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RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results

 
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RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 12/3/2011 11:53:55 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
232.
Brazil
(1985; Terry Gilliam)



From one 80s fantasy, to a very different 80s fantasy. Where The Princess Bride was a straight story in an castle and magic type world, Brazil is anything but a straight story, in a very realistically portrayed alternative retro-future. It has imagination coming out of its very pores, and is one of the most visually inventive films I've ever seen. This is Terry Gilliam at the very top of a career that spans superb examples of film from the likes of Time Bandits, Twelve Monkeys and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. The inspired mix of fantasy, science fiction, topcal commentary, and Gilliam's own unique brand of weird allow for this, his masterpiece, to come into being.

Of course, as with the best films, there was a troubled production. Originally released in a very different edit, an hour cut from it, and a happy ending tagged on (I think there was some other SciFi film from the 80s that had a happy ending tagged on...) audiences were initially denied the true vision. I still haven't brought myself to watch this version, despite owning the Criterion Collection of the film, simply because it would be so radically different from the film I love so much. Brazil is Gilliam channeling Orwell. 1984, released the previous year was the film of Orwell's classic novel that spawned such phrases as Room 101, Big Brother, and so forth (such a shame those associations are now utterly different). But it was Brazil that made the more effective commentary on future society, with its authoritarian state, and endless bureaucracy. The Ministry of Information is a morally empty place where rules are rules, and there is no deviation from them. Enter Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) as our protagonist, an employee of Ian Holm's, who dreams of flying free of the oppression of the state. However, when a fly lands on a sheet of paper in a typewriter, and makes "Tuttle" read as "Buttle", it starts a chain of events that spiral out of control, and include a host of high quality British acting talent, and a cameo turn by Robert De Niro (it would appear that British Fantasy films are always good for a De Niro cameo, as Stardust proved!).

As far as Dystopian visions of the future go, I can only think of one film that beats Brazil. Brazil however, is a constantly inventive, entertaining, frightening, funny, prophetic, depressing, wonderful film.

- HomerSimpson_Esq

Ah, what a film. Currently sitting comfortably amongst both my twenty favourite films and my list of twenty greatest films, Brazil is a dystopian nightmare akin to 1984 or Alphaville in its portrayal of an ever-watching, totalitarian state. The observations may be rather obvious (receipts for receipts and laws on government plumbers only point at beurocracy as a crime), but there's no denying that this is a very entertaining film along the way and that it's messages - although telegraphed and punched home with a little too much veracity - are correct in their intentions. Gilliam, director of so many near-classics, has made his one true masterpiece here; a film about human control and beurocracy that centres around Sam Lowry (Jonathan Price in surely his greatest ever screen role), a records clerk who is only allowed to be free in his dreams. Brazil, despite being an infinitely clever and poignant film, is one that is very hard to write about, even more so when you are trying to write a spoiler-free appraisal, because the best moments come at the end. Particularly, the conclusion itself, which is a poignant, powerful and ultimately heartbreaking moment that both satirizes Hollywood convention and continues its trend of dreams being the only place where one can be free in a world plagued by oppression and control. 



- Piles

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Post #: 61
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 13/3/2011 12:28:27 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
231.
Wolf Creek
(2005; Greg McLean)



A trio of backpackers find themselves stranded in the Australian outback when their car breaks down one night. Rescue comes in the form of the garrulous Mick Taylor, but is Mick as harmless as he seems? Unfairly dismissed as torture porn, Wolf Creek is one of the few recent horrors that actually feels like it could have been made in the 70s. With likeable leads and a genuinely unique villain (the brilliant John Jarratt) it's a film that deserves reappraisal.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 62
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 13/3/2011 11:34:21 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
230.
Dracula
(1931; Tod Browning)



Renfield (Dwight Frye), is travelling through the Carpathian mountains, headed for Castle Dracula. Despite the warnings of the locals, he's determined to press on. He's a solicitor, there to discuss Count Dracula's plans to move to England. Soon Renfield has become Dracula's slave, a servant to his every whim. Although fallen into madness, he helps transport Dracula via ship to England. Dracula feeds on the entire crew and when Renfield is discovered to be the only man alive on ship, he is taken to an asylum. Dracula meets Renfield's doctor, Dr. Seward, his daughter, Mina and her fiance, John, along with Mina's friend Lucy. Soon Dracula has fed on Lucy and become obsessed with Mina. But soon Seward, Harker and the noted Dr. Van Helsing are on his trail.

Often regarded as the definitive Dracula adaptation, I confess that I think it has weaknesses. I know many have problems with some of the liberties taken with the text, but I don't think it really hurts the film. My problem isn't that changes were made, but that the finished film isn't as exhilarating as it should be. Browning is a great director, but this doesn't have the strength of his earlier work. It feels a bit static, and the often repeated criticism of it feeling stagebound is a valid one. That said, it looks stunning, but when you have Karl Freund as a cinematographer that's pretty much a given. Maybe the film's greatest asset is Dracula himself. Lugosi deserves every bit of acclaim for his performance, creating an iconic character from his first moment on screen. That said, the more I see the film the more I become convinced that it's actually Dwight Frye who gives the finest performance. Dracula may not have been Universal's scariest or finest film, but it was the film that really pushed them into the horror business, and it deserves its place on the list. Still, I can't help wondering how the film would have been if Lon Chaney hadn't passed away. Browning and Chaney together again could have made Dracula into the finest of all Universal's horrors.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 63
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 13/3/2011 1:20:04 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
229.
The Devils
(1971; Ken Russell)



Ken Russell's finest film was this adaptation of Aldous Huxley's The Devils of Loudun. It tells of the fate of Urbain Grandier, a French priest who was accused of witchcraft. In Loudun, the governor has died and left control of the city to Grandier (Oliver Reed). He's a popular man, but doesn't take his duties seriously, indulging in an affair with the sister of another priest. The deformed Sister Jeanne (Vanessa Redgrave) has become sexually fixated on him and asks him to take confessions in the convent. When the priest marries another woman, Sister Jeanne is driven to insanity. The Baron de Laudardemont (Dudley Sutton) arrives and is looking to demolish the town. Grandier uses the army to stop him. Father Mignon (Murray Melvin) takes over his confessor duties and Jeanne uses the opportunity to tell him of Grandier's affairs and to accuse him of witchcraft. Mass hysteria overtakes the nuns of the town and a witch-hunter arrives to purge the nuns of their demons, leading to Grandier being arrested and put on mock-trial before the town. This is one of the films that took on an almost mythical quality for me in my early teens so I'll always have a huge affection for the film. I don't think it's as disturbing as many others seem to, in fact it strikes me more as a John Waters-esque orgy of bad taste. It's all incredibly camp, but it's also quite brilliant. There's an incredible sense of spectacle, all played out against Derek Jarman's remarkable sets. There's also powerful performances all down the line, Jackson and Sutton are stand-outs, but Reed dominates the film, giving the most magnetic performance of his career.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 64
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 13/3/2011 3:28:36 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
228.
Ugetsu Monogatari
(1953; Kenji Mizoguchi)



Quite possibly as close you'll ever come to seeing a perfect film, Ugetsu Monogatari is Mizoguchi's take on how war can destroy people both physically and spiritually. Two neighbours, Genjuro and Tobei live in a small village. Genjuro is a potter, while Tobei dreams of being a samurai. A civil war is raging and, taking advantage of the shortages caused by the war, Genjuro suddenly finds his pottery in high demand. When the village is overrun by rampaging soldiers, both men and their wives flee the village in order to try to sell Genjuro's pottery. In the face of danger, the men send their wives back, but both women return to the village to meet unpleasant fates at the hands of the soldiers. Meanwhile Tobei uses his profits to become a samurai, while Genjuro finds himself seduced away from his family by the ghost of Lady Wakasa.

The film is ostensibly a ghost story, and it skilfully evokes an otherworldly quality, but even as it creates this ethereal and dreamlike state, it still manages to set the supernatural firmly within the context of the real world. It mixes the real and the supernatural until there's nothing that clearly separates them. The film accepts the supernatural as part of everyday life, the otherworld exists within our world, and it uses this duality it creates as an allegory for the dichotomy in the human soul, the split between our pragmatic and our spiritual natures.

Mizoguchi's direction is flawless. He combines a restrained feel to the characters with poetic sequences like the justly celebrated scene where the characters flee from the village through the night fog, encountering a ghostly ship drifting down the river towards them. It is a stunningly beautiful film, combining a lyrical and serene nature with an at times brutal realism.

Mizoguchi was always a director who displayed a great deal of sympathy for his female characters and here he again explores the role of women in a patriarchal society. Here, both of his female leads are tragic figures. Destroyed by rape, murder and the cruelty of men. Yet Mizoguchi wasn't a sexist director, destroying his female characters for some sense of noble suffering. He uses their fate as an attack on chauvinistic attitudes. But despite his seeming despair and disdain for men, Mizoguchi was one of cinema's great humanists. At its heart, Ugetsu is a moral tale about appreciating the things you have. It's a simple story of greed and betrayal, men abandon their wives for sex and for dreams of glory. Yet this simple narrative takes on subtle and transcendent qualities that make it one of cinema's great tragedies.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 65
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 13/3/2011 4:37:38 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
227.
Bad Taste
(1987; Peter Jackson)



Aliens have invaded a small New Zealand town. They're met with resistance from the Astro Investigation and Defence Service, made up of Derek (Jackson himself), Frank, Ozzy and Barry. After a few violent encounters with the aliens, the Kiwi quartet track down the home base of the invaders and discover that they're harvesting humans as product for their fast food restaurants. That's about it when it comes to plot, but this is possibly the most fun you'll ever have with a Peter Jackson film. I'm not claiming it's his best film, just that it's his most wickedly entertaining. It's a warped and wonderful little comedy horror that gives us aliens being attacked with rocket launchers and chainsaws and an insane hero whose brains are falling out. Peter Jackson's debut film displays the anarchic creative streak that is so sadly missing from his two most recent films. Maybe he'd be better off returning to low budget horror. At least he knew how to end a film back then.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 66
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 13/3/2011 9:31:28 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
226.
Blood and Black Lace
(1964; Mario Bava)



The Godfather of the Gialli genre is this brilliant shocker from Mario Bava. Technically it's not the first giallo, or even the first from Bava, but it laid out many of the preoccupations of the genre, ones that Argento and others would run with and make such a success the following decade. During a fashion show, a model, Isabella, is hunted down by a black-gloved killer. Her body is found hidden in a closet in the fashion house. Another model, Nicole, discovers Isabella's diary and soon finds herself hunted down by the killer. Another model, Peggy, finds the diary and discovers it full of the sex, corruption, abortions and drug scandals of all of the models. Soon Peggy becomes the killer's next victim, and she won't be the last.

Blood and Black Lace is a stylistic masterpiece, beautifully crafted by one of horror's greatest artists. The use of colour is exquisite and if this wasn't a horror film you have to think it'd be held in much higher regard. I think it's the mixture of violence and eroticism that keeps it controversial, and it really is violent for its time, with spiked gloves being driven through the face of one model and another having her face slowly burned. Still, it's a bravura piece of work and one of the most important horrors ever made.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 67
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 14/3/2011 4:29:23 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
224.
A Tale of Two Sisters
(2003; Kim Ji-Woon)



Su-Mi and her sister Su-Yeon have spent time under psychiatric care, as the film begins they taken home by their father, Moo-Hyeon. Their stepmother, Eun-Joo, also lives with them. The girls and Eun-Joo don't get along. Shortly after the sisters arrive home, a series of strange events start occuring round the house, with Eun-Joo blaming the sisters and the sisters thinking their stepmother has murderous intentions. But are the events some cruel tricks by the stepmother, one or both of the sisters descending into psychosis, or something more supernatural?

