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#401-#500

The 1,000 Greatest Horror Films: #401-#500

The 1,000 Greatest Horror Films: Introduction | #1-#100 | #101-#200 | #201-#300 | #301-#400 | #401-#500 | #501-#600 | #601-#700 | #701-#800 | #801-#900 | #901-#1000 | Full List | Sources | The 21st Century’s Most Acclaimed Horror Films | Top 50 Directors

Cure

401. (-14) Cure

Kiyoshi Kurosawa

1997 / Japan / 111m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Kôji Yakusho, Masato Hagiwara, Tsuyoshi Ujiki, Anna Nakagawa, Yoriko Dôguchi, Yukijirô Hotaru, Denden, Ren Ohsugi, Masahiro Toda, Misayo Haruki


“Writer/Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa is not a Japanese David Fincher, while Fincher makes “Seven” seem cool, Kurosawa makes “Cure” real. This is not an over-stylized film. We see the murders like a witness, with far away static shots. When the detective is investigating, we are his partner and we stay a few paces away just listening. The film’s score is nearly non-existent, the scenes are filled with ambient sound, the rumbling of the ocean or a dryer. “Cure” is a movie to get lost in. From the very beginning we’re thrown into something where we’re never quite sure what is going on. It is wonderful to feel misplaced, knowing that this will not end with a foreseeable plot twist. There is no clear-cut conclusion. The film is not wrapped up in a nice neat little package. Kurosawa shows us a glimpse into this strange world and then pulls away, leaving us to figure out the answers, answers that may never come.” – Ross Williams, Film Threat

La casa dalle finestre che ridono

402. (+97) La casa dalle finestre che ridono

Pupi Avati

1976 / Italy / 110m / Col / Giallo | IMDb
Lino Capolicchio, Francesca Marciano, Gianni Cavina, Giulio Pizzirani, Bob Tonelli, Vanna Busoni, Pietro Brambilla, Ferdinando Orlandi, Andrea Matteuzzi


“What is… haunting, is the number of questions, especially concerning the different villagers’ behaviours and motivations, that The House With Laughing Windows leaves entirely unresolved. For the film is not only about a particularly unspeakable series of crimes, but about the way a closed community’s code of silence can spread complicity and guilt far beyond the original wrongdoers. So while The House With Laughing Windows is certainly a gripping murder mystery, it is also an intelligent allegory… of post-war Italy’s struggles to emerge from the Fascist outrages of its recent past.” – Anton Bitel, Eye for Film

Flesh for Frankenstein

403. (-48) Flesh for Frankenstein

Paul Morrissey

1973 / USA / 95m / Col / Monster | IMDb
Joe Dallesandro, Monique van Vooren, Udo Kier, Arno Juerging, Dalila Di Lazzaro, Srdjan Zelenovic, Nicoletta Elmi, Marco Liofredi, Liù Bosisio, Fiorella Masselli


“Disgusting? Yes. Obscene? Oh, certainly. Likely to deprave and corrupt? Paul Morrissey absolutely hopes so. And above all else, wildly fucking funny. The genius of the film lies not in the director’s willingness to “go there” with every depraved idea that crops into his head, but to go there with a song in his heart and a big smile on his face. If I had to come up with one adjective to describe Flesh for Frankenstein, it would probably be “silly”. Or maybe, “goofy”. But surely not sick, violent, over-the-top, any of those other things – for if it is indeed a wicked, wicked film, it is all in the service of its gloriously self-indulgent camp attitude.” – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

La residencia

404. (+69) La residencia

Narciso Ibáñez Serrador

1969 / Spain / 99m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Lilli Palmer, Cristina Galbó, John Moulder-Brown, Maribel Martín, Mary Maude, Cándida Losada, Pauline Challoner, Tomás Blanco, Víctor Israel, Teresa Hurtado


“Gore hounds may find the long excursions into character development rather disappointing and it’s true that the maniac killer is not the key point in the plot for the entire ninety-nine minutes. But with that said, when he does strike, the slaughters are excellently conveyed and the film’s approachable characters and Samson-like-in-strength performances make this something of a cinematic treat. It’s nice to see a movie where every shot has been painstakingly planned to perfection and the net-result is a visual masterpiece that excels from start to finish.” – Luisito Joaquin Gonzalez, A Slash Above

Calvaire

405. (+96) Calvaire

Fabrice Du Welz

2004 / Belgium / 88m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Laurent Lucas, Brigitte Lahaie, Gigi Coursigny, Jean-Luc Couchard, Jackie Berroyer, Philippe Nahon, Philippe Grand’Henry, Jo Prestia, Marc Lefebvre, Alfred David


“It helps to find the very dark, dark humor in “Calvaire,” a grueling, disgusting and quite effective horror film from Belgium. Part “Psycho,” part “Deliverance” and all creepy, it is simultaneously off-putting and absorbing… What sells this movie is the realistic attention to detail and the bravura direction of Fabrice Du Welz, who draws a gut-wrenching performance from Lucas, who cries, squeals and screams with the best of them… this feels different and fresh. At the very least, it gets under your fingernails.” – G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle

Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse

406. (+44) Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse

Fritz Lang

1933 / Germany / 122m / BW / Crime | IMDb
Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Gustav Diessl, Rudolf Schündler, Oskar Höcker, Theo Lingen, Camilla Spira, Paul Henckels, Otto Wernicke, Theodor Loos, Hadrian Maria Netto


“What is perhaps most striking about Das Testament des Dr Mabuse is its scale and sophistication. Not only does it qualify as a masterpiece on artistic grounds (some of its imagery is the stuff of film legend), but it is by far and away the most ambitious dramatic thriller of its time, thanks to some extraordinary action sequences (which incudes one of cinema’s most imaginative car chases). Lang uses sound almost as effectively as he uses image to tell his story and create an unsettling mood of paranoia and anticipation.” – James Travers, French Film Site

It Came from Outer Space

407. (-12) It Came from Outer Space

Jack Arnold

1953 / USA / 81m / BW / Science Fiction | IMDb
Richard Carlson, Barbara Rush, Charles Drake, Joe Sawyer, Russell Johnson


“It Came from Outer Space stands out from the 50’s alien-invasion-movie crowd in so many ways that it’s difficult to keep track of them all. For one thing, there’s the portrayal of the aliens themselves. These spacefarers are a far cry from the Martians of War of the Worlds or Invaders from Mars, but they are equally far from the stern but benevolent Klaatu of The Day the Earth Stood Still. Of all the movie aliens of the time, I believe these are the most plausibly portrayed, the ones whose actions and motivations most closely resemble what one would expect from intelligent organisms in their position. They are neither villainous conquerors led by a diabolical megalomaniac (think Earth vs. the Flying Saucers) nor beatific missionaries of interstellar peace. They are reasonable beings who have gotten themselves into trouble, and who are willing to do whatever they have to in order to get out of it again. If that means treating the natives a bit roughly, so be it.” – Scott Ashlin, 1000 Misspent Hours

C'est arrivé près de chez vous

408. (+7) C’est arrivé près de chez vous

Rémy Belvaux & André Bonzel & Benoît Poelvoorde

1992 / Belgium / 95m / Col / Found Footage | IMDb
Benoît Poelvoorde, Jacqueline Poelvoorde-Pappaert, Nelly Pappaert, Hector Pappaert, Jenny Drye, Malou Madou, Willy Vandenbroeck, Rachel Deman


“For all its This Is Spinal Tap in-jokes, Belvaux’s film can be a difficult thing to watch (one scene in particular has managed to send record numbers of viewers scurrying from the theatre in revulsion, and although the Austin print of the film is unedited, the national distributor has removed the offending bit from most versions). Shot in black-and-white, Man Bites Dog has the feel of a genuine documentary, which makes it all the more grisly. The questions raised — Where is the line between reality and fiction? How much is too much? and, of course, That’s Entertainment? — are dodgy enough in themselves but the film never resorts to preaching — it doesn’t have to. Shocking, audacious, compelling, and more than a little humorous, Man Bites Dog is a stunning original: Love it or hate it, you’ll never forget it.” – Marc Savlov, The Austin Chronicle

Motel Hell

409. (-29) Motel Hell

Kevin Connor

1980 / USA / 101m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Rory Calhoun, Paul Linke, Nancy Parsons, Nina Axelrod, Wolfman Jack, Elaine Joyce, Dick Curtis, Monique St. Pierre, Rosanne Katon, E. Hampton Beagle


“The whole concept of cannibalism is appropriately icky here. The sight of innocent people buried like heads of lettuce in a garden feels creepy, while the much-beloved finale – involving a chainsaw-wielding Farmer Vincent wearing a pig’s head – achieves an aura of genuine dementedness. Meanwhile, as sick as some of the story’s events are, you often can’t help but laugh at them. Motel Hell goes just far enough over the top to avoid being offensive. There’s a tongue-in-cheek spirit to the movie (in addition to an admirable restraint when it comes to gore) that is, dare I say, kind of charming.” – Mike McGranaghan, The Aisle Seat

I Was a Teenage Werewolf

410. (-56) I Was a Teenage Werewolf

Gene Fowler Jr.

1957 / USA / 76m / BW / Werewolf | IMDb
Michael Landon, Yvonne Fedderson, Whit Bissell, Charles Willcox, Dawn Richard, Barney Phillips, Ken Miller, Cynthia Chenault, Michael Rougas, Robert Griffin


“There are few horror titles which are as evocative as I Was a Teenage Werewolf, immediately a klaxon announcing bad make-up, bad acting, drippy 50’s pop culture trappings and throw-away chaff. In actual fact, it is a well-made, well-shot drama which, though having the worst song and accompanying dance routine in the history of cinema, is a more successful commentary on teenage life than many alien invasion/nuclear bug films were at decrying The Bomb. Landon, almost squeaky in his youth (he was actually 21 years-old) plays the role of every-man perfectly well, whilst his generic group of friends and sundry adults prove to be a more believable agitate than a parade of well-known names.” – Horrorpedia

The Craft

411. (+94) The Craft

Andrew Fleming

1996 / USA / 101m / Col / Witchcraft | IMDb
Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, Rachel True, Skeet Ulrich, Christine Taylor, Breckin Meyer, Nathaniel Marston, Cliff De Young, Assumpta Serna


““The Craft” has a remarkable sense of style and it offers something for everyone with sharp performances, great special effects, and a unique horror story that ends on a truly twisted note. It’s a film that deserves much more attention than it gets in the span of the decade, as “The Craft” is a pure nineties gem that offers great imagery, strong special effects, and a story that will appeal to fantasy and horror buffs alike.” – Feliz Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed

Children of the Corn

412. (-90) Children of the Corn

Fritz Kiersch

1984 / USA / 92m / Col / Evil Children | IMDb
Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton, R.G. Armstrong, John Franklin, Courtney Gains, Robby Kiger, Anne Marie McEvoy, Julie Maddalena, Jonas Marlowe, John Philbin


“So Children of the Corn is goofy and campy, but it’s also awesome. The atmosphere is killer, evoked by some eerie shots of cornfields both in the daytime and at night – and it’s surprising how scary this is even when most of the film takes place during the day. The kids, while not GREAT actors, do get the job done and manage to come off as legitimately creepy rather than just silly. The main characters are both good, with real personalities and as an added bonus, they actually DO things rather than just letting things HAPPEN to them, which is a big problem a lot of horror movies have. By avoiding that pitfall, this movie has a lot of drive and momentum and remains consistently exciting all throughout its duration.” – Lawrence Griff, Doc Universe

Død snø

413. (+97) Død snø

Tommy Wirkola

2009 / Norway / 90m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Vegar Hoel, Stig Frode Henriksen, Charlotte Frogner, Lasse Valdal, Evy Kasseth Røsten, Jeppe Beck Laursen, Jenny Skavlan, Ane Dahl Torp, Bjørn Sundquist, ørjan Gamst


“I’m not going to bother here with the argument that tremendously over-the-top gore like this is or isn’t a wicked thing, or a guilty pleasure, or balls-out fun; when I’m watching a movie in which the filmmakers are plainly loving their gore as much as Tommy Wirkola plainly loves gore, that is what I am going to respond to. Dead Snow is a movie made with a childlike glee for the material, which translates into marvelously playful geysers of blood. It’s all so much fun, made with a minimal level of contempt for the characters that makes it far unlike so many American horror films, and for this reason the comedy in the film (which is a horror-comedy more than it is a horror film with comedy relief) actually works, better than the comedy works the vast majority of English-language horror. This is the sprightliest movie about mowing down revenants with a chainsaw that you are are ever likely to see.” – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

Two Thousand Maniacs!

414. (-57) Two Thousand Maniacs!

Herschell Gordon Lewis

1964 / USA / 83m / Col / Splatter | IMDb
Connie Mason, William Kerwin, Jeffrey Allen, Shelby Livingston, Ben Moore, Jerome Eden, Gary Bakeman, Mark Douglas, Linda Cochran, Yvonne Gilbert


“Maniacs is a gleefully absurd and vicious social satire (as well as something of a spoof of Brigadoon) in the guise of an intensely gory horror film. The rednecks of Pleasant Valley, Georgia are so hell-bent on killing the tourists they have lured to their town, yet they have so much fun doing it, that it is hard not to want them to succeed. The Yankees in the film are such drips anyway (and Connie Mason always makes a good girl-in-peril) that one begins to take delight in the inventive methods of demise the rednecks think up for them. After all, is this not the reason we watch films like this, to get a kick out people (literally) spilling their guts?” – Matt Bailey, Not Coming

The Curse of the Cat People

415. (-22) The Curse of the Cat People

Gunther von Fritsch & Robert Wise

1944 / USA / 70m / BW / Fantasy | IMDb
Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Jane Randolph, Ann Carter, Eve March, Julia Dean, Elizabeth Russell, Erford Gage, Sir Lancelot


“Though very different in purpose and tone to Cat People, Val Lewton’s ‘sequel’ is far more closely tied to its predecessor than is commonly believed. For one thing, all the main characters remain very much the same as they were in the earlier film, to which there are many specific references; for another, both films concern the way that guilt, fear and fantasy can arise from isolation and misunderstanding. In this case, it’s a small girl, lonely and repeatedly scolded by her parents and shunned by her friends for indulging in day-dreaming; when she populates her solitary world with the ghost of her father’s dead first wife (Simon, heroine of Cat People), her imagination (or is it?) gets her into serious trouble. Far from being a horror film, it’s a touching, perceptive and lyrical film about childhood, psychologically astute and occasionally disturbing as it focuses entirely on the child’s-eye view of a sad, cruel world.” – Geoff Andrews, Time Out

Trilogy of Terror

416. (-14) Trilogy of Terror

Dan Curtis

1975 / USA / 72m / Col / Anthology | IMDb
Karen Black, Robert Burton, John Karlen, George Gaynes, Jim Storm, Gregory Harrison, Kathryn Reynolds, Tracy Curtis, Orin Cannon


“Short and to the point (the three stories are told in a scant seventy-two minutes), Trilogy of Terror wastes little time on clumsy exposition or subsidiary characters. Throughout the trilogy, Karen Black gets ample opportunity to demonstrate her range. Her four roles over the three episodes (in the middle entry, she plays twins) see her play prim and passionate, twins and terrified. It’s a real showcase for the actress, who is asked to carry the entire film. Her performance is to credit for most of the tension that the first two tales manage. In many scenes, she’s the only person on screen, whether she is having a phone conversation with an off-screen character or merely talking to herself at length. The slightly demented demeanor that Black brings to all of her roles pays major dividends here, whether she is playing a creepy seductress, engaging in a deadly mind game, or ensuring us, with a look of complete fear in her eyes, that the doll that is stalking her is truly alive.” – Jeremy Heilman, MovieMartyr

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

417. (-12) The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Scott Derrickson

2005 / USA / 119m / Col / Possession | IMDb
Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Campbell Scott, Jennifer Carpenter, Colm Feore, Joshua Close, Kenneth Welsh, Duncan Fraser, JR Bourne, Mary Beth Hurt


“By giving us the facts as seen through the eyes of the various beholders, the film is asking us to be the jury that decides the case, and the information provided is very intentionally left open to interpretation. Rather than seeming wishy-washy and indecisve, this results in a film with a great deal of tension and suspense. Structuring the story as a courtroom drama increases the horror because it takes place in a believable context: whether you think Emily is ill or possessed, what happens to her is almost beyond endurance. Moreover, because the fate of the priest rests on the trial’s outcome, it’s clear that the horrific events in the story have dramatic consequences: what happens is part of a convincing story, not just a series of gratuitous special effects shocks.” – Steve Biodrowski, Cinefantastique

Ghost Busters

418. (-62) Ghost Busters

Ivan Reitman

1984 / USA / 105m / Col / Comedy | IMDb
Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts, William Atherton, Ernie Hudson, David Margulies, Steven Tash


“What Reitman’s film did was blend genres in a way that was truly novel and is still tough to pull off. When I read about the series being rebooted, I always wince because I feel like someone will get the recipe wrong. It’ll either be too funny, or too serious. ‘Ghostbusters’ is the rare tentpole that’s hilarious throughout, but also has real stakes… Watching the film now, it can’t help but feel miraculous just to see how seamlessly all the elements blend together, and how on-point everyone from the actors to the special fx guys, to the set designers, composers, etc., were here… This pretty much made Murray the cult icon he is today, with him being the “cool-guy funny man” which is a tough gig to pull off.” – Chris Bumbray, JoBlo’s Movie Emporium

Orphan

419. (+69) Orphan

Jaume Collet-Serra

2009 / USA / 123m / Col / Evil Children | IMDb
Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman, CCH Pounder, Jimmy Bennett, Margo Martindale, Karel Roden, Aryana Engineer, Rosemary Dunsmore, Jamie Young


“Spaniard Jaume Collet-Serra’s wickedly entertaining, if slightly over-stretched, variation on the familiar ‘evil child’ scenario displays an unusually complex grasp of twisted psychology… Producer Joel Silver regularly specialises in routine horror remakes, such as Collet-Serra’s previous ‘House of Wax’. But here, courtesy of an insidious screenplay by David Leslie Johnson, we are in more disturbing territory. More of a psychological thriller than a horror movie, ‘Orphan’ does contain explosions of shocking, though not especially graphic, violence.” – Nigel Floyd, Time Out

Quella villa accanto al cimitero

420. (+137) Quella villa accanto al cimitero

Lucio Fulci

1981 / Italy / 86m / Col / Splatter | IMDb
Catriona MacColl, Paolo Malco, Ania Pieroni, Giovanni Frezza, Silvia Collatina, Dagmar Lassander, Giovanni De Nava, Daniela Doria, Gianpaolo Saccarola, Carlo De Mejo


“A “video nasty,” THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY brings the blood in a big way, thanks to Fulci’s special effects muse Giannetto De Rossi. There are painstakingly long decapitations, stabbings, throat-removals and more throughout the film, all presented with disgusting Eurohorror depth and detail. Even though not the most horrific of Fulci’s career, THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY is by no means for the weak at heart, especially those adverse to creepy, crawly insects. Above all else THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY is a damn fine Fulci film, and a good launching point for those who want to get into European Horror and giallo. Good gore, fantastic atmosphere and heartfelt performances are on display, all topped off with the standard, bleak Fulci ending.” – Ken W. Hanley, Fangoria

Kurutta ippêji

421. (-27) Kurutta ippêji

Teinosuke Kinugasa

1926 / Japan / 70m / BW / Surrealism | IMDb
Masuo Inoue, Ayako Iijima, Yoshie Nakagawa, Hiroshi Nemoto, Misao Seki, Minoru Takase, Eiko Minami, Kyosuke Takamatsu, Tetsu Tsuboi, Shintarô Takiguchi


“A stunning invocation of the world as viewed by the mentally ill, within minutes, as the rapid montage of the opening storm sequences dissolves into the surrealistic fantasy of the sailor’s wife dressed in an exotic costume dancing in front of an art-deco inspired backdrop featuring a large spinning ball flanked by ornate fountains, A Page of Madness bowls you over with a barrage of startling images utilising every technique known to filmmakers of the time. Even now, Kinugasa’s film seems as fresh as a daisy and when seen on the big screen, as eye-popping an experience as anything you’re likely to see released nowadays.” – Jasper Sharp, Midnight Eye

Lisa e il diavolo

422. (+25) Lisa e il diavolo

Mario Bava

1973 / Italy / 95m / Col / Gothic | IMDb
Telly Savalas, Elke Sommer, Sylva Koscina, Alessio Orano, Gabriele Tinti, Eduardo Fajardo, Alida Valli, Franz von Treuberg, Kathy Leone, Espartaco Santoni


“”Lisa and the Devil” is a mesmerizing, singularly one-of-a-kind experience. The story, driven by an artistic eye for stunning imagery and quixotic cinematography by Cecilio Paniagua, is spellbinding to watch unfold. Deliberate pacing is mixed with striking mise en scene compositions and floating camerawork that also incorporates low angles, representing Lisa’s foreign landscape crushing down upon her, and a number of startlingly effective zoom-ins—a calling-card of Mario Bava’s work.” – Dustin Putnam, The Movie Boy

Shadow of the Vampire

423. (-5) Shadow of the Vampire

E. Elias Merhige

2000 / UK / 92m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe, Udo Kier, Cary Elwes, Catherine McCormack, Eddie Izzard, Aden Gillett, Nicholas Elliott, Ronan Vibert, Sophie Langevin


“The movie does an uncanny job of re-creating the visual feel of Murnau’s film. There are shots that look the way moldy basements smell. This material doesn’t lend itself to subtlety, and Malkovich and Dafoe chew their lines like characters who know they are always being observed (some directors do more acting on their sets than the actors do)… Vampires for some reason are funny as well as frightening. Maybe that’s because the conditions of their lives are so absurd. Some of novelist Anne Rice’s vampires have a fairly entertaining time of it, but someone like Schreck seems doomed to spend eternity in psychic and physical horror.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

The War of the Worlds

424. (+40) The War of the Worlds

Byron Haskin

1953 / USA / 85m / BW / Science Fiction | IMDb
Gene Barry, Ann Robinson, Les Tremayne, Robert Cornthwaite, Sandro Giglio, Lewis Martin, Houseley Stevenson Jr., Paul Frees, William Phipps, Vernon Rich


“The special effects were state-of-the-art for the time, and they remain impressive today. If a few wires are visible to discerning eyes, at least the images are interesting in design and colorful in execution; something about the smooth, sleek look of the Martian hovercraft make them fascinating to watch, even if their miniature origins are sometimes apparent. Although subsequent films (such as INDEPENDENCE DAY) would outdo WAR OF THE WORLDS in terms of depicting mass destruction, this film retains its classic status thanks to the dramatic conviction with which it portrays its characters helplessly fighting against an unstoppable enemy bent on driving humanity into extinction.” – Steve Biodrowski, Hollywood Gothique

Lifeforce

425. (-22) Lifeforce

Tobe Hooper

1985 / USA / 116m / Col / Science Fiction | IMDb
Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart, Michael Gothard, Nicholas Ball, Aubrey Morris, Nancy Paul, John Hallam


“If Lifeforce is an examination and perhaps even condemnation of promiscuous, rampant sexuality, it is also a supreme, unsettling entertainment. It surprises constantly, and features a number of nice homages to classic horror cinema. I mentioned George Romero’s Dead cycle, but Lifeforce also harks back to an older, British tradition: the Quartermass and Nigel Kneale’s legacy. There, aliens from space were the source of our mythology. They came to Earth and were reckoned with in terms of scientific and military solutions. Lifeforce is very much the same animal…plus huge heaping helpings of sex and visual effects. I also happen to believe the film does possess a sense of humor, but that it makes those jokes straight faced, in a staccato rat-a-tat-tat of overlapping dialogue. Lifeforce is about a “destroyer of worlds,” but if you read the film closely, it suggests that our desires — and our inability to resist them — is the very thing that could destroy humanity.” – John Kenneth Muir, Reflections on Film and Television

Dead Silence

426. (+63) Dead Silence

James Wan

2007 / USA / 89m / Col / Evil Doll | IMDb
Ryan Kwanten, Amber Valletta, Donnie Wahlberg, Michael Fairman, Joan Heney, Bob Gunton, Laura Regan, Dmitry Chepovetsky, Judith Roberts, Keir Gilchrist


“So what makes Dead Silence more creepy and clever than the dozens of horror films that have preceded it in this decade? It comes directly from the talents of director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell. The scenarios they set in motion combine logical storytelling with strong suspense filmmaking and keep us in the audience in a constant state of alert, sitting on the edge of our seat, unable to predict what is going to happen next. Wan and Whannell never retreat to the typical horror cliches to achieve their scares. There are no unnecessary shock cuts, no red herrings and no abuse of bombastic musical scoring to tell audiences when to be scared. Where so many modern horror films are utterly predictable, the Saw pictures, all written by Whannell with producer credits for Wan on Saw 2 and 3, and now Dead Silence avoid predictibility by employing great staging and scene setting. The audience is so busy covering their eyes in anticipation of the next scare, they simply don’t have time to predict what comes next.” – Sean Kernan, Smart-Popcorn

The Little Shop of Horrors

427. (-21) The Little Shop of Horrors

Roger Corman

1960 / USA / 72m / BW / Black Comedy | IMDb
Jonathan Haze, Jackie Joseph, Mel Welles, Dick Miller, Myrtle Vail, Tammy Windsor, Toby Michaels, Leola Wendorff, Lynn Storey, Wally Campo


“Though it lacks the gloss and sophistication of its successor – in places, the sets actually shake, and the quality of surviving prints is universally dreadful – this is still a stylish piece of work. Denied colour, Roger Corman plays with light and shadow like a master of film noir. This adds a creepy edge to scenes where Seymour is skulking round the backstreets of the city, an atmosphere which emphasises the agony of his moral dilemma. It’s a darker film in every sense, but this is alleviated by some brilliant comic performances from various minor stars of the time, patched together in a quirky style which is positively surreal.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye For Film

Ils

428. (+59) Ils

David Moreau & Xavier Palud

2006 / France / 77m / Col / Home Invasion | IMDb
Olivia Bonamy, Michaël Cohen, Adriana Mocca, Maria Roman, Camelia Maxim, Alexandru Boghiu, Emanuel Stefanuc, Horia Ioan, Stefan Cornic, George Iulian


“Them has obviously been shot on the cheap, and although it lacks the professional sheen you get with bigger budget productions, its griminess suits the tone perfectly – stripped down to the bare essentials with no theatrics and no pyrotechnics, it’s an ugly movie that is wise to stick to the shadows, playing to its strengths by using what you can’t see rather than what you can. It could have perhaps done with a little more time in the editing room – some shots are re-used and the sound mix leaves something to be desired – but Them hits hard where it counts: the money shots are all worth their weight in gold. Perhaps ‘horror’ isn’t quite the right term to describe Them; ‘terror’ sums it up much better. Although the word has been associated with bearded bombers and cartoon advertisements of late, it’s not a movie that revels in gore or tries to shock you, rather one that tells a terrifying story that everyone can relate to. Sparingly shot and ingeniously executed, it’s a film that subscribes to the idea that real life is far scarier than anything you’ll see in the movies.” – Ali Gray, TheShiznit

Gritos en la noche

429. (-46) Gritos en la noche

Jesús Franco

1962 / Spain / 90m / Col / Thriller | IMDb
Conrado San Martín, Diana Lorys, Howard Vernon, Perla Cristal, María Silva, Ricardo Valle, Mara Laso, Venancio Muro, Félix Dafauce, Faustino Cornejo


“The audio elements of Orlof complement the visuals, combining efforts to keep the audience on their toes. The dizzy musical score by José Pagán and Antonio Ramírez Ángel… Actually, I misspeak – “music” is far too nice a word for the cacophony of percussion and bizarre arrangements that permeate Orlof’s soundscape. Pagán and Ángel’s work is more of a thrumming wakeup call to the senses, a bucket of cold water tossed down the ear. The camerawork and the soundtrack combine to form a general aesthetic of “screw aesthetics,” infusing Orlof with a manic, exhilarating energy that enlivens and rejuvenates the clichés in the script.” – Nate Yapp, Classic-Horror

Uzumaki

430. (+21) Uzumaki

Higuchinsky

2000 / Japan / 90m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Eriko Hatsune, Fhi Fan, Hinako Saeki, Eun-Kyung Shin, Keiko Takahashi, Ren Ohsugi, Denden, Masami Horiuchi, Tarô Suwa, Toru Tezuka


“Directed by Higichinsky, this freaky Japanese horror film uses all kinds of physical cinema techniques, such as shock cuts, flash cuts, dissolves, skip frames and superb digital effects in a constant effort to keep the film alive and spinning. Occasionally it employs a William Castle-like device of digitally swirling a small spot in the corner of the frame — and you may not even notice. Some scenes are so unbearably spooky that they give you that cold, clammy feeling and make your stomach drop out from under you, as if in a terrible nightmare. It’s one hell of a brilliant horror film with an original idea and style to spare.” – Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid

Beetle Juice

431. (+65) Beetle Juice

Tim Burton

1988 / USA / 92m / Col / Comedy | IMDb
Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Annie McEnroe, Maurice Page, Hugo Stanger, Michael Keaton, Rachel Mittelman, Catherine O’Hara, J. Jay Saunders, Mark Ettlinger


“”Beetlejuice” is an extraspectral experience, a wonderfully wacko look at the hereafter’s relationship with the here and now. It’s a cartoon view of the afterlife landscape, where the living haunt the dead and death’s no escape from life’s little irritants – like waiting rooms and elevator music. Tim Burton, the Disney animator who directed “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” is the mind behind this stylish screwball blend of Capraesque fantasy, Marx Brothers anarchy and horror parody. And Michael Keaton is the juice that makes it go. He’s a stand-up zombie as the revolting free-lance bio-exorcist hired to help Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin, playing the Maitlands, a couple of flummoxed young newly deads… It’s strong on lines and situations, but absolutely, happily preposterous. And the moral is a fairy-tale bromide played for laughs: You can’t escape your problems.” – Rita Kempley, Washington Post

Young Frankenstein

432. (+12) Young Frankenstein

Mel Brooks

1974 / USA / 106m / Col / Comedy | IMDb
Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr, Kenneth Mars, Richard Haydn, Liam Dunn, Danny Goldman


“It’s a silly, zizzy picture — a farce-parody of Hollywood’s mad-scientist—trying-to-be-God pictures, with Wilder as the old Baron Frankenstein’s grandson, an American professor of neurology, who takes a trip to the family castle in Transylvania. Peter Boyle is the Frankenstein monster, and Madeline Kahn is the professor’s plastic-woman fiancée, who becomes the monster’s bride. It isn’t a dialogue comedy; it’s visceral and lower. It’s what used to be called a crazy comedy, and there hasn’t been this kind of craziness on the screen in years. It’s a film to go to when your rhythm is slowed down and you’re too tired to think… You can go to see it when you can barely keep your eyes open, and come out feeling relaxed and recharged.” – Pauline Kael, New Yorker

Cujo

433. (-32) Cujo

Lewis Teague

1983 / USA / 93m / Col / Nature | IMDb
Dee Wallace, Danny Pintauro, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Christopher Stone, Ed Lauter, Kaiulani Lee, Billy Jayne, Mills Watson, Sandy Ward, Jerry Hardin


“The attacks are startling, and Cujo unleashes his wrath on the helpless pair who can do nothing but hope for the dog to grow bored with its assaults and move on to another target. But his rage seems almost supernatural to where Donna and her son are just prime targets Cujo almost lusts toward mauling under its diseased teeth and nails. With subtexts about sin and infidelity coming around to become our ultimate undoing, “Cujo” is still a very effective and terrifying nature run amok film. With excellent editing and direction from Teague that make this a horror film worthy of its classic status, “Cujo” is a favorite. Dee Wallace provides yet another riveting performance in a nature run amok horror classic that hasn’t aged a bit. Wonderful performances, an primal villain, and a compelling story make this a horror gem worthy of re-discovering time and time again.” – Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed

Burnt Offerings

434. (-18) Burnt Offerings

Dan Curtis

1976 / USA / 116m / Col / Haunted House | IMDb
Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Burgess Meredith, Eileen Heckart, Lee Montgomery, Dub Taylor, Bette Davis, Joseph Riley, Todd Turquand, Orin Cannon


“On its release, I was happy to find Burnt Offerings to be a serious-minded, slavishly faithful adaptation of the book (with the exception of a more cinematic, crowd-pleasing ending) that avoided the usual post-Exorcist bombast and instead concentrated on mood and atmosphere. It’s one of those rare films that can give you a good, solid scare when you watch it alone, yet provide plenty of unintentional laughs when you watch it with friends. Contemporary audiences are likely to find the film predictable, slow, over-reliant on tried-and-true clichés (there should be a moratorium on rainstorms in haunted house movies), and hampered by the kind of empty ambiguity that often signals poor storytelling; but it’s those who saw Burnt Offerings when they were very young (the film was rated PG) or before The Shining and the Amityville series drove the genre into redundancy, that today recall the film with the most fondness..” – Ken Anderson, Le Cinema Dreams

Los sin nombre

435. (+105) Los sin nombre

Jaume Balagueró

1999 / Spain / 102m / Col / Mystery | IMDb
Emma Vilarasau, Karra Elejalde, Tristán Ulloa, Toni Sevilla, Brendan Price, Jordi Dauder, Núria Cano, Isabel Ampudia, Carles Punyet, Aleix Puiggalí


“Rather than bombard viewers with shocking scares, Jaume Balaguero’s multi-award-winning feature debut builds up an overwhelming and oppressive sense of dread with plenty of suspense thrown in. As the characters’ fear grows, so does yours… There are a few plot weaknesses – many questions go unanswered – but The Nameless gets it right in so many other areas it is easy to forgive. Albert Carreras and Xavi Giménez’s cinematography is stunning and creates pit-of-your-stomach dread from the off. There is very little colour in the film – the world is icy blue and grey aside from the old home movies Claudia pores over… Balaguero sets out to define evil – and he manages it in truly graphic yet glorious style.” – Leanne McGrath, Eye for Film

Ugetsu monogatari

436. (+139) Ugetsu monogatari

Kenji Mizoguchi

1953 / Japan / 96m / BW / Jidaigeki | IMDb
Machiko Kyô, Mitsuko Mito, Kinuyo Tanaka, Masayuki Mori, Eitarô Ozawa, Sugisaku Aoyama, Mitsusaburô Ramon, Ryôsuke Kagawa, Kichijirô Ueda, Shôzô Nanbu


“Like a painter determined to catch one vista in canvas after canvas, Mizoguchi considers how the price of indulging men’s desires is often the suffering of women. This is done in individual shots (e.g. the highway robbers in the background gorging themselves on food the victimized Miyagi was carrying) as well as in the film as a whole. On another level the film can be read as paralleling the plight of post-WWII Japan. Either way, the film’s subtle mix of realism and fantasy (consider a tracking shot with a near-invisible dissolve which “impossibly” links a sensual bath with a picnic) makes for challenging viewing. Working within Japanese genre conventions which seek to validate traditional values, Mizoguchi also considers their inherent contradictions. Look carefully at the pan and tracking shot as the errant Genjuro thinks he’s returning to home and hearth near the end and you will witness a great moment in the history of cinema as both art and social commentary.” – TV Guide’s Movie Guide

Land of the Dead

437. (+71) Land of the Dead

George A. Romero

2005 / USA / 93m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Simon Baker, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento, Robert Joy, Eugene Clark, Joanne Boland, Tony Nappo, Jennifer Baxter, Boyd Banks


“The ideas fly as fast and furious as the body parts, but brilliantly Romero never stoops to obvious, dialogue-driven harangues, instead opting to submerge his conceit- that is, a divided society where zombies reflect our own political complacency – in the forgotten stuff of subtext. The gore is amped up appropriately from earlier films, and provides a literal cross-section of destruction and dismemberments; some of them exist for sheer thrill value, but Romero, unlike many of his style-stealing disciples, knows that substantive storytelling is the key to evoking true dread, not a coroner’s checklist of body parts.” – Todd Gilchrist, IGN Movies

Danza macabra

438. (+14) Danza macabra

Antonio Margheriti

1964 / Italy / 87m / Col / Gothic | IMDb
Barbara Steele, Georges Rivière, Margrete Robsahm, Arturo Dominici, Silvano Tranquilli, Sylvia Sorrente, Giovanni Cianfriglia, John Peters, Merry Powers


“One of Barbara Steele’s most impressive vehicles, and one of the cornerstones of the classic Euro Horror Renaissance (1956-66), Castle of Blood is perhaps the best film by the erratic, prolific Antonio Margheriti. A very nifty ghost turn involving a perpetual cycle of sex and murder among a quintet of libidinous ghosts, the story brings in vampiric ideas as well. Edgar Allan Poe makes an appearance as a character, which is all well considering that the story attribution to him is a complete falsification.” – Glenn Erickson, DVDTalk

Silent Hill

439. (+65) Silent Hill

Christophe Gans

2006 / Canada / 125m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, Laurie Holden, Deborah Kara Unger, Kim Coates, Tanya Allen, Alice Krige, Jodelle Ferland, Colleen Williams, Ron Gabriel


“The film is overlong, with too many unnecessary scenes (a lot of the movie seems like pointless running around), but it packs in a few scary moments and offers a nicely ambiguous conclusion. In Silent Hill, atmosphere trumps storyline… I have never played the game Silent Hill, but that didn’t stop me from appreciating some of what director Christophe Gans (who displayed a similar visual flair in Brotherhood of the Wolf) puts on the screen – although I suspect aficionados will have a better grasp of what is transpiring. Silent Hill looks great. The town is suitably eerie and the periods of darkness are ominous. The movie is all about visual appeal, feel, and tone, because the story underwhelms.” – James Berardinelli, ReelViews

Koroshiya 1

440. (+69) Koroshiya 1

Takashi Miike

2001 / Japan / 129m / Col / Splatter | IMDb
Tadanobu Asano, Nao ômori, Shin’ya Tsukamoto, Paulyn Sun, Susumu Terajima, Shun Sugata, Toru Tezuka, Yoshiki Arizono, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Satoshi Niizuma


“‘Ichi the Killer’ is a bizarre sado-masochistic love story, an unnerving excursion into criminal and sexual extremes, and a comicbook explosion of lurid colours and freakish characters – but most of all, it is a furious, frenetic and at times very funny piece of bravura filmmaking, with outstanding performances, spectacular setpieces, dizzying moodswings, a killer soundtrack, and a mindbending conclusion. Guaranteed to amaze, shock, disgust and intrigue in equal measure, ‘Ichi the Killer’ is one of the most striking films ever made.” – Movie Gazette

Altered States

441. (+73) Altered States

Ken Russell

1980 / USA / 102m / Col / Science Fiction | IMDb
William Hurt, Blair Brown, Bob Balaban, Charles Haid, Thaao Penghlis, Miguel Godreau, Dori Brenner, Peter Brandon, Charles White-Eagle, Drew Barrymore


“The film’s real hook was—and is—the fantasy scenes, and these hold up remarkably well 30 years after the fact. There’s a true sense of wonder, awe and terror to them, and Russell—working with the biggest budget of his career—allowed his imagination to run wild. In fact, Altered States became a cult classic on this basis alone, being particularly cherished by the late-night stoner crowd, who had timed the film so they could sneak out for another toke or two during the dialogue scenes. While that’s amusing, it’s also rather unfortunate, because it obscures the fact that the film itself is pretty darn impressive on a number of other levels and has a cumulative emotional punch that’s quite unexpected.” – Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

442. (+50) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Marcus Nispel

2003 / USA / 98m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Jessica Biel, Jonathan Tucker, Erica Leerhsen, Mike Vogel, Eric Balfour, Andrew Bryniarski, R. Lee Ermey, David Dorfman, Lauren German, Terrence Evans


“The main problem with the film is that it feels like a cynical repackaging of an already established classic. However, as remakes go, it’s very well made and decently acted and it never approaches ‘bad movie’ levels – even the script is pretty good… It is, however, much gorier than the original – the violence and pain on display here is worse than anything in Kill Bill. Legs get chainsawed off (chainsawn?), people get hung on meat-hooks (as in the original), people get chainsawed in the back, and so on – it’s pretty much non-stop terror from the moment the first one of them disappears and you’re more or less guaranteed to end up hiding behind your hands at some point.” – Matthew Turner, ViewLondon

The Ghost Breakers

443. (-55) The Ghost Breakers

George Marshall

1940 / USA / 85m / BW / Comedy | IMDb
Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, Richard Carlson, Paul Lukas, Willie Best, Pedro de Cordoba, Virginia Brissac, Noble Johnson, Anthony Quinn, Tom Dugan


“All in all, “The Ghost Breakers” is a crowd-pleasing popcorn movie with a lot to offer audiences patient enough to follow its labyrinthine plot. It delivers in all areas. Hope, Best and Norton elicit some of the biggest laughs of their formidable careers. Goddard emerges as one of if not the most memorable heroine in the classic horror-comedy genre. The scares are not only genuine but the overall tone of dread is consistent – consider even the scenes on the boat to Cuba, enhanced by highly effective, shadowy, mist-shrouded black and white cinematography. Hope and Goddard come off as a convincing romantic couple-in-the-making (bolstered by the fact that Hope could more easily pass as a leading man than some of the less attractive male comics – his charm in the scene where he and Paulette dance in her stateroom is ingratiating).” – Paul Castiglia, Scared Silly

Street Trash

444. (+108) Street Trash

J. Michael Muro

1987 / USA / 91m / Col / Splatter | IMDb
Mike Lackey, Bill Chepil, Vic Noto, Mark Sferrazza, Jane Arakawa, Nicole Potter, Pat Ryan, Clarenze Jarmon, Bernard Perlman, Miriam Zucker


“Awful business aside, “Street Trash” is a fantastically directed picture, enjoying fluid camera movement and textured locations, with crisp, smartly framed cinematography that makes the minimal budget look like the production spent millions of dollars. Muro has a terrific eye for the dark delights of the movie, and his visual sense is masterfully boosted by extraordinary achievements in set design and make-up effects, with the melt scenes unforgettable. It’s unnerving how polished “Street Trash” is, once again disturbing expectations with a virile cinematic appearance.” – Brian Orndorf, Blu-Ray.com

The Monster Squad

445. (+80) The Monster Squad

Fred Dekker

1987 / USA / 79m / Col / Comedy | IMDb
Andre Gower, Robby Kiger, Stephen Macht, Duncan Regehr, Tom Noonan, Brent Chalem, Ryan Lambert, Ashley Bank, Michael Faustino, Mary Ellen Trainor


“Although a heart felt tribute to the great movie monsters of filmland this little gem was especially appealing to an 80s kid because it dared to stick an affectionate middle- finger up at the stately Hammer Horror movies that were concurrently screened on our TVs ad nauseum. This movie opens with Van Helsing fucking up! It also depicts the classic character of the Wolf Man being kicked in the nuts! That singular boot to the balls kick starts the Squad’s ascendancy to a force to be reckoned with and also acted as the ultimate revenge for a legion of sleep deprived kids haunted by late night werewolf TV escapades.” – Dan Palmer, You’ve Got Red On You

Batoru rowaiaru

446. (+54) Batoru rowaiaru

Kinji Fukasaku

2000 / Japan / 114m / Col / Splatter | IMDb
Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Tarô Yamamoto, Takeshi Kitano, Chiaki Kuriyama, Sôsuke Takaoka, Takashi Tsukamoto, Yukihiro Kotani, Eri Ishikawa, Sayaka Kamiya


“A few twists and turns keep the formula from becoming repetitive, and Fukasaku brings enough compassion to the deserving to keep the grizzly deaths from numbing our moral sensitivities. A sharp sense of humor assists him: aimed towards insight and ridicule rather than the nihilistic glee to which it might have succumbed. It chills us even as we snicker, and the resulting mayhem ultimately reads as a condemnation of our own violent tendencies rather than a tacit celebration. The underlying messages combine with sharp filmmaking for a gloriously entertaining ride, provided you have a taste for dark material and don’t mind the occasional poke in the ribs. Battle Royale completely engages us without losing track of its anti-violence message, a tricky balance that has sent many lesser productions spinning into hypocrisy.” – Rob Vaux, Mania

Alligator

447. (-71) Alligator

Lewis Teague

1980 / USA / 91m / Col / Nature | IMDb
Robert Forster, Robin Riker, Michael V. Gazzo, Dean Jagger, Sydney Lassick, Jack Carter, Perry Lang, Henry Silva, Bart Braverman, John Lisbon Wood


“The basic angle to John Sayles’ script (dubious scientific research leading to a dangerous freak of nature) is a reworking of his 1978 Piranha, but the sense of humour, narrative economy and attention to character are as sharp and fresh as you could wish. No prizes for guessing that Ramon finally devours the shady hand that unwittingly fed him, or that the cop on his tail literally blows the lid off his own guilt problems, but Sayles and Teague never stint on incidental pleasures. The result is an effective and unpretentious treat.” – Time Out

Sien nui yau wan

448. (-34) Sien nui yau wan

Siu-Tung Ching

1987 / Hong Kong / 98m / Col / Comedy | IMDb
Leslie Cheung, Joey Wang, Ma Wu, Wai Lam, Siu-Ming Lau, Zhilun Xue, Jing Wong, David Wu, Ha Huang, Yau Cheung Yeung


“Truly a classic, and a film any fan of Hong Kong cinema needs to have seen. Its energy is boundless but never overwhelming or out of control. It does not depend on its special effects or wild choreography and instead remains faithful to the central romance even when the most insane stuff is happening and Wu Ma is being attacked by a giant tongue. Joey Wong may have glided elegantly off into retirement, but for a whole generation of film fans, and hopefully for generations yet to come, the image of her sitting amid the silks streaming across an otherworldly pavilion remains one of the great, iconic images from the heyday of the Hong Kong New Wave.” – Keith Allison, Teleport City

The Funhouse

449. (+73) The Funhouse

Tobe Hooper

1981 / USA / 96m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Elizabeth Berridge, Shawn Carson, Jeanne Austin, Jack McDermott, Cooper Huckabee, Largo Woodruff, Miles Chapin, David Carson, Sonia Zomina, Ralph Morino


“Menacingly scored by composer John Beal, the booming orchestrations complimenting the onscreen action, “The Funhouse” is a scary, fantastical, and most of all intelligent thriller that, like the original “Halloween,” proves slasher films can be sleek and upscale without going for low-rent gore tactics. The climax, rising to a fever pitch within the bowels of the funhouse, is first-rate, while the final scene subtly says a lot without spelling things out.” – Dustin Putnam, The Movie Boy

The Stuff

450. (-78) The Stuff

Larry Cohen

1985 / USA / 87m / Col / Black Comedy | IMDb
Michael Moriarty, Andrea Marcovicci, Garrett Morris, Paul Sorvino, Scott Bloom, Danny Aiello, Patrick O’Neal, James Dixon, Alexander Scourby, Russell Nype


“The Stuff should be an awful film, it should cause anger and upset for wasting your time with an inconsequential plot and terrible characters. Liking a film because “it’s so bad it’s good” has become such an irritating ironic pastime these days, but it’s hard to knock when a film like The Stuff shuffles into view. It’s like the mad friend of a friend who shows up at your party, sicks up on the cat, knocks over the telly and wanders off. It’s stupid, badly put together, and often infuriating, but yet – somehow – oddly engaging and, well, entertaining.” – That Film Guy

Wolfen

451. (+64) Wolfen

Michael Wadleigh

1981 / USA / 115m / Col / Werewolf | IMDb
Albert Finney, Diane Venora, Edward James Olmos, Gregory Hines, Tom Noonan, Dick O’Neill, Dehl Berti, Peter Michael Goetz, Sam Gray, Ralph Bell


“It plays primarily as horror, but as the mystery as to what is behind the killings unravels, thriller and fantasy elements begin to take over. It’s an uneven experience, but does have its rewards, and the quirky nature of it can probably be attributed to the previous directorial experience of counter-culture director Michael Wadley, whose previous work includes putting together the highly influential documentary, Woodstock. Although the goriness of the film isn’t excessive, mostly generated by graphic descriptions of the events, this does have the effect of making the movie a little more unnerving. There are a few shots of dismembered bodies and the like, but the more these are shown, the less convincing they become. In fact, that can be said of the film as a whole, which retains more interest as a mystery than after all the cards are shown, but by the time it all clicks together, enough thrills and chills have been had to make it a worthwhile viewing experience for those looking for that kind of entertainment.” – Vince Leo, Qwipster’s Movie Reviews

Race with the Devil

452. (-13) Race with the Devil

Jack Starrett

1975 / USA / 88m / Col / Thriller | IMDb
Peter Fonda, Warren Oates, Loretta Swit, Lara Parker, R.G. Armstrong, Clay Tanner, Carol Blodgett, Phil Hoover, Ricci Ware, Paul A. Partain


“What sets “Race with the Devil” apart from all the others of its ilk is that Starrett takes his time in developing the ensuing carnage between the cult and our helpless victims and takes a route very similar to “Duel” where no matter how far they run, their nightmares catch up with them. This leaves us with some truly memorable and freakish incidents involving the hanging of a cat and a slithery intruder that shrinks their world more and more as the time rolls on. They’re not sure who they can trust and that makes this more of a mystery since most of the cult remains faceless and without remorse. They’re truly vile villains who can be just about anyone they desire and they chase our foursome through county after county attempting to silence them. “Race with the Devil” is something out of the mind psychedelic storytellers since it’s such a tense and urgent piece of filmmaking with a talented cast who make us believe we’re being sucked in as they are.” – Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed

Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI

453. (+63) Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI

Tom McLoughlin

1986 / USA / 86m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Thom Mathews, Jennifer Cooke, David Kagen, Renée Jones, Kerry Noonan, Darcy DeMoss, Tom Fridley, Alan Blumenfeld, Matthew Faison, Ann Ryerson


“The previous FRIDAY films were one-note affairs; this time out, a slightly new tune is being played (this is literally the case: composer Henry Manfredini’s familiar theme music is augmented with a couple songs performed by Alice Cooper (including “He’s Back: The Man Behind the Mask”). Whatever its weaknesses, JASON LIVES is a reasonably fun attempt at remaking the franchise into an old-fashioned monster movie, and fans of Frankenstein, the Mummy, and other creatures of the walking dead may find it appealing.” – Steve Biodrowski, Cinefantastique

Puppetmaster

454. (+3) Puppetmaster

David Schmoeller

1989 / USA / 90m / Col / Evil Doll | IMDb
Paul Le Mat, William Hickey, Irene Miracle, Jimmie F. Skaggs, Robin Frates, Matt Roe, Kathryn O’Reilly, Mews Small, Barbara Crampton, David Boyd


“The puppeteering while ancient is still rather eye catching as Schmoeller saves time and money by picture most of the puppets through point of view shots and roaming angles through the hotel while relying on stop motion to do the rest of the work vividly painting a picture of the characters and their own innovative defense mechanisms. Including the Tunneler and his steel drill atop his head, and Blade whose own hook and knife combo would become a trademark of the series. “Puppet Master” ends as a fairly Frankenstein-ish film that meshes dream like paranoia with classic monster movie tropes to bring us the first of a lasting money fueling legacy for the Full Moon collective.” – Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed

The Night Stalker

455. (-6) The Night Stalker

John Llewellyn Moxey

1972 / USA / 74m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Darren McGavin, Carol Lynley, Simon Oakland, Ralph Meeker, Claude Akins, Charles McGraw, Kent Smith, Elisha Cook Jr., Stanley Adams, Larry Linville


“An exceedingly enjoyable vampire film and top-notch investigative horror film, in which the resolution of a mystery results in horror, I can’t recommend this film highly enough. Carl Kolchak is without a doubt my favorite horror hero and the sort of which I’d like to see more of; forget the quip-spitting wise-ass with a shotgun, give me the cautious wise-ass smart enough to piece together the puzzle and run screaming from the results long enough to grab a stake and mallet.” – Bill Adcock, Radiation-Scarred Reviews

Lo squartatore di New York

456. (+97) Lo squartatore di New York

Lucio Fulci

1982 / Italy / 91m / Col / Giallo | IMDb
Jack Hedley, Almanta Suska, Howard Ross, Andrea Occhipinti, Alexandra Delli Colli, Paolo Malco, Cinzia de Ponti, Cosimo Cinieri, Daniela Doria, Babette New


“The ugly duckling and the slashed nipple, a Géricaultian composition. A bald steal from Friedkin’s Cruising introduces the view under the Brooklyn Bridge, the credits roll over a freeze-frame of a purplish, severed hand gripped by an old man’s dog. One young woman is slaughtered while trapped in the belly of the Staten Island Ferry (the cityscape vanishes in the distance, the switchblade fills the screen), another is mutilated backstage at a 42nd Street sex club (green and scarlet neon bathes the splayed corpse), two of the pit-stops in Lucio Fulci’s American Sodom Tour… Fulci’s most corrosive vision. What comes in from Fleischer’s The Boston Strangler goes into Fincher’s Seven.” – Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion

What We Do in the Shadows

457. (+227) What We Do in the Shadows

Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi

2014 / New Zealand / 86m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stuart Rutherford, Ben Fransham, Rhys Darby, Jackie van Beek, Elena Stejko, Jason Hoyte


“Fans of Clement and Waititi’s previous work know the kind of humour to expect: bone-dry, beautifully observed and deeply silly. There’s a brilliantly funny sequence in which the three speaking vamps furiously debate the washing up rota, the importance of virgin blood is floridly discussed, while a dinner party sequence in which potential victims are confronted with re-enacted Lost Boys sequences is beautifully done… Clement in particular is clearly having a brilliant time, as it soon becomes apparent that the lascivious Vlad’s best years are behind him, while Waititi slays with his portrayal of the sweetly heartbroken Viago. In short, the most important thing to know about What We Do In The Shadows is that it’s laugh-out-loud hilarious” – Jonathan Hatfull, SciFiNow

Triangle

458. (+306) Triangle

Christopher Smith

2009 / UK / 99m / Col / Science Fiction | IMDb
Melissa George, Joshua McIvor, Jack Taylor, Michael Dorman, Henry Nixon, Rachael Carpani, Emma Lung, Liam Hemsworth, Bryan Probets


“After his passable, low-budget horror movie, Severance, the British writer-director Christopher Smith takes a big leap forward with this clever and compelling occult thriller. Shot on the coast of Queensland but set in Miami, it interweaves to potent effect Nietzsche’s theory of “eternal recurrence”, the mystery of the Mary Celeste and Sutton Vane’s once popular play Outward Bound… It’s creepy, atmospheric stuff and at every twist of this Möbius strip we wonder how Smith will keep things going. But he manages it with considerable skill and we leave his picture suitably shaken.” – Philip French, The Observer

The Other

459. (-23) The Other

Robert Mulligan

1972 / USA / 108m / Col / Evil Children | IMDb
Uta Hagen, Diana Muldaur, Chris Udvarnoky, Martin Udvarnoky, Norma Connolly, Victor French, Loretta Leversee, Lou Frizzell, Portia Nelson, Jenny Sullivan


“”The Other,” which is based on the novel by former actor Tom Tryon (you saw him as “The Cardinal”), has been criticized in some quarters because Mulligan made it too beautiful, they say, and too nostalgic. Not at all. His colors are rich and deep and dark, chocolatey browns and bloody reds; they aren’t beautiful but perverse and menacing. And the farm isn’t seen with a warm nostalgia, but with a remembrance that it is haunted. The movie isn’t scary in the usual horror-film way, but because Niles is such a creep – the kind of kid who would pull the wings off a fly and then claim the big boys made him (and get them in trouble, and go out looking for more flies). Kids like that will stop at nothing. – Roger Ebert, Chicago-Sun Times

The Ninth Gate

460. (-5) The Ninth Gate

Roman Polanski

1999 / France / 133m / Col / Mystery | IMDb
Johnny Depp, Frank Langella, Lena Olin, Emmanuelle Seigner, Barbara Jefford, Jack Taylor, José López Rodero, Tony Amoni, James Russo, Willy Holt


“The film is a very engaging (and appreciably dark) film noir throwback that just happens to have something to do with the occult. Call it a noir thriller mystery drama if you like – it’s still a pretty solid flick… As usual, Depp is the man. Here he’s playing a slightly sleazy and definitely opportunistic little man, but damn if Depp doesn’t find that root of gnarled humanity and brings it right to the fore… Sometimes dry, sometimes wacky, but surprisingly compelling throughout, The Ninth Gate falls firmly in the middle of Polanski’s eclectic filmography. It sure isn’t as good as The Tenant or Rosemary’s Baby — but it definitely isn’t Pirates, either.” – Scott Weinberg, DVDTalk.com

The Crazies

461. (+33) The Crazies

Breck Eisner

2010 / USA / 101m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson, Danielle Panabaker, Christie Lynn Smith, Brett Rickaby, Preston Bailey, John Aylward, Joe Reegan, Glenn Morshower


“Don’t be afraid of the horror remake stigma here; be afraid of The Crazies’ constant, electric hum of dread. Be afraid of the unpredictable bursts of violence and well-earned jump scares. Be afraid of director Eisner’s unexpected mastery of the material — he seems to have been a standout horror filmmaker-in-waiting all this time, and The Crazies shows that off in a huge way. He understands timing and mood and how important a good score is to a horror film (Mark Isham’s synth score is noticeably great, like a quiet callback to John Carpenter’s way of scoring horror). He gets the actors to take the material seriously, he’s not afraid to go bleak and nasty, and he knows how to build suspense (a talent too rare in studio horror).” – John Gholson, MovieFone

