Horror Flicks of the Decade

As we race towards the end of the 2000's, it time to reflect on the decade of horror movies.

The early part of the decade we saw the rush of J-Horror and the eventually over saturation that followed. We witnessed as elements of horror brushed out into other genres with much acceptance by general audiences. The middle had slashers ruling the screens which brought the term torture-porn to us all, a phrase which I loathe, and the inevitable rip offs that followed. As we close the decade, the Hollywood system is determined to remake or revision or reimage or redux every horror movie or franchise ever made from earlier decades and from other countries (and do a piss poor job of remaking these films) and turn the genre into all horror-romance tales for the tweens (thank you Twilight).

Looking towards the future, it seems like a tough road for true fans of horror. But all is not lost. We still have several gems coming from the independent scenes. Combine those with the force of great horror movies being made in other countries and a glimmer of hope remains for the 2010's.

So with that rant, let's look back my favorite horror themed cinema treats of the 2000's.

Slither (2006, US) - James Gunn brought his Troma background to a big budget and pulled it off wonderfully in the gross out horror-comedy.

Kairo aka Pulse (2001, Japan) - This atmospheric horror set it self apart from the usual ghost stories from Japan at the time. Watch out for the ghosts in the machine. They want revenge.

The Devil's Rejects (2005, US) - Rarely does a movie make me feel uncomfortable. The hotel scene in this movie did exactly that. This is far gritty and more realistic than any other Zombie flick and in my opinion, by far his best effort to date.

Cloverfield (2008, US) - The movie didn't reinvent the wheel, but it made for a fun ride.

The Descent (2005, UK) - Tough chicks being stalked in a cave by creatures. I'm hooked right there.

Let The Right One In (2008, Sweden) - Possibly the best horror film of the decade. This instant classic sucked you in from the beginning with strong characters and explored the dramatic side of horror.

Jeepers Creepers (2001, US) - Reminds me the old style creature features of yesteryear. It's much better than the usual creature stalking kids movie.

Martyrs (20008, France) - This movie may have sparked on of the largest debates in horror this decade. Complete brutality followed by relentless torture leads to a suicide that asks the question "what did she tell the old lady?".

Versus (2001, Japan) - Zombie, Yakuza, and samurais make a very bloody mess.

Old Boy
(2003, Korea) - Revenge, gore, and twists galore. This flick still blows my mind to this day. Not straight forward horror, but there's enough.

[rec] (2007, Spain) - If you're looking for style and atmosphere combined with genuine frights, then look no further than this pseudo-zombie tale.

Feast (2005, US) - This movie is so over the top that it never takes itself seriously. And that's a good thing. A band of people are held down in a bar while creatures try to get them.

Deadgirl (2008, US) - Another one of the movies that simply made me uncomfortable at times. As with a lot of horror movies, explore the depth of what humans are capable of.

Visitor Q (2001, Japan) - Takashi Miike had to make the list as he constantly puts out intriguing films. This one borders horror with a messed up family. His blunt over the top style keeps this disturbing film in check.

Dawn of the Dead (2004, US) - One of the few remakes of the lat decade that holds it's own and bring something unique to the table.

Haute Tension (2003, France) - This film could be the mind fuck of the decade when it comes to horror. Nothing is as it seems in this serial killer story.

Jack Brooks, Monster Slayer (2007, US) - Nothing but good, campy fun in this gem which reminded me a lot of early Sam Raimi.

The Isle (2001, Korea) - A disturbing movie about a guy who killed the woman he loved and a prostitute who wants him. Introduced me to director Kim K-Duk

Mulberry Street (2006, US) - There's not many mutant rat movies out there. This is one of the best.

Sweeney Todd (2007, US) - Tim Burton combines this old legend with the stage play and delivers a tasty treat.

Teeth (2006, US) - A young woman discovers she has teeth in her vagina. A horrific metaphor in this coming of age tale.

The Burrowers (2008, US) - I love westerns and I love horror even more. Here the two two genres cross over seemlessly.

Ils aka Them (2007, France) - There's something I find absolutely chilling about children who rise up and attack the adults.

Shaun of the Dead (2004, UK) - The perfect blend of horror homage and comedy.

Session 9 (2001, US) - One of the most unknown movies in horror. This is true gem of psychological madness.

30 Days of Night (2007, US) - Not a perfect film but in an era where vampires became glossy fun, this brought them back to pure evil.

Devil's Backbone (2001, Mexico) - A tremendous ghost story from the master Guillermo Del Toro.

The Girl Next Door (2007, US) - One of the hardest movie ever to watch which instilled queasiness and rage in me upon viewing. Those emotions more than made up for its short comings.

