Don’t forget to check out last week’s entry as we started the countdown with Part I: 50-41
Join us each Thursday for another 10 entries.
- The Fly - (1986)
‘Be afraid … be very afraid’ … OR what is more applicable, would be ‘be disgusted … be very disgusted’. The Fly remake is another one on our list that is not so much scary, as it is disgusting. One of the true great ‘body horror’ films ever made, The Fly features a young Jeff Goldblum who plays a scientist that badly messes up one of his experiments and then slowly starts to turn into a man-sized fly. If this film doesn’t make you queasy, then you have a lead stomach, my friend.
- The Wickerman – (1973)
Don’t worry, I’m not talking about the Nicholas Cage, American reboot, that is quite possibly the worst film ever made … Not the bees!!!! AARARARGGHGHGAH!!!! … I’m talking about the excellent original, British version staring Edward Woodward as a police detective who is sent to a remote Scottish island, with the beguiling name of Summerisle, to find a missing girl that everyone on the island claims is dead. The pagan isle is run by Lord Summerisle, played by the always brilliant, Christopher Lee, in one of his most charismatic and dangerous performances. The film is creepy and dripping with paranoia. It is one of the best British films ever made.
- [REC] – (2007)
Found footage films are a mixed bag, as they can sometimes be excellent, as with The Blair Witch Project, but they can also be awful, as with Apollo 18. [Rec] was a surprise Spanish hit back in 2007 that terrified just about anyone who watched it. The film is set largely in one apartment complex during a zombie outbreak. Our protagonists (and thanks to the found footage style, you) are stuck in a very confined space, whilst untold nasties are lurking just out of shot. It was remade into the okay-ish American film, Quarantine, but if you want the true experience, watch this one.
- Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror - (1922)
Now we’ve reached the oldest film on our list, Nosferatu … or to some, that weird thing flicking the light switch on and off in SpongeBob … Nosferatu is a German film that was an unauthorised adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. After the Stoker clan sued, most copies of the film were destroyed, but luckily for us, a few copies survived and the film has since been heralded as one of the true masterpieces of cinema. You all know the story, but what sets this version apart is the chilling images, such as the nosferatu (vampire) Count Orlok (Count Dracula) standing in the doorway, or the shot of his shadow climbing the stairs. It is truly iconic and still scary nearly 100 years after its release.
- Paranormal Activity – (2007)
We’ve talked about [Rec], so now let’s move onto the second of three found footage films on our top 50 list. Paranormal Activity was released the same year as [Rec] and caused a massive stir amongst horror fans. Although this film has spawned a series of terrible sequels, the original is a good old-fashioned chiller, that doesn’t rely on jump scares and gore, but a simple, creeping sense of horror. A certain blogger at Mugwumps (and it wasn’t me … so don’t need to be Sherlock to work out who) had to watch Kung-Fu Panda after he first watched this.
- Saw - (2004)
Saw is similar to Paranormal Activity in that it is an excellent film that has, unfortunately, spawned what feels like hundreds of sequels that get worse and worse as they go on. The original Saw didn’t have all the gory, torture porn elements of the sequels, and is more of a thriller than a horror. Two men are locked in a room, chained to the walls and between them is a dead body. They are tasked with escaping. All this happens whilst the police manhunt is underway, led by Danny Glover, to find the infamous serial killer, Jigsaw. I won’t say too much about the plot in case you haven’t seen it (even though it’s been 13 years), but needless to say, it is one of the best endings in horror cinema.
- Wes Craven’s New Nightmare – (1994)
Wes Craven was one of the best horror movie directors of all time (if not the best) and four of his films have found their way onto this list. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is a delightful film, as it is the seventh film in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and is almost as good as the first. It takes place in ‘the real world’ where the actors of the first film play themselves. Wes Craven himself is even in the movie and he’s writing a new Nightmare on Elm Street film. The plot features the studio trying to get the main actress from the original, Heather Langenkamp to return for the new entry, however she beings to receive harassing phone calls and her son starts to act strangely. It isn’t long before the evil of Freddy manages to manifest in the real world and comes out of the movie. Before Craven found renewed success with Scream, New Nightmare proved that self-referential, post-modernist horror movies could work … and work very well.
- Misery – (1990)
Another Stephen King entry, and this time instead of fighting killer clowns, the terror comes from an old ex-nurse living in seclusion in the countryside. Paul Sheldon (played by The Godfather’s James Caan) is a writer of romance novels featuring the main character, Misery Chastain, and after finishing his latest novel in which he kills her off, he goes driving and end up in an accident, where he is then rescued by his biggest fan, Annie Wilkes, played by Oscar winning Kathy Bates. She nurses him back to health, but won’t let him leave her care. When she reads his new novel and discovers her favourite character has been killed off, Paul is going to realise how terrifying Annie Wilkes can be. Kathy Bates is phenomenally scary in this film, and although the majority of the action takes place in one room, the audience is never once put at ease. Once scene will make you squirm so hard you might just melt.
- The Birds – (1963)
Although Alfred Hitchcock is known as a horror director, he is actually more of a thriller director, however two of his horror creations have found their way onto this list. The first, is his adaptation of the Daphne Du Maurier story, The Birds, which is one of the most masterfully directed horror films of all time. Even a scene so simple as sitting on a bench, passing the time, can make the audience sweat. Tippi Hedren’s character finds a reason to go to the coast, in order to chase down Rod Taylor, who she has a crush on, however when she gets there, she soon realises the birds of the town are acting very strangely indeed … some even seem hell-bent on murder.
- The Fog – (1980)
And the last film on this week’s list, is one of my personal favourites, John Carpenter’s The Fog. Carpenter is actually my favourite horror director and there are two more of his films to come … The Fog (not to be confused with Stephen King’s The Mist) is set in a small New England coastal town, where one night, on the 100th anniversary of the town’s founding, a mysterious fog rolls into town. Anyone who enters the fog, is never seen again … but unfortunately, closing the doors and windows doesn’t really help at all. The film is a classic 80s horror fest, with a bit of gore, a couple of jump scares, and an overriding sense of tension pervading, like the fog itself … plus it has the best ever horror actress, Jamie Leigh Curtis in it … so what’s not to like? …
Join is next week for Part III: 30-21 … that’s where the fun really starts … In the meantime, why not check us out on Twitter @MugwumpBlog