Evil Dead

462. (+16) Evil Dead

Fede Alvarez

2013 / USA / 91m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore, Phoenix Connolly, Jim McLarty, Sian Davis, Stephen Butterworth, Karl Willetts


“Evil Dead is relentless. Once it starts, it never lets up. It becomes a constant barrage of gory fun, and in the spirit of the original, Alvarez and his team use make-up and real-world special effects rather than relying solely on CGI. Another distinctive and key part of the original series were the off-kilter and exaggerated camera angles. Alvarez adopts the film language of Raimi’s films, adds more to the bag of tricks, and keeps the sardonic attitude without necessarily being slapstick.” – Eric Melin, Scene Stealers

Vampyres

463. (-23) Vampyres

José Ramón Larraz

1974 / UK / 87m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Marianne Morris, Anulka Dziubinska, Murray Brown, Brian Deacon, Sally Faulkner, Michael Byrne, Karl Lanchbury, Margaret Heald, Gerald Case, Bessie Love


“As an actual work of evocative, erotic horror, Vampyres works surprisingly well. Much of the credit must go to director/writer (under a pseudonym) Jose Ramon Larraz. He creates a narrative filled with unexplained scenes, missing information and wildly suggestive sensuality that keeps the viewer tantalized and teased throughout the running time. He utilizes the incredibly moody settings and countryside of England to give his movie more than a modicum of menace. He then adds those red herrings and scenes of mysterious consequence to keep things unsettled and surprising. Match that with a couple of curvaceous creatures and the aforementioned torrents of red torment, and you’ve got a good little gothic terror on your hands.” – Bill Gibron, Pop Matters

Damien: Omen II

464. (-57) Damien: Omen II

Don Taylor

1978 / USA / 107m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
William Holden, Lee Grant, Jonathan Scott-Taylor, Robert Foxworth, Nicholas Pryor, Lew Ayres, Sylvia Sidney, Lance Henriksen, Elizabeth Shepherd, Lucas Donat


“While demonic undertones continually propel this film series forward, Damien, The Omen II never ceases to give away actual intentions and methods until the right moment, and in doing so, delivers thought provoking chills in the process. While consistently hoping good prevails over evil, it becomes increasingly clear that this will not be the case, and the overall premise can be biblically frightening.” – Thomas Scopel, Horror News

The Lair of the White Worm

465. (-84) The Lair of the White Worm

Ken Russell

1988 / UK / 93m / Col / Black Comedy | IMDb
Amanda Donohoe, Hugh Grant, Catherine Oxenberg, Peter Capaldi, Sammi Davis, Stratford Johns, Paul Brooke, Imogen Claire, Chris Pitt, Gina McKee


“Christianity and paganism clash in Ken Russell’s The Lair of the White Worm, a campy account of the horrors that beset a small England town when the mysterious Lady Sylvia Marsh (Catherine Oxenberg) decides to conjure up the ghosts of worms from long ago… Russell’s compositions are gorgeous to look at though it’s the deliciousness with which the story unravels that made Lair of the White Worm Russell’s most enjoyable film since his masterpiece Crimes of Passion. One amusing scenario here says everything that needs to be said about Russell as a director: James discusses worm-lore while his friend Angus (Peter Capaldi) voraciously chews on spaghetti. Cheap effects and gratuitous displays of nudity only heighten the film’s delirious demeanor.” – Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine

The Mothman Prophecies

466. (-38) The Mothman Prophecies

Mark Pellington

2002 / USA / 119m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Richard Gere, David Eigenberg, Bob Tracey, Ron Emanuel, Debra Messing, Tom Stoviak, Yvonne Erickson, Scott Nunnally, Harris Mackenzie, Will Patton


““The Mothman Prophecies,” delves into numerous sightings that occurred in Point Pleasant in the 1960s. But director Mark (“Arlington Road”) Pellington’s stylishly eerie movie would be just as effective without this knowledge. Using shadows and strikingly designed sounds, he skillfully creates an atmosphere of otherworldly, invisible menace. Gere and Linney, both solid, dance around the edges of a romance. Alan Bates contributes a juicy cameo as a spooked-out scientist. Pellington knows, as did the 1940s master of horror Val Lewton, that what you don’t see can raise far more goose bumps than what you do.” – David Ansen, Newsweek

Angustia

467. (+59) Angustia

Bigas Luna

1987 / Spain / 86m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Zelda Rubinstein, Michael Lerner, Talia Paul, Àngel Jové, Clara Pastor, Isabel García Lorca, Nat Baker, Edward Ledden, Gustavo Gili, Antonio Regueiro


“With this film I get the feeling of having got two different film for the price one and the whole thing is definitely greater than the sum of it parts. I loved the over-the-top melodrama of The Mommy with its grisly eye horror, vengeful madwoman and deeply trippy hypnosis scenes but I also thought Anguish itself was nice tense thriller film too all framed nicely together to form a wry and entertaining examination of the relationship between the audience and the film. This film had me gripped me right up until the old man in the cloth cap got up and left the cinema.” – Peter Anderson, Nameless Horror

Jurassic Park

468. (-147) Jurassic Park

Steven Spielberg

1993 / USA / 127m / Col / Adventure | IMDb
Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards, Samuel L. Jackson, BD Wong


“A true movie milestone, presenting awe- and fear-inspiring sights never before seen on the screen. The more spectacular of these involve the fierce, lifelike dinosaurs that stalk through the film with astounding ease… They appear only for brief interludes, but the dinosaurs dominate “Jurassic Park” in every way. Amazingly graceful and convincing, they set a sky-high new standard for computer-generated special effects. But thoughts about how those effects were achieved aren’t likely to surface while the film is under way. The most important thing about the dinosaurs of “Jurassic Park” is that they create a triumphant illusion. You will believe you have spent time in a dino-filled world.” – Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Night of the Living Dead

469. (-9) Night of the Living Dead

Tom Savini

1990 / USA / 92m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Tony Todd, Patricia Tallman, Tom Towles, McKee Anderson, William Butler, Katie Finneran, Bill Moseley, Heather Mazur, David W. Butler, Zachary Mott


“The idea of remaking the classic “Night of the Living Dead” would certainly seem like sacrilege to many fans. Yet the resulting movie stands on its own merits as a taut if slightly sterile horror film… Zombie films always suffer in critical terms. But what this boils down to, just as the original does, is a classic siege situation. Tempers fray, fear builds, the final stand-off looms and this movie exploits the form well, with some real tension building among some fine shock moments. Some purists will not condone this remake, but there’s little denying that this is a better horror film than most made in the 1990s.” – Almar Haflidason, BBC.com

Lord of Illusions

470. (-49) Lord of Illusions

Clive Barker

1995 / USA / 109m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Scott Bakula, Kevin J. O’Connor, Joseph Latimore, Sheila Tousey, Susan Traylor, Ashley Tesoro, Michael Angelo Stuno, Barbara Patrick, J. Trevor Edmond, Wayne Grace


“With Lord of Illusions, Barker was beyond establishing himself as one of the genre’s most exciting directors; however, it does offer proof that he had no intention on resting on any sort of laurels. It’s just as sharp of a departure from Nightbreed as that film was from Hellraiser. Seeking to infuse his supernaturally-tinged narratives with a neo-noir style (much like Alan Parker did in Angel Heart), Barker presides over a twisty, snaking narrative that becomes increasingly convoluted as secrets are divulged and intertwined with sexual trysts. Lord of Illusions has enough twists, turns, and sultriness expected of any film noir, not to mention the aesthetic: this is a grimy, low-key pot-boiler draped in shadows and sweat—it just so happens to also feature enough eviscerated corpses to fill up a slasher film.” – Brett Gallman, Oh, The Horror

The Haunted Palace

471. (-26) The Haunted Palace

Roger Corman

1963 / USA / 87m / Col / Gothic | IMDb
Vincent Price, Debra Paget, Lon Chaney Jr., Frank Maxwell, Leo Gordon, Elisha Cook Jr., John Dierkes, Milton Parsons, Cathie Merchant, Guy Wilkerson


“Though slightly toned down when compared to Corman’s gussied up Poe films, The Haunted Palace is stylistically in the same ballpark, to be sure. The baroque sets and theatrical lighting compliment the outsized performances nicely. Vincent Price, who starred in most of Corman’s films of the era, is the clear standout among this stalwart cast, chewing scenery and oozing menace in a double role. He is complimented nicely by fellow horror icon Lon Chaney Jr., who maximizes the effect of his small part as Price’s creepy caretaker. Given their presence in a story that also includes summoned monsters, mutant townsfolk, and a burning at the stake, it’s easy to get a little spooked by The Haunted Palace.” – Jeremy Heilman, Movie Martyr

Drácula

472. (-74) Drácula

George Melford

1931 / USA / 104m / BW / Vampire | IMDb
Carlos Villarías, Lupita Tovar, Barry Norton, Pablo Álvarez Rubio, Eduardo Arozamena, José Soriano Viosca, Carmen Guerrero, Amelia Senisterra, Manuel Arbó


“Still, the Melford-Avalos Dracula is a big step up from the Browning version. Its substantially longer running time (more than 20 minutes in excess of the English version’s) allows for more and better character development, and provides the opportunity to plug up plot holes left gaping in its better-known counterpart. The directors’ firmer grasp of their medium shines through in every scene, resulting in a film that is livelier despite its greater length. The more competent cast rises to the occasion throughout, putting in performances with far greater depth of feeling than the English-speakers who played their roles on the same sets by day. With a more forceful actor in the all-important title role, this Dracula could really have been the classic Browning’s version is generally regarded to be.” – Scott Ashlin, 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting

Inland Empire

473. (+8) Inland Empire

David Lynch

2006 / USA / 180m / Col / Experimental | IMDb
Laura Dern, Jeremy Irons, Justin Theroux, Karolina Gruszka, Jan Hencz, Krzysztof Majchrzak, Grace Zabriskie, Ian Abercrombie, Karen Baird, Bellina Logan


“Because watching movies is a bizarre business, and a movie creates its own world, in some ways more persuasively cogent and real than the reality surrounding it, Lynch positions himself in the no man’s land between these two realities and furnishes it with a landscape and topography all his own… It is mad and chaotic and exasperating and often makes no sense: but actually not quite as confusing as has been reported. Even the most garbled of moments fit approximately into the vague scheme of things, and those that don’t – those worrying rabbits – are, I guess, just part of the collateral damage occasioned by Lynch’s assault on the ordinary world. How boring the cinema would be without David Lynch, and for a long, long moment, how dull reality always seems after a Lynch movie has finished.” – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

Alucarda, la hija de las tinieblas

474. (+19) Alucarda, la hija de las tinieblas

Juan López Moctezuma

1977 / Mexico / 78m / Col / Gothic | IMDb
Claudio Brook, David Silva, Tina Romero, Susana Kamini, Lili Garza, Tina French, Birgitta Segerskog, Adriana Roel, Antonia Guerrero, Martin LaSalle


“Alucarda is delirious, never once faltering or running out of steam, a frenzied assault on the viewer with the filmmaker constantly staying one step ahead to ensure each new scene becomes a revelation of fabulous obscenity. Story and coherence is just thrown out in favour of intensity, naked flesh and a generous helping of bodily fluids to just ooze things along. If this isn’t doing it for you, I really don’t know what will, but if there is one thing I can be certain of, Alcuarda is not for the faint of heart. If, on the other hand, you really get your kicks from seeing content that goes against the moral grain to deliver something fiendishly fruity, this film is essential viewing.” – Kat Ellinger, The Gore Splattered Corner

