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RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results

 
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RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 18/11/2012 2:40:54 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
330. This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse



Director: Jose Mojica Marins
1966
Film

Last Year's Position: 181

The second of the 'Coffin Joe' films and the director's undisputed masterpiece. The film picks up where At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul left off, but rather than Coffin Joe being dead, he's released from hospital, having suffered from shock from the events of the previous film. No sooner is he back in his old village than he's continuing his quest to find the perfect woman to bear him a child. With the help of his hunchbacked assistant, he kidnaps six beautiful women. He wants to find one who knows no fear to bear his son, so he puts them through tests. One woman makes it through, Marcia. Joe murders the other girls, an act that stops Marcia from being with him. He releases her unharmed because he feels she won't betray him. Joe sets his sights on another, Laura, she shares his worldview and she falls in love with him. Joe also learns that one of the women he kidnapped was pregnant. He begins to feel guilty over the death of the child and has nightmares where he is dragged into Hell. Meanwhile, Marcia's continues to be tormented by her experiences. In the spirit of "If it ain't broke...", this is pretty much a remake of At Midnight... But that's not really a bad thing, it improves on its predecessor and provides us with an incredible nightmare scene. Even if the rest of the film was abysmal, the dream sequence in Hell would have demanded the film get a place here. As it happens, the rest of the film is incredible. Naturally it's not very polished, but I've never thought of that as a drawback for a horror film, roughness often adds to the effect. Jose Mojica Marins is a natural horror director and a commanding screen presence, here he's made one of the all-time great horror films.

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Post #: 61
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 18/11/2012 2:41:28 PM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Karl Freund
1935
Film

Last Year's Position: 265

Karl Freund's last film as a director was this overlooked treasure. Adapted from the book Les Mains d'Orlac, Mad Love marked Lorre's first appearance in a Hollywood film, and it also gave the great man one of his finest roles. Lorre plays a sinister but brilliant surgeon, Dr. Gogol. Gogol has an obsessive fixation on Yvonne Orlac (Frances Drake), an actress in a Grand Guignol-esque horror play. Gogol is so devoted that he has attended every performance of her play and when she announces her retirement he buys the wax statue of her from the theatre lobby and holds conversations with it in his home. Yvonne has retired to live with her classical pianist husband, Stephen (Colin Clive).On the train journey to meet Yvonne, Stephen is involved in his train crash where his hands are damaged beyond repair. Yvonne begs the held of Gogol who replaces Stephen's hands with those of an executed murderer. But the hands have a life of their own.

The main reason to watch Mad Love is obviously Lorre's amazing performance. Despite his brilliance as a surgeon and his charitable work, Gogol is a twisted man. He takes an obvious erotic pleasure in seeing Yvonne tortured in her play and his dark side comes out even further in his attendance of executions. Lorre's leering psychotic is second only to his magnificent performance in M from his illustrious film career, but there is so much else to the film. The rest of the cast are strong, especially Colin Clive as the tortured pianist. The film also has a droll wit that cuts through the onscreen atrocities that makes this a masterpiece not only of horror but of twisted comedy. The presence of Gregg Toland as cinematographer makes the film (obviously) a visual treat.

Mad Love has murderous knife-throwers, guillotine executions, Grand Guignol horror plays, amputations, an overwrought Colin Clive and a lunatic Peter Lorre. What more could you want?

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Post #: 62
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 18/11/2012 2:53:29 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
328. Schalcken the Painter



Director: Leslie Megahey
1979
T.V. Film

Last Year's Position: 178

Not an official part of the Ghost Story for Christmas series, fans of the strand regard this (like The Stone Tape and Whistle and I'll Come to You) as an unofficial entry. Adapted from the short story by J. Sheridan LeFanu, this tells the story of Godfried Schalcken. Schalcken was a real 17th Century painter who created atmospheric paintings of figures lit by candlelight. In the film, Schalcken (Jeremy Clyde) has just taken an apprenticeship with Gerrit Dou (Maurice Denham). While in Dou's house, he falls in love with his niece, Rose (Cheryl Kennedy). As Schalcken does not have the money to support her, he is unable to propose marriage. One night, a mysterious figure named Vanderhausen arrives. Vanderhausen also desires to marry Rose and he offers Dou an impressive dowry in return for his consent. Rose leaves with her new husband, and disappears. Schalcken tries to track her down, but fails. Some time later, a distressed Rose comes back into Schalcken's life. We're left to fill in much of the blanks for ourself, but we're in no doubt something nasty of a supernatural nature has befallen Rose. It's a dark work, both literally and metaphorically, it tries to replicate the art of the period, and Schalcken's method of lighting, considering this was made on a 70s BBC budget, the effect is extraordinary. A subtle and wonderful ghost story, it needs a high profile release.

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Post #: 63
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 18/11/2012 3:59:34 PM   
rawlinson

 

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

by William F. Harvey
1910
Short Story

Last Year's Position: New Entry

On a stifling hot day, an artist has the inspiration to draw a picture of a man on trial. Later, while out walking, he meets the man from the picture, a man he has never seen before in his life. The man is at work carving an inscription on a tombstone, one he intends to display to show his craft. The name and date of birth on the tombstone matches that of the artist, with the death date that very day. Puzzled by the coincidences, the two men resolve to spend the night together to ensure that the artist is kept safe... While it never goes so far as stating the obvious, most readers will be left in little doubt as to what happens after the story ends, but it's Harvey's brilliant writing and the evocation of the hot day and the strains that heat can put on a person, rather than any attempt to solve the central puzzle, that make this a classic of the genre.

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Post #: 64
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 19/11/2012 9:17:44 AM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Gary Sherman
1972
Film

Last Year's Position: 119

Donald Pleasence is Inspector Calhoun, a copper investigating the mysterious disappearance of a government official on London's underground system. He finds himself entangled in a story that involves the deaths of workers on the line in the late 19th century and a possible cannibal family living in the tunnels. While the premise may sound ridiculous, Sherman directs with such wit and flair that we willingly suspend any disbelief. Pleasence has a lot of fun in the lead role, and we're provided with one of the most sympathetic villains in all of horror cinema. There's a darkly humorous streak that lightens, but never mocks, the main story. Beautifully played by everyone involved, it's one of my favourite horrors of the 70s. It deserves to be rated as not just one of the great horror films, but as one of cinema's great feature debuts.

325. The Vault of Horror



Director: Roy Ward Baker
1973
Film

Last Year's Performance: New Entry

Another Amicus anthology, again adapted from EC comics. Not as strong as Tales from the Crypt or From Beyond the Grave, but shorts like The Neat Job and Midnight Mess rank among the finest of Amicus' output.

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Post #: 65
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 19/11/2012 9:36:42 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
324. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

by Max Brooks
2006
Novel

Last Year's Position: New Year

Charting the history of the war against zombies in the form of first person accounts, Brooks' novel has become one of the most popular horror novels of recent years. Using the sub-genre to create social commentary, Brooks' novel is in the same tradition as the likes of Romero's zombie films.

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Post #: 66
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 19/11/2012 9:38:18 AM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Frank Henenlotter
1982
Film

Last Year's Position: 177

Duane Bradley (Kevin Van Hentenryck) is recently arrived in New York, carrying a basket that contains his monstrous twin, Belial. Their moth died while giving birth to the conjoined twins. Their father loathed them and tried to have them separated, hoping that Belial would die during the procedure. Belial survives and the duo decide to get revenge on the doctors who performed the operation. But cracks appears in the brothers' relationship when Duane falls for a girl. Basket Case captures that wonderfully sleazy Times Square feel of much New York horror and actually manages to be quite creepy at times. It also captures quite a sympathetic relationship between man and monster. But the overwhelming tone of the film is a sick kind of black humour. The film will provoke laughter, even if the laughter is often uncomfortable.

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Post #: 67
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 19/11/2012 9:38:48 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
322. Don't Go in the House



Director: Joseph Ellison
1980
Film

Last Year's Position: 278

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

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

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Post #: 68
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 19/11/2012 9:39:09 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
321. A Clockwork Orange



Director: Stanley Kubrick
1971
Film

Last Year's Position: 193

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

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Post #: 69
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 19/11/2012 9:48:53 AM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Vincenzo Natali
1997
Film

Last Year's Position: 298

Blurb coming soon

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Post #: 70
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 19/11/2012 9:58:18 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
319. The Twilight Zone



1959 - 1964
T.V. Series

Last Year's Position: New Entry

'You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead — your next stop, the Twilight Zone'

Quite possibly the most famous introduction to any t.v. series (even though they changed it every season) The Twilight Zone also begins with quite possibly the most famous theme music of all time. The music has become world-famous, a few bars used time and time again in other shows to indicate something weird is happening. Scenes from certain episodes are recognisable to people who haven't even seen the original shows. Even the title of the show has entered the common language. The Twilight Zone is quite possibly the dictionary definition of an iconic television series.

But was it really as great as its reputation suggests? For the most part, yes. There are some negative aspects. As I've mentioned with other anthology shows on my list, they're always a mixed bag. Another flaw is that Rod Serling was often too fond of the melodramatic and the sentimental. The Twilight Zone was at its best when it was at its darkest. Also, at one point they lengthened the episodes to an hour long and the material often felt stretched to breaking point.

So with those criticisms in mind, why is it a top 40 show? Because the amazing stuff completely overwhelms the poor episodes. Some of the greatest actors of the era worked on the show, as did some of the finest writers, and this really shines through in the quality of numerous episodes. Watch episodes like The Howling Man, The Eye Of The Beholder or Where Is Everybody? for some of the finest tele-fantasy ever created. Watch Time Enough At Last for a heartbreaking Burgess Meredith performance. Hell, watch them all.

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Post #: 71
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 19/11/2012 10:02:25 AM   
rawlinson

 

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

Director: John Mackenzie
1977
P.I.F.

Last Year's Position: 268

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

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

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

< Message edited by rawlinson -- 19/11/2012 10:03:52 AM >

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Post #: 72
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 19/11/2012 10:04:30 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
317. Valerie and Her Week of Wonders



Director: Jaromil Jires
1970
Film

Last Year's Position: 277

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

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

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

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Post #: 73
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 20/11/2012 9:24:19 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
316. The League of Gentlemen



1999 - 2002
T.V. Series

Last Year's Position: New Entry

Taking as much inspiration from The Wicker Man and Hammer Horror as classic comedy, the inhabitants of Royston Vasey are the demented creations of Jeremy Dyson, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reese Shearsmith, collectively known as The League Of Gentlemen. Dyson remains offscreen while the other three play almost every character in the show.

And what a character list, the owners of the local shop murder anyone who isn't 'local', the local butcher sells 'special stuff' made of some unknown but highly illegal substance, the travelling circus kidnaps women, the taxi driver is a transexual, one family are obsessed with toads and drink their own urine, the local vet kills all the animals and the local vicar takes delight in humiliating her flock.

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Post #: 74
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 20/11/2012 9:25:33 AM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Mary Lambert
1989
Film

Last Year's Position: New Entry

Blurb to come.

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Post #: 75
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 20/11/2012 9:25:59 AM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: David Cronenberg
1977
Film

Last Year's Position: 274

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

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Post #: 76
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 20/11/2012 9:26:21 AM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Ishiro Honda
1954
Film

Last Year's Position: 218

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 #: 77
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 20/11/2012 9:26:43 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
312. And Soon the Darkness



Director: Robert Fuest
1970
Film

Last Year's Position: 174

Two young girls get into trouble cycling in France on holiday. Dawdling in an area considered dangerous for young women, one disappears and the other is faced with suspicious offers of help.

This film is a bit like a chicken burn – the main character goes back and forth and back and forth on a short stretch of road initially on the trip and then desperately trying to find her friend and escape herself and we begin to think we know every inch of the damn thing ourselves and it just gets creepier and creepier. Where other horrors make you jump with shadows and corners, this little gem uses a wide open countryside and a sunny day to exactly the same effect (although we do get quite a bit of the latter as well). It's a brilliantly effective piece of filmmaking and with two titans of the best of genre TV behind it that's hardly surprising – Brian Clemons and Terry Nation. Dotrice is fine as the annoyingly dotty victim and Pamela Franklin is very convincing as the sensible one. Crossroads head waiter also turns up as an ambiguous character offering help – I'm pretty sure I first saw this after I saw him in Crossroads and it was an odd juxtaposition!

- Elab49

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Post #: 78
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 20/11/2012 9:35:56 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
311. Tales from the Crypt



Director: Freddie Francis
1972
Film

Last Year's Position: 143

A group of people are taking a tour of some catacombs and find themselves lost in a hidden chamber. There they meet a crypt keeper who tells them the story of the impending deaths. This has some of the most memorable segments in all of Amicus' work, containing no less than three stone-cold classics. Brit horror icon (even if she couldn't really act) Joan Collins murders her husband on Christmas Eve, when she finds out there's a psychopath on the loose in the area, dressed as Santa, she sees the perfect opportunity to blame the murder on the psycho, but she doesn't realise just how close to the house this psycho santa really is. Peter Cushing stars as a lonely old man whose only friends are his dogs and the neighbourhood children who visit him. But some rich and hateful neighbours think his house is dirty and lowering the property values and try to get him out, by any means. It's a heartbreaking performance by Cushing. The final story, Blind Alleys sees Patrick Magee leading the residents of a home for the blind in a rebellion against cruel and neglectful new manager Nigel Patrick. It's one of the most astonishing revenge horrors I've ever seen, with a truly ingenious finale. The best Amicus anthology film? Without a doubt. The best anthology film of all time? Quite possibly. It packs in some great performances (especially from Magee, Cushing and Ralph Richardson, having great fun as the Crypt Keeper), some chilling little tales, and an uneasy, unsettling atmosphere.

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Post #: 79
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 20/11/2012 9:36:53 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
310. The Wolf Man



Director: George Waggner
1941
Film

Last Year's Position: 257

Upon the death of his brother, Lawrence Talbot returns to Wales upon the request of his father to take his place. He becomes friendly with Gwen a local girl, but when visiting a gypsy camp he is told by a fortune teller he will have a doomed life. Returning, he saves Gwen from a wolf and kills it, whereupon the creature turns back into the gypsy leader. However, Talbot was bitten by the wolf and the next night starts to turn into a werewolf and prowl the countryside at night.......

When Werewolf In London wasn't too great a success Universal rebooted [to use a modern term] the basic idea a few years later. The result is one of their most loved monster movies that after An American Werewolf In London and The Howling is usually considered the best werewolf film. It has a very strong script by Curt Siodmak that seems to use things from folk legends but was actually almost all his own invention, such is it's authority, and a great sense of tragedy that gives it weight. It's also surprisingly restrained, with actually not much werewolf footage at all and not even a proper man-to-wolf transformation [these would be rectified in the next movie!], nonetheless the monster scene have a terrific atmosphere with tons of swirling fog put to good use. I've always found the werewolf makeup though a little weak [Talbot looks like he's wearing a furry hat!] and Lon Chaney's performance a little wooden. Fortunately he's surrounded by one of the series' best casts including Claude Rains, Evelyn Ankers, Ralph Bellamy and Maria Ouspenkaya is an unforgettable small role as the fortune teller. Sadly though most of Bela Lugosi's scenes were cut out. The Wales setting is extremely unconvincing but I don't think it was trying to be realistic, many of these films appear to be set in a kind of fantasy world combining various elements from differing locations and even times, sometimes you feel you're in 1920s England, sometimes in 18th Germany! Not really a masterpiece then, but still an iconic classic.

- Dr. Lenera

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 80
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 21/11/2012 1:55:22 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
309. Sapphire and Steel: Assignment 2



1972
T.V. Series Episode

Last Year's Position: 164

Sapphire and Steel are once again called in to investigate a time anomaly, this time in an abandoned railway station where the platform seems to be in a different season to the office. Also on the scene is a mild-mannered ghost hunter named Tully, who is attempting to contact a soldier who died in WW1. It's the longest of all of the assignments, giving it more time to devote to the slow-burn of the story and the intense atmosphere it builds. Managing to bring the horror and loss of war to the screen in simple, but incredibly effective ways, it's a brilliant piece of drama, with the cast doing some of their finest work. It contains one of the most chilling scenes in all British television and turns 'Pack Up Your Troubles...' into one of the most haunting songs you'll ever hear.

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 81
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 21/11/2012 1:55:57 AM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Merian C. Cooper/Ernest B. Schoedsack
1933
Film

Last Year's Position: 84

It really is unbelievable that “King Kong”, the original fantasy epic, is nearly seventy five years old, because it hasn’t dated a bit. Obviously, I’m not talking about the stop motion special effects, which are clearly a little bit old fashioned… but charming in their own outdated way. What I’m talking about are the characters, the peril, and the horror which the film conveys to the audience, which are each just as potent as they would have been three quarters of a century ago when audiences were first wowed. The story sees a group of filmmakers and actors travel to an uncharted island in the search of a legitimate tropical backdrop, and stumble into the home of hostile natives and a giant gorilla looking for a decent meal. The scenes on the island are obviously the film’s strength, brimming with intensity and peril that was years ahead of its time for a popular Hollywood film, and – surprisingly – the confrontation with the locals is miles scarier than those with the monkey. It is so because of its mystery, and their unknown motives make the protagonists’ plight even more terrifying. Kong himself is expertly brought to life for a film this old, and although – as I’ve said – the effects will seem poor (especially to those who have seen Peter Jackson’s 2005 re-make) to a new audience, they are incredible for the day. The scenes in New York, including the climactic sequence atop of the Empire State building, continue this greatness, and have since become iconic. An allegory to slavery could easily be read into this film, and so could themes of alienation and prejudice, but it’s much more pleasurable to watch “Kong” from an entertainment point of view, relishing the mild peril and the humanistic emotion that runs through it

- Piles

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 82
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 21/11/2012 12:51:01 PM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Bill Paxton
2001
Film

Last Year's Position: New Entry

Blurb to come

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 83
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 21/11/2012 1:01:34 PM   
rawlinson

 

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



by Kate Bush
1978
Song

Last Year's Position: New Entry

If you don't like this song, your opinion on everything else in the world can't be trusted.

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 84
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 21/11/2012 1:04:03 PM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: David Lynch
1986
Film

Last Year's Position: 166

After the failure of Dune, David Lynch returned to more personal work with Blue Velvet. A darkness in suburbia offering that takes the film noir into the surreal suburbs. McLachlan plays Jeffrey Beaumont, a college student returning to his hometown of Lumberton to visit his ill father. He discovers a human ear in a field and finds himself investigating the ear, drawing in Sandy (Laura Dern) the daughter of a local cop to get clues. He finds the hometown to be a seedier place than he ever imagined. He also finds himself in a sadomasochistic sexual relationship with Dorothy (Rossellini), a nightclub singer with a connection to the ear. Through Dorothy he also encounters Frank (Hopper), a terrifying sociopath who inflects his odd sexuality on Dorothy. Frank has kidnapped Dorothy's husband and child and is forcing her into sex. Or is he ? Dorothy certainly has an interest in s & m and sexual humiliation, even demanding Jeffrey beat her during sex. When Frank catches Dorothy and Jeffrey together, he forces them to go with him to visit Ben (Dean Stockwell) the man holding Dorothy's son. The most disturbing moment in the film happens during this sequence and Ben becomes as much of a nightmare figure as Frank, following this sequence Frank delivers a savage beating to Jeffrey, and there have long been rumours that the original intention was also rape. The film builds to an eventual showdown between Jeffrey and Frank, as Jeffrey uncovers just how deep the corruption is in Lumberton.

In many ways it's a coming-of-age film, Jeffrey is on the verge of manhood and the film is very much exploring the world between a boy and being a man, complete with sexual discovery. Lynch himself described the film as The Hardy Boys go to Hell, and I can understand what he means (for once) as the film as that adolescent spirit of adventure, it just perverts it. Lynch has admitted to a strong autobiographical element in this film and that McLachlan is his stand-in figure, so it's easy to read it as Lynch's own realisation about the darkness in man. Blue Velvet is also about the dark desires that lurk beneath the surface of an idealised America. Dennis Hopper's Frank represents everything that comes to subvert normality, but some 'normal' things are all too ready to be subverted and corrupted, making Blue Velvet a forerunner for the ideas he'd explore in more depth in the television series, Twin Peaks. Further evidence that Lynch is exploring his own childhood is that the American fantasy here is the kind of picket-fence suburbia so often associated with 50s America. And if Blue Velvet was to be remembered for nothing else, it should be as an example of how to drench your film in cultural iconography while making sure the pop culture compliments rather than dominates the film.

In a spectacular misreading, some critics have accused the film of misogyny, including Roger Ebert, who once again displayed that when he gets it wrong he really gets it wrong. The idea of Rossellini's character having a submissive sexual taste, being someone who thrives on humiliation, is taken as evidence of Lynch's misogyny, or that he thinks that all women like or deserve rape. Which is an incredibly blinkered vision both of the film and of human sexuality. Dorothy is someone who gets a thrill out of sexual power games, as displayed by her own treatment of Jeffrey. There's nothing to say that she likes all of the treatment from Frank or that she likes the idea of rape, or that we should like at Dorothy as a metaphor for all women. Dorothy is Dorothy and she can only be seen as a representative of that character, not of women as a whole, and if Lynch really did feel that way then similar characteristics would be seen in Dern's Sandy. You can only begin to approach making a judgement call on something like misogyny if all or most of the female characters are depicted in the same way rather than just one.

It's true that Dorothy is a real subversion of the femme fatale stereotype usually associated with noir, even twisted horror-noir like this, but despite the vampishness of her nightclub singer persona, Rossellini plays Dorothy as being so fragile she could break at any moment. This femme fatale won't shoot you in the back, but she might just shatter as you touch her and leave you to bleed to death. The pop culture acceptance of Blue Velvet has often revolved around Hopper's Frank, but Rossellini's performance may just be the finest in the film, it's certainly one of the bravest and most daring female leads of the 80s. All of the cast are outstanding though and how Blue Velvet didn't sweep the 86 Oscars is a mystery. Lynch's masterpiece is in no way an easy film, but the world of cinema is a better for its creation.

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 85
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 21/11/2012 1:09:30 PM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Tod Browning
1931
Film

Last Year's Position: 230

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.

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 86
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 21/11/2012 3:17:39 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
303. The Woman in Black



by Susan Hill
1983
Novel

Last Year's Position: New Entry

Hill's story, which has inspired two films, a massively successful and long-running stage play, and a couple of radio plays, is one of the best horror novels of the last 30 years. A young lawyer, Arthur Kipps, is sent to a small town to handle the estate of the recently deceased Alice Drablow. He finds her home, Eel Marsh House, is isolated from the mainland by a causeway that gets flooded at high tide, and that the locals aren't too keen on people poking around the property. Soon Arthur begins to see the apparition of the woman in black, a spectre said to bring great tragedy with it, and he starts to explore the woman's link to the house. Read the book, listen to the radio plays, watch the t.v. film and go see the stage play. Just don't watch that Harry Potter starring abomination.

< Message edited by rawlinson -- 21/11/2012 3:18:05 PM >

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Post #: 87
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 21/11/2012 3:22:08 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
302. Beasts: 'Baby'



1976
T.V. Series Episode

Last Year's Position: 124

Beasts was a themed anthology series, only shown once in the mid 70s, some of the episodes took on near mythical status among horror fans, being traded in dodgy quality bootlegs, until Network put out their magnificent dvd set. There were six episodes, all written by the great Nigel Kneale, all on the theme of mans relationship with the 'bestial'

'Baby' deals with a young couple, a pregnant wife and her vet husband, who move to the country for him to take up a new job. In the walls of their new house they discover a mummified creature that they begin to believe carries a curse. The curse is said to make the land barren, ensuring nothing can grow there. Saying any more than that would be spoiling a tense and terrifying bit of telefantasy.

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Post #: 88
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 21/11/2012 3:23:46 PM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Peter Medak
1980
Film

Last Year's Position: 139

An underrated entry in this horror poll and the other horror film by Geogre C.Scott that deserves more praise than it actually gets. Many complain of the slow moving premise, that nothing happens for a while, but then those critics should really queue up and watch Final Destination 5 and leave the heavy thinking to horror fans who appreciate a good film when they see it.

Because the simple truth is, if you stick with The Changeling then you realise that this is one of the finest haunted horror movies to ever grace horror land, and one that deserves more credit than it actually gets.

The plot is typical of the late 70's and early 80's horror, this was before we entered into ski mask and hacking virgins to death policy, as really the film does not get going for a long time We see Dr John Russell (Scott) move to an eerie old mansion as he recovers from the sudden death of his wife and daughter in a traffic accident. As he tries to get his life back to some sort of normality, there is something stirring in the house, a dark secret that will shock the good Dr to his core, as what seems like a haunting becomes something more, and its this that the movie nails its position at number ?? in this chart.

I can understand why The Changeling is not for everyone, the lack of any gore or blood will put off the many horror bloodhound, and the use of sound to scare than actual imagery will put of those who want more, but there is something beautiful about this film that I have never been able to shake.

Maybe its the final scene or the wonderful wheelchair moment that will have your nerves dangling by a thread. Its hard to write anymore as the simple truth is that its a film that needs to be watched without knowing anything, as you will find more appreciation for what is happening. Yes the film switches between horror and drama, and while it tests the patience, the acting is wonderful and its one of the last great old horrors before the likes of Jason and co boomed onto the surface....

A sequel The Changeling 2 made by Lamberto Bava was made in 1987, but its really nothing to do with this little beauty

- HughesRoss

< Message edited by rawlinson -- 21/11/2012 3:24:11 PM >

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 89
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 21/11/2012 4:00:44 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
300. The Old Dark House



Director: James Whale
1932
Film

Last Year's Position: New Entry

In an remote region of Wales, storm-soaked travellers seek shelter at a remote mansion, coming into contact with the strange family who dwell within. About as authentically Welsh as How Green Was My Valley, but this adaptation of a Priestly novel has charm, atmosphere and a wonderful cast in its favour.

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 90
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