There are so many sub categories within the genre of Horror. When people ask me what my favorite horror movie is, it is literally (the pre-Webster cock-up definition of the word) impossible to pick just one. So that got me to thinking about all the different tropes and themes that exist within the world of horror and which movies I loved from each one. For this particular list, I’m going to try to pick lesser known movies or perhaps those films that don’t get enough credit for being new, interesting, or just plain entertaining. I’ve only chosen 10 categories for the sake of brevity. And I could do entire list on foreign horror alone (hence none are included here).
Perhaps you’ll check one of these out for yourself and let me know what you think! Or not. Whatever.
- Blood and Donuts (1995): Gordon Currie plays Boya, a vampire who took a bit of a nap in 1969. When he wakes up, 25 years later, he befriends a geeky loser in debt with the mob and falls for a pretty waitress at a donut shop. I love the understated nature of this film. Boya comes off as sweet and shy, even a little awkward, but can vamp out when necessary and Currie plays him brilliantly. The loser, Earl, is so damned lovable and Molly is tough. The cast isn’t what you would consider ‘pretty’ by Hollywood standards but then again, it was made in Canada and the characters are so much more believable and relatable.
- 13 Ghosts (2001): Very very VERY rarely do I enjoy a remake as much or even more than the original. This one is so slick and gorgeous. I’ve loved Tony Shaloub since I first saw him in Wings and he’s great as Arthur. And F. Murray Abraham? Do I even need to tell you how brilliant an actor he is? I didn’t think so. The ghosts are so fantastic and terrifying, particularly The Jackal. The special effects, naturally, are a higher quality than the original. Also on the DVD, the extras give us their backstories. Love love love!
- Warlock (1989): I know there have been a lot of witchcraft movies out there but rarely does a movie make such an impact on both me AND my husband that we incorporated part of a gravestone epitaph from the film into our wedding vows. Then of course there’s Julian Sands who plays the time traveling evil Warlock and Richard E. Grant as his pursuer. Lori Singer is the feisty lass who gets pulled into their conflict. Did I mention Julian Sands was in this?
- Aaah! Zombies! (aka Wasting Away – 2007); Fido (2006). I had to pick two movies for this category because there are so many fucking zombie movies to choose from that, odds are, there will be a few unique ones from time to time. The first is a comedy told from the perspective of the zombies. Only they don’t know they’re zombies – that’s what makes it so damn funny! The second is a black comedy that looks like Leave it Beaver had a drunken one night stand with Night of the Living Dead. Billy Connolly is brilliant as Fido, a zombie purchased by the main family as a helper for around the house.
- The Bride (1985): Sting as Dr. Frankenstein. Clancy Brown as the creature. Jennifer Beals as the bride for the creature. She turns out so damn hot, though, that the doctor decides to keep her for himself, like a predictable egomaniacal asshole. The creature goes on a great adventure and eventually finds his way back to get his revenge. And his woman. It’s a great flick about discovering who we are, the world, and our place in it.
- Blood and Chocolate (2007): What is it about blood and sweets? This is a great take on the werewolf mythos. Young Vivian falls for a human but still needs to keep her pack’s secrets and honor their traditions. She’s caught between the old world and a new one, struggling to forge her own path. The werewolf transformation is also pretty tits.
Psycho (human variety)
- Ravenous (1999). Oh you wacky Wendigos with all your screaming and waving arms and eating of the human flesh. And why do you always seem to pop up in the middle of winter out the middle of nowhere? During the mid 1800s, an American fort is the site of a cannibalistic attack. If you like your movies goretastic and soaked with blood, this is the movie for you! I’ve got two words for you: Robert. Carlyle. Just maybe don’t watch while you’re eating dinner.
- Tales from the Darkside (1990): This was one of my favorite TV shows during my formative years (read: high school, the ultimate survival horror game). The movie encompasses everything that was great about the series: quirky characters, chilling scenarios, even heartbreak. Debbie Harry works the wrap-around while the rest of the casting is filled with star power: Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, James Remar, William Hickey, Robert Klein, and more! Do not miss this one.
Supernatural (phenom other than ghosts)
- The Fury (1978): I used to pretend I could develop telekinesis when I was a kid. Probably because of this movie. Sinister government agents try to manipulate a young man with psychic abilities (are there any movies where the gubmint men AREN’T assholes?). Turns out, though, that he’s not the only talented one. Kirk Douglas plays the father desperate to save his son while John Cassavetes’ character is the DC douchebag. Amy Irving is so good as the young woman who gets caught in the middle.
- The Jacket (2005): This flick is probably more of a thriller than strictly horror. But if you were found guilty of a murder you didn’t commit then sentenced to a crazy house where the doctor wraps you in a straight jacket, pumps you full of drugs, and secures you in morgue drawer for hours as ‘treatment’ where you end up traveling through time, wouldn’t you be a bit horrified? This flick is a terrifying trip brimming with acting talent: Adrien Brody, Kiera Knightly, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and a pre-Bond famous Daniel Craig.