Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Hunt for the I-5 Killer

The Hunt for the I-5 Killer
(2011) John Corbett, Sara Canning, Tygh Runyan, Andrew Wheeler, Matt Bellefleur, Mike Dopud, Kirsten Robek, Garry Chalk, Bo Derek

i5-killer

This movie has been on my pvr for probably over a year, so I finally decided to watch it. I was a little leery (ok, a lot leery) at first because it’s an IFC film, and those tend to be pretty awful, but I do love me a good serial killer film, so I decided to give it a go. And I was pleasantly surprised. It was so much better than I’d been expecting. The acting was pretty good all round, Corbett doing a great job as the harried detective in charge of the case, and the killer, who was surprising when we found out who he was, was suitably creepy. I’ll be curious now to read up on the case now (it was a true story), since at the end there was a disclaimer that said some things were fictionalized, to find out what actually happened. Maybe it wasn’t so bad in real life..? No, I guess that’s just me dreaming again. I’m really glad that the cops were finally able to nail the fucker who did it to the wall though. Sicko. All in all, a pretty entertaining true crime film. I just wish it wasn’t on IFC. I hate bloody commercials…

7.5/10

This film isn’t currently on Netflix, but if you can find it, it’s worth your time 🙂

M.

Advertisements

Mel’s 10 Things About… The Calling

The Calling
(2014) Susan Sarandon, Gil Bellows, Topher Grace, Christopher Heyerdahl, Ellen Burstyn, Donald Sutherland, Kristin Booth, Kevin Parent

140883_bf

 

{SPOILERS AHEAD}
1. Acting ranges from mediocre to good.
2. The main character, Hazel, is thoroughly unlikable, so it’s hard to care when stuff happens to her.
3. Super intriguing story, unfortunately delivered poorly.
4. There were some really good scenes, but they were surrounded by ultra boring filler.
5. The ex-husband sub-plot was completely pointless, it does nothing but make us like Hazel even less.
6. The very last scene is eye-roll inducing. Are we supposed to believe that the spell actually worked, in a film that had nothing supernatural in it till that point?
7. Was hoping to see some change in Hazel at the end, after what she went through, but when presented with booze at the hospital she just quips about not having ice and glasses. Her plea for a second chance? Wasted 3 seconds later.
8. Was expecting a whole lot more from such a cast. Sarandon, Sutherland, Heyerdahl, even Topher Grace for heaven’s sake! Totally wasted on this film.
9. The killer was nice and creepy though. I’ll give the film that much.
10. A minor quibble, but the title seems wrong to me. Simon wasn’t following some “higher calling”, he was trying to work a religious spell. The Disciples would have been better, or… well anything but The Calling, really.

4.5/10

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Horsemen

Horsemen
(2009) Dennis Quaid, Ziyi Zhang, Lou Taylor Pucci, Clifton Collins Jr, Patrick Fugit, Eric Balfour, Peter Stormare, Liam James

Horsemen

So, this was a pretty good film, better than I’d been anticipating, but still not as good as I was hoping. The premise was simple (a detective is on the trail of a serial killer who is using the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as his inspiration), but very good. The acting was decent to good all round, and the end twist is pretty awesome, and very well acted, even if I saw it coming a mile away. Ziyi Zhang was also very good, and uber creepy (and hot). The gore effects were very well done, and not too over the top save one scene involving a fetus, which I’d rather not think of. It was too much. Speaking of too much, we really didn’t need to start the film with a naked Dennis Quaid. This isn’t 1993, Quaid, sorry :-p I could have used a little more info about the cult, though. The film has a very good ending that I won’t spoil, but I could have used a little more clarity involving the actual group. All in all, it was a very decent piece of film, and gets a very decent score for it. 7/10

This movie is currently streaming on Netflix Canada. Enjoy!

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Strangler

The Strangler
(1964) Victor Buono, David McLean, Diane Sayer, Davey Davison, Baynes Barron, Ellen Corby, Michael Ryan, Russ Bender, Jeanne Bates, Mimi Dillard

The Strangler

I’d never even heard of this little film before seeing it pass on TCM, a channel that plays non-stop old timey movies. The blurb was interesting, so I decided to give it a go. The film was made in the time of the Boston Strangler, and the film makers decided to make a picture about what he might be like. They even spoke to detectives and psychiatrists to get an authentic character. And with all the true crime stuff that I watch, I can concur that they did a good, creepy job. Victor Buono does a very good job, as does the actress who played his over-bearing and controlling mother. The acting over all was quite good, better than a lot of old timey movies in the genre, and I was pleasantly surprised. The only thing I had to roll my eyes at was the 2 second strangulations. It takes a good 2 or 3 minutes of constant pressure to strangle a person, because even when they go limp, if you let go, they’ll keep breathing. Which is why strangulation cases are so awful, cause you know they held on for that long. Ick. Other than that it was very well done, and the film gets a good 7.5/10 from me.

This film is not currently streaming on Netflix. There is a full version on YouTube, but the colloration is weird.

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Killer Inside Me

The Killer Inside Me
(2010) Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba, Ned Beatty, Elias Koteas, Tom Bower, Simon Baker, Brent Briscoe, Liam Aiken, Matthew Maher, and Bill Pullman

killer inside me

I had such high hopes for this one. There were a few really good actors in it, the story was interesting, but damn was this movie boring. It started out well enough, but after a while it just sort of petered out, as if the story got lost in the woods. And some of the characters really had no point, like Elias Koteas’ Joe. What was his point? He did nothing to further the story, nor did anything from his story turn out to be relevant to the plot of the film. He’s just sort of… there, to remind the audience that Lou is full of shit. Bullshit, for the birds, which he repeats no less than 5 times. The story was good though, so maybe I’ll track down the book and see if it’s any better than the film. Quite disappointing, I give this film a very mediocre 5/10.

This film is currently streaming on Netflix. But don’t say I didn’t warn you :-p

M.

My Top 15 Serial Killer Films

So my Top 50 Horror Films post was quite a hit with (mostly) everyone. Those that didn’t like it are those I like to call horror’s snobs, you know the type. They only like the “classic horror”, and enjoy looking down their noses at us little people who enjoy a lot of newer stuff (how dare we?? It’s so gauche!)
But even those who enjoyed the post had some little quibbles, the one asked about most often was “where are all the serial killer / slasher films?” And it’s true, my list was almost completely devoid of any serial killers. Out of a list of 50, I think I only had 3 killers in there. The reason is, is I don’t really consider serial killer films, despite the horrific subject matter, to be horror. They’re thrillers, suspense, mysteries, sometimes even comedies. Also, leaving them out means that I can do an article like this, and not have to worry about too much repetition, hehehe.

To keep this list shorter (and unrepetitive), I’m only including films with human killers that have no supernatural abilities. Also, spoiler alert, since I’ll be including methods of killing and a body count. The body count, by the way, will be deaths caused by the killers’ own hands (or by their devices). I won’t include deaths caused by accidents, nor those committed by other people. I also won’t include ‘implied deaths’, those talked about by the characters but not seen on screen, nor those that leave the question of the character’s death up in the air.

