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#501-#600

The 1,000 Greatest Horror Films: #501-#600

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

Phantom of the Paradise

501. (+11) 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

A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge

502. (+51) A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge

Jack Sholder

1985 / USA / 87m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Mark Patton, Kim Myers, Robert Rusler, Clu Gulager, Hope Lange, Marshall Bell, Melinda O. Fee, Tom McFadden, Sydney Walsh, Robert Englund

“Viewed strictly on the surface, “A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge” is a well-made and suspenseful possession-laden thriller that drops some of the rules distinguished by the first “A Nightmare on Elm Street” in order to avoid being a mere lazy redux […] For its underlying message about sexual oppression in a cynical world, though, the film endeavors to go one step deeper. Psychology majors could have a field day with “A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge.” So much is left to open-ended interpretation that it couldn’t have possibly been by accident that the picture plays not only as slasher fantasy, but as poignantly-felt coming-of-age story in which the hero’s complicated struggles to find himself and be accepted by others aren’t so easily wrapped up with a tidy ribbon.” – Dustin Putnam, The Movie Boy

Long Weekend

503. (+7) Long Weekend

Colin Eggleston

1978 / Australia / 92m / Col / Nature | IMDb
John Hargreaves, Briony Behets, Mike McEwen, Roy Day, Michael Aitkens, Sue Kiss von Soly

“Under Eggleston’s moody direction, even the most minute of sounds is over-amplified to explosive volume and the voyeuristic camerawork tends to be from the ground up, as though from the point-of-view of lurking critters – so that the wilderness locations, for all their natural beauty, seem to brim with the tension of unbearable foreboding. Neither Hargreaves, nor Behets, shrink from the narcissistic unpleasantness of their characters, in what are bravely unflattering performances. Best of all is the ending, which, though shockingly abrupt, is, within the film’s elaborate nexus of motifs, totally, perfectly right, only to be topped by a final, fern-laden image that is haunting enough to do Andrei Tarkovsky proud.” – Anton Bitel, Eye For Film

Blade

504. (-22) Blade

Stephen Norrington

1998 / USA / 120m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, N’Bushe Wright, Donal Logue, Udo Kier, Arly Jover, Traci Lords, Kevin Patrick Walls, Tim Guinee

“[Blade] is a movie that relishes high visual style. It uses the extreme camera angles, the bizarre costumes and sets, the exaggerated shadows, the confident cutting between long shots and extreme closeups. It slams ahead in pure visceral imagery… Wesley Snipes understands the material from the inside out and makes an effective Blade because he knows that the key ingredient in any interesting superhero is not omnipotence, but vulnerability… By embodying those feelings, Snipes as Blade gives the movie that edge of emotion without which it would simply be special effects.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale

505. (+23) I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale

Sergio Martino

1973 / Italy / 89m / Col / Giallo | IMDb
Suzy Kendall, Tina Aumont, Luc Merenda, John Richardson, Roberto Bisacco, Ernesto Colli, Angela Covello, Carla Brait, Conchita Airoldi, Patrizia Adiutori

“So overloaded with red herrings that even Scandinavians would find it excessive, Torso is not the most complicated of whodunits. About an hour into the narrative, the identity of our villain is nothing more than a process of elimination. In essence, take whoever’s left alive, subdivide out the possible motives, and make with the Holmesian deductions. The answer, sadly, will seem pretty obvious. That doesn’t mean Martino can’t have a little frisky fun getting to the conclusion. If you like Me Decade ladies unclothed and submission, this movie is your ticket to titillation. Female mammaries are featured so often that they almost become a plot point. Similarly, Martino does his slasher genre best to handle every death from the killer’s bloody perspective. As the knife blade threatens another topless honey, it’s all so gratuitous and sleazy.” – Bill Gibron, Pop Matters

The Hound of the Baskervilles

506. (-11) 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

Creep

507. (+35) Creep

Christopher Smith

2004 / UK / 85m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Vas Blackwood, Ken Campbell, Kathryn Gilfeather, Franka Potente, Grant Ibbs, Joe Anderson, Jeremy Sheffield, Sean De Vrind, Ian Duncan, Debora Weston

““Creep” is a very atmospheric film, both in its early depiction of instantly recognisable London life, and its latter scenes of dark, oppressive tunnels that seem to have been influenced by the “Resident Evil” series of videogames. There are a good number of genuine scares, and the whole film has a claustrophobic feel which the director exploits to the full with uncomfortable moments, often involving the legions of rats which the creep seems to command. Similarly, in terms of blood, the film will certainly satisfy fans, with a good amount of splatter, and a couple of genuinely foul scenes that are sure to raise a shudder.” – James Mudge, Beyond Hollywood

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man

508. (+9) Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man

Roy William Neill

1943 / USA / 74m / BW / Monster | IMDb
Ilona Massey, Patric Knowles, Lionel Atwill, Bela Lugosi, Maria Ouspenskaya, Dennis Hoey, Don Barclay, Rex Evans, Dwight Frye, Harry Stubbs

“By 1943, the steam was mostly out of the second phase of Universal horror movies, even in their new cheaper, B-picture incarnation, and if the cycle was going to keep on going, something bold and splashy had to be done, for then as now movies made their money from a snappy advertising campaign more than because of their inherent quality. The solution, in retrospect, seems inevitable; but who can say how many harried meetings it took until some Universal executive hit upon the idea of putting two of their A-list monster into a movie together. The result was titled, with all due shamelessness, ‘Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man’, and that was pretty much the end of Universal’s horror line as a home for even the vaguest kind of serious filmmaking until 1954.” – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

The Lair of the White Worm

509. (-10) 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 Raven

510. (+31) The Raven

Lew Landers

1935 / USA / 61m / BW / Crime | IMDb
Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lester Matthews, Irene Ware, Samuel S. Hinds, Spencer Charters, Inez Courtney, Ian Wolfe, Maidel Turner, Anne Darling

“In ‘The Raven’, Lugosi gives one of his very best performances – the image of his maniacally laughing face, looking down through a grate as a traumatized and newly disfigured Karloff is confronted by a series of mirrors is one of the most memorable of the era. His ice cold, simple declaration of “Yes. I like to torture,” is absolutely bone-chilling and despite a great and relatively understated showing by Karloff, it remains Lugosi’s show and the fact that he was given second-billing is something of a travesty. Thankfully Bela’s performance is so strong and has such impact that no mere credits will affect viewer’s perception of who the true star of this movie really is. All in all, while it may lack a marquee monster at its center, ‘The Raven’ is completely unmissable for any fan of classic horror.” – Michael Rose, Mysterious Universe

Phantasm II

511. (-24) Phantasm II

Don Coscarelli

1988 / USA / 97m / Col / Fantasy | IMDb
James Le Gros, Reggie Bannister, Angus Scrimm, Paula Irvine, Samantha Phillips, Kenneth Tigar, Ruth C. Engel, Mark Anthony Major, Rubin Kushner, Stacey Travis

“Angus Scrimm is a valuable asset, too. As the Tall Man, he’s deeply menacing. The perpetually grimacing Scrimm looms over the other actors, speaking his dialogue in a booming, quiver-inducing voice. And then there are those glorious orbs, which inflict gruesome damage upon helpless victims. Their sheer unlikeliness as instruments of death makes them sinister, while the film devises ingeniously nasty things for them to do. Phantasm II’s special effects team does magnificent work showing the ghastly results of a ball attack. Phantasm II has plenty of these moments, and that’s what makes it fun, in spite of a half-baked plot. There’s even a subtle sense of humor displayed; a briefly-seen bag of cremated ashes lists the them as being the body of “Mr. Sam Raimi,” a nod to the director of The Evil Dead. I don’t know whether you could accurately call Phantasm II “good” or not, but as a gore-filled piece of ’80s horror with a premise unlike any other in the genre, it’s completely enjoyable.” – Mike McGranaghan, The Aisle Seat

Stake Land

512. (-5) Stake Land

Jim Mickle

2010 / USA / 98m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Connor Paolo, Gregory Jones, Traci Hovel, Nick Damici, James Godwin, Tim House, Marianne Hagan, Stuart Rudin, Adam Scarimbolo, Vonia Arslanian

“Making the most of a modest budget, director and co-writer Mickle profitably focuses on establishing character and the film’s overall haunted tone rather than simply conjuring gratuitous mayhem. An effective economy of style and the faded color scheme admirably suit this stripped-down aesthetic. The lead performances are solid, despite somewhat generic characterizations, and all-importantly, the vampires’ acting, makeup and costuming are persuasive, even if they appear nearly as dim-witted as a typical zombie. Stake Land’s trenchant worldview, both dystopian and completely rational, shows more affinity with the likes of The Road, 28 Days Later and Night of the Living Dead than it does with movies inclined to romanticize or demonize vampires. The message that America, with all of its social ills and conflicts, is a nation devouring itself seems particularly appropriate as budget battles and culture wars rage on unabated.” – Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter

Little Shop of Horrors

513. (-23) Little Shop of Horrors

Frank Oz

1986 / USA / 94m / Col / Musical | IMDb
Levi Stubbs, Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin, Tichina Arnold, Michelle Weeks, Tisha Campbell-Martin, James Belushi, John Candy

“Shot in vivid colour and interspersed with some terrific songs, this is a formulaic story but a hell of a ride. It benefits from pitch-perfect performances all round and a great villain in the form of the ever more elaborate plant. This is a film which the whole family can enjoy, but little ones may hide their eyes towards the end, when the plant resorts to violence. More graphic but without the darkness of the original, it’s a tale whose power is in the telling. After seeing it, you won’t look at your flowerbeds the same way again.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye For Film

Dolls

514. (+7) Dolls

Stuart Gordon

1987 / USA / 77m / Col / Evil Doll | IMDb
Ian Patrick Williams, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Carrie Lorraine, Guy Rolfe, Hilary Mason, Bunty Bailey, Cassie Stuart, Stephen Lee

“What I got was a gory fairy tale about the importance of remaining a child at heart and loving and respecting the people around you – or else. Dolls is made on film, which I’ve always thought lends well to horror movies. It gives them a heavy, slightly scratchy look that adds to the intensity of their purpose. You just can’t get scared when things are all bubblegum pink and bright. It takes place somewhere in the country wilds of England (I think) which lends a bit of gentility to the haunted house-style setting. And with a kindly old English couple serving as host and hostess of creepy doll Hell, it really is a live action Grimm’s story waiting to happen.” – Melissa Voelker, Horror News

Blood for Dracula

515. (-4) Blood for Dracula

Paul Morrissey

1974 / Italy / 103m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Joe Dallesandro, Udo Kier, Vittorio De Sica, Maxime McKendry, Arno Juerging, Milena Vukotic, Dominique Darel, Stefania Casini, Silvia Dionisio, Inna Alexeievna

“Outrageous, over the top in the sex, skin and gore department (the film was rated X when it came out, and I doubt it would get any rating at all today), Blood for Dracula is at once a horror film and a spoof—but it’s also something more. A strange, lingering sadness hangs over the film in its depiction of the end of an era. There’s a somber quality to Kier’s Dracula and also to the eldest daughter of the house, Esmeralda (Milena Vukotic)—a quality that lasts long after all the blood spurting, severed limbs and sex have passed. It’s a strange film—sometimes a beautiful one—but it’s also the textbook definition of “not for everyone.”” – Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress

The Ruins

516. (+11) The Ruins

Carter Smith

2008 / USA / 90m / Col / Nature | IMDb
Jonathan Tucker, Jena Malone, Laura Ramsey, Shawn Ashmore, Joe Anderson, Sergio Calderón, Jesse Ramirez, Balder Moreno, Dimitri Baveas, Patricio Almeida Rodriguez

“Enjoyable, well made and genuinely creepy horror flick that transcends its ridiculous premise thanks to a strong script, some sure-handed direction and superb performances from a talented young cast… The script is excellent and director Carter Smith gets the tone exactly right, playing everything straight, despite the ridiculous premise, and orchestrating some genuinely creepy scenes. He also includes some impressively nasty gory moments that, crucially, derive naturally from the characters and situations rather than just looking to gross you out for the hell of it… In short, The Ruins is a worthy addition to the Tourism Is Bad genre that ensures that you’ll never look at a rustling vine quite the same way again.” – Matthew Turner, ViewLondon

The War of the Worlds

517. (-3) 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

The Nightmare Before Christmas

518. (-5) The Nightmare Before Christmas

Henry Selick

1993 / USA / 76m / Col / Musical | IMDb
Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey, Glenn Shadix, Paul Reubens, Ken Page, Edward Ivory, Susan McBride, Debi Durst

“Only the deliciously demented imagination of Edward Scissorhands director Tim Burton could have come up with such a dark vision of the holiday season. Producing here, Burton called on the services of innovative animation director Henry Selick and composer Danny Elfman for this wonderfully weird fable. Packed with scary spooks, gags and dazzling décor, it enchants with every busy frame as spindly Jack Skellington, the mastermind behind Halloween, hijacks Christmas out of boredom, becoming a frightening Santa delivering nasty surprises instead of presents to terrified children. The film’s affectionate trashing of Christmas traditions is conceptually cunning and clever enough to please every generation, making it an unmissable treat that’s destined to become as great a yuletide favourite as The Wizard of Oz.” – Alan Jones, Radio Times

Straw Dogs

519. (-26) Straw Dogs

Sam Peckinpah

1971 / USA / 113m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Dustin Hoffman, Susan George, Peter Vaughan, T.P. McKenna, Del Henney, Jim Norton, Donald Webster, Ken Hutchison, Len Jones, Sally Thomsett

“Straw Dogs frustrates and compels not because it tells us easy things like “violence lurks in the hearts of men” (which it does), but because it ultimately refuses to make any absolute value judgments about such a statement. Peckinpah clearly believed that humans are inherently violent beings—he said as much in interview after interview. Yet, he was also a committed liberal democrat and humanist who detested the violence and scandal of the world around him. Thus, like its depictions of violence, the film’s stand on David’s descent into destruction to protect what’s his is, in the end, ambiguous.” – James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk

Hostel: Part II

520. (-22) Hostel: Part II

Eli Roth

2007 / USA / 94m / Col / Splatter | IMDb
Lauren German, Roger Bart, Heather Matarazzo, Bijou Phillips, Richard Burgi, Vera Jordanova, Jay Hernandez, Jordan Ladd, Milan Knazko, Edwige Fenech

“As gruesome as [the filmmakers’] creations can appear, a twisted sense of humor underlies the entire operation, as if sheer outrageousness might offset the effects’ startling realism. Indeed, the only way to watch is to suspend any literal-minded analysis and appreciate Roth’s Grand Guignol sensibilities on their own level. Could Roth have accomplished the same thing without introducing such patently offensive imagery into the world? Absolutely, but then he wouldn’t have bested the recent efforts of his peers, who keep upping the ante with pics like “High Tension” and “Saw.” Nor would he have involved us so thoroughly in the action that we’re complicit in the pic’s incredibly satisfying climax. There are no innocents here — least of all the audience.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight

521. (+30) Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight

Ernest R. Dickerson

1995 / USA / 92m / Col / Black Comedy | IMDb
John Kassir, Billy Zane, William Sadler, Jada Pinkett Smith, Brenda Bakke, CCH Pounder, Dick Miller, Thomas Haden Church, John Schuck, Gary Farmer

“Take equal parts Night of the Living Dead and Aliens. Mix thoroughly with generous doses of sick humour and state-of-the-art gore. Toss in one shot of kinky sex and a few dozen naked breasts. Flavour with a thrashy metal soundtrack. Colour with a garish, comic book–style palette. Cook it all up and you’ll get something resembling Demon Knight, the first of three feature-length horror flicks to be presented under the Tales from the Crypt banner. You’ll also have 90 minutes’ worth of twisted, haywire, mind-warping fun, with action and visual shocks aplenty.” – Steve Newton, Ear of Newt

The Revenge of Frankenstein

522. (-3) The Revenge of Frankenstein

Terence Fisher

1958 / UK / 89m / Col / Monster | IMDb
Peter Cushing, Francis Matthews, Eunice Gayson, Michael Gwynn, John Welsh, Lionel Jeffries, Oscar Quitak, Richard Wordsworth, Charles Lloyd Pack, John Stuart

“Frankly, it’s about as close as Hammer ever came to an outright masterpiece: great mood combining with outstanding performances and writing, and at 89 minutes, the film understands the value of not screwing around. It is one of the great horror films, then and now, unerringly assembled by talented craftsmen who weren’t looking to redefine cinema, and didn’t; but in no small way, The Revenge of Frankenstein helped to set in stone the high standard of excellence that kept Hammer at the forefront of genre filmmaking for almost ten years; though Dracula probably did more to catapult the studio to financial acclaim, and it’s great all around, Revenge trumps it across the board.” – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

Cat People

523. (+10) Cat People

Paul Schrader

1982 / USA / 118m / Col / Thriller | IMDb
Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, John Heard, Annette O’Toole, Ruby Dee, Ed Begley Jr., Scott Paulin, Frankie Faison, Ron Diamond, Lynn Lowry

“Cat People contains long, seemingly endless stretches where little happens. It has many horror-movie cornerstones, but it’s paced like an art movie: slow, deliberate, and with pronounced emphasis on mood and tone over action. The film is punctuated by brief intervals of explicit, unusually effective gore, but it works best as a mood piece. Moroder’s icy electronic score adds to the aura of sex, violence, and mystery surrounding the film, but it would flatline without the remarkable performances of Kinski and McDowell, whose menacing otherworldliness has seldom been so deftly employed.” – Nathan Rabin, The Dissolve

V/H/S/2

524. (-6) V/H/S/2

Various

2013 / USA / 96m / Col / Anthology | IMDb
Lawrence Michael Levine, Kelsy Abbott, L.C. Holt, Simon Barrett, Mindy Robinson, Mónica Sánchez Navarro, Adam Wingard, Hannah Hughes, John T. Woods, Corrie Lynn Fitzpatrick

“More tales of terror are unearthed from another pile of dusty old videos in this slick sequel to the 2012 horror anthology. Like the original, the top-and-tail story takes place in an “abandoned” house where, on this occasion, it’s two private investigators on a missing-persons case who come across the cassettes. But whereas the first film’s quintet of stories were of varying quality, the calibre of the four shorts here is consistently higher… the pick of the bunch is Safe Haven, co-directed by Timo Tjahjanto and The Raid’s Gareth Huw Evans, in which a film crew’s visit to the compound of an Indonesian cult turns decidedly nasty. The deceptively sedate beginning soon gives way to a cornucopia of artery-rupturing gruesomeness, which will assuredly have some viewers all a-splutter.” – Jeremy Aspinall, Radio Times

The Tomb of Ligeia

525. (-20) The Tomb of Ligeia

Roger Corman

1964 / UK / 81m / Col / Gothic | IMDb
Vincent Price, Elizabeth Shepherd, John Westbrook, Derek Francis, Oliver Johnston, Richard Vernon, Frank Thornton, Ronald Adam, Denis Gilmore, Penelope Lee

“Of all the Corman/Poe films, Tomb of Ligea has stood the test of time most successfully, although a case can also be made for Masque of the Red Death. The standard elements of the other films in the series, the malignant and presumably dead wife, the tormented widower overwrought with melancholy, and the threatened innocent, are certainly present, but Corman plays Tomb of Ligea straight. This is likely due to the script by Robert Towne, whose characters are believably complex and compelling. Price is remarkably restrained as a romantic lead, given his over-the-top portrayals in the other Poe films, and Elizabeth Shepherd manages to strike exactly the right note in her role as Lady Rowena.” – Bud Simons, Austin Chronicle

Pin

526. (-23) Pin

Sandor Stern

1988 / Canada / 103m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
David Hewlett, Cynthia Preston, Terry O’Quinn, Bronwen Mantel, John Pyper-Ferguson, Helene Udy, Patricia Collins, Steven Bednarski, Katie Shingler, Jacob Tierney

“Written and directed by Sandor Stern and adapted from the novel by Andrew Neiderman, Pin succeeds by treating its questionable premise with unflinching conviction. Stern’s direction, successfully building tension when required, is generally workmanlike – and this is what saves the film. A more sensationalistic treatment of the subject matter could easily have become ludicrous, but Stern’s entirely matter-of-fact approach makes the whole exercise oddly convincing.” – N. Emmett, Shadowgum

Asylum

527. (+11) Asylum

Roy Ward Baker

1972 / UK / 88m / Col / Anthology | IMDb
Peter Cushing, Britt Ekland, Herbert Lom, Patrick Magee, Barry Morse, Barbara Parkins, Robert Powell, Charlotte Rampling, Sylvia Syms, Richard Todd

“All in all, “Asylum” is one of the best anthology films ever made. Especially eerie is the tale where a killer is pursued by the severed body parts of his victim, all of which are wrapped in paper. The film makes effective use of Moussegsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” and “Night on the Bare Mountain” as the basis of the soundtrack. With performances that are all top notch and great direction from Baker, the film is a flawless piece of horror moviemaking — a well-made gem from the 1970s that is unlike anything that studios can produce today.” – Lucius Gore, Esplatter

À Meia-Noite Levarei Sua Alma

528. (-19) À Meia-Noite Levarei Sua Alma

José Mojica Marins

1964 / Brazil / 84m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
José Mojica Marins, Magda Mei, Nivaldo Lima, Valéria Vasquez, Ilídio Martins Simões, Arildo Iruam, Genésio de Carvalho, Vânia Rangel, Graveto, Robinson Aielo

“Because it is inextricably tethered to a madman, At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul envisions the world as a skewed and nightmarish place. In terms of production design, Zé’s apartment looks as if were decorated by a mental patient; creepy hand sculptures jettison out from nearly every wall, reaching out as if they were lethal extensions of their owner. The film’s editing style is completely fragmented by insane transitions, including wipes that spin the frame upside down and animated cross-dissolves. Not only is the narrative under Zé’s control, it appears that the filmmaking process has been hijacked by him as well. Taking this into consideration, it’s clear that Marins wants to blur the line between artistic form and character, inhabiting both with the same tenacious verve for the grotesque.” – Glenn Heath Jr., Not Coming To a Theater Near You

Dark Night of the Scarecrow

529. (+10) Dark Night of the Scarecrow

Frank De Felitta

1981 / USA / 96m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Charles Durning, Robert F. Lyons, Claude Earl Jones, Lane Smith, Tonya Crowe, Larry Drake, Jocelyn Brando, Tom Taylor, Richard McKenzie, Ivy Jones

“For a small screen production, the movie manages a terrific autumn/Halloween atmosphere, using the dry, brittle cornfields and even a holiday costume party for mood. It also takes its time with its revenge plot; it keeps the same slow, tense pace throughout to allow time to digest each particular revenge killing and to watch the survivors sweat.” – Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid

Gokudô kyôfu dai-gekijô: Gozu

530. (+15) Gokudô kyôfu dai-gekijô: Gozu

Takashi Miike

2003 / Japan / 129m / Col / Surrealism | IMDb
Yûta Sone, Shô Aikawa, Kimika Yoshino, Shôhei Hino, Keiko Tomita, Harumi Sone, Renji Ishibashi, Ken’ichi Endô, Kanpei Hazama, Masaya Katô

“There is an intense emphasis on the sexual, especially on the interplay between imported Western taboos and the traditional (but now largely suppressed) explicit sexual celebrations of the spring fertility festivals. Boldly, Takashi has sidelined phallic imagery to concentrate on various aspects of feminine reproductive sexuality, especially lactation. From this he derives much of his trademark crude humour, but the female characters are never diminished by it. His unrelenting camera draws viewers in to the complex psychology of his virginal hero, at once attracted and repelled by the possibilities inherent in sexual contact, waiting for the remorseless supernatural to liberate him from his mundanely violent life.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye For Film

Critters

531. (+13) Critters

Stephen Herek

1986 / USA / 82m / Col / Monster | IMDb
Dee Wallace, M. Emmet Walsh, Billy Green Bush, Scott Grimes, Nadine Van der Velde, Don Keith Opper, Billy Zane, Ethan Phillips, Terrence Mann, Jeremy Lawrence

“While Critters rarely does any one thing good, its committment to the premise and its willingness to throw every idea at the camera makes it pretty entertaining. Sometimes it’s funny on purpose; sometimes it’s funny because it fails so bad at being scary. I guess it’s a long shot to make furballs and small hand puppets truly terrifying, but I think the creators were intentionally going for a 50s B-movie vibe. It’s the type of horror film that’s in no danger of freaking its audience out, so it splurges on goofy Critter antics (the alien subtitles are pretty hilarious) and the occasional exercise in gore FX.” – Mutant Reviewers

La residencia

532. (-17) 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

Joy Ride

533. (-17) Joy Ride

John Dahl

2001 / USA / 97m / Col / Thriller | IMDb
Steve Zahn, Paul Walker, Leelee Sobieski, Jessica Bowman, Stuart Stone, Basil Wallace, Brian Leckner, Mary Wickliffe, McKenzie Satterthwaite, Dell Yount

“Directed by the meticulous John Dahl (1994’s “The Last Seduction”), who excels at telling noirish stories of murder and mayhem, “Joy Ride” is an absolutely merciless thriller–exciting, marvelously crafted, strongly acted, and with more than a few moments destined to increase your heartbeat. Taking a short premise that could be described as “three victims terrorized by a giant truck,” director Dahl and screenwriters Clay Tarver and J.J. Abrams thankfully do not clutter the ingenious storyline with lots of subplots, nor do they feel it necessary to ever visually unveil the psychopath behind the big rig. Not knowing exactly what Lewis, Fuller, and Venna are up against makes for an even more unshakably eerie experience.” – Dustin Putnam, The Movie Boy

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed

534. (-4) Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed

Terence Fisher

1969 / UK / 98m / Col / Monster | IMDb
Peter Cushing, Veronica Carlson, Freddie Jones, Simon Ward, Thorley Walters, Maxine Audley, George Pravda, Geoffrey Bayldon, Colette O’Neil, Frank Middlemass

“Cushing’s coldly articulate and seemingly alien Baron Frankenstein is matched perfectly with the film’s minimalist (for Hammer) set design, depicting as it does an England struggling under the environmental weight of lunatic asylums and abandoned estates. This sense of a crumbling landscape is perversely reflected in Frankenstein’s drive to experiment and lacerate bodies in the name of a modernist religion of progress. Adding to the film’s appeal is a compellingly exhausted and desperate performance by Freddie Jones as Frankenstein’s all too human monster. There is a swift yet sophisticated precision to Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, a concentrated ferocity and subtle unification of narrative, image and theme that is indicative of the very height of Cushing and Fisher’s working relationship.” – Joshua Vasquez, Slant Magazine

Frenzy

535. (+5) Frenzy

Alfred Hitchcock

1972 / UK / 116m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Jon Finch, Alec McCowen, Barry Foster, Billie Whitelaw, Anna Massey, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Bernard Cribbins, Vivien Merchant, Michael Bates, Jean Marsh

“Frenzy is hardly a whodunit mystery. The audience discovers the identity of the true murderer within the first half hour of the film, so the focus turns to Blaney and the “wrong man” motif. Hitchcock wisely makes the antagonist the more likable of the two leading men though the serial killer story-line no longer has the punch it once enjoyed. The new freedom and increasing violence of filmmaking during the times allowed many filmmakers to indulge in much greater graphic storytelling. While many of Hitchcock’s films had themes of murder and diabolic evils, he employed a designed restraint that forced the viewer to use their imagination. A simple “less is more” philosophy.” – Terrence J. Brady, Teako 170

Phase IV

536. (-2) Phase IV

Saul Bass

1974 / USA / 84m / Col / Science Fiction | IMDb
Michael Murphy, Nigel Davenport, Lynne Frederick, Alan Gifford, Robert Henderson, Helen Horton, David Healy

“Perhaps the most memorable aspect of the film is Bass’ intricate miniature photography, in which he gets us right up close to the ants in their habitat. This footage is stunning in its own right, a glimpse of the insect world on its own level, but Bass takes it further. Long scenes go by with no dialogue or narration, as we simply watch the ants go about their business. Inventive editing helps create the illusion of intelligence and cunning: intertwined shots of a worker ant and a queen play as a wordless (telepathic?) conversation, and our imaginations fill in their possible plans.” – David Cornelius, DVDTalk

Q

537. (-17) 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

Blade II

538. (-15) Blade II

Guillermo del Toro

2002 / USA / 117m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman, Leonor Varela, Norman Reedus, Thomas Kretschmann, Luke Goss, Matt Schulze, Danny John-Jules, Donnie Yen

“Director Guillermo del Toro effortlessly switches gears from these sequences to quiet explorations of dark, brooding settings typical of the horror genre and back again. The horror scenes have genuine tension to them, and del Toro is always aware of the grotesque nature of the material. He’s not afraid to showcase pools of blood, dismemberment, characters sliced in half, vampires dissolving, and, of course, Reaper dissections. The story is pure comic book, which essentially means that it should be ignored to enjoy the strengths of the film. Eventually, though, the storyline delves into some mythology similar to another famous horror story, and there’s actually something a bit insightful about these scenes. Along with the more disturbing elements, the film has the feel of a graphic novel. Scenes are dark, dreary, and atmospheric. The performances, led by Wesley Snipes’ complete immersion into the fun of his role, are pure camp—just right for this material.” – Mark Dujsik, Mark Reviews Movies