Dog Soldiers (2002, UK) - A family of werewolves battle soldiers in the Scottish wilderness. Bloody great fun that reminds us of why werewolves are so bad ass.

The Cottage (2008, Australia) - It's nice to see Andy Serkis have a meaty starring role. He shines in this one about two brothers who's plans for a robbery run foul due to a killer.

The Orphanage (2007, Spain) - A creepy ghost tale that sent shivers down my back.

28 Days Later (2002, UK) - This movie changed on the rules on zombies (even though they are really just infected humans). An epic tale of human survival.

Saw (2004, US) - This is the movie that started a fresh horror franchise, created a horror icon in Jigsaw, and helped to coin the much hated term "torture porn". On top of all that, this is one fine movie as well.

Battle Royale (2001, Japan) - Survivor meets Lord of the Flies, only with much bloodier results. I love this film.

Inside (2007, France) - This is one of the most intense films I've ever seen as a pregnant woman fights for her survival against another woman who wants her unborn child.

Dark Water (2002, Japan) - An above average ghost story.

The Signal (2006, US) - The end of the world as told in three uniquely separate but cohesive stories.

May (2002, US) - A lonely girl doesn't want to be lonely any longer. The final scene will stay with you for days.

Bubba Ho-Tep (2003, US) - An elderly Elvis battles a mummy with Bruce Campbell. Does it get any better.

Wolf Creek (2005, Australia) - This movie has one of the best serial killers to ever grace the screen.

The Mist (2007, US) - This movie does justice to my favorite Stephen King short story and even one up it with the ending. Shocking.

Frailty (2001, US) - Another little talked about gem about a family who's father thinks he can see demons and is told by God to destroy them.

Ju-On: The Grudge (2002, Japan) - The eeriest of all the long, hair ghost movies from Japan.

Hatchet (2006, US) - A fun throwback to 80's slasher films with a good amount of gore and just enough comedy to keep things lite.

Splinter (2008, US) - I really dug this creature mutation movie. Great special effects.

Ginger Snaps (2000, Canada) - A teenage girl finds out she's a werewolf and her sister tries to help her. There's a lot more deeper things going on in this tale.

The Eye (2002, Thailand) - A super creepy movie that introduced me to the Pang brothers. Follow it up with the similar, yet complete different Eye 2 for a double treat.

Antibodies (2007, Germany) - This one has a the best psycho villain playing head games with the cop who busted him movies around.

Final Destination (2000, US) - Started the franchise about the supernatural serial killer who will get you no matter what when your time is up. I love this movie for the great kills.

The Stranger (2008, US) - A group terrorize a couple. Very intense. The biggest scare comes in one sentence: "Because you were home".

The Ring (2002, US) - One of the only US remakes to due justice to the Japanese original. In fact in some ways, this even out does the original. The creep factor is ramped up to eleven.

The Hills Have Eyes (2006, US) - It's another remake but again proves with a little heart and smarts it can be entertaining.

Repo: A Genetic Opera (2008, US) - A horror opera? Why not. Catchy tunes, gore, a good story.

Grace (2009, US) - This movie about a mother who's newborn isn't quite as it seems, had to walk a fine line between being serious and turning campy. It does so with amazing results.

There's my list. I'm sure I've forgotton a few. And have yet to see a couple releases from this year yet, such as Trick R Treat, Zombieland, Paranormal Activity. The Children, Orphane. These seem to have been getting a lot of good reviews.

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Horror Movies Watched and Horror Book Read in 2009

Here's a list of all the horror flicks I've watched this year. Why? Because I did it in 2008 and I enjoy tabulating meaningless lists.

Just as before, the movie list isn't as bad as it first appears. I get bored easy and tend to fast forward though flicks if its not working for me.

For books, unless I'm really having a hard time getting into the story, I usually read all the way through.

I've also give my rating (out of 5), depending on how entertained I was by the movie or book and if it held my interest. And on occasions, really bad shit holds my attention.

1/1 - Left in the Darkness (2006) **
1/2 - Christmas Evil (1980) *
1/3 - The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) ***
1/4 - The Breed (2007) **
# True Blood, season 1 (2008)****
1/9 - The Fan (1996) **
1/10 - Seed (2008) **
1/12 - The Strangers (2008) ***1/2
1/13 - Jack Brooks, Monster Slayer (2008) ****
1/15 - The Invitation (2006) *
1/16 - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2005) ***
1/19 - Swamp Thing (1982) **
1/21 - The Cottage (2008) ****
1/22 - Death Row (2006)**1/2
# Fear Itself, season 1 (2008) ***
1/24 - Frightmare (1983) *1/2
1/25 - Stuck (2008) ***1/2
1/26 - Captivity (2007) *
1/27 - Shadow: Dead Riot (2006) **
1/29 - Feast 2: Sloppy Seconds (2008) ***
2/1 - Horror Business (2006) **1/2
2/3 - The Vagrant (1992) **1/2
2/5 - ShadowZone: The Undead Express (1996) **
2/7 - Thrist (1979) *1/2
2/9 - Shrooms (2007) **1/2
2/12 - Otto, or Up With the Dead (2008) *1/2
2/13 - His Name Was Jason (2009) ***
2/14 - Lemming (2007) ***
2/15 - Castle Freak (1995) ***
2/17 - Nightwing (1979) **
2/18 - Backwoods (2007) **
2/19 - Haunted Forest (2007) **
2/20 - Prom Night (2008) *1/2
2/26 - SkinWalkers (2007) *1/2
2/27 - Gutterballs (2008)**
2/28 - Saw V (2008) **1/2
3/1 - Dance of the Dead (2008) ***1/2
3/3 - Midnight (1982) *1/2
3/5 - Hide (2008) **
3/8 - Baby Blood (1989) **
3/9 - Neighbor Number 13 aka Rinjin 13-gô (2005) ****
3/10 - Days of Darkness (2007) *1/2
3/11 - Let the Right One In (2008) *****
3/12 - Mimic 2 (2001)**1/2
3/13 - The Substitute (2007) ***
3/14 - The Dead One (2007) **
3/17 - Killer Pad (2008) **1/2
3/18 - Pumpkin Karver (2006) *1/2
3/20 - Ghost Image (2007) **
3/23 - Repo: The Genetic Opera (2008) ****
3/25 - My Bloody Valentine (1981) ***
3/26 - Dead and Deader (2006) **
3/30 - Tokyo Gore Police aka Tôkyô Zankoku Keisatsu (2008) ***
3/31 - A Real Friend aka Adivina Quién Soy (2006) ***
4/2 - Toxic Avenger 2 (1989) **1/2
4/3 - Toxic Avenger 3 (1989) **
4/5 - Phantom of Paradise (1974) **
4/7 - The Enterance (2006) **
4/9 - Trapped Ashes (2006) **
# Dead Like Me, season 2 (2004) ****
4/11 - An Xmas Tale aka Cuento de Navidad(2006) **1/2
4/13 - Phantasm 3 (1993) ***
4/14 - Phantasm 4 (1998) **1/2
4/16 - Mirrors (2008) **1/2
4/18 - To Let aka Para Entrar a Vivir (2006) ***1/2
4/19 - The Baby's Room aka La Habitación del Niño (2006) ***1/2
4/21 - Lake Dead (2007) *1/2
4/22 - The Killing Gene aka WAZ (2007) **1/2
4/24 - Trackman aka Putevoy Obkhodchik (2007) **
4/26 - The Mutant Chronicles (2009) **1/2
4/27 - 100 Feet (2009) ***
4/30 - Timecrimes (2007) ***1/2
5/1 - Splinter (2008) ****
5/3 - Strange Hostel of Naked Pleasure () **
5/5 - Cold Prey (2006) ***
5/7 - Feast 3 (2008) **1/2
5/10 - Face of Another (1966) ***
5/11 - Eden Lake (2008) **
# Heroes, season 3 (2009) ***1/2
5/13 - Retribution (2006) **1/2
5/16 - Blindness (2008) ***1/2
# Dollhouse, season 1 (2009) ***1/2
5/18 - Storm Warning (2007) **1/2
5/20 - Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009) **1/2
# Fringe, season 1 (2009) ***1/2
5/21 - Quarantine (2008) ****
# Lost, season 5 (2009) ****1/2
# Supernatural, season 4 (2009) *****
5/22 - My Name Is Bruce (2006) **1/2
5/23 - Baby Blues (2008) ***1/2
5/24 - Gabriel (2007) **1/2
5/25 - Baghead (2008) ***
5/26 - Laid To Rest (2008) **1/2
5/27 - From Within (2008) ***
5/28 - My Bloody Valentine (2009) **1/2
5/29 - Shuttle (2009) ***
# Reaper, season 2 (2009)****
5/30 - The Last House in the Woods (2006) *1/2
6/1 - Vacancy 2 (2007) **1/2
6/2 - Black Water (2007) ***
# Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 1 (1997) ***1/2
6/6 - The Burrowers (2009) ****
6/7- Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971) ***
6/9 - Donkey Punch (2008) **1/2
6/10 - Max Payne (2008) **
6/12 - The Happening (2008) **
6/13 - Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006) *1/2
6/15 - Butterfly Effect 2 (2006) **
6/16 - The Broken (2009) ***1/2
