Archive for the ‘Lists’ Category

Aside from tales of haunted houses, and ghosts, the religious horror genre is one of my favorites. These stories of people possessed by demonic forces are some of the creepiest in my opinion, because those demons can do crazy things to ordinary people! Now whether you actually believe in real world demon possession or not, these movies do have a basis in real life events. Maybe it’s not demons per se, but look at the things that mental illness can do to a person?! Still pretty scary.

Here are some of my favorite horror films in which exorcisms play a role:

The Exorcist (1973)

Source: thedistractedglobe.com

Source: thedistractedglobe.com

directed by William Friedkin

Of course I had to start with The Exorcist. No discussion of exorcisms, or even horror movies in general, would be complete without this fantastic film. I swear that the  more I watch this movie, the better and scarier it gets. A little girl possessed by a terrible demonic force just because she wanted to have a little fun with a Ouija board. I mean, that could have been me! The deterioration of her mind and body are terrifying, and her mother’s desperate measures to get her help are so moving. P.S. The book’s really good as well!

The Exorcist III (1990)

Source: denofgeek.com

Source: denofgeek.com

directed by William Peter Blatty

Now, while it’s no match for the original, I think the third film in this series still deserves a place on this list. This is an excellent film that has the police Lieutenant from the original film (now played by George C. Scott) investigating a series of murders that seem to link to a serial killer (modeled after the real life Zodiac killer) who is now dead. It seems that something (serial killer? demon?) is possessing an amnesiac, and traveling from body to body to commit his murders.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

Source: imdb.com

Source: imdb.com

directed by Scott Derrickson

Inspired by the true case of a young girl, Anneliese Michel, who died after an unsuccessful (or unnecessary) exorcism attempt, The Exorcism of Emily Rose tells the story of a priest who is on trial for negligent homicide after the death of a young woman, Emily Rose, who died while he was performing an exorcism on her. The movie flashes back so that we can see the events that ultimately led to her unfortunate death… and those events are very creepy… especially when they take advantage of Jennifer Carpenter‘s (playing Emily Rose) double jointed-ness. I really enjoyed this unusual take on the exorcism genre.

The Last Exorcism (2010)

Source: gorestruly.com

Source: gorestruly.com

directed by Daniel Stamm

This found footage movie follows a charlatan, Reverend Cotton Marcus, who performs fake exorcisms making a documentary exposing the truth about the acts he has been performing on unsuspecting people. Unfortunately for him, his next “victim” is actually possessed, and so he gets more that he bargained for when he meets Nell. I felt like the found footage genre was used very well for this particular movie, keeping the viewer on their toes, and keeping things moving along and intense as Cotton realizes that he was wrong in thinking that all possessions are hoaxes. This movie also has a surprise in store at the end.

Exorcismus (2010)

Source: moviehunger.com

Source: moviehunger.com

directed by Manuel Carballo

Again focusing on a young girl, this film has the girl in question, Emma, being the one to think she herself is possessed, rather than having someone else suspect it. In fact, her parents are convinced that something is medically wrong with her, and so decide to have numerous doctors look into Emma’s condition. After she exhibits more strange and dangerous behaviors, she becomes convinced that she caused has some kind of demonic force to take possession of her mind and body and convinces her Uncle, who is a priest, to perform an exorcism on her. All is not exactly as it seems though….

I’d love to hear about your favorite horror movies featuring exorcisms! I’m always on the lookout for a good one.

Now that we are officially in the midst of summer, with temperatures getting into the 90’s in many areas of the country, and  people headed to the beach, lakes, and rivers in droves, it only seems appropriate that I give you some of my favorite  water-based horror films. Not only can water be dangerous and deadly in itself, but so much lurks in it’s depths, unseen by the world… unless it wants to be seen, or some sorry soul invades its territory.

1. Jaws (1975)

Source: listal.com

Source: listal.com

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Obviously Jaws has to have the top spot here. The epitome of the water-based horror film, this film pits the sheriff and residents of Amity Island against a terrifying Great White shark who has a taste for human flesh. The film has the honor of scaring people so much that they were actually afraid to step foot in the water, and it even had its own Universal Studies ride until 2012 (which I had the pleasure of going on years ago). The theme music for Jaws is one of the most iconic scores in all of movie history, and the fact that the shark is rarely shown in the movie just adds to the terror… something is always lurking even if it can’t be seen.

2. Rogue (2007)

Source: johnofthedead.com

Source: johnofthedead.com

Directed by Greg Mclean

Sharks aren’t the only thing lurking beneath the water, and oceans aren’t the only body of water to avoid. In Rogue, a group of tourists, on a cruise exploring the rivers in an Austrailian National Park, run afoul of a crocodile when they steer off their normal course. This is why you should sometimes not take the road less traveled, because in this case, it can lead you straight into the lair of a crocdile, and towards almost-certain death!

3. Open Water (2003)

Source: movieclips.com

Source: movieclips.com

Directed by Chris Kentis

This is one of the most terrifying scenarios I can think of. Getting stranded in open water, with no chance of being able to swim back to land, and with only a glimmer of hope that you’ll be found by a passing boat. How long would you be able to survive? It would be bad enough just having to tread water, but then to have sharks show up and start to circle you? And to think that this is based on a true story…

4. Black Water (2007)

Source: drunkenzombie.com

Source: drunkenzombie.com

Directed by David Nerlich and Andrew Traucki

Another terrifying tale set in Australia, Black Water also pits its characters against a crocodile when they become stranded in a mangrove swamp, far away from civilization. Note to self: don’t go on a tour of any rivers/swamps in Australia. If Rogue and Black Water tell you anything, it’s that these places are not safe!!

