Top Five Underrated Fright Films – Under-appreciated Horror!

Sam

Most horror films don’t get good reviews. I’d say maybe ten or twenty percent are well received by critics. Fans are a little more forgiving, granting a lot of bad movies a chance. This is why I would sooner listen to fans than critics. It seems that if a horror movie is not original, it is not worth a critic’s time. Some of my favorite horror films got ripped apart by critics. Horror movies, for the most part, are not projects for directors to develop characters, write endearing dialogue, or tug at your emotions. Besides offering up laughs (most of the laughs are unintentional), horror films are meant to scare the crap out of you, and give you the creeps. Fright films pose one question; what lurks in yonder shadows? Basically I am saying give horror a chance! Here are my top five (in no particular order) underrated horror films.

Exorcist III: Legion (directed by William Peter Blatty, 1990) This movie scared to living hell out of me. I saw it in the theater when I was 14, and it affected me more than any other horror movie. No word of a lie, there was a power outage that night because of a storm, and it just made the whole experience a little more hair-raising. Of course, this film can’t touch the original as far as being a complete film, but Legion, has a lot going for it. Jump scares, great tension build, and enough religious imagery to give anyone the creeps. The film is set in the year it was made, but the story connects right back to the end of 1973 classic original, The Exorcist. It also completely ignores the sequel to the original, The Exorcist: Heretic, which was a piece of garbage. Even if you have seen it, give it another shot. It’s worth while.

Lords of Salem (directed by Rob Zombie, 2012) Lords of Salem is a departure from the ultra-violent House of 1,000 Corpses, and the amazing Devil’s Rejects. This almost seems like Rob Zombie wanted to make an art film, as well as homage to Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch. The first time I watched it, I lasted ten minutes and was distracted by something shiny, so I shut it off. About a year ago, I decided to give the movie another shot. This time, it sucked me in. The story has holes, and confusing here and there, but the film is beautifully shot. Not to mention, with all Rob Zombie projects, Lords has an amazing soundtrack. Sheri Moon Zombie is great as a radio deejay that becomes the conduit for the witches of Salem to return to present time and get their revenge for being persecuted during the Salem Witch Trials. Great imagery and creepy atmosphere make Lords of Salem worth checking out.

Jason X (directed by James Isaac) Being the ninth sequel in a tired, dying franchise, it should be the worst one, logically thinking. What else could they do with Mr. Voorhees? Well, they decided to put him in space, and give him a robotic/cyber type makeover. Sound ridiculous, right? Well it is. It has bad acting, a really far-fetched story, and some cheesy effects. The film is dumb, but it is dumb in funny, inventive way. The kill scenes are far more entertaining and original than most of the Friday the 13th deaths, and there is humour! This film knows it’s not to be taken seriously, so it throws every cliche at you, and makes fun of it in the process. This is not my favorite installment of the Jason franchise but it is better than at least four of the others.

Idle Hands (directed by Rodman Flender, 1999) Idle Hands is a horror comedy that falls a little more on the comedy side. I think the writers decided to capitalize on two popular genres of the time; the teen horror film, and raunchy teen comedies. This was around the time films like American Pie and Scream were popular date movies. Idle Hands is a little bit of both. I suppose the horror aspect of the movie is used for comedic purposes, but it does the job effectively. Even Seth Green is funny. The main character, Anton, is a lazy teenager with no ambitions, with the exception of his right hand. His hand is possessed and has murderous intentions. This is a nice nod to another possessed appendage film, Evil Dead 2. Gore, violence, nudity, comedy, drug use and a fresh-faced Jessica Alba. What’s not to love?

Trick r Treat (directed by Michael Dougherty, 2007) To be fair, Trick r treat is widely liked by critics, but it does not get the recognition it deserves. The film follows four separate stories on Halloween, but all interweave in some aspect. The common factor in all the stories is Sam, the ambiguous little fellow that wears a burlap sack on his head, who is as deadly as he is adorable. Trick r Treat is right up there with Creepshow and Twilight Zone as far as horror anthology films go, and I’ll even go as far as to say it is my favorite. Anna Paquin and Brian Cox star in this new staple in my Halloween viewing arsenal. Above all things, Trick r Treat teaches us that Halloween traditions should be respected, or bad things can and will happen!