6/18 - Night of the Comet (1984) ***
6/19 - Walled In (2009) **
6/20 - Eden Log (2009) **1/2
6/22 - Vinyan (2009) ***
# Millennium, Season 1 (1996)****
6/27 - Surveillance (2009 ****1/2
6/28 - Friday the 13th (2009) *1/2
6/29 - Grudge 3 (2009) **1/2
7/1 - Curse of the Werewolf (1960) ***
7/2 - Brides of Dracula (1960) ***
# Harper's Island (2009) ***
7/7 - End of the Line (2008) ***
7/9 - Dark Floors (2008) **
7/10 - Wicked Lake (2008) *
7/11 - Trailer Park of Terror (2008) **1/2
7/13 - The Uninvited Guest (2004) ***
7/14 - Maintenance (2008) *1/2
7/15 - The Lodger (2009) ***
7/17 - Room 205 (2007) **1/2
7/18 - Detective Story (2007) ***
7/20 - [rec] (2007) ****1/2
7/22 - The Devil's Tomb (2009) **1/2
7/23 - No Man's Land: Rise of the Reeker (2008) ***
7/26 - Dying Breed (2009) ***
7/27 - Perkins 14 (2009) ***
7/29 - Autopsy (2009) **1/2
7/30 - Header (2009) ***1/2
# Sanctuary, season 1 (2008) ***
8/2 - Netherbeast Inc () ***
8/3 - 3 Women (1977) ***1/2
8/5 - Slaughter (2008) **
8/7 - Infestation (2009) **1/2
8/10 - Dorthy Mills (20080) ***
8/11 - Alien Raiders (2008) ***1/2
8/12 - Lunacy (2006) ***
8/13 - Unearthed (2007) **1/2
8/14 - Johnny Got His Gun (1971) ***
8/17 - Coraline (2008) ****
8/18 - Wild Man of the Navidad (2009) ***1/2
8/20 - Mum and Dad (2008) ***
8/21 - Death of a Ghost Hunter (2007) ***1/2
8/24 - Shiver (2008) ***1/2
8/27 - Sick Nurses (2007) **1/2
8/30 - Tooth and Nail (2007) **
# Millennium, Season 2 (1997) ****1/2
9/2 - Empire of Passion (1978) ***
9/3 - Dark Rising (2009) **1/2
# Monster Quest, season 3 (2009)
9/6 - Zombie Strippers (2009) **
9/8 - The Invasion (2007) *1/2
9/9 - The Wicker Man (2006) *
9/10 - The Hitcher (2007) *1/2
# Warehouse 13, season 1 (2009)
9/13 - Last House on the Left (2009) **1/2
9/15 - American Zombie (2007) ***1/2
9/18 - Pop Skull (2009) ***
9/20 - Brutal Massacre: A Comedy (2007) ***
# Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 2 (1997)
9/22 - Fangoria Blood Drive I (2004) **1/2
9/24 - The Deadgirl (2009) ****
9/27 - Children of the Corn (2009) *1/2
10/1 - The Hills Run Red (2009) **1/2
10/3 - Hit and Run (2009) *
# True Blood, season 2 (2009) ****
10/6 - Book of Blood (2009) ***
10/7 - Naked Fear (2007) **
10/10 - The Flesh and The Fiends (1960) **1/2
10/11 - Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007) **1/2
10/14 - Forest of Death (2007) **1/2
10/15 - Puzzlehead (2005) **1/2
10/16 - Farmhouse (2009) **1/2
10/18 - Grace (2009) ***1/2
10/19 - Seventh Moon (2009) **1/2
10/20 - Offspring (2009) **1/2
10/22 - The Objective (2009) ***1/2
10/23 - Mad Love (1935) ***1/2
10/25 - ZA: Zombies Anonymous (2005) *1/2
10/26 - Dracula 3: Legacy () *1/2
10/28 - Wrong Turn 3: Left For Dead (2009) **1/2
10/30 - Tokyo Zombie (2004) ***1/2
10/31 - House of the Devil (2009) ***
11/2 - Cradle of Fear (2000) *1/2
11/3 - Citizen Toxie: Toxic Avenger 4 (2002) **
11/5 - Senseless (2009) **
11/8 - Rumpelstiltskin (1995) *
11/10 - Asylum (2007) **
11/11 - The Scourge (2008) **
11/15 - Samurai Princess (2009) **1/2
11/17 - Fausto 5.0 () ***
11/20 - Drag Me To Hell (2009) ***1/2
# The Hunger (1997) **1/2
11/23 - Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981) **1/2
11/24 - The Last Horror Film (1982) **
11/27 - Blood Moon Rising (2009) **
11/28 - Live Evil (2008) **1/2
# The Prisoner (2009) ***
11/29 - Hide and Creep (2004) **1/2
12/1 - Torture Garden (1968) ***
12/3 - Mother's Day (1980)**
12/5 - Alphabet Killer (2008) **1/2
12/8 - Sauna (2008) ***1/2
12/9 - The Unborn (2009) **1/2
# Tales from the Dark Side, Season 1 (1984) **1/2
12/11 - The Tatooist (2007) **1/2
12/12 - Pervert! (2005) *1/2
12/15 - Three (2007)*1/2
12/17 - Santa's Slay (2005) **1/2
12/20 - The Uninvited (2009) **1/2
12/21 - Red Mist (2008) **1/2
12/23 - Gorgan (1964) **1/2
# Dexter, Season 4 (2009) ****1/4
12/26 - Screamers 2 (2009) **1/2
12/27 - Run Bitch! Run! (2009) *1/2
12/28 - Dead Air (2008) ***
12/29 - Thaw (2009) **

