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RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results

 
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RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 22/11/2012 3:22:06 PM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Tobe Hooper
1981
Film

Last Year's Position: New Entry

It's a long-held belief that Tobe Hooper's only film of any worth after Texas Chainsaw was Salem's Lot. I disagree. Death Trap is incredibly entertaining and his fairground horror, The Funhouse, is a rather wonderful, seedy and weird little film. We open with a needlessly exploitative (but fun anyway) scene of Amy Harper (Elizabeth Berridge) showering in her family house. We see someone enter the house, pick up a knife and put on a mask, before following her into the bathroom. So far, so Halloween. But this time it's a prank being pulled by Amy's little brother. Amy is going to a carnival with her boyfriend, her parents don't approve because the last time the carnival is in town two girls died, so she lies. Of course, while there, they witness a carnival freak murder someone, they get locked in, and freak and his father are soon on their trail. The plot is perfunctory, it's the atmosphere that makes it special. Yes, there's cliches, inbreed creatures, creepy sideshow barkers, strippers, fortune tellers. But Hooper knows how to make grotesques work. It's one of the best films to capture the carnival as a seedy netherworld.

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Post #: 91
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 22/11/2012 3:25:25 PM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
1934
Film

Last Year's Position: 118

On a train journey through Eastern Europe, a young American couple, Peter and Joan, meet Dr. Vitus Werdegast (Lugosi). An accident forces them to seek shelter at the house of Hjalmar Poelzig (Karloff), but Peter and Joan are unaware that Werdegast has come looking for revenge on Poelzig. Poelzig betrayed his regiment during the war and decades later he has become both an insane architect and a Satanic priest. He's constructed a fortress over the mass grave of the men he betrayed. Wedergast was one of the only survivors of the battle and he's spent the last fifteen years in a military prison. He comes to take revenge for not only Poelzig's betrayal but also for him stealing away Werdegast's wife and daughter. Poelzig and Werdegast engage in a psychological battle over the wounds of the past, and for the soul of Joan.

Bearing no resemblance to the Poe tale, The Black Cat is one of the most overlooked of all of Universal's classic horrors. It's a tale of vengeance between two disturbed men, one warped by the evil inside him, the other by the horrors of war. It mixes allegory, pulp fiction and poetry and gives us this elegiac film that remains a high point of 30s cinema. Ulmer was a master of taking potential cinematic trash and turning it into something beautiful. Here everything feels shot through with moonlight and grief, but the starkness of Ulmer's direction stops it becoming mere melodrama.

It's Ulmer's most beautiful film to look at, obviously inspired by early German horror cinema, the expressionistic visuals register as strongly as the wonderful performances from a top of his game Karloff and a never better Lugosi. It's true that Peter and Joan leave little impression on the viewer, but the film is so stunning to look at, and Karloff and Lugosi are so vivid in their performances that the rest of the cast is relatively unimportant.

Possibly the most unsettling Universal film, the atmosphere is overwhelmingly dark. The character of Poelzig was inspired by the Satanist Aleister Crowley and Karloff relishes the chance to play such true evil. Both characters are damaged men, they drift through the movie like ghosts, or dark Gods, something acknowledged by Ulmer in the dialogue. Werdegast has been destroyed by the horrors of war, and to an extent so has Poelzig. But Poelzig is master of his own hell, one he created, trying to control the past, trying to master death and his own history by burying it beneath his twisted house.

Still shocking 75 years after its initial release, The Black Cat takes everything that feels safe and familiar about the old Karloff and Lugosi horrors and tips it on its head. It's a disturbed and melancholy masterpiece.

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Post #: 92
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 22/11/2012 3:34:59 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
297. My Bloody Valentine



Director: George Mihalka
1981
Film

Last Year's Position: New Entry

Blurb to come

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Post #: 93
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 22/11/2012 3:46:26 PM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Tony Maylam
1981
Film

Last Year's Position: New Entry

Blurb coming soon

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Post #: 94
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 22/11/2012 3:59:07 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
295. The Rats in the Walls

by H.P. Lovecraft
1923
Short Story

Last Year's Position: New Entry

A new heir to Exham Priory has moved from America to England to take over the family estate. Shortly after his arrival he and his cats begin to hear the scurrying noise of rats running about behind the walls. On further investigation, he discovers they are the key to a dark family secret. One of Lovecraft's finest and most chilling stories. The parody that sees Jeeves & Wooster investigating the mystery is also essential reading.