T.

My Top Five favourite Horror Movie Re-makes, Re-Boots, and Re-Dos.

TOP FIVE FAVORITE HORROR REMAKES

When Hollywood officially ran out of ideas in the mid-2000, they started re-making, re-booting, re-imagining, re-vamping, re-(you get the idea). There is a large list of horror movie classics that have gotten the rejuvenation treatment over the last decade, and the ones that are good or even decent, are far and few between. Off the top of my head, I can name a few that fell far short or the original. A Nightmare on Elm Street (awful), Friday The 13th (bad), The Wicker Man (god-awful), Dawn of the Dead (watchable), and The Fog (should have stayed lost in the fog) come to mind. Like good scotch, the originals have all aged well. The remakes are like stinky old milk, two weeks past its expiry date. As horror movie fans, we can pray that a few classics are off-limits. The Shining, Jaws, and Exorcist are hopefully untouchable. Poltergeist should have been on that list, but it was butchered in this summer’s remake. A total hack job. Sam Rockwell could not even save it. Although most disappoint, I have waded through the muck, and chosen my top five “most watchable” horror movie re-boots. I’m not saying these are amazing cinematic masterpieces, but they are passable, and entertaining. In no particular order…

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Directed by Marcus Nispel, Platinum Dunes 2003) Being a big fan of the 1974 Tobe Hooper nerve-grinder, I was excited and worried for this updated version of TCM. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the Michael Bay produced version of this tale of a cannibalistic family who preys on weary travelers. The acting was decent, the suspense and violence was on course with the original, and R. Lee Ermy (Sgt. Hartman in Full Metal Jacket) makes any film a little better. Also, it seems that a lot of remakes get “Hollywoodized” with a sexy cast and crazy CGI effects, but this film did not get lost in that stuff (I’m not saying Jessica Biel is not attractive). The sequel, or prequel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning was not so great, but that aside, the 2003 TCM is definitely worth a watch.

Halloween (Directed by Rob Zombie, Dimension Films 2007) The original Halloween is the pinnacle of slasher movies as far as I’m concerned. John Carpenter took a minimal budget, used atmosphere, suspense and a soundtrack to create a timeless film. Rob Zombie took the premise and made it his own. The violence is over the top, the character interaction is gritty, and the acting is quite adequate. Zombie gives a little more back story on Michael as a boy, with some insight on why he might be a psychopath. Basically his family, minus his mother, are assholes. If you liked The Devil’s Rejects, chances are you will like Halloween. Same gritty feel a lot of the same actors, and a great 1970’s soundtrack. Different from the original, but good slasher fun none the less.

Evil Dead (Directed by Fede Alvarez, Ghost House Pictures 2013) Sam Raimi is the master of camp horror, and the 1981 original is a charming, creepy trip into the woods. Demon possession, a book of the dead, and Bruce Campbell all equate to a great time of a movie. A remake could never capture the tongue-in-cheek, campy fun of the original. However, they did manage to capture the gore, violence and terror of the original. This film is a blood bath, with 50,000 gallons of fake stuff being used throughout production. There are a few nods to the original Evil Dead, as well as Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn. If you light some jump scares and violence, this film is recommended. The original team of Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert, and Bruce Campbell are all producers on the remake. These three are primarily responsible for the original Evil Dead, and it’s always a good sign if the re-boot is endorsed by the creators of the original film. Also, watch through the entire end credits for a special cameo.

