Top 100 Horror Flicks #80-71

#80 – GOTHIKA (2003)

Directed by Mathieu Kassovitz and Thom Oliphant
Genre:  Snuff, Mind Fuck
Last Year’s Rank:  72
Rating:  3 stars

The folks at Dark Castle Entertainment hit the scene in 1999 with House On Haunted Hill and continued making some pretty descent fright flicks with Thir13en Ghosts (2001), Ghost Ship (2002-#93), Gothika, and House Of Wax (2005).  This is one of their most effective releases, though, featuring Halle Berry as a psychologist who begins experiences blackouts and hallucinations at the same time that she’s accused of murdering her husband.  She’s committed to the psycho ward where she once worked and tries to prove that she’s not insane and uncover the truth behind her hallucinations.

#79 – CIGARETTE BURNS (2005)

Directed by John Carpenter
Genre:  Snuff
Last Year’s Rank:  71
Rating:  3 stars

A rich collector hires a man with a shady past named Dalibor to locate the only print of a notorious film that was shown only once and caused the audience to go homicidally insane.  Not for the squeamish.  A return to form for Carpenter.

#78 – THE MIST (2007)

Directed by Frank Darabont
Genre:  Monster
Last Year’s Rank: NEW
Rating:  3.5 stars

Based on the Stephen King novella, this is a pretty effective monster movie.  It explores a lot of the themes of 50s monster movies, like paranoia, isolation, religious extremism, and fear of the unknown (hmmm.  Sort of like today) and features some pretty cool monsters.  But the thing that puts this one over the top is the completely bleak ending.

#77 – SILVER BULLET(1985)

Directed by Daniel Attias
Genre:  Werewolf
Last Year’s Rank:  69
Rating:  3 stars

Corey Haim.  Gary Busey.  Two names that send shivers down the spine of moviegoers everywhere.  But put them in this adaptation of the novella, Cycle Of The Werewolf, by Stephen King and Bernie Wrightson and you come up with a surprisingly effective werewolf story.

#76 – KAIRO (PULSE) (2001)

Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Genre:  Ghost
Last Year’s Rank:  68
Rating:  4 stars
Remake:  Pulse (2006, D: Jim Sonzero)

J-Horror at its scariest.  Some things get lost in the translation, but if you pay careful attention, you’re treated to one of the scariest ghost stories since Ju-On.  You’ll never look at red duct tape the same.  A side note:  I didn’t bother to see the American remake based on the universally bad reviews.  I did notice that they used footage from the Japanese release in the trailer for the remake, which is always a bad sign.

#75 – FRAILTY (2001)

Directed by Bill Paxton
Genre:  Maniac
Last Year’s Rank:  67
Rating:  3 stars

Oh my God that is one seriously lame movie poster.  But I digress. . . .  This is a story that starts out horrifying and just gets more and more depraved as you go.  This is pretty much a documentary about life in the red states.  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre without the skin mask and cannibalism.

#74 – THE HOWLING (1981)

The Howling

Directed by Joe Dante
Genre:  Werewolf
Last Year’s Rank:  63
Rating:  3 stars
Sequels:  Howling II: Stirba – Werewolf Bitch (1985, D: P. Mora, 1 star)
Howling III (1987, D: P. Mora)
Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1988, D: J. Hough)
Howling V: The Rebirth (1989, D: N. Sundstrom)
Howling VI: The Freaks (1991, D: H. Perello)

I’ve only seen the first two movies in this long-running series.  The second one was a laughable joke that I won’t spend any more time on, but the first one was actually a pretty good werewolf movie.  A reporter travels to a small town to do a story and discovers that everyone in the town is a werewolf.  The effects were really good for its time.

#73 – SLEEPAWAY CAMP (1983)

Directed by Robert Hiltzik
Genre:  Slasher
Last Year’s Rank:  53
Rating:  3 stars
Sequels:  Sleepaway Camp II:  Unhappy Campers (1988, D: M. Simpson)
Sleepaway Camp III:  Teenage Wasteland (1989, D: M. Simpson)
Sleepaway Camp IV:  The Survivor (2002, D: J. Markovic)
Return To Sleepaway Camp (2006, D: R. Hiltzik)

A shining example of 80s horror and a movie that I’m ashamed to say I never saw until this year.  Judging from the box art on the video, it looked like a cheap Friday The 13th rip-off.  The kind of movie that just wasn’t worth it, since it focused more on sex than scares.  But it’s not.  This is truly a unique Friday The 13th rip-off.  It builds and builds to that final, horrifying scene, where the killer is finally revealed – in more ways than one.  Don’t dismiss this too quickly.  If you like 80s horror, this will definitely appeal to you.

#72 – THE RUINS (2008)

Directed by Carter Smith
Genre:  Nature, Curse
Last Year’s Rank: NEW
Rating:  3.5 stars

I went into this not expecting much.  I figured it would be pretty similar to The Descent.  I was wrong.  This was surprisingly good.  The performances were good, the effects were good, and the story was suspenseful and surprising.  The ending is a little predictable, but there are enough good twists and turns to keep it interesting and intense throughout.

#71 – URBAN LEGEND (1998)

Directed by Jamie Blanks
Genre:  Slasher
Last Year’s Rank:  65
Rating:  3 stars
Sequels:  Urban Legends:  Final Cut (2000, D: J. Ottman, 2.5 stars)
Urban Legends:  Bloody Mary (2005, D: M. Lambert)

I’m almost ashamed to admit that I like this movie.  I’m even more ashamed to admit that I liked the second one too.  Haven’t seen the third yet.  It’s just got a great premise.  Kids are being dispatched utilizing methods from popular urban legends.  It kind of descends into a typical dead teenager movie in the last act, but that doesn’t really hurt it.


5 thoughts on “Top 100 Horror Flicks #80-71

  1. John Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns inspired me to make an experimental short film. I studied different techniques of influencing the human mind and attempted to implement them into a story. Art can be presented in the form of a product, or it can be used as a tool to promote different products, people, and ideas. Art can be seen as a tool for manipulation of the mind, the same way a scalpel is a tool for manipulation of the flesh.

    You can watch my short film on YouTube:

    or in case you prefer Vimeo:

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