Top Five Monsters in Film

Okay, I’ll start off by saying these are merely my opinion and in no way reflect any factual evidence whatsoever. So, if you do not agree, I apologize, but I did not forget anything.

Anyway, monsters have been a huge part of cinema since it’s birth. Humans have an innate desire to be scared, so from the depths of creature shops and the twisted minds of writers comes my list of top five monsters in film!

5. Predator – Predator (1987)

Predators are virtually unbeatable. Heat vision, impeccable “hearing,” and a self-destruct device that goes nuclear in case they want to go out with a (very large) bang. I mean, this guy pecks out  Schwarzenegger’s (yes, I had to copy and paste that) army buds one by one and makes it look easy. Honestly, I wish Predator had won, but oh well. It’s their uncanny ability to tear someone’s spine out with the head still attached that makes Predators #5 on this list.

4. The Gill Man – Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

She's going to get slimed...

She’s going to get slimed…

You can’t tell me that you’ve looked into the face of death and all that is gross unless you’ve seen this guy up close.

Dear GOD!

Dear GOD!

I mean, seriously. What the hell is that thing? It’s a prehistoric should-have-been-dead-a-long-time-ago creature that suddenly turns up on an expedition in the Amazon River. Then, it has the wherewithal to kidnap the fiancé of one of the explorers. How would you feel if that fell in love with you?

Yeah, that's...that's probably about right.

Yeah, that’s…that’s probably about right.

The poor, poor misunderstood thing. All it wants is a little love and tenderness. And because it managed to hide its hideous face for so long, Gill Man gets the #4 spot.

3. Thing – The Thing (1982)

That's isn't even its final form.

That isn’t even its final form.

Okay, first of all, these American scientists are stuck in Antarctica on a scientific expedition. If you learn anything from this list, it’s do not go on a scientific expedition. If you do, you will most certainly be attacked by a monster or alien or something that will horrifically murder you. This thing can mimic your best friend and you wouldn’t know the difference until his or her head started slipping off their shoulders. The Thing was only trying to go home and it’s reckless attempt at escape gives it the #3 spot on this list.

2. Alien – Alien (1979)

Yet another scientific expedition… When the exploration vessel Nostromo intercepts a distress call, the crew finds themselves on a seemingly uninhabited planet. That is, until one of these cuddly little creatures deemed “face-hugger” attacks John Hurt.

And then explodes out of his chest.

Who's hungry?

Who’s hungry?

And then runs rampant on the ship, killing everyone in its path. We never quite get a good enough look at the fully grown alien, but it’s design was inspired by HR Geiger (whose thoughts seem to revolve around the seven circles). And it’s ability to remain unseen until it strikes puts it at #2.

1. Godzilla – Godzilla 2000 (1999)

I have a huge soft spot for Godzilla because not only do I love dinosaurs, but the original film being a reference to a nuclear bomb was an incredible idea. Sure, some of the effects look lackluster these days, but for the time, it was amazing. Godzilla (or Gojira) has been through many changes. But it’s the Godzilla 2000 that makes this list because the dude looks mean. He’s a fighter and he keeps coming back. He never gives up.

What monsters make your list?

Top 10 Superhuman Movie Serial Killers

This next installment centers around some of Hollywood’s most famous superhuman serial killers (and maybe some that aren’t so famous). Let’s start off with some good old Stephen King and end on a rather mysterious note, shall we?

10. Pennywise the Clown – IT (1990)

Don't do it, Georgie. You're gonna regret it the rest of your...oh.

Don’t do it, Georgie. You’re gonna regret it the rest of your…oh.

Pennywise scared the crap out of me when I first watched this as a teenager. By then it had been out for a bit (insert irrelevant comment about my age here), but that didn’t stop me from being simultaneously terrified and entertained. Clowns have always scared me (and everyone else) anyway. I mean, let’s face it, if you’re not afraid of clowns, then you have issues. Just look at what Bobcat Goldthwait did to Spongebob (aka Tom Kenny)!

LOOK!

LOOK!

