THE ROAD TO TEN – HORROR

Horror


ANightmareOnElmStreetA NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984)

Mike D
Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street was big back in the 80’s.  Freddy Krueger became a horror icon and he was everywhere, but in regards to the films, this one here remained the best of the lot that followed.  I honestly can’t remember when I last watched this but this recent viewing didn’t go as well as I had hoped and felt it did not age well.  The script is clunky, and some of the co-stars could be better, but luckily the effects still stood out.  Craven delivered the goods when it came to transitions from dream to reality and some of the killing scenes.  Robert Englund as Freddy didn’t get a lot of screen time in this one, but it was for the better as his character is darker and scarier here than in the sequels.  A Nightmare on Elm Street may not hold up as well but it is remembered as one of the great horror films.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nyle C
Freddy Krueger is one of the all-time classic villains of the horror genre. Not many people can be shown that terrifying glove with its sharp blades and not know its origin. That’s the stamp A Nightmare on Elm Street left. Since the original, we have seen numerous sequels and even a remake but none have really been able to recapture the novelty and horror of the original. In a period where we had Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees, Wes Craven brought us a new monster and one that you couldn’t escape because he found in your dreams. How terrifying is that? Sleep…and you will die. It was incredibly creative and Craven executed the idea of excellence. Nightmare also brought with it amazing special effects we had never seen done before which helped capture the lucid feeling of dreaming and how reality seems to bend within one.  With a strong cast, many of whom went on to be huge names, and innovative story and writing Nightmare on Elm Street will forever remain a classic and a horror film none of us will ever forget.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


alienALIEN (1979)

Mike D
For years I had been an Aliens over Alien guy with no questions asked.  However it had been over a decade since last watching Alien so I finally watched it again last year, and I was in awe.  Alien is so well made and, except for the computer interfaces, it is absolutely timeless.  The film is steadily paced, setting the mood and building that suspense that suddenly ignites on a dining table and then doesn’t go back. The sound in the film is crisp, amplifying even the very little drop of water.  The Alien itself is iconic and magnificent looking and there’s nothing else like it.   Not only is Alien legendary with its monster but also with its character of Ellen Ripley who is one of the most iconic film characters around. She is strong minded and is very rational in her actions even in the bitter end. Alien has everything going for it.  Watching Alien again this past week I found nothing has changed.  With an iconic creature and character, amazing sound, and enough suspense, scares, and thrills to make my heart stop, Alien is a masterpiece in sci-fi horror and a film that will be ranked very high in my top ten.  As far as the Aliens and Alien debate goes, I now give Alien the edge
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nyle C
N/A
Rating: 


An_American_Werewolf_in_London_posterAN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981)

Mike D
An American Werewolf in London shines with its special effects, especially with the first transformation which is absolutely incredible. The two friends (David Naughton and Griffin Dunne) have great chemistry together and Jenny Agutter was fantastic.  I found the film with its blend of humor and horror, and likable characters, still hold up fairly well and it was a joy to revisit.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Nyle C
N/A
Rating: 


tbwpTHE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999)

Mike D
Blair Witch Project back in 1999 as a screener at a Horror Festival in Los Angeles.  I knew nothing about the film and by the end, I wanted to know everything about it.  Was it real, was it fake, what happened in the end?  So many questions.  Watching it today is a different experience as I already know everything about it, however, some of the chilling moments still hold up and the end is still pretty intense.  Though it may lose a bit of its bite from years ago, the Blair Witch Project will always be known as the film that introduced the found footage giving it special props in the horror genre.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nyle C
The Blair Witch Project marks the time when I really started paying closer attention to films. I became more involved in following release dates and getting behind the screen type details. Because of this, this film will always have a special place in my heart. When I first heard of the film I became obsessed with the lore and did as much research as I could and was hooked immediately by the backstory and online theories of the films origin and historical accuracy. I urged everyone I knew to go watch it and when it finally released it was one of the best theater going experiences I ever had. It was my first (If not THE first) found footage film, before the genre went bad, and for me, it is one of the only films to effectively utilize this method. The Blair Witch Project is definitely not for everyone, it can feel very slow at times and for some, I know the payoff wasn’t worth the wait. Personally, this film terrified me, I had problems sleeping for the next 2 weeks. It doesn’t reveal much to you on the screen which to me is expertly found footage, its all left to your imagination and more importantly, it leaves the film feeling like reality and forces you to question what you believe. Since the theater, I have watched this film numerous other times and still today it can give me chills and for even a few nights make me sleep with my light on.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ½


The Blob 1988THE BLOB (1988)