The success of Ringu led to a period where every new Asian horror was being hailed as a masterpiece. Usually it was undeserved, an accolade being thrown at films that were decent but far from the best of the genre, A Tale of Two Sisters is a rare, deserving film. It's basically an examination of a dysfunctional family, shot through the framework of a haunted house film. You can see where it has its roots in an old folk legend, with troubled siblings, an ineffectual father and an evil stepmother all thrown into the mix. It's like the darkest of Grimm Brothers tales.  The direction is masterful, with the film framed so that you're never sure when to expect something to appear from your peripheral vision. It could easily have fallen into cliche, but some brilliant setpieces and a genuinely unnerving atmosphere rise it to the level of greatness. One of the most brilliantly creepy films of the last decade.



- Rawlinson

224.
Deliverance
(1972; John Boorman)



Four city-boys (Ed, Lewis, Bobby and Drew) decide to take a canoe trip down a river before it is flooded for good. However, the locals, who can best be described as "8 teeth in 9 people", has little love for them, and when the gang journey down-river, they eventually find that they have more challenges than just the raging current. It starts rather peacefully, though; as one of them has a musical duel with an inbred boy who plays a banjo that has since gone down in cinema history as one of the most iconic pieces of music in any film. But by the time the group settle out for their goal, things quickly change for the worse, and it becomes clear that they really should have gone golfing.

Often read as a metaphor for America's involvement in Vietnam (only this time, the invaders aren't raped just metaphorically), Deliverance is an intelligent thriller that is almost instrumental in creating our stereotypical images of hillbillies (that Lynyrd Skynyrd managed to use their southern image and find a way to success is an accomplishment of its own). But it is also a cracking good film, and in my opinion, it is one of the tensest ever made. It takes something we are all too familiar with, the trip to nature, and turns into a hellish and disturbing tale of murder and sodomy. The result? Almost four decades of people venturing out in the wilderness and asking, "Hey, have you by any chance seen Deliverance?" 



- Dantes Inferno.

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Post #: 68
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 14/3/2011 6:34:40 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
223.
Cape Fear
(1991; Martin Scorsese)



Sam Bowden is a lawyer whose life is turned upside down by the release of Max Cady. Cady is a violent rapist Bowden defended over a decade earlier. Bowden deliberately suppressed information that could have helped his client, because he believed he was guilty and deserved to serve a long sentence. Now Cady is out for revenge.

Scorsese's remake of Cape Fear is a failure to many, and in truth I think it's possibly the great director's worst film, but bad by Scorsese is still better than most other films around and I think in some ways it's actually superior to the original. Certainly making the characters less black and white than in the original is a bonus, as is Nick Nolte replacing Gregory Peck. But I think Mitchum's subtle menace was far more affecting than the grotesque and cartoonish nature of De Niro's performance. Nolte does far better, his character being essentially corrupt, but someone doing what he does out of the honest belief he's doing the right thing, however misguided he may be. The endless respectability of Peck's screen persona makes Bowden a far less interesting watch in his hands.

Scorsese tries to make his film more mythical in a way, taking as much inspiration from Night of the Hunter and Hitchcock as he did from the original Cape Fear, and it's never less than entertaining, but the over-the-top (some even argued misogynistic) violence undercut the good work done in deepening the narrative. I've seen it argued that in some ways the excess of the film was Scorsese reacting against having to make a mainstream film to fund more personal projects and while I understand the reasoning, I'm not sure I agree. I think he's more interested in playing with the mechanics of gothic horror. His interest doesn't seem to be in the plotting as much as it does recreating the kind of films he grew up with, but twisting the knife in them slightly. I think it's something that also spills over into Shutter Island. Cape Fear's greatest success is just how an uneasy a viewing experience it makes, and maybe that's exactly what the film both wanted and needed.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 69
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 15/3/2011 6:19:11 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
220.
Mulholland Drive
(2001; David Lynch)



Let's start off by saying Mulholland Dr. is not as complicated as some will have you believe. The problem with playing too much on the narrative trickery is that it gives critics of the film ammunition to say that it's not that complicated. And it isn't. Let's look at the plot. The story is told in non-linear order. A dark-haired woman (Harring) is involved in a car accident following an attempt on her life on Mulholland Drive. In a state of shock, she loses her memory and stumbles into an apartment soon to be taken over by Betty (Naomi Watts), a naive girl just arrived in Hollywood with hopes of becoming a star. She adopts the name of Rita, taken from a poster for Gilda. Betty is surprisingly accommodating to this amnesiac stranger and together Rita and Betty try to discover Rita's true identity, falling in love with each other along the way. Another plot strand follows a Hollywood director, Adam (Justin Theroux). He's being pressured to cast an unknown actress, Camilla Rhodes in his new film. When he refuses he is threatened by producers, mobsters and he is even thrown out of his house (By Billy Ray Cyrus, no less) Meanwhile, in a diner called Winkies, a man describes a nightmare about a horrific, evil figure who lurks behind the diner. Rita remembers a name, Diane Selwyn, and they try to track her down. They discover a dead body in her apartment. They go to a theatre called Club Silencio to try and finally find the answers they need. After an emotional performance they arrive home and Rita opens a mysterious blue box, then things flip on us. Naomi Watts is now playing Diane, a failed and depressed actress in love with Camilla Rhodes (Now played by Harring) who humiliates and rejects her. In revenge, Diane pays a hitman to kill Camilla before committing suicide herself.

Now let's put it in linear order. A young actress, Diane wins a dance competition. She comes to Hollywood, dreaming of stardom, and finds herself used by Camilla, a beautiful actress. She is then dumped by her for a man and in revenge she hires a hitman to kill her. That night she has a dream. In her dream she is a naive young thing named Betty and she meets Camilla's double, a beautiful and friendly woman who's lost her memory in an accident. Betty gets to look after Camilla and she is dependent on her for once. For the first time, Betty has all the power in the relationship. But the real world intrudes on the dream The evil thing behind Winkies is symbolic of the fact that Winkies is the diner where the hit is ordered. The film director in the dream is pressured from all sides to hire Camilla Rhodes rather than Betty, explaining why Diane didn't get the film role. In her dream Diane is not a bitter stalker, she's a sweet young thing whose dream woman loves her in return and the only reason she doesn't get a dream job is mysterious forces that work in opposition against her. In the dream, Betty and Rita visit the eerie Club Silencio. In the Club the real world intrudes more than ever, we are shown that everything is artificial and that there is a deeper truth that needs to be seen. Diane wakes again and sees a sign from the hitman that the murder has happened. In despair over her actions and of the direction of her life, Diane breaks down and is driven to suicide.

Far too much is made of the change between identities, Lynch has been accused of deliberately obscuring a simple plot line, of pretentiousness and of pretty much everything else you can imagine. What those criticisms ignore is that Lynch is presenting us with a film about the nature of dreams. From the beginning of his career Lynch appears to have viewed cinema as representing a dream state, and he's not far wrong. Cinema presents us with dreams and with nightmares. We are sold an illusion presented as reality and we have to believe in that illusion for any film to work. We know that cinema's very nature plays on duality and presenting an alternative representation of an object or a person, we are manipulated by the directors and writers, the dream-makers, and Lynch seems fascinated by that.

It's telling that Mulholland Dr is a story of Hollywood. Hollywood is sold as the dream capital of cinema, people go there to become stars but more of them end up with their dreams crushed than those who become stars. Hollywood tears apart dreams, just like it does to Diane. It's notable that the characters have doubles, representing both the way actors portray characters and the way we often see people in dreams. Identity is often fluid in Lynch's films, they often make me think of a dream where a person is present and you know they're supposed to be a specific person but they look completely different. The creation of another identity is also a trait of Hollywood and the way actors portray characters. Even Rita herself is a Hollywood creation, she lifts her identity straight from a picture of Rita Hayworth in a classic film. This sense of duality is vital, Watts is both helpful and happy and a sick stalker, Harring is helpless and loving and also heartless and destructive, nobody is what they first seem because we're not at first aware of the true story, we only see the illusion.

Lynch is basically just giving us an exploration of the dangers of love, of the difference between our dream and waking states and a negative portrayal of L.A. as the city of manufactured dreams that only just manage to hide the darkest nightmares. So at heart this is basically a simple morality tale, so why does Lynch present it in a non-linear fashion? Because it's one way of evoking a dream state, that place where identity, place and events are all in constant motion. So if this is just a simple tale told in a confusing manner, doesn't that mean it shouldn't hold up to repeat viewings? Of course not. That would only be true if the heart of the film was based in the narrative twists, it isn't. The heart of the film is in the relationships and in the way we care for the dream Betty and pity the real Diane. It's a film with excellent direction, a superb screenplay and some masterful performances, including a career best Naomi Watts and all of those things ensure that Mulholland Dr. is a film that's destined to withstand repeat viewings and become regarded as one of Hollywood's finest examinations of its own nature.



- Rawlinson

220.
Drag Me to Hell
(2009; Sam Raimi)



After taking a bit of a kicking for Spider Man 3 Sam Raimi was back on great form with this mean spirited, nasty and very funny piece of schlock.

The plot follows the misfortunes of young bank officer Christine (Alison Lohman) who in her quest for a promotion and against her better nature denies an old lady an extension on her mortgage. The old lady in question Mrs Ganosh is not one to take bad news well. She places a curse on Christine. In three days a demon, the Lamia, will come for her soul.

The film was described – at least in choice poster quotes as a “masterpiece,” “utterly terrifying” and “the best horror of the last ten tears” Well no, not really But it is bloody good fun.   The scares are for the most part scary and the laughs are very funny, often at the same time.  Poor Christine is frequently attacked and abused by forces both seen and unseen. She’s thrown around, gummed by a corpse, suffers a jet wash pressure nosebleed and has a zombie arm shoved down her throat amongst many, many other indignities.

She turns to psychic Rham Jas (Dileep Rao) for help. His various suggestions for a solution lead to more horror for Chrstine (possessed goats, kitten murder) but prove unsuccessful. Despite this and his general cynicism her supportive boyfriend Clay is prepared to pay large amounts of cash to help save her

Alison Lohman is an appealing lead and you can't help but root for her whilst at the same time savouring her misfortunes. She has a real fragility which perhaps enhanced by her youthful looks. She was 30 at the time of filming but at times could easily pass for a teenager ( something Ridley Scott exploited in Matchstick Men). As Mrs Ganosh. Lorna Raver is damn scary and is a great hissable villain.

Raimi is really at the top of his game here with all kinds of stuff flying all over and the cameras zooming around screen like nobody’s business. It’s very much a cartoon, with cartoon logic – why would Christine have an anvil hanging from her garage ceiling if not to drop it on a vengeful zombie’s head?

There are some other things that don't make a hell of a lot of sense (why are Mrs Ganosh’s teeth blackened and rotting when they're falsers - did she have them made that way?) and if you think about it at all none of it really holds up.

Whilst it lasts though it's a blast   Raimi has managed to pull off the very tricky task of making a comedy horror that manages to be both funny and scary. Well done to him for that, more of the same please.



- Scruffybobby

220.
Tombs of the Blind Dead
(1971; Amando de Ossorio)



In a Lisbon resort, two old friends, Virginia and Betty, meet by chance. The two have had a lesbian relationship in their past, but Virginia is now in a relationship with a man, Roger. The next day the three of them go on a train journey together the next day. A few problems on the train lead to an embarrassed Virginia jumping off in a deserted area named Berzano. She finds the ruins of an old monastery and she decides to spend the night there. Outside the ruins, the dead, in the form of hooded skeletons, rise from the grave and head towards her on horseback, hunting her down in a savage attack.  The following day, finding Virginia hasn't returned, Roger and Betty make their way by horseback out to the old ruins to try and find her. They eventually find out the legend associated with the ruins, that of Templar Knights who worshipped the devil after discovering the power of black magic and were excommunicated for their sins. They made the small village of Berzano their homebase and sacrificed humans before being sentenced to death themselves. Their bodies were put on public display and crows pecked out their eyes. They rise from the grave, in search of humans, but they are now blind and can only hunt their victims when they hear them.  Soon Betty, Roger, a smuggler named Pedro and Pedro's girlfriend find themselves back at the ruins, with the dead ready to rise again.

This first of the Blind Dead quadrilogy marks down Amando de Ossorio has one of the most interesting Spanish directors of his era. True, the opening 20 minutes is a little preposterous, but things kick into high gear once Virginia is alone on the site and the dead begin to rise. Ossorio managed to create incredible, iconic figures with a great sense of mythology that pushes them into the top levels of horror villains. There's a wonderful sense of foreboding in the film, especially during Virginia's walk to the ruins. I confess it's not my favourite of the series (Night of the Seagulls is the true masterpiece) but it does have the series finest and most memorable moment with its gory finale. It's not just the best ending of the series, it's one of the best in horror cinema.



- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 70
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 15/3/2011 8:29:20 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
218.
Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein
(1948; Charles Barton)



Chick and Wilbur (Abbott and Costello) work as railway porters in Florida who take delivery of crates aimed for the House of Horrors. They get a mysterious call warning them of the danger from a man named Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr, reprising his Wolfman role) Unknown to the porters, they contain the bodies of Dracula and Frankenstein's Monster. Dracula hatches a plan to put the brain of Costello inside the uncontrollable monster.

With Universal horrors losing their popularity, the studio decided to kick the last life out of the franchise by having all their monsters team up with their top comedy stars. This should have been a disaster, and no doubt many think it is, but I think it's a great success and one of the finest horror comedies of all time. I think the reason it works so well is that it actually respects the monsters. It also has a determination to make the funny scenes funny and the scary scenes scary, there's the same air of menace here as there is in any other Universal horror, aided no doubt by the presence of Chaney and Lugosi. Abbott & Costello didn't have a great hit rate with their films, but this isn't just their best film, it's a truly great comedy horror.



- Rawlinson

218.
Godzilla
(1954; Ishiro Honda)



Like most special effects films of its time, Godzilla is very much a dated film. One can't help but suppress a giggle as a man in a plastic suit rampages around a miniature village, his suit's crazy googly-eyes and the oft-unconvincing superimposition of images onto live action shots looking cheesy this day in age. But where others of its kind had little to back up the spectacle and came across as hindered by an inherent cheesiness that was hard to shake (the original King Kong comes to mind), Godzilla doesn't fall prey to the kind of campy pulp those films did. Ishiro Honda's film may not be impeccably paced, brilliantly acted, superlatively written or beautifully shot, but everything about it works. The decent dialogue is delivered with an honest and sincere conviction by the capable cast (anchored by Takashi Shimura, a man who can do quiet melancholy in his sleep and does very good work here), and the film goes to great lengths to make Godzilla a genuine threat. He's not some sort of fuzzy, unconvincing teddy bear like King Kong is; aside from a few jarring moments, Godzilla is a genuinely imposing, menacing presence. Dimly lit and often shot from a distance or from below, his cacophonous roar and furiously destructive nature make him far more effective a monster than a man in a plastic suit should be. Indeed, when he rampages through Tokyo, it's riveting despite moments of cheesiness, because Godzilla is such a magnificently imposing beast. He also comes coupled with a well-meaning, well-conceived anti-nuclear message, being as he is awoken by nuclear bomb tests in his areas. Godzilla is a monster of the atom, and the aftermath of his rampage through Tokyo calls to mind the images of post-bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, children suffering radiation sickness and massive areas levelled. Godzilla is a chilling reminder of just how devastating nuclear war can be, and manages to be so despite being couched in an often-cheesy monster movie, and it's because of the sincerity of its convictions, the strength of its convictions, that it works better than it ever should.



- Pigeon Army

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Post #: 71
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 15/3/2011 2:50:43 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
217.
Trilogy of Terror
(1975; Dan Curtis)



Trilogy of Terror is one of the greatest television horror movies of all time, from the team of Dan Curtis and Richard Matheson, as well as one of the finest anthology horrors you could hope to see. Instead of being linked by a wraparound story, the three tales were linked by the performance of the same actress, Karen Black taking the lead in all three stories.

In the first story, Black stars as a teacher, Julie, who becomes the object of attention for one of her students. He seems to blackmail her into a sexually manipulative relationship, but is he really the one in control?

The second story is the tale of sisters Therese and Millicent (Black in both roles), Millicent is convinced that Therese is evil. The segment starts with Millicent's attempts to convince Therese's new boyfriend of her evil, claiming she had an incestuous relationship with their father and murdered their mother. When Therese discovers this, the two sisters go to war, culminating in voodoo rituals.

The final story is the most famous of the film, Black stars as Amelia, a young woman living alone who has just brought home a special doll - a Zuni hunting fetish doll named He Who Kills. It's a hideous little doll with razor sharp teeth and hunting spear. There's a legend attached to the doll that there's a hunter's spirit trapped inside it, only kept imprisoned by a gold chain around the body. Of course, the chain falls off. Amelia finds herself being hunted around her apartment by a tiny, but deadly (and apparently unstoppable), killer.

The film is a perfect vehicle for Black, the variety of characters allowing her to show great versatility. It's often claimed that the earlier stories are weak and the film is all about the last section, I don't buy it. I think they seem weaker, but only in comparison to the nail-biting 'Amelia'. But taken on their own merits, each segment is strong, the opener has a great sense of unease, the middle segment works because of Black's contrasting performances and the finale is simply incredible. It's one of the best horror films ever made, everyone should see it.

 

- Rawlinson

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Post #: 72
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 15/3/2011 2:53:05 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
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216.
Maniac
(1980; William Lustig)



One of the sleaziest and nastiest horrors from an era filled with the sleazy and nasty. Frank Zito (an excellent Joe Spinell) is in mourning for his dead mother, despite the abuse he endured at her hands. Frank stalks and murders women around New York, bringing their scalps and clothes home to dress the mannequins he keeps around the house. Zito meets a woman, Anna (Caroline Munro) but can her influence stop his murders?

Obviously influenced by Psycho, there's no doubt that Hitchcock is more sensitive, but this is a far better portrait of a diseased mind than many critics will allow. A lot were put off by the violence, criticising it for being too disturbing, as if a film about a deranged murderer should be a jolly romp. The deaths aren't played for vicarious thrills, they're ugly, just as they should be. Tom Savini does some remarkable special effects work on the death scenes, especially for the infamous exploding head shot.

Maniac makes great use of 42nd Street in its sleazy glory, the state of Zito reflects the state of New York itself, a violent place filled with every kind of depravity. It's an ugly, because it was an ugly time, it's a perfect case of a character reflecting his location. Maniac was true guerilla film-making, with many scenes being shot in NY locations without the need for permit, it makes the film feel stolen somehow. The film's greatest asset is Spinell, it's a sweaty and trembling performance, a highly convincing portrayal of a man deep in psychosis. As much criticism as films like this get, I think they should be celebrated if only for the opportunities they give people like Spinell to show what they're really capable of.



- Rawlinson

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RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 15/3/2011 5:17:38 PM   
rawlinson

 

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Joined: 13/6/2008
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214.
The 'burbs
(1989; Joe Dante)



The best way I can describe The Burbs is that its probably the ultimate horror film that all the family can watch.  Joe Dante is probably the only director alive that can get the balance of horror right when it comes family orientated scares and while his 1989 effort does not quite match the chill of last years The Hole, its still an almighty fun film that is now regarded as one of the best cult movies of all time.

The fun is because in between the gentle fare, a dark side emerges, given the viewer a glimpse of sublime horror but then just has it pokes it head out, it goes back into the shadows, The Burbs is a rightful tease that would frustrate if it was not for the huge beaming smile that you had across your face.  It helps that the film is rich full of talent that you can not help but love.  Tom Hanks was beginning to test the water away from the likes of Big and while the world was not yet ready for his life of a box of chocolates or his trip into space, The Burbs was a great middle ground to move into adult fare.

Yet The Burbs for all its dark side starts like a normal film, one of Parenthood comparisons that fools you into thinking of a sitcom setting, where the laughs would come from adult set-pieces and of Tom acting a fool.  If you have never seen the film before or even set eyes on it, then you be surprised at how quickly the film changes tone.  We start with a look at the burbs, the street in which Ray (Hanks) is standing outside, talking in the chaos that surrounds him.  We see a combat wearing Rumsfield (Bruce Dern) taking care of his lovely green lawn while his wife sunbaths in the background.  His clean lawn ruined by the dog next door who has taken to using it as a toilet which results in an argument with the owner Walter (Gale Gordon) who wears the most ridiculous toupee in cinema history.  This feud first thing in the morning, upsets Rumsfield's usual tradition of raising the American Flag which stands proud on a pole outside his house.

Also watching all this unfold is Art (Rick Ducoommun) Ray's friend, who spends all day drinking and nothing else.  The very young Corey Feldman lives further down the street, his character Ricky likes to party and cause mischief but a good boy at heart.  Its a mixture of characters that you can help but feel the energy come from the screen, the chemistry is electric and one of the reasons why the film is still popular to this day, if the actors seem to be having fun, then it transcends through the screen and it seems through out that Hanks and Dern are really having a blast.

The chaotic life that lives on that street seems calm until the only house which is empty gets new residents and what started as a mid life crisis comedy soon transpires into something else all together.

The moment the difference of tone starts to develop you can pin point, its what sets The Burbs from a typical comedy to that of something special.  I am talking about the night scene in which after the residents move in and the regulars try to guess who are they and what they like, Art turns to Ray and starts to tell him a story about a local Ice Cream Seller who went by the name Skip.  One of the greatest moments in horror is the time when Phoebe Cates tells the story of when her father tried to surprise her one Christmas in Dante's earlier effort Gremlins.  It really is a dark and quite disturbing moment and one that everyone remembers for it being so "dark" in film that was being tagged for children.  Kudos towards Dante for nearly matching that effort, because when Ray starts to tell the story of Skip, its a time for all horror fans to rejoice and somehow the film grabs hold and shakes out the build up of comedy and sprinkles the dark side that you can not help but marvel.

The Klopeks move in and soon strange noises are heard in the middle of the night,  The guess work begins and soon the film shows the power of the imagination.  Who are these people?  What are they doing in that house?  Its plays on the human instinct.  Everyone who has lived on the same street for years are always wary when new people arrive, and its a need for you to know their in and outs, so when they keep themselves to themselves, its only a matter of time that rumours begin.  Things are not helped when a toupee is found and Walter is missing and the regulars begin to suspect the Klopeks of wrong doing which results in the gang breaking into their home when they know they are not there, but what mystery lies in the basement, and are Klopeks just normal oddballs or blood thirsty killers?  Its going to be fun to find out!

The film is so simple with design that you can not help but be delighted. An opening logo of the Universal Pictures sign that morphs into the film is the start that you know something special is happening here, and while the lack of blood and probably scenes of gore will make diehard fans judge this as nothing more than a Goosebumps extended episode, they are in fact missing the point.  The intelligence is in the cracking dialogue and the build up of suspense, we also get clever riffs on previous horror classics that will thrill you with delight.  Rosemary's Baby and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are two that come to mind when writing this review.

The Burbs is a showcase of a talent on top of their form, from the cast to the director and its to their credit that for a film twenty two years old, still feels fresh to this day and with the concept of Paranoia running through the veins, how more appropriate to today's standards when all we do is complain  that Big Brother is watching!



- HughesRoss

214.
The Phantom Of The Opera
(1925; Rupert Julian)



The story of the Phantom of the Opera is common knowledge thanks to Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage musical and Gerard Butler's 2005 abomination, but it's the 1925 Chaney version that really sticks closest to the source material. A mysterious phantom haunts a Paris opera house, and when new buyers purchase the deeds to the building, they're told about the phantom and react with flippant, unbelieving expressions. Of course, this is to their doom, as the phantom begins to haunt the opera house with the agenda of getting them to give the leading part in their major play to a young starlet, played by Mary Philbin. The story is thin on its feet, and some of the set pieces aren't as strong as they could be, but the film's overwhelming positives stretch the story out to the point that you believe it's better than it is. First and foremost, Lon Chaney is instrumental in the film's success. He's imposing and frightening as the Phantom, commanding the screen with every bit of presence he can muster. Philbin, too, plays her character excellently, mixing pure terror with a feminine curiosity when she gets dragged down to the Phantom's lair. The supporting cast enjoy varying success, with the major down-point being Norman Kelly's interpretation of the Phantom's chief love rival. He's a black hole of charisma at best. Despite some of the scenes being a little weak (the final chase down the streets of Paris being the chief example), the Phantom of the Opera boasts many impressive set pieces. The most obvious example is the revelation of the Phantom's disfigured, skull-like face, which still has to power to shock and repulse even over eighty years on. The chandelier drop, too, is an impressive fete, as you know that in 1925 they'd have to drop that thing for real. The only colour sequence in the film, as well, is memorable. The phantom walks into the  masked ball with all of the menace that he possessed as his caped crusader, yet with a certain elegance about him that suggests something about his popularity and stature before his disfigurement. The phantom says, at one point, "if I am the Phantom it's because man has made me so,” suggesting his shunning from society because of his disturbing, yet superficial, disability. Does this, somehow, explain why he is like he is? The score, however, is a major disappointment. For a major motion picture, you'd have thought that the composers and editors would have found appropriate placing for their score, which – as individual pieces – is excellent. You find yourself listening to imposing, menacing tones in simple, mundane scenes, and sometimes even sweet, melodic harp music in the darker scenes. It's not a matter of bad music, just misplaced music.



- Piles

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 74
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 15/3/2011 7:09:16 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
213.
The House with Laughing Windows
(1976; Pupi Avati)



Stefano (Capolicchio) arrives in a rural Italian village, hired to restore a fresco depicting the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian that's painted on a run-down church wall. Francesco stays with the sisters of the deceased artist, Legnani, and begins a romance with a beautiful young teacher, Francesca (Marciano) He also begins to hear stories that the painter was insane, "a painter of agony", and created his art based on murderous reality, torturing people to death to gain inspiration. When a series of brutal killings strike the village, Stefano comes to believe that someone is trying to stop him learning more of the artist's secrets. After the death of a friend, Stefano attempts to uncover the truth behind the artist, the painting, and the strange house with laughing windows.

If you're familiar with some of the masters of Italian horror, then Avati's work may come as something of a surprise. It's more of a slow burn than you might expect, especially in the 70s when Argento and Fulci were prominent. Much of the brutal violence and gore you'd expect is missing, although there are a few grisly scenes, including the opening sequence. I think this is where the comparisons to The Wicker Man come from. Both films build on a dogged lead character investigating a mystery he's been warned to leave alone in a bizarre village where everyone seems sinister. Also, both films find much of their horror in the sense of encroaching dread that the atmosphere evokes.

It's an oddly naturalistic feeling film, one that relishes in creating horror in quiet moments rather than sudden shocks. Even though the title sequence is as extreme as anything in Suspiria, the gore soon drops away. Avati lingers on scenes to allow the sense of unease to build, creating a sense of paranoia that puts it among the best atmospheric horror of the period, alongside gems like Let's Scare Jessica to Death, Lemora and The Tenant. Intelligently written and perfectly pitched all the way through to its insane finale, The House with Laughing Windows is one of the key works of weird cinema of the period.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 75
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 15/3/2011 7:14:51 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
211.
Penda's Fen
(1974; Alan Clarke)



Penda's Fen is a remarkable head-scratcher from the Play for Today series. Stephen Franklin (Spencer Banks) is the teenage son of the reverend of a small village. He's also a nasty piece of work. Obsessed with the ideas of English purity and embracing every extreme right-wing value he can find. He finds strong Christian values in everything around him, from the music of Elgar to racial purity. He believes he is one of England's defenders from the threats of anything that isn't Christian and conservative. Basically your average, unpleasant Little Englander.  But Stephen is troubled, he has dreams of angels and demons and he is sexually attracted to the boys in his school. He has sexual dreams that descend into visions of demons. During one of his dreams, he sees himself at a Victorian garden party, watching people happily line-up to have their hands chopped off. Stephen soon begins to understand the errors of his belief systems, through the dreams of angels and demons and of an encounter during a storm with the ghost of Elgar. A talk with his father reveals the truth of Stephen's own lack of purity, and of how Christianity itself is mixed, taking over other religions and stamping its own dates on their celebrations. He also learns of the last Pagan King, King Penda, who resisted the spread of Christianity and ruled from the area. A final encounter with the spirit of Penda helps Stephen realise his real place in the world. On the surface you can read it as a parable of sexual and spiritual awakening, but there's deeper themes to be found. Penda's Fen rejects the notion of purity, in art, in life, certainly in ethnicity. It's quite savage in its denouncement of Little England the ideas of pure Englishness. It never out rightly rejects Christianity, just the notion that it's a pure religion or the obviously true one. It's interested in exploring the importance of place to fantasy and it grounds its fantasy in reality, helping Alan Clarke create a far eerier feeling than might have been possible if the fantastical encounters had been emphasised. Not sure I fully understand the film, and if writer Rudkin's later Artemis 81 is anything to go by, I'm not sure I'm meant to understand everything. I do know it's one of the most unique and intriguing films of the 70s.



- Rawlinson

211.
Scrooge
(1951; Brian Desmond Hurst)



The second adaptation of the Dickens classic to earn a place on my list is also the finest adaptation of A Christmas Carol in any medium. The plot is so familiar that it's pointless to recite it here. Instead, let's focus on what makes this version so good - Alastair Sim.

Sim's Scrooge is not only the definitive portrayal of the character, it's one of the greatest performances in the history of cinema. Too often Scrooge is just looked at as an iconic figure and many of the actors who play the role seem oddly frightened of it. True we're not talking Lear here, but the character of Scrooge requires far more than miserable at the beginning and sad at the end. Sim's Scrooge may be a miser but he's never portrayed as the villain. He's hateful, angry and despairing and he turns those emotions into a shield against the rest of the world.  Sim also brings a great sense of dignity to the character, someone sadly missing from many other portrayals. The other aspect that Sim brings out of the character is the humour.  It may be a gallows wit, but it was always within the character, but other than Sim, only the overtly comedic adaptations (Bill Murray in Scrooged) have ever tapped into the character's dark wit. Sim is also one of the few actors to make the final redemption feel real.

As much as this is Sim's film, he displays how unselfish a performer he was by allowing the other actors a chance to make their mark. Mervyn Johns, Michael Hordern, George Cole, Ernest Thesiger and Kathleen Harrison all shine in smaller roles, ensuring that Sim is not the only reason to see the film.

While the film may not have the same visual flair of Lean's Dickens adaptations, Brian Desmond Hurst does a fine job. He takes the story away from the more cliched adaptations, undercutting the perfect Christmas feel  for something more authentic in order to show how difficult life was for the poor. The fact that he does this without grandstanding or without ever losing the focus of the narrative deserves great acclaim.



- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 76
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 16/3/2011 7:34:59 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
210.
May
(2002; Lucky McKee)



I am chuffed!!

No seriously, I may have wrote a few blurbs for this horror poll but I am going to say a first here and say this is one film I did vote for and to see it not only on here but quite high above films that are much better known thrills my very horror bone!  You see May for me is one of the greatest horror films ever made but also one that is sadly neglected.  It was not a box office smash, it did not even do well on DVD, but for those who have seen it, all agree its a wonderful horror with some terrific performances.

If I had to describe May to those who have never seen or even heard of it then its simply a modern day version of Frankenstein.  May is a young woman who shares so much in common with the film itself, in that she wants to be loved and appreciated.  She tries to fit in to those around her but is often seen as an outsider, a shy woman just looking in from the outside.  Angela Bettis is simply terrific in the lead role, she plays it with so much sympathy that when the horrors start it brings such an uncomfortable watch because you really side with her, despite her deranged outlook.

The only friend she has in her life is a doll called Susie who sits in a glass cabinet staring back at her.  Any one expecting a full blown Chucky film look away because what we have is a highly original tale of obsession that belongs in a world that even Tim Burton would be proud of.  May's mother was a fan of doll making and told her one day "if you can not find a friend-make one!", so with that statement ringing in your head, you can see what direction this goes in!

Offbeat, touching and with performances you can not help but admire, including Anna Farris before she became interested in making a career in comedies, May stubbornly refuses to play by the rules.  There is no need to fill the film with gore and blood, instead it takes time for character development and it pays off handsomely with a final act that is surreal with its oddity that is both touching and horrific in both ways!

I could write more but Rawlinson needs to get on with this Poll but if you have never ever heard of May then thanks to this Poll you just have.  It stands out proud in an age of endless sequels and remakes, its bold and fresh and one film that this horror fanatic is deeply proud of.......



- HughesRoss

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Post #: 77
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 16/3/2011 10:23:07 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
209.
The Entity
(1982; Sidney J. Furie)



Lets start this review with a rant, if there was any justice in the world of film then Barbara Hershey should have won some award even a Oscar nomination in 1983, for her portrayal has single mother Carla Moran.  Its quite easy to play someone like icon Laurie Strode when you have a masked fiend trying to stab you on Halloween night, but when the Bogeyman is some invisible force, and for the majority of the film you have to act on your own, trying to convince the horror audience of your plight, then Barbara surely deserves all the kudos that she as never managed to achieve.

The Entity despite being loved by true horror fans, is one of the most forgotten horror films of the 1980's.  Its missed out on many countdown lists and as never even managed to build a cult following which makes this one of the forgotten horror masterpieces of the decade.

Why? I can not understand, because if any film got under my skin when I was a nipper then it was this, even though out of all the horror films I was allowed to watch when I was young, this film took me three times to finally glance my eyes on.  The first time I spent most of film in the kitchen as my dear Mum would net let me watch the horrific "rape scenes". the second time she made me put a cushion over my face, which made things worse has I heard the noises and my imagination was going overdrive, after much persuasion, I finally saw it all and lets just say, this film was probably my Sexual Education video.  No birds and the bees story for me, just a poor young woman getting raped by a ghost, over and over.

To say it unhinged me is an understatement, and I started to think that maybe sitting in the kitchen was a much better offer!

Carla, lives in L.A. with her three children, her Boyfriend working away on most days, and leading a hard and uneventful life.  Things change though one night when she is raped in her bed by an unseen force that brings screams to the household.  Finding all doors and windows locked, Carla is left shaken by what she went through and goes to psychiatrist Dr. Phil Sniederman (Ron Silver) for help who believes it is all in her imagination.  But as the attacks get worse and brutal, her cry for help is heard by a group of parapsychologist, and their investigation makes even the sceptic Sniederman, realise that maybe there is something out there.....

In a day before CGI, and we talking 1983 here, the effects were quite staggering.  Her breasts being manhandled by this unseen force and the brutal attacks we witness are incredible powerful horror scenes more so is the interaction between Sniederman and Carla as she explains her problems.

Yes, the film has aged, despite the still impressive rape scenes, the flash of green lightening that comes when this force makes itself present, is quite stupid and the film works best when its all in the mind like all true horror films do.....also the arrival of the "ghostbusters" team does make the climax a bit shaky, but by then you are so carried away with it all that you don't really care, and you just want poor Carla saved from her ordeal.

Based on the bestselling book by Frank DeFelitta and based on an alleged "true story", that have since been dismissed by some but hey you never now, The Entity is at times a raw and uncomfortable watch, unlike any other 80's film and while we await Hideo Nakata's planned re-make, my biggest fear is that the planned sequel Paranormal Activity may also go down this route.  Think about it, the sequel needs to be bigger and bolder, and after that unforgettable scene of the girl being dragged out of her bed, what better way to top that, than do something like this....

What did make me laugh and this is a bit of Trivia, is that soon after, a Video Game was created in 1983 based on this movie for the Atari 2600, it was never released and I laugh by thinking "I wonder why?"



- HughesRoss

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 78
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 17/3/2011 8:20:33 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
207.
Black Sabbath
(1963; Mario Bava)



Regarded by many as the greatest Italian director of all time, it's films like Black Sabbath that make you really understand why. He was a master at various genres, he created some of the most atmospheric and frightening films of all time and his films were always unique. Here he turns his hand to the anthology horror and gives us a giallo, a vampire tale and a ghost story. Each segment is introduced by Boris Karloff, who also takes an acting role in the second story. In the first story (also the weakest) a prostitute gets strange calls from her ex and turns to a possibly lesbian lover for assistance. The second story, a period piece, stars Karloff as a man who recently killed a vampire who has terrorised the region, but when he returns home his family are uncertain if he too has become a 'wurdulak'. In the final (and best ) story a nurse is called on to prepare the body of a recently deceased (psychic) woman. She steals a ring from the medium's finger and finds herself haunted by the woman's ghost. A great introduction to Bava, it captures many of the themes he'd return to throughout his career and allows you to take them in through short segments. The film as a whole is a strong offering, but the final story, 'The Drop of Water' ranks among Bava's finest work.



- Rawlinson

207.
The Mothman Prophecies
(2002; Mark Pellington)



The snippet of the Radio Times review on the box says "See this and you won't sleep for weeks". How bloody true that was! I'm not saying i didn't sleep for weeks, but I was seriously shaken up and a bit nervous for a fair old time after seeing this immensely creepy film. Richard Gere never fails to disappoint, and again, here he gives a superb performance full of confidence but able to show in incredible detail just how scared he has become.

Gere has recently lost his wife after buying their dream home. It would seem some strange Demon with red eyes caused his wife to crash the car. He was also in the car, and the fact there was a bat like shape burn mark on the car has really bothered him. Further on, while in hospital dealing with depression, a patient draws something which resembles this burn mark. Gere decides to investigate this "Mothman", and it leads him to the small town of Point Pleasant. His arrival there is less than normal, it almost seems like he's gone through a time gate of some kind as his watch stops at (if i remember correctly) 3am. The town seems normal enough, and Gere forms a close friendship with the local female sheriff. Things don't stay normal as strange sightings of this 8 foot tall Mothman are being reported. More horrific drawings are seen. We have utterly chilling phone calls, people being given messages about possible dates and numbers. To tell you more would spoil the story.

All i can say is this is one the creepiest films of all time, and please DO NOT get put off by the 12 certificate. There's no blood and guts, and the language is kept to a minimum, that’s why it’s only a 12, but believe me, this film will easily scare the pants off even the hardened horror fan. The atmosphere created here is simply outstanding. You know there's something not quite right, and it’s bloody intense as things unfold. There are some genuinely creepy moments, and some very effective scare the crap out of you moments too. Like with a few others on my list, this film works well because it blends a normal film with elements of horror and it works to stunning effect. The whole plot draws you in and won't let go for a second. You really feel like you're there with them. Even when i watch it now, it feels like a dark cloud is hanging over my front room, and at times I almost need to stop the film, just to remind myself that all is well and I’m safe. Trust me, it is THAT effective.

The fact it’s loosely based on a true story makes it even more convincing, and depending on your beliefs, its far scarier. Personally, i like to believe there is something else out there, good or evil. I take comfort in the fact that there is something else to look forward to. Mothman Prophecies crosses that line, and as i said, if you believe, or want to believe this sort of thing can happen, you're in for a hell of a treat. If, on the other hand, you just love being scared out of your wits, then Mothman is guaranteed to give you everything you want!



- dj vivace

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 79
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 17/3/2011 8:47:31 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
205.
Paranormal Activity
(2007; Oren Peli)



I apologize if I, in the following paragraph, sound too much like an advertiser on television that you wish you could slowly strangle with a piano wire in a manner similar to what one of the characters in Audition did. Okay, here we go:

Are you tired of cheesy horror films - the kind that uses far too many false shocks and easy thrills? Are you tired of not being frightened? Do you want to see a film that willscare you to the living core of your bone? Then, my friend, you should see Paranormal Activity, a Blair Witch-like chiller that has been endorsed by no other than Steven Spielberg himself, creator of such films as Jaws, Jurassic Park and E.T (now available on DVD in a store near you). Made from a budget of just $15.000, it has become the most successful independent movie of all time, grossing over $100.000.000.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, allow me to write about this film in the serious manner it deserves. It’s a simple little flick, really. It uses a small amount of actors, and its location is so limited that… uh, I can’t think of anything clever to say here. Anyway, it follows a two sweethearts, Micah and Katie, who, after having heard strange noises in their bedroom at night, decides to buy a video camera and put it on a tripod to try and catch a glimpse of what is actually happening after the sandman has done his work.

The entire film is shot in a manner similar to the classic The Blair Witch Project, with no other cameras employed but the one owned by Micah and Katie. There have been a fair share of these kinds of films lately (some of which I have unfortunately not yet seen), but Paranormal Activity manages to sidestep its comparisons to its 1999 forefather and become something unique. Not everyone shares that opinion, though, with many people having called it slow and devoid of any action. Do not listen to those people. If you’re a horror film fan, you do not want to miss Paranormal Activity (I know I slipped into “advertising guy” mood again there, but it’s just a habit I can’t seem to shake).

It would be cruel of me to reveal too much of the plot in Paranormal Activity, as so much of the film’s success depends on both the audience and the characters slowly learning their facts about what is going on (and let’s not deny this: something is going on). The film’s ace of spades are the scenes shot at night, where the camera is mounted on the tripod, never moving, catching only a normal couple sleeping and missing the fact that there are an awful lot of noises in their house at the nocturnal hours that really shouldn’t be there. Paranormal Activity is similar to A Tale of Two Sisters in the sense that it uses conventional methods to scare us (such as sounds of footsteps and creaking doors), but in both of these films, “conventional” is definitely not a negative word. Trust me, you will get scared.

While the night scenes are the film’s best, the ones shot at day are not entirely devoid of a point either. It’s here we get to know Micah and Katie and what kind of relationship they have. During a visit by a psychic, Katie reveals that she has had similar experiences in the past concerning nighttime activities. We can tell she is genuinely frightened, and the audience slowly learns to share that feeling. Micah is more reluctant to the fact that something out of the ordinary is going on, but even he has to give in when the evidence starts piling up like a garbage hill on a junkyard (the scene where he investigates some sounds from the nighttime recordings with Audacity is particularly intriguing, as we get a visual representation of aural activity). I felt Micah’s initial doubt was an important part of the film, as both characters blindly believing that something supernatural was going on from the get-go would be one meal too big to swallow.

I mentioned The Blair Witch Project earlier, but as far as themes go, Parnormal Activity has more in common with its sequel (no, don’t stop reading), specifically the fact that a camera can not be lying. Like the characters in Blair Witch 2, Micah and Katie investigate the camera tapes at day, where Katie finds herself looking at herself doing things she cannot possibly remember having done. They suggest it might be sleepwalking, but both they and the audience has a pretty strong hunch it is something else entirely. This is a horror film, after all.

After a few nights, Micah and Katie gets a second visit from the psychic, who tells them they shouldn’t try to converse with whatever entity is disturbing them at night. Of course, this is easier said than done, and soon enough, the couple finds that their curiosity has gotten the best of them. Strangely enough, the audience is still on their side here, as we too wants to find out more, even though we too have been warned not to look closer. Characters in horror films have done things that have caused bad consequences for them before, but this is one of the few times where we too do the same things.
A final few words here: I feel Paranormal Activity is a film that is best described in aquatic metaphors. For me, watching the nighttime scenes in this film was like being underwater, devoid of the ability to breathe. The day-time scenes was like being on shore, where I could breathe again. I wonder, why would I deliberately try to drown myself? Why would I watch a film like Paranormal Activity? It scared me so much it almost got became too much. I am, in a rare instance, devoid of an answer.



- DantesInferno

205.
Legend Of Hell House
(1973; John Hough)



Dr. Lionel Barrett (Clive Revill) accepts a challenge from a dying millionaire to attempt to prove or disprove the existence of life after death. Barrett has to investigate the infamous Belasco mansion. The house was owned by Emeric Belasco and has a dark history of the man's sadism and perversion. Belasco himself disappeared in 1927, 8 years after the house was built. Barrett puts together a group to tackle the investigation, in addition to himself there's his wife, Ann (Gayle Hunnicutt), a young psychic, Florence Tanner (Pamela Franklin) and the sole survivor of an earlier investigation, Ben Fischer (Roddy McDowall). The group soon make contact with the spirits, Florence is possessed by a spirit who warns them to believe. She believes it was the ghost of Belasco's son, Daniel.  Ann is next to be possessed and she attempts to seduce Ben while in a trance. Florence is attacked by a cat and raped by a ghost, meanwhile Barrett plans to drain the house of spirits through the use of technology, despite Ben's warnings that it's a bad idea. Soon, the quartet have to face the dark secrets of the house. McDowall and Franklin give superb performances, they're so good they make Revill and Hunnicutt look like weak links. Neither is exactly bad, they're just both constantly outshined by their co-stars. Adapted from Richard Matheson's novel, there's much that obviously pays homage to Shirley Jackson's Haunting of Hill House (and its classic film adaptation) but the film is strong enough to stand on its own as one of the great haunted house movies.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 80
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 17/3/2011 5:35:30 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
204.
Someone's Watching Me!
(1978; John Carpenter)



A made for t.v. horror/suspense film from Carpenter. Lauren Hutton stars as Leigh Michaels, a television director who moves from New York to Los Angeles and takes apartment in a new high rise complex. Leigh is unable to enjoy her new lifestyle as she begins receiving mysterious phone calls and packages. Leigh makes a best-friend in Sophie (Adrianne Barbeau) Together they start to hunt down the stalker. The long unavailability of the film saw it often referred to as Carpenter's lost masterpiece. It's not quite that good, but it's a nifty little film, a decent Hitchcock homage, well-written and suspenseful with a good performance from Hutton and a great one from Barbeau. Filmed in the space of ten days the week before he went to shoot Halloween, Someone's Watching Me! feels like Carpenter testing out a few ideas before putting them to best use in that masterpiece.



- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 81
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 17/3/2011 5:41:40 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
201.
The Curse Of Frankenstein
(1957; Terence Fisher)



Hammer had already been dabbling in the horror genre, but it was with The Curse of Frankenstein that they became a force to be reckoned with. With a threat of a lawsuit from Universal hanging over their head, Hammer were forced to abandon many of the most familiar characteristic of the cinematic Monster, going back to the novel but still creating their own interpretation of the characters. The Universal threat really freed up the film in some way, they had no need to feel they had to copy the template laid down by the Whale classics and instead were able to stamp their own identity on the story. Hammer were really laying out their legacy here, casting two of their most famous actors, Cushing and Christopher Lee, as the Baron and the Monster, a script drenched in a black sense of humour, incredible gothic scenery and more blood and sexuality than most horrors of the time.

I'm sure we all know the story, Peter Cushing plays Baron Victor Frankenstein, a scientist fascinated with the possibility of re-animating dead tissue. He decides to build a man but unwittingly uses a damaged brain, causing his creation to go on the rampage.

Lee does strong work as the Monster. It's not the beautiful pantomime of Karloff, but there's something deeply affecting about his take on the creature, heartbreaking. Lee's performance has been described as that of a broken puppet, and it's a perfect description for his jerky, sad movements.While nobody can really touch Karloff's portrayal of the Monster, Cushing is the definitive Frankenstein. Arrogant, cold, callous, yet strangely sympathetic, thanks to the fact that Cushing himself is just so damn likeable a presence. The fact that Fisher obviously sees him as the most important character in the story is aided by the mixed feelings Cushing inspires in the audience, despising his actions, yet loving watching him. It's a brilliant performance from one of the finest actors ever associated with the genre, and this is one of the very best Frankenstein films.



- Rawlinson

201.
I Walked with a Zombie
(1943; Jacques Tourneur)



I Walked With A Zombie is actually a loose adaptation of Jane Eyre, without the idiotic ending. To be quite honest, the ending of Eyre is so sentimental that I was expecting his hand to grow back. But anyway, Zombie takes the Rochester segment of Eyre and transports it to a plantation in the West Indies. Betsy is hired to care for Jessica Holland, the wife of Paul Holland, owner of a sugar plantation on the island of Saint Sebastian, an island in the Caribbean populated by the descendants of African slaves. The small white community all occupy positions of power, doctors and other officials. The black community practice voodoo and there is a strong belief in zombies. Jessica appears to have lost her will and is in a trance-like state, is it medical, or is the belief in zombies more justified than Betsy imagines? In one memorable scene, Betsy discovers Jessica sleepwalking at night, her whole appearance seemingly otherworldly and ghostly. Jessica's doctor puts this down to a tropical fever, but Betsy decides to investigate the voodoo cult.

Like other films in Val Lewton's RKO horror series, I Walked With A Zombie is nowhere near as lurid as the title would suggest. Instead, it's a master-class in creating scares and atmosphere through the power of sound and suggestion. It also manages to create some incredible unnerving yet elegant images. The film's greatest achievement is the unforgettable walk through the sugar cane fields to find the Homfort where the voodoo cult perform their rituals, passing the zombie Carre-Four along the way. The hypnotic feel of the scene, where the women appear to float through the fields is so strong that I would rank the scene among the all-time cinema classics .While I think Carre-Four himself is one of the most memorable creations of the 40s.

Zombie effectively blurs the edges between fantasy and reality by treating everything with such ambiguity. You're never really sure if Jessica suffers from a medical condition or a supernatural one. That sense of ambiguity that Lewton would bring to so many of his films is what has helped them survive and be recognised as the classics that they are, not just of horror cinema but of cinema as a whole. A compelling and poetic film that deserves to be seen and recognised as one of the finest of its era.



- Rawlinson

201.
Kingdom
(1994; Lars von Trier)



Although we used to get the odd foreign mini-series on BBC2 over Xmas and the New Year it is now very rare to get anything, although the recent success of Spiral and Wallander may encourage channels to look out good foreign TV now they know that there is an audience out there for it (well, really, just the Beeb – you don't see ITV trying anything like that).

Riget (Kingdom) was set in a hospital in Denmark with Sweden in view just across the water. Strange things are happening there – a ghost ambulance and odd messages on the radio as well as some seismic disturbances. The cast of characters includes a medium who gets herself admitted to investigate, a vile Swedish head of neurosurgery who loathes Denmark, a dippy head consultant, an odd 'good-guy' registrar who lives in the basement, knows everything and everyone and occasionally deals drugs, an idiotic cocky student in love with a dream study nurse and a doctor whose pregnancy is not going quite according to plan.

The first series deals, amongst other things, with the hauntings of a little girl, Mary, and the quest to put her to rest (and quite a distressing scene that is for something that is supposed to be helping her) and the copy of a report from a botched operation. It ends with a memorably striking and very Von Trier scene during the unwanted birth of an impossible child.

The second series still features the botched operation and the fallout from it, as well as the early life of the deformed Little Brother, bringing some unexpected and touching sadness to the show. Satanism and evil eyes, Haiti and zombies and an ongoing battle between science and alternative therapy with one researcher proving his dedication by hosting the tumour of his dreams.

The Kingdom is a pretty amazing watch. Shot mainly in sepia tones, reflecting the miasma of the old bleaching pools the hospital is built on, and often filmed with the jerky camerawork of reality docs it effortlessly combines drama, tension, chills, horror (the students cannibalistic dreams were particularly foul)  and humour in multiple story strands, often keeping them together with visits to the 2 characters with Down's Syndrome in a Sisyphean basement of unwashed dishes – 2 young Oracles who know everything that is going on above them. For a foreign viewer you can't help but be amused by the face-off between Sweden and Denmark. It's like the USA and Canada with Denmark being the nice ones. The vile Stig Helman, forced to Denmark by embarrassment back home, spends the end of each episode of season 1 on the roof with binoculars looking across to his beloved homeland, reciting the great commercial concerns and screaming 'Danish scum' at the sky – season 2 he does the same but while looking down into a toilet pan to check whether his stools float or not (it makes sense when you watch it!).

It's also often very funny – there's a caper element at times over the missing report, twice stuck in a locked registry with an alarm that registers movement (with the second really taking the mick out of a chase scene). Or the visits to the Lodge's regular meetings in the hospital. Or Roy Cropper and his gestalt therapy group, hidden in the basement and the gormless Moesgaard. At one part Mrs Drusse, the medium, sends her dim son's mind into the basement to find the evil and, when faced with a tiger, tells him to change himself to protect himself providing the most laugh out loud moment of the entire series. And it's brave, playing with the character most would probably characterise as the 'good guy' in a way the classical narrative of the most TV wouldn't dare, fearing the audience wouldn't have someone to cling to.

Best performances come from Kristen Rolfes as the determined and smiling Mrs Druse for whom criticism and disdain wash off like the proverbial ducks back and Ernst-Hugo Jaregard as the arrogant, unpleasant and constantly thwarted Stig Helman.

Each episode ends with Von Trier himself, in suit and bow tie, giving a deprecating summary and some philosophy on the themes and ending with a request to prepare yourself to take the 'good with the evil'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0GoAgRP5yI

We are left with even more cliff-hangers at the end of the season 2 but, sadly, Rolfes, Jaregard and a few other key cast members died not long after the second series was made and it is unlikely we'll see any more. Apparently Von Trier sent the scripts for S3 to the US remake but I rather doubt any of the tosh their version descended into came from him.



- Elab49

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 82
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 17/3/2011 10:45:38 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
200.
Creature from the Black Lagoon
(1954; Jack Arnold)



1954 give the world some of the quintessential monster movies, we have the giant ants of Them, Godzilla from Japan, and the best of the bunch - Universal's Creature. A scientist uncovers a strange fossilised hand on the Amazon river. He organises an expedition to try and find more remains. They travel to the 'Black Lagoon' to see if the remains have been carried there. They discover a prehistoric creature is still alive and making its home in the lagoon, but the creature has already spotted them and it doesn't want to be found. But the creature develops a fascination with Kay (Julie Adams) one of the scientists on the trip. It's an incredibly silly film, it has to be said, but I still think it's a classic. The relationship between the creature and Kay is essentially a rewrite of Beauty and the Beast and it actually makes the film quite affecting. The Creature is wonderfully designed and one of the most appealing movie monsters of all time. Throw in some beautiful cinematography, especially during the underwater scenes, and you have the makings of a horror classic.



- Rawlinson

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Post #: 83
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 17/3/2011 10:52:15 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
196.
Inside
(2007; Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury)



Sarah is all alone.  Still haunted by the death of her husband in a car crash in which she survived and due to give birth at any time, Sarah sits in the safe comfort of her home just waiting for the day when she can hold her baby.  The fire burns brightly in the background, its cold outside and Christmas is just around the corner, she feels safe and warm and slowly she drifts off to sleep.  The clock strikes midnight and she awakes from the sound of knocking, she gets up from her warm chair and finds a woman standing outside. At first she explains that her car has broken down and she needs to use a phone, Sarah is bright enough not to let her into her house, but this woman becomes angry, she knows that Sarah's husband is dead, she knows that she is alone, and most importantly she knows that Sarah is pregnant.  What this mystery woman wants is something Inside Sarah, and nothing will stop her until she gets it.

Over recent years the French have pulled major coups in the horror genre and while films like Ills and Switchblade Romance all deserve to be labelled as classics in their own right, there is something of sublime simplicity in this concept.  The ingenious of this film is that Sarah does everything right after the mad woman's knock.  She phones the police, they check the house and tell her that they call back in an hour.  Feeling safe but a bit wary, Sarah sits back in her chair but while she relaxes,  unknown to her but to the viewer watching, that this woman is standing on her staircase in the shadows, inside her house and one step away from getting her goal.

83 minutes of unbearable tension and carnage, Inside does not shy away from its mission to scare as this strange visitor glides from one room to the next, offering all those who get in her way and while many may find it hard to watch, especially the brutal last ten minutes, Inside is another perfect example of an horror that carries such a simple concept can bring more terror than any viewer could imagine.  Why complicate things when all you need is a crazed woman holding a pair of knitting scissors, for reasons is something that will live with you forever....



- HughesRoss

196.
Interview With The Vampire
(1994; Neil Jordan)



The structure is the tale told by Louis (Brad Pitt) to journalist Daniel Malloy (Christian Slater) in modern day. Louis's tale starts 2 centuries before when he meets Lestat after a family tragedy and is eventually turned by him to a life he abhors. He tells of the difficulties in fitting in with vampire life and the obscenity of turning children into immortals, trapped in the body of a child no matter the maturity of the mind.

Based on Anne Rice's massive bestseller, Interview with a Vampire introduced the Vampire Lestat to the big screen, played by a blonde Tom Cruise. For him it provided something different from the normal heroic/action type fare he'd been starring in almost since his first couple of films. It also gave a career start to future Mary Jane, Kirsten Dunst.

Jordan has made a relatively faithful adaptation, following Louis's journey from Louisiana to France and back to the US but does seem to twist the film about to avoid any suggestion of homoerotica, even while keeping to the narrative. It is better than Queen of the Damned, the sequel of sorts.



- Elab 49

I would love to go back in time and watch this for the first time all over again, it amazed me on first watch and still dazzles now! I'll never forget all the talk of this brilliant new vampire film starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, it arrived with 5 star reviews and came out to rent in August of 95 (i think) and this was a great month for film, as it had the Shawshank Redemption, Timecop and Just Cause, to name a few. Interview With the Vampire is a stunning piece of gothic horror, lead along by a strong, powerful role from Cruise, who is excellently contrasted by Pitt's sad tale and emotional wreck of a man. Cruise plays Lestat, a very old vampire who prowls the streets enjoying himself, maybe a bit too much, by spending time in bars picking up good looking women and drinking their blood. He soon meets Louis, a down on his luck drunk who just wants to die, so Lestat frees him and makes him into a vampire. Louis takes a long long time to adjust, and I must admit, his sadness and refusal to harm others does get a tad irritating, but it makes for one hell of a good story.

Cruise simply shines as Lestat, with Cruise clearly loving every minute, and I just wish they would hurry up and make the 3rd part of the trilogy based on his tale, and redeem the awful Queen of the Damned. Anyway, Interview is woven together by Louis telling his tale, many many years later, to a reporter, Christian Slater, who, as ever is excellent and full of the type of enthusiasm only Slater can do. As our 2 vampires start to settle into vampire life, along comes Kirsten Dunst, playing a very young girl who is accidentally made into a vampire, and she unbalances the whole friendship between Lestat and Louis, and enjoys her new found vampirism a bit too much!

The setting for this film is gorgeous, ancient looking, with a real emphasis of everyone's favourite gothic look, the music is rich and powerful and the whole thing just oozes that classical feel that really draws you in. It’s a beautiful, poetic film with plenty of blood and sex. It doesn't really have many scares; it’s just a gorgeous, very passionate vampire tale. It both glamorises and shows the bad side of being a vampire. It has some excellent cameo's, Stephen Rea's jittery French vampire is probably one of the scariest in the film, and Antonia Banderas adds a solid, overwhelming performance as the other French vampire who put on shows for the public where they kill victims live on stage, however, the audience thinks it’s all an act. The impressive look of one of these shows is quite brilliant. Interview has all you could ever want from a vampire film, and it will stand the test of time as one of the all time greats. I can't believe anyone on here hasn't seen it, but if you haven't, come on, sort it out!!! 

- dj vivace

196.
A Ghost Story for Christmas: Lost Hearts
(1973; Lawrence Gordon Clark)



The third entry in the BBC's ghost story for Christmas adaptation was again taken from the stories of M.R. James. This seems to have been one of the most nightmare inducing for people who caught them at the time. Young Stephen (Simon Gipps-Kent) is an orphan who goes to join his mysterious, older cousin, Mr. Abney (Joseph O'Conor) at his estate. Abney seems kind, but why is he so obsessed with Stephen's age, what is his fascination with ancient rites, and what happened to the two children who stayed at the house and disappeared some years earlier? Soon Stephen is hearing mysterious noises and seeing ghostly apparitions, but is he simply a young boy with an over-active imagination, or is something sinister going on in the house? Like all the Ghost Stories for Christmas entries, there's a wonderful ambience to the film and the appearance of the children still remains shocking nearly 40 years later. A hurdy-gurdy has never sounded has frightening as it does here. Many read this as an allegory for paedophilia - absolute nonsense and just representative of a modern fear, there's absolutely nothing sexual in this tale.



- Rawlinson

196.
Wes Craven's New Nightmare
(1994; Wes Craven)



Freddy had run to a halt.  No longer scary, no more a threat, the character had become a self parody, from each sequel that arrived the more the boogie-man became weaker.  It wasn't any of the Elm St kids who killed him off, it was the weak scripts and the decline in film quality that made the unstoppable more or less stop.

There was nowhere else for Freddy to go, the horror re-make was nowhere near in sight in 1994, not like these days when an original can be re-made in no or less two years after its release.  No! Fans had to face it...after the Final Nightmare, it was no more....some were glad...some were unhappy...but there was nowhere back for their favourite villain......

Wes Craven had other ideas!  The creator of the entire franchise had a plot in his head that he suggested for pt 3 but it was rejected in favour for Dream Warriors and thank our lucky stars, as it never would have worked back then.

The idea that a real Freddy would come into the real world.  Not set in Springwood, but in Hollywood itself and attacking the very people from within the films.  Those people included Heather Langenkamp who played the original heroine Nancy and when this casting was announced the fan boys went crazy, honestly.  If the Internet was as big then as it was today then it would have caused a meltdown.  Already happy that they legend Wes was coming back as writer and director, news that his leading lady had signed up as well made headlines in horror circles.  It was a huge shock as plot was such a secrecy, many questions started to arise more importantly, how can Nancy be back from the dead? and why was Wes even bothering coming back to a franchise that had sunk and really did not need another sequel?

Those questions were answered on Oct 14th 1994 and fans were shocked at what they were given.  Again unlike these days, films could be made without any knowledge given out.  I mean these days any film has so much publicity that by the time you get to watch it, many times you know the ins and outs thanks to the many magazines and Internet Forums who talk and give away sometimes too much information.  All we had in 1994 was Empire and Barry Norman on the BBC, so getting any thing spoilt was virtually impossible.

New Nightmare certainly benefited from that.  Sitting in the cinema and watching the credits roll, I was confused when we see a like for like beginning of the original film.  The creation of the glove scene was in front of us and I thought that Wes was just re-making his first film, then like a flash and a sudden shock...we saw that it was a film being made by Craven himself, and he was doing what seemed like a Freddy film.

Before we can gather our thoughts there is a few killings and then we realise that it was a dream and it was Nancy who had the nightmare...but not Nancy but Heather playing herself.  Confused?  Well all fans were at the start, but it was an ingenious idea.  Here we had all the people who made Freddy the Franchise so popular, playing themselves...in which Heather is being asked to star in a new Freddy film which is to be directed by Wes himself to celebrate the 10th year anniversary of the original film.

Heather is unsure as over the last few weeks she has been having crank calls from someone who sounds like Freddy. Also she is worried what effect starring in a horror have on her son Dylan who has been unwell of late.  I paused then and re-read what I have written so far and realised that I have given away the first twenty minutes so I apologise.  My love for this film holds no bounds.  There are so many scenes that I could mention and would love to talk about but it would be unfair to those who have not seen it.

I need to keep it brief not to give away spoilers so what I will say is that this Pre-dates Scream for the style and in-jokes pattern.  You can see the crew having a blast making this as we see Wes Craven and Robert Shaye (the producer of the series) all given scenes as they begin to realise that the end of the Freddy Series has spawned a real life pure evil whose essence was captured when the films were being made.  Now the films have stopped, that evil is out of the bottle and has taken over the mantle of the Freddy figure.  As Heather played the films heroine, the pure evil believes she is its nemesis and has targeted her and her son Dylan.

Heather needs to play Nancy again to end the killings and save everyone.

It builds to such a fast pace, and when we see Freddy for the first time, its shocking.  At first I honestly thought it was someone else playing him.  Fair play on Wes who only made a few tweaks to the costume but he looked evil,
(a picture of the new scary...evil Freddy)

a hat, a darker jumper and long coat....really freaky, and made the memories of the cartoon Freddy seem so far away in the distance.  Even his one-liners were kept to a minimal with the outstanding and freaky line "ever played skin the cat?" a stand out moment, one of the best of the entire saga.  It also contains the best scene that still sends my horror tingles in overdrive.

Heather speaking to John Saxon-her father in the films, about a real life Freddy out to get them, which of course he dismisses.  She calls him John when he looks at her...

"Why are you calling me John Nancy?"
"Why are you calling me Nancy?" she replies when to her horror she realises she is in the very film she made all those years ago...and while this conversation is going on...we repeatedly cut to Freddy rising from the bed.....sheer...sheer class!

I have realised that I have again said too much and I apologise so I will wrap this up as you can tell my love for the film by now but I can not award it 5 out of 5.  Why? because for all its genius and wonderful interplay, its let down by a weak climax.  It seemed Wes  just run out of steam, and it all ends in a flash.  But maybe that is just me....the film is so near to perfection that I just did not want it to end.  It really is the best of all the nightmare films and one that will make sure you never sleep again!!



- HughesRoss



< Message edited by rawlinson -- 19/3/2011 11:38:41 AM >

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 84
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 18/3/2011 12:10:07 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
195.
Thriller: 'A Killer in Every Corner'
(1974; Malcolm Taylor)



The only entry from Brian Clemens' brilliant anthology series is also my personal favourite from the show, so I'm delighted to see it here. Patrick Magee plays a renowned psychologist, Professor Carnaby, who invites some psychology students to his secluded house for the weekend. Carnaby has two servants, Boz and George. The three students are unaware that both men are violent killers being kept calm by Carnaby's mind-control experiments. Carnaby has crossed that fine line that divides brilliant scientist and absolute madman and he has invited the students to his home to see if his treatment has worked - they're his guinea pigs, locked in a secluded mansion with a couple of madmen. Magee is incredible as always as the face of power corrupted by insanity and Max Wall is surprisingly creepy as one of the madmen. I honestly believe its reputation would be much stronger if it had been released as a film instead of an episode of an anthology series. Seek it out.



- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 85
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 18/3/2011 12:12:51 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
193.
A Clockwork Orange
(1971; Stanley Kubrick)



Kubrick's classic 1971 futuristic thriller about identity and social conformity is as powerful and poignant now as it was almost forty years ago. What's more, it's still relevant, with droves and droves of similarly dressed groups of kid with one, conformist mentality and ideology still existing today. Plot-wise, it's the story of Alex de Large (Malcom MacDowell), a naughty young man who spends his days sleeping and his nights breaking the law. A fan of Beethoven, ultra-violence and a bit of the old in-out-in-out, Alex has become one of the cinema's most iconic characters. Decked out completely in white apart from a bowler hat, the lead character and his droogies all contribute to Kubrick's distinct visual style. This could be Kubrick's best effort in the director's chair, utilizing every technique he has in his arsenal to create an imposing, claustrophobic atmosphere. It's no secret that I'm a big fan of his, and "A Clockwork Orange" is one of the films that got me into him. It's flamboyant, yes, but it's grounded in a dark, sinister envisioning of our future, and this context amplifies the fright ten-fold. Malcom MacDowell, as our narrator and tour guide around the nightmarish future Britain, is wonderful, but it's the script that is most impressive. Adapted from Anthony Burgess' incredibly lyrical novel of the same name, Kubrick's script maintains the spirit of the book whilst at the same time making it more cinematic and, in some ways, better. The horribly tagged on ending, where Alex finally sees the error of his ways, is cut off, leading to a much more powerful, haunting, and ambiguous ending. The employment of "nadsat", Burgess' own dialect of English that incorporates hints of Russian and cochne rhyming slang, is a brave choice, but one that has paid off. The film was banned for years and years by Kubrick himself because off the copy cat murders that followed, but for anybody with even half a brain cell, this is a poignant study on social conformity and a totalitarian society



- Piles.

193.
Last House on Dead End Street
(1977; Roger Watkins)



Films like Last House on Dead End Street almost make me regret the improvements in technology. This is the kind of film that should be watched on a dodgy bootleg video, not a sparkly dvd or blu-ray disc. And that was its fate for a long time, it was only available on 10h generation videos. Until 2000, nobody even knew who actually directed the film. The film seemed to vanish for a number of reasons.  First was the alleged friction between Watkins and the studio. The film was shot in 1972, under the title The Cuckoo Clocks of Hell, with a 3 hour+ running time. The distributors got hold of it, slashed it down to less than half the running time, and released it in 77 under the title 'The Funhouse'. It was then retitled again, to Last House on Dead End Street, no doubt to bring to mind the Wes Craven classic. The other reason it disappeared from view for so long is down to how grim a viewing experience it is.

Terry Hawkins (Director Watkins) has just been released from jail. He has some camera skills and he's hired by local pornographers to make some unique films. Terry's hatred of society and desire to teach a lesson to 'the man' lead to him hiring a crew of fellow degenerates and kidnapping, torturing and killing people for snuff films.Watkins has said he was high during most of the making, the film had a budget of $3,800. $3,000 went on drugs. The film itself was heavily inspired by the Manson Massacre and the rumours that they'd shot their own snuff films. Last House on Dead End Street was actually named as a possible snuff film a lot over the years, mainly because so little was known about the film. Until Watkins admitted he was the 'Victor Janos' who was supposed to have directed the film. Depressing, but brilliant,  this is one of the sleaziest, vilest, most nihilistic and decadent films I've ever seen. How many other films you can think of where a character is forced to fellate a deer hoof? They really don't make them like this anymore, and maybe we should be glad of that.



- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 86
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 18/3/2011 1:40:12 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
192.
The Brood
(1979; David Cronenberg)



At the Somafree Institute Of Psychoplasmics, Dr. Hal Raglan is treating rage-filled psychosis by allowing his patients to "go all the way” and letting the anger to manifest itself physically.  One of his patients is Nola Carveth, who has just been seperated from her husband Frank.  When their young daughter Candice returns to Frank with bruises on her back, Frank suspects Nola of abusing her, but who are the strange deformed children who are obviously after anyone Nola doesn't like?....

With films ranging from Dead Ringers to A History Of Violence, David Cronenberg has gained wide critical respect as a filmmaker, especially since he moved away from horror, but for my money his best films were made early on in his career.  Films like Videodrome and Rabid were unashamably  genre movies, partially exploitative but made with intelligence and care, and with a real sense of pushing the boundaries of what is 'acceptable' in commercial cinema.  Although he has probably made better films, my personal favourite of his films is The Brood.  Like many of the best horror movies, it takes something which is fact-stress and anger in humans can often result in physical manifestations from asthma to cancer-and runs with it.  After being disappointed with the distribution of his previous movies, Cronenberg joined another company Mutual Films, who upon reading his script stumped up a rather larger budget than before, allowing for the hiring of a better cast.  It was actually inspired by an unpleasant custody battle the director had been involved in, and you can really feel the anger and hatred, it pours out of every frame.  Make no mistake, this is a really cruel and painful film, but I also find it incredibly compulsive and at times I think it's quite brilliant.

The Brood moves quite slowly, with lots of long dialogue scenes, but it's obvious Cronenberg was going for realism, so that when wierd and scary things do happen ,they seem almost believable.  Take the scene where a drunken Henry, the estranged husband of Nola's mother, who has just been murdered, is walking around his ex-wife's house.  The sequence takes ages but you really feel his pain and torment, and then when the horror strikes it's doubly effective.  The killings, which are really brutal, with hammers and paper weights used to shocking effect, have careful build ups worthy of De Palma and even Hitchcock, and play either on primal fears [what's under the bed?] or subvert what is thought of as being safe, such as a horrific murder in a classroom.  The aftermath of this scene is especially effective, as, except for one shot, the children's whimpering is off screen, and perhaps that's worse?  The dwarfish killers are especially creepy with their mutated faces and snow suits, even if they remind me of the even scarier menace in Don't Look Now.

Things slowly but surely build to an extremely suspenseful climax set in a barn filled with the killers, intercut with has one of the most unforgettable scenes in horror film history.  I say unforgettable to those that have seen this film, but not enough people have!   With really convincing special effects, Nola gives birth to a foetus which she than licks, and we are simultaneously repelled, fascinated and touched.  This scene, as well as some of the violence elsewhere, was originally cut both in the US and in the UK.  In Cronenberg's words, "I had a long and loving close-up of Samantha licking the foetus.  When the censors, those animals, cut it out, the result was that a lot of people thought she was eating her baby. That's much worse than I was suggesting”.   A typical example of censors completely missing the mark.  One might hope The Brood finishes with a happy ending, but no, Cronenberg gives as a sense of nasty things starting anew, and while I'm tired of seeing that these days, in this depressed movie, it's entirely right.

Cronenberg's direction, as usual, is fairly unobtrusive, but helps create a real depressed poetry out of the snowy settings, mirroring his characters.  One of my favourite shots has Candice hand in hand with two of the killers calnly walking down a snowy road-yes, there is some humour in this movie if you look hard enough!  Art Hingle is an okay 'hero' but he's outshone by Samantha Eggar as Nola.  Now I've never rated Samantha Eggar much as an actress for the most part, but she' s convincing in her intensity here, despite not having that much screen time.  As for Oliver Reed as the  misguided mad scientist Raglan, well, some of the time he's quite multilayered in his performance, reminding of what a fine actor he could be , and some of the time he' s clearly pissed- in one scene he's really red faced and can't even seem to walk straight.  Howard Shore's edgy, intense score channels both Prokofiev and Bernard Herrmann but really helps give the movie its unique feel.  The Brood is probably too slow and serious for many of today's horror fans [and is now being REMADE, the bastards!!], but this is true cinematic horror at its best- it's nasty, yet somehow relatable, and really gets under your skin.



- Dr Lenera

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 87
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 18/3/2011 1:41:48 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
191.
The Uninvited
(1944; Lewis Allen)



Really wonderful Hollywood ghost story. Set in Cornwall, brother and sister (Milland and the always underused Ruth Hussey)) fall in love with and buy a house on a cliff from straitlaced Donald Crisp. The house comes with a story – a husband and wife, a baby, a lover and a nurse – wife dead, and the child brought up by her grandfather (Crisp). The Fitzgeralds get to know Stella and follow up the story of the house – the cold, the crying at night – and come to realise the strong connection the girl has with her former home.

Immensely creepy and superbly shot, it actually features really effective ghost shots. Interestingly it has 101 Dalmations Dodie Smith attached to the script (maybe to get authentic Britishness in) although I think their real reference was Christie's "The Moving Finger" as the brother/sister protagonists, the young girl and even the sister's interaction with the doctor are almost word for word from that. Add to that a character that is the spiritual successor of Judith Anderson's Mrs Danvers (strong lesbian subtext there, although not as well-played).



- Elab49

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 88
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 19/3/2011 1:42:05 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
190.
Bay of Blood
(1971; Mario Bava)



Shockingly MarioBava’s classic film was refused a certificate by the BBFC in 1972 for it’s first cinema release and had to wait over ten years to finally get a VHS release in February 1983 on the Hokushin label. The film was removed from the shelves in March 1984 as part of the Video Nasty madness and became a collectable from The List. The film was finally released by Redemption in 1994 as Bay of Blood and had 43 seconds of cuts. The BBFC eventually allowed the film to be released uncut for the 2010 Arrow DVD/Bluray release.

Being a bit of a newcomer to Bava I must say I was highly impressed with this dark and unsettling mystery and yet cannot for the life of me understand how the film failed to even get a cinema release all those years ago. Here, Bava has created a horror film of the highest quality in every sense of the word and to not then go and learn some history of the great man I feel is an insult to his legacy. After all, it is said that Bava is the man responsible for creating one of the finest genres in horror, the Giallo. Bava studied to become a painter, and yet after helping out on his Dad’s films (his Dad Eugenio Bava was a well respected film photographer) Mario decided to enter the world of films for himself. Mario made a few short films in the 1940’s and moved on to be a cinematographer until the 1960’s and got himself a bit of a reputation as a special effects genius. His artistic background meant he was able to use colours and lighting ti exceptional effect and he was so good at it he was asked to do the special effects on the 1976 colour version of King Kong. Bava refused. He was so proud of his paintings too, and even used them in some of his films. In 1956 Bava stepped in to finish directing I Vampiri after the original director had a fall out with the studios,  the film was finished on time and also known as The Devil’s Commandment and went on to inspire a new wave of Italian Gothic horror. Bava went on to “save” two more films and eventually the studio Galatea offered Bava the chance to direct whatever he wanted and they would finance it.

Revenge of the Vampire (1960) was Bava’s first proper film and was in black and white. With films like Hercules in the Centre of the Earth (1961) and The Whip and the Flesh (1963) Bava really started to make full use of the colours and artistic skills he had as a painter, and Bava perfected his style with the following two films La Ragazza Che Sapeva Troppo (1963) and Sie Donne per L’assassino (1964) and finally the Giallo was born. Bava went on to make all sorts of films like Westerns, action films and even softcore movies, but his home was horror films and Giallo mysteries. His son Lamberto Bava worked as an assistant on most of his films from 1965, and Lamberto eventually became a director himself in 1980. From 1975 Mario’s films and popularity went into decline until his son asked his out of retirement to direct Shock. Mario died of a heart attack on April 27th 1980 aged 65.

But Bava left a legacy behind him, not only did he single handedly start the Giallo genre, many say it was this film (Blood Bath) that started the slasher genre. Watching Blood Bath it is not hard to see why. The film is delivered with exceptional style and vicious violence. Bava used his skills like no other in creating one hell of an atmosphere in a simple location in a bay. Budget restraints meant that most of the shots inside houses were done using houses of the crew, or a favourite villa of Bava’s was used as the Countesses house. Bava was only able to film on a small private part of land, however his skills with camera trickery were put to great use to create a much larger landscape. Supposedly he used branches to cover his camera’s to give the effect of woods, which gave the crew much to laugh about during filming. The film itself is a simple tale of double crossing and murder but told in a way that it never becomes boring or slow, and even though the film barely gets past 80 minutes, it is constantly interesting, intriguing and exciting. Countess Federica (Isa Miranda) opens the main story by what looks like a suicide. It would seem that she has hung herself, and left a conveniant suicide note, however other members of her family feel she may have been murdered for either her money or her land. Her husband is also missing and doubt and mystery consume the bay as family and friends point fingers and try to solve the mystery. Everyone who was in the Countesses will are involved in working out the clues and blaming the other person. Pretty soon violent and nasty murders begin to take place, with the killer never being revealed but with each death more brutal than the next. To say much more about the plot would honestly spoil things as this is a good old fashioned mystery where the less you know about the story the better.

However, the inclusion of a group of friends who visit the bay for a weekend away will not spoil the plot. It almost feels like they were added  to the film to give the killer a proper introduction, and allow Bava to include a few more deaths on screen. As soon as the friends arrive and settle in, they get murdered in specatcular fashion. In fact, the murders in this film are so influential, Friday the 13th Part 2 copied two of them scene for scene alike. A large meat clever is used in sickly fashion as it literally tears a chunk out of a poor girls neck, a spear is brilliantly used to stab through two lovers having sex and knives come out for multiple stabbings. Argento was supposedly in love with this film, and you can see it’s influences all over his brilliant work. Argento also stole a print of this film when it was first released in Italy. A friend of his worked as a projectionist, and Argento got him to steel the print, and instead the theatre played a different film while Argento kept his stolen print at home. Apparantly he still has it!

The music and style to Bava’s masterpiece is undoubtedly Italian, with strong European Jazz music used to create a dangerous tone, and every now and again the use of strong yellows and reds are used, much like Argento went on to make his trademark. But is it the incredibly forced use of dark and bright blues and serious blacks that Bava utilises best. Most of the film is either filmed at night, or as the sun is going down, and so there is little help from a bright, happy atmosphere. It is dark, moody and intense with all the actors giving surprisingly brilliant performances. Each character has his or her own personality and it would seem that Bava has left nothing to chance, making sure even the smallest characters get given the chance to made an impact. The guy who collects bugs is a great creation, a true oddball and Bava very very cleverly arouses suspicions on the whole cast before the final reveal. The film also has a very sexy mood, even though there is hardly any sex in it, the female characters are very seducing and feel almost porn-like. Whether this was intentional, or whether it was just Bava’s past soft-porn films shinning through I don’t know but the girls here are very attractive and pleasing on the eye.

Camera movements are put to great use here too, and tracking shots were created using a child toy, again due to budget restraints. Bava like’s to jolt the viewer into a sense of panic. His murders are quick, but horrific with the camera often panning into a sudden close-up to conjure up fear. One victim brilliantly lands on the camera after being strangled! Christopher Lee saw this film at the cinema and supposedly walked out in protest about the level of violence on offer, so that is testament to the films nature. Personally, i think the violence is carefully handled, is not too gratuitous as to be tha main draw of the film, and instead carries the film in the direction its creator wanted it to go. Considering when this film was made, it is well before it’s time and can sit nicely alongside horrors today. With more alternative titles than any other movie in history, Bava’s Blood Bath, or Bay of Blood as it is better known, is a tour de force in horror and one of THE most influential horrors of all time. For that reason alone, it demands respect. This was my first venture into Bava’s world and i must admit it is a truly unique and quite brilliant world that is timeless and clever. Horror directors clearly still learn from this movie alone, and even try to better it. Not many can.

9/10

Did this film deserve to be on the Video Nasty List: For its time, oh yes most definitely, the violence on offer here for all those years ago is quite shocking, although the quality of the actual films means that it is clearly not violence for violence sake and is instead a well crafted mystery that maybe the BBFC should have been a bit more leniant with



- dj vivace

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 89
RE: The Empire Top 300 Horror Films: Results - 19/3/2011 2:03:13 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
189.
Martin
(1977; George Romero)



Martin (Amplas) has just arrived in Pittsburgh to stay with his uncle, Cuda. His uncle believes the superstitions of the old country, and he thinks that the teenage Martin is really an 84 year old vampire. Martin insists he doesn't believe in any of the old superstitions, even though he spends his time drugging women and drinking their blood.

Romero dismisses all of the mythological connotations of vampirism. Martin has no supernatural powers, he can go out in the daytime, he doesn't have that overpowering seductive quality of other vampires. Martin is weak and pitiable, more in the tradition of a pathetic psycho killer than a seductive vampire. Romero shows Martin's insecurity by having him call a late night radio talk show to discuss his vampiric tendencies. Romero further subverts the genre by having a religious extremist as the vampire hunter, someone misguided and unable to let go of the old ways.

Romero juxtaposes vampiric clichés with the reality of Martin's modern day setting. Martin stalks his uncle, dressed as a traditional vampire, for a prank. It uses black & white period scenes, possibly as Martin's flashbacks, possibly as his fantasies of being a traditional vampire. They're used to evoke classic vampire films, but they're contrasted with scenes of Martin drugging his victims and extracting their blood with a razor.

Much is left ambiguous in the film. We're never really sure if Martin actually is a vampire. Could he just be a man with a sexual fixation on blood, is that all vampires really are? Or is Martin convinced he is one because of the superstitious nature of his family? Is he just insane? Or is he really a vampire, adapting to fit a modern setting?

As always, Romero uses his films to create social criticism. Here he uses a teen who thinks he's a vampire to comment on addiction, on urban decay, on the move away from religious faith and on the lost state that can accompany youth.

Martin is a daring and brilliant film that deserves to have the same kind of acclaim and attention that's been given to Romero's Dead films.



- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 90
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