Top 100 Horror Flicks #30-21

#30 – CUBE (1997)

Directed by Vincenzo Natali
Genre:  Mind Fuck
Last Year’s Rank:  33
Rating:  4 stars
Sequels:  Cube 2:  Hypercube (2002, D: A. Sekula, 3 stars)
Cube Zero (2001, D: E. Barbarash, 2.5 stars)

I was a late comer to the Cube franchise, having only seen the movies in the past year.  But I was sold immediately.  The first (and best) film opens with a man waking up in a cell with no apparent windows or doors.  He soon discovers that he’s in a complex made up of numerous cubes, some with deadly traps and some safe.  It isn’t long before he meets up with other people trying to find a way out of the Cube.  No one knows why they’re there or how they got there or what the purpose of their being there is and not everybody is who they seem to be.  The sequels were kind of a let-down as they explored more of what the cubes are and why they exist.

#29 – THE FLY (1958)

Directed by Kurt Neumann
Genre:  Mutant Bug
Last Year’s Rank:  29
Rating:  5 stars
Sequels:  Return Of The Fly (1959, D: E. Bernds)
Curse Of The Fly (1965, D: D. Sharp)
Remake:  The Fly (1986, D: D. Cronenberg, 3.5 stars)
The Fly II (1989, D: C. Walas, 2.5 stars)

This movie freaked me out as a kid.  That final scene with the guy’s head on the fly’s body and Vincent Price’s terrifyingly humane decision on how to deal with it is truly one of the most chilling moments in horror history.  Cronenberg’s remake was good and gooey, but I just don’t think it even came close to matching the original in terms of real horror.

#28 – GIN GWAN (THE EYE) (2002)

Directed by Oxide Pang Chun and Danny Pang
Genre:  Ghost
Last Year’s Rank:  26
Rating:  4 stars
Sequel:  The Eye 2 (2004, D: O. Chun and D. Pang, 2.5 stars)
Remake: The Eye (2008, D: D. Moreau and X. Palud)

This movie is similar in concept to The Sixth Sense, but is so much scarier, you’ll think The Sixth Sense is actually part of the Scary Movie franchise.  A young woman undergoes a cornea transplant and begins to “see dead people”.  But these dead people might actually want to do her harm.  She must then find out who the donor of her new corneas was so that she can begin to figure out just what the hell is going on.   As for the remake, what the hell is wrong with Jessica Alba?  Can she really not act?  Was Dark Angel just a fluke?  I mean, don’t get me wrong, she’s hot.  But damn.  She really sucks.

#27 – CLOVERFIELD (2008)

Directed by Matt Reeves
Genre:  Monster/Disaster
Last Year’s Rank: NEW
Rating:  4 stars

Forget the cool trailers and the kind of annoying but effective viral marketing campaign.  Even with all that hype, the movie totally lived up to expectations.  It’s the kind of movie that Godzilla remake should have been.  Great monsters, suspense, some mild gore, some good jolts, and a bleak ending.  What more could you ask for?  I really hope they never make the sequel to this.  The more time that goes by, the more I think the ending makes any sequel unnecessary.

#26 – POLTERGEIST (1982)

Directed by Tobe Hooper
Genre:  Ghost
Last Year’s Rank:  30
Rating:  4 stars
Sequels:  Poltergeist 2 (1986, D: B. Gibson, 2.5 stars)
Poltergeist 3 (1988, D: G. Sherman, 2 stars)

The first movie is probably the scariest PG-rated movie I’ve ever seen.  Hooper (also director of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre) really does a great job with the ghosts and the Indian burial ground stuff.  And who can’t relate to that clown and tree?  The sequels were less than stellar.

#25 – DEAD SILENCE (2007)

Directed by James Wan
Genre:  Puppet
Last Year’s Rank: NEW
Rating:  3 stars

This has a pretty good back story and some nice scares.  It’s a tad on the predictable side, but it’s probably the best puppet movie out there.  And let’s face it, puppets are scary.  It’s a convoluted story of revenge and tongue ripping that ends with a decent, if slightly confusing, twist.

#24 – FINAL DESTINATION (2000)

Directed by James Wong
Genre:  Thriller
Last Year’s Rank:  11
Rating:  5 stars
Sequels:  Final Destination 2 (2003, D: D. Ellis, 3.5 stars)
Final Destination 3 (2006, D: J. Wong, 3.5 stars)

The Final Destination series is one of the most fun series in horror.  They’re not overly scary, true, and they’re not masochistic like Hostel or Wolf Creek, but they are solidly entertaining.  The original was created by Glen Morgan and James Wong to be an episode of The X-Files, one of the many series they wrote for.  When they left the show, they took the screenplay with them and expanded it to a feature length film.  The creative deaths, original idea, and sly references to other horror movies hit big.  The first movie is by far the best, though the second does have more elaborate and gorier deaths.  The third has, arguably, the least interesting initial premise, but the solid story and the building of the mythology created in the first two films make it pay off too.

#23 – THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974)

Directed by Tobe Hooper
Genre:  Mutant Human, Cannibal
Last Year’s Rank:  27
Rating:  5 stars

Sequels:  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986, D: T. Hooper)
Leatherface:  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990, D: J. Burr)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre:  The Next Generation (1994, D: K. Henkel)
Remake:  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2004, D: M. Nispel, 4 stars)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre:  The Beginning (2006, D: J. Liebesman)

As a kid growing up, I had a dresser with drawers lined with newspaper.  In that newspaper was an ad for this movie.  My young imagination went into overdrive with what sounded to me like the most horrifying thing imaginable.  But the thing that really got me going was the “Based On A True Story” tagline.  Years later I finally saw this on video and it was just as horrifying and disturbing as I’d imagined.  The sequels aren’t anywhere near watchable, but the remake is terrifying in it’s own right.

#22 – SESSION 9 (2001)

Directed by Brad Anderson
Genre:  Ghost
Last Year’s Rank:  32
Rating:  4 stars

I reviewed this in last year’s list, but I don’t think anybody has seen it yet.  What’s wrong with you?  This is one seriously creepy movie with enough genuine scares and suspense to shatter your spine.  A crew is hired to clean the asbestos out of an old abandoned mental institution.  Only it’s not entirely abandoned.  As layers of the story and characters are pulled back, a real sense of inevitably creeps over the movie until the final stunning twist.   Criminally underrated.

#21 – 28 DAYS LATER (2002)

Directed by Danny Boyle
Genre:  Zombie
Last Year’s Rank:  25
Rating:  4 stars
Sequel:  28 Weeks Later (2007, D: J. Fresnadillo, 3.5 stars)

There were quite a few admirable things about this movie, but its greatest contribution to the Zombie genre was that zombies no longer had to be these slow moving, easily avoided, uh, zombies.  These guys moved fast.  A breakout performance by Cillian Murphy didn’t hurt, nor did the stunning shots of empty London streets.  But the real horror wasn’t the zombies at all, as this movie proved once again that the scariest monsters on the planet are our fellow humans.

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