Here we go!
10/20/08 - Top 5 Werewolf Films - Do this tail make my ass look big?
10/21/08 - Top 5 Vampire Films - They want to suck your blood.
10/22/08 - Top 5 Maniac Films - Serial killers and madmen.
10/23/08 - Top 5 "Other Side" Films - Ghosts, demons and satanism. Oh my!
10/24/08 - Top 5 Monster/Other Films - A potpourri of mixed goodies.
Earl's Top Five Monster/Other Films
This will be our "catch all" category of horror films. No vampires, wolfmen, ghosts, maniacs or demons here. Just everything else. You might think that this would be the hardest category to pare down to five. But I did it in like three minutes, frankly. Which means I probably missed something truly obvious. Fuck it if you can't take a joke. Oh, and in case you missed it, Slyde was nice enough to give us the best zombie films here. Thanks, Slyde!
One sidenote: I left out Jaws from this category on purpose. While it probably is the most defining scary film I have ever seen, I still just don't think it belongs in this category. Feel free to disagree.
5. Phantasm (1979) - I really don't know where the fuck to categorize this one, to tell you the truth. That's why it's here, I guess. A mausoleum, dwarves running around in dark robes, a metallic sphere with jagged blades, the Tall Man and portals to another world. I didn't know what the hell was going on the first time I saw it. I still don't. But I know that it scared the crap outta me. And Reggie the ice cream man has always been a hero of mine. All his flavors are guaranteed to satisfy!
4. Hellraiser (1987) - Let me just say for the record here, I hate these movies! All of them. I don't think they are written/made particularly well at all. Yet this first one has been known to keep me up nights. Pinhead and company are just downright creepy! I'd imagine I would like it a bit better if I were into the whole pleasure/pain thing, but since I'm not I found it to be absolutely repulsive. And scary. That's the only reason I'm including it here. Frankly, I wish I could un-make this one or just go back to a time and place before I ever heard of it. Yuck!
3. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) - One of those rare instances in cinema where the sequel actually outshines its predecessor. James Whale did a, um, well...whale of a job with this one. Elsa Lanchester as the Bride and Ernest Thesiger as the creepy Dr. Pretorius particularly sparkle in this one. Universal Studios owned the monster movie trademark in the 30's and 40's, and many (including me) think this is the best of the bunch. "We belong dead." Yeah...you do.
2. Alien (1979) - The second film in the series was pure action. Cowboys vs. Indians if you will. The third was David Fincher's attempt at making an artsy horror/action film with a message. The fourth tried to be a lot of things and failed at most of them. But the first in the series was pure horror, my friends. Tom Skerritt hunting the creature in the darkness (while the creature hunted him), the inevitable demise of one crew member after the other and the most memorable movie monster introduction of all-time are clear hi-lights of the film. Sure, the monster is a bit disappointing when we finally see "all" of it as it is launched out of the shuttle at the end. But the pacing, lighting and heart-pounding tension of it all makes it one of the best horror films ever made.
1. The Thing (1982) - John Carpenter's remake of this film is one of my favorite films ever. Horror or otherwise. But since we are talking about horror here, I'm giving it a slight edge over Alien as the best monster movie I have ever seen. It works almost exactly the same as Alien, actually. A group of isolated people fighting off an almost unstoppable monster intent on destroying everything it encounters. There were political/economic messages a plenty in Alien, but The Thing didn't need any of that. Just a big scary monster that could look and talk exactly like your best friend. Borrowing a bit of the paranoia that made Invasion of the Body Snatchers so scary, this one took it to the next level. And Master of Horror Carpenter brought it all together with a chilling score and award-winning creature effects from Rob Bottin. This is a perfect horror film.
Honorable mention: 28 Days Later (2002) (not a zombie film, by the way), Freaks (1932), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Frankenstein (1931), and The Birds (1963).
What did I miss this time?