Wednesday, October 31, 2012

10 Scariest Movies of All Time: Honorable Mention

In the spirit of Halloween, here are 13 additional horror masterpieces that just missed the cut for making my top 10 list.  Enjoy--and Happy Halloween!

The Ring
Another American horror film based upon a Japanese movie [“Ringu”], this thriller shows what happens after people watch a cursed video tape that causes the viewer to die 7 days later.

Wrong Turn
Surprisingly clever film about a group of people who run afoul of a sadistic clan of mountain folk after their vehicles break down deep in the wilderness of West Virginia.

Friday the 13th Part II
Don’t laugh—this early installment in the Friday the 13th series is a hidden gem, revealing the origin of deformed / deranged teenager Jason Vorhees before he became the cheesy unstoppable juggernaut of the later sequels. 

Session 9
A construction crew is contracted to renovate an abandoned insane asylum on the night shift…what could possibly go wrong?  The creepiness factor of this movie ratchets up after one of the workers discovers audio tapes of a former inmate’s psychiatric sessions and decides to play them to pass the time while he works.

28 Days Later
This film innovated the popular zombie apocalypse genre by reinventing “zombies” into relentless monsters who are as fast as normal humans.

The Descent
A group of women spelunkers get hopelessly lost underground while exploring an uncharted cave system, where they encounter albino, carnivorous humanoids.  The relatively uncreative monster aspect of this film doesn’t diminish the nightmarish, claustrophobic scenes where the protagonists are forced to squeeze through [and frequently become stuck in] crevice-like passageways that are too small for people to fit through.  A must see for any horror fan.

Nightmare on Elm Street
A pedophile burned to death by vigilante parents returns to stalk the nightmares of his killer’s teenaged children.  Wes Craven’s cinematic opus, this brilliant concept should not be diminished by the poor quality of the sequels.

I saw this movie recently, and although I was disappointed by how dated the special effects were, I was struck by the raw terror this film still inspires.  “They’re he-errre….”

Stephen Spielberg’s masterpiece induced acute fear of the water in an entire generation of movie goers—enough said!

This classic’s [1932] utilization of actual circus freaks in the cast gives the film unforgettably striking visual imagery.  The corny ending won’t bother you, given how scary the 10 minutes leading up to the ending are.  An obscure must-see for any horror fan.

Take my word for it--this Japanese horror film is one of the most surreal horror movies of all time.  What’s in the bag?  

Although this silent film [1922] was a blatant Dracula rip off, the shocking appearance of Max Shreck, the actor portraying the vampire, makes this film memorable despite the lack of dialogue.  Sherck’s performance is so frightening that it inspired a 2000 film, Shadow of the Vampire, that addresses the question about whether Shreck was an actor or a real vampire.

Ed Gein
This movie is a somewhat fictionalized dramatization of the life of America’s first [and most  notorious] serial killer.  Despite being more of a drama than an overt horror movie, it has several unforgettable scenes that are truly horrifying.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

10 Scariest Movies of All Time: #1

1 Halloween [1978]

John Carpenter's masterpiece is the granddaddy of all slasher films.  It differs significantly from later copycats by creating an ambiance of ominous, Hitchcock-ian suspense that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats throughout the movie.

Michael Myers -- or "the Shape," as he's referred to in the script -- is just a man, but his frightening malevolence is made exponentially more sinister by the featureless, opaque white mask he wears throughout the movie.  Mix in the creepiest movie soundtrack in horror history, and you have all of the ingredients for the most horrifying movie of all time.

The 2007 remake [directed by Rob Zombie] is a subpar effort that doesn't hold a candle to the original.


Monday, October 29, 2012

10 Scariest Movies of All Time: #2

2  The Exorcist [1973]

The most riveting thing about this seminal classic is the presentation of evil as a disembodied force that can corrupt even the most innocent victims.  The plot connects with viewers irrespective of their religious beliefs, since the story unfolds through the eyes of a disillusioned priest struggling with a crisis of faith.  Although the movie is dated stylistically, it still packs a wallop by tapping into one of our most primal fears: the Devil himself as a supernatural force.

The Exorcist

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Check out my zombie themed blog post for Coffin Hop 2012

...for Dark Moon Digest's Last Writes blog, by clicking on the link below:

They're Coming to Get You, Barbara...

10 Scariest Movies of All Time: #3

3  Silence of the Lambs [1991]

Another movie that's more of a drama than a pure horror film, Silence of the Lambs introduced one of the most insidious villains [Hannibal Lecter] to ever grace the silver screen...and he's not even the bad guy in this film!

Virtuoso performances by Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Ted Levine [Buffalo Bill] make this one of the scariest films of all time.  Hearing " rubs the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again" still gives me goose bumps.

Silence of the Lambs

Saturday, October 27, 2012

10 Scariest Movies of All Time: #4

4  The Sixth Sense [1999]

Even though this movie is more accurately described as a psychological thriller, it remains to this day one of the scariest movies I've ever seen in the theater.  There's something tremendously unsettling about a child being terrorized by the dead.  M. Night Shyamalan's masterpiece offers some incredibly memorable scares and delivers the mother of all surprise endings.

The Sixth Sense

Friday, October 26, 2012

10 Scariest Movies of All Time: #5

5  The Shining [1980]

Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of the best selling Stephen King novel departs significantly from the book's plot, but Jack Nicholson's unforgettable performance makes this one of the most disturbing movies in horror history.

This film provides an innovative twist on the haunted house theme, emphasizing that some places [in this case, the infamous Overlook Hotel] are just bad.

"Heeeeeeeeere's Johnny!"

The Shining

Thursday, October 25, 2012

10 Scariest Movies of All Time: #6

6  The Thing [1982]

Yet another John Carpenter film to make this top 10 list, this remake of a classic 1950's film bends the Sci Fi / Horror genres to unparalleled dramatic effect.  The film centers around a group of scientists who discover an alien spacecraft buried in the Arctic ice.  Although the film's special effects [state of the art at the time the film was released] might seem dated by today's standards, the themes conveyed in the movie are primal:  complete isolation, nowhere to run, and an inhuman monster that looks and acts exactly like us.

The Thing

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

10 Scariest Movies of All Time: #7

7 Paranormal Activity  [2007]

Reportedly made for $11,000, this film delivers million dollar scares and is spectacularly memorable for its lack of special effects.  The plot [and suspense] centers around a haunting that escalates in malevolent intensity while the couple being menaced record their experiences on film.  Exponentially better than its first person format predecessor, The Blair Witch Project, this movie will have even the most seasoned horror aficionados pulling the covers over their heads when things go bump in the night.

On a personal note, having seen all four of the films in this series, I'd say that PA1 and PA3 rate as being much scarier than the second and fourth installments.

Paranormal Activity

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

10 Scariest Movies of All Time: #8

8  The Omen [1976]

This seminal classic paints a disturbing picture about a family drawn into supernatural intrigue when their adoptive son is revealed to be the anti-Christ.

Haunting and biblical, The Omen also benefits from superlative performances from the incomparable Gregory Peck and one of the creepiest children in cinematography history.

The Omen

Monday, October 22, 2012

10 Scariest Movies of All Time: #9

9  The Grudge / Ju-On [2004]

The Asian market exploded onto the scene in the last decade, producing a number of unforgettable films--the scariest of which was [Ju-On] was remade into the American blockbuster, The Grudge.  The focus of both films is a curse that spreads "virally" amongst a web of unspuspecting characters who encounter those who have already been affected by the curse.  The supernatural force at the heart of this film has one of the most memorable ways of announcing it's presence in horror film history [AaaaaaaHaaaaaaaHAAAAaaaaahhh!].

Both films are exceptional, but the Japanese version--while not as strong from a special effects standpoint--is  superior in terms of fright quotient.

The Grudge

Sunday, October 21, 2012

10 Scariest Movies of All Time: #10

Over the next 10 days between now and Halloween, I'll be counting down the scariest movies of all time.  Today's installment gives you #10...

10:  Prince of Darkness [1987]

This low budget John Carpenter classic depicts a group of UCLA doctoral students who spend the night in a decrepit church to study an unusual religious artifact--which unbeknownst to them contains the liquid sentience of the anti-Christ, awakening in modern times.

This movie presents a creative, physics-based mathematical explanation for the eternal struggle between good and evil, and concludes with a twist ending that will make viewers afraid to look in the mirror after dark.

Prince of Darkness

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cover released for Rigorous Mortis: A Mortician's Tales... which my short story, "Interred," will be published.

This anthology, published by Scarlett River Press, has been sent to print, and will be available for purchase soon.  Stay tuned for more details...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dual score: Two short stories to be published in the Nov / Dec issues of Dark Eclipse

I'm pleased to report that I've just been informed that TWO of my original short stories have been selected to appear in upcoming editions of Dark Eclipse, the monthly e-zine published by Dark Moon Books!

"Beimini" -- an alternate history fountain of youth / Ponce de Leon mashup -- will be published in the November edition of Dark Eclipse.

"I Walk, Therefore I Am" --  a story about an amnesic man who awakens to discover that he's the walking dead...but in full possession of his mental faculties -- will appear in Dark Eclipse's December edition, which in honor of the Mayan calendar will feature stories depicting end of the world / cataclysmic themes.

Cover art for recent issues of Dark Eclipse are shown below.  The e-zine can be ordered at the Dark Eclipse website.


I've had a big week in terms of publication acceptances, so look for more updates soon...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I'll see you on "The Dark Side of the Womb"

scary 1.jpg

Terrifying toddlers and chill inducing children...Satanic sons and demonic daughters...bloodthirsty babies...

These are just some of the themes you'll find in The Dark Side of the Womb, an anthology being published by Cruentus Libri Press, an independent horror publisher from Birkenhead in the UK.

 I'm pleased to report that my short story, "Unsafe," has been selected to appear in this creative anthology.

"Unsafe" is a story about a young girl being terrorized by a demonic presence that becomes increasingly more malevolent as she endures repeated physical abuse from her neglectful father.

Stay tuned for more details about this anthology as it nears publication!

The image above comes from a photograph taken by Joshua Hoffine.  Clink the link to see more of his outstanding photos of childhood fears recreated.