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Best 10 transcendent horrors to win over non-fans?

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Showing 1-15 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Oct 2010, 11:56:44 BST
Last edited by the author on 20 Oct 2010, 11:57:44 BST
R Yacoubian says:
Check out the 10 transcendent horrors to win over non-fans at flickfeast...

Videodrome (1983)
The Company Of Wolves (1984)
Cronos (1993)
Dellamorte Dellamore (1994)
Candyman (1992)
Henry - Portrait Of A Serial Killer (1986)
Dead Man's Shoes (2004)
Session 9 (2001)
Apt Pupil (1998)
Santa Sangre (1989)


Do you agree with the list?

Posted on 25 Oct 2010, 23:16:06 BST
Defintely like THE COMPANY OF WOLVES being present on this list, but I'd knock out the following-DEAD MAN'S SHOES, APT PUPIL, SESSION 9 & HENRY-as these are blatantly not horror films. I always find biopics are more drama/thriller, plus the real-life aspect seems to actually edge them out of the horror cannon for me.

I would add FRIGHT NIGHT, PUMPKINHEAD, RE-ANIMATOR, CRITTERS & POLTERGEIST & JEEPERS CREEPERS to this. I'd do more but it'd overblance the list & these seem the most likeliest to perform the trick.

Posted on 26 Oct 2010, 22:57:09 BST
Just as a matter of curiosity, i'm wondering what you've got against Session 9 and why you don't class it as a horror film.
I think its a masterclass in slow-burning unease culminating in a very eerie finale.
What are your thoughts?

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Oct 2010, 23:13:22 BST
Post Soviet says:
nice movie anyhow...

Posted on 27 Oct 2010, 13:47:21 BST
whoisjeffrey says:
I agree with Jonesy 100%. Session 9 is probably the scariest film I've ever seen. Maybe it's not a traditional 'horror' but isn't that the point of that list? It seems to me that it is.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Oct 2010, 20:26:40 BST
Hi there, actually forgot to add all the ones I'd knock out of the list above are things I like-they are good films, but just don't enter the horror category for me as they leave too many boxes unticked-but out of them all, Session 9 does come closest-it has the atmosphere, setting, slow & creepy build-up & is also cast extroadinarily well. I don't officially dislike it, in fact I liked it more when I first saw it some 6 years ago, but it seemed to be promising (not least the front cover) the promise of a ghostly/undead presence, but it transpired that a violent man, already on the fringe of his patience, was driven mad listening to a recorded voice of a killer & thought he'd off his workmates. The ending wasn't totally obvious, but wasn't a surprise either. I just feel it wimped out, though it remains a well-done film. If it was marketed & spoken of as a psychological thriller as opposed to a horror, it wouldn't annoy me so much. But I do give it 3stars out of 5, but it does seem to have diminishing appeal on subsequent watches no matter how much space I leave between them. Of course the acting is first rate & one scene in particualr is very memorably heart racing-when Brendan Sexton's character is running from an encroaching darkness in the building that you can almost believe is a creature of smoke.

It is a slow-burner, agreed, & far better than A-lister ones that promise horror yet deliver by-the-numbers drama or thriller instead. On a list of psychological thrillers, I'd likely include it in a Top 20, but for me, while the outcome is dramatic & horrible for the victims, it just doesn't scream horror.

Posted on 28 Oct 2010, 00:07:31 BST
This is an interesting debate.
When do you think a psychological thriller crosses the boundary to become a psychological horror?
What are the main differences between the two?

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2010, 22:13:34 BST
Yes, well someone had to ask it! It is a dodgily close thing (I suppose a similar debate is how closely horror comedies merge with more serious horror). Maybe it's a unique to each person's interpretation, but I do think that too many things are classed as horror films that are really nothing to do with the horror genre at all & more to do with passing off a drama or thriller with a vicious streak to an audience that is too little catered for these days. The folowing films have been described as horror to me over the years, whether by marketing or word-of-mouth (THE HOLE, MY LITTLE EYE, DEAD MAN'S SHOES, DAHMER, TED BUNDY, SUNSHINE, 7EVEN, DEAD END,THE SIXTH SENSE, THEM, EDEN LAKE) are the worst offenders, being in that they were a) things I wanted to see & ended up liking anyway, but not as a horror (e.g THE HOLE, DEAD MAN'S SHOES, 7EVEN) & b) things that were big & so many seemed to accept them as the genre they were marketed in but really p*ssed me off as they were so bad (MY LITTLE EYE, EDEN LAKE, DEAD END, THE SIXTH SENSE).

As I said SESSION 9 is certainly not bad, but aside from the many horror boxes it ticked from the start (setting, atmosphere, creepiness, ambiguity) it seemed to throw it all away with the ending-which seemed to unmask it uncomfortably near the 'adult slasher' territory of today-i.e something that's cast, written, shot, budgeted above your usual high-school slasher for older 'thinking' viewers. It just doesn't scream horror, not in the way CARRIE did.

I admit I've always viewed horror pretty much as the non-human threat that presents itself to threaten, terrorise, kill &/or eat humans & my decade of general worship is the 80s-cos people seemed to know what horror was back-& our human characters (& us) were facing everything from ghosts, aliens, jellified alien goop, werewolves, vampires, living scarecrows etc. That's why I was so impressed with 'Jeepers Creepers'-it completely dared to be different & made its bravest move by going back to horror basics that has been rejected for over a decade. Ditto 'Dagon' which I love even more. Clearly viewers are too 'advanced' today & only biopics of serial killers, A-listers not knowing their dead till the end dramas, spoilt masked brats knifing on campuses & cannibalistic humans covered in soup seem to be the dregs forever served up as horror-there must be something wrong there.

I guess it's personal. I mean CARRIE doesn't have the non-human threat as I've stated, but it does come across as a horror to me & always has, whereas the awful cash-in 'The Fury' did not. Sorry, quite a bit of waffle there, I can never explain anything tightly ina few words, & I'm not sure I've given you your answer, but let's say I'm actaully pondering it myself through this answer (if that makes any flaming sense?). Maybe the boundary between the two is that the characters in a situation (take SESSION 9) FEEL there is a menace/an evil they can't understand (metaphor to make us non-human threat horror lovers believe it too I guess) around them & ready to attack them. But this alos true of something like FUNNY GAMES & that doesn't appear as a horror at all. & maybe if I'm still horrified at the end it works as a horror.

But it does seem to me that too many films these days are classed as horrors just cos people go around killing in each other in backwoods, schools, scenic houses etc. I mean, films like IN MY FATHER'S DEN, A THOUSAND ACRES, COMIC BOOK VILLAINS, LOVE KILLS etc are dramas/thrillers/black comedies that deal out distress, paranoia & death in increasingly nasty ways & usually pack a really tastless & devastating punch for the end. Are these now to be called horrors just cos of that.

I think the problem may be that horror has been redefined since the 90s-or since 'Scream' anyway-maybe now nobody can really call it as they see it, just how they feel it. What about you, have you ever watched something classed as a horror then halfway through, or at the end thought "Wait a minute, what the hell has that got to do with horror?"

At least unlike the stupid feral kids films (EDEN LAKE, THEM), SESSION 9 does have many things to recommend it & as I said, I like it, but for better or worse, I could not file it under horror in my house, but then not many psychological thrillers turn out this pleasing for most of the run so no one loses really I suppose...apart from there being one less horror film out there...as usual, lol

Posted on 28 Oct 2010, 23:33:14 BST
Last edited by the author on 28 Oct 2010, 23:35:03 BST
I think the horror genre encompasses lots of different sub-genres.
I disagree with you about Eden Lake for example.
I live in East London where there are gangs of threatening youths loitering and causing trouble all the time.
You may not like the film, but i find the premise of people being terrorised by these vicious hooligans an effective and very modern horror.
Its not a psychological film though, horror or thriller. i think its just macabre and sadistic horror
I was talking of films like Taste of Fear for example, wherein the villains of the piece are trying to drive the heroine to madness by playing tricks with her mind.
There is nothing overly horrific about the film, but i count it as a psychological horror film due to the distress and mental torture the heroine is undergoing which we as the audience identify with. It could be just seen as a thriller though by some people!!!

Posted on 29 Oct 2010, 11:00:16 BST
Now Zoltan says:
Seven, Silence of the Lambs, Les Diaboliques, Psycho, Bird With the Crystal Plumage - All horror movies, definitely. These movies are designed to create fear and dread in the viewer.
Sleeping With the Enemy, Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Basic Instinct, Zodiac, Dirty Harry etc, ect - thrillers, whose main aim is to excite the viewer with no excess morbidity.
Its all in the directorial style for me, no hard and fast rules. If, god forbid, Michael Bay remade Seven it would be a thriller, simply because he has no affinity or interest in the horror genre - it would just be car chases, and explosions.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Oct 2010, 00:35:37 BST
Last edited by the author on 30 Oct 2010, 01:28:40 BST
Yeh I suppose it's all about interpretations, but I'm comfortable with my lot as most of the horror lovers pals I know wouldn't consider police thrillers (7even, Silence of Lambs), Serial killer bipoics (Dahmer) & violently bored kids offing each other (My Little Eye, Eden Lake) horrors. Horror should be about making the extraordinary ordinary & I'm sorry, but people bullying & killing people is way too commonplace & being the dominant species holding sway over everything else is just too morosely like life as we live it-there are no monsters, sadly, just us & the last thing I'd want from a horror film where escaping from reality into another one is so much pleasanter-& believing in it too, would be the everyday.

I'm afraid 'Eden Lake' is a real failure for me-it's way too flashy, derivative & I see less of a commentary on violent youth than another popcorn nasty for adult entertainment. We all know kids are like this today & we all know what we'd like to do to them-this film gives us nothing of that, but simply sets out a jarringly scenic park for a bunch of boundless t*ssers to act up. Critics of this film have pointed out that the 2 leads almost start the problem (why not just let the kids stay there & ignore the music or move away & sit somewhere else-it was a big flaming place). The film's disturbing dislike of 'posh yuppie-types' seems to intimate they do deserve it & that the 'poor kids' are being condescended to beyond belief (if that were a spark for violent we'd all be killing each other) do it no favours-nor do all the tiresome thriller-treads you see coming-they just have to comment on rude kids to a waitress in a diner who happens to be the mother of one, Kelly's character just has to run down that girl-just cos I said it would be a nice thought, doesn't mean I want it acted out minutes after I said it & said girl disappeared for long amounts of time anyway-maybe her heart wasn't it. Fassbender's decision to enter a kid's house early was silly. It seemed smat he didn't get caught until you realise it wouldn't mater & yes he dies like we knew he would & yes Kelly escapes & Lara Croft's her way from them, managing to kill one, which may have seemed smart were it not for the amazingly absurdist, mean-spirited & sick-making ending where she just HAS to run into the leader brat's house (it WOULD be the first one she came to), it's full of people too & normally...

Normally one would think the 'Fright Night' line-people & lights, but as I'd worked out already this wayward tosh was all-out for the village burnings of the interlopers kinda thing, ALL these people just HAVE to be an extended family of leader brat's parents &/or the kid she shot in self-defence. & of course they all explode like they have rabies! Do people REALLY act like this over an act of self defence? This isn't saying so much stating the law is useless or ignores loutish violent brats (we all know it does anyway) as acting like the police & other people wouldn't live in a town of backwards, uneducated, uncontrolled scumbags anyway, yet there must be tonnes of them. Maybe Kelly & bloke could have gone abroad instead? Or is Centreparks that bad? Surely preferable to this.

'Heartless' covered this territory far better & with a unique parallel horror narrative whereupon the brats were actually demonsusing masks to hide they weren't human & that the devil or an entity is giving the protagonist the chance to 'sweep the streets' as a possible envoy of hell? It also helped this was acted far better, cleverly written, was sympathtic to its characters & was constantly surprising & the twist ending (unlike 'Them') did not disappoint. Similarly the Brian Cox thriller 'Red' approached the nasty teen thugs vein aswell & also with justified vigilante revenge in mind, but could never be termed a horror. Genre-wise, 'Eden Lake' is just an 'Elephant' without the classroom, but whereupon the kids are now advanced enough totackle adults, knowing their stupid parents don't care & the law means squat.

I could have forgiven the many predictable missteps leading to the inevitable, but 'Eden Lake' proves again that a film of this type is purely down for sensationalism with the miserable ending, which, far from appraising the neon-signed obvious that there is little hope for a lawless society of bored, hateful kids with equally lousy parents, actually seeks out to rival those tiresomely unstoppable horror endings where the protagonist always dies & the killers never do or get their commupance for mass shlock entertainment acceptance. I'm sure it's worked sadly, which is why it could never work as an apparent social comment on society. This is already a heavily mined patch now & I truly hope other directors steer clear, unless their going to do the job properly.

There is a terrible fascination now for ALL horrors & wannabee horrors to end miserably-it was clever with 'They', 'Dagon', 'Jeepers Creepers', 'From Beyond', 'The Howling' & 'Carrie', but then these are what I'd term true horrors when fighting against a non-human force the world didn't understand & had no experience of was realistically difficult to win against. The true horror of 'Eden Lake' is that it thinks it''s being so many things-when really it's just being another Brit-snack exploitative entertainer calling for Hollywood. Is this so far removed from Hostel, Saws 3 to 44 etc? & the 'based on true events' excuse is now a horrifically smug calling card that should be avoided like the plague, a cheekily loose term branded about to pat the director's back for elevating his piece above the other ordinary thriller out there 'cos it happened'. Mate, anything can happen when parents don't teach their kids wrong from right, & contrary to this man's belief, this subject has been in vogue from everything to newspaper headlines, to docu-dramas, to Crime Monthly, to bleeding EastEnders! (& most of it done long before 'Eden Lake').

If this is the future of 'horror', it makes me pine for 'Scream' (& the aftermath of that was bad enough...& it's not over with 'Scream 4' now done), if I can't have the 80s back. Btw you should be thrilled to know that 'Wolf Creek 2' is currently in production (but you probably already know this-it might even be out before 'Scream 4' & "based on even more truer events no doubt").

Posted on 31 Oct 2010, 19:59:27 GMT
I don't think i'll bother with Wolf Creek 2. Sequels are not normally up to much.
Witness Saw. The 1st one i thought was excellent but i have seen 3 more of them and they get gradually worse and more boring.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre excellent, TCM 2 OK, Leatherface ok, TCM:The Next Generation absysmal.
Evil Dead brilliant, Evil dead 2 Good, Army of Darkness feeble.
Etc Etc

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Oct 2010, 21:06:49 GMT
Last edited by the author on 31 Oct 2010, 21:26:12 GMT
It's just there's never an end in sight. I mean, even if I loved a first film, it does not mean this will translate (nor should it) into a runaway train of neverending copies. THE HOWLING is a perfect example of a sequel so horrifically pants and offensively pointless that they should have passed a law prohibiting the possibility alone. The following sequels that impressed me were the follow-ups to Jeepers Creepers (particularly impressive), Fright Night, Jaws, Poltergeist, Gremlins, The Unnamable, Bride Of Re-animator & Amityville 2: The Possession (but then the latter had a dismal 1st film to follow) as was Alien which I hate anyway, so the sequel was always going to rock, but was the only one that did for me. Having still not caught the sequels to Waxwork or any of the other Pumpkinheads or Hellraisers, I still don't know. Mimic had two good follow-ups also, but in almost all these cases, these sequels have been good enough or very cool but still not up there with their leaders, naturally.

I must check out if the remake of 'Long Weekend' is a patch on the first (which I still need to see anyway!). Interestingly, the sequel to Anaconda was good-considering the 1st was absolute trash. The remake of Nightmare On Elm Street looks passable, but the orignal is one of the few 80s horror I don't really dig and I'll never understand why it's seen as better than all it's forgotten contempoaries! I did hear once that the sequel to the original called Freddy's Revenge' is generally vited as one of the most inept sequels of all time!

I hear a sequel to 'Swtichblade Romance' is either made or being made. Do you think it'll be worth it? (I still need to see that too! lol). It's Halloween night now-what gets first dibbs on being watched round yours?

Posted on 1 Nov 2010, 18:39:24 GMT
Last edited by the author on 1 Nov 2010, 18:44:25 GMT
I watched "Paperhouse" which is very eerie/ spooky and "The Vanishing" (again). The original version natch, not the sanitised remake. Both excellent films imo.
I was going to watch Satan's Slave, but someone has "tidied up" my Norman Warren box set and i can't find it.
Have you seen the "Nightmare on Elm St" remake. If so. what's it like?

Posted on 2 Nov 2010, 23:57:23 GMT
I've seen some of 'paperhouse' and it did look good. Ben Cross, in that, makes an excellent vampire in the little seen end-of-the-80s horror 'Nightlife'-sadly like several other 80s greats, it is not on DVD anywhere, even in the US, and my VHS copy long since died-as did the one I got to replace it! I am going to see the remake soon & will let you know. How you feel may depend on your view of the original-like I said, I find it terribly weak, despite its huge adoration, not terrible but an awry oppourtuniy gone silly, with dead-eyed acting, monotonous dialogue, some daft effects and a ridiculous last scene to boot. I did like part 3 though-it was what the 1st should have been.
The remake looks flashier, edgier, more meaty, but that doesn't mean the kids will be easy to like, won't act dumb, or certain confrontation won't be signposted, but comparing it to the original is all I can do. If its brutality is a bit more akin to 'Hellraiser' than the original, it could be the way to go, particularly if hairless bulk-boy from 'Twilight' gets it! :D
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Initial post:  20 Oct 2010
Latest post:  2 Nov 2010

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