Welcome to another Weekly Time Waster! Yesterday I brought you part 1 of my top 13 horror films of all time, which you can check out here. As the resident movie/horror aficionado for the site, people ask me all the time what is my favourite horror movie? Well with Halloween Week coming to a close, I figured it was time to share my picks. Maybe it will turn you onto a movie you’ve never see before, or maybe it will get you to visit an old classic!
#7 – The Exorcist (1973)
What can be said that hasn’t already been said about this horror classic? The Exorcist tells the story of Regan who has come to be possessed by a demon (could it really be the devil?) and the exorcism that was given to stop it. The scenes of possession will chill you to the bone and everything was so well acted that when you are in the room with Regan and our priests and you see your breath, you feel the cold they must be feeling. From the outset, you are hit with image after image that is used to confuse the senses and send you on a journey that you wish would end. When we watch it now, nothing seems too weird given our “torture-porn” existence but in the 70s, this movie smashed taboos across the face with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. This movie would be on every horror fans list from now until the end of time.
#6 – Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Dracula is one of the most portrayed creatures on the big screen so there was a lot to choose from but what makes this the top pick for me is the acting, the production and how close to the source material Francis Ford Coppola. There was a lot of care taken with this project and it shows. I wish someone had given Keanu Reeves some more lessons in perfecting his English accent but overall everyone’s performance was top-notch. Gary Oldman portrayed one of the best Dracula’s I have ever seen on film. A lot of the effects were practical and Coppola utilized mirrors and misdirection to make things look grander then they were. The story was also excellently done. If you have read the actual novel, the story is told as diary entries from a handful of the characters in the book and Coppola does that here to perfection. Also, despite what cinema has shown over the years, the ending with the American using his bowie-knife to decapitate Dracula (should I really need to use a spoiler here) is how the novel actually ends and not a stake to the heart as everyone believes. Also, Dracula is a sexually charged piece as was most novels from the 1800s as that era was sexually repressed but this movie has more sex appeal then all the Twilight movies combined. Tell me that you cannot feel the sexual tension when Mina Harker and Count Dracula are in a scene together.
#5 – Event Horizon (1997)
If you told me that someone made a movie that could be boiled down to Hellraiser in Space (not the stupid one that actually was Hellraiser: Bloodline) I would have first called you crazy. But Event Horizon is truly a great film. A salvage crew is sent out to the deep reaches of space to collect a ship that was previously thought lost following an accident. When the crew arrives they discover the crew horribly disfigured with no cause found except to a bizarre recording showing the crew ripping each other apart. The longer the crew stays on board the ship, people begin to die or become possessed by something on the ship. The sets are creepy and have a gothic feel. The isolation of space adds to the tension within the story. This is one film I could watch over and over again and never grow tired.
#4 – The Thing (1982)
Based on the movie The Thing from Another World, John Carpenter’s The Thing tells the story of a crew working in the South Pole and then encounter an alien creature that takes on the form of the person they last attacked. This is an excellent movie with great acting, effects and creature creation and directing. The tension throughout the movie is palpable where you don’t know who is the alien? Or who is real? The entire cast sells their characters to the max without it being hammy or scenery chewing. The special effects are key to the success of this movie, the entire autopsy scene should be a must see for studios to show that you don’t need CGI to make a movie worthwhile and that practical effects should be the way to go. Finally, Carpenter (a two-timer on this list) works his magic in this film by creating a moody, atmospheric story that captures the audience from the opening dog chase to the finale where you are left to wonder what happened to our survivors.
#3 – Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Originally I was going to put in the remade version from 1990 but instead have decided to go with the original one. Night of the Living Dead is the movie that all zombie movies strive to be. The story is pretty straight forward; a group of people try to survive a zombie apocalypse in an isolated farm-house. What makes this movie great is seeing how everyone interacts inside. The fact that there are people trying to eat the living outside and yet people cannot seem to get along inside boggles the mind. Some things to consider, the graphic nature of thhe zombies eating flesh was unheard of in the 60s and the movie featured a black lead actor which some audiences simply would have been mind-blown. Another great aspect of the movie is the news reports and the Sheriff who is talking about how they are cleaning up the mess of zombies in the towns. Finally, the movie ends of a sour note and was the reason why I chose this version over the remake which was a shot for shot remake minus the change at the end.
#2 – Paranormal Activity (2007)
Say what you will about the found footage genre now but back in 2007, this movie was and still is something that gives me the chills every time I watch it. There isn’t anything necessarily new to the story but the way it is shot in that found footage style more than make that up. The scares as well are not jump style but instead are slow burns that lead to a great crescendo at the end which I will tell you I did not see coming. A couple begin experiencing paranormal occurrences at night and we witness everything through hand-held camera and CCTV footage. The fact that you cannot see any creature really adds to the tension and that subtle bass line that kicks in prior to any paranormal occurrence is absolutely phenomenal. If you can ignore the other sequels, although I really liked number 2, but the original is certainly a must watch!
#1 – Friday the 13th (1980)
This movie is one of the big reasons I love horror movies. Friday the 13th is the story of a group of camp counselors at Camp Crystal Lake which are killed one by one by some unseen entity. Is the killer former camper Jason Vorhees who allegedly died years ago? This movie has it all! Great effects, great kills and while Halloween beat this movie to the theatres, the story carries some of the horror tropes we still see in film today. The subsequent sequels kinda drop off after number 3 (there is 12 in the series including a “reboot”) but you cannot deny how influential the series has been to the horror genre. The ending to this movie still blows my mind even to this day (that includes the killer reveal and the lake scene).
That’s it for my countdown! Did you agree with my list? Do you think I missed something or misplaced the order? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to look up some of the selections in the list and let me know if I missed something or if there is a movie out there you think I should check out. I certainly hope you enjoyed Halloween Week on Nerditis and be sure to check out The Northern Dead and old favourite Tales from the Northside.