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Post #: 95
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 22/11/2012 4:05:35 PM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Antonia Bird
1999
Film

Last Year's Position: 170

Ravenous bears some comparison with John Carpenter's The Thing, which, up until watching this, was my favourite horror movie. Both consist of a predominantly male cast and are predicated on power struggles and trust (or lack thereof) of other men in a hostile, isolated environment. However, where The Thing regularly tends towards more conventional methods of frightening us, Ravenous isn't so concerned - rather, it's preoccupied with developing an unerringly creepy, gritty atmosphere in the presence of which unhinged characters - cowards, addicts and murderers - come to roost. Antonia Bird's direction is excellent, capturing the coldness and hostility of Fort Spencer and surrounds in her colour schemes and long shots and the anxieties and insecurities of the characters in tight close-ups. Michael Nyman and Damon Albarn assist superbly in developing this feeling of dread, their score creepy, threadbare and entirely memorable. Then there's the cast, who are pretty much faultless - Guy Pearce is his usual excellent self as the queasy, cowardly Captain Boyd and Robert Carlyle excels, stealing every scene he's in with his slow-burning performance. Jeffrey Jones, Jeremy Davies and Neal McDonough all turn in great work also, and the whole thing just comes together so well that it's really hard to fault it.

- Pigeon Army

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Post #: 96
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 22/11/2012 4:11:12 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
293. The Amityville Horror



Director: Stuart Rosenberg
1979
Film

Last Year's Position: 258

Blurb to come.

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Post #: 97
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 23/11/2012 12:00:51 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
292. Ringing the Changes

by Robert Aickman
1964
Short Story

Last Year's Position: New Entry

Possibly the most famous story by one of the masters of the weird tale. A couple are going to an English coastal town for their honeymoon. The town turns out to be nearly deserted of any other holiday-makers, and church bells are ringing constantly. But the couple soon discover that the town is even more sinister than they first think. Essentially a zombie tale, like all Aickman stories, it doesn't give the reader an easy time of it when it comes to simple explanations. A genuine masterpiece.

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Post #: 98
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 23/11/2012 1:12:57 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
291. The Seventh Victim



Director: Mark Robson
1943
Film

Last Year's Position: New Entry

One of cinema's true joys is the series of films Val Lewton produced for RKO in the 1940s. He helped to create a series of poetic, artistic and suggestive horror films that still stand not only as some of the finest of their genre, but as some of the finest that 1940s cinema had to often.

In truth, The Seventh Victim is as much a film noir as a horror, most of his films for RKO straddled the border between noir and horror, but The Seventh Victim is one of the most striking examples. Mary (Kim Hunter) finds out that her boarding school tuition hasn't been paid in months and her sister Jacqueline (Jean Brooks) has disappeared. Mary leaves for New York to try and find her missing sister, encountering her secret husband (Hugh Beaumont), a mysterious psychiatrist, and a modern day Satanic cult along the way. Jacqueline is in hiding from the cult who are trying to will her into suicide for talking about the cult to outsiders, yes, the first rule of Satanic Cult is you don't talk about Satanic Cult.

Leaving pretty much everything to the imagination, The Seventh Victim is a film of ideas. It takes the cult seriously, grounding them in realistic rather than ritualistic behaviour. In fact, it's never really made clear if the cult actually have any real power beyond that of psychological suggestion. What is remarkable is that The Seventh Victim keeps an air of realism even while it increasingly resembles a bad dream.

The Seventh Victim makes use of many noir archetypes, only giving them a little tweak along the way. Greenwich Village is a desolate place filled with threats, shadows and bohemian poets. The Seventh Victim also shares the same air of dread and fatalism that you'll find in many noirs. In fact, it's one of the most doom laden films I've ever seen. It opens with a quote from Donne, "I run to Death and Death meets me as fast and all my pleasures are as yesterday", immediately establishing the tone of the film.

The Seventh Victim could be argued to have been far more influential than it's somewhat obscure standing would suggest. Both the setting and the themes seem to make it an obvious influence on Rosemary's Baby, and it even includes a shower scene that appears to have influenced a certain Hitchcock movie. The shower scene is just one of many incredibly striking visuals in the film, an empty room containing a noose hanging from the ceiling, a subway ride where people may or may not be transporting a corpse, right through to the bleak finale.

Like many films on my list, Lewton's RKO movies seem to exist in a world that looks like ours but is slightly removed, a world that could either be our dream or our nightmare. The world of The Seventh Victim is one where every action could have a sinister motive, where you can never really be certain what is reality and what is merely the delusions and paranoias of the characters.

