The UHF of the film world.
Latest news

Christopher Webster [Celluloid 10.30.15] horror

Earlier this week we decided not to write the traditional "top ten horror movies" article as curated by us, but instead took to Facebook and Twitter to gather picks from readers. As QE loyals generally have stellar cultural taste and encyclopedic film knowledge, the resulting list is chock full of cult and modern classics, as well as must-see international shockers.

While we haven't listed all the films here in part one (see the FB link for that and to add your own ideas), I think we've captured the breadth of tastes and pleasures that came in. I've even added one of two of my own picks for good measure.

So, grab a pen and start programming the best goddamn Halloween movie marathon possible. Please note these are in no-particular order of preference.

Here we go!

If you've got a strong constitution, Martyrs will likely challenge and provoke you in all the ways a great horror film should. This French import from 2008 came on the heels of the profoundly misunderstood "torture porn" sub-genre, and tended to be lumped in with it, though many would argue it transcends that label. The reality is, the film still resonates all these years later.

See this before the American remake becomes the one everyone remembers.

We were not surprised to see Tobe Hooper's Texas Chainsaw Massacre come up a number of times. The box art of this film haunted me when I visited video stores as a kid and when I finally watched it in my early 20s, I was shocked at how it lived up to all my expectations and fears. Even after 40 years (40!), the film holds up as a madman's vision of evil and psychotics.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre single-highhandedly popularized the hillbilly horror in a profound way and it still stands as one of the best. You won't go wrong re-visiting this one.

Sam Raimi's video nasty, Evil Dead, still seems to be beloved over its more slapstick sequels and I'm definitely on that side of the fence (even though I love Army of Darkness). The film epitomizes the term cult classic when it comes to horror, both in terms of infamy and spirit and remains a staple to this day.

Evil Dead is about a group of friends who go to a cabin in the woods, where they find the Necronomicon, the Book Of The Dead, and awaken an ancient evil. The set-up would be repeated in countless lesser films, but Evil Dead persists.

Incidentally, Ash Vs. The Evil Dead premiers this weekend, October 31, on Starz, so don't miss it.

You can't talk horror without Ridley Scott's Alien coming up a few times. The claustrophobia, the rising tension, that screeching score and, or course, one of the most horrifying scenes of physical violence in film history makes this a classic of the sci-fi horror sub-genre.

As a creature-feature, a haunted house on a spaceship, and an endlessly fascinating science fiction film, there's no doubt that Alien will continue to scare and influence for generations to come.

Based on Jay Anson's best selling 1977 novel of the same name, The Amityville Horror was a huge success for AIP, but didn't really land with critics. It did however scare a shit ton of us growing up and is considered something of a classic of the still uber popular haunted house genre.

The score from Lalo Schifrin is gold and was even nominated for an Academy Award folling the fiml's release in 1979. Incidentally, the screenplay was written by a Canadian - Sandor Stern.

Takashi Miike is one of the most prolific Janpanese directors and, while not all of his work lives up to his great name, his 1999 film Audition still stands as one of the most visceral, bizarre and thought provoking horror films. Far away from the subernatural J-Horror genre that would come to define Japanese cinema for so many, Audition is about men and women and a descent into depravity. Exited to spin this one yet?

A film that, if you haven't already seen, you've probably heard about, it's definitely one you need to see if you're a fan of foreign horror.

It was hard to decide which of Romero's "Dead" films to include on this list. People seem split between Night and Dawn and in the end Dawn wins out in how it really opened up the zombie genre in a way that still exists today. The rules and scope that Dawn of the Dead laid down in 1978 are still prevalent in The Walking Dead and most other zombie movies.

The social commentary is also as relevant today as ever and Dawn shows Romero was a master satirist as well as filmmaker. A true classic.

Neil Marshall's breakout subterranean shocker is the perfect mix of genuine scares and metaphor for loss and a descent into madness. The film oozes atmosphere thanks to UK cinematographer Sam McCurdy's close-quarter photography, while the make-up FX and gore is sure to please even the hardest of hardcore horror fans.

Since The Descent, Marshall has shied away from straight ahead horror and I think I know why. Once you get it so right, there's really no point. The popularity of The Descent spawned produced by Marshall which is good continuation, but doesn't quuuite live up to the original.

Michael Dougherty's Halloween anthology was hailed as an instant when it hit back in 2008 and it seems the film has lost nary a fan.

Trick 'R Treat takes the Creepshow approach to nefarious new depths with four interwoven tales set on Halloween night: a high school principal moonlights as a vicious serial killer; the quest of a young virgin for that special someone takes a gruesome turn; a group of teens carries out a cruel prank with disastrous consequences; and a cantankerous old man battles a mischievous trick-or-treating demon.

Various John Carpenter movies came up so often that we figured we'd give all of them their due. The man has contributed so many classics to the genre that it's impossible to both pick just one or list them all.

People's favorites seem to be: Halloween, The Thing, In the Mouth of Madness and The Fog. Personally, I would add Vampires to the mix for a bit of fun.

Moving over to the Italians, any list would be remiss without including a Dario Argento Giallo. If Suspiria is Argento at his most operatic, Deep Red is the maestro at his most suspenseful and depraved.

If you're unfamiliar with the genre, Deep Red will send you down a rabbit hole of discovery. The genre is seeing a style resurgence lately, most notably in Aston 6's wonderful The Editor. . Unfortunately, very few Giallo's live up to this one.

In the words of the reader who recommends it: "The first V/H/S has a few really neat found-footage short films and acts as a great proof of concept, but the sequel outdoes it in every way. Four near-perfect films framed by a fifth creepy house story keep the proceedings lively and interesting. Standouts include "Slumber Party Alien Abduction" and "Safe Haven", which is the absolute best segment in all three films."

Can't argue with you.

Stay tuned for part 2, where we get into J-Horror, Stephen King and a few modern classics!

Follow Christopher Webster on Twitter.

You might also like


quietearth (5 years ago) Reply

Dawn of the Dead - the director cut. It makes a difference.


mallen (5 years ago) Reply

I want to rewatch Trick r Treat. That is a good one.

TCM was ground-breaking, for sure.


lotus eater (5 years ago) Reply

YO MAMA! yo mama so fat the druids use her as a place of worship!

Halloween III-Conal Cochran's speech.


Pinheddy (5 years ago) Reply

surprised that the original amityville horror made the list.
it was considered a dud when it came out. most of its opening box office was fueled by expectations of films like the exorcist (in spite of exorcist 2) and the omen.
been a while since i've watched it. maybe i should give it another try.

Leave a comment