A "Best Of" list from all the movies I have reviewed
Better than all the rest
Greetings fellow horror fans. Have you missed me? I sure missed you. I know I posted back in January that I was going to post a few more things, but life always manages to get in the way. To make up for my lack of posting, here is my "Best Of" list where I break down some of my favorite movies from the past year. If you think I should add another genre or missed out of something, leave me a comment. I'll be doing a "Worst Of" list soon as well. Hopefully it won't take me four months to get to like this post.
Zombie Movie (Romero)
George Romero sure does love his zombie movies. Most people split them up into two categories: The original “...Of The Dead” trilogy of Night, Dawn, and Day and then the recent trilogy of Land, Diary, and Survival. Most would agree that the second trilogy is far inferior to the first three movies. Each of those movies have their moments, but they have too many flaws to even be mentioned in the same breath as the original trilogy. While Night and Day are both entertaining, Dawn Of The Dead is really head and shoulders above the rest. The action starts off right away, the characters are good, and the violence is great. The movie really picks up when they get to the mall, fulfilling the audience's fantasy of doing whatever they want. As is common with Romero's other movies, Dawn has a lot of smart social commentary and really positions people as the real monster.
Runner-Up: Night Of The Living Dead
Zombie Movie (non-Romero)
Pontypool really caught me by surprise. I watched the movie on a whim with no prior knowledge. I saw no trailers, read no reviews. I hadn't even heard of it until I started watching. It's a smart zombie movie that is also incredibly scary. While it may not have as much blood or violence as your typical zombie movie, it stays true to the basic tenets of zombie horror. There is a true sense of panic and utter hopelessness as the movie progresses. I also appreciated that the zombies come about not because of radiation or the dead coming back to life, but because of “infected” words that change people. It's abstract and unique, yet still plausible.
Runner-Up: Exit Humanity
Despite almost half the movie having no vampires, From Dusk Till Dawn is still an incredibly entertaining vampire movie. It doesn't hurt that the cast includes George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Quentin Tarantino, and a bikini-clad Salma Hayek. The movie has equal parts action, suspense, and horror, all of which make for an incredibly fun watch. It's over-the-top entertainment thanks to the great performances and director Robert Rodriguez's incredible eye for action.
Runner-Up: John Carpenter's Vampires
Director John Landis manages to create a werewolf movie that is both scary and funny. The movie is best known for it's werewolf transformation scene. Unlike previous movies, the transformation takes place in clear light for an extended period. Thanks to incredible special effects, the audience practically feel the pain of the transformation as well. It's your traditional werewolf movie, but thanks to good acting and solid direction, An American Werewolf In London is a great watch.
Runner-Up: Ginger Snaps
The Host is fashioned after the classic Godzilla movies from Japan. The movie has plenty of emotion and lots of social and environmental commentary. The monster itself looks very good thanks to some great special effects work. The characters are all likable and relatable. Thankfully the movie is in it's native Korean and not dubbed. It's a little long, but it's worth it.
Runner-Up: Monster Brawl
Frontier(s) came out of nowhere for me. I had never heard of it before and decided to watch it on a whim. It is shockingly violent, but does not rely on gore alone. It's brutal, grim, and gritty, and not for everyone. The sets and natural locations both look very good and transport the viewer to another place, fully enveloping them in horror.
Found Footage Movie
Cloverfield manages to put the audience directly in the path of a gigantic monster. The movie uses Manhattan to it's advantage with scenes on bridges, on the streets, and in subways. You really feel like you're right there with the characters. There's even a decent love story thrown in for good measure. The monster looks great and some great camera work makes Cloverfield more than just another shaky-cam headache-a-thon.
Favorite Slasher Movie
I have a special love for Satan's Little Helper. It's cheap, simple, and occasionally stupid, but it's still incredibly fun. The mask for “Satan” looks great and I love that we never see the killer's face. Technically, we're not even sure of the killer's true identity. The ending manages to be both scary and depressing, a high accomplishment for a lesser-known movie. While it might not make it on many (or any) lists, I enjoyed it immensely and have given it multiple views.
Favorite Universal Monster
The classic story is full of horror, romance, and romantic horror. Bela Lugosi is the one and only Dracula and everyone else after him is just holding his place until he inevitably rises from the grave once more. The movie is over 80 years old and hasn't lost anything to time or changing trends. The movie is drenched in shadow giving it an unshakable creepiness that stands to this day.
Favorite Horror Comedy
It's Mel Brooks and Leslie Nielsen. What more could you want? The movie stays pretty true to the Dracula story, but still manages to cram in loads of laughs. While it may not be Brooks' best movie, it's still far better than any sort of “spoof” movie that has come out in the past twenty years. Comedy doesn't always work in horror, but Mel Brooks manages to do the impossible.
Favorite Satanic Movie
I don't know why, but something about this movie legitimately scared me the first time I watched it. The slow descent of the outside world, the race against time, and the supernatural elements all work together to create something awkward and unsettling. We only see the arm of the Prince of Darkness and it still manages to be frightening. An unsung gem by John Carpenter.
Runner-Up: The Omen
Favorite Stephen King Movie
Misery is scary because it is very real. There's no supernatural elements, no aliens, no magic powers. Just a man trapped in a room with a psychopath. The real praise goes to James Caan and Kathy Bates who put in award-winning caliber performances. Director Rob Reiner does a great job giving us both thrills and chills. Misery proves that you don't need wild stories and fantasy to make good horror. Sometimes a person is the scariest monster.
Runner-Up: The Shining
Favorite Sci-Fi Horror Movie
One of my all-time favorite movies. What can be scarier than an alien creature that can look like anything? An alien creature that can look like hideous twister monsters. Thanks to some great special effects, we see a monster straight out of our nightmares. The movie has plenty of mystery, action, suspense and horror. Kurt Russel is great as well as the rest of the supporting cast. One of John Carpenter's best.
Runner-Up: The Fly
Favorite Horror Anthology
When you combine two great horror minds like Stephen King and George Romero, you know you're in for a good time. Each story in Creepshow is highly enjoyable and could stand on it's own as a full-length. There are great performances from a myriad of talented actors that aren't necessarily synonymous with horror. People like Leslie Nielsen, Ted Danson, Ed Harris, Adrienne Barbeau, Hal Holbrook, and even Stephen King himself make the movie that much more enjoyable. The stories are all different and avoid falling into the usual horror cliches. Highly recommended.
Runner-Up: Trick R Treat
Favorite Masters Of Horror
This was the one Masters of Horror episode that actually gave me the chills. I actually regret reviewing it so early because I feel like I probably missed some things. I really like everything about this movie; from the concept, to the acting, to the execution. Everything about it is as good as it is terrifying. The idea of a haunted video isn't new (The Ring anyone?), but once we actually see clips of said-haunted movie, everything becomes that much more terrifying. This could easily have been a full-length movie and could have even become a new horror classic.
The Crazies took a decent, if somewhat forgettable, George Romero horror movie and improved on it in just about every way. It manages to achieve both reasons for remaking a movie: Exposing the audience to something they might not have originally scene and making it better. The movie has lots of great action and some good scares. There are some memorable scenes and some pretty good acting that help the story along. I'm not the biggest fan of remakes, but The Crazies gives me hope for future ones.
Runner-Up: Fright Night
Most Shocking Moment
Wow! This scene completely and utterly shocked me when I saw it. I was literally on the edge of my seat as I saw a woman pulled closer and closer to a piece of broken wood. Movies tend to cut away, leaving the brutal violence to the audience's imagination. Zombi stays with the scene, showing exactly what happens when the human eye meets something sharp. Here is the scene if you are morbidly curious.
Runner-Up: The “hobbling” scene from Misery