Top 100 Horror Flicks #70-61

#70 – DEAD ALIVE (1992)

Directed by Peter Jackson
Genre:  Zombie|
Last Year’s Rank: NEW
Rating:  3 stars

Before Shaun Of The Dead there was another zombie-comedy.  Dead Alive is much, MUCH gorier than Shaun Of The Dead and the humor is a little more subdued.  But like I said, it does have some crazy gore effects and a couple of decent scares.

#69 – PEEPING TOM (1960)

Directed by Michael Powell
Genre:  Stalker
Last Year’s Rank:  101
Rating:  3.5 stars

This was released the same year as Psycho, a film this one is often compared to.  There are definite similarities, but this one, while compelling and suspenseful, just isn’t as frightening.  It’s got a great story and some great set pieces, though.  Don’t let the misleading title fool you.

#68 – HOSTEL (2006)

Directed by Eli Roth
Genre:  Thriller
Last Year’s Rank:  37
Rating:  3 stars
Sequel:  Hostel 2

I thoroughly enjoyed Roth’s first film, Cabin Fever and when I first heard about this movie, I couldn’t wait.  This one was compared to Takashi Miike’s films (which, if you’ve ever seen one, you’ll get why this was good news to a horror fanatic), and the buzz was that this was one disturbing flick.  For the most part, I agree, but there’s a lot more horrifying stuff out there.  This isn’t so much scary as gory.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  But if you’re looking for heart-pounding suspense, you might want to look elsewhere.

#67 – HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES (2003)

Directed by Rob Zombie
Genre:  Maniac
Last Year’s Rank:  64
Rating:  3.5 stars

This is a weird movie.  It’s sick and depraved, but it’s also funny.  Starring the always welcome on this list Karen Black, a family of freaks lures four teenagers to their doom.  This is sort of like Texas Chainsaw if Leatherface and the gang sat around making jokes while they tortured and killed their victims.  The last act is indescribable.  You have to see it for yourself.

#66 – CHILD’S PLAY (1988)

Directed by Tom Holland
Genre:  Slasher, Living Doll
Last Year’s Rank:  62
Rating:  3.5 stars
Sequels:  Child’s Play 2 (1990, D: J. Lafia, 3 stars)
Child’s Play 3 (1991, J. Bender, 2.5 stars)
Bride Of Chucky (1998, D: R. Yu)
Seed Of Chucky (2004, D: D. Mancini, 1.5 stars)

Combine the director and vampire from Fright Night, the mom from Seventh Heaven, and the voice of the guy from Exorcist III and you get a pretty effective living doll movie.  I’m sure you’ve all seen at least one of the Chucky movies, so you know the general idea.  Hollywood usually doesn’t put young kids in constant danger like they do here.  I guess they could get away with it since the killer looked like My Buddy.

#65 – SHALLOW GRAVE (1994)

Directed by Danny Boyle
Genre:  Thriller
Last Year’s Rank:  61
Rating:  4 stars

I don’t know if I’d really call this a full-on “horror” movie, but it definitely has some horror elements to it.  Three friends (including a young Ewan McGregor) rent out a room in their flat to a mysterious man with a suitcase.  The man dies and the friends discover a shitload of money in the suitcase.  I don’t want to give too much away because the real entertainment in this movie is the unexpected twists.  Suffice to say that you won’t be disappointed.  From the director of 28 Days Later.

#64 – EL ESPINAZO DEL DIABLO (THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE) (2001)

Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Genre:  Ghost
Last Year’s Rank:  59
Rating:  4 stars

This is a virtually flawless ghost story set in a Mexican orphanage.  The suspense is front and center with a literally ticking bomb right in the middle of the orphanage’s courtyard.  But the real horror comes from a building that is off limits – and houses a creepy, violent ghost that preys on vulnerable children.  Check this one out for sure.

#63 – SUSPIRIA (1977)

Directed by Dario Argento
Genre:  Slasher, witch
Last Year’s Rank:  58
Rating:  4 stars

This is a big, violent, bloody gothic horror tale set in a girl’s ballet school that also happens to be a meeting place for witches.  Argento shows why he’s Italy’s top horror director with freaky characters, buckets of bright red blood, and a musical score that heightens the horror like John Carpenter’s Halloween score or John Williams’ Jaws.  The death scenes are elaborate and brutal and the film itself is a memorizing feast for the eyes.  Plus, it’s got a cool title.

#62 – THE BIRDS (1963)

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Genre:  Thriller
Last Year’s Rank:  57
Rating:  4 stars

I could probably populate half this list with Hitchcock movies, but I’m going to try and restrain myself to only include his very best true horror films.  Everybody has seen The Birds, where the world’s birds go apeshit crazy for no apparent reason and begin attacking humans.  You wouldn’t think a film about birds would be all that scary, but when the mid-day sky goes black with hundreds of birds out to pluck out your eyes, they transform from annoyances to murderous predators.  From any other director, this might have come off as campy or ludicrous, but with Hitchcock, the results are chilling.

#61 – THE DEAD ZONE (1983)

Directed by David Cronenberg
Genre:  Psychic
Last Year’s Rank:  56
Rating:  4 stars

There are countless Stephen King adaptations out there (a few of which appear on this list), but this is a King adaptation directed by David Cronenberg and starring Christopher Walken.  You know this is going to be good.  Johnny Smith is involved in a horrible accident which leaves him in a coma for five years.  When he wakes up, the world has changed and so has he.  He can now see into the future by simply touching someone.  When he shakes hands with a candidate for president, he sees the future – World War III.  There’s only one way to stop this future from coming true and the results are tragic and frightening at the same time.

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