And on that note, let’s get this show on the road! Enjoy! 😀

 

NUMBER FIFTEEN

15 I Know What You Did Last Summer

Title: I Know What You Did Last Summer
Released in: 1997
Starring: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze Jr, Bridgette Wilson, Anne Heche, Johnny Galecki, and Muse Watson
Directed by: Jim Gillespie
Written by: Kevin Williamson
Based On: The novel of the same name by Lois Duncan
The Killer’s Mode of Dispatching Victims: Chases after them in a ridiculously calm fashion, and slices them open with a big fisherman’s hook.
Onscreen Body Count: 5
5 Second Synopsis: One year after graduating from high school, four friends’ gruesome secret comes back to get them, as the man they hit on the road wasn’t as dead as they thought.
Why I Love It: The 90’s were an excellent year for serial killer films, both for the teen and adult audiences. After the success of Scream, many companies started making serial killer pictures, with varying results. This one is obviously aimed at teens, but it was one of the better quality ones, along with a few others that you’ll be seeing later in the list.

 

NUMBER FOURTEEN

14 The Raven

Title: The Raven
Released in: 2012
Starring: John Cusack, Luke Evans, Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson, Kevin McNally, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, and Pam Ferris
Directed by: James McTeigue
Written by: Hannah Shakespeare, Ben Livingston
Based On: (Very) loosely based on the final days of Edgar Allan Poe’s life.
The Killer’s Mode of Dispatching Victims: Victims are killed in the same fashion as characters in Poe’s stories, including the razor pendulum from The Pit and the Pendulum.
Body Count: 4
5 Second Synopsis: A serial killer uses Edgar Allan Poe’s various works to inspire horrific murders.
Why I Love It: John Cusack and Edgar Allan Poe, a match made in heaven. Cusack is a wonderful character actor, and he showcases it well here.

 

NUMBER THIRTEEN

MSDCLPI EC003

Title: Clay Pigeons
Released in: 1998
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Vince Vaughn, Janeane Garofalo, Georgina Cates, Scott Wilson, Vince Vieluf, Nikki Arlyn, and Phil Morris
Directed by: David Dobkin
Written by: Matthew L Healy
Based On: N/A
The Killer’s Mode of Dispatching Victims: Gun
Body Count: 2 (suspected of 7 more across the country)
5 Second Synopsis: After his best friend kills himself, a troubled young man meets and befriends a charming serial killer, who’s got a detective hot on his trail, and who starts to suspect that he’s the one doing the killing.
Why I Love It: Funny and smart, this one’s a real hidden gem of the 90’s. If you’re a fan of wry wit and find things that shouldn’t be funny funny, I definitely reccomend this one. Plus, eye candy en masse.

 

NUMBER TWELVE

12 Urban Legend

Title: Urban Legend
Released in: 1998
Starring: Alicia Witt, Jared Leto, Rebecca Gayheart, Michael Rosenbaum, Joshua Jackson, Tara Reid, Loretta Devine, John Neville, Danielle Harris, and Robert Englund
Directed by: Jamie Blanks
Written by: Silvio Horta
Based On: N/A
The Killer’s Mode of Dispatching Victims: Axe, killing in the manner of various urban legends.
Body Count: 9 (plus one dog)
5 Second Synopsis: A killer uses urban legends as inspiration as he stalks his victims, who all attend or work at a university.
Why I Love It: Another one aimed at teens, I love this one for the fun deaths, plus Jared Leto. Never mind that the identity of the killer is implausible and downright silly. Just turn off your brain, and enjoy.

 

NUMBER ELEVEN

11 Bon Cop Bad Cop

Title: Bon Cop, Bad Cop
Released in: 2006
Starring: Patrick Huard, Colm Feore, Sarain Boylan, Lucie Laurier, Richard Howland, Louis-José Houde, Pierre Boudreau, and Patrice Bélanger
Directed by: Erik Canuel
Written by: Leila Basen, Alex Epstein
Based On: N/A
The Killer’s Mode of Dispatching Victims: Victims are tattooed before being shot
Body Count: 4
5 Second Synopsis: A serial killer is targeting victims who are related in some way to professional hockey. Since killings are happening in both Ontario and Quebec, the two forces team up and find they have very different methods.
Why I Love It: If you’re not from Quebec or Ontario, I’m not sure how much you’d enjoy this, since most of the jokes are really about the differences between language and attitudes of the two provinces. But for those who are, this is a definite must-see. It really doesn’t matter what the plot is (I barely remember), but I remember laughing myself silly. Being someone with family in both Ontario and Quebec, I can laugh at both sides, and that’s what really makes this film. It’s completely bilingual (english and french), so if you don’t understand one or the other you’ll need the subtitles to understand half the film, but it’s worth it. So funny.

 

NUMBER TEN

10 Psycho

Title: Psycho
Released in: 1960
Starring: Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Janet Leigh, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, John McIntire, and Virginia Gregg
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Written by: Joseph Stefano
Based On: The novel of the same name by Robert Bloch
The Killer’s Mode of Dispatching Victims: Stabbing
Body Count: 2 (suspected of more)
5 Second Synopsis: A woman, worrying about her missing sister, ends up at a small motel run by a very strange young man, who’s hiding a murderous secret.
Why I Love It: Do I really need to explain? One of the original greats, there probably would be much less slasher films had this one not been made.

 

NUMBER NINE

9 From Hell

Title: From Hell
Released in: 2001
Starring: Johnny Depp, Heather Graham, Ian Holm, Robbie Coltrane, Ian Richardson, Jason Flemyng, Katrin Cartlidge, Susan Lynch, Lesley Sharp, and Annabelle Apsion
Directed by: The Hughes Brothers
Written by: Terry Hayes, Rafael Yglesias
Based On: The graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell
The Killer’s Mode of Dispatching Victims: Stabbing (with extreme over-kill)
Body Count: 5
5 Second Synopsis: A detective is called in to investigate brutal slayings in a poor district of London.
Why I Love It: I eat anything having to do with Jack the Ripper right up, so it was a given that I’d enjoy this. The fact that it’s actually good and stars Johnny Depp is just gravy.

 

NUMBER EIGHT

8 Identity

Title: Identity
Released in: 2003
Starring: John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, John Hawkes, Alfred Molina, Clea DuVall, John C McGinley, William Lee Scott, Jake Busey, Rebecca De Mornay, and Pruitt Taylor Vince
Directed by: James Mangold
Written by: Michael Cooney
Based On: N/A
The Killer’s Mode of Dispatching Victims: Uses whatever’s on hand
Body Count: 9
5 Second Synopsis: Stranded at a desolate Nevada motel during a nasty rain-storm, ten strangers become acquainted with each other when they realize that they’re being killed off one by one.
Why I Love It: Except the last two minutes, this is an awesome film. I may be stretching the ‘non-supernatural’ line here, but it’s so good I had to add it. Some shaky acting from some of the supporting cast, but they aren’t onscreen enough for it to ruin the film.

 

NUMBER SEVEN

7 Freeway

Title: Freeway
Released in: 1996
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Kiefer Sutherland, Dan Hedaya, Wolfgang Bodison, Michael T Weiss, Brittany Murphy, Conchata Ferrell, and Brooke Shields
Directed by: Matthew Bright
Written by: Matthew Bright
Based On: Very loosely based on The Little Red Riding Hood
The Killer’s Mode of Dispatching Victims: Strangulation (and necrophilia)
Body Count: 2 (many more offscreen)
5 Second Synopsis: A teen on the run from social services gets picked up by a man on the highway who turns out to be a serial killer. Much to his chagrin, she won’t go down easy.
Why I Love It: This film is absolutely nuts, and I absolutely love it. I can’t even really explain why, I just do. What I do know is that I want some of whatever Matthew Bright is on…

 

NUMBER SIX

6 Saw

Title: Saw
Released in: 2004
Starring: Leigh Whannell, Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, Ken Leung, Dina Meyer, Michael Emerson, Shawnee Smith, and Monica Potter
Directed by: James Wan
Written by: Leigh Whannell, James Wan
Based On: N/A
The Killer’s Mode of Dispatching Victims: Different kinds of elaborate traps
Body Count: 3
5 Second Synopsis: Two men wake up in an almost empty room, each chained by the foot on opposite ends of the room, with a dead man sprawled on the ground between them. A cassette player informs them that to escape one must kill the other, or saw their own foot off with a provided jigsaw.
Why I Love It: When it first came out, Saw was unlike anything the horror genre had seen in a long time, a real breath of fresh air. It was a wonderful idea, and very well executed, with only a little shaky acting sometimes. Unfortunately, with all the sequels that came after, the Saw name became synonymous with ‘crap’, and the brilliance of the first film became lost in the sea of awful sequels.