Aside from their horrifying painted visages, clowns are just waiting to murder someone. But Pennywise made it his job to put down all the children that messed with him when they were young. And since he’s a demon, he can go on killing for as long as he likes. Thus making him…or her…or IT #10 on this list.

9. Count Graf Orlok – Nosferatu (1922)

"The low production value makes it the best movie ever." -Hipsters

“The low production value makes it the best movie ever.” -Hipsters

Of course there had to be a vampire (or vampyre) on the list. Count Orlok is moving and it might be to your side of town. And hide yo’ wife, because he’s hungry. Directed by F.W. Murnau, this film is wonderfully visual. And Orlok is creepy as hell. Even more so when Willem Defoe dons the outfit in the 2000 flick Shadow of the Vampire.

No.

No.

Count Orlock makes #9 on the list because who wants to have either a) the blood painfully drained from their body; or b) be one of his slaves forever?

8. Count Dracula – Dracula (1931)

Yes, there’s another vampire on the list. But I couldn’t go through it without giving an honorable mention to Bela Lugosi and his portrayal of Count Dracula. Another instance where being a woman basically means you’re about to get drained. That sounded so very wrong… Bela is number 8 on the list because his charms and decent looks make him all the more dangerous than Orlok.

THIS DOES NOT COUNT. Get it?

THIS DOES NOT COUNT. Get it?

7. Pinhead – Hellraiser (1987)

Clive Barker has a knack for creating worlds beyond regular imagination. Hellraiser was a brilliant film and Pinhead is one of my favorite villains. Although he only kills anyone who opens the box (traditionally), I still count him as a brutal serial killer. Especially with all that style. Chains and leather. Oh, yes! And because people are still stopping Clive Barker on the street and asking to bear Pinhead’s children to this day, he makes the list at #7.

6. The Devil – The Exorcist (1973), The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), Exorcismus (2010), Idle Hands (1999), etc.

The devil, Satan, Lucifer, Deceiver. He is the best mass murderer. Probably because too much fun is had while the sufferer is wasting away. Obviously this is a supernatural occurrence and, in my opinion, does not happen in reality. But we’re talking about Hollywood here! In every movie the Devil has graced with his presence, somebody dies. Usually multiple people. This plus the fact that victims tend to be chosen at random make the Devil #6 on this list.

5. Jason Voorhees – Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

Technically, Jason wasn’t considered superhuman until the third movie when he’d already been defeated once and donned his iconic hockey mask. Thus begins the legend of masked murderers. I’m not a huge fan of slasher films, but I love this series. Mainly because Jason likes killing teenagers that, let’s face it, kind of deserve to die. And it’s his thirst for lusty blood that puts him at #5.

4. Michael Myers – Halloween (1978)

Cap’n Kirk gonna SHANK ya!

Aside from never being able to see his face, the terrifying aspect about this dude is that he keeps coming back. No matter what you do. You can push him out a window, light him on fire, run him over, and even decapitate him, but he will not leave you alone. Moral of the story? Don’t be Jamie Lee Curtis. Despite his relentless hunting of all things fleshy, he’s just as warm and squishy inside as we are. Hell, he even has a fan club. Not joking. We all love him. And that’s why he’s #4.

3. Chucky – Child’s Play (1988)

KILL IT WITH FIRE!

KILL IT WITH FIRE!

Poor Brad Dourif. When you’re born that creepy, bad things are always going to happen to you. But I have to say getting stuck forever in the body of a ginger doll is the worst. No wonder he takes he lashes out and kills people. Sure, he was a murderer before, but this just made him mad. The fact that this film has spawned six others, I’d say he deserves spot #3 here. Wouldn’t you?

2. Freddy Kruger – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Robert Englund is one of my favorite horror movie actors. Maybe it’s because in interviews he seems like such a happy guy. Freddy’s wise-cracks always get me, too. He must be the only superhuman serial killer that takes this much joy in his work. The only way they could make it better is if he sang while he worked.

