Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

My Photo
Location: milwaukee, wi

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

31 Films That Give Me the Willies

Happy Halloween everyone! To celebrate the season, I participated in Shoot the Projectionist's "31 Flicks that Give You the Willies", and it's interesting to see how the final results differed from my ballot (taken from a list of 100-some). Here's mine, and check out the final list for comparison. I've realized that I need to see more classic horror; or, classic horror doesn't scare me much.

31. House of Wax (Andre de Toth, 1953)
Not the Paris Hilton version, although that one did have its moments, too. Vincent Price is just plain creepy, and makes this movie.

30. Let's Scare Jessica to Death (John D. Hancock, 1971)

29. Haute Tension (Alexandre Aja, 2003)
Until the weak twist ending, this is a great film. Indeed, very tense and blood. Aja went on to make the Hills Have Eyes remake, which I thought was infinitely better and scarier than the original. I am so excited to see where he goes in his career - a Piranha remake?!

28. Jeepers Creepers (Victor Salva, 2001)

27. Cube (Vincenzo Natali, 1997)
Reviewed here. While I didn't love the film as a whole, the whole idea really gives me the willies. Any of us could wake up in a cube at any time! Freaky.

26. The Uninvited (Su-yeon Lee, 2003)
Another film I didn't completely love, but the atmosphere of dread throughout is totally willie-fying.

25. Day of the Dead (George A. Romero, 1985)
Reviewed here.

24. The Fly (David Cronenberg, 1986)
Jeff Goldblum is creepy.

23. The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
I know this is the be-all end-all of horror movies, but perhaps because I'd always heard it was the scariest movie ever, I wasn't that freaked out. Plus, Satan isn't that scary to me, being a godless liberal. I thought Friedkin's latest, Bug, was far more intense and upsetting.

22. Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960)
Reviewed here. A brilliant movie, and I am shocked that this one didn't make this list - it seems like one that psychological horror fans and cineastes alike can agree on. This just reinforces my view that this movie is not widely seen enough.

21. Seven (David Fincher, 1995)

20. Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)

19. American Psycho (Mary Harron, 2000)
Ask me what my favorite book of all time is, and I will tell you, without pause, that it's American Psycho. The book even my liberal parents literally warned me about, I read it my junior year of college when I lived in Chicago and almost threw up on the train. It's the most terrifying, disgusting, brilliant book I've ever read. Bret Easton Ellis is a genius; I even did my college senior thesis on gender roles and violence in the book. So, you make a move out of this book, and there's bound to be some disappointment. Frankly, I didn't want to see the movie be a faithful adaptation of the book, because there are plenty of things in the book I never want to see. But the movie is terrifying in its own right, depicting the coldness of Patrick Bateman perfectly. Christian Bale has really never been better, and having a woman, Mary Harron, direct the movie was the most ironically perfect choice. See this movie, then, if you've got the stomach, read the book.

18. Phantasm (Don Coscarelli, 1979)
I just saw this film two weeks ago for the first time, and it got this spot on the list because while it didn't necessarily give me the willies, iis so strange and disconcerting that I was almost disoriented after watching it.

17. Sixth Sense (M. Night Shymalan, 1999)
Gets an honorary spot on the list because I was genuinely freaked out when I saw it in the theater with my dad at 14 - the ghost are just scary looking. Didn't make the final list, which I think is a comment not on the film itself, but on Shymalan's output since. There's been such a (deserved, mostly) public backlash to his movies, but I really think he's talented and can turn that around with his 2008 movie, which seems like more a return to scary, thrill-driven form than his navel-gazing recent works.

16. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (Robert Aldrich, 1962)
Delusion is terrifying.

15. Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1977)
I obviously love Argento, and Suspiria is definitely one of his finest works.

14. Dawn of the Dead (Zack Snyder, 2004)
I'm not at all surprised this one didn't make the final list; horror snobs like to scream bloody murder at the mere mention of a remake of any "classic" film. But James Gunn (soon-to-be ex-husband of Jenna Fischer and screenwriter/director of the excellent Slither, a film that definitely gave me the willies) took Romero's concept and made a completely different film about it. Same message, same settings (more or less), different film. Why can't it be taken as it is? But it never will be. There's more adrenaline in the first 10 minutes of this sucker than in any Romero film, more or less. Sarah Polley having to escape her husband and child, now zombies, is terrifying, as is the zombie birth scene. I own both versions on DVD, and really should have put this one higher, on second thought.

13. Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)
Honorary spot. Another whose remake I loved.

12. A Nightmare on Elm St. (Wes Craven, 1984)
These honorary spots sure do add up. But Freddy Krueger is probably the best horror villian ever; scary, sadistic, and funny.