 

NUMBER FIVE

5 Seven

Title: Seven
Released in: 1995
Starring: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Daniel Zacapa, John Cassini, R Lee Ermey, and Kevin Spacey
Directed by: David Fincher
Written by: Andrew Kevin Walker
Based On: N/A
The Killer’s Mode of Dispatching Victims: Various, based on the seven deadly sins
Body Count: 3
5 Second Synopsis: Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi.
Why I Love It: Such a brilliant piece of film. Well written, well acted, with a killer ending that will stick with you long after the movie is done.

 

NUMBER FOUR

4 Scream

Title: Scream
Released in: 1996
Starring: Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Rose McGowan, Matthew Lillard, Drew Barrymore, W Earl Brown, Jamie Kennedy, and Roger Jackson
Directed by: Wes Craven
Written by: Kevin Williamson
Based On: N/A
The Killer’s Mode of Dispatching Victims: Stabbing, plus one death by garage door
Body Count: 5
5 Second Synopsis: A masked killer begins murdering teenagers in a small town, and as the body count rises, one girl and her friends contemplate the ‘rules’ of horror films as they find themselves living in a real-life one.
Why I Love It: The best of the 90’s teen horror, this film was just what the genre needed at that time. Well written and acted, it takes the conventional boring slasher film, turns it on its head, and makes it fun.

 

NUMBER THREE

3 Copycat

Title: Copycat
Released in: 1995
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Holly Hunter, Dermot Mulroney, William McNamara, Harry Connick Jr, JE Freeman, Will Patton, and John Rothman
Directed by: Jon Amiel
Written by: Ann Biderman, David Madsen
Based On: N/A
The Killer’s Mode of Dispatching Victims: Copying famous serial killers of the past
Body Count: 5
5 Second Synopsis: Two detectives contact an agoraphobic psychologist when a serial killers emerges, styling himself on serial killers of the past.
Why I Love It: Another great gem of the 90’s, this is definitely one of the better ones. All the acting is strong, the writing is smart, and the ending isn’t completely implausible. A near perfect thriller.

 

NUMBER TWO

2 Mr Brooks

Title: Mr Brooks
Released in: 2007
Starring: Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, Dane Cook, William Hurt, Danielle Panabaker, Marg Helgenberger, Aisha Hinds, Lindsay Crouse, and Jason Lewis
Directed by: Bruce A Evans
Written by: Bruce A Evans, Raynold Gideon
Based On: N/A
The Killer’s Mode of Dispatching Victims: Gun
Body Count: 5 (many more before)
5 Second Synopsis: A businessman who highlights as a serial killer is blackmailed by a photographer who happened to take pictures of his latest murder.
Why I Love It: This film is perfect, until the last three minutes. They don’t exist to me. But everything before that, awesome. Even Demi Moore and Dane Cook crank out good performances, and that’s saying something.

 

NUMBER ONE

1 Silence of the Lambs

Title: The Silence of the Lambs
Released in: 1991
Starring: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Anthony Heald, Frankie Faison, Brooke Smith, Lawrence T Wrentz, and Diane Baker
Directed by: Jonathan Demme
Written by: Ted Tally
Based On: The novel of the same name by Thomas Harris
5 Second Synopsis: A young FBI rookie is sent to ask the help of brilliant cannibalistic killer Dr Hannibal Lecter in catching another killer who kidnaps his victims, holds them for many days, then skins them to make a ‘woman suit’.
Why I Love It: I really don’t think I need to explain. Over 20 years, and it’s still number one. They just don’t make them like this anymore. Shame.

 

And, that’s it! What are your favourite serial killer films? Let me know in the comments, and stay tuned for more!

M.

My Top 50 Horror Films

So, articles like the one you’re about to read are actually one of the biggest reasons that I decided to start blogging in the first place. I love reading Top 10 (or more) lists about all sorts of stuff, but I always get frustrated that a lot of the stuff that I enjoy the most either are low in the lists, or not there at all. And the top spots are often reserved for the same old “classics”, most of which I don’t like. After reading the millionth Top Horror Movies article with movies like The Shining, Halloween, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Suspiria and others in the top spots, I decided that I’d make my own blog where I can show people that there are other movies than those in the world, and they’re just as good (or better, even) than those so-called classics.

I also won’t be putting them in exact order, because I just don’t have the patience to sit there and sort them all. I also doubt that I could choose a definitive order to put them in. So what I’ll do is kind of make it a Top 5, each number having a 10-way tie. And those 10 won’t be in any order, either. So with that said, allons-y!! 😀

 

NUMBERS 5

 

Cube

Title: Cube
Released in: 1997
Starring: Maurice Dean Wint, Nicole de Boer, David Hewlett, Nicky Guadagni, Andrew Miller, and Julian Richings
Directed by: Vincenzo Natali
Written by: André Bijelic, Vincenzo Natali, and Graeme Manson
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: Seven strangers awaken to find themselves captive in what seems like an endless cubic maze, each door leading either to safety or a gruesome death.
Why I Love It: A brilliant, character driven film that doesn’t shy away from the atrocities that humanity is capable of in a survival of the fittest kind of environment. And while there are a few gruesome scenes when the prisoners accidentally enter a booby trapped room, the film never goes too far with it. Nothing like buckets of pointless gore to ruin a great film.

 

Jeepers Creepers

Title: Jeepers Creepers
Released in: 2001
Starring: Gina Philips, Justin Long, Jonathan Breck, Patricia Belcher, Brandon Smith, and Eileen Brennan
Directed by: Victor Salva
Written by: Victor Salva
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: Siblings Darry and Trish are driving home together from school when they are followed and attacked by a humanoid creature driving a big, rusty truck who wants to eat them to regenerate its own body parts.
Why I Love It: It’s a slightly ridiculous concept with sometimes shaky acting, but the visuals and effects are great, the villain is suitably creepy, and the whole film just gives off a vibe of great fun. It’s not very scary (to me anyways), but it’s always a good time.

 

Re-Animator

Title: Re-Animator
Released in: 1985
Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, David Gale, and Robert Sampson
Directed by: Stuart Gordon
Written by: Dennis Paoli, William Norris, and Stuart Gordon
Based On: Herbert West, Re-Animator by HP Lovecraft
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: A young medical student finds himself in over his head when new student Herbert West arrives with his experiments. Experiments to bring dead flesh back to life.
Why I Love It: This film is totally nuts, start to finish, but it’s got that 80’s horror charm, and Jeffrey Combs is electrifying, eating up the whole screen every time he’s on it. The film also boasts the most uncomfortable-to-watch “sex” scene in the history of film. You’ll spend most of the film not knowing whether to laugh or cringe, but that’s just part of the appeal of this classic gem.

