A Bruce Campbell classic. This is the movie that launched a thousand cheap horror movies. The difference between this one and the many that came after? This one is scary. With no budget and no famous actors director Sam Raime managed to create one of the most enjoyable horror movies ever filmed. Some young people go off to the woods to a secluded cabin for a weekend, had they never even seen a horror movie? They find a tape recorder, a man on the tape reads a mysterious passage from “The Book of the Dead”. The mysterious passage unleashes an evil force, and then the fun begins. There are two sequels, Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn, and Army of Darkness. All three movies have achieved must-see status.
Best slasher movie ever? Best invincible serial murderer ever? You could argue that the answer to both of these questions is yes. Some may pick Friday the 13th as their favorite slasher franchise, but Halloween is the better movie. (We’re not talking about the endless sequels here.) Jamie Lee Curtis is the ultimate babysitter/stalking victim, and Donald Pleasance is the best weirdo doctor, ever. The score for this movie, which was composed by director John Carpenter, is one of the most distinctive anthems in horror movie history.
If you spent a decade trying to find a stranger movie than Phantasm, you’d have just wasted ten years. Nothing else really compares to this odd-ball movie. The Tall Man is creepy, strong, and indestructable. There are small dwarf creatures, teleportation systems to another planet, a really cool car, a magical flying silver ball, a bald guitarist who drives an ice cream truck, and that’s just scratching the surface. You really must see this movie. The same director, Don Coscarelli, later made a movie with Bruce Campbell called Bubba Ho-Tep, another must see.
This is a remake of a much older movie by the same title. It’s an improvement on the original in a few aspects. The most important difference is in this version you can see the monster! John Carpenter was a big fan of the original, but he wanted to do a version where you could see the horrors only hinted at in the original. The special effects, back in 1982, were probably the best ever used in a horror movie up to that date. They still hold up well now in the age of computer cgi. Kurt Russel stars as McReady, a helicopter pilot who is wasting away at a research station in the arctic. The crew find an alien ship buried under the ice, and unleash all manner of hell upon themselves. This one is not to be missed, don’t bother calling yourself a fan of horror movies if you haven’t seen it.
Another all-time classic, this movie set the standard for zombie movies way back in 1968, and it holds that standard today. There have been some good zombie movies made fairly recently, but none can have the same impact as Night of the Living Dead. Made in PA, in small towns close to Pittsburgh, this movie made director George A. Romero famous. With very little money, and using local actors, Romero created the zombie movie which all later zombie movies will be compared to. Just a couple of the amazing choices made by Romero: The little girl dies. The hero dies, and harshly. Although somewhat dated, Night of the Living Dead holds up very well even today, it’s genuinely scary.
If there is a movie that defines creepiness, this is it. Throughout the entire movie there is a sense of dread that just builds up and up until you’re sure the main character is simply insane. But he isn’t, not really. To walk through the plot of this movie would be to ruin it, suffice it to say it’s well worth seeing.
The ultimate Stephen King movie. This is the first movie based on Stephen King novel, and it’s by far the best. Sissy Spacek and John Travolta are perfect. Piper Laurie, as Carrie’s mother, gives a chilling performance, which was her first movie roll since 1961’s The Hustler. Carrie, an awkward teenager with a mother who is a religious nut, discovers she has telekinetic powers. This movie is a brutal portrayal of high-school politics and director Brian De Palma turns up the tension until there is no choice for Carrie except to use her powers for revenge. Carrie is famous for it’s final scene, which De Palma got by filming a girl walking backwards, then reversing the film.