Alright, it's time for another edition of what I like to cal Thursday's List of the Week. As I've said before, I love lists and I generally try to post something at least four days a week as it satisfies my urge to write. So I've decided at least once a week I would post a favorites list. So far, I've done mostly comic book lists and one in which I revealed my favorite companions from Doctor Who, but I haven't done anything horror related. Thus, the list of favorite horror movies is born. To be clear, this is a list of movies that have been released on the big screen in the last forty years. I'm also a big fan of such movies like the Classic Universal Monster movies but that falls under classics from a bygone era that rarely gets the recognition it deserves and I feel deserves it's own category. By that same reasoning, Salem's Lot is also not on this list as it was made for television.
Michael Myers is my third favorite movie monster, right behind zombies and vampires. His best appearance was in the movie that started it all, the original Halloween. Halloween told the story of a man who returned to his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois after he escaped the sanitarium where he had been locked up after killing his own sister when he was six years old. Pursued by his doctor, Samuel Loomis, Myers goes on a teenaged killing spree as he works his way to babysitter Laurie Strode. Loomis finally catches up to Myers at movies end and saves Laurie, feeling him full of bullets in the process. In a shocking end, Michael is not laying on the ground dead where he fell. This evil monster took six shots in the chest and it didn't kill him! A movie monster was born. Featuring an amazing performance by Donald Pleasance as Loomis and a star making role from Jamie Lee Curtis as stalked babysitter Laurie Strode, Halloween was so scary not because of a ton of blood and graphic violence. Halloween was scary because of the suspense. You never knew where or when Michael would strike and when he did, you jumped in alarm. That's the way a scary movie should be.
Vampires was a movie that portrayed vampires the way they should be, not like you see in Twilight's inspired dominance of the genre. The vampires here were evil blood sucking monsters who had world domination as their agenda. The only thing standing in their way was Jack Crow and his rugged band of vampire Slayers. Unfortunately most of them get wiped out by Master Vampiure Valek in the first 10 minutes of the movie. Jack and the other survivor of the team, Tony Montoya get away with a hooker bitten by Valek. Though she's going to turn, Jack wants to use her psychic connection with her new master to track the vampires movements, seek him out and destroy him. While none of the characters were particularly likable (save Father Adam) it was a good story and the acting was very well done. Like #5's Halloween, this was a John Carpenter movie and one of his best. It was also based off a great book that really didn't have a lot in common with the movie. I'm hoping one day they do another adaption of the book and stick a little closer to the source material.
3. DAWN OF THE DEAD
This was perhaps George Romero's greatest masterpiece and when I watched it the first time it sent my imagination running wild about zombies and how to find a safe place to wait out the pending zombie apocalypse. Our tale follows four people who wisely get out of the big city before it's overrun by zombies. They wind up deciding to stay in a big shopping mall while the zombies take over the world. The movie was simply brilliant, from the music in it by Goblin, the acting, Tom Savini's special effects and the underlying statement on consumerism. It also got me to writing my own stories about what people would do if the dead suddenly decided to wake up and feed on the living. Anything that sparks my creativity like Dawn of the Dead will always be a favorite in my book.
2. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
Yes, this is the 1990 remake, not the original. While I enjoyed the original I thought the remake added to that story and reinvigorated the characters for a modern generation. I'm planning a more detailed review of this movie, much like I recently did for my #1 pick, so I'll simply say this movie follows a group of people who have decided to stay in a house and board up all the doors and windows to keep the recently risen from the dead zombies out. But did they make the right decision?
1. RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD
For me there was no other choice. I've seen this movie more than any other in existence and never get tired of watching it. Just check out my review here:If it wasn't for this movie I probably never would have discovered Romero or several other horror movies I love so much. Our story follows a bunch of teenagers and adults who are trapped in a mortuary after a couple of dimwitted warehouse workers set loose a gas called Trioxin which causes the dead return to life hungry for people's brains and all kinds of hilarity and horror ensue.
This was a hard list to compile. Not because of searching out details and plots about the movies, I knew those by heart. The hard part was choosing which movies went on the list. There's just so many horror movies I love. In the end I decided to use the ones I've watched the most times and the ones that immediately come to mind when I think about a particular genre of movies. Michael is my favorite in the "new generation" of horror monsters that include Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, Vampires for bloodsuckers, though Lost Boys and Near Dark came close, and the other three for zombies, which is my absolute favorite monster of horror movies.
That's it everybody, I hope everyone has a great weekend and have enjoyed their big Thanksgiving dinner. I'll see everyone next week for more talk about horror, comics and anything else that pops up in my head. I have an idea for something that may become a regular feature on the Random Reviews blog that has to do with comics. Watch for it sometime next week and until then, thanks, as always, for reading.