My 10 Favorite Horror Movies Ever

Checked and double checked. Darlings killed! This is it:

10. Bad Taste (1987)

Peter Jackson’s inventive low budget debut film is a delight in gory horror and awesome humor. It’s about aliens coming to New Zealand to set-up a supply chain in human flesh for their intergalactic fast food restaurants. What they didn’t count on was secret agent Derek (played by Jackson himself) and his team! Great to see that the visionary director behind The Lord of the Rings trilogy started his career with this hilarious B-movie.

Greatest Moment: The vomit scene: ‘ahhhh, l think the gruel is ready!!’

09. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Back at the old days, they made great films too, you know. And the Universal Monster Movies are not to be ignored when you’re rating your all-time favorite horrors. The beautiful gothic scenery, spot-on art direction, excellent make-up effects, the universal themes, the humor (the monster smoking a cigar!)… The Bride of Frankenstein is the best in its genre and at least as impressive in the time it was made as its contemporary counterparts. Ehhh, which contemporary counterparts by the way?

Greatest moment: The monster and the hermit.

08. Army of Darkness (1992)

You want some more Evil Dead? Come get some! Ash is back with a chainsaw attached to his wrist and a boomstick on his back. This time around he’s kicking Evil’s ass in medieval times. Isn’t it groovy? Well, yes it is. Besides Raimi’s action-packed script and trademark camera tricks, fans can enjoy a brilliant turn from B-Movie star Bruce Campbell. With his masterful comic timing, loads of one-liners and his lady man skills, he makes Ash a truly lovable hero. Not to mention a horror icon. Hail to the King baby!

Greatest moment: The pit.

07. Scream (1996)

This postmodern take on the slasher genre is both an incredible homage and superb addition to the genre. The screenplay by Kevin Williamson is masterfully written and director Wes Craven finds exactly the right balance between suspense, teenage stupidity, humor and extreme violence. Followed by three decent sequels (and a tv-show), but this first one is the best by far.

Greatest Moment: The revelation who the killer is.

06. Predator (1987)

The first Predator is an unique movie that holds a very special place in my heart. The concept is fairly simple (mysterious alien hunts and kills soldiers and mercenaries in South American jungle), the execution is flawless. It features the greatest team of warriors ever assembled that faces off against the greatest alien ever created for cinema. It’s just awesome in every way.

Greatest moment: There are many great scenes featuring the predator, but Schwarzenegger’s team butchering an entire guerrilla army is so bad-ass that I have to pick that one.

5. Dead Ringers (1988)

Two bodies. Two minds. One Soul. Separation can be a terrifying thing.
No monsters or killers are needed to make a creepy film. The human psyche can be terrifying enough by itself. Jeremy Irons gives an Oscar worthy double performance as a pair of twins who become mentally intertwined together. Brilliant psychological horror by master of bodily transformation, David Cronenberg.

Greatest Moment: The superbly creepy credit sequence and the unsettling ending.

04. Psycho (1960)

Psycho is such an inspirational film that it spawned an entire genre of slasher / serial killer movies. With its groundbreaking narrative techniques and tension building it’s hard to deny the importance of Hitchcock’s masterpiece in cinema history. Janet Leigh is a joy to watch and so is Anthony Perkins in his lunatic performance.

Greatest moment: The shower scene off course, which is completely shocking to this day.

03. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

The scariest horror movie of my childhood and frankly an almost traumatic experience. I recently saw it and even though the scare effect is weakened down somewhat, it is still a deeply chilling experience. Master of Horror Wes Craven takes all the terrible emotions the worst nightmares can cause and uses them to maximum effect.

Greatest moment: The protagonist Nancy has a number of terrifying dreams.

02. Evil Dead II (1987)

Groovy! Comedy and scares are effectively combined in this sequel to Raimi’s classic The Evil Dead*. Yes, it is a sequel, the beginning is just an altered summary of the first flick. Bruce Campbell makes Ash a true horror icon as he chops up his girlfriend and fight his own hand. Slapstick humor and rