Fifty Favourite Horror Films

I more or less do this every year. Not too many new additions, but I love every one of these, so that’s something. Suggestions for future Octobers are always welcome!

1. Suspiria
2. The Birds
3. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with me
4. Possession
5. Black Christmas
6. The Exorcist
7. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
8. The Shining

9. Ginger Snaps

10. Don’t Look Now
11. What Have they Done to Solange?
12. The Legend of Hell House
13. The Curse of the Cat People
14. Nosferatu (1979)
15. Trouble Every Day
16. Rosemary’s Baby
17. Sombre
18. Frailty
19. The Bride of Frankenstein
20. The Silence of the Lambs
21. Psycho
22. Evil Dead II
23. Eyes without a Face
24. Let the Right One In
25. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)
26. Dead Ringers
27. Dawn of the Dead
28. Carrie
29. The Devils
30. American Psycho
31. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
32. Phenomena
33. House of Usher
34. Ravenous
35. Perfect Blue
36. Kill, Baby, Kill
37. The Loved Ones
38. The Innocents
39. Les Diaboliques
40. Cat People
41. The Vanishing
42. Opera
43. The Masque of the Red Death
44. Let Me In
45. The Devil
46. Isle of the Dead
47. Alien
48. The Seventh Victim
49. The Body Snatcher
50. Audition

Director’s Chair: Women on Board

I was tagged by the Dancing Image to make a director’s list, but not just any kind, one centered on females working in the industry. I feel absolutely inadequate in terms of listing my favourite female directors but I am more honoured to be tagged, so I will give it a go. I am limiting it to just five filmmakers, if only because I have no idea what I’m doing. This is not a revolutionary list, but hopefully you can still find some value in it! I also wish I had something to say about these filmmakers but I am short on time and even if I wasn’t, though I’m listing some of these wonderfully talented women, I STILL am not too familiar with their overall work. I have a lot of catching up to do.

Honourable mentions to Holland, May, Wertmuller and Cavani

 

Catherine Breillat

Essential Film: Anatomy of Hell

 

Claire Denis

Essential Film: Trouble Every Day

 

Sofia Coppola

Essential Film: Marie Antoinette

 

Jane Campion

Essential Film: Bright Star

 

Ida Lupino

Essential film: Outrage

Five Best Films I saw in September

Near impossible to narrow it down this month. So difficult in fact, that I will name some honourable mentions; True Heart Susie, Let Me In, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and Marwencol. As always, first time viewings only are included.

The Adjuster (Atom Egoyan)

Girly (Freddie Francis)

The Man with the Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov)

Opera (Dario Argento)

Ravenous (Antonia Bird)

Viewing List for October

Dario Argento's Opera

As some of you already know, October is my favourite time of year. Not only do I get to wear chic sweaters, but the weather and atmosphere is ripe for horror. It is  not a matter of of just being the month that “hosts” Halloween, but those cool nights that smell like dead leaves… there is nothing more pleasurable than curling up with a good movie, a warm blanket and possibly a significant other and getting the pants scared right off ya. I realize this is premature, but I figured i’d start planning now so I could have something to look forward to in the next few weeks. This is a list of films I haven’t seen, and obviously, I won’t see all of them… but these are my cinematic goals for the upcoming Halloween season. Let me know which I should prioritize and which I’d better skip!

A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin (Lucio Fulci)

Alice, Sweet, Alice (Alfred Sole)

All the Colors of the Dark (Sergio Martino)

Blood and Black Lace (Mario Bava)

Case of the Bloody Iris (Giuliano Carnimeo)

City of the Living Dead (Lucio Fulci)

Creature from the Black Lagoon (Jack Arnold)

Death Laid an Egg (Giulio Questi)

Dolls (Stuart Gordon)

Don’t Torture the Duckling (Lucio Fulci)

Flesh for Frankenstein (Paul Morrissey)

House (Nobuhiko Obayashi)

House on Haunted Hill (William Castle)

Inferno (Dario Argento)

Jigoku (Nobuo Nakagawa)

Kairo (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)

Murders in Rue Morgue (Robert Florey)

My Bloody Valentine (George Mihalka)

Night of the Creeps (Fred Dekker)

Opera (Dario Argento)

Phantasm (Don Coscarelli)

Ravenous (Antonia Bird)

Re-Animator (Stuart Gordon)

Return to Horror High (Bill Froelich)

Session 9 (Brad Anderson)

Seven Dead in the Cat’s Eye  (Antonio Margheriti)

Singapore Sling (Nikos Nikolaidis)

Sleepaway Camp (Robert Hiltzik)

Spider Baby (Jack Hill)

Strait-Jacket (William Castle)

Tenebre (Dario Argento)

The Blob (Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.)