The Fly (Directed by David Cronenberg, Twentieth Century Fox 1986) I recently watched the original 1958 version starring horror icon Vincent Price, and watched the updated version the following day. Both are very enjoyable. However, the Cronenberg film, in my opinion, tells the story better. The Fly is basically a beauty and the beast story. To me, it is a love story, but in a way that is suitable for a  Cronenberg movie. Jeff Goldblum is brilliant as scientist Seth Brundle, and in turn even better as the “Brundle Fly”. The special effects are excellent for their time, before CGI. The fly make-up and suit are seamless, and the experiment effects are vintage 80’s. I am quite surprised that someone has not tried to remake The Fly again, considering that at the heart of the story, it is just a woman unconditionally loving a man, even though that man has turned himself into an insect. Cronenberg has crafted some great films, and The Fly is right up there with Videodrome and A History of Violence as my favorites.

Bram Stroker’s Dracula (Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, American Zoetrope, 1992) I suppose it could be argued that this film isn’t really a remake of a film, but a re-telling of the Bram Stroker literary classic Dracula. To hell with it though, I am going to include it on my list. This is a lavish, artistic film with an all-star cast that includes Gary Oldman and Sir Anthony Hopkins. Oldman is brilliant, portraying the most famous Vampire of all time. Oldman’s Count is charming and vulnerable, as well as monstrous and savage. The original 1931 Universal film is a timeless icon, and Bela Lugosi IS Dracula, but in that era of film making, they were limited as to how far they could dive into the source book. The 1992 production is high quality, and is a very believable period piece. As with The Fly, Bram Stroker’s Dracula is also a love story at it’s core, but sometimes love is a violent, bloody thing. The cherry on top is the fact that the beautiful Tom Waits plays the slightly unhinged R.M. Renfield. A perfect match!

T.

Phantoms, Specters and Hautings …Oh My! My Five Favourite Ghost Movies

“These souls, who for whatever reason are not at rest, are also not aware that they have passed on. They’re not part of consciousness as we know it. They linger in a perpetual dream state, a nightmare from which they can not awake.”

-Tangina (Dialogue from Poltergeist, 1982)

What really scares us? Besides death, bills and other regular day-to-day horrors. When I think about what gets my heart pumping, it is fear of the unknown. What you cannot see can AND will hurt you. Think about it for a second; walking alone down a dark alley after dark, hearing a noise in the middle of the night that you cannot immediately identify. When I want to watch a movie that might get my guard up and give me a little scare, I always go for one type; a good old ghost story. Slasher movies are great for some jump scares, gross-outs, and humor. Unfortunately, ninety-five percent of them fail to serve up the chills. The thought of an invisible force is a lot creepier than a dude wearing a mask that you can see coming a mile away. Besides demonic possession, supernatural films (when done right) make my skin crawl the most. I would like to share with you my five favorite ghost films. There are plenty of these types of films I have not seen, mostly because I have heard terrible things about them, or I have not gotten around to watching them yet. I am fairly confident that I have seen enough to make these five films my most revered supernatural viewings.

The Shining (Directed by Stanley Kubrick, starring Jack Nicholson 1980) From top to bottom, a brilliant film on so many levels. Jack Torrance is tormented. Not only by the spirits that haunt the halls of the Overlook Hotel, but also the ghosts of his past. There are so many theories and dissections of this film, trying to look for the real meaning behind Kubrick’s madness, but on the surface it is a gritty and lingering story about a haunted hotel that truly wants to make it’s residents feel unwelcome. From subliminal flashes of butchered families to the terror behind the door of room 237, there are many things to love about The Shining. Jack Nicholson is perfect.

The Blair Witch Project (Directed by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, 1999) Love it or hate it, BWP is a polarizing film. This was the first of a rash of “found footage” films to break into the mainstream. Three students get lost in the Maryland woods and find out that the legend they are documenting is indeed true. I will admit that the camera work is nauseating in some spots, but lends to the authentic feel. The viewer never sees the entity that terrorizes the characters, but is presented in other ways that are effective and creepy regardless. Freaky scenes include children’s hands pressing on the outside of the tent while the sound of children can be heard, and Josh disappearing during the night, with only his tongue remaining wrapped up in a piece of his shirt. The final scene is also tense and well done. Any film that made my brother (self admittedly) stay up all night pacing the house will always make my top five.

