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Box Office Theory's Top Horror Movies: Vol. 2 - Now 100! | Submissions CLOSED | Countdown to begin Wednesday

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@WrathOfHan please don't count my list yet.  This is still the beta version of it.  I'll let you know when it is final.  

 

Thank you.  

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Not that my opinion matters, but for the older members here, this is how my list was created.

 

First of all, as many of you know, JAWS is my favourite movie of all time.  I deliberately keep it and the sequel off any horror list because JAWS would always be number one to me.  It scared the poop out of me as a kid and kept me out of the ocean forever.  So to me it is one of the all time great horror movies for the purpose of this list and any other future horror lists, it will stay off. 

 

I used IMDB (for the most part) when it came to categorizing the film as horror or not.  There were a few exceptions, mainly Sixth Sense, which I'm not sure why it would not be considered horror, and of course Aliens, which is listed as sci-fi action but not horror.  But to me, Aliens is every bit as scary as Alien, and an overall better film.

 

I'm definitely big on 80's horror, it's my defining decade, I was a teenager in the 80's so naturally films from the 70's and 80's resonate with me.

 

I love the first four Friday the 13th films, they are all represented here.  

 

I've always said Halloween is the best horror movie of all time, and even though it makes my top 5 MOVIES of all time, I had to finally stop fighting my passion for F13th the Final Chapter.  It's simply imo, the best horror movie of all time.  It has the best Jason (Ted White), Savini returns to create some of the best practical gore of all time, there's lots of nudity, terrific direction by Joseph Zito and the atmosphere in the middle of the woods, two cabins in the middle of the woods is what makes it so great.  I love Halloween as well but Friday 4 is just a slight favourite.

 

I included some foreign films on here.  There's a French producer named Richard Grandpierre who is responsible for some of the goriest films I've ever seen. Ils, Martyr's and both made the list and Irreversible almost did too.  Irreversible is a film that didn't leave me for days after I saw it and the rape seen is as hard to watch as the rape in Last House on the Left and I Spit on Your Grave.

 

14% of my list is from films in the last 11 years.  My highest ranked film since 2010 is I Spit on your Grave, It Follows and Autopsy of Jane Doe which are all top 30.  I Spit.....is the best revenge horror film I've ever seen.  It was sadly ignored at the box office but since has garnered a cult following.  Sara Butler is stunningly beautiful and to see her get brutalized by the morons in the movie made her sadistic and ultra violent revenge so welcome.  Jane Doe literally made me put the lights on at one point.  It scared me that much.  

 

I don't have many horror films on here pre 1970 and that is probably because A) I think horror really hit it's stride in the 70's and B} I haven't seen a myriad of horror films from the early days.  I've only seen a few Hammer films and some of the Wolfman, Dracula and Frankenstein films were good but not quite good enough to get on the list.  I appreciate films like Nosferatu and Bride of Frankenstein but I like more modern horror.  I only have five on here.  The highest ranked would be (of course) Psycho.

 

And finally a word about the Exorcist.  I just don't like it.  I didn't find it disturbing or the least bit scary.  I know that makes me a bit of a horror pariah seeing as it's considered royalty.  My ex-wife and her family were terrified of it.  It makes so many lists as the best horror film ever made bar none.  And yet it just seemed like the devil was having a bad day to me, he wasn't someone who really showed his power.  Green soup, obscenities and levitating beds just didn't do it for me.  I did find it funny at times, especially the sucking cocks in hell part but other than that, just not my thing.  

 

And finally, there are a few horror comedies on here.  Both gremlins make the list and both are deserving imo.  Gremlins 2 is fucking bat shit crazy and I found out why the other night watching Eli Roth's history of Horror on AMC.  Joe Dante didn't want to make another one.  He hated making the first.  Too much studio interference was the main reason.  Warner Brother's made him an offer he couldn't refuse. He could do whatever he wanted with the film and they would leave him alone.  The result, imo, is one of the greatest sequels of all time.  You have the movie making fun of itself, Hulk Hogan, Phoebe Cates making fun of the Santa Clause speech and more pop culture references than you can shake a stick at.  Gremlins 2 is just flipping fantastic!

 

So that sums up my views on horror.  I'm looking forward to the countdown again, so I can be disappointed again, but it's always fun.   

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33 minutes ago, baumer said:

 

I'm definitely big on 80's horror, it's my defining decade, I was a teenager in the 80's so naturally films from the 70's and 80's resonate with me. 

I agree, I think age plays a huge role.

 

My “get horror from the video store” years started when I was about 10 so I love all the late 90’s horrors and early 00’s is when I was able to go to the cinema to see them. 
 

Bliss! 

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On 9/23/2021 at 9:25 AM, Tower said:

FYC, some films that were snubbed from the previous list:

Peepingtomposter.jpg

Angel Heart.jpg

The Innocents (1961 film).jpg

 

Love you buddy!  The only other person here who appreciates Angel Heart as much as I do!

How terrible is wisdom when it brings no profit to the wise, Johnny.

 

I still haven't seen Peeping Tom.  I really need to find this one.

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On 9/23/2021 at 3:56 PM, Plain Old Tele said:

Here's my list:

 

1. Avengers Endgame

2. Star Wars The Force Awakens

3. Avengers Infinity War

4. Jurassic World

5. The Lion King 2019

6. The Avengers

7. Furious 7

8. Frozen 2

9. Avengers Age of Ultron

10. Black Panther

11. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

12. Star Wars The Last Jedi

13. Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

14. Frozen

15. Beauty and the Beast 2017

16. Incredibles 2

17. The Fate of the Furious

18. Iron Man 3

19. Minions

20. Captain America Civil War

21. Aquaman

22. Spider-Man Far From Home

24. Transformers Dark of the Moon

25. Transformers Age of Extinction

26. The Dark Knight Rises

27. Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

28. Joker

29. Toy Story 4

30. Toy Story 3

31. Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man's Chest

32. Rogue One A Star Wars Story

33. Aladdin 2019

34. Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides

35. Despicable Me 3

36. Finding Dory

37. Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace

38. Alice in Wonderland

39. Zootopia

40. The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey

41. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Philosopher's Stone

42. The Dark Knight

43. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

44. Despicable Me 2

45. The Jungle Book 2016

46. Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle

47. The Hobbit Battle of the Five Armies

48. Pirates of the Caribbean At World's End

49. The Hobbit The Desolation of Smog

50. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

51. Finding Nemo

52. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

53. Shrek 2

54. Bohemian Rhapsody

55. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

56. Spider-Man 3

57. Ice Age Dawn of the Dinosaurs

58. Spectre

59. Spider-Man Homecoming

60. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

61. Ice Age Continental Drift

62. The Secret Life of Pets

63. Batman V Superman The Dawn of Justice

64. Star Wars The Revenge of the Sith

65. The Hunger Games Catching Fire

66. Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

67. Inside Out

68. Venom

69. Thor Ragnarok

70. Transformers Revenge of the Fallen

71. The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 2

72. Spider-Man

73. Wonder Woman

74. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

75. Shrek the Third

76. Coco

77. Jumanji The Next Level

78. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

79. Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales

80. Mission Impossible Fallout

81. 2012

82. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

83. Spider-Man 2

84. Fast & Furious 6

85. Deadpool 2

86. Deadpool

87. Guardians of the Galaxy

88. The Da Vinci Code

89. Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs And Shaw

90. Maleficent

91. The Amazing Spider-Man

92. The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1

93. Shrek Forever After

94. Madagascar 3 Europe's Most Wanted

95. Suicide Squad

96. X-Men Days of Future Past

97. Monsters University

98. Up

99. F9 The Fast Saga

100. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 1974

 

The definitive list right here.  Although Texas Chainsaw Massacre is way too high!!

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On 9/24/2021 at 5:18 PM, Ipickthiswhiterose said:

Might as well put on a list as a provocation since it might help discussion and I already had a list from a different environment a couple years ago. Just made a few sketchy changes, might come back to it as there are a few things here I've not seen in a while. Any publishing of this sort of thing is opening oneself to critique, nay ridicule, so feel free to taken open season on this or ask any questions. I may come back and change this. I do study horror, albeit mostly live/theatre rather than film, but there's always the balance between importance, objective quality and then just what outright scares you. So if you're wondering at any moment why I include film-x so high - probs because it scared me a lot, unlike film-y which might be of more importance but doesn't have much going beyond scares that have little effect on me.

 

PS: I was aware in myself before looking over this that I didn't really rate 80s horror. But I didn't quite realise the pattern was as marked as this.

PPS: I invite category issue discussions for The Devils, The Skin I Live In, Return to Oz and The Nightingale, all of which I consider horror but would understand their omission. I'm open to including Pan's Labyrinth, Se7en and Predator and they would potentially get onto my list if its mutually decided they count. I'm pretty immovable on not including anything that is overtly action though (ie. Aliens, Monsterverse/Kong)

PPPS: I make the distinction between horror-comedies and comedies about horror. If the film sits INSIDE the genre as a horror movie with humourous elements in, its in. If it's a specific commentary ON the horror genre at a meta level then AFAIC it essentially has to situate itself outside the genre to do so (Cabin in the Woods, Shaun of the Dead) so it's out.

 

Anyway after that totally unnecessary commentary:

  1. Candyman (1992)
  2. Suspiria (1977)
  3. Jaws (1975)
  4. The Devils (1971)
  5. Ravenous (1999)
  6. Alien (1979)
  7. Psycho (1960)
  8. The Thing (1982)
  9. The Innocents (1961)
  10. Freaks (1932)
  11. The Witches (1966)
  12. Rosemary’s Baby (1967)
  13. The Wicker Man (1973)
  14. Les Diaboliques (1955)
  15. The Devil Rides Out (1968)
  16. Peeping Tom (1960)
  17. The Shining (1980)
  18. The VVitch (2015)
  19. Martyrs (2008)
  20. Lemora (1973)
  21. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
  22. The Exorcist (1973)
  23. Session 9 (2001)
  24. Don’t Look Now (1973)
  25. Night of the Hunter (1955)
  26. The Haunting (1963)
  27. Black Christmas (1974)
  28. The Skin I Live In (2011)
  29. Suspiria (2017)
  30. Repulsion (1965)
  31. The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920)
  32. Nosferatu (1922)
  33. The Borderlands (2013) (Final Prayer in the US)
  34. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  35. Halloween (1978)
  36. Midsommar (2019)
  37. Black Sabbath (1963)
  38. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
  39. A L’Intérieur (2007)
  40. Deathwatch (2002)

 

An interesting list no doubt.  Glad to see Inside make your list at number 39.  It was one of craziest and most gory films I've seen.  Also liked seeing Mothman on your list.  Not a very big Candyman fan, but there are plenty who are.  Love seeing Jaws in your top 3 as well.

On 9/24/2021 at 5:18 PM, Ipickthiswhiterose said:

 

 

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On 10/3/2021 at 4:38 AM, Krissykins said:

I’m surprised to see Videodrome on two lists already. It’s one of my all time worst films, any genre, ha. 
 

This is going to be an interesting top 100. 

 

I'm with you.  I didn't care for it either as a kid.  I too haven't seen it since I was about 15.  Maybe I'll like it more as an adult.

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On 10/3/2021 at 8:06 PM, lorddemaxus said:

Yeah, it's a classic horror film. Does it really matter if you hated it when the general consensus is not that?

 

We all like different films though.  Some love The Exorcist, others hate it, some like Zombie's Halloween others despise it.....just different opinions, no biggie.

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12 hours ago, baumer said:

 

An interesting list no doubt.  Glad to see Inside make your list at number 39.  It was one of craziest and most gory films I've seen.  Also liked seeing Mothman on your list.  Not a very big Candyman fan, but there are plenty who are.  Love seeing Jaws in your top 3 as well.

 

 

 

Thanks friend.

 

Inside is a very well made piece. I have a big of a bugbear about films from the 2003-2015 era that have a bleak tone which telegraphs a downbeat/gutpunch ending to the point that IMO it actually removes the tension since one knows the worst possible thing will happen. I think

Spoiler

Eden Lake

is a really good example of this - an otherwise well made film but that tonally seemed so determined to be miserable any stakes were removed for me. Inside (and Martyrs) manage to bypass this issue for me by retaining stakes and tension all the way through,

Spoiler

despite their endings being bleak

.

 

The phone/chapstick scene in Mothman Prophecies is one of the personally scariest scenes I’ve ever seen. It hits all my subjective personal buttons in what I find scary. It’s one of the few scenes where it doesn’t fade away a single time for me in repeat viewings. It absolutely makes my skin crawl every time. The escalation of going from

Spoiler

a stalker situation to a supernatural situation

just using dialogue is for me nearly as perfect a technical piece of sleight-of-hand horror writing as the management of switching-pronouns-without-you-comsciously-noticing in Jaws’ Indianapolis speech. In terms of subjective things I personally always find scary when I watch, only the end of Session 9 and some of the scenes in Borderlands compare. In terms of personal fear impact on first watch, it’s up there with Suspiria, Shining and Event Horizon.

 

Your list reminds me there is always more to see. I’ve never seen Gates of Hell, Ils, Witchboard, Silver Bullet or The Initiation and will definitely check them out.

 

I really like Autopsy of Jane Doe. Nearly on my list also. A rewatch and it might make it. Wolf Creek, Stir of Echoes, High Tension, Arachnophobia, Gremlins, Bay of Blood and the first Evil Dead would all be in my top 125ish if we went that far.

 

We have some more overt deviations, but its pretty clear why that is: I’m not a slasher or splatter guy and once I’ve burned through the pre-originator (Peeping Tom), The mainstream Americanisation (BC), the perfection and pop culturification of the form (Halloween) and the commentary on it (Scream) I’m kind of done with them on any list of top horrors. I like big concepts, I prioritise originality and risks and big ideas and I like atmosphere; and horror fandom when I was younger was dominated with slasher and slasher villains that I (rightly or wrongly) perceived as the opposite of those traits and I had little innate interest in, inuring me against them further. As I say above, I’m trying to be more generous these days about it all. There was a meaningful fandom culture that is rightly precious to many with memories of pizza, the video store, a love of practical effects and sharing cool kills with friends. It’s cool, it’s just not my culture.

 

Interestingly, I can’t help but notice that nobody has included Silence of the Lambs yet.

Spoiler

And quite right too.

 

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@Ipickthiswhiterose

 

Here's the review I wrote for Mothman almost 20 years ago.  It's long, but you might find it interesting.

 

I agree the chapstick scene was as eerie as they come.

 

 

Spoiler

Some people, perhaps most people go through life not really wondering about much. They go to work, punch the clock and then go home and do it all again the next day. But what about the ostensibly small percentage of people that seem to think, like Neo from the Matrix did, that there is just something not quite right with the world we inhabit? These people have a slightly askewed perspective of what is right, what is wrong and how it all comes together. These are the people that are always asking why? Why does something happen and in the greater scheme of things, how does it all matter? Is there really a reason for everything or do some things just happen....because?

The Mothman Prophecies is a riveting story about how some people seem just slightly ahead of the rest of us. It is a story of trusting your feelings and not going mad or getting committed in the process. And finally it is one of the scariest films I have ever seen. Make no mistake about that.

Based on true events.

I read an article that stated that this is a film that Hollywood actually had to tone down. In most cases, when film makers get a hold of material, they have to beef it up to make it more palpable for an audience. But this is just the opposite. Mark Pellington had to simmer some of the events in the film because he felt that if they actually filmed what was purportedly claimed, the audience would not believe the absurdity those events. If that is the case, it frightens me to think what was left out because as it stands, this film is on the brink of utter temerity. There is a head first slide into the bizarre and the film never fails to literally chill your bones. No film that I can think of, and that includes my favourites like Jaws, Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street, has made me feel as helpless, insignificant or as small as this film does.

Richard Gere plays John Klein, which one can only assume is really a character based on the novelist John A. Keel, who wrote about the events the film is based on. He is a Washington Post reporter who has just bought a new house with his wife, whom he loves very much. After a horrible car accident, his wife is hospitalized and just before she dies, she draws numerous pictures of what can only be described as an evil looking moth like creature, or perhaps even the Angel of Death. She begs the question to John, "You didn't see it did you?" Which begs the question to us, why not?

Soon after, John ends up in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and has no recollection of arriving there. Here he meets Sgt. Connie Parker, played by Laura Linney and Gordon and Denise Smallwood, two of the locals. Soon after he arrives, strange things begin to happen and shortly he and Connie become entangled in an imbroglio with mysterious implications. Many of the locals claim they have seen something similar to what John's wife drew just before her death. And Gordon, played with pure twilight zonesque manerisms by Will Patton, seems to be the most affected by this phenomenon. He begins to hear voices, predicts future disasters, and finally claims to have met a mysterious figure. All the while Klein begins to see and hear unexplainable things. And here in, in my opinion, lies the key to the film.

Mark Pellington, John A. Keel and screenwriter Richard Hatem, seem to explore the subliminal irrational workings of the unknown. There are too many subtle, yet distinct elements that show up in the film. But they are not at the surface, they are just beneath. They're in front of our eyes the whole time, but only if you look hard enough. Much of this film deals with paranormal activities and the paranoid revelations of the people in one town. But it doesn't stop there. Klein is from a town six hours away and eventually he seeks the opinion of a man in Chicago who wrote a book that claims he felt the same things. So there are people that have experienced these unexplainable phenoms all over the country. And this is where the film goes off into a level that I have never seen before.

In order for people to have seen this figure or to be able to comprehend it, the film suggests that there has to be an open mind. As an old proverb once said, "the mind is like a parachute, it only works if you open it." Klein seems to have his eyes and mind wide open after his wife's death. He hasn't quite let go of her and this somehow enables him to communicate with whatever it is that is out there. There are times when whatever it is seems ripe with duplicity but more times than not, whatever this figure says, what he predicts, what he prophecises, it comes true. Klein's wife's death marks the nascency of his exploration into the abnormal.

The theory of the unknown is what is dissected in such infintismal but succinct ways, that on a first viewing, you may not recognize them. We hear stories about people being committed to psyche hospitals because of their failed attempted interpretations. We hear of people that claim they are being watched by a higher being, but feeling this is not really God-like and not really evil. It is just an entity. We see people predict future disasters, we see dreams that prophecize death. And all the while, these people are looked upon as being pariahs. It is much easier to get up, go to work and watch television than it is to think and perhaps accept the fact that there is something just beyond our control that lurks in murky places in our minds. There is even further sublime evidence that the director and writers feel this way. There are constant anomalous images filmed with an ethereal glance. These are images that we now take for granted without batting an eyelash. Things like phones, televisions, pictures and electricity are all given to us in metaphoric and literal glimpses. The creators of this film seem to be telling us that if we can believe in the use of technology, technology like capturing a moment in time on a piece of paper or if we can receive someone's voice transmitting hours away through a few cords and wires, then why is it preposterously inconceivable that Dark Angels or Mothmen really do exist? Perhaps, like the film tells us, they only exist to those of us that can open our stagnant minds a little more than the next person.

More times than can be counted, horror films insult us with loud computer generated noises and blood that seeps from the walls and CG monsters that chase characters that no one cares about. It is easier to make a horror movie like the modern version of the Haunting or the modern version of 13 Ghosts. Those are paint by number horror flicks that require no thought and no effort. But when you get a master like Shyamalan and now Pellington, creators that are intransigent in their beliefs and vision, it creates pictures that not only scare you to your very soul, they create pictures that open your eyes and minds to whole other possibilities. Mark Pellington has now proven to me that he is a master. Arlington Road was a surprising film that left you paralyzed with fear and your mind spewing questions long after the curtains came up. The Mothman Prophecies (especially for horror fans) will invoke discussions long after the lights come on. I realize this review may be a little long but this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes all that can be discussed in the film. There is a whole other religious element to the movie that hasn't even been explored. For instance, notice that both major events in the film happen on Christmas Eve. Why?

One final note to critics that lambaste this film for all of it's so called short comings. True, this film does not offer an explanation or a true conclusion to what took place. But isn't that just the perfect note for it to end on? According to the prophet-like character, Alexander Leek, you are not supposed to understand this phenom. He tells Klein that you will go mad trying to figure it out. This is the only way to end the film. In a lesser film with an inferior director and writer, this film would have culminated with Klein and Connie finding some ancient manuscript in the basement of the library that tells them how to destroy it. They would have went to hallowed ground and summoned it and gotten rid of it. But this is not the tenth sequel of Friday the 13th and this certainly isn't ( with all due respect to Miner and Cunningham) Steve Miner and Sean Cunningham. This is an astute director teamed with a cunning and observant writer who believe in the pulchritude and darkness of the story and give it the respect that it deserves. This is not only one of the best horror films I have ever seen, it is one of the best films I have experienced in my 30 years. This is the pinnacle of film making from all parties involved.

10 out of 10.....A MASTERPIECE BY A MASTER OF MANIPULATION

***One final note. I just wanted to give special mention to the entire sound crew who did such a brilliant job with this film. Pellington and Hatem collaborated beautifully to give me one of the most harrowing experiences I have been privy to in a theater, but the film would not have been quite as pulse pounding if it weren't for the sound team. Kelly Cabral, Pud Cusack, Claude Letessier, David Parker, Ross Simpson and Mark Jan Wlodarkiewicz working with musical composers Tom Hajdu, Andy Milburn and Jeff Rona created some of the creepiest sounds and musical overtures in quite some time. When you think of great music and sounds from the horror genre, you think of Carpenter's eerie piano piece from Halloween, Charles Bernstein's dream-like haunting score from Nightmare On Elm Street and John Williams ominous cello from Jaws. This is on par with all of those. And even though this team of musicians may never know it, your work is appreciated by all of who love horror films. Thanks.

 

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3 hours ago, baumer said:

@Ipickthiswhiterose

 

Here's the review I wrote for Mothman almost 20 years ago.  It's long, but you might find it interesting.

 

I agree the chapstick scene was as eerie as they come.

 

 

  Hide contents

Some people, perhaps most people go through life not really wondering about much. They go to work, punch the clock and then go home and do it all again the next day. But what about the ostensibly small percentage of people that seem to think, like Neo from the Matrix did, that there is just something not quite right with the world we inhabit? These people have a slightly askewed perspective of what is right, what is wrong and how it all comes together. These are the people that are always asking why? Why does something happen and in the greater scheme of things, how does it all matter? Is there really a reason for everything or do some things just happen....because?

The Mothman Prophecies is a riveting story about how some people seem just slightly ahead of the rest of us. It is a story of trusting your feelings and not going mad or getting committed in the process. And finally it is one of the scariest films I have ever seen. Make no mistake about that.

Based on true events.

I read an article that stated that this is a film that Hollywood actually had to tone down. In most cases, when film makers get a hold of material, they have to beef it up to make it more palpable for an audience. But this is just the opposite. Mark Pellington had to simmer some of the events in the film because he felt that if they actually filmed what was purportedly claimed, the audience would not believe the absurdity those events. If that is the case, it frightens me to think what was left out because as it stands, this film is on the brink of utter temerity. There is a head first slide into the bizarre and the film never fails to literally chill your bones. No film that I can think of, and that includes my favourites like Jaws, Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street, has made me feel as helpless, insignificant or as small as this film does.

Richard Gere plays John Klein, which one can only assume is really a character based on the novelist John A. Keel, who wrote about the events the film is based on. He is a Washington Post reporter who has just bought a new house with his wife, whom he loves very much. After a horrible car accident, his wife is hospitalized and just before she dies, she draws numerous pictures of what can only be described as an evil looking moth like creature, or perhaps even the Angel of Death. She begs the question to John, "You didn't see it did you?" Which begs the question to us, why not?

Soon after, John ends up in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and has no recollection of arriving there. Here he meets Sgt. Connie Parker, played by Laura Linney and Gordon and Denise Smallwood, two of the locals. Soon after he arrives, strange things begin to happen and shortly he and Connie become entangled in an imbroglio with mysterious implications. Many of the locals claim they have seen something similar to what John's wife drew just before her death. And Gordon, played with pure twilight zonesque manerisms by Will Patton, seems to be the most affected by this phenomenon. He begins to hear voices, predicts future disasters, and finally claims to have met a mysterious figure. All the while Klein begins to see and hear unexplainable things. And here in, in my opinion, lies the key to the film.

Mark Pellington, John A. Keel and screenwriter Richard Hatem, seem to explore the subliminal irrational workings of the unknown. There are too many subtle, yet distinct elements that show up in the film. But they are not at the surface, they are just beneath. They're in front of our eyes the whole time, but only if you look hard enough. Much of this film deals with paranormal activities and the paranoid revelations of the people in one town. But it doesn't stop there. Klein is from a town six hours away and eventually he seeks the opinion of a man in Chicago who wrote a book that claims he felt the same things. So there are people that have experienced these unexplainable phenoms all over the country. And this is where the film goes off into a level that I have never seen before.

In order for people to have seen this figure or to be able to comprehend it, the film suggests that there has to be an open mind. As an old proverb once said, "the mind is like a parachute, it only works if you open it." Klein seems to have his eyes and mind wide open after his wife's death. He hasn't quite let go of her and this somehow enables him to communicate with whatever it is that is out there. There are times when whatever it is seems ripe with duplicity but more times than not, whatever this figure says, what he predicts, what he prophecises, it comes true. Klein's wife's death marks the nascency of his exploration into the abnormal.

The theory of the unknown is what is dissected in such infintismal but succinct ways, that on a first viewing, you may not recognize them. We hear stories about people being committed to psyche hospitals because of their failed attempted interpretations. We hear of people that claim they are being watched by a higher being, but feeling this is not really God-like and not really evil. It is just an entity. We see people predict future disasters, we see dreams that prophecize death. And all the while, these people are looked upon as being pariahs. It is much easier to get up, go to work and watch television than it is to think and perhaps accept the fact that there is something just beyond our control that lurks in murky places in our minds. There is even further sublime evidence that the director and writers feel this way. There are constant anomalous images filmed with an ethereal glance. These are images that we now take for granted without batting an eyelash. Things like phones, televisions, pictures and electricity are all given to us in metaphoric and literal glimpses. The creators of this film seem to be telling us that if we can believe in the use of technology, technology like capturing a moment in time on a piece of paper or if we can receive someone's voice transmitting hours away through a few cords and wires, then why is it preposterously inconceivable that Dark Angels or Mothmen really do exist? Perhaps, like the film tells us, they only exist to those of us that can open our stagnant minds a little more than the next person.

More times than can be counted, horror films insult us with loud computer generated noises and blood that seeps from the walls and CG monsters that chase characters that no one cares about. It is easier to make a horror movie like the modern version of the Haunting or the modern version of 13 Ghosts. Those are paint by number horror flicks that require no thought and no effort. But when you get a master like Shyamalan and now Pellington, creators that are intransigent in their beliefs and vision, it creates pictures that not only scare you to your very soul, they create pictures that open your eyes and minds to whole other possibilities. Mark Pellington has now proven to me that he is a master. Arlington Road was a surprising film that left you paralyzed with fear and your mind spewing questions long after the curtains came up. The Mothman Prophecies (especially for horror fans) will invoke discussions long after the lights come on. I realize this review may be a little long but this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes all that can be discussed in the film. There is a whole other religious element to the movie that hasn't even been explored. For instance, notice that both major events in the film happen on Christmas Eve. Why?

One final note to critics that lambaste this film for all of it's so called short comings. True, this film does not offer an explanation or a true conclusion to what took place. But isn't that just the perfect note for it to end on? According to the prophet-like character, Alexander Leek, you are not supposed to understand this phenom. He tells Klein that you will go mad trying to figure it out. This is the only way to end the film. In a lesser film with an inferior director and writer, this film would have culminated with Klein and Connie finding some ancient manuscript in the basement of the library that tells them how to destroy it. They would have went to hallowed ground and summoned it and gotten rid of it. But this is not the tenth sequel of Friday the 13th and this certainly isn't ( with all due respect to Miner and Cunningham) Steve Miner and Sean Cunningham. This is an astute director teamed with a cunning and observant writer who believe in the pulchritude and darkness of the story and give it the respect that it deserves. This is not only one of the best horror films I have ever seen, it is one of the best films I have experienced in my 30 years. This is the pinnacle of film making from all parties involved.

10 out of 10.....A MASTERPIECE BY A MASTER OF MANIPULATION

***One final note. I just wanted to give special mention to the entire sound crew who did such a brilliant job with this film. Pellington and Hatem collaborated beautifully to give me one of the most harrowing experiences I have been privy to in a theater, but the film would not have been quite as pulse pounding if it weren't for the sound team. Kelly Cabral, Pud Cusack, Claude Letessier, David Parker, Ross Simpson and Mark Jan Wlodarkiewicz working with musical composers Tom Hajdu, Andy Milburn and Jeff Rona created some of the creepiest sounds and musical overtures in quite some time. When you think of great music and sounds from the horror genre, you think of Carpenter's eerie piano piece from Halloween, Charles Bernstein's dream-like haunting score from Nightmare On Elm Street and John Williams ominous cello from Jaws. This is on par with all of those. And even though this team of musicians may never know it, your work is appreciated by all of who love horror films. Thanks.

 

 

Really great stuff, and aligns with my thoughts on the film very well. It manages to be somewhere between spiritual and cosmic horror without being definitively either, and the sense of smallness is absolutely hammered home.

 

Spoiler

The two things that make it eeriest of all I think, the two things that takes it away from even spiritual or cosmic horror.....is firstly the lack of objective - or at least understandable objective, and secondly the lack of clarity regarding the agency of the entity, whether it was ever actually responsible for anything or simply reporting on it....in which case it circles back to the first point, making it even eerier. 

 

There's nothing else that's ever done that, to my knowledge, and there are very few viable claims of true uniqueness in horror.

 

Maybe, MAYBE the closest thing to an equivalent would be the Doctor Who episode Midnight. That's the only near parallel on those two fronts.

Edited by Ipickthiswhiterose
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Just letting everyone know that the Film Club is showing horror movies the month of October. Yesterday was the original Suspiria.

 

Movies being shown before the deadline are:

 

Blood & Black Lace [1964]

The Last Wave [1977]

Carnival of Souls [1962]

 

 

And if @WrathOfHan extends the deadline through Halloween, you can also join to watch

 

 

Invasion of The Body Snatchers [1956]

The Fog [1980]

An American Werewolf in London [1981]

Diabolique [1955] 

 

 

Here is the thread with the full schedule:

 

https://forums.boxofficetheory.com/topic/29106-cpwp-tonight-suspiria-1977-930pm/?do=findComment&comment=4238850

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14 hours ago, baumer said:

Hope we get some more lists soon.  

I will send mine just before the deadline, there are too many important that I need to see.

I already started with Shaun Of The Dead and the Evil Dead's (they will all be on my list, with the original Evil Dead being the best of them). Coming up tonight is Scream.

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1 hour ago, Tower said:

I will send mine just before the deadline, there are too many important that I need to see.

I already started with Shaun Of The Dead and the Evil Dead's (they will all be on my list, with the original Evil Dead being the best of them). Coming up tonight is Scream.

 

No rush of course.  I'm just selfish, curious to see other people's opinions.

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1 hour ago, baumer said:

 

No rush of course.  I'm just selfish, curious to see other people's opinions.

In that case here is my non-final list:

Rank Film Year
1 Black Swan 2010
2 The Thing 1982
3 Jaws 1975
4 Psycho 1960
5 Peeping Tom 1960
6 The Fly 1986
7 Annihilation 2018
8 Alien 1979
9 The Night Of The Hunter 1955
10 Les Diaboliques 1955
11 Angel Heart 1987
12 The Sixth Sense 1999
13 The Innocents 1961
14 Prometheus 2012
15 28 Days Later 2002
16 Get Out 2017
17 They Live 1988
18 Perfect Blue 1997
19 It 2017
20 Suspiria 1977
21 I Am Legend 2007
22 Train To Busan 2016
23 Felidae 1994
24 10 Cloverfield Lane 2016
25 An American Werewolf In London 1981
26 Frankenweenie 2012
27 Mandy 2018
28 Paranorman 2012
29 The Silence Of The Lambs 1991
30 World War Z 2013
31 The Lighthouse 2019
32 Evil Dead 1981
33 Alien 3 1992
34 Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1956
35 A Nightmare On Elm Street 1984
36 The Shining 1980
37 Gremlins 1984
38 It Chapter 2 2019
39 Tremors 1990
40 Ready Or Not 2019
41 Pi 1998
42 Aliens 1986
43 Us 2019
44 Blade 1998
45 Sweeney Todd 2007
46 Dawn Of The Dead 1978
47 Coraline 2009
48 A Quiet Place 2018
49 Zombieland 2009
50 Shaun Of The Dead 2004
51 Rosemary's Baby 1968
52 The Invisible Man 2020
53 Alien: Covenant 2017
54 Videodrome 1983
55 The Exorcist 1973
56 Run 2020
57 Night Of The Living Dead 1968
58 Army Of Darkness 1992
59 Split 2017
60 Evil Dead 2 1987
61 Pet Sematary 1989
62 Zombieland: Double Tap 2019
63 Alien: Resurrection 1997
64 King Kong 1933
65 Bad Taste 1987
66 Mother! 2017
67 The Incredible Shrinking Man 1957
68 Hellboy 2004
Edited by Tower
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