5. The Bay (2012)

Source: beyondhollywood.com

Source: beyondhollywood.com

Directed by Barry Levinson

Think that crocodiles and sharks, and other large creatures are the only menace that lives in the water? Then you haven’t seen The Bay, in which the danger comes from a much smaller creature that has infested the water- mutant parasites that infect humans, and turn them into blood-thirsty hosts. This found-footage movie shows the destruction that an ecological disaster and government cover-up can cause.

6. Piranha (2010)

Source: cinefantastiqueonline.com

Source: cinefantastiqueonline.com

Directed by Alexandre Aja

This over-the-top horror film pits a multitude of spring-breakers against a horde of giant man-eating piranhas. When an earthquake unleashes the piranhas into Lake Victoria, after being sealed up in an underground lake for eons, all hell breaks loose. Bloody, gratuitous, and funny- this movie is not to be taken seriously in the slightest, but the gore definitely lives up to expectations.

7. The Reef (2010)

Source: horrorhappyhour.com

Source: horrorhappyhour.com

Directed by Andrew Traucki

Another water-based horror film from one of the directors of Black Water, this film once again pits our heroes against those pesky sharks, when their sailboat capsizes out near the Great Barrier Reef. The dilemma they face is whether to stay with the boat, and hope that help comes along before it sinks, or to try to swim to a near island before they get too weak. Either scenario includes avoiding the deadly sharks. What would you do?

No wonder my boyfriend’s greatest fear is the water… and the creatures that lurk beneath the surface!!

School is almost out for summer, and so in honor of the end of the school year and the start of the lazy days of summer (for those lucky enough to not have to work) I wanted to share some of my favorite high school horror movies. High School can be a terrifying place as it is, but throw in aliens, serial killers, and witches, and it becomes an even more dangerous place to be.

So without further ado, some of my favorite high school horror movies:

The Faculty (1998)

The Faculty

Source: awesomebmovies.com

Directed by Robert Rodriguez

This tale of an alien invasion is one of my favorite sci-fi films- kind of a cross between a couple of other favorites (Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Thing). Imagine seeing all your classmates and teachers being replaced by weird (but identical) versions of themselves…who really want to shove disgusting creatures in your ears. How awful would that be? High school seems like the perfect place from which to start an invasion of the world.

Scream (1996)

Source: scream.wikia.com

Source: scream.wikia.com

Directed by Wes Craven

Of course I would have to include Scream on this list as I pretty much find a way to include it on all my lists of favorite horror films. We don’t see much of Sidney, Tatum, Randy and the rest of the Scream gang in their high school habitat, but we see enough to know they go to school with some mean girls, and have pretty much the coolest principal to roam the planet… and those high schoolers can throw some awesome parties!

The Craft (1996)

Source: drafthouse.com

Source: drafthouse.com

Directed by Andrew Fleming

High school is a tough place to be, especially for the new kid, so when you find a group that accepts you and makes you feel like you belong, you stick with the group, even if they are wannabe witches. Sarah and her friends feel justified when they cast spells that deal with the high school jerk who lies about girls to his friends, and the racist mean girls who take pleasure in causing others mental anguish…. But being a witch isn’t always fun and games when it’s taken too far.

Carrie (1976)

Source: totalfilm.com

Source: totalfilm.com

Directed by Brian De Palma

Carrie has an extremely tough life in both her home life, and at school. Living with her crazy religious mother, and pegged as an outcast because she doesn’t fit in with her classmates, she is made fun of on probably a daily basis. Carrie has to deal with the cruelest of all high schoolers who gets joy out of playing cruel jokes on poor Carrie. Her salvation comes in the form of the discovery of her telekinetic ability, but this also proves to be her downfall.

The Loved Ones (2009)

Source: rottentomatoes.com

Source: rottentomatoes.com

Directed by Sean Byrne

Prom can be a stressful event in the life of a teenager. If your desired prom date rejects you, it might cause some mental anguish…. Or if you are a bit deranged, and convinced that a certain guy is the prince you’ve been looking for, you might go a little farther than a normal person… Having your dad capture him, and forcing him to be your date at your own private prom.

Prom Night (1990)

Source: horrordvds.com

Source: horrordvds.com

Directed by Paul Lynch

Speaking of proms… How could I not include this movie, which has one of my favorite dance scenes known to man… Disco and horror were meant for each other. This slasher classic, while really not a good movie by any measure (except for that amazing dance sequence and great opening scene), is still one of my favorites for nostalgic reasons.  Creepy phone calls, menacing notes, and murder, make prom night an even more stressful night that it normally is.

Halloween H2O (1998)

Directed by Steve Miner

Source: mooviees.com

Source: mooviees.com

Boarding school must be a tough place, especially when your headmaster is Michael Myer’s sister. To be stuck in a secluded high school, far away from home, with a mass murderer out to get you, has to be pretty stressful experience… Far more stressful than having an overprotective mom that won’t let you go on a student camping trip.

