Wednesday 13 October 2010

Brad's Top Five Horror Movies

Zombie Flesh Eaters, 1979

A young woman receives a message from her father indicating that something strange has happened on the island he’s been working on. Teaming up with a journalist who’s obviously way too old to be a love interest (good casting, Lucio), she heads off to the island which, it transpires, is full of zombies. Eating flesh, as it happens.

This comes from a time when zombie movies weren’t stupid. There’s no ridiculous tongue-in-cheek humour, shitty make-up, running zombies, or explosions like you get with the crazy amount of zombie movies being released today. Zombie Flesh Eaters is grim, dark, necro, kvlt and brutal; the make-up is the best I’ve ever seen (for zombies, anyway), the violence is realistic, and the zombies move at the speed of treacle. I’d even rank this one above any of Romero’s works.

The director, Lucio Fulci, was a master of Giallo cinema, and certainly the master of zombie movies. The House by the Cemetery and The City of the Living Dead are other favourites of mine, but Zombie Flesh Eaters stands out for two other reasons.

The Eye-Gouging Sequence:

And the Zombie Vs Shark Sequence:

Stick that in your Event Horizon.

Trivia: As shown in trailers before the film was released, airline "barf bags" were handed out to theater moviegoers due to the unusually high amount of violence and gore for a horror film of that time.

The Exorcist, 1973

Banned for over schnufty-fufty years, The Exorcist is still one of the most powerful movies of all time. Every time you hear someone criticise the special effects in this, or hear them bleat on about how it was "all hype" and it’s a lame duck of a movie, pick up the nearest cast iron object and beat them around the head with it until they are dead. There is not a jury in the world that will convict you. Or at least there won’t be once my plan to rule the country (code-named Operation: Wolf) comes into effect.

The Exorcist isn’t about pea-soup or spinning heads. It’s about the nature of evil, and confronting your own darkness. Karras is a priest losing his faith, and has to confront this to be victorious. Father Merrin has to confront his fear of death. It’s about facing up to what you fear, and what you fear to become.

I first saw The Exorcist when it was screened on satellite TV for the first time following the lifting of the ban, and I thought it was awesome.

The “Director’s Cut” has just been released on Blu-ray, so watch out for our review of that very soon.

Saw can suck cocks in Hell.

Trivia: When originally released in the UK a number of town councils imposed a complete ban on the showing of the film. This led to the bizarre spectacle of "Exorcist Bus Trips" where enterprising travel companies organised buses to take groups to the nearest town where the film was showing.

Ju-On: The Grudge, 2002

Ju-On: The Grudge isn’t a good film. In fact, in most ways, it’s actually a really bad film. What it is, though, is the most shit-your-pants scary movie experience I’ve ever sat through.

A house in Japan is haunted, but the ghosts tend to start following the people who visit that house, rather than staying in one location. I think that’s the point anyway. I’d be lying if I said I’d ever really understood what the feck was going on here, but the visuals and (especially) the audio are fucking terrifying.

Anyway, none of this is important, as none of it makes sense whilst you’re watching it, anyway. Ju-On: The Grudge is a ghost train of a movie. It doesn’t need to make sense – it’s just a ride. The sequences and ambience throughout the movie are pant-shittingly terrifying. Watch this on your own at 1am like I did when I was twenty-one. I dare you.

Push that up your The Silence of the Lambs.

A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1984

The 1980s gave birth to many slasher movies and, contrary to what you might think, some of them are actually quite good. It’s the ones made in the nineties that are awful (with the exception of Scream, which is a great piece of satire). Fred Krueger is the most iconic horror creation since Dracula. What also helps establish A Nightmare on Elm Street as one of the best horror movies ever is that – unlike most slasher horror – it actually retains a supernatural element.

Whereas most slashers are nutcases/distressed mothers/nutcases/garden shear wielding alcoholic caretakers, Fred Kruger is a living nightmare, killing you in your dreams. Magic and monsters are very rare subjects in the slasher movie field...possibly because this one did it the best it could. After that, your best option is, oh, I don’t know...Brad Dourif as a killer doll, I guess.

Fred Krueger totally kills...ah, Dawn of the Dead is pretty awesome as well.

Trivia: In relation to the famous red and green sweater, in the script, the sweater was red and yellow (based on the colors worn by Plastic Man, who, like Freddy, could change his form; the idea was that whatever Freddy changed into would be yellow and red). However, when Craven read an article in Scientific American in 1982 that said the two most contrasting colors to the human retina were red and green, he decided to alter the colors.

Also, A Nightmare on Elm Street was the focus of
the first ever article published on E14. That counts for something, too.

The Evil Dead, 1981

I have seen The Evil Dead more than I have any other movie (including even Star Wars). If everyone has a movie that they loved throughout their teenage years and watched again and again and again, then this was mine (along with unsurprisingly Star Wars I & IV-VI, and (marginally more surprisingly) Life of Brian). It began my lifelong love for zombie movies, and is also that standard by which all low budget horror movies should be judged.

The Evil Dead is, simply, a textbook example of how you can make an awesome movie with literally no money. They don't make movies like this any more because they don't want to try. It's so much easier to put in some cheap CG and sell it to Brain Damage Films than it is to put in a little effort and make a good film.

There's zombies, gore, and Bruce Campbell. If that doesn't sound like a good film to you, then you suck.

Trivia: It turns out that one thing that Rob Wade and I agree on is that the best horror movies feature isolation, excellent gore work/effects, and the fear of not knowing who's going to become a monster next...


A sorority group's Christmas holiday plans are violently disturbed by a sadistic, obscene phone call that threatens to shatter the yuletide peace for good. Their fear is calmed by the local police who assure them there's nothing to worry about, but when the first body turns up, the depraved caller's threats soon become a horrifying reality. Slowly the girls are picked off one by one and a frantic search begins to find the killer before their white Christmas turns blood red.

As brutal in its violence as it is terrifying in its effect, Black Christmas is a true horror classic that left its mark on the genre for years to come, influencing such horror greats as Halloween and Scream. Now it is re-released for a new generation to once again experience the sheer terror of the original stalk-and-slash masterpiece.

Thanks to our friends at Metrodome, we've got three copies of Black Christmas on DVD to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name and full postal address to before midday on Wednesday 20th October. The first three names out of the electronic hat will win a copy each!

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