Poltergeist (Directed by Tobe Hooper, starring Craig T. Nelson 1982) This is the proof that you don’t need an old house to have a haunting. All you need is a house built on a Native American cemetery. Although Poltergeist is not as scary as it once was, it sure scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. At first, the spirits seem harmless enough; moving objects and furniture around. The spirits then become malevolent, becoming violent and then kidnapping the young daughter, Carol Anne. Stylish and well produced, Poltergeist is a charming ghost story well worth the watch. On a side note, the 2015 remake starring Sam Rockwell is not very good at all, and no where near as charming as the original. But that is just my opinion.

Sixth Sense (Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, starring Bruce Willis 1999) A young boy with the ability to see ghosts who don’t know they are dead needs the help of Dr. Malcolm Crowe to cope with his “ability”. This film is not scary in the traditional sense, but has some very strong imagery that will get inside your head. Sixth Sense is a movie that will make you think, and take you on a few twists. I include this one in my list of favorites because it is well written and very well orchestrated in delivery. There is one scene in school involving bodies hanging from the rafters that still gives me the creeps. Also, who doesn’t love Bruce Willis?

The Fog (Directed by John Carpenter, starring Jamie Lee Curtis 1980) The small seaside town of Antonio Bay has a dark past, and the spirits of the done wrong want their revenge. What is freakier than ghosts you ask? What about ghosts that arrive and hide inside a thick fog that has rolled into town? John Carpenter is a master of simple suspense. The Fog is no exception. In typical Carpenter fashion, the soundtrack is brilliant and makes the atmosphere that much better. A pretty fun movie with some good spooky ambiance. If you like John Carpenter, and or ghosts, you’ll like this one.

Honorable mentionAmityville Horror, The Changeling, The Conjuring

Note – Although two films, Ghostbusters ,The Frighteners, and Beetlejuice are “ghost” movies, I felt they are too comedy oriented to be part of the list. However, all three films are personal favorites of mine.

T.

Top Five – Favorite Screen Serial Killers

Each and every one of us have a little darkness in our soul. It is just human nature.We all go a little mad sometimes…but these next five gentlemen take it maybe a little too far. I am sure they each have their reason for murdering people, but the difference between them and some regular fit-of-rage Joe Blow murderer is that they carefully plot out each and every detail so they don’t get caught. Almost admirable, but wrong none the less. My list has been chosen through a couple of factors. First being style AND substance. You can be as cool as you want, but if you are not smart, you are not a great serial killer. Second being the level of cruelty these characters inflict upon their victims. Please enjoy my top five Hollywood serial killers.

5. Dexter Morgan (Dexter, TV Series played by Michael C. Hall)  Dexter should be higher on my list, but because his kills were restricted to victims whom “deserved to die”, he is bumped down. Dexter had a code, and he pretty much stuck to it. What made Dexter a unique character was that he definitely had a human side. His inner dialogue always had him claim he was a monster, but he was also a husband, father, and brother. The show declined after the fourth season, but when the show was on its game, it was great. Dexter may have been the most intelligent of these five men. After all he did last eight seasons.

4. Patrick Bateman (American Psycho, played by Christian Bale)  Young, rich, handsome, and insane. Sounds like the American dream to me. A few things drove Patrick Bateman to murder. Professional jealousy and vanity were the main reasons. The man put on a rain coat and laid down newspapers so he would not get Paul Allen‘s blood all over his luxurious furniture…while Mr. Allen sat there drinking a cocktail. For those that have seen this film, I’m sure you understand what I mean when I say that Huey Lewis and the News meant something different after this film came out.

