The Film Strain’s Top 10 Horror Films
Oct 2010 27

The Film Strain’s Top 10 Horror Films

Posted In Blog,Entertainment,Movies,TV

by Andrew E. Konietzky

October is my favorite month because locked in the gooey insides is my favorite holiday, Halloween. Before I head off to some of the cool seasonal events around Florida, I have put together a Top 10 List of Horror Films* for the many genre fans out there.

There are so many amazing films that it’s hard to narrow them down to a mere handful, and impossible to put them into some kind of order. And one person’s idea of a great horror film will likely differ from others. Someone who enjoys the gory and violent side of horror might be inclined to watch films like Saw, Cabin Fever, or Last House on the Left, while those are more into the psychological side of things might prefer The Shining, Night of the Living Dead, or The Exorcist. So first, I must post a small disclaimer: We all have our fears, scares, and dark corners, but here are 10 of my personal favorite dark, sticky, blood-soaked treats.


[Rigel in Vs Aliens]

The Film Strain’s Top 10 Horror Films

1. Psycho (1960) – Marion Crane takes an unforgettable shower. When she was cut to ribbons and the camera swirls around the drain and locks onto her lifeless eye, the modern horror film was born. The Blu-ray 50th Anniversary Edition is now out, and features a great documentary called The Psycho Legacy. To this day, the scene with Norman smiling at the camera near the end gives me the heebie jeebies.

2. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (1973) – This terrifying cult film, which was originally made as a TV movie, tells the tale of a house haunted by tiny demons hell-bent on claiming a resident for their own. Guillermo del Toro is finally doing a big-screen update of this movie (see teaser trailer). It makes me shiver with anticipation to think how he will update this creepy classic.

3. The Exorcist (1973) – One of the scariest fucking movies ever made. Period.

4. Trilogy of Terror (1975) – No one really remembers “Julie” or the “Millicent and Therese” portion of this three-part made for TV horror flick starring Karen Black. All three segments are based on short stories written by Richard Matheson, who also wrote I Am Legend and many other horror classics. The only part that ANYONE remembers is the segment called “Amelia” about a very scary doll. Our leading lady, who lives alone, returns to her high-rise apartment with a package. Inside is a Zuni fetish doll, crafted in the form of a misshapen aboriginal warrior equipped with razor sharp teeth and a spear. A scroll comes with the doll, claiming that the doll contains the actual spirit of a Zuni hunter named He Who Kills, and that the gold chain adorning the doll keeps the spirit trapped within. Of course, the moment Amelia leaves the room the Zuni doll’s golden chain falls off. Yes…we pretty much all can imagine the horrific events that happen next. I begged my Father to allow me to stay up late and watch this. He agreed, and to teach me a lesson he hid under my bed. I brushed my teeth, returned to my bedroom and received the fright of my young life.

5. Alien (1979) – Another film I begged my Father to let me watch when I was a kid. He took me to the cinema to see it when I was nine years old, and it royally fucked me up. Thanks, Dad. You’ve got to love a film that spawned the tagline: “In space no one can hear you scream.” Sigourney Weaver may headline the cast as the iconic tough girl, Ripley, but the real star is the Alien itself. For pure extraterrestrial horror, this one is hard to beat. Alien isn’t just a movie, it’s become a cultural milestone. The film created the “space creature picks off terrified crew” formula that is now a mainstay in Hollywood filmmaking.

6. The Thing (1982) – Here is one equal-opportunity shapeshifter. It doesn’t matter who or what you are, as long as there’s some lovely flesh to corrupt. This critter will rebuild your organs like it’s playing with slimy Bio-Legos, and I am seriously stoked for the prequel that is underway (to be released in 2012). The dog kennel filled with splitting dog heads and tentacles is the clincher, and all done without the sissy CG effects of today.

7. Pumpkinhead (1988) – This is one of the most underrated horror flicks of all time. Stan Winston’s special effects make for an amazing monster, and Lance Henricksen is great as the grieving redneck father who seeks vengeance against them city folks who accidentally killed his son. The monster looks truly demonic and the atmosphere is creepy as hell. For some strange reason, it seems to get no love from horror fans though. Shame – shame on you horror fans!

8. Pontypool (2008) – The screenplay for this film was adapted by Tony Burgess’ from his novel Pontypool Changes Everything. Set in chilly Pontypool, Ontario, the fear is kicked off when a local radio announcer, Grant Mazzy, his producer, and station technician, start hearing reports of unprovoked, violent attacks. As the story unfolds, the radio staff are joined by a local doctor. Doc explains that this “zombie” and “animalistic” behavior is caused by a virus which is triggered when the individual speaks certain words. This very smart and unique take on the zombie genre, has the vibe of The Mist or Stephen King’s book Cell. Your imagination runs wild, due to mainly to the fact you hear about, rather than see what is going on outside the station. For your safety, remember,”Kill is Kiss.”

9. Dead Set (2008) – A blood-soaked BBC horror series that continues to crawl just below the radar. The action is set in the UK Big Brother house, and chronicles a zombie outbreak that strands the housemates and production staff inside. In 2008, the master of horror, Stephen King, rated it as “one of the ten best things he saw on TV.” Lucky for you it will be on IFC this month. Love me some zombies… nom nom nom!

10. Orphan (2009) – This film tells the tale of Kate and John Coleman. No, I am not touching the “John and Kate plus Eight” jokes. They lose their baby and adopt a 9-year-old girl to fill the ragged hole in their shaken lives. The cute little girl is not all she appears to be however. They never are. The film kicks ass and is “Home, Sweet Home” to some great intellectual horror with a unexpected WTF twist.

This was a very difficult article to put together, as I could technically keep going on and on and on. So many that I love I didn’t have space to include, but honorable mentions go to Food of the Gods, Near Dark, The Boogens, Cube, Bitten, Slither, Dead Birds, Cemetery Man, and American Psycho, to name just a few. I love the horror genre no matter where the terror comes from, be it the deep recesses of space, the dark corners of the Earth, or from under my bed.

*Editors Note: True story (ask the author and AlanaJoy). This column is possessed. It mysteriously vanished in transit multiple times when emailed on numerous occasions, over several days, in a variety of formats, to several different computers/email accounts. Read at your own risk.

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