No, not a costume contest. I entered those in the past and they were all rigged. I didn’t win anything. I’m giving my top ten list of horror movies with some newly discovered B-movie gems thrown in that I watched just recently. In no particular order, here’s my list:
1. The Exorcist. This is still a very creepy movie. When this movie first debuted on Dec. 26, 1973 movie-goers were running from theaters in fear, fainting and couldn’t handle it. This horror film was way before my time, but I didn’t get to see this movie until I was in my early Twenties. My parents forbid me to watch it or even rent it for that matter (pre-internet days). The director’s cut of this cult classic film is more graphic than I had anticipated. Whatever copy you can find, I’m sure it’ll be as scary as the original. I know there’s several editions, blue ray, director’s cut, and so-on. There was also a book of this same film adaptation, although the script for the movie is loosely based on real life events.
2. Halloween (1979). I watched this one on vhs tape growing up and found it to be creepy and quite gory. Since I know there’s a ton of re-makes of this film and there’s even some re-mastered editions floating out there and more sequels than you can shake a stick at, the original Halloween film is a keeper. Part II was okay. I didn’t care much for Halloween part 3: Season of the Witch, which had nothing to do with Michael Myers. I tried watching a few new re-makes of this horror film and cringed because the story lines were exhausted and the action predictable.
3. Creepshow. If you happen upon a vhs copy of this movie, buy it. The dvd version has been totally edited for language and some of the actors dialog is re-dubbed which takes away from this movie. Its sequel Creepshow part 2 wasn’t too spectacular as I remembered it and didn’t care for it.
4. Dracula (1979) starring Frank Langella as Dracula. This is actually a film for us ladies, plain and simple. I thought this was the most romantic (in an eerie sort of way) adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but found an earlier film recently a few weeks ago that rivals Langella’s portrayal. However, this version of Dracula isn’t for the squeamish or faint of heart either. There’s some gruesome and violent scenes. I wish I could have seen this in theaters when it debuted though. This film was overshadowed by a Dracula comedy starring George Hamilton, Love at First Bite (another favorite vampire film of mine) that came out around the same time.
5.) Fright Night (1985). Another vampire film that had a good sequel to it, Fright Night part 2. All I remember of this movie is that Charlie Brewster suspects his new neighbor to be a vampire (which turns out to be true), and he enlists the help of a famed local vampire hunter to help kill him. I won’t give away all of this movie, but it’s quite good for its time and so 80’s. I guess nowadays it would be considered by a newer generation to be “too dated”, but hey, some of the 80s (even 70s) horror movies were better produced than what’s being cranked out now in cookie-cutter form in my personal opinion.
6. The Old Dark House (1932) starring Boris Karloff. Not sure if this would be considered a “B-movie” by today’s standards, but I caught part of this movie late night on TV back in 1994. I mistook it for a silent film (which is how the film starts out with a title card appearing on screen). Then it goes into sound. It’s eerie atmosphere, well rounded cast of actors, and getting stranded in a torrential downpour, there’s just something sinister about a huge, drafty old mansion and a very scary Karloff as mute butler, not to mention the creepy family that lets the stranded travelers spend the night under their roof that makes this old film unsettling. Oh, and it’s black and white which lends perfectly to the creepy factor as well.
7. The Student of Prague/ Das Student von Prague (1926) starring Conrad Veidt as “Balduin”. Although, Conrad doesn’t play a sinister somnambulist that goes on a killing spree in this silent, his portrayal of “Balduin” a fencing student, makes a deal with the devil (unknown to Balduin), and winds up getting more than he’s bargained for. Despite this dvd copy having very small print title cards and music that doesn’t quite match the action, this silent is a must see around Halloween, or on any given night cuddled up with your sweetheart. It’s also a great way to be introduced to silent films, in general, and see some of Veidt’s earlier works aside from his famous role as the Nazi in Casablanca.
8. The Return of Dracula (1958) B-movie gem. Okay, what can I say about this old fifties film aside from the fascinating classic cars and clothes? Haunting musical score, swirling mist and graveyard? The storyline was a step away from the typical Dracula I so often seen on TV growing up. I discovered this B-movie/ drive-in gem by happenstance on Youtube in the list of movies recently and enjoyed it.
The storyline looks like it had been ripped off years later by late producer Dan Curtis when he created a TV daytime 1960’s Gothic Soap Opera, Dark Shadows. The Return of Dracula shows Cousin Belak moving to sunny California from his native European country. He arrives at a household, posing as their distant relative (even the actor’s appearance and mannerisms closely match late actor Jonathan Frid’s portrayal of vampire Barnabas Collins to a certain degree). However, the actor in the movie doesn’t sport an onyx ring on his index finger nor does he tote a wolf-head cane. But the storyline seems very familiar of what would be echoed by Jonathan Frid many years later. Not to say that there was any ripping off going on, but this B-movie was quite entertaining and does contain a very graphic (and surprisingly) colorized staking scene for the film being shot in black and white. I tried looking for a copy of this Return of Dracula and its been back ordered since who knows when. I put it on my wishlist anyway.
9. Dracula (BBC mini-series) 1977 starring the charismatic late French actor, Louis Jourdan. This has got to be one of the most sensual Dracula movies I have ever seen since… well, since the late, great Sir Christopher Lee scared the pants off me as Dracula when I was younger on the Saturday Creature Features. And Christopher Lee’s Dracula was tall, dark and sinister with a hint of creepy sensuality thrown in. Jourdan’s portrayal of Dracula I feel rivals Frank Langella’s and Lee’s combined. Why? Because Langella fought tooth and nail against the fangs and contacts, and even though it put a new twist on the Dracula portrayal in the film, it sort of took away the magnetism in my opinion. Lee’s Dracula was very evil and gory and no less captivating.
Jourdan donned both cape and fangs. He comes across as being this very cultured, handsome type of Dracula (and can’t forget that accent!), but shows a very sinister, cold side that’s nothing short of terrifying. The special effects might be considered very low-budget and “dated” to some nowadays, but I found this BBC mini-series to be refreshing, new, faithfully adapted from the Dracula book and far better than most big-budget vampire movies I’ve watched. Louis Jourdan is spot on with the dark sensuality and conveys the romanticism to the extreme that I could picture in my mind’s eye from reading the Bram Stoker novel (which I still need to track down a copy of and finish reading). I won’t give away anymore of this movie other than it can be found on dvd from Amazon. Best watched with the lights out.
10. Burnt Offerings (1976). Okay—where’s the machete-totting, hockey mask-wearing “Jason” killer in this flick? Will a creepy chauffeur do instead? Burnt Offerings is a Dan Curtis production and doesn’t skimp on the haunting eeriness or creep factor either. Starring late actor Oliver Reed, Karen Black, Bettie Davis, etc. a family rent a huge Victorian house for the entire summer. Only there’s a catch. The house is evil. Character actor Anthony James plays the chauffeur and although he has no speaking lines, he doesn’t fail to terrify. Although this film may not hold a torch to other spooky movies of the same era, it’s definitely worth a watch. The book by the same title is also creepy.
So there you have it. Thanks for liking, sharing, re-blogging, tweeting, commenting. I sincerely appreciate it as always. 🙂 If you can think of any horror movies to add, please leave a reply in the comment section. Thanks!