3. Sweeny Todd (Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, played by Johnny Depp)  Some musicals are good, some are terrible. Well, most are terrible, but what if you add a maniacal barber who dispatches his victims while they sit down for a trim and a shave. Sweeny Todd not only slits the throats of the good people of London, but he also struck a deal with the neighboring pie shop below. Sweeny kills ’em, and Mrs. Lovett will them into pies. The people of London are eating their own. Sweeny gets bonus points for inventive disposal of his victim’s bodies. Wonderfully dark film with a great cast, including Depp, Helena Bonham-Carter, Alan Rickman, and Sacha Baron Cohen.

2. Hannibal Lector (Hannibal, TV Series, played by Mads Mikkelsen)  Hannibal Lector has been portrayed three times. First, by Brian Cox in the 1986 film Manhunter, followed by an incomparable performance by Sir Anthony Hopkins in the 1991 classic Silence of the Lambs and also in the 2001 release Hannibal. The most recent and current Dr. Lector is played by Mads Mikkelsen on the NBC drama Hannibal. The big screen version of this character from Silence of the Lambs is an incredible work by Hopkins and the film deserves all the attention it has received. I chose the current television version of Hannibal Lector simply because there has been significantly more time to develop the character, and make him more dynamic, and quite frankly, demonic. “The Chesapeake Ripper”  is a man of well refined taste and talent, and a world-class chef when it comes to human flesh. Hannibal is far more than a cannibal. He is also a master manipulator and plays each other character on the show as he pleases. It is a sickening shame that NBC will pull the plug on this show at the end of the current season. It is truly enjoyable and has pushed the boundaries of network television with its mature content.

1. Jame Gumb “Buffalo Bill” (Silence of the Lambs, played by Ted Levine)  Although not the most amount of screen time a serial killer of this ilk deserves, what we do see of “Buffalo Bill” has left a lasting impression on all of us. Mr. Gumb is an all time creep, and the most disturbed serial killer I recall seeing in cinema or television. What gives him this distinction, you ask? Jame Gumb kidnaps his victims, usually larger females (because they have more skin) and keeps them hostage deep in a hole in his basement. This is all done in preparation to skin them and turn them into suits that he can wear. If that is not enough, he also loves moths, and stuffs one down the throat of his victim’s bodies while he discards them. Ted Levine plays this absolutely disturbed maniac brilliantly. There are a handful of scenes involving this character that have become pop culture references that you see from time to time, including a reference in Clerks II that is equally funny and disturbed. “Would you f**k me…?”

Honorable mention: Hannibal Lector (Silence of the Lambs), Mickey and Malory Knox (Natural Born Killers), The Trinity Killer (Dexter), Norman Bates (Psycho 1960)

Top Five Favorite Doom/Stoner Debut Albums

Everybody band has to start somewhere. Some take years to polish their sound before they record their first album. Some bands hit the ground running. In either scenario, you don’t always get a gem on your first try. For some bands, they smash it out of the park their first swing, and capture gold. Look at Gn’R. They made the greatest rock n’ roll record of all time, raw and relentless. Then they imploded. That is a whole discussion for another time. Today I share my top Doom/Stoner band debut albums. I’m sure you won’t agree with a few of my choices, but that’s the fun of it all.  I can’t really decide on a ranking for these five albums. It was hard enough to pick five. So, in no particular order…

Queens of the Stone Age – Queens of the Stone Age (Ipecac, 1998) What do you do if your ground breaking band Kyuss disbands? If you are Joshua Homme, you find a few other musicians and record QOTSA’s self-titled debut. This band has become my favorite over the past decade, and this record still stands up seventeen years later. The riffs drone out and create a total robot-rock feel. Homme proves he has some great falsetto singing chops as well. Listen to: If Only, How To Handle A Rope

Down – NOLA (Electra, 1995) It is hard to believe that this album is twenty years old this year. Pepper Keenan and Phil Anselmo wrote this album of the course of 5 years. The music is heavy and dirty and the lyrics are personal and dark. New Orleans has an amazing history of Doom and Sludge metal, and the members of Down borrowed a little inspiration to bring this amazing record to life. Listen to: Stone the Crow, Bury Me In Smoke

Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (Vertigo, 1970)  What kind of list would this be if it didn’t have this album as part of the list. The word influence cannot even describe the effect that these lads from Birmingham have had on heavy music for the past 45 years. The title/opening track is still one of the darkest riffs ever played. Tony Iommi created the heavy guitar sound out of necessity as the result of a factory accident. He lost a couple of finger tips, so drop tuning the guitar made it easier to bend the strings as he played. This created his ominous, heavy sound. Listen to: The Wizard, N.I.B. (Nativity in Black)

The Sword – Age Of Winters (Kemado, 2006) It is almost embarrassing to admit that the first time I remember taking notice to The Sword was on the game Guitar Hero II. The song was Freya, and I was blown away by it. I went out and bought the album and listened to it for the better part of the summer. The album is well balanced and the guitar work from J.D. Cronise and Kyle Shutt complement one another perfectly. The riffs are huge, as they should be. These boys are from Texas. Listen to: Barael’s Blade, Winter’s Wolves

High On Fire – The Art of Self Defense (Man’s Ruin, 2000) Stoner rock giants Sleep mad some amazing material, but all good things must end. Guitar player Matt Pike formed High on Fire after his departure from Sleep, and took the musical style into a harder, more aggressive direction. Pike, along with drummer Dez Kensel and bass player George Rice (now former member) recorded The Art of Self Defense. From the opening song Baghdad, you get hit with a wall of riff and sound. After you listen to a High on Fire album you need to sleep it off, because you feel like you just got your ass kicked. Listen to: Fireface, Baghdad

T.

Pro Wrestlers Turned Horror Film Actors… My Five Favorite Roles for Wrestlers.

Over the years, professional wrestlers have tried to cross over into the world of acting. A few have been successful; Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson might currently be the reigning box office champion with films like San Andreas and Fast 7. On the other side of the coin, many wrestlers have struggled to make the transition, such as Hulk Hogan. Films like Santa With Muscles and No Holds Barred did everything but run wild at the box office. Sure those movies were pretty bad, but you would think that the late 1980’s drawing power and popularity of the “Hulkster” would have translated into Hollywood gold. I guess people do appreciate substance over muscles at the cinema. Today, the world lost one of the all-time greats, and a fine actor in his own right; “Hot Rod” Rowdy Roddy Piper passed away at the far too young age of sixty-one years of age. The Hot Rod could play the hated villain, booed by thousands, but could play the hero as well. adored by the fans who paid to see him in action. Tonight, in Roddy Piper’s honor, I have decided to bring you my top five film roles played by professional wrestlers. Rest in Peace, Hot Rod.

Diamond Dallas PageBilly Ray Snapper (Devil’s Rejects 2005)DDP” was a superstar in the late 90’s to the early 2000’s in the now defunct World Championship Wrestling. In Devil’s Rejects, Page plays one half of the “Unholy Two” with his partner being the incomparable Danny Trejo. The sheriff hires these two to bounty hunt the Firefly Family. Diamond Dallas plays a great greasy, dirty ex-con creep. One of my favorite films.

Paul Levesque (Triple H)Jarko Grimwood (Blade: Trinity 2004) Paul Levesque or “Triple H” has held the WWE world title over ten times and now runs a portion of the WWE along with Vince McMahon. In the second Blade sequel, Levesque plays an unstoppable henchman for the Blade’s most powerful enemy, Dracula. The character is pretty wooden, but Triple H does his best with what he is given. This is a pretty stacked cast, but the former WWE champ still manages to get noticed. Blade wins in the end, but I bet Triple H would show him a thing or to inside a steel cage.

Glen Jacobs (Kane)Jacob Goodnight (See No Evil 2006) In the world of pro wrestling, Glen Jacobs has played Kane, an evil disciple from hell tagged “The Devil’s Favorite Demon” for close to twenty years. In See No Evil, and plays a psychotic recluse who stalks the hallways of an abandoned hotel. Not too much of a stretch as far as stepping outside of his acting comfort zone, but at seven feet tall and three hundred pounds, he plays a mighty imposing slasher. I actually thought this was a well done, if unoriginal, horror flick.

