So I have to admit something to you all. I didn’t have time to watch a horror movie today. I had to catch up on wrestling this morning, I had to do some homework, then I went to see Sicario in theaters (not horror but HIGHLY recommended, look for it on my Top 50 this year), and then later I’m watching the season finales of both Fear the Walking Dead and The Strain (TV horror!), so yeah. No time.
But do not fret horror fans! I have something great for you! It’s my very first Horror Best Of… in which I will list what are, in my opinion, the best horror movies from every horror sub-genre I can currently think of! Wooo! Okay so let’s get this one started.
Best Zombie Horror: Dead Alive (aka Braindead) (1992)
Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive is my favorite zombie movie of all time because it is hilarious and disgusting. From about minute 20 it is non-stop gore. Low-budget, cheesy as hell, and above all, grotesque. It’s the perfect zombie movie.
Best Body Horror: Re-Animator (1985)
Based (VERY loosely) on H.P. Lovecraft’s story of the same name, Re-Animator stars Jeffrey Combs as Herbert West, and man who wants to solve the problem of death. It’s gross, it’s very funny, and it has some great practical effects. It’s a highly memorable film.
Best Action Horror: Predator (1987)
John McTiernan’s masterpiece Predator has everything you could ever want in any movie ever made. It has muscles, it has one-liners, it has spooky moments, it has one of the single best alien movie designs of all time, it has the jungle, it has guns, it has gore, it has Jesse “The Body” Ventura, and most of all, it has Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s fun, funny, violent, and perfect I love Predator oh man it’s the best I could talk about it for like 9 hours.
Guillermo del Toro is easily one of my five favorite directors. I have seen every movie he has directed, and I couldn’t possibly choose a favorite. It’s probably between this, Cronos, and Hellboy. And Pan’s Labyrinth. So anyway this movie takes place at an orphanage during the Spanish Civil War and there is a spooky ghost kid. On top of being a great ghost story, it’s also a great, heartfelt story in general and I highly recommend it.
Best Monster Movie: Godzilla (Gojira) (1954)
Not only is it my favorite monster movie, Godzilla, the ORIGINAL movie (not the dumb american English-dubbed version from 2 years later), is one of my top 5 favorite movies of all-time. It’s a somber, terrifying meditation on nuclear power. Sure, it just seems like a monster movie, but if you watch it, you’ll understand it’s actually a pretty profound movie on the dangers of having so much power that you lose control of it.
David Lynch’s first film, Eraserhead, is difficult to describe. My interpretation of the movie is that it is a surrealist take on the horrors of marriage, parenthood, and settling down. Everything from the sobbing engagement and the mutant baby being awful and scary and horrible to meeting the parents-in-law and the gooey chicken. See, David Lynch says nobody has ever interpreted it the way he interprets it (and he’s never offered up the interpretation), so I guess it’s up to you. If you’ve seen it, as always, your thoughts are welcome in the comments!
Ridley Scott’s Alien is another one of my all-time favorite movies. Definitely Top 10. I love the design by Giger, I love the tight, claustrophobic atmosphere of the whole thing, and I love how creepy it is. Aliens is an incredible sequel, almost equivalent to this, but I have to give the edge to the OG. It’s just so creepy. Also Sigourney Weaver is great and she always will be.
John Carpenter is one of my Top 5 favorite directors. Halloween is easily his most popular and highly-acclaimed films. For good reason. Now, it’s not my favorite Carpenter movie, but it’s definitely one of my favorites. It didn’t CREATE the slasher genre, but it inspired innumerable rip-offs, remakes, sequels, and basically an entire style of horror filmmaking, all the way up to this year’s It Follows. If you haven’t seen this one I don’t know how you missed it.
Takashi Miike. I am obsessed with the films of Takashi Miike. Audition, One Missed Call, Lesson of the Evil, Visitor Q, The Happiness of the Katakuris, and 13 Assassins are just some of Takashi Miike’s 98 Director credits. 98. NINETY EIGHT. Now, not all of them are winners, to be sure. But he DEFINITELY has a style. And that style is “let’s see how fucked-up we can get with this one.” And Ichi the Killer MIGHT just hold the title of his most. Also it is WILDLY offensive and WILL offend your mom, dad, uncles and aunts.
Also if you haven’t heard of “splatter horror” think of the word “splatter” and just figure it out. It’s a mostly Japanese style but Eli Roth movies are basically splatter movies too.
HAIL TO THE KING BABY. Evil Dead II is a perfect masterpiece that needs no justification by me. It IS the horror movie. Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell got together and made Evil Dead. And it was great. And then they basically remade it into Evil Dead II, and improved it in every way. It’s funnier, gorier, campier, and more fun than the first. Army of Darkness is excellent too but Evil Dead II IS the King to which we hail.
SO THOSE WERE THE GENRE ONES AND YOU’LL NOTICE SOME HORROR SUB-GENRES WERE LEFT OUT BUT STOP COMPLAINING I HAVE MY REASONS.
Anyway so now I’m going to do 2 fun special ones!
So John Carpenter went ahead and remade the classic science fiction movie The Thing From Another World (1951). And it was such a good remake that it was better. Now, it was also super different. But The Thing is the end-all be-all for sci-fi/horror practical effects. It’s gloriously gory. It’s also just pure paranoia set in the frozen wasteland (beauty? wasteland? YOU be the judge!) of Antarctica. Tension and emotions run high, gooey pointy aliens run everywhere else, and WILFORD BRIMLEY IS IN IT.
Some people have the occasional unkind thing to say about this movie but I think that it’s perfect. It’s the perfect blend of horror, gore, intelligence, and humor. It’s got crazy twists, not only plot-wise, but it’s actually a huge twist on the horror genre itself, changing the formula halfway through the movie and doing things most horror movies don’t REALLY do. I don’t want to spoil too much for the people who haven’t seen it, but I just love this movie so much. Also some absolutely fantastic cinematography. The director, Adam Wingard, also directed last year’s The Guest, a John Carpenter-style horror/thriller. It’s definitely worth checking out as well.
Okay that’s it. Sorry I didn’t have a specific horror movie to talk about today, but hopefully this suffices. OK tomorrow you’ll have something nice and new.