Mike D
Watching the film in the theater thirty years ago, I found much to love about the film and it instantly became one of my favorite horror films.  Upon recently revisiting the film for its 30 year anniversary I am happy to find that it holds up just as well 30 years later.  It’s a very well executed film that is a blast to watch with incredible visual effects that were practical and sometimes disturbing and a clever script that will keep people entertained from beginning to end.  This remake is far superior to the original film and should be considered the definitive version of The Blob.  It sits alongside The Thing and The Fly as one of the three great horror remakes from the 80’s and certainly deserves to be recognized as a horror classic. (Full Review on Jumpcut Online)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Nyle C
N/A
Rating: 


BramStokerDraculaPosterBRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (1992)

Mike D
I was highly looking forward to Francis Ford Coppola’s film, Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  The film, with its bright colored visuals over the Gothic setting, brings an operatic look and is a visual treat to the eye.  Unfortunately, it seems Francis Ford Coppola focused so much on the visual portion that the strength in story suffered.  There are scenes that are like dream sequences and feel out of place.  Beyond this, having Keanu Reeves as John Harker speaking with a British accent did not work and the accent came and went throughout the film.  Winona Ryder as Mina was fine, but she was swallowed up by the visuals and other great actors (Oldman and Hopkins) around her.  All of this was enough to disconnect me from the film.  There are a lot of negatives, but the film does have some merits.  The music was good, the visuals were great, and the actors such as Anthony Hopkins and Gary Oldman were awesome (as usual), but the lack of two great leads for Harker and Mina, and a strong story to stand out over the visuals made the film feel longer than it actually was.  Rating: ⭐️⭐️½

Nyle C
Quick caveat, it has been some time since I have seen Bram Stoker’s Dracula so this review/rating is based purely on my recollection. That being said this 1992 version of the Dracula is just an amazing story with an amazing cast. The film follows the typical storyline of the previous iterations of Dracula but what truly makes it stand out for me is how stunning the movie is visually. Not just the cinematography but the actual visuals and imagery used. The film is quite beautiful and unfolds more like an epic poem or tragedy and combined with the writing, which is just as beautiful and haunting, it captures the character of Dracula from a different light. Not so much a bloodthirsty, ravaging villain but instead a man dueling with his curse as well as with his passion and love. Two stand out characters are Gary Oldman as Dracula and the talented Anthony Hopkins as Abraham Van Helsing the vampire hunter bent on exterminating Dracula and those he has turned. Both men are amazing in their roles and I find it difficult to imagine anyone else playing them for this film. This film is a much watch for those interested in the classic monster movies or simply fans for vampire films.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


BrideOfFrankensteinTHE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935)

Mike D
I really don’t recall ever watching this film in my youth, and I did enjoy plenty of monster films.  Seeing all the buzz on the film though, I was very excited to see how this improves upon the original Frankenstein.  Unfortunately, I was a bit let down with this one as there were too many moments of trying to be comical and expected a bit more with the Bride.  My favorite part may have been with Frankenstein hearing the violin.   Good in most parts and some nice set designs but I favor the original Frankenstein.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nyle C
N/A
Rating: 


Conjuring_posterTHE CONJURING (2013)

Mike D
It’s quite relieving that The Conjuring did not have a lot of gore, and there was no profanity, sex, and nudity. It was just a good, clean scary film that I’m comfortable in recommending to people. The film uses minimal CGI, making it feel natural, which I love, and, just as well, The Conjuring managed to avoid relying on those cheap and mindless scares which tend to hurt a horror film rather than make it enjoyable. With these things and James Wan’s niche for delivering some suspenseful horror, interesting leading characters, and a solid story with heart, The Conjuring is one of the best horror films I’ve seen in quite a long time and could not recommend it enough (Full Review).
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Nyle C
N/A
Rating: 


Conjuring_2THE CONJURING 2 (2016)

Mike D
James Wan and company come back for a second round. It’s longer and bigger than the first one, with similarly enjoyable scares. Again, the strength of the film is the characters portrayed wonderfully by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. It went a bit over the top this time, but definitely still a joy to watch and I look forward to more from this horror franchise.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Nyle C
N/A
Rating: 


DeepRedDEEP RED (1975)

Mike D
Deep Red (aka Profondo Rosso), is an Italian film by Dario Argento which showcases some of his stylish camerawork & scenes that made my toes curl. I enjoyed David Hemmings here & the Goblin score was fun. it’s a bit disjointed at times but enjoyable. One scene with a draped figure is unforgettable.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Nyle C
N/A
Rating: 


TheDescentTHE DESCENT (2005)