Dance of the Dead (2008)

Source: soundonsight.org

Source: soundonsight.org

Zombie and prom don’t mix well. You already are worried about impressing your date, trying not to dance too awkwardly, and trying not to act dorky… Isn’t that enough? Zombies just mess everything up… They’re much more into eating brains, than dancing.

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Source: film.com

Source: film.com

Directed by Karyn Kusama

What do you do when your best friend suddenly turns into a murderous demon? High school friendships can be hard enough without having to worry about whether you should ignore your friend’s sudden cannibalistic tendencies, or whether you should do something about it.

Detention (2011)

Source: beyondhollywood.com

Source: beyondhollywood.com

Directed by Joseph Kahn

This quirky film is not totally horror, but has enough slasher elements to keep to horror crowd happy. Dressed as the villain from a fictional horror film- Cinderhella- someone is murdering students from Grizzly Lake… But who? And why? And what does it have to do with time travel, a stuffed bear, and the destruction of the world? …and of course, there is a prom in this film as well. Prom and horror are just a match made in heaven.

Do you have any high school horror favorites of your own?

Happy Mother’s Day horror fans! Today I wanted to bring you a list of some memorable not-so-motherly mothers in horror to celebrate this day! Hopefully your own mothers are as wonderful as mine is, and aren’t like the mothers who follow!

1. Pamela Voorhees– One of the most memorable murderous mothers in horror, in Friday the 13th Mrs. Voorhees sliced and diced her way through a bunch of camp counselors in revenge for letting her son drown. It didn’t matter that these particular counselors had nothing to do with it- obviously all camp counselors are irresponsible from her point of view and deserve to die! She was just watching out for her very special son, Jason, so in actuality she was a pretty good mom.

2. Mrs. White– Now, in Carrie, Mrs. White didn’t actually murder anyone per se, but she might as well get the blame as she was one of the main culprits in driving her daughter, Carrie, crazy. Now obviously her awful peers pushed her over the edge, but Mrs. White’s brand of punishment was not the best choice for any child, especially a telekinetic one. No child should be locked in a closet, be forbidden from expressing herself, and be forbidden from going to a school dance…. And she especially failed in teaching Carrie about the basic biology of being a woman. Without her support it was just a matter of time before Carrie acted out, and when you have the powers that Carrie did, it just leads to unheard of destruction.

3. Mrs. Cosgrove– Another memorable mother, the mother in Braindead (aka Dead Alive) wins the contest for one of the grossest mothers in horror. After she’s bitten by a disgusting rat monkey, she becomes infected with a horrible disease that causes her body parts to fall off, then dies and becomes a zombie, and then something even more horrible. She is a manipulative mother in life, and in death isn’t any better.

4. Mrs. Bates– While Mrs. Bates doesn’t actually appear in Psycho, we can gather that she wasn’t the best mother in the world, even though Norman states that “a boy’s best friend is his mother”. The character of Mrs. Bates is memorable nonetheless whether she’s a he, and actually a split personality of her son, or the skeletal version of herself.

5. Mrs. Morgan– While not having too much of a role in The Ring, Samara’s mother stands out to me as another not-so-great mother. While Samara may have been evil, killing your daughter and throwing her body in a well is probably not the best solution to the problem. Now stuck in an eerie killer video, the problem of Samara’s evil has just been exacerbated.

6. Dr. Dakota Block– Leaving your son alone In a car with a gun is probably not the most responsible thing to do, and the mother dearly pays in Planet Terror. One should never leave their child with a loaded weapon- they just might blow their head off. Not very good parenting!!

7. Diane Freeling– The mother in Poltergeist is actually a pretty good mother, the most motherly on this list probably, but she does a couple irresponsible things in Poltergeist that stand out. Smoking pot in bed with your children in the house is probably a big no-no, and also using your daughter when experimenting with strange phenomena is not the best idea… Even though it looked super fun!

What mothers stand out to you in horror films? We’d love to know!!

Happy Saturday horror fans!

It’s almost 5 months into 2013, but since we were chained up for that year and couldn’t get to a computer, we are getting to this post a little late. Better late then never though!  Today I’m going to tell you about a few of my favorite horror films of 2012. Rebecca will be here next week to tell you what her favorite horror film of 2012 was! (P.S. It’s my favorite as well!)

The Woman in Black (directed by James Watkins)

The Woman in Black

Source: impawards.com

It’s very rare that I actually feel scared when watching a horror film. As much as I love them, I have seen so many that I seem to be immune from the feeling of fear I used to get as a kid. The Woman in Black was the first film in a long time to actually get under my skin. The combination of the huge, crumbling mansion, creepy old woman ghost, really disturbing dolls, dead kids, and the foggy setting on the moors of England, made this a highly enjoyable experience for me. Now I just have to see the original!

Sinister (directed by Scott Derrickson)

Sinister

Source: impawards.com

The second film of 2012 to get under my skin! I guess it wasn’t such a bad year for horror! Ethan Hawke stars as a true crime author who moves into a house where some murders have taken place and stumbles on more than he bargained for! This movie kept me guessing, and I liked where it led to. Like The Woman in Black, creepy children play a part (I just love those little creeps!), and although this took place in a suburban house rather than a run-down mansion, it was still haunting. I loved that this was a different take on the found footage sub-genre- instead of being found footage, its about the discovery of found footage. Pretty unique!