11. Onibaba (Kaneto Shindo, 1964)
Another one I was sure cineastes would jump all over. When the mask doesn't come off, it's pretty damn scary.

10. Audition (Takashi Miike, 1999)
I don't love this movie like most people I know do (but maybe they don't - here's another one I thought was a shoo-in that isn't on the final list), but the final 15 minutes are terrifying. I had my jaw clenched the entire time.

9. Dead Ringers (David Cronenberg, 1988)
Twins are creepy, Jeremy Irons is creepy, David Cronenberg is creepy, going to the gynecologist can be creepy. This was a sure shot.

8. Eyes Without a Face (Georges Franju, 1960)
There are few things scarier than blank masks. Romero almost got it right with Bruiser, but Franju gets it exactly perfect.

7. The Devil's Rejects (Rob Zombie, 2005)
I saw this in the theater, and felt afterwards like I had been beaten up. Brutal.

6. The Descent (Neil Marshall, 2005)
While Ed from Shoot the Projectionist might have gotten on his high horse a bit about how many votes this got, I think it was completely worth it. Those monsters! The claustrophobia! When I first heard of this movie, I ordered it from Amazon UK because I had to have it (and at that point, it had no release set for the US); the day it came, I watched it after a night of partying. I came home at 6am and put it in, planning on watching a few minutes until I fell asleep. I stayed up until 9am watching the movie, then processing it, that's how engrossed I got in it. It certainly sobered me up, too. A few stills I made from the movie can be seen here.

5. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (John McNaughton, 1986)
Reviewed here. It made me uncomfortable to watch, and still is uncomfortable to think about to this day.

4. Saw (James Wan, 2004)
One of the great modern horror films, I really believe. Another movie where the subsequent efforts have diminished the reputation of the first. Try to remember what it was like before gore was in every theater every weekend, seeing Saw. The traps seemed remarkable! However, it is responsible for every terrible horror movie since.

3. Dawn of the Dead (George A Romero, 1978)
One of my 20 favorite movies of all time. What's so scary about this movie is that it could happen, and everything Romero was trying to warn us about in the late 70s is still relevant today.

2. Candyman (Bernard Rose, 1992)
Another social parable wrapped in a really scary movie. HOW COULD THIS HAVE NOT MADE THE LIST! The sexual element of Helen's obsession with the Candyman is skin-crawling. So are the bees.

1. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
Finally, I am in sync with the rest of the film blog-reading world. I didn't see the big deal about the movie (in its edited for tv form, admittedly) until I saw it on the big screen during a Kubrick retrospective at the Siskel Film Center in Chicago. I was glued to my seat with terror. Not only scary, but brilliantly directed, written, and acted. When I got out of the movie, it was dark, and I had to call my mom while waiting on the bus stop for my bus, so that I could be reassured that I wouldn't be murdered or possessed. Now that's getting the willies

Whew! Hope some of you at least read some of that. Have fun tonight, everyone!
StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!

Comments on "31 Films That Give Me the Willies"


Anonymous Adam said ... (4:54 PM) : 

haha i was wondering "why 31??" for a good 10 seconds. i'm with you on the shining and saw 1.


Anonymous adam said ... (5:13 PM) : 

ooh word on american psycho and seven too. i REALLY need to re-watch american psycho, i haven't seen it in a good minute but it used to be one of those movies i had on repeat constantly and could quote all the dialogue etc. also i need to read it, i've read a bunch of other ellis books after seeing the movies but not that one for whatever reason.


Blogger math said ... (11:39 AM) : 

A nice list!
I'm especially glad to see Candyman - why did nobody else mention this! - Phantasm, and the Dawn remake, though I will differ on a couple of points (Saw and Sixth Sense), but those are films I'd already decided needed another viewing to see if there's something I'm missing. I'll keep you posted.


Blogger Bob Turnbull said ... (9:02 AM) : 

Hi Dana,

I'm in solid agreement regarding "Peeping Tom", "Onibaba", "Audition" and "Candyman". Terrific films all. I'm not surprised those first two didn't make the list (though it would've been nice), but quite surprised the others didn't make it...That's the fun of the lists though.

I also like the "Dawn Of The Dead" remake. It's a different movie - and damn scary. Though it didn't crack my own list, it was bubbling under.

I only really disagree on a couple of your choices. "Nightmare On Elm Street" just didn't do it for me, but I saw it years after it came out and it felt, um, well dated at the very least. The second one was terrible and I haven't seen any since. And I didn't like "Haute Tension" - I just took an instant dislike to the characters at the beginning and never came round. I should watch it again though...


Blogger dana danger said ... (9:28 AM) : 

Thanks everyone for the great comments! There's nothing like a good horror movie list to get the words flowing...


post a comment