The Changeling  (Peter Medak)

The Killer Must Kill Again (Luigi Cozzi)

The Last House on the Left (Wes Craven)

The Leopard Man (Jacques Tourneur)

The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue (Jorge Grau)

The Masque of the Red Death (Roger Corman)

The Omen (Richard Donner)

The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (Emilio Miraglia)

The Schoolgirl killer (Antonio Margheriti)

The Sentinel (Michael Winner)

The Silent Scream (Denny Harris)

The Slumber Party massacre (Amy Holden Jones)

The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (Sergio Martino)

Village of the Damned (Wolf Rilla)

Viy (Georgi Kropachyov &

What have they done to your Daughters? (Massimo Dallamano)

Who can Kill a Child? (Narciso Ibanez Serrador)

Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (Curtis Harrington)

Five Best Films I Saw in July and August

Though it was off to a shakey start, Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival proved to be THE film event of the summer. Even the truly terrible films made for irreplaceable experiences due to the uniquely passionate Fantasia audience. The closing night… Scott Pilgrim and then, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. Could it have been any better? Most of my home viewings were pretty radical too. It wasn’t easy narrowing down the list to just five!

August on the other hand was more subdued. Most of my viewings were slanted towards recent hollywood releases, for better or for worse. I am hoping to delve back into the work of foreign and older filmmakers in September. Let’s hope I can discover some new gems.

Five Best Films I Saw in July

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (Eli Craig)

Fish Story (Yoshihiro Nakamura)

The Loved Ones (Sean Byrne)

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Edgar Wright)

Winter’s Bone (Debra Granik)

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Five Best Films I saw in August

Closely Watched Trains (Jiri Menzel)

Gimme Shelter (Albert Maysles & David Maysles & Charlotte Zwerin)

Hot Fuzz (Edgard Wright)

Les Beaux Souvenirs (Francis Mankiewicz)

Missing (Costa-Gavras)

Black Narcissus (Powell & Pressburger, 1947)

Click Image for my Review

Black Narcissus. Several nuns get upset by the strange atmosphere of, and surrounding, their new convent, which was formely a Himalyan harem. (Quite an idea for a music, that. Take it away, Rita.) […] P.S. Barring perhaps one in any hundred who willingly practise it, I think celibacy is of itself faintly obscene; so I admire still less the dramatic exploitation of celebacy as an opportunity for titillation in the best of taste.

– James Agee, August 30th 1947. Various excerpts.

Five Best Movies I saw in June

I’ve been insanely busy and have only had time to watch movies in theatres, and suffice to say, they’re all pretty much crap. I think this is my lowest average of movies seen by month in years.

The Exterminating Angel (Luis Bunuel)

Get Him to the Greek (Nicholas Stoller)

Holy Smoke (Jane Campion)

Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich)

Yellow Sky (William A. Wellman)

Emoting about Things that are not The A-Team

I kinda hate Bradley Cooper...

Since summer started, it seems the only movies I’ve seen are blockbusters. It’s almost a given that once school is out, regardless if something interesting is playing or not, I am in that theatre at least once a week. I enjoy the experience, especially since I share it with my friends, but these past few weeks have been difficult… perhaps it’s because I’ve been so focused on catching up on True Blood and Mad Men and haven’t had the time to watch as many films on DVD as I’m used to. The saturation of bland and terrible cinema is starting to get to me and I feel as though I’m slowly losing my mind. I am not only struggling to find something nice to say about the films, but even trying to mute my elitism among my non-film fans is becoming more difficult.

Tonight I watched The A-Team, and though it’s the best of the three films I’ve seen in the past three weeks (the other two being Prince of Persia and Splice), it has pushed me past the breaking point. Though the film has some entertaining moments (mostly due to some charismatic performances) and isn’t particularly inept, I just could not enjoy it. Walking out, I couldn’t help overhearing people proclaiming how awesome the movie was. All I could think was what about this movie is great? I couldn’t think of a single reason why someone would think it was.

