My Most-Watched Horror Films

(All database links courtesy of the Internet Movie Database)


Friday the 13th (1980)
Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982)
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985)
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
Jason Goes To Hell - The Final Friday (1993)
Jason X (2002)
Jason vs. Freddy (2006 ??)

 

"The greatest teenage slasher movie series ever devised!"

My favorite one of the lot was part 5. I was too young to get into the first three movies of the series. Part IV and V, I got in to see when I was underage - I was lucky enough not to get asked for I.D.! I was over 18 when I went to see part VI, and then they asked for I.D.!

These movies are more funny than frightening, because Jason is such a stupid (literally!) killer -- although I remember hitting the roof the first time I saw Jason jump out of the lake. Some of the killings were quite inventive and realistic. Tom Savini's work is probably the best. The Friday the 13th films were an inspiration for my own set of movies.

To find out a lot more about these films,
there's an excellent Friday the 13th home page on the internet: www.fridaythe13thfilms.com
It's the best source of Jason information on the net.

 

There was a Friday the 13th Commodore 64 game which was very loosely based on the plot of part III. The graphics were good for the C-64 at the time. You must find the necessary weapons to kill Jason. One by one, your friends disappear/are killed -- until only you remain to confront Jason.

 






 

Nintendo released a Friday the 13th video game, which wasn't too bad. The graphics of Jason were well drawn. Although I do not remember the teenagers in movies having to jump from platform to platform. Nor do I remember a cave with bats, zombies of former victims walking everywhere, or wolves in the woods. Combat against Jason was especially difficult, because you had to press the control pad diagonally in order to dodge Jason's attacks. The Game Genie makes it possible to finish. It was considered a lousy game by most Nintendo players, but was a good collectable for Friday the 13th fans.

Also available are novelization of about half of the Friday the 13th films: Parts 1, 2, 3 and 6. There was a Part 9 Comic Book adaptation.
There was a set of trading cards for Part 9 also. There are several Jason dolls, model kits and action figures available as well..
There is a soundtrack album of "Jason Goes to Hell", as well as one with music from the first three films, which is very hard to come by.
Bootleg CDs and MP3s are available on the Internet.

Click to the picture to the right see Jason in 3-D.
You'll need a pair of RED - BLUE glasses for the full effect.

Here are screenshots from Friday the 13th part III in 3-D !
(click to enlarge)


This movie truly is a "Masterpiece of Modern Horror". I was a little kid when it came to the theatres, so I couldn't go see it. At another movie, I saw the horrifying trailer with the bizarre music and credits scrolling over the scene of the blood-gushing elevators -- I had no idea what the movie was about, but it scared me. I knew nothing of the Stephen King novel which it was based on. I remember the freaky TV commercials of a man limping through a blizzard with an axe and a meek woman hiding in fear behind a door that was being chopped down. I saw the novel for sale at the supermarket and bought it. It was a great scary reading experience. A few of the darkest chapters were read in a camping tent by flashlight up in the mountains when I was only 11 years old. A great book! Could all of this be in the movie of the same name?  Home video was miniscule at the time, so I couldn't go out and rent it. A few years later I got the chance to see The Shining on the ABC Sunday Night Movie, as I'm sure many kids did. The film was preceded by a grave network warning along the lines of  "This movie depicts supernatural elements and a man attempting to destroy his family..." The opening helicopter shots of the car driving up the mountain roads -- combined with the eerie theme music and the glowing blue credit scroll -- was stunning. The movie grabbed me in wonderfully creepy ways. The images that were stunning: the two girls in the hallway, the hedge maze chase, the elevators gushing blood, the interaction with Halloran and Danny, and Jack chopping down the door.

Overall excellent, a few things disappointed me in the Kubrick version. It's a shame the hedge animals weren't in the movie, but it would've been hard to recreate; the hedge maze was a nice substitute. The ending sucked compared to the book. Halloran wasn't supposed to die and instead got possessed by the evil of the Overlook. The hotel was supposed to blow up. On some rewatchings, certain scenes become boring. Overall, the Kubrick version was excellent. I had the chance to see the film on a large screen at a local art house theatre Halloween showing. The Shining is now available on DVD as part of the Stanley Kubrick Collection; it may also be purchased separately. The transfer is disappointing. It's not widescreen, and is the same sound and picture quality as the VHS and laserdisc versions. It's sad to see the same scratches, dust and hair on the DVD version. Warner Brothers could have really enhanced it. The DVD does include The Making of The Shining and the theatrical trailer, which may be worth the purchase.

In 1997 there was a made for TV version of The Shining, which was very like the book. But it wasn't as scary or fantastic. It tended to drag on too long as a six-hour movie. With modern computer animation, the living hedge animals were possible in the TV version. Many people didn't like them, but I thought it worked quite well. Wendy was finally cast more accurately with Rebecca DeMornay-- although I had nothing against Shelly Duvall. Some of the scenes that worked well in the book did not on screen, like the living fire hose, the haunted Presidential suite, and the lady in the bathtub. The portrayal of Tony, Danny's imaginary friend, was a goofy magical guy with glasses floating in the air -- which wasn't creepy at all. It's a shame this will probably never be released on video, because of an agreement between Stephen King and Warner Brothers.

The Shining Background Info
The Shining vs. Titanic: A comparison essay


The Nightmare on Elm Street series

Freddy Krueger is a maniac who has the ability to kill teenagers in their dreams. Seven films were made:

I didn't care much for part 2 and part 5, but the rest of them were good. Starting with the third one, I saw them at the theatre. I actually saw the second one on video before watching the first. Wes Craven's New Nightmare gave me the shivers, and was the scariest. Part 2 was somewhat creepy also.

I did not like Freddy as much as Jason, because he was always cracking cheap one-liners; which made me groan. Some people have described his later personality as the "MTV Freddy"; I agree.

What Elm Street movies had over Friday the 13th movies was sympathetic victims. It wasn't a "punishment of the sinning-teenagers". Genuinely good kids were being slaughtered by Freddy, and the audience grieved their loss.

There was a Nightmare on Elm Street computer game for the Commodore 64. The graphics and gameplay are somewhat like Gauntlet.

Nintendo created a Nightmare on Elm Street game for the NES, which was loosely based on the third film (Dream Warriors).

It was quite a strange game, where you went between a waking world and a dream world.

You had to collect all of Freddy's bones from different haunted venues and bring them to the furnace of the boiler room, which will destroy Freddy.

 

All of the bosses are various nightmarish embodiments of Freddy.

Up to four people could play at once with a special controller adapter.

Each player could have different dream powers to fight Freddy and his dream creatures.

It can be finished easily with the Game Genie.

There was also a Nightmare on Elm Street Board Game.
I describe it in more detail on my Board Game Page.


Phantasm movies

Phantasm (1979)
Phantasm II (1988)
Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994)
Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998)

These movies centered around the strange-goings-on at a funeral home. The tall man (played by Angus Scrimm) was the one to be feared in these films. Other elements were flying chrome spheres with sharp tools inside, carnivourous midgets in cloaks which looked like Star Wars Jawas, creepy undertakers, and men in gas masks with chainsaws. The Phantasm movies had elements of science fiction and horror intertwined.

I remember seeing the first Phantasm movie when I was only 15 years old. KXLY television Spokane, Washington had it as one of their features on Ghoul Theatre in the middle of night. I thought it was the coolest thing.

The second film had a higher budget, and contained a lot more violence. It was great. It's rip-roaring action and horror.

The third film was more of a highway quest, with Reggie attempting to rescue Mike from the Tall Man. There are abandoned towns, interesting characters, perils and traps along the way.

Not everybody would  like Phantasm IV as I did.  The pacing is slower and the plot is more cryptic. It reveals a few secrets about the Tall Man. They wrote the story around unused scenes from the first film. It worked quite well. The ending is vague and open to several interpretations; it completes the loop that started with the first film.  It's doubtful there'll be a part V, because they essentially finished Mike's journey of sanity.

The Official Phantasm Site - The Doorway To Phantasm


HALLOWEEN movies

The first two Halloween movies were great, especially the second one with its synthesized soundtrack. Michael Meyers (some spell it Myers) was a creepy killer, with his white Captain Kirk mask, coveralls, absence of dialogue, and the way he stalked his victims like a heat-seeking missile. I do not need to mention how Halloween established much of the horror film genre and set a new standard. The chemistry between Michael, Doctor Loomis (played by Donald Pleasance) and Laurie the babysitter (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) was wonderful.

Halloween III had nothing to with the first two movies, having an entirely different story and set of characters. Michael was nowhere to be seen, except on a commercial on a television set in the background. This movie would have been a lot more successful had it not tried to connect itself to the Halloween series, and instead be treated as a separate film.

Halloween 4 brought back Michael and Doctor Loomis to battle it out again, but Laurie was gone, and replaced by her daughter as the killer's new target. It wasn't bad at all. I liked how Michael wiped out the entire police force of Haddonfield and had the citizens forming a posse to get him.

Halloween 5 I thought was cheap and stretching things too far. It ended with a cliffhanger, introducing a mysterious new character, which wouldn't be resolved for about five years.

Halloween 6 was terrible in my opinion, with a ads that claimed to reveal "why Michael kills". It had a good setup which never followed through. The last third of the film gets really confusing and hacked together. The ending left things open for Michael to return for a seventh film, but it wouldn't happen. Instead we got Halloween H20...

Halloween H20 - Twenty Years Later is more of a sequel to part 2 than part 6. It does mention Laurie's accident from part 4, but no references are made to her daughter Jamie. And now she has a son! What's that all about? I liked the bit about her faking her own death to get away from Michael, but why put Jamie through all that unnecessary grief? H20 was a short film (1 hour 15 minutes!!!). The ending was abrupt. The roller coaster ride was a short and meaningless one. I had hoped to learn more about Michael's motivations, but nothing new was revealed. Michael's last scene was almost touching. I expected him to take off his mask and communicate with his sister, but it didn't happen. Overall, a letdown.

Halloween Resurrection - the 9th movie in the series was great! It brought back the Meyers house and had great opening credits. Laurie Strode and Sam Loomis were both absent from most of the movie. The plot of having a webcast inside the Meyers house was destined to fail - but with skillful direction and snappy editing, they were able to pull it off. The movie was exciting and creepy. I vote YES!

Wanna be scared? You can listen to the HALLOWEEN Theme in MIDI file format.

There was a videogame of Halloween made for the Atari 2600 by Wizard games. The plot of the game was very close to the first Halloween movie. You controlled a babysitter in a big house, and had to get the children to safety. Michael stalks you and the children. You can sometimes defend yourself with a knife. The graphics were bloody if the killer caught you or any of the children. Loomis was not in the game. The Halloween movie theme was well re-created with the Atari's audio hardware. It's a fairly rare game to come across.

The Website of Michael Meyers
A good review of Halloween H20


Dario Argento Horror Films

Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)
Cat O' Nine Tails (1971)
Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971)
Deep Red (1975)
Suspiria (1977)
Inferno (1980)
Tenebre (1982)
Demons (1985)
Phenomena (1985)
Dario Argento's World of Horror (1985)
Opera (1987)
Two Evil Eyes (1990)
Trauma (1993)
The Stendhal Syndrome (1996)
Phantom of the Opera (1998)
Sleepless (2001)

"Italian Horror Cinema at its finest! Dario, along with Bava, is a master."

My favorite Dario Argento film is Suspiria. Jessica Harper stars as Susy Banyon, an American student who has enrolled in a German dance academy. On the very night she arrives, two of the students are brutally murdered. Throughout the film, she slowly learns that the school is being run by witches! There are some really cool and stylized death scenes in this movie. The ending of the movie is sort of cool, as Susy enters the forbidden areas of the academy. As for the last twelve minutes being the most terrifying, I'd say that it's all fantastic. The music in this movie is awesome! It was done by a group called The Goblins, and is as memorable as the Halloween theme and the Exorcist theme. The look of the film is wonderfully done, with creepy contrasted lighting. The movie felt very much like one of the Omen films.


Dolls
(1986, Vestron Video)

This horror film is quite cool! It's about a couple and their little girl, whose car breaks down in a thunderstorm. They take refuge in a large mansion, the home of a doll maker and his wife. The house is filled with dolls. It soon becomes apparent that these dolls are alive - and will kill anybody who doesn't believe in them. The doll effects and gore aren't too bad. If I was in that house, I'd have a grand time! The ending was nice, with Judy and Ralph leaving, and another family getting stranded in the countryside. It had a very British-Hammer feel to it.

 


Then, there are the horror movies I've made with my friends:
The "My School" series of films

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skeleton-masked Kevin Markson and the his pet Doom Bear are the killers in these films.


Return to Horror High
(1986, New World Pictures)

A hilarious spoof on high school killer films. Not as stupid as "Student Bodies" though. It's basically about a low-budget film crew making a horror movie in a haunted high school where unsolved murders occurred five years ago. The killer, obviously, is still alive, and starts murdering the film crew. The plot twists and turns. When you think you know what is going on, a new curve is thrown in. Flashbacks delve into flashbacks. It gets quite confusing, because you sometimes are misled about what timeframe is being shown.

Ten years before "Scream", it had you guessing who the killer was. A very interesting and funny movie. Many of the jokes are in bad taste. Look for Marsha Brady at the beginning of the film, smearing blood over herself. And look for George Clooney as the security guard. This movie is cheap, but should be appealing to schlock horror fans.

"Killer to the left. Killer to the right. Stand up. Sit down. Fright! Fright! Fright!"

 


The Exorcist III
(1990, 20th Century Fox / Warner Brothers)

Yeah, I'll admit that the first Exorcist movie scared me totally. It's something I shouldn't watch alone at night. The thing that scared me was the flash frames of the eerie white demon face with the bulging eyes in Father Damien's nightmare about his mother. I don't like thinking about it when I'm lying in bed at night.

Exorcist II - The Heretic? Dull. Not much devilish happened in that one really. It wasn't scary or shocking. It was more of an adventure film -- a mix of The Serpent and the Rainbow and Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was beautiful and magical -- but not much horror. Nothing like the first or third film. A real letdown. Nothing memorable except for Pazuzu saying "Come fly with me, Regan!" And the unfrightening locusts. You can't forget about those. Here's a hysterical In-Depth Review of The Exorcist II.

But the Exorcist III was great. It scared me when I saw it in the theatre. The scene in the hospital hallway (you know the one?) almost gave me a heart attack. The little Jesus statue opening its eyes was shocking. How about the little crucified boy rising up out of the floor? Or the decapitated statue? Or the statue with a painted face? Or the Lieutenant's nightmare about Heaven? Those scenes I still don't like to think about at night. This movie was a sequel to the first movie, and pretended that the uneventful second film didn't exist. The mystery of the Gemini killer was a good one. I'm sure "Seven" got a few inspirations from this film. I would have liked if the final battle was a bit longer. I remember a few scenes in the trailers which never made it into the film.


Mother's Day
(1980, Kaufman Productions)

Another farce of holiday-themed horror films. It's got a lot of laughs and groans. Three college girls are unfortunate enough to stumble across a mother and her two psychotic sons who live in the woods. It's very reminiscent to the plot of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies. The mother is the one running the show. Her demise at the end is humourously done. Some of the scenes I found offensive, like the rape and torture of one of the girls. The rope-burn scene was gruesome.

"They wanted to make their Mother proud... in the worst way!"

"Whatever Momma wants, Momma gets!"

 


Slaughterhouse
(1987, New World Video)

Not a very good horror film. A group of kids are making a rock video in an old-abandoned slaughterhouse. Guess what? There's a killer after them! A crazed meat packer takes his revenge on the townspeople responsible for his bankruptcy. Using "Buddy", his kill-crazy, maniacle son, he cuts a bloody swath of death and destruction during the town's annual "Pig-Out" Festival.

Buddy the killer is a fat, bearded man in overalls, who prefers the company of pigs to humans. He carries around a huge meat cleaver with a dingle bell tied to the end.

This movie is pretty bad, which is what makes it so entertaining. It's hardly scary. The plot is written from a horror-movie formula. It's sort of a bad version of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The box states "Contains footage too intense for the theatrical release." I doubt this movie was ever at the theatre!

Some notable deaths are the man going through the meat grinder, and an old man's head being rolled over by the car. The ending is left open for another Buddy attack, but I doubt they'll make another one. It's a waste of 90 minutes.

Why do I like it? Because the box artwork interested me. Buddy the bear is my kind of guy.

Carrie
(1976, MGM)

Remember the commercials for this one? "This movie is so shocking, we can't show you any scenes from it. Instead, we'll just tell you about how scary it is." I was only 8 years old when this movie was at the theatres, so I didn't get to see it for many years afterwards on television. This movie has many scenes which stick in my head: the bucket of blood, the shower-room, the flying ashtray, the cheesy music when the girls are doing jumping jacks, the knives, the broken mirror, the prayer closet, the little Jesus statue which looked like Carrie's mother, the kid on the bicycle "Creepy Carrie!", the spinning dance shot, the pig slaughtering, the curve-ball automobile, and the laying of the flowers at the end... Gosh, the final scene was just as shocking as Jason jumping out of the lake! It was a tragedy that Carrie's date and teacher had to die. I think they were on her side.

Bravo Brian DePalma! The split-screen was innovative for 1976. I wouldn't try it these days, though. This is your best effort yet! And bravo Sissy! You fleshed out the role perfectly. Bravo Piper Laurie, for being such a creepy mother. Bravo Stephen King for writing such a classic!


This could be considered a science fiction movie as well, but I'm classifying it as a horror movie, because people are killed in gruesome ways.

Described as a forgotten Twilight Zone episode, this bizarre movie is about a group of seven people trapped -- for no explainable reason -- inside a maze of cube-shaped rooms. Many of the rooms have deadly traps inside, so the unfortunate people must use their combined talents to find a way out. The biggest obstacle is the clashing of different personalities within the group: a policeman, a doctor, a student, an office worker, an escape artist, an autistic and some bald guy (who we don't get to know, because he dies in the very first scene).
The movie is very surreal and nightmarish. The soundtrack is eerie. But I loved this movie!  I can watch it again and again, seeing it from different angles. The ending was meaningless, just like their reason for being put into the cube.


Killer Klowns from Outer Space
(1988, Chiodo Brothers)

It's very cartoonish, but also quite violent. There are many memorable scenes: the security guard saying "What are you going to do with those pies, boys?", the living popcorn, the puppet show, the cute little baby Jo-Jo clown and his broken bike, the Officer Mooney dummy, the goofy farmer and his dog, the giant clown behemoth, the girl clowns, the stupid guys in the ice cream truck, and the wonderful theme song by "The Dickies". The clown costumes and makeup effects are very well done. The story is somewhat lame; it's like one of those 1950's Invaders films, which is what was intended. It's more funny than scary.


Alice, Sweet Alice

(1977, Anchor Bay)

Originally titled "Communion", then bootlegged as "Holy Terror",  this movie is presently known as "Alice, Sweet Alice". I wish they wouldn't rename films! It's only selling point is that Brook Shields was in it -- the truth is that she is killed early on in the film. She is killed in a rather gruesome and satanic manner. The rest of the film is the investigation of her murder. The prime suspect is her almost-twin sister Alice, who isn't exactly a kind little girl. It's a horrifying mystery. Alice does some very strange things, which would make any parent shiver. A creepy movie overall. The music is good. This film is often found in the bargain bin of video stores, but it's worth viewing.


Tourist Trap
(1979, Media Entertainment)

Find out why, every year, people disappear on the highway. Likely inspired by the lost-on-the-highway success of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1973), this film pre-dates Friday the 13th. Could this be one of FT13's inspirations? Chuck Connors stars as Mr. Slausen, who lives in a run-down frontier America museum along the road. He's gone a bit bonkers and has started holding conversations with his collection of mannequins. Their dialogue is amusing. The film's killer is creepy with telekinetic powers. There are lots of living dolls and mannequins! Let's see what happens when a group of young people have an automobile breakdown in the vicinity. One of the most disturbing deaths is when one of the girls is made into a mannequin by having plaster poured onto her face, over her mouth and nose! The chase scene at the end is very much like a Jason chase. The telekinetic showdown with the killer in the attic is thrilling. The very last scene in the movie is cool. Friday the 13th fans ought to check this movie out!

 


Horror Films that didn't quite made the list, but I still enjoyed...

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series (especially part 2), Leprechaun parts 1,2,3,4,5, Candyman, The Thing, The Brood, Wishmaster 1 & 2, The Poltergeist trilogy, The Evil Dead three, Happy Birthday To Me, In The Mouth of Madness, April Fools' Day, My Bloody Valentine, George Romero's Living Dead films, Anaconda, The Fog, The Watcher in the Woods, Sorority House Massacre, Black Christmas, Maniac, Screams 1-3, Urban Legends, I Know What You Did Last Summer (first one only), Child's Play 1-4, Blair Witch Projects, Prince of Darkness, Hellraiser films, Let's Scare Jessica to Death, Prom Night series, The Omen I-III, The Funhouse, Night of the Creeps, The Fly I & II, Witchboard, Company of Wolves, The Legacy, Turn of the Screw, Burnt Offerings, The Howling, An American Werewolf in London, Piranha, Interview with a Vampire, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, Slaughter High, The First Power, Seven, Pet Semetary, Flatliners, The Silence of the Lambs, and IT !

Whew!  That's a loada scary movies, eh?


This page was last updated on Wednesday, January 25, 2006