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Post #: 99
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 23/11/2012 1:13:42 AM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: George A. Romero
1977
Film

Last Year's Position: 189

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 clichťs 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.

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Post #: 100
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 23/11/2012 1:17:46 AM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Dario Argento
1982
Film

Last Year's Position: 130

Blurb to come

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Post #: 101
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 23/11/2012 1:18:43 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
288. The Legend of Hell House



Director: John Hough
1973
Film

Last Year's Position: 205

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.

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Post #: 102
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 23/11/2012 1:26:41 AM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
1991
Film

Last Year's Position: New Entry

I remember becoming vaguely aware of Barton Fink thanks to the NME in the early 90s. My familiarity with the Coens before that extended as far as Raising Arizona, which had become quite a popular rental for my older brother, and Crime Wave, which I seemed to watch a few times a month in the late 80s. Of course I had no idea who the Coens were at that point. Barton Fink was the first film where I really associated the names with the films and made a conscious effort to track down some of their work. It took some time, my local video rental place wasn't a chain back then and the owner decided what films he'd take based on what he thought would rent to his customers. He didn't take Barton Fink. Finally a t.v. screening came along and I was... well, I wasn't exactly blown away. I was unsettled. And I was confused. But it took some time and a couple of rewatches before I really appreciated Fink. Now I rank it as the very best of their work, it combines their unique ear for dialogue, their humour, and the incredible darkness they can bring to film and creates a perfect piece of cinema.

A career best John Turturro stars as the titular Fink, an intellectual writer in 40s New York. Twenty years earlier it'd be easy to see Fink played by Woody Allen. Barton is the worst kind of patronising writer, telling stories about the "common man" for audiences who'd cross the street to avoid meeting one. He's just received acclaim for his latest play and is tempted away to Hollywood to bring the Barton Fink feel to cinema, the fast-talking studio boss assigns him to write the script for a Wallace Beery wrestling picture. Fink is completely clueless how to do this and he holes up in a seedy hotel in an attempt to get the screenplay finished, only to find his efforts interrupted by his gregarious neighbour, Charlie Meadows (John Goodman). Charlie seems every inch the common man, and possibly the perfect muse for Barton. But Barton is too self-obsessed to even listen to his stories. He visits another author of worthy literature who has been working in Hollywood, W.P. Bill Mayhew (John Mahoney), looking for advice, only to find he's been destroyed by Hollywood and fallen into alcoholism. Barton thinks he's found help in Mayhew's secretary, Audrey (Judy Davis) but unexpected events, including that of Charlie's true identity, conspire against the beleaguered writer.

It had the potential to be The Coens' Sullivan's Travels, it's a film that has obviously influenced them and there are some parallels in Fink, but Barton has nothing but contempt for those he doesn't feel are his equals. Instead it becomes more reminiscent of Polanski, especially in the way environment can have an effect on character. The near empty Hotel Earle, one of the most memorable locations in 90s cinemas, trapping Barton in much the same way the apartments trap our leads in Polanski's apartment trilogy.

With Fink based on Clifford Odets and Mayhew based (incredibly) loosely on Faulkner, the film as a metaphor for the destructive influence of Hollywood on artists is obvious. But the Coens also seem to argue that there is no separation between the importance of high and low art other than artificial ones that people construct and that the destructive factors come from those who call the shots rather than from any silly notion of great writers slumming.

The Coens have created an incredible cast of characters, using that amazing dialogue to make each of them a unique creation, defined in large part by their patterns of speech. The actors attack the roles with gusto, with several performances to rank among the best ever given in a Coen work. Michael Lerner got the sole acting Oscar nomination, as good as he is, it does feel a bit silly to single him out over Mahoney or Goodman. Goodman especially does the best work of his career and he should have easily won the award that year.

In short, it's a funny, creepy and enthralling work that can reveal new layers with each new viewing. Despite some of the excellent films they've made over the last twenty years, it would take the release of A Serious Man, Barton Fink's spiritual companion piece, for the Coens to be this good again.