Current TV Series
# Supernatural, season 5 (2009-2010)
# Sanctuary, season 2 (2009)
# Dollhouse, season 2 (2009-2010)
# Fringe, season 2 (2009-2010)

1. The Girl Next Door - Jack Ketchum (*****)
2. The Long Last Call (****)
3. Conscience - John Skipp (***)
4. The Walking - Bentley Little (****)
5. The Red Dragon - Thomas Harris (****1/2)
6. Shutter Island - Dennis LaHane (****1/2)
7. Cuts - Richard Laymon (***)
8. Children of Night - Dan Simmons (****1/2)
9. Nocturnal - Scott Sigler (****)
10. City of the Dead - Brian Keene (****)
11. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson (***1/2)
12. The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith (***)
13. Virus - Sarah Langan (****)
14. The Relic - Lincoln Child & Douglass Preston (***1/2)
15. The Road - Cormac McCarty (****1/2)
16. The Descent - Jeff Long (***1/2)
17. Weaveworld - Clive Barker (incomplete)
18. 30 Days of Night: Dark Days - Steve Niles (***)
19. Blood Stone - Nate Kenyon (***)
20. 30 Days of Night: Dark Days - Steve Niles (***1/2)
21. The Hollower - Mary Sangiovanni (****)
22. The Straw Men - Michael Marshall (****)
23. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks (***1/2)
24. OffSpring - Jack Ketchum (****)
25. Bloodline - F. Paul Wilson (****1/2)
26. 20th Century Ghosts - Joe Hill (*****)
27. Preacher: Gone to Texas (#1) - Garth Ennis (****)
28. Succulent Prey - Wrath James White (***)
29. Fear - L. Ron Hubbard (***)
30. VooDoo Child - Weston Cage & Mike Carey (**1/2)
31. Left on the Darkside - various authors. John Pealan, editor (***)
32. The School - TM Wright (***)
33. The Tides - Melanie Tem (***)
34. The Sentinal - Jeffrey Konvitz (***1/2)
35. Snake Woman: A Snake in the Grass, vol. 1 - Shekhar Kapur (**1/2)
36. Creepers - David Morrell (****)
37. Contagious - Scott Sigler (****)
38. The 5th Witch - Graham Masterton (***)
39. Mr. Hands - Gary Braunbeck (****)
40. Kiss of the Mudman - Gary Braunbeck (***1/2)
41. Frozen - Jay Bosinga (***)
42. Misery - Stephen King (***1/2)
43. Wise Blood - Flannery O'Connor (***)
44. The Violent Bear It Away - Flannery O'Connor (***)
45. Green Tea - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (****)
46. Camilla - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (****)



Under Appreciated Horror Author #4 - Peter Straub

NOTE: When discussing the author, I shall only comment on the books I've read.

Peter Straub may not be a name the masses recognize, but fans of horror literature know him as one the current masters. He was first published in the mid 1970's with some success and continues going strong to today.

He's won numerous awards for novels, shorts, and anthologies. Two of his novels have been made into films. Julia (made into The Haunting of Julia) and Ghost Story. Though The Tailisman is in production as a mini-series.

My first introduction to Mr. Straub was Ghost Story. The tale of The Chowder Society sent the hairs on my arms raising to full attention. It's a masterpiece. The Talisman and Black House followed a few years later. These were very different reads as the explore fantasy more than horror and directly ties in with Stephen King's Dark Tower series. I have what's known as The Blue Rose trilogy and two other loosely connected books in a stack at home waiting to be read.

If you want good writing with strong characters and incredible story telling abilities, look no further than Peter Straub.

