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The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results

 
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The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 3/3/2011 9:28:24 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.


Welcome to your 300 (and a bit) greatest horror films of all time. The voting was incredible, with 500 different films nominated and every film in the final 300 appearing on more than one list.

Thanks to everyone who voted and to those supplying blurbs. Special thanks to Hughes who's been great help getting blurbs sorted and Gimli for the awesome banner.

Can we use the existing thread

http://www.empireonline.com/forum/tm.asp?m=2912374&mpage=24&key=&NID=0#3035781

to discuss the results and keep this one clear for updates, please?

298. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992; Brian Henson)
298. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993; Henry Selick)
298. Cube (1997; Vincenzo Natali)
298. Scanners (1981; David Cronenberg)
298. A Nightmare on Elm St. 3: Dream Warriors (1987; Chuck Russell)
298. Dead and Buried (1981; Gary Sherman)
298. The Crow (1994; Alex Proyas)
298. Prince of Darkness (1987; John Carpenter)
298. The Sorcerers (1967; Michael Reeves)
298. Straight on Till Morning (1972; Peter Collinson)
296. Crooked House (2008; Damon Thomas)
296. The Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933; Michael Curtiz)
295. The New York Ripper (1982; Lucio Fulci)
294. Alice, Sweet Alice (1976; Alfred J. Sole)
293. Beetlejuice (1988; Tim Burton)
292: Out of the Unknown: To Lay a Ghost (1971; Ken Hannarn)
291. The Hitcher (1986; Robert Harmon)
290. Thriller (1983; John Landis)
289. Manhunter (1986; Michael Mann)
288. Night of the Eagle (1962; Sidney Hayers)
287. Horror Express (1972; Eugenio Martin)
286. House of 1000 Corpses (2003; Rob Zombie)
285. Deranged (1974; Jeff Gillen, Alan Ormsby)
284. Just Before Dawn (1981; Jeff Lieberman)
283. Pitch Black (2000; David Twohy)
282. The Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness (1992; Sam Raimi)
281. A Serbian Film (2010; Srdjan Spasojevic)
280. Requiem for a Dream (2000; Darren Aronofsky
279. Paperhouse (1988; Bernard Rose)
278. Don't Go in the House (1980; Joseph Ellison)
277. Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970; Jaromil Jires)
276. The Tenant (1976; Roman Polanski)
275. Apartment Zero (1988; Martin Donovan)
274. Rabid (1977; David Cronenberg)
273. Eden Lake (2008; James Watkins)
272. I Spit on Your Grave (1978; Meir Zarchi)
271. The Eye (2002; Oxide Pang Chun, Danny Pang)
270. Tetsuo (1989; Shinya Tsukamoto)
268. Street Trash (1987; J. Michael Muro)
268. Apaches (1977; John Mackenzie)
267. Cronos (1993; Guillermo Del Toro)
266. The Sect (1991; Michele Soavi)
265. Mad Love (1935; Karl Freund)
264. The Company of Wolves (1984; Neil Jordan)
263. Frenzy (1972; Alfred Hitchcock)
261. The Curse of the Cat People (1944; Robert Wise, Gunther von Fritsch)
261. Short Night of the Glass Dolls (1971; Aldo Lado)
260. The Pit and the Pendulum (1961; Roger Corman)
259. Kairo (2001; Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
258. The Amityville Horror (1979; Stuart Rosenberg)
257. The Wolf Man (1941; George Waggner)
256. Cloverfield (2008; Matt Reeves)
255. Haunted (1995; Lewis Gilbert)
253. The Hills Have Eyes (2006; Alexandre Aja)
253. Curse of the Werewolf (1961; Terence Fisher)
252. Opera (1987; Dario Argento)
251. The Stepfather (1987; Joseph Ruben)
249. Lisa and the Devil (1972; Mario Bava)
249. Targets (1968; Peter Bogdanovich)
248. The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970; Dario Argento)
247. A Ghost Story for Christmas: The Stalls of Barchester (1971; Lawrence Gordon Clark)
246. Quatermass II (1955; Rudolph Cartier)
245. Martyrs (2008; Pascale Laugier)
244. Nightbreed (1990; Clive Barker)
243. The Church (1989; Michele Soavi)
242. Thirst (2009; Park Chan-wook)
241. The Dead Zone (1983; David Cronenberg)
240. Sapphire and Steel: Assignment 4 (1981; Shaun O' Riordan, David Foster)
239. House by the Cemetery (1981; Lucio Fulci)
238. Misery (1990; Rob Reiner)
236. Straw Dogs (1971; Sam Peckinpah)
236. Frightmare (1974; Pete Walker)
235. The League of Gentlemen Christmas Special (2000; Steve Bendelack)
233. Asylum (1972; Roy Ward Baker)
233. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975; Peter Weir)
232. Brazil (1985; Terry Gilliam)
231. Wolf Creek (2005; Greg McLean)
230. Dracula (1931; Tod Browning)
229. The Devils (1971; Ken Russell)
228. Ugetsu Monogatari (1953; Kenji Mizoguchi)
227. Bad Taste (1987; Peter Jackson)
226. Blood and Black Lace (1964; Mario Bava)
224. A Tale of Two Sisters (2003; Kim Ji-Woon)
224. Deliverance (1972; John Boorman)
223. Cape Fear (1991; Martin Scorsese)
220. Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971; Amando De Ossorio)
220. Drag Me to Hell (2009; Sam Raimi)
220. Mulholland Drive (2001; David Lynch)
218. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948; Charles Barton)
218. Godzilla (1954; Ishiro Honda)
217. Trilogy of Terror (1975; Dan Curtis)
216. Maniac (1980; Bill Lustig)
214. The 'burbs (1989; Joe Dante)
214. The Phantom of the Opera (1925; Rupert Julian)
213. The House with Laughing Windows (1976; Pupi Avati)
211. Scrooge (1951; Brian Desmond Hurst)
211. Penda's Fen (1974; Alan Clarke)
210. May (2002; Lucky McKee)
209. The Entity (1982; Sidney J. Furie)
207. Black Sabbath (1963; Mario Bava)
207. The Mothman Prophecies (2002; Mark Pellington)
205. Paranormal Activity (2007; Oren Peli)
205. Legend of Hell House (1973; Don Hough)
204. Someone's Watching Me! (1978; John Carpenter)
201. The Curse of Frankenstein (1957; Terence Fisher)
201. I Walked with a Zombie (1943; Jacques Tourneur)
201. Kingdom (1994; Lars von Trier)
200. Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954; Jack Arnold)
196. Inside (2007; Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury)
196. Interview with the Vampire (1994; Neil Jordan)
196. A Ghost Story for Christmas (1973; Lawrence Gordon Clark)
196. Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994; Wes Craven)
195. Thriller: A Killer in Every Corner (1974; Malcolm Taylor)
193. A Clockwork Orange (1971; Stanley Kubrick)
193. Last House on Dead End Street (1977; Roger Watkins)
192. The Brood (1979; David Cronenberg)
191. The Uninvited (1944; Lewis Allen)
190. Bay of Blood (1971; Mario Bava)
189. Martin (1977; George Romero)
187. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962; Robert Aldrich)
187.
Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922; Benjamin Christensen)
185.
Creepshow (1982; George Romero)
185.
House (1977; Nobuhiko Obayashi)
183. Dr. Who: 'Horror of Fang Rock' (1977; Paddy Russell)
183. Angel Heart (1987; Alan Parker)
182. Three Cases of Murder (1955; David Eady, George More O'Ferral, Wendy Toye)
181. This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse (1966; Jose Mojica Marins)
180. Altered States (1980; Ken Russell)
179. Duel (1971; Steven Spielberg)
178. Schalcken the Painter (1979; Leslie Megahey)
177. Basket Case (1982; Frank Henenlotter)
176. Long Weekend (1978; Colin Eggleston)
174. Twin Peaks: Pilot (1990; David Lynch)
174. And Soon the Darkness (1970; Robert Fuest)
173. Against the Crowd: Murrain (1975; John Cooper)
172. The Stone Tape (1972; Peter Sasdy)
171. Rituals (1977; Peter Carter)
170. Ravenous (1999; Antonia Bird)
169. The Cat and the Canary (1939; Elliot Nugent)
168. Fright Night (1985; Tom Holland)
166. La cabina (1972; Antonio Mercero)
166. Blue Velvet (1986; David Lynch)
165. The Bell from Hell (1973; Claudio Guerin Hill)
164. Sapphire and Steel: Assignment 2
(1979; David Foster, Shaun O'Riordan)
163. Triangle (2009; Christopher Smith)
162. Ghostbusters (1984; Ivan Reitman)
161. The Quatermass Xperiment (1955; Val Guest)

160. From Beyond The Grave (1973; Kevin Connor)
159. The Fly (1958; Kurt Neumann)
158. The Mummy (1932; Karl Freund)
157. INLAND EMPIRE (2006; David Lynch)
156. Sleepy Hollow (1999; Tim Burton)
155. Saw (2004; James Wan)
154. Count Dracula (1977; Philip Saville)
153. Dark Water (2002; Hideo Nakata)
152. Onibaba (1964; Kaneto Shindo)
151. Masque Of The Red Death (1964; Roger Corman)
150. White Zombie (1932; Victor Halperin)
149. Dead of Night: The Exorcism (1972; Don Taylor)
148. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931; Rouben Mamoulian)
147. Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005; Nick Park)
146. From Dusk Till Dawn (1995; Robert Rodriguez)
145. Hound of the Baskervilles (1939; Sidney Lanfield)
144. Kill, Baby Kill... (1966; Mario Bava)
143. Tales from the Crypt (1972; Freddie Francis)
142. Young Frankenstein (1974; Gene Wilder)
141. The Devil's Backbone (2001; Guillermo del Toro)

140. Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971; John Hancock)
139. The Changeling (1980; Peter Medak)
138. Aliens (1986; Ridley Scott)
137. Possession (1981; Andrzej Zulawski)
136. Santa Sangre (1989; Alejandro Jodorowsky)
135. Dead Ringers (1988; David Cronenberg)
134. 28 Weeks Later (2007; Juan Carlos Fresnadillo)
133. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959; Terence Fisher)
132. Dellamorte Dellamore (1994; Michele Soavi)
131. The Thing from Another World (1951; Christian Nyby, Howard Hawks)
130. Tenebrae (1982; Dario Argento)
129. Children of the Stones (1977; Peter Graham Scott)
128. Candyman (1992; Bernard Rose)
127. The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971; Robert Fuest)
126. The Host (2006; Bong Joon-ho)
125. Quatermass and the Pit  (1958; Rudolph Cartier)
124. Beasts: Baby (1976; John Nelson)
123. The Plague of the Zombies (1966; John Gilling)
122. Would You Kill A Child? (1976; Narciso Ibanez Serrador)
121. The Terminator (1984; James Cameron)
120. Event Horizon (1997; Paul Anderson)
119. Death Line (1972; Gary Sherman)
118. The Black Cat  (1934; Edgar Ulmer)
117. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992; David Lynch)
116. Haute Tension (2003; Alexandre Aja)
115. Black Swan (2010; Darren Aronofsky)
114. The Last House on the Left  (1972; Wes Craven)
113. The Hills Have Eyes (Wes Craven 1977)
112. The Frighteners (1996; Peter Jackson)
111. Dawn of the Dead  (2004; Zack Snyder)
110. The Howling (1981; Joe Dante)
109. Ju-on (2002; Takashi Shimizu)
108. Shivers (1975; David Cronenberg)
107. Blood on Satan's Claw (1971; Piers Haggard)
106. The Return of the Living Dead  (1985; Dan O' Bannon)
105. Tremors (1990; Ron Underwood)
104. Ginger Snaps (2000; John Fawcett)
103. A Ghost Story for Christmas: The Signalman (1976; Lawrence Gordon Clark)
102. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956; Don Siegel)
101. Nosferatu: Phantom Der Nacht  (Werner Herzog 1979)

