They Shoot Zombies, Don't They?

#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. (-14) 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

The Ninth Gate

502. (-42) The Ninth Gate

Roman Polanski

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

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

Silver Bullet

503. (+21) Silver Bullet

Daniel Attias

1985 / USA / 95m / Col / Werewolf | IMDb
Gary Busey, Everett McGill, Corey Haim, Megan Follows, Robin Groves, Leon Russom, Terry O’Quinn, Bill Smitrovich, Joe Wright, Kent Broadhurst

“What Stephen King’s adaptation of “Cycle of the Werewolf” has going for it, beyond everything else, is heart. In many ways, “Silver Bullet” is a multi-faceted horror film that can appeal to fans of family dramas and murder mysteries. “Silver Bullet” is a tension soaked eighties horror film that demonstrates rich characterization and complex feelings with a villain who isn’t completely black and white when all is said and done. Even the worst afflictions can rot anyone who means well enough, and “Silver Bullet” shines a light on two characters with afflictions they can not battle who have potential to rot from the inside out. One individual has embraced the darkness, and the other insists on seeing the bright side of everything, even in the face of pain, misery, and pure evil staring him right in the face.” – Felix Vasquez Jr., Film Threat

Murders in the Zoo

504. (new) Murders in the Zoo

A. Edward Sutherland

1933 / USA / 62m / BW / Crime | IMDb
Charles Ruggles, Lionel Atwill, Gail Patrick, Randolph Scott, John Lodge, Kathleen Burke, Harry Beresford

“Murders in the Zoo is by no means a flawless horror-comedy film, bumping around between two tones with impunity and with nowhere near the grace or atmosphere as the amiable Doctor X from a few reviews back. However, Atwill and Burke make the movie’s moments of horror truly memorable set pieces and demonstrate how true human predators can operate outside cages. The rest, thankfully, will fade.” – Danny Reid, Pre-Code

Night of the Living Dead

505. (-36) Night of the Living Dead

Tom Savini

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

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

Damien: Omen II

506. (-42) Damien: Omen II

Don Taylor

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

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

The Invitation

507. (+75) The Invitation

Karyn Kusama

2015 / USA / 100m / Col / Thriller | IMDb
Logan Marshall-Green, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Aiden Lovekamp, Michelle Krusiec, Mike Doyle, Jordi Vilasuso, Jay Larson, Marieh Delfino, Tammy Blanchard, Michiel Huisman

“The Invitation doesn’t sustain the evening’s tension so much as allow you to forget it, subsuming each unsettling occurrence into the stricken whole. Will and Eden’s bereavement is itself so inconceivable, to us as to their friends, that any outcome becomes possible. And by the time the climax arrives, culminating in the film’s utterly chilling final image, The Invitation externalizes the disquiet that swirls and eddies around all of us, most succinctly expressed in the medieval proverb: In the midst of life, we are in death.” – Matt Brennan, Slant Magazine

Invaders from Mars

508. (-14) Invaders from Mars

William Cameron Menzies

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

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

Oculus

509. (+57) 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

Intruder

510. (-14) Intruder

Scott Spiegel

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

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

Q

511. (-19) 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

Taste the Blood of Dracula

512. (-3) Taste the Blood of Dracula

Peter Sasdy

1970 / UK / 91m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Christopher Lee, Geoffrey Keen, Gwen Watford, Linda Hayden, Peter Sallis, Anthony Higgins, Isla Blair, John Carson, Martin Jarvis, Ralph Bates

“While all of the Hammer Dracula films emphasize the physical and psychological lasciviousness and decay that accompanies a vampiric plague, an infection that in many ways only represents the unlocking of hidden desires, Taste the Blood of Dracula is unusual in that it keeps Dracula somewhat on the sidelines. He is more the force behind a kind of twisted moral retribution rather than just the aggressor in a struggle between good and evil. Even the film’s proscriptive title indicates a temptation to ingest that which is forbidden.” – Josh Vasquez, Slant Magazine

What Lies Beneath

513. (+2) What Lies Beneath

Robert Zemeckis

2000 / USA / 130m / Col / Haunted House | IMDb
Michelle Pfeiffer, Katharine Towne, Miranda Otto, James Remar, Harrison Ford, Victoria Bidewell, Diana Scarwid, Dennison Samaroo, Jennifer Tung, Eliott Goretsky

“A slick cross between a Hitchcock movie (two in particular, but to identify them would give away too much) and Stir of Echoes, What Lies Beneath is a supernatural thriller whose plot struggles to hold water. It’s the sort of thriller where the twists and surprises are decided first, and then the writers hang the story around those twists as best they can… What Lies Beneath works – to the extent that it works – because of Robert Zemeckis… Zemeckis is synonymous with slick, but he does have an impressive record of making the most out of material even when it’s weak. He gets an audience to care about what’s going on in a story rather than think about what’s wrong with the story. He knows how to entertain.” – Carlo Cavagna, AboutFilm.com

Trolljegeren

514. (+38) Trolljegeren

André Øvredal

2010 / Norway / 103m / Col / Found Footage | IMDb
Otto Jespersen, Glenn Erland Tosterud, Johanna Mørck, Tomas Alf Larsen, Urmila Berg-Domaas, Hans Morten Hansen, Robert Stoltenberg, Knut Nærum, Eirik Bech

“With this Bizarro-World trek through the fjords, fields and mountaintops of wintry Norway, Andre Ovredal joins a select group of European filmmakers who have clearly paid attention to Hollywood’s lessons – particularly in the class on creature-features old and new – without negating their own specific cultural sensibility… Some plot turns don’t entirely hold water in the exciting climactic stretch, and the agitated hand-held visuals can grow wearying. But this is nonetheless an original and highly assured fusion of B-movie lore and fairy-tale terror. The premise may be absurd but the filmmaker and his able cast show unwavering commitment to the story’s elaborate mythology.” – David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

The Woman in Black

515. (+70) The Woman in Black

James Watkins

2012 / UK / 95m / Col / Haunted House | IMDb
Emma Shorey, Molly Harmon, Ellisa Walker-Reid, Sophie Stuckey, Daniel Radcliffe, Misha Handley, Jessica Raine, Roger Allam, Lucy May Barker, Indira Ainger

“Director James Watkins expertly uses shadows and empty spaces to create a percolating sense of dread, and he waits until the last possible moment before allowing his audience the catharsis of a shock… there’s barely a glimpse of anything scary in this film, but that’s precisely what makes it so terrifying. Neither the 1989 televised adaptation nor the enduringly popular stage play are entirely faithful to Hill’s novel, and this latest version takes the plot down some cobweb-strewn corridors of its own, but its marriage of gothic fiction and gothic fashion feels entirely right for our times. Like all of the best ghost stories, The Woman In Black is only enriched in the retelling.” – Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

Tesis

516. (+28) Tesis

Alejandro Amenábar

1996 / Spain / 125m / Col / Thriller | IMDb
Ana Torrent, Fele Martínez, Eduardo Noriega, Xabier Elorriaga, Miguel Picazo, Nieves Herranz, Rosa Campillo, Paco Hernández, Rosa Ávila, Teresa Castanedo

“In spite of its subject matter, Tesis is not a gore film. At a number of points throughout the film, it appears that Amenabar is about to show the audience some particularly grisly sight, only for the camera to pull away just at the last moment; Amenabar, instead, preferring to focus on Angela’s reaction to what she is seeing. Angela insists that she is only interested in violent movies from a purely academic standpoint and that she considers what she is seeing to be disgusting, yet she is every bit as fascinated by it as Chema. In Tesis, Angela serves as a proxy for the viewer. Anyone who wants to watch a film like this to begin with, must have a certain desire to see violent imagery and in the final scene, Amenabar takes his audience to task for having such a desire.” – Genevieve Hayes, Murder and Angst

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

517. (-18) The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Clyde Geronimi & Jack Kinney

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

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

The Beast Within

518. (-28) The Beast Within

Philippe Mora

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

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

The Fury

519. (-19) 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

Bug

520. (-22) Bug

William Friedkin

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

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

The Nightmare Before Christmas

521. (+66) 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

The Signal

522. (+57) The Signal

David Bruckner & Dan Bush & Jacob Gentry

2007 / USA / 103m / Col / Science Fiction | IMDb
Anessa Ramsey, Sahr Ngaujah, AJ Bowen, Matthew Stanton, Suehyla El-Attar, Justin Welborn, Cheri Christian, Scott Poythress, Christopher Thomas, Lindsey Garrett

“An outright horror film that nonetheless veers on occasion into surreal black comedy, The Signal… takes Marshall McLuhan’s famous statement “the medium is the message” to extremes not explored since David Cronenberg’s seminal, frighteningly prescient Videodrome in 1983… The Signal is a shuddery critique of the ultrapervasive influence of big (and little) media on humanity and the paranoia engendered by its sheer invasiveness. It’s also a snarky stab at the desensitizing aspects of everything… Both apocalyptic and suitably vague, The Signal’s only serious weakness comes from some borderline histrionic performances; then again, it’s tough to call hysteria anything other than a sane response to a world gone mad.” – Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle

Night of the Demons

523. (+10) Night of the Demons

Kevin Tenney

1988 / USA / 90m / Col / Haunted House | IMDb
Hal Havins, Allison Barron, Alvin Alexis, Harold Ayer, Billy Gallo, Cathy Podewell, Karen Ericson, Lance Fenton, Donnie Jeffcoat, Linnea Quigley

“”Night of the Demons” doesn’t have anything of importance to say and offers no deep messages. Instead, it’s got violence, sex, nudity and a good-humored script. There are all different types of genre films, and this one was purely made to entertain. Its technical and creative ingenuity is but a plus on the scorecard, and its wraparound sequence, involving a grouchy old man who has the tables turned on him when he slips razorblades in the trick-or-treaters’ apples, is a bewitchingly grim capper. “Night of the Demons” isn’t free of flaws, but it is practically dripping with the blood, sweat and tears of those who set out to make a genuinely good party movie, and did exactly that.” – Dustin Putnam, The Movie Boy

La piel que habito

524. (+18) La piel que habito

Pedro Almodóvar

2011 / Spain / 120m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet, Roberto Álamo, Eduard Fernández, José Luis Gómez, Blanca Suárez, Susi Sánchez, Bárbara Lennie

“Everything made by Pedro Almodóvar seems to have been developed from the outside in: surfaces yield psychology, decor becomes depth, kitsch proves porous, a parade of pop props dimpled with wells of violently conflicted feelings and frustrated lusts. Seen through this lens, The Skin I Live In, based on Thierry Jonquet’s 1995 novel Tarantula, can be read as a work of perfect unity between its filmmaker’s MO and its fabulous premise… An uneasy forecast of looming advances in posthuman sciences, an extravagant extrapolation of Eyes Without a Face, and a fresh opportunity for Almodóvar to fix his unapologetically (queer) male gaze on more immaculate female flesh, The Skin I Live In embodies a rather studied sort of perversion that nonetheless resonates with Almodóvar’s evolving concerns in interesting ways.” – José Teodoro, Film Comment Magazine

Stake Land

525. (-23) 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

The Hound of the Baskervilles

526. (-49) 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

I vampiri

527. (-32) I vampiri

Riccardo Freda & Mario Bava

1957 / Italy / 66m / BW / Vampire | IMDb
Gianna Maria Canale, Carlo D’Angelo, Dario Michaelis, Wandisa Guida, Angelo Galassi, Renato Tontini, Charles Fawcett, Gisella Mancinotti, Miranda Campa, Antoine Balpêtré

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

Scream and Scream Again

528. (-20) Scream and Scream Again

Gordon Hessler

1970 / UK / 95m / Col / Science Fiction | IMDb
Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Judy Huxtable, Alfred Marks, Michael Gothard, Anthony Newlands, Peter Sallis, David Lodge, Uta Levka

“It doesn’t really matter that much of it is nonsense, since it moves at a brisk pace and there are all those grand performances. The music is rather interesting, from the funky opening theme to the generic chase music, to the Amen Corner’s extended jams in the Busted Pot, to the climax where the variety of tunes come together with a bewildering swiftness (the triply scene with Kontratz walking through a series of TV screens is very well done). If stoned plot development and structure are not an impediment , the Scream and Scream again is worthy of the highest accolades.” – Wendell McKay, The Shrieking Sixties: British Horror Films 1960 – 1969

The Haunted Palace

529. (-58) The Haunted Palace

Roger Corman

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

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

Dagon

530. (-9) Dagon

Stuart Gordon

2001 / Spain / 95m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Ezra Godden, Francisco Rabal, Raquel Meroño, Macarena Gómez, Brendan Price, Birgit Bofarull, Uxía Blanco, Ferran Lahoz, Joan Minguell, Alfredo Villa

“Re-Animator director Stuart Gordon returns to literary horror with Dagon, another H.P. Lovecraft adaptation that takes his trademark grisliness to Spain for a real fish-out-of-water yarn having to do with love, sex and demon worship… Despite the Lovecraftian pedigree, what we really have here is a cheap horror potboiler: Stuart Gordon’s Attack of the Fish People. I swear that’s not a bad thing… Given the downright conservative tone of most horror films lately, the ripping and raping that caps Dagon’s leisurely build is itself startling. Replete with gore and nudity, the final reels make it to giddy exploitation territory.” – Bryant Frazer, Deep Focus

Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight

531. (+75) 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

Horrors of the Black Museum

532. (new) Horrors of the Black Museum

Arthur Crabtree

1959 / UK / 93m / BW / Crime | IMDb
Michael Gough, June Cunningham, Graham Curnow, Shirley Anne Field, Geoffrey Keen, Gerald Anderson, John Warwick, Beatrice Varley, Austin Trevor, Malou Pantera

“The film is considered the first of what is known as the Sadian trilogy, along with Circus Of Horrors and Peeping Tom, films dealing with sadistic murder and psychology as opposed to Hammer’s more gothic and fantastic output of the same period. It’s probably the weakest of the three films, but, that said, it’s still an interesting and enjoyable movie and worth watching. Interestingly the role of Bancroft was intended for Vincent Price, but he proved too expensive. The film was also originally released in “Hypno-vista”, a William Castle style gimmick, and the film began with 15 minutes of psychologist Emile Franchel explaining hypnotism and including a woman having needles inserted through the skin of her arm while under hypnosis.” – Mark Satchwill, Classic Horror Campaign

The Shout

533. (-13) The Shout

Jerzy Skolimowski

1978 / UK / 86m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Alan Bates, Susannah York, John Hurt, Robert Stephens, Tim Curry, Julian Hough, Carol Drinkwater, John Rees, Jim Broadbent, Susan Wooldridge

“Bates’s brilliant performance certainly makes his character all the more enigmatic; his delivery and steely glances bring a charismatic strength to Crossley’s weirdness. The sound used is as present and important as another main character; every effect is surreal and distorted from the call of a peacock to the intense sound of Crossley’s shout – turn the volume right up when you watch. The flash forwards, quick cuts and flashbacks also serve to keep the audience guessing about what is really going on, embarking on a tense, mysterious and sometimes confusing narrative where we’re never really sure who is lying to who.” – Beth Squires, Screen Jabber

Trouble Every Day

534. (+7) Trouble Every Day

Claire Denis

2001 / France / 101m / Col / Drama | IMDb
Vincent Gallo, Tricia Vessey, Béatrice Dalle, Alex Descas, Florence Loiret Caille, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Raphaël Neal, José Garcia, Hélène Lapiower, Marilu Marini

“Denis’s films have always been shot through with a current of menace just waiting to be made explicit: it’s present in their off-balance close-ups, faintly unstable camera moves, obsessive attention to the texture of hair, clothes, and skin, and habit of letting the camera slide caressingly around actors’ bodies when they’re at their least self-conscious and most exposed. Where other Denis films seem to circle and drift around indecisively, Trouble Every Day itches with a kind of nervous forward momentum. It’s an extended come-on, full of teases and hints and come-hither gestures, finally climaxing — in every way — with two scenes of gruesome sexual violence.” – Max Nelson, Film Comment Magazine

Jigoku

535. (-21) Jigoku

Nobuo Nakagawa

1960 / Japan / 101m / Col / Splatter | IMDb
Shigeru Amachi, Utako Mitsuya, Yôichi Numata, Hiroshi Hayashi, Jun ôtomo, Akiko Yamashita, Kiyoko Tsuji, Fumiko Miyata, Akira Nakamura, Kimie Tokudaiji

“Jigoku is a beautiful film. Its play with lighting effects, colour gels and jarring camera angles makes everything – both on earth and below – seem an off-kilter nightmare, while the soundtrack of jazz, wood percussion and theremin only adds to the sense of disorientation. Realism this is not, but Nakagawa is nonetheless concerned with depicting a society that has lost its moral balance, at a time when memories of war-time horror were still fresh in the Japanese mind, while post-war modernisation was engendering its own anxieties about over-permissiveness and the dissipation of traditional values.” – Anton Bitel, Eye For Film

Ich seh, Ich seh

536. (+176) Ich seh, Ich seh

Severin Fiala & Veronika Franz

2014 / Austria / 99m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Susanne Wuest, Lukas Schwarz, Elias Schwarz, Hans Escher, Elfriede Schatz, Karl Purker, Georg Deliovsky, Christian Steindl, Christian Schatz, Erwin Schmalzbauer

