Horror Movies That Don't Suck
The State of Horror Today
As a horror movie aficionado, I have become quite frustrated with the lack of quaility in the genre lately. What happened to the good old days of terror? Why am I seeing a lack of blood and gore in the newer movies? Where is the suspense? You know suspense: that growing sense of unease that creeps up on you. It makes your ass scoot up on the edge of the seat, ready to leap up and scream at the drop of a hat.
I blame the Hollywood Machine. It churns out the money making horror and shuns the quality works of talented writers and directors. By money making horror I mean the dreaded PG-13 horror movie. In assembly-line fashion, these teeny-bopper movies are manufactured for mass consumption and maximum profit. After all, an R-rating restricts ticket sales doesn't it. Teens are a big bulk of the movie going public. So, not only does the Hollywood Machine ease up on the violence of the movie but also the general terror (the MPAA has been known to give the R-rating solely for general terror throughout).
This brings me to my list. I have compiled a list of movies I believe live up to the name "Horror Movie". These movies are good in different ways. Some are on here for quality of writing/directing/acting, some for originality and some for just being really freaking scary. These are my own choices and they are in no particular order. Feel free to disagree and/or add to my list via comments.
This is a must for every horror fan.
Here are some facts:
- Paramedics had to be called to some theaters because of people fainting in their seats while watching the movie.
- Bodyguards had to protect Linda Blair because of death threats from religious freaks who believed that she glorified Satan.
- Billy Graham once stated that a demon lived in the film reel of the movie.
Need I say more?
One warning: the only sequel to The Exorcist worth seeing is Exorcist III with George C. Scott. Do not bother seeing The Heretic or the recent prequel (either version)!
The Exorcist trailer
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
A classic that changed everything. Ahead of its time in the horror genre. Despite its low budget looks, this film is a masterpiece of horror and suspense. It is the first good zombie movie to come out of the cheese of the past.
Romero later followed up with a few sequels, some very good (Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead) and some not so good (Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead) but the most memorable for me is the original classic.
28 Days Later
Thank God for this movie! Not only did it resurrect (excuse the pun) the zombie movie but also the horror genre in general. It is such a refreshing thing to see an intelligent horror movie that has good writing, directing and acting now-a-days.
Danny Boyle made the genius decision to shoot the movie in DV rather that 35mm wide-screen, creating a more raw feel. In my opinion, this is best for horror movies. I am sick of seeing slick and glossy horror, with pretty girls and even prettier boys preening for the nice expensive camera and the big-headed director behind it. I need it raw and low budget and 28 Days Later delivers!
28 Days Later trailer
This is edge of your seat horror plain and simple. The first half of the movie depicts a group of women exploring a cave but then changes quickly to a frightening and bloody fight for their lives (this reminds me of the sudden change from regular movie to horror in From Dusk Til Dawn).
I will not say more for fear of giving away some surprises. See this movie...you will not regret it.
The Descent trailer
A great and original story drives this movie.
Frailty is about a father who sees a vision of an angel. This angel bestows upon him the mission of destroying demons. The father recruits his two young sons to assist him in this mission. There is one big problem...these demons look just like regular human beings. This forces the elder son to doubt his father's sanity.
Is his father a murderer of humans or destroyer of demons? Watch it and see.
The Thing (1982)
Something rare — a remake that is better than the original.
This movie is intense! Intense, intense intense — in every way intense!!! With ground-breaking (and gross) special effects and a paranoia-inducing story, The Thing will have you either puking in your lap or crapping in your underwear. It's all in good fun either way.
Have fun watching The Thing, just don't eat during it.
The Thing (1982) trailer
Dead Alive (aka Braindead)
It is said that Dead Alive (aka Braindead) is literally the bloodiest movie ever made. Need I say more? No I don't but I will anyway.
It all starts when Lionel's mother is bitten by a Sumatran Rat-Monkey (a vile varmint brought about by the rape of a rat by a monkey). This bite infects her until she eventually becomes a decaying zombie with a taste for flesh. Lionel cannot bear to destroy his mother so he tries to hide her. Well, his mother needs flesh and she eventually gets it. This further spreads the infection and bloody zaniness begins.
This is an early Peter Jackson (LOTR director) film. Braindead is the Australian title.
Dead Alive trailer
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Raw and disturbing. You get the feel that you are watching a snuff movie. No wonder, TCM was brought to you by the same people that produced Deep Throat!
This movie originally received an X rating. The weird thing about that is that TCM has very little blood and no sex, nudity or gore! Tobie Hooper (director) actually thought he was going to get a PG rating when he submitted it to the MPAA. It was rated X due to just general disturbing images throughout the movie.
The talent of the director is to blame. After watching TCM, you swear you have seen a graphic and gory movie. In reality, the gore is not there. This is reminiscent of the shower scene in Psycho. You swear you see the knife piercing the nude body of Janet Leigh, yet no nudity or knife penetration is shown.
After appeal it was giving an R rating.
TCM (1974) trailer
Lord of Illusions
The critics have not been kind to Lord of Illusions but I just don't care. This movie is very creepy; after all, it is written and directed by Clive Barker (Hellraiser). It is a strange blend of horror and film-noir but it works for me.
Lord of Illusions is about a private detective named Harry D'Amour, who — while working a case — stumbles upon a freaky religious cult that is trying to resurrect their long dead leader Nix. Nix is the real deal; an evil prophet that wants to rule the world. The resurrection of Nix needs to be stopped and Harry is just the P.I. to do it.
Despite what some critics say, watch this movie. If you like the weird and evil, you will like this movie.
Lord of Illusions
The Amityville Horror (1979)
I cannot described to you how much this movie frightened me when I was a child. I had nightmares for years and slept in my parent's room for quite a while after seeing The Amityville Horror.
This is another movie the critics didn't care for and again I say, "I don't care". This movie is freaking scary! You just have to see the scene with the priest in the upstairs room of the demonic house and your hair will stand on end. When the priest hears that deep ripping disembodied voice roaring, "GET OUT!!!", you yourself are ready to get the hell out of whatever room you are in currently.
The recent remake is alright too but it does not come close to the unsettling feeling I experience when I watch the original.
Amityville Horror trailer
This movie brought about the genesis of the boogieman. Michael Meyers (aka The Shape) is the first horror movie villan and spawned a series of other great unstoppable killers such as Freddy and Jason. It also kick-started the career of the Queen of Scream, Jamie Lee Curtis.
Other interesting trivia:
- The mask that The Shape wears is actually a Halloween mask of Captain Kirk painted white.
- The awesome and eerie music played throughout the movie was actually composed by the director John Carpenter.
- Halloween is one the highest grossing independent movies ever made (taking inflation into account).
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Have you ever heard of the urban myth that if you die in your dreams that you will die in real life? Such a great premise for a horror movie, isn't it? Well, if you are wondering why that hasn't been explored in the movies then you must have been in a coma for the last 25 years.
I love the first Elm Street movie. Hell, I love all the Elm Street movies (well, I must exclude the 2nd movie from the love list). Freddy is the greatest and most entertaining horror villan of all time. If you have been in a coma then go out and rent all of these movies (after you learn how to walk again).
A Nightmare on Elm Street trailer
Other Notable Horror
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- What's That Movie?
- Horror Movies You May Have Missed
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- Clive Barker Hates PG-13 Horror, OK With Remakes
- Horror Movie Recommendations
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