…On second thought…let’s not and say we did. The creepiest part about Freddy is that he murders you in your sleep. And as we’ve seen, you can’t escape. He’ll get you. A human can’t go without sleep their whole lives. And if it weren’t for his ability to turn nightmares deadly, he wouldn’t be #2.

1. Jess – Triangle (2009)

“Now wait a minute,” you’re saying, “how can she be a serial killer if she’s the one being stalked?” Well, folks, this is where it gets weird. Very very weird.

What?

What?

WHAT?!

WHAT?!

Just what the hell is going on here? Triangle was one of those films where the viewer is left asking this question the entire way through. Jess is just out for a fishing trip with friends when their boat gets capsized. They stumble upon what looks like an abandoned cruise liner, and hop aboard. Why does no one ever realize they’re in a horror movie?

Anyway, turns out the ship isn’t actually empty (surprise) but there’s a killer on board (surprise, surprise!). What’s really weird, though, is that every time Jess is killed, she awakens on the beach and the whole ordeal starts all over again. Until she figures out that she’s the masked murdered. Or…she’s trying to save her friends. Or…she’s schizophrenic. I’m still not sure. But that’s the reason this flick gets #1.

Who are your favorites?

 

5 Disturbing Movies Everyone Should See

Even though these may not be the most unheard of films, if you haven’t seen them, you absolutely must. Some of them will make you cringe, some will make you sad and still others might make you angry. Stay on the lookout for the following gems.

5. Cannibal Holocaust

Let me start off by saying this is a film that made me pretty upset. It’s claim to fame was the controversy surrounding it. A group has disappeared in the Amazon rain forest while filming a documentary about the cannibalistic tribes in the area. The director,  Ruggero Deodato was arrested in Italy after the film was released because the government believed the actors were actually murdered on film. Of course, he now regrets everything he did for the film, but that’s not what aggravates me. All animal deaths (including two monkeys, a turtle, a snake, a pig and a spider) were all real. Now, I don’t care if these animals were fed to the natives afterward. Deodato did this simply for the shock value. And that is despicable.  Even still, this is one everyone should see.

4. Oldboy

-d5tx43z

Not your typical kidnapping film. Imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae-Su takes revenge on his captors. The reason this film is on the list it because it is so utterly cringe-worthy. If there’s one thing I can’t handle in movies it’s pulling out teeth. And that’s all I really have to say about that. Oh, and just forget about that remake directed by Spike Lee in 2013. Just…forget about it.

3. Aftermath

Although this is a short film, it made the cut because you gotta see this. A morgue attendant decides to do some naughty things with a newly arrived corpse. This film made me want to shut my eyes tight, yet I couldn’t stop watching. If you’re into the “icky squishies,” I implore you to watch this one. Go ahead. It’s on YouTube. Do it now. I’ll wait.

2. Eraserhead

Now, Eraserhead is a difficult one to watch. I’ve only seen it once and I can hardly bring myself to do it again. Of course, it’s David Lynch, so it’s got to be tweaked, right? Well, this film is not only frightening, it’s confusingly terrifying. If you enjoy those films that make your head, ears and eyes want to explode, go for this one. Just…don’t invite me over when you decide to slip it in.

1. Uninvited

Now this is a gem. This Korean film was directed by Soo-youn Lee, a relatively unknown writer. But as you can see from the trailer, the long, drawn-out shots and disturbing noises are enough to make you feel uncomfortable already. Oh, and that split second shot where they show the truck backing up on the kid in the street? Yeah, they don’t cut away. At all. So, if you’re looking for something truly worthy of roller coaster of terror, pick up this one.

What films disturbed you beyond reason?

Top 10 (Human) Movie Serial Killers

The definition of a serial killer by homicide detectives is typically three bodies all killed in the same fashion. Therefore, I think those on this list fit the bill a little too well.

I’ll start off by saying these are the human serial killers. Inhuman ones will be listed in another post later on. As a matter of fact, please suggest who you’d like to see on the inhuman list and I’ll be happy to oblige.

10. Jack the Ripper – Time After Time

I chose David Warner’s Ripper because I have a soft spot for Malcolm McDowell movies and Warner creeps me out. All malnourished and what-not. Plus, Time After Time has a little bonus originality added to it. Herbet Wells (yes, H.G. Wells–played by McDowell) is forced to track down his friend (Warner) after his time machine is stolen.

 

Once Wells finds out that his good friend is Jack the Ripper, he follows him into the year 1979. Subsequently he meets Amy (played by Mary Steenburgen), but that’s for another story. With buckets of blood and severed body parts, Jack the Ripper left his mark on more than one era.

9. Mickey and Mallory Knox – Natural Born Killers

Peyote trips, gore, snake bites, and Australian Robert Downey Jr. made Natural Born Killers an awesome movie. But these two runaway serial killers made the list because of their tweaked back story. Poor Juliette Lewis was stuck with Rodney Dangerfield as a slobby and abusive stain of a father.

 

But then she meets Woody Harrelson. And together, they kill Dear Old Dad and then decide to run away together. And murder people. Yep. Murder and rape follow them wherever they go. And there’s even a delightful little prison break at the end.

8. George Harvey – The Lovely Bones

There’s not much worse than a grown man with a desire to rape and murder children (see: John Wayne Gacy). The Lovely Bones was actually a novel before it was a film. I have to say the film did a brilliant job of showing the grief of a family after a death.

 

And the fact that the girl’s body is never recovered gives the viewers a sense of anxiety. But, the final scene did do her justice. George Harvey makes the list at number eight because of his sick obsession.

7. Ghostface – Scream

We’ve all seen at least one of the Scream movies. Who else jumped up and down when Drew Barrymore was gutted? Nobody? Was that just me? Oh well.

Anyway, I don’t have to tell you that Scream is about a masked murderer hunting teenagers. And it’s usually centered around poor Neve Campbell. Ghostface makes the list because the killer changes each film. And copycats are always creepy.

6. Henry – Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Okay, so this one was based on a real live serial killer, but I had to add it because…Michael Rooker is creepy no matter what movie he’s in. Just look at him.

Look.

He just adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the whole movie. And I can’t think of anyone better to calmly hold a severed head than this guy.

5. Buffalo Bill – The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs was also based on a novel except the movie was actually better in many ways. Buffalo Bill is based on a hodgepodge of real serial killers.

A man who believes he was born as the wrong gender, Buffalo Bill hunts down women who are a size 14, starves them and then skins them to make a woman suit. Yeah, that’s not crazy at all. And it’s that kind of normality that give Buffalo Bill the number five spot on this list.

4. Patrick Bateman – American Psycho

Christian Bale you say? Yes, please. Christian Bale as a psycho serial killer? Show me where to sign (I have no idea what I mean by that)! American Psycho is one of those films I can watch a million times.

I never tire of seeing Jared Leto get axed or the prostitute hesitate before taking Bale’s dirty dirty  money. She already knew she was going to take it. She knew. Anyway, what the film does brilliantly is keep the viewer on their toes. Is it all in his head? Did he actually murder people? We may never know… Thus marks the end of my sarcasm.

3. Hannibal Lecter – The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, Manhunter, etc.

Dr. Lecter makes the list at number three because he’s so damn calm and collected about his kills. That, and he’s so incredibly intelligent it’s hard to keep up.

It’s almost like his psychosis is…logically a part of him. Which is scary in itself. And the fact that he enjoys feeding his victims to other people when they’re none the wiser is just…just…inhuman.

2. Norman Bates – Psycho

Norman Bates just had to be on here. Psycho is a classic that will never get old. And I’m talking about Anthony Perkins not Vince Vaughn. Something about that guy’s dead stare and monotone voice. He’s an android. I know it.

Anyway, Norman Bates makes the list because Psycho is some good old fashioned crazy at its best. I mean, who makes mom into a puppet after she dies? Who?

1. John Doe – Se7en

Kevin Spacey! Kevin Spacey is always insane. Not always creepy, but always insane. Whether he’s an alien from another planet or your horny middle-aged neighbor, there’s always a touch of psychotic in those eyes. And John Doe proves that.

He’s out to tell the world that the seven deadly sins should be taken seriously, and kills one person per sin. But in the end, he’s the last victim (kinda). And he’s the last to die.

Did I miss a serial killer you’d like to see on a list? What inhuman serial killers would you like to see me talk about? I’ll even give you a shout-out on the next post!

Paranormal Talk-tivity – What’s the Best Ghost Film?

So, how about we do some paranormal talk? Well, first I suppose we should establish some ground rules. I’m talking strictly ghosts here. Other realms of the paranormal such as UFO’s and Cryptozoology can wait. I want to go into what makes a good ghost film (story).

First, I’ll give a little background on myself. About five or six years ago, I founded a paranormal investigation group. Yes. Yes, I did. Honestly, I’m not  a heavy believer (I’m more interested in what science can explain), but it was fun running around in dark places in the middle of the night trying to get scared.

Of all the experiences I’ve had and all the locations I’ve explored, my favorite was the Brookdale Lodge. Aside from it being the first and only public place we investigated, it was thrilling because it had been featured on television. A lot.

I’d like to tell you that we saw a bunch of shadows, caught a bunch of voices on tape, and saw a real live ghost on film, but I can’t. The visit was rather lackluster aside from a random piece of equipment we’d been using starting to malfunction. The only thing I couldn’t explain was listening back on the tape and hearing something odd.

Both of our male members were alone in a small room above the bar in the main part of the building. This was probably around 7pm on a weekend. The bar was full, but the door to the room cut off almost all of the noise. We’d previously “misplaced” another member of our group who I’ll call Pam. One investigator asked, “Where’s Pam?”

While listening back on the tape, I was surprised to hear someone else respond, “Who’s Pam?” And it was not a voice I had ever heard before. So, that was slightly unsettling.

However, the goal of this post is to figure out what makes a good ghost movie. To start, there are so many different aspects of the genre. We have harmless entities, spirits out for revenge, possession and living houses. Okay, let’s grab the best from each category.

1. Harmless Entities

Beetlejuice (1988)

Why it Made the List

Beetlejuice, aside from being my favorite film and starring one  of my favorite actors (can you guess?), is this top pick because it’s a movie I can watch over and over again. Say his name three times and you’re in for a world of trouble (did you catch that? I didn’t say Beetlejuice again because it… Damn it). Even though Beetlejuice can be considered a villain in the film, the ghosts are pretty harmless. And I give this classic props for the outstanding imagery and downright frightening spirits.

Honorable Mentions

The Sixth Sense (1999)
Ghost (1990)
Field of Dreams (1989)

2. Spirits Out for Revenge

Ghost Story (1981)

Why it Made the List

Ghost Story is probably one of the most visually-striking revenge ghost films. Fred Astaire’s last movie was a gift to all viewers. Alma Mobley was murdered by four men. And her spirit lies in wait until they are successful, elderly and comfortable. Then, she prays on their sons. As I said before, the visuals in this film were brilliant. All I have to say is melting eyes and I get shivers.

Honorable Mentions

Poltergeist (1982) – This was a very very close second
What Lies Beneath (2000)
Stir of Echoes (1999)

3. Possessions

The Exorcist (1973)

Why it Made the List

As you already know, I’m a sucker for long drawn-out shots and visuals. The Exorcist was directed incredibly well and made the viewers feel continually uncomfortable. Based on the novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty, the film centers around preteen Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) and her actress mother Chris (Ellen Burstyn). Regan begins acting very strangely, and Chris exhausts all medical avenues and is eventually left with exorcism. The film does an excellent job at characterization and the director even uses a film style that’s much like the writing in the novel.

