With Halloween looming, I set myself a goal, a slightly unoriginal goal as it may be, it was a goal nevertheless. I would subject myself to a horror movie a day, for every day of October, leading up to everybody’s favourite spook-centred holiday. It seems like nearly every second horror site has had the same idea this year, but no matter, I still decided to make use of this challenge to treat myself to as many horror films that I’ve yet to see. And considering I’m a huge horror nerd, I knew this would be a tough endeavour. Well cut to a month later and Halloween has come and gone. Was I successful, well I’m not going to lie, I failed horribly. Unfortunately due to unforseen circumstances (and laziness) I could only muster 23 horror films. But come on, that’s pretty good right? Sigh… Anyway, for those interested, read on for a recount of the movies I suffered through.
1. The Horde (2009)
The Horde is an entertaining French action/horror that throws any subtlety out the window early on. It follows a group of aggressive cops looking to dish out a little vengeance on the crooks responsible for one of their comrades deaths when, shock horror, the zombie apocalypse breaks out, making matters all the more difficult. It’s an interesting premise and there’s more than enough action to go around, but the big problem is that the film eventually settles for entertaining set pieces over any sense of tension or character development.
2. Legend Of Hell House (1973)
Time has not been kind to The Legend Of Hell House. A group of physic investigators brave the halls of the infamous Hell House, reputably the most haunted house in existence, in an attempt to confirm the existence of life after death. The film is an adaption of the excellent book Hell House, written by the great Richard Matheson, but unfortunately the film doesn’t translate quite as well on screen. There are still plenty of spooks and ghouls attempting to give you the chills, only the film is simply not scary. There’s very little tension, which in turn leads to very unsatisfactory payoffs when the scares do come. For enthusiasts of haunted house movies only.
3. Doghouse (2009)
A bunch of misogynist lads heading to the remote village of Moodley, where females outnumber males 3-1, get more than they bargain for when they discover the town’s female residents have somehow transformed into bloodthirsty zombies. Featuring characters that weren’t quite as annoying as I had originally feared, and featuring plenty of entertaining set pieces, Doghouse was actually reasonably fun for the most part. But the filmmakers couldn’t quite hide their bizarre hatred for women during the final act. I actually found myself shifting uncomfortably as the characters delivered monologues outlining why women are evil, vile creatures. Besides this avoidable misstep, you could do much worse with the zombie genre than Doghouse.
4. Piranha (1978)
Having had a complete ball with Alexandra Aja’s recently released Piranha, I was still craving for some more piranha action. Enter the Joe Dante-directed and Roger Corman-produced original film of the same name. While clearly not imbued with the same sort of budget as the remake, Dante still managed to create a very fun, albeit super cheesy, Jaws rip-off.
5. The Children (2008)
A quality creepy kids flick that unfortunately suffered from a straight to DVD release. Better than most of the sub-par horror films that fill up the cinemas as of late and definitely worth tracking down if you’re in the mood for some unexpected genuine chills. Read my full review HERE.
6. Autopsy (2008)
I was considering excluding this movie from the list since it was such an unholy piece of trash, but I eventually decided to leave it here if only so it can act as a warning to anyone else foolish enough to consider wasting their time with it. Robert Patrick (from T2 fame) phones in his performance as a mad doctor in charge of a motley crew of maniacs performing bizarre experiments on patients in an abandoned hospital. The film is clearly very low budget and the whole film comes off feeling like an amateur student production. Painfully boring and monotonous; I constantly found my finger creeping over to the fast forward button on my DVD remote. The only redemptive quality was the admittedly impressive effects, but other than that, it’s a complete and utter failure on every level. NEVER. WATCH. THIS. MOVIE!
7. Demons (1985)
Ah Demons, you simply can’t go wrong with this fun monster mash. Directed by Lamberto Brava (son of the great horror director Mario Brava) and written by the deranged hands of Dario Argento, Demons is a cheesy, over the top riot. Essentially Night Of The Living Dead only set in a theatre and the zombies replaced by, you guessed it, demons, this crazy monster movie doesn’t make a whole lot of sense story wise, but the onscreen carnage sure is easy on the brain. The movie is essentially a fight for survival, pitting cinemagoers against demons with gruesome set pieces galore. File this one under guilty pleasures.
8. Spontaneous Combustion (1990)
In case we needed any more proof that Tobe Hooper’s amazing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was the work of a one hit wonder, we have his absolutely bat shit crazy Spontaneous Combustion as further evidence. Exhibit A: watch in awe as Brad Dourif gives possibly the most insane performance of his career, and that’s saying something. Exhibit B: Scratch your head in utter bewilderment at the totally bizarre plot complete with an even more baffling ending. The only slight saving grace are those cool fire effects, there’s even a scene that features fire spurting out of Dourif’s mouth that predates hot and spicy chicken. Well at least we know where they got their advertising campaign from now.
9. Resident Evil 4 (2010)
Mindless entertaining trash that’s good for killing time and not much else. Check out the full review HERE.
10. Buried (2010)
Buried exceeded my expectations and then some. A tense, claustrophobic thriller that milks every ounce of nail biting suspense from its one man in a box setting. Full review right HERE.
11. Let Me In (2010)
Hoorah! A remake that’s actually good! Let us all rejoice for the Gods have looked favourably upon us on this grand day. Wait, what was I saying? Anyway, Let Me In doesn’t quite reach the same heights the original masterpiece scaled, but it should still be commended for proving not every remake has to be an insulting, watered down retread. Full review right HERE.
12. Midnight Movie (2008)
Midnight Movie’s intriguing concept involving a small group of moviegoers attending a midnight screening of a cult movie who get more than they bargained for when the killer steps right out of the screen and starts picking off the audience members. Sounds promising, but unfortunately the film is a victim of its own poor execution. Very low budget and amateur in every respect, the film constantly failed in keeping my attention glued to the onscreen events. Incredibly repetitive and just blatantly stupid at times, it’s a shame Midnight Movie couldn’t live up to its own potential.
13. Corpse Grinders (1971)
Oh dear, where to begin with Corpse Grinders? A film that reaches new heights of ridiculousness by featuring, wait for it, killer cats! Oh no! Yep, this is the horrifying result of a terribly cheap cat food company substituting their regular ingredients with human beings. It’s that kind of movie. So utterly devoid of any sign of competency, it took me five separate sittings for me to be able to tolerate this terrible exploitation flick. Only recommended if you like your trash or you’re looking for a laugh.
14. Psycho (1960)
After subjecting myself to an overabundance of trash this month, I figured it was time to reach into the vault and treat myself to a genuine classic for a change. I think very little explanation is needed when discussing Psycho. Simply put, not just one of the best horror films of all time, but one of the all time greatest movies in general. Immediately identifiable even to those who haven’t even seen the film, Psycho inherits the definition of the term classic in every way. If you haven’t seen it yet then what are you waiting for?
15. Suicide Club (2001)
This notorious Japanese cult classic had been on my radar for a long while, but I don’t think I had quite prepared myself for something so, well, odd. After a show-stopping opening scene featuring fifty-four schoolgirls leaping to their deaths in front of a moving train amidst a crowded train station, a wave of inexplicable suicides rock Japan. An interesting if very confusing chain of events soon unravel that will leave you perplexed long after the credits have rolled. There are a number of memorable scenes, but my pick of the bunch — a murderous lunatic keeping a bunch of unfortunate individuals (not to mention animals) held captive inside giant sacks suddenly breaks out into an unexpected and very morbid song. So very strange.
16. Two Evil Eyes (1990)
With George Romero and Dario Argento each at the helm of the two separate hour-long shorts based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe, you would think we would be in safe hands. Well guess again because Two Evil Eyes equals two evil hours of unbearable boredom. To be fair, George Romero’s half doesn’t fair quite so bad, coming off like an overlong episode of Tales From The Crypt, it manages to conjure up the odd entertaining moment. Argento’s segment on the other hand is absolutely deplorable. His modern retelling of The Black Cat is a pretentious, confusing and generally uninteresting mess that’s physically painful to watch unravel. Both these guys have a sufficient resume of films that are much more worthwhile of your time than this failed experiment. Avoid.
17. House Of 1000 Corpses (2003)
I never could understand the critical lashing Rob Zombie’s films have garnered over the years, but that’s another tale for another day. House Of 1000 Corpses is a deliriously over the top homage to the cheap and nasty exploitation flicks of the ’70s. Owing a LOT to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Corpses sees two couples set upon by the insane Firefly family. Disturbing, violent and even a little funny at times, House Of 1000 Corpses isn’t perfect by a mile, but it is a hell of a good time. Plus the very strong Halloween vibe running throughout makes it appropriate for a late October viewing too.
18. 30 Days Of Night: Dark Days (2010)
Picking up right where the original left off, Dark Days follows Stella’s (Kiele Sanchez replacing Melissa George this time around) continued quest to hunt down and exterminate those stinking vampires. A very low budget, straight to DVD release, Dark Days never comes close to matching the entertaining spectacle of the original film. The acting is wooden, the sets feel sparse and worst of all, the vampires feel weak and clumsy this time around. The lead characters seem to have little trouble bursting head first into a vampire’s nest and blasting everything they come in contact with into pieces. But the most frustrating and distracting element of the film by far are the clumsy vampire fang prosthetics that the queen vampire Lilith (Mia Kirshner) has been fitted with. They clearly don’t fit comfortably in her mouth, leaving her mouth hanging agape for the entire film.
19. Let The Right One In (2008)
After viewing the recent American update of the Swedish masterpiece, it was time to go back and revisit the original. A thrilling, disturbing and haunting film that grabs you with its subtle, slow burn approach early on and never lets go, Let The Right One In demands to be seen. There’s so much to recommend here in what’s already often heralded as a modern masterpiece. If you haven’t seen it yet then run out and grab a copy now. Seriously, RUN!
20. Trick R Treat (2007)
Officially now taking top position as the number one movie to get me into the Halloween spirit. Trick R Treat perfectly encapsulates every element that makes the holiday so unique. From the stunning art direction, to the separate Halloween orientated stories, this film is essentially one giant ode to the creepiest holiday of the year. A Halloween viewing is mandatory.
21. Saw 3D (2010)
That’s it? I waded through seven films over seven years and that’s the big finale that’s supposed to wrap up the series? Give me a break. For a series of films that are known for their twists and turns the ending of Saw 3D sure does end with a whimper, and a predictable whimper at that. The rest of the film is the usual repetitive torture sequences and bad acting that we’ve become accustomed to. Full review coming soon!
22. Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
I sit squarely on the side of the fence with those who loved the first Paranormal Activity. It was a surprisingly creepy and atmospheric little flick that succeeded thanks to a restrained, less is more approach. I was expecting the worst for the sequel but surprisingly it’s not too bad. Not quite as scary or as effective as the original, it’s still an efficient horror film that is far superior to the majority of weak horror films released in cinemas nowadays.
23. Creepshow 2 (1987)
Everybody loves Creepshow, a fun tongue in cheek homage to the EC comics of yesteryear. So what the hell happened to Creepshow 2? This time The Creep provides us with three separate stories to suffer through, plus an unbearably awful animated sequence that intertwines between the stories. The majority of this content is relatively lacklustre, although it’s admittedly not without its moments. The second story entitled The Raft is a sloppy, yet entertaining adaptation of one of my favourite Stephen King short stories. The other two stories on the other hand are completely disposable, with the only noteworthy highlights being the gruesome makeup effects. Only worth checking out for The Raft, otherwise, stick to the original.
And that’s it folks. For anyone who made it this far, I commend you for your efforts. Hope you all had a Happy Halloween! And if anyone wants to give a shout out to their favourite horror flicks that gets them into the Halloween spirit, hit up the comment section below.
Comments | Leave a comment 1
From Around The Web
Like this post? Stay tuned!
Sign up to receive the latest updates by email, for free!
Leave a Comment
Your reply will be added to the comment above (Below any other replies to this comment) -