Notable Horor Books by Peter Straub (not a complete list)

If You Could See Me Now (1977)

Ghost Story (1979)

Shadowland (1980)

The Talisman (1984) co-authored with Stephen King

Koko (1988); Winner of World Fantasy Award (1989)

Mystery (1990)

The Throat (1993); Winner of Bram Stoker Award (1993)

Mr. X (1999); Winner of Bram Stoker Award (1999)

Magic Terror (2000)

Black House (2001) co-authored with Stephen King

Lost Boy, Lost Girl (2003); Winner of Bram Stoker Award (2003)

In The Night Room (2004); Winner of Bram Stoker Award (2004)

5 Stories (2007); Winner of Bram Stoker Award (2007)

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Serial Novels: The Millenium Quartet

The Millennium Quartet by Charles L. Grant is a fascinating four novel series about the destruction of the mankind as the millennium ends.

Many strange events occur as the world approaches the year 2000 and each novel incorporates the notion of things getting progressively worse. The first three novels have average people, who are often in the lower part of society, come together as a community to fight one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The last book deals with these survivors gathering on a remote island community off the coast of Georgia for the final battle against the Horsemen.

The characters are rich. The story is compelling. And it's an easy read. What more could you ask for in book.

1. Symphony

2. In the Mood

3. Chariot

4. Riders in the Sky


Horror Fans and The Definition of Horror

A few weeks back Horror Yearbook asked the question "What kind of horror fan are you? Below is the aritcle, followed by the poll to log your results.

Horror Yearbook

The Poll

It seems that of the choices, I'm an INDIE horror fan. Though I do enjoy GORE and FRIGHTS, while tending to be a little ANALYTICAL at times. I watch almost any kind of horror film so SUBGENRE isn't a big deal. While critical of most MAINSTREAM movies, I'll still watch.

Then back in August the Freddy In Space Blog had a discussion about "What is horror?" The piece is below.

Freddy in Space

Horror is hard to define, because it's based pure emotion. There are many aspects to this emotion and it effects individuals differently. What terrifies you, could be tame to me. Acts that horrorify you, may be a daily occurence in my life. You get the point.

So to me, the broad definition of horror is anything that attempts to tap into emotions of fear through physical or ceberal actions.

What about you?

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31 Horror Favs (#1) - Halloween {1978}

Halloween. Director: John Carpenter

Did you really think this wouldn't be on the list? It is the essential Halloween movie.

The plot: After spending 15 years in an institution for murdering his sister, Michael Myers return to Haddenfield for a court appearance. He is deeply disturbed and is escourted by Dr. Loomis (played brillantly by Donald Pleasance). He escapes and returns home.

What can I really say that hasn't already been said about this 1978 classic. It made Jamie Lee Curtis an instant scream queen.

I love everything about the original movie. Michael Myers wasn't just a killer, he was almost supernatural in essence. Which is why he's often referred to as "The Shape". The movie basically kicked off the 80's slasher sub-genre and made the "final girl" and stable in horror.

Watch the original, uncut version. You'll get a terrifying experience.

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31 Horror Favs (#2) - Supernatural {TV series}


Supernatural is the story of Dean and Sam Winchester. They are brothers. They are hunters of the supernatural. The series has a main story arc that also features a "monster of the week". Very similar to The X-Files.

The first season has the Winchester boys searching for their father, who is searching for yellowed eyed demon that killed their mother. Eventually, the demon finds them.

The second season has Sam and Dean contining the quest to kill the yellowed eyed demon, who reveals that Sam has demon blood in him and is special.

Season 3 deals with Dean trying to get out of his contract with Lillith, a powerful demon. Sam realizes the demon blood has given him special powers.

Season 4 has the brothers working with Castial, an angel, to try and stop Lillith from breaking the 66 seals and releasing Satan from Hell. Sam along battles his demonic side as it starts to take over.

Season 5 will wrap up the main story arc of stopping the Apocalypse.

Much of season 4 and 5 focus on the main story arc of the devil, along with his legion of demons, battling angles for control of the Earth. Each group has their own selfish reasons of why the want to win.

I cant speak highly enough about this show. It has become one of my favorites on television. Part drama, part horror, part western, and a bit of comedy makes it great. I find it fascinating how the show has involved from a monster show into one about the end of days, yet the outline for this battle was in the first three season all along. It all an amazing set up to something more profound.

The main characters are strong and are individuals. At times you love Dean and Sam while other you want to beat them. And that's usually at different times for each. Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki do an outstanding job.

If you never watched the series, give it a chance. You wont be disappointed.

The official Supernatural website can be found HERE

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31 Horror Favs (#3) - The Goon by Eric Powell

The Goon, Author: Eric Powell

The Goon is a comic book series created by Eric Powell. The Goon works for a local mob boss, which often lands him and his buddy Frankie in interesting situations. Many times it involves The Zombie Priest and his legion of the dead. But the come across plenty of other supernatural beings as well.

First published in 1998, the series has been going strong every since and has a devote fan base.

