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!



Number 3 - THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974)

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.



Number 2 - A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984)

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: listal.com, IMDB, facebook)