Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Top 10 Horror Movies: Part 1, #6-10

My Top 10 Horror Movies

Horror isn’t my favorite genre, but there are good movies to be found in almost any genre. Over the next two days, I’ll reveal my 10 favorites. Feel free to comment on my choices and leave your own lists on my blog. What have I overlooked that you feel should definitely be on the list?

10. Planet Terror (2007)
Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Starring Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez and Josh Brolin

I’m not generally a fan of horror films which rely on comedy, but Planet Terror is an exception. Nothing in this film is supposed to be taken seriously. Josh Brolin and Bruce Willis play it straight, but their roles are ludicrous. The premise is that there’s a deadly gas in the air that has the effect of making people’s skin break out in hideous ways. The victims soon turn into zombies and look to eat anyone who crosses their path. Rose McGowan plays a one-legged babe with a machine gun fixed to her bad leg, while Freddy Rodriguez has legendary fighting skills. The whole thing is a lot of fun and has plenty of replay value.

9. Cronos (1993)
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Starring Federico Luppi, Ron Perlman and Claudio Brook

The first two acts of Cronos are superb. The acting, pacing and atmosphere are close to perfect and the sense of mystery makes for an intriguing story. An alchemist has invented the Cronos device which is capable of reversing the aging progress and prolonging life indefinitely, but there are consequences. Is it a blessing or a curse to have eternal life? The film focuses on the relationship between an old man and his granddaughter. It’s interesting how she’s able to accept him in whatever form he happens to appear. The third act is a little disappointing and explores the same territory as movies such as Dracula, but it’s a good film overall.

8. Needful Things (1993)
Directed by Fraser Clarke Heston
Starring Ed Harris, Max von Sydow and Bonnie Bedelia

Stephen King adaptations are a mixed bag, but Needful Things is one of the better ones. Ed Harris is a sheriff in a small town where hardly anything ever happens. The inhabitants are generally well-behaved and friendly. Everything changes when a new shop opens. It’s run by Leland Gaunt (von Sydow) and he seems to be able to stock any item you’d wish for. His prices are low, but he also asks that buyers perform a deed as well as paying the cash price. The deeds start off as little pranks, but soon progress to more serious crimes. Is he the devil? He soon has the town in a state of chaos and normal behavior starts to break down.

7. The Omen (1976)
Directed by Richard Donner
Starring Gregory Peck, Lee Remick and Harvey Stephens

The Omen is a character-driven story with very little action. Donner relies on the audience to imagine the worst, and suspense builds throughout the movie. The story is essentially about Robert and Katherine Thorn (Peck and Remick). Their young son, Damien, is believed to be evil. Some think that he’s the son of Satan. Thorn investigates the child’s origins and has to decide whether the accusations are true. If they are, what will he do about it?

My full review can be found here.

6. Alien (1979)
Directed by Ridley Scott
Starring Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt and John Hurt

Ridley Scott’s Alien was a sensation on its release in 1979. The setup looks like that of a traditional science fiction movie, but it evolves into a battle for survival. The crew of a mining ship encounters an abandoned ship and decides to investigate. Its origin clearly isn’t human. Those investigating are allowed back onto the ship without undergoing proper quarantine procedures and a life-form is inadvertently brought on board. The creature evolves fast, increasing in size and adapting to its situation quickly. It starts to pick off the crew. Who will survive and what will happen to the creature? The first hour is the strongest half of the story due to the air of mystery surrounding the derelict ship, but the second half is far from weak and contains most of the action. It’s a movie with a lot of replay value and was popular enough to spawn three more films in the series.

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