The Woman in Black

475. (+86) The Woman in Black

Herbert Wise

1989 / UK / 100m / Col / Haunted House | IMDb
Adrian Rawlins, Bernard Hepton, David Daker, Pauline Moran, David Ryall, Clare Holman, John Cater, John Franklyn-Robbins, Fiona Walker, William Simons


“With the phenomenal success of both the West End play and the recent Hammer Films adaptation, it’s easy to forget this earlier version of Susan Hill’s spine-chilling ghost story. Broadcast on the ITV network on Christmas Eve in 1989 The Woman in Black still manages to stir up a few scares in a slow-moving but effective yarn… Adrian Rawlins as Arthur Kidd is particularly sympathetic and you cannot help but feel for our handsome but haunted hero as he is mercilessly pursued by the terrifying spectre of the mysterious woman in black… there are enough twists and turns of the plot to leave an uneasy chill long after the credits have rolled.” – Richard Gladman, Classic Horror Campaign

Deliria

476. (+41) Deliria

Michele Soavi

1987 / Italy / 90m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
David Brandon, Barbara Cupisti, Domenico Fiore, Robert Gligorov, Mickey Knox, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Clain Parker, Loredana Parrella, Martin Philips, James Sampson


“If most surreal horror is something like a messy dream, Soavi’s debut is something almost better, a film in which dreamlike horror keeps interfering with something almost realistic, from the moment that dance number erupts in a back alley, to the deliberately obnoxious joke ending. It is horror expressed as purely as it can be, not so very frightening, but massively unsettling and chaotic, an exercise in crafting 90 minutes of uncanny sensory overload just for the pure brutal delight in doing it. This is, as such things go, not a terribly “meaningful” horror movie, theme-wise; but oh how very wonderfully it captures the capriciousness of the inexplicable and the psychotic!” – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

The Hound of the Baskervilles

477. (+55) The Hound of the Baskervilles

Terence Fisher

1959 / UK / 87m / Col / Mystery | IMDb
Peter Cushing, André Morell, Christopher Lee, Marla Landi, David Oxley, Francis De Wolff, Miles Malleson, Ewen Solon, John Le Mesurier, Helen Goss


“Fisher, at the peak of his career, used Conan Doyle’s plot to establish a stylish dialectic between Holmes’ nominally rational Victorian milieu and the dark, fabulous cruelty behind the Baskerville legend. This opposition is expressed within the first ten minutes, when he moves from the ‘legend’ with its strong connotations of the Hellfire Club (the nobleman tormenting a young girl with demonic satisfaction) to the rational eccentricities of Baker Street. Holmes is indeed the perfect Fisher hero, the Renaissance scholar with strong mystical undertones, and Cushing gives one of his very best performances, ably supported by Morell (who does not make the usual mistake of overplaying Watson). Lee is in equally good form as the Baskerville heir, and Jack Asher’s muted Technicolor photography is superb.” – Derek Adams, Time Out

Le notti del terrore

478. (+165) Le notti del terrore

Andrea Bianchi

1981 / Italy / 85m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Karin Well, Gianluigi Chirizzi, Simone Mattioli, Antonella Antinori, Roberto Caporali, Peter Bark, Claudio Zucchet, Anna Valente, Raimondo Barbieri, Mariangela Giordano


“Sure, the plot is paper (or should I say slasher) thin, but the direction is competently done. It’s not as artistic or well done as a Fulci film, but there’s a very guerilla, hand-held style that captures the mayhem effectively. Veterans of Italian cinema will notice a lot of other staples here, like the use of long, drawn-out takes, dramatic zooms, and weird voice dubbing. If you’re not use to Italian horror, the dubbing will throw you off at first, but believe me, this film doesn’t come close to offering the weirdest in that respect (anyone that remembers Bob from House by the Cemetery can attest to that). Once you get used to it, however, it really becomes part of the charm. You also get some signature, upbeat music that’s almost a staple of these Italian films; the horror music cues, however, sound like 60s stock music that further contributes to the bizarre Night of the Living Dead vibe.” – Brett Gallman, Oh, The Horror

Bubba Ho-Tep

479. (+28) Bubba Ho-Tep

Don Coscarelli

2002 / USA / 92m / Col / Comedy | IMDb
Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis, Ella Joyce, Heidi Marnhout, Bob Ivy, Edith Jefferson, Larry Pennell, Reggie Bannister, Daniel Roebuck, Daniel Schweiger


“Campbell could have been born to play Elvis – he completely nails both the voice and the mannerisms, even under a hefty amount of old age make-up. It’s a superb performance – if there were any justice, Campbell would get an Oscar nomination. Davis is equally good and the pair make a great screen couple – their friendship is genuinely touching… Bubba Ho-Tep isn’t quite the full-on schlock-fest you might be expecting – in fact, it’s relatively short on action, and the actual showdown, though funny, is rather anti-climactic. Instead, the film emerges as a surprisingly moving story about death, dignity and doing what needs to be done. (Noting, in the process, that anything’s better than meeting your maker while on the toilet).” – Matthew Turner, ViewLondon

The Reptile

480. (-95) The Reptile

John Gilling

1966 / UK / 91m / Col / Gothic | IMDb
Noel Willman, Jennifer Daniel, Ray Barrett, Jacqueline Pearce, Michael Ripper, John Laurie, Marne Maitland, David Baron, Charles Lloyd Pack, Harold Goldblatt


“Despite the threadbare effects, though, and an ending that staggers across the finish line, The Reptile is an oddly restrained, moving, even genuinely eerie little film from the cult production house. No gore, scream queens, heaving cleavage or flirtation with softcore fanservice (okay, don’t all leave at once) – instead we get actual natural-sounding dialogue, character development and horror that stems from something convincingly inhuman. This is still camp, still cult, but you’re laughing with the cast, not at them, and the darker material elicits an emotional response as much as a stifled ‘Ewww!’.” – Matthew Lee, Twitchfilm

Silent Night, Deadly Night

481. (-23) Silent Night, Deadly Night

Charles E. Sellier Jr.

1984 / USA / 79m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Toni Nero, Robert Brian Wilson, Britt Leach, Nancy Borgenicht, H.E.D. Redford, Danny Wagner, Linnea Quigley, Leo Geter


“Silent Night, Deadly Night is a really decent slasher movie that is more than just a “tab-a into slot-b” horror. It delves deep into the mind of our protagonist and it raises interesting questions about nature vs. nurture and how this can effect the mind of someone who is already troubled. Billy may be doing the killings, but the true villain of the film is Mother Superior who shows no compassion for Billy’s troubled past. Watching his parents get murdered by a guy dressed as Santa was certainly the catalyst for Billy’s troubled childhood, but it is Mother Superior’s teachings that he’s dishing out – just on a more violent scale. Because of this, Silent Night, Deadly Night is a lot different to the slasher movies that were out at the time as it focused more on the psyche of its killer as opposed to just putting a guy in a mask and giving him killing implements.” – Luke Owen, Luke Writes Stuff

Resident Evil

482. (+110) Resident Evil

Paul W.S. Anderson

2002 / UK / 100m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Ryan McCluskey, Oscar Pearce, Indra Ové, Anna Bolt, Joseph May, Robert Tannion, Heike Makatsch, Jaymes Butler, Stephen Billington, Fiona Glascott


“This science-fiction cannibal zombie adventure does not dislodge George Romero as czar of the Living Dead but does implant Paul Anderson (Mortal Kombat, Event Horizon) as a possible franchise horror director. The story about genetics experimentation and corporations that think they are above the law offers a balanced blend of high-tech conspiracy and low-tech flesh munching… The gruesome action borrows Cube’s slice and dice laser and The Matrix’s combat special effects while bloodied Dobermans from Hell and rotting humans chomp at the gorgeously stone-faced Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element), the ever-pouting Michelle Rodriguez (Girlfight) and their male entourage.” – Mark Halverson, Sacramento News & Review

Let Me In

483. (+3) Let Me In

Matt Reeves

2010 / USA / 116m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloë Grace Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Cara Buono, Elias Koteas, Sasha Barrese, Dylan Kenin, Chris Browning, Ritchie Coster, Dylan Minnette


“In transliterating a foreign-language horror hit into an Anglophone movie it doesn’t follow [shot-for-shot]… though it does lift many scenes verbatim… If anything, this is a grimmer reading: as per Lindqvist, Abby genuinely feels for Owen, but the film suggests – via a photo-strip showing that she has been with her current protector since he was Owen’s age – that the vampire is going through another iteration of a relationship she has had before and will have again… Let Me In isn’t as rich or daring as Let the Right One In and seldom improves on it – but it plays better as a horror film, more concentrated in its focus on the creepy and shocking aspects of its unusual love story.” – Kim Newman, Sight and Sound

The Hidden

484. (+79) The Hidden

Jack Sholder

1987 / USA / 97m / Col / Science Fiction | IMDb
Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Nouri, Claudia Christian, Clarence Felder, Clu Gulager, Ed O’Ross, William Boyett, Richard Brooks, Larry Cedar, Katherine Cannon


“With a fantastic blend of wit and horror, The Hidden is a surprisingly overlooked flick from the ‘80s that would have gone well paired with They Live or some of Fred Dekker’s past films. There’s an absurdity to the whole thing that makes the film laughable; but then again, The Hidden might be seen in a more morbid light by our post-9/11 audiences, especially when it comes to the multiple scenes of aimless violence the alien commits. Even decades later, the film remains relatable, despite the obvious tale of fiction it presents.” – Ryne Barber, Horror News

Angst

485. (+91) Angst

Gerald Kargl

1983 / Austria / 87m / Col / Crime | IMDb
Erwin Leder, Robert Hunger-Bühler, Silvia Rabenreither, Karin Springer, Edith Rosset, Josefine Lakatha, Rudolf Götz, Renate Kastelik, Hermann Groissenberger, Claudia Schinko


“Kargl’s genius here is to show everything in real time, with numerous close-ups and diegetic sound. Viewers get to experience none of the pleasure (whether guilty or gleefully acknowledged) that comes from watching stylized, aestheticized killing—replete with slow-motion camerawork, overlapping edits and a meticulously composed mise-en-scene. Instead, writer-cinematographer Zbigniew Rybczynski alternates close-up point-of-view shots of the victim and her attacker and some canted overhead shots besides, constantly altering our relationship to the action. We have no one to identify with, or rather, no one person with whom to identify, experiencing not only the old woman’s terror but the killer’s increasing excitement and determination as well.” – Steven Jay Schneider, CE Review

Esta Noite Encarnarei no Teu Cadáver

486. (+122) Esta Noite Encarnarei no Teu Cadáver

José Mojica Marins

1967 / Brazil / 108m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
José Mojica Marins, Tina Wohlers, Nadia Freitas, Antonio Fracari, Jose Lobo, Esmeralda Ruchel, Paula Ramos, Tania Mendonça, Arlete Brazolin, Geraldo Bueno


“The film is forcing a wonderful polarization, titillation tinged with terror. The film is unabashedly enticing you with these shots of womanly body parts, and then does its best to disgust be perverting those images with grotesque creatures and the like. Other sequences, such as sex paired with snake attack, provide more of this same dichotomy. But there is more to the visuals than boobs and bile. These shots are well constructed, the lighting is always stark, giving good contrast and keeps the details of the film clear. We are not seeing some shoddily produced horror film, this is a lovingly crafted work.” – Timothy J. Rush, Classic-Horror

Phantom of the Paradise

487. (+10) Phantom of the Paradise

Brian De Palma

1974 / USA / 92m / Col / Musical | IMDb
William Finley, Paul Williams, Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham, George Memmoli, Archie Hahn, Jeffrey Comanor, Peter Elbling, Colin Cameron, David Garland


