TOP 50 HORRO FILMS~ #29-20

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.
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TOP 50 HORROR FILMS (Rated by Me) #50-40

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!

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA~BEST PICTURE NOMINEE (*May Contain Spoilers*)

I will start by telling you THIS ISN’T A LOVE STORY! If one more person asks that question I will really start to wonder about the people who actually watch previews. I honestly think people are judging movies by the posters now.

This movie stayed with me for the longest time. The subject matter is heavy stuff. Dealing with guilt, isolation, forgiveness, moving on, and so many other emotional subjects. I’m not sure if you can grasp it all in one viewing.

We start out watching handyman Lee (Casey Affleck) carry out his mundane duties day to day. He isn’t sociable, is sometimes rude, and you get the feeling that there’s a reason he lives in a basement that resembles a cell.

He receives a phone call one day telling him that his brother has passed away and he needs to go back to his hometown. It’s here we start to see flashbacks of the man Lee used to be. When he laughed openly with his brother and nephew and their fishing boat.

Guardianship of his nephew, who is now a teenager, is left to Lee. For some reason Lee’s reaction isn’t what you would expect and when you hear the lawyer say “I know it’s tough given what you’ve been through but you’re the one he wanted”, a light goes on. There is more to Lee’s story.

We see more flashbacks of Lee with a wife and three children. He’s a guy’s guy. He isn’t perfect but they love each other and he loves his family. An “accident” happens one night that changes Lee’s entire world.

What struck me the most was the look on his face when the police said they weren’t going to charge him with anything. It was a look of disbelief and anger. It’s then that his basement apartment makes sense. The self imposed isolation. He felt responsible and if the law wasn’t going to punish him than he was going to punish himself.

This movie is heartbreaking and deals with so much but there is real life in here and it shows all throughout the movie mostly by Casey Affleck.

MOONLIGHT~BEST PICTURE NOMINEE (*May Contain Spoilers*)

MOONLIGHT~ Mahershala Ali (Juan), Alex Hibbert (Little), Ashton Sanders (Chiron), Trevante Rhodes (Black), Andre Holland (Kevin)

Moonlight blows you away in it’s simple but exquisite storytelling. It follows the three pivotal points in one boy’s life.

This film isn’t only about drug abuse, sexual orientation, confusion, neglect, poverty or bullying. The story is so much more than that. Mahershala Ali plays Juan, the neighborhood’s top drug dealer. You realize from the beginning he’s different by the way he treats the people around him, including those that work for him.

He notices a small boy who always seems to be alone or running from his everyday tormentors. When Juan finds him in an abandoned crack house hiding, he tries to get him to open up. He takes him to his house where he lives with his girlfriend for dinner. From here they develop a relationship that will forever influence the boy as he grows into a man.

There are many topics covered in this film but I think everyone will walk away with something different.

For me it was about deciding who you are, the people in your life that are there when you need them, forgiveness, and how life sometimes leads you to a place you think you are supposed to be.

The reality is you can choose your own path regardless of how you started. If you fail at least you’ll know that you tried. moonlight_movie_review-1600x1600

HELL OR HIGH WATER~BEST PICTURE NOMINEE

Hell or High Water stars Ben Foster, Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges. The plot is fairly simple. Two brothers, one recently released from prison, decide to rob a branch of banks to pay off the reverse mortgage on their mother’s ranch.

Ben Foster is Tanner, an ex con, who’s impulsiveness always causes chaos. When it comes to his brother he’s devoted. Chris Pine is Toby, a divorced dad trying to do the right thing for his ex wife and child but never seeming to get ahead. Jeff Bridges is Marcus Hamilton the curmudgeonly Texas Marshall getting ready for retirement but obsessed with his one last case.

For me the movie is familiar. The banks taking advantage of people who feel they have no other choice. The struggle of farmers and ranchers everywhere. The relationship between siblings. I didn’t feel like there was anything new or memorable. I watched it and forgot about it the next day. Jeff Bridges was playing a character he’s played before. Chris Pine was actually a surprise and did well. As far as a Best Picture nomination I don’t think it was better than some of the other films I’ve seen.

As I’ve said before, if a movie doesn’t make me think or feel, or if I’m not still thinking about it the next day, then to me it isn’t a Best Picture. It can still be entertaining but not necessarily award winning.tughocv3

 

HACKSAW RIDGE

Hacksaw Ridge stars Andrew Garfield and Vince Vaughn. It’s directed by Mel Gibson. This is Mel Gibson’s first directing project in 10 years. He won Best Director for Braveheart in 1996. Hacksaw Ridge is up for Best Picture and Best Director this year at The Academy Awards.

I would like to see Mel Gibson win for Best Director, he deserves it. Unfortunately, it’s Hollywood and they can hold a grudge. After winning Best Director in 1996 it wasn’t long before things started to go downhill for Mr. Gibson. He was arrested for a DUI where he made some irrational statements to the arresting officer. This severely hurt his career. He was also accused of domestic violence by an ex-girlfriend.

