Oct 22, 2008

They're quite mad, you know

This post was delayed by bacon-infused bourbon, Cheech Marin and my first dance with the green fairy last night in NYC. That will all make sense at some point in the future when I decide to post about it.

Onward with our Monster Movie Week.

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 Maniac Films

Now I'm gonna piss off certain people here (Slyde) by leaving off one of the most iconic slasher films in history. Psycho. I know...I know. But I've seen Psycho about a half a dozen times and I never thought it was very scary. I'm also leaving out films like The Silence of the Lambs, as I consider those more thriller/drama vehicles even though they often feature horrific madmen. So you can take my list with a grain of salt, I guess.

5. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) - The acting was pretty wooden, even with the big-screen debut of Johnny Depp. But the premise, the bogeyman and the dream sequences that killed were just done so well by Wes Craven. It inspired a slew of sequels and some crossovers, but the original is still a damned scary ride.

4. Silent Night, Bloody Night (1974) - Here's an obscure one for you. A man inherits a mansion in a small town. He later finds out that the mansion was formerly an insane asylum while investigating some crimes from the town's past. There is one really long sepia-tinged flashback that shows the inmates killing the staff and escaping the hospital. I won't tell you the big twist, but it was pretty freaking creepy!

3. Malevolence (2004) - Another obscure (for some) one for ya. Slyde and I saw this one in the theaters a few years back with some local interest as the film was shot on location here on Long Island. It was classic throwback to the slasher films of yore, but without the bad acting, gratuitous nudity or cheesy dialogue. Just a straight-up scary flick about a killing spree. Check it out.

2. Friday the 13th (1980) - I almost left this one of the list with Psycho. I think I was influenced by the many sequels and the build-up of Jason as the indestructible killing machine. But this first flick was different. Jason was just a side note and there were tons of scary, bloody and innovative on-screen deaths. The "cha cha cha cha" soundtrack got under your skin as well. Plus I always enjoy it when Kevin Bacon gets murdered on-screen.

1. Halloween (1978) - Along with Freddy Krueger and Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers has become the iconic symbol of movie madmen thanks to this delicious offering from John Carpenter. I even liked most of the sequels. The score was just ridiculously easy and scary (it's the ring tone on my cell phone). As easy and scary as the plot. Madman kills sister, goes to insane asylum, escapes years later and returns home to kill again. They mucked it up a bit later on by adding unnecessary back story (druids?), but the original film didn't need it. It was perfect as it was. Still is.

UPDATE: Adam gave me one that I probably should have included here. The Devil's Rejects by Rob Zombie. The sequel to House of 1000 Corpses was toned down and smartened up. Instead of trying to create a new sub-genre he went back to the basics and made a film that turned into a scary, scary ride. I'd put this ahead of both Nightmare on Elm Street and Silent Night, Bloody Night on my list.

Is your favorite up there?


Slyde said...

decent list, except you are combining slasher movies, and maniac movies, which i would consider 2 slightly different genres.

that said, i would probably bump nightmare, halloween, and friday off of it (as much as i fucking LOVE f13th movies), and replace them with the likes of:

Dressed to Kill
Haut Tension

maybe even Wrong Turn

p.s. 10 pts for using malevelance.

p.p.s. ive had Halloween as my ringtone for about 6 years now. so there.

Dr Zibbs said...

Great list but I've never seen #4 or #3. I'll be watching them soon as I'm always looking for good horror films.

Anonymous said...

Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween!

I like a more recent maniac film called The Cell.. that movie gave me the heebie jeebies!


Avitable said...

I'd actually put the first Saw movie on that list, if that counts. The first one was very well done.

The newest Halloween film by Rob Zombie was a great movie, although it wasn't really Michael Myers by the time he was done with it. I'd also consider House of a Thousand Corpses and the Devil's Rejects, but I don't know if multiple maniacs count. I loved Freddy vs. Jason, too.

badgerdaddy said...

Oh come on Slyde, Creep was shite and would surely come under 'top 5 monster/other' films?

