BOYTOONS MAGAZINE FILM REVIEW! My TOP -10 all-time favorite horror films!

A little while ago, PB, one of my commentators, suggested that I put this together for you guys! I want to thank him for his suggestion because I had a great deal of fun with it, and I hope you enjoy reading it!

I would like to start by pointing out that I am no great cinema critic. I have no background, particular schooling or special powers that somehow grants me the ability to discern between what is great and what is crap! But then again, neither do most professional film critics! That being said, I seldom pay attention to the reviews, preferring instead to make up my own mind about a film. I don’t especially care if something is Oscar-worthy or not. Frankly, few things are! But films SHOULD be about more than that! If something moves you in some way and carries you some place fun, then in my book, that makes it a GREAT success! So without further adieu, here are my Top-10 All-Time Favorite Horror Films… in no particular order!

10- NIGHTBREED. I read the book, I loved the book! I saw the film, I loved the film. Clive Barker is a brilliant man any way you slice it, and I think that this film is a wonderful testament to his imagination and creativity. When it was originally released back in 1990, the critics raked it over the coals, failing to see how ahead of it’s time it was. The creature designs and make up was extraordinary, not to mention that the story itself is extremely compelling, providing us the chance to root for the would-be villains for a change. It truly was a great role reversal, attached to a very poignant message. Just because something is not traditionally beautiful, does not make it evil. But don’t piss it off…’cause it will rip you to shreds! A Fantastic, fun ride, AND set in Calgary, Canada! You gotta love that!

Incidentally, the book Nightbreed is based upon is titled “Cabal”, and has a few homoerotic moments. It’s also a great read in that it deepens the film’s mythology in ways Mr. Barker could never do in a two hour film.

9 – THE GRUDGE. Special effects can be really great, but what makes a film scary in my book is its ability to crawl under your skin. It also doesn’t hurt that the “ghost” holding the grudge in this flick looks a lot like Michael Jackson on crack! Despite having loved Buffy and Sarah Michelle Gellar, I was not drawn to this movie because of her presence in it. I liked the premise of someone dying with so much rage within them that it prevents them for resting in peace.

This film is so creepy in so many ways. Yes there are visuals that will make you piss your pants… and evil children can be especially creepy… but what really sells this is that sense you get halfway through that everyone in the movie is totally, completely and ROYALLY SCREWED, with no chance of escape! To this day, I STILL can’t fall asleep if my closet door isn’t taped up!

8 – THE NINTH GATE. What can I tell you?! I grew up a good little catholic boy, and I am still paying for it! The Devil freaks the crap outta me…and quite honestly, no one does the devil more subtly and brilliantly than Director Roman Polansky. This little jem stars Johnny Depp as a reprehensible book collector and seller who is employed to locate and authenticate the presumed Satanic Bible. Needless to say, this is a task that is wrought with peril. Along the way however, Johnny makes a strange friend with socks that don’t match. Quirky, yet undeniably creepy, this film does not leave you with a “feel good” feeling in your belly. The devil might be anywhere, and anyone… and the mismatched socks are a dead giveaway!

7 – DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004). We’ve already established that I love Zombies. What you may not know is that I am a sucker for a post-apocalyptic society story. I love the idea of having to survive in a world that makes it damn near impossible. That to me is terribly frightening, and motivates great character development and expansion.

This slick and stylish remake of George Romero’s original by the same name is fast paced, and in some ways, more realistic than it’s predecessor. That is to say that not even taking refuge in a shopping mall can keep the apocalypse away. So where do you go when all of humanity is dead and hungers for your flesh…and NOT in the good way?

Sarah Pauley (and NO that isn’t Ms. Pauley pictured above…nor is it the School Girl!) leads a perfectly cast cast of actors in their struggle to survive a new breed of Zombies. You got it folks: OLYMPIC Zombies. These suckers can run!

6 – THE CHANGELING. No big budget effects here, folks, just a terrific ghost story, and a marvelous performance by the great George C. Scott (God rest his soul!). This film from the 70s won’t be to everyone’s liking. In fact my pals Steven and Tamara just about shot me after I passed my copy on to them to sit through. They hated it! And why? Because it was not filmed in the last 3 years! You see, not every flick needs to be shiny and new to work on every level. The Changeling is the story of a man who, after a great tragedy in his life, ends up trying to solve the mysterious haunting of his new home. This is cinema when cinema was great. The actors are all fantastic, and the chills are there. But mostly, it’s a great trip back in time to an era of horror films that didn’t rely solely on expensive flashiness to make a great and truly frightening movie.

