Top 100 Horror Flicks #60-51

#60 – FRIGHT NIGHT (1985)

Directed by Tom Holland
Genre:  Vampire
Last Year’s Rank:  55
Rating: 3.5 stars
Sequel:  Fright Night Part 2 (1988, D: T. Lee Wallace, 2.5 stars)

Another great 80s horror movie, this time starring Roddy “The Primate” McDowell.  Charlie is your typical suburban teenager who grows more and more suspicious that his new neighbor Jerry is an actual real life vampire.  He takes his suspicions to Peter Vincent (Roddy), host of a local horror movie show called “Fright Night”.  Together they must battle the powerful vampire to save Charlie’s girlfriend and themselves.  The sequel picks up a few years later with Charlie in college and tracked down by Jerry’s vampire family for a little revenge.  

 

#59 – CABIN FEVER (2002)

Directed by Eli Roth
Genre:  Biological
Last Year’s Rank:  52
Rating:  3.5 stars

This starts out as your typical cabin-in-the-woods horror film, but takes an unexpected and gory turn when the teens get exposed to a deadly flesh eating disease.  This is just a fun 80s-style horror movie punctuated by some of the most disturbing imagery you’re likely to see in American cinema.  

 

#58 – DRACULA (1931)

Directed by Tod Browning
Genre:  Vampire
Last Year’s Rank:  51
Rating:  5 stars

Bela Legosi’s interpretation of Dracula is the one that we all grew up with and it’s still my favorite one to date.  The black and white film only adds to the gothic creepiness of Dracula’s castle.  It might not be as scary today as other films on this list, but 75 years later it’s still creepy and there are few characters in any medium as famous.

 

#57 – THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935)

Directed by James Whale
Genre:  Monster
Last Year’s Rank:  50
Rating:  5 stars

I know that I’m woefully neglecting the Universal Monsters.  I should be, and am, ashamed.  I’ll try to do better next time.  It’s tempting to fill a lot of the list with the old Universal horror features from the 30s and 40s, but I chose to pick the standout installments and this is near the top of the heap.  Poor Frankenstein’s monster can’t catch a break.  People fear him, he’s reborn as a grotesque monstrosity, and when the good doctor finally gets around to creating a playmate for him, she wants nothing to do with him. This truly is not just a great horror movie, but a great movie.

 

#56 – NIGHTBREED (1990)

Directed by Clive Barker
Genre:  Monster
Last Year’s Rank:  41
Rating:  4 stars

There are a few Clive Barker related movies on this list, which is no surprise to me.  He’s one of my favorite authors, although “horror” isn’t really a word I’d use to describe his books.  And, really, this isn’t a horror movie along the lines of Candyman or the Hellraiser series.  But it does have a scary monster at the center of things, played by David Cronenberg.  

 

#55 – WRONG TURN (2003)

Directed by Rob Schmidt
Genre:  Mutant Human
Last Year’s Rank:  48
Rating:  3.5 stars

I’m tempted to rate this one a lot higher, because I really do like this movie.  The problem is that it’s very similar to other Mutant Human movies we’ve seen (such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre).  This one rises above the material by some great action and horror set pieces and some pretty brutal killings.  

 

#54 – WOLF CREEK (2005)

Wolf Creek

Directed by Greg McLean
Genre:  Slasher
Last Year’s Rank:  11
Rating:  3.5 stars

This is one very scary movie.  It’s true that the first 45 minutes or so are fairly slow moving as we follow two girls and a guy on a road trip through the Australian Outback.  It’s unique in most horror movies to get so much character development, but it doesn’t really pay off when the shit hits the fan.  Not to say that Wolf Creek isn’t one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen, because it is.  Once it revs up, it’s relentless, disgusting, and suspenseful.  In fact, I tried to watch this one a couple weeks ago and had to turn it off at the “head on a stick” scene.  I couldn’t make it through!  Granted, I’m an easy target for horror movies, but it’s almost without precedent that I have to turn a movie off because I just can’t take it any more.  Definitely not for the faint of heart, but well worth it if you’re up for an edge-of-your-seat frightfest.

 

#53 – POPCORN (1991)

Directed by Mark Herrier
Genre:  Slasher
Last Year’s Rank:  NEW
Rating:  3.5 stars

A slightly better-than-average slasher movie where the killer uses the gimmick of offing people using the gimmicks of old 1950s B-movies (such as a giant mosquito from a 3-D movie, electricution from a film where the audience’s seats are rigged to give them minor jolts, and gas from the film The Stench in glorious Aroma-Rama).  This movie predates Scream by five years, but includes many of the self-referential in-jokes that would become Scream‘s hallmark.  Worth checking out, even though the only copy I could get was a full screen transfer that left a little to be desired.

 

#52 – THE OTHERS (2001)

Directed by Alejandro Amenabar
Genre:  Ghost
Last Year’s Rank:  47
Rating:  4 stars

The story keeps you guessing about what’s really going on, but at the heart, this is just a really effective ghost story with some genuine creepy stuff going on.  It’s almost impossible to discuss the plot without giving away key information, so I’m not going to.

 

#51 – SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004)

Directed by Edgar Wright
Genre:  Zombie
Last Year’s Rank:  NEW
Rating:  4 stars

Horror and comedy have been combined numerous times.  Sometimes it works out, most of the time it does not.  Usually, when it does work, the horror takes a back seat to the comedy.  In Shaun Of The Dead, the horror is front and center, and actually packs some good scares and gore.  And the comedy is, well, actually funny.

 

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