[Halloween] Top 13 Favourite Horror Films by Decade

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PolarBlues

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If I had to select a Jason movie, I would have gone for Jason X, the one in space. It's just utterly bonkers and shameless. It also kind fun to see two of the main ladies from Andromeda doing a role reversal (Romy playing the human, Becca playing the cyborg).
 

TristramEvans

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Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives! is my favourite in the series, I think it's when Jason became iconic as a character. It's treated more like a classic Universal monster movie at that point, moving away from being a low-rent Michael Myers into a full-on undead monster. I also enjoyed the much-maligned VI: A New Beginning. I understand why fans hate it, but I liked them taking the chance of going in a different direction.

The Friday the 13th films are the kind of slashers though that I actually prefer watching the editted TV versions.
 

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Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives! is my favourite in the series, I think it's when Jason became iconic as a character. It's treated more like a classic Universal monster movie at that point, moving away from being a low-rent Michael Myers into a full-on undead monster. I also enjoyed the much-maligned VI: A New Beginning. I understand why fans hate it, but I liked them taking the chance of going in a different direction.

The Friday the 13th films are the kind of slashers though that I actually prefer watching the editted TV versions.

They went in a "different", i.e., Scooby-Doo direction for Part V. It... didn't go well. My personal favorite is probably Part 2, though Part IV is great as well.
 

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I didn't think it was the directing or performances in Oldboy that let it down compared to the original, so much as the script, they removed large parts of the story that made it work (the post-hypnotic suggestions), and blunted the ending

I think it was also the fight choreography. People don't realize that movie fighting differs from combat or competitive fighting in many ways- one very important one being in the acting. You're telling a story in the fight, especially as an actor, and the fight coordinator and the director help you with selling that. Being able to take a hit in a convincing way is a skill. Also, giving the impression that fighting is hard is a skill. No one directed Josh Brolin on how to do that.

A good comparison of the hall fight in both Oldboys:

 

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If I had to select a Jason movie, I would have gone for Jason X, the one in space. It's just utterly bonkers and shameless. It also kind fun to see two of the main ladies from Andromeda doing a role reversal (Romy playing the human, Becca playing the cyborg).

I thought the most shameless one was Jason vs Freddie (and I loved it... both of them brought a different mood to each others' reactions)
 

Gringnr

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I think it was also the fight choreography. People don't realize that movie fighting differs from combat or competitive fighting in many ways- one very important one being in the acting. You're telling a story in the fight, especially as an actor, and the fight coordinator and the director help you with selling that. Being able to take a hit in a convincing way is a skill. Also, giving the impression that fighting is hard is a skill. No one directed Josh Brolin on how to do that.

A good comparison of the hall fight in both Oldboys:


Iko Uwais (star of The Raid) talked about this. He said that his background was martial arts competitions, where he was trained not to show pain when you feel it. When he started acting, he had to learn to react as if he were in pain when he was pretending to fight.
 

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SUPPLEMENTAL #1

13 FAVOURITE COMEDY HORRORS (Any Decade)


13. Return Of The Swamp Thing
12. Gremlins 2: The New Batch
11. The Perfect Host
10. Little Shop of Horrors
9. Clue
8. Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight
7. The Ruling Class
6. Ghostbusters
5. What We Do In The Shadows
4. Shaun of the Dead
3. Psycho Beach Party
2. Manborg
1. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra


Other comedy horrors worth mentioning:

Return of the Living Dead - just gonna assume that everyone has seen this, and that no summary is necessary. What you may not know is that this film was the brainchild of John Russo, co-writer of the original Night of the Living Dead.

Cemetery Man - an endearing mix of broad, gory slapstick and surprisingly subtle jokes, this one is a must-see. Based on the Dylan Dog comic books from Italy. Directed with a unique distinctive visual flair by Michele Soavi (a protege of Dario Argento). Starring Rupert Everett (who was the visual basis for the Dylan Dog character) as Francesco Dellamorte, a cemetery caretaker with a problem: everyone buried in Buffalora Cemetery comes back to life within a week. This one has a lot of gore, some hilarious subplots, and a real artistic flair. The line, "Would you believe this was the only job I could get, even with a degree in biology?" kills me every time.
 

TristramEvans

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Other comedy horrors worth mentioning:

Return of the Living Dead - just gonna assume that everyone has seen this, and that no summary is necessary. What you may not know is that this film was the brainchild of John Russo, co-writer of the original Night of the Living Dead.

Cemetery Man - an endearing mix of broad, gory slapstick and surprisingly subtle jokes, this one is a must-see. Based on the Dylan Dog comic books from Italy. Directed with a unique distinctive visual flair by Michele Soavi (a protege of Dario Argento). Starring Rupert Everett (who was the visual basis for the Dylan Dog character) as Francesco Dellamorte, a cemetery caretaker with a problem: everyone buried in Buffalora Cemetery comes back to life within a week. This one has a lot of gore, some hilarious subplots, and a real artistic flair. The line, "Would you believe this was the only job I could get, even with a degree in biology?" kills me every time.


Cemetary Man made my list of top 13 Horror films of the 90s.
 

JRT

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Of course, my favorite comedy horror movie is the classic Ghostbusters.

I find though that a favorite of mine not listed here is John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness. I don't know exactly what about this that I love so much but I always bring out my blu-ray of this cult classic every Halloween to watch. A 4K version is coming out from Shout Factory this January. (Not to mention this movie had an influence on a D&D module/sourcebook, as a secret plot twist!)
 

PolarBlues

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Of course, my favorite comedy horror movie is the classic Ghostbusters.

I find though that a favorite of mine not listed here is John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness. I don't know exactly what about this that I love so much but I always bring out my blu-ray of this cult classic every Halloween to watch. A 4K version is coming out from Shout Factory this January. (Not to mention this movie had an influence on a D&D module/sourcebook, as a secret plot twist!)

I'm with you there. I know it's a terrible movie with muddled plot and awful actors, but it just has this ominous atmosphere that somehow keeps you watching.
 

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I'm with you there. I know it's a terrible movie with muddled plot and awful actors, but it just has this ominous atmosphere that somehow keeps you watching.

If shown by their other works, I don't think you can blame the terribleness on the actors.
 

TristramEvans

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Of course, my favorite comedy horror movie is the classic Ghostbusters.

I find though that a favorite of mine not listed here is John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness. I don't know exactly what about this that I love so much but I always bring out my blu-ray of this cult classic every Halloween to watch. A 4K version is coming out from Shout Factory this January. (Not to mention this movie had an influence on a D&D module/sourcebook, as a secret plot twist!)

Yeah, that was on my big list of 80s films, but didn't quite make the cut to my top 13. Definitely would have been on my top 31 80s Horror...

hmm, there's an idea...
 

TristramEvans

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OK, so I've done a Top 31 Horror Films from the '80s, starting off where I left off with the last list, which was...

1. The Shining
2. The Thing
3. Nightmare III
4. Hellraiser II
5. The Gate
6. Fright Night
7. Videodrome
8. The Vanishing
9. Predator
10. Critters 2
11. Re-Animator
12. An American Wwerewolf in London
13. Children of the Corn

ALIENS (1986)
Only didn't make the top 13 because I think of it more as a scifi action film than horror.

15. TERMINATOR (1984)
Likewise, Terminator I mentally place more in a SciFi category, so while it would rate higher on a purely "Best films of the 80's" list, it doesn't offer much in the way of horror, even though it does play out like a monster movie.

16. THE FOG (1980)
maxresdefault.jpg

Carpenter's follow-up to Halloween doesn't get as much attention as his later Apocalypse Trilogy, but it's a solid ghost story with some great characters and a clever use simple effects. Just the fact that it manages to get you to take "ghost pirates" seriously as a threat is a tribute to the tight script and direction.

17. THE CHANGELING (1980)
Maybe the best haunted house film ever made? Not particularly scary, but George C. Scott gives an amazing performance.

