Saturday, September 30, 2017

31 Days of Horror Lists by the Losman

For the month of October I will put out a list of Top 10’s on a number of subjects each day, this should be fun as I would enjoy feedback and discussion on my list and will welcome feedback on how to improve the list as I plan on featuring them on my website.

Top 10 Scream Queen/Final Girls

Ellen Ripley (Alien)
Laurie Strode (Halloween)
Nancy Thompson (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Erin Hansen (You’re Next)
Sidney Prescott (Scream)
Kirsty Cotton (Hellraiser)
Ginny Field (Friday the Thirteenth II)
Jaime Lloyd (Halloween 4,5 & 6)
Jaime “Jay” Height (It Follows)

Dana Polk (The Cabin in the Woods)

He is coming to your little town!

Halloween (1978)

Dir- John Carpenter

What most slasher flicks lack are the classic elements of horror; suspense, terror, and the sheer emotion of fright we all fear. Considering this, John Carpenter directed what may be one the best slasher movies ever made, not to mention one of the best horror films of all time. The movie starts with a flashback; a boy finds a mask and walks over to his sister's room, and commits a brutal murder. We soon see him unmasked, and the shock that such a young boy committed this heinous deed sets the tone for the movie. After many years he escapes the asylum and returns home to commit even more murders. We then meet up with Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), who is forced to babysit on a night when she would rather be out with her friends. Little do they realize that this will be their last Halloween? The Shape (That is his nickname) is stalked by his psychiatrist Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance), a man who tried to help him and now wishes to put him away once and for all. What makes Halloween so great and original is that the movie makes excellent use of the Boogeyman theme, which we all find scary. We also have a great musical score and good use of widescreen in what is a low-budget movie. Making over 80 million when it was released, and with it came the sudden rush of even cheaper imitations.

Murder House for sale... Must enjoy demonic spirits

The Amityville Horror (1979)

Dir- Stuart Rosenberg
One horrifying night the Defeo's were brutally murdered by a family member who claimed the devil made him do it. Shortly after a newly married couple and their children move into the spacious Long Island house for a what seems like the steal of a deal. The events that follow would make one home the most terrifying place in the country. The best-selling novel by Jay Anson is told in shocking detail as the events of the Lutz family one month stay are portrayed. The house is filled with evil and soon takes control of the father and daughter as the family discovers the shocking secret. Like the book, the movie was a big hit, and the Long Island house crept into the minds of a whole country that shuttered at the words Amityville. Although the events have now been proven to be a big hoax, the movie is still a creepy film and has plenty of scares in it. James Brolin and Margot Kidder highlight the stellar cast, but the real star was the Dutch Colonial home with the "Evil Eye" that just made the home look even more sinister. Followed by an army of sequels and a remake, the Amityville Horror would emerge as one of the dominant horror franchises of the 1980's.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

They're Here........

Poltergeist (1982)

Dir- Tobe Hooper
Steven Spielberg produced what had to be one of the best Ghost Stories of the 80's. Making use of state of the art special effects and the acting talents of Craig T Nelson and JoBeth Williams we are presented one of the most frightening PG movies ever made. A family in an upscale middle-class neighborhood find themselves living with a playful spirit. At first, the ghost plays gags and simple tricks, yet the real terror begins when researchers arrive to study the phenomena. In one the most iconic movie scenes, we see the late Heather O'Rourke kidnaped by the television as her frantic parents face an evil series of ghosts. The climax is both terrifying and intense, boasting top-notch visuals and plenty of ghostly terror. Surprisingly there is no blood or gore, an ironic note to Director Tobe Hooper, best known for directing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Although Spielberg wanted a tamer story, we get a good blend of both terror and suspense in this classic. Tragically a curse is believed to have affected this movie series, in this film, and its subsequent sequels there were tragic deaths involving many of its stars. Whether there is a genuine curse or just a coincidence, we have a truly frightening and engaging story that will forever remain a classic of the Horror genre.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Worst Prom Ever....

Carrie (1976)
Dir- Brian De Palma
Stephen King has had mixed success with many of his recent projects, but his first novel adaptation may well be one of his best. Starring a cast that would provide many well-known Hollywood players, Carrie is both a sad and frightening tale of ostracism and revenge. Sissy Spacek portrays Carrie, the lonely girl with genuine heart and a kind soul hiding a monstrous curse. Carrie is a loner, teased by her classmates and taunted by her zealously religious mother, but she has a secret. It appears Carrie has powers which seem to be barely under her control. Despite being an outsider, Carrie attends the Prom and is named the Prom Queen. Tragically, a prank pulled on her goes horribly wrong, unleashing a fury of anger as she burns the school and kills everyone in her path. The impact Carrie made was memorable in Hollywood cinema, considered one of the best films of 1976 as well as one of the best Horror films ever made. Carrie earned Sissy Spacek her first Oscar nomination and was a commercial success for the filmmakers and novelist Stephen King. With its great cast and the climatic finale, we have a classic shocker that still has an impact today after its release over 40 years ago.

This movie was one of the first horror films I watched as a kid and the impact it had helped foster my love of horror films. Without a doubt, Carrie is one of my all time favorites and still scares the hell out of young fans today who find this classic and are hopefully not swayed by the inferior remakes and mediocre sequel.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Great...The Bloodsucking Brady Bunch!

The Lost Boys (1987)
Dir- Joel Schumacher

In literature, The Lost Boys were young characters who never grew old, much like vampires. This title would seem perfect for a film that would help inject fresh blood into one of the oldest horror movie genres. Corey Haim and Jason Patric are brothers who relocate to a California beach town with their newly divorced mother. While hanging out on the beach, they find numerous missing person posters as well as a pair of odd comic book reading brothers who wish to recruit them in fighting vampires. The older brother is drawn to a beautiful girl who invites him to join her group of friends who enjoy daredevil activities that may bring him closer to their secret lifestyle. Once afflicted the older brother turns to his younger brother to seek help from what he may become. What isn't to love about this movie, it has vampires, hot ladies, cool music and the Frog Brothers. The Lost Boys was an immediate hit with movie viewers and critics who found the film offered a fresh new approach to vampires by making them young and sexy. This film would then inspire later movies like Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Interview with the Vampire to follow in the mold of young bloodsuckers. The rest of the cast stands out with Kiefer Sutherland appearing as the leader of the group of young vampires, Jami Gertz as the object of Patric's affection as well as veteran actors Dianne Wiest, Edward Herrman and Barnard Hughes as the crusty but awesome Grandpa. The movie is three decades old but still, stands out for the groundbreaking approach to the vampire mythos as well as the great performances by the principal cast. The film has a strong cult following among its fans as well as those who are not drawn to vampire movies. With a Rotten Tomato score in the mid 70's, The Lost Boys still enjoys appeal by fans and critics alike. There is a direct to DVD sequel as well as comic books to continue the story, but I would recommend enjoying this film for all its greatness.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Wolfman's Got Nards

The Monster Squad (1987)
Dir- Fred Dekker
Three decades ago in the midst of Freddy, Jason and Michael Myers a low budget creature feature came and went that mixed elements of the Goonies, Ghostbusters, and the Universal Studios classic monsters. The Monster Squad are a group of pre-teens who enjoy the old movie monsters of the past and meet together at a tree house behind the home of one the members. They discover that Dracula is looking to throw the world into eternal chaos as he summons a collection of monsters that include Frankensteins monster, the Mummy, the Gillman, and Wolfman to acquire a magical device that helps to maintain the balance of good and evil. The Monster Squad seek out help from a local older gentleman to assist them in translating an ancient book and discover how to defeat Dracula and his army. The cast of young actors work well together and make the movie stand out with a camaraderie that would have many fans compare them to the young actors in The Goonies, Stephen Kings It and the more recent Stranger Things. Stan Winston was responsible for the creature makeup and due to licensing issues he had to alter the monsters slightly to avoid litigation. What we get are some pretty amazing looking creatures that honor the spirit of the classic movies of the 30's and 40's. The one area the film does suffer from is the special effects that look silly and dated, but you can look past that when you weigh the whole movie together. Since its release in 1987 Monster Squad has gained an impressive cult following as fans rediscover this film with the help of The Alamo Drafthouse and fan conventions bringing the cast together for reunions and watch parties. The film is available on some streaming sites as well as DVD and Blu Ray. If you are a fan of the classic Universal Monsters, this film will not disappoint.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

My Top Horror Films of each year since 2000

2000 American Psycho
2001 Brotherhood of the Wolf
2002 28 Days Later
2003 A Tale of Two Sisters
2004 The Grudge
2005 The Descent
2006 The Host
2007 REC
2008 Let the Right One In
2009 Zombieland
2010 Black Swan
2011 The Cabin in the Woods
2012 The Bay
2013 We Are What We Are
2014 It Follows
2015 The VVitch
2016 Don't Breathe
2017 Get Out

Monday, September 11, 2017

Chopping Mall (1986)

Chopping Mall (1986) 
Dir- Jim Wynorski
1986 was a big year for horror films as VCRs and video stores opened up horror movies for the masses. My weekly trips to the local mom and pop video store helped to fuel my love for horror films as I was able to rent movies weekly instead of having to wait for them on cable. One video that grabbed my attention was Chopping Mall, the box for it showed a cool robot hand holding a bag with chopped up teens. Little did I realize how deceptive the poster and video box would be. A group teens are trapped in a mall with a trio of high tech robot security guards that have gone deadly. I will have to say that unfortunately there is no chopping in this film, but we do get some of the usual cliches of overage teens having sex somewhere they shouldn't and the Final Girl and Boy being the ones you least suspect to survive. Despite my utter disappointment when I first watched the film I now recognize how campy it was and that recent viewings have made it more enjoyable. The movie is full of inside jokes that fans of Roger Corman will appreciate, these include some of his stock actors playing roles from earlier movies. Along with Night of the Comet, you can enjoy seeing Kelli Maroney in yet another movie where she plays a spunky cheerleader. Released under the title Killbots, it was later renamed Chopping Mall to make it more appealing to horror hounds.