Honorable Mentions

The Conjuring (2013)
Insidious (2010)
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

4. Living Houses

The Amityville Horror (1979)

Why it Made the List

Based on (supposedly) true events, The Amityville Horror centers around the Lutz family as they move into a new and very cheap house in the suburbs of New York. Of course, the house was famous for the murder of an entire family. George, the father, becomes increasingly agitated and is eventually overtaken by the anger the spirits have left behind in the house. The film is brilliant because the carpets look so comfortable. No, I’m kidding. The Amityville Horror is genius because it truly scared me. Whether it was the red eyes outside the window, George dreaming of axing his new wife, or the swarm of flies on that poor priest, it got me good.

Honorable Mentions

The Haunting (1999)
House on Haunted Hill (1999)
Monster House (2006)

What’s your favorite ghost film? I’d love to find out!

 

5 (More) Zombie Films You Haven’t Seen

Okay, I understand the last list wasn’t as indie as it could have been, so I took some suggestions from readers and am rebooting my list.

1. Dead Girl

Dead Girl made this list because after reading the synopsis, I have to watch this one. It’s about some teenage boys who find this dead girl tied to a gurney in some abandoned warehouse in the middle of nowhere. Things get out of hand and the boys end up getting a little too comfortable with the corpse.

A non-traditional zombie movie in every sense of the word. Although I did run into some who were not too thrilled about me using this film nor wanted to actually sit an watch it with me due to the graphic nature of it. And the naked dead girl. To which my response was as follows.

2. The Signal

The Signal is a three-part film with a separate director for each segment. The plot is about a signal broadcasted through technological means which turns people into murderous monsters. This film made the list because of its unique look into the zombie infection.

3. Dead Snow

Dead. Nazi. Zombies. Need I say more?

Okay, I’ll say a little more. Dead Snow is another comedy horror that takes zombies to the next level. Clichés are usually frowned upon, but this film uses them to its advantage. A very fun work indeed.

4. Versus

What are Japanese films known for? Random explosions? Whacky misadventures? Versus does not disappoint in any of those categories. Oh, and there’s swords. And martial arts. Just…just watch it.

5. The Dead

Slow zombies again! Yay! The Dead is more of a traditional zombie flick, so don’t expect a lot or originality. It takes place in Africa, which I thought was interesting, with only two main characters. If you’re looking for a timeless, sit-on-your-couch-with-beer-and-popcorn kind of movie, this is it.

So, did this list please you? I have an idea. List an indie zombie film you think I haven’t seen. I’ll collect five of the best and make another list based on your suggestions. Ready? GO!

5 Obscure Yet Amazing Zombie Films

1. Wasting Away (Aaah! Zombies!!)

Directed by Matthew Kohnen, this more comedy than horror take on the undead is actually told from the POV of these misunderstood flesh-eaters. Each scene from the zombies hazy eyes is in black in white, but when the rioting public gets a chance to tell their side, the film switches to color. This is a film I’d recommend to anyone who loves zombie films but is looking for a little bit of originality.

2. Cemetery Man (Dellamorte Dellamore)

Aside from starring a very young Rupert Everett, this film is based on a novel and a comic (Dylan Dog). Everett is a caretaker at a local cemetery when he meets a beautiful widow. But before the romance can truly blossom, the dead begin to rise. The film does an amazing job at keeping viewers on their toes. What is reality and what isn’t?

3. Dance of the Dead

A film festival gem, this zombie spectacle takes place on prom night in Georgia. High school students must fend for themselves as the adjacent graveyard comes to life. Although this film is rather conventional in its execution, the characters are sound and well-developed.

4. Pontypool

The town of Pontypool has been overrun with violent infected crazies! And poor Grant Mazzy is holed up in his radio station broadcasting dying screams all day. This film’s originality of infection was what impressed me most. Turns out only specific words carry the virus and will only infect when these words are understood.

5. Fido

I’ll just say that if you haven’t seen Fido, you absolutely should. I can’t express how original this film was. Zombies as pets. But that’s not the only original aspect of its comedic brilliance. The love story which emerges is both odd and hilarious.

My search for great zombie films will never stop. They are a favorite of mine, and when I can find an original concept, I am a happy camper! Look, even my cat loves zombies!

Have you seen any obscure zombie films recently? Did you like them? Please share!