Dance of the Dead

539. (+17) Dance of the Dead

Gregg Bishop

2008 / USA / 87m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Jared Kusnitz, Greyson Chadwick, Chandler Darby, Carissa Capobianco, Randy McDowell, Michael Mammoliti, Mark Lynch, Justin Welborn, Mark Oliver

“It’s difficult if not damn near impossible to really pull off homage. You have to forgo the obvious and create a living breathing entity that can stand wholly on its own. If you don’t do that, you’ve cut off half of your audience before they ever see the first five minutes of your magnum opus. What writer Joe Ballarini and Director Gregg Bishop (THE OTHER SIDE) accomplish is the very nearly impossible—a fully functional film that delivers the laugh-a-minute but heartfelt humor of AMERICAN PIE with the furious gore of 28 DAYS LATER. The film never gives up it’s horror to service its comedy and in the same respect it waters down the laughs in order to up the tension.” – David Harley, Bloody Disgusting

Friday the 13th Part III

540. (+35) Friday the 13th Part III

Steve Miner

1982 / USA / 95m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Dana Kimmell, Paul Kratka, Tracie Savage, Jeffrey Rogers, Catherine Parks, Larry Zerner, David Katims, Rachel Howard, Richard Brooker, Nick Savage

“This is the movie where the series first fully realized its true DNA as a slasher with atmosphere fantastical enough that siding with the masked maniac was okay. More importantly, it was wiling to add fun to its frights. If at all possible, see the film in 3-D at a revival screening with a live audience and what the film accomplishes will be thoroughly evident. With Jason’s character and behavior relatively settled at this point, and with the familiar mask finally adorning his face, “Friday the 13th” was free to be more comfortable in its identity and surer of its stride as the saga continued to develop. There is definitely a sense of déjà vu with the third chapter, in both the kills and in several mundane moments. But entrenched in its own formula, there is enough blood, enough brutality, enough comedy, and enough “Friday the 13th” to make “Part III” one of the most memorable installments, and the first real benchmark for everything that fans would come to expect from the series.” – Ian Sedensky, Culture Crypt

Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

541. (-19) Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte

Robert Aldrich

1964 / USA / 133m / BW / Psychological | IMDb
Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead, Cecil Kellaway, Victor Buono, Mary Astor, Wesley Addy, William Campbell, Bruce Dern

“Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte is a finely executed psychological thriller/horror film. There is a surprising amount of gore and swearing for a picture of this time and that works in its favor. It lends a realistic quality to a film that could otherwise be a little ridiculous. It’s well paced and offers no end of surprises. The ending haunts you long after it’s over and makes you recalculate everything you just saw.” – Doug Heller, Next Projection

Begotten

542. (-18) Begotten

E. Elias Merhige

1990 / USA / 72m / Col / Experimental | IMDb
Brian Salzberg, Donna Dempsey, Stephen Charles Barry, James Gandia, Daniel Harkins, Michael Phillips, Erik Slavin, Arthur Streeter, Adolfo Vargas, Garfield White

“Few motion pictures have the power to jolt an audience with the fury, imagination, and artistic violence of Begotten, a 1991 tour de force from Elias Merhige currently debuting on home video. This cryptic independent production is a film of eccentric brilliance, skillfully balancing the glorious and the grotesque in an unforgettable work of art. Perhaps the most striking aspect of Begotten is its cinematography. Filmmaker Merhige photographed his work on 16-mm black-and-white reversal film and then rephotographed the footage frame by frame on black-and-white negatives through density filters, a four-year labor that required 10 hours of work for each minute of the 78-minute film. The result is a visual work unlike any other – one that looks like an ancient ritual filmed on the scene thousands of years ago and only recently dusted off for viewing.” – Phil Hall, Wired

Rare Exports

543. (+14) Rare Exports

Jalmari Helander

2010 / Finland / 84m / Col / Black Comedy | IMDb
Onni Tommila, Jorma Tommila, Tommi Korpela, Rauno Juvonen, Per Christian Ellefsen, Ilmari Järvenpää, Peeter Jakobi, Jonathan Hutchings, Risto Salmi

“This is a story about the true meaning of Christmas, old-style. Its 15 certificate is no accident, though unfortunate, as there’s little here that’s really inappropriate for younger viewers – it’s just that it’s so damn scary. There’s a creepiness here from the outset and no amount of dark humour can alleviate it; as the tension escalates grown adults will also find themselves hiding behind the seats. It successfully captures the sense of something otherworldly, mixing snowflakes and fairy lights with something that might have been written by Dennis Wheatley or HP Lovecraft. Yet despite this, it is at its core a classic children’s adventure.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye For Film

Two Thousand Maniacs!

544. (-19) Two Thousand Maniacs!

Herschell Gordon Lewis

1964 / USA / 87m / 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

Fritt vilt

545. (-19) Fritt vilt

Roar Uthaug

2006 / Norway / 97m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Rolf Kristian Larsen, Tomas Alf Larsen, Endre Martin Midtstigen, Viktoria Winge, Rune Melby, Erik Skjeggedal, Tonie Lunde, Hallvard Holmen

“Roar Uthaug’s debut feature is a conventional but nicely handled slasher pic that makes good use of spectacular mountain range locations. Widescreen lensing format and above-average perfs add a touch of class to the tale of five snowboarders who take shelter in the wrong mysteriously abandoned (or is it?) ski lodge… Likeable characters are given more personality than the usual genre cannon fodder, and, while the basic premise is routine, pic orchestrates its scares with brute effectiveness. The only letdown is the killer himself, a generic “Halloween”-y faceless ghoul in goggles and heavy winter wear.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety

Dracula

546. (+62) Dracula

John Badham

1979 / USA / 109m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasence, Kate Nelligan, Trevor Eve, Jan Francis, Janine Duvitski, Tony Haygarth, Teddy Turner, Sylvester McCoy

“This film is not a standard horror film, though there are some horrific moments. It plays up the notion that Dracula is a sensual, smoldering, sexual creature rather than an animal with no soul. In that respect, Frank Langella (who played the role on stage) plays it up to the hilt and delivers – using his body language and his fluid lines with the mark of a real actor. He is a tall, charismatic and towering presence and brings Dracula alive with more relish and attitude than most others who have attempted the role.” – Jerry Saravia, Jerry Saravia on Cinema

Lifeforce

547. (-4) 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

Lo strano vizio della Signora Wardh

548. (-17) Lo strano vizio della Signora Wardh

Sergio Martino

1971 / Italy / 98m / Col / Giallo | IMDb
George Hilton, Edwige Fenech, Conchita Airoldi, Manuel Gil, Carlo Alighiero, Ivan Rassimov, Alberto de Mendoza, Bruno Corazzari, Marella Corbi, Miguel del Castillo

“‘The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh’ is not a beautiful film in the usual sense. There are no lavish shots of the breathtaking cities of Europe nor does one see any overt attempt to dazzle the viewer with aesthetic style. Instead, we are presented with a sleazy, bleak and repellent film brimming with atmosphere and brutality and from which one can take a vulgar sense of enjoyment. This is an example of repugnant beauty, the way in which a dark subject can be treated in such a manner that it becomes strangely absorbing. A few pacing problems aside, ‘The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh’ is a strong all-around offering for those interested in a slow-burn, mature mystery-horror movie.” – Chris Austin, Cult Reviews

Diary of the Dead

549. (+12) Diary of the Dead

George A. Romero

2007 / USA / 95m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Michelle Morgan, Joshua Close, Shawn Roberts, Amy Lalonde, Joe Dinicol, Scott Wentworth, Philip Riccio, Chris Violette, Tatiana Maslany, Todd Schroeder

“Diary may initially struggle to get up to speed as it reprises business from the earlier films, but Romero has lost none of his wild inventiveness. This film has more left-field weirdness and edgy suspense than Land, with unexpected characters (a deaf, dynamite-throwing Amish farmer), grim jokes (the zombie birthday clown who bleeds when his red nose is pulled off) and horror scenes you have never seen before (in a crowded, gloomy warehouse, amid reserves of gasoline, a single, hard-to-find zombie mingles with jittery, well-armed folk). It turns out that despite decades of experiment, there are still spectacular new ways of killing zombies on screen (a slow acid-dissolve of the skull), while presenting state-of-the-art make-up effects vérité-style recalls the impact of the gruesome intestine-gobbling scene in 1968.” – Sight and Sound

The VVitch: A New-England Folktale

550. (new) The VVitch: A New-England Folktale

Robert Eggers

2015 / USA / 90m / Col / Witchcraft | IMDb
Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Lucas Dawson, Ellie Grainger, Julian Richings, Bathsheba Garnett, Sarah Stephens, Wahab Chaudhry

“Laying an imaginative foundation for the 1692 Salem witchcraft trials that would follow decades later, writer-director Robert Eggers’ impressive debut feature walks a tricky line between disquieting ambiguity and full-bore supernatural horror, but leaves no doubt about the dangerously oppressive hold that Christianity exerted on some dark corners of the Puritan psyche. With its formal, stylized diction and austere approach to genre, this accomplished feat of low-budget period filmmaking will have to work considerable marketing magic to translate appreciative reviews into specialty box-office success, but clearly marks Eggers as a storyteller of unusual rigor and ambition.” – Justin Chang, Variety

Frankenhooker

551. (-2) Frankenhooker

Frank Henenlotter

1990 / USA / 85m / Col / Comedy | IMDb
James Lorinz, Joanne Ritchie, Patty Mullen, J.J. Clark, C.K. Steefel, Shirl Bernheim, Judy Grafe, Helmar Augustus Cooper, Louise Lasser, John Zacherle

“Aside from self-referential skills, Henenlotter has always displayed is a keen knack for pacing and strong script structure and Frankenhooker is a great example of a nicely timed horror/comedy. The film opens with an ultra-hokey death sequence that perfectly captures the spirit of things to come and the events that follow consistently serve to top what came before. Once Jeffrey’s condition is established and his reasoning for experimentation recognized the story sets off into wild, albeit slightly familiar territory but with hardly a dull moment to speak of. Comically, Frankenhooker is right on the mark; a robust creation full of hilarious sight gags and gleefully grotesque scenarios that exhibit a twisted immediacy and joyful exuberance that’s hard to ignore. Henenlotter’s films are generally known for their sleaze and have always possessed a certain low-budget ridiculousness, however it feels like the emphasis this time round was more about evoking laughter than disgust.” – Sam Bowren, A Nightmare on Samityville Street

Happy Birthday to Me

552. (+10) Happy Birthday to Me

J. Lee Thompson

1981 / Canada / 110m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford, Lawrence Dane, Sharon Acker, Frances Hyland, Tracey E. Bregman, Jack Blum, Matt Craven, Lenore Zann, David Eisner

“One of the strongest entries in the 80s splatter canon, Happy Birthday to Me is both quite simplistic and unusually sophisticated for a slasher. On the one hand, it’s clearly driven by the petulant, juvenile pangs of youth and will resonate with anyone who was ever jilted on their birthday by a group of friends (hopefully it doesn’t resonate too much because things will get awkward and bloody in a hurry). But on the other hand, this one sets itself apart from its contemporaries by spinning one hell of a yarn around this concept, as it’s lined with enough twists and turns that would even make giallo masters blush. In many ways, Happy Birthday to Me is a perfect stopgap between that genre and the standard issue American body count flick; it really can’t be claimed as either, which makes it all the more intriguing.” – Brett Gallman, Oh, The Horror

Magic

553. (-3) Magic

Richard Attenborough

1978 / USA / 107m / Col / Evil Doll | IMDb
Anthony Hopkins, Ann-Margret, Burgess Meredith, Ed Lauter, E.J. André, Jerry Houser, David Ogden Stiers, Lillian Randolph, Joe Lowry, Bob Hackman

“Magic is an exceptional work of cinema that has much to offer to the viewer who is willing to indulge at different levels. Attenborough and Goldman conjure up a nightmarish world that grows creepier with every passing moment. Slowly but relentlessly, the viewer is sucked into the eerie world of endless uncertainties wherein he must come face to face with his deepest fears and innermost desires before being plunged into a psychological maelstrom of varied emotions. Magic is indeed magical! And it’s the dream-like director-actor pairing of two great English thespians, Richard Attenborough and Anthony Hopkins, which lifts the film above the other cinematic products of its kind.” – Murtaza Ali, A Potpourri of Vestiges

Cosa avete fatto a Solange?

554. (-19) Cosa avete fatto a Solange?

Massimo Dallamano

1972 / Italy / 103m / Col / Giallo | IMDb
Fabio Testi, Cristina Galbó, Karin Baal, Joachim Fuchsberger, Günther Stoll, Claudia Butenuth, Camille Keaton, Maria Monti, Giancarlo Badessi, Pilar Castel

“The film is full of little ironies, and it is able to alight on moments that seem inconsequential because of an incredibly patient and careful method of storytelling. The precise narrative is complimented by the beautiful and meticulous widescreen cinematography of Aristide Massaccesi; rarely has the frame been used to such excellent effect in a gialli. Another touch of pure class is the score by Ennio Morricone which is one of his most memorable. What Have You Done to Solange? is an unforgettable and poignant film, it is a quietly devastating examination of lost innocence.” – Shaun Anderson, The Celluloid Highway

Idi i smotri

555. (-23) Idi i smotri

Elem Klimov

1985 / Soviet Union / 136m / Col / War | IMDb
Aleksey Kravchenko, Olga Mironova, Liubomiras Lauciavicius, Vladas Bagdonas, Jüri Lumiste, Viktor Lorents, Kazimir Rabetsky, Evgeniy Tilicheev, Aleksandr Berda, G. Velts

“Directed for baroque intensity, Come and Seeis a robust art film with aspirations to the visionary—not so much graphic as leisurely literal-minded in its representation of mass murder… The film’s central atrocity is a barbaric circus of blaring music and barking dogs in which a squadron of drunken German soldiers round up and parade the peasants to their fiery doom. A final title informs that this is one of 628 Byelorussian villages massacred and burned during the war… There are few images more indelible than the sight of young Alexei Kravchenko’s fear-petrified expression. By some accounts the boy was hypnotized for the movie’s final scenes — most viewers will be as well.” – J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter

556. (+12) Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter

Brian Clemens

1974 / UK / 91m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Horst Janson, John Carson, Shane Briant, Caroline Munro, John Cater, Lois Daine, Ian Hendry, Wanda Ventham, William Hobbs, Brian Tully

“By the time the 1970s had rolled around, British production studio Hammer Films… seemed to represent that last bastion of clear demarcation in horror films as to what represented good and what represented evil. In the late ’60s and early ’70s, moral ambiguity was the trampoline most horror films bounced their terror off of, and Hammer’s unique brand of Neanderthal ethics were looking more and more like relics… At any rate, and putting reactionary readings of horror fads aside, writer-director Brian Clemens’s Kronos (though Clemens wrote hundreds of scripts, this was his sole helming gig) is still a fascinating blend of swashbuckling Renaissance Fair heroics and an un-traditional peek at the Vampire myth” – Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine

You Better Watch Out

557. (+9) You Better Watch Out

Lewis Jackson

1980 / USA / 100m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Brandon Maggart, Jeffrey DeMunn, Dianne Hull, Andy Fenwick, Brian Neville, Joe Jamrog, Wally Moran, Gus Salud, Ellen McElduff, Brian Hartigan

“Beautifully photographed, extremely well-acted and accompanied by a truly unnerving avant-garde sound design that is inclusive of a score that’s full of warped nerve frazzling Christmassy melodies played on toy instruments but mixed in with discordant synthesiser atmospherics, Christmas Evil is a class above most of its peers, but sometimes gets little credit from those expecting a more conventional ‘slasher’ approach. It is indeed very deliberately paced, and concludes with what continues to rank as a gloriously ludicrous conceit; but for me it completely works and weaves its own demented spell.” – Nothing But the Night

Twilight Zone: The Movie

558. (+12) Twilight Zone: The Movie

Joe Dante & John Landis & George Miller & Steven Spielberg

1983 / USA / 101m / Col / Anthology | IMDb
Dan Aykroyd, Albert Brooks, Vic Morrow, Doug McGrath, Charles Hallahan, Rainer Peets, Kai Wulff, Sue Dugan, Debby Porter, Steven Williams

“TWILIGHT ZONE THE MOVIE was a slick, randomly creepy and easy watch. When hit the mark, it did it from fair to great. When it missed, it did by a yard. With a stronger wrap around story, more variety to Landis’ tale and Spielberg’s sissy, stops the flick dead in its tracks entry taken out, the movie would’ve been tighter and stronger if you ask me. But when all was stabbed and bled dry, there was enough groovy-groove-groove stuff in here to warrant a sit down.” – Arrow in the Head

Nattevagten

559. (-23) Nattevagten

Ole Bornedal

1994 / Denmark / 107m / Col / Thriller | IMDb
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Sofie Gråbøl, Kim Bodnia, Lotte Andersen, Ulf Pilgaard, Rikke Louise Andersson, Stig Hoffmeyer, Gyrd Løfquist, Niels Anders Thorn, Leif Adolfsson

“Tightly scripted, with just a drop of wicked black humour, the film delivers creepy hints of necrophilia, visceral shocks and heart-racing suspense. The one unconvincing note is the parallel between these murderous events and rehearsals for an amateur theatrical production of Mephisto. Otherwise, this is the kind of superior genre movie-making where the eerie fluttering of moths in a glass lampshade is as chilling as the screaming, hysterical violence that follows.” – Time Out

Saw II

560. (-6) Saw II

Darren Lynn Bousman

2005 / USA / 93m / Col / Splatter | IMDb
Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Donnie Wahlberg, Erik Knudsen, Franky G, Glenn Plummer, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Beverley Mitchell, Tim Burd, Dina Meyer

“”Saw II” is pitch-black, ugly, and stomach-churning in spots, but those are precisely the characteristics director Darren Lynn Bousman was shooting for. And the ending, building one twist and revelation upon another, craftily comes full-circle with the original “Saw,” making a fresh viewing of that one worthwhile before seeing the sequel. Rough around the edges, but knowing how to ratchet up distinct feelings of tense giddiness and extreme apprehension, “Saw II” is an exploitation flick with style and skill to go along with its stream of red stuff.” – Dustin Putnam, The Movie Boy

Strait-Jacket

561. (-24) Strait-Jacket

William Castle

1964 / USA / 93m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Joan Crawford, Diane Baker, Leif Erickson, Howard St. John, John Anthony Hayes, Rochelle Hudson, George Kennedy, Edith Atwater, Mitchell Cox

“It’s tempting to enjoy Straight-Jacket for all the external reasons; there’s a compelling perversity in watching the movie and knowing that Joan Crawford’s real daughter wrote a book accusing her mother of being a monster that tried to ruin her life. It’s also enjoyable to know that William Castle was over the moon working with names like Robert Bloch and Joan Crawford, thinking that he was finally creating that elusive A-picture. But I love Straight-Jacket for just being what it is: a cooky 1960s shocker that makes absolutely no sense and is full of great moments. That alone would guarantee at least a few fingers. But having Joan Crawford, wig askew and gams on full display, in the center of it all easily elevates this one to FIVE FINGER-ed classic status.” – Tower Farm Reviews

Puppetmaster

562. (+11) 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

Vampire Circus

563. (+25) Vampire Circus

Robert Young

1972 / UK / 87m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Adrienne Corri, Thorley Walters, Anthony Higgins, John Moulder-Brown, Laurence Payne, Richard Owens, Lynne Frederick, Elizabeth Seal, Robin Hunter, Domini Blythe

“Modern viewers will indeed be amazed at the level of grue here. Throats are slashed, human beings torn limb from limb by ferocious beasts. Said vivisected bodies are discovered in horrific fashion, and gunshots blow holes in the back of hunky henchmen. This isn’t your pathetic piecemeal PG-13 shocker. From a crucifix to a cutlass, weapons draw gallons of blood here, and Young shows a real flare for fatalistic invention. Indeed, the director is Vampire Circus‘s certified wild card here. While sticking to the storytelling conventions rather well, he adds unique visual elements to the mix, including obvious homages to then arthouse cinema hits and moments of his own unique invention (a pair of aerialists are shot from below as they spin and contort in the air, giving their performance a surreal, hallucinogenic aura).” – Bill Gibron, Pop Matters

Oldeuboi

564. (+16) Oldeuboi

Chan-wook Park

2003 / South Korea / 120m / Col / Crime | IMDb
Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang, Dae-han Ji, Dal-su Oh, Byeong-ok Kim, Seung-Shin Lee, Jin-seo Yoon, Dae-yeon Lee, Kwang-rok Oh

“The violence remains appalling, but it’s an essential element in this brutally inspired mystery. The low-tech dentistry, the masticated octopod, they’re part of the modern hell in which a Korean businessman finds himself… [Oldboy] tantalizes and tortures you as it lures you into its mysterious vortex. You die from what you see and from what you don’t know. And it takes looking beyond the violence to realize the power of Choi’s performance… There is a conclusion to all this, an existential punch line that explains everything in a climactic pileup of melodramatic detail. But whatever you make of that, you will surely leave this movie shocked, shaken and surprisingly moved. And definitely stuck on that poor octopus.” – Desson Thomson, Washington Post

Detention

565. (-6) Detention

Joseph Kahn

2011 / USA / 93m / Col / Comedy | IMDb
Alison Woods, Logan Stalarow, Julie Dolan, Shanley Caswell, Daniel Negreanu, Will Wallace, Josh Breeding, Marco Garcia, Josh Hutcherson, Mickey River

“Don’t be turned off by Kahn’s satirical take on teen angst and high school drama though, even if you find yourself outside the tech generation of today. Detention still has enough polished oddities to win over anyone with an open mind and a hunger for cutting edge cinema. One can simply marvel at how our director effortlessly pulls off tonal 180’s, or creates such indulgently fun scenarios, but does so with grace and beauty while simultaneously throwing massive amounts of dense script material directly in our face. Both challenging and rewarding, Kahn’s sophomore feature oozes unfiltered creativity films like Jennifer’s Body tried so hard to emulate, given the whole horrific high school experience scenario. Most impressive is the usage of self-aware filmmaking, opening a hidden door of silly gags and playful interactions. Kahn ingeniously pokes enough fun at his own movie as a smack to the audience’s head, almost as to say “Hey, this is supposed to be fun and not serious! Just embrace it!”” – Matt Donato, We Got This Covered

Paranormal Activity 3

566. (-8) Paranormal Activity 3

Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman

2011 / USA / 83m / Col / Found Footage | IMDb
Lauren Bittner, Christopher Nicholas Smith, Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown, Hallie Foote, Dustin Ingram, Johanna Braddy, Katie Featherston, Sprague Grayden

“This paradox—the less you see the more you think you see, or the more you think about seeing—is what used to make horror go. Before Tom Savini and Dan O’Bannon, and before the essential redundancy of torture porn, scary movies depended on viewers’ imaginations. The Paranormal Activity films return to that low-budget idea, with an exponentially high profits pay-off. Their plots are rudimentary, and this third installment’s architecture is both banal and ludicrous (as it elucidates how the sisters came to know the demon plaguing them in the first two films, it wades into hoary-old-witches waters). But you don’t go to horror movies for story. You go for sensation, to be moved. Paranormal Activity 3 not only gets that, it also asks you to get it, to be aware of how you’re being moved, and your part in the moving.” – Cynthia Fuchs, Pop Matters

Son of Dracula

567. (+29) Son of Dracula

Robert Siodmak

1943 / USA / 80m / BW / Vampire | IMDb
Robert Paige, Louise Allbritton, Evelyn Ankers, Frank Craven, J. Edward Bromberg, Samuel S. Hinds, Adeline De Walt Reynolds, Pat Moriarity, Etta McDaniel, George Irving

“If you can cope with the dated ideologies, and big lug, Lon Chaney Jr, looking more out of place than a priest in a day care center, you’ll find much to celebrate in SON OF DRACULA. All that priceless Universal atmosphere is here in spades. The soundtrack, the Gothic splendor, the hot ladies and the cold, dark shadows…all here. It’s a forgotten, roughly hewn gem, but its one worth seeking out for lovers of ‘ye olde horror’. The atmosphere is palpable, the plot is unique and the strange change of setting from olde world England/Transylvania, to the deep south, is a refreshing one. Give SON OF DRACULA a little of your time, and you may be pleasantly surprised. And besides, if you don’t watch it, Lon Chaney will eat you!” – Kyle Scott, The Horror Hotel

Tôkyô zankoku keisatsu

568. (-22) Tôkyô zankoku keisatsu

Yoshihiro Nishimura

2008 / Japan / 110m / Col / Splatter | IMDb
Eihi Shiina, Itsuji Itao, Yukihide Benny, Jiji Bû, Ikuko Sawada, Cay Izumi, Mame Yamada, Ayano Yamamoto, Akane Akanezawa, Kotoha Hiroyama

“Comic book gore and a plot exploited to provide maximum fighting time, Tokyo Gore Police succeeds in its bid to push the few boundaries it sets for itself to the limit. Namely trying to think of the most ghastly mix of organic and mechanic bodies, then have them destroyed with a bucket load of blood after they’ve killed a dozen expendable police officers. One for splatter-fest fans, it hits the spot magnificently if you can handle the onslaught. Think The Evil Dead on a rampage through Tokyo and you’re getting close.” – Mike Barnard, Future Movies

Drácula

569. (-6) 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

Ghostwatch

570. (-10) Ghostwatch

Lesley Manning

1992 / UK / 91m / Col / Haunted House | IMDb
Michael Parkinson, Sarah Greene, Mike Smith, Craig Charles, Gillian Bevan, Brid Brennan, Michelle Wesson, Cherise Wesson, Chris Miller, Mike Aiton

“Set up as a live broadcast, in the same manner that so many ghost hunting shows are now, the movie was actually banned from being broadcast again, because of negative reaction from audiences. Like Orson Welles had done with War of the Worlds, director Lesley Manning and writer Stephen Volk did with Ghostwatch. People believed this was happening, and the film was even said to have caused PTSD in children. It’s not hard to see why. The film is still incredibly frightening, bolstered by the way the evil ghost, Pipes, randomly appears in very quick shots, and how the presenters in the show played themselves. It feels quite real, and obviously had a tremendous impact.” – Will Brownridge, The Film Reel

Môjû

571. (-24) Môjû

Yasuzô Masumura

1969 / Japan / 86m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Eiji Funakoshi, Mako Midori, Noriko Sengoku

“Given the rather static nature of the mise-en-scène, Masumura must be admired for stretching out such an elementary idea to feature length, yet the most overwhelming impression of this film is its deliciously overwrought visual style, conjuring up such a vivid and endlessly interesting, self-contained cinematic world inside the claustrophobic confines of Michio’s studio. Yes, The Blind Beast really is as outlandish as it sounds, and must rank as one of the most powerful and potently disturbing horror films ever conceived.” – Jasper Sharp, Midnight Eye

Uzumaki

572. (-24) 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

Wolfen

573. (-21) 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

Prom Night

574. (+26) Prom Night

Paul Lynch

1980 / Italy / 92m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Leslie Nielsen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Casey Stevens, Anne-Marie Martin, Antoinette Bower, Michael Tough, Robert A. Silverman, Pita Oliver, David Mucci, Jeff Wincott

“Lynch’s Prom Night is quite chilling, entertaining, and absolutely not a boring film, which surely will be appreciated by horror film lovers and others as well. This film does aim to terrify the audience and makes them want to stop watching it somewhere in the middle due to way too many blood and violent scenes… But, you will still watch since it is smartly executed, with interesting lines, and solid performances by the entire cast, This refreshes our memory and reminds us, once again, why we love so much the films of the sweet 80s.” – Ulkar Alakbarova, Movie Moves Me

What We Do in the Shadows

575. (+73) 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

Les raisins de la mort

576. (+9) Les raisins de la mort

Jean Rollin

1978 / France / 85m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Marie-Georges Pascal, Félix Marten, Serge Marquand, Mirella Rancelot, Patrice Valota, Patricia Cartier, Michel Herval, Brigitte Lahaie, Paul Bisciglia, Olivier Rollin

“If you appreciate Rollin’s gothic, sexually provocative films, you should love this, his most suspenseful and accessible production ever. Even if you aren’t a Rollin fan, you may like this. The apocalyptic story moves along at a much faster clip than the ordinary Rollin sex-vampire art film, and like “Night” it features an ending that doesn’t sell out. It’s also one of Rollins’ most chillingly beautiful films: He makes incredibly effective use of ancient French buildings. Seeing an army of Romero-esque ogres (one carrying a severed head) shuffling around them at night is wonderfully chilling.” – Lucius Gore, eSplatter

Versus

577. (-5) Versus

Ryûhei Kitamura

2000 / Japan / 119m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Tak Sakaguchi, Hideo Sakaki, Chieko Misaka, Kenji Matsuda, Yuichiro Arai, Minoru Matsumoto, Kazuhito Ohba, Takehiro Katayama, Ayumi Yoshihara, Shôichirô Masumoto

“All in all, “Versus” delivers on its one basic promise: action, and tons and tons of action. This movie has, for lack of a better word, style. It is obviously a low-budget film, since there are barely any special effects of the computer variety, but many of the old-fashion practicals and gallons and gallons of fake blood variety. It’s gore at its finest, and it’s quite fine, let me assure you. Gorefiends will pray their eyes don’t fail them during the viewing.” – Beyond Hollywood

Mama

578. (+28) Mama

Andrés Muschietti

2013 / Spain / 100m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nélisse, Daniel Kash, Javier Botet, Jane Moffat, Morgan McGarry, David Fox, Dominic Cuzzocrea

“Mama proves to be a great horror film for about half of its running time — the half in which we can’t see who or what this Mama character is… unfortunately, the more we learn about Mama, the more it seems as though she’s just malnourished and misunderstood… To make up for the dearth of suspense, there is at least great acting. Chastain toughens up to portray one of those rare heroines in a horror film who isn’t about to walk down to the basement on her own when the power is out… Devotees of this genre should make a point of seeing the film, if only because it’s a great example of how to be creepy without resorting to cliché. But don’t expect any true horror to emerge” – Vanessa Farquharson, National Post

John Dies at the End

579. (-2) John Dies at the End

Don Coscarelli

2012 / USA / 99m / Col / Comedy | IMDb
Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman, Doug Jones, Daniel Roebuck, Fabianne Therese, Jonny Weston, Jimmy Wong

“The narrative’s constant tonal shifts do become numbing after a while and the final act is frustratingly formulaic, but when John Dies At The End fires all cylinders, it is a spectacular rush. Director Don Coscarelli (Bubba Ho-Tep, Phantasm) knows exactly how to pitch this type of story, cleverly balancing a novel mix of drug comedy, gory body horror, and OTT sci-fi. At its best the picture resembles a cross between Joss Whedon’s Buffy and Ghostbusters as directed by Terry Gilliam. At its worst, the film is a noisy, unintelligible mess. Occasionally it is both of those things at once. It’s the type of movie where a man’s moustache leaps off his face and flies around the room for no explainable reason. If you can’t embrace the weird then you will have some trouble.” – Richard Haridy, Quik Flix

The Lodger

580. (+32) The Lodger

John Brahm

1944 / USA / 84m / BW / Thriller | IMDb
Merle Oberon, George Sanders, Laird Cregar, Cedric Hardwicke, Sara Allgood, Aubrey Mather, Queenie Leonard, Doris Lloyd, David Clyde, Helena Pickard

“If “The Lodger” was designed to chill the spine—as indeed it must have been, considering all the mayhem Mr. Cregar is called upon to commit as the mysterious, psychopathic pathologist of the title—then something is wrong with the picture. But, if it was intended as a sly travesty on the melodramatic technique of ponderously piling suspicion upon suspicion (and wrapping the whole in a cloak of brooding photographic effects), then “The Lodger” is eminently successful.” – The New York Times

The Battery

581. (+54) The Battery

Jeremy Gardner

2012 / USA / 101m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Jeremy Gardner, Adam Cronheim, Niels Bolle, Alana O’Brien, Jamie Pantanella, Larry Fessenden, Kelly McQuade, Eric Simon, Ben Pryzby, Sarah Allen

“The problem with most modern zombie films is that the writers forget that the humans should be the centerpiece of the film, and not the zombies. Director Jeremy Gardner’s “The Battery” is the prime example of how to handle this kind of genre entertainment with a low budget. Rather than flood the screen with zombies, the monsters are used sparingly and for great moments of terror and memorable scenes, while Gardner focuses primarily on character, building two complex and unique people we can love and hate, in many ways.” – Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed

Plan 9 from Outer Space

582. (-4) Plan 9 from Outer Space

Edward D. Wood Jr.

1959 / USA / 79m / BW / Science Fiction | IMDb
Gregory Walcott, Mona McKinnon, Duke Moore, Tom Keene, Carl Anthony, Paul Marco, Tor Johnson, Dudley Manlove, Joanna Lee, John Breckinridge

“When it comes to naming the worst film ever made, there is an almost unanimous candidate that gets pegged for that sorry title: Edward D. Wood Jr.’s “Plan 9 From Outer Space.” But to be perfectly frank, I could never understand why this weird little movie has generated so much enthusiasm for allegedly being the single worst endeavor in screen history. Even in the realm of legendary bad movies, “Plan 9 from Outer Space” is far removed from the excesses of awfulness… First, “Plan 9 From Outer Space” falls in the category of “so bad it’s good” – a film whose cluelessness is so overwhelming that you cannot help but laugh at its many mistakes. It is clearly a very entertaining movie, if only for the wrong reasons, and one can easily come away from the film with a hearty (if slightly guilty) smile. Can a film that makes you feel good really be the worst of cinema?” – Phil Hall, Film Threat

I Am Legend

583. (+16) I Am Legend

Francis Lawrence

2007 / USA / 101m / Col / Post-Apocalyptic | IMDb
Will Smith, Alice Braga, Charlie Tahan, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Willow Smith, Darrell Foster, April Grace, Dash Mihok, Joanna Numata, Abbey

“I Am Legend is a stark and stunning reality check nightmare portrait of a destroyed world, as Neville roams the dangerous urban wilderness that is now Manhattan, dodging carnivorous creatures, with a rifle in tow. And with his trusty German Shepherd Samantha as his sole companion, lending desperate new meaning to the notion of man’s best friend. Will Smith’s astounding performance as he carries the grim weight of this epic ordeal on his shoulders solo, is never less than physically, psychologically and emotionally shattering from moment to gripping moment.” – Prairie Miller, News Blaze

The Girl Next Door

584. (-20) The Girl Next Door

Gregory Wilson

2007 / USA / 91m / Col / Crime | IMDb
William Atherton, Blythe Auffarth, Blanche Baker, Kevin Chamberlin, Dean Faulkenberry, Gabrielle Howarth, Benjamin Ross Kaplan, Spenser Leigh, Daniel Manche, Mark Margolis

“Daniel Farrands and Philip Nutman’s screenplay sticks close to Ketchum’s novel, which was inspired by the notorious 1965 torture-murder of Indiana teenager Sylvia Likens. Neither Ketchum nor the filmmakers take an exploitative approach to the material; their focus is the way the youngsters’ petty cruelty erupts into murderous sadism through exposure to Ruth, whose homey manner conceals a sociopath’s warped worldview. Baker is chilling as Ruth and young actress Auffarth gives a strong performance as the brutalized Meg, which only makes the film’s unsettling subject matter more difficult to watch.” – Maitland McDonagh, TV Guide

The Gate

585. (-20) The Gate

Tibor Takács

1987 / USA / 85m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Stephen Dorff, Christa Denton, Louis Tripp, Kelly Rowan, Jennifer Irwin, Deborah Grover, Scot Denton, Ingrid Veninger, Sean Fagan, Linda Goranson

“The most memorable aspects of THE GATE are unquestionably the special FX work. For a film of its size and scale, no other film boasts such an incredible production design. In addition to stop-motion animation, director Tibor Takacs also incorporates miniature set designs with gigantic demonic beasts as well as tiny minions that each interact with the children in a series of incredible green-screening shots that seamlessly meld the range of characters on screen. Though it takes its time in creating a growing tension and suspense, the gate literally unleashes hell on earth once it has been fully unlocked. THE GATE is the perfect argument against the use of computerized imaging in film, and serves as one of the strongest examples of a low budget Horror film accomplishing a big budget look and feel through imaginative FX and a unique plot.” – Carl Manes, I Like Horror Movies

Vampyres

586. (-4) 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

Suna no onna

587. (-20) Suna no onna

Hiroshi Teshigahara

1964 / Japan / 123m / Col / Drama | IMDb
Eiji Okada, Kyôko Kishida, Hiroko Itô, Kôji Mitsui, Sen Yano, Ginzô Sekiguchi, Kiyohiko Ichihara, Hideo Kanze, Hiroyuki Nishimoto, Tamotsu Tamura

“Teshigahara suggests powerfully that freedom is an illusion and that we have to create our own meaning in life, which occurs for the man when he discovers a fresh water well and starts studying it passionately as a phenomenon of capillary action. Beyond that, “Woman in the Dunes” is an outrageous erotic tale, drenched in amusing Freudian symbolism… the film manages to blend the philosophical and the erotic as a way of evoking a sense of life’s ultimate absurdity. Teshigahara had a lot of help in his selfless actors and in his inspired cinematographer Hiroshi Segawa, whose stunning high-contrast black-and-white images are as crucial as the spare, eerie score composed by the late Toru Takemitsu, one of the greatest composers in world cinema.” – Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

Oculus

588. (+38) Oculus

Mike Flanagan

2013 / USA / 104m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane, Annalise Basso, Garrett Ryan, James Lafferty, Miguel Sandoval, Kate Siegel, Scott Graham

“In many ways, Oculus feels like the best J-horror remake not based on an existing film (apart from being based on Flanagan’s own short films). There’s a pervasive sense of tragedy throughout, as the details of Kaylie and Tim’s tragic past are slowly fed to us through flashbacks and hallucinations, calling to mind the disorientation of The Grudge and the mournful quality of Dark Water… Flanagan delivers plenty of horrible little shocks courtesy of the mirror’s ability to delude and misdirect, with a couple of moments that will have you putting your hands over your eyes, but Oculus is refreshingly light on cheap jump scares… By rooting its clever narrative structure in a tragic story, Flanagan has created a horror that pulls on the heartstrings as often as it grabs you by the throat, helped every step of the way by an excellent cast.” – Jonathan Hatfull, SciFiNow

Death Line

589. (-5) Death Line

Gary Sherman

1973 / UK / 87m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Donald Pleasence, Norman Rossington, David Ladd, Sharon Gurney, Hugh Armstrong, June Turner, Clive Swift, James Cossins, Heather Stoney, Hugh Dickson

“Deathline is also very violent (the spade in the head segment), extremely nasty (just about any scene featuring “the man”), funny (take another bow, Mr Pleasance), frightening, touching and off-the-wall (the two minute pointless inclusion of Christopher Lee for no good reason other than he was around that day). There’s even some spectacular camerawork on display (take a trip with the special effects men as they seamlessly move from the underground charnel house to the bustling Underground station above).” – Chris Wood, British Horror Films

eXistenZ

590. (-21) eXistenZ

David Cronenberg

1999 / Canada / 97m / Col / Science Fiction | IMDb
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jude Law, Ian Holm, Willem Dafoe, Don McKellar, Callum Keith Rennie, Christopher Eccleston, Sarah Polley, Robert A. Silverman, Oscar Hsu

“Probably the wildest ride [Cronenberg’s] given audiences since 1992’s “Naked Lunch.” It also features a well-timed message about video-game violence and addiction, which helps this oddball science-fiction thriller to be his best, most resonant work in more than a decade. Having said all that, however, the film will still probably turn off most moviegoers — at least those who aren’t accustomed to Cronenberg’s peculiar style of storytelling, which often includes gooey, gory special effects, distorted sexuality and indecipherable plotting… An alternatingly creepy and seductive performance from Leigh certainly helps, and Law is appropriately naive. Character actors Ian Holm and Willem Dafoe also have scene-stealing supporting roles that just add to the fun.” – Jeff Vice, Deseret News

I Drink Your Blood

591. (+10) I Drink Your Blood

David E. Durston

1970 / USA / 83m / Col / Exploitation | IMDb
Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury, Jadin Wong, Rhonda Fultz, George Patterson, Riley Mills, John Damon, Elizabeth Marner-Brooks, Richard Bowler, Tyde Kierney, Iris Brooks

“Energetic, sloppy and entirely watchable (especially if you’re sitting down with bong and/or beer), David Durston’s I Drink Your Blood is true-blue camp all the way. Plus it’s vicious, violent, and frequently fall-down funny. Clearly created with a grindhouse-style audience in mind, IDYB doesn’t worry too much about the quality of what’s onscreen, but the quantity of outrageous shit it can pull off before the end credits hit the scene. Frankly you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a gang of Satanist hippies massacre a house full of rats before chowing down on rabid dogmeat and flying into a mega-murderous rage. Before it’s all over, I Drink Your Blood has turned into a decidedly stupider version of Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead, but the thing whizzes along like a really bad hit of acid. And while it’s highly unlikely to ever be considered a “good film” (by any definition of the phrase), there’s little denying that I Drink Your Blood delivers on its promise of wild, weird and frequently wacky material.” – Scott Weinberg, DVD Talk

Mientras duermes

592. (+13) Mientras duermes

Jaume Balagueró

2011 / Spain / 102m / Col / Thriller | IMDb
Luis Tosar, Marta Etura, Alberto San Juan, Petra Martínez, Iris Almeida, Carlos Lasarte, Amparo Fernández, Roger Morilla, Pep Tosar, Margarita Rosed

“As the film’s character based plot wraps its well scripted hands around the viewer’s neck, the same noose closes in on César, as he dodges and uses his false smiles and quick thinking to avoid detection. Both eerily realistic and uncomfortable, the viewer can never be sure whether what they are watching borders on the absurd. But the movie loses all pretension that is found in more Americanised horrors, and avoids the temptation of over-scoring itself in an attempt to add drama, and instead lets the looks and silence in-between them to create the tension. This ensures a well rounded but by no means flat film, that will leave you squirming in, and on of the edge of, your seat.” – Ross Shapland, Shapstik on Screen

The Fury

593. (-22) 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

Mark of the Vampire

594. (+44) Mark of the Vampire

Tod Browning

1935 / USA / 60m / BW / Vampire | IMDb
Lionel Barrymore, Elizabeth Allan, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, Jean Hersholt, Henry Wadsworth, Donald Meek, Jessie Ralph, Ivan F. Simpson, Franklyn Ardell

“A remake of Browning’s own silent London After Midnight (transported to Czechoslovakia), this semi-parodic vampire thriller creaks here and there, but still has enough style to warrant an honoured place among early horror films. Lashings of lore and atmosphere (strange noises, dancing peasants, bats, spiders and cobwebs) embellish a far-fetched but amusing tale of strange deaths at a sinister castle. It’s hard to decide who overacts the most, with Barrymore, Atwill and Lugosi all candidates, though the ‘surprise’ denouement provides Lugosi with an excuse of a sort. But a real touch of class is present in James Wong Howe’s magnificent photography, not to mention Carol Borland’s stunning apparition as a vampire.” – Geoff Andrew, Time Out

The Penalty

595. (-21) The Penalty

Wallace Worsley

1920 / USA / 90m / BW / Crime | IMDb
Charles Clary, Doris Pawn, Jim Mason, Lon Chaney, Milton Ross, Ethel Grey Terry, Kenneth Harlan, Claire Adams

“As far as film villains go, you’d be hard pressed to find one more unique than Chaney’s Blizzard. Bitter, hate-filled and with machinations that take a simple crime thriller and turn it into a potentially gruesome tale about a man virtually consumed with thoughts of revenge and a lust for power. To that end, ‘The Penalty’ is surprisingly captivating – being that you’re never quite sure just how far the film will take things once Blizzard gains the upper hand. Addiitonally, Worsely’s clever, sometimes suggestive direction and the emotive cinematography by Dan Short combine to create a rather compelling, if somewhat overly symbolic feature that still manages to be an entertaining film by today’s standards. For those familiar with his later work that would make him a legend, ‘The Penalty’ stands as a remarkable accomplishment for Chaney’s imagination and skill as both an actor and special effects guru.” – Kevin Yeoman, High-Def Digest

Bedlam

596. (+34) Bedlam

Mark Robson

1946 / USA / 79m / BW / Thriller | IMDb
Boris Karloff, Anna Lee, Billy House, Richard Fraser, Glen Vernon, Ian Wolfe, Jason Robards Sr., Leyland Hodgson, Joan Newton, Elizabeth Russell

“This situation feels like it would lend itself rather well to traditional horror film terrors, particularly with director Mark Robson and cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca making the inside of the hospital look so despicably dark and forbidding, and there are certainly shots and even entire scenes that click on that level; but ultimately, Bedlam refuses to commit fully to being that kind of horror film, lest it fall into the same trap that it sets for Bowen: namely, talking about how it wants to help the inmates, but secretly being terrified of them. For Bedlam is a full-on message picture about how shamefully we treated the mentally ill back in 1761, and how loathsome was a society that would encourage such treatment just so the rich could keep themselves entertained by exploiting the insane, which is kind of an odd message to sell with quite so much urgency in 1946, but there you have it.” – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

Shock Waves

597. (-11) Shock Waves

Ken Wiederhorn

1977 / USA / 85m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Peter Cushing, Brooke Adams, Fred Buch, Jack Davidson, Luke Halpin, D.J. Sidney, John Carradine, Don Stout, Clarence Thomas, Sammy Graham

“Director Wiederhorn allows his camera to act almost voyeuristic as it creeps through the trees to spy on the zombies that pop up from the murky water. They are presented as paranormal specters that are silhouetted by the blinding sun reflecting off the water. At times, we see them from an extreme distance, marching in formation and turning to barely acknowledge their gaunt commander as he pleads with them to stop their meaningless slaughter. It was these scenes that made me fall in love with Shock Waves, the film just subtle enough while every once in a while, getting right in our faces so we can see its soggy decay. We never see any scenes of mass carnage, the zombies preferring to drown their victims instead of gnawing at their flesh and sucking on their entrails. That fact that the film remains eerily tranquil throughout, never getting frantic or hurrying is what really makes this film such an effective little adventure.” – Steve Habrat, Anti-Film School

La frusta e il corpo

598. (-22) La frusta e il corpo

Mario Bava

1963 / Italy / 91m / Col / Gothic | IMDb
Daliah Lavi, Christopher Lee, Tony Kendall, Ida Galli, Harriet Medin, Gustavo De Nardo, Luciano Pigozzi, Jacques Herlin

“Widely considered the father of the Italian giallo genre, Mario Bava has influenced the likes of modern-day giallo directors Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci, as well as Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Guillermo del Toro and, most especially, Quentin Tarantino. The Whip and the Body is a gothic horror fantasy that finds Bava at the peak of his visual prowess. Though the giallo genre is often known for its reliance on graphic violence, Bava’s film is noticeably tame. What with its captivating lighting schemes, ghostly death sequences and lurid compositions (passageways are downright vaginal), it’s no wonder that Bava’s fetishistic film has attained cult status.” – Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine

Requiem for a Dream

599. (+5) Requiem for a Dream

Darren Aronofsky

2000 / USA / 102m / Col / Drama | IMDb
Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans, Christopher McDonald, Louise Lasser, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Janet Sarno, Suzanne Shepherd, Joanne Gordon

“Director Darren Aronofsky, fortunately, is addicted to images. He has put together a phantasmagoria of self-destructive obsession that is so visually astounding it becomes its own saving grace. Otherwise, we might not be able to bear it… Feverish hallucinatory moments and shocking “prequel” flashes of a character’s imagination are only the beginning of Aronofsky’s visual repertory. He finds a way to make a scream of despair visible. Other screams will make the screen rattle. He splits the screen, horizontally and vertically, and – addictively – repeats flashing close-ups of pill-popping, snorting and shooting up. The dreamy effects of the drugs circle upward. Their less-dreamy effects make refrigerators throb, and the screen distorts. The camera moves relentlessly across an apartment as the figure within frantically jumps and darts.” – Bob Graham, San Francisco Chronicle

We Are What We Are

600. (+85) We Are What We Are

Jim Mickle

2013 / USA / 105m / Col / Drama | IMDb
Kassie Wesley DePaiva, Laurent Rejto, Julia Garner, Ambyr Childers, Jack Gore, Bill Sage, Kelly McGillis, Wyatt Russell, Michael Parks, Annemarie Lawless

““We Are What We Are” is mostly not terrifying, offers almost nothing in the way of traditional horror-movie shocks and jolts, and does not get bloody until the last 20 minutes or so. (At which point, whoo-boy.) It’s a sinister, wistful and even sad portrait of one family that has followed the insanity and bloodthirstiness of American history into a dark corridor with no exit. There’s a hint of Terrence Malick (or David Lowery, of “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”) in the often-gorgeous photography of Ryan Samul, and a hint of Shakespearean grandeur in Sage’s portrayal of a dignified and honorable American father infused with an ideology of madness. I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen an exploitation film played so effectively as human tragedy.” – Andrew O’Hehir, Salon