Mike D
I recently watched The Descent after last seeing the film many years ago and let me say, Wow!! I had forgotten how well Neil Marshall delivered that feeling of claustrophobia along with the intense and ferocious terror from what the women find within the caves. The film is best watched in the dark to take full effect of how well Neil Marshall uses darkness and space in the film to bring that feeling of claustrophobia and fear. It was quite a unique and great idea from Marshall to have an all female cast with characters that are strong, skilled, adventurers, and each one distinct from one other.  The female ensemble is so good and they clicked very well together. Natalie Mendoza and Shauna Macdonald are the standouts as Juno and Sarah who both suffer a loss early in the film and we see how this affects them as they descend further into the cave. The two actresses do a fantastic job in their roles and there are many important moments of the story that are told just through their eyes which I absolutely love as they just nail it. It’s a shame really that they never moved on to bigger things.  The Descent pays homage to films such as Alien, The Thing, and The Shining, but the film truly deserves to sit alongside them as one of the honorary films of horror.  With a great story exploring guilt, trust, and madness as well as the outstanding use of darkness, space, and sound, Neil Marshall’s The Descent is an intense modern day horror classic that has become one of my favorite films.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nyle C
The Descent is a very enjoyable and original horror. Honestly, when I originally watched it back in 2005-2006ish it was probably the first horror film I had seen with such a strong all female cast. However, I recently watched the film again and I found myself not liking it as much as the first watch. Still a great horror film but I did have some issues this time around.
The plot is the films strongest point, it is very original with a dark and terrifying setting. All the actors do a decent job with the role they are given with the exception of Shauna MacDonald (Sarah) and Natalie Mendoza (Juno) which is odd considering they are the two main characters. Putting it plainly I didn’t care for Mendoza as Juno. When it came to the action she definitely kicks ass and does a great menacing expression but overall I didn’t feel she really stuck her lines. Almost every line from Juno made me wince a bit. MacDonald, on the other hand, a different issue, it wasn’t necessarily her performance that left me wanting but the character direction. On this second watch, I found myself not buying the transition from essentially a mousy nervous wreck to the unspeaking intimidating survivalist we see at the end. I understand the tragic loss she suffered which should serve as the catalyst, along with the extreme circumstance, for her transformation but by the end, she is almost feral. These two characters made the film suffer in my eyes and even though I was still entertained I didn’t find it as thrilling as my first watch.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️


Dracula 1931 posterDRACULA (1931)

Mike D
“I never drink . . . wine”
A memorable quote from a truly memorable performance by Bela Lugosi in Tod Browning’s 1931 Dracula.  His performance really makes the film.  Dwight Frye as Renfield is also a highlight in the film and should be remembered about as much as Legosi.  For when the ships cargo door is opened, there is the laugh he delivers that is remembered to this day.  Unfortunately, outside of these actors, the film is very dry.  There is no music in the film which doesn’t help.  Overall the 1931 Dracula is a good film with a shining star in Legosi, and, despite the lack of music, Browning does a fine job in bringing the classic Dracula story to the movie screen. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nyle C
N/A
Rating: 


dracula_1979.posterDRACULA (1979)

Mike D
John Badham’s 1979 version of Dracula stars Frank Langella as a charming and romantic version of the Count.  The production is the best looking of the Dracula films up to this time and the story (also based off of the stage adaptation) takes place in one setting, as the film starts with the ship arriving in England.  Frank Langella does a great job bringing this charming Dracula to the screen and I enjoyed Kate Nelligan as Lucy.  The big plus here, which I did not know going into the film, is that the score is performed by John Williams, and the score really perks the film up.  I really enjoyed the film and is the best full version of a Dracula story to this point.  However, the end battle with Dracula just didn’t stick with me.  It may be slightly disappointing in the end but with the film having a bit of emotion, a great score, fine acting, and a great portrayal of the Count by Langella, it is a must see in the line of Dracula films. (Full Review) Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Nyle C
N/A
Rating:


TheEvilDeadTHE EVIL DEAD (1981)

Mike D
All the horrific madness of Sam Raimi started with The Evil Dead. The acting and script just get by but it’s the makeup, visual and sound effects, and direction that truly makes this film. There is creative camerawork on display here that Raimi fans are familiar with that still brings a smile to my face. The demons are hideously atrocious and their screams will drive you insane. Bruce Campbell plays Ash and his performance gets better as the film goes on as that “Ash” character we all know begins to take shape. The film is amazing considering the small budget and what the crew went through. Though this is more horror than its two sequels, there is still a bit of campiness to be found which is a good thing. If you’re into horror and haven’t seen The Evil Dead you are definitely missing out.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nyle C
After over 30 years this film still holds up. The performances from the actors are by no means top notch but I really had no major complaints about Evil Dead. I could see some picking apart the special effects but what they wouldn’t be considering is the film was made in 1981. For that period this was amazing visuals. The truth is Evil Dead was way ahead of its time. The use of lighting and camera angles is still being copied today in modern horror films and still not being done as well. My primary gripe with this film is there are some lulls but specifically one large span of time where Ash (Bruce Campbell) is simply being terrorized through sound and gore and it doesn’t really push the story along. I thought it was a clever way to evoke the anxiety Ash must have been feeling but it goes on far too long. It brings the film to a halt and all for the sake of showing off cool visual effects and upping the gore which was a bit cheap for me. Still in my eyes it’s a horror classic and a great example of how an amazing film can be put together on a small budget simply with great writing and talented director.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½