18. WARLOCK (1989)
This is definitely one of my guilty pleasures. It is silly, almost to the point of schlock, but the story is so original and it;s just so fun and entertaining, I can't help but love it. For anyone who hasn't seen it, Julian Sands plays the titular warlock (as in a male witch who worships Satan) caught during the Salem Witch Trial era (one of the few films to take the tact of legitimizing the Witch trials). Scheduled to be executed, he escapes by casting a spell that sends him into the future, and he's followed at the last minute through the time portal by the Witch Hunter that caught him. They both end up in the 1980s, and hilarity ensues, as the Warlock attempts to fulfill his duty by summoning the Devil to Earth, and the Witchhunter is aided by a vapid valleygirl (and at one point, an Amish farmer) in stopping him.

MV5BZWMzZWVhNzAtYmM5NC00MGYxLWJjNGMtNTcwZDljNzQ1OGYzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjUyNDk2ODc@._V1_SX1777_CR...jpg

19. THE HITCHER (1986)
A very dark thriller featuring Rutger Hauer as the personification of the reason they tell you not to pick up Hitchhikers. The tensions slowly builds until a sadistic ending that's still shocking today.

20. ROAD GAMES (1981)
Another road movie, this one is a potboiler about a truck driver in Australia who finds himself on the same path as a serial killer. This is a very well-crafted film that deserves far more love and attention. There are some amazingly tense scenes, the one that really stuck with me being when the trucker enters his cargo and stares at the hanging slabs of meat he is transporting, with the mounting suspicion that some of cargo isn't in fact cattle. Also co-stars Jamie Lee Curtis a the kind of Hitchhiker you do want to pick up.

21. PHANTASM II (1988)
The follow-up to Phantasm a decade later lacks the living nightmare quality of the original, but makes up for it by expanding the lore and offering a very well-paced thriller with some just absolutely gorgeous gothic visuals. Sady this would be the last Phantasm film worth a damn. Notable for having, IMO, one of the best trailers of the 80s:


22. WAXWORK (1988)
T
his is one of those Horror films that borders on pure fantasy. Inspired by a 1924 German silent film, Waxwork features a group of twenty-somethings visiting a wax museaum run by the always entertaining David Warner, where the displays are portals to pocket dimensions set up to capture souls for the devil, by turning the visitors into the creatures in the displays, or something - it's one of those ridiculously convoluted plans that supernatural foes aways seem to come up with, where the focus is clearly more on entertaining the audience in as many unique ways as possible than anything rational.

waxwork.jpg

23. THE STEPFATHER (1987)
A surprisingly well-done slasher that managed to please even the "what about the children?" fuddy-duddy critics of the 80s. Well acted with a tight script, it's definitely worth seeing at least once.

24. THEY LIVE (1988)
This is another one that only didn't make the top 13 because I find it more of an action film than Horror. Well-memed these days, it's anti-consumerist message is a bit heavy-handed as a metaphor, but effective nonetheless. Roddy Roddy Piper may not have gone on to an illustrious film career, but he's competant in a role that doesn't ask much of him.

25. HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH (1982)
halloween-iii-season-of-the-witch-1108x0-c-default.jpg


This one was pretty heavily maligned by Halloween fans who just wanted more Michael Myers, but as a stand-alone film I think it deserves more praise than it got. The premise is of course far-fetched, but there's some moments of genuine horror, and one of the darker endings in cinema history.

26. PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1987)
The sum of this film isn't that great, but there's many individual parts of it that I enjoy. I think the concept could be redone as something quite special. I've always liked the juxtoposition of science and religion when it comes to supernatural horror.

27. APRIL FOOL’S DAY (1986)
I've said efore slashers aren't my favourite genre, but this is one of the few that stood out in the 80s as something more than just "teens" (usually meaning 30 year olds playing teens) getting punished for their youth and sex-having ways. If you haven't seen this one, theres some twists I don't want to ruin - it's far better going in with no expectations.

28. THE STUFF (1985)
the-stuff-1-1.jpg

For an admittedly B-horror film that features a goofy premise, while it's not very well known, Ive been surprised at how many other people regard it with the same affection as myself. The plot seems to be straight out of a 50s low-rent alien invasion flick, but there's just the right amount of satire, sardonic wit, and childhood endearment to elevate it to something special.

29. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI: JASON LIVES! (1986)
150313_em_fri13th_movie.jpg

It did feel weird having a top horror films of the 80s list and not featuring at least one entry from one of the most iconic horror franchises of the decade. As mentioned previously, part VI is my favourite, mainly as it manages to both capture the iconic status of Jason perfectly and elevate him into a supernatural force, but also be a wink-to-the audience meta-commentary on the slasher genre a good decade before Scream. The film hits that perfect balance of not taking itself seriously while still taking Jason Vorhees seriously.

30. PET SEMATARY (1989)
I might have rated this higher except that I found it really just doesn't have the rewatchability of other films on this list. It's definitely a solid Stephen King adaption and a well done horror flick.

31. MONSTER SQUAD (1987)
OK, it only barely passes as horror, but it's still a great film. Endlessly quotable one-liners, some makeup that holds up astoundly well today, and confirmation that Wolfman does indeed have nards.
 

Gringnr

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I've mentioned it in other threads, but the David Lynch-produced Nadja is black & white, artsy, totally 90s, deadpan horror-comedy perfection. Peter Fonda steals the show as a grizzled vampire hunter, and 90s indie faves Elina Löwensohn and Martin Donovan star. Eminently quotable, with a killer 90s soundtrack (Portishead, My Bloody Valentine, Spacehog). If you like offbeat vampire flicks, or just want to mainline some 90s nostalgia, check it out.
 

Gringnr

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I like Monster Squad a lot. But, I was going to show it to my nephews, and upon screening it ahead of time, I noticed that the boys call each other "f*ggot" a lot more than I remembered...
 

TristramEvans

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I've mentioned it in other threads, but the David Lynch-produced Nadja is black & white, artsy, totally 90s, deadpan horror-comedy perfection. Peter Fonda steals the show as a grizzled vampire hunter, and 90s indie faves Elina Löwensohn and Martin Donovan star. Eminently quotable, with a killer 90s soundtrack (Portishead, My Bloody Valentine, Spacehog). If you like offbeat vampire flicks, or just want to mainline some 90s nostalgia, check it out.


I remember Nadja, it reminded by of that movie with David Bowie ...Hunger? A little arthouse for my taste, but it's been over 20 years since I've seen it, may be worth another viewing.

I like Monster Squad a lot. But, I was going to show it to my nephews, and upon screening it ahead of time, I noticed that the boys call each other "f*ggot" a lot more than I remembered...

Yeah, that was weirdly normative in the 80s as an insult among kids
 

Gringnr

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I remember Nadja, it reminded by of that movie with David Bowie ...Hunger? A little arthouse for my taste, but it's been over 20 years since I've seen it, may be worth another viewing.



Yeah, that was weirdly normative in the 80s as an insult among kids


Oh, I remember.
 

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I've mentioned it in other threads, but the David Lynch-produced Nadja is black & white, artsy, totally 90s, deadpan horror-comedy perfection. Peter Fonda steals the show as a grizzled vampire hunter, and 90s indie faves Elina Löwensohn and Martin Donovan star. Eminently quotable, with a killer 90s soundtrack (Portishead, My Bloody Valentine, Spacehog). If you like offbeat vampire flicks, or just want to mainline some 90s nostalgia, check it out.

I dug this when I saw it a billion years ago but haven't seen it since. Believe it is the debut of indie-horror maven Fesseden though.
 

David Johansen

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I was wondering where you'd put They Live. :smile: I'm not much of a horror fan but I did see The Hunger, it was weird but probably doesn't belong on any of these lists. I really liked What We Do In The Shadows but I don't think it managed to be scary or even atmospheric or tense even once. Funny as hell though.
 

TristramEvans

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I feel like They Live, Aliens, Predator, and Terminator all sorta belong in their own category, probably shared with Robocop, which also includes horror elements, but are firmly planted in the action category where the end purpose isn't to evoke fear.
 

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For me Prometheus and Covenant play around with some interesting themes related to Feminism, Birth, Creation and Life in a way the original movie did. They're not perfect but yeah I did enjoy them.
 

TristramEvans

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As someone who has badmouthed Prometheus almost to the point of becoming 'that guy who hates Prometheus'... I'd like to hear your reasons for that.


