell

19. Feast

– This flick came out of nowhere in 2005 as part of Project Greenlight and gave us a fun, gore-filled ride from start to finish.  We get some creative looking creatures in this film that come with their own ridiculous antics as we watch a plethora of different characters fight for survival…and die violently trying.  Read my full review for this film here: Feast

18. Saw

– Honestly, this film is a monster.  When this flick first came out I was enamored right from the get-go at how captivating and gritty this film is.  Not since Se7en(I know I say this a lot) had the “moral complex” been used so expertly in horror, but this time with a killer who serves a vengeful and enlightening purpose.  Five subsequent sequels later and another one the way, this is definitely the “series” of the last 25 years.  Jason, Michael, and Freddy had the 70s(Michael) 80s and 90s, and now Jigsaw has the 2000s.  Read my full review for this film here: Saw

17. Predator

– In 1987 we were given a film that brought us one icon, Arnold “GET IN DA CHOPPA!” Schwarzenegger, and created another icon, a hunter from another planet playing a deadly game with the human race.  Together, these icons gave us one of the coolest hunter vs. hunted battles of all time, and spawned a positive sequel and some OK pseudo-sequels.  Whether you like this film or not(as you should), you’ll never forget who “Predator” is, I promise you that.  Read my full review for this film here: Predator

16. Battle Royale

– This Japanese flick is not outright horror like the rest of these films, BUT comes with a plot so horrific it is scary in its own right.  How many other films involve a country’s government deciding they are fed up with the youth and implement a new program to “fix” things, a program in which one 8th grade class will be sent to an isolated island in which they must kill each other off, and only the last boy/girl standing shall return.  Yeah, not many other countries have the guts to make a film like this, and many hard-to-watch scenes come with this awesome flick.

15. Demons

– The very first time I laid eyes on this watch I immediately fell in love with this flick, and how could I not?  This concoction from Italian horror maestro Dario Argento(writer) and Lamberto Bava(director) gives us demon fans everything we could ask for.  Excellent demon action complimented with great gore and transformation scenes, utter cheezyness we all can appreciate, and a setting so genius it makes this film stand on its own compared to all other demon flicks…it takes place in a movie theater!  This has to be one of the most fun films on this list, and one of the few that makes me think “Damn, I really wish I was there…”.  Read my full review for this film here: Demons

14. The Descent

– This flick came out of nowhere in 2005 and gave us quite possibly the very most claustrophobic horror film of all time.  Just the idea of being deep inside an uncharted cave system with no way out is scary enough, and throw in some blood thirsty cave dwellers and you have true horror.  Plenty of gore, scares, and an all-female cast(which means no macho males to save them), this flick pushes its characters to extreme boiling points and pushes the viewer to cover their eyes on many occasions.  Read my full review for this film here: The Descent

13. Re-Animator

– Director Stuart Gordon made his name with this H.P. Lovecraft adaptation, and also gave us one of horror’s greatest icons…actor Jeffrey Combs.  The storyline is a great one, as this is not the usual zombie/infected type horror film but one involving medically-induced re-animation.  Yes, originality always gets points in my book.  Quirky direction and an awesome story make this film an ever joy to watch.  Oh, and the immense amount of gore doesn’t hurt.  Read my full review for this film here: Re-Animator

12. The Fly

– David Cronenberg hit a career high in excellence with his 1986 remake of the 1958 classic, The Fly.  Jeff Goldblum gives a terrific performance in this horror/sci-fi masterpiece which comes with excellent direction and phenomenal visuals that show Cronenberg’s prominence in horror/sci-fi sexual horror.  After getting this close to the Musca domestica, you may never look at your common housefly again.  Read my full review for this film here: The Fly

11. 28 Days Later

28 Days Later comes with one of the scariest plots of all time.  Think about it: you wake up from a coma in an abandoned hospital.  You make your way about the facility and notice that no other human life exists around you, which gets worse when you make your way outside.  “Missing” posters adorn the city of London, and you still have yet to see another person, until the “infected” show up.  Honestly, just thinking about being in that situation gives me chills, and director Danny Boyle excellently delivers the horror.  Read my full review for this film here: 28 Days Later

10. The Silence of the Lambs

– This film is an obvious inclusion for several reasons; great story, an iconic performance from Anthony Hopkins, and great direction from non-horror director Johnathan Demme.  This film gives us one of horror’s greatest serial killers, Hannibal Lecter, who was not even the focus of this film but stole the show thanks to Anthony Hopkins’ performance.  This may be the best horror “film” of the last 25 years.  Read my full review for this film here: The Silence of the Lambs

9. Let The Right One In

– This Swedish horror film is what Twilight should have been had it stayed true to vampire lore and given us true undying love.  The conflict is real, the vampire action is subtle yet horrific, and this film is shot so beautifully you truly appreciate its “art house” element.  Switch off that Twilight nonsense and watch some real vampires.  Read my full review for this film here: Let The Right One In

8. Dead Alive

– Do I even have to explain this film?  Before Peter Jackson was giving us epic Hobbit trilogies he was giving us epic and cheesy gorefests, and this one is his finest.  Properly deemed “THE GORIEST FRIGHT FILM OF ALL TIME”, this flick is a true joy to watch and comes with some pretty suffocating laugh sequences as well.  Read my full review for this film here: Dead Alive

7. Cemetery Man

– This under-appreciated Italian horror film has one of horror’s finest storylines, and comes with so much more than what appears on screen.  This flick perfectly blends zombies, romanticism, and surrealism into an expertly executed concoction from Dario Argento protégé Michele Soavi.  Read my full review for this film here: Cemetery Man

6. REC

– This Spanish film was awarded the #1 spot in my Top 50 Horror Movies of the Decade post, and with great reason.  POV horror films are starting to get a bit old now, but this film manages to always exhibit a great amount of true horror that never relents.  We get a nice twist on the “infected” sub-genre, one that you never seem coming and only makes the on-screen horror even scarier.  Read my full review for this film here: REC

5. Day of the Dead

– This is George A. Romero’s last TRULY great film and it remains a classic in zombie/horror lore due to its awesome content and utterly amazing ending sequence, which I believe to be the greatest sequence in zombie history.  Romero gave us the first usage of zombie learning abilities, which came along with his excellent use of social-commentary that attacks just how stupid and brash some brainwashed military junkies can be.  Read my full review for this film here: Day of the Dead

4. Army of Darkness

– As much as I adore Dead Alive, THIS is the most fun film in this list.  Sam Raimi continues his Evil Dead trilogy with this horrific medieval/fantasy-influenced flick that brings along Bruce Campbell as Ash “Don’t Call Me Ashley” Williams with plenty of laughs.  From the get-go to this flick’s awesome climax, this action packed horror film gives us what few horror films these days give us…unless they come from Sam Raimi himself(Drag Me To Hell…anyone?).   Read my full review for this film here: Army of Darkness

3. Se7en

– I have always been a fan of any horror film with religious elements, and it is only fitting that a film focusing on the “7 Deadly Sins” would be as awesome as this film.  We get an iconic serial killer thanks to Kevin Spacey’s performance as the “John Doe Killer” accompanied by David Fincher’s excellent direction.  We all remember films/books by their beginnings/conclusions, well this flick has what I believe to be the coolest opening credits EVER and more importantly…one of the most horrific climaxes of all time, in ALL genres.  Read my full review for this film here: Se7en

2. Hellraiser

– Clive Barker has made his name mainly as a writer/artist, but it was this debut directing effort from Mr. Barker that brought us one of the most hell-ish and awesome horror films of all time.  As if his antagonist character “Pinhead” wasn’t awesome enough, we get plenty of hell-induced action with a hint of venereal sado-masochist deviance thrown in.  Read my full review for this film here: Hellraiser

1. Evil Dead II

– Yes, THIS is the best horror film of the last 25 years.  Sam Raimi’s sequel to the awe-inducing The Evil Dead gives us the same evil antics but with a greater production value and more slapstick hijinks.  The demons are plentiful in this flick, as is the gore and carnage they can cause and create.  But wait, this flick gets better.  We also, much like the majority of the films in the list, get an iconic climax that is horrific, and even comes with some comedy as well.  Read my full review for this film here: Evil Dead II

Honorable Mention: Close But Not Good Enough…

Intruder

– The ultimate beer n’ wings flick, Intruder comes to us from long time Sam Raimi friend Scott Spiegel, and even gives us Sam Raimi himself in a full supporting role, as you can tell from my very spoiler-esque picture above(heh).  This is definitely one of the most underrated horror slasher film of all time, and it is a shame this film has not received the full attention it deserves.  From start to finish, this flick rocks. Read my full review for this film here: Intruder

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives

– This is in my opinion the most fun film in the Friday the 13th franchise, and it comes with the series’ most iconic moment…Jason’s Frankenstein’s monster-esque resurrection via lightning.  It sounds cheezy, and it is, and it is awesome.  We get plenty of kills, great gore, and an all-around fun feel that makes this flick one of my favorite horror films of the last 25 years. Read my full review for this film here: Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives

Fright Night

– Before he gave us Child’s Play, director Tom Holland gave us Fright Night, one of the coolest vampires flicks of all time.  Vampires seem to be somewhat of a trend here in this post, and that is because these flicks have persevered over the decades and remain fan favorites.  Focusing more on conflict and creepiness, Fright Night stands out over some of the more “fun” vampire flicks because this film has what it takes to leave you feeling a bit uneasy about your new neighbor who just moved in…Read my full review for this film here: Fright Night

Night of the Creeps

Night of the Creeps is a joy to all horror fans because it embodies everything we love to see in these films, and then some.  We get a sweet story, nice gore, intense one-liners, and numerous shout-outs to horror’s greatest directors.  Cheezy horror is always great horror, and Night of the Creeps brings the cheeze.  Read my full review for this film here: Night of the Creeps

The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys gives us everything we expect, and love to see in an 80s vampire film.  It’s fun, gives us awesome vampire action, sweet visuals, and it is relate-able for teens and young adults of the time with its great feel and use of 80s comics as well.  Joel Schumacher gave us his only outright horror film, one he most likely will never top.

Child’s Play

– Few things are scarier than inanimate objects coming to life, ESPECIALLY if that object is a Good Guy doll.  Director Tom Holland scared the sh*t out of me in as a kid thanks to this film re-running on late night television(I knew my mom told me to go to sleep early for a reason), yet I thank for him for such an awesome horror film.  Chucky has remained an iconic character in horror lore, and for obvious reasons.  Read my full review for this film here: Child’s Play

From Dusk Till dawn

– What? More vampires?  Yes, thanks to this awesome Robert Rodriguez B-movie-esque flick from a Quentin Tarantino script, we get more vampires.  From Dusk Till Dawn may be the goriest vampire flick of all time, and that is because we don’t get into the vampire action until about halfway through the runtime, which says a lot about the amount of gore that ensues in the latter half of the film.  Freakin’ cool in every aspect, we get awesome characters, great direction, excellent dialogue, and a cast of fun-to-watch actors(George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Tom Savini, Danny Trejo, Harvey Keitel), this flick is a must see and an obvious inclusion into this post.  Read my full review for this film here: From Dusk Till Dawn

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

– My second favorite of the Halloween series, this flick gives us some of the best Michael Myers action there is.  An excellent performance from George P. Wilbur, “The Shape” shows us the true tenacity and depravity that he embodies in his search to kill his only living relative to date…his 7 year old niece.  It is seldom that a sequel retains its fanfare over the decades, as you can tell from the few sequels on this list, but this film has no problems doing so.  Read my full review for this film here: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

Trick ‘r Treat

– This flick has won the hearts of millions of horror fans since its NON-theatrical 2008 release, and its subsequent 2009 DVD release.  Yes folks, this amazing Halloween(the holiday, not the movie)-themed film sat on the shelves for a gratuitous amount of time while utter crap was wide-released in theaters.  I will honestly say that I believe Trick ‘r Treat to be the greatest Halloween holiday film of all time(Halloween is not about the holiday, out-rightly), and it brings the spirit of the pagan season regardless of the season.  Read my full review for this film here: Trick ‘r Treat

Pumpkinhead

– Creature films have a special place in my heart, as well as vengeance-themed films.  Throw in Lance Henriksen and FX guru Stan Winston as director, and I’m in love.  While there may be some films out there with better production than this one, this flick gives us a great watch with a very low-budget and a simple storyline.  We watch a father seek vengeance against a group of immature teens who take away the only love and joy left in his simple life…his young son.  If you like watching naive stupid teens get what they deserve, in the most horrific of ways(look at the pic above), then you will love this film.  Read my full review for this film here: Pumpkinhead

There you have it folks, these 25 films and 10 honorable mentions are the best 35 horror films of the last 25 years.  While some of these newer films are excellent and potentially better than some of the earlier released films listed here, only time will tell if they will remain as infamous as the earlier released films on this list.  I have provided a few statistical breakdowns based on certain horror demographics:

Stats:

80s films(1985-1989): 9 of the top 25. 7 of the 10 honorable mentions.  A total of 16 of the 35 films, a whopping 45.7%.

90s films(1990-1999): 7 of the top 25. 2 of the 10 honorable mentions: A total of 9 of the 35 films, 25.7%

00s films(2000-2009): 9 of the top 25. 1 of the 10 honorable mentions. A total of 10 of the 35 films, 28.6%

Sequels: 2 of the top 25.  0 of the honorable mentions. A total of 2 of the 35 films, 5.7%

Zombie/Infected/Re-animated films: 8 of the top 25. 1 of the honorable mentions. A total of 9 of the 35 films, 25.7%

Demon films: 5 of the top 25. 1 of the honorable mentions. A total of 6 of the 35 films, 17.1%

Vampire films: 2 of the top 25. 3 of the honorable mentions. A total of 5 of the 35 films, 14.3%

Slasher films: 1 of the top 25. 3 of the honorable mentions. A total of 4 of the 35 films, 11.4%

Creature films: 5 of the top 25. 2 of the honorable mentions. A total of 7 of the 35 films, 20%

Serial Killer films: 3 of the top 25.  0 of the honorable mentions. A total of 3 of the 35 films, 8.6%

Remakes: 1 of the top 25. 0 of the honorable mentions. A total of 1 of the 35 films, 2.9%

Fun Facts:

Sam Raimi has the most films in this post: 3.

Sam Raimi is the only director to appear on the top 25 more than once.

Tom Holland appeared on the honorable mentions twice.

Sam Raimi and Tom Holland are the only directors to appear more than once.

Sam Raimi has two films in the top 5.

Dario Argento is featured twice as a writer in this post(Opera, Demons)

Sam Raimi is featured three times as a writer in this post(Drag Me To Hell, Army of Darkness, Evil Dead II)

Thanks for reading.

Categories: Special Post: Top 25 Horror Movies of the Last 25 Years Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

District 9 – 9

December 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Director – Neill Blomkamp

Cast – Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, Nathalie Boltt, Sylvaine Strike

Release Year – 2009

Reviewed by John of the Dead

As an avid sci-fi fan, and a lover of anything having to do with aliens, I remember being so very excited the first time I got a hold of a teaser trailer for this flick. The immense need for a fresh approach to the horror/sci-fi genre was successfully done with this film as it gives us a great sci-fi experience portrayed in a very creative way, without the normal “cheese” we get from other big budget sci-fi flicks. This film defied Hollywood logic with it’s low budget(by Hollywood standards at least), use of no-name actors, and the fact that such a huge task was put in the hands of a first-time director. All of these worked well for this film, and proves that sincerity beats wads of cash any day.

District 9 follows a series of events after an extraterrestrial race is forced to dock here on Earth over South Africa. The aliens are forced to live in slum-like conditions where they soon adopt crime and civil disobedience due to their impoverished way of life(just like humans huh?). When the government decides to evict the aliens from their shacks to another holding area(basically a concentration camp), a government agent not accustomed to field-work becomes exposed to their biotechnology. The following events show the power of love & despair, as well as the boundaries some will go to for power and control.

First off, this film succeeds in it’s presentation. Almost along the lines of a documentary, you will be shown numerous clips of interviews with people who knew the main character, and other “professionals” asked to comment on the matter. I loved how most of this took place towards the beginning of the film, leaving you to think “is this even going to be a ‘movie’?” and provides even more mystery than that created by this film’s effective “Cloverfield-esque” viral marketing. As the film progresses, it turns more into a “movie”, until the last movement which comes off as an amazing blockbuster that Transformers 2 wishes it was. Hate it, love it, this is creativity and it gets my respect.

The story for the film is an interesting one, perfectly blending the film’s influences(Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Aliens, etc.) into an original story that I could not have guessed from the film’s teasers and trailers. The struggles our lead character faces throughout the film feel real, and the atmosphere and score during these scenes solidify the sorrow felt with him. This sense of realistic gloom carries over to the “Prawns”, which is a derogatory term given to the aliens that are forced to live in the slums of South Africa. Reminiscent of the racial apartheid that plagued South Africa for years, this film also comes off as a social statement as well, leaning towards the cruelty that mankind has put on those who are weak and do not have to means to protect themselves. Social commentary? George A. Romero is sure to be a fan of this film.

So since this is a sci-fi film…you must be wondering about the special effects eh? Well…I can describe them quickly for you, AMAZING! The kill scenes in this film take the cake when it comes to the special effects, but at times you will marvel in awe at the massive spacecraft hovering over Johannesburg as if it were really, REALLY there. This film really doesn’t skimp out on the gore during the kill scenes, and if any of you know about Peter Jackson(who produced this film), then you know he is a master of gore. Reference: watch his film “Dead Alive”, properly referred to as “…THE GORIEST FRIGHT FILM OF ALL TIME”.

My biggest love for this film though…is not the story, special effects, or the film itself. What I love about this film is the big “F*CK YOU!!!” it sends to Hollywood and it’s studio execs. A first-time director, with a no-name cast, and a low budget put out the best film of the year so far and one of the best sci-fi/horror films in recent years.

Director Neil Blomkamp did an amazing job with this film’s direction and atmosphere, as well as pacing it beautifully to never lose the viewer’s interest, yet put forth a great story that doesn’t require explosions and violence to keep the reader’s interest. Whatever explosions and violence that occur during this film are supplemental to the story, and only prove to show the ill-heartedness of the antagonists, and provide rejoice and triumph as the protagonists finally take a stance.

Lead actor Wikus Van De Merwe gives an extraordinary performance that is sure to rock emotions out of the film’s viewers, and makes it hard to believe that an actor with no feature film experience(he was only in one role prior to this film, as a supplemental character in the short, 6 minute film “Alive in Joburg”) can pull of such a role.

But is it really hard to believe? No, there have been many breakout stars who have performed exceedingly well in their first roles, but studio execs refuse to give them the light of day, and go with the only guarantee of making money…big name actors. With films like The Dark Knight costing over $200 million to make, how on earth is it that this film, which had a budget of only $30 million, had the best special effects seen in years? Sincerity goes a long way, farther than money will, and this film proves that point.

Overall, this is an amazing film that offers more than just the typical alien drama we get from other sci-fi flicks. This flick has a purpose, and is sure to please those with an open mind, or would like to see some of the sweetest kills and special effects known to man.

Rating: 9/10

– I ranked this film #37 in my Top 50 Horror Movies of the Decade(31-40) post.

Dead Alive – 9

December 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Director – Peter Jackson

Cast – Timothy Balme, Diana Penalver, Elizabeth Moody, Ian Watkin, Brenda Kendall, Stuart Devenie, Stephan Papps

Release Year – 1992

Reviewed by John of the Dead

This movie is definitely one of my top 5 favorite movies EVER, in ALL genres!  Way before Peter Jackson directed the epic Lord of The Rings trilogy, he was directing ridiculous splatter fest movies such as Bad Taste, Meet the Feebles, and Dead Alive.  This film has the title of being “The Goriest Fright Film Ever Made”, and I agree with that claim 100 percent.  Not only is this movie extremely gory, but it’s outright hilarious as well!

This flick begins with an explorer trying to catch a poisonous Sumatran Rat monkey somewhere in New Zealand.  He gets bitten and suffers a horrible(yet hilarious) fate but somehow our Sumatran Rat Monkey winds up in a zoo and all hell breaks loose when it bites one of our characters and slowly(and hilariously) turns her into one of the undead.  I would explain more of this film, but I do not want to ruin your experience watching this flick. Trust me, you will thank me when it’s over.

I really cannot explain how much I love this flick.  Right from the beginning this film takes off on a splatterific joyride that never lets up.  Because this film is so ridiculous it helps with it’s pacing, never having a dull moment.  Peter Jackson’s quirky direction makes this a fun watch and actually has the feel of a children’s flick, but with drums of blood and gross-out humor.  In this film you will see some scenes you have never seen before in any other horror film, and most likely will not ever see again.  Yes, this film is THAT awesome.

You will experience some scenes that are just downright disgusting(when you see the “custard” scene you will agree with me) and will stick in your mind for years go come.  Apparently the infamous “lawnmower scene” towards the end of the movie used over 200 liters of fake blood! Gory AND hilarious? Never has a horror film had me laughing out loud like this one made me do.  I had to hook in my respirator by the time I was halfway though this flick.

I really have no complaints about this movie.  Some scenes are pretty damn silly, but that is the point of this movie and they should not be held against this flick whatsoever. This is not a film to be held in “academy award” regard.

Overall, this is a definite watch if you are a gorehound like me, or if you just want to hang back with some friends and pop a few cold ones to a hilarious, whacked-out gorefest that you will not regret viewing.

Rating: 8.5/10

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