Halloween is right around the corner (the holiday and the movie), so I thought I’d talk about some of my favorite horror movies. There are so many different kinds of sub genres of horror; slasher, body horror, psychological, science fiction, to name a few. I must admit that I’ve become a jaded horror fan over the years. I find a lot of them to be cheap in quality, relying on gore and jump scares. These are some of the absolute best.
#10 – Halloween (1978)
Starting off this list is the original Halloween, directed by John Carpenter. After stabbing his sister to death, six year old Micheal Myers spends the next fifteen years locked up. Breaking out, Micheal returns to his home town of Haddonfield to stalk and kill again. The film stars Donald Pleasence as Dr. Loomis and Jamie Lee Curtis in her first role as Laurie Strode.
To me, the best part of the movie is Micheal himself. The film perfectly portrays him as a force of nature. Despite being human like the rest of us, his mind is completely inhuman. Lacking any sense of emotion or reason, he’s an empty shell that only wants to kill. This level of psychotic is so extreme that he doesn’t even care about his own well being, shrugging off injuries that would stop others. Once he has you in his sight, he won’t stop.
My favorite moment is when Dr. Loomis and Sheriff Brackett investigate the abandon Myers house. This scene perfectly shows why Dr. Loomis is so scared of Micheal.
Since its release, Halloween has gone on to become a classic, spawning several sequels and a remake. Originally, Halloween was going to be an anthology series. This is shown in the Halloween 3: Season of the Witch. Due to poor reception though, Micheal was brought back in the follow up. None of these came close to the quality of the original. A new film was released this week, written by Danny McBride and David Gordon Green, with the latter directing as well. It serves as a direct sequel to the original, erasing all the others. Reviews have been very positive, with many saying that it’s a return to form.
I want to give a shout out to Double Toasted. They do a number of podcasts that cover movie reviews, video games, pop culture, and current events. These guys are fantastic and my favorite reviewers.
#9 – REC (2007)
Next up we have the Spanish found footage film, REC.
While shadowing a fire fighting team, reporter Ángela Vidal and her camera man Pablo become trapped in an apartment building after some of the occupants show violent and animalistic behavior that slowly spreads throughout.
Normally I don’t care for found footage movies. They come across as gimmicky and it’s hard to see what’s going on. But this one is an exception. It actually makes sense to the plot since we’re following a reporter and makes the characters all the more real.
The film does a great job at building mystery and suspense. Hollywood and other American filmmakers today should take note from this. As we learn more about the situation, everything around the characters starts to fall apart. When that happens, it doesn’t let up. Because the majority of the film takes a place in an apartment building it creates a real sense of claustrophobia. On top of that, because we can only see things from Pablo’s perspective, or rather his camera, we can’t tell what might be behind him or around the corner.
The directors, Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza, returned for REC 2 before splitting off to direct their own REC films. REC 3: Genesis is completely separate from the rest of the series while REC 4: Apocalypse is a direct sequel to REC 2. Its popularity eventually led to an American remake called Quarantine. Personally, the remake isn’t all that good and it cuts out important plot points near the end. Some may not like the idea of reading subtitles and fair enough. But those that don’t mind, your in for a hell of a ride.
#8 – The Descent (2005)
Lastly we have The Descent, easily the cruelest film on my list if we’re talking about character fates.
After experiencing a huge tragedy in her life, Sarah goes on a caving trip with five friends. Getting trapped in an unknown cave system, they’re forced to go deeper underground to find a way out. If that wasn’t bad enough, ancient creatures dwell within the caves, and they’re hungry.
This film is dark, and I don’t mean that in a literal sense, although that is also true. Sarah is such a sweet person and I felt really sad for her as things went from bad to worse. This all comes down to Shauna MacDonald’s performance. The Descent is a clever title because it has more then one meaning to it. Sarah is slowly descending into madness as the film progresses. There’s a scene early on where Sarah is running down a hallway. As this is happening the lights behind her are quickly going out. Metaphorically, this shows that she’s slowly falling into darkness. I wouldn’t recommend watching this if you’re feeling depressed, it can be a real downer.
The film is very claustrophobic. Director Neil Marshall wisely chose to only use lights from the actresses helmets in order to get the sense that they were deep underground. Interestingly, while the actresses knew that there would be monsters in the film, Marshall never told them when they would show up. This was done to get their genuine reactions. Marshall also chose to make this an all female cast since his last film was all male and wanted to make this film stand out from the rest.
This ends part 1 of my ranking list. I’ll have part 2 up later this week. If you liked the post please leave a comment below. I’d love to here your feedback as well as your favorite horror films.