 

Saw

Title: Saw
Released in: 2004
Starring: Cary Elwes, Leigh Whannell, Danny Glover, Ken Leung, Dina Meyer, Monica Potter, and Shawnee Smith
Directed by: James Wan
Written by: Leigh Whannell
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: Two men wake up in an almost empty room, each chained by the foot on opposite ends of the room, with a dead man sprawled on the ground between them. A cassette player informs them that to escape one must kill the other, or saw their own foot off with a provided jigsaw.
Why I Love It: When it first came out, Saw was unlike anything the horror genre had seen in a long time, a real breath of fresh air. It was a wonderful idea, and very well executed, with only a little shaky acting sometimes. Unfortunately, with all the sequels that came after, the Saw name became synonymous with “crap”, and the brilliance of the first film became lost in the sea of awful sequels.

 

The Crazies

Title: The Crazies
Released in: 2010
Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson, Danielle Panabaker, Christie Lynn Smith, Brett Rickaby, and John Aylward
Directed by: Breck Eisner
Written by: Scott Kosar & Ray Wright
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: Yes
Of what?: Remake of 1973’s The Crazies, directed by George A Romero and starring Lane Carroll
5 Second Synopsis: After having their water contaminated, inhabitants of a small town become infected by a virus that makes them incredibly, mindlessly homicidal.
Why I Love It: Despite its rather silly name, this is a great film. I’m not much of a zombie movie fan, so I was reluctant to watch this one, but I was really glad I finally did. It may be classed as a zombie film, but besides a few similarities to the genre, it’s thankfully quite different. No dead people shambling around trying to eat flesh, this film is tense and sometimes scary, with great acting and awesome effects. This isn’t your grandfather’s zombie film :-p

 

The Pit & the Pendulum

Title: The Pit & the Pendulum
Released in: 1991
Starring: Lance Henriksen, Rona de Ricci, Jonathan Fuller, Stephen Lee, Mark Margolis, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Jeffrey Combs, and Frances Bay
Directed by: Stuart Gordon
Written by: Dennis Paoli
Based On: The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No. While The Pit and the Pendulum has been made into several films, this one isn’t a remake of any particular film.
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: An innocent young woman is arrested for witchcraft and tortured, while the leader of the inquisition, the evil Torquemada, lusts after her.
Why I Love It: I love Poe’s stories and poems, so it’s no surprise that I’d love the films based on his works. The film screams 90’s camp, but that’s hardly a bad thing. Lance Henriksen is wonderfully evil, he really makes the film the little gem that it is.

 

The Relic

Title: The Relic
Released in: 1997
Starring: Penelope Ann Miller, Tom Sizemore, Linda Hunt, James Whitmore, Clayton Rohner, Chi Muoi Lo, Thomas Ryan, and Lewis van Bergen
Directed by: Peter Hyams
Written by: Amy Jones, John Baffo, Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver
Based On: Relic by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: A detective teams up with an anthropologist when strange murders are committed in a museum, bodies discovered with the hypothalamus of the brain missing. They discover a strange, monstrous creature living beneath the museum, and it seems to need to eat these missing brain pieces.
Why I Love It: Now, I saw this film before reading the book, which is a very, very good thing. If I’d have read the book first, I’d have been very upset, since the main protagonist of the book series (Special Agent Pendergast) isn’t even in the film! But since I saw the film first, I was able to just take it as it was, and I loved it. It was the best monster movie of its time, and still holds up well today. A real fun ride.

 

Thirteen Ghosts

Title: Thirteen Ghosts
Released in: 2001
Starring: Tony Shalhoub, Embeth Davitz, Matthew Lillard, Shannon Elizabeth, Alec Roberts, JR Bourne, Rah Digga, and F Murray Abraham
Directed by: Steve Beck
Written by: Benjamin Carr & Richard D’Ovidio
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: Yes
Of what?: Remake of 1960’s 13 Ghosts, directed by William Castle and starring Donald Woods
5 Second Synopsis: When his uncle dies, a man takes his two children and their nanny to visit the house that they inherited. While looking through the gorgeous glass house, they unwittingly release 12 very powerful, very homicidal ghosts.
Why I Love It: I’m not sure why I love this one so much, but I really do. I know it’s far from being a perfect film, but I don’t know, I just have so much fun watching it, and the ghosts are just so cool and well done that it doesn’t matter that half the film doesn’t really make sense, hehe.

 

Underworld

Title: Underworld
Released in: 2003
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Michael Sheen, Shane Brolly, Bill Nighy, Sophia Myles, Erwin Leder, Robby Gee, and Wentworth Miller
Directed by: Len Wiseman
Written by: Danny McBride
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: A beautiful vampire warrior allies herself with a newly bitten werewolf when she begins to suspect that the war that has been raging for centuries between their two races is built on lies.
Why I Love It: A whole lot of style with a little substance, but it hardly matters. This film is so fun to watch, so visually pleasing that you can’t help but love it. And the story, while it’s the same old same old rehashed stuff, is just different enough to keep you entertained. And talk about eye candy, my goodness…

 

Warlock

Title: Warlock
Released in: 1989
Starring: Julian Sands, Richard E Grant, Lori Singer, Mary Woronov, and Kevin O’Brien
Directed by: Steve Miner
Written by: David Twohy
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: An evil warlock opens a portal from his time, the 17th century, to the present day to escape execution. A righteous witch-hunter jumps into the portal after him just before it closes, and vows to stop the warlock’s evil for good.
Why I Love It: Julian Sands. Do I really need another reason? Oh, I do? Well, I guess it’s a good thing that the film is so much fun, then! Wonderfully campy and acted better than most movies in its genre, it’s definitely a gem of the 80’s.

 

NUMBERS 4

 

Event Horizon

Title: Event Horizon
Released in: 1997
Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Joely Richardson, Kathleen Quinlan, Jason Isaacs, Jack Noseworthy, Richard T Jones, and Sean Pertwee
Directed by: Paul WS Anderson
Written by: Philip Eisner
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: A rescue crew is sent to investigate a ship that has been missing in deep space for years. Once on board, they realize that the abandoned vessel isn’t as empty as they first thought.
Why I Love It: Everything about the film is awesome. Great acting, great effects, great story, and just enough gore to slightly turn your stomach but not enough to just make it a gore-fest (which, you all may know by now, I’m not fond of). Almost 20 years later, it still gives me shivers while watching. A sign of a job well done!

 

Frailty

Title: Frailty
Released in: 2001
Starring: Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, Matt O’Leary, Jeremy Sumpter, and Powers Boothe
Directed by: Bill Paxton
Written by: Brent Hanley
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: A man confesses to an FBI agent his family’s story of how his religious fanatic father’s visions lead to a series of murders to destroy supposed “demons.” (Taken from IMDB, I was having a hell of a time trying to make a small synopsis, hehe.)
Why I Love It: It’s absolutely brilliant. Well written, incredibly acted, a wonderfully creepy story with a killer twist, before twists were a dime a dozen. Just wonderful.

 

Ginger Snaps

Title: Ginger Snaps
Released in: 2000
Starring: Katharine Isabelle, Emily Perkins, Kris Lemche, Jesse Moss, Danielle Hampton, John Bourgeois, and Mimi Rogers
Directed by: John Fawcett
Written by: Karen Walton
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: After being attacked by a large, furry creature on the night of a full moon, teenager Ginger and her sister Brigitte are on the lookout for clues that she is turning into a werewolf.
Why I Love It: It’s fun, it’s bloody, it’s smartly written, well acted and has cool practical effects. Werewolf films are hard to do without getting schlocky, but Ginger Snaps manages just fine. Also, Katharine Isabelle is a fox. And she loves making horror films, good news for us pervy horror fans! 😉

 

Idle Hands

Title: Idle Hands
Released in: 1999
Starring: Devon Sawa, Seth Green, Jessica Alba, Elden Henson, Vivica A Fox, Jack Noseworthy, Katie Wright, and Christopher Hart’s hand
Directed by: Rodman Flender
Written by: Terri Hughes & Ron Milbauer
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: A stoner’s hand becomes possessed by an evil spirit and it kills his two best friends. To try stop the killing, he chops his hand off but, much to his chagrin, it just keeps moving and escapes his house to go wreak havoc at a school Halloween dance.
Why I Love It: Despite its silly subject matter, this film is actually quite good. Laugh out loud funny with awesome special effects (that still hold up today), it’s a great popcorn movie. Plus, Devon Sawa. Total 90’s babe. Meow.

