120 Essential Horror Films (part 1)

With Halloween only a few days away, the US is gearing up for all things frightening. Personally I find any day a good day for a scare, but that's just me. For some time now I've been toying with the idea of compiling a book The Essentials of Horror Cinema, a massive collection of horror cinema's best and sometimes worst. But as most stuff in which I am currently involved, it is a constant work in progress. However, I have decided to write out a small part of the concept out for those of you who care to read in a much abridged form. After going through my huge pile of notes and trimming down the list, I came up with a list of 120 movies (because 100 is boring). Some of the films on the list you may argue are not horror films, but I go by the philosophy that horror is a strong emotion. One feels horror One experiences horror. A horror movie is not always a creature, ghost, or a slasher roaming about the screen that seems to be the common niche these days.

And now here's the first part.

The beginning of films to 1960: Our first selection of films covers a lot of ground. After the creation of this new art form and early directors were trying new techniques. Then sound came along and blew everyone away. Unfortunately other than There German Expressionism, Lon Chaney Sr., and Universal Studio's creature features, then a not much happening in the horror genre. Plus not many movies were being made back then. Anyways, here we go.

1. Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919)

One of my favorite flicks from the German Expressionism era. The lighting, angles, and shapes are memorizing, which adds to the eerie element. This movie must have had people running from the theater when it was released.
RELATED FILM: Der Golem (1915)

2. Haxan (1922)
This strange Swedish movie is part a documentary on witchcraft and part a vignettes on the same subject. It's a wild one. Watch the 2001 Criterion Collection DVD release which includes the re-cut film in its entirety.

3. Nosferatu (1922)

FW Murnau's vampire tale still packs a bunch today. Count Orlock is one of the most frightening creatures to every make the screen. A true classic.
RELATED FILM: Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)

4. Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Lon Chaney Sr. has an impressive resume of work, this one is my personal favorite. The master of facial expression and body contortion, Chaney makes the phantom character is a startling figure.

5. Metropolis (1927)
Probably more of a science fiction movie than a horror movies, there are still some moments in this which can put you on edge. It's a great concept with a master filmmaker Fritz Lang at the helm.

6. Dracula (1931)

One of the first of the classic horror flicks from Universal Studios. No one does Drac like Bela Lugosi. One of Tod Browning's best.
RELATED FILMS: Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), Horror of Dracula (1958)

7. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1931)
My favorite version of this classic tale. I think it packs a slightly better punch than the later version with Spencer Tracey.
RELATED FILM: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1941)

8. Frankenstein (1931)

An all time favorite of mine. For me, the monster is a very endearing character and I find myself wanting him to destroy the villagers at the end.

9.M (1931)

Peter Lorre as a child murderer with Fritz Lang behind the camera, how could this movie fail. It cant. This is a great piece of cinema.

10.Vampyr (1932)
A fantastically shot masterpiece where you cant really tell where the lines between dreams and reality are hard to tell for the audience. A classic vampire tale.

11. Freaks (1932)
Never before or since has a movie like this been made. A strange love story turned back with actual carnival performers. Unique and a must see.

12. The Mummy (1932)
There were a lot of movies made with Boris Karloff during this time as he was one of the big three horror actors for Universal. This is the classic tale of Im Ho-Tep, who comes back to life to find his reincarnated lover.
RELATED FILM: Bubba Ho-Tep(2002)

13. King King (1933)
The original version of King Kong is very enjoyable flick of a gigantic beast's love for a women. Love it when he fights the snake!
RELATED FILM: King Kong(2005)

14. Island of Lost Souls (1933)
A great take on the classic H.G. Wells tale of a mad scientist altering human genes. The creatures are great as is Charles Laughton's performance.

15. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

In some ways, this sequel is better than the original. Much of the same as the original, except this time around Dr. Frank is also a sympathetic character. And what a magnificent harido.

16. The Wolf Man (1942)

Lon Chaney Jr. was one of the big horror actors of his generation. This movie has my favorite performance by him. Watch out when the wolfsbayne blooms!

