Happy Halloween!

It’s Halloween, and I’m on my way to Toronto, where I’ll be spending a most unhallowed evening giving a talk. The one thing I regret about this is that I won’t be indulging in my favorite guilty pleasure for this time of year: watching an old horror movie or two. I’ll just reminisce here for a few minutes over my favorites. Don’t expect profundity, I admit up front that my taste is indiscriminate.

  • All of the Hammer films — I happened to hit adolescence just as there was this renaissance of British horror, so these caught me at an impressionable age.

  • The Abominable Dr Phibes. Vincent Price at his cheesiest. Vincent was splendid in lots of movies: The House of Wax, House of Usher, Witchfinder General, The Raven. And The Raven starred Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff as well!

  • Cat People, both the Val Lewton original and the remake with Nastassja Kinski. It’s one of those movies that tangled sex and horror together wonderfully.

  • Speaking of sex and horror…The Lair of the White Worm. Amanda Donohoe is my kind of woman.

  • The Wicker Man. Not the awful recent remake, but the creepy one with Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee.

  • Quatermass and the Pit aka Five Million Years to Earth. Who cares that it had cheap special effects — intelligent writing always wins out.

  • Cheesy Japanese rubber suit flicks. These are ridiculous and weird, which is the appeal. I can snarf ’em down like popcorn.

  • Mad scientist movies, for some unfathomable reason, appeal deeply to me. From Colin Clive tho Jeffrey Combs, if it’s got a deranged maniac with a gift for violating the laws of god and man, I will identify.

  • There are a few movies that can only be described as surreal which are wonderfully disquieting: Eraserhead and Tetsuo come to mind.

  • I haven’t been too impressed with more modern horror — grisly gore just bores me — but one recent movie that I thought was well done was El Orfanato. If I were staying home tonight, that’s the one I’d be watching while handing out candy to the kiddies at the door.

Your turn.


  1. Josh West says

    If you haven’t seen ‘The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra’, you are doing yourself a disservice.

  2. Saddlebred says

    Does anyone know why PT and AtBC are down? I hope it is just Reed doing some routine maintenance and not something worse =S.

  3. Cappy says

    Scary: The Shining.
    Freaky: Zardoz.
    Scary/Funny (a hard thing to pull off): The Frighteners.
    Politically Scary: Bob Roberts.

  4. SPFS says

    The Haunting – 1963, dir. Robert Wise (NOT the atrocious remake with Catherine Zeta Jones!)
    Excellent ghost story, very creepy,

  5. says

    Jesus Camp is a good one. I’m going to sit down and watch it again with some of my Evangelical friends next week.

    What about Young Frankestein? Now that’s a classic. It’s in black and white and everything. Peter Boyle and Gene Wilder, both geniuses.

  6. G Barnett says

    John Carpenter’s “Prince of Darkness” — Cameo by Alice Cooper

    “Pan’s Labyrinth” — brilliant, dark and creepy.

  7. says

    The only new horror movie that doesn’t suck is Silent Hill.

    If you want to laugh your ass off at poor production quality, I also recommend Satan’s Little Helper.

  8. Patricia says

    Oh goody! Cheesy horror movies, even those scare ME, but I do like Wicker Man.
    When I was a kid The Blob, Creature From the Black Lagoon, The Fly and Godzilla (original) made me hide my face in a pillow.
    Don’t watch The Wizard of Oz, those damned monkey’s will give you nightmares!

  9. says

    Vincent Price in Masque Of The Red Death…

    I love the scene in The Raven where Peter Lorre, who apart from his head is a human-sized raven at the time, is led down the stone steps into a typical horror film dungeon, and as he looks around at the effects department cob-webs he mutters ‘Hard place to keep clean, huh?’

  10. t fife says

    “Curse of the Demon” . . . hands down the best. It was based on the M.R. James story “Casting the Runes.”

  11. steven pirie-shepherd says

    Halloween watching with movies I possess
    1. the original Nosferatu
    2. The cabinet of Dr Caligari (original)
    3. Quatermass and the Pit
    4. The Horror of Dracula (Lee and Cushing)
    5. Frankenstein created woman (Cushing)
    6. The wicker man (original)

    Movies I need to buy soon
    1. Vampyr (1932 version)
    2. Frankenstein & Bride of Frankenstein (Karloff versions)
    3. Countess Dracula (Ingrid Pitt, hubba hubba)

  12. MikeM says

    Kobra, you really liked Silent Hill?

    That one made me laugh. Hard.


    The scene with the blind zombies, who were ready to go at the slightest provocation down in the -48th level, was pretty hilarious.

    And barbed wire. What was with the barbed wire?

  13. Nick Gotts says

    Scary/funny: almost as brilliant as “Young Frankenstein”, Polanski’s “Dance of the Vampires” (may have been called “The Fearless Vampire killers” in USA). Favourite scene: a potential victim brandishes a cross at an approaching vampire, who responds, in a strong Jewish accent: “Boy, have you got the wrong vampire!”.

  14. t fife says

    I do have to add that the thing with the eyes on his hands in “Pan’s Labyrinth” is the best monster in movie history.

  15. Bmeissner says

    One of the scariest of the classic sort is The Haunting, the original, not the remake. But probably the single best horror movie of all time is, for reasons I can never fathom, found in the Comedy section of most DVD places. It’s Brazil. Only saw it once and don’t think I could ever watch it again. *shudder*

  16. Raynfala says

    Oh yeah, another interesting one is Cube.

    Despite the deserved (?) flames for playing it fast-and-loose with the math bits, it’s still a very watchable movie.

    I still have nightmares about the trap in the opening sequence…

  17. Keenacat says

    Oooooh, “The Wicker Man”…
    I have to admit I only saw the remake-thing, but it was kinda unexpected…

    Read only if you already saw the film!

    There usually is some escaping at the end of horror films, but this one… It was like… Ok guys, it was all kinda creepy and stuff. Now where is the cavalry to save this poor guy? Hey, they just lit up that thing. Now, there must be anyone out there to rescue him. Didn’t he send a letter to anyone or called someone? Ok, there is some serious burning going on, there must be some helicopter or something rescuing him… Well.. Erm…

    I don’t remember having seen a lot of horror films with this kind of anticlimax.

    _____End of Spoiler______

    Have you seen “House of the 1000 Corpses” by Rob Zombie, by the way? We ran into it on an otherwise booooring night on TV and the titel was so much of a stereotype, we had to watch it. We didn’t expect anything and were quite surprised. It’s really gory and stuff, a nice treat if you do not expect something extraordinary.

  18. PeteFord says

    Just saw The Ruins (unrated edition) a few days ago. One short scene made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up – without spoilers, I’ll just say: “Flowers. Cellphone.” ‘Nuff said.

  19. Milton says

    “Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter”. Nothing like JC fighting lesbian vampires using kung fu moves. With a mexican-wrestler sidekick!

  20. Scott D. says

    The Orphanage is the best scary movie I’ve seen recently, and Pan’s Labyrinth was pretty creepy and very good.

  21. alchemist says

    Guillermo del toro has done a bunch of creepy ghost stories, but not really scary: The Devil’s Backbone I liked.

    He also produced “The Orphanage” which I thought was fantastic. Be ready for spanish subtitles.

    Oh, and anything with zombies or alien people:
    Cell (book, not a movie yet), Night of the Living Dead, The Thing, The Signal, Pulse etc

  22. Duncan says

    My picks would be

    Legend of Hell House
    Lair of the White Worm

    a new film and it’s hard to find called
    Let the Right One In

  23. Bill From Mn says

    Tonight I’ll be watching John Carpenter’s The Thing and the Exorcist. Despite my atheism and non-belief of all things supernatural, my imagination enjoys all things supernatural and this movie scares the crap out of me as a good story.

    I also love zombie flicks and time permitting I may pop in the new Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later.

  24. Architeuthis says

    Definitely Prince of Darkness… one of the best ever.

    The Exorcist (original)
    In the Mouth of Madness (great lovecraftian horror cheese with Sam Neil)

    and I’m gonna be playing “Dead Space” on my Xbox 360. Probably one of the best survival horror games i’ve ever played next to the game “Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth”. Scary as hell.

    And my halloween outfit is “Joe the Plumber: I’m just an average bald white guy trying to make it in this world.. ask me about my foreign policy”

    happy halloween everyone!

  25. Greg Peterson says

    Fans of El Orfanato would probably also like “The Devil’s Backbone.”

    It’s criminal that there’s no decent DVD of Ken Russell’s “The Devils,” based on Aldous Huxley’s “The Devils of Loudun.” Now that’s some creepy shit.

    And I know it got pretty roundly panned, but I’m a Romero loyalist, so I’m going to plug “Diary of the Dead,” although I suppose the best zombie movie in recent years is probably “28 Days Later.”

    For mad scientists, might I recommend “Expelled.” There was a chilling scene that seemed to promote knitting.

  26. CrypticLife says

    No Asian horror fans here?

    The Ring (original Japanese version): anyone who watches a particular creepy video dies after 7 days,
    Shutter: a couple runs into someone on the road, and then finds a ghost showing up in their pictures
    The Haunted Apartments: A father and daughter move into an apartment complex only to find ghost(s) have set up rules so that no one can move out until someone else moves in

    (I didn’t really like The Eye, and didn’t see Grudge), or Audition was a bit torture-fetishistic for my taste.

    In monster horror, the first two Alien movies were the last good ones I saw.

    Nicholas Cage had a wonderfully ambiguous vampire movie.

  27. Don says

    Years ago the BBC used to do adaptations of MR James stories at christmas. Whistle and I’ll come to you, my lad was cracking.

  28. says

    I absolutely love 30’s/40’s horror flicks, of the Lugosi and Karloff type, hilarious stuff, and I’d watch any the Hammer, Price, Lee, Cushing type stuff for it’s camp kitsch amusement value. Once you know about “Corman’s Law” (Corman supposedly said that you should always “show a little tit every 10 minutes”), it makes watching his flicks of that time quite funny too. Not only do they have the kitsch value, but the periodic titillation scenes are so regular that you can set your watch by them. It’s really quite funny.

    I remember finding The Exorcist and Poltergeist pretty scary when I first saw them as a child, but I’ve found that my amusement at gob-smacking stupidity (going to investigate the cellar where a half dozen of your buddies have been eaten rather than getting the fuck out of the house) has worn very thin, and I now find the odd horror flicks that I see irritating in their formulaic banality.

    Since you mention Eraserhead, I found it unbearably tedious and irritating; it’s one of a handful of films I absolutely hate: a complete waste of celluloid.

  29. CrypticLife says

    Oh, I’d forgotten 28 Days Later.

    Hmm, gotta find a movie my 8-year old can watch, but which I’ll still enjoy. Any suggestions?

  30. Hairy Doctor Professor says

    “The Thing” (both the original 1950’s version and the Kurt Russell version), **any** of the Karloff/Lugosi/Chaney (not Cheney – too scary) classics, **any** of the Godzilla-eats-Tokyo, and most of the low-budget B&W monster/scifi/lost-world/stop-motion flicks (such as The Mole People and The Valley of Gwangi). I have a sneaking admiration for one of George Pal’s worst, too: Atlantis, The Lost Continent.

  31. Keenacat says

    @ CrypticLife:
    Recently I saw one of those asian things involving some girls getting creepy vids of their own deaths on their cell phones. I thing I got the last five minutes of something that might have been the second part of this film some days later.
    Maybe you have an idea what film it was?

  32. says

    Ooh, this thread reminded me that I’ve been meaning to watch The Thing and Prince of Darkness for ages (I’ve seen neither before). I’ll be doing that tonight. Hmm, and perhaps Big Trouble in Little China, which I maintain is one of the masterpieces of modern cinema.

  33. John says

    One of the most unsettling traditional ghost stories is Whistle and I’ll Come to You, made in 1968 for the BBC. Black and white. Minimal special effects. Shows what intelligent writing, fine acting, and visionary directing can do. Absolutely spinechilling.

    Easier to find is The Vanishing – the Dutch original, not the Hollyweird remake. If you don’t know it, has the most disturbing final scene of any film I’ve seen.

  34. Craig says

    One of my favorites, and it’s regularly overlooked:
    John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness.

    One of the last great truly haunting gore films:
    Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

  35. MarkW says

    Amanda Donohoe is my kind of woman.

    I knew there was a reason I read your blog PZ. You’re a man with taste.

  36. xymbionicx says

    OoooH spooky films OK :-
    Eraserhead yea this is 1 totally WIERD film
    The ring (japanese version)
    Audition (japanese version)
    Quatermass and the pit as u say some dodgy special effects but excellent acting and the plot actually hangs together (Nigel Kneale)
    Tetsuo (first one in B&W)
    The omen

  37. Brian says

    I’ll just do this bullet-point style in no particular order:

    -An American Werewolf in London. I still get goosebumps hearing that howl.

    -The Howling. Watching Eddie the Mangler turn into an utterly convincing werewolf (after pulling out part of his brain through the bullet hole in his forehead!) was outstanding.

    -Trilogy of Terror. Specifically, the last part of the movie in which a 12″ tall Zuni fetish doll comes to life and terrorizes a lone woman in her apartment.

    -Army of Darkness. Perhaps one of the best horror/comedy movies in a long time. Why?:

    Ash – “Ma’am, I’m afraid I’m gonna have to ask you to leave the store”.

    Demon – “Who the hell are you?!?”

    Ash – “The name’s Ash. (Cocks shotgun single-handedly) Housewares.”

    -ReAnimator. C’mon. Barbara Crampton naked on a table? Over the top gore? What’s not to love?

  38. says

    @19: Silent Hill isn’t exactly terrifying, but I thought it was an okay movie. Not as good as it could have been, though.

  39. says

    When it comes to horror movies, I have always been a big sissy. I don’t enjoy being frightened “for fun” and my imagination is just too vivid for my rational mind to say “calm down, you big baby” and have it work. Like Patricia (#11), I used to find even Godzilla movies scary when I was a kid. Yeah, rubber-suit monsters were terrifying!

    And I hate splatter movies and avoid them like the plague.

    I have, however, a real appreciation for The Wicker Man. That is one compelling piece of film, full of sharp writing and foreboding atmosphere, all done without gore and evisceration. Not that it’s gentle, however. Christopher Lee is in his element and has one of the best lines ever: “A Christian should wecome the opportunity to be a martyr for his faith.”

  40. Dianne says

    Hmm, gotta find a movie my 8-year old can watch, but which I’ll still enjoy. Any suggestions?

    Spirited Away. It’s only technically a ghost story (the ghost is a minor character) but it’s one of these stories (quasi-spoiler alert!)that’s scary to adults because they imagine what might happen but not so scary to kids who trust the structure of the story and know it’s going to work out all right in the end.

  41. foxfire says

    So, no Rocky fans here? How can you seriously forget The Rocky Horror Picture Show? Or the first Exorcist or the first Hellraiser?

    Ah Quatermass! Gots the Pit and I still like the just plain Quatermass (Huffity Puffity) best. That and the Brit TV version of the Hitchhiker’s Guide (orange towel!)

    Anyway, Happy Halloween fellow “godless” people.

    P.S. Wanna read a real scary story, try the Old Testament sans all the annoying begets.

  42. Steve8282 says

    Let the right ones in

    Is the best film I have seen this year but be ready for Swedish subtitles.

  43. says

    The Signalman by Charles Dickens. The BBC production is fantastic. An eery scary period ghost story. Actually scary, as opposed to these modern horrors where you see the monster within the first 10 minutes (boo!).

  44. GregW says

    Serpent and the Rainbow
    Wizard of Oz (as a child, those flying monkeys scared the crap outta me)
    Rocky Horror Picture Show
    Young Frankenstein
    Invasion of the Body Snatchers (in glorious black and white although I will settle on the 1970s remake)
    Bram Stoker’s Dracula (I thought it was stylistically well done. Too bad that Keanu Reeves made it out alive though)

  45. JPBrowning says

    First post here, but long time reader and I had to throw my 2 cents in on this one.

    Event Horizon

    Not really sure what the world’s idea of this movie is, but most people I know loved the movie. Crazy sci-fi freaky flick. Love it!

  46. Alverant says

    I’m either going to watch Rocky Horror Picture show or an MST3K episode with a horror theme

  47. Architeuthis says

    @craig nice to see another fan of that movie… really underrated, really creepy and really good.

    @JPBrowning: oh yeah, event horizon… one of the greatest sci-fi horror movies second of course to Alien.

    my friends and I are planning a horror video game night:

    Dead Space
    Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners
    Silent Hill
    The Darkness

    He’s got a 60+ inch hi-def projection screen and we plan on scaring the hell out of each other… should be fun!

  48. Tom says

    To Greg Peterson #38 – I’ve wanted to see The Devils ever since a girlfriend said she was physically sick while watching it – and she was no softee.

    Another vote here for the Wicker Man – the original of course! Not many people know that it’s a musical (of sorts). Very atmospheric and very erotic. Worth climbing a mountain to watch, if only for the Britt Eckland ‘next room’ scene. Phew!

  49. Darrell E says

    I haven’t seen many horror films in years because my wife is not a fan. The one horror movie that stands out in my mind is “It’s Alive,” from the early to mid ’70s. That one warped me. I was about 10 years old and had to sneak into the theatre to see it. Messed me up for weeks. It would be interesting to see it again. At my current age it would probably be more like comedy than horror.

    Not sure this is horror, but it was pretty disturbing. One evening my (then) future wife and her girlfriend wanted to rent a sexy movie for the evening. They came home with a movie titled “The Rapture.” It was not what they thought it would be.

  50. Keenacat says

    Thanks a lot, CrypticLife. I am sure this is the film, I remember the girls name “Yumi”. I will get it somewhere and watch the whole thing, since the parts I’ve already seen were pretty nice and unsettling.

  51. Abby Normal says

    Tonight I’ll be watching:

    The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951, I’ve heard people say there’s another version, but I refuse to believe it.)

    A Bucket of Blood (not gory despite the name)

    The Brain That Wouldn’t Die

    And if I’m still awake after that, Teenage Catgirls In Heat (Troma humor/horror)

    I also want to second (or third) Cube, one of my all-time favorites.

  52. says

    -ReAnimator – great sort of film with cheesy effects and over the top acting (“You couldn’t call, or write a note.”
    “I was busy pushing bodies around as you well know. And what would a note say, Dan? ‘Cat dead; details later’?”)

    -Juon: infinitely better than The Grudge. The independent stories that cross each other only to cause the horror afflicting one character to spread to the next was just amazing.

    -The Thing: because nothing says Halloween like a defibrillation scene resulting in a man losing both his arms as the head of the body sprouts spider legs to crawl away.

    -Wizards: not so much scary but with all the people dressed up as fantasy creatures, I was inspired to watch it again last year on Halloween. There’s something to be said for Elves, Faeries and a good wizard fighting the army of goblins, trolls, orcs, cyborgs, and mutants lead by an evil wizard and his use of old Hitler speeches to inspire them to evil.

  53. Valis says

    Lots of good movies mentioned here, but my personal favourite is Clive Barker’s Lord Of Illusions.

  54. the pro from dover says

    All of Ray Harryhausen’s stop action black and whites, Creatue from the Black lagoon, Them. Worst ever?- Blair Witch Project. The movie equivalent of Fannie and Freddie.

  55. Craig says

    I watched Midnight Meat Train recently, based on the Clive Barker short story. Not bad. It had some annoying modern “look at all the gore I can do” moments, but other than those (not too many) it was genuinely creepy.

    Other Clive Barker gems:
    Candyman (tho Clive didnt direct it)

  56. spgreenlaw says

    Oh man, I haven’t seen Eraserhead in ages. I think Samhain is a good occasion for another viewing.

    Also, I am totally doing a mst3k monster movie marathon while I hand out candy. You want cheesy monsters? Joel/Mike and the bots are the best place to turn.

  57. Celtic_Evolution says

    I still have a soft spot for “Poltergeist”… not the sequels… the sequels never happened. You hear me? Never. Happened.

    The scene with the toy clown on the boy’s bed still gives me the creepies just thinking about it.

    That, and I remember being a kid, watching The Omen (the original, bot that horrible recent remake) late at night with my friends and being scared shitless…

  58. nkb says

    The Birds, by Hitchcock, freaked me out as a kid. The only horror flick I ever saw that gave me nightmares.

    Someone mentioned Dance of the Vampires – excellent, and very funny.

    Someone also mentioned Army of Darkness with Bruce Campbell. Outstanding!

  59. Rick R says

    “Quatermass and the Pit aka Five Million Years to Earth. Who cares that it had cheap special effects — intelligent writing always wins out.”

    Great movie!

    I’ll also go with “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” from 1978. Changing the story from rural setting to urban was brilliant.

    “The Exorcist”. Not just great horror, but one of the best movies ever made, period. Make sure you see the original 1973 version, and not the 2000 director’s cut. The redo kind of unravels a lot of what made the original such a model of how to make a horror film without being the least bit cheap and cheesy.

    Ah, the 70’s.

  60. Patricia says

    Has anyone seen that new Johnny Depp slasher/musical? I usually will watch anything with him in it, but this one is reportedly really bloody.
    Damned if I can think of the title of it!

  61. mojoandy says

    “Bride of Frankenstein”. Seriously, it’s a good movie, and better than the first. The line “Gods and Monsters” is in there, inspiring the title of the biopic (also good).

    “The Changeling” (the one with George C. Scott). That bathtub.. that wheelchair. Eek.

  62. spgreenlaw says


    I believe you are thinking of Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. It’s a lot of fun, and while there is a lot of blood, I still think its something the more squeamish amongst us (I would include myself in that number… the sight of real blood makes me go dizzy) can enjoy. Some of the singing leaves something to be desired, but the visuals and the story line are wonderful.

  63. gazza says

    I’m convinced that if you see any one of the classic horror films outlined here in the right situation that it converts easily from horror to comedy.

    I remember seeing The Exorcist back in the 70’s when it was state of the art horror (on-screen projectile puking with green slime and masturbation!). But it was with a student audience – so as the exorcism reached a climax (“the power of christ commands, the power of christ commands”, etc, or something similar) some guy pipes up “all together now, 1, 2, 3….”. From that point everything horrible became a laughfest.

    There’s a narrow dividing line between film horror and comedy.

  64. Stephen Llewellyn says

    Quatermass !! I remember that in its original iteration as a television series in England – back in the old black-and-white screen days, 1959. There had been two previous series, the first was The Quatermass Experiment and then Quatermass II.

  65. dave says

    “”Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter”. Nothing like JC fighting lesbian vampires using kung fu moves. With a mexican-wrestler sidekick!”

    Amen to that. Especially since it’s a musical and the penultimate dance number is entitled “Everybody Gets Laid Tonight!”

    Oh, and the evil kung fu atheists rule!