100. Vampyr (1932; Carl Dreyer)
99.
A Ghost Story for Christmas: 'A Warning to the Curious'  (1972; Lawrence Gordon Clark)
98.
The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue  (1974; Jorge Grau)
97.
Theatre Of Blood  (1973; Douglas Hickox)
96.
The Invisible Man  (1933; James Whale)
95.
Kwaidan (1964; Masaki Kobayashi)
94.
The Lost Boys  (1987; Joel Schumacher)
93.
Friday the 13th (1980; Sean Cunningham)
92.
M (1931; Fritz Lang)
91.
The Vanishing (1988; George Sluizer)
90. Day of the Dead (1985; George Romero)
89.
Pan's Labyrinth (2006; Guillermo Del Toro)
88.
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992; Francis Ford Coppola)
87.
Near Dark (1987; Kathryn Bigelow)
86.
In the Mouth of Madness (1994; John Carpenter)
85.
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978; Philip Kaufman)
84.
King Kong (1933; Merian C Cooper, Ernest Schoedsack)
83.
Phantasm (1979; Don Coscarelli)
82.
Dog Soldiers (2002; Neil Marshall)
81.
The Woman in Black (1989; Herbert Wise)
80.
Scream (1996; Wes Craven)
79.
Audition (1999; Takashi Miike)
78.
The Others (2001; Alejandro Amenabar)
77.
Session 9 (2001; Brad Anderson)
76.
Dead Man's Shoes (2004; Shane Meadows)
75.
The Orphanage (2007; Juan Antonio Bayona)
74.
The Devil Rides Out (1968; Terence Fisher)
73.
Whistle and I'll Come to You (1968; Jonathan Miller)
72.
The Sixth Sense (1999; M. Night Shyamalan)
71.
Carnival of Souls (1962; Herk Harvey)
70. Deep Red (1975; Dario Argento)
69.
Inferno (1980; Dario Argento)
68.
Les yeux sans visage (1959; Georges Franju)
67.
Cat People (1942; Jacques Tourneur)
66.
Black Sunday (1960; Mario Bava)
65.
Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979; Lucio Fulci)
64.
Nosferatu (1922; F.W. Murnau)
63.
Videodrome (1983; David Cronenberg)
62.
[REC] (2007; Jaume Balaguero, Paco Plaza)
61.
Beasts: 'During Barty's Party' (1976; Don Leaver)
60.
Ghost Watch (1992; Lesley Manning)
59.
The Night of the Hunter (1955; Charles Laughton)
58.
Quatermass and the Pit (1967; Roy Ward Baker)
57.
Shaun of the Dead (2004; Edgar Wright)
56.
Gremlins (1984; Joe Dante)
55.
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986; John McNaughton)
54.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991; Jonathan Demme)
53.
'Salem's Lot (1979; Tobe Hooper)
52.
The Exorcist III (1990; William Peter Blatty)
51.
Les Diaboliques (1955; Henri-Georges Clouzot)
50.
Dead of Night (1945; Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer)
49.
Braindead (1992; Peter Jackson)
48.
The Mist (2007; Frank Darabont)
47.
The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari (1920; Robert Wiene)
46.
Black Christmas (1974; Bob Clark)
45. Dracula (1958; Terence Fisher)
44. The Beyond (1981; Lucio Fulci)
43. Repulsion (1965; Roman Polanski)
42. Hellraiser (1987; Clive Barker)
41. Re-Animator (1985; Stuart Gordon)

40. The Fly (1986; David Cronenberg)
39. The Descent (2005; Neil Marshall)
38. The Fog (1980; John Carpenter)
37. Eraserhead (1977; David Lynch)
36. Cannibal Holocaust (1980; Ruggero Deodato)
35. Poltergeist (1982; Tobe Hooper)
34. Let the Right One In (2008; Tomas Alfredson)
33. The Blair Witch Project (1999; Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez)
32. Witchfinder General (1968; Michael Reeves)
31. Freaks (1932; Tod Browning)
30. The Birds (1963; Alfred Hitchcock)
29. Night of the Demon (1958; Jacques Tourneur)
28. Se7en (1995; David Fincher)
27. Rosemary's Baby (1968; Roman Polanski)
26. Carrie (1976; Brian De Palma) 
25. 28 Days Later... (2002; Danny Boyle)
24. The Innocents (1961; Jack Clayton)
23. Peeping Tom (1960; Michael Powell)
22. Ring (1998; Hideo Nakata)
21. The Haunting (1963; Robert Wise)
20. A Nightmare on Elm St. (1984; Wes Craven)
19. Evil Dead 2 (1987; Sam Raimi)
18. Jaws (1975; Steven Spielberg)
17. Bride of Frankenstein (1935; James Whale)
16. Don't Look Now (1973; Nic Roeg)
15. Suspiria (1977; Dario Argento)
14. The Omen (1976; Richard Donner)
13. Frankenstein (1931; James Whale)
12. An American Werewolf in London (1981; John Landis)
11. Alien (1979; Ridley Scott)
10. The Evil Dead (1981; Sam Raimi)
9. Night of the Living Dead (1968; George Romero)
8. The Shining (1980; Stanley Kubrick)
7. Dawn of the Dead (1978; George Romero)
6. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974; Tobe Hooper)
5. Psycho (1960; Alfred Hitchcock)
4. The Wicker Man (1973; Robin Hardy)


< Message edited by rawlinson -- 24/3/2011 9:21:16 PM >
Post #: 1
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 3/3/2011 9:34:48 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
298.

The Muppet Christmas Carol
(1992; Brian Henson)



No doubt this will be the most controversial entry on the horror list, so I'll use the blurb space to justify its inclusion rather than review its merits as a film. It takes a black heart to not appreciate it as a great Christmas or family film, but horror? Its inclusion depends on how you view the source material - A Christmas Carol. Many dismiss Dickens' classic in the same way, it's not a horror story. Well of course it is. Dickens may have partly written the story to illustrate the plight of the poor, but he also wrote it in the great British tradition of the Christmas ghost story. It uses the ideas and the standards of the ghost stories of that era, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come was certainly written with the intent of scaring the audience. So how does that justify the inclusion of Kermit et al on the list? Horror has been often paired with comedy and parody since the early days, people accept Austen's Northanger Abbey as a horror story by many, even though it's clearly a parody. Films that use the ideas of horror while paying homage to them, or parodying them, were eligible. So we give you The Muppets. On a horror list.



- Rawlinson

298.

The Nightmare Before Christmas
(1993; Henry Selick)



Possibly the finest work Tim Burton has ever been involved with, this takes Burton's love of the gothic and uses it to create a magnificent fairytale horror film. Jack Skellington is King of Halloween land, a place filled with incredible, horrific, stop-motion characters. Jack is bored of Halloween and when he stumbles into Christmas Land, the magic of the place overwhelms him and he decides to kidnap Santa and create his own version of Christmas. The voice acting is excellent and the songs are even better, but it's the world and its inhabitants that make the film work. Like The Muppets, it makes the list because it uses horror imagery, but also no doubt because Oogie Boogie has become a nightmare figure for many a child.




- Rawlinson

298.

Cube
(1997; Vincenzo Natali)



Blurb coming shortly



298.

Scanners
(1981; David Cronenberg)



Blurb coming shortly



298.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
(1987; Chuck Russell)



The advantage that the second sequel had over all the other chapters is that it followed a film which was already considered "not just a bad horror-but one of the worst sequels of all time!".  Freddy's Revenge sucked all the life out of a promising concept and it seemed all but over in the street of Elm, with only two films to show of a character that was yet destined to enter horror folklore.

Hurt by the critical failure of their prized asset, New Line Cinema who were virtually saved from bankruptcy from the unexpected success of the original, begged original creator Wes Craven to come back to his franchise and save it from the depths of straight to video and while he was reluctant at first, Craven agreed to come up with a story that will bring back some sort of credibility, but no one and not even the studio were expecting the change of tone that made this third film such a blast and one that all fans of the Kruger story cherish and love.

Knowing that it was impossible to recapture the scare mood that shook the horror core in 1984, Craven decided on a new approach.  Yes, Freddy Kruger was impossible to be scary now, his impact blunted by the concept of the sequel, but Craven had one more trick up his sleeve, one that would make him stand out from the field, and that was the stunner of making him a whole lot of fun and that is what you get with Dream Warriors, a horror that you can not help but be entertained, with sparkling set-pieces that you remember long after the credits roll.  It makes you wish that the characters in this could actually watch the film themselves, because how could they fall asleep when they are having so much fun watching.

The movie is also helped with the return of the original Elm St girl Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) who after surviving her ordeal, finds herself in a mental home helping a bunch of kids who are disturbed by their dreams.  They all suffer repeat nightmares of a man with a red and black jumper, a badly burnt face and with a glove that had sharp blades on the end.  For all viewers and for Nancy, it was the bogeyman known has Freddy Kruger, and these kids unknown to them, were the last of the Elm Street kids and for Freddy it was time for them to pay for the sins of their parents.

Everyone knows the story now and if you don't then there be no spoilers here, but Dream Warriors expanded on the legend and the now infamous "Born From A Thousand Maniacs!" came from this very film.  Everyone expecting though another rehash would be in for a surprise.  For me, while having its horror roots, actually moves away from that genre and becomes a sort of twisted fantasy film.  If Freddy can have powers in the real world then why couldn't his intended victims who all become something they have always wanted to be.  Freddy needs to fight a wizard, the strongest boy in the world, and also they themselves have to do battle with a WormFreddy and a PuppetFreddy which all ends up in a surreal Jason and The Argonauts fight to the death that just finishes off the crazy energetic tone of it all....

Not forgetting the killer lines that make you smile, the "Welcome to Prime-Time Bitch!" has become just as famous as the franchise itself, and for all young hot-blooded teenage boys they managed to get the first use of the pause button on their VHS, when a real hot nurse strips off and makes poor old Joey all but Tongue tied!

It may lack the scares of the original, it may lack the surreal outlook of New Nightmare, but its power comes from just how much fun it is through out and its this that makes Dream Warriors lasting appeal so strong twenty four years on.  Freddy was back and never to be this cool again!!!!!



- HughesRoss

298.

Dead and Buried
(1981; Gary Sherman)



This under-rated horror gem is set in Potter's Bluff, a small town in New England. In the creepy opening scene, a visitor to the town is taking photos of a young blonde on a beach. After a while a group of locals arrive and attack the photographer. They tie him to a tree and pour gasoline on him, photos are taken by the growing crowd before the man is set alight. By the time town sheriff Dan Gillis (James Farentino) and the mortician William Dobbs (Jack Albertson) arrive, the attack has been made to look like an accident, the man's car has been crashed and set alight and the burned body placed inside, but the victim has survived the assault. The next night brings another attack by the townspeople, again, the events are recorded. As more and more bodies start to show up, Gillis digs ever deeper into the secrets of the town, but things take an even stranger turn when the dead start to be spotted around the town, seeming restored to life. The less you know about Dead and Buried, the better. It's a film of many surprises from the pen of Dan O'Bannon, one of the unsung greats of the genre. The film's greatest asset is Jack Albertson's wonderfully eccentric performance, but there's also some impressive early effects work from Stan Winston and the film is shot through with an eerie and clammy atmosphere. It's one of the most surreal horror films of the 80s, and also one of the very best.