“Standing in opposition to the overplayed, action-orientated, blood curdling, visceral gorefest synonymous with horror, Goodnight Mommy employs similar psychological tactics found in film noir and the gothic by arousing the same cultural moods of paranoia and mistrust, which have resulted from a disruption to a seemingly, civilized ideal. Unfolding in an achingly, laborious manner, the trudging, sedate pace plays on audience’s anticipatory senses by teasing out the narrative to the point of complete exasperation, the prickly tension designed to unnerve and infuriate, rather than thrill and titillate. The film’s exquisite style, captured through a palpably unsettling lens, becomes all the more disquieting, as slow, dark tracking shots and throbbing, pregnant silences, tear down the illusions of familial normality, to put the depraved, the sinister and the corrupt, firmly in the spotlight.” – FilmIreland

The Ruins

537. (-25) 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

Frightmare

538. (-13) Frightmare

Pete Walker

1974 / UK / 88m / Col / Cannibal | IMDb
Rupert Davies, Sheila Keith, Deborah Fairfax, Paul Greenwood, Kim Butcher, Fiona Curzon, John Yule, Trisha Mortimer, Victoria Fairbrother, Edward Kalinski

“”Frightmare” is perhaps [Pete Walker’s] most admired production, if only because it caused quite a stir during its initial theatrical release, upsetting critics at the time with its X-rated vision of cannibalism and murder, while offering a provocative condemnation of criminal rehabilitation services. In 2014, it’s difficult to understand why such a fuss was raised, with the genre now exposing every perversion and evil known to man, but what remains under the aged layers of condemnation is a crafty chiller, wonderfully performed and executed with a refreshing grimness. “Frightmare” has its share of ugliness, but it’s also considered work from Walker, who isn’t merely out to sicken, but haunt his audience with this effective picture.” – Brian Orndorf, Blu-ray.com

Plan 9 from Outer Space

539. (+52) Plan 9 from Outer Space

Edward D. Wood Jr.

1957 / 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

The Woman

540. (-5) The Woman

Lucky McKee

2011 / USA / 101m / Col / Splatter | IMDb
Pollyanna McIntosh, Brandon Gerald Fuller, Lauren Ashley Carter, Chris Krzykowski, Sean Bridgers, Angela Bettis, Marcia Bennett, Shyla Molhusen, Gordon Vincent, Zach Rand

“A harrowing and often darkly hilarious horror satire about family values, feminism, and the nature of violence from the twisted minds of Lucky McKee and Jack Ketchum. A true find at Sundance for all fans who love gore and the twisting of Americana… When most horror movies today are concerned about gory pay offs instead of character driven violence or death, McKee connects us to the family and their dramatic dynamic through a series of musically-cut vignettes that add a haunting layer to the underlying theme of American Dream traveling through the bowels of hell. While the main focus is on Chris and the woman, each one of the characters in the Cleek family give exceptional performances.” – Benji Carver, Film School Rejects

Mimic

541. (+94) Mimic

Guillermo del Toro

1997 / USA / 105m / Col / Science Fiction | IMDb
Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam, Alexander Goodwin, Giancarlo Giannini, Charles S. Dutton, Josh Brolin, Alix Koromzay, F. Murray Abraham, James Costa, Javon Barnwell

“Told in the darkly dreamy style of a particularly grim fairy tale, the creepy, beautifully designed Mimic embraces the clichs of the big-bug story-scientific hubris and the inevitable revenge of nature-and makes them seem, if not fresh, then certainly as robustly vital as the oversized vermin that stalk its pervasive shadows. Mimic also has an unusually high yuck factor, involving all manner of sticky, slippery, squishy things, but to call it a gross-out movie would be, well, grossly inaccurate. Making his U.S. debut, Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro (Cronos) rejects the adrenaline-charged, roller-coaster ride approach that drives so many recent thrillers in favor of constructing a densely imagined nightmare of damp streets and nightmare alleys.” – Maitland McDonagh, Film Journal

Taste of Fear

542. (-13) Taste of Fear

Seth Holt

1961 / UK / 81m / Col / Thriller | IMDb
Susan Strasberg, Ronald Lewis, Ann Todd, Christopher Lee, John Serret, Leonard Sachs, Anne Blake, Fred Johnson

“The best writer doesn’t get far without a great director, and Seth Holt proved to be up to the task. In these ages of computerized technology and “jump out at you scares,” the method of “slowly graduating creepiness” has all but been lost. But while modern techniques get tired very quickly (especially to us true horror fans), primal fear never gets old. And this is what Taste of Fear taps into. The scenes where the corpses appear are absolutely crap-inducing, mostly because Holt takes his sweet time in drawing you into the scene, slowly but relentlessly building the suspense. It’s the primordial Hitchcock formula at its finest, and for this reason, Taste of Fear is far more effective than most of its modern counterparts. “Jump out at you scares” have their time and place, but they are quick shots of adrenaline and moments later you are back to normal. But a director who can keep your adrenaline pumping for long stretches at a time will, by default, be much more intriguing.” – Jenn Dlugos, Classic-Horror

Feast

543. (+84) Feast

John Gulager

2005 / USA / 95m / Col / Comedy | IMDb
Balthazar Getty, Henry Rollins, Navi Rawat, Judah Friedlander, Josh Zuckerman, Jason Mewes, Jenny Wade, Krista Allen, Clu Gulager, Anthony ‘Treach’ Criss

“We’re introduced to our buffet of victims in unique style, as each cast member is presented with accompanying text giving their nickname (“Hero,” “Grandma,” “Bozo”), occupation, and life expectancy. Such an obvious goof on horror movie cliché nets some laughs, but might lead you to think you’re in for another excruciating post-modern genre wankfest. Such concern is unwarranted, happily, and the audience finds out rather quickly that everything presented in the first five minutes was a diversion, and absolutely no character is safe… This is a superior horror film. It hits hard and fast, letting up only to inject some black humor and amp up the tension again before coming back for more. “Feast” is nasty, brutish, and short, just like Hobbes said all horror flicks should be.” – Pete Vonder Haar, Film Threat

Doctor X

544. (-43) Doctor X

Michael Curtiz

1932 / USA / 76m / BW / Mystery | IMDb
Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Lee Tracy, Preston Foster, John Wray, Harry Beresford, Arthur Edmund Carewe, Leila Bennett, Robert Warwick, George Rosener

“The film’s a comedy for most of its running time, but that melts away for the most part as the last act reveals the criminal mastermind. We’re treated to a lengthy sequence showing how the villain transforms himself by means of ‘synthetic flesh’, which he hauntingly repeats as he rubs goo over his face. Director Michael Curtiz delves into dreamlike imagery for this sequence, and lets the killer’s body modification glow in unearthly oranges and with horrifying delight. The sequence has been called ‘Cronnenberg-esque’ by many, and its hard to deny that the film sees scientific attempts to modify and supplement the body as the path to a new, grotesque species of madmen. Don’t be fooled, though, for about 60 minutes of the film’s 77 minute run time, this film is a rather dark tinged comedy. Lee Tracy’s pratfalls, double takes, and backbiting witticisms are on full display.” – Danny Reid, Pre-Code

Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde

545. (-19) Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde

Roy Ward Baker

1971 / UK / 97m / Col / Gothic | IMDb
Ralph Bates, Martine Beswick, Gerald Sim, Lewis Fiander, Susan Brodrick, Dorothy Alison, Ivor Dean, Philip Madoc, Irene Bradshaw, Neil Wilson

“The overall atmosphere is a pitch-perfect evocation of period London, complete with dark, foggy alleyways, street merchants bawling out their slogans, men in top hats and women in flouncy dresses. Then, of course, there’s Jekyll’s laboratory full of Mysterious Equipment, Mrs. Hyde’s signature blood-red outfits, bawdy beer halls, stained-glass windows casting splashes of color – lots and lots of nice sets and costumes and cool stuff. Not to be ignored, either, is the amazing similarity between Martine Beswick’s and Ralph Bates’ facial features, apparently a complete coincidence discovered only after the film had been cast. She really does look quite a lot like a beautiful female version of him, which adds a good deal of authenticity to the transformation sequences, accomplished solely through skillful trick photography.” – Deneb T. Hall, Mutant Reviewers

Dead End

546. (+130) Dead End

Jean-Baptiste Andrea & Fabrice Canepa

2003 / USA / 85m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Ray Wise, Lin Shaye, Mick Cain, Alexandra Holden, Billy Asher Rosenfeld, Amber Smith, Karen S. Gregan, Sharon Madden, Steve Valentine, Jimmie F. Skaggs

“Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa’s Grimm fable is hardly blessed with originality, its road trip to hell device being a staple of everything from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to the recent Wrong Turn. Moreover, those with even a passing acquaintance with the genre will guess how the movie pans out long before it reaches its abrupt and rather unsatisfying conclusion. Where it scores is in its canny exploration of family dynamics and a jet-black gallows humour that will have you tittering into your popcorn… while there’s ultimately less to Dead End than meets the eye, it remains an ingenious exercise in nerve-shredding tension that makes a virtue of its limited means.” – Neil Smith, BBC

