Saturday, March 6, 2010

Top 50 Favorite Horror/Scifi/Fantasy Movies

I have reached 50 followers now, and this site is growing like crazy. I love everything that is going on, and I just hope I can continue to feed you baby birds. So I decided to create a list of my top 50 favorite movies of this genre. There are multiple problems to this situations. The first, I created a list of 100 movies I love, and then narrowed it down to 50. I should have left it at 100. I had to leave out so many amazing movies. Second, I didn't really gauge the list on the films themselves necessarily. Some on the list are movies that just had an impact on me at some point in time. Most of the movies that are in a series, I just left them in the series, and viewed it as a whole. I really hope everyone enjoys my list, and feel free to tell me your thoughts. I am always up for a discussion.



50. American Psycho (2000) Dir. by Mary Harron

A wealthy New York investment banking executive hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he escalates deeper into his illogical, gratuitous fantasies.

This one had to make my list. I have bought this movie three times now on DVD. If something happens to one copy, I get another. This movie is so brilliantly made, that I could watch it over and over again. The story by Bret Easton Ellis is absolutely amazing and extremely entertaining.



49. Pitch Black (2000) Dir. by David Twohy

A transport ship containing 40 passengers heading to other worlds for, among other reasons, settling, New Mecca, and for one passenger, Riddick, another cell. The ship encounters a tiny meteor storm and crash lands on a barren planet with only 1/4 of its complement surviving. Survival is tough with Riddick on the loose and no water in sight. However, come nightfall, they have even more to fear... Written by Jeff Mellinger {jmell@uclink4.berkeley.edu}

Pitch Black is the the ultimate science fiction movie. It has everything you could ever want out of scifi movie, including Radha Mitchell. It was so amazingly filmed on such a low budget. It was back when Vin Diesel was still a bad ass, and not a pawn. Twohy is so brilliant in his writing, almost everything he does. I don't put the sequel because I didn't care for it as much. Original story, and awesome action, make for a superb movie.



48. Razorback (1984) Dir. by Russell Mulcahy

A wild, vicious pig terrorizes the Australian outback. The first victim is a small child who is killed. The child's granddad is brought to trial for killing the child but acquitted. The next victim is an American TV-journalist. Her husband Carl gets there and starts to search for the truth. The local inhabitants won't really help him, but he is joined by a hunter and a female farmer to find the beast. Written by Mattias Thuresson {mattias.thuresson@mbox300.swipnet.se}

If you really want to know how I feel about Razorback, read my recent review. I have always loved this movie. The way it is filmed sets it apart from other large creature movies of the 80's. Mulcahy doesn't always get the credit he is deserved. Saw this movie first on TNT Monstervision.



47. Dracula (1931) Dir. by Tod Browning

The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina.

Still not my favorite vampire movie, but it is Bela Lugosi. He is the utility player of Universal monster movies. The guy is amazing, plus this one really helped paint vampires as not just mindless creatures.



46. Zombi 2 (1979) Dir. by Lucio Fulci

Strangers looking for a woman's father arrive at a tropical island where a doctor desperately searches for the cause and cure of a recent epidemic of the undead.

Lucio Fulci is an amazing Director. He has such a unique way of filming zombies, and it tends to add a lot of tension to his films. Then there is the popular Shark vs. Zombie battle. Who the hell thinks of that? One of my favorite moments in zombie history.



45. The Shining (1980) Dir. by Stanley Kubrick

A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.

I'm a huge Stephen King fan, and The Shining is one of the best King adaptions that have been on the big screen. What do you expect with Kubrick though? Great acting, desolate location, and a great script, not to mention the kid himself is a little creepy looking.



44. Puppet Master Series (89,91,93,99,2003,2004,2010) Various Directors

Puppet maker Andre Toulon shoots himself at the Bodega Bay Inn before his Secret of Life can be stolen by the Nazis. 50 years later in 1989 the secret is discovered by Neil Gallagher. Soon he sends messages to his psychic friends Alex Whitaker, Dana Hadley, Frank Forrester and Carissa Stamford who arrive to find his wife Megan who claims Neil to be dead. As the night goes by, the murderous puppets are awakened and unleashed on the group, only for them to discover that evil comes in all sizes. Written by Wallace Entertainment

And that's just how it all begins. I remember watching these movies on USA Channel late nights. These were some of the first horror movies I ever watched, and they are amazing.



43. The Last Man on Earth (1964) Dir. by Ubaldo Regona

Dr. Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) is the only survivor of a devastating world-wide plague due to a mysterious immunity he acquired to the bacterium while working in Central America years ago. He is all alone now...or so it seems. As night falls, plague victims begin to leave their graves, part of a hellish undead army that''s thirsting for blood...his! Written by Jeremy Lunt {durlinlunt@acadia.net}

It was either this or Omega Man, but personally I prefer this one. Mostly because it is Price and not Heston, and also I feel this one is a better portrayal of the story. This could have directly led to my love of apocalyptic movies.



42. House on Haunted Hill (1959) Dir. by William Castle

An eccentric millionaire, Fredrick Loren, who is throwing the "party" for his fourth wife, Annabelle, invites five people to a secluded mansion with the offer to spend one night in his house which is haunted, with the stipulation that the power will be out and all doors will be locked at midnight, allowing no accessible escape. Anyone who stays in the house for the entire night, given that they are still alive, will each receive $10,000.

This movie is so superior to the remake, and once again the Price is right. Vincent Price that is. While being scared when I was younger, this movie's comedic themes tend to shine through as I am now an adult. It hasn't lost its appeal though, and that solidifies it in my top 50.



41. The Hitcher (1986,2007) Dir. by Robert Harmon(86), Dave Meyers

A young man(or woman) who escaped the clutches of a murderous hitch-hiker is subsequently stalked, framed for the hitcher's crimes, and has his(her) life made into hell by the same man he(she) escaped.

I had to include both the original and the remake. I was pumped for the remake and it didn't let me down. I know it's not as good as the original, but should that stop me from enjoying it? If you ask me Sean Bean gives as strong of a performance as Rutger Hauer. It was the supporting cast that fell a bit short on the remake. I recommend both to everyone. The original is probably the more scary one, and the remake is more funny with action.



40. Critters Series (86,88,91,92) Dir. by Stephen Herek, Mick Garris
Kristine Peterson, Rupert Harvey

A Kansas farm is attacked by a hoard of hungry flesh-eating monsters from outer-space with razor sharp teeth and a witty attitude! The family who inhabit the farm must seek the help of a local drunk and his critter-fighting bounty hunting pals before its too late... Written by Joe Collins

I had to include this in my top 50. These movies scared the shit out of my when I was younger. Now days I find them more funny than scary, but entertaining none the less. Creatures created by the famous Chiodo Brothers Productions(Killer Klowns from Outer Space), are basically what makes these movies must owns. While the third one lacks a bit and is clearly the least favorite, the second one(directed by Mick Garris) makes up for in sheer genius. With great actors on board before they became famous(Billy Zane, Dee Wallace, Barry Corbin, Leonardo Dicaprio, Aimee Brooks, Angela Bassett, and Brad Dourif. Last but not least, Critters 4 might be responsible for starting the "lets take our failing series" in to space technique carried out by many film franchises today. Everyone should own these movies.



39. Children of the Corn (1984) Dir. by Fritz Kiersch

A young couple wander into a mid-western town where all the adults are apparently dead and the children participate in a cult that worships a malevolent force in the corn fields. Based on a Stephen King novella. Written by Keith Loh {loh@sfu.ca}

I know what you are thinking. There sure is some Stephen King on this list. Yes, he is my favorite author of all time, but his books are often turned into great movies. In this case a novella is at the core. This movie made me not want to have kids ever when I watched it in my late teens, and yet I only waited until I was 24, haha. Linda Hamilton and Courtney Gains(as Malachai) really make this a solid film, supported by a great cast of young children giving above normal performances. I haven't seen the made-for-tv remake yet though, but I will.



38. The Exorcist (1873) Dir. by William Friedkin

When a teenager is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.

This movie itself is flawless on a number of levels. One, having Max Von Sydow in it , haha. I'm not a deeply religious person by any means, but watching this movie still makes me want to sleep with a bible for a few nights afterwards. Don't give me that Jennifer Carpenter as Emily Rose is just as good as Linda Blair bullshit. We both know its not true.



37. Poltergeist (1982) Dir. by Tobe Hooper

While living an an average family house in a pleasant neighborhood, the youngest daughter of the Freeling family, Carol Anne, seems to be connecting with the supernatural through a dead channel on the television. It is not for long when the mysterious beings enter the house's walls. At first seeming like harmless ghosts, they play tricks and amuse the family, but they take a nasty turn- they horrify the family to death with angry trees and murderous dolls, and finally abduct Carol Anne into her bedroom closet, which seems like the entrance to the other side. Written by Thomas O'Rourke

Tobe Hooper, while dormant lately, used to make amazing movies, and this is one of them. Hundreds of times a year, I still hear people quoting Poltergeist. I didn't really care for the sequels that much, but the original is definitely solid. It doesn't hurt that it was written by Steven Spielberg. Heather O'Rourke's passing generally takes over most conversations about Poltergeist, and yes it was sad she didn't have a chance to grow up and branch away from the Poltergeist series, but I don't think the Poltergeist curse should shadow over a great film. I don't really know what to think about the remake coming out next year either.



36. The Thing (1982) Dir. by John Carpenter

Scientists in the Antarctic are confronted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of the people that it kills.

Another movie being remade in 2011, this movie was originally a remake as well. It was loosely based of The Thing From Another World (1951), and the short story, "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell Jr.. The special effects by Roy Arbogast were creative and disturbing at the same time. It is just a really fun movie to watch.



35. Drag Me To Hell (2009) Dir. by Sam Raimi

A loan officer ordered to evict an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse, which turns her life into a living hell. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try and save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point.

I know this movie is pretty new to be on the list, but WOW what a return to directing the horror genre for Sam Raimi. He is one of my favorite directors, but almost always falls short as a producer. It was really nice to see him direct a solid and sometimes very scary horror movie again. The story of the curse was an extremely original and entertaining one. Performances were right on the spot, and I'm glad to see it is getting the attention it deserves.



34. In the Mouth of Madness (1994) Dir. by John Carpenter

With the disappearance of hack horror writer Sutter Cane, all Hell is breaking loose...literally! Author Cane, it seems, has a knack for description that really brings his evil creepy-crawlies to life. Insurance investigator John Trent is sent to investigate Cane's mysterious vanishing act and ends up in the sleepy little East Coast town of Hobb's End. The fact that this town exists as a figment of Cane's twisted imagination is only the beginning of Trent's problems.... Written by Tad Dibbern {DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu}

Yes, another John Carpenter movie on the list. Personally, I think this is by far the scariest John Carpenter movie ever, well maybe Ghosts on Mars is scary, but for very different reasons. This movie messes with your mind, and throws multiple forms of fear at you, including crazy ass creatures. Sam Neill is flawless as John Trent, and so is Charlton Heston.



33. Jacob's Ladder (1990) Dir. by Adrian Lyne

A traumatized Vietnam war veteran finds out that his post-war life isn't what he believes it to be when he's attacked by horned creatures in the subway and his dead son comes to visit him.

This movie instantly made me a huge fan of Tim Robbins. His performance is amazing, and really adds to the confusing, yet awesome plot to the film. Adian Lyne did a great job of making sure you only know as much as the lead character does, and it makes the movie twice as creepy.



32. Tremors Series (90,96,01,04) Dir. by Ron Underwood, S.S. Wilson, Brent Maddock,

Natives of a small isolated town, defend themselves against strange underground creatures which are killing them one by one.

The one thing I really love and respect about this series is its ability to be completely original. They could have just made lame sequels that basically follow the same formula as the original, but they didn't. The second spawns the same creatures that now have the ability to walk on land, and the third one gives them flight. It automatically adds a new element to each film. I don't really care for the prequel that much, but it is definitely an interesting take on an origin story for the worms. I hear there is a fifth one coming out, and that scares me a bit, but we will see. The first one was the best, but I enjoy all of them.



31. Orca: The Killer Whale (1977) Dir. by Michael Anderson

A hunter squares off against a killer whale seeking vengeance for the death of its mate.

I absolutely love this movie! I don't think it is entirely impossible for a mammal such as a killer whale to be imbued by an emotion such as vengeance. I rank this up there with Jaws as far as water creature movies go. This one felt realistic and paced to perfection. A strong story and strong acting is really noticeable as the movie progresses to its ultimate showdown.



30. An American Werewolf in London (1981) Dir. by John Landis

A hunter squares off against a killer whale seeking vengeance for the death of its mate.

This movie is singlehandedly responsible for giving my love for werewolves birth. It is the first werewolf movie I ever saw, and it left an impression. The creature fx are amazing, and the transformation gives me chills. There are so many awesome shots in this movie. Thank you John Landis.



29. Hellraiser 1 and 2 (1987, 1988) Dir. by Clive Barker and Tony Randel

An unfaithful wife encounters the zombie of her dead lover, who's being chased by demons after he escaped from their sado-masochistic Hell.

I only wanted to include the first two Hellraiser movies, as the rest of them get kind of crazy and stupid. While they are mildly entertaining, the first two are the strong ones that stand out to me. Their gory nature is something of a beautiful sight, and could only be directly from the mind of Clive Barker. The first two are filled with such a great plot, it really sucks the rest weren't able to hold up to these two.



28. Friday the 13th series (80,81,82,84,85,86,88,89,93,2001,2009)
Dir. by Sean S. Cunningham, Steve Miner, Joseph Zito, Danny Steinmann, Tom McLoughlin, John Carl Buechler, Rob Hedden, Adam Marcus, James Isaac, Marcus Nispel

Thought to have drowned in Crystal Lake, Jason Voorhees returns with an arsenal of weapons to exact his revenge on the unknowing campers of the lake. Written by Michael Silva {silvamd@cleo.bc.edu}

Wow, that is a lot of people to work on one series of movies. I thought about leaving Jason X out of this, but it takes place in space, and that always wins over anything else. This series used to bring me a lot of fear. The Jason mask is recognized by all, and feared by most. Now I laugh a lot at it, and it's extremely creative kills. I put the remake on there because I think it is one of the better remakes over the last few years, and unfortunately helped more remakes to be put on the calender. I never like talking about the first one, because I am afraid I will reveal the biggest secret that everyone should know by now. These movies are not stand out amazing by any means, but they get the job done.



27. Nightmare on Elm Street series (84,85,87,88,89,91,94,)
Dir. by Wes Craven, Jack Sholder, Chuck Russell, Renny Harlin, Stephen Hopkins, Rachel Talalay

In the early 1980's, a psychopath named Freddy Krueger - known as the Springwood Slasher - murdered several children with a glove outfitted with straight razor blades attached to the fingers. When a foolish decision by a judge sets him free, Krueger is burned alive in the boiler room where he worked by an angry mob of the parents whose children he terrorized & murdered. Years after his death, the children whose parents were responsible for Krueger's death - including Nancy Thompson, daughter of the police officer who arrested Krueger - are experiencing terrifying nightmares involving a burned man wearing a glove with razor blades on the fingers. The ghost of Freddy Krueger is haunting their dreams, and when Nancy's best friend Tina dies in her sleep violently during a dream confrontation with Krueger, Nancy realizes she must find a way to stop the evil psychopath's reign of terror - or never sleep again... Written by Derek O'Cain

This series has always been one of my favorites. The wise cracking Freddy Krueger can be hilarious and terrifying at the same time. The kills are so original and creative. A kid who has a hearing aid gets his hearing aid turned all the way up, and dies because of a pin(s) drop. That is amazing! Wes Craven returning for New Nightmare was pretty creative as well. I'm a little excited for the remake out soon.



26. Halloween series (78,81,88,89,95,98,2002)
Dir. by John Carpenter, Rick Rosenthal, Dwight H. Little, Dominique Othenin-Girard, Joe Chappelle, Steve Miner

A psychotic murderer institutionalized since childhood escapes on a mindless rampage while his doctor chases him through the streets.

No I did not forget Halloween III. I excluded it because it is garbage. I know they didn't think there were going to be any more Mike Myers movies, but that doesn't give it an excuse. I didn't include the remakes either, but that's because they were pretty much worthless. The original Halloween will always be the best, and I feel it most like gave birth to a whole slew of other slasher movies. John Carpenter truely is a master of horror.



25. The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927) Dir. by Alfred Hitchcock

A serial killer known as "The Avenger" is on the loose in London, murdering blonde women. A mysterious man arrives at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Bunting looking for a room to rent. The Bunting's daughter is a blonde model and is seeing one of the detectives assigned to the case. The detective becomes jealous of the lodger and begins to suspect he may be the avenger. Written by Col Needham {col@imdb.com}

Basically a story of Jack the Ripper. This movie has been remade a couple of times, and I haven't seen those, but I am a firm believer that Hitchcock movies should never be remade. Let Psycho be an example to you. One of the best Directors of all time, Hitchcock manages to put fear in you even if the film is in black and white and silent. The man is a genious. This is one of my favorite Hitchcock films and one of his earliest.

4 comments:

Steve Miller, Writer of Stuff said...

Congrats on 50 followers! I'm jealous! :)

Tom said...

Man! So many of these should have been included in last night's Horror montage at the Oscars! I would have loved to have seen a "Critters" clip!

R.D. Penning said...

Haha, the montage would have lasted forever!

The Film Connoisseur said...

Nice list, Ive yet to see Razorback. It sounds like a good horror movie, Rusell Mulcahy did Highlander, when he wants to be he can be a good director.

Critters one is a fun movie, but I dont know if Id include it on my "top 50 horror movies" Id put some Bava on this list as well. But hey, that would be my list. Which by the way is not a bad idea...

Drag Me to Hell would not be on my top 50 either. It was fun, but far from perfect. In fact, it dissapointed me quite a bit. But thats just me.

Agree on The Hitcher, The Thing, The Shinning, The Exorcist, An American Werewolf in London, all great and memorable horror films.

Jacobs Ladder, wow, theres a memorable horror movie if there ever was any!