“If you take the film at face value, then it’s this incredibly fun and surreal retelling of classic stories like The Phantom of the Opera and The Picture of Dorian Grey with fantastic music and a wild 1970’s feel. If you look a little bit deeper, you’ll realize what makes Phantom of the Paradise all the more terrifying when it comes to monopolizing music and movie charts and how this obsession with an individual’s depravity of morals could ultimately lead to in our society.” – The Wolfman Cometh

Humanoids from the Deep

488. (-71) Humanoids from the Deep

Barbara Peeters

1980 / USA / 80m / Col / Exploitation | IMDb
Doug McClure, Ann Turkel, Vic Morrow, Cindy Weintraub, Anthony Pena, Denise Galik, Lynn Theel, Meegan King, Breck Costin, Hoke Howell


“It’s this sort of attention to detail that makes Humanoids from the Deep an effective monster movie. Sure, it’s silly and exploitative, but it’s also a hoot to watch, particularly for gorehounds, Corman fans and cult enthusiasts. This isn’t a film built for most mainstream audiences – it’s simply too audacious, too nasty, and too off-the-wall to be accepted as A-level entertainment. But, in an era where movies like Alien and Halloween were filling theaters with teen fans hungry for more, Humanoids delivers in bloody spades. And years later, in continues to impress.” – R.L. Shaffer, IGN

A Quiet Place

489. (+192) A Quiet Place

John Krasinski

2018 / USA / 90m / Col / Monster | IMDb
Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cade Woodward, Leon Russom


“While it is mostly devoid of dialogue, it is a film rich in subtle textural detail. From the sand-strewn paths on which the family carefully tread to their simple white-light/red-light warning system, the visual tapestry of their everyday life is a constant reminder of how they cope with their predicament… despite its well-played jump scares, it operates at a deep emotional level. Aside from the fleeting appearance of an ill-fated elderly couple, there are no other human characters on screen; this apocalyptic tale is told entirely through the prism of a single family, one struggling to cope not only with actual monsters, but also with insidious personal demons of grief, blame and guilt.” – Nikki Baughan, Sight & Sound

The Beast Within

490. (+37) The Beast Within

Philippe Mora

1982 / USA / 98m / Col / Werewolf | IMDb
Ronny Cox, Bibi Besch, Paul Clemens, Don Gordon, R.G. Armstrong, Katherine Moffat, L.Q. Jones, Logan Ramsey, John Dennis Johnston, Ron Soble


“While at times excessively slow-moving and ultimately over-thinking the building of its mystery a little too hard, overall THE BEAST WITHIN is a smart, effective film about all-too-human evil, especially the sort one finds in extremely small, close-knit communities where blood ties are stronger then the rule of law, manifesting itself as a superhuman evil, while at the same time providing an excellent twist on the werewolf theme that was popular in horror in the early 1980s and a deliciously visceral take on the old canard about “the sins of the father.”” – Bill Adcock, Radiation-Scarred Reviews

Hangover Square

491. (+86) Hangover Square

John Brahm

1945 / USA / 77m / BW / Film Noir | IMDb
Laird Cregar, Linda Darnell, George Sanders, Glenn Langan, Faye Marlowe, Alan Napier


“To accompany some fine acting, Brahm especially flexed his directorial muscles here, with some very stylish set-ups. The opening murder is startlingly shot partly with subjective camera, and he utilises a range of closeups, swooping camera moves and camera effects to work up a sense of delirium… its histrionics and hyperbole create a texture of tragic madness that perfectly compliments Cregar’s haunted playing… The real shame of it would be that there would be no more Cregar performances: still in his twenties, he was dead by the time this was released.” – Graeme Clark, The Spinning Image

Q

492. (+64) Q

Larry Cohen

1982 / USA / 93m / Col / Fantasy | IMDb
Michael Moriarty, Candy Clark, David Carradine, Richard Roundtree, James Dixon, Malachy McCourt, Fred J. Scollay, Peter Hock, Ron Cey, Mary Louise Weller


“Cohen gives Q the Jaws treatment for as long as possible, showing a shadow here and a neck there, but holding off on the whole creature until later. This limitation gives him plenty of opportunities for clever staging, like a death from above revealed through a sprinkle of blood rain on the people below, and wry dark comedy, like when Shepard shrugs off the question “Did you find the guy’s head yet?” with a nonchalant “It’ll turn up.” When Cohen finally relents and shows Q flapping around in all its glory, he doesn’t try to hide the effects to make them seem slicker than they are; all the attacks take place during the day, and while Q won’t give anyone nightmares, there’s a throwback charm to it that honors Japanese monster movies more authentically than an expensive Hollywood production ever could.” – Scott Tobias, The Dissolve

Wishmaster

493. (-62) Wishmaster

Robert Kurtzman

1997 / USA / 90m / Col / Black Comedy | IMDb
Tammy Lauren, Andrew Divoff, Robert Englund, Chris Lemmon, Wendy Benson-Landes, Tony Crane, Jenny O’Hara, Kane Hodder, Tony Todd, Ricco Ross


“A well directed, extremely gory, funny romp. It grabs you in the beginning with an over the top slaughter fest set in old Persia and never lets go. This flick has enough imagination for three movies and is not ashamed to also borrow elements from previous genre films . A little bit of “Hellraiser” here, a pinch of “Elm Street” there…hey…it never hurts. This film is a throwback to 80’s vibe horror with jaw dropping special effects, weird dream sequences, funny one liners and a wonderful nasty villain.” – The Arrow, Arrow in the Head

Invaders from Mars

494. (+143) Invaders from Mars

William Cameron Menzies

1953 / USA / 78m / BW / Science Fiction | IMDb
Helena Carter, Arthur Franz, Jimmy Hunt, Leif Erickson, Hillary Brooke, Morris Ankrum, Max Wagner, William Phipps, Milburn Stone, Janine Perreau


“The popularity of the film can likely be accounted for by the (mostly) straightforward simplicity of the plot, but Invaders from Mars isn’t merely a pleasant pushover. Fairly original in its use of a child as the primary character in an adult world, the film successfully taps into the heightened fear we tend to experience in youth, with the inflating paranoia of the 1950s acting as something of an added pressure cooker. The use of vivid colors is fittingly surreal, while the large-scale presence of the invaders is grounded by distinctly personal loss, guaranteeing the ensuing nightmares of many a pre-adolescent for years to come.” – Rob Humanick, Suite101

I vampiri

495. (-73) I vampiri

Riccardo Freda & Mario Bava

1956 / Italy / 66m / BW / Vampire | IMDb
Gianna Maria Canale, Carlo D’Angelo, Dario Michaelis, Wandisa Guida, Angelo Galassi, Renato Tontini, Charles Fawcett, Gisella Mancinotti, Miranda Campa, Antoine Balpêtré


“But the most important link between I vampiri and the films to follow isn’t narrative at all, but the fact that it’s breathtakingly beautiful. Bava’s later career as a greatly influential and important director has tended to obscure the reality that he was one of his country’s all-time greatest cinematographers, and the uses he and Freda find for the CinemaScope frame is positively miraculous. There’s hardly a single composition that isn’t packed within an inch of its life with evocative imagery, and even such banal things as a conversation taking place in a two-shot are framed to have depth and layers far beyond the basic need to have two people chatting. The lighting in the film is equally inspired: growing ever darker from the start of the film to the end, but so gradually you can hardly tell, with the noir-inflected shadows growing longer with the greatest subtlety.” – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

Intruder

496. (+235) Intruder

Scott Spiegel

1989 / USA / 83m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Elizabeth Cox, Renée Estevez, Dan Hicks, David Byrnes, Sam Raimi, Eugene Robert Glazer, Billy Marti, Burr Steers, Craig Stark, Ted Raimi


“While Intruder follows much of the slasher film formula, it truly stands out from the ilk of that time for many reasons, the first being Speigel’s amazing style. As one of the guys behind the first two Evil Dead movies, Director and co-writer Scott Speilgel brings that same kinetic look to this movie. There are some crazy angles and snake-like movements, including some of the most innovative POVs, you’ve ever seen. Ever wonder what it would be like to see the POV of a bucket, telephone, or floor? Well, you’ll see it here. Add in the tight and ingenious editing and you have a movie that is technically superior to many of the stalk and slash that were out at that point in time. Speigel knows how to build up the tension. Intruder takes it’s time setting up the place, situation, and, more or less, the characters. The climax is pretty exciting and highly suspenseful.” – Giovanni Deldio, Best Horror Movies

April Fool's Day

497. (+26) April Fool’s Day

Fred Walton

1986 / USA / 89m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Jay Baker, Pat Barlow, Lloyd Berry, Deborah Foreman, Deborah Goodrich, Tom Heaton, Mike Nomad, Ken Olandt, Griffin O’Neal, Leah Pinsent


“Lest it seem like “April Fool’s Day” is but a talky, introspective bore, the film does a solid job of intermixing the character work with a well-paced horror plot that grows creepier and more involving once the ensemble has been whittled down to only a few. The climax, wherein Kit and boyfriend Rob (Ken Olandt) piece together the dark secrets from Muffy’s past as they sense an immediate danger lurking around them, generates slick suspense, several indelible images (murdered baby dolls and eyes behind a painting spring to mind), and a whopper of a twist ending that lifts the picture above and beyond the typical, standard-issue slasher fare.” – Dustin Putnam, The Movie Boy

Bug

498. (-15) Bug

William Friedkin

2006 / USA / 102m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Ashley Judd, Michael Shannon, Harry Connick Jr., Lynn Collins, Brían F. O’Byrne, Neil Bergeron, Bob Neill


“Bug is not surprisingly being advertised as being “from the director of The Exorcist,” which says almost as much about the lingering power of that 1973 horror classic as it does about the disappointing nature of Friedkin’s career over the past three decades. The comparison is not just a marketing ploy, though, as Bug allows Friedkin to play on his strengths as a director–namely, managing actors in close quarters. For all the talk about pea soup and head-spinning in The Exorcist, that film was in many ways a chamber piece, with its issues of faith, religion, and the true nature of evil playing out largely within the tight confines of a little girl’s bedroom. By the end of Bug, Agnes’s motel room is as unrecognizable as Reagan’s bedroom was, transformed from a place of ordinary existence into a realm of extraordinary degradation in which two people finding love and acceptance culminates into a literal inferno.” – James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

499. (+226) The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Clyde Geronimi & Jack Kinney

1949 / USA / 34m / Col / Family | IMDb
Bing Crosby


“The genius of the film comes from how innocent the film is when it first begins but gradually shows it’s darker side until we get to the climactic appearance of the Headless Horseman himself. I wouldn’t be surprised if this film scarred for life some kids who saw it the first time. For a Disney film that was produced in 1949 it definitely had a high-level of scare when put in the context that it was advertised as a kid’s film. If this film had been produced in this day and age I don’t think it would’ve made it out of the ratings board with a G-rating. They definitely don’t make animated films like this nowadays and that is a shame.” – Arleigh, Through The Shattered Lens

The Fury

500. (-81) The Fury

Brian De Palma

1978 / USA / 118m / Col / Thriller | IMDb
Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes, Carrie Snodgress, Charles Durning, Amy Irving, Fiona Lewis, Andrew Stevens, Carol Eve Rossen, Rutanya Alda, Joyce Easton


“Despite its flaws, The Fury is a fascinating and unpredictable film, darker and more difficult than Carrie with a flashy, unexpected conclusion designed to shock and disorient. There are plenty of cartoonish and over the top moments, but they seem to work for the film, namely the outrageous ending where De Palma shows us a person exploding over and over again from a variety of angles. There is something comic book-like about The Fury and I can’t help but think of some of the darker X-Men story lines where characters struggle to live with their superhuman powers.” – Samm Deighan, Diabolique Magazine