Top 100 Horror Flicks #90-81

#90 – TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1995)

Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson and Gilbert Adler
Genre:  Devil
Last Year’s Rank:  82
Rating:  2.5 stars
Sequels:  Bordello Of Blood (1996, D: G. Adler, 2.5 stars)
               Ritual (2001, D: A. Nesher, 2.5 stars)

Tales From The Crypt was a great series that ran on HBO in the 90s, adapting stories from William Gaines’ various 50’s horror comics, before the Comics Code Authority basically ran his EC Comics out of business.  The stories still hold up today.  These three films aren’t based on any actual comics; they’re more in the same vein as the comics.  They’re more fun than scary, but there are scares.  

 

#89 – EL BARON DEL TERROR (THE BRAINIAC) (1962)

Directed by Chano Urueta
Genre:  Monster
Last Year’s Rank:  81
Rating:  3 stars
Remake: The Brainiac (2004, Terry Michael King) 

Very few people have seen this and it’s damn near impossible to find (though you can occasionally find it on eBay).  I first saw this in 1985 during the Commander USA show, a show on the USA network the ran B movies from the 50s (mostly) every Saturday.  I immediately loved this movie.  It’s weird and cheap, but the story is actually pretty good.  Worth tracking down.

 

#88 – THE DESCENT (2005)

Directed by Neil Marshall
Genre:  Monster
Last Year’s Rank:  NEW
Rating:  3.5 stars

I’m a little torn on this one.  I didn’t find it particularly scary, but lots of people did.  The whole cave thing just doesn’t really do it for me (though the cave stuff in Turistas was pretty intense).  That said, there’s some good gore, some relatively decent characters, and an adequate plot.  

 

#87 – STIR OF ECHOES (1999)

Directed by David Koepp
Genre:  Ghost
Last Year’s Rank:  78
Rating:  3 stars
Sequel: Stir Of Echoes: The Homecoming (2007, Ernie Barbarash, 1.5 stars) 

This is a pretty effective little thriller about a man (Kevin Bacon) who is hypnotized at a party and, under hypnosis, told to “keep an open mind”.  That night he begins seeing weird and scary shit as the dead start appearing to him.  Like the Sixth Sense, only without the contrived ending.

 

#86 – WAXWORK (1988)

Directed by Anthony Hickox
Genre:  Wax
Last Year’s Rank:  77
Rating:  3.5 stars
Sequels:  Waxwork 2:  Lost In Time (1992, Hickox, 2 stars)

Review:  Ahh, good old 80s horror.  Mark and a group of his friends are invited to the opening of a wax museum featuring displays of the most villainous men of all time.  Little do Mark and his friends know that they are to be featured in the display as the figures come to life and recommit the crimes that made them famous.  I watched this one recently and it holds up!  Not only that, but the de Sade scene with Deborah Foreman is mind blowing.

 

#85 – DOG SOLDIERS (2002)

Directed by Neil Marshall
Genre:  Werewolf
Last Year’s Rank:  76
Rating:  3 stars

This is a pretty good little story.  A British military unit “stumbles” onto a village of werewolves.  It becomes a story of man and his weapons against werewolves.  Except the werewolves have some tactics of their own.  Much better than it looks on paper.  This is sort of like Platoon meets The Howling.

 

#84 – THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE (2005)

Directed by Scott Derrickson
Genre:  Devil
Last Year’s Rank:  75
Rating:  3.5 stars

I had pretty low expectations for this one, since it was a dreaded PG-13 horror movie that took place mostly in a courtroom.  But I was pleasantly surprised that it actually packed in a fair amount of real scares.  This is supposedly based on a true story where a young girl is possessed by demons.  When she dies during the exorcism, the priest is charged with murder.  The case boils down to an argument of science vs. religion.  It’s like a religious philosophy class taught by Max Von Sydow. 

 

#83 – TRILOGY OF TERROR (1975)

Directed by Dan Curtis
Genre:  Devil, Living Doll
Last Year’s Rank:  74
Rating:  3.5 stars
Sequels:  Trilogy Of Terror II (1996, D: D. Curtis, 3 stars)

This is a tv movie made up of three separate stories, all starring Karen Black.  I’m sold already.  Not only that, but it’s directed by the same guy who created Kolchak, Dark Shadows, and a bunch of other tv shows that you’ve seen.  The real standout here is the last story, about an African Zuni warrior doll that comes to life and tries to kill her in her apartment.  The sequel featured Lysette Anthony in three different stories, the last one being a direct sequel to the African Zuni doll, picking up right where the first one left off.

 

 

#82 – EL ORFANATO (THE ORPHANAGE) (2007)

 

Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona
Genre:  Ghost
Last Year’s Rank:  NEW
Rating:  3 stars

This bears a striking resemblence to two other, better movies.  The first is Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone and the second is Alejandro Amenabar’s The Others.  There is some very creepy stuff here, but the success of this film really hinges on how you feel about the ending.  I wasn’t a fan, but many people were.  There are enough scares to make it worth checking out, but not quite enough to make it a must-see.

 

#81 – THE STRANGERS

Directed by Bryan Bertino
Genre:  Slasher
Last Year’s Rank:  NEW
Rating:  3 stars

When I first saw the trailer for this, I was seriously spooked.  It’s such a well-put-together trailer, it really compels you to see the movie.  But, I gotta admit, I was disappointed with the movie.  The characters do the stupidest things imaginable at every turn.  It kind of takes you out of the movie and limits the horror.  Still, it’s a nice, bleak effort and worth a look.

 

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