The FlyTHE FLY (1986)

Mike D
The Fly is a remake of the 1958 film and is one of the three great horror remakes which spawned from the 80’s which includes The Thing and The Blob. All three of these films included visual effects that were practical and stunning. However, as The Thing and The Blob were box-office disappointments, The Fly was a commercial success. David Cronenberg directed this remake which starred Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis (a real couple at the time). Goldblum is superb, probably giving his best performance as a scientist who ends up in a fight for his humanity. His great performance even shines through the grotesque skin that covers his entire body.  The film slowly builds to a very intense third act that is backed by a powerful orchestra that was conducted by Howard Shore and I just love how the music builds in this third act. I watched The Fly to complete my recent revisit of the three great horror remakes from the 80’s and The Fly holds up very well to this day.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nyle C
N/A
Rating: 


Frankenstein 1931FRANKENSTEIN (1931)

Mike D
I was very much looking forward to watching one of the most popular Universal Monster films, Frankenstein.  The film is full of great set designs with a few creepy moments especially Frankenstein’s monster’s as he walks up the stairs with heavy stomps.  I nearly got chills upon his big reveal.  The “It’s alive! IT’S ALIVE!!” moment was as classic as I was hoping it’d be. Unfortunately, like Dracula, a score would have helped the film a lot. Definitely an enjoyable watch though.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Nyle C
N/A
Rating: 


Halloween_(1978)_theatrical_posterHALLOWEEN (1978)

Mike D
40 years ago, John Carpenter unleashed an unstoppable evil in theaters that brought terror to the aisles and eventually proved to be a dominating force in the horror genre.  This was the birth of Michael Myers in Halloween.  This is a film that I remember quite well from my youth.  Though I could not catch the film in the theater, I recall sitting and watching with my sister and her friends on the television in our house, as Michael terrorized the babysitters in Haddonfield.  My sister and her friends were yelling at Laurie, “Don’t drop it!  Pick it up!  Pick it up!!  What are you doing?!  Run!!!”  Watching the film again recently, the film may not scare me as it did when I was younger, and some flaws are glaring, but it is a marvel in its style and there is no denying the impact that this film had on theatergoers and the influence it had with other films that followed.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Nyle C
One word: Masterpiece. Being a classic and given every year on October 31st this film plays on repeat I doubt I need a plot breakdown or recap. But as far as quality goes this film is top notch, easily the #1 horror film on my list with an absolutely terrifying score. Micheal Myers embodies pure evil. He is inhuman.  Emotionless, relentless, remorseless and undying. Every year I watch this film and every year I wish it was my first time all over again just so I can experience the true terror it evokes with new eyes. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


haunting1963THE HAUNTING (1963)

Mike D
The Haunting from 1963 is a film that holds up very well 55 years later. There is some wonderful use of sounds and very odd camera angles to provide that unsettling feeling, and there is a door effect that is breathtaking.  I really liked Richard Johnson as John Markway, the man who brings these “ghost hunters” together. A bit too much of Eleonora’s voiced over inner thoughts for me but overall this was very enjoyable!
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nyle C
N/A
Rating:


horror_of_draculaHORROR OF DRACULA (1958)

Mike D
I watched Horror of Dracula after watching the 1931 Dracula and was surprised at how fast paced this film was in comparison to its older version.  Director Terence Fisher and crew really pack a lot into the 80 minutes run time.  Dracula (Christopher Lee) reveals himself quite early in the film as a menacing vampire with bloody fangs and lacks a good build-up.  After this seemingly rushed beginning, and accepting the mistakes of a vampire hunter, the rest of the film is quite good.  The big highlight for me here is Peter Cushing as Van Helsing.  He did a fabulous job and even performed his own stunt during an end battle versus the Count.  The Horror of Dracula has action, bright blood paint, a loud score by James Bernard, and is an enjoyable time well spent.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Nyle C
N/A
Rating:


ITFOLLOWSIT FOLLOWS (2015)

Mike D
It Follows is a horror film written and directed by David Robert Mitchells (The Myth of the American Sleepovers). It Follows is a film that keeps you gripped until the very end.  The thing that I really love is throughout the film I was constantly looking to see if I could spot the horrifying entity somewhere in the distance, which can be fun upon multiple viewings. Kudos to Mitchells directing and the cinematography of Mike Gioulakis to successfully pull this off. There were a select number of scenes in which I literally had a chill run up my spine! This is the tensest movie I have watched since probably “The Ring”.   The film score by Rich Vreeland is also a highlight here with moments of intensity to add to the terror. The acting is good, but special props to Maika Monroe as the star, Jay, who delivers a strong performance. Just a great job and a load of fun. It is one of those films that will leave you geeking out over various scenes and just what you would do to get away from the entity that follows.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nyle C
I cannot fathom why but most people I have introduced to It Follows didn’t find it that interesting or terrifying. But for me, It Follows was a breath of fresh air in a parade of horror films that have rehashed the same old plots, twists, and monsters. It is something you will never have seen before and it will definitely have you gripping your seat. Quite a few times the movie got me and not with a silly jump scare but a real one. As Mike mentioned in his review there are times when the entity can be seen by the audience but goes unnoticed by the characters on screen, these are the best parts. Its quite captivating watching and waiting for it. That’s what makes the whole film so gripping, the anticipation. The cast here is young and new but they all do an incredible job especially Maika Monroe as Jay, she is great on screen. After It Follows I have managed to catch her in a few other films and she is definitely a talented actor on her way up. I hope to see her in more and crossing my fingers for an It Follows 2.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½


Jaws.jpgJAWS (1975)

Mike D
Jaws, directed by Stephen Spielberg, is a remarkable adventure horror film about a shark terrorizing people at Amity Island. The film is brilliant in its storytelling and has three strong and wonderful characters in Brody, Hooper, and Quint (Roy Schneider, Richard Dreyfus, and Robert Shaw). They are a trio that is so fun to be with and watching them bounce off one another is partly what makes the third act so much fun. Upon recently watching the film again, I am still amazed at how thrilling and terrifying this move is. The scene of a man knocked off his boat in a pond and, from an over the top view, the shark slowly appearing from under the water with its jaws wide open biting the man’s leg is a very haunting visual that gets me every single time. The film also has one of the best openings in cinema that is glorious visually with shimmers of light over the open water as a girl takes a nighttime swim and becomes a victim of the monstrous shark. In terrifying fashion, she is tugged about and dragged around before being pulled under. Then there is John Williams and the brilliant score he composed. There are moments on the beach or on the Orca ship where Williams’ score just pops and then there are the suspenseful moments with those famous two notes that everyone knows. This and some beautiful camerawork by Steven Spielberg makes this film not only a magnificent horror film about a shark, but it is also a masterpiece in filmmaking. The film has not aged at all and remains in my top 5 favorite films of all time.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nyle C
N/A
Rating: 


Night of the Living Dead_CoverTHE NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968)

Mike D
Night of the Living Dead from 1968 is a film that is still eerily terrifying to this day.  It was a low budget production, filmed in black and white with some static and crackling in the picture.  This actually turned out to be an asset to the film as it gives the film an old documentary look, thus making the story and its ghouls more terrifying, spooky and chilling look and when they use their pale arms breaking through the door I get chills. The film was released to people of all ages back in the day, due to the MPAA film rating not being in place at the time.  It’s hard to imagine a film like this was exposed to children of such a young age and can’t even imagine the terror they must have felt in the theater.  I had my share of scares during my youth as Jaws terrified me, but this was different.  This was not an uplifting film with bits of laughter and glorious moments. This was a film of doom.  This film of seven people trapped in a house surrounded by the undead has stuck with me over the years.  I enjoy the banter and some of their clashing personalities.  Duane Jones as Ben is truly outstanding as the everyday man trying to survive this monstrosity of terror that’s developed before him as well as struggling to work with his own kind to band together against the undead.  George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is a groundbreaking film that has influenced many other films to this day but it sits in my top ten also because of its strong story, it is engaging, still provides some chills, and is a film that I go back to time and time again.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Nyle C
N/A
Rating: 


nosferatu (1)NOSFERATU (1922)

Mike D
The 1922 silent film, Nosferatu (AKA Nosferatu: Symphony of Horror), was directed by F.W. Murnau and stars Max Schreck who does a phenomenal job in portraying Count Orlok.  His look is similar to a rat, with long pointy ears, sharp front teeth, and long claws.   His performance is very creepy and unforgettable. Nosferatu is not really scary, but just dark, creepy, and quite haunting.  Murnau’s use of light and shadow, especially in the scene of Orlok’s shadow slowly climbing up a stairwell and Orok’s shadow engulfing Hutter is just brilliant.  For those in the USA, I highly recommend watching the film from the 2013 Kino Blu Ray due to including the orchestral version of the original score, which makes a HUGE difference, and has the colored tinted scenes as originally intended.  The addition of the orchestral score made all the difference in making this a 5-star film.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nyle C
N/A
Rating:


nosferatu-the-vampyre_posterNOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE (1979)