 

Near Dark

Title: Near Dark
Released in: 1987
Starring: Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein, Joshua John Miller, and Tom Thomerson
Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
Written by: Kathryn Bigelow & Eric Red
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: After being bit by a beautiful vampire, a young man is given an ultimatum by her “family”: make a kill within a week, or die. When he realizes he can’t kill, he and the girl run off, with her family in hot pursuit.
Why I Love It: I saw this for the first time as a teenager, and it had everything a teenage girl could possibly want. Romance, eye candy, and lots and lots of blood. Oh yeah 😀

 

Repo! The Genetic Opera

Title: Repo! The Genetic Opera
Released in: 2008
Starring: Alexa Vega, Anthony Stewart Head, Paul Sorvino, Terrance Zdunich, Sarah Brightman, Paris Hilton, Bill Moseley, and Nivek Ogre
Directed by: Darren Lynn Bousman
Written by: Terrance Zdunich & Darren Smith
Based On: Their play of the same name.
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: Set in a future where surgery has become a fashion statement, a chronically ill teen longs for the outside world. When she finally gets her wish, she’s quick to notice that not everything in her life is as it seems.
Why I Love It: A goth musical? With Sarah Brightman, Ogre, and Giles? How the heck could I not love it?? Great songs, great performances (even Paris! *gasp!*), and killer costumes, this was an instant cult classic. So much fun.

 

Signs

Title: Signs
Released in: 2002
Starring: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin, Abigail Breslin, Cherry Jones, and Patricia Kalember
Directed by: M Night Shyamalan
Written by: M Night Shyamalan
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: A preacher and his family find giant crop circles in their corn. Then they, and the rest of the world, come to realize that this time, it’s no hoax.
Why I Love It: A lot of people say that this was the beginning of the end for Shyamalan’s films, but I really liked this one. Yes, there’s a lot of self indulgent bullshit, but there’s a lot of great, tense moments, too, which more than make up for it.

 

Sinister

Title: Sinister
Released in: 2012
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, Fred Dalton Thompson, James Ransone, Michael Hall D’Addario, Clare Foley, and Nick King
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Written by: Scott Derrickson & C Robert Cargill
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: A true crime writer moves his family into a house where a horrific quadruple murder took place. He finds old reels of home video in the attic that leads him to believe that these murders were just one in a string of horrifying serial murders, taking place as far back as the 60’s.
Why I Love It: This is an excellent piece of film. Well acted, well written, awesomely atmospheric. Us horror fans are blessed that an actor of Ethan Hawke’s caliber loves doing horror films. But before you write this off as “just another ghost story”, think again. It’d probably have been higher on the list, but I’ve only seen it once, and so many others are higher simply for being loved longer, hehe.

 

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Title: The Exorcism of Emily Rose
Released in: 2005
Starring: Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Jennifer Carpenter, Campbell Scott, Colm Feore, Joshua Close, Kenneth Welsh, Duncan Fraser, and Mary Beth Hurt
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Written by: Paul Harris Boardman & Scott Derrickson
Based On: A true story
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: A tough lawyer takes on the case of a priest who is accused of negligent homicide after the death of a young woman on whom he had performed an exorcism.
Why I Love It: Exorcism movies, I find, are either amazing, or they’re crappy. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground. This one is amazing. You wouldn’t think a courtroom drama and exorcism horror would mesh well together in the same film, but they really do. I don’t believe for a moment that this is actually a true story (not the possession part anyways, the exorcism and trial were real enough, though), but it’s captivating, and all the acting is wonderful, especially from Dexter actress Jennifer Carpenter.

 

The Exorcist III

Title: The Exorcist III
Released in: 1990
Starring: George C Scott, Ed Flanders, Brad Dourif, Jason Miller, Nicol Williamson, Scott Wilson, Nancy Fish, and George DiCenzo
Directed by: William Peter Blatty
Written by: William Peter Blatty
Based On: Legion by William Peter Blatty
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: Yes
Of what?: Sequel to 1973’s The Exorcist, directed by William Friedkin and starring Linda Blair.
5 Second Synopsis: As a police lieutenant mourns on the anniversary of his friend’s death (Father Karras, from the first film), a serial killer strikes whose MO is eerily similar to a killer’s who’s been dead for 15 years.
Why I Love It: This is the sequel that The Exorcist should of had, instead of the abomination that was made (seriously, what the hell was that??) It’s a great story, and has real scares, with none of the camp that 90’s horror was so famous for. A real, under-rated gem.

 

NUMBERS 3

 

Constantine

Title: Constantine
Released in: 2005
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Rachael Weisz, Shia LeBoeuf, Tilda Swinton, Djimon Hounsou, Gavin Rossdale, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Max Baker, and Peter Stormare
Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Written by: Kevin Brodbin & Frank A Cappello
Based On: Hellblazer by Jamie Delano & Garth Ennis
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: A supernatural detective stumbles on a world-ending plot while ridding the world of demons.
Why I Love It: I won’t try give credit where none is due, Keanu Reeves is still a pretty bad actor. And yet this movie is awesome. The film doesn’t follow the books very closely (but that’s ok with me since I didn’t enjoy them all that much anyways). But the story is great, the effects are amazing, and the supporting cast is very strong, giving poor Keanu all the help he needs.

 

Dracula 2000

Title: Dracula 2000
Released in: 2000
Starring: Gerard Butler, Justine Waddell, Jonny Lee Miller, Christopher Plummer, Colleen Fitzpatrick, Jennifer Esposito, Omar Epps, Jeri Ryan, and Nathan Fillion
Directed by: Patrick Lussier
Written by: Joel Soisson
Based On: Characters created by Bram Stoker
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No. The Dracula story has been told in countless films, but this film, while based on the same story as all the others, is its own film, not based on its predecessors.
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: In modern-day London, the long-entrapped Count Dracula is unwittingly released by thieves, and goes to New Orleans to find the one born of his blood, Mary Van Helsing.
Why I Love It: It’s fun, hip, relatively well acted, and has a neat new idea for the identity of everyone’s favourite Count. Gerard Butler turns in a mesmerizing performance, it remains one of my very favourite on-screen vampire portrayals of all time. And he’s so sexy in this. So very, very sexy…. mmmmmmm… *snaps out of it* Ok, I’m done, sorry :-p

 

From Dusk Till Dawn

Title: From Dusk Till Dawn
Released in: 1996
Starring: George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo, Tom Savini, and Ted Williamson
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Written by: Quentin Tarantino
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: Two brothers on the run from the law take a father with his two kids hostage to sneak across the border into Mexico in their RV. Once there, they hole up in a brothel for the night to await a contact. Little do they know that this brothel is also a vampire nest, and they’re going to have to fight through the night if they want to survive.
Why I Love It: What not to love about this film? Badass characters, hyper-violence, buckets of blood, and lots of boobage, this movie is a ton and a half of fun, while still boasting a solid cast of good actors, and killer practical effects. Grab the popcorn and have a blast!