17. The Cat People (1942)
Jacques Tourneur was a master at suspense. All his films are full of great imagery and leaving what is in the shadows stay there. He lets your imagination take over. Producer Val Lewton also has a big hand in this as well as RKO studios put out awesome movies during the time. This is one of their best combined works. Is she a cat or is she person? I dont's up to you to decide.
RELATED FILMS: {by Tourner} I Walked with a Zombie (1943), Curse of the Demon (1957)

18. The Uninvited (1944)
A fantastic haunted house tale with a nice mystery.

19. The Spiral Staircase (1946)
A movie about a serial killer taking prey on disabled women. Very suspenseful.

20. House of Wax (1953)
A list would be incomplete without the awesome Vincent Price. This is my personal choice for his best effort.

21. Godzilla (1954)

Go straight for the recently released, uncut Japanese version. It is a very dark and bleak movie which gives off a totally different tone than the US cut of the film. Listen to the Blue Oyster Cult before hand and get really pumped up!

22. Les Diaboliques (1955)
Talk about on the edge of your seat suspense. This intense French movie is it! The wife and mistress of a Boarding School's headmaster come up with a plan to murder him, but after the deed is done the body disappears. Then the fun really begins.

23. Night of the Hunter(1955)

Robert Mitchum had many noteworthy performances in his strong career, but this one may be his best. He is sadistic, menacing, and pure evil. Do yourself a favor and see this movie today.
RELATED FILM: Cape Fear (1962)

24. The Bad Seed (1956)
A mother suspects her daughter may be a killer. Trust me, this is one spooky kid.
RELATED FILMS: The Innocents (1961), Village of the Damned (1960)

25. Eyes without a Face (1959)
Another strong outing from France, this tale of surgeon kidnaps women and grafts their faces onto his horribly disfigured daughter.
REALTED FILMS: Faust (1926), (Open Your Eyes (1997)

120 Essential Horror Films (part 2)

Hopefully you've gazed upon the first section of this list and also know the reasoning for the posts. If you haven't, then go take a look as repeating the short paragraph seems redundant.

Here is the second section (of four total). These selections fall between the years 1960-1975, which was a great time in American cinema. Many of the first film school grads were out making extremely independent and personal movies. The Hollywood system was spreading money out to different places for these new and creative piece. That is until one summer, it all changed and the blockbuster era was upon us. Then Hollywood changed their thinking and began dumping huge amounts of money into a select few films a year. Around the globe during this time, many other countries were spratically making films. The exception was in Europe, which seemed to the other place making movies consistently. England's Hammer Studios were cranking out fright fest by the boatloads while Italy introduced giallo to the world.

26. Black Sunday (1960)-
What's a horror list without Mario Bava. He is commonly known for creating giallo. However, this film about a witch and possession is more towards horror.
RELATED FILM: {also Bava} Black Sabbath

27. Little Shop of Horrors (1960)-
If you want to talk about an influential person in cinema history, then Roger Corman could be that man. As a producer he gave opportunities to many people within the film industry that would shape the next several decades. There are many great Corman produced horror movies during this era, this one is my favorite (and not just for Jack Nicholson's performance).

28. Peeping Tom (1960)-
This fantastic movie was probably ahead of its time. It freaked many people out when first released. The main character (who resembles Peter Lorre to me) is downright creepy as he films himself murdering women.

29. Psycho (1960)-

Hitchcock isn't called the master of suspense for no reason, most of his films have you on the edge of your seat. He often dabbled with the horror in ordinary people. This film is one of his best known and scared the shit of many people when released. The foundation for so many future movies.

30. Carnival of Souls (1962)-

This movie is like a long, weird dream. You soak it all in and try to make sense out of it...if you can.

31. The Haunting(1963)-

For my money, the best haunted house movie ever. It's all about what you don't see on the other side of the door, which can be far movie frightening then what you can see.

32. Kwaiden (1964)-
Japan was very into period pieces at this time, this contains four separate tales based on Japanese folklore. A wonderful movie.
RELATED FILM: Onibaba (1964)

33. Two Thousand Maniacs (1964)-
What can you say about Herschell Gordon Lewis? He made some whacked out movies during this time, all fairly gory and morbid. This one is about a town of crazy hillbillies. HEEYAWW...great fun!


I find most of Roman Polanski films outstanding, especially his early stuff. This movie about a woman slowly falling into madness contains little dialog, amazing visuals, and is highly claustrophobic.