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Post #: 103
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 23/11/2012 9:27:27 AM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Karl Freund
1932
Film

Last Year's Position: 158

An expedition travels to Egypt to locate the tomb of Imhotep, who was buried alive for committing a terrible crime. In the tomb they find the Scroll Of Life, which can supposedly bring a mummy back from the dead. When alone in the tomb, Bramwell Fletcher recites from the scroll and revives Imhotep, who takes the scroll and disappears. Ten years later another expedition searching for the tomb of Princess Anck-es-en-amon is led to it by a mysterious Egyptian called Ardeth Bey. However, he appears to take rather an interest in the expedition leaderís daughter Helen Grosvenor and her friend Dr. Muller is suspicious as to who he actually is........


It took me a long time to finally see The Mummy. On both my first and the second times of seeing many of the Universal horror films in seasons on TV, I caught most of the 40s Mummy movies but not the original. When I did finally see it, I had built it up to be something it really wasnít and I was very disappointed with this very slow moving though slightly creepy mood piece which had only one brief scene of the Mummy walking and made no sense. Nonetheless, upon viewing it again recently I discovered that The Mummy is a near masterpiece and possibly one of the finest films from Universalís Golden Age. Yes , itís slow, and yes, you hardly see the Mummy, but itís also an extremely atmospheric , clever and subtle film that stimulates the imagination. Itís one of those films that just feeds you enough to interest you, then your mind starts working overtime to fill in the blanks. So yes, you may wonder how on earth a mummy may metamorphasise into a normal [well, hardly normal], but it really doesnít matter at all.

The Mummy is sometimes described as a partial remake of the Bela Lugosi Dracula and indeed the story is very similar and many scenes are paralleled, while of course Zita Zohann, David Manners and Edward Van Sloan play similar roles. However director Karl Freund, who photographed Dracula, takes the oppurtunity to improve on Dracula in most respects, especially with regard to the cinematography, which is really fluid and sometimes very inventive for the time. The plot is actually quite fascinating, dealing as it does with matters such as reincarnation and love through the ages, and actually bears a striking similarity to that of Bram Stokerís Dracula many years later. A shame that the second half of the great flashback sequence [which is done with no sound, just Boris Karloff narrating], which showed Imhotep pursuing various reincarnations of Anck-es-en-amon through the ages, was cut, but then this movie is all about less, not more. Although the film is indeed very talky it never once loses itís infectious, almost dreamlike feel,, and it progresses gracefully through itís 72 minute running time, until the climax, which is rather rushed and also a little confused.

Despite not going for the obvious, in a manner which is similar to the fine Val Lewton-produced series of horror films in the 40s such as Cat People, The Mummy might well be the scariest of the 30s films. The early scene of Imhotep awaking while Bramwell reads aloud the Scroll is a masterpiece of subtlety and still surprisingly chilling. All we see of the Mummy are the eyes awaking, the arms moving, then a few shots later a bandaged hand grabbing the Scroll, but I reckon it must have knocked the stuffing out of 1932 audiences, and finishes wonderfully with some James Whale-like black humour,as Bramwell says to his colleagues, laughing maniacally ďhe went for a little walkĒ. Also really effective are some scary close ups shots of Ardethís face, with everything darkened except for the eyes which light up [a simple but brilliant effect], and the fact that Ardeth appears to be some kind of sorcerer who can kill from a great distance gives proceedings great tension, you never know when heíll strike next or what heíll do. The scenes between Ardeth and Helen have a very odd kind of sexual tension, not hindered of course by her rather revealing [this was released just before the Hays Code came out] outfits throughout. Apart from the aforementioned scene there is generally no humour, though the beginnings of the romance between Helen and her friend David may raise a chuckle, very silly and pointless, but pleasing still.

Boris Karloffís greatest performance is of course that of the Frankenstein Monster, but in my opinion his second is that of Ardeth Bey. With his doleful stare [with eyes that are as expressive as Johnny Deppís in Edward Scissorhands], barely animated walk, as it heíll fall apart if he does too much, and that lisping voice, heís both very frightening in a way that gets under the skin and also very pitiful and rather sympathetic even. Jack Pierceís makeup gives him the appearance of one who has lived centuries of torment searching for his lost love. Very cleverly, itís psychological makeup rather then any attempt at realism. Pierceís actual Mummy makeup remains the best ever even if itís not used much, convincingly ancient and dusty. Zita Zohann exudes a fair amount of sexiness as the heroine and David Manners is a decent hero but I kind of wanted Karloff to get the girl, as I think one often does in many of the classic monster movies. Although itís the 40s Mummy movies that created the iconic image of the shambling, bandaged menace lurching with one arm outstretched towards either a silly explorer who defiled the tomb of his love or his loveís reincarnation, the í32 Mummy is the greatest movie to do with the concept, and no amount of special effects-filled, Brendan Fraser-starring derring-do can ever change that!