I cant say enough about The Goon. The story is fun to read. The characters are rich in personality, as our the creatures. It has a lot of dark humor too.

From the first volume, I was hooked and bought a couple of more. Now, I need pick up some more volumes and continue on.

The Books
he Goon vol. 0: Rough Stuff
The Goon vol. 1: Nothin' But Misery
The Goon vol. 2: My Murderous Childhood (And Other Grievous Yarns)
The Goon vol. 3: Heaps of Ruination
The Goon vol. 4: Virtue and the Grim Consequences Thereof
The Goon vol. 5: Wicked Inclinations
The Goon: Chinatown (unnumbered, but considered "vol 6")
The Goon vol. 7: A Place of Heartache and Grief
The Goon vol. 8: Those That Is Damned
The Goon vol. 9: Calamity of Conscience

For more info on the books and Eric Powell, check out the website The Goon

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31 Horror Favs (#4) - Suspiria {1977}

Suspiria, Director: Dario Argento

It's very hard to describe this little film gem by Italian director Dario Argento (he also wrote the screenplay). The premise is a newcomer to an elite ballet academy gradually comes to realize that the staff of the school are actually a coven of witches bent on chaos and destruction. This is actual the first in a trio of movies that the director refers to as "The Three Mothers" that deal with the witches. The other two films are Inferno and Mother of Tears.

Suspiria combines one of the gretest "jump out of your seat" moments in horror film history. I wont spoil it. Typcial of many Argento movies is the Italian giallo style of storytelling with a deep mystery and a crime. This goes beyond that though with it's surrealistic set pieces and dream-like state. And there's plenty of gore too.

A truly unique film that remains one of my favorites.

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31 Horror Favs (#5) - Edgar Allen Poe

Edgar Allen Poe

Many say the Edgar Allen Poe is the grandfather of horror. It's hard to disagree with the statement. There were been horror stories written before him, but he's the one who formed the genre (also along with the detective genre). It's hard to imagine there being a serious form of horror literature without him.

Poe's work should be studied not only for their effective creep factor but for the prose. His work is like no other. It's a shame his life was full of such great anguish and was taragically cut short. One can only imagine the amazing tales he had yet to spin.

My favorite tales by the author include "The Fall of the House of Usher", "The Pit and the Pendelum", and "The Raven". If you've never read any of Poe's work, then you are certainly missing out on greatness.

Check out and The Poe Museum and
Edgar Allen Poe Society of Baltimore for more information about the author.

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31 Horror Favs (#6) - Universal Horror Movies

Universal Horror

Alas, the classic horror films from my childhood. They still come back to haunt me. Well, maybe not haunt but certainly entertain me to this day.

The Wolf Man.

They are grandfathers of monster cinema and the ones who get the most press. These movies made stars out of Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and Lon Chaney Jr. Rightfully so as their performances brought these monsters to life. They became real on the screen as they were portrayed with human-like qualities. By the end, the viewer is almost cheering for the monster to get away.

Not to be outdone were the other monsters movies made by Universal during this golden era. The Invisible Man, The Phantom of the Opera, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Bride of Frankenstein, and The Mummy are all just as powerful of tales starring just as good of actors (Lon Chaney Sr and Claude Rains). These were just the tip of the iceberg. Several other films were made leaning slightly more on suspense and mystery. The Old, Dark House, The Raven, The Cat and the Canery, Murders at the Rue Morgue, The Man Who Laughs, and The Black Cat are just a few.

These movies started in the mid 1920's and Universal kept producing them until the 1950's. At this point it was mainly sequels starring the famous Monsters.

These are classic films which provided the foundation from American horror movies. I cant speak highly enough about these flicks. The ghastly trio, and thier close friends, will always hold a special place in my spooky heart.

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31 Horror Favs (#7) - Clive Barker

Clive Barker

Author. Painter. Movie Director. All titles which could be used to describe Clive Barker.

He set the horror literature world ablaze in 1984 with a series of short stories, later collected in The Books of Blood, and his first full length novel in 1985, The Damnation Game (a tale about selling souls to evil in return for great wealth and immortality). He's continued ever since writing several fantasy-horror themed novels, short stories, plays, scripts, graphic novels, and video games.

In 1987 Barker got a chance to direct Hellraiser, based on his novella The Hellbound Heart. A new horror movie icon was born in Pinhead and a franchise began. He's adapted a couple of other of his works to feature films including Nightbreed, based on the novella Cabel, and Lords of Illusion, based on the short story "The Last Illusion". He had produced several other flicks based on his material as well.

In addition to that Clive also keeps occupied with the visual arts. He collected several paintings over the years. Over the years, he's illustrated many of the covers for his own materials.

Clive Barker is one of my favorite in all of horror entertainment. The stories in Books of Blood blew me away with their imaginative content. I try to keep up on a lot of his books since they rarely disappoint me. And the movies he's directed are fantastic. It's a shame he hasn't been allowed to direct more. He has a unique eye for the medium. His artwork is the stuff nightmares are made of.

The world of horror is a much more frightening place because of Clive Barker. I am glad for it.

For more Clive Barker and all of work, check out his website

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31 Horror Favs (#8) - Murder Ballads by Nick Cave

Murder Ballads by Nick Cave

Horror and music is not a new thing. There's an entire sub-genre of metal rooted deep in horror. Then there's death metal sub-genre which can contain some very morbid stuff. And of course there's no shortage of rockers dabbling on the fringe of horror. Acts like Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, Slayer, and Danzig have all had notable, mainstream careers. Hell there's even some horror themed country songs. Just listen a few Johnny Cash lyrics someday. He sings an awful lot about murder ("I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die).

But Murder Ballads by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds is something very unique. It was released in 1996 and gained a surprising amount of success the video "Where the Wild Roses Grow" on MTV. The album starts of strong with Cave's deep voice and banging drums on "Song of Joy", probably my favorite on the album. It keeps the listener engrossed through all other tracks which alternate between softly sung "Lovely Creatures", to the torturous "The Curse of Milhaven", to the epic rage of "O'Malley's Bar", until the end with the appropriate "Death Is Not the End". Some of the lyrics are so vividly gruesome that it can make you cringe, all behind the croner's voice of Nick Cave.

A classic album that might bit be for every person's taste but it blows my mind away.

Actually there is a sub-genre of music called murder ballad which is traditional ballad form music that uses a series of recognizable formulas, structures and language forms along with the lyrics of each song forming a narrative about murder.

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31 Horror Favs (#9) - An American Werewolf in London {1981}

An American Werewolf in London, Director: John Landis.

I remember one night in my youth where I was sleeping on the couch. Actually I was pretending to sleep while my father and soon to be step-mother watched An American Werewolf in London. The images that I saw through my barely cracked open eye haunted me for months. The transformation scene terrified me, as did the gore.

It took me years (in college) to garner the courage to watch the film again. But I saw the film in a new light. I caught the dark humor that was sandwiched in between great scenes of bloody goodness. The transformation scene, done by special effect artist Rick Baker, still blows my mind to this day and looks incredible.

Writer/Director John Landis created a classic here and possibly the best werewolf movie ever made.

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31 Horror Favs (#10) - Dexter {TV series}


I wont go into great details about each season as I dont want to spoil it for those who may not have watched it yet (what are you waiting for).

From the moment I saw the trailer on Showtime, the premise of a serial killer who works as a blood splatter analyst for the Miami Police and only murders people who deserve it had me intrigued. After the first episode of Season One, I was hooked. Luckily the rest of the season did not disappoint as we see the Miami PD trying to find "The Ice Cream Truck Killer" while we have Dexter dealing with his relationship with Rita, the girlfriend, and Debra, his sister who's a cop. All the while he's trying to deal with his past and confront his inner temptations. The whole thing is fascinating with excellent performances from the entire cast, particularly Michael C. Hall as Dexter.

Season Two deals with an FBI Special Agent helping the Miami PD investigate "Bay Harbor Butcher", which in fact is Dexter. The Agent and Debra start having an interesting fling, despite their notable age differences. Rita and Dexter relationship is put to the test as a new woman named Lila enters his life and has her own secrets. I enjoyed this season almost as much as the first. The highlight is watching Dexter and Lundy play this proverbial chess game, which leads to an interesting conclusion.

Season Three has Rita becoming pregnant and finally taking control of her life after years of being a victim. She gives Dexter a choice in raising the baby or not. He worries about passing his "disease" onto the child. The main story is about the Prada family and how the friendship between Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prada and Dexter evolves through out the season. Especially when they share a common interest. This season was amazing as all the main characters showed tremendous depth and personal change. Probably my favorite season yet.

Season Four has just started and unfortunately I no longer subscribe to Showtime. Now my Dexter and Weeds fix has to wait until DVD.

I think this is one of the best programs on television. Like I said, it has great characters who are multidimensional based on event that happen to them each season. It's darkly comedic, a little gory, and each episode is tightly written. To watch Dexter battle his urges to kill while trying to lead a normal life is fascinating. This show comes highly recommended by me.

The show is based off the novels by Jeff Lindsay. I've got the first one in my big pile of books to be read. I'll get around to it some day. I've read the books and the show separate on their stories somewhat after the first novel, so these should be fun to get through.

The Books
1. Darkly Dreaming Dexter (2004)
2. Dearly Devoted Dexter (2005)
3. Dexter in the Dark (2007)
4. Dexter by Design (2009)

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