I'm not going to try and convince you in anyway, but to put it simply for me -

  • the gorgeous cinematography. which I thought was a return to form for Ridley Scott after the disappointing (to me) Gladiator and that Crusades one with Legolas I can never recall the name of
  • the performances by the leads, especially Fassbender and Noomi Rapace
  • a return to actual effective horror for the Aliens franchise. I think that scene in the medpod is one of the greatest single scenes of body horror in cinema, and several other scenes were really great examples of alien horror, that followed the themes of the original Alien film without using the actual (overplayed) Xenomorph
  • the Engineers, from their introduction in the preface to the encounter at the end of the film, I love how they were presented, both visually and in manner
  • the philosophical underpinnings of the film, echoed through various layers
 

Voros

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For me Prometheus and Covenant play around with some interesting themes related to Feminism, Birth, Creation and Life in a way the original movie did. They're not perfect but yeah I did enjoy them.

Fassbender is excellent in both of them. But I guess when is he ever less than excellent?

The films are flawed but more entertaining and interesting than I expected but I'm not even a big fan of anything beyond the original film.
 
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Nobby-W

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I feel like They Live, Aliens, Predator, and Terminator all sorta belong in their own category, probably shared with Robocop, which also includes horror elements, but are firmly planted in the action category where the end purpose isn't to evoke fear.
Robocop also had a generous dollop of satire, which was sadly lacking in the sequels. IMO the satire really made the film; without the satire it would just have been another cheesy action flick.
 

TristramEvans

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Oh I have to disagree there, Robocop II was incredibly satirical.

 
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TristramEvans

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For me Prometheus and Covenant play around with some interesting themes related to Feminism, Birth, Creation and Life in a way the original movie did. They're not perfect but yeah I did enjoy them.

The first time I saw Covenant, I thought it was "OK". But it's one of those films that the more I watch it, the more fond of it I grow.

It's odd though, for an Alien movie, I think the Alien is the weakest element, or, at least, the least interesting part.
 

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the Engineers, from their introduction in the preface to the encounter at the end of the film, I love how they were presented, both visually and in manner
What I liked about the engineers was the mix of elements. Their physical perfection: perfect musculature and marble like skin giving the impression of a living statue. The utterly alien musical technology. And yet this incredible technology mixed with architecture implying a deep religious reverence of life and the universe. When you finally meet a living one they add in the sheer size of them, every step echoing.

It's one thing when SciFi shows have super advanced energy beings or something, they're superior in a very abstract sense and don't seem as real. But the Engineers came off as a being you could really imagine existing that naturally provokes the "God" response. It was terrifying in a very different way, in fact almost the opposite way, to the Xenomorph.

The first time I saw Covenant, I thought it was "OK". But it's one of those films that the more I watch it, the more fond of it I grow.

It's odd though, for an Alien movie, I think the Alien is the weakest element, or, at least, the least interesting part.
Yeah agreed. Ultimately it's just the culmination of David's vision to turn himself into a creator (by usurping/overthrowing traditional creation, but that's getting into the themes in general) and could have been any creature really.
 
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TristramEvans

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I know the next film is no longer planned as a direct sequel to Covenant, but I do hope we get some resolution to David's story, and more of the Engineers. There's no reason that story couldn't take place long after the events in Alien or Aliens.
 

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Here is my TOP 13 MOST HORRIFYING HORROR FILMS

So, this list is a bit different. It's not films that I like the most (most of them I didn't enjoy watching at all, honestly). These are the movies that flat-out horrified me. It's similiar to the "worste/least favourite horror films", but that list would be a bit pointless as there are innumerable low-budget, basically violence-porn films that are so incompetant that they can barely be called movies (many of which I would have turned off a few minutes in). The ones on this list, instead, are perfectly competant films, ones that I will freely admit to the craft behind and talent, but they specifically exist to evince the feeling of horror, and as effective as they are at doing so, they mostly just left me feeling icky and not wanting to watch them ever again. But hey, it's Halloween, and I freely admit the majority of my favourite horror films on the previous lists were neither horrifying nor scary, despite the genre they ostensibly belong to.

As another caveat, I mostly avoid zombie films like the plague, and I've never had any interest in seeing any of those mondo Cannibal films that became a fad starting with Cannibal Holocaust (and Eli Roth tried to recreate with Green Inferno?), so you won't find much of that sort of thing on here.

This list is in reverse order, from those I found the least disturbing (or "best") to the most depraved and stomach churning.

13. Titicut Follies
Titicut_Follies_Wiseman_02_W.jpg

It would be somewhat tame of a horror film if it wasn't a documentary. This 1967 film records obviously only a fraction of the abuses suffered by patients at the hands of staff in a mental institution in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. After being screened once, it faced an injunction by the State of Massachusetts that banned the film, a superior court judge ordering all copies confiscated and destroyed. Yes, you read that correctly - the State covered this up. The film thus didn't see release until over 20 years later when relatives of former patients sued the hospital and state. In 1991 it was finally released to the public, a time capsule of horrors that was blatantly suppressed and tacitly allowed by the state government.

This isn't a film filled with gore or violence, instead it is a blatant and stark exposure of inhumanity and sanctioned depravity. And it never stopped. The victims shown here were tortured until death behind the walls of this state hospital, experimented on, forcefed, and treated like animals for the amusement of the people who were supposed to be helping them. It's the kind of film that makes you feel rage and disgust and the impotence of justice, and makes you question how we look at the Western World and modern civilization.

12. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
590w-TCM_05.jpg

I mentioned this one before. It is a brilliant film, make no mistake. I could, when watching it, coldly appreciate the film-making, the social metaphors, the craft that went into it. And, for all the infamy it had (I recall as a kid the rental shops refusing to carry it, debates on TV about whether it was morally responsible to allow this film to be publically released), it's probably the tamest film on this list. Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street - heck even The Omen, are all much more explicit. But this is regarded as something in a class of its own, and I understand why. It's not the violence, its the way the film gets under your skin. It's the psychological torture of the protagonist that the audience is forced to experience with her. It is the unrelenting bleakness of the film, stripped of all Hollywood slickness that provides a psychic safety net to the audience.

I've seen it twice in my life. First when I was very young, because it was so taboo - because it had that reputation, because even my parents, who had no issue with me watching Alien or The Thing when I was not even out of kindergarten, refused to let me see it. It was the first movie I had to sneak to see, a few of us sneaking to a ffriend's basement, when his parent's were out for the afternoon and his older brother too busy to care what we were doing.

It didn't scare me - but it disgusted me. I'd never before felt nauseous watching a movie. I didn't even know that was possible. It made me feel sick, and it was a feeling that lingered, for days afterwards.

I watched it again in my early 20s, curious as to what the more mature, more worldly me would make of this epic nightmare from my youth. Even then, I'd built it up in my mind. I expected more gore than was onscreen. My childhood memories had escalated it in the same way as it's reputation.

And while I didn't feel sick again on this new viewing, I also didn't enjoy watching the film. It still was a harrowing assault upon my soul. I don't plan to ever see it again.

11. Requiem for a Dream
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I really like Aronofsky as a director. I've followed his career since seeing his very first film, Pi, in the theatre in the late 90's. But this film was too much for me. You know how some films are described as "life-affirming"? Well, Requiem is more like "suicide-affirming".

10. Lilya 4-Ever
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I can't remember why I watched this film. I couldn't have known what the plot was, because if I'd known what theis film was a bout, I never would have picked it up. There's plenty of movies that probably would have made this list, but I read what they were about and was just like "Nope; I don't need to see that". And after watching this one, I genuinelly wished I could have unseen it.

So, very pretty young girl in Eastern Europe somewhere is excited about moving to the States with her mother and her new boyfriend. But at the lat minute her mom tells her she's not coming with, that she needs to stay behind and that after they get set up they'll send her a ticket and she can follow. And that's the last she sees or hears from her mother. As things get desperate, she eventually turns to prostitution to make ends meet. But the movie offers her seeming salvation when she meets a young man who treats her nice and wants to take her away from her horrible life. And she goes with him - only to be sold by him into White Slavery, and all that that entails, and then, after every horrible thing that you can imagien happens to a girl happens , she finally dies. Couldn't have been older than 16 by the end.

It's so high on this list because it is - technically speaking - a "good" film - meaning very well acted, well scripted, well shot. Pure Oscar territory if it'd been made in the States. But it's also an awful, awful story that rips out your heart. And I don't know if it's based ona true story, it very well could be, but even if it's not, you know it's still the sort of thing that does happening, that IS happening somewhere in the world even as I type these words.

9. Saw 3D
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Alright, we're past any films that I think have any value, artistically, despite my personal feelings on them. This might seem like an odd choice, a random late sequel in the infamous Saw series that popularized the term "torture porn" in the aughts. The things is, I mostly enjoyed the Saw films - at least the first 3. Yeah, there was a gradual decline in quality, and yes, I think after the second one they completely betrayed the entire concept. But just as schlocky horror, I didn't mind watching the newest iteration of imaginative death-traps held together by increasingly flimsier justifications for plots.

So why Saw 3D? This was the first attempt to "reboot" the series. Bring it back after 6 films in 8 years that beat as much profit from that dead horse as they could manage before giving up. It was 10 years since the first film, it was given a bigger budget than any previous entry, it took advantage of the 3D fad that was just starting to take off, they got Cary Elwes to come back for the first time, and the traps were backed by a healthy new CGI element.

OK, I'll put it bluntly - this is a film that hates women. No, I'm not talking about some general Feminist critique of the horror genre. This film, specifically, was so blatantly, so painfully obviously, the director working out his HUGE issues with women onscreen. Every element of this film is ultimately a revenge on "Women", revenge for lying, revenge for cheating, revenge for abusing the court system against men, every cliche in the bitter ex-husband lost in self-pity playbook is trotted out in this film, and the token female punished in the most gruesome way for it.

Everyone associates the Saw series with tortue porn. This was the first film in the franchise I felt like I was watching literal porn. That I had the distinct impression the director was getting off behind the camera. That is why this film is on this list.

8. Terrifier

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Ugh. This film got a TON of praise when it came out from the online horror community, and I have no idea why. I get that the main villain, the clown, is reaally visually striking. It's absolutely an effective design - in other circumstances, I could see, just from the character itself, him having the potential to become an iconic horror icon. But dear god, was that completely wasted on this pointlessly stupid film. The "plot" here is that the clown guy encounters someone, then kills them, after they scream a bit. Repeat for two hours. Seriously, there's nothing else that goes on. Clown fucks with some girl, kills them violently. New girl enters, clown fucks with them, kills them violently. There's no plot, there's nothing clever, there's not even any real suspense. Just very gory deaths for everyone. Have you ever wanted to see a evil clown saw a naked model in half? Well, that's never been on my cinematic bucket list, but that's basically the "selling point" of the movie.

7. Human Centipede 2
I heard a description of the first film and my thought was "why would I want to see that?" So I didn't. But apparently lots of other people did, and so it got a sequel, and assuming ther emust be more to the film than the obvious, when the sequel showed up in one of my streaming services, I decided to give it a try.

Wow, huge mistake. There literally was nothing else to the film. I watched most of it on fast forward, because I really didn't need to see any of that. I waited for some kind of plot that never happened.

6. August Underground
Home video of murderers. If the succinctness of that description makes you think it can't be that bad, consider what entries this follows.

It isn't slick, or Hollywood (though it isnt "real"), it is literally just watching the home movies of a sociopath, and the utter banality of it is what makes it so much more than anything any slasher film could deliver.

5. Trauma
And now we're in full-on psychological scarring territory. This is another film I have no idea why I watched. It's ostensibly in the "rape-revenge" genre that I detest and avoid like the plague. But those movies are just sort of exploitive; the aplty-named Trauma is something else entirely. I get the appeal of pushing boundaries. I get the impetus to shock, and how filmmakers have to go to increasingly more extreme lengths to achieve this as moviegoers get more jaded, and more experienced. And that's what I see this film as - an excercise in seeing how far one can take things.

It's too far. Seriously.

I feel compelled to spoiler block the description of any element from this film, and taking into account the previous films already discussed, that should tell you something about where we're at.

