Wednesday 31 October 2012

Top Ten Best Horror Movies Of All Time.

Back in 2011, for Halloween, I decided to take a pole, via Maven's Movie Vault of Horror on facebook, on the top ten horror movies of all time and worked it into a ten day countdown to Halloween night.

So I took to various pages and groups on facebook, posting on discussion boards and asking other horror fans to post their own top ten in order for me to tally up those votes to get the final ten. Here are the results. Enjoy...

Number 10 - DRACULA (1931)

Everyone's favourite Vampire, the legend of Dracula has been portrayed in film a numerous amount of times over the years. The most popular one to date would have to be 1992's Bram Stoker's Dracula directed by Francis Ford Coppola with an all star cast of Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves and Richard E. Grant.

But it was Tod Browning's 1931 classic Dracula, as portrayed by Bela Lugosi so sophisticated and menacing, that was top of the list as regards the count!

More actors that played Dracula, John Carradine (House of Dracula - 1945), Ferdy Mayne (The Fearless Vampire Killers - 1967), Udo Kier (Blood for Dracula - 1974), Frank Langella (Dracula - 1979), Gerard Butler (Dracula 2000 - 2000) and the King of the Dracula movies Christopher Lee, who appeared in 11 films as Dracula between 1958 and 1975.

Number 9 - THE THING (1982)

In John Carpenter's masterpiece, scientists in the Antarctic are confronted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of the people that it kills.

Based on the story by John W. Campbell Jr. this was itself a remake of the 1951 The Thing from Another World.

According to John Carpenter in an interview, he takes all of his failed movies pretty hard, but this was the one that disappointed him the most. Not only was the movie a box office failure upon release, but both critics and the audience (to Carpenter's shock) panned its gory effects and bleak tone. He was particularly upset when the original movie's director, Christian Nyby, publicly denounced Carpenter's version.

The 2011 release of The Thing confused a lot of people as it's not a remake, it's a prequel to the 1982 film!

Number 8 - NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968)

The radiation from a fallen satellite might have caused the recently deceased to rise from the grave and seek the living to use as food. This is the situation that a group of people penned up in an old farmhouse must deal with. 

Though the radiation of a detonated satellite returning from Venus is theorised to be the cause of the dead rising and attacking the living, according to the filmmakers, the actual cause is never determined.

George A. Romero has readily admitted that Herk Harvey's Carnival of Souls was a big influence in his making of this film. 

Spawning a number of sequels and remakes BETWEEN 1968 and 2010, George A. Romero's original masterpiece is not quite top of the Zombie food chain though!

Number 7 - STEPHEN KING'S IT (1990 TV)

In 1960, seven outcast kids known as "The Loser Club" fight an evil demon who poses as a child-killing clown. 30 years later, they are called back to fight the same clown again.

Pennywise, played by Tim Curry, is the horror fan's favourite clown. On the DVD commentary track, the actors note that Curry's characterisation of Pennywise was so creepy and realistic that everyone avoided him during the filming. 

Based on one of Stephen King's longest novels, at 1138 pages. The length derived from King's desire to have all his favourite monsters in one place. King remarked that if he'd written the script for It, it would have been a 32 hour miniseries.

Stephen King allowed a lot of flexibility when it came to rewriting much of the novel.  

Number 6 -  DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978)

George A. Romero's Zombie franchise is back, making an appearance at 8 and 6 in the the top ten.

Following the scenario set up in Night of the Living Dead, the United States (and possibly the entire world) has been devastated by a phenomenon which reanimates recently deceased human beings and turns them into flesh-eating zombies. Two Philadelphia SWAT team members, a traffic reporter, and his television-executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.

Much of the fake blood used in the blood packets was a mixture of food colouring, peanut butter and cane sugar syrup.

Remade in 2004, it was probably one of the better remakes out there in a genre full of them. But the original Dawn of the Dead is top of the Zombie food chain in this top ten list! 

Number 5 - THE EXORCIST (1973)

Something beyond evil is happening in a little girl's room. Regan has brutally changed both in the way she looks and the way she acts, with violent outbursts on everyone who comes in contact with her. Her worried mother gets in contact with a priest who comes to the conclusion that Regan is possessed. The top priest who can deal with an exorcism, Father Merrin, is called in to help save Regan from the demon inside her.

With stories of the set spontaneously combusting during filming and a cross falling off the top of a church across the road from a cinema showing the film on opening night in Spain, this movie is a popular choice for "the scariest movie of all time!"

I recently watched the Blu-Ray Extended Director's Cut. In full 1080p HD and surround sound this movie was just fantastic to watch, it was like watching it for the first time again.

Number 4 - FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)

One summer at Camp Crystal Lake, a group of young counsellors begin to get ready to lead campers. Unfortunately for the former, someone isn't happy about what's going on in the camp and enjoys playing Kill the Counsellor. As bodies fall to the ground in the camp, no one is safe!

Everyone's favourite killer mum, Mrs. Pamela Voorhees, kicks ass in the first film which gave birth to Jason and to 10 sequels, including a "Deathmatch" against A Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger, plus a remake in 2009.

At one point, Mrs. Voorhess slaps Alice around a few times. Having worked onstage for years, Betsy Palmer was used to really striking her co-stars with a cupped hand along the jawline to achieve the scene. Sean S. Cunningham had to tell her about faking the blows and cheating with camera angles!


En route to visit their grandfather's grave (which has apparently been ritualistically desecrated), five teenagers drive past a slaughterhouse, pick up (and quickly drop) a sinister hitch-hiker, eat some delicious home-cured meat at a roadside gas station, before ending up at the old family home, where they're plunged into a never-ending nightmare as they meet a family of cannibals who more than make up in power tools what they lack in social skills.

Leatherface enters the top 3 with his chainsaw! Only 3 sequels followed the original, a remake in 2003 and a prequel in 2006 which are both produced by the original director Tobe Hooper.

But now there's a direct sequel to the original, Texas Chainsaw 3D, which is set to be released January 2013. The new film will also use footage from the original, converted into 3D.


On Elm Street, Nancy Thompson and a group of her friends including Tina Gray, Rod Lane and Glen Lantz are being tormented by a clawed killer in their dreams named Freddy Krueger. Nancy must think quickly, as Freddy tries to pick off his victims one by one. When he has you in your sleep, who is there to save you?

Freddy with his knives for fingers, struck back with a further 6 sequels and a "Deathmatch" against Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th in Freddy vs Jason (2003) and a remake in 2010 which split the fans opinions.

According to Wes Craven, Robert Englund was not the first choice for the role of Fred Krueger; he had initially wanted a stunt man to play the part, but upon testing several stunt men, he realised he needed an actor. Englund went on to make the role his own and became a horror icon in his own rights!

Number 1 - HALLOWEEN (1978) 

The year is 1963, the night: Halloween. Police are called to 43 Lampkin Ln. only to discover that 15 year old Judith Myers has been stabbed to death, by her 6 year-old brother, Michael. After being institutionalised for 15 years, Myers breaks out on the night before Halloween. No one knows, nor wants to find out, what will happen on October 31st 1978 besides Myers' psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis. He knows Michael is coming back to Haddonfield, but by the time the town realises it, it'll be too late for many people.

No real surprise here that Michael Myers hits the number 1 spot with the majority vote.

From 1978 to 2009 Michael Myers has been terrorising horror fans and slashing his victims. Even the music is probably the most well known theme tune in horror!

In the documentary short, Halloween 2000: Unmasked, it was revealed that the crew had chosen two masks for Michael Myers to decide on. The first was a Don Post Emmett Kelly smiling clown mask that they put frizzy red hair on. This was an homage to how he killed his sister, Judith in a clown costume. They tested it out and it appeared very demented and creepy. The other mask was a 1975 Captain James T. Kirk mask that was purchased for around a dollar. It had the eyebrows and sideburns ripped off, the face was painted fish belly white, and the hair was spray painted brown, and the eyes were opened up more. They tested out the Kirk mask and the crew decided that it was much more creepy because it was emotionless. This became the Michael Myers mask. 

The most recent Halloween movies (1 - 2007 and 2 - 2009) were remade by Rob Zombie, which like any remake, caused split feelings between fans of John Carpenter's 1978 original masterpiece. I personally liked both of Rob Zombie's Halloween films!

For this year's top ten - ten day countdown to Halloween, the theme is foreign horror movies (non English speaking). Head over to my facebook page for a sneak peek or if you can wait, I'll be posted it here on the blog.

(Sources used:, IMDB, facebook)

Monday 29 October 2012

My Reviews for

Here you'll find the reviews I do exclusively for the website Horror-Movies
Just click on the link below the titles to read the reviews...