The Collection (directed by Marcus Dunstan)

The Collection

Source: impawards.com

I loved the first film in this series, and had high hopes for its sequel, and luckily it didn’t disappoint. This film primarily takes place in the collector’s lair, and as you’d expect, he’s decked it out with insane traps, including those pesky bear traps. High energy, gory, and never boring, this is a plain old good, bloody time.

The Loved Ones (directed by Sean Byrne)

The Loved Ones

Source: impawards.com

So technically this is not a 2012 film, but rather a 2009 film, but it didn’t get a U.S. release until this year, so in my mind that counts! This tale of a deranged high school girl who decides to kidnap someone to be her date for prom was extremely well made, moving, brutal, and has the best ending of any movie I’ve seen in recent memory.

Rabies (directed by Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado)

Rabies

Source: impawards.com

Another film that did not gain a U.S. release until this year, Rabies is actually the first horror film out of Israel, and it is a great one! Good job Israel! When this movie began I was pretty sure I knew where it was heading as it begins like many horror movies before it, but it quickly veered off in the best of ways, and kept me on my toes throughout the entire movie. It was quite hard to watch at times due to the disturbing nature of certain scenes, and the gruesomeness of it, but there were also some darkly comedic spots throughout which helped to give a little breather. This film is definitely worth a watch!

Seen all of those films already? Here are a few more to check out: The Awakening (directed by Nick Murphy), Citadel (directed by Ciaran Foy), The Hole (directed by Joe Dante), Lovely Molly (directed by Eduardo Sanchez), The Pact (directed by Nicholas McCarthy), Paranormal Activity 4 (directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman), SilentHouse (directed by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau), and Sleep Tight (directed by Jaume Balaguero)

Chances are, if you are a college student, your spring break has already passed, and hopefully you have survived…

But, if by any chance you have not gone away yet, or need some guidance for next year, we wanted to give you a warning about some places you should avoid if you want to come back intact!

australia

Source: australiaadventures.com

1. Australia- Definitely avoid Australia! Sure, it’s beautiful. There are plenty of beaches, surfing, beautiful people, and awesome accents, but there are many dangers lurking in this country that spell disaster for all you spring-breakers. If you plan on taking a road trip across the continent you might be kidnapped and tortured by a sick and twisted man, like in Wolf Creek, or you may end up stalked by a crazy truck driving serial killer a la Road Games. If you decide to avoid the road and explore the water instead, you might become the victim of an angry crocodile as in Black Water and Rogue. Or if you take your chances in the outback you’ll want to avoid the vicious wild boars (Razorback), and even Mother Nature herself (Long Weekend). Danger lurks around every corner.

Shark Fin

Source: surfersvillage.com

2. Any Body of Water- Going somewhere warm and close to the water is a very popular spring break destination. Don’t do it!!!! Oceans, lakes, pools…. these are all terrible places to vacation! Want to be a victim of a shark attack (Jaws, Open Water, The Reef)? Or a victim of other man-eating water-dwelling creatures (Piranha, Lake Placid)? Well. okay then, if that’s your cup of tea…go for it! Think you’ll be safer in a pool? Think again. You might be sucked to the bottom, and have your intestines pulled out of your body (The Final Destination), or end up swimming with a pile of skeletons (Poltergeist)!  Water=danger!

mexico

Source: worldexpeditions.com

3. Mexico- Mexico seems like another warm and tropical place to go! There are all sorts of interesting things to do, but again- don’t do it!!! Seeing ancient Mayan ruins may seem like an exciting adventure, until you become the victim of man-eating plants whose curse turns the locals against you (The Ruins). If you decide to avoid visiting ancient ruins, and instead hang out in town, beware, as you may get kidnapped, tortured, and sacrified by a crazy cult (Borderland).  Mexico not only has man-eating plants and cults, but you’d also want to avoid the cannibals (We Are What We Are) and even aliens (Monsters) if you want to make it home alive!

islands

Source: tripadvisor.com

4. Islands around the world- Sure, the seclusion of an island sounds ideal for a lot of people. You can get away from it all, and not be connected to the craziness of the mainland, but that peaceful seclusion could quickly turn to dangerous isolation! Killer kids (Who Can Kill a Child?), insane religious cults (The Wicker Man), crazy scientists (Island of Lost Souls, The Island of Dr. Moreau), and deranged rednecks (Storm Warning), are just some of the horrific situations that may await you. You won’t appreciate the secluded surroundings for long!

Source: discoveramerica.com

5. Louisiana- Sure, there are many places in the US to avoid (i.e. Texas and West Virginia), but I think Louisiana is the one to avoid. Sure, you may go want to go for the delicious food, parade-like atmosphere, fun music scene or historic architecture, but not only do you have the threat of voodoo and hoodoo going against you (The Skeleton Key), but you also have Satanic cults to avoid (The Last Exorcism), more rednecks and hungry crocodiles (Eaten Alive), and deformed creatures looking for revenge (Hatchet).

So there you have it! Five places to avoid on spring break. So where are you going to go? Might I suggest Montana, or Canada, or Holland… you might be safer there….maybe….