*This is a side note/opinion. While reading the autobiography of a famous hard rock band the lead singer told a story where Mel Gibson showed up at his house late at night. He was already drunk and they continued drinking. Eventually the singer had to kick him out. This musician is a known alcoholic and to be kicked out of his house really says something to me. When you add in the irrational behavior and choices I can’t help but think there is something more going on. But I have a habit of seeing illness in a lot of people.*

Mr. Gibson has talked about his past problems and has said that he has done a great deal of work on himself over the years and has apologized many times. But is Hollywood willing to overlook his past?

If they don’t it would be an injustice not only to Mr. Gibson but to everyone who has struggled to keep going even though they battle the same issues he does. His work is his work. Hacksaw Ridge is as close to perfect as you can get for a film of this genre. Watching it you feel like time has flown bye.

Another aspect of the film I loved was that nothing was shoved down your throat. A true story was told. I thought the insight (shown in flashbacks) into why Doss refuses to kill or carry a gun was poignant and crucial to the film. Showing interview clips from the real people portrayed in the film at the end was emotional and really brought it all together.doss_hacksaw_ridge_movie_screen_shot

I’m not sure if it’s the Best Picture but I’m definitely sure it should win Best Director.

 

FAVORITE HORROR FILMS (NOT YOUR AVERAGE MOVIES)

I love Horror movies. The problem is I’m picky about them. I dislike Torture/Porn, Horror/Comedy, Horror that has been watered down to get a PG-13 rating and remakes. Horror movies should only be rated R! I’m also not interested in ghosts or aliens that much. If I don’t believe it could be real it doesn’t hold my attention as much. There have been exceptions to the rule. I never say never. Here we go. If you are offended don’t blame me I just watched.

  • Feed- 2005 I’ll warn you now. This movie isn’t for the squeamish. It was so bizarre, disgusting, and disturbing, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. From the music to the twisted ending. First you have an extremely hot man force feeding morbidly obese women while broadcasting it online. People place bets at what weight the women will die. But that isn’t really the focus of the movie. The man “feeds” these women as if he is in love with them or has other buried issues. It makes it uncomfortable to say the least. There’s a scene where he’s singing that is particularly unusual. The film is original, the twist at the end was brilliant and when you find out what he’s been “feeding” these women it’s a game changer.
  • The Cell- 2000 Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D’Onofrio- When I first saw Jennifer Lopez was in this movie I wasn’t going to watch it. The reason I did is I’m such a D’Onofrio fan I had to give it a chance. The reason I am probably one of the few people to find this film impressive is due to the fact it is one of the few that shows the viewer how and why. D’Onofrio’s character is complex and we first get a childish rendition of his psyche. Psychotherapist Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez) has a front row seat inside his comatose mind. She can also interact with him. We see the evolution of a serial killer. The very definition of Nature VS. Nurture. The Cinematography and Visual Effects are also stunning.
  • Hellraiser/Nightbreed- 1987/1990 I’m a huge Clive Barker fan. I’ve read all of his books and often wondered what kind of mind comes up with this stuff. Hellraiser is brilliant in it’s sadomasochistic satire. There is a price for everything. I love Pinhead and always will. The very idea of this “other realm” before/between Hell is so original because of the characters written by Clive Barker. Nightbreed is different. There is more humanity to it if that’s possible. The characters were beautiful in their monstrosity. Outcasts forced underground into a world only Barker could imagine.
  • Creepshow 2- 1987 I just have this to sum up Creepshow 2 “Thanks for the ride lady”.
  • The Descent- 2005 This film came out at a time where there had been a slump in this genre. There were remakes of older horror films and remakes of Japanese horror films so this was at least seemed original to me. I also have a hard time watching anything underwater or in underground caves. It’s a breathing thing. I can’t count how times I jumped or realized I was holding my breath. I watched it in the theater alone the first time. For fun I talked my mom and Aunt into going with me again. I had more fun watching their reactions than anything. They could have some potty mouths on them when provoked. Then at one point I thought I would I would have to call 911 but they also had a flair for the dramatic. It’s why I miss/love my mom and love my Aunt.

The rest I’m going to list in kind of a favorites order but I’m not going to go into detail or we’ll be here forever.

  • You’re Next- 2014
  • Freaks- 1932
  • Near Dark- 1986
  • Frailty- 2001
  • High Tension- 2003
  • The Devil’s Backbone- 2001
  • The Dead Zone- 1983
  • Wolf Creek- 2005
  • The Serpent and The Rainbow- 1988
  • The Mist- 2007 Thomas Jane
  • Brotherhood of The Wolf- 2001
  • Pet Sematary- 1989 The Ramones!
  • House of 1,000 Corpses- 2003
  • The Cabin in The Woods- 2012
  • Altered States- 1980
  • The Strangers- 2008 Because it happens.
  • The Thing- 1982
  • Seven- 1995
  • Phantasm- 1979

I’ve specifically left some off my list. The reason why is because they are on EVERY LIST. I’ve seen hundreds of good and bad horror films and I wanted to offer a few that some may have skipped over because they’re old or have not heard of. Also the films that received bad reviews from critics that only give a good review to a mainstream movie.