35. Wait Until Dark(1967)-
Thugs terrorize a blind woman. The movie is pure emotion and the beautiful Audrey Hepburn was never better.

36. Hour of the Wolf (1968)-
Ingmar Bergman was a special director who had a gift for putting images on the screen. This is labeled his only true horror film, it's surreal nature has one thinking...just like all of his movies.
RELATED FILM: {Bergman} Persona

37. Night of the Living Dead (1968)-

The George Romero classic that started the zombie rage. Highly gory for its time and very moody. This is one is a classic.

38. Rosemary's Baby (1968)-
Roman Polanski gets another entry here in this incredibly suspenseful movie about a couple who's unborn baby just may be the offspring of Satan. This is one of the rare cases where the movie follows the book almost to the page. The movie is jam packed with stars creating one perfectly intense scene after another as we watch the mother slowly unravel.

39. Targets (1968)-
The last movie of Boris Karloff's career where he plays an aging horror star who feels the horror business has passed him. His tale in woven with that of an abused man who goes on a mass murdering spree at a drive in theater. This movie is a little known masterpiece.

40. A Clockwork Orange (1971)-

A story about a sociopath who after committing murder and rape undergoes a special new therapy to cure him. A crazy ass, off the wall movie...and I enjoy every second of it.

41. The Omega Man (1971)-
The second version of a Richard Matheson tale of I Am Legend, is about the last known man on Earth battling the remainder of the population who have turned into vampiric creatures. This funky 70's version has Charleston Heston and is a blast to watch.
RELATED FILM: The Last Man on Earth

42. Straw Dogs (1971)-
Director Sam Peckinpah was known for violence in his films (though he usually stuck to westerns), this one is be his most violent. An American and his wife decide to get away from the US and take residence in the England countryside. They get harassed, raped, and beaten by some locals. When they decide to fight back, the battle gets very interesting.

43. Twitch of Death Nerve (1971)-
Another Mario Bava flick, this one heavily influenced many future slasher movies.

44. Blood for Dracula (1973)-

Andy Warhol's Factory made this whacked out version of Dracula, in which the count hunts for virgin blood. You have to watch the movie to believe it.

45. The Creeping Flesh (1973)-
I couldn't have a list without a strong representation from Hammer Studios/ As most, this one starred Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. It's about a scientist who discovers the skeleton of a prehistoric man which is pure evil.

46. Don't Look Now (1973)-
A couple keep encountering the spirit of their recently drowned daughter. An eerie movie where nothing is as it seems.

47. The Exorcist (1973)-

It's the grand daddy of all possession movies! Personally I think it still holds up well today and I still get chills up my spine watching this one.

48. Wicker Man (1973)-

A policeman is sent to a Scottish island to find a missing girl, only discover the people living their are pagans. There is a great twist at the end of this surreal adventure.

49. It's Alive (1974)-
Larry Cohen has made some strange ass horror flicks over the years. This one is about a couple's newborn baby who goes on a murderous rampage (it turns out the baby was transformed from fertility drugs taken by the parents). Does it sound fucked up? Well it is but the movie is campy goodness at its best.

50. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)-

Another of my all time favorites. This movie so damn intense and still provides good shock value.

That completes round 2, next week the third section.
Until next time...

120 Essential Horror Films (part 3)

Hopefully you've gazed upon the first two sections of this list and also know the reasoning for the posts. If you haven't, then go take a look as repeating the short paragraph seems redundant.

Here is the third section (of four total) from 1975-1990, or what I call the blockbuster years. After studios realized they could put more money into producing
fewer movies in hopes of a big hit, they did just exactly that very thing. They tried to score big with a movie and build a franchise, by offering up sequels. In the US horror world, after the success of Halloween the early 80's became slasher mania. All was not lost though as some very unique horror flicks came from this era.

51. Jaws (1975)-
A classic suspense tale of man vs shark. Be afraid to go into the water.
RELATED FILM: {Spielberg movies} Duel (1971)

52. Carrie (1976)-
A high school girl coping with her psychokinesis makes for a messy prom. One of the best Stephen King tales to be translated to film.
RELATED FILMS: {based on King's work} Salem's Lot (1979), It (1990), The Stand (1994)

53. The Omen (1976)-
What happens when your adopted son is the spawn of Satan? You get Gregory Peck trying to kill little, evil Damien.

54. Eraserhead (1977)-

David Lynch is the king of surreal movies that mix in horror elements. This is his first full length feature and probably one of his weirdest.
RELATED FILMS: {Lynch movies} Blue Velvet (1986), Lost Highway (1997)

55. Suspiria (1977)-

One of the Italian masters, Dario Argento, makes his way on to the list with a supernatural giallo movie. If it sounds strange, then just wait until you watch it.
RELATED FILM: Inferno (1980)

56. Dawn of the Dead (1977)-

Another strong zombie outing from George Romero that has style, wit, and a message all its own.
REALTED FILM: Return of the the Living Dead (1985)

57. Halloween(1978)-

58. Alien (1979)-
"In space, no one can you scream." I still remember the tag line for this horror/sci fi hybrid. For me, this movie is perfect. Still has one of the most shocking scenes in horror history.
RELATED FILM: Aliens (1986)

59. Phantasm (1979)-

What a whacked out trip. A tall man from another dimension posing as a funeral director to take the dead and make them jawa-like demons. And dont forget about those spears. There's nothing not to love about this classic.

60. Zombi (1979)
Lucio Fulci makes a entry here, because his work is hard to overlook. Some say his films are a muddled mess, while others love them. You be the judge. There are wild to say the least.
RELATED FILM: {Fulci movies} Seven Doors of Death (1981), House by the Cemetery (1981)

61. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)-
Around this era, several "cannibal" movies came out. Most were from Italy. All were shocking and disturbing. This is my pick for the best of the bunch.

62. Dress to Kill (1980)-
Another entry on the list from Brian DePalma, who has made a great career out of repacking movies he grew up on for a modern era. This is his take on Psycho and its quite disturbing.
RELATED FILM: {DePalma movies} Sisters (1973)

63. Friday the 13th (1980)-

The film that started it all, doesn't even include Jason. This one is all about his deranged mother getting even.
RELATED FILM: {Bob Clark movies} Black Christmas (1974)

64. The Shining (1980)-

Stephen King may not care for this version of his novel, but I think its fantastic. Nicholson has never been better. This film has a creepy atmosphere...and an annoying Shelley Duvall.

65. American Werewolf in London (1981)-

Jon Landis makes a darkly funny horror film. If for no other reason, watch this for the transformation scene which remains outstanding.

66. Evil Dead (1981)-

This movie scared the shit out of me the first time I watched it, but I was only a teenager. Over time, still holds up well. And come on, Bruce Campbell kicks ass.
RELATED FILMS: Evil Dead II (1987), Army of Darkness (1992)

67. The Howling (1981)-
Another darkly comedic horror flick about werewolves. Though there are some parts of this one, which are just plain creepy.

68. Poltergeist (1982)-
A classic ghost story which teaches us not to ever build a house on an Indian burial ground. Spirits get pissed.
RELATED FILMS: The Changeling (1980), Ghost Story (1981)

69. The Thing (1982)-

One of my all time favorites. Why? Great special effects, which stand the test of time, and the best ending of any horror movies ever. Period!

70. Videdrome(1983)-
Crazy ass David Cronenberg mixes horror and sex like no other. He's made many great movies in his career, this one may be his best.

71. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1983)-

The first time Freddy entered our lives and scared the hell out of us. I didn't want to sleep after watching this one. Of course it was Kruger became a smart ass.
RELATED FILM: Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)

72. Fright Night (1985)-
An incredible and often overlooked vampire movie. Creepy, ugly ass vampires.

73. Re-Animator (1985)-
Stuart Gordon has made a career from translating H.P. Lovecraft tales to the big screen. This is his best and made Jeffrey Combs a horror star.
RELATED FILM: {Gordon films} From Beyond (1986)

74. The Fly (1986)-
RELATED FILM: {Cronenberg films} Dead Ringers (1988), The Dead Zone (1983), Scanners (1981)

74. Toxic Avenger (1986)-
Good ole Troma Entertainment. The kings of the B-movie. They have produced some of the most off beat horror flicks you can think of in the last 20+ years. Toxie is just one of them.
RELATED FILMS: Terror Firmer (1999), Cannibal the Musical (1996)

75. Angel Heart (1987)-
Voodoo, murder, Robert DeNiro playing the devil...sign me up. A twisted tale.

76. Hellraiser (1987)-

Pinhead makes his debut in this flick based on a Clive Barker novel, though his sceen time is very limited. This one deals more with the lust for the magical puzzle box.

77. Near Dark(1988)-
A vampire/western/action flick hybrid that delivers the goods.

78. Beetlejuice (1988)-
Tim Burton often makes off the wall movies with a horror overtone. This one just happens to be my favorite of his movies and Michael Keaton has never been better.
RELATED FILM: {Burton films} Sleepy Hollow

79. The Vanishing (1988)-
Watch this Danish version, not the US remake. It's gripping and has you on the edge of your seats.

80. Meet the Feebles (1989)-
Before Peter Jackson made the LOTR trilogy, he was down under making kick ass, strange horror movies. But this takes the cake. The characters are muppet like creatures from a variety show who deal with human problems like murder, drug addiction, know, the usual wholesome family entertainment.
RELATED FILMS: {Jackson movies} Dead Alive (1992), Bad Taste (1987)

120 Essential Horror Films (part 4)

Welcome to the last of my series on essential horror flicks. If you dont know the reasoning behind the list by now, go back to the first entry and start from there.

This section is from 1990 to present day. During this time period, the Hollywood studio system became even more restricted and became more dedicated to the big box office receipts. The good news is the US independent film scene exploded with thoughtful and innovative movies. We also saw an explosion in world cinema with more countries producing more films every year.

81. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (released 1990, made in 1986)

This one is odd. It was made in 1986, but censors -- I mean the MPAA -- deemed an X rating. Finally it was released in 1990 with the new NC-17 rating and found a cult following on video. This is one of the best movies about a serial killer ever made. No glam or glitz, just pure dark emotions that unravel the viewer.

82. Misery (1990)-
The sledgehammer scene still gives me the chills. A great acted film which is very intense.

83. Scream(1990)-
A true classic that sprung new life into the genre by breaking all the rules the genre created...and letting the audience in on the joke.

84. Tremors (1990)-

What's not to like about this creature feature. It has aged well with time.

85. Begotten (1991)-
I'm not sure how to even describe this work of art. Gruesome imagery is all I come up with
in this story with no dialog.

86. The Resurrected (1991)-
A great H.P. Lovecraft tale which makes an outstanding flick. One of several entries by screenwriter Dan O'Bannon on my list.

87. Candyman (1992)-
This may be the scariest movie based on a Clive Barker story ever made. Just dont say his name three times!

88. Cemetery Man (1994)-

Love conquers all...even death. Or does it? This cemetery caretaker attempts to find out and make sense of it.

89. The Kingdom (1994)-
This Dutch masterpiece is down right freaky. One of the most terrifying flicks about hauntings.

90. Mute Witness (1994)-
An interesting movie set in Russia about a mute who witnesses a snuff film being made, then the makers come after her.

91. Seven (1995)-
This movie puts you on the edge of you seat. Beautifully filmed and well acted, it is evil at its core.

92. Tokyo Fist (1995)-

A Japanese entry here about fighting, love, and body mutilation. The damage this trio does not only to their body, but their minds is terrifying.
RELATED FILMS: Fight Club, Tetsou II

93. Funny Games (1997)-
Some kids in a remote village terrorize a couple on vacation. Truly horrific because it could easily happen (and does). Another foreign entry.

94. Ringu (1998)-
Japan came up with an overabundance of long haired, spooky female ghost movies over the last few years. It's part of their culture. I think this one is the creepiest.
REALTED FILMS: Dark Water, Phone, Ju Dou: The Grudge

95. Audition (1999)-

If you love bizarre and possibly even offensive movies and have not yet discovered Japanese director Takeshi Miike, you must do so immediately. He is fantastic and many of his flicks have to be seen to be believed. This is no exception.
RELATED FILMS: {Miike films} Vistor Q, Gozo, Ichi the Killer

96. The Blair Witch Project (1999)-
This is an example of great marketing for a movie that cost damn near nothing to make. A simply concept, lets make a documentary about a witch by going into the woods where it is suppose to live. Sounds like a great time to me.

97. The Sixth Sense (1999)-
After you set through the movie, you want to beat yourself in the head for not figuring it out. It's that simple. Guess it proves how much a person can get sucked into a good film.

98. Battle Royale (2000)-

A Japanese movie about a game show which puts a bunch of kids on an island in a fight to the end. There can only be one winner. It's Lord of the Flies on octane!
REALTED FILMS: Suicide Club,

99. Ginger Snaps(2000)-
This is a darn good werewolf movie. Enough said.

100. The Isle (2000)-
A Korean entry by Ki-duk Kim that's borderline horror, but I love it. Love and suicide can sum it up best.

101. The Devil's Backbone(2001)-
Guillermo Del Toro made this ghost tale in Mexico before moving onto big budget Hollywood pictures. The man has a gift for storytelling threw a lens.

102. Donnie Darko (2001)-

It's just a weird damn movie that's sort of about time manipulation.

103. Frailty (2001)-
A father believes he is on a mission from God to destroy demons in human bodies. Needless to say it has some affects on his two sons.

104. Session 9 (2001)-
This is creepy film about a haunted psychiatric ward being renovated.
RELATED FILM: The Machinist

105. 28 Days Later (2002)-
A zombie movie that's not really a zombie movie. Turned the genre upside and never looked back.

106. Dog Soldiers(2002)-
A group of soldiers run moves in a dense forest which happens to be inhabited by werewolves.

107. In My Skin(2002)-
This French movie is about a woman who become obsessed with her body after a life altering accident.

108. Irreversible (2002)-

Another French movie that is very hard to watch because of one scene. It plays out so real that it's scary. A very unique movie.

109. Requiem of a Dream (2002)
The horrors of drugs and its users. Simple enough.

110. Haute Tension (2003)-
A surreal serial killer flick from France which will have you shaking your head at the end and thinking.

111. Open Water (2003)-
Ever been lost at sea. Without a boat. And sharks circling you. Me neither, nor do I want to.

112. Club Dread (2004)-
An awesome horror comedy which plays up the serial killer subgenre.

113. Old Boy(2004)-

Another movie from Korea, this time for Chan-woo Park. He loves revenge flicks and this is an entertaining one.
RELATED FILMS: Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Lady Vengeance

114. Saw (2004)-
It didn't event torture in movies, but it started a whole new subgenre in the horror realm. An outstanding picture.

115. Shaun of the Dead (2004)-

Horror and comedy at its best in this send up of the zombie movie.

116. The Descent(2005)-
Claustrophobia sets in as a group of women get trapped inside some caves and find out their are not alone.

117. Feast (2005)-

A nice creature movie that has a little bit of everything, some scares, some gore, some comedy, and some skin.

118. Hard Candy (2005)-
A movie that's difficult to watch because of its subject matter. It makes you think after watching it.

119. Slither (2006)-

All that is good about horror is rolled up in this one.

120. To be announced at a later date. Surely there is something for 2007 that deserves to be on here.


Wrestling #7: One Helluva Tournament

Last weekend, IWA-MS had its annual Ted Petty Invitational Tournament in Chicago. For the third straight year I was in attendance and once again, not disappointed.

There is a strong history with the tourny, from the beginnings when it was called The Sweet Science Sixteen to the name change in 2003 after the death of Ian's close friend Ted Petty aka Rocco Roc and expansion to 24 wrestlers through today. Some of the best indy talent has made their way through this tournament over the years and the list of names to win the event is quite impressive: Chris Hero, CM Punk, BJ Whitmer, AJ Styles, Matt Sydal, and Low-ki. The tournament used to feature mainly IWA-MS talent, which has been plentiful in the promotion's near eleven year existence. What began as a tournament to showcase wrestling skills for the performers of his own promotion (with an occasional big indy name thrown in the mix), Ian has turned this into one of the top events on the US wrestling scene. The changed occurred in 2004 when the event featured a who's who of young performers who would make a name for themselves only a few short years later. Part of that years list included Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Alex Shelly, Claudio Castagnoli, Matt Quackenbush, Chris Sabin, Super Dragon, Petey Williams, Matt Sydal, Homicide, Nigel McGuinness, Chris Hero, CM Punk, Jimmy Rave, Bryan Danielson, Austin Aries, and Roderick Strong. Some called it the best tournament of all time.

The last three years have all promised their share of big names, which led to a few drop outs every time, trying to live up to the standard 2004 created. This year was no exception as the initial twelve were awesome. However because of certain issues and money problems, several wrestlers announced months were changed. Many fans were pissed off when the announcement was made about a week before the event.

Even though I was disappointed in the changes, the tourny still looked very good on paper. I viewed the changes as a return to the event's roots as Ian had to use more of his normal IWA-MS talent as fill ins for the dropped wrestlers (Chuck Taylor, Josh Abercrombie, Brandon Tomaselli). The event still had former regulars Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli, Nigel McGuinness, Nate Webb, and BJ Whitmer along with Eddie Kingston, Davey Richards, Mike Quackenbush, Brent Albright, Human Tornado, Joey Ryan, and (2 Cold) Scorpio. I was still pumped for the show and the chance to hang out with my wrestling buddies.

Going into the event, Mike Quackenbush was the fan favorite to win this year. The masses love this guy and for great reasons. This was the first time the Lightweight champion (Quack) and the IWA-MS champion (Taylor, who has held the title almost one year to the day) were both in the tourny and both men defended the title in each of their matches. Before going any farther, please note there are spoilers in the rest of this article.

The first night was a good time. Lots of entertaining matches with different styles; a little high flying, a little brawling, a little violence, and a little mat work. If you ask five different people what the best match was, you'd probably receive five different answers. My favorite three matches were Chuck Taylor vs Jimmy Jacobs, Brent Albright vs Tank, and Chris Hero vs Scorpio. A Kingston vs Hero Last Man Standing match was set up for night two and both champs kept their title and moved on.

The second night was when the emotional ride really started. As stated, nearly all wanted Quack to be victorious but no one was 100% sure he would win. The quarter finals saw Taylor again make a successful defense, this time against the veteran Scorpio (which surprised some). Claudio Castagnoli beat Davey Richards in a rapid fire event. Human Tornado bested Nate Webb in not only a match, but a dance contest (though Nate would probably disagree on the later). Also winning were Josh Abercrombie and Brent Albright. Not to be forgotten, Quack took a victory against Joey Ryan. During the match Quack dove outside the ring and his foot caught the ropes. He hit the floor hard and the crowd was silenced. He got up and finished the match with a glazed look in his eyes and moving on instincts.

After intermission, Ian informed the crowd that the NWA representative Ed Chuman said Quack wouldn't be able to perform any longer tonight (yes IWA-MS is a member of the NWA). The crowd went silence for the next two matches as their fallen hero would come up short yet again. Lost in the mix was another title defense by Chuck Taylor beating the Human Tornado and a great match with Claudio winning over Albright. Abercrombie came out to get announced as the last man in the finals. Suddenly Quackenbush burst through the curtain and the venue exploded in cheers and chants of "Quack". He was going to have his match. In a spectacular technical match, Quack come out on top. Ian came out and said he wanted to thank Quackenbush because by him wrestling, it got IWA-MS out of it's NWA affiliate contract. Storyline or shoot, I could care less as I was caught up in the emotional rollercoaster of the tournament.

The last man standing match was brutal as Hero got the early advantage and pounded Kingston. It all came to an rather abrupt end with one big spot as Kingston got the victory over his nemesis. Next up was the IWA-MS Tag Champion match with the Tomaselli's (champs) vs Nigel & Whitmer, who agreed to help him out. The lost and Albright did a run in setting up a possible Whitmer & Albright vs the Iron Saints match in the future. Onto the finals.

Quackenbush vs Chuck Talor vs Claudio Castagnoli for both the IWA-MS Lightweight and World Championship belts and the 2007 TPI title. The match was fast paced and rapidly moving along with hardly any wasted time. Claudio was the first man to go down, which left champion vs champion. Shortly after Quackenbush got the victory. Choking back emotions Quack gave an emotional speech, which nearly had me in tears as I was completely lost in the moment. Ian gave a speech of his own and said he was proud to have a class act like Quack not only as his champions and the TPI winner but as a friend. The show ended with chants of "Teddy", a thing the crowd does to honor Ted when they witness a great moment or spot. And what an incredible moment it was.