Demons Never Die (2011)

Madison County (2011)

Cassadaga (2011)

Monster Brawl (2011)

Arborne (2012)

The Haunting of Whaley House (2012)

Lovely Molly (2011)

American Mary (2012)

Bad Kids go to Hell (2012)

The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh (2012)

Hansel & Gretel Get Baked (2013)

The Factory (2012)

Saturday 6 October 2012

Sinister (2012)

Friday. Money in the bank. Time - 12:45pm. Check the local cinema for times. First screening for Sinister - 1:30pm, screen 2. I'm there by 1:10pm and as it turned out I was the only person to see the film at that time. Awesome, the whole theatre to myself!

Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) is a struggling true crime writer who hasn't had a top selling book for over ten years and has moved his family around during that time in search of another story that will give him a shot at the fame and fortune once again.

His wife Tracy (Juliet Rylance), son Trevor (Michael Hall D'Addario) and daughter Ashley (Clare Foley) are moving into their new home while being watched by the local law enforcement. Ellison's last two books didn't go down well with the police and the local Sheriff's office know why the Oswalt family are moving in.

Ellison has a habit of moving into homes that are a few doors down from where the crime he is investigating has taken place. But this time, he gone that little bit closer and moved into the house where murders had taken place and a little girl has gone missing. The Sheriff (Fred Dalton Thompson) politely lets Ellison know that he's not welcome in town!

As soon as they are in the house, an eerie overtone is set. This is literally between five and ten minutes in! There's no long build here like a lot of horror movies suffer from, we're thrown straight into the deep end, as is Ellison with the discovery of a box in the attic that contains 8mm reel footage and a projector. So instead of hitting the hay with Tracy, he stays up to watch the footage.

There's a number of reels and they all show gruesome murders. Each is a family being killed, each in there own sick way. After examining the films closer he notices a strange figure, the same figure, in each murder reel. This is when things start to happen. Trevor starts having night terrors and Ellison starts to hear noises coming from the attic. He checks out the attic only to fall through the floor onto the hallway below.

After receiving medical attention and the aid of a local Deputy, Ellison befriends the Deputy and recruits him to help with the investigation. Deputy So and So (James Ransone), yes that is what Ellison calls him, ends up gathering some pretty damn good information and along with the help of Professor Jonas (Vincent D'Onofrio) from the local university, Ellison soon realises that all the families in the footage are linked and he has taken on more than he can handle as it's not just effecting him, but effecting his wife and kids. In an effort to find the truth about a real crime, an ancient supernatural evil is now at play and he may be too late to stop it.

Let's get the negative side out of the way first. It was predictable in parts, especially the ending. But I was willing to over look this as evrything else was fantastic.

I was freaked out at certain points and a couple of times it did actually make me jump. Did the fact I was sat in an empty theatre add to that? Yes, but don't let that fool you, this is genuinely scary and I'm rarely made to jump while watching films due to the fact I watch so much horror. They're not just cheap scares either because they're backed up by everything else that happens and I know that this film will stay in my head for a few days to come!

What you see on screen, the SFX, the acting, the content of the found footage, is all made more effective by the truly frightening score. Ethan Hawke's performance is outstanding and even the light comedic act from James Ransone gets serious the more we see him. In fact, I can't fault anyone in this movie.

Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) directed his own and C. Robert Cargill's excellent screenplay superbly. And credit has to be given to producer Jason Blum, as the Paranormal Activity franchise and Insidious made some serious bank at the box office and I'm sure Sinister will too.

This isn't just your standard horror, it's so much more than just a horror movie. It's part found footage, part supernatural chiller, part crime thriller and it should keep you glued to the screen with anxiety. It surpassed my expectations and I had high hopes for it!

Sinister gets 9/10
Check out this TV spot trailer below...

Friday 5 October 2012

Smiley (2012)

The movie opens with the classic slashers set up - Stacy (Nikki Limo), a baby sitter, is waiting for young Mary's father to come home from work. In the mean time, while sat in front of a laptop, Mary (Darrien Skylar) strikes up a conversation with Stacy about Internet chat rooms and the urban legend of "Smiley."

Legend says Smiley can be summoned through the Internet by typing "I did it for the lulz" three times on a chat room. Later that night, when Stacy is back home after the baby sitting gig, she goes on line to check out the chat rooms.

She gets talking to a guy and it doesn't take long before he gets aggressive with the comments he posts. Stacy receives the dreaded message from the guy, "I did it for the lulz" three times.


This was a great start to the proceedings as it had a real old school slasher feel to it and hopefully setting the tone for the rest of the film to follow suit.

We're now introduced to Ashley (Caitlin Gerard) as her dad (Billy St. John) is helping her move into a house near the collage Ashley is starting at. Already living in the house is Proxy (Melanie Papalia). Ashley is quite a shy timid girl, who is also still in recovery from the loss of her mother, while Proxy is a bit of a party girl. So to make Ashley welcome Proxy suggest she tags along to party.

At the party, the alcohol is flowing and people are having a great time. Ashley is introduced to Zane (Andrew James Allen) as well as some of his friends, one of which is watching a video on his laptop. The video is of someone getting murdered by the demented serial killer Smiley and in turn she is told about the urban legend. The fragile Ashley is freaked out by what she's just seen and been told, but at the same time it also intrigues her.

Later that night, back at home, both the girls decide to troll the chat rooms. This leads to one thing, after choosing an appropriate looking person they start up a conversation and inevitably Ashley types and sends the "I did it for the lulz" three times!

"Evil Wears a Smile"

What happens next throughout the film is a bit up and down. It lacked a lot of tension that should have been created in between the kill scenes. However, this is made up for, although not in bucket loads, by Caitlin Gerard performance. As Ashley delves deeper into the urban legend, Proxy becomes more of a cynic and now Ashley can't decide whether she is losing her mind or becoming Smiley's next victim. So she seeks the help of a new friend Binder (Shane Dawson), psychiatrist Dr. Jenkins (Liza Weil), Officer Diamond (Keith David) and collage tutor Professor Clayton (Roger Bart), who gives the best performance in the film by the way. But in the end she realises that she can only depend upon herself!

This film had so much potential, but didn't quite hit the mark. It could have been this generations Scream and it did remind me of it a little. Using today's modern technology with how big the worldwide web has gotten was a fantastic story. I feel that director Michael J. Gallagher didn't make the most of the script he co-wrote with Glasgow Phillips. The special SFX worked great, but the score also lacked that certain something.

Don't get me wrong, I still thought it was a pretty cool movie as the ending was brilliant and I think it's worth giving a go. I actually hope a sequel will be in the works soon!

Smiley gets 6/10

Check out the trailer below...

Thursday 4 October 2012

Grave Encounters 2 (2012)

The much anticipated sequel to The Vicious Brothers' Grave Encounters has hit VOD in the US this week and will head to the big screen October 12th.

I loved the first film so of course I was looking forward to the second instalment. The sequel however is directed by John Poliquin and this is his first time directing a full length feature. Once again though, The Vicious Brothers have penned the script.

The very beginning of the movie, we see various vloggers giving there views on Grave Encounters, which was a horror phenomenon that many people believed was just a movie! But film student Alex Wright (Richard Harmon) is out to prove the fans wrong by making a his own documentary.

Alex travels around hoping to find and interview anyone that was involved with the filming and making of Grave Encounters. This isn't an easy task though, as most the cast are either dead or missing!

Undeterred by this, Alex manages to track down the producer, Jerry Hartfield (Ben Wilkinson) who concretes the idea that Grave Encounters was indeed more than just a movie. Spurred on by the information, Alex recruits the help of Tessa, Jared, Jennifer and Trevor (Stephanie Bennett, Howie Lai, Leanne Lapp, Dylan Playfair). They jump on a plane and make there way to the abandoned psychiatric hospital, where the movie Grave Encounters was filmed, to start their own investigation.

From the start of the film to the guys arriving at the psychiatric hospital takes around 40 minutes and what goes on between could quite possibly lose your attention, but stick with it as once they're inside, it all gets very manic, very fast!

This movie doesn't just rehash the events of the first film. It also dives deeper into the madness and takes it too the next level. When filming inside the abandoned building, the entities start causing trouble quicker and the crew of film makers start to bite the dust sooner. But towards the end of the movie it starts to take a turn in a direction you really don't expect, but this isn't necessarily a good thing! Not giving away too much here, but if you've seen Episode 50, you'll know what I mean. Suffice it to say, Grave Encounters 2 does NOT get to the point of silliness that is Episode 50!

The movie has a few twists, turns and surprises and we get see a couple of new ghostly faces among the darkness of the psychiatric hospital. The SFX are just like what is used in the first film, so they're still simple yet effective.

The acting is what you'd expect, it's not bad, but it's not gonna win any Oscars. That said, Richard Harmon does do a decent job of carrying the movie. As for the story it's self, it is a little weak compared to the first instalment, although John Poliquin's direction is solid.

So, my overall thoughts, if you liked or loved Grave Encounters then you'll like number 2. But it still isn't as good as the first film. As I said earlier, the first half an hour or so might not keep your attention and the ending is a little inconsistent with what we've seen and come to love from the initial story, but it still has that overtone of creepiness and some good old fashioned scares.

Grave Encounters 2 gets 7/10

Check out the trailer below...