- Dr Lenera

283. Piranha



Director: Joe Dante
1978
Film

Last Year's Position: New Entry

Blurb to come

283. Scream

1984
Comic

Short-lived horror comic, seems to have been responsible for helping kickstart the love of horror for many who read it as a child (Myself included)

283. The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror VI

1995
T.V. Series Episode

Blurb coming soon.

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Post #: 104
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 23/11/2012 9:28:40 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
282. Last House on Dead End Street



Director: Roger Watkins
1977
Film

Last Year's Position: 193

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.

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Post #: 105
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 23/11/2012 9:40:05 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
281. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow



Director: Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney.
1949
Film

Last Year's Position: New Entry

Disney's animated take on the Headless Horseman tale, voiced by Bing Crosby. Better than Burton's.

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Post #: 106
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 23/11/2012 9:53:37 AM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Victor Salva
2001
Film

Last Year's Position: New Entry

Blurb to come

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Post #: 107
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 23/11/2012 12:15:40 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
279. The Tell-Tale Heart

by Edgar Allan Poe
1843
Short Story

Last Year's Position: New Entry

The narrator becomes troubled by the blind eye of an old man and murders him and buries him under the floorboards, only to find himself plagued by the beating of the man's heart.

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Post #: 108
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 23/11/2012 12:49:57 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
277. The Shadow Over Innsmouth

by H.P. Lovecraft
1931
Novella

Last Year's Position: New Entry

Blurb to come

277. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street



Director: Tim Burton
2007
Film

Last Year's Position: New Entry

Tod Slaughter > Johnny Depp

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Post #: 109
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 23/11/2012 8:13:56 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
276. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde



Director: Rouben Mamoulian
1931
Film

Last Year's Position: 148

We all know the basic story. Man meets potion, man drinks potion, potion turns man into monster. It's a tale as old as time. The film has been adapted and parodied countless times, with everyone from John Barrymore to Spencer Tracy to Jerry Lewis taking on variations of the character. But this Fredric March starrer is still the best adaptation of the classic tale. This is a powerfully adult film, taking on the sexuality inherent in the original story. When Jekyll is prevented from seeing the girl he desires, he displays an obvious sexual attraction towards a prostitute instead. Hyde is a way of releasing those desires and in honesty, he's a far more sympathetic character than the uptight Jekyll. Robert Louis Stevenson's tale of a man who created an experiment to release the beast within has been adapted several times, but none other received as mainstream a sign of approval as an Oscar win for best actor.

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 110
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 23/11/2012 8:14:12 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
275. The Fall of the House of Usher

by Edgar Allan Poe
1839
Short Story

Last Year's Position: New Entry

Our narrator travels to visit an old friend, Roderick Usher. He finds that illness has afflicted the house and that body Roderick and his sister are in a state of torment. Poe uses the trappings of gothic horror to explore the psychology of his characters, creating one of the greatest stories ever written, regardless of genre.

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Post #: 111
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 23/11/2012 8:14:30 PM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Stephen Herek
1986
Film

Last Year's Position: New Entry

Blurb to come.

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Post #: 112
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 23/11/2012 8:14:48 PM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Peter Jackson
1987
Film

Last Year's Position: 227

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.

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Post #: 113
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 23/11/2012 8:15:14 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
272. The Pit and the Pendulum



Director: Roger Corman
1961
Film

Last Year's Position: 260

Horror icons Barbara Steele and Vincent Price come together in Roger Corman's retelling of the Poe classic. Price plays Nicholas Medina, son of an infamous Spanish Inquisition torturer. His brother-in-law, Francis Barnard (A miscast John Kerr) travels to his castle to find out the reason for the sudden death of his sister, Elizabeth (Steele) Nicholas is unwilling to explain, but the castle's doctor reveals the truth of Nicholas' father (including that he tortured Nicholas' mother to death in front of the child) and shows Francis the torture chamber, revealing that Elizabeth had become obsessed with the chamber and died by locking herself in the Iron Maiden. Nicholas has come to believe that Elizabeth's ghost is haunting the castle and as the hauntings increase, Nicholas approaches the edge of insanity and takes on his father's lust for torture.