The ‘00s were a great 10 years for the horror genre.  There were so many memorable, and genre changing films.  There were an incredible variety- zombies, vampires, mutants, ghosts, haunted houses, killer kids, serial killers, and many more.  It is incredibly hard to pick my absolute favorite films of the last 10 years due to the wide variety, and the numerous criteria that I would have to try to decide on to choose my favorites- do I go by emotional impact, re-watchability, just plain fun, and so on.  I have decided that instead of doing my top 10 favorite films (because I just can’t decide), I would instead just highlight 10 films of the ‘00s that I loved.  There are many more that I loved, but that would keep me writing for hours and hours, and I would never finish.  So at the end of this post I will just include some honorable mentions, and just let those speak for themselves, for now.

The Ring (2002)

The Ring remains one of the scariest movies I have ever seen in my life, and no matter how many times I see it, every time the deadly video starts playing, or we see the faces of Samara’s victims, I am instantly creeped out.  The Ring was really the movie that began the J-Horror remake craze, and sparked many people’s curiosity about Asian horror.  I have seen the original movie, Ringu, and while I may be in the minority, I prefer the remake.  I just think it’s creepier.  I love the mystery surrounding Samara, I love the research the Naomi Watts has to do in order to solve the mystery, I love the dark and somber tone, and the downer ending, and the creepy music…..and I love a killer kid, especially a ghostly killer kid.

The Descent (2005)

Caves are terrifying places.  If you’ve ever been in one, which I have (although it was a touristy cave with a tour guide and everything), you’ll know that caves are scary places.  They’re dark, and mysterious, and maze-like, and filled with weird creatures.  Being in a cave that has been mapped is scary, so exploring a cave that no one has ever mapped out, where you can only see with the light of a torch, and have no idea where passages lead, and if there is even another way out, in case the way you came in gets blocked…..it gives me the creeps just thinking about it.  So add to that grotesquely mutated creatures who only want to hunt you down and eat you, and the terror is intensified a million-fold.  This is definitely one of the most terrifying, and unique movies I’ve ever seen in my life.

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Shaun of the Dead was probably the first ZomCom I ever saw.  I saw it in the theater with fellow Scared Shirtless blogger, Rebecca, without ever hearing anything about the film.  I have to say that I was utterly blown away by its awesomeness.  It definitely ranks up there in my all time favorite movies, not just horror movies.  The humor in Shaun of the Dead is pop-culturey, British, and sometimes juvenile, but because its humor is all over the place, it has something that appeals to everyone.  You may not get all the jokes, but it still works.  It is also a loving homage to zombie movies, in subtle and not so subtle ways.  Sure it incorporates one of the most famous of all horror movie lines, “We’re coming to get you Barbara”, but it also incorporates some more subtle zombie movie cues, such as music cues, that only the zombie movie aficionado would pick up on, and this allows the movie to work on several levels.  Much as a Disney movie can work on different levels for kids and adults, but still appeal to both, this movie works with the beginning horror movie watcher, and the most jaded.  The movie also works as a comedy about friendships and relationships in a world that just happens to have zombies in it.

The Others (2001)

I love haunted house movies, creepy kids, big gothic mansions, never-ending fog, and creepy housekeepers, so The Others works perfectly for me.  The elements of this movie are brought together in a great atmospheric ghost/haunted house mystery.  It joins The Innocents (1961), The Haunting (1963), and The Changeling (1980) as one of my favorite chilling gothic mansion haunting stories.  Nicole Kidman is wonderful as the tormented mother of two children allergic to the light, who is trying to look out for her kids and their well being, while also desperately awaiting the return of her husband who fought in the war, and has never returned.  When I watched this movie, I knew immediately that something was up with the housekeepers, but the twist came as a surprise to me- this was before I had watched a million other movies with a similar twist.  One of my favorite parts of this movie is when Nicole Kidman leaves the mansion to try to get to town to visit the priest, and gets lost in the fog.  That type of disorientation and having lost all sense of direction is just petrifying.

Final Destination (2000)

I think the Final Destination series is one of the funnest horror movie series to be created.  Every movie is basically the same- some people escape a horrific accident when one of them has a premonition, but then death seeks them out and kills them in horrifying ways.  They are great movies to watch for their inventive death sequences.  A bit morbid, yes, but watching a chain reaction of events building up to the death of one the characters is somehow endlessly fascinating.  Maybe it’s human nature to be fascinated with Rube Goldberg-esque devices, and the deaths in these movies are very Rube Goldberg-esque, at least in my opinion.  The first movie stands out to me as a fun, creative horror movie, with likeable characters (some at least), creative deaths, interesting plot, and of course a Tony Todd cameo.

The Devil’s Rejects (2005)

The Firefly’s are one demented family.  I loved House of 1000 Corpses (2003), our introduction to the Firefly clan, with Baby, Tiny, Mother Firefly, Otis, Rufus, and of course Captain Spaulding, and who can forget Dr. Satan, but I prefer The Devil’s Rejects.  It might be because it is more realistic, and thus more terrifying.  The hotel scenes are cringe-worthy, in a good way.  We are able to spend more quality time with Captain Spaulding and his crazy clan.  The soundtrack for this movie is awesome, and now whenever I hear “Freebird”, I can’t help but see the Firefly family being blasted away as they go out in a blaze of bullets.