  66. Graculus says

    Chronos. I’m not even sure it’s horror, although the plot reads like it should be, it isn’t shot as a horror flick. And it’s excellent.

    Anything from John Carpenter.

    Nomads. Based on a Chelsea Quinn Yarbro tale.

    The Others. A fairly good ghost story.

    The 80’s remake of The Blob. Far, far better than the original.

    Dusk Til Dawn. Who doesn’t love Mexican vampires?

  67. Mikey M says

    “Mr. Sardonicus”

    The original “Alien.”

    And, speaking of Hammer babes, let us not forget Stephanie Beacham.

  68. ggab says

    The Exorcist -Amazing movie.
    The Orphanage was good.
    The Ring -American verion
    Dark Waters -This one was super creepy but it absolutely has to be the Japanese version.
    The Thing – One of my all time favorite films period.
    Great funny horror? Cemetary man. Fantastic film.
    I hate torture porn, so I haven’t seen any of the “Saw” films or “The Passion of The Christ”.

  69. says

    #31 and #90,

    Ah good old JC:VH, that movie still rocks. Got to love such lines as

    “The power of Christ Impales You!” – tagline for the movie
    “Oh, God loves them. They get so much done in a day, don’t you think? ” – Virgin Mary on Lesbians

    And the inclusion of Santo, el Enmascarado de Plata as Jesus’ sidekick was just awesome. That reminds me. Any of the old Santo fights a movie monster films are good for some campy Halloween fun. How can you go wrong with a title like “Santo y Blue Demon contra Drácula y el Hombre Lobo”

  70. horrobin says

    I didn’t notice anyone mentioning “Let The Right One In”, a very sweet and bloody Swedish vampire movie. Go see it.

    But what I’m watching tonight is “Dunwich Horror” on TMC. Sure, it’s goofy but…c’mon! Dean Stockwell emoting like hell while chanting “YOG…SOTHOTH!”, Sandra Dee’s (fake) nude altar scene! Les Baxter music! Groovy interdimensional special effects!

  71. Nick says

    I’ll always be a sucker for a good creature feature.

    Current recommendation: The Host.

    It’s a korean flick about a river-monster with a very nonstandard ending. (And with a definite nod to the strong strain of annihilationist fantasy in asian cinema.)

  72. BeccaTheCyborg says

    I’m a little unnerved. It appears PZ and I have the exact same list. The only thing I’d add is that I liked the Coppola Dracula and the Herzog Nosferatu.
    I’ve been a horror junkie as far back as I can remember, and El Orfanato remains the only movie ever to scare me. And it scared me bad enough that I still can’t think of it before bed. I didn’t sleep that night. So I recommend it too. :)

  73. DiscoveredJoysa says

    Many excellent choices here, but the single scene that always makes me jump and shudder, even though not a true horror film, is the shower scene in Psycho… zit, Zit, ZIT!

  74. dave says

    “Rec” is a great Spanish language film currently being americanized – I was curled in the fetal position for the last half of it (same with the first half of “the Descent”).

  75. Matthew says

    La Cité des Enfants Perdus (City of the Lost Children). Watch it now and be scared of Santa just in time for winter.

    For that matter (also Jeunet and Caro) Delicatessen. Another similarly weird one is the aforementioned Brazil.

    The Problem with The Abominable Doctor Phibes is that Price doesn’t speak for much of it. But such a unique way to kill people. Now I want the frog costume for Halloween.

  76. ggab says

    I completely forgot to mention Alien.
    One of the best ever.
    28 Days Later was fantastic!
    The Eye was alright, never saw the American version though.

  77. Maldoror says

    “There are a few movies that can only be described as surreal which are wonderfully disquieting: Eraserhead and Tetsuo come to mind.”

    I love those movies, but what about Un Chien Andalou and Meshes of the Afternoon?

    Plus, even though they aren’t pure surrealism, David Cronenberg’s early films are a wonderful blend of body horror and thought-provoking sci-fi, especially Videodrome.

  78. spgreenlaw says

    Reflecting back on Eraserhead called to mind another of my favorite eerie mood pieces. Street of Crocodiles by the brilliant Brothers Quay, always sends shivers up my spine. It is short, under thirty minutes, but it is a visual mind fuck. Oh, and I second Maldoror’s suggestion of Un Chien Andalou. The eyeball slicing scene is some powerful stuff.

  79. Matthew says

    Meshes of the Afternoon! I totally forgot about that one. In my film class we watched it on reel-to-reel, if I remember correctly. Is it available on DVD?

  80. Valis says

    Plus, even though they aren’t pure surrealism, David Cronenberg’s early films are a wonderful blend of body horror and thought-provoking sci-fi, especially Videodrome.

    Aaaah! Scanners (writhe in pain)…

    Or John Carpenter’s They Live! Although that turned out to be a documentary.

  81. Jennifer says

    If you liked Tetsuo, you might also like Machine Girl, a recent Japanese release along similar lines.

    Over half my 1500+ DVD collection is horror/sf, so I have a lot to choose from. Among the ones I’ve watched this week are Videodrome, Serpent and the Rainbow, Night of the Comet (cheesy 80s zombie fun!), Masters of Horror: Homecoming, Night of the Demons 1 and 2, Warlock 1 & 2, Nightbreed, My Bloody Valentine, The Deadly Spawn, April Fool’s Day, and the Puppet Masters.

    Tonight when my husband gets home, we’re going to order pizza, sit down with the kids, and watch Lugosi’s Dracula, Karloff’s Frankenstein, and Lon Chaney Jr.’s Wolf Man. Nothing like the classics! (We warmed up last night with Karloff’s The Mummy).

    Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year; much better than the Christian hype of Easter and Christmas, or the jingoism we see these days at the 4th of July. Just candy and costumes and scary movies. :)

  82. Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker says

    VALIS, please tell me you are not getting your horror movie knowledge from a pink beam of light.

    I am sorry, I could not help myself.

  83. Maldoror says

    Oh yeah, while it’s not quite as shocking as Un Chien Andalou, Bunuel’s L’Age D’Or should be of interest to other blasphemous heathens here due to infamous finale featuring Jesus as the Duc de Blangis from the Marquis de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom. (Fans of expressionist films will also love the beautiful chateau set piece in this sequence.)

  84. Murdoc says

    The Ring
    28 Days Later
    Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
    Rosemary’s Baby
    Wicker Man (1973)

  85. OctoberMermaid says

    Your mileage may vary depending on what scares you, obviously, but Fire in the Sky still gives me the chills.

  86. Hairhead says

    Hey, I ‘ve got a spoiler on Quatermass and the Pit (skip if you haven’t seen the movie) and question.

    First, in the climax of the film, the Martian’s hive-mind takes over parts of the population, who immediately mind-meld together, and using PK, murder those other humans who are intelligent and individual enough not to subsume themselves.

    Second, this is what made the movie for me, because, as a brainiac in a low-income-area school, I was singled out for physical in much that same mindless way. I IDENTIFIED with the poor humans marked for destruction because that reflected my life at the time.

    The question: anybody else watching Quatermass and the Pit have a like reaction?

  87. Brian says

    The first Nightmare on Elm Street. The next several were bad.

    Scream. Scream 2 and 3 weren’t bad, but proved their own point that sequels aren’t as good as the original.

    For cheesy fun and allusions to half a dozen films/genres Army of Darkness.

    The Ring had a cool idea and great visuals, but ran out of gas for the last half an hour or so. Not bad overall.

    I’ll be the nth to tongue and cheek say, or not so tongue in cheek, Jesus Camp.

    While not supernatural horror, Misery was pretty good and it featured an outstanding performance by Kathy Bates.

  88. MikeM says

    Okay, how is this possible?

    I’m the first to mention Donnie Darko.

    That’s a creepy movie.

  89. heliobates says


    “Nightmare Before Christmas” and “The Corpse Bride”

    My 5-year-old loves them and they’re a hoot. Lot’s going on for older kids from 8 to 38.

    @102 Delicatessen

    Right on. I love that movie.

    For the rest of you, hasn’t anyone seen The Changeling?

    Folks, when that ball comes bouncing down the stairs…and it’s WET!

  90. jpf says

    I believe you mentioned it on here before, but Horror Express is a good one from the ’70s.

    It’s got Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing as anthropologists bringing a frozen caveman back from Manchuria on the Trans-Siberian railroad. Of course the caveman thaws out en route and people start dying, but there’s a twist: the frozen caveman is possessed by an alien intelligence that can jump from person to person and steal their memories! (So basically, it’s The Thing on a train.)

    And for Pharyngulans, there’s some evolution vs. creationism and religion angles: (second-hand quoting from some Amazon review) “When the countess declares that the theory of ‘evolution is immoral’ Christopher Lee roars, ‘Evolution is a fact. There is no morality in a fact!’ When the priest, who thinks the alien is Satan, wants it to come into his body and asks it to do so the alien states that it does not want to absorb the priest’s mind, declaring that there is ‘nothing of any value in it.'”

    Also, halfway through the movie Telly Savalas, playing a Cossack, boards the train, barks orders at people, says some funny lines, and generally steals the show.

  91. says

    Modern horror is on the upswing, and I can name a handful without even going to J-horror, which I think has had its moment. The French, Spanish, and Australians are stepping up. I like ghost stories and gore; I know I’m not alone. So in no particular order, recent favorites:

    1) The Descent
    2) Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
    3) Inside
    4) Slither
    5) Dog Soldiers
    6) Ginger Snaps
    7) High Tension
    8) Black Sheep
    9) May
    10)The Orphanage (I know, already mentioned)

    And look everybody! Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins in the remake of The Wolfman!

  92. Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker says

    Alright, this is not a movie. But it is one of the creepiest things I ever seen. A couple of years later, I still shudder with horror.

  93. Hal in Howell MI says

  94. MikeM says

    Well, I hate to spread my 1 post over 10, but I also happened to see some Volver the other day. Not really a horror flick, though–more like a dark comedy drama with a ghost. Not quite as shocking as Donnie Darko.

  95. Dancaban says

    Anybody in the UK remember the opening sequence for “Appointment with Fear” the horror films on fri/sat night? The transmuting heads and creepy music really set you up for the flick!

    The later version is here http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=tsXRVcIU1mc but can’t find the earlier, much more creepier version.

    Anyway, anything HAMMER! Just watched “The Brides of Dracula”.

  96. Jacques says

    I would like to nominate a couple of films I’ve watched rece3ntly; being unemployed is a great way to catch up on one’s unwatched DVD collection. One is Spoorloos, aka The Vanishing. Very creepy, well worth sitting through to the end, although it can be slow at times, but that’s the way the best horror films work, right. The second is more recent, 1408 with John Cusack. That one scared the shit out of me for the first 40 minutes or so. I’m not supposed to believe in ghosts because I’m an atheist, you know, but I couldn’t help but be terribly creeped out by this film. It started to drag after a while, but had some neat twists and turns. Written by Stephen King, one of his better achievements.

  97. says

    Ah, horror movies. *sigh*

    Hammer movies are so, so great! Saw my first one, “Dracula Has Risen From the Grave”, during an 8th grade assembly and that was pretty much that. My hubs watched “Blood on Satan’s Claw” when he was 5, thanks to his uncles who were “watching” him for an evening. In spite of that, he likes ’em too.

    #122: I’m surprised nobody mentioned “The Changeling” either. Very, very creepy.

    I went and splurged on a new, fresh copy of “Vampyr” today. It was a movie way, way ahead of its time – we’re saving it for when the porch light gets shut off and the kiddo goes to bed.

  98. Don says

    yay Delicatessen. I’d forgotten that.

    Brotherhood of the Wolves is great fun. Pre-revolutionary France martial arts/werewolf movie with a proto-scientist hero and the ancien regime recruiting superstition to …

    woa, deja vu. We have done this before, haven’t we?

    Also, Ravenous. Sank without trace, can’t think why.


  99. Lurkbot says

    I’m afraid the “horror” part of my brain has atrophied over the years: now most horror movies are either funny or boring. I do love the funny ones, though!

    Context is everything, though. I first saw Fearless Vampire Killers (starring Roman Polanski and his wife Sharon Tate, for those who don’t know) on late-night TV while I was working on a take-home Calculus teat. This was right after the Tate-La Bianca murders, and in fact I think Charlie Manson was still on trial. Now there’s horror for you!

  100. GuyIncognito says

    When I was a kid the first ten or so and last ten or so minutes of the original When a Stranger Calls freaked me out. I’d also recommend Sleepaway Camp, if you like cheesy, low-budget slasher movies with freaky endings. You might try the 1960 French flick Eyes Without a Face, about a doctor that abducts women and uses their skin to reconstruct his daughter’s mangled face. Also from 1960 is Michael Powell’s (of the Archers fame) Peeping Tom. I personally found the way the killer offs his victims to be pretty creepy. The film is often compared to Hitchcock’s Psycho, which was released in 1960 as well. For whatever reason, Peeping Tom ruined Powell’s career, while Psycho was a hit.

  101. Dianne says

    I have a problem with horror films: I love creepy scenes and the whole feeling of mystery and things happening that aren’t supposed to, but I hate seeing people in pain or being hurt. Which, of course, limits things when it comes to horror films. Anyone know of any films that would meet the criteria? (Actually, books would be even better. I have a fondness for Shirley Jackson’s stuff and “The Monkey’s Paw”. Anyone else have favorite horror stories to share?)

  102. Jack Rawlinson says

    Respect for mentioning the wonderful Quatermass and the Pit. Scared the shit out of me as an impressionable youth, that did.

  103. El Guerrero del Interfaz says

    When I was a kid the movie thing that scared me the most was Jean Marais’s characterization of “La Bête” in Jean Cocteau’s movie “La Belle et la Bête”. It scared the shit out of me when I saw him the first time. And during many years this movie was a kind of sadomasochist pleasure for me.

    One of the best movies of all the times, it still makes me tingle. BTW, Coppola copied one of Cocteau’s _special_effect_ in Dracula and was not able to do it as well as the French.

  104. Old Goat says

    A cheesy classic… Equinox! Full of continuity errors, bad acting and stop motion animation, but hey… it’s got Herb Tarlek (Frank Bonner) in it! :D It is a fun little classic.


    I hear there is a second Silent Hill coming as well… it should be subtitled “The Apology”. I’m a fan of the game series and found the movie to be a sad disappointment.

  105. Clemmie says

    Fiend Without a Face

    1950s nucleur threat alegory with stop motion brain/spinal cords walking around like inch worms. freaky when I was 8, hilarious now. Wikipedia it and look at the poster. Genius.

  106. druidbros says

    Oh PZ, now this is right in my wheelhouse.

    If you like Pan’s Labyrinth then go hunt down ‘The Devil’s Backbone’ also by the same director.

    Then I recommend several Japanese/Korean/Hong Kong horror films.

    1. Kwaidan
    2. Jigoku
    3. Audition

    Thers a campy British film called ‘The Curse of the Beast’. I like the film but the Demon is really campy.

    For pure creepiness.. I like a Peckinpah film
    Straw Dogs. or Diabolique a Henri-Georges Clouzot
    French thriller.

    And I also recommend a Peter Greenaway film…
    the Cook,the Theif,His wife, and her lover.

  107. Hairhead says

    Thanks to everyone who mentioned “The Changeling”, which was shot in my hometown of Vancouver, B.C. It is a movie without gore, but *tremendously creepy*. Yes, the ball bouncing down the staircase . . . thump . . . thump . . . thump . . . eeesh!

  108. Tom says

    I haven’t read all the comments, so this may mimic somebody else, but thanks to PZ for mentioning Amanda Donohoe in Lair of the White Worm.

    Her Wikipedia page describes her as “a feminist, a socialist and an atheist.”


  109. says

    I think Samhain is a good occasion for another viewing.

    Samhain is tomorrow (1st November), but since you mention ancient Celtic festivals, oft-mentioned in horror movies, I have a minor bee in my bonnet about the way they’re mispronounced. If anyone’s interested in a better pronunciation of Samhain, it’s second from last (November) in this MP3 audio of the months in Irish. Bealtaine, another Celtic festival amusingly mispronounced in horror movies is fifth (May).

  110. Ian H Spedding FCD says

    I remember watching the original BBC mini-series of Quatermass And The Pit. The final episode was the only show which had me hiding behind the sofa. Nigel Kneale’s script was eventually published in Penguin paperback and I still have it somewhere. I also have a DVD of one of his best shows The Stone Tape from the 1970’s.

  111. Wowbagger says

    With you on El Orfanato. Brilliantly done, and without resorting to the gore that’s so popular today.

  112. Justin says

    My Halloween tradition for the last few years is sitting a room full of people down to watch Dead Alive. I can’t believe it hasn’t been mentioned yet. It’s one of Peter Jackson’s (The Lord Of The Rings) early ones. It’s a Zombie movie with a Freudian twist. It is also gory as all hell, but gory in a good way. No really, it’s so over the top gory that you can’t help but laugh. The blood and gore are played for humor. I yet to show this movie to anyone who has not become a fan of it. It’s got zombie sex, zombie priests(ok that’s redundant), zombie babies, greasers, mom eats the girlfriends dog, and zombie intestines. If you like Army of Darkness, you need to see Dead Alive, it’s similar, but I think it’s a better movie.

  113. daveb says

    A few of my favorite chilling moments –

    Alien – the dinner scene. A wonderful Freudian play on childbirth.

    Audition – Asami answers the phone. One of the rare horror movies that puts a woman in the “scarring” role.

    The Thing (Remake) – The blood test. Mental note: don’t tie yourself to a chair before checking if the guy next to you is an alien.

    Psycho – The private investigator meets Mrs. Bates. I’m waiting for the even scarier remake of Psycho starring RuPaul as Norman Bates.

    Nightmare on Elm Street 2 – Twofer: Freddie coming to life, and the random dogs with people faces. Despite its cheesy reputation, the NOEM franchise has some creepily sophisticated surrealist moments.

    Ok, I’m done being cheesy. Anyone else: what actually scared you in your favorite horror films?

    The spanish film REC is highly reccomended, provided you haven’t seen the

    spoilers in the #$%^ing trailers of Quarantine.

  114. druidbros says

    Justin @ 150…. I stood up during one scene of Dead Alive (YOU know which one) and said ” He’s mowing them down !”….
    Laughs all around the theatre…

  115. Slaughter says

    I’m with SPFS (#6). “The Haunting” — the original, of course — was one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen. “The Birds” is another one; it gave me nightmares when I was a kid.
    I was going to see another horror flick this weekend, but I think I’ll wait till it’s on video so I can stop it if it gets too bad. Anyone else seen “W”?

  116. Nerd of Redhead says

    The cheesiest, most grade D horror movie I ever saw was “Night of the Lepus”. Trying to make scared rabbits look like monsters……

  117. Maureen Lycaon says

    I’m too sensitive to horror films as such — even From Beyond was too scary for me, and I had to leave the theatre. But I’m a sucker for anything with wolves or lycanthropes, no matter how crappy.

    The Company of Wolves — not really a horror film despite the bizarre ending, but the finest werewolf movie ever made.

    The Wolfen — unforgivably bastardized the original Whitley Streiber novel, which itself was no prize . . . but it featured the most beautiful pack of wolves ever seen in a movie.

    The Howling III: The Marsupials. Were-thylacines, what’s not to like?

    Bram Stoker’s Dracula, as already mentioned above. The visuals are exquisite, and I’m a sucker for striking imagery.

  118. Grendels Dad says

    I am surprised that a net cast this wide hasn’t pulled up Blade Runner yet. That relentless pursuit played in to so many nightmares.

    P.S. Thanks lurkbot, I laughed so hard at a take-home calculus teat that I scared the dog! 8^0

  119. StuV says

    Speaking of REALLY bad and cheesy… did anyone mention Microwave Massacre yet?

    Any about 1408… it’s not really “based on” Stephen King’s short, more “there’s this short story I read three years ago and can barely remember it, wanna do a movie?” — as with so many of his work.

  120. Rick R says

    #157- “The Wolfen — unforgivably bastardized the original Whitley Streiber novel, which itself was no prize . . . but it featured the most beautiful pack of wolves ever seen in a movie.”

    I like “Wolfen”. It has beautiful photography and effects “Wolfenvision!) and a great sound design. And it was the first time I ever saw or even heard about the South Bronx. Who knew a major American city had it’s own Dresden?
    All in all, I thought director Michael Wadleigh (Woodstock) really classed up the material, even though it does suffer from that hopeless “Native Americans are on a higher spiritual plane” meme.

  121. Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker says

    Posted by: druidbros | October 31, 2008

    Justin @ 150…. I stood up during one scene of Dead Alive (YOU know which one) and said ” He’s mowing them down !”….
    Laughs all around the theatre…

    I started laughing during that movie and could not stop. And not because it was funny. It was just so over the top gross! To thing he later went on to make TLOTR.

  122. Bee says

    Can’t handle gore, and every scary movie I’ve liked has been mentioned, but can anyone identify a scary movie I saw as a kid?

    1950s science fiction, set in the Arctic or Antarctic. Very blizzardy. There’s a few guys stationed there, and this extremely beautiful but scary woman shows up. She likes it really cold. End of the movie, they warm up the space she’s in and she melts.

    That’s all I know, because I watched it secretly from behind the hall door while I was supposed to be upstairs in bed. Scared me to death!

  123. says

    If you want a sharply smart current horror flick, take a look at “Behind the Mask: the Rise of Leslie Vernon.”

    It’s sharply written and features cameos from some of the best people of eighties slasher fame.

  124. Ubi Dubium says

    Ohhh – for psychological creepiness, nothing quite equals A Clockwork Orange. Fatal Attraction scares the willies out of me too. Supernatural stuff isn’t scary for me, cause I don’t buy into it. Insane real people are much scarier

    I’m glad someone mentioned Night of the Lepus, not only does it have fuzzy pet-shop bunnies as the monsters, it also has DeForest Kelley!

  125. ggab says

    Good call on Ginger Snaps.
    Goth girl, coming of age flick with werewolves. Brilliant!
    Another great was Cujo.
    The ending was much better in the book, but that movie scared the poopoo out of me when I was a kid.

  126. Nerd of Redhead says

    The scariest TV moment I remember is an old B/W Twilight Zone episode. A one-armed bandit from a casino becomes obsessed with a man and follows him everywhere….

  127. Nadeen says

    Cuttlefish-not only a verse maker, but you have excellent taste in horror films.

    I’ll come out of the shadows to name my favorites:

    1. Let’s Scare Jessica to Death
    2. Rosemary’s Baby
    3. The Omen
    4. The Beguiled-not a horror film per se, but creepy and disturbing.
    5. The Pit and the Pendulum
    6. Dead Alive-giggles and gore
    7 Bedazzled-the original-not horror exactly, but surely a movie about selling your soul to the devil can be included on a Halloween list.
    8. Alien-and only Alien, hate the sequels.

    My tastes are probably pedestrian, but I love ’em, I love ’em, I love ’em.

  128. Elliott Grasett says

    Does anyone here have a soft spot in his (or her) head for Hammer Studio’s Dr. Jeckel and Sister Hyde?
    At that time, Ralph Bates was an actor of a manly beauty so epicene that when he turned into Martine Beswick one hardly had to suspend disbelief at all.

  129. Captain Ricard says

    I recommend “Don’t Deliver us from Evil.” It’s a French film from 1971 and involves the aquatic desecration of over 100 ill-begotten consecrated crackers. Peter Jackson’s “Heavenly Creatures” was based on the same true crime story as “Don’t Deliver us from Evil,” but Peter Jackson didn’t play mean the hosts. “Don’t…” is not technically horror, but it butts up against the genre for sure.

  130. raven says

    Well dammit, where is my War on Halloween. I even googled for it and found nothing much.

    The local (and struggling) fundie church is having a “Harvest Festival”. It looks a lot like a Halloween party by a different name. They even had a few carved pumpkins.

  131. Mr Twiddle says

    There’s so many good horror films, such as ‘The Old Dark House’, that it’s hard to choose one good horror movie to watch on Halloween nite but the honor goes to ‘Black Sunday’. I’ve never seen it but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. I’ve added ‘Lost Skeleton of Cadavra’ (Josh West #2) and ‘Attack of the Mushroom People’ (Dave Wisker #73) to my wish list. Anyone looking for a good b&w horror thriller? I agree with (t fife #17), try ‘Curse of the Demon’, or ‘Dementia 13’, or ‘Carnival of Souls’.

  132. Harrison says

    I don’t know if anyone mentioned this one before…two of my favorite SF/Horror flicks:

    Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the classic with Kevin McCarthy, not the 1978 piece of dreck with poor Donald Sutherland)


    The Thing (the original–a Howard Hawks classic, with a great script, directing and way cool score–and probably one of the best movie heroines in the genre until the modern era…Carpenter’s version was effectively scary, but IMHO too gory–no subtlety)

  133. Luftritter says

    I like:
    – The Seventh Seal (my old time favourite)
    – El laberinto del Fauno and El Orfanato.
    – A japanese anime called Ningyou no Mori (Mermaid’s Forest) good monster story and very disturbing.
    – Dance of the Vampires.
    – The Others
    – The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (old but good)
    – Ringu and the Audition.
    – Lots of 70’s BBC horror.

  134. HP says

    I’m always so late to these threads. Lots of good suggestions; lots of lame-ass mainstream suggestions.

    If you like Hammer and the Corman/AIP gothics, you simply can’t ignore the Italians. Hammer without Mario Bava makes no sense.

    You have to see Black Sunday. You have to see Kill, Baby, Kill. No excuses. The Italian role in 60s gothic horror films is unavoidable. Kill, Baby, Kill (aka Operazione Paura) is the greatest gothic horror/ghost story ever. Bava revolutionized horror filmmaking and cinematography forever.

    Early Dario Argento. I’m a huge Argento fan, but even I’ll admit mixed feelings about his recent work. But you can’t call yourself a classic horror fan without Suspiria or Deep Red. These are masterpieces.

    Anyone with a deep affection for classic horror from the sixties who is unfamiliar with the Italian directors of the period is in for a colossal treat.

    Once you’re hip to the Italians, you may be ready for Spaniards like Armando Ossorio. Check out Tombs of the Blind Dead/La Noche del Terror Ciego. Gorgeous!

    And for the truly hardcore, Jesus (Jess) Franco’s Dr Orloff movies are not to be missed. If you haven’t seen The Awful Dr Orloff, Dr Orloff’s Monster, or The Diabolical Dr Z, you haven’t lived, my friend.

  135. BobbyEarle says

    I am very happy to see “Eraserhead” mentioned…

    Jack Nance, the lead with the Don King coif has been one of David Lynch’s favorite actors for a while (including Dune, Twin Peaks).

    “Blue Velvet”, while not really horror per se, is a fine film. It made me, uh, nervous. You kind of want the movie to end…but you don’t want it to stop at the same time.

    And for the record, “M” with Peter Lorre simply pwns. Selah.

  136. Longtime Lurker says

    Just returned from a walk across the “Headless Horseman Bridge” over the Pocantico River in Sleepy Hollow… no apparitions. Sigh…

    “Bubba Ho-Tep” is a good horror/commedy. Bruce Campbell as Elvis, Ossie Davis as JFK, how could you go wrong?

    “Never Torture a Duckling” by Lucio Fulci is a great giallo that should go over well with this crowd in particular.

    “Tomb of Ligea” is my favorite Vincent Price film- could any line top: “About ten minutes ago I tried to kill a cat with a cabbage.”? Especially with V.P. delivering it?

    Amanda Donohoe is babe-a-licious, but how could her snake girl top Macarena Gomez’ squid girl in “Dagon”?

    Much as I love Lovecraft, I find most of his stories funny. The one truly unsettling one is “The Colour Out of Space”, which was played for laughs in “Creepshow”.

  137. coffeedryad says

    Dianne@139 : Kelly Link’s short story The Specialist’s Hat should be right what you’re looking for. You could also look up some of John Bellairs’s early novels, like _The Face In The Frost_ or _The House With A Clock In Its Walls_.

  138. Pat says

    I’m late to the game, for sure, but I’d like to third “Donnie Darko.” That is a disturbing lurch into a schizophrenic mind. I’m liking a lot of horror lately that plays with perception and viewpoint, which is why I love “Quatermass and the Pit” – that one is a furiously awesome movie, and very well written!

    “The Blob” – the original with Steve McQueen – scared the hell out of me as a kid.

    While not strictly horror, and not fitting in well with my above choices, I really like “Hellboy” – the first one. Lovecraftian monsters, nazis, demons, magic… what’s not to like? Directed by Guillermo del Toro (of Pan’s Labyrinth and Devil’s Backbone), I end up watching it over and over… once you get past some of the cheesy comic-book aspects, it really is a very well detailed film.

  139. Patricia says

    The Wolfen – scared the crap out of me!
    How about Children of the Corn, Harvest Home, and Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte?
    Book – We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson – pure gold.

  140. pablo says

    I loved El Orfanato, and thought the American version of The Ring was one of the very few examples where Hollywood actually improved upon a foreign film. The Japanese version has a psychic character who just seems to know everything that’s going on, so that race against time detective work Naomi Watts puts in in the American remake is missing from the original.

    The most over rated horror films ever:

    28 Days Later
    Dawn of the Dead (the original takes 45 minutes to get going)
    The Exorcist
    Anything by Shyamalan

    Most Under rated:

    Stir of Echoes
    Jacob’s Ladder
    The Fourth Man
    Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1979)

  141. LisaJ says

    Pet Sematary was the first horror movie I ever watched, in grade 5. Scared the hell out of me for years!

  142. says

    Cheesy Japanese rubber suit flicks.

    In case you didn’t know, there was a trio of Gamera movies made in the 1990s. But unlike the Godzilla remake, these were made by Japanese, and are quite good, made with genuine love for the genre: they preserve the flavor of the originals, but with ’90s special effects. So if you liked the old movies for the rubber suits rather than for the monsters, you may miss that aspect.

    Plus, we see Gamera in space, which is all sorts of cool.

  143. Patricia says

    Pat – Yes! I agree with you the first Hellboy was great fun. The second one could have been – but they went so totally sick cheese that I was angry and disgusted. Phooey.

  144. Malcolm says

    I’m a sucker for Japanese rubber suit movies too.
    I sat through the entire 3 hours of Godzilla 2000 in Japanese without subtitles.
    Of course I was sitting in the movie theatre that gets taken out in the movie, which was pretty cool. I also got to see my companies head office collapse and hit our scaly heroine on the head.

  145. scooter says

    Nightmare in SCOOTERVILLE!!!!!

    be afraid

    in Houston, they hear you scream, and open a Lone Star to your memory.

  146. says

    Tomorrow will be deads day in Mexico.

    It´s a day dedicated to remember our deads, and still a lot of people believe, acording to ancient prehispanic traditions, to live with them for a day.

    People will go to cementeries to pay a visit, and some will stay the night with them offering songs, flowers and food to them.

    A lot of people will put small altars in their house, with cempanzuchitl flower, whose perfume let the dead find their way home, and with the favorite things of the dead: Mole, tamales, quesadillas, cigar, tequila and mezcal.

    People also offer to friends and children sugar skulls, sometines decorated with their name on it.


    Although plastic pumpkins are becoming popular…

    And the gifted ones, offer to friends, verses called “Calaveritas”, which are mock epitaphs, making fun of the dead.

    And as strange as it sounds, even atheist like my, like this tradition.

    I like a day to remember our dead, but not in a weeping mood, but it´s more like a family party. I offer my children happy and fun memories of my dead brother, and my father offers memories of his parents.

    So it is a day to share with the family… and acept that death is a natural part of the life.

    By the way.. if you happen to have a mexican friend… do no lend him money tommorrow.

    The 1 of november, is the “day of the inocents”, which is like your 1st of april. Newspapers put mock news, people make pratical jokes… and money lent on this day… is never payback…

  147. sinned34 says

    Since I dressed up as the lead character tonight, I’ll toss in Shaun Of The Dead.

    “Who died and made you fucking king of the zombies?”

  148. Rick R says

    #186- “Pet Sematary was the first horror movie I ever watched, in grade 5. Scared the hell out of me for years!”

    I’m so old.:)

  149. Matt says

    Jacob’s ladder
    Donnie Darko

    Donnie Darko didn’t exactly feel like horror to me, but the weirdness of the movie really got to me.

    Also, better than any movie I’ve seen:
    Silent Hill 2: The game, not that godawful movie. Actually being in control makes it a bit more unsettling than movies, for me.

  150. kcrady says

    If anybody is still up and looking for something creepy/scary to watch, this is quite good:

  151. DLC says

    Hammer Horror! some real classics… in a way.

    Dracula (1932)
    and see the Spanish language version also, just for completeness.
    Frankenstein (1931) d. Anthony Whale.
    The House on Haunted Hill (the original,not the crummy remake)
    For comedic value: The Hypnotic Eye, and The Brain that Wouldn’t Die.
    I could list many others.
    Oh, and a special mention to monster movies made for deliberate comedic value goes to : “Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein.” One of the funniest movies Bud and Lou ever made.

  152. Maureen Lycaon says

    Nanahuatzin (#192): I once found a book of photographs of Day of the Dead art. The most memorable one was a tableau of a wife with a shotgun, catching her husband in bed with another woman. Despite the fact that their heads were skulls and all the figures were paper-mache, the looks of comical surprise and dismay on the cheating pair’s bony faces (and their arms flung up in the air) were wonderful.

    It’s not really a favorite of mine, but I’m surprised no one has mentioned Pitch Black.

  153. ptduff says

    I’m not much for horror movies so I guess my favorite would have to be SCTV’s “3-D House of Pancakes”. Apologies to anyone already mentioning this classic.

  154. L says

    Acacia (subtle horror that would appeal to fans of the Orphanage)

    The Eye (Japanese, very creepy)

    Eyes Without a Face (French, black and white)

  155. revulo says

    I saw The Wicker Man recently (the original). Uhm…I have no idea how that was supposed to be creepy. It was so campy to me.

  156. Bart Mitchell says

    Id put Expelled on the scary movie list, only because some people take it seriously.

    I went as a mad scientist this year, and I tried to pack as many loonie theories into one ball of wax. Enjoy

  157. says

    Maurreen @ 198

    The nahuas (aztecs) believed tha the mictlan, the place of the dead, was full of happy skeletons (devoid of the flesh that causes pain). Even today, the image of skeletons does not carries all the dark overtones that has cristianism…

    And fortunately, here atheism also does not have the same stigma than in the US…

  158. papa zita says

    That’s JAMES Whale, you pissant. Only one person mentioned The Mummy (original Karloff version), and nobody mentioned The Black Cat. Lots of remakes and unmitigated gore which harks back to such trash as Blood Feast.

  159. blueelm says

    Man, I have to jump into this because I truly love dark movies so here’s some I haven’t seen in the list thus far…

    The Haunting (1963). Classic ghost/madness film.

    Gozu. Weird upon weird. Miike is good at the creepy. Imprint is pretty surprisingly good if you have a thick skin for gratuitous torture scenes.

    Santa Sangre.

    A tale of two sisters. Surprisingly good korean horror.

    The Tenant.

  160. Mez says

    Bmeissner #23 – Brazil in the Comedy section???!!! The very blackest of gallows humour, perhaps. I’ve never been able to hear the song ‘Aquarela do Brasil‘ without a shudder since.

    Chiming in with Jacob’s Ladder as well.

    Sweeney Todd: tDBoFS, the film version is based on a Stephen Sondheim stage musical. I’ve seen that on the musical stage, and done by Opera Australia at the Sydney Opera House as well as watching the film on DVD. Burton’s was a different take, and having Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen and others singing was … courageous. I did miss the Prologue — “Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd … what if none of their souls were saved, they went to their maker impecably shaved … Back of his smile, under his word, Sweeney heard music that nobody heard … What happened then, well that’s the play, and he wouldn’t want us to give it away”.

    As horrific as the story is tho’, this version pulled back from some of the more visceral, more Grand Guignol details of the stage version. I’d be interested to compare the DVD of the famous concert version with George Heard and Angela Lansbury.

    HP #177, At last someone mentioned Dario Argento’s Italian giallo horror films! Variable quality, some are fairly ordinary, but with one or a couple of strong scenes, some are classics: probably Inferno, Suspiria and Deep Red (aka Profondo Rosso).

  161. Bill says

    For the person with the eight year old, “Secret of NIMH” was very good. Not a horror but the lab scene was pretty creepy. And further on the subject of adult friendly kid movies, “The Incredibles” is one of my all time favorites.
    When was a kid I saw “Frogs” and “The House That Screamed” at the drive in – both scared the hell outta me!
    The last movie that really scared me was the original “Halloween”. I was in highschool when it was first released.
    Along with “Phibes”, I’ve always though that “Theater of Blood” was a great Vincent Price flick. Mmmm poodles!
    And four words that I don’t think have been uttered together yet:
    Cannab…er…Contaminent Hazard Urban Disposal.

  162. Kevin says

    Not only is PZ a brilliant political commentator and biologist, but also a Vincent Price fan?! This is too good to be true!…

  163. Sonja says

    I finally rented the latest Indiana Jones (didn’t bother going to theater based on reviews) and I thought some of the plot was derivitive of Five Million Years to Earth — in that, when in the presence of the ancient crystal skulls, people were driven to a madness influenced by the ancient visitors.

    Of course, Five Million Years was a far superior film, much more psychological and lighter on the stupid special effects (CGI gophers? Good grief, Lucas!)

  164. woccam says

    Yes! Quatermass: I remember the original BBC TV series in the ’50s. I don’t think they know how to do horror like that any longer.

  165. doug livesey says

    +1 for The Signal — I’m British, but have to admit it’s like 28 Days Later, but 10 times better!
    & I just saw & was impressed w/ Cloverfield.
    & Evil Dead II is the all-time classic.