My Top 894 Horror Films

Pieces (J.P. Simon… 1982)

As I’ve done twice in the past, here is a compendium ordering of my favorite film genre, Horror, updated to include—to the best of my ability—my lifetime within the genre*. It’s dedicated to anyone who’s ever laughed while being frightened, who’s ever been willing to watch anything past 500 or so. Happy Halloween.

The previous version of this list, published in 2016, is here.

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2019 OCTOBER HORROR-A-THON: THE SECOND ELEVEN

Horrors of the Black Museum (A. Crabtree… 1959)
Circus of Horrors (S. Hayers… 1960)

Anglo-Amalgamated Productions, the great rival to Hammer in late 50’s/early 60’s British genre cinema, has largely been absent from discussion when great works of the period are debated. Hammer had the heavies in front of the camera (Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley and Oliver Reed) as well as behind it (Freddie Francis, Terence Fisher, Jimmy Sangster) and, in the subsequent years, lucrative home video distribution deals, always insuring that their films were easily available in VHS or DVD packages across region. I wondered if that was why Hammer has so lapped AAP in genre fans opinions, as outside the two Corman UK Poe films made with AAP (Masque of the Red Death and Tomb of Ligeia) you don’t often hear the films uttered positively with the greats. Perhaps when you look through their catalogue you begin to see why: nearly half are Carry On films, the British version of National Lampoon; cheeky humor, often made solely to cash in on poking fun at prevailing popular movements and genres elsewhere (akin to ‘spoof’ movies). Then there are all the dramas: kitchen sink/angry young man films that they made about about a dozen of, many of which are masterpieces of their type, but decidedly not Horror. Criterion’s release of Peeping Tom (1960) more than a decade ago helped expose it to many American fans, myself included, but it was often stated on the back of Michael Powell’s shoulders, and not anything to do with AAP’s assistance. Taken all together, it’s not hard to see why they’ve lagged against Hammer then, Hammer was committed to one type of film and they poured out variations, some having more gore than others, all having a baseline in quality insuring they were the high-water mark (still) for British Horror. But AAP, at the dawn of the 60’s, managed three films in stark relief to Hammer’s supernatural hysterics and spooky period films. There’s the earlier mentioned Peeping Tom, one of Horror’s darkly subversive and perverse masterworks, and then there’s the two being considered today. Taken as a trio, remarkably, they’re nearly able to challenge the first wave of Hammer films that grossly outnumbered them. Continue reading

Wolf of the Steppes

 

This Halloween season, I’m happy to unveil a mix outlining a story about a man/wolf hybrid, otherwise loosely know in Horror as the Werewolf. I grafted in the idea that this man perhaps isn’t an actual Wolf, but merely symbolically one, not unlike the idea at the center of Herman Hesse’s great metaphysical novel Steppenwolf. The idea that inside a man is his darkest monster, and when this is the truth, it often renders that man an ultimate loner, not unlike the wolf of the Steppes, an arctic wolf that lives its entire life in virtual solitude, merely attempting to survive into the next day (the species can be seen in one of those recent Planet Earth videos on Netflix). From there, some of the ideas in Universal’s 1941 The Wolf Man added additional heft. While I love the foggy moors of Wales depicted in that film, I thought of a swamp here and the imagery conveyed offer a cool idea of a wolfen-man oarsman drifting into the marshes and swamps of ‘Southern Georgia’ and pushing bodies overboard, tied with rocks and engine manifolds to that they sink to the dark abyss. It adds to the delusion of his mental state too, sung so romantically you almost think he mourns the losing of loves, never realizing that they’re being lost by his own hands. For additional story flow help, an audiobook of Steppenwolf was employed. I hope you enjoy it this spooky season, and as always, with the stereo quality, I urge listeners to use headphones.  Continue reading

My Top 682 Horror Films

4110

As I’ve done twice in the past, here is a compendium ordering of my favorite film genre, Horror, updated to include—to the best of my ability—my lifetime within the genre. It’s dedicated to anyone who’s ever laughed while being frightened, who’s ever been willing to watch anything past 500 or so. Happy Halloween (the previous edition of this list was posted here for anyone who wants to see how it’s been shaken up in the subsequent years).  Continue reading