OK, opening goddamn scene - a woman, is beaten and bleeding, tied to a table by soldiers. They bring in her young son and force him at gunpoint to rape his mother, halfway through shotting her head off, and forcing him to continue.

That's the beginning of this film. It escalates from there.

I didn't finish watching this film. I think I made it maybe half an hour in, and that half hour will permanently stay with me.

4. Salo
This is a film adaption of The Marquis De Sade's "120 days of Sodom". I read that book in my late teens. It wasn't a good book, per se, but as just an exultation of transgressiveness, it was darkly amusing in how over the top it was. It was impossible to take seriously, so it didn't bother me. But then they filmed it.. Meaning, this is an incredibly faithful adaption, the only major change being the setting moved forward to fascist Italy circa WW2. The humour of the descriptions on the page is completely lost in the constant rape, torture and murder of everyone from young boys to old women. It is unrelenting, and inhuman. If it was trying to make some kind of point about totalitarian regimes, I don't think that point needed this film to be made. Every depravity imagined by man is on display, and there's no comeuppance, no consequence, just these people are rich and decide to do these things to a bunch of strangers, and their own children too, because why the hell not?

3. Antichrist
What the fuck? Seriously, what is wrong with Lars von Trier? Why did an incredibly talented filmmaker make this? Why did A-list actors agree to be a part of it? I consider myself pretty desensitized to horror, overall, but there are parts of this movie I simply could not watch.

2. Martyrs
What was going on in France in the aughts? Suddenly, they unleashed an avalanche of films that were like a new wave of 70s exploitation horror. I recall seeing High Tension ( Haute Tension) in the theatre and just going "why is this movie?"

Anyways, most of them I didn't see. It's not my taste in horror. I didn't like that stuff from the 70s, and the new stuff isn't any more fun to watch. But the description of Martyrs made me curious. That, and the substantial praise it got from critics.

There was supposedly some deeply religious and philisophical element to this film. Spoiler: there isn't. It's a bunch of pretentious bullshit used to justify the motivation for the EXTREME torture and disfigurement of young women.

I hate this movie so much.

But it is, I begrudgingly admit, a movie, unlike our final entry...

1. A Serbian Film
I mentioned when talking about Trauma undertsnding the impulse to push boundaries, to transgress through art.

A Serbian Film is not art. It is not even a film. It is just disgusting depravity for the sake of depravity. Fuck the person who wrote and directed this. If I ever encountered a magic lamp, and a djinn granted me three wishes, my first wish would be to remove my memory of ever having seen this.

No, strike that, my wish would be to remove it's existence. Maybe even the existence of the so-called director.

How this piece of psychological excrement ever made it onto a DVD disc in North america, and not put straight in the trash, I can't imagine.

There's is nothing redeemable here, there is no message or talent or even a single atom of worthwhileness to this.

I'm not even going to offer a description, spoilered or otherwise, because even just typing in the broadest terms what happens makes me feel sick. That isn't me indicating anyone should go look it up for themselves - I honestly emplore you to believe me that simply reading a synopsis of the plot on Wikipedia or something is enough to induce vomitting.

I am HEAVILY against censorship. But this should have been censored, for the good of humanity.


Dishonourable Mentions: Bad Biology, The Bunny Games, Dead Alive, Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer, Ichi The Killer, Irreversible, I Spit on Your Grave, Last House on the Left, Nekromantic, Vulgar
 

spittingimage

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4. BLACK MOUNTAIN SIDE (2013)
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Favourable comparisons toThe Thing are inevitable, as this film shares the basic situation of a group of scientists isolated in the arctic. So maybe the best way to describe this is...The Thing, but the danger doesn't come from a shapeshifting alien. The acting and direction are on par with Carpenter's classic as well.
I watched this movie yesterday based on TristramEvans TristramEvans recommendation.

What a fool I was! :thumbsdown:
 

TristramEvans

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hmm, I guess if you didn't like Prometheus, it's not surprising you wouldn't like Black Mountain Side....
 

Séadna

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A Serbian Film
I don't know if you've ever read the director's "defense". It's real moronic. It's basically along the lines of "Eh...uh...like the way society deals with poverty is as unfair as...eh a duck getting randomly shot. So I filmed a duck getting shot"
 
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