Black Sheep

547. (-31) Black Sheep

Jonathan King

2006 / New Zealand / 87m / Col / Comedy | IMDb
Nathan Meister, Peter Feeney, Danielle Mason, Tammy Davis, Oliver Driver, Tandi Wright, Glenis Levestam, Nick Blake, Matthew Chamberlain, Nick Fenton

“Jonathan King’s Black Sheep, from New Zealand, has no doubt about the style of movie it is attempting to make: trash gothic. It duly makes it. A deadly chemical escapes from a South Island animal lab and turns sheep sociopathic. Never mind the silence of the lambs. Listen out for the bloodthirsty baa-ing of the man-eating ovines. The special effects are of the kind you could do at home with a bottle of ketchup and leg of mutton. The scream-ridden soundtrack is often drowned out by audience laughter. It is all good, camp fun.” – Nigel Andrews, Financial Times

Midsommar

548. (+45) Midsommar

Ari Aster

2019 / USA / 148m / Col / Folk | IMDb
Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, Vilhelm Blomgren, William Jackson Harper, Will Poulter, Ellora Torchia, Archie Madekwe, Henrik Norlén, Gunnel Fred, Isabelle Grill

““Midsommar” isn’t just a great horror movie, or proof that director Ari Aster is a budding auteur who likely has a bright future ahead of him. It is also one of the best movies ever made about living with mental illness… These are heady concepts for any film to tackle, but “Midsommar” is a masterpiece because it does so through a brilliantly executed folk horror premise (as Aster said in one interview, “it’s a breakup movie dressed in the clothes of a folk horror film.”) This is a conceptual, highly visceral experience, from the graphic gore — which the camera lingers on long enough to be unsettling but without ever feeling exploitative — to the creepy tone, which relies on seeming innocuous even as something ominous lurks beneath the surface.” – Matthew Rozsa, Salon.com

Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter

549. (0) 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

Hardware

550. (-37) Hardware

Richard Stanley

1990 / UK / 94m / Col / Cyberpunk | IMDb
Carl McCoy, Iggy Pop, Dylan McDermott, John Lynch, Mark Northover, Stacey Travis, Paul McKenzie, Lemmy, William Hootkins, Mac McDonald

“With its post apocalyptic setting, robot gone mad, extreme gore and a cast that includes Iggy Pop – well, his voice, anyway – and Lemmy from Motorhead, it is easy to consider Richard Stanley’s Hardware to be essentially a lower budget, more intentionally punk take on The Terminator. This is essentially correct, though Stanley’s film would be a Terminator set in a world where the humans are hell-bent on destroying themselves and their planet while the robotic killing machines are just on the verge of turning on their creators and supposed masters… Though the body count is low there are several truly gruesome moments pulled of with an undeniable, and undeniably revolting, sense of style.” – Todd Brown, Twitch

Amer

551. (-41) Amer

Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani

2009 / Belgium / 90m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Cassandra Forêt, Charlotte Eugène Guibeaud, Marie Bos, Bianca Maria D’Amato, Harry Cleven, Jean-Michel Vovk, Bernard Marbaix, Thomas Bonzani, François Cognard, Delphine Brual

“This is basic movie Freud, elegantly mounted. The soundtrack (footsteps, dripping taps, creaking doors, banging shutters) is ominously exaggerated. The close-ups are extreme. Colours change melodramatically to fit the shifting moods. The music is borrowed from old horror films. The dialogue is at first sparse, then non-existent. Luis Buñuel (sliced eyeballs, insects crawling out of bodies), Mario Bava and Dario Argento are affectionately alluded to. Viewers are left to create their own narratives or absorb the events into their own dreams and nightmares. This is art-house horror, a pure cinema for connoisseurs, a return to late-19th-century decadence.” – Philip French, The Guardian

Frontière(s)

552. (+29) Frontière(s)

Xavier Gens

2007 / France / 108m / Col / Splatter | IMDb
Karina Testa, Samuel Le Bihan, Estelle Lefébure, Aurélien Wiik, David Saracino, Chems Dahmani, Maud Forget, Amélie Daure, Rosine Favey, Adel Bencherif

“There’s enough blood in the unrated French horror film “Frontier(s)” to satiate even the most ravenous gore hounds. The real surprise here is that this creepy, contemporary gross-out also has some ideas, visual and otherwise, wedged among its sanguineous drips, swaying meat hooks and whirring table saw. Much like other recent French-language horror films (“High Tension,” “Calvaire,” “Inside”), this one owes a debt to the modern American slasher flick, the original “Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” among many others, though “Frontier(s)” adds an amusingly glib and timely political twist to its wholesale carnage… “Frontier(s)” finally works because its shivers are as plausible as they are outrageous.” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

Il mulino delle donne di pietra

553. (-46) Il mulino delle donne di pietra

Giorgio Ferroni

1960 / Italy / 96m / Col / Gothic | IMDb
Pierre Brice, Scilla Gabel, Wolfgang Preiss, Dany Carrel, Herbert A.E. Böhme, Liana Orfei, Marco Guglielmi, Olga Solbelli, Alberto Archetti

“These aforementioned artistic elements work in layers to create the films overall sense of mood with Hans’s hallucination sequence being a primary example. After receiving a sedative from Dr. Bohlem, Hans begins to stumble from one room to the next, putting the mill’s bizarre architecture on full display. Pavoni, in turn, fills these rooms with shadows and occasional flashes of red or blue light which adds to the chilling atmosphere. Underlying this is Innocenzi’s score which uses its central motif to build tension, and piercing high pitched arrangements to punctuate terror, as Hans begins to unravel the mystery of the Mill through a series of spectral visions. In these scenes, like many others throughout the film, the combination of visuals and sound allow the film to take on a dreamlike quality that is both ominous as well as frightening.” – Bruce Jordan, Classic-Horror

The Driller Killer

554. (-36) The Driller Killer

Abel Ferrara

1979 / USA / 96m / Col / Exploitation | IMDb
Abel Ferrara, Carolyn Marz, Baybi Day, Harry Schultz, Alan Wynroth, Maria Helhoski, James O’Hara, Richard Howorth, Louis Mascolo, Tommy Santora

“Do not approach Driller Killer expecting a shocking parade of exploitation and horror because you will only be disappointed and miss the sublime squalor of Ferrara’s early artistic sensibilities. It isn’t an exploitation film that attempts to shock and horrify through contrived indecencies, but rather acts as an examination of urban squalor as both a subject matter and an aesthetic sensibility. The film is ugly because the realities of inner city life are ugly, and Driller Killer examines these unexposed realities with macabre fascination.” – Matthew Blevins, Next Projection

Frenzy

555. (-15) 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

À Meia Noite Levarei Sua Alma

556. (-25) 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

Srpski film

557. (+148) Srpski film

Srdjan Spasojevic

2010 / Serbia / 104m / Col / Exploitation | IMDb
Srdjan Todorovic, Sergej Trifunovic, Jelena Gavrilovic, Slobodan Bestic, Katarina Zutic, Luka Mijatovic, Ana Sakic, Lena Bogdanovic, Miodrag Krcmarik, Nenad Herakovic

“The escalating incidents of pedophilia, incest, and necrophilia that follow reflect a country traumatized by otherwise unspeakable acts of violence committed under the auspices of war. We witness the disgusting underbelly of a broken civilization where human values no longer exist. There are no degrees of separation from a communal psychosis that affects every citizen. By putting the narrative in a psycho-sexual-cinematic context Spasojević invites the viewer to compare his made-up pornography of death to the similar underlying nature of capitalism’s commercial cinema of the West and its attendant sponsors. In order to see the message of Srđan Spasojević daring work of filmic art you need only consider the capitalist aspect that makes it possible.” – Cole Smithey

Manhunter

558. (-39) Manhunter

Michael Mann

1986 / USA / 120m / Col / Crime | IMDb
William Petersen, Kim Greist, Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Dennis Farina, Tom Noonan, Stephen Lang, David Seaman, Benjamin Hendrickson, Michael Talbott

“Michael Mann’s vision of Thomas Harris’ novel is as close to the heart of the book as you could get. The complex plot is told from opposing views, based around Graham’s pivotal role. Although the killer does not appear until almost halfway into the movie, we experience his viewpoint through Graham’s intense investigation, leaving us with a disturbing feeling of voyeurism but also one of frustration as we sympathise with the police. Being caught in the middle in this way helps build tension and suspense throughout the film. William Peterson’s performance as the troubled Will Graham is central to a film in which all the actors are excellent, not least Brian Cox delivering a first and chilling screen incarnation of Hannibal Lecter.” – Ali Barclay, BBC