 

Identity

Title: Identity
Released in: 2003
Starring: John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, John Hawkes, Alfred Molina, Clea DuVall, John C McGinley, William Lee Scott, Jake Busey, and Pruitt Taylor Vince
Directed by: James Mangold
Written by: Michael Cooney
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: A group of strangers gets trapped in a small motel while a storm floods the roads. Elsewhere, a doctor awaits the arrival of his patient, who is on death row and is to be executed the next day.
Why I Love It: Despite some rather shaky acting from some of the smaller cast members, this film is amazing. Good acting from the core actors, awesome story that’ll keep you guessing till the very end, and a killer twist that actually makes sense. I’d have preferred the last 2 minutes to be cut from the film, though, I find it kinda cheapens the whole thing, which is why I gave it 9 stars instead of 10.

 

Queen of the Damned

Title: Queen of the Damned
Released in: 2002
Starring: Stuart Townsend, Aaliyah, Marguerite Moreau, Vincent Perez, Paul McGann, Lena Olin, and Matthew Newton
Directed by: Michael Rymer
Written by: Scott Abbott & Michael Patroni
Based On: The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: Yes
Of what?: Sequel to 1994’s Interview with the Vampire, directed by Neil Jordan and starring Brad Pitt.
5 Second Synopsis: A long-sleeping vampire wakes when a bold and arrogant younger vampire decides to start a rock band, and divulges “vampire secrets” in his lyrics.
Why I Love It: The acting is pretty shaky, the story is so far from Anne Rice’s original idea that it probably shouldn’t be allowed to claim to be based on her books, it’s full of clichés, and yet I love it. And nothing anyone can say will change my mind. Trust me, people have tried :-p

 

Stir of Echoes

Title: Stir of Echoes
Released in: 1999
Starring: Kevin Bacon, Kathryn Erbe, Illeana Douglas, Zachary David Cope, Kevin Dunn, Conor O’Farrell, and Jennifer Morrison
Directed by: David Koepp
Written by: David Koepp
Based On: A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: After being hypnotized, a family man starts to unravel after he starts seeing cryptic messages from a ghostly girl.
Why I Love It: Wonderfully acted, creepy and atmospheric, and well written, this is an almost perfect ghost story.

 

The Exorcist

Title: The Exorcist
Released in: 1973
Starring: Linda Blair, Ellen Burstyn, Jason Miller, Max Von Sydow, Lee J Cobb, William O’Malley, and Mercedes McCambridge
Directed by: William Friedkin
Written by: William Peter Blatty
Based On: The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty, a true story
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: After playing with a Ouija board, a young girl is possessed by a malevolent demon. Her mother begs a priest to perform an exorcism to save her.
Why I Love It: Just the right amount of body horror with psychological terror, this is one of the original greats. Saw it for the first time when I was 16, and it still scares me today. A true classic.

 

The Last Man on Earth

Title: The Last Man on Earth
Released in: 1964
Starring: Vincent Price, Franca Bettoia, and Giacomo Rossi-Stuart
Directed by: Ubaldo Ragona
Written by: William F Leicester & Richard Matheson
Based On: I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: After an epidemic sweeps the globe and turns everyone into blood-sucking monsters, a lone survivor searches for a cure, while killing as many of the monsters as he can.
Why I Love It: Vincent Price, Richard Matheson, and vampires? Of course I love it! No other reason is necessary! 😀

 

The Mummy

Title: The Mummy
Released in: 1999
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Rachael Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Kevin J O’Connor, Oded Fehr, Jonathan Hyde, and Patricia Velasquez
Directed by: Stephen Sommers
Written by: Stephen Sommers
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: Yes
Of what?: Reimagining of 1932’s The Mummy, directed by Karl Freund and starring Boris Karloff
5 Second Synopsis: Adventurers looking for treasure and artifacts on an ancient Egyptian site accidentally awaken an evil mummy that had been buried for thousands of years.
Why I Love It: I love anything to do with ancient Egypt, supernatural or otherwise, so it was a given that I’d love this one. Thankfully, it also happens to be great fun to watch.

 

The Stand

Title: The Stand
Released in: 1994
Starring: Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Jamey Sheridan, Adam Storke, Laura San Giacomo, Ruby Dee, Rob Lowe, Corin Nemec, Matt Frewer, Miguel Ferrer, and Ray Walston
Directed by: Mick Garris
Written by: Stephen King
Based On: The Stand by Stephen King
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: After a man-made super flu kills 99% of the people on earth, the survivors band together into two groups, one drawn by dreams of a kind old lady, the others by an evil man.
Why I Love It: I saw this at 13 when it first aired on tv, and I hadn’t read the book yet, which was probably a good thing, since it allowed me to love the mini-series, and not continuously compare it to the book. When I read the book a few years later, I was amazed at how much extra stuff was in it, but my love of the show was already cemented, hehe. It’s hopelessly dated, but it’s still a fun watch.

 

NUMBERS 2

 

Aliens

Title: Aliens
Released in: 1986
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein, and William Hope
Directed by: James Cameron
Written by: James Cameron
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: Yes
Of what?: Sequel to 1979’s Alien, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Sigourney Weaver.
5 Second Synopsis: The sole survivor from the first film assists a tough group of space marines in containing the Xenomorph threat, while a malevolent company wants the alien offspring captured alive. Naturally, stuff goes very wrong.
Why I Love It: Do I really have to explain myself? A definite success in the merging of sci-fi and horror genres, it was, and remains, one of the best films of its genre. Everything was done so well that it’s easy to forget that the film wasn’t made recently, but rather almost 30 years ago. A sign of a job well done!

 

Beetlejuice

Title: Beetlejuice
Released in: 1988
Starring: Michael Keeton, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones, and Glenn Shadix
Directed by: Tim Burton
Written by: Michael McDowell & Warren Skaaren
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: After a young couple tragically dies in an accident, they’re told that they will have to “haunt” their house for quite a few number of years. When a new family moves in and start making changes to their beloved home, they contact a “bio-exorcist” to make them leave.
Why I Love It: This film almost didn’t make the list at all, since I wasn’t sure if I should include it in a horror list, but it’s so awesome that I decided to go ahead and add it. Wickedly funny with awesome practical effects, this has been one of my favourites since I was a kid.

 

Cabin in the Woods

Title: The Cabin in the Woods
Released in: 2012
Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Anna Hutchison, Bradley Whitford, Richard Jenkins, Amy Acker, Jodelle Ferland, and Sigourney Weaver
Directed by: Drew Goddard
Written by: Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods for some R&R. Meanwhile, a government office seems to be preparing for something that involves the group. And that’s pretty much all I can say without giving spoilers, just in case there are still a few horror fans who haven’t seen this.
Why I Love It: “Written by Joss Whedon” was all I needed to see to convince me to go see it. It was so much fun, so tongue-in-cheek, that’s impossible to not love it. There are so many winks to so many horror films and tropes that even after multiple viewings, there’s always something I didn’t notice ‘last time’. Just awesome.

 

Dracula

Title: Dracula
Released in: 1992
Starring: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Sadie Frost, Cary Elwes, Richard E Grant, Tom Waits, and Monica Bellucci
Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Written by: James V Hart
Based On: Dracula by Bram Stoker
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No. The Dracula story has been told in countless films, but this film, while based on the same story as all the others, is its own film, not based on its predecessors, and is actually closer to the book than the rest.
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: After seeing a photograph of a woman who resembles his long-dead wife, a centuries old vampire travels to England to find her.
Why I Love It: I don’t really think I need to explain why I love this film, hehe. The only thing that’s not perfect is Keanu Reeves’ acting :-p

 

House on Haunted Hill

Title: House on Haunted Hill
Released in: 1999
Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Famke Janssen, Ali Larter, Taye Diggs, Peter Gallagher, Chris Kattan, Bridgette Wilson, Max Perlich, and Jeffrey Combs
Directed by: William Malone
Written by: Dick Beebe
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: Yes
Of what?: Remake of 1959’s House on Haunted Hill, directed by William Castle and starring Vincent Price.
5 Second Synopsis: An eccentric millionaire offers a million dollars to one of four guests if they can survive the night in a supposedly haunted mansion, which used to be an asylum with a horrifying past.
Why I Love It: Such a fun film that doesn’t rely on jump scares to creep you out. I absolutely love this one. Strong acting, strong writing, and a superbly creepy setting make this film step ahead of a lot of others in its genre.

 

It

Title: It
Released in: 1990
Starring: Tim Curry, Richard Thomas, Jonathan Brandis, Annette O’Toole, Emily Perkins, Harry Anderson, Seth Green, Dennis Christopher, and John Ritter
Directed by: Tommy Lee Wallace
Written by: Tommy Lee Wallace & Stephen King
Based On: It by Stephen King
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: In 1960, seven outcast kids known as ‘The Losers Club’ fight an evil child-eating demon who poses as a clown. 30 years later, they are called back to fight the same clown again. (from IMDB)
Why I Love It: I watched this when it came out,which meant I was 9 years old. Pennywise traumatized the crap out of me, and I’ve hated clowns ever since. But despite all this, I loved it, and still do. I’m not sure I’d have liked it so much had I seen it for the first time now, because it absolutely screams early 90’s, so I guess it’s a good thing I saw it way back then, hehe.

 

Pitch Black

Title: Pitch Black
Released in: 2000
Starring: Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Claudia Black, Rhiana Griffith, Keith David, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, and Simon Burke
Directed by: David Twohy
Written by: Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat, and David Twohy
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: A cargo ship carrying a dangerous fugitive crashes on a planet that is always bright. When the sun finally goes down, though, the survivors realize that they are not alone.
Why I Love It: I can’t really explain why I love this one so much. It should have just been a generic crash-land-on-dangerous-planet thing, and yet just because all components were slightly better than usual, it made this film a total gem. At least to me, hehe.

 

Stigmata

Title: Stigmata
Released in: 1999
Starring: Patricia Arquette, Gabriel Byrne, Jonathan Pryce, Nia Long, Thomas Kopache, Rade Serbedzija, Enrico Colantoni, and Dick Latessa
Directed by: Rupert Wainwright
Written by: Tom Lazarus & Rick Ramage
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: A young woman is plagued with vicious bouts of stigmata, the wounds of Jesus Christ while being crucified, after receiving a rosary from her mother from Brazil. A priest from the Vatican is sent to investigate.
Why I Love It: I’m usually not big on religious stories, but this one spends more time on the characters, and less time being preachy, and so I enjoyed it very much. The story is great, most of the acting is great, and Gabriel Byrne is a stone-cold fox. Three great reasons to love it, hehehe.

 

The Eye

Title: Gin Gwai (The Eye)
Released in: 2002
Starring: Lee Sin-Je, Lawrence Chou, Candy Lo, Yut Lai So, Edmund Chen, Chutcha Rujinanon, Sue Yuen Wang, Pierre Png, and Yin Ping Ko
Directed by: The Pang Brothers
Written by: Oxide Pang, Danny Pang, and Yuet-Jan Hui
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: A young woman, blind from birth, gets cornea transplants, allowing her to finally see. But she soon realizes that her new eyes see much more than everyone else.
Why I Love It: Asian films are often too weird for me to enjoy, but when they get it right, they get it damn right. The acting, effects, and atmosphere are all stupendous. A definite gem, express from Hong Kong.

 

The Woman in Black

Title: The Woman in Black
Released in: 2012
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciarán Hinds, Janet McTeer, Liz White, Shaun Dooley, Mary Stockley, Roger Allam, Jessica Raine, Sophie Stuckey, and Misha Handley
Directed by: James Watkins
Written by: Jane Goldman
Based On: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: Yes
Of what?: Remake of 1989’s The Woman in Black, directed by Herbert Wise and starring Adrian Rawlins.
5 Second Synopsis: A young, widowed lawyer is sent to close the estate of an old woman who just passed away. While getting her affairs in order in her manor, he is plagued by an evil presence that brings a horrible end to some of the towns’ children.
Why I Love It: Superbly acted and creepily atmospheric, this film was a masterpiece. Young Daniel upped his game for this role, and he did a wonderful job. It’s hard to be in a film with so little dialogue and still be entertaining, but he, and the rest of the cast, managed beautifully. In my opinion, it’s one of the finest films to come out of the horror genre in the last 15 years. The only reason it’s not in the number ones is because all the films up there (save one) are long-time favourites.

 

And now, for the best of the best, my very favourites, the top 10 horror films that I strongly suggest everyone see, even those people who don’t really care for horror. As usual, these aren’t in any order, it’s a 10-way tie for the number 1 slot, hehe. There’s only one recent film, one from 2002, two from 1999, and then the rest are 1994 and earlier. But, like I said in my intro, you won’t be seeing hardly any of the ‘usuals’ in this spot. My number one spot(s) is reserved for films that are actually good 😉 So, without any further ado, here are my-

 

NUMBERS 1

 

Fright Night

Title: Fright Night
Released in: 1985
Starring: Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, Roddy McDowall, Stephen Geoffreys, Jonathan Stark, Dorothy Fielding, and Art Evans
Directed by: Tom Holland
Written by: Tom Holland
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: A teen becomes suspicious of his new neighbour when bodies of young women are found dumped in trash bags. He soon realizes the suave, handsome man is an evil vampire, and he tries to enlist the help of a tv vampire slayer to stop him.
Why I Love It: One of the original great horror-comedies, this film is fun, campy, and scary. The actors are perfect in their roles, especially Chris Sarandon as the evil yet seductive Jerry Dandridge. The remake, while nowhere near as good as this one, is still worth a gander.

 

Interview with the Vampire

Title: Interview with the Vampire
Released in: 1994
Starring: Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst, Antonio Banderas, Christian Slater, Stephen Rea, Domiziana Giordano, Indra Ové, and Thandie Newton
Directed by: Neil Jordan
Written by: Anne Rice
Based On: Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: A young man who has lost his wife and baby in childbirth is offered immortality by a charming but ruthless vampire. We follow him through his centuries of life as he tells his story to a young writer.
Why I Love It: So beautiful and sumptuous. Incredibly acted and written, it follows the book quite closely (which is to be expected when it’s the author who writes the screenplay). A lot of the actors don’t look like their book counterparts, but the movie is so well done that I was able to forgive this.

 

noes

Title: A Nightmare on Elm Street
Released in: 1984
Starring: Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Johnny Depp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Charles Fleischer, John Saxon, and Ronee Blakley
Directed by: Wes Craven
Written by: Wes Craven
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: In the dreams of his victims, a spectral child murderer stalks the children of the members of the lynch mob that killed him. (From IMDB)
Why I Love It: This was the very first horror movie I ever saw, even before The Lost Boys, which means I was just a wee thing (only 3 or 4 years old) when I saw it. And it’s stuck with me ever since, still one of my top 10 favourites, even with the sometimes laughable acting and effects. When a movie is this good, lots of stuff can be over-looked! hehe

 

Poltergeist

Title: Poltergeist
Released in: 1982
Starring: Craig T Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Beatrice Straight, Heather O’Rourke, Dominique Dunne, Oliver Robins, Martin Casella, and Zelda Rubinstein
Directed by: Tobe Hooper
Written by: Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais, and Mark Victor
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: A young family are visited by ghosts in their home. At first the ghosts appear friendly, moving objects around the house to the amusement of everyone, then they turn nasty and start to terrorize the family before they kidnap the youngest daughter. (from IMDB)
Why I Love It: An absolute classic of the genre, it’s still one of the very best haunted house films ever made, even 32 years later.

 

Sleepy Hollow

Title: Sleepy Hollow
Released in: 1999
Starring: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Jeffrey Jones, Casper van Dien, Richard Griffiths, Michael Gough, Marc Pickering, Lisa Marie, Ian McDiarmid and Christopher Walken
Directed by: Tim Burton
Written by: Andrew Kevin Walker
Based On: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: A slightly eccentric Constable is sent to the small town of Sleepy Hollow to investigate killings that the locals are sure were committed by a ghostly headless horseman.
Why I Love It: This is Burton and Depp at their very best, when the creative mojo was still mojoing, and they were still making terrific pictures together. The scenery is dark and brooding, the characters are all captivating, and Johnny Depp is, of course, absolutely gorgeous. Simply wonderful.

 

The Conjuring

Title: The Conjuring
Released in: 2013
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston, Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy, Kyla Deaver, Shannon Kook, John Brotherton and Joseph Bishara
Directed by: James Wan
Written by: Chad Hayes & Carey Hayes
Based On: The Demonologist: The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren by Gerald Brittle, a true story.
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: When the strange occurrences in their new home become more frequent and violent, a family of seven asks a husband and wife team of paranormal investigators to help them.
Why I Love It: The most recent film in my whole list, and yet it blew right to one of the top spots almost immediately. Everything in this film is perfect. All the actors are in excellent form, the writing and directing are phenomenal, and it’s more than just a little scary. Not many recent films have this kind of power and atmosphere. If you haven’t seen this yet, I highly reccomend that you drop everything and go watch it right now!! 😉

 

The Lost Boys

Title: The Lost Boys
Released in: 1987
Starring: Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Keifer Sutherland, Jami Gertz, Corey Feldman, Dianne Wiest, Barnard Hughes, Edward Herrmann, Jamison Newlander, Alex Winter, Billy Wirth, Brooke McCarter, Chance Michael Corbitt, Folsom the Dog, and Cody the Dog
Directed by: Joel Schumacher
Written by: Jan Fischer, James Jeremias, and Jeffrey Boam
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: When brothers Sam and Michael move to a new town after their parents divorce, they quickly realize that the town is over-run by vampires. Sam gets help from self-appointed vampire slayers, but for Michael it may be too late…
Why I Love It: It was the first vampire movie I ever saw, and was the beginning of a life-long love affair with all things that go bump in the night. The story isn’t really anything new (I’m not even sure there’s any original ideas left anywhere), but the ride is so fun that it doesn’t matter. Their vampires are the ‘real’ deal; they’re strong, fast, sexy and oh so evil, just the way vamps aught to be, hehe.

 

The Ring

Title: The Ring
Released in: 2002
Starring: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman, Brian Cox, Jane Alexander, Lindsay Frost, Amber Tamblyn, Shannon Cochran, and Daveigh Chase
Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Written by: Ehren Kruger
Based On: Ringu (Ring) by Kôji Suzuki
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: Yes
Of what?: Remake of 1998’s Ringu, directed by Hideo Nakata and starring Nanako Matsushima.
5 Second Synopsis: After her niece dies under mysterious circumstances, a journalist promises her sister she will investigate the death. What she finds is a cassette tape that kills you in seven days if you watch it. With the clock ticking, she must figure out what the spirit in the tape wants, or else die like everyone else who has seen it.
Why I Love It: It doesn’t happen very often that a remake is better than the original, but this happens to be one such instance. Despite the dated nature of some of the plot points (does anyone even own vhs anymore? lol), this film is still immensely watchable and creepy, even 12 years later. Everything is wonderful, acting, effects, writing, everything. Not just one of my favourite horror movies, it’s one of my favourite movies, period.

 

The Silence of the Lambs

Title: The Silence of the Lambs
Released in: 1991
Starring: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Anthony Heald, Frankie Faison, Brooke Smith, Lawrence T Wrentz, and Diane Baker
Directed by: Jonathan Demme
Written by: Ted Tally
Based On: The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: A young FBI rookie is sent to ask the help of brilliant cannibalistic killer Dr Hannibal Lecter in catching another killer who kidnaps his victims, holds them for many days, then skins them to make a “woman suit”.
Why I Love It: I love serial killers. I’ve got this weird, morbid fascination with them. I watch a lot of true crime stuff, read true crime books, and of course, I love serial killer fiction as well. And this film, even after so much time, is still the best of the best. Hannibal Lecter and Buffalo Bill are still two of the creepiest serial killers ever to be captured on film, and it’s still, to my knowledge, the only horror film not only to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, but to win it. And it was very much earned.

 

The Sixth Sense

Title: The Sixth Sense
Released in: 1999
Starring: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams, Trevor Morgan, Mischa Barton, and Donnie Wahlberg
Directed by: M Night Shyamalan
Written by: M Night Shyamalan
Based On: N/A
Remake/reimagining/sequel?: No
Of what?: N/A
5 Second Synopsis: A boy who communicates with spirits that don’t know they’re dead seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist. (from IMDB)
Why I Love It: I do love me a good old haunting. I remember when I saw this for the first time. I went to see it at the cinema with my cousin. And we were both so blown away by that ending, we went back to see it again right after, just to see if we could spot any mistakes that would have the twist make no sense. We couldn’t. And thankfully, unlike a lot of films with such twists, this film is so good that even knowing what’s going to happen doesn’t take any enjoyment away from the film.

 

PHEW!! That’s it! I’m finally done!! I hope you guys really enjoy this article, it took me more than 3 weeks to complete! (Not working at it full time, obviously, but still!) I had loads of fun making it, and I hope you have as much fun reading it.

Thanks for coming by, and stay tuned for more! (I’ll try my best to return to a more regular posting schedule 🙂 ).

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Frailty

Frailty
(2001)Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, Matt O’Leary, Jeremy Sumpter, Luke Askew and Powers Boothe

Image

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first popped this film into the machine. I hadn’t seen a trailer and was just going by what was written on the box. I’m happy to report that it blew all of my expectations (or lack thereof) right out of the water. It was absolutely brilliant. Well written, incredibly acted, a wonderfully creepy story with a killer twist, before twists were a dime a dozen. If you haven’t seen this little gem, I highly reccomend it. It gets a 10/10 from me. Just wonderful.

This movie is currently on Netflix. Enjoy! 🙂

 

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Maniac

Maniac
(2013) Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder, Megan Duffy, Jan Broberg Felt, Joshua de la Garza, America Olivo, Liane Balaban, and Genevieve Alexandra

Image

The “see through the eyes of the killer” aspect was interesting, and well done, but unfortunately it was the only thing this picture had going for it. I spent the majority of my time humming and hawing. Elijah Wood was amazing, as usual, but I dunno. The film just didn’t grip me. I didn’t care about the characters, and, biggest turn off of all I guess, I just don’t really like these “violence for nothing” films. Which is a little strange, considering how much true crime stuff I watch, but in movies, I just really need a reason more than just insanity. So for me, it gets 3/10, and that’s cause I’m feeling generous, and I like Elijah Wood.

This movie is currently on Netflix. Watch at your own peril.

 

M.