19.2.11

My Top 5 Scariest Scenes

                I have seen copious amounts of horror over the years, but I sat down recently and tried to come up with my top 5 scariest scenes.  Now what you need to really think about is how would you really feel, how would you really act in the position of these unsuspecting victims?  We know we're watching a horror film, but when you try to put yourself in the characters shoes it becomes different.  It's all about atmosphere.  Sit down in the dark, by yourself, throw on any of these movies and see if you don't get at least one good scare.

5) Hostel gives me the creeps just thinking about it, I don't care what anybody says- that movie is incredible.  Nearing the end when all is revealed, Paxton is brought to the factory where it all goes down (and we get a sweet Takashi Miike cameo: "Be careful- you could spend all your money in that place").  What ensues is some of the creepiest stuff I've ever seen.





4) Forever will The Shining frighten the life out of me.  Any scene in this film could be on the list really, but it's mainly the point where Jack snaps and is following Wendy around and up the stairs.  I once memorized that monologue that he does for a drama class.  It amazes me to watch Jack Nicholson act, and Shelley Duvall was perfectly terrified.  Another especially creepy moment is when the person dressed as the dog is giving a man on the bed a blowjob- weird.


3) The ice skating scene from Curtains.  The killer in this little known Canadian film is one of the scariest I've ever seen because of the mask.  It's like an old man with long, woman's hair.  Add that to the fact that the killer then skates after one of the victims and you've got a few really creepy moments leading up to a kill.


2) The mine scenes in My Bloody Valentine.  Breaking the lights as he stalks down the narrow mine hallways after his victims, coming out of the darkness in the tunnels.  The beginning scenes of Harry Warden being trapped in the mine and all that business, also creepy.  When they find him as the sole survivor, he almost looks like one of the zombies from Dawn of the Dead.


1) Leatherface's debut in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre- there is absolutely nothing scarier.  A huge maniac covered in human skin, wielding a chainsaw and screaming?  You tell me you've got the balls not to piss your pants after that and I'll show you a bullshitter.



18.2.11

The Last House on the Left = Realism

The Last House on the Left (1972) vs. The Last House on the Left (2009)
1972
Directed by Wes Craven

Written by Wes Craven & Ulla Isaksson (earlier screenplay)

Produced by Sean S. Cunningham
    Katherine D'Amato
    Steve Miner

Editing: Wes Craven

Original Music by David Alexander Hess

Cinematography: Victor Hurwitz

Starring: David Hess
      Sandra Peabody
      Lucy Grantham
      Fred J. Lincoln
      Marc Sheffler
      Richard Towers
      Cynthia Carr


2009
Directed by Dennis Iliadis

Written by Adam Alleca & Carl Ellsworth
Based on the screenplay by Wes Craven

Produced by Wes Craven
    Cody Zwieg
        Ray Haboush
    Sean S. Cunningham

Editing: Pete McNulty

Original Music by John Murphy

Casting:  Scout Masterson & Nancy Nayor

Starring: Tony Goldwyn
      Monica Potter
      Garret Dillahunt
      Aaron Paul
      Spencer Treat Clark
      Sara Paxton
      Riki Lindhome


In 1972, Wes Craven directed his gritty debut The Last House on the Left.  The tagline was "To avoid fainting keep repeating: it's only a movie, it's only a movie, it's only a movie...".  It was a brutal, vicious film about two girls on the way to a rock concert who end up getting abducted by a gang of escaped convicts, led by the incomparable David A. Hess as Krug Stillo.  The lesser known facts are that it's based on the 13th century Swedish ballad "Töres dotter i Wänge" on which Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring is also based.  An incredibly ambitious first project which landmarked Craven as a new and interesting face in horror.  There have been many things said about the film, that it's useless, it's sick and utterly depraved, but then in 2006 Rogue Pictures picked up the film rights for the remake slated being the first film produced by Craven's new production studio- Midnight Pictures.  He had limited funds in 1972 and now was interested to see what could be done with an ambitious director and more cash.  The new film was darker looking and even more realistic than the original, which many thought probably harder to do.  Both contain a rape scene which was criticized in the 70s and once again in 2009 after the film was finally released, if not more so in the remake.  Many things can be said about this film, but certainly that it isn't interesting can't be one of them.

The rape scene in the original 1972 version was nowhere near as graphic and extended as the remake, which is something I prefer; most new horror movies, or remakes of some classics, always have to go for that nastier version.  In the original, even the brutal scenes where they toy with the girls (including the rape scene) has a tinge of humour in it, along with David Hess' original music that adds the definitive 70s feel and some camp to the overall film.  Craven went for a more subdued feel, even though the movie is still a brutal, realistic trip into hell; in the remake, it seems mainly they were going for all shock value instead of emotionality.
David Hess plays a much creepier and ruthless criminal in the original than Garret Dillahunt, although the latter is especially ruthless in the humiliation of the girls and the eventual rape.  Hess is a more typical bad guy, in the sense that he really toys with the character of Mr. Colling in their big showdown; he taunts the father to pick up a weapon to help himself out and even the odds, and he even taunts his own son into killing himself when he pulls a gun on him.

The killing of Weasel is a lot better in the 1972 version than the death of Aaron Paul's character (although the manner of death is much cooler and more gory in the remake, of course).  Mrs. Collingwood comes on to Weasel and lures him outside for a little fellatio, then proceeds to bite off whatever she can fit in her mouth; when Monica Potter's character tries to seduce Aaron Paul, however, she does a very realistic job of portraying the emotions of her character because she is very nervous about being near one of the men who killed her daughter, whereas Mrs. Collingwood in the original acted as if nothing had happened and it almost seemed too easy.
The ending in the original 1972 version is a lot better than the remake, mainly due to the fact that we see (most likely) there will be consequences to the parents actions for their revenge, when the sheriff shows up just as the last of the gang is being killed.  As much as we can relate to the parents and say we would kill the ones who hurt our loved ones, there is still the fact that in reality there would be payment due for their vengeful actions.  In the remake, we just get one last throttle as Krug's head is placed in a microwave to be blown to bits by the parents. 

It seems in the remake we get more of a clear understanding on the part of the parents that their daughter was killed by Krug and his gang; apart from the shot of the necklace on Krug Junior, there's not a whole lot of evidence that the gang was responsible, where in the remake we also get a good scene where the son notices a picture of Mary on the fridge and goes white as a ghost with Mrs. Collingwood looking on.  Of course, we know what the necklace means and especially once they discover their daughter in the woods, but it just seems that Craven sort of jumped right in without caring about any fortified proof on the parents behalf- not a major plothole, but just a small one that I noticed upon rewatching the original version.  Then again- maybe I missed something?

One big improvement, which is also very obvious, is that the look of the film is newer and it's very well shot.  As much as I love movies from the 60s and 70s, a lot of older films sometimes do not stand the test of time with a lot of audiences mainly due to the fact that it looks so old and the grainy filmstock creates this vintage look that a lot of people are put off by (which I have personally heard a lot of people from my generation say).  If nothing else, the more slick look of the remake has drawn an audience that normally would never have heard about this film- hopefully a lot of those people who enjoyed the remake might have decided to go and have a look back at the original.  As much as I wish Hollywood would concentrate more on original screenplays and new ideas, one good function of the remake is that a lot of times it draws more of an audience towards the original films and gets people into some classic, older cinema.
Another advantage that a remake in our time has is that the sleeker look (most) films have today can enhance the dirty, nasty feel and look of a film.  The gang looks greasier, nastier in this version, the blood looks better and it looks disgusting- all this is possible because of the technology nowadays, so it doesn't fully take away from the gritty feel of the original, it just gives the grit a different taste in our mouths.

In closing, I have to say that there is merit in the rape and revenge theme of The Last House on the Left because it's realism; life is ugly, ugly things happen to good people some times.  I do agree with certain critics that the remake, the rape scene mainly, is almost too realistic for people to handle.  Some times less is more, and I think Wes Craven as a director understood that best when pertaining to the difficult issue of the rape when filming the original.  Of course it was still over the top, it was still ruthless and disturbing yet it still was subtle at points where it really needed to be.  We want to see the revenge but to see it we also have to experience the incident that triggered, and therein lies the difficulty.  We're there to see the horror aspects, people want to see the death and destruction that a horror film usually brings.  An exploitation film such as The Last House on the Left gives us that but also tries to bring us right into the real world by involving the rape.  The film, both versions, is a very difficult and realistic look at a terribly ugly part of human life and art usually does imitate life.  We want to see all of the beauty but we are so afraid to look at the pain.

11.2.11

Censorship & Horror

                Why is it that Billy Bob Thornton & Halle Berry can have nasty sex on camera for several minutes yet horror filmmakers are forced to pick and poke at their films only to remove sometimes just seconds of footage to obtain a suitable rating?  There is an odd grey area in which it seems people morally stand when watching things on film.  We see news of assassinations in other countries on the television and even JFK's death gets watched regularly as the internet becomes a greater influence on news media.  When watching movies, most times stories that are fictional, people seem to feel that there is a greater need to subdue the material that's being presented; granted, I can acknowledge that horror films are for the most far more graphic and disturbing than the news but the fact is that it's still fiction.  When teens get pregnant and have abortions you never hear people protesting about sex in movies, yet any time a teenager kills someone or a school shooting happens you can almost bet money on the fact that specific movies will be referenced (the taglines might as well be quoted).  When did we draw a line in the sane deciding it's okay to show sex but violence which we already hear about every day on the news is a big no-no?  When most recent statistics show teen pregnancy births in the USA at 494, 357 (for 2009) while murders in the country amounted to 16,204 in the same year, how can anyone viably argue that violence is what's influencing young minds the most?  All questions and no answers.  It's said that the media in all it's forms affects our youths the most yet in the statistics we clearly see where the problem lies - 16, 204 homicides is a terrible figure, proving itself to be menial when compared to teenage pregnancy births which is near 30 times higher.  Murder is horrid and inexcusable, but what about the irresponsible creation of life?  Putting more people on the planet than can be manageable in a roundabout way requires more people to die- for balance.  When critics argue that horror movies poison the minds of our youth (and the population in general), I just feel that Jason's mother had it right- the ones who are drinking and fucking go first.


       We can blame some of it on the fact that the ratings system didn't really kick into full gear until the mid to late 80s, but there are some films that should have been rated right alongside a lot of horrors.  Gremlins & Raiders of the Lost Ark both helped Spielberg (who produced and directed respectively) give birth to the PG-13 rating due to some scenes that definitely classify as full on horror.  Beetlejuice managed a PG even though he was a horny pervert who even uses the word "fuck" at one point in the uncut version, and also grabs his balls.  Even Jaws only got a PG stamp originally- one of the defining horror movies of the 1970s, a classic and the birth of the true summer blockbuster.  The Graduate, in particular I would like to mention, only received a PG rating.  So, we don't want children watching an R movie about a man who isn't real that comes in your dreams and kills you, yet it's fine if they see a much older married woman committing adultery by seducing a much younger college kid into an affair?  Believe me, I think it should ALL be allowed, under discretion- but why promote one and shun the other?  Expose people to all or none of it, there should be no distinction between the two.  On the subject of moral standing, don't they both seem to be amoral?  Justifying one is justifying the other.



       Times change it seems for most genres but some things just stay the same.  Midnight Cowboy received the dreaded X rating although still winning Best Picture and 32 years later the previously mentioned Monster's Ball only got an R, winning Halle her Oscar.  Even though the ratings loosened a little, both pictures garnered Academy Awards.  Where are the Best Foreign Film awards, even nominations, for Dario Argento?  Why didn't Hitchcock win for Psycho?  Midnight Cowboy, a film which I own and love, is an exceptional production and deserved an Oscar nod but is it a film that deserved an Academy Award for Best Picture in the same world where Psycho did not win Alfred Hitchcock an Oscar for Best Director?  It boggles my mind how a piece of work can be ignored solely due to the subject matter being that of horror.  The Academy does not want a slasher to hold the gold.  Now if your killer is a racist on Death Row- Oscar bait.  If your film is about the Holocaust or another genocide, the Academy wants YOU.  Did you play a role where you are beaten, raped and later murdered in a story about love against all odds?  Start writing your Oscar speech.  Where do we draw the line?  Apparently sex is fine, even taboo stuff sometimes, as long as nobody gets killed- wait... people can get killed, but it has to be fashionable and make it sexy.  It can't be too real, we wouldn't want to get too close to reality.  As long as it looks less threatening, as long as there's some humanity in it- oh, like the humane scene in which Hilary Swank is brutally beaten and raped in the backseat of a car by two men?  The role she won her first Oscar for.  Good thing that rape isn't traumatizing like those nasty horror films...

       Funny thing is nowadays it's like the sex is getting more violent, but regular violence is still pushed back to the darkest corners of cinema.  It seems every second new "torture porn" or remake of a classic features a tediously long rape scene, single handedly proving that sex is predominate over all other appeals.  Sure, people love to see a bunch of teens running around in the woods getting killed one by one- but they also love to see a good rape.  It's disturbing.  You can say the same thing that wanting to see murder on screen is sick and twisted but even if it seems funny to have such an ethical code when it comes to killing versus sexual assault, don't you think that enjoy watching rape is a little creepier?  Sexual violence is a whole different form of depravity.  There can be some of that in horror but that's when the genre becomes weak, the reason why the "torture porn" generation of films coming out as of late is a plague on the horror genre as a whole.  Sexual violence becomes the main focus of these films and sucks life out of the story; rape and sexual assault is emotionally exhausting because it's not a natural part of life as much as people can argue for the case of instinct, whereas death is more natural (even if it is at the hands of some maniac killer but you get what I'm saying).

       I understand fully that a nipple or a vagina is nowhere near being as disturbing as a decapitation, a chopped off hand or a mutilated penis; you'd have to be a serial killer to actually think that way.  What I am saying is this: it's all fake, it's art.  Too long have we assumed that death isn't in art, but then how do you explain someone like Francis Bacon?  The grotesque and weird paintings he created are straight from something of horror.  One of the paintings that inspired him greatly was The Massacre of the Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens which depicts a Biblical mass murder when Herod ordered to have all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity that were two years old and younger killed.  Salvador Dali influenced generations of artists of every kind, and also made one of the strangest films of all-time: a sixteen minute short film, a dreamlike movie with no real plot and also some creepy eyeball mutilation.  So why is it that a slasher film couldn't be considered art?  I'm not saying that some of these terrible, low budget slasher movies should be looked at like a work of art, but I'm wondering why can't it be like that?  If I made a serious and well scripted slasher film, why couldn't that be considered to be a masterpiece just as much as a work of drama or a thriller, or any other genre?  People watch shows about crime scene forensics and programs about real, violent crimes because of a morbid fascination with death and murder.  Truly, it's the fascinating concept of evil that intrigues us all.  Yet people are so afraid of such obvious works of fiction.  We want to see documentaries and shows about real life crime stories of murder, rape, terror, but we're so afraid of the fictional boogeyman.  This proves that the general sheeplike public is afraid of what we ALL have inside us: imagination.  And maybe that's why they're so afraid.

       *Statistic shown on teenage pregnancy births and homicides in USA for 2009 all available on NationMaster.com*

8.2.11

Classic & Modern Horror: Distinction

                Horror films need to be divided into two large categories: classic and modern.  Now within those two categories there are plenty of sub-genres, but to me there is a distinct moment in movie history where modern horror broke through the classic mould and created a land of opportunity for new, thirsty filmmakers, young and old.  
One of the two moments I'm talking about was in 1968, when George A. Romero made the modern horror masterpiece Night of the Living Dead; no longer were filmmakers and writers confined to classic horror monsters and killers such as Frankenstein, Dracula, the mummy, the wolfman, or a plethora of giant monsters and alien life forms.  Now, there was a new threat in the horror world, a threat of infection, madness, and consumption of HUMAN FLESH!  Romero singlehandedly ushered in a new era of horror that has inspired new artists in the genre right to the present day.  He also created a unique form of social commentary with the zombie film, where he could push civil rights with a strong, black protagonist (also poking at racist America with the shocking ending of the movie), and take shots at consumerism in the United States with Dawn of the Dead, using the shopping mall as a perfect setting.  
The second moment in movie history I'm talking about, although technically this one came before the first I mentioned (nobody said I'm going chronological here), is Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.  Hitchcock did something similar in the sense that he took the concept of the psychopathic killer and turned it on it's head by relying heavily on psychological theories (the ending is a testament to this as the psychologist explains what Norman Bates went through to end up so disturbed); Norman Bates opened the door for many new slasher films and personalities, a door to a more complex, innovative horror film.  
Indeed, Alfred Hitchcock & George A. Romero had both created something innovative & unique in their films and this is why I feel that classic & modern horror films are now distinguishable when it comes to their subject matter.  

An example of distinction between a classic horror film and a modern one is The Night of the Hunter.  Now most likely a lot of people would put this in the category of a thriller or maybe even film noir, but I consider it to be a classic horror film because Robert Mitchum's character was a killer, and he was a terrorizer of children as well.  This is an example of a classic because there is no blood, there's no 'jump out at you with scary music just for the sake of scaring you', there's no sex and debauchery- it's all built on suspense and tension, the unease that Mitchum creates with his psychotic character.  So you take this classic film and you then look at a modern horror, such as The Stepfather, which also plays on a lot of the same themes excluding money (which does lean The Night of the Hunter towards film noir).  This film is a more modern horror because it plays on sexuality at times, it has more graphic violence, it has blood.  The main character is a lot like Mitchum's, in the sense that they're both very disturbed individuals, but the fact that The Night of the Hunter was made in the 50's also comes with restrictions due to the public opinion on sex & violence in the movies.  We see a lot of similarities between two movies such as these, even when they are 30 years in the difference, but we also can distinctly see what classifies each as it does; such is the case with a lot of films after Hitchcock and Romero forever stamped their signature on the genre.  
The older of the two relies heavily on the religious fanaticism of Robert Mitchum's character, whereas The Stephfather had a psychologically disturbed man searching for the perfect all-American family and was ready to kill if that wasn't what he got.  The two differ also distinctly in the fact that at the end of the latter, Terry O'Quinn's character was seemingly killed off; at the end of The Night of the Hunter, Robert Mitchum was merely caught and put in jail by the police.  One obvious and significant difference between classic & modern horror films is that a classic film usually relies totally on atmosphere and the script.  In modern horror films, it's not that the scripts always suffer as a rule or anything but it seems that a lot of filmmakers use other factors to create the horror of a picture nowadays.  After Hitchcock and Romero both redefined what a horror film could be, people took different things from what they had done to create their own stories.  Some people used the psychological factors from Hitchcock's perfect film about Norman Bates to create endless new slashers with disturbing problems behind their killing sprees.  Others took to the 'shock' factor that came along with Romero and his zombies, the infections, viruses, the outbreaks of consuming disease that rendered human beings into hideously deformed cannibals.  What they all took from it was this: more gore.  The classics never relied on it because it wasn't really something that any films had jumped into, but with the notorious shower scene in Psycho along with the brain & gut eating crazies in Romero's magnum opus later in the decade, modern horror filmmakers found they could use blood a little (or a lot) to make the atmosphere even darker.  


  The increase of blood and guts in modern horror films opened up a new door- a door which didn't always lead in the right direction.  It's not like there weren't bad films before the change in horror cinema, but there's certainly a lot more potential for cheesy and terrible movies now that gore is so prominent.  Herschell Gordon Lewis is the name that comes to mind when I think of bloody movies that are effective; not all of his films were great but his incredible Two Thousand Maniacs in 1964 in particular is one of the best gore films.  Others have tried to do what he has done, some have succeeded but many stray so far into using the gore as a technique to further the horror in the film that they forget to use anything else.  Atmosphere and setting fall by the wayside when filmmakers focus too much on trying to shock the viewer visually, which has truly become clear over the last decade.  Hostel, which I feel is one of the best modern horrors in recent years, opened the door even further for more 'torture porn' (which I think the cannibal movies through the 70s & 80s as well as the Ilsa films really started) to shock and terrify viewers.  A few other films hit the mark such as Turistas, due to more innovative ideas, but most usually delve too deep into the blood and guts to tell a good story.  It can really damage a film if it's not used correctly, just like any other technique.  Filmmaking in any genre is a collective effort between many different aspects, a meshing of elements to create one united picture.  It's like the way an artist mixes together different paints on a palette to create that one unique colour and if you mix in too much of one colour it just overpowers the end result.

  There are many differences from looks, to production, to thematic elements and to the overall tone, between classic and modern horror films.  The divide between the times is clear in my mind, as I mentioned before.  Alfred Hitchcock forever defined what a horror movie slasher could be, as George A. Romero reinvented the movie monster in a way that nobody could ever dream of.  It only fits that the two people who've influenced me the most in my aspirations of filmmaking are the ones who changed the genre of which I'm a diehard fan.  I also mentioned a film by Eli Roth, who I think has the potential to be named among the previous two filmmakers (one of these days); Roth has a talent for creating unique characters and for innovative scriptwriting.  Film continues to evolve, and I hope the filmmakers themselves do as well.  I'd like to see someone twist the genre on it's head again soon because without that we'll see a longer trend of unimaginative movies about torture and remakes of rape revenge flicks.

Like it was 1980...




  Something happened in the 1980s, whether it be the after effects of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Wes Craven's twisted mind, or the mark of the slasher from both Black Christmas & Halloween, but whatever it was took a hold of the horror genre moving out of the 70s and into the next decade.  It was the new faces from the 70s that were beginning to bring more characters to life as well as they were building on old characters; newcomers also brought fresh faces to the screen and new ideas.  After what filmmakers in the 60s and 70s had done for the horror genre, the 1980s was a perfect time for it to bloom and become something bigger and better than it ever was.  Naturally, things progress but the films that came out during this decade I feel are the epitome of the genre and collaborated to make the 10 years from 1980 to 1989 the finest it has seen.

  Michael Myers saw more screen time in the eighties along with a new killer named Jason Voorhees (after his mother started hacking people to bits for him first).  We were introduced to another psychopath from the mind of another possible psychopath, Wes Craven: the child killer Freddy Krueger, who saw five installments of A Nightmare on Elm Street.  Kane Hodder and Robert Englund became household names, Bruce Campbell was a cult superstar, and everybody who was anybody that was into kinky sex knew who Pinhead was.  I can also tell you that Santa was never so scary as in Silent Night, Deadly Night.  
  We also saw Gremlins come to life as a classic horror comedy and creating one of the cutest little creatures puppeteering has ever had.  The Omen trilogy was complete with what I thought was a solid film starring Sam Neill as an older Damien.  Just Before Dawn brought a low-budget, tight grip survival horror film set in the back country starring Greg Henry as an atypical outdoorsman and The Howling became one of the better known werewolf movies in the genre.  George A. Romero also put out another zombie masterpiece like no other can, Day of the Dead, although City of the Living Dead and The Serpent and the Rainbow both were fresh additions to the genre especially the latter.  
  The Stepfather created a whole new paranoia for mom's new boyfriend the same way as Psycho did for roadside motels.  David Cronenberg gave us Videodrome, Dead Ringers, The Fly showcasing some fine acting by James Woods, Jeremy Irons & Jeff Goldblum respectively.  John Carpenter put a big stamp on the decade with several excellent films including my favourite of his, The Thing starring Kurt Russell.  Michael Mann made an incredibly wonderful film called The Keep, bringing his signature style of directing to the genre (and it had Nazis!).  We even got another good look at the life of Norman Bates in Psycho II, a fairly decent follow-up to Hitchcock's classic.
  Sleepaway Camp, not an overly innovative film, blew horror fans away with an incredibly shocking ending that had even the smartest viewers scratching their heads.  A film by John McNaughton touched deep with Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, a story loosely based on the life of Henry E. Lucas one of the most brutal and psychopathic serial killers in American history.  Rutger Hauer proved to always have what it takes to be different and a little weird playing a psychopathic, hitchhiking murderer in the nightmarish film The Hitcher.  Another twisted film involving Nazis was In a Glass Cage, the story of a murdering pedophile rendered paralytic and in the care of a young boy.  
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and Blue Velvet served different purposes but ended up serving one of the same: Dennis Hopper is the coolest crazy person ever.  Kathryn Bigelow redefined the vampire film with Near Dark, a film that reminds me of why Twilight is just so fucking uncool.  Lance Henriksen proves time after time that he is a MUST have in the genre (Pumpkinhead was badass!).  
Even a few surprises came out that created some pretty cool characters such as Clownhouse, Scarecrows, Child's Play (which spawned sequels that really didn't live up to the first), Combat Shock (I can't stand Troma but this one had some political aim), The House on Sorority Row, Visiting Hours, Pieces, Madman, The Prowler, The Burning & My Bloody Valentine.  
The Tobe Hooper directed, Stephen Spielberg penned Poltergeist left us with the everlasting image of a little girl communicating with an entity through the television.  
Barbara Hershey had what I consider to be her best role in The Entity, a devastating and haunting masterpiece.

Several decent entries based on stories by Stephen King were made and he also teamed up with George A. Romero for the anthology Creepshow.  Stanley Kubrick jumped into the genre with an adaptation of King's The Shining, a tour-de-force of a film that boasted the role of a lifetime from Jack Nicholson and a truly terrifying performance from Shelley Duvall.  Pet Sematary forever creeped me out with the scene involving the wife's sick sister from her childhood- every time I go into a basement, that's what I think of.
  The greatest director from Canada, James Cameron, gave us a sequel to Ridley Scott's amazing outerspace horror, Aliens.  And of course who can forget the incredible action horror film with the one and only Ah'nold and Jesse the Body, Predator one of my all-time favourites.  Possession gave us one of the most shocking horrors ever, another starring Sam Neill.  Cannibal Holocaust & Cannibal Ferox gave us two solid entries in the cannibal subgenre, as well as Joe D'Amato giving us a twisted cannibalistic killer in Anthropophagus (The Beast).
       Last but not least, I almost regrettably forgot to mention Lucio Fulci's terrific film The Beyond about a Louisiana hotel that's built over the entrance to Hell.

       I thank the 1980s as a diehard horror fan.  I thank that wonderful decade for it's redefining of the genre and the furthering of interest that came with it.  My movie collection will forever be filled mostly with films from this amazing decade.  A lot of the movies I've watched the most come from this list and I urge anybody who likes a good horror to check as many of them out as possible.  Granted, there are a varying tastes when it comes to this collection of films and of course you've got to go with your taste buds (if you want something crazy then go for Cannibal Holocaust or Possession but if you want something a little more tame but still psychotic then check out Sleepaway Camp, The Burning, The Prowler or My Bloody Valentine for a classic slasher).  All in all, the 1980s was a killer decade for murder on film and I hope that we'll see another one just like it soon enough.

*Note*: I'll be adding a full list of over 80 horror films from 1980 to 1989 shortly once I finish watching all films on that list- stay tuned!

































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