Messiah of Evil

559. (+10) Messiah of Evil

Willard Huyck & Gloria Katz

1973 / USA / 90m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Michael Greer, Marianna Hill, Joy Bang, Anitra Ford, Royal Dano, Elisha Cook Jr., Charles Dierkop, Bennie Robinson, Morgan Fisher, Emma Truckman

““Messiah of Evil” is the kind of movie that’s made from its flaws as much as its strengths. The incoherence of the screenplay is actually a prime example of great horror storytelling. On the surface, it pretends to explain all, but the “explanation” only succeeds in raising more questions. A great horror film leaves giant holes in the screen for us to project our own fears and does not reassure us in the end that all is well. At its most basic level, a good horror story is about uncertainty, and “Messiah of Evil” is one of the most uncertain movies ever made.” – Brian Holcomb, Beyond Hollywood

House of Wax

560. (-22) House of Wax

Jaume Collet-Serra

2005 / USA / 108m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Brian Van Holt, Paris Hilton, Jared Padalecki, Jon Abrahams, Robert Ri’chard, Dragicia Debert, Thomas Adamson, Murray Smith

“House of Wax seemingly exists solely for visceral response, and even hardened horror genre buffs will find some things to squirm about here. The process of turning a victim into a wax figure is thoroughly disturbing, and the prolonged death sequences will leave some audience members screaming for mercy. This is one of the more gruesome horror offerings in recent years, and unapologetically so. Just the way it should be.” – Bill Clark, From The Balcony

The Wizard of Gore

561. (-44) The Wizard of Gore

Herschell Gordon Lewis

1970 / USA / 95m / Col / Splatter | IMDb
Ray Sager, Judy Cler, Wayne Ratay, Phil Laurenson, Jim Rau, Don Alexander, John Elliot, Karin Alexana, Jack Gilbreth, Corinne Kirkin

“In both its approach and execution, the original Wizard of Gore is a sleazy, surreal treat. It uses a shoestring narrative thread that allows Lewis to indulge in his ever increasing bits of brutality. The splatter set pieces are rather inventive, including a human hole punch and a tasty chainsaw attack. While the mystery of what’s happening to these young girls is part of the plot process, Wizard would rather spend the majority of its time watching Sager overact. A longtime associate of Lewis’, this on-set jack-of-all-trades in gray sprayed hair is pure ham as our perverted prestidigitator. His line delivery would be laughable if the actor wasn’t trying to take it all so sincerely. Together with the red stuff, the 1970 Wizard is some goofy, grotesque fun.” – Bill Gibron, Pop Matters

Halloween

562. (-32) Halloween

Rob Zombie

2007 / USA / 109m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Malcolm McDowell, Brad Dourif, Tyler Mane, Daeg Faerch, Sheri Moon Zombie, William Forsythe, Richard Lynch, Udo Kier, Clint Howard, Danny Trejo

“The good news is, Zombie in no way diminishes our nightmares. While not so much a unique vision as a loving tribute, director Zombie updates the classic with a tighter script, re-thought locations for some key scenes, and a decent cast willing to to make a true slasher film, teen nudity and all. Unlike The Fog remake that threw out all the elements that made the original so scary and watchable, Zombie lifts scenes and lines from the original while making better sense and setting a better pace. Amazingly, Zombie’s Halloween is an improvement over the original film, exactly the kind of film one expects when lamenting, “Wow, can you imagine what this movie would be like if they made it today?”” – Kevin A. Ranson, MovieCrypt

Something Wicked This Way Comes

563. (-41) Something Wicked This Way Comes

Jack Clayton

1983 / USA / 95m / Col / Fantasy | IMDb
Jason Robards, Jonathan Pryce, Diane Ladd, Royal Dano, Vidal Peterson, Shawn Carson, Mary Grace Canfield, Richard Davalos, Jake Dengel, Jack Dodson

“In the end, “Wicked” likely proved too edgy and existential for what was ostensibly meant as a slightly more dangerous Disney film. But it does what all of Bradbury’s greatest works do — shine a harsh light on the consequences of choices, the inevitability of aging, and the true cost of shame, greed, vanity, anxiety and other very human fears… Bradbury spikes a rarely tapped vein of paternal dread here, and uses it as a powerful, lyrical entry point to pit Charles against Mr. Dark. Theirs is an inclement battle of ideals rather than one of physical violence. Furthermore, the stakes are perfectly high for a father who feels powerless to protect his son but must summon the strength to save the boy from the devil himself” – Nick Rogers, Suite101.com

West of Zanzibar

564. (-17) West of Zanzibar

Tod Browning

1928 / USA / 65m / BW / Mystery | IMDb
Lon Chaney, Lionel Barrymore, Mary Nolan, Warner Baxter, Jacqueline Gadsden, Tiny Ward, Kalla Pasha, Curtis Nero

“Even by today’s standards, West of Zanzibar is pretty seedy, sort of a Jacobean revenge tragedy by way of Heart of Darkness, the film is pure, unfiltered cruelty. While it looks like the stuff of melodrama, its underlying themes tap into the horror of the destruction of man’s body and soul. In an echo of Victorian-era fear (which was making a comeback during this decade), it takes the exotic badlands of Africa to truly transform the victimized Phroso into a hateful, almost otherworldly specter who rules the local tribes with his stage magic. The film derives much of its power from its exoticism, as there’s a certain unreal quality about the soundstage jungle that amps up its claustrophobic qualities.” – Brett Gallman, Oh, the Horror!

Gokudô kyôfu dai-gekijô: Gozu

565. (-31) 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

Riget

566. (-29) Riget

Lars von Trier & Morten Arnfred

1994 / Denmark / 561m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Ernst-Hugo Järegård, Kirsten Rolffes, Holger Juul Hansen, Søren Pilmark, Ghita Nørby, Jens Okking, Baard Owe, Birgitte Raaberg, Peter Mygind, Vita Jensen

“The horror aspects of the show are compelling, but in many ways Riget is a somewhat generic hospital soap opera, drawing you in to the lurid goings-on that happen once the rubber gloves come off. It’s a familiar format, and an effective one, but in much the same way that Twin Peaks lured unsuspecting viewers in with a murder mystery and a seemingly recognizable small town setting, Von Trier uses the power struggles and trysts of the medical staff as a springboard into the surreal and fantastic. In fact, the influence of David Lynch’s TV masterpiece, which aired a few short years before, permeates the show […] There’s also something very Lynchian about its disorienting tonal shifts, going from corporate thriller to gruesome darkness to offbeat comedy in the blink of an eye, which adds a bitingly satirical dimension to the proceedings.” – Thomas Michalsky, WFMU’s Beware of the Blog

Predator

567. (-17) Predator

John McTiernan

1987 / USA / 107m / Col / Science Fiction | IMDb
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Elpidia Carrillo, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Sonny Landham, Richard Chaves, R.G. Armstrong, Shane Black, Kevin Peter Hall

“McTiernan’s second directorial effort is just about the epitome of ‘80s macho action, with human action figure Schwarzenegger kicking ass while leading a team of racially diverse (and stereotypical) juiceheads prone to spouting one-liners, posing like pro wrestlers (hence The Body’s participation), and firing machine guns with wild abandon. The racial connotations of the Predator (thanks to his dreadlocks) provide a queasy minority-monster subtext, though if that’s true, Jim and John Thomas’ story also functions as an allegorical portrait of indigenous Third World forces rising up against American might. Such undercurrents, however, are just about trampled underfoot by the film’s vigorous tough-guy bluster.” – Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness

Dracula

568. (-7) 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

Fido

569. (-37) Fido

Andrew Currie

2006 / Canada / 93m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
David Kaye, Jan Skorzewski, Kevin Tyell, Andy Parkin, Lynn Pendleton, Gary Slater, Taylor Petri, Glenn Richards, Raphael Kepinski, Carl-James Kalbfleisch

“[The] set-up sounds like an amusing premise for a mild little low-budget spoof, but FIDO is much more than that: it’s a full-blown social satire with zombies at its center. Equal part LASSIE, old TV sit-coms, and 1950s movie melodramas, the film pokes fun at contemporay society in the tradition of the old TWILIGHT ZONE series – by hiding its commentary in another time, another place. It’s not very scary; it’s not even always hysterically funny. But its satire is always sharp as steel, cutting through the facade of happy, everyday “normality” with almost as sting as David Lynch’s BLUE VELVET.” – Steve Biodrowski, Cinefantastique

Long Weekend

570. (-19) Long Weekend

Colin Eggleston

1978 / Australia / 97m / 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

The Prowler

571. (-15) The Prowler

Joseph Zito

1981 / USA / 89m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Vicky Dawson, Christopher Goutman, Lawrence Tierney, Farley Granger, Cindy Weintraub, Lisa Dunsheath, David Sederholm, Bill Nunnery, Thom Bray, Diane Rode