Nightmare on Elm Street is pure class. Disagree about the acting, I think it's bang on the money. The only bit that's rubbish is his long arms in one part in an alley. He looks like Mr Tickle.

One glaring omission - Black Christmas. Not as bloody as Halloween, but I think it's far better...

Anonymous said...

I keep learning about new movies I've got to see over here. Malevolence and Black Christmas are now on my to-see list. Even your comments area teaches me things. LOL.

J. Hi said...

You left 'Silver Bullet' off of the Werewolf list. When I think scary, I think Gary Busey.

Heff said...

The original 1978 Halloween. PERFECT.

Verdant Earl said...

Slyde - I consider them to be the same genre, but I can see your point. Haute Tension was good, but I can't see it beating out anything on this list. And you wouldn't include Halloween?!?! Are you mad?

Zibbs - I'd start with Malevolence. Dunno if you are gonna find the other on DVD.

Girly - I loved the visuals in The Cell, but I'm not sure where it would belong genre-wise. Great film, though.

Avitable - I almost included the first Saw film. Very well done. Hostel as well. And I should be shot for not including The Devil's Rejects. That one clearly belongs on my list. I may have to edit this. Hmmm.

Badger - I think the original Black Christmas was very well-done and a clear inspiration for Halloween. It just wasn't as good, in my opinion. It would make my Top 10, however.

Teeni - We are all here to help freak you out.

J.Hi - Heya! Yeah, I remembered it, but it came up a bit short for me. I was having issues with Stephen King at the time, so...

Verdant Earl said...

Heff - Totally agree. No on-screen violence, really and it still manages to scare the shit out of ya.

Bruce Johnson said...

I have never understood these films, but have come up with a theory. The reason they are popular is that boys like to take thier girlfriends to see them because the rush that comes from adrenaline in the female body from watching these films acts as a sort of afrodisiac on the female.

So the result....take your date to a slasher film.....SCORE afterwards. It is either that or you are just a bunch of real sick folks that like blood and gore.

Kaye Waller said...

You have to make a report about the Green Fairy. I'm so envious!

Verdant Earl said...

Bruce - I'm going with the sick folks theory.

Steph - We had it at a speakeasy-ish joint down in the East Village. Very, very interesting. I'll make a full report after I'm done with my Monster Movie Week. ;)

Seals said...

I've never seen any of these films. Just not much of a horror guy.

Seals said...

BTW, the only one I've seen on the other lists is "American Werewolf in London." Awesome flick.

Verdant Earl said...

ajooja - It's either an acquired taste or a genetic defect. I'm thinking the latter.

Brown said...

Nah, they're definitely the same genre. You gotta have loose bolts to go around slashing people. Same category.

However, if you want some scary movies you can't disregard the japanese flicks. Eerie as hell.

Anonymous said...


I am one sad puppy right now. Somebody please crate me.

Poppy said...

The Devil's Rejects is, hands down, my fav. It's the movie that made me purchase and love the song Freebird. :D

Verdant Earl said...

Mr. Poopie - you bring up a good point with the Japanese horror films. I have left all of them out thus far. I haven't been a huge fan of them, but a couple of them probably deserve to be mentioned.

WLC - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre just never did it for me, but Saw...the first one was fantastic. Could easily be mentioned here. Now, back in the crate!

Poppy - I can't believe I left it out. Two smacks on the ass for me.

pure evyl said...

Not even a mention of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre? WTF?

Verdant Earl said...

Evyl - yeah, I know. I'm an oddity. A horror buff who never really like that movie. I should give it another shot. Haven't seen it in quite a few years.

badgerdaddy said...

Do watch TCM again, it's well worth it. I used to hate it and wonder what the fuss was about... Then I had to watch it for work a few years ago and it knocked my socks off. The photography is genius, it really makes the film work; the sound is also very, very clever.

Faiqa said...

I'm really enjoying these lists. Next time I'm in Blockbuster, I won't have to wander around like an idiot looking for something to rent. Awesome.

Verdant Earl said...

badger - just put it on my NetFlix queue.

Faiqa - I'm sure they won't have some of the obscure ones, but they will have a lot of them.