18"x24" Charcoal and migraine.
Tomorrow is the 1st of October and Halloween is finally on its way. Last year at this time TheHorrorBlog.com asked me for a list of my ten favorite horror films to post for its readers, but nothing ever came of it, so I thought I'd go ahead and post it here. Please feel free to comment or post your own ten favorite horror films.
1. The Return of the Living Dead (Dan O’Bannon)
I was about six years old when I first experienced this film. It was Halloween night and I was allowed to stay up and watch it with a friend as long as my dad also stayed up to make sure nothing appeared on the screen that was too scary or dirty for our young minds to handle. Dad dozed off ten minutes in, and this impressionable first-grader got his first eye full of Linnea Quigley in the nude along with an introduction to the brain eating world of clever and fast-moving zombies. How could this movie not have changed my life?
2. Night of the Demons (Kevin S. Tenney)
Just like O’Bannon’s masterpiece, Tenney’s haunted house perversion features all the same elements that make for a horror fan’s wet dream: A topless Linnea Quigley, a heavy metal/punk rock soundtrack, possessed corpses, and gore galore! I remember seeing the TV spot when the movie was first released in theaters. I’ll never forget that image of the burned-up-demon-possessed Angela as she spewed the words, “Where you going, the party’s just begun?” As part of my tradition, I watch this film every Halloween.
3. PumpkinHead (Stan Winston)
Next to the Alien franchise, this move features the coolest man-in-a-rubber-suit monster of all time. I don’t care for the sequels, but the original Pumpkinhead demon looks believable and is scary as hell. My brother and I grew up watching this film, but even after viewing it over twenty years later, I still can’t get over how realistic the demon appears to be. The dismal mood of the film, Lance Henriksen’s brilliant portrayal of a bereaved and suffering father, and the overall makeup effects are very convincing and make this film a hard one to dismiss.
4. An American Werewolf in London (John Landis)
I mustn’t leave out my favorite werewolf film. I got my first peak of the famous Rick Baker transformation at a party my aunt was throwing. The adults were outside drinking and my older teenage cousin and I were secretly watching the film on cable whenever one of them wasn’t coming in to get another beer. We eventually got caught, but not before getting to witness Nazi demons, explicit sex, mutilated ghosts, and the greatest man-to-beast transformation ever committed to celluloid. The film also mixes a perfect blend of comedy and terror.
5. Nightbreed (Clive Barker)
I normally don’t care for sequels, but this film deserves one damn it! The wondrous world that Barker introduces to the audience merits deeper exploration. The monsters are creative, the story is mesmerizing, and David Cronenberg makes a perfect bad guy. I want more!!! I heard from an interview with Barker that an extended version might be released in the future. Praise Satan!
6. Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2 (Bruce Pittman)
I honestly haven’t watched this one in quite awhile, but I’ve always considered it a favorite. Writing this list has made me want to check it out again. I’m excited to sit down and watch that possessed rocking horse terrorize the film's heroine. And who could forget the scene where she gets sucked into a chalkboard?
7. TerrorVision (Ted Nicolaou)
WON’T SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE THIS FILM A LEGITIMATE DVD RELEASE??!!!!
8. The Thing (John Carpenter)
John Carpenter’s remake of the 1950’s classic is probably my favorite creature-from-outer-space movie. This was a tough one to decide, because I have a lot of favorites when it comes to aliens landing on our planet with plans to take over. I hold this one a little closer to my heart probably because it left impressions on me at a young age. I still find myself watching it every winter and in complete awe of the performances, the Rob Bottin effects, and the overall feelings of isolation and hopelessness the film conveys.
9. Near Dark (Kathryn Bigelow)
I have two favorite vampire flicks, and even though Fright Night takes me back to the good old days, Bigelow’s bad ass version of the vampire is just too original and violent not to make this list. This film threw many conventions out the window in exchange for a fresh take on a monster that continues to over saturate the genre. Also, the vampires are so well played I can’t help but find myself rooting for the villains. The scene of the bar massacre alone is reason enough to love the film.
10. Spookies (Eugenie Joseph, Thomas Doran, Brendan Faulkner)
This was another one I used to watch as a kid. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen it, but I’m pretty sure it’s still as bad as I remember. I first noticed this movie on VHS at a video store located in a super market and was turned on by the cover art. The acting is silly and the effects aren’t that great, but there are plenty of monsters and the cover doesn’t mislead. The movie just has a certain charm that captivates me, but, alas, if I want to watch it I have to pull out my old VHS player.