Saturday, February 7, 2009

Fifteen Horror Movies to watch this year

15. Whatever happened to Baby Jane? - I'm starting this list with something that is not generally referred to as a horror movie, but it's certainly an unsettling movie. The best way to describe this cult classic is a "dark comedy that gives you nothing to laugh at." The story follows two sisters, one crippled and the other is Baby Jane, a fallen star from the 20's. Baby Jane spends her days dreaming of when she was a celebrity while taking joy in torturing her defenseless sister. Joan Crawford and Bette Davis Shine as the lead roles.

14. Black Christmas - A Horror film for the holiday season, but this film should not be underestimated. Writer/Director Bob Clark (who also made The Christmas Story) is in my opinion, the rightful grandfather of the slasher genre (no offense to you John Carpenter). This fil.m created the format that would be copied in Halloween, Friday the 13th and hundreds of other slasher films. However it's done much darker and more unsettling than any other film. (you can also check out the so bad that it's kinda good remake)

13. Sleepaway Camp - So after watching a legitimately unsettling movie it's time for a truly awful (but damn entertaining) horror movie. In the 80's the slasher genre was dominating the American cinema and everyone had a story to tell. Sleepaway Camp is the story no one wanted to hear in the first place. The acting is awful, the plot is worst and the twist is actually ridiculous, and if you're watching it with the right people, you'll never have more fun watching a movie. If you want to have extra fun take a shot each time someone is wearing short shorts.

12. Peeping Tom - Release just a few months before Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, Peeping Tom also gave us a perspective of a serial killer that we'd never seen before. In a weird way the film makes you feel almost sympathetic for the main character because, like Norman Bates, his acts have almost a 'lack of understanding' feeling than a malicious intent.

11. Behind the Mask - I only recommend this film if you're a slasher movie fan. If you're not a fan of the genre than this parody will go right over your head. Unlike horror parodies of the past (I'm looking at you Scary Movie 1-4) this film doesn't smack you in the face with sight gags. The humor is in being familiar with the genre and seeing it toyed with (much like Scream). A Documentary crew is hired to follow Leslie Vernon as he tries to become the next great horror icon. When they decide they can't allow him to kill innocent people, the shit hits the fan.

10. Magic - Anthony Hopkins is famous for his performance of Hannibal Lecter but before he was eating people and flirting with Jodie Foster, he was possessed by a puppet. Magic follows a lonely man's obsession with his puppet. He might be one of the most famous magicians around but who is the true puppet in this film? How far will Anthony Hopkins go to keep people from knowing about his strange best friend?

9. Slither - James Gunn is without a doubt the writer that everyone should know but doesn't know. He wrote the Dawn of the dead remake (one of the only good remakes out there), Scooby Doo 1&2 (who's self awareness makes it hilarious), as well as the Troma classic Tromeo and Juliet. But it was with Slither that he finally got to direct and the result is one of the funniest and most entertaining films of the last 15 years

8. Funhouse - A lot of people give this horror film the cold shoulder. A lot of people also call this Tobe Hooper's worst film and when I first saw this movie, I would have agreed with them. The film is very slow to get to the actual "story" of four kids spending the night in the funhouse, but in doing so it sets up the funhouse as a character all of its own. The film plays brilliant homages to other classics like Frankenstein, Psycho and Halloween. While it might seem like it's taking forever to start, enjoy the brilliant cinematography leading up to the pay off and it'll be worth the wait

7. Feast - A lot of people will tell you this is a bad movie, those people clearly don't understand how much of a sigh of relief it is to a horror film like myself. For once a horror movie that pulls no punches and is completely unpredictable at every turn. This film has no shame whether it's a nasty old women hooker getting her face raped by a goblin, mocking the handicapped, or killing a kid. Feast throws every punch imaginable and does it in a very stylistic and unpredictable way. Also it's full of gore and has a cast that includes Jason Mewes and Henry Rollins. If you love horror movies but are sick of the same old thing, give Feast a chance.

6. The Thing -  John Carpenter is one of the greatest directors of all time because he doesn't make films for you, or me. He makes movies for himself. It's that passion that makes his movies so infectious. The Thing could be one of the greatest remakes in cinema history. It took a simple 50's sci-fi film and made it  terrifying, unsettling and most importantly fun. When a shape-shifting alien attacks an army base... who can you trust?

5. Dead Alive - Before Peter Jackson was making Epic films he was creating gross out horror-comedies like Bad Taste and Meet the Feebles, but Dead Alive is the film that everyone needs to see. It carries the title of "goriest movie ever made" and I've yet to find something to beat it. Zombies attack a small New Zealand town and when they attack they tear off faces, pull out eyeballs, and rip spines out of backs.  It's up to two young lovers to save their whole town in this silly and gory horror-comedy that clearly took note from Sam Raimi's Evil Dead Trilogy

4. Creepshow - Combine George Romero (...of the living dead movies), Stephen King (one of the best horror writers) and Tales from the Crypt (The EC Horror comic book series) and you have one of the most entertaining two hours of 80's horror. Featuring an epic cast of Ted Danson, Leslie Nelson and Stephen King himself.

3. Hatchet - the half parody/half Serious style makes Hatchet one of the best horror movies of the last decade. Adam Greene's script is silly, well done and very self aware. A group of misfits go on a haunted boat trip an soon find themselves face to face with Victory Crawley (who is roughly a beefed up version of Jason Vorhees). The death scenes are over the top and in your face and extremely vulgar. If you've ever wanted to see someone murdered with a belt sander then here's you're new favorite movie.

2. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer - Henry is a completely unsympathetic psychopath who kills whoever he encounters. His acts of violence are real and gritty and it's clear that Henry gets no joy out of any of his actions. He simply does it to have something to do. The film took years to get released because no one wanted to touch the raw and documentary-like quality of this movie based on a real man. This film is guaranteed to disturb you. I promise.

1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre - We're talking the original here, not the remake. We're talking about that low-budget, gritty, documentary, guerilla style camera work that makes you feel like you ARE one of Leatherface's victims and not just a viewer. If you've never seen this film and you claim to be a horror fan, you are a fraud, plain and simple.

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