Made following the success of Corman's House of Usher adaptation, The Pit and the Pendulum is the second in the long line of classic AIP Poe adaptations. The Corman/Poe films were gothic masterpieces, visually astonishing, filled with incredible costumes and sets and usually topped off by an insane Price performance. The script by the great Richard Matheson obviously makes many alterations to the Poe story (only really adapting it in the film's final 30 minutes) but Matheson doesn't do the story a disservice, making the screenplay complex and intelligent. The film may seem a slow-burn at first, but Matheson and Corman slowly crank up the tension before letting loose in the mind-blowing finale. It's difficult to care about the bland Kerr, but Price is always a blast to watch and he gives one of his finest performances here as the tormented Nicholas. Those who dismiss Corman as a dealer in low-budget schlock need to take the time to watch these Poe adaptations, and this is a good place to start.

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Post #: 114
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 23/11/2012 8:15:36 PM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Eugenio Martin
1972
Film

Last Year's Position: 287

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

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

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Post #: 115
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 24/11/2012 11:48:23 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
269. The Colour Out of Space

by H.P. Lovecraft

1927
Short Story

Last Year's Position: New Entry

A meteorite crashes in Arkham, bringing with it a strange new colour, never seen on Earth before. The meteorite shrinks, but it takes a vampiric hold on the area, sucking the energy out of the land and all the life on it.

269. Chillers: "Who Goes There?"

2002
Radio Episode

Last Year's Position: New Entry

Adapting the same story as Carpenter's The Thing, this BBC radio take on the tale makes the scientists British and trims down the story to fit a 30 minute running time, but in doing so it loses none of the tension of the film. Proving that what you can imagine can be just as terrifying as what you can see, the adaptation makes excellent use of sound to drag you into that chilling environment.


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Post #: 116
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 24/11/2012 12:02:44 PM   
rawlinson

 

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

by Stephen King
1986
Novel

Last Year's Position: New Entry

Clowns are evil. I know it. You know it. Stephen King knows it. And if you disagree, imagine one of them has slaughtered your family and used their blood to paint his lips red and when you try to confront him, he throws a bucket of water over you, only it's not water, it's the tears of your family. Evil fuckers.

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Post #: 117
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 24/11/2012 1:10:25 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
267. The New York Ripper



Director: Lucio Fulci
1982
Film

Last Year's Position: 295

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- HughesRoss

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Post #: 118
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 24/11/2012 1:11:33 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
266. Let's Scare Jessica to Death



Director: John Hancock
1971
Film

Last Year's Position: 140

Following her release from a mental asylum after a nervous breakdown, Jessica and her husband decide to take life slowly. So they buy an old farmhouse in the isolated countryside and move there, along with an old family friend. Upon arrival, they discover a young hippy girl, Emily, squatting in the farmhouse and they invite her to stay with them. Then things start to wrong, Jessica sees the dead body of a local antiques dealer, a body that disappears before she can show it to her husband. Over time, Jessica begins to believe that Emily is the vampiric ghost of a girl who drowned in the lake there a century ago. Is Jessica having another breakdown?

Told from Jessica's perspective, the film plays out like a minor relative of films like 3 Women, Repulsion and Mullholland Dr. Our entry point into the film is via an unreliable narrator, so we're constantly questioning if Jessica is merely slipping into another breakdown, or if there are more supernatural forces at work. It could easily have been a standard 'is she mad or not' thriller, a cheap knock-off of Gaslight, but the film turns into a nightmarish, artistic horror movie.

The film is low budget but you'd never guess it from the quality. The film looks beautiful, the farmhouse itself is an exceptionally creepy and isolated location. The acting is adequate for the most part, but Costello is suitably otherworldly as Emily, and Zohra Lampert gives a fragile performance, perfectly suited to the character's mental state. It's yet another situation where a wonderful lead performance is overlooked at ceremonies like the Oscars because it's in a horror movie.

One of the film's greatest accomplishments is that it keeps everything so vague. Even by the ending you're left uncertain if Jessica is insane or not. Is everything she sees real or is becoming ill again? The film plays on the imagination than and it keeps the gore to a minimum. It also manages to provide one of cinema's most terrifying scenes, when an undead Emily rises from the lake in broad daylight. Try and put aside your preconceptions and watch this eerie little film, it'd make great viewing in the run-up to Halloween.

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Post #: 119
RE: The Empire Top 400 Horrors: Results - 24/11/2012 1:12:16 PM   
rawlinson

 

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



Director: Michael Mann
1986
Film

Last Year's Position: 289

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

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

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

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

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

- HughesRoss

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Post #: 120
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