“But without a doubt the movie’s strongest and most talked about asset is its groundbreaking special effects, courtesy of Friday the 13th‘s Tom Savini. By far his most impressive work, his gruesome makeup includes a pitchfork being stabbed through several stomachs and a rather nauseating throat slashing (with the help of a bayonet). The effects were convincing enough for the movie to run into censorship trouble in Britain, where it was eventually released as Rosemary’s Killer, although thankfully the films manages to stand on its own two feet even without the bloodletting. Over the years, The Prowler has become a favourite among many slasher fans due to its fresh spin on the genre but, more importantly, the brutal violence that is littered throughout, which results in an impressive head shot to rival Savini’s previous attempt on Maniac.” – Christian Sellers, Retro Slashers

La ragazza che sapeva troppo

572. (-26) La ragazza che sapeva troppo

Mario Bava

1963 / Italy / 86m / Col / Giallo | IMDb
Letícia Román, John Saxon, Valentina Cortese, Titti Tomaino, Luigi Bonos, Milo Quesada, Robert Buchanan, Marta Melocco, Gustavo De Nardo, Lucia Modugno

“At any rate, it’s notoriously hard to define a giallo. It’s not a formula quite as much as a mood and a point of view, and if The Girl Who Knew Too Much is a bit breezier than many of its children, it still shares their casual acceptance of metaphysics as a component of medical science, cops who’ll believe anything but the hero’s eye-witness account, people doing everything they can to find a killer, and are then shocked when they run across the killer. In the next few weeks, I hope to dig up some of these trends when I can find them: in the meanwhile, let me conclude by proposing that The Girl Who Knew Too Much is a gialli like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a slasher: it created the genre, and the rules followed, and thus it’s hardly the germinating film’s fault if it occasionally ignores those rules.” – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

The Crazies

573. (-45) The Crazies

George A. Romero

1973 / USA / 103m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Lane Carroll, Will MacMillan, Harold Wayne Jones, Lloyd Hollar, Lynn Lowry, Richard Liberty, Richard France, Harry Spillman, Will Disney, Edith Bell

“The underlying cynicism and despair about individual initiative and governmental intervention reflect the social insecurity of the period when The Crazies was released. The senseless prolongation of the war in Viet Nam and the decay of urban centers gnawed at the public mood, leading not to renewed social activism, but to the self-defeating narcissism that typified the latter years of the ‘70s. Romero’s horror films—like those of John Carpenter, Wes Craven, and David Cronenberg—illustrated a mood of entropy. The monsters these directors conjured may have been figments of their imagination, but they drew attention to very real horrors. And, at a time when SARS and terrorism exercises are daily news, the fabricated panic of The Crazies feels more than a little close to home.” – David Sanjek, Popmatters

Grindhouse

574. (+6) Grindhouse

Robert Rodriguez & Quentin Tarantino et al.

2007 / USA / 191m / Col / Anthology | IMDb
Kurt Russell, Zoë Bell, Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Tracie Thoms, Rose McGowan, Jordan Ladd, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Quentin Tarantino

“An exuberant double feature by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, evokes the exploitation flicks that used to play, several decades ago, in moldering theaters with flypaper floors. Thus a go-go dancer’s leg goes missing during a zombie attack, and the action is occasionally interrupted by title cards that proclaim “Missing Reel.” (That touch is more affectionate than factual, since projectionists and sleazy distributors of the slasher/horror genre didn’t brag about such omissions.) Little else seems to be missing from this work of wild-eyed archaeology – not the slime or drool, spurting blood, throbbing engines, screeching tires or jeopardized women. Yet value has been added as well – the most thrilling car chase ever committed to film, a sequence that also shows, by cutting to the psychosexual chase, why fans embraced the tawdry genre in the first place.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

I Bury the Living

575. (-15) I Bury the Living

Albert Band

1958 / USA / 77m / BW / Thriller | IMDb
Richard Boone, Theodore Bikel, Peggy Maurer, Howard Smith, Herbert Anderson, Robert Osterloh

“I Bury the Living is an inexpensive, stark picture, but it succeeds through its dark style and its unbending, relentless pursuit of the oddly imaginative, yet simple premise. The entire action of the movie takes place in only a few rooms and in a small portion of the cemetery. This combined with the fact that the majority of the scenes of tension take place in the small, dingy caretaker’s office intensify the picture’s claustrophobic, paranoid, almost surreal edge.” – Josh Hickman, Film Threat

Saw II

576. (+29) 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

The Sorcerers

577. (-38) The Sorcerers

Michael Reeves

1967 / UK / 86m / Col / Science Fiction | IMDb
Boris Karloff, Catherine Lacey, Elizabeth Ercy, Ian Ogilvy, Victor Henry, Sally Sheridan, Alf Joint, Meier Tzelniker, Gerald Campion, Susan George

“”How long do you think all this can last?” asks a bored Mike at a swinging 60s happening. And this throwaway line becomes the central thread of Michael Reeves’s stunning second film The Sorcerers, the movie that would pave the way for his masterpiece Witchfinder General in 1968. While on the surface offering a seemingly carefree world of mind altering drugs, free love and promiscuous sex, Reeves instead probes deeper and suggests a darker side where moral laxity leads not to joy, but to destruction. For the characters who abandon responsibility, death is waiting.” – Tom Fallows, Classic-Horror

Histoires extraordinaires

578. (-20) Histoires extraordinaires

Federico Fellini & Louis Malle & Roger Vadim

1968 / France / 121m / Col / Anthology | IMDb
Brigitte Bardot, Alain Delon, Jane Fonda, Terence Stamp, James Robertson Justice, Salvo Randone, Françoise Prévost, Peter Fonda, Marlène Alexandre, David Bresson

“This tryptich is notable for sporting three of the most recognizable names in 1960s European cinema: Roger Vadim, Louis Malle, and Federico Fellini. Each director was tasked with visualizing an obscure Poe story, translating Poe’s dream-like prose poetry to the movie screen. The results could hardly be more mixed… Roger Vadim starts us off with a plodding gender-bending retelling of Poe’s “Metzengerstein”… Malle’s episode is an engaging enough entry, but in the end it doesn’t amount to much and leaves too many plot holes unfilled… Episode 3, however — this is the one people talk about when they talk about Spirits of the Dead. Federico Fellini’s “Toby Dammit” stars Terence Stamp in a piece that’s a Fellini film festival in miniature… stylish, dense, hypnotic, and a perfect 40-minute introduction if you’ve been wondering what “Fellini-esque” means. By itself this makes Spirits of the Dead worth a look.” – Mark Bourne, DVDJournal.com

The Kiss of the Vampire

579. (-25) The Kiss of the Vampire

Don Sharp

1963 / UK / 88m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Clifford Evans, Edward de Souza, Noel Willman, Jennifer Daniel, Barry Warren, Brian Oulton, Noel Howlett, Jacquie Wallis, Peter Madden, Isobel Black

“But where Kiss works so well is in its restraint; holding back on the horrors in favour of subtlety- an unusual move for Hammer one might think, but one Sharp felt was right for the film and adjusted the screenplay accordingly. What was important was the story, the development of characters, the creation of mood, the building of tension – so that when the invitable shock/horror comes it is all the more effective. Less is certainly more in this case. And while, yes, the film is let down somewhat at the end by the unconvincing bat attack, what preceeds it more than makes up for this. Hind’s intelligent riff on the vampire theme, Sharp’s wonderful construction of pace, mood, scene and characterisation, some stand-out performances, and poetically beautiful score and design, make Kiss of the Vampire one of Hammer’s more off-beat but satisfying Gothics.” – MovieFanFare

All That Money Can Buy

580. (-27) All That Money Can Buy

William Dieterle

1941 / USA / 107m / BW / Drama | IMDb
Edward Arnold, Walter Huston, Jane Darwell, Simone Simon, Gene Lockhart, John Qualen, H.B. Warner, Frank Conlan, Lindy Wade, George Cleveland

“Walter Huston’s performance as the charming, urbane, and supremely self-confident Mr. Scratch is the key to the film; he doesn’t get much screen time, and has even less dialogue, but he’s hands down the most memorable character in the film… If it weren’t for Huston’s performance, The Devil and Daniel Webster would be relegated to lecture halls where film students would dutifully catalogue its expressionist elements and cultural history classes would write tedious papers about its critique of the American banking system. Huston steals the show with a performance more imp-like in it’s physicality than devilish or evil” – Sarah Boslaugh, PopMatters

L'orribile segreto del Dr. Hichcock

581. (-16) L’orribile segreto del Dr. Hichcock

Riccardo Freda

1962 / Italy / 88m / Col / Gothic | IMDb
Barbara Steele, Robert Flemyng, Silvano Tranquilli, Maria Teresa Vianello, Harriet Medin, Al Christianson, Evar Simpson, Nat Harley, Neil Robinson