Jesse “The Body” Ventura Blain (Predator 1987) Before “The Body” was a reclusive conspiracy theorist, he was the Governor of the state of Minnesota. Even before that, he tried his hand at acting. After a career as pro wrestler and a WWE color commentator, Hollywood called. Ventura starred in a few action roles, and even played a “Man in Black” in an episode of X-Files. His best, and quite frankly, most macho role was as “Blain” in the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi classic Predator. A total bad ass complete with chewing tobacco, Gatling gun, and absolutely no time to bleed.

Rowdy Roddy PiperNada (They Live 1988) In John Carpenter’s underrated classic They Live, Piper plays a drifter who finds a pair of Ray Bans that reveal a pretty big secret. Through these sun glasses, Nada can see who is human, and more importantly, an alien. The world is controlled by these creeps, and the Hot Rod must stop them. A much taller order than having a boxing match with Mr. T at Wrestlemania 2. And just like in life, in They Live the Hot Rod came to do two things…chew bubble gum and kick ass. And he is all out of bubblegum.

T.

TOP FIVE FAVORITE HORROR/COMEDY FILMS

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I watched Sam Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell the other night. In the tradition of Raimi horror films, this one is pretty campy, like Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness. So I thought I would come up with my top five films of this co-genre. Keep in mind, these are not judged on the film making merits or acting performances, they are simply my favorites for various reasons. Feel free to comment with your own list.

5.  What We Do in the Shadows ( Dir. Jermaine Clement, Taika Waititi – 2014) Pretty fresh, but highly entertaining and clever. I had not laughed at the cinema like I did while watching this film earlier this year. Mockumentary about four vampires renting a flat together in New Zealand. The scene where the Vamps run into a pack of werewolves in the park is very funny stuff!

4.   Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (Dir. Tobe Hooper – 1986)   The very campy sequel to the classic 1974 horror Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Dennis Hopper (yes, thee Dennis Hopper) is tracking the infamous Sawyer family. Bill Mosley (Devil’s Rejects) provides plenty of creepy comic relief as Leatherface’s chrome-domed brother, Chop Top. Not a huge body count, but violent and funny.

3.  The Cabin in the Woods  (Dir. Drew Goddard – 2012)   A very original and very pleasing film.A group of young adults head out to a remote cabin for a weekend of fun. They discover a book in the cellar, and things go wrong. Sounds familiar (Evil Dead)? Rest assured that it is what you’d expect.  Richard Jenkins (Step Brothers) is a tremendous comedic actor, and delivers in The Cabin in the Woods. Plus Joss Whedon co-wrote.

2.   Gremlins   ( Dir. Joe Dante – 1984)   I shouldn’t assume that anyone reading this list has seen Gremlins, but I’m sure you are all aware of what a Gremlin is, and who Gizmo is. Billy gets a gift from his dad, and is given 3 simple rules. Never get it wet, never expose it direct sunlight, and for god sakes, do not feed him after midnight.  Well, Billy screws up, gets Gizmo wet, and then feeds his brothers after midnight. Terror and comedy ensues. A very charming Christmas film, complete with green little ghouls getting piss drunk in the town pub. The Gremlins themselves offer up most of the laughs, but the film also features a young Corey Feldman. A nice trip back into the ’80’s.

1.   Evil Dead II   (Dir. Sam Raimi – 1987)  This movie has everything. “Dead by Dawn” features blood, guts, books bound in human flesh, Bruce Campbell battling his severed hand, and mounted deer head cackling like a psychopath. Ash (Campbell) battles demons in a secluded cabin, and loses a few body parts along the way. This is a chaotic, nerve-biting, bloodbath that you will thoroughly enjoy if you have a soul. Bruce Campbell is absolutely amazing, as he takes Ash from a shivering coward to a certified Deadite ass-kicker. Groovy!