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

I love zombie movies.  Something about the living dead just makes me happy, and I love George Romero’s classic zombie flicks, so I was very happy to see this remake and have it be so much fun.  It’s not really a direct remake of Dawn of the Dead (1978). Obviously they both involve a group of non-infected the people holing up in a mall, but everything else is different.  I was glad to see that it was not a shot for shot remake, because the original is so great, it didn’t really need improving on.  Of course my favorite scene is the zombie celebrity shoot-out.  I feel like this movie had great character development, I truly cared about a lot of the characters and I was invested in their fate.  I felt especially sad about the fate of Andy!

Planet Terror (2007)

I absolutely loved this film the first time I watched it.  For some reason I was iffy about it when I saw the trailers, with the machine-gun leg, but when I actually sat down to watch the film, I fell in love.  The machine-gun leg was awesome, and inspired, as was everything else in this movie.  It was gory, and gross, and funny, and endlessly re-watchable.  I loved the tie in to Death Proof (2007), I loved the graininess, and the missing reel gag, and I loved Bruce Willis’ character.  I loved the over-the-topness of it as well.  I also love that it was unpredictable- poor Tony- “I want to eat your brain and gain your knowledge”.  By the way, I LOVED Death Proof as well, but it’s hard to classify it as horror, although Kurt Russell’s character is definitely a horror villain!

House of Wax (2005)

This was such a fun movie, despite the fact that Paris Hilton was in it.  There were likable characters, flawed characters that grew on you (I’m talking to you Chad Michael Murray), and an awesome setting with the wax town.  For some reason, I’ve always been fascinated with wax museums, and movies about them- I must have watched Waxwork (1988) every time it showed up on cable when I was growing up.  I love the fact that in this movie, it’s not just one wax museum, but a whole town that has been created.  It’s so creepy to think that under a lot of those wax sculptures there are real people- and Jared Padalecki’s death has to be one of the most gruesomely, painfully awesome deaths that I’ve ever seen.

Trick ‘R Treat (2008)

In my opinion, Trick ‘R Treat has become my favorite horror anthology movie ever.  I love Creepshow (1982), and Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) is fun, but never have I had the desire to watch them again immediately after viewing.  When I finished watching Trick ‘R Treat for the first time, I just wanted to start it again and watch it all over.  I wanted to explore the relationship between the stories, and get to know the characters better.  This now comes in as a close second to Halloween as my favorite movie about Halloween ever.

Other great horror movies from the ‘00s

–        28 Days Later (2002)/28 Weeks Later (2007)

–        2001 Maniacs (2005)

–        American Psycho (2000)

–        The Amityville Horror (2005)

–        Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

–        Bloody Reunion (Seuseung-ui Eunhye) (2006)

–        The Children (2008)

–        Dead End (2003)

–        Dead Silence (2007)

–        The Devil’s Backbone (El Espinazo del Diablo) (2001)

–        Dog Soldiers (2002)

–        Drag Me to Hell (2009)

–        The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

–        Feast (2005)

–        Frailty (2001)

–        Friday the 13th (2009)

–        Frontiere(s) (2007)

–        Funny Games (2007)

–        Hatchet (2006)

–        High Tension (Haute Tension) (2003)

–        The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

–        The Hills Run Red (2009)

–        Inside (A L’Interieur) (2007)

–        The Last House on the Left (2009)

–        Let the Right One In (2008)

–        The Mist (2007)

–        My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009)

–        Oldboy (2003)

–        The Orphanage (El Orfanato) (2007)

–        Paranormal Activity (2007)

–        Plague Town (2008)

–        [REC] (2007)/Quarantine (2008)

–        The Ruins (2008)

–        Saw (2004)

–        Silk (Gui Si) (2006)

–        The Skeleton Key (2005)

–        The Strangers (2008)

–        The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

–        What Lies Beneath (2000)

–        Wolf Creek (2005)

–        Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2003)

–        Zombieland (2009)

I know that’s an extensive list, but I’m sure I’m still missing some!!  There are also a multitude of films from the ’00s that I have yet to see, so although this is a comprehensive list, it is in no way complete, and of course, this is just my opinion.

~Emily

Disclaimer: This is my top 10 horror movie list of 2009 as of now.  There are many horror movies released in 2009 that I have not seen, so this list may change in the future, but as of now these are the films that I enjoyed most, either watching at home or in a theater if I was lucky.  I know that many will not agree with me, maybe some of my top movies will be on other’s “worst of” lists, but wouldn’t the world be boring if everyone else’s opinion were exactly the same as yours?
By the way, I did struggle with making this list, and there are some movies that I wasn’t sure whether to add or not as they technically were not originally released in 2009.  As you can see, I did add a couple of movies to this list that were finished, and were seen by the lucky prior to 2009.  A couple of movies that I debated adding to this list were The Children which was released in December of 2008 in the UK and Let the Right One In which premiered in Sweden in January of 2008.  I suppose that since they both were unavailable in the USA until 2009 they should have qualified, but since I’ve already written this list, and I am lazy, I will just give them a shout out here!
  1. Trick ‘R Treat– I’m including this movie because, while actually being finished for about 2 years, it finally got a wide release on DVD.  I ordered this movie as soon as it was released, and I did not regret it one bit, the only thing I regret is that I was not able to view it in theaters.  I watched this movie about 5 times during the month of October alone, and every time I gained more of an appreciation for it.  This movie will become a staple in my Halloween movie viewings.  Trick ‘R Treat only improves on multiple screenings, as every time you watch it, you will see something new.  It also contains one of my favorite lines of the year- “Charlie Brown’s an asshole!”  It just makes me laugh every time.