“Raptus, the alternative title of Riccardo Freda’s L’Orribile segreto del dottor Hichcock (The Horrible Secret of Dr Hichcock, Italy, 1962) is certainly apt, as its effect on individuals attracted to the macabre is not unlike a rapture or delirium of cinematic pleasure. The atmospheric visuals of Riccardo Freda’s masterpiece of sexual alienation and necrophilia stands without precedent in the Golden Age of Italian Horror that virtually seized the Roman film industry from 1956 to 1966. With more than a nod to the literary influences of Ann Radcliffe and the 19th Century that informed them, L’Orribile segreto del dottor Hichcock is a catalogue of Victorian repressions regarding desire and death, the marriage bed and the grave.” – David Del Valle, Kinoeye

La sindrome di Stendhal

582. (-15) La sindrome di Stendhal

Dario Argento

1996 / Italy / 120m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Asia Argento, Thomas Kretschmann, Marco Leonardi, Luigi Diberti, Paolo Bonacelli, Julien Lambroschini, John Quentin, Franco Diogene, Lucia Stara, Sonia Topazio

“Dario Argento’s The Stendhal Syndrome from 1996 is among one of his finest gothic/slash/occult/slash/horror and gore films and the first [Italian] film to use CGI. In this film his own daughter Asia Argento takes the blows, as opposed to his former partner Dario Niccolodi… Dario Argento tries to make a connection, as in all of his films, to the irresistible pull of the supernatural that captivates people and makes them prisoner despite premonitions of danger or perhaps because of them. At least as spectators we know that the danger is out there but when it’s going to hit is an unknown… a compelling film that doesn’t get vulgar or cheap, but stays in some kind of respectable depravity.” – Moira Sullivan, Movie Magazine International

The Black Room

583. (-15) The Black Room

Roy William Neill

1935 / USA / 68m / BW / Gothic | IMDb
Boris Karloff, Marian Marsh, Robert Allen, Thurston Hall, Katherine DeMille, John Buckler, Henry Kolker, Colin Tapley, Torben Meyer

“This unassuming period thriller about fratricide, ancient familial prophecies, and lust for power remains an enjoyable treat for film fanatics, thanks primarily to the central performance by inimitable horror icon Boris Karloff. Karloff embodies the dual roles of both “good brother” (Anton) and “bad brother” (Gregor) with relish and nuance, immediately convincing us that they’re two different men — but his most impressive work comes once he’s playing Gregor-as-Anton, maintaining a simmering aura of calculated greed and sociopathic arrogance underneath a facade of noble charm. The screenplay is surprisingly tight and suspenseful — especially given that Anton is killed off fairly early — and the denouement offers a nifty resolution to the ancient prophecy. Atmospheric cinematography, creative direction, and appropriately baroque set designs add to the ambience of this compelling B-level flick.” – FilmFanatic

Bride of Re-Animator

584. (-29) Bride of Re-Animator

Brian Yuzna

1990 / USA / 96m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Claude Earl Jones, Fabiana Udenio, David Gale, Kathleen Kinmont, Mel Stewart, Irene Cagen, Michael Strasser, Mary Sheldon

“Bride of Re-Animator is among the most gleefully disgusting films of all time, a splatterfest leavened by liberal doses of macabre good humour (“My god, they’re using tools!”) that, in sort of an odd way, speaks to the inappropriateness of the whole enterprise. Moments of mordant hilarity aside, what works in the picture works extremely well (namely the old-school special effects, and Combs), and if Bride of Re-Animator lacks the intimate cohesion of the first film despite its desire to resurrect a feeling of doomed love, it at least isn’t coy about ladling out the goodies.” – Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central

Thir13en Ghosts

585. (+31) Thir13en Ghosts

Steve Beck

2001 / USA / 91m / Col / Haunted House | IMDb
Tony Shalhoub, Embeth Davidtz, Matthew Lillard, Shannon Elizabeth, Alec Roberts, JR Bourne, Rah Digga, F. Murray Abraham, Matthew Harrison, Jacob Rupp

“What we’re here for are the ghosts, the gore, and the cheesy thrills. Whatever else may be said about 13 Ghosts, it does deliver those. It also boasts gorgeous production design in the form of the centerpiece haunted house — a bizarre glass-walled structure that proves the old adage, “A house is not a home.” In this case, it isn’t even really a house, but a fantasticated machine “designed by the devil and powered by the dead.” The idea is more interesting than the execution, but at least it’s interesting… Subtle the film may not be, but it does know how to make the audience jump. It isn’t a good movie. It doesn’t pretend to be. It’s just a straightforward thrill ride for the Halloween season. Take it for that and you might have some fun with it.” – Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress

Scary Movie

586. (-16) Scary Movie

Keenen Ivory Wayans

2000 / USA / 88m / Col / Comedy | IMDb
Carmen Electra, Dave Sheridan, Frank B. Moore, Giacomo Baessato, Kyle Graham, Leanne Santos, Mark McConchie, Karen Kruper, Anna Faris, Jon Abrahams

“A raucous, satirical attack on slasher movies, teenage horror movies and “The Matrix.” I saw the movie, I laughed, I took notes, and now I am at a loss to write the review. All of the usual critical categories and strategies collapse in the face of a film like this… The bottom line in reviewing a movie like this is, does it work? Is it funny? Yes, it is. Not funny with the shocking impact of “Airplane!,” which had the advantage of breaking new ground. But also not a tired wheeze like some of the lesser and later Leslie Nielsen films. To get your money’s worth, you need to be familiar with the various teenage horror franchises, and if you are, “Scary Movie” delivers the goods.” – Roger Ebert, rogerebert.com

The Keep

587. (-14) The Keep

Michael Mann

1983 / USA / 96m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Scott Glenn, Alberta Watson, Jürgen Prochnow, Robert Prosky, Gabriel Byrne, Ian McKellen, William Morgan Sheppard, Royston Tickner, Michael Carter, Phillip Joseph

“The best way I can describe everything is this: The Keep isn’t a movie. The Keep is an experience. It’s impossible for anyone not to get taken in by the lush visuals and the fantastical score, and if you can ignore the choppy plot, you’re going to have a great time. While the novel was really more of a Gothic horror story (and the movie is to an extent), this is more of a fairy tale filled with the classic good versus evil scenario, a romance, engaging characters, and some exploding Nazi heads thrown in for good measure.” – James Oxyer, Obscure Cinema 101

The House That Dripped Blood

588. (-12) The House That Dripped Blood

Peter Duffell

1971 / UK / 102m / Col / Anthology | IMDb
Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Nyree Dawn Porter, Denholm Elliott, Jon Pertwee, Joanna Dunham, Joss Ackland, John Bennett, Chloe Franks, Tom Adams

“Although the film was made for the general public, the more serious horror fan will have a blast with the film’s story lines as they supply several subtle (and not so subtle) winks to the genre. Within these four tales are several visual references to dark literature (such as The Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, and Montague Summers’ The Vampire: His Kith and Kin), mention of the Universal films Frankenstein, The Phantom of the Opera, and Dracula, as well as narratives revolving around genre artists such as actors and writers. The fourth installment (“The Cloak”) is of particular interest to fans as it shows the behind the scenes details of making a low budget feature. These delicate nods to the film’s perceived audience are done with tongue planted firmly in cheek which adds a touch of wit and humor to a picture that was otherwise designed to frighten.” – Bruce Jordan, Classic-Horror

La belle et la bête

589. (-30) La belle et la bête

Jean Cocteau

1946 / France / 96m / BW / Fantasy | IMDb
Jean Marais, Josette Day, Mila Parély, Nane Germon, Michel Auclair, Raoul Marco, Marcel André, Janice Felty, John Kuether, Jacques Marbeuf

“Blissfully free of the PC feminist leanings of the animated version, this black-and-white fantasia revels instead in grandiose medieval settings and technical trickery. Marvellous surreal effects live on the mind’s eye long after the lights go up: the beast’s smoking paws; a living mantelpiece; the billowing white drapes as Belle is carried along a castle corridor, seemingly without moving her feet; and ethereal human arms brandishing candelabra. Cocteau uses wispy strands of lighting to magical effect and, to his credit, never attempts to fashion anything but a fairytale, inducing a childlike wonder rather than some cerebral reaction — the subtitles are of a limited nature. Even the warm comedy of the sleeping footmen in the farmyard and Belle’s spiteful sisters’ bickering still rings true. Years have not dulled the lustre of this classic, the impact of a big screen viewing is nothing short of astonishing.” – Louise Brealy, Empire