5 – JAWS. Maybe this one is a pretty typical selection for this list-o-mine, but to this day, I still think twice before getting in the water. This movie messed me up good, and it messed me up early! I think I was, like, 6 when I saw that mammoth shark take his first bite out of a swimmer, and I have never been able to cleanse that image from my brain. What is so scary about Jaws is that it isn’t about some fictional monster. These things do exist in nature…and even though they may not be as huge in reality as the Great White Shark in Jaws… would you want to come face to face with one in water? I tell you, this one still gives me the wiggins!

4 – THE RING. Let’s pretend for a moment that this film’s GOD AWFUL sequel never happened. Aaahhh! Much better. Now we can enjoy the first film and breathe a lot easier. I like a horror film with brains. Killers with big knives often end up boring me. And as I mentioned before, demented child-ghosts are so freakin’ creepy! The Ring not only stars the lovely Naomi Watts, but it is a veritable treat to watch all of the intricate layers be peeled away, piece by piece as the plot thickens. You have mystery and true frights all wrapped up in one, leaving you feeling drenched to the bone and chilled to the core. This film still leaves me feeling a little water-logged after I watch it, and though many still regard it as a travesty and pale imitation of the original Japanese version, I still proudly keep a copy in my DVD collection.

3 – THE EXORCIST. Let me be VERY clear. I hate this film! And that is why I love it. To this day, nothing has EVER managed to frighten me more than little Reagan barfing up pea soup and spouting obscenities like “your Momma sucks cock in Hell!”. And then there is the infamous scene which was deleted from the original release. You know the one! The scene where that poor possessed little girl climbs down the stairs all fucked up and twisted like some giant spider! GAHHH!!!

Seriously folks… this film makes ME fear for my mortal soul. I first watched it when I was 12, with a pillow over my face the entire time, and the image of Reagan possessed by Pazuzu still haunts me today! Poor little Linda Blair. I would NEVER have allowed my kid to be in this nightmare!

2 – RESIDENT EVIL. I loved this film, and not only because of it’s ties to the game, but because it is such a fun ride. It’s scary, and it has a fun story. It also has the distinction of being the film I ALWAYS watch when I am sick. My Fraser bought me a copy on DVD when we first started dating. He knew how much I loved it (having gone to see it in the cinema about 6 times!). I had the flu and he watched it with me! Sweet huh? Please don’t barf! ;)

Resident Evil is frightening, and not just because it stars Michelle Rodriguez. Imagine that a giant corporation, researching bio weaponry is hiding right under your nose. Now imagine that all Hell breaks loose in their lab, and that everyone you know suddenly becomes infected with a terrible virus that can mutate living flesh, and reanimate the dead.

This film has a perfectly eerie atmosphere, and a HUGE part of that is due to the brilliant score provided by the equally frightening Marilyn Mason. Sadly absent from the sequel, Manson’s scoring makes you feel exceptionally jumpy and vulnerable.

I love that after so many viewings, this film can still make me feel like I am truly entering the world of survival horror!

1 – ROSEMARY’S BABY. I don’t just love horror films because they are scary. I love them because they are entertaining and engrossing. Another film by director Roman Polanski, Rosemary’s Baby is a frightening look at what happens when one by one, your friends and family all desert you, and you suddenly find yourself surrounded by strangers who have less than good intentions in mind for you. Starring the lovely Mia Farrow as Rosemary, the film is still as wonderful today as it was in 1968 (not that I was around back then… but I IMAGINE!). Oh how I adore the magnificent Ruth Gordon, so fucking brilliant in the role of Minnie Castevet, the incredibly nosey and annoying, Satan-worshipping neighbor. It is no wonder that woman won an Oscar for her performance in the movie…and although I don’t usually pay attention to that sort of thing, in this case, I think it was perfectly deserved!

I bought a copy of Rosemary’s Baby on DVD two weekends ago. I had it on VHS like, a million years ago. Fraser had never seen it and I looked forward to the pleasure of introducing him to the film. He ADORED it and I was sucked in all over again, and though this is more of a psychological fright fest, it still retains its horrific potency with a premise do evil, you can’t help but be afraid! This film will bore some of you, but if you are in the mood for a cerebral and intelligent sort of horror, give it a go. You won’t be sorry! And if nothing else, it’s also a great trip back in time!

