Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Top Ten Religious Horror Films

Top Ten Religious Horror Films

Dead End Drive-In just recently came to top 150 followers! It is a number I never thought this site would reach. I have decided that in order to reward my followers, and also to give thanks to the man that got me started in blogging, I am going to do my Top Ten Religious Themed Horror Films. I know this is a very popular genre to my friend The Mike over at From Midnight, With Love. Most people who know me very well know that I'm not a deeply religious person. I do understand the importance of beliefs and why people choose to have a religion, but I don't always share a lot of the same views. That being said... because of my lack of religious beliefs, I feel like religious themed horror has that much more of an impact on me. I know this doesn't really make sense at first, but when you think about it... most religious based horror films always have a character or two like me... where they don't seem to believe in heaven or hell or religion at all for that matter, and I tend to relate to them. The other reason is because there is always some person who is so devout in their beliefs that they are killing for it or doing something crazy, and that kind of devotion scares the shit out of me. There are people on this earth that have FOR REAL killed in the name of religion; Ed Gein grew up with a deeply religious mother, David Berkowitz killed to keep the demons at bay, Charles Manson is an obvious option, and there are many many more, and that scares the crap out of me. So when it came to making this list it was very hard to choose just the top ten, but I think I have managed to do it, and here is my list.

#10 - Demon Knight - Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson

This movie is just a blast to watch. It has the perfect elements of action, horror, and comedy, not to mention a STELLAR cast. Billy Zane has never been so good as a villain, and that says a lot because that is who he usually plays.

#9 - The House of the Devil - Directed by Ti West

I have just recently watched The House of the Devil, and I don't think it has quite set in yet, or it might be higher. Ti West has managed to perfectly film a movie in the late 70's/early 80's, and bring it to 2009 using some sort of time machine. I know this isn't plausible, but I don't know how else he could have done it. Everything about the film amazes me, and it doesn't hurt to have the amazing Tom Noonan on board either. He always creeps me out.

#8 - Children of the Corn - Directed by Fritz Kiersch

I live in Iowa people! How could this not terrify me, especially as a child. All I see is corn every day, and it still scares me. There is a cult of little kids out there getting ready to sacrifice me more and more as I get older. It is going to suck, but I know it is inevitable. This film is such a classic, and I really feel like it often gets overlooked.

#7 - Martyrs - Directed by Pascal Laugier

There is no movie in the last few years that has had as big of an impact on me as Martyrs did. The film just pushes everything right to the curve ball ending, and I just can't get enough of it. I keep re watching it. I won't say much more because it is one you need to see for yourself.

#6 - Frailty - Directed by Bill Paxton

This is one of those movies that just keeps you guessing until the very end, and it is that religious devotion that drives this film. It is such a character driven film that is supported by an excellent cast of kids and adults.

#5 - Prince of Darkness - Directed by John Carpenter

I hadn't actually seen this film until the last few years or so, but it is an instant classic. Carpenter proves that he truly is one of the kings of film making, especially in the 80's. It is a strange film for sure, but I seem to like it the more times I see it.

#4 - The Prophecy - Directed by Gregory Widen

I really don't understand why Gregory Widen didn't go on to direct any other films. Maybe I am missing something, but I thought The Prophecy was an iconic film with springboard potential for anyone attached. Just ask Christopher Walken. When you mention religious themed film to anyone (especially horror hounds), I can almost guarantee that 1 out of every 5 people says this film.

#3 - The Evil Dead - Directed by Sam Raimi

I know what you are thinking... The Evil Dead isn't a religious themed horror film... ahah! but it is my friends. It is just a much older, lesser understood religion. The Necronomicon is very much a real book. While I highly doubt it can cause trees to rape women, I'm sure it says some bad things.

#2 - Rosemary's Baby - Directed by Roman Polanski

I apologize if I am upsetting anyone by saying this, but Roman Polanski has never made a film as good as Rosemary's Baby, and I would be willing to be you would be hard-pressed to find anyone would not have Rosemary's Baby and my #1 not in their top five religious based horror films.

#1 - The Exorcist - Directed by William Friedkin

Surprise, Surprise... I bet none of you saw that one coming. I'm Sorry, but that is just the way it has to happen. There is no film out there with as much impact on the religious themed horror genre as The Exorcist. There has also never been a film following it that did it quite as good as Friedkin did.

Well I hope you enjoyed the list, and let me know if there are any other lists you would like me to make for you in the future. With School starting up again soon, I will only be posting few and far between, but I assure you I will try to make-up for my lack of amount of goodness with raising the magnitude of the said goodness.

Now I will leave you with my honorable mentions:

The Omen
The Wicker Man (original)
The Sentinel


Cullan Hudson said...

My fave on this list would have to be Frailty. It's one of those films that transcends genre, aspiring to be taken seriously as a film among films. Maybe that's over-the-top, but that's how I see it. Like how Fire From The Sky isn't just a movie about UFOs/Aliens (basically because they're hardly in it), but rather about the humans involved and the impact on their lives and how they deal with it.

Cullan Hudson said...

I'm sure I meant to say Fire In The Sky

R.D. Penning said...

I knew what you mean, and I agree. It is like Monsters isn't just about giant squid-like creatures from outer space, but the two main characters trying to get back to the US

RobocopsSadSide said...

Props to this entire list! Freakin awesome to see House of the Devil in there. Slow burner, but highly effect, and 80's feel was an awesome touch. That movie actually feels like it's emanating evil.

The Film Connoisseur said...

Totally agree on Martyrs! What an awesome movie! Very few horror movies out there show the horrifying side of religion the way this one does, I love it for that alone. Such a shocking movie!

Great list man.

R.D. Penning said...

Thank you very much!

Lubbert Das said...

Number 1 could only be The Exorcist!

Good to see Prince of Darkness getting a mention also.

Burgundy LaRue said...

Great list. But I would like to mention Alice, Sweet Alice. It's a great creep-o flick dealing with Catholicism and with a mask that rivals Michael Myers on the scary scale. Definitely worth a Netflix rental!

R.D. Penning said...

Thanks for info Burgundy! I will add it to my list (A VERY LONG LIST).

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