Generally, I don’t see why anyone would think most blockbusters are interesting, worthwhile or  even memorable. They are more akin to a good ride at an amusement park than a great “entertainment”. Even if I were to approach and look at them as simply being “rides”, most of them fall short and fail to deliver on a very basic level. Prince of Persia is a perfect example of this, not only presenting an incoherent video game storyline, but presenting uninspired conflict and character interactions that makes Pirates of the Carribean seem like a great Shakespearean comedy. Yet, people eat it up.

DAGGER DAGGER DAGGER DAGGER DAGGER DAGGER DAGGER DAGGER

Even if I were to look at blockbuster films I enjoy and have watched on more than one occasion, I can’t say I’d be sad if I never had to watch them again. I can’t help feeling I come off as elitist and judgmental, but I just cannot fathom why someone would prefer a film like Aliens, The Dark Knight or Star Wars over The Red Shoes, L’Avventura or The Double Life of Veronique. I can see the entertainment value of the former films but their broad themes and archetypical characters and conclusions have never struck me as being moving or evocative. I am not suggesting that people who like those films are dumb, far from it, I don’t have any less respect for people who like those films, but I can’t help feeling they are also missing out on a world of experience and challenges.

In a perfect world, there would be room for both kinds of movies. I like both kinds, or else I wouldn’t bother to watch movies like the ones that I do. On a good day I can even enjoy a mediocre or bad film from a more anthropological level, looking at the ideals, values and queues the film takes that it presents and how that reflects my understanding of society. I know so many people I know would claim I overthink or overanalyze very simple works, but I find it enjoyable. If anything, these are the kinds of movies that deserve this kind of close scrutiny because they are consumed by such a high number of people.

I feel like I am contradicting myself in a certain sense. Though I wish people watched better movies, I am fascinated by the fact that certain movies draw millions of viewers. To a certain extent in our day and age, it is largely about marketing and advertising, but even films that get the full treatment are not guaranteed success. Some films with barely any press are able to rise to the top. Audiences are still fickle.

Thoughtful contemplation

Thinking is a crime, and most people seem completely averse to having their ideas and perceptions challenged. Shutting off your brain now and then isn’t the worst thing, but some people see working towards learning and experiencing new things as being relevant only for work and school. This makes me sad. Even if you were to just put more consideration into movies like Prince of Persia or The A-Team, try to think a bit more critically about why you do or do not like a film, would result in valuable self-knoweldge. Why are people so afraid to open their selves up and peek inside, are they afraid of what they might see or feel? Why do we relate so positively to violence and hate? Learning about yourself and the people around you seems to ultimately the point of our existence, or at least the most rewarding aspect of it, so why are so so quick and willing to shut ourselves off completely from that aspect of our life?

Do I think or even want people to flock to the newest Alain Resnais film? No, I don’t even know where I am getting with this. I just wish I could expose people to new ideas and emotions that great film has opened to me. It is one thing I like to share with people I love and care about, because I think it’s so important and beautiful. My frustration over the mediocrity of these films stems from the fact that most people are not even aware of what they’re missing. Does that make me an elitist or a snob? Yes it does, but my intentions are good, it’s about love man.

I blame this post entirely on Von Samuel. What an ass.

Loving the Dead

No information – historical, experimental, or otherwise – has surfaced regarding the results of sexual relations with the undead specimen, but as previously noted, the nature of Solanum suggests a high danger of infection. Warning against such an act would be useless, as the only people deranged enough to try would be unconcerned with their own safety. Many have argued that, given the congealed nature of undead bodily fluids, the chances of infection from a non-bite contact should be low. However, it must be remembered that even one organism is enough to begin the cycle.

P.4 The Zombie Survival Guide (Max Brooks)

Pamela Franklin has a horrifying encounter in The Legend of Hell House

What are some memorable instances of people loving the dead? A few spring to mind, Wuthering Heights, A Rose for Emily, Laura and The Legend of Hell House. I’m sure I am missing some significant ones. I can’t think of any movies that involve human/zombie love though.