13 HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Of course those top 10 are amazing, but there are so many other great Horror films out there. I cannot possibly blab about them all, but trust me! These 12 are also worth a gander!

1 – ANGEL HEART. The devil is very scary indeed when mixed in with Voodoo and portrayed by Robert De Niro.

2 – THE FOG. John Carpenter’s original, though slow from time to time, has two great things going for it: Adrienne Barbeau and a cool ghost story about Pirates seeking revenge!

3 – The H
ellraiser series.
I love Cliver Barker, and some of these are pretty twisted. great fun every time!

4 – LAND OF THE DEAD. The return of Romero! Need I say more?

5 – JEEPERS CREEPERS 1 & 2. Finally, a Gay monster who is more interested in chasing hot young studs than sorority girls!

6 – THE KEEP. Gothic Horror at its best. Not un-flawed mind you, but still very creepy!

7 – THE THING. This John Carpenter masterpiece is what I like to call “fleshy gross”. When the human body becomes all grotesque and deformed and icky, it scare me!

8 – SHAWN OF THE DEAD. Zombies and humor! Who’d a thunk it! HA! HA! HA! Very funny flick, with some heart-stoppingly scary moments! BRILLIANT!

9 – LOST BOYS. I love Vampires flicks…especially when they DON’T suck!

10 – THIRTEEN GHOSTS. This remake may have been a box-office bomb, but it is a true Hollywood rollercoaster of cool and scary ghosts and terrific special fx.

11 – THE SKELETON KEY. That’s HOODOO to you! Though this is more of a suspense than a horror, it feels so authentic, you’ll feel like you really are in the bayou running to save your soul from an evil curse!

12 – VAMP. It’s great campy fun and stars the AMAZING Grace Jones as the Queen of the Vampires… what could be better??!?

13 – ALIENS. More sci-fi than Horror in my book, but still full of wicked frights! A classic!

Comments

  1. Good morning Patrick,

    very, very good list of frightening horror movies!

    Personally, I switch every now and then between “real” horror (for example “Rosemarie’s baby” – one of my alltime favorites!) and a grossy 80s splatter movies (by Lucio Fulci – he made incredibly gross and frightening movies in the 80s.).

    One of my favorite “series” is the “Dead”-series of George A. Romero. You mentioned the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead which is a great movie because it doesn’t even try to copy the original. But, if You ever get the chance, go ahead and rent “Night of the living dead” (black & white), “Dawn of the Dead”, “Day of the Dead” and the just recently released “Land of the Dead”.
    All these 4 movies are not only horror but have also such a nice socioculturally critical undertone that they really crawl under Your skin.

    At least the do with me.

    All the best and have a good night… BOOOOO!!!! =D

  2. Hey Patrick!

    YAY! Horror movies, as if my love life isn’t one enough already, you have to do a posting on them!!!!

    I can pratel on for days about horro movies, but I won’t. I love your selection. You have very good taste.

    Mine tends to be more the “Slasher” style of movie, but I love zombies, werewholve’s, vampires etc.. just the same.

    After I read what you wrote about the Exorcist, I wet my pants laughing, I can just imagine you saying the rosery and begging the good Lord to have redemption on your soul before bedtime. I have to say that I laughed all the way through it, there are some fantastic one liners in that movie I use whenever a Jehovah’s Witness comes knocking at my door.

    But the only 3 horror movies that really make me drop my guts (Aussie slang for “Shit My Pants”) and they are “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (remake) and the “Saw” movies. Mostley because “TTCM” is based on actual fact, if you watch the remake, all the black and white footage you see in the film is actual police footage from their files dating back to 1975. These films were thought to have been lost and the original movie was very “based on specualtion.” The remake is 80% closer to what really happened. Can’t wait for the sequel to start in a few weeks.

    As for SAW(S) – well all I can say is,”A real mindfucker movie.” I would really loose it if it happened to me.

    Great image of Grace in Vamp, I was looking after her in Australia at the time it was released (long story)I thought it was very camp and heaps of fun.

    Great posting again Mr Fillion – when can we do it again and on what style of movie???

    Wishing you all a happy chainsaw enima!

    Manny!

  3. OMG your great taste obviously extends to your movie selections aswell! Having said that I wasn’t sure about the inclusion of the American version of the Ring? Call me a purist but, I loved the original Japanese Ringu…So much more frieghtening. But most Japanese horror movies are. I think as Westerners theres something so alien about Japanese culture and thats a huge part of why the movies are so unnerving… Which is probably why films like The Ring, The Grudge and Dark Water don’t translate well into a nice tidy American version.

    Also, Japanese horror movies don’t have the same conventions as their Western counter parts. That whole ‘if your good and pure you’ll get away relatively unscathed’ just doesn’t apply. Anyones a possible victim man, woman or child and thats whats makes it so damn frightening, your just constantly thinking ‘Who’s next?’
    I figured you’d like the American version due to your very talented artistic sensibility, so I’ll forgive you, plus as remakes go it really wasn’t too bad:)

    Glad to see classics in there like Ninth Gate. I loved that movie, but critics shat all over that film over here saying that Depp could have done so much better and it was just another Polanski Satanic film, but I thought is was brilliant… It just seemed like more of a psychological horror than anything else, which is always more frightening. Plus Emmanuel Singer was great, so relaxed during the whole film… Looked like a damn hobo lol.

    And I’ll just mention this last one coz I thought I was the only one that loved this film, Nightbreed! How cool is that movie, you just get lost in this whole twisted little world. Clive Barker truely has a disturbingly weird yet undeniably intriguing imagination. How sexy was Boone, When I first saw that film I was like 13 and I had the hugest crush on him… Him and Scott Bakula who was in Lord of Illusion, another Clive Barker film.

    One final question though Mr, why was Candyman not in here… Good god that film almost made me shit a brick when I first saw it haha.
    Other than that your horror selection was superb! P.S Angel Heart… what he hell did Mickey do to himself?lol He used to be such a fox, yet I found myself strangely attracted to him in Sin City?! Bizarre!

  4. Charvolth says

    I can agree with you on a lot of those films, and definitely noticed a homo-erotic element ot Jeepers Creepers.
    I can also highly recommend the original Japanese versions of the Ring and the Grudge. Actually the two original Grudge films were shot on video camera and adds a very ‘real’ feeling to it, does a great job explaining the origins of the cursed family.
    Though I have to say I preferred the original Dawn of the Dead if only for creating a literal depiction of ‘Dead Eyed Suburbanites’. That was just one level of the social critique that George Romero added to the film, and all of the dead films for that matter.

  5. I really like all those movies, Patrick– except for the zombie ones. I cant handle zombies.

    I have to disagree with PB on the Ring. Dont get me wrong, usually Americans fuck up anything they remake from another country (I can say that cuz I’m American– heh heh.) But in the case of “the Ring” vs. ringu– I much preferred the American version. I felt like the Japanese original was a little corny and didnt have as much schocking imagery as the American remake.

    But yeah ring 2 was crap-tacular. No arguing there.

    And I absolutely LOVE Rosemary’s Baby. “I’ve been to Vidal Sasoon!”

  6. Hey Fellas…

    Thanks for the great comments. Glad you liked my choices! I found it so difficult to narrow down my list of films…there are just so many really fun and twisted Horrors out there. It was really tough to choose.

    Mostly, I agree with all of you on your personal choices as well, but I have to be honest… the original Japanese version of the Ring is probably the ONLY original Japanese horror that got an American remake that I absolutely, positively HATED!!! LOL!!! Sorry gang!

    You see, I felt that the American version had a great deal more plausibility, and didn’t require me to suspend my disbelief anywhere nearly as much as the Japanese version. Plus, I just didn’t love the original’s psychic twist. Not as fun for me!

    Meanwhile, I agree that a good many remakes SUCK really badly. Dark Water: The ultimate Cure for insomnia! GOOD GOD what on EARTH were they thinking?!?!? It couldn’t possibly have been that this steaming pile of hooey was gonna scare us!

    Ah well, each to their own I guess… but it’s always fun to talk about the films we love…especially the scary ones!

    Thanks to all of you guys for your lovely notes and comments! You ROCK!

    Much Love,
    Patrick XOXOX

    PS — Manny, I loved Saw 2… but HATED Saw 1, despite it’s really effective and creepy premise. All I can say is the casting director should be fired for hiring Carey Elwes… WHAT A COMPLETE HAM!!!! I could not wait to see him bite the bullet.

    But they do get points for casting the lovely and brilliant Shawnee Smith as Amanda. That woman is soooo original and quirky! I just love her!

  7. Oh yeah…
    PS — Can you believe I have only seen a small part of the first Candyman??? And I call myself a Horror Film Enthusiast! Shame on me! LOL!!! I will correct this ASAP!

    Hugz + Kisses
    Patrick XOXO

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