Tales of Terror

590. (-79) Tales of Terror

Roger Corman

1962 / USA / 89m / Col / Anthology | IMDb
Vincent Price, Maggie Pierce, Leona Gage, Peter Lorre, Joyce Jameson, Basil Rathbone, Debra Paget, David Frankham, Lennie Weinrib, Wally Campo

“Tales of Terror is ultimately an effective piece of horror precisely because it has no pretensions; it truly is simply a set of spooky tales, which is precisely what Poe excelled in. Unlike many horror anthologies, there’s no true frame story here. Instead, each tale is introduced by a short monologue from Price that’s centered around Poe’s favorite theme: death. Each segment represents a different phase of death: what happens after, before, and at the moment of death, respectively. It’s an interesting way to tie together the film just enough so that isn’t just a completely random set of tales.” – Brett Gallman, Oh, the Horror

Sheitan

591. (+1) Sheitan

Kim Chapiron

2006 / France / 94m / Col / Black Comedy | IMDb
Vincent Cassel, Olivier Barthelemy, Roxane Mesquida, Nico Le Phat Tan, Leïla Bekhti, Ladj Ly, Julie-Marie Parmentier, Gérald Thomassin, Quentin Lasbazeilles

“With its continued display of gross-out behaviour, Satan is clearly not going to cater for all tastes. Whilst there are certainly horror elements within the story it isn’t a particularly gory picture, preferring to shock the viewer instead through the nature of the community’s relationship and the way they interact with their new arrivals. For me though, it works perfectly. Cassel’s over-the-top performance coupled with Chapiron’s wild approach produce a fresh, invigorating film which makes for ideal late night viewing. At the same time, it’s also one of the most unconventional Christmas movies you’re ever likely to see!” – Eat My Brains

The Prophecy

592. (-14) The Prophecy

Gregory Widen

1995 / USA / 98m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Christopher Walken, Elias Koteas, Virginia Madsen, Eric Stoltz, Viggo Mortensen, Amanda Plummer, Moriah ‘Shining Dove’ Snyder, Adam Goldberg, Steve Hytner, J.C. Quinn

“Yes, this is Walken’s show, but you have to give credit to Elias Koteas, Eric Stoltz and Virginia Madsen for doing a fantastic job, and also to a very young Viggo Mortensen as Lucifer himself. The Prophecy is a superb horror, which has a great story, some decent shocks and a nice level of gore which is not too much. The only thing that really lets it down is some of the effects are a bit crap, but hey, it would seem the director put most of his effort into creating a great story and getting the best from his actors, which he has done to brilliant effect.” – Matt Wavish, Horror Cult Films

Innocent Blood

593. (-21) Innocent Blood

John Landis

1992 / USA / 112m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Anne Parillaud, David Proval, Rocco Sisto, Chazz Palminteri, Anthony LaPaglia, Robert Loggia, Tony Sirico, Tony Lip, Kim Coates, Marshall Bell

“As the undead body count rises amidst lots of extremely messy gore effects, genre chills turn to urban thrills as contemporary vampire horror becomes ultra-violent action movie. French beauty Parillaud is superbly confident in her first Hollywood picture, conveying a languid sensuality with a melancholy edge befitting a character of… ‘indeterminate’ age. John Landis struggles to do for vampires what An American Werewolf In London did for lycanthropes, but the flaws of Innocent Blood are relatively minor when compared to most of today’s vampire films, and the director almost succeeds in finding the ideal balance of animalistic horror and aggressive comedy, with an element of modern fantasy romance thrown in.” – Ian Shutter, Nunayer Business

The Midnight Meat Train

594. (+1) The Midnight Meat Train

Ryûhei Kitamura

2008 / USA / 98m / Col / Splatter | IMDb
Bradley Cooper, Leslie Bibb, Brooke Shields, Vinnie Jones, Roger Bart, Tony Curran, Barbara Eve Harris, Peter Jacobson, Stephanie Mace, Ted Raimi

“As a horror picture plain and simple (though Midnight Meat Train is too convoluted to be called simple), there’s certainly no reason to complain here. The film delivers the goods in terms of graphic, bloody and quite brutal horror. This is one of the bloodier films in recent memory, and yet it is never goes into the area of torture porn. The film doesn’t linger over pain for its own sake and isn’t in the least sadistic in the manner of so much that passes for horror these days. Oh, it’s nasty enough—make no mistake. This is not a film for the squeamish, and I can easily imagine people who would be offended by its in your face bloodiness. I can also imagine a good many viewers who would be turned off by its occasional outbursts of dark-hued splattery comedy, especially the fate of the Jurgis character. Put bluntly, if bloody horror and the occasional flying eyeball aren’t your flagon of grue, this isn’t your movie.” – Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress

Friday the 13th Part III

595. (+9) 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

Fire in the Sky

596. (+14) Fire in the Sky

Robert Lieberman

1993 / USA / 109m / Col / Science Fiction | IMDb
D.B. Sweeney, Robert Patrick, Craig Sheffer, Peter Berg, Henry Thomas, Bradley Gregg, Noble Willingham, Kathleen Wilhoite, James Garner, Georgia Emelin

“What’s strange about Fire in the Sky is that it’s based on a true story. That’s what the makers of this movie want us to believe, anyway. On Nov. 5, 1975, in northeastern Arizona, Travis Walton was abducted by aliens. In the small fragment that he remembers of the five days and six hours that he was missing, he saw humanoids perform experiments on him… The movie is intentionally like a dramatized documentary. The producers want us to share their belief in Walton’s story. To make the story appear more believable, they use the real names of the loggers, shy away from fancy special effects that would distract the audience from the plot (the UFO looks like two pie-pans taped together, like Walton said it did), and, besides James Garner, don’t use any celebrity actors.” – John Jacobs, The Tech (MIT)

Irréversible

597. (-22) Irréversible

Gaspar Noé

2002 / France / 97m / Col / Drama | IMDb
Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Albert Dupontel, Jo Prestia, Philippe Nahon, Stéphane Drouot, Jean-Louis Costes, Michel Gondoin, Mourad Khima, Hellal

“What we have here is a genuine outlaw work of art. They are to be treasured. From Louis-Ferdinand Celine’s twisted tales of the perverse in ’30s Paris to Henry Miller’s examination of the extremes of heterosex and John Rechy’s of the extremes of homosex, and Jim Thompson’s bleak, nihilistic noir fables, to Sam Peckinpah’s blood-spattered Götterdämmerungs, they are tough to sit through and impossible to forget. They get way deep inside, to the reptile walnut of brain still in the center of the head…. it seems to be Noe’s first philosophical position, that natural man is a monster.” – Stephen Hunter, Washington Post

Cat People

598. (-14) 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

Gau ji

599. (+24) Gau ji

Fruit Chan

2004 / Hong Kong / 91m / Col / Black Comedy | IMDb
Pauline Lau, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Bai Ling, Meme Tian, So-Fun Wong, Miriam Yeung Chin Wah, Miki Yeung

“A refreshing change from the usual lank-haired ghost stories of extreme Asian cinema, this Hong Kong horror trades on nausea rather than nerve-jangling. Cooked up by mysterious medicine woman Bai Ling, the titular delicacy takes years off desperate housewife Miriam Yeung thanks to a sinister special ingredient. It’s a blackly comic comment on society’s obsession with appearance… Fruit Chan’s movie is an expansion of his 37-minute contribution to 2002 omnibus Three Extremes. At times there’s a sense that it should’ve stayed in its shorter form; the plot treads water in places, especially in the lead-up to the final sick-trigger surprise. On the other hand, you can never have too much of ace cinematographer Chris Doyle’s (Hero, In The Mood For Love) lip-smacking work.” – Matthew Leyland, BBCi – Films

Tôkaidô Yotsuya kaidan

600. (-37) Tôkaidô Yotsuya kaidan

Nobuo Nakagawa

1959 / Japan / 76m / Col / Jidaigeki | IMDb
Shigeru Amachi, Noriko Kitazawa, Katsuko Wakasugi, Shuntarô Emi, Ryûzaburô Nakamura, Junko Ikeuchi, Jun ôtomo, Hiroshi Hayashi, Shinjirô Asano, Arata Shibata

“Along with the masterful camerawork, the film’s lighting and music play an integral role in selling the dreadful feeling that permeates the entire film. The final moments are scored with traditional Japanese music that grows in driving intensity with the images on-screen, culminating in a stunning, powerful ending that perfectly caps off the film. The violence is surprisingly graphic and still very effective, over fifty years after release. No US film would have ever gotten away with the stuff they do in this film, and as such it feels like a more recent film than 1959. The violence is nothing compared with later films of course, but given the time, it’s incredible. The Ghost of Yotsuya is an amazing, haunting, wonderful horror film that fans of the genre should definitely not miss. It is proof that horror films can be artful and grotesque simultaneously.” – Will Kouf, Silver Emulsion