2. Zombieland – It’s about time another ZomCom came out that lives (somewhat) up to Shaun of the Dead.  I had a great time watching this movie, laughing out loud for much of it, and it’s a movie that I would have happily viewed multiple times in the theater (if only I had the funds).  This movie employed smart characters who did not hesitate to blow the heads off zombies when push came to shove, and also gave rules on how to stay alive in a zombie-filled world.  I also loved the cameo from Bill Murray, it was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time.

3. Drag Me to Hell – A fun new horror movie from Sam Raimi, I thought the over-the-top-ness of this movie was exciting, and fun, and very disgusting.  Raimi’s obsession with bodily fluids in this movie was quite sickening, and really made me feel like gagging a few times, and if this was his goal (which I think it was), he succeeded very well.  Alison Lohman did a great job playing a girl who just wants to succeed at her job, and unfortunately has the task of saying “NO” to a repulsive old gypsy who has defaulted on her payments too many times.  I really feel bad for her, as she was just trying to do her job, and now she is doomed to be dragged to hell.  I wish that douchbag that she worked with had been cursed instead.  He really deserved it for being a jerk to her when she did a nice thing and got him his sandwich.

4. Paranormal Activity – Now, like Trick ‘R Treat, this movie has been out for a couple of years, playing at festivals and such, and finally, through word of mouth, this low-budget movie was finally able to get a wide release.  Like The Blair Witch Project, this movie is a low-budget found footage film that asks us to believe that what we are seeing actually happened, and this is the footage that was taken amaturely of the event in question.  I had very high hopes before seeing this movie due to the hype I was hearing about it, and ultimately I felt that it succeeded in living up to the hype.  I am a big fan of haunted house movies, and I liked that this movie took place in a normal house, that could be yours or mine, similar to the normal house that was haunted in Poltergeist.  I feel that this movie worked well especially in the bedroom scenes because I was on the edge of my seat during the scenes, with all my attention focused on seeing a little bit of movement, and so when that movement happened, or something made a noise, it really affected me because all my senses were heightened.  I liked the gradual escalation of the haunting, and I especially liked that the haunting was happening to the girl, not the house, because that made it plausible as to why they couldn’t just leave to make it stop.  I do admit though that Micah made me really mad due to his macho-ness and desire to take care of the situation himself- if only he had listened to his girlfriend and the demonologist.

5, Friday the 13th – Now as the 11th film in the Friday the 13th series (12th if you count Freddy Vs. Jason), this remake had a lot to live up to.  Especially after Jason X!! J This movie isn’t exactly a remake, as it only briefly touches on Jason’s mother as being the original killer.  It is more of a re-introduction of Jason as a territorial killer, who will kill anyone who strays into his neck of the woods.  This movie had some exciting death scenes, some funny and likeable characters (my favorite being Aaron Yoo as Chewie the “wood wizard”, and it brings us back to Camp Crystal Lake after Manhattan, Hell, and Space.

6. My Bloody Valentine 3D – My favorite Winchester brother, Jensen Ackles, stars in this slasher about a man who returns to his hometown 10 years after a Valentine’s day massacre, only to have the killing start back up.  I really enjoyed this movie, and even though I have seen the original, it did keep me guessing.  I really enjoyed that the movie began with a bang, and did not waste any time in getting to the massacring. I will definitely never look at a heart-shaped candy box the same way again.  I will always be afraid that there will be a nice bloody heart in it instead of candy.

7. The Final Destination 3D – As the fourth film in the Final Destination saga, this movie didn’t really break any new ground as a story, but as the first one in 3-D it did add that little something that this series was missing.  This series has always been about the elaborate steps that Death will take to kill you if you are able to somehow escape him, and those steps usually involve something flying out of nowhere and killing you, so with 3-D, the audience is now able to experience the thrill of having something seem like it is flying right at us!!  I think that the other three movies should now be adapted for 3-D, because this is the type of movie that only benefits from this awesome technology.  I know some people get tired of the jump scares, and the flying objects, but I rather enjoyed myself, and had a great time viewing this in the theater.  Now I just need a 3-D television so I can repeat the viewing experience at home.

8. The Hills Run Red – This was one of the more original horror movies I’ve seen in a long time.  This movie had me from the opening scene in which a kid cuts off his own face and then straps a porcelain baby face to the mess that was once his own flesh.  The Hills Run Red is about a guy who is obsessed with finding a lost horror movie, that was released in theaters and then pulled immediately due to its graphic nature, and is now lost.  His quest to find this film lands him and his friends in a lot of trouble.  This is one of the most gruesome movies I have seen in a long time, it’s well acted, and I felt that its twist was quite surprising as well.

9. The Last House on the Left ­ – I will admit that I was a little worried about seeing this movie, as I was scarred for life after I saw the original a few years ago.  It was one of the most disturbing movies I have ever seen, after Lolita and The Land Before Time.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there had been some updates made to the movie, and while still disturbing, it is now much more watchable.  I love that in movie the parents of the girl who has been raped and left for dead, take their revenge on the gang that did this horrible deed.  They are able to turn their role as victims around and instead become the assailants.

