What’s Top 10 Tuesday? It’s a new Top 10 List every Tuesday!
Hello Morbid Movie readers! My name is Cody Mascho and I’m one of your new contributors to this awesome site! I thought I might take a moment to introduce myself and go over what sort of articles you can expect to see from me, followed with a classic Top 10 list of my personal favorite horror movies. My main squeeze is the beautiful world of Italian horror and its denizens (i.e. Black Sunday and Cannibal Holocaust) but I’m also a huge fan of the Nightmare on Elm Street Series, what with a 100+ piece collection, a tattoo, a lock of Robert Englund’s hair that he doesn’t know about, etc. I enjoy a wide range of spooks like zombies, slashers, and anthologies, and I can never resist a good trash film. I live near Seattle, WA, and I’m a very active member in the horror community up here, so I’ll be frequently writing about haunted houses, horror screenings, and local conventions. Oh, and I know a TON of very talented horror authors, artists, actors, filmmakers and hosts, so hopefully I’ll be setting up some interviews with them in the near future. But also expect me to go in depth on Blu-Ray restorations of classic horror films from companies like Synapse, Severin, Vinegar Syndrome, and Scream Factory. Basically, there’s a fucking huge variety of stuff I’m excited to write about! Look forward to it!
Anyways, to start off my tenure here at Morbid Movies, I thought I’d highlight my favorite horror flicks! Yeah, I know they’re not “the best” (that will be a later list) but they do all hold a special place in my heart. For the purposes of this article, I’ve decided to limit myself to one Lucio Fulci film, one Dario Argentino film, one George Romero film, and of course, one Nightmare on Elm Street film. (Otherwise the list would be dominated by them.) So without further ado, the stuff you’ve been waiting for, my personal Top 10!
10. Suspiria (1977)
This is Dario Argentino’s masterpiece, an atmospheric story about an American Ballet student who travels to Germany, only to discover her new school may be run by a coven of witches. Complete with a truly legendary film score by Italian rock group “Goblin,” Suspiria provides a viewing experience that hits on all levels. Jessica Harper’s lead, Suzy, is a great heroine whom you actually want to see live through the movie. The twists and turns of the plot leave me on the edge of my seat, and it’s so intensely gorgeous just to look at! From the opening scene through to the tense finale, the bright yet sinister hallways of the Tanz Academies provide such a great backdrop to Argentino’s use of the primary colors. This one is truly a treat.
9. Halloween (1978)
Yes, the classic deranged madman wreaking havoc on his local town, slasher flick. This one is also immensely atmospheric, and it’s a yearly watch for a number of reasons. The general dread and creepy vibes that Michael Myers exudes is always off-putting, no matter how many times I see the movie. Donald Pleasance’s performance as Dr. Loomis is probably my favorite hero ever. Jamie Lee Cutris as Laurie Strode is again, a heroine worth rooting for. John Carpenter’s direction is incredible, but his soundtrack is what really shines. The Halloween score is the stuff of legend, and for good reason. It’s what elevates this movie from simply great to an all time classic.
8. Re-Animator (1985)
A controversial doctor arrives at a prestigious medical school with the ability to cure death itself, and everything goes great. Nah, just kidding, there’s terrible consequences. Stuart Gordon’s adaption of the H.P. Lovecraft character is just… awesome! Gory, funny, cast well, and genuinely frightening (to my fiancee, obviously, not to me of course…) Re-Animator is such a fun movie to watch. Jeffery Comb’s portrayal of Dr. Herbert West is iconic, and his creepiness and strange dry humor are fantastically entertaining. I mean, who doesn’t love a movie that uses the reanimation of a cat for a fucking slapstick scene? (Well, I mean, my fiancee didn’t, but that’s beside the point.)
7. Demons (1985)
Demons take over through a movie screen! And trust me, this work of art makes it look like it’s really happening. Produced by Dario Argentino and directed by Lamberto Bava, Demons is a gort, gross, violent, over the top, 90 minute long fuckfest. Bava proves himself a worthy successor to his father, Mario, with plenty of amazing death scenes and truly disgusting special effects. This film is insane from start to finish, packed with exploding heads, infected boils, revolting transformations, and a scene with a motorcycle and a katana that’s just as amazing as it sounds. The accompanying soundtrack features masters like Motley Crue, Rick Springfield, and Goblins’ own Claudio Simonetti. Simply put, it’s fucking amazing. If Night of the Demons and the Dawn of the Dead 2004 remake had coke fueled sex, this movie would be the resulting baby. Honestly, you have to see it to believe it. (Such is the case with many Italian Horror and Giallo films.)
6. Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (1982)
Tom Atkins’ moustache deserves more love from the world. It’s just as good if not better than Tom Selleck’s, yet it doesn’t get as much of the attention deserves. But this movie, this fixes that. When a toy shop owner is mysteriously murdered, his sister and his doctor team up to investigate the mysterious Silver Shamrock corporation, and let me tell you, that moustache- I mean, those masks are iconic. How can you leave the theater without that Silver Shamrock jingle stuck in your head? (Happy, happy Halloween, Silver Shamrock!) The plot is very solid for such a maligned film, with a genuinely creepy villain, a great lead hero, and a memorable conclusion that still leaves me guessing to this day. Am I saying it’s better than most Michael Myers sequels? Yes, yes I am. It could stand on its own as a horror classic. And that moustache… just, wow.
5. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Imagine you’re a 10-year-old me, awkward and chubby and watching this zombie movie. Yeah, I was sleeping in my parent’s bed for a week. I even made my mom sell our copies so it wouldn’t be in the house anymore! Of course, now it’s become a beloved memory, as I both respect its ability to traumatize me, and can also appreciate it for the great horror remake it truly is. Zack Snyder gets a lot of shit for his recent stuff, but his visual style fits the movies so perfectly. And the undead being FAST? Now that’s a genuinely threatening zombie. It feels like the world could actually, legitimately fall to them in such a short amount of time. The cast is strong, with Ving Rhames and Sara Polley providing strong leads, and a few surprises like Ty Burrell from Modern Family. But my absolute favorite part is the opening, when Polley’s character wakes up after a peaceful evening with her husband to find that the world is overrun with living dead. Her escape suburbia is filled with shock and adrenaline as you see the world crumbling behind her. The cherry on top, of course, is the opening credits, where movie-made and real life news footage is spliced together and Johnny’ Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” plays eerily, filling the viewer with legitimate dread. Just the opening is one of the greatest in horror history, and is a worthy start for a worthy movie.
4. Prince of Darkness (1987)
This movie doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves, plain and simple. John Carpenter’s mix of religion and science for a horror film is a bold choice, and it pays off big time. Basically, a group of scientist students are called to a Catholic church and are forced to work together and stop Satan himself from fucking shit up. It’s filled with great acting (including another pleasing appearance of Donald Pleasance), visually impressive effects all around, and another beautiful score by John Carpenter. Alice Cooper even appears as a street bum leading an army of fellow, deranged street bums – who are surprisingly creepy minor antagonists. This movie is just enthralling, with the church setting providing a beautiful backdrop, and a villain that feels genuinely threatening even as just swirling green goo locked in a container. The dream scenes are packed with dread and unease, and the end leaves you wondering if anything was truly resolved. Plus, props goes out to whoever lit all those goddamn candles.
3. The Beyond (1981)
Lucio Fulci is my favorite horror director of all time, and this is his unquestioned masterpiece. Set and filmed in Louisiana, the movie tells of a cursed hotel built on one of the seven gateways to Hell, and the hotel owners’ attempts to stop it from re-opening. The Beyond is part of Fulci’s “Gates of Hell” trilogy, alongside “City of the Living Dead” and “House by the Cemetery,” both of which I also genuinely enjoy. As in the other two movies, Catriona Maccoll delivers a knockout star performance alongside the immensely talented David Warbeck. Fulci, as usual, stuff the scenes with death by eye gouging, overly gratuitous head explosion, and being eaten alive by tarantulas (AKA The best things in cinema, and the reasons why my fiancee has banned it from movie night.) This film is Fulci at his absolute best, and if you’re a horror fan, I implore you to try and watch it.
2. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
This is not only one of the greatest horror film of all time, but also one of the most influential. Without this, the original flesh-eating ghoul apocalypse, we’d likely never have the entire zombie genre! Four of the movies on this list would be obsolete. While Romero did direct better films, the sheer magnitude of this film’s impact is why he was able to make them in the first place. I’ve actually had the pleasure of meeting both Russ Streiner and Judith O’Dea (the actors of Johnny and Barbara) and hearing them talk about how a small movie from their youth transformed so many lives is incredibly moving and meaningful. From the directing, to the acting, to the visuals, this movie stands the test of time as one of THE definitive horror films. This was the movie that got me into horror, the very first scary movie my parents ever showed me, and it is one that I will forever watch over and over again.
1. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
As mentioned before, I have a vast Freddy Krueger collection, so it’s safe to say one Nightmare on Elm Street (NOES) film was going to be here. The only problem was choosing which one! If you have had the chance to read my article for Horror and Sons, you’ll know that Alice is THE Elm Street protagonist for me. The beginning of her two part war with Freddy, which continued in The Dream Child, was my absolute favorite. I love the return of the Dream Warriors (albeit replacing Patricia Arquette) with each individual having their own parts and tragic deaths in this movie. In fact, some of Freddy’s best kills are in The Dream Master: Sheila’s breathtaking asthma attack, Debbie’s joint crushing beetle bonanza, and Joey’s wet n’ wild water bed are all some of Freddy’s most remembered in the series. Robert Englund is of course, amazing (as he always is… *swoon*) and his portrayal of Freddy is worthy of a place on horror’s Mount Rushmore. Freddy is at his pun peak here, my favorite being, “I love soul food!” as he eats a meatball with a human face on it. Yet somehow, he still feels intimidating. Even though this movie is not “The Best” NOES, it is a fuck ton to watch, and I never get tired of it. This is certainly my personal favorite movie of all time.
I’d like to thank the staff at Morbid Movies for welcoming me with open arms. And thanks to all of you for reading this! I promise to have many more articles for you soon. That’s the end for now, but never fear (or do fear, if that’s your thing) for I will return soon! We need to begin our Italian Horror road trip, after all. Tune in next time for a look at the insanity of Burial Ground, an often overlooked Grindhouse classic. It’s gonna be bat shit wild. See you then!