Mike D
Werner Herzog’s 1979 recreation of the original Nosferatu from 1922 is slow, artsy, gorgeous to look at with its natural settings, and has a haunting score which I just love. The cinematography was just awesome as there are a number of still shots throughout in which my eyes just stared in wonder. Klaus Kinski portrays Dracula (not Count Orlok this time) and is quite possibly the saddest Dracula I’ve seen, which fits well into his character and his long, suffering, lonely life and he plays this VERY well. Isabelle Adjani is great as our wide-eyed beautiful heroine, Lucy (Known as Mina in other versions as Herzog swapped the names around) and is the strongest version of the character I’ve seen thus far.  With a strong female presence, an outstanding version of the Count, gorgeous natural and intimidating settings, haunting imagery, and score, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved this film. It is finding gems like this that make creating film lists so rewarding.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nyle C
N/A
Rating:


poltergeistPOLTERGEIST (1982)

Mike D
Poltergeist was a film by Tobe Hooper (or Stephen Spielberg) that caused quite a spark back in the day.  I recall friends talking how scary it was, but it never quite hit me the way it did them. Watching it again recently, the feeling is the same.  It’s an enjoyable film with a focus on the strength of family and does have its moments.  However, I find some of the effects are a bit dated now, but it is the third act that really killed it for me.  It feels forced, with a very odd parental choice, and then goes a bit all over the place.  Despite this, the film is quite enjoyable and may even touch your heart.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Nyle C
It had been a very long time since I had seen this masterpiece and so for the sake of The Road To Ten I sat down and gave it a highly needed rewatch. Wow, I never realized how much I loved this film. Jobeth Williams’ performance is magnificent and she is the main reason this film works so well. The love that Diane feels for Carol Anne just pours out of Williams character which makes Poltergeist not just a brilliant horror but an adoring film about family and love, its something I didn’t appreciate enough when I was younger. Additionally, for me the film has some nostalgia, I remember sitting with my family and watching it in our living room. There are certain iconic scenes that are extremely memorable. As a film, there isn’t much I can point to flaw-wise aside from some outdated CGI and the last 10 minutes lose me a bit. Overall though Poltergeist was and still is one of my favorite horrors and I can say for certain it still holds up for some good scares and tension-filled atmosphere.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ½


Possession_filmPOSSESSION (1981)

Mike D
“You know what this is for?! The Liiieess!!!
This is the line that will stick with me forever. Possession is about a couple, played by Sam Neil and Isabelle Adjani, who are on the verge of separation and we witness their emotional trauma. I’ll just be blunt here, this film is nuts! The chaos of the couple’s relationship builds to a boiling point and then dives further into horror. Sam Neil was great as a husband and father who desperately tries to hold onto his “possession” but it’s Isabelle Adjani who stole the show as the spouse who is seeing someone else and is a victim of possession. Isabelle’s performance was just amazing as her emotions were so raw on screen. There are so many emotions the actors must express off and on throughout the film I’m surprised they didn’t lose it offset. Their performances are theatrical, confrontational, and there are many in their face moments to stress the intensity. The director keeps the viewer on edge throughout the film with scenes such as Sam rocking heavily back and forth in a rocking chair.  I was so tense as he was close to rocking all the way over, all while Isabelle stood behind him going in and out of focus. It’s a film that is truly unique and is quite baffling but I loved it! I’m still grappling with it and I can see where this is one of those films that is not for everyone, but I recommend giving it a shot. You won’t forget it!
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nyle C
I went into this film very excited as the motivating factor that drove me to watch it was several exemplary reviews from some critics I respect. Unfortunately, this film did not meet my expectations by ANY means. It just didn’t do it for me and to be honest I feel sort of bad considering it has such a high rating on multiple review sites.
One thing Possession does have is gallons and gallons of tension. Everything from the cinematography, the performances, and the wild imagery just pushes at the viewer’s senses. But this alone was not enough to keep me locked in and wanting to see more. I found the film confusing and hard to follow at times and there was too much open to interpretation. I don’t need to be hand fed a plot or point but I do expect a film to have a trajectory that by the films end has wrapped up the plot and left me satisfied with character motivations. In this case, I felt none of these. This is definitely one of those polarizing films where you will either Love it or Hate it. Because of that, I won’t go into specifics as I feel this is a film that you truly have to watch to get a proper reaction and I would rather my review not have any influence on a readers opinion. One thing that can definitely be said though is it is truly a unique piece of filmmaking and not one you will soon forget.
Rating: ⭐️


SHAKMA (1990)

Mike D
A drugged up aggressive baboon, Dungeons and Dragons, and some B movie cheese, what’s not too like? It’s insane watching this baboon repeatedly slam himself up against doors and the scene showing Shakma’s jaw dripping with blood as he looks towards his prey in the background is priceless. Actors? Meh. Torpedo the baboon carries this film on his shoulders. He is the star!
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nyle C
Dungeons & Dragons, 80’s style clothing and an enraged baboon out for justice…what more could you ask for? Add a dash of Amanda Wyss and Ali Meyers and you got yourself a film! As its a horror film there is definitely a bit of violence and blood but it’s got some great cheesy moment. Overall it is good fun. I’ve been looking forward to someone doing a remake…guess I’ll keep crossing my fingers. SHAKMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️


The ShallowsTHE SHALLOWS (2016)

Mike D
The Shallows is a thrilling survival film where Nancy (Blake Lively) is attacked by a shark and left stranded on a rock and the only thing between her and land is the bloodthirsty creature in the water. Nancy has dropped out of medical school, distraught after losing her mother to cancer so revisits the beach (with no name) that was a favorite of her mothers. Nancy’s mother was a fighter, and she lost, now Nancy enters a fight for her life, testing her strength in mind and body. Blake’s expressions and physical excursions are truly felt and she proves she can be a leading actress by carrying this film on her shoulders. Director, Jaume Collet-Serra, known for directing Liam Neeson in Unknown and Non-Stop, brings a vibrant ocean to the screen which is just gorgeous to look. There are even numerous underwater shots that are quite breathtaking such as a colorful Jellyfish scene and the scene of her attack as she is knocked off her surfboard and tumbles below the ocean water before finding herself swimming in a cloud of crimson. Once the attack happens the film gets very intense and becomes a film of survival as Nancy must cater to her wounds, and try to outwit the shark before the tide of the ocean water swallows the only rock that’s keeping her above water. The ending gets a bit over the top, but overall the film is very thrilling and I’ve really enjoyed every viewing (this being my third). Just check your marine biology card at the door, grab a tub of popcorn and enjoy.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Nyle C
N/A
Rating: 


The_shiningTHE SHINING (1980)

MikeThis Shining is big on visuals and long tracking shots, most evident in the wonderful beginning to the film as the audience soars over the VW driving through the mountains with an outstanding score bringing a sense of doom. However, the visuals do tend to take away from some of the tension of the horror and the same visuals appear multiple times.  The film is okay story-wise, as we see Jack’s descent into madness, which Nicholson does very well, however, the family dynamic is odd, we don’t dig into enough into “the shining”, and Shelly Duvall’s character leaves much to be desired but my biggest complaint is the handling of the character, Dick, played by Scatman Crothers, who is a good character but is utterly wasted.  The Shining has some wonderful visuals, which can take away from some of the tension of this horror film, but is still something to admire, especially if you love Kubrick. Though I had a few gripes the film does provide some “Shining” moments making the viewing a solid watch.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nyle C
N/A
Rating:


SuspiriaSUSPIRIA (1977)

Mike D
Suspiria is a visual feast and I can see why some fans consider it to be Dario Argento’s horror masterpiece. The beginning sets the stage for what is to come: Beautiful visuals, intense and horrific killing, and a score from Goblin that is both chilling and rocking. Enjoy the splendor.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Nyle C
N/A
Rating:


TexasChainsawMassacre_1974THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974)

Mike D
Once that metal door slides shut, it’s all over.  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre will terrify you and leave you gasping for air by the time it is all said and done.  Don’t blink as the killing comes quick and before you know it a long and very intense chase ensues and we witness the victim spending a horrific evening of terror. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is not as gory as the title sounds, which is to its benefit as the film is more to scare and disturb versus gross you out and boy does it succeed.  Surprisingly the terror is accompanied by a small bit of humor with some wonderful camerawork by Tobe Hooper and cinematography by Daniel Pearl.  There are unforgettable hallway shots that are perfectly set up and other shots such as a girl walking up to the house are just incredible with an angle showing the dominating presence of doom that awaits.  Marilyn Burns is magnificent as one of the victims and her screams will make you cling to your seat. The film is not as bloody as the name applies but it’s definitely one of the most terrifying films out there.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Nyle C
I have watched this film multiple times and on my most recent viewing something occurred to me, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is essentially one long terrifying chase. More recent slasher films rely on the cat and mouse game where the victims spend large amounts of time hiding and trying to outsmart the killer. None of that here, Marilyn Burns as Sally spends large portions of this film running and screaming and screaming and running. There is no doubt this must have been a physically and mentally exhausting performance.
There is a reason this film is a horror classic, it gets so much right and very little wrong. One strength of the film is its way of implying violence and terror without being explicitly bloody or graphic. Most people I know who haven’t seen the film say so because “It’s too gory” or “It’s so violent” when the reality is there are a host of other movies that are much more visually disturbing than this film. Granted the film as a whole has this disturbing quality and can leave this bitter taste in your mouth but if anything I feel that’s a nod to Tobe Hoopers directing and the actors’ performances, especially Burns. If you are a horror fan more than likely you have already seen this film and nothing much else really needs to be said. But if by chance you haven’t this is a definite must watch for any horror film buff. Just prepare yourself for one hell of a ride.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


