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Ipickthiswhiterose

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Posts posted by Ipickthiswhiterose

  1. Thanks for doing these baumer. I'll have lots to say in time but am having an ultra busy couple of weeks at work.

     

    Glad to see Martyrs representation. I know it's divisive to a degree but I maintain it's one of the most important horror movies of the 2000s.

     

    Saw was well timed for me. I was 21 and having been a timid kid was heading towards being fully formed in my horror tastes. I knew it wasn't 100% for me, but it was one of the first in the cinema I really got my teeth into in terms of analysis and looking at techniques and structure, without being offput by the gore.

     

    I promise to rewatch The Final Chapter in your honour. Maybe I'll see something different this time.

     

    Misery is one of the few horror films/works that works 100% perfectly on stage without any adaptation or immersive elements, which is a tribute to how contained, engrossing and intimate a story it is.

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  2. 1 hour ago, Krissykins said:


    I was only 10 when Scream came out here in the UK so I wasn’t in tune with what was in cinemas at that time or the few years prior, horror wise anyway. In fact, I was probably watching a vast range of horror from the 80’s for the first time (thanks to my big brother haha), so I was probably inundated with content. 
     

    I do remember hearing all about the hype and how big it had been. I think her being front and centre on the posters and cover art also helped create a false sense of security for audiences. So effective. 

     

    Yeah, baumer definitely has some receipts there. Certainly  1994 and 1996 pre-Scream were down years for horror movies. But I recall Seven and Species as both pretty massive films, and earlier 90s still had the most critically acclaimed horror movie ever (even if I never fully understand why) in Silence of the Lambs. The subsequent years had FFC's Dracula and Candyman, both of which felt massive.

     

    Of course, this is all contextual and experiential and through the eyes of a mid-teen based on what the cool kids were watching.

     

    I think Scream's context provides opportunity to discuss that dynamic of the slasher and its relationship to horror movies in general. It represents the first critically acclaimed slasher in a while and the first that came out successfully following the era (the mid to late 80s) when it felt as though the slasher had become a monster that had taken the whole of the horror genre for its self and (including it's tendency for critical spurning and revelling in alienating non-horror fans) *become* the entire perception of what horror was....perhaps the main perception of what horror is to this day among many people. By the early 90s slashers had very self evidently burned themselves out and that gave the (false IMO) perception to some that there was a wider slump in horror. Then finally Williamson and Craven figured out a way, using New Nightmare as a R&D version, of making a slasher suited to the more cynical 90s and got the formula that made it seem as though the genre had been rebooted. The horror genre, or the slasher subgenera? I suppose that's the question....with the problem being that they had become conflated to such a massive degree that some people hadn't even considered Seven a horror when it came out and absolutely nobody even discusses Jurassic Park as a horror despite very obvious horror film beats and a structure barely any different to Jaws. As a non-slasher horror lover I'm of course going to be a bit cynical of those dynamics (And, for instance, would always be prone to argue if we're talking *important*/*impactful* horror films of the 90s would place BWP and perhaps even Seven above Scream even if I believe they're all pretty close equivalents in terms of quality), but it's not going to stop me from appreciating Scream as a terrific horror film in its own right. 

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  3. Any waxing lyrical over The Mothman Prophecies will always have my dear appreciation. The entire film is, as described, a relentless ride of unsettledness and it truly is my favourite Gere performance across an increasingly under appreciated career. We've talked about the Chapstick scene in the past and yes, nothing encapsulates paradigm shift like it - it's like the supernatural equivalent of the notorious Salma Hayek scene in Dusk Till Dawn, but without the foreknowledge and notoriety. And it's so horrifyingly intimate.

     

    Must settle down and rewatch Black Cat and Hitcher, I've seen both in my teen-age years but couldn't proffer an informed opinion. I'm well aware Black Cat *should* be a movie I'm all over, but I haven't gone back to it.

     

    The Exorcist is a movie that, for all its legend - maybe because of it - isn't the film you expect when you actually sit down to watch it for the first time. At least that was my experience. I wasn't anticipating the level of domesticity, which is odd I suppose given it's about a girl in a regular home. And that's what provides the horror, really. The infestation of the home and the internal threats to your loved ones. I the most effective scenes that internal threat becomes externally horrific as well, and I think that's what give is the enormous impact.

     

    Scream is a weird one. I waxed lyrical about Scream on the top 100 list more than I usually do for slasher films because I think elements of it - especially how good it is as a standard horror movie - are still weirdly underrated despite its notoriety. The first scene is a little different in that the UK horror scene and the US horror scene aren't entirely the same and maybe perception of horror in the UK and perception of horror in the US aren't necessarily aligned. As such the "It saved horror" narrative that can function for Scream in the US and the "surprise" element of the first scene isn't necessarily the same since Drew Barrymore wasn't/isn't as prominent in the UK as a public figure and horror didn't really "need saving" to the same extent since it was the era of Clive Barker (and increased popularity of Steven King whose flower was still very much alive). Maybe Krissykins has a different perspective. As such that first scene IMO dominates the movie less (if anything I found the garage door scene to hit me harder), nevertheless remains an excellent opening scene of a slasher that holds up as the best of the genre in its own right. 

     

     

     

     

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  4. Enjoyable list to read through so far. I have still to this day never watched Exorcist 3 all the way through to my shame - of course I've seen the famous sequence many times but should really get round to viewing it as intended.

     

    Seven was a really *have you seen* film in my school. Perhaps to the point where I can't dissociate it from my teenage self when watching it. I would have viewed it for the first three or so times on coaches on my way to rugby matches, which isn't an ideal cinematic environment for a horror movie. Happy days.

     

    Zombi I actually have seen all the way through, despite not being a zombie guy. It was on Film4 a lot (UK specialist channel). An enjoyable version of what it is, and yeah the scene there is a rough one.

     

    Jaws 2 is a real curio of a film. It isn't incompetent and as you show here there are effective sequences within it despite the stretched concept. I don't like that the film exists, but yeah that scene is rough.

     

    Terrifier....I don't know, man. There's *extreme* stuff I find somewhat rough and makes me a bit queasy, but Terrifier doesn't really do it for me. Obviously that is unpleasant, but there are equivalent scenes in other movies that for me are similar and more effective (Bone Tomahawk being a notable example). 

     

    The Mist is a downer ending done right. Ive written at length elsewhere about my dislike for the era of morose-by-compulsion telegraphed horror endings in films that were accomplished but had no stakes since the atmosphere was so gloomy, but The Mist manages to sustain tension (with hope a key component) throughout meaning that it really earns its brutal finale.

     

    Love what's coming baumer, keep going!

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  5. 9 minutes ago, Flopped said:

    I've lost track with these shitty superhero movies. So after Raimi's Spider-Man, they rebooted it again with Andrew Garfield then ditched that and now have rebooted it AGAIN? And people are actually excited? 

     

    I've lost track with these shitty Oz movies. So after His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz and both stage adaptations, they completely rebooted the Oz series with The Wizard of Oz with Dorothy Dwan, and then they've ditched that and have rebooted THAT EXACT STORY AGAIN with this Garland woman???? And people are supposed to CARE?

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  6. Get Out wasn’t on my list. It is a well acted film with interesting ideas that is really well executed for around 85% of it’s run time. Peele is a well loved figure for a reason and it is a great feat of marketing that he has become positioned as the figurehead of sociopolitical horror, and indeed that sociopolitical horror has become framed as something contemporary. Of course, I would point the fact that this has always been the case and the notion that sociopolitical horror is contemporary is exactly that…marketing. Some of the sequences such as the silent crying and the hypnosis are really well done in Get Out and it’s definitely the better of the films that have had Peele’s major involvement so far. Ironically, for a genre associated with sequels Get Out chose not to be one of the few films that actually merited a potentially really interesting sequel by choosing to incorporate a secondary atonal ending that didn’t really make sense from what we saw….

    Spoiler

    Essentially I’m referring to the cold calculating sociopath Alison Williams character spontaneously turning in a k-k-k-k-krayzee bish in the last 10 minus for no reason rather than slinking away quietly like a sociopath would do setting up what would have been one of the most charged and interesting versus/‘revenge’ films ever made.

     

     

    TCM was my number 43. I’ve always got a bit of a quandary with TCM. I mean, I’ll stick my neck out and risk ridicule and say that I think there is a bit of an unspoken truth that the first 20 minutes of TCM are just not very good. Not because they’re pre-action, that’s a necessity, but I don’t rate the acting and more importantly I don’t really rate the script. As others have pointed out…the remake of TCM comes across well and that’s partly because it improves massively on these mechanics. Even more contentiously…I don’t really rate the last 20 minutes or so either. Once it has become a runaround it becomes fairly generic in my eyes. BUT….but…..there is simply the fact that there is a solid 40 minutes or so between around the 40%-80% mark of the film that is just grittier, and more raw, and more visceral and terrifying than almost anything put to celluloid. Something that nearly 50 years of trying hasn’t improved upon. Is it deliberate, or was it a happy accident? Depending on one’s perception of Poltergeist Hooper either never did it again in decades of trying or only managed it once when under the auspices of Spielberg. I don’t know. Maybe I’m in the happy accident camp. But that 40 minutes is not just perfect, it’s a microcosm of visceral, immediate fear. It’s something primal.

     

    The Fly was my number 58. Wow. Okay, I wasn’t expecting this. I mean, I thought my perception of The Fly was a fairly standard. Maybe it is but this forum specifically loves it. Ether way, I’m kind of here for it. I’m due for a Cronenberg rewatch and rate his work. I placed Fly and Videodrome on my list closish together and Dead Ringers, Scanners and eXistenZ would have all made a Top 150. I suppose I never saw Fly as such a specific standout within his work, although on reflection it is kind of the most accessible (I mean that sincerely and not as some backhanded compliment) and classically structured and of course features a still-relevant actor in its lead. Some of the aesthetics are wonderful and it plays around with the abject in a way that disgusts but remains voyeuristic and pulls the audience in. Yeah, maybe it IS that good.

     

    Scream was my number 44. See now the thing about Scream is that I think the narrative that built up about its meta nature has become a little overstated. It is understandable because I think the meta aspects ARE what made it a zeitgeist film at the time and made a genre that had been rejected by the mainstream cool again. And the result is that it is overlooked that Scream is a great and innovative PURE horror film in its own right: remove the Randy character and the movie references and it’s still a top 1% film of that type. For me the real overlooked innovation is the physical humanisation of the killer: a complete opposite of *The Shape* Craven and Williamson were bold enough and brave enough to have slasher icons that flail, fall arse over tit, are fully vulnerable and can be killed (I do wish one of the sequels had riffed on this with a shock early death/defeat/unmasking of a killer, maybe even in the opening sequence to invert the opening of the original). A capable protagonist and proper, objective laden characters.

     

    Halloween was my number 38 & The Thing was my number 8. John Carpenter is only going up and up in my estimation as the years go on and at some point it seems inevitable his entire oeuvre is going to end up being reappraised, even Ghosts of Mars and the Ward and such. Maybe not Memoirs. Somehow he managed to create the epitome of both slasher horror and cosmic horror on film, a quite astonishing achievement. His range of settings is fascinating. What stands out to me though is his career long unwillingness to approach character in a way that conforms to the American cinema norm. It stands out less against other traditions, but against American realism those critical receipts become totally understandable. His commitment to Myers being unexplained and Laurie being just some girl who happened to be there, his commitment to the Antarctic base being full of just some guys doing a job, Starman never being truly humanised and remaining a distanced alien, Roddy Piper never being much of anything other than a working class tough guy barely changed by events….by the standards of American cinema these characters are ‘underdeveloped’ when in fact they are of course just ‘everything they need to be’. It’s not that they’re broad, or that they’re empty, it’s just that if the information about their backgrounds or motivations aren’t relevant to the story then they don’t come up and we don’t need to know about them. That’s good, contained storytelling in an environment where the stakes are already as high as  ‘live or die’. It’s why his films are so good, and I suspect why they each take/took so long to be embraced, especially in the US. A note for Halloween that Carpenter’s ability to innovate the American suburb into a centre of dripping ATMOSPHERE wasn’t just a cue for other horror films (none of which have done it as well) but for drama films as well. Where other horrors have failed, movies like American Beauty, Ladybird and Booksmart HAVE succeeded in following Carpenter in that harnessing of suburban texture.

     

    Psycho was my number 7. Every time I watch Psycho I get so wrapped up in the early drama and the chase and the money plot that the whiplash of the change hits me every time. I know Scream got likened to it when it first came out because of the first sequence, but having lavishly praised Scream above I think that sells the first act or Psycho short….Scream has a prologue, what Psycho has is an entirely separate first act with its own world, motivations, stakes, tensions, conflict everything. And it flips away from a COMPELLING story and has to earn it…and it does. And it does via the evening dialogue between the two characters…you know the one…and for that I think that scene just has to take it as one of the five greatest scenes in horror. It says so much that you can go in like so many now do knowing every last surprise and the tricks and the spoilers and it still doesn’t matter, you still get a full meal every time. Oh to have been able to see it fresh and without those things already embedded in pop horror folklore. (PS: Hitchcock still a vile creepy scumbag.)

     

    Jaws was my number 3. Right, so let’s unpack the greatest speech in film shall we? It starts as a story from the third party in the past with a tangential objective (‘We’d just delivered the bomb’). It throws in trigger phrases to provide helplessness (‘We didn’t know’ and the emphasis of Brody’s lack of knowledge and needing to be taught). Then we hear a story and it pushes even more…Quint doesn’t use ‘we’, he talks about things happening to the other men and what the other men do and their fates. But then he shifts with ‘sometimes he looks right into you, right into your eyes’ and he’s now talking through the screen. the viewer doesn’t even notice. Seconds ago this shark attack was in the past, happening to other people, and a vague tale and now seamlessly it’s in the present, happening to you, and a description of what your affective experience of this attack is. The visuals come in detail (the eyes), then the sound (high pitched screaming), and finally the result (rip you to pieces). I’m not the first to point these out, a few papers have unpacked this. But it’s still a perfect marriage of speech with delivery and direction. Everyone does their job. Masterpiece.

     

    Alien was my number 6. This also comes from the Carpenter school of characterisation funnily enough. Shows how effective it is. Like Nightmare, two subgenres are subtly combined in the film: in this case slasher and body horror and all that layered too on top of a futuristic sci-fi/adventure plot. I perhaps wish that Alien played with the body horror more in terms of exploring the abject (maybe the Fly does that better) or maybe emphasising the penetrations and fluids would have been too much for mainstream audiences. What works perfectly though are the slasher elements and the atmosphere. The design is rightly notorious and celebrated, the sequences are iconic and it’s always good (and omnipresent in the high rankings here) to have competent protagonists.

     

    The Shining was my number 17. I might be out of momentum here. I don’t know if I have much else to say. Umm, the Shining is great. I watched it in optimum circumstances at the age of around 15 and couldn’t sleep that night and it stayed with me for a week. It hasn’t had that effect on rewatches and maybe I don’t *enjoy* it as much as some others. But it was still a seminal early horror experience for me. Nicholson’s performance carries the movie and his journey to me are what makes the film for me more so than the notorious visuals and sequences. It is hard to predict on first watch and the details reward rewatches. It’s accomplished, stylish and takes advantage of an inherently scary setup and environment. You can always feel the ghosts, and you can always feel the oppression, and I thinks that what stays resonant with audiences.

     

    Interesting that for someone who might come across at times as a horror contrarian, I nevertheless aligned 4 of the top 10 and 9 of the top 20.

     

    While I am sad that my Top 20s of Ravenous, The Devils, The Witches, The Devil Rides Out and Lemora are not on the list this is ultimately in line with my expectation. I may at some point wax lyrical about them in the vain hope that sometime eventually they get their dues or at the very least that some who haven’t yet watched them might do so or that those who have watched once and dismiss give them a second chance.

     

    On the other hand, that Wicker Man, Martyrs and Don’t Look Now can’t/don’t make a popular top 100 list genuinely shocks me.

     

    And a final thank you to Wrath of Han. This was a great undertaking and I've enjoyed it very much, and your work is very much appreciated. Probably more than anything else I've done on this forum, which I am prone to only dabble in. It's been good chat, good enthusiasm and good discourse. All the best.

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  7. 39 minutes ago, JamesCameronScholar said:

    A worthy top 2. I think Jaws scores too highly. Anyone who considers Jaws a horror movie now is insane.

     

    Everything about Jaws is structured as a horror movie.

     

    - The initial score from the first moments tell you it’s a horror movie. Compare with the Spielbergian wonder and majesty of the score for nearly-a-horror-movie Jurassic Park.

    - The use of the unknown in the opening credits tell you it’s a horror movie. An unseen thing is closing in on an unseen target.

    - The first sequence that refuses to show the threat tell you it’s horror movie. An unseen and unseeable threat emanates from the darkness. Visible, and more importantly, audible suffering takes place.

    - The targeting of the perceived vulnerable in the first two deaths tell you it’s a horror movie.

    - The Indianapolis speech tells you it’s a horror movie. The way the historic third person story is unfolded towards an immediate second person scenario as it gets to the affective bits without the viewer realising is the literal mechanics of how horror works.

    - The entire movie uses one of the most unknowable and disburbing environments that exists - the open ocean. The open ocean is emphasised throughout, including at the end - despite the threat having been resolved the open ocean and all its threats still remains. 

     

    You potentially thinking it isn't scary (or isn't scary *anymore*) doesn't make it not a horror movie.

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  8. Suspiria was and is my number 2 horror film of all time, and until recently was my favourite. On first watch it captivated me. I watched it under optimum circumstances on my own at 11 at night at the age of 17 having never seen a giallo before, having decided I didn’t really enjoy slashers and found them unsatisfying, and didn’t know what I was in for. So it was perfect, each sequence is burned - the opening spectacle, the overnight stay all together, the razor wire chase, the dog scene, the atmosphere, the goblin soundtrack. It hit me over the head with a hammer of atmosphere that lasted years. In hindsight it feels shorter and shorter with each rewatch and I wish to a degree that it had an extra 10 minutes of plot and character to breathe. But ultimately that’s not the point, and with those things it would potentially lose so much of what made that first watch so impactful and stretch to eternity despite the shortish running time.

     

     

    Black Swan was my number 46. A great think piece and effective film, albeit one that sits at a distance from the audience member and doesn’t appeal to affect much until the later stages. I wish it had a bit more atmosphere because other than that it has everything that appeals to me in terms of big ideas and disturbing concepts prioritised over set pieces and individual scares. The disease builds slowly and festers within the characters - I just wished it festered outside the characters a bit more too. The performances lift it as well as the visual style. It’s a must watch, even if it isn’t necessarily for everyone.

     

     

    Rosemary’s Baby was my number 12. It’s broad and has British-style sensibilities and yeah, I think that it’s probably better thought of in the long run in Europe than it is in the US because of that. It isn’t rooted in full realism and for that I think it got caught between ‘prestige’ horror film and ‘trashy’ horror film…and I think some still find it unsatisfying because of that. For me, however the cat and mouse between cult and protagonists is what makes the film work. It’s a tense race against the clock between tangible, real agents with a looming bigger-than-anyone presence looming over the top. Unlike the later Hereditary (which would be ABOUT the demon presence) it’s more about the human figures involved and as such it is something that one can dissociate from the overtly Christian story and make purely about secret societies, paranoia, being watched, being a pawn in a grander plan and not being able to trust even loved ones that makes RB so effective.

     

     

    The Exorcist was my number 22. Loads of people have written about the Exorcist. I don’t know if I have much to add. Or at least I didn’t, until it seems some of the members here are a little down on it. I didn’t expect to be in a position to defend the Exorcist since it’s not beloved to me and I generally rank it lower than the average horror guy, but I suppose the cap fits here. I think it’s not just about strictly Christian fear that does it so much as the unknown in general and the unknown finding its way into a domestic environment - no different from the dynamics Halloween presents but internally instead of externally - meaning that rather than being *anywhere* the unknown shape is *trapped inside* your loved one and slowly takes them away. Yeah, I think that’s pretty horrific regardless of religious sensibilities. It’s eerie…the hollowing and weirdifying and internal abuse of your daughter. I absolutely think that’s scary. I do wish we saw the agency of Regan earlier in the film (whether an innocent befriending or some such as suggested by lore/the TV show) but the duel-with-priests is satisfying for me.

     

     

    The Sixth Sense was not on my list. It’s another film I can’t appraise to be honest. I knew it was about Bruce Willis and ghosts and I saw the first scene. I just made the association. As such there was no twist for me and thats effected the way I see the film ever since. Just be be clear, I didn’t “guess the twist”………that wouldn’t have been as bad. What I did was  “go through the entire movie on first watch thinking the thing that turned out to be the twist was just what the film was”. Probably because I wasn’t paying full attention (this wasn’t in the cinema) and all I knew was that the film was about ghosts and so Bruce Willis got shot in the first scene I took that literally. I just can’t walk that back and see the film ‘normally’ now. I don’t doubt that if I’d watched the film in the cinema and been paying more attention it would have worked. As it is I honestly prefer Unbreakable by a distance. Heck, I probably even prefer Devil.

     

     

    The Witch was my number 18. It’s a special, special film and yes I 100% believe it’s an instant classic that belongs with, and in many cases above, the traditional titans of the genre straight away. Candyman heralded it, even Hellraiser to a degree, and Freaks was the pre-cursor but nothing really perfected the inverted horror until The Witch came along. It’s a perfect horror movie in one direction and you can reverse it 180 degrees and it’s a perfect horror movie in the other direction. The performances, especially Ralph Innes, are flawless, the script is brilliant and the use of liminality - the borders of sanity, the borders of society, the borders of the unknown, the borders of the forest, the borders of nature, the borders of morality……oooooh it makes me purr. The exposure, recklessness and hidden fears of self-reliance in a tale about the early US has probably not been commented on enough. The last dialogue with Thomasin could be corny in lesser hands but instead is perfectly calibrated and gave us one of the great movie lines in any genre of the 21st century.

     

     

    Silence of the Lambs was not on my list. And just to clarify this is not due to me not considering if a horror movie. It is a horror movie. It is because I don’t think it’s one of the best 100 horror movies. I wish to tread lightly here since Wrath of Han has made it clear this is his favourite film and Wrath loves movies enough to have made this awesome list and clearly knows plenty about movies too! Silence is still the most critically acclaimed horror movie ever in terms of awards and acclaim. Jodie Foster puts in an excellent performance. These are historic accomplishments. I just wish I understood them. So, yeah the ‘another monotone….’ performance from yesterday was referring to Anthony Hopkins. I don’t see it, his performance remains to me easily only the third best performance of this character and a near generic ‘pscyho’ performance that compares horribly with both his counterparts in the same role and with Todd’s performance in Candyman. I don’t remotely buy he ingratiated himself into society the way I completely buy Mikkelson, and I don’t remotely buy that he has some kind of supernatural strength the way I completely buy Cox. And to me that makes the dynamic that people rave about fall apart. And that’s before how little I buy the threat of the actual antagonist. Look…..I’m clearly wrong. I’m in the minority and the plaudits this film has are overwhelming. I just wished when I watched it what I saw wasn’t just…..*some above average thriller*.

     

     

    A Nightmare on Elm Street was my number 47. Freddie Krueger - at least in the first film and New Nightmare is an excellent combination of the slasher villain and the fantastical, with a hint of real-world menace. This means that the first movie was able to play to the strengths of each of those subgenres as appropriate to create a horror that circumvents the accusations of ‘silliness’ that is generally flung at fantasy horror, and accusations of ‘generic’ flung at slashers PLUS having a villain rooted in sincere real-world evil. Sometimes those dovetails are jarring (as they would become in later instalments since eventually they are irreconcilable) but the film mostly stays well above water here. It also creates enough iconic aesthetics and cares just enough about its main characters. At times, Krueger justifies icon status as something truly terrifying in a primal manner. Unfortunately, for me it loses points for its absolutely abysmal and unnecessary sequel-bait last scene whereby unlike most horror franchises which fall apart in the second movie, Elm Street does in the last 5 minutes of its first. Had the film just resolved and finished when it should I’d probably place it a dozen or so places higher.

     

     

    The Blair Witch Project was my number 41. Others have sung its praises. Instead I’ll take a moment to discuss the backlash and how it facilitated Hollywood snobbery that this upstart little film had done something it shouldn’t. This was especially manifest in the treatment of Heather Donahue, which demonstrated that for all its supposed liberal and progressive veneer, Hollywood and the film industry was and is riddled with some of the worst misogyny. Donahue was the lead role in one of the most successful films pound for pound in history. She was part of instantly iconic moments. She led a moment in horror history just as Weaver and Kerr had done before. She was fantastic. Unfortunately she hadn’t done it with permission and SHOCK HORROR had done it while having the sheer gall to be not especially traditionally attractive and not having placated the right people. That couldn’t stand. She was mocked pillar to post. Her “ugly” moments (which if an approved male actor had done them would have been praised to the rafters as brave and raw) emphasised as “hilarious”.  She ‘won’ the Razzie for worst actress - an award previously designed to prick the pomposity of the Hollywood machine now weaponised as the sword of Hollywood approval. “Worst Actress”! For being the lead role in an upstart film of unprecedented success that changed the horror genre forever. She was effectively blacklisted and struggled to find work for a decade. F Hollywood and F the treatment of Heather Donahue.

     

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  9. 23 minutes ago, JamesCameronScholar said:

     

     

    Requiem for a Dream is a horror movie by my standards I suppose, same with Trainspotting, but I guess that's because I lived through the entire AIDs scare and it always feels a little too close to home.

     

    I think this is the issue with defining horror in terms of what is scary.

     

    Plenty of the scariest films aren't horror. Heck, I'd argue the three scarest films I've ever seen are Come and See, Threads and Hot Coffee: A war film, a speculative drama and a documentary. None horror or even close.

     

    Horror tends not to be defined in academic circles (not that they are the most important or anything, but it's where people try their most to be precise) in terms of generating fear, but in terms of a combination of what they include (tropes) and what they appeal to (ie. affective senses, rather than cognitive emotions). 

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  10. 7 minutes ago, JamesCameronScholar said:

    In my top 5 for sure, but I think it all depends on just what halls into your own personal 'horror' category. I think Alien/The Thing/BWP all beat it, but only just.

     

    Also to reitarate what baumer said - excellent write up.

     

    Thank you.

     

    Alien was my number 6, Thing was my number 8, BWP was my number 41. So not far off at all, I really rate all of those films and think horror's history can't be written without any of them. I also accept your point about the event nature of BWP, absolutely correct. As someone who was in a workaholic bubble in the late 2000s and completely bypassed (didn't even notice) Avatar at the time I acknowledge that I don't and now probably will never understand what happened there and probably can't really evaluate that movie, or at the very least its popularity. I imagine the same is the case for many with BWP.  

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  11. 1 minute ago, baumer said:

    Another fantastic write-up @Ipickthiswhiterose.  I liked Candyman but the way you put it makes me want to watch it again.  And I'm not sure which film you think Tony Todd is in that has yet to appear on this countdown.  I don't see any of the Final Destination movies appearing here and the Candyman remake is not going to make the list,

     

    Oh, by "another monotone, forboding, masculine and sensual performance that was significantly inferior but much more acclaimed and rewarded than Candyman" I'm not referring to Tony Todd. 

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  12. Let me wax lyrical about what Pontypool does with the zombie genre. I think the most 2 interesting aspects of Zombie-ism are firstly the notion of contagion, and secondly the nature and mechanisms of dehumanisations. What Pontypool does so wonderfully is come up, in a crowded genre, with meaningful and original means of both contagion and dehumanisation - reframing what our humanity is made up of and riffing on it in a contained environment almost like a laboratory. It is flawlessly acted and the setting of a radio station is a perfect one for any horror film due to the important of sound design to horror. What I supposed I’m saying here is that while 28 Days Later is well acted and directed and is an effective film, I really think that Pontypool should rightfully have the status, prestige and respect that 28 Days Later has garnered. Fast zombies are not particularly innovative IMO, what’s worse is that in a movie world with normalised fast vampires as well, there is no difference between the two and so ‘Zombie 2.0’ for me is a diminisher, not an innovator. Again, Danny Boyle’s movie is absolutely effectively rendered and well acted which means I absolutely understand why many find it an enjoyable and good film. I just don’t find the movie as original as I think it gets tagged sometimes, nor do I think it’s particularly scary…or even trying to be scary. Nevertheless it’s great to see another British movie on the list.

     

    The Innocents is a masterclass in adaptation. Unlike the below it is not a story that inherently automatically provides the path for a great film. But the generation of uncanny in the first half of the film is outstanding, the score works perfectly and the performances are exactly in line with the required tone.

     

    I directed the outrageously underrated Carrie musical not that long ago and so watched the film a few times during that time. It’s excellent. Such a fundamentally marvellous story and really effectively rendered on film in this instance - though I do think the source material helps, in this case it is just an inherently cinematic story. That King wrote it at such a young age is a great testament. There’s a part of me that thinks the lat 2 notorious minutes were a net negative for horror cinema, but it still represents a moment that made the Carrie film last long in legacy and relevance outside even of horror circles. I do wish eventually we have a version of Carrie that incorporates the always-ignored epilogue of the book, since to me it’s key to King’s actual story.

     

    The Haunting is wonderful atmosphere soup and another great adaptation (it also, unlike Turning of the Screw in my experience, has been done really well on stage too). The ultimate cold Sunday afternoon under-a-blanket-with-a-loved-one movie. Eventually disturbing and the right amount of spooky.

     

    Les Diaboliques holds up. Every last minute. One of the greatest first-watch movies of all time.

     

    An American Werewolf in London: I’ll hold my hands up here and say I just don’t know it well enough. I have watched it once, a long time ago and possibly wasn’t paying much attention. I have seen the excellent transformation scene many times. I like Griffin Dunne. But it’s been ages and honestly I couldn’t tell you that much about it.

     

    Nosferatu and Night of the Living Dead are what they are. The are essential for any big horror list. People haver written loads about them and I don’t know that I have anything to add that hasn’t been said better elsewhere.

     

    Shaun of the Dead didn’t qualify for my list since it has too much meta commetary to count in my remit. Nevertheless it is an excellent movie with passion pervading it and a real everyman approach to the zombie genre, with the on-the-ground, first-person feel a really important part of making the retention of genre tropes effective. I think that it’s placement here is (while obviously I’d say way too high and and of itself) a testament to how beloved it is widely, since it is there from so many people placing it and enjoying it to the point it is one of the quickest go-tos for a horror comedy, which is a seriously crowded marketplace.

     

    Candyman was and is my number 1 horror movie of all time. It took over from Suspiria about 4 years ago. Tony Todd gives one of the great performances (a far, FAR superior monotone, forboding, masculine and sensual performance than a much more acclaimed and rewarded one I sadly suspect we’ll see later in the countdown) in horror. He is simply sublime. The story plays with and comments on the folkloresque, race, gender, urbanisation, generational trauma, academia, childhood. It has one of the great scores. It has several independent threats and horrors that interweave and smash up against each other. It has a much under appreciated central performance by Virginia Madsen. It has great action sequences, great suspense sequences, great effects and great kills. It cannot be predicted on first watch and rewards any amount of rewatches. It is everything I want in a horror film.

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  13. 18 minutes ago, cdsacken said:

     

    So totally different than Captain Marvel but similar feel quality wise? I'm guessing with the pandemic unless this gets the greenlight in China and does well WW gross will be disappointing and we definitely don't do a sequel. Since it's a random one off, not sure it matters.

     

     

    Captain Marvel is currently the most fundamentally different of the Marvel films IMO.

     

    - The structure of the movie consists almost entirely of a bunch of duologues.

    - The amnesia plot line means our relationship to the protagonist is totally different from any other movie.

    - The resolution is the protagonist choosing *not* to have a big showdown with the villain.

    - The film is existential in nature and deals with matters of self-actualisation and who a person is, in contrast with the rest of the canon that is largely classical storytelling with mild social commentary.

     

    The accusations of blandness from film commentariats really aren't in tune with the general audience. My dad's a 70+ year old conservative who likes westerns and thrillers. Captain Marvel is by far his favourite MCU movie.

     

    I don't think we can tell much about how Eternals will be received yet by general audiences. There's a huge irony between the histrionics of the responses to the critical scores, compared to the fact that the critics themselves are pretty unanimous that the film is mostly mediocre and non-committal. 

     

    Almost everything about the way things are setup give indications that slant young and Very Online. That's not the whole of the MCU's audience. I suspect older audiences, more female audiences and non-movie regular audiences will all have their own takes on this one - they might all shake out different, they might not - but I'm not trusting the *online movie discourse* on this one just yet.

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  14. Right….lots of the things.

     

    Us is beautifully shot in places, features a phenomenal central performance, plus good support performances and the first hour in general is pretty strong. On the other I am in the quarters that says the film completely falls to pieces in the second half and the movie is kind of broken as a result. Between the two Peele films plus the tightly controlled Candyman remake thats a firm 3/3 for films that have increasingly messy endings and I think having burned so bright he’s one, maybe two, incoherent endings away from the M Night treatment post-Lady in the Water.

     

    The Lighthouse is excellent and only didn’t make my list due to recency adjustment and the fact I only  watched it once. Defoe is one of the 5-10 leading actors in the world and has been for 2 decades. He should easily have received more awards recognition for this. In a crowded field, Eggers is my most promising director in any genre tight now.

     

    I have a complicated relationship with Raimi films, and I rate both Evil Dead II and the Remake quite a bit over the original Evil Dead, nevertheless could never complain about it being in a list like this. It’s important and ever-rewatchable.

     

    Intriguing as to how and why House got into the conversation in the last few years. Seem to have been a youtube and vitality thing. I don’t have a problem with it. It’s a good, fun movie with high watchability which probably explains why it’s stuck. I don’t rate it as highly myself but if something like this is going to blow up, this is as good as any.

     

    The Conjuring, as I say with Conjuring 2, has clearly done amazingly well to generate the popularity it has. It isn’t my thing by any means and it’s rather generic for my tastes but it’s probably that aggregation of what makes supernatural horror mechanisms work that have caused it to be so popular.

     

    Glad to hear I Walked with a Zombie nearly made the list. Absolutely seminal/essential IMO.

     

    Evil Dead II is a blast and just pips the remake for my favourite of the franchise. Raimi’s eclectic traits and directorial creativity benefit him here to the max, it’s the exact right tone for the cast and it’s a whole bunch of fun.

     

    Aliens is my line-in-the-sand of “not a horror movie”. If the remit forewent Jurassic Park (which it specifically did, and Jurassic Park is universally not considered a horror film) then I would always argue it should forego Aliens since Jurassic Park is, in every aspect of its structure, far more of a horror film than Aliens.

     

    I can’t dissociate Eraserhead with “Pretentious student film” in my emotional and visceral responses to it. It’s almost certainly not the film itself’s fault and entirely the fault of the kind of people I have met in my life who obsess over Eraserhead. I do like Lynch, it’s just sometimes life experiences override the ability to evaluate a film. I have similar relationships with the bands Muse and Manic Street Preachers.

     

    Bride of Frankenstein is excellent. I honestly can’t remember if it was in my list but it probably should have been if it wasn’t.

     

    Night of the Hunter is now rightly considered a classic both on this forum and elsewhere. It’s a well deserved accomplishment for Charles Laughton and the rest of the people who made them movie who, like with Peeping Tom, spend decades having their masterpiece trashed.

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  15. The Suspiria remake is a goshdarn masterpiece IMO and I nearly put it quite a bit higher, only keeping it lower for recency adjustment. One I could write a whole essay on but it would be indulgent. Explores gender and speculative fiction in a wildly original way. With several moments of high tension, and one particularly nightmarish sequence.

     

    Another thing I could probably write an essay on is my intense distaste for "Bram Stoker's" Dracula. I can certainly understand that there is plenty for folks to enjoy about it - the costumes, the design and the early sequence in Transylvania - but I just can't get on board with anything it's trying to do. Least of all the casting, the eclecticism and the small-r romanticisation.

     

    I probably feel about It Follows the way Baumer feels about Suspiria. I'm fine with the movie in and of itself, I thought it was fine enough, I just don't get where the uber-praise comes from. I probably would say the same about Poltergeist actually. That said, they have both had - for differing lengths - long legacies of popularity and did so without the kind of imagery that many horror films have, so clearly connected very well.

     

    And I'll always prefer Dog Soldiers to the Descent. I recognise there is lots of amazing stuff in The Descent, the performances are wonderful as well as the creature design and I respect anyone who adores it. It's just scuppered for me by being one of those films that have IMO

    Spoiler

    Too relentlessly miserable a tone and herald the fact that they will have a downbeat ending so much that it is hard to project any real stakes. I'm all good with downer/evil wins endings, but there needs to be a tension of the possibility of survival, and personally I just never feel that watching Descent.

     

    Really sad to see Martyrs miss the list. A real modern classic IMO.

     

    • Like 2
  16. Both Aster films, Body Snatchers and Raw were all on my list so really pleased to see them do well.

     

    Neither Godzilla nor Cabin in the Woods were in my classification of horror, but I like Godzilla and love CITW so glad to see them in the list also.

     

    Dawn of the Dead isn't my bag really but I recognise its quality. Zombies aren't my thing in general, even less than slashers. Night, Shaun, Pontypool and I Walked with a Zombie are about as far as I get before finding it all bit samey. I'm not even keen on 28 Days Later, which is fairly sacrilegious as a Brit horror guy.

     

    And it just goes to show you that you're just never going to be exposed to *everything*....I have been 'in' horror for 15 years now - albeit mostly live rather than film - and watching it casually for a lot longer...... and I've simply not crossed paths with Carnival of Souls. Just not on my radar, couldn't tell you a thing about it. Barely heard of it outside of recognising the name. Amazing stuff. Will clearly have to track it down now. 

    • Like 3
  17. Lots of enjoyable movies in this batch. Great to see some classics make the list, even if it's contained to the very famous titles. Not seen The Wolf Man since I was teen so will have to hunt it down.

     

    Signs is a great single-watch movie. Saw it in cinemas at the time and it felt like an event. But it is a single-watch movie for me and not a plot to dwell on too long.

     

    Malignant....ha. Don't know what to say really. It was a good time, and while hardly the wildest of horror movies in and of itself it was certainly an amusing Kaufmanesque trick to play on mainstream audiences. Trapped somewhere between being the Showgirls and the Starship Troopers of the horror genre. Which isn't a bad thing.

     

    Ring is a good remake. Naomi Watts is a great actress. It is directed well. It's a better *made* film than the original but Ringu has a raw/dirty quality that works better for me with that story.

    • Like 3
  18. 24 minutes ago, baumer said:

    Not a big fan of the Birds.  First of all, I didn't care for the film.  I found it to be one of Hitchcock's weaker efforts.  But to @Ipickthiswhiterose point, yes, it's even more icky now that over the past few years we've learned how Hitchcock not only stalked her but physically assaulted her and threatened to ruin her career.  I know we're supposed to separate the film from the behind  the scenes stuff but in this case, Tippi's story makes it hard to enjoy the Birds, or Marnie.

     

    The first time I watched The Birds I picked up on it straight away. I didn't know the real life story, it just stood out to me immediately that the only reason the entire movie was a framing device for an old man to perv on a young woman. It's why I find it so confusing that it still gets good repute, the birds element is just - from my perspective - totally tacked on and Hitchcock isn't interested in them. I can understand separating the artist from the art, but in this case the art IS the artist.

     

    Watching it feels like looking at a 2 hour upskirt shot.  

    • Like 1
  19. Delighted to see Peeping Tom, Mouth of Madness, Devil's Backbone and Prince of Darkness make it onto the list. Not films I would have expected to see but absolutely deserving - and as far as I'm concerned in the case of Peeping Tom, essential. Reappraisal of the apocalypse trilogy as a whole has been a long time coming, one day it'll happen with Ghosts of Mars too.

     

    The Omen falling in notoriety is a pattern I've noticed in academic circles as well. Might be due to the increase in status of Rosemary's Baby potentially. It was a bit hit with significant cultural impact at the time and that can take a while to fade. Or it could just be happenstance.

     

    I've still only see Let the Right One In once. It was good. I probably need to rewatch it.

     

    Quiet Place is popular. I don't have much to say about it. Glad people enjoy it.

     

    The Birds is one of my most disliked movies. Creepy for all the wrong reasons. At least with Michael Bay and Megan Fox she knew what he was doing, Tippi Hedren had no idea. And the film itself I find to be emperor's new clothesesque - if it wasn't made by a man who was otherwise a proven genius, I don't think any of us would have heard of it.

     

     

     

     

    • Like 4
  20. 14 minutes ago, Valonqar said:

     

    To be fair, critics are inclined to be more polite to director's slump right after the career highlight. They go off on repeat offenders but when someone they hold in high esteem doesn't deliver they tend to pull punches. For example, a good number thought that Us script was complete nonsense and bit more than it could chew. But reviews were still highly positive cause they focused on the good - terrific performances and GOAT editing in fight/dance scene. So instead of trashing Peele's wring, they highlighted Lupita, the cast, editor, score. You can work around it if a movie gives you enough material.  Jackson's King Kong came on the heels of ROTK clean sweep, but went down in history as King Long and a poster for unnecessary bloat. Yet it was given a critical pass on Naomi Watt's soulful performance and state of the art SFX. But after that, credit wore off so The Lovely Bones and The Hobbit trilogy didn't get away. 

     

    I'm saying that, while critics certainly want to be invited, as you and Scott Menzel say, they do pause and think what to say if a director who previously scored awards has delivered a turkey or close. 

     

     

    These are really good examples (Us and King Kong) of critics pulling punches. I'd add It:Chapter Two and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark got bizarrely generous reviews for the horror genre - It Chapter Two because of the first, and SSTTITD due to nostalgia for the books.

     

    But I think that other dynamics can happen as well that lead to different forms of slight groupthink in the other direction. Horror's the obvious one, which is why the outliers above are so distinct. From the late 90s to late 00s horror films couldn't buy a good review for love nor money unless it was a pre-existing IP or pretended to straddle another genre.

     

    Biggest example I can think of though for harshly reviewed movies was Waterworld. I don't love the movie by any means but there's no doubt that anyone there at the time could confirm that there was blood in the water (no pun intended) and pencils being sharpened desperate to pummel Costner for some reason: something about the one-two punch of Dances with Wolves and Robin Hood's overwhelming successes had REALLY gotten to people. It was going to be framed as a bomb no matter what.

     

    I'd also say that Warcraft and Nutcracker: Four Realms are two movies in recent years where I got the flavour of "We actually think this movie is better than we're saying, but it's sort of the common consensus it's terrible, we don't think it's *amazing* and it's clearly not going to do well so the safe thing is to pan it" from many reviews.

     

    As for Eternals itself, no idea. I suspected it was going to be the most divisive of the recent MCU movies but it's still hard to see how it's going to fall in terms of general audiences. I think it's healthy to challenge expectations and templates, but not sure that's what this will be - especially if it's as plot heavy as is being implied. That said, I hope there aren't going to be people who have moaned about the MCU being cookie cutter that then NOW complain it's doing something else. But.....yeah, it's a lot of characters to introduce and it is certainly possible critics are holding back from saying what they really think in one or both directions.

    • Like 1
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  21. The Others and The Invisible Man I both enjoy a lot. Excellent leading performances in both movies and tension managed effectively. Still find it humorous that classic Brit physical comic Eric Sykes managed to be in a huge box office triumph just before he passed on. The Host isn't really for me, don't know why, I just found it duller than it makes any sense to be.

     

    Yes Little Shop!!!!! Just goes up and up in my estimation over the years. Perfect stage to screen adaptation which is so difficult with any musical. 

     

    It is so hard to appraise since the quality of the second was sacrificed to make the first as good as possible - changing the book's structure and de-emphasising the effects Pennywise has on the town overall all assisted the first movie but utterly compromised the sequel which, at one point, literally repeats the exact same scene 5 times back to back to back. I generally evaluate films exclusively on their own merits but it's essentially impossible in that case. 

     

    I could write an essay on why I find mother! to be extremely poor - which to be fair is at least indicative that there's lots to say about it and it's interesting, but in short the representational nature of the movie is so obvious that reading the movie at anything even approaching face value is stakesless. I can't care for characters when they so obviously aren't characters and are just semiotic puzzle pieces, especially when the semiotic puzzle isn't hard to crack, and what the film ends up saying is frankly simplistic.  I can only assume those who enjoy the movie are able to crack into a suspension of disbelief and read the characters as characters and it becomes a Kafkaesque living nightmare thing. Or I'm missing something.

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