- Rawlinson

298.

The Crow
(1994; Alex Proyas)



There is an argument that The Crow is only held in high regard due to the onset incident that resulted in the death of its leading star, a week before the filming was due to end.  Its a question that I often ponder when watching this gothic horror in which its striking concept of life after death adds a poignant feel to the whole running time!

With eight days left of filming, Brandon Lee-the son of the great Bruce was onset, filming a scene where his character Eric Draven would come home and find his fiancée Shelly (Sofia Shinas) being raped and during the confrontation he would get shot.  Somehow a mix up of bullets and live rounds resulted in a handheld gun being fired with a semi bullet that struck Lee, resulting in the halt of filming and his untimely death twelve hours later.  The world had lost two talented Lee's but sadly Brandon was just starting on the road to stardom fame.

With a huge dilemma facing the studio on to what to do next, should they abandon the project all together was seriously suggested, it took the blessing of Lee's mother and sister to grant that they should carry on and with the wheels in motion, the rest of the scenes were done with stand in's and digitals shots, most which took place in the opening segment of the film.

It all adds to an haunting feel to the entire film, a quite fitting atmosphere given the nature of the plot.  Eric and his wife Shelly die by the hands of a gang of crooks all led by the crime boss Top Dollor (Michael Wincott0 and a year later, Eric rises from his grave and declares vengeance on those with blood on their hands.  By his side is a crow, a spiritual bird that aids Eric with second sight and special powers in his fight for those who wronged him.  So as the residents of Detroit celebrate the infamous Devil Night, a shadowy figure walks among them, seeking justice from those with blood on their hands, and nothing and nobody will stand in his way.

Inspired by the 80's comic book from James O'Barr, The Crow manages to upstain the right underground feeling that made the novel such a cult hit.  Like Eric's winged friend, the film is black, the gloomy outset portrayed by the heavy rain that hits the streets with the sound of fire in a battlefield.  The characters are ugly, there is no way you can relate to them and neither would you want to, and while you have to admire the gothic setting and rock soundtrack, there is something quite wrong with the entire concept.

All of this comes from the fact that despite the vengeance being served there is no feeling of satisfaction.  No matter what happens and how much you want Eric to get his revenge afterwards the loss will still be there, his fiancée will still be dead and there is no chance of him going back to the life he once had.  This is what sets apart The Crow from all other Superhero films, is the feeling of emptiness that just fails to satisfy you.  There is no justice served here, even when Eric is dishing out the right beatings At the end of the day, the loss will still be there, there is going to be no happy ending that you cry out for, the gloomy mood filters from the screen, right from the beginning and the all the way until the Crow flaps his final wings and heads back to heaven.

Which brings me back to the question that started this blurb.
                                                               "Did the Death of Brandon Lee help The Crow achieve the status is has now!"

You can not get past the fact that he haunts this picture, every frame, even the digital shots that were added after his death.  But also like Heath Ledger after him, who in an uncanny twist of fate, last performance was that of a man with a white painted face and a comic creation, have both created an icon that can never be bettered or even forgotten.  Like his Joker, Lee will forever be remembered as the ultimate Crow, a presence that no one else could dare but match and what a better way to end this review by displaying the final words spoken in an interview by Lee, a couple of days after he died!

                          "Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as inexhaustible, limitless!........



- HughesRoss

298.

Prince of Darkness
(1987; John Carpenter)



John Carpenter, the king of horror for many, started his trilogy of Apocalypse films way back with The Thing and ended it with In The Mouth Of Madness.  The second film of the three was this oddity, a movie that stank out the box office on its release in 1987 but somehow has become a huge cult favourite amongst horror nuts. 

Prince Of Darkness may share the same title as the Vampire Hammer horror but there are so different in  terms of style and what they are trying to achieve.  While Halloween was a film of such simplicity, here its all about Quantum Physics, yes you heard that right, Carpenter decides to make a film sound so complicated and complex that you can understand why it flopped so badly.  Getting the idea when studying atomic theory, Carpenter wanted to mix horror with basic human science, a subject that as you probably can guess had never been done before.  Yet bizarrely while this approach was different the concept of the film was old hat.

It was all about the takeover of the world, a topic touched in many horrors, but this started with a canister, one full of mysterious liquid.  This mysterious green substance in typical horror fashion starts to escape and infect the group of students sent to examine it.  Amazingly and this is where the original slant comes from such a usual plot, the green liquid is revealed to be Satan and he wants out, but in another shocker, this evil force actually answers to someone else, and soon all the world is in danger from this unstoppable force.

With Alice Cooper leading the mass of infected people (yes really!) this oddity of an horror is Carpenter best film of showing his extreme multi talents.  While the film is embedded with his typical horror traits-the slow build, spooky atmosphere-and of course the good old Donald Pleasence, he also shows a deft hand in making it all mysterious and the film's genre is full of H P Lovecraft style storytelling which fans of those stories will lap up with relish.

This is not the best of Carpenter, but a different side to him.  Its John taking what he knows and just doing what he wants.  The imagery is fantastic, and there are many moments of horror that have for years been overlooked thanks to its box office failure.  The vomiting of slime scene is disgusting even to this day, and the throat slit is Carpenter at his very best.

The best way anyone can look at Prince Of Darkness is that its a horror that those who simply do not understand the concept will dismiss it, but for those who "get it" will discover a John Carpenter film that dared to be different, stand out from the rest, and for that, why should those complain!!!!!



- HughesRoss

298.

The Sorcerers
(1967; Michael Reeves)



It's often wrongly assumed that the last years of Karloff's career were filled with schlock. True, he made a lot of crap. But he also made films like Targets, Mad Monster Party, and this bleak masterpiece. Karloff and Catherine Lacey play The Monserrats, an elderly couple living in poverty. He is a disgraced hypnotist who has invented a machine that enable them to practice mind control. They get a volunteer in a young man named Michael (Ian Ogilvy). They are able to experience the same sensations as him and they get vicarious pleasure through his activities, but Lacey develops a taste for crime when Michael breaks the law. And soon they find themselves pushing him to ever more extreme actions. Karloff soon begins to worry about how far they're going, wanting to use his device for good, and he finds himself in a battle of wills with Lacey, who turns out to be more sadistic than he could ever imagine. In many ways it has a lot of similarities with Karloff's early mad scientist roles, but it's a darker film, more sombre, largely thanks to the setting and Reeves' gritty approach. As good as Karloff is, the film is stolen by the wicked Lacey, who gives a sensational, loathsome performance. Nihilistic, nasty and light years ahead of its time. It was one of only three films the young master Michael Reeves would complete and I think it stands alongside his Witchfinder General as one of the best British films of the 60s.



- Rawlinson

298.

Straight on Till Morning
(1972; Peter Collinson)



In the 60s, Hammer started to make a move into psycho-thriller territory, often with mixed results. But when they got it right, such as with the greatly underrated Paranoiac, or here, they made something really special. Straight on Till Morning stars new wave icon Rita Tushingham as Brenda Thompson, a plain young woman  who moves away from her home in Liverpool to try and find a life in 'Swinging London'. Brenda desperately wants life to be like a fairytale (the film's title is a quote from Peter Pan) but all fairy tales need a Prince Charming, and Brenda cooks up the plan to find one. Attracted to her neighbour, Peter (Shane Briant) she kidnaps his dog and returns him in the hope of striking up a relationship, this being a film it works and the two are soon living together. Trouble is that Peter is a psychopath who had the urge to kill everything he finds beautiful. Luckily Brenda is plain. Tushingham and Briant are both exceptional, making the film believable and compelling. It's a downbeat film and an incredibly effective one. Those expecting a typical psycho-thriller may be disappointed, this is Hammer doing kitchen-sink psycho, it's unpredictable, unsettling and absolutely brilliant.



- Rawlinson

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RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 3/3/2011 11:24:50 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
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296.

Crooked House
(2008; Damon Thomas)



Airing on BBC at Christmas 2008, Mark Gatiss wrote this three part mini-series that pays homage to both the golden age of the television ghost story and to anthology horror films. Lee Ingleby stars as Ben, a young teacher who discovers a mysterious door knocker in his garden and takes it to his local museum to try and trace its history. Gatiss plays the museum curator who believes it to be the door knocker from Geap Manor, a legendary cursed house that once stood in the area. Gatiss has several tales about the spooky events that happened in Geap, and each individual episode tells a different story.

Episode One: The Wainscoting tells the story of the refurbishment of the manor in the 18th after it's bought by newcomer to the area, Joseph Bloxham (Philip Jackson) Bloxham has become wealthy at the expense of others and isn't too popular with the townsfolk, but are the strange stains on his new wainscoting, and the noises from behind the panelling a practical joke, or something far more sinister?

Episode Two: Something Old leaps forward in time to the 1920s and takes on the old standard of the mysterious ghost bride. The manor is in the hands of new owners, and the son of the family is set to marry, but an old family curse linked to the manor could put an end to the happy couple.

Episode Three: The Knocker brings us back to modern day, where we find out more about the people who built the manor and why the doorknocker has turned up in Ben's garden. When Ben decides to hang the knocker on his door, who will come knocking in the dead of night?

Best watched in anthology movie style to get the full effect, Crooked House is a excellent set of old-fashioned ghost stories. The Wainscoting is probably the strongest of the three, with its Jamesian feel and nasty reveal, but all the stories work well, even the potentially disappointing move into present day. Gatiss always strikes me as a man out of time. If he'd been around in the 70s, writing for Hammer, Dr. Who and the Christmas Ghost Stories, I think he'd be a legend of British telefantasy. Still, it's great to have someone today keeping the torch burning and creating some of the best British genre material of the day.



- Rawlinson

296.

The Mystery Of The Wax Museum
(1933; Michael Curtiz)



The waxworks often turn up in horror fiction, be it the films of Paul Leni or Anthony Hickox, A.M. Burrage's short story, or this gem. I guess it's the notion that somewhere among the creations there could be someone real, hiding in plain sight and just waiting until you turn your back. This is possibly the best film to focus on the horrors of waxworks, Lionel Atwill stars as Igor, a wax sculptor who has created an acclaimed museum of replicas of historical figures. Igor's business partner only cares about the money, and he's about to go bankrupt. In order to collect some insurance money, he sets fire to the museum, with Igor trapped inside. Igor survives, but is left crippled and unable to sculpt, but determined to keep his museum going he opens a new one, even if he's only able to direct the work of others. Florence, a young journalist is told that she has to come up with a scoop or she'll be fired. She gets a tip off about a murder, only to find the corpse of the girl is missing from the morgue and she's not the only body to have vanished recently. Meanwhile, at the new museum, the new wax exhibits are starting to look disturbingly familiar.

Fay Wray plays Atwill's assistant, and she's often credited as one of the main reasons to see the film, but I think Glenda Farrell gives a far better performance as the plucky Florence. Frank McHugh is also excellent as her editor. The acting honours begin to Atwill though, who is absolutely incredible as Igor. The film's greatest selling point is its expressionist influenced visuals. As designed by Anton Gro and shot by Ray Rennahan, it's one of the most visually impressive films of its time.

And if you don't like it you can go to a nice warm place, and I don't mean California.



- Rawlinson

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RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 3/3/2011 11:27:08 AM   
rawlinson

 

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295.

The New York Ripper
(1982; Lucio Fulci)



And now we come across the first video nasties, a film that was banned in many countries for its violence and gore, and yet these days it is well known as one of Lucio Fulci's greatest horror fillms.

It is without question one of the decades most brutal and savage of  horrors, fully controversial at the time despite many missing a hint of black rumour running between its veins.   Its infamous for its portrayal of violence and attitute towards women, but then many films in the early parts of the decade had the similar theme.

Yes this pushed the boundaries a bit, Fulci jumping on the "slash bandwagon" and given his own version in the only way he knew how.  Yes its pretty gruesome, there are some scenes of real brute horror on show here, but it does what horror should do, affect the viewers, to make them question the world they are living in.

With Summer of Sam and even Zodiac fresh in the memory of Americans, this sort of touches on real life with a serial killer going around NY, killing young women and taunting the police, just like the two I mentioned.  With the body count rising, the police with help from a psychology professor need to find who is responsible for this mayhem.

The only clue we get is the killers voice, and that is one of the films flaw.  Not because it gives the identity away but the fact that the killer sounds like Donald Duck.  Honestly, even to this day anytime a Looney Toons cartoon comes on, I hope its not Donald as it brings back memories of this film.  Even when watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit, I half expected Donald to jump up and stab Jessica Rabbit repeatedly in the chest!

While the violence may seem a bit tame these days, it does contain a "razor scene" which even now, is one of Cinema's most horrific moments!

The New York Ripper is one of the infamous banned films, but unlike many that were just pointless, this is one of horror's finest films, if you can stomach the many moments of blood and brutality



- HughesRoss

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RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 4/3/2011 2:33:25 AM   
rawlinson

 

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294.
Alice, Sweet Alice
(1976; Alfred J. Sole)



Sleazy 70s greatness here. During the preparations for her first communion service, Karen (A very young Brooke Shields) and her family visit her priest, who gives her a gift of a crucifix. Karen's 12 year old sister, Alice (Paula Sheppard) is, well, kinda creepy. She's withdrawn, jealous of the young Karen, and she even has her own slasher killer fashion choice - the school issue yellow raincoat and creepy mask. On the day of the communion, a figure in a mask and raincoat grabs Karen and strangles her before stuffing her in a bench, stealing her crucifix, and setting her on fire. Suspicion soon falls on Alice, mainly from her aunt who has always loathed her. Alice suffers through an attempt molestation by her landlord before her aunt is attacked and stabbed by a masked figure. Alice is blamed and a psychiatrist labels her as schizophrenic, but is she really the killer?

The film was rereleased when Shields become a star and sold on her involvement. The first review I ever read of the film even claimed she was playing the disturbed Alice. So no doubt fans of Shields were disappointment with her brief involvement in the film, the rest of us no doubt cheered at her swift exit. The true star, Sheppard, is sensational, she was closer to 20 while playing a 12 year and that maturity shows through in the performance. It's brilliant in its malevolence. She's a perfect punk girl for the era, pissed-off and ready to let people know it. The best supporting performance comes from Alphonso DeNoble as the grotesque and loathsome landlord.

It's one of the very best religious horror films ever made. The repression and guilt so often associated with Catholicism loom large over this film. The film is filled with images of Catholic life, and as the film progresses they become ever more sinister, and the unbending nature of Catholicism plays a large part in the events that occur. Basically an American giallo. The influence of the Italian genre is especially evident in the attack scenes and some of the fantastic set-pieces.

It's a startling and shocking film and one that's ready to be rediscovered.



- Rawlinson

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RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 4/3/2011 2:35:41 AM   
rawlinson

 

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293.
Beetlejuice
(1988; Tim Burton)



Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin play a happy young couple who die an untimely death and begin to haunt their dream-house, unable to leave the boundaries of the house itself because an otherworldy dimension populated by giant sand worms now exists outside their front door. At least it does for them, the human world goes on as normal and soon a new family has bought the house, consisting of Jeffrey Jones as the dad who just needs to relax, his pretentious wife Catherine O'Hara and goth daughter Winona Ryder. Davis and Baldwin hate the new family (especially O'Hara) and want them gone. Unable to come up with convincing scares on their own, they find the details of bio-exorcist ghost Beetlejuice (Keaton) and hire him to get rid of the humans. Of course, things don't go according to plan. While I confess to not being the biggest Tim Burton fan in the world, Beetlejuice has a lot of charm, mainly thanks to Michael Keaton's inspired performance. There's also nice supporting performances (especially from the always hilarious Jones and O'Hara) and great production design.



- Rawlinson

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RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 4/3/2011 2:40:34 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
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292.
Out of the Unknown: 'To Lay a Ghost '
(1971; Ken Hannarn)



Out of the Unknown started life as a late 60s sci-fi anthology series. In the 70s they started to make a more to more shocking territory, but none of the stories outraged the Points of View brigade as much as this episode. The film opens showing a 15 year old Diana (Lesley-Anne Down) being attacked and raped while walking home from school. The episode jumps to years later where she's now married to photographer Eric (Iain Gregory) and they've moved to their dream house in the country. But we soon find out that Diana is still traumatised by the rape and has never been able to have sex with Eric. Strange events begin around the house, while taking photos of Diana, a mystery figure appears in the background of the shots. A psychiatrist/parapsychologist arrives to investigate the house, he determines the ghost is that of a gardener who murdered the owner of the house and raped and killed his wife over a century ago. Diana finds herself under the mental control of the spirit, going into trances and nearly killing her husband with a crossbow. The psychiatrist soon begins to blame Diana's trauma for the ghostly manifestation.

Apart from a hilariously bad interlude where Diana poses for photos to the tune of Mungo Jerry, it's extremely well-made, tense and atmospheric. The problem is the subtext - Diana liked her rape and can only now get pleasure through violence, explaining the attraction between the ghost and her. At one point the psychiatrist basically advises Eric to take his wife by force, telling him he's been too considerate to her sexual problems. Then we get the scene where Diana tries to entice Eric to rape her, and then taunts him when he can't. It's frustrating because apart from that really troubling subtext it's a good ghost story. Even though there's nothing explicit in the episode, it's definitely not for everyone.



- Rawlinson

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RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 4/3/2011 2:42:44 AM   
rawlinson

 

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291.
The Hitcher
(1986; Robert Harmon)



The best way to describe The Hitcher in terms of cinema is that its a mixture of all genres.  While horror is firmly in its roots, infecting each scene with glorious delight, if you strip the layers away, you have what can only be described as a thriller with dark black comic overtones.  The film title alone suggests a simple fare,  a young boy Jim (C Thomas Howell) is on his way to deliver a car and breaks the Highway Code in that "You Should never pick up a Hitchhiker!"   This said person is John Ryder a quite demented human who has no motive just an urge to kill until someone can stop him.  That person may be Jim who after managing to escape his clutches on the first pick up, is then plunged into a nightmare of no escape, by saving himself first time round, he has excited The Hitcher who firmly believes the ante as been raised.  The deadly game has now began and there is no escape for poor Jim as the man who he only wanted to give a lift invades his life and will not stop until one of them is dead!

John Ryder played with a full force of anger by Rutger Hauer in his best ever role (sorry Blade Runner fans) is one of Horror's best creations.  This is someone with a tint of Supernatural ability, he turns up like a bad penny at the right moments and seems hell-bent to destroy everything in his path.  He is a mystery that is never explained, a nightmare that you simply can not wake from, the fact Jim originally escaped his clutches, just makes him determined more, it really is powerful display of menace and one you will never forget!

Also despite its nightmare situation, the film displays an intelligent subtext that raises it above the normal.  The running line is the passage of child to adult, with Jim starting off naive to the world and ending with a new found determination.  Maybe John sees this in Jim and that is why he plays the game, but to understand the Hitcher is near impossible.  With no back story and someone you simply can not relate to, he is an enigma, the sole reason why even today, The Hitcher is still loved and regarded as a classic, a film with no answers, just a sense of impending doom that will make sure unlike Jim, you will never ever stop the car for a stranger again!!



- HughesRoss

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RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 4/3/2011 4:02:07 AM   
rawlinson

 

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Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
290.
Thriller
(1983; John Landis)



Another controversial one. The plot sees Michael on a date with a girl, but he warns her he's not like other guys, and when the full moon rises he transforms into a werecat. He chases her through the forest, but we then see it's actually a film being watched by Michael and his girl. She gets scared and leaves the cinema and he follows her, teasing her with lines from the song. When they pass a graveyard, the dead begin to rise and soon MJ turns into a zombie himself and the zombies all pursue her. Then they all have a little dance. It's an incredible music video and actually I can understand the logic behind the votes for Thriller.  For a lot of people, the Thriller video might have been their first exposure to any kind of horror and Landis and Jackson took the time to make it into a short film rather than just a music video. It was the most expensive music video ever made at the time and it remains one of the most beloved. Landis brought Rick Baker into the film to create some excellent effects (including Jackson's transformation into a were-cat) And of course horror legend Vincent Price provides a great voice-over mid song. Didn't make my (very) long list, but I can sort of understand why others voted for it.



- Rawlinson

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RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 4/3/2011 4:03:50 AM   
rawlinson

 

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289.
Manhunter
(1986; Michael Mann)



There is a written word amongst fans of cinema that for all those that lavish praise on Silence Of The Lambs and in particular Anthony Hopkins are the ones that have not seen Manhunter.

Released in 1986, a good five years before Jodie Foster walked into that cold and dark place of evil, the world was first introduced to the character of Dr Hannibal Lecktor (notice the surname spelt different) and his devious mind in this underrated horror directed by none other  Michael Mann.  Often seen as the Never Say Never Again of the franchise in that its the "unofficial version" which fans should ignore, its this attitude that surrounds the picture that gives it the edge over the much glossy and big bang image of the films that followed.

Here its dark and gritty, more realistic and uncomfortable, Mann putting the characters into the real world, this is not about cheap scares, this is a serious picture, awash with family issues which its remake Red Dragon failed to grasp hold of.  Of course, those who have seen Red Dragon will know all about the story of a man called The Tooth Fairy who targets and kills families and with the police force at a loss, they bring back ex Criminal Profiler Will Graham (William Peterson) who due to a nervous breakdown from his last case involving a certain Lecktor, is reluctant but agrees.

Here the power comes from the story.  Mann refuses to sell out with cheap scares (are you listening Bret Ratner) and builds the tension so when we finally do get to the climax, your nerves are torn to sheds.  While everyone will associate the character of Lecktor with Hopkins, you can not dismiss Brian Cox portrayal of the Doctor.  While he has does not share the luxury of screen time has its counterpart, he brings a real menace to the role, a sense that this man lives not just in your nightmares.  I sometimes weep when I think that Hopkins walked off with that statue while Cox is forgotten, lost in a film that deserves all the credit and plaudits that comes its way.

With its pounding soundtrack, detailed police investigations and a stirring plot, Manhunter grabs you with its stunning visuals and originality.  Silence may have won the critics over, but horror fans know that there is only film that nails the required vibe and tone, a film that does not need no Quid Pro Quo to give you the answer yes or no.......



- HughesRoss

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RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 4/3/2011 5:59:56 AM   
rawlinson

 

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Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
288.
Night of the Eagle
(1962; Sidney Hayers)



The great Peter Wyngarde, forever a part of cult history for his work as Jason King and his remarkable album, stars in this creepy little tale of witchcraft and the dangers of denying the supernatural. He plays a college professor, Norman Taylor, an expert on traditions and superstitions, who we meet while giving a lecture on witchcraft. He is stating his disbelief of the supernatural and he scrawls some words on the blackboard that he'll later regret, "I do not believe". He learns he may be getting a major promotion, but he soon discovers that the promotion hasn't come through his hard work, but through his wife Tansy's (Janet Blair) interest in witchcraft. In anger, Norman destroys all of her magical items, despite her claims that they were the only things protecting him from evil forces. Norman's life soon begins to fall apart as rival witches start to cast spells on the unlucky couple, he narrowly misses being run down, a student accuses him of rape and her boyfriend pulls a gun on him. But it's when a recording of one of Norman's old lectures, overlayed with an odd noise, is played that things pick up a pace, and we realise Norman's final confrontation with the supernatural is soon to come.

Adapted from Fritz Leiber's classic Conjure Wife, and known as Burn, Witch, Burn on its American release, Night of the Eagle is old-fashioned story-telling at its best. For most of the film we don't get any answers, everything could be in Taylor's head, combined with some nasty coincidences, or there really could be a plot against him. It's beautifully structured and it creates an incredible sense of suspense. It's a film where danger come come from any shadow, and there are never any easy answers. It would make a fantastic double-bill with Night of the Demon or some of the earlier Val Lewton films. Peter Wyngarde and Janet Blair do superb work, with Wyngarde in particular mesmerising as the overly stubborn lecturer who is brought to his knees by unknown powers. Wonderful stuff.



- Rawlinson

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RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 4/3/2011 7:24:08 AM   
rawlinson

 

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From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
287.
Horror Express
(1972; Eugenio Martin)



Peter Cushing & Christopher Lee team again in this underrated Euro-horror. Lee plays Alexander Saxton, a pompous anthropologist who has been on an excavation in Manchuria and discovered the fossil of an ape-man. Saxon is taking the creature in a crate by train through Siberia, but the passengers are panicked when odd deaths start occuring, all connected to the crate. On the train he meets The Mighty Cush', playing an old rival, Dr. Wells. Lee tries to keep the contents of his crate secret, but Cushing bribes a guard to look in the crate, but he too is killed and something is set free along the way. An odd monk (Alberto de Mendoza) is also on board as the spiritual adviser of a countess, and he tries to warn of the evil of the crate, but nobody believes him. When Wells performs an autopsy on the bodies, he discovers their brains are being drained of knowledge (how you can tell that remains a mystery). There's also a cop on board who eventually manages to gun down the ape-man. But monkey-boy wasn't evil, he was being possessed, and the entity shifts itself to the police inspector without anyone realising. Meanwhile, Saxton and Wells perform another autopsy, this time on the ape-man, and discover images in one of his eyes, including a huge clue to the nature of the monster. Meanwhile, the Siberian authorities get word on the murders and they send their police to board the train, led by Telly Savalas. With Savalas camping it up wildly and Lee & Cushing trying to keep their dignity, the film speeds to a bonkers and brilliant finale.

Obviously taking a bit of a cue from Who Goes There? with its monster jumping from person to person, Horror Express lacks the tension of that film's most famous adaptation, The Thing, because we know the monster can't ever be Cushing or Lee - They're British, you know.  The pace of the film is fairly breathless, with Cushing being given the thankless task of spouting exposition every few minutes to try and clue in the audience as to what exactly the fuck is going on. It's incredibly silly, despite having some very interesting ideas, but it's never boring and it's one of the most purely entertaining films in this list. Ignore the naysayers, this is one of the most outrageously fun horror films of the 70s.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 12
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 4/3/2011 7:25:56 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
286.
House of 1000 Corpses
(2003; Rob Zombie)



Two couples travelling across country and working on a book on bizarre roadside attractions stumble across a filling station / theme park run by a vaguely evil clown with a bad attitude - Captain Spaulding. Spaulding teaches them of a few local legends, including a mad surgeon who worked in a local insane asylum and came to be known as Dr. Satan for the grotesque surgical procedures he applied to mental patients in secret. They pick up a pretty blonde hitch-hiker on their way to see the tree where Dr Satan was hung, and run into some car problems, so the hitch-hiker invites them to her family house. The family, apparently headed by the phenomenally weird Karen Black, makes The Addams family look like the Brady Bunch.

In my opinion, House of 1000 Corpses is a horror movie made by a fan of 70's/80's horror,that fan is Rob Zombie,you will either love or hate. But make no mistake this clever little film with its depraved sense of humour and nihilism was and is a new benchmark in Horror. Zombie's themes are fairly consistent evil (without the usual religious connotations? and clichés), murder, sex, insanity, and stereotype mad as hatters Hillbillies(Rob is a big fan of Deliverance but takes psycho Hillbillies to a new level). Like Rob Zombies's songs,this is so campy that it seems a straightforward horror black comedy. However, once our protagonists are in the house, the plot takes a decidedly more sinister/darker spin, and never lets up from that point forward,it lacks the humour of some so called horror movies. The film also walks a delicate line between grotesque art house realism and supernatural forces. For example, at one point, one of the bad guys turns on a cassette player with low batteries so that the voice recorded on it sounds satanic. If you have problems with blood/gore of the extreme realistic kind and repulsive surgically induced variations on the human body, you might want to avoid this film. The actors do a fine job of helping create a unbearable atmosphere dread,and the twisted family are not who you want to bump into night or day. If you don't have any great objections to standard hardcore horror imagery, or if you like it, you might want to see this. It is masterfully visualized and does a much better job of making horror into art form than the standard Hollywood horror fair that came before and after. This is Rob Zombie's art, and he does it much better than most. His first major effort in film was followed by The Devils Rejects,and then his re-imaging of the Halloween franchise,but for sheer brutal hard to watch horror,this set the pace for the likes of Hills Have Eyes remake and many others i could name. A must see for horror fans,but not for the faint hearted,so don't say you weren't warned,see and enjoy.....



- evilbill

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Post #: 13
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 4/3/2011 8:34:58 AM   
rawlinson

 

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285.
Deranged
(1974; Jeff Gillen, Alan Ormsby)



Roberts Blossom may be best known to a generation as the (not so) creepy guy next door in Home Alone, but back in the day he really was the creepy guy you wouldn't want living next door. For in Deranged he plays Ezra Cobb, and Ezra Cobb is Ed Gein in all but name. There have been numerous films based on the Gein case, from loosely inspired films like Psycho, Silence of the Lambs and Texas Chainsaw to the likes of Ed Gein itself, Deranged deserves to stand alongside them all as a true horror great. For those who've never heard of Gein, he was raised in Wisconsin by his domineering mother. When she died he first turned to grave-robbing and necrophilia, followed by murder and necrophilia. When he was finally caught by police, they found his house full of chairs upholstered with human skin, skull soup bowl, faces mounted on the walls and a vest made of breasts. Gein also liked to dress up in female skin to pretend he was his own mother.

The Ezra Cobb story loosely follows the Ed Gein one, Cobb's father dies when he's young, leaving him alone with his mother. He cared for her after she became bedridden, but when she too died, his lingering psychosis spilled over. On her death-bed, mom shows what an old bitch she is, calling all other women filthy sluts and money-stealing bitches who'll give Ez' syph'. Still, Ez' can't bear to be without her. Eventually Ez' snaps and starts talking in her voice. He tells himself to steal her corpse and bring it home, but he soon has to steal other corpses and indulge in a little taxidermy to keep her in one piece. Before long he progress to murder and cannibalism.  

It feels authentic, like you're getting an insight into  a true lunatic, in large part thanks to a brilliant performance from Blossom, who is so good he actually makes you feel sympathy for Cobb at times. The film is brilliantly depraved, especially when it comes to the scene where Ez' introduces his 'future wife' to his mother and we get to see the full extent of his insanity. But despite how unflinching and bleak the film is, it also has a wicked sense of humour, especially in Cobb's encounters with Maureen, the only woman momma ever trusted (because she's fat).  With make-up from Tom Savini adding to the atmosphere, Deranged is an uncompromising piece of film-making, and one of the best horror movies that far too many people haven't seen



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 14
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 4/3/2011 9:43:21 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
284.
Just Before Dawn
(1981; Jeff Lieberman)



Two hunters are exploring an abandoned church. One of them, Ty (the talented Mike Kellin) sees someone watching them through an opening on the roof. When he goes outside to investigate, he sees their truck rolling downhill and chases after it. Meanwhile, the figure on the roof takes the opportunity to go inside and kill his friend by stabbing him through the groin with a machete. The film skips forward to see five people out to explore some inherited land. Warren (Gregg Henry), the land-owner, his girlfriend Constance (Deborah Benson), Jonathan (Chris, son of Jack, Lemmon), his girlfriend Megan (Jamie Rose) and Daniel (Ralph Seymour).They meet a ranger (George Kennedy) who warns them to turn back, before bumping into Ty who tells them he's being chased by demons. They ignore both these warnings, unaware that someone with a machete is on their trail. Soon our killer is playing cat and mouse games with the group.

Despite sounding like a fairly obvious slasher, it's one of the most unconventional entries in the genre that I've ever seen. Smarter than it might be given credit for and taking the unexpected path whenever it can, Just Before Dawn is an impressive achievement from a writer/director who has never really been given the acclaim he deserves. Lieberman is one of those directors who has incredible ideas but seldom has the budget to make them look amazing. So like his contemporary Larry Cohen, his films aren't often given the respect they deserve. Here he doesn't have that problem, it looks amazing, thanks in no part to the location. Shot in Oregon, and making great use of the scenery (amazingly making wide open spaces feel small and claustrophobic). With one of the most memorable death scenes in any horror, Just Before Dawn is one of the very best of the backwoods slashers.



- Rawlinson
Post #: 15
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 4/3/2011 9:45:18 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
283.
Pitch Black
(2000; David Twohy)



Pitch Black is another of my favourite SciFi/Horrors. And a reminder yet again of how badly Twohy squandered the great character of Riddick in that high budget shenanigans sequel.

An accident puts a ship down on an unknown planet – on the trip down pilot Caroline (Mitchell) nearly sacrifices the passenger section, something that deeply affects her and helps dictate her future actions. On board are the usual ragtag bunch but given a lot more character than might be the norm, particularly Keith David, legend in the field, as an Imam leading 3 young students. Also on board are guard and prisoner – drugged up Johns (Hauser) and a violent apparently sociopathic escaped prisoner Riddick (Diesel), with surgically altered eyes to fit the lightless prison he was incarcerated in. They've unfortunately landed just as the planet heads into the dark at the end of a 22 year cycle – and when it gets dark, a whole different breed of predator comes out.

The most compelling creation is that of Riddick, unusually well-played by gravelly voiced Vin Diesel, someone you wouldn't really normally link to good performances. There are some nice touches and contrasts – his initial reaction of 'beautiful' watching the killing machines rise in the dark reminded me of Ash's reaction to the Alien in the film of the same name – while that robot admires the efficiency of the killing ability, are we taking the same for Riddick? Or recognition of a compatriot? But Riddick's background isn't quite so cut and dried, and his reaction to Jack's hero-worshipping and Caroline's 'sacrifice' suggest there is a lot more going on. Radha Mitchell got herself a career out of the strong performance she gave as the 'captain' of the group – no flashy hysterics, but grounded and considered.

Pitch Black is both thrilling and unusually well-characterised for a low budget SF/Horror – both factors that turned it into a well-received sleeper hit on release. The creatures are well-realised and genuinely terrifying and the direction keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat even at the nth viewing. The let-down of the sequel was keenly felt although, if you can find it, the animated 'sequel' Dark Fury wasn't nearly as bad (and was one of the first to take a film into animated territory influenced, I think, by the Animatrix stuff shortly before).



- elab49

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Post #: 16
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 4/3/2011 9:46:49 AM   
rawlinson

 

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Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
282.
The Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness
(1992; Sam Raimi)



I know there are those out there that will sigh or gasp at my next statement but these days this has become my favourite Evil Dead film.  Yes while the overall tone and nature of the third film is say slapstick and more of a cartoon kind of feel, you can not help but watch it these days and just marvel at the fantastic Bruce Campbell who is just having the time of his life as the icon Ash in what is now probably the last film of the character.  The movie is a blast from start to finish.  Some cracking one-liners the "Well hello Mr Fancy Pants! let me tell you something pal! The only thing you leading around here is Jack and shit!  and Jack just left!"....and "give me some sugar!" are just two that tell you the level this film is at!

Aiming more for the teenage crowd that left horror fanatics up in arms at the time, this is simply an homage to the likes of Jason and the Argonauts and fair play to big Sam.  He knew that Evil Dead was an all time classic, the sequel being more of a re-make than anything else, so instead of just doing the same old cabin story, he went for a laugh and a joke, and while there is no raping tree in sight!  The results are a joyful romp full of gags that not only makes full use of the much loved Ash character, but its probably the film that Campbell will be most remembered for.

Following on from the end of the second, Ash is now stuck in middle ages where he must fight the deadites once again before he can return to his own time.  On his way he must regain the Necronomicon Ex-motis (while uttering the words Klaatu barada nikto) and fight his very double, miniature Ash (an homage to Fantasia) and a horde of army skeletons.  The true strength of Army Of Darkness is displayed at the climax, its cliff-hanger that smacks of brilliance that makes you wish they stop mucking about with this remake idea and just get on with what the fans want, Evil Dead 4, Blade Runner style................
                                                                                                                          now who would not pay to see that?



- HughesRoss

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Post #: 17
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 4/3/2011 9:48:24 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
281.
A Serbian Film
(2010; Srdjan Spasojevic)



When Paxton, Oli and Josh checked in for the night at a Hostel at around the same time as JIgsaw started to embark on making the Saw  franchise the most successful in horror history, a new wave from the depths of the ocean was going to hit the horror genre.  Gore-Porn was heading its way to the shores, like a child talking its first walk, it had an eagerness to stand out, a will to impress onto the world, for everyone to look up and see what it was doing!  Of course the new generation of horror fans, bought up on the tail end of lame bogyman sequels where the kitchen knife had all but gone blunt, did not know what was going to hit them!  For the old fans this was nothing new.  The 80's had seen a craze of Government madness led by a national paper that born the phase Video Nasties in which films of quite a sadistic nature were seen to be the forces of evil nature, and anyone seen with a VHS copy of any of these films would have their house raided and belongings taken.  Times of course have changed.  You only need to look at the MTV music channels at 11.30 in the morning and see half dressed women shoving their arse at the camera while dancing to old remixed tunes to see that not many seem to care anymore who is watching and at what time.  The days of people hanging around cinemas with big boards demanding people not to see the film on show have long but gone, but if they did, then they probably never could leave the place their are standing, as every week a new film seems to hit the screen, claiming a new level of violence.  Saw was a wonderful original movie with a killer twist that spawned a set of sequels whose plot was just padding for its main aim and that was excessive torture scenes.  Since then, all cinema from all over the world have jumped on their bandwagon.  In the last two years my eyes have been subjected to an unborn baby being ripped from her mother (Inside) a woman being brutally attacked over and over (Martyrs) not so pretty damage to the penis (Hostel 2, Penance) and many more that I could go and on and on.  It seems for every new film that has a new shock image, another film that is getting made realises that their mission is to top that scene.  As I have said on many occasions "We are reaching a stage where one film is going to come out that is going to single handily blow the others away and also carry the sound of death for gore-porn as we know it",

                                                                                 THAT MOMENT HAS BEEN REACHED!

The trouble is with this shock genre that it does what it sets out to do!  Even before the first glimpse of a trailer or image has been shown, word of mouth develops and with everything built around the Internet these days, its quite hard not to hear about a new film due that will create a massive outcry.  There is also a need for many horror fans to see this movie when they hear all the negative press surrounding it!    Its like when parents tell children they not supposed to do something, they do it anyway, or when Newspapers (and this is going to happen!) demand all movie fans never to watch a film, you human instinct is that you now have to watch it!  If you like me, most of the time when there is an outcry, the film itself after watching you find is a massive disappointment.  At times the hype is bigger than the film, that the brutal and savage scenes were the same than the last film that caused such a stir.  Even Martyrs for all its wonderful moments left me with no need to look away, yes it was not nice but its fiction, and its just a film.  Maybe like all the other fans of the recent age, I had become too immune to the sights I was seeing, that once you had seen one woman beaten or skinned you had seen them all.  I actually had the confidence in believing that I was now too old to be shocked and stunned into silence.  I mean a man who stupidly calls himself the King of Horrors, must have seem  so many, that now each and every new film is just a parody to what was before!

                                                                                                    I WAS WRONG!

Sitting down to watch A Serbian Film, I had no idea what I was about to suffer or see!  When reviewers say they felt physically sick when watching, a horror, you usually take that as a pinch of salt, but many times during this I did!  My stomach turned and my head shook at the disgusting storyline that was unfolding.  This is horror that is HORROR!  A film that will take its viewer into a world that has never been witnessed before and I doubt ever will again.  To say that I was shaking during the watch is an understatement, I have been told  recently that my reviews are like a diary, in which I put down what I am feeling from beginning to end, well this one review will be different!  I felt the same throughout, disgusted, and depraved, there is nothing I can write down on here that will explain to you the emotion I felt watching this brutal film.  Its a horror that I have never seen before, my mind could feel the blast of unseen imagery enter its virgin brain that resulted in me sitting there with a need to knock this filth off but couldn't.  I would love to tell you the scenes but even if I could I cant.  Not for spoilers but what you witness here should never be talked about on this forum as many of you would not want to read about or know that it exists! in art form.

If the objective from the director Srdjan Spasojevic and writer Aleksandar Radivojevic was to make a film that would just take the world by the storm, then they have truly created a masterpiece!  Its not an easy thing for me to write this review, I feel ashamed telling the Empire Forum that I actually sat down and watched it, but while I feel dirty and morally wrong for what I have done, the inner self, a piece of me that is a movie fan feels the need to tell others about this film.  Yes, its something which 80% of fans will walk off in disgust, but for those remaining 20%, there is a film out there that challenges everything you know about movies.  Let me tell you, if you think you have seen everything then you haven't, a Serbian film bypasses everything before it!  How bad is it?  Well this will never get released in this form.  No distributor will have the balls to put their name to this film for fear of the negativity that it will most surely provide!

Every time money is tight, and there is not enough to feed himself, his wife and his son, Milos (Srdjan Todorovic) returns to what he is good at.....porn!  Semi retired but well known for his staying power in that he can get and get and keep an erection without any need of form of pleasure or visual tricks, Milos with the help of an old friend gets a once in a lifetime offer to make a porn film with a hot new director who is in town for a new shoot!  Excited and eager to make the money his family needs, Milos signs on the dotted line but the offer has a condition.  The maker Vukmir (Sergej Trifunovic) demands that Milos needs not to know where the film is going to take place whom the person he is going to star with.  Its all hush and hush and the only thing he needs to know is that the film will take the subject for fans to a whole new level.  An idea and notion that The Serbian Film itself carries throughout!  Milos turns up on the day and is demanded to put on a ear piece in which Vukmir will shout out instructions, he is escorted to a room where things are fine, his worried voice inside him that all this feels wrong slowly subsides, and then a little girl appears and from then on in, you share a journey with Milos that you will never ever share again.

I can not go into anymore.  What is on offer with shake you, even more so if you go in blind.  Its a subject that I thought I would never be subjected to.  All those exploitation films that have been released over the years or even decades have nothing on this.  The one scene coming towards the hour mark left a scar in my horror mind.  It was then when I should have stood up,, opened my DVD tray and burned the disc right there in my living room!  But I didn't, and why, because Serbian challenges you like no other.  Just when you think you have seen the worse, something else comes along and grabs you heart and twists it!

Also the film has a heart.  Yes I hate myself saying that, but this is not just shock for the sake value.  There is political message underneath the mayhem.  The film reminds me of Smell Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana.  At the time the song was described has a voice of a generation and that the anger could be heard from within.  Now I am not saying that this film is for this generation, but you can sense it was made by an angry direction team whose voice wants to be heard in a country that does not listen!   There are hints through out of their suppressed anger and it shows especially in once scene in which a character talks about victims and how they are made to suffer!  Yes there be those who ignore the overall theme and just concentrate on the mayhem.  There be them who judge those who watch this, and even dare call the film good.  Do you get pleasure from watching this? No!  Is this art gone too far? Of course! But if your mind is already made up before you even sit down and watch it, then why are you watching it?  There is no middle ground.  There be no one stating that "It was ok!" or "seen better"., you either hate it or love it, its the marmite of the film world.

I doubt I will ever see a film in my lifetime that will shock me like this.  Even now, writing up this movie review I  am still shaking from the extreme imagery that was displayed.  The makers wanted to send out a message and they have done it in a way that has never been done before.  But again for such an horrific showing, the film is somewhat filmed in a beautiful manner, this not on the cheap scale of the market, a lot of care has gone into the making and it shows with a stunning score booming from the violence!

I can not and will recomend this film for anyone, if you want to see it, see it, after you have you wished you haven't.  For all those cocky out there who think they have seen it all then prepare fo a nightmare of the highest proportions, yes you may have thought that a penis being ripped from a man in Hostel Pt 2 has prepared you for what is coming, but when you see a woman having her teeth pulled out and then has to perform a sex act on a man until she chokes to death, then you sense the fear and dread, especially as that scene alone in this movie could be a PG13 to what is coming next!

Its a masterpiece of supreme depravity.  A laugh to all those who thought films could not get worse.  A movie that is destinded to be infamous for the fact many will hear of it, loads wll talk of it, but many will never witness it. Its the best horror of the year by far, in fact I go as far and say its the first Horror masterpiece of this decade  It shows a world that exists out there, a place where deep down we knew was there but never wanted to acknowledge.  What actions of a man bares reperucussions for his entire family.  I will never ever watch this again.  I do not need to, everything that it offered will forever be stuck with me, I am ahshamed with the guilt running through my veins.  I have taken a bath to no avail, I hate myself for not only watching this movie but also for understanding it, and for not turning it off when I should have!

And the fact that while I will never score this film because its feels wrong doing so, if you wanted to know what I would have put, it would have been more than 4, less than six, out of my usual out of 5 rating.......



- HughesRoss

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 18
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 4/3/2011 12:31:47 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
280.
Requiem For A Dream
(2000; Darren Aronofsky)



Jared Leto stars as Harry, an addict in New York who finds himself and his friends and family falling deeper into the life over the course of this relentlessly depressing film. Harry's mother (A heartbreaking Ellen Burstyn) falls into amphetamine addiction while his best friend (A surprisingly good Marlon Wayans) and girlfriend (Jennifer Connolly, in the film that really won the Oscar for her) follow him into heroin addiction. One of the bleakest and most despairing films you could ever see, Requiem moves beyond a simple drugs are bad message to show all the characters stripped of hope and defined by their addictions

- That was the review I wrote for the film when it made my top 2000 list. I don't approach it as a horror because I never watched it from the perspective of a horror, but it certainly is a kind of horror, the kind where every human experience is perverted and turned into something destructive and degrading, where there's little hope of redemption or relief for any of its characters and the demonic force that's haunting them isn't a supernatural figure, but a very human addiction.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 19
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 4/3/2011 12:33:19 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
279.
Paperhouse
(1988; Bernard Rose)



Adapted from Catherine Starr's novel, Marianna Dreams (which also inspired the t.v. series Escape into Night), Paperhouse is an intelligent film from Bernard Rose, and one that could be claimed as his best work to date. 11 year old Anna (Charlotte Burke) is suffering through a troubled home-life. She becomes ill and while recovering in bed, starts drawing. She draws a house and discovers that in her dreams she can go to that house. As she makes changes to the drawing, the house in her dreams changes too. When she draws a young boy in the window he appears in her dreams too and she makes a new friend. But she soon disturbs her new world when she draws a picture of her absent father, unhappy with the angry look on her face, she crosses him out, and he becomes a boogie-man figure in her dreams.

While it only turns into outright horror in certain scenes, there's always the sense that things are waiting to go wrong with Anna's dream-world and suspense is built through waiting to see how each one of her new designs will pay out in the twisted world of her dream house. The house design is excellent, perfectly recreating the strange nature of a child's drawing and the dream world is genuinely unsettling at times.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 20
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 4/3/2011 12:35:03 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
278.
Don't Go in the House
(1980; Joseph Ellison)



Donny is an abused young boy, his mother thinks the best way to remove sin from the child is with regular burnings. When he grows up, he's understandably a bit bitter and twisted. By day he works at the local incinerator and as the film starts he witnesses a man accidentally catch fire, but while the other workers rush to help him, Donny stands back and watches. When he gets home, he finds his sick mother has passed away. His emotional reactions to the event are more like a child's than an adult's. Eventually snapping, he decides to re-enact his mother's discipline. He builds a fireproof room,brings women home, strips them, chains them up and burns them alive with a flamethrower. He then keeps  their corpses at home to keep his mother's corpse company. But every new victim leaves another voice in his head, forever haunting him.

I'm always amazed this film isn't more notorious than it is. It was one of the video nasties, yet it never seems to be talked about in the same manner as others from the nasty list, so it's nice to see it get some appreciation and turn up in this list. There were a lot of 'Don't...' titles around at that time, we were advised don't answer the phone, be afraid of the dark, go near the park, look now, go in the woods, open the window, go to sleep, open the door, look in the basement, bother to knock or deliver us from evil. There wasn't a hell of a lot we could do. I think the sheer volume of Don't... titles led to some of them getting lost in the mix, so that most of them seemed to take on the same air of crappiness. Don't Go in the House is one of the best of its kind, as brutal as they come, but apart from one or two scenes, not that graphic. It has to be said though that when it does get graphic, it's really intense. What makes the film so good, apart from its oppressive atmosphere is the work of the lead actor. Dan Grimaldi (later to play Patsy Parisi in The Sopranos) gives a superb performance, avoiding the temptation to overplay things and instead plays Donny as an overgrown child, it was a debut role and it's a shame he didn't go on to bigger things.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 21
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 4/3/2011 12:36:27 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
277.
Valerie and Her Week of Wonders
(1970; Jaromil Jires)



In an Eastern European village, Valerie, a thirteen year old girl experiences her first period and gets mixed up in a tale of incest, lesbianism, potential sexual molesters and vampirism. Valerie lives with her grandmother who warns her not to wear her mother's magical earrings, she warns her that the earrings are dangerous, even though her brother says they'll protect her. One morning, Valerie sees the earrings being stolen by a vampire-priest, starting a dangerous dream-like pursuit that sees Valerie face seduction and death at every turn.

Valerie... obviously takes its inspiration and its symbolism from fairy tales and European folklore, but Jires draws out the sexual undertones of these tales to reflect Valerie's own sexual awakening. Valerie is seduced by her "aunt", propositioned by the vampire-priest, and generally faces the temptations of sex at every turn. Despite the references to underage sex, incest and lesbianism, there's no salaciousness to this film. That said, the film would attract controversy if made now, in fact it would be near impossible to make because of the age of Schallerova (13/14) at the time of filming. The recent controversy surrounding Hounddog demonstrates the sort of reaction Valerie could receive today.

Sex, religion, hypocrisy and the fairytale style of Carroll's Wonderland mix together in a film that seems to run on the logic of the subconscious. The ambiguity of the narrative means it's difficult to ever be sure what's really going on, how much of this is just the fantasy of a girl beginning her sexual awakening. Valerie is basically a surreal coming-of-age story. So many of these films are betrayed by overly precocious lead actors, Schallerova however is remarkable. It's a perfectly judged performance, one of the best by a teen performer, keeping Valerie grounded against all bizarre occurences. In the absence of clarity, what Jires leaves us with is a haunting gothic fairytale, filled with creepy and enigmatic imagery



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 22
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 4/3/2011 12:37:50 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
276.
The Tenant
(1976; Roman Polanski)



The third entry in a loose trilogy about people becoming isolated in their apartments and becoming overwhelmed by their surroundings (Following Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby), The Tenant stars Polanski as Trelkovsky,a foreigner in France who moves into an apartment where the previous tenant attempted suicide. Becoming interested in the woman, Simone, he visits her in hospital and meets a friend of hers, but whatever he attemps he finds it impossible to fit in to the world around him. Trelkovsky comes to believe that his neighbours are engaged in a conspiracy to drive him to suicide by forcing the personality of the woman on him.

The Tenant was the first movie Polanski made after fleeing America on rape charges, is it a coincidence that he himself plays the title character? Trelkovsky is a ball of impotent, frustrated loathing driven to despair by his place in society, Polanski's character is an outsider in a strange country and he feels as if the world is against him, but it's just as likely he's a victim of his own paranoia. Polanski may not be the first choice of everyone for a leading man role, but he's perfect here, he understands Trelkovsky and all of his alienation and it's difficult to imagine a more professional actor doing the job as well. One of the film's greatest strengths is the cinematography from Sven Nykvist, creating haunting imagery from Trelkovsky's isolated apartment and from the faces of the neighbours who keep a constant watch on him, some of them fading Hollywood stars.

The Tenant is one of cinema's greatest paranoid fantasies. The fear of the other is a running theme in Polanski's work, no doubt inspired by the horrors he endured in his own life. Here the neighbours do everything they can to make Trelkovsky feel unwelcome and we feel his discomfort under their threatening gazes. The sense of urban paranoia and mental impairment, again themes that run through Polanski's work, are here turned almost blackly comic. If Repulsion was serious and psychological and Rosemary's Baby a more mainstream take on paranoia, here Polanski seems to be aiming for an entry in The Theatre Of The Absurd. The sense of dread becomes almost comical on several occasions, especially when Trelkovsky tries to become the woman everyone seems to want him to be. And if we take what we're shown at face value they do seem to want to trap him in Simone's life, but is what we're seeing ever real or is it simply more of Trelkovsky's delusions? There are people who feel that Trelkovsky is being taken over by the spirit of the dead girl, and there's certainly a case to be made for the concept of Simone's soul being transferred to Trelkovsky's body. Especially in the 'hospital scream' segment. Trelkovsky himself could be a fictional construct, a fantasy of Simone as she lies in her hospital bed. Or Trelkovsky himself could be hallucinating the whole thing, he's certainly suffering a loss of identity brought on by his isolation and his alienation could be bringing about a mental collapse. Polanski never really answers the question for us by giving us a definite truth, and the film is all the better for it.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 23
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 5/3/2011 2:32:35 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
275.
Apartment Zero
(1988; Martin Donovan)



This creepy little thriller stars Colin Firth as the owner of a revival cinema in Argentina.  His only interest in life other than the cinema is visiting his ill mother. Needing cash, Firth advertises for a room-mate to come share his apartment and soon Hart Bochner moves in. Firth is obviously attracted to him and the two soon embark on a relationship of co-dependence, mistrust and frustrated sexuality. But is Bochner is carrying a dark history with him. Despite being set in Argentina, and making nods to South America's dark history, the location is largely unimportant as most of the action revolves around the apartment block and it could actually have been set nearly anywhere with a few minor tweaks. Most of the tension comes from the mind-games played by the two leads and from how little of their motivations we actually know. It's easy to see the influence of films like Polanski's The Tenant on Apartment Zero and it lives in that same world of paranoia and isolation. Firth is incredible in the lead role and it's a shame that the brilliance of his early and most recent work is undercut by the decade he spent as a housewives' favourite in crap like Bridget Jones.



- Rawlinson


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Post #: 24
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 5/3/2011 2:34:32 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
274.
Rabid
(1977; David Cronenberg)



This was my first experience with Cronenberg, caught on a late-night screening on C4 when I was fairly young and it scared the hell out of me. Former Ivory Soap girl and porn queen Marilyn Chambers stars as Rose, a young woman who suffers serious injuries following a bike crash. She's rushed to a hospital where radical new treatment is used to save her life. Unfortunately the surgery has side-effects, a phallic spike, hidden in an orifice under the arm, the need to feed on human blood, and infecting those she feeds on with a form of rabies. After the surgery, Rose slips into a coma, a few weeks later she wakes and immediately begins to feed on another patient. Escaping from the clinic, Rose returns to the city to look for her boyfriend and for help, spreading the epidemic as she goes. Cronenberg created this as a companion to his earlier work, Shivers. But while Shivers contained its virus to one building (and many would say actually had a message of freedom through sexual release) Rabid is darker and spreads it to a city. While this is obviously as much a film of vampirism and zombies as it is about rabies, it's also a great example of horror as social statement, turning the vampirism and the contagion into a metaphor for the spread of viruses both sexual and man-made. It's been rumoured that Sissy Spacek was considered for the lead, and as fine an actress as she is, it's impossible to imagine this film without Chambers. A better actress than many will admit, she makes remarkable use of the baggage she brings to the role from her porn career, making her character's seduction of her victims both sexual and oddly sympathetic. As much as I've enjoyed Cronenberg's recent work, I can't help but wish he'd make a return to his glory days of the 70s and 80s and make something this incredible again.



- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 25
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 5/3/2011 2:50:10 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
273.
Eden Lake
(2008; James Watkins)



Whenever i think of this film, i get a chill. I feel pretty damn horrible at its harshness, but i just can't help but be amazed at first time director James Watkins' realistic vision of broken Britain. There are no supernatural forces at work here, no cannibals or great big hairy beasts. No, this is a film about a young, engaged couple who have good jobs and a happy life, and how that is all taken away from them by simply asking a bunch of teenage thugs to "turn the music down please". The results of daring to challenge this gang of young thugs is extreme, brutal, but it's frighteningly too close to home. We read about incidents like this (although not quite to these extremes) all the time in the newspapers. So, what we have is an intelligent horror, a survivalist film, tackling real issues head on, and making a daring, but honest statement about the problem with youths and their parents in today's pretty much accepted gang culture. Its a sad and shocking state of affairs, and fair play to the director for having the guts to be honest.

I can sense some of you thinking, "come on DJ,things aren't that bad!". However, there are points in this film that really ring true. The couple have gone to Eden Lake for a weekend where the husband is going to propose. On the way, they stop off at a motel. Here is where the working class couple realise how far from the comfort of their safe little life they really are. Louts sit around drinking, kids are running rampant at all hours with what seems like no parental control (how many times have you been somewhere and said to yourself  "why won't she tell that fuckin kid to shut up!"). We all do it, so the woman asks the very question to her would-be husband. Suddenly, a big fat Kerry Katona type blob steps up and whacks the kid across the face for all to see. No remorse, not even embarrassed, and we wonder why kids are so angry these days. Anyway, noticing the young woman staring at her actions, the fat mother then shouts threateningly at her. Round one to the louts, and their whole evening is ruined as they head to bed to escape this awful aggression. While trying to ly quiet, we hear arguments. Nice, lovely peaceful motel this, full of such nice people! The statement the director is making is we all feel this sense of being careful how we look at people and feeling uncomfortable. Its a feeling that shouldn't exist, but it does, and more and more these days. Anyone who has worked with the public, i'm sure you'll agree, they are often not nice, and use aggression to try and threaten something out of you.

Eventually they get to Eden Lake, and their quiet weekend is shattered as a gang of teenage thugs descend on the same beach, playing loud music, drinking, letting their rottweiler (a typical chav dog) run all over the beach shitting everywhere. The gang perve on the young woman, and eventually the husband-to-be has had enough. All he asks is they turn the music down. Oh dear oh dear, you can't interfere with their fun, or tell them what to do. For this is a gang, and they don't take shit from anyone. One of the most uncomfortable feelings is asking something of someone, and them totally ignoring you. You then have to make a decision, walk away and feel like a bit of an idiot, or respond. Its like being in the cinema. A bunch of irritating kids come in and talk through the whole fucking film! You ask them to be quiet, people see you ask them. But what if they don't, then what do you do?? That's what's brilliantly realised here, and the poor guy, come the end wishes he said nothing.

What follows in an onslaught of aggression. But first, we find out briefly what the typical parents are like. Mentioning the fact they have done something to his 4x4 in a cafe, the friendly woman serving them suddenly becomes very hostile when it seems the guy is pointing the finger at her son. Claiming its not her son. her son is a good boy, is very very true to life. These people always blame someone else. Anyway, eventually tensions run high as the guy tries to get his 4x4 back. Oh, forgot to mention the incredibly nail biting scene where he stupidly goes into one of the lads house. What a bloody stupid thing to do! So anyway, eventually there's a confrontation and the gang leaders peer pressure pushes all his gang to torture the man in a horrific scene as they all take swipes at him with a Stanley knife. Its very very hard to watch, and has that French realistic look about it. The final stab by a young lad who really doesn't want to do it is the worst, as he plunges the blade into the man's mouth! Not many horrors can make you cringe like that. We then have a game of cat and mouse as the gang hunt the woman, who turns survivalist in her desperation to get her boyfriend help.

There are some really touching moments between the woman and man, and a few times i almost shed a tear because you find yourself thinking, "what if that was me and the misses". It takes a more vicious turn as things hot up, and the woman does manage to get the upper hand whilst running through the woods. We are delivered yet another sickening scene tho, where the gang set fire to a little black kid who tried to help the couple. Its the screams he lets out that really haunt you.

Now, after so much violence, so much bullying, so much aggression and anger, and some truly shocking scenes (another involves the gang leader literally battering his friend to death, this sudden burst of extreme violence is very unsettling indeed) we have deal with one final blow. One last gut wrenching punch to really hit home how these fuckers get away with it, and how these sorts of people "look after their own". I won't spoil the ending for those who maybe haven't seen it, but all I can say is NO other film this decade has left me feeling so upset, so disturbed, so shaken up. Irreversible at least ended on a bit of a high note. Eden Lake doesn't, and it takes no prisoners. Again, my wife cried, and I could not get that final image out of my head for weeks and weeks. This is a brutal, scary horror that doesn't let up, ever! It will leave you shaken and chilled to your very core. It is, in a sense, a masterpiece, but not one that demands repeated viewings. If you can survive it, you are a strong person indeed, but i can guarantee you will not forget it



- dj vivace

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 26
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 5/3/2011 4:30:10 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
272.
I Spit on Your Grave
(1978; Meir Zarchi)



Without a doubt, I Spit on Your Grave is one of the most notorious films ever made. I was aware of the title for years before I even knew what the film was about. It's certainly one of the most intriguing titles in horror history, because it tells you so little, but it could be anything from a Poverty Row 40s film, a Hammer, a euro-horror, a 60s U.S. independent, or the 70s exploitation-er it actually is. The attitude towards the depiction of rape in cinema is interesting. People who will happily sit through films where countless people are murdered, often in graphic, thoughtless or idiotic ways, will often get squeamish when it comes to sexual assault. They're both horrible crimes, among the most horrific imaginable, yet audiences will often find a murder easier to watch. I think it's the more intimate nature of rape that can make those films more uncomfortable and upsetting. A murder can be quick and clean, a gunshot from a distance, rape can never be that way. Its very nature makes it one of the most aggressive and dehumanising experiences imaginable. Which brings me to the film itself.

Camille (Granddaughter of Buster) Keaton stars as Jennifer, she's just moved to a small town where she hopes to get some privacy to write. Unfortunately she attracts the attention of some brutal locals and is subjected to lengthy and multiple rapes before being left for dead. Surviving her assault, Jennifer understandably snaps and decides to take revenge on the gang.

Is it a masterpiece by mainstream standards? Probably not, most of the acting is quite bad and the script seems to exist to drag the film from one brutal set-piece to another. But it works. It's raw, it's powerful and it's shocking. Which is exactly what it should be. Some critics won't allow for this, judging seemingly more on word of mouth than an actual viewing of the film. I remember reading one particularly idiotic review that claimed the film was garbage because it treated rape lightly. Anyone who's actually seen this film couldn't argue it treats rape lightly. It presents it as degrading and hateful. There's an argument that says directors will often try and eroticise a rape scene by filming it in soft focus or having the victim come to enjoy it. Not here. This is ugly and upsetting all the way through. We share Jennifer's pain and torment and feel nothing but revulsion for the rapists. Keaton is incredible, making Jennifer not just a sympathetic victim, but a haunting, almost ghostly presence. Over 30 years on, it's still one of the most shocking films ever made.



- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 27
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 5/3/2011 5:54:30 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
271.
The Eye
2002; Oxide Pang Chun, Danny Pang



Interesting ghost story that hit big as part of the J-horror boom. A young woman has been blind since childhood, but she's about to get her vision back thanks to a cornea transplant. Her new eyes let her see far more than the world around her, they also give her an insight into the spirit world, as she finds herself seeing ghosts on every corner. She decides to find out the identity of the donor to try to gain some understanding of events, but discovers her new sight lets her see even greater horrors.

I should be honest and say I usually find the films of the Pangs fairly idiotic, but The Eye is without doubt their strongest work to date. There's little here that hasn't been seen before and it has to be said that the ending is ludicrous, but for most of the running time it's an effective film, with some strong scares (especially the scene in the lift) and good performances. But for me it ultimately works best as a film of moments rather than as a coherent whole, because while the Pangs create some incredibly atmospheric moments, they don't maintain it over the running time. The pacing also feels off and the film would work better at a shorter length and without that ending. It's not a really great ghost story, but it's a very good one, and it contains of the creepiest moments of the last decade of horror.



- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 28
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 5/3/2011 3:01:51 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
270.
Tetsuo
(1989; Shinya Tsukamoto)



A metal fetishist (Tsukamoto) is hit by a car driven by a businessman (Tomorowo Taguchi) He and his girlfriend dump the man's body but the man has revenge when the businessman begins to slowly change into an iron man. Through a series of surreal vignettes, the metal fetishist tries his best to destroy him, and he grows more metal on his body. All this leads to an insane final battle between the two men. It's pointless trying to sum up the plot any more than that, it's more a fever dream than a coherent piece of storytelling. It's one of the best body horrors not made by Cronenberg, actually imagine Crash-era J.G. Ballard writing a screenplay based on a random selection of H.R. Giger artwork and then giving it to David Cronenberg to film and you have a pretty good idea of what this queasy and vivid little nightmare is like. Astonishing.



- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 29
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 5/3/2011 3:05:09 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
268.
Street Trash
(1987; J. Michael Muro)



This Troma-esque horror comedy is a, perverse and demented delight featuring rape, necrophilia, Mafia bosses, a chase for a severed penis, and melting tramps, all mixed up together in an orgy of mind-bending bad taste. Fred and Kevin are brothers who live in scrap yard ruled by a psychotic named Bronson. Fred takes a drunk Mafia girl back to the scrapyard only for her to be raped and murdered by the bums, at the same time a liquor store owner has discovered some decades old bottles of booze and has been selling them cheap to the drunks. Trouble is that the booze is causing anyone who drinks it to melt into sludge. This is a cartoonish black comic trash masterpiece filled with some great gory effects. The director would sink even deeper into depravity and outright horror when he went on to work the steadicam on Titanic.



- Rawlinson

268.
Apaches
(1977; John Mackenzie)



The British government used to have a habit of trying to induce trauma in school children under the guise of protecting them. The Public Information Film (or pif) warned children of various dangers from the risk of electrocution if you play near a power station to the dark and disturbing Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water. Apaches didn't reach as many kids as a lot of these other films, it seems to have been shown only in rural areas, but even if you see the film as an adult, it's a brutally brilliant piece of film-making. Director John Mackenzie created some of the finest films of the 70s and 80s, from The Elephant's Graveyard to The Long Good Friday and Unman, Wittering and Zigo, so this wasn't the amateur production it might appear on first glance.

Apaches is genuinely surreal, combining a child-like view of westerns with life in rural Britain. The children play various games of cowboys and Indians (explaining the title) in the rural area where they live, displaying their ignorance of the dangers that surround them in every game. The film is narrated by the leader of the children and we cut between scenes where the adults prepare for a party while the children play. Apaches aims to warn children about the hidden dangers of farm life, but it's actually the cinematic equivalent of Gorey's The Gashlycrumb Tinies. We watch six small children getting picked off in sometimes horrific, sometimes hilarious ways. Apaches probably wasn't meant to be amusing, but how else can you react to the sight of someone drowning in slurry? The children are run over by a tractor, drink poison, get crushed by iron gates and various other disasters. Each fresh death is met with scenes of the children's teacher clearing out the child's belongings in the school-room. The final reveal is that the 'party' the adults have been preparing for is actually the funeral of one of the children.

Apaches may be cheap looking, but it captures that same air of rural grimness as films like Blood on Satan's Claw and if internet discussions are anything to go by, it appears to have caused deep scars in the people who did see this as a child. Aside from its pif roots, its brutal nature makes it a memorable and effective horror short.



- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 30
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