The-ThingTHE THING (1982)

Mike D
This was another film I was really looking forward to watching as I had not seen it in years but remember really enjoying it.  I’m happy to say that I loved it more than I thought I would.  The Thing by John Carpenter is truly amazing film work and I cannot believe how timeless this movie is.  The creature effects, in all its practical glory, are outstanding and the story is filled with plenty of suspense, not only from the creature itself but from the people around you and the question of who do you trust.  I enjoyed every moment of it and it is nearly impossible for me to find any kind of negative to the film.  John Carpenter’s The Thing is a masterpiece in sci-fi horror and will rank very high in my Top Ten Horror list.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nyle C
N/A
Rating: 


kinopoisk.ruTRAIN TO BUSAN (2016)

Mike D
I drove 3 1/2 hours in traffic to San Franciso to catch Train to Busan after hearing the buzz all the way from Korea and it was more than worth the trip.  Train to Busan is an intense action horror that literally kept me on the edge of my seat.  This was my third viewing and my eyes were still glued to the screen.  The film has very likable characters, great actors, and is probably the only horror film to make my eyes misty every single time I watch. I really love this film and its message of caring for others.  Zombie fan or not, the film is enjoyable all around.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Nyle C
N/A
Rating:


TremorsTREMORS (1990)

Mike D
Watched Tremors again after about 15 years & I was a bit worried how it would hold up as it is the horror film I had seen the most times in the theater.  Well, I’m so relieved to see that Tremors holds up.  I loved the pacing, the practical effects, & most of all Val and Earl.  It amazes me how well Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward bounced off one another so well, and let’s not forget the gun-toting Burt, played by Michael Gross.  What seemed like an odd choice on paper (being mostly known as the dad on the tv show Family Ties) turned out to be an ideal one.  The film is so much fun and does provide some minor scares for us horror fans.  I’m ecstatic to see the film has not fizzled at all and remains one of my favorite films. Love it!!
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Nyle C
N/A
Rating: 


The WitchTHE WITCH (2016)

Mike D
I really didn’t want watch this film when first seeing the trailer, and it was mostly because of the goat.  But I’m glad I did.  Director Robert Eggers really did his homework for the period The Witch is set in as everything seems so real. The setting here is very creepy and unsettling and carries throughout the film. Nothing is comfortable, especially when the haunting score from Mark Korvan plays in the background.  The acting is solid (including that goat) and though the dialogue can be challenging the actors to deliver, they do so in such fluent fashion. Anya Taylor-Joy is remarkable here as the innocent Thomasin and special props go to Ralph Ineson as the father, William. Ralph Ineson delivers a tone in his voice that could be as memorable as James Earl Jones’ voice for Darth Vader.  The film is only 90 minutes and the pace is a bit slow, so don’t expect a lot of jump scares. Instead, it is a film that will get under your skin and make your skin crawl. Overall this was a great effort!
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Nyle C
Evil takes many forms. Such is the truth behind The Witch. This movie absolutely blew me away, I couldn’t take my eyes off it and ever since when it happens to be on tv or I walk in on someone else watching it, I plant myself down for another viewing of magnificent horror. I believe The Witch may have been my first slow burn horror film, don’t quote me on that though. It for sure represents the brand of horror I most enjoy. It is very subtle in what it gives the audience and leaves you questioning what you see or think you have seen. It is if anything a very patient film. The sound and use of light is brilliant here and there are some scenes that will leave lasting embers in your memory. The dialogue and setting for The Witch were handled extremely well. It’s quite easy to lose yourself in the period watching the family go about their menial tasks. I found myself a few times reflecting on how the boredom and repetition during that period could easily cause people’s minds to wander. Add to that how deeply Christianity was embedded into the culture of that era and you have a perfect cocktail for anxiety and suspicion for the unknown or unexplainable. And there is much mystery and dread to be experienced in The Witch.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ½