Personal Top 5 Horror Movies

This review commences my reviewing of my favourite movies, by genre. I am going to start with Horror as it is one of my favourite categories to watch. Since horror movies are wide-ranging, I am going to try to encompass some variants, like werewolves and vampires etc.

#5–Ginger Snaps–I love this movie for so many reasons! One, it’s Canadian!!! It was made on a shoe-string budget, which means it had to rely more on scares than flash. And for me, that always scares me more. I should also disclaim that werewolf movies really scare the crap out of me, thanks to the Thriller video by Michael Jackson that I should never have seen at the tender age of 3.

Ginger Snaps is set in the idealistic suburban community of Baily Downs. Where fitting in and being normal is expected, but feels more like a death sentence to sisters Brigitte and Ginger. The two sisters are social outcasts, obsessed with death and macabre. One night, on their way to play a prank on one of their bullies at school, they get attacked by the Beast of Baily Downs, are able to survive, only to realize that surviving means a fate worse than death for Ginger.

This movie was clever for many reasons, but the main one was the theme of lycanthropy as a metaphor for puberty. At first Ginger’s mother sees only what she wants to, her daughter shaving because she’s becoming a woman. Only Brigitte is smart enough to realize what is happening, and it ultimately tests the strong bond between the sisters.

#4–Jaws–Let me tell you, as a child, this movie made me afraid to swim in my own pool!!!!! Holy poop! I kid you NOT. This movie, made in 1975, broke a lot of rules and was ingenious for its day. It stars Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss and amazingly enough was directed by Steven Spielberg.

As with all horror movies, this one is set in the idealistic summer town of Amity. A town that relies heavily on summer traffic for its economy. It’s late spring and a few of the townies go swimming. Little do they know that some new wild life has moved into their swimming hole, and has a taste for humans! Sheriff Brody is brought in to investigate the strange deaths and is set in a race against time to save his town folk from this vicious shark, as well as his job and his community!

Now this movie has a deep love from me partly because it scares me to this day–murky waters and BAM!! shark attack WTF! SCREAMING!! UNGH!!!! Yes, that is enjoyable 🙂 But it’s also because of a certain scene near the end of the movie when the shark hunter Quint discusses his experience on the Indianapolis during WW2, where 1100 men go in the water and only 316 make it out due to shark attacks. It set a very real, very scary moment for the viewer. Overall, I found myself cheering for our heroes and terrified of the shark. I still re-watch it to this day.

#3–Halloween–Made the year of my birth, 1978, this movie is a lot like “Ginger Snaps” as it was made on a shoe-string budget and had to rely heavily on jumps and scares rather than gore and flashy death scenes. It was John Carpenter’s first horror movie to hit the big screen and was film more like an independent film, than a typical Hollywood film. It was his first collaboration with Deborah Hill and starred new-comer Jamie Lee Curtis!

Set in the idyllic town of Haddonfield, IL a little boy, Michael Myers, takes it upon himself to stab his sister Judith to death for no reason on Halloween. He gets caught and is institutionalized for 20 years. No one really knows how evil is, except for his doctor. Unfortunately for him and the town of Haddonfield, Micheal escapes his institution and heads back to terrorize the town, one baby-sitter at a time. Dr. Loomis must race to save the town and its people before the night is through!

This movie introduced a lot of the horror movie rules to live by and shaped a lot of fragile minds on what a horror movie truly is. It re-set the genre. It introduced the idea of having the killer in a mask. About using suspense and a story to drive the film. And lastly it introduced the idea that evil never dies and made Michael Myers almost impossible to kill. It had a great, suspenseful ending and left me wanting more!

#2–A Nightmare on Elm Street–This movie traumatized me as a child. I am not kidding. I will never, ever, ever, ever forget the first death scene in this movie. It stays with me to this day. Made in 1984, it was one of the movies that brought on the horror movie crazy of the 80’s. It stars mainly unknowns, but it was Johnny Depp’s first movie role! Just before he starred in “21 Jump Street”.

Obviously this movie is set in an idealistic town, where the local teenagers are being terrorized in their sleep. Someone is stalking them and it’s feeling more and more real. Little do they know that what happens in these dreams IS real and that a ghost from their parents past is out for revenge!! Nancy and her friends must figure out how to control their dreams, or else they are all dead!

The thing that really scared me about this film is that when you are asleep you are totally vulnerable. You need sleep to function in life, and without it you could die. So what happens if you are being stalked in your dreams and could die there too? Where all the rules are off, and the killer can do what he wants and manipulate the world around you to better kill you?? And he isn’t going to simply shoot you in the head, he’s going to torture you and make it last, cause he’s sadistic?? Yeah. Absolutely terrifying concept. And very well executed I must add. I own this film but it still scares me too much to re-watch it.

#1–Scream–this movie was an unexpected hit myself and audiences when it came out in 1996. It was fresh, it was terrifying, the killer was creepy as hell and you really did scream a lot during the movie! You had no idea what was coming because it was breaking all the classic horror movie rules! I lovelovelove this movie because it paid homage to the classics, like Halloween but at the same time was its own movie. You could tell from the dialogue that the movie loved and respected older horror movies and at the same time was able to be its own movie. That is a hard feet.

Scream, starring Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, Rose McGowen and David Arquette is set in a peaceful California town, where violence is rarely seen…until now. The township is rocked by a shocking murder and a masked murderer starts stalking the high school students, specifically Sidney Prescott. As more bodies pile up, it’s a race against time to figure who the killer is, before she gets the axe.

The dialogue is smart, fresh and funny. This movie has some pretty big scares, so the humour in this film is needed to help lighten the mood. I also like the fact that the movie is almost “self aware”, as the character Randy starts to realize they are stuck in a horror film and discusses the rules in which follow in order to survive. Near the end of the movie one of my favourite lines of his is “I have never been so glad to be a virgin!”.

Rules to Live by:

– don’t have sex–it’s a sin factor

– don’t drink or do drugs, it’s an extension of #1, sin sin sin!

– don’t go to investigate the strange noise, it’s the killer! NO it is NOT the cat the just ran around you!

– don’t say “I’ll be right back” cause if you do, you are dead!

– don’t run up the stairs, run out the door and call 911!!

– if the killer appears dead, don’t check! Just shoot it again to ensure he/she is dead.

**Honorable mentions: The Lost Boys. The Exorcist. Dawn of the Dead.**

What’s YOUR favourite scary movie?

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~ by xine23 on June 27, 2010.

4 Responses to “Personal Top 5 Horror Movies”

  1. WOW! This is very thorough!

  2. A good top 5, except for one (but I won’t say which one). 😉

    One rule you didn’t mention: don’t be the comic relief guy, because you’ll be a dead man very quickly and no-one will miss you.

    You can see my favourite horror movie list here, if you’re interested.
    http://blahmovies.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/in-defence-of-horror/

    • I like the fact that we like different movies in theory, but when reading your reviews, we are attracted to the same kind of films and approach them the same way. Fun!!!

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