10. Grace – Another great, original horror movie that was not released in theaters this year was Paul Solet’s Grace.  This movie concerns a woman who is pregnant with her first child when tragedy strikes.  Her husband and unborn child are killed in a car accident.  She is told she should induce labor and deliver the child, but she instead decides to carry it to term, and give birth naturally even though it will be heartbreaking.  When the child, Grace, is born however, she miraculously starts to breathe.  There is something off about the baby though, she attracts flies, and would rather drink blood than milk.   While this movie is disturbing and heartbreaking, it is worth watching if you can stomach it.  Grace is a well-made, well-acted, and original horror film, in a genre in which it is hard to find novel ideas.  I very much enjoyed this film, although it’s one that I would not be able to watch every day.

While Christmas-themed horror films can be terrifying, I have decided to highlight some frightening Santas  from non-horror movies in honor of the holiday.  The idea of Santa Claus itself is a little scary- a big fat man who can see and hear your every word, and is out to judge whether you are good or bad?  Sounds a bit creepy to me.  That said, here is the list!

  1. A Christmas Story (1983)
  2. Bad Santa (2003)
  3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
  4. A Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
  5. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
  1. Halloween (1978) – I know I’ve spoken of Halloween quite a few times, but it is impossible to think of horror movie masks/costumes without thinking of Michael Myers.  Myers’ mask is one of the most iconic of all horror movie masks.  It is a distorted version of everyone’s beloved Star Trek captain, Kirk.  Due to budgetary constraints when making this movie, the mask that was picked out for Myers’ visage had to be cheap, and I’m glad it was so, because in this case, a simple, blank, expressionless mask works the best of all.  Something overly complicated would have lessened the impact that Michael has on our psyche.  His blank, expressionless stare, with his heartless eyes, is terrifically frightening.  We see that he has no emotion in his stare, no love or hate, which makes him that much more fear-provoking.  He is a killer just because that’s what he is.  In the original Halloween it’s not established that he is Laurie’s brother, he is a killer just because, with no known motivation other than the evil that is inside him.  No motive is scarier than having a motive, because someone with no motive can just as easily kill YOU.

2. The Eyes Without a Face (Les Yeux Sans Visage) (1960) – Blank, expressionless, porcelain masks are utterly terrifying.  Maybe it’s the expressionless-ness, like Michael Myers’ mask.  We are only able to read what the person in thinking from the expression in their eyes.  As humans we tend to look at facial features and expressions for cues on how to react to a person.  Without the facial cues, we’re often at a loss.  When we don’t know how to react to something, we generally react in fear, even when the person wearing the mask is not the villain.  In The Eyes Without A Face, our villain is not the person who is wearing the mask, Christiane, but her father, Dr. Génessier, who is just trying to do what he thinks is best for his daughter.  Due to a tragic automobile accident, her face has been destroyed, and he is just trying to find her a new one.  No biggie, right? Prior to the medical community being able to perform a face transplant, he decides that it is up to him.  He will kidnap women, cut off their faces, and then transplant them on his daughter’s.  Sounds simple enough.  Unfortunately though, the transplants are ultimately unsuccessful, and so his daughter is relegated to wearing that creepy porcelain mask.  The surgery scenes in this movie are quite impressive, and extremely disturbing!  Watch here for the facial surgery scene!

3. Alice, Sweet Alice (1976) – The masks worn in this movie are the type of mask you can buy in a Halloween costume store for pennies.  Just clear plastic, with painted on features.   But somehow, they are some of the most terrifying masks of all.  In this movie, the design of the villain is reminiscent of Don’t Look Now, as I stated in a previous post.  The mask is simple, and it is utterly terrifying, and the only other aspect to the costume is a childish yellow raincoat.  This is not a mask that I’d want to encounter in a dark alley, or even out in the open.  Our title character if fascinated by these masks, and uses them to scare her little sister.  She doesn’t just use one mask either, she wears masks on top of masks, so you never know what’s going to pop up when she removes the outer layer.  It could just be her face, or another hideous mask, and this keeps us on our toes.

4. The Hills Run Red (2009) – Wow!  This movie begins with a bang, a bloody bang.  Seeing a kid take scissors, and cut off his own skin….it’s sickening just thinking about it.  It hurts enough to get a cut, but actually slicing off chunks of skin, your own skin… man, you’d have to be doped up in order to even be able to do that, otherwise you’d probably pass out from the pain.  The actual mask that is worn over the disfigured face is disturbing in its own right, a porcelain baby face?  This is so unimaginable creepy you just have to see it for yourself.

5. The Strangers (2008) – Where did these masks come from?  How is a simple, cheap, plastic mask that is supposed to be cute and innocent end up so creepy?  These masks give me nightmares!  Two of the three masks are made to look like dolls faces, and the other is just a simple burlap-like sack.  Maybe the doll-faced masks are supposed to play on a fear that many have of dolls coming to life and killing and torturing us , such as Chucky from Child’s Play, or the Twilight Zone episode “Living Doll”, with ultra-creepy Talky Tina.  In The Strangers, our protagonists are harassed by three menacing figures- “Dollface, Man in the Mask, and Pin-Up Girl”, for no reason.  The villains only picked this particular couple because they were home.  Again, like Michael Myers, there was no motive.  They could just have easily chosen the house next door.  Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman just happened to be who they chose to torture this particular night.  If you liked The Strangers, I would also recommend seeing Them (Ils), a French flick with a similar premise.

Sweet dreams!!!!

~Emily