Sunday, October 28, 2007

Top Ten Halloween Horror Movies!

Its finally here. The votes are tallied, the movies watched, and the judgments have been passed. I hereby present to you the Scantabulous Top Ten Halloween Horror Movies of All Time!

Here's a recap of the 5 rules of this list:

1) No comedies.
2) No one-hit wonders.
3) No legacy votes.
4) Supernaturally-related.
5) Recent viewing required.

Now here they are!
(presented in reverse order for climactic build)

10. House of 1000 Corpses (2003 - Rob Zombie)

This movie is gruesome. Gruesome and great. It squeaks in at number 10 because of its insane premise, its quality 70's setting, and Captain Spaulding. After watching this movie you'll be concerned about your stability of mind, and wonder whether you can ever live your previous life again, as it will cost you sanity points to watch (in a good way).

Hey Captain Spaulding
Take me to Doctor Satan
Run run rabbit run

9. The Shining (1980 - Stanley Kubrick)

Okay, this movie wasn't even on my radar for the top ten, as I remembered it being extremely long and boring up until the last 10 minutes. Upon recent review, I found that this is still somewhat true, except that Jack Nickolson is terrifyingly fantastic during that time. As most of the book takes place in Nickolson's head, it makes for a difficult film to shoot, but Jack's eyebrows angle slowly shows his decent into madness. Once he starts talking to Lloyd the ghost bartender though, you know its on. This oldie-but-goodie definitely survives the times.

All work and no play...
Andy's scared Mrs. Torrence
...makes Jack a dull boy

8. Creepshow (1982 - George A. Romero) / Creepshow 2 (1987 - Micheal Gornick)

This excellent Halloween-party movie consists of short Tales From the Crypt - style horror stories, most of which don't turn out that great for the good guys. Good stuff for a crowd, as long attention spans are not needed. Both Creepshow 1&2 are listed as they are really a combined Halloween attack, and should be watched as such. Stories of particular note are "The Crate" in the first Creepshow and "The Raft" in the second.

Don't open the crate!
Don't take a bath you lunkhead!
Don't go in the lake!

7. Fright Night (1985 - Tom Holland)

Rarely are vampire films any good nowadays. Regular-looking goth dudes sipping wine and charming women with their smoldering eyes is not exactly horrifying. But this movie takes the basic vampire premise and actually runs with it. Sure, there's the eye-charm and the handsome dude, but there's also half-werewolves, zombie caretakers, a washed-up van Helsing, and a sidekick vampire punk named "Evil." Plus its got Fangoria-style effects, so you know its good. Honestly, this is a great old-school vampire flick.

My neighbor is weird
He sleeps with a lot of chicks
Also he eats them

6. Silver Bullet (1985 - Daniel Attias)

What are inherently cooler than vampires? That's right, werewolves. Especially when a paralyzed Cory Haim and a drunk Gary Busey team up to fight them. This movie, like most 80s movies, starts off a little slow, but the suspense of a kid in a wheelchair fighting a werewolf with a bottle rocket more than makes up for it. The werewolf itself is a little too human-looking for my tastes, but it is still scary (for the best werewolf costumes in a movie, see Dog Soldiers).

Wheelchairs get me down
Gary has built a new one
Shoot it in the eye!

5. 30 Days of Night (2007 - David Slade)

This was a surprise contender for the top ten, because I didn't expect any vampire movie besides the aforementioned Fright Night to be any good; but this movie was great! Nosferatu-style monstrous vampires (not a single bottle of wine in this movie), combined with the siege of an extremely cold Alaskan town trapped in darkness for 30 days makes for a suspenseful flick. The fact that every Alaskan person in the world owns a shotgun helps to give an excuse for some very cool gunshot wounds.

Sunlight hurts undead
Alaska is really cold
Board up the windows

4. Dawn of the Dead (2004 - Zack Snyder)

That's right, the remake is better than the original (at least for Halloween). The Dawn of the Dead remake has the best horror movie opener I have ever seen. About two minutes of blah blah blah character development and then the best two hours of suburban zombie siege ever! Completely different story from the original making it super worthy of a viewing, even for the Romero purists. Plus, Ving Rhames and FAST ZOMBIES!

Quick, get to the mall
The zombies are really fast
Watch through the credits

3. The Thing (1982 - John Carpenter)

Kurt Russel at his finest outside of Jack Burton, and yes I include Snake Plisskin in that analysis. Normally I don't like movies where the monster/alien can take human form, as I consider it a way that producers cut effect costs (see Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation). But in this case when the alien is exposed the effects are so gruesomely awesome and insane that its totally worth it. Decapitated heads grow spider legs and walk around, dogs turn into giant tentacled beasts, and even blood samples have a nasty attitude. Plus the antarctic seclusion factor makes for the best Lovecraftian horror. Two tentacles up!

The Swedes are crazy
The dog just wants to be friends
And infect your blood

2. Aliens (1986 - James Cameron)

"Oh but Cory, the first movie was more suspenseful!" Yeah yeah, shut up. Aliens beats Alien, simply for the Newt factor. The first movie was scary with the alien running around, and maybe should deserve a co-opt place with this one much like the Creepshows, but in the second movie you not only have to save yourself, but you gotta protect Newt from the facehuggers. Newt's presence in the second film make it an extremely suspenseful movie, even with a squad of space marines with autocannons, due to her being so vulnerable. Good cast, good beasties, and great dialogue make this movie #2 on the Scantabulous Halloween Horror List.

Get the flamethrower
They mostly come out at night
Seventeen minutes

1. Night of the Living Dead (1990 - Tom Savini)

Its no secret that here on Scantabulous we find the Zombocalypse to be the scariest scenario ever. This remake of the ever-popular 1968 NotLD beats out the original in almost every category. Tony Todd kicks ass as the male lead, while Barbara's role gets a huge makeover from the original, giving her a lot more depth. Mr. Cooper is still an asshole though. The ending of the movie is great, and completely different from the original. Overall, Tom Savini (the special effects artist from the original) takes what made the original NotLD and gives it a booster shot in its zombie butt. I am proud to announce Night of the Living Dead (1990) as the BEST HALLOWEEN MOVIE EVER!

You better run, they're
Coming to get you Barbara
Give me back the gun!


Honorable mentions:

Science Fiction: Event Horizon (1997)
Modern Thriller: The Omen (2006)
Gothic Monster: Dog Soldiers (2002)
Other Monster: The Descent (2005)