The count continues with a film I could talk about for hours.
- 19) Bram Stoker’s Dracula~ 1992 Director: Francis Ford Coppola Cast: Gary Oldman Keanu Reeves~ Despite some of the acting by specific actors the opening scene more than makes up for it. Filled with love, grief and fury it shows the reasoning behind Dracula’s transformation, his renouncement of God. Tom Waits as Renfield is genius.
- 18) You’re Next~ 2011 A somewhat more original story that was needed at the time. A woman goes with her boyfriend to his parent’s wedding anniversary at their vacation home. Strangers attack the home but as guests die the girlfriend starts to piece it together. No one knew her background and they’re in for a surprise.
- 17) Frailty~ 2001 Director: Bill Paxton Cast: Bill Paxton Matthew McConaughey~ I love this movie because you’re not sure if the religiously fanatic father is losing his mind and mistreating his children or if there’s any truth to what he believes. In the end you find out for sure. Rare for a film.
- 16) The Devil’s Backbone~ 2001 Guillermo del Toro~ It’s easy to over think a film and with this one many have. Some believe the film to be a metaphor for the rise of Fascism in Spain. I saw an orphaned boy, traumatized and uncomfortable in his own skin in an orphanage haunted by a boy who died there previously. Guillermo always does haunting, beautiful films that I usually find myself shedding at least one tear at.
- 15) The Thing~ 1982 Director: John Carpenter Cast: Kurt Russell~ A research station in Antarctica goes to check on a nearby station where they find all of them missing or dead. They do find the remains of something the station tried to destroy. I’m not a fan of Sci-Fi Horror but I love this one. It has a lot of jump factors and the tension between the characters as they begin to distrust one another keeps you watching.
Stating off this portion of the count is a film I watched recently.
- 29) Let Us Prey~ 2014 Cast: Liam Cunningham~ A cop assigned to new station in a small town where a few locals and one stranger all end up at the station where secrets are revealed and punishment may or may not fit the crime.
- 28) The Omen~ 1976 An American ambassador questions if he’s raising the Antichrist. The best of the “Evil Child” or “Bad Seed” movies ever made where you never forget the name Damien.
- 27) Friday the 13th~ 1980 Camp Counselors are murdered one by one at camp where a child’s death was the fault of camp counselors years before.
- 26) Brawl in Cell Block 99~ 2017 Cast: Vince Vaughn Don Johnson~ I haven’t Vince Vaughn this good in a long time. He owned this part where the tension and violence builds as the film goes on. Vaughn’s physical appearance was even surprising. His arms were like two swinging sledgehammers destroying everything in his path. There’s also an underlying message about privatized prisons that’s hard to ignore.
- 25) Near Dark~ 1987 Director: Kathryn Bigelow Cast: Bill Paxton Lance Henriksen~ The fact that Kathryn Bigelow directed this film is reason enough to watch it. The actors are good but the plot is a little spotty. For some reason this film stays with me so there has to be something there.
- 24) Nightbreed~ 1990 Director: Clive Barker Cast: Craig Sheffer David Cronenberg~ It’s rare that the autor of a novel can write the screenplay and direct the movie successfully. But we are talking about Clive Barker who makes you wish a place like Midian actually existed.
- 23) The Amityville Horror~ 1979 Cast: James Brolin Margot Kidder~ When you have anything even loosely based on a true story it’s a little more disturbing for me. If you aware of what happened in the house originally it makes you yell at the screen and ask “Why the Hell don’t you LEAVE?!”
- 22) The Bad Batch~ 2016 Director: Ana Lily Amirpour Cast: Jason Momoa Keanu Reeves Suki Waterhouse~ People considered “undesirable” or “bad” in society are exiled to a Texas wasteland. One young woman is dropped off in the middle of this wasteland to fend for herself and decide what really defines a person as “bad”?
- 21) The Strangers~ 2008 Cast: Liv Tyler Scott Speedman~ What makes this movie terrifying is the possible reality of it. A couple at an isolated vacation home have the home invaded by a group of masked strangers. The worse part is they do it because they’re bored and they can. A group of teenagers with no empathy or remorse. The story supposedly came from an event in the direcor’s childhood but a similar event happened in 1981 at the Keddie Resort. There’s also a French film “Them” that is based on a true story that’s almost exactly the same.
- 20) Texas Chainsaw Massacre~ 1974 Director: Tobe Hooper~ Considered controversial at the time 5 youths on a weekend getaway in Texas run into a sadistic family one which wears a mask made of human skin. Some of this movie is taken from real events. Mostly Ed Gein.
I managed two Blockbuster Video stores at the same time, starting when all they had were VHS tapes and ending when they started closing stores. I had access to hundreds of catalogs listing every Horror film made. If one looked interesting I would cross reference it with another database that gave reviews (similar to imdb.com) to see if it was worth bringing in. We were also sent promotional tapes from independent companies that wanted their films to get picked up.
I had quite the collection until I couldn’t work anymore and I was stuck in limbo waiting for a decision on whether or not I was capable of working. I was forced to sell my film collection to pay bills. You do what you have to.
I still love the genre but I am a little picky or weird about the Horror movies I like. Torture porn isn’t exactly a favorite of mine and I rarely like comedy with my Horror or “Campy Horror” but some of the most influential Horror films have all of these qualities and they can’t be ignored.
- 50) Freaks~ 1932- Director: Tod Browning Stars: Wallace Ford Leila Hyans~ A beautiful trapeze artist uses a Circus Sideshow owner with dwarfism to get his inheritance. The film uses people that had been used in Circus “Freak Shows” with real disabilities. There is a moral to the story. Sometimes the beautiful people are the cruelest and ugliest on the inside. The owner’s friends just want to make sure she matches all around.
- 49) The Lair of The White Worm~ 1988- Director: Ken Russell Stars: Amanda Donohoe Hugh Grant~ Campy and bizarre which would normally mean I wouldn’t like it. The exception is Amanda Donohoe. Her character is mesmerizing and makes the entire movie.
- 48) Trick or Treat~ 1986- Director: Charles Martin Smith Stars: Marc Price Tony Fields Gene Simmons~ An infamous rock star dies and uses his biggest fan, a bullied teenager, to try to come back to life. I watched this with my best friend and we loved the music and the concept. It was the 80’s.
- 47) The Hitcher~ 1986- Director: Robert Harmon Stars: Rutger Hauer C. Thomas Howell~ I’m a huge fan of Rutger Hauer but not of C. Thomals Howell until recently. The realistic style of this movie is what makes it memorable. Road movies if done right can be extremely effective.
- 46) Cannibal Holocaust~ 1980 Director: Ruggers Deodato This film has so much controversy surrounding it you almost can’t believe it. After it’s premiere in Milan the film was seized by Italian Courts and the director was arrested and charged with obscenity. He was also charged with murdering several actors on camera and faced life in prison. He had the cast sign contracts saying they would disappear for a year after shooting to make the film more believable. Eventually they were found and the director was released. I haven’t been able to watch the film even though I owned a collector’s edition. There were real animal sacrifices and other questionable scenes. It was banned in several countries.
- 45) The Hand~ 1981- Director: Oliver Stone Stars: Michael Caine~ A comic book artist loses his hand in a car accident but it was never found at the scene. Later it shows up and begins to kill anyone that the artist has a problem with. Is it an artist’s over active imagination or reality? You can’t go wrong with Oliver Stone and Michael Caine.
- 44) Phantasm~ 1979- Director: Don Coscarelli Stars: Angus Scrimm~ Mike loses his parents at a young age and worries the same will happen to his older brother. He starts to follow him everywhere. One night while following him he sees the Tall Man who runs the funeral home. It’s downhill from there. I admit the Tall Man scared me and so did the metal spheres. This is one I first watched with my brother who by the way is also a Tall Man. lol
- 43) Dust Devil~ 1992- Director: Richard Stanley Stars: Robert John Burke Chelsea Field~ The Dust Devil is a demon who preys on those who have lost their reason to live. This is based on a true story of South African serial killer Nhadiep. There’s a mix of mysticism, tribal rituals and witchcraft. The cinematography of the Namibian desert makes this film feel that much more realistic.
- 42) The Evil Dead~ 1981- Director: Sam Raimi Stars: Bruce Campbell~ Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods where they release evil that posses them one by one. Not a favorite of mine because it mixes campy horror with gore but at the time it was made no one else was doing horror like this.
- 41) The Lost Boys~ 1987- Director: Joel Schumacher Stars: Jason Patric Kiefer Sutherland~ While not the scariest movie made it might be one of the sexiest Vampire movies with one of the best soundtracks.
- 40) Shocker~ 1989- Director: Wes Craven Stars: Peter Berg Michael Murphy Mitch Pileggi~ A serial killer comes back to life after being put to death by the electric chair. This movie always stayed with me and I can’t explain why. Wes Craven is one of the masters of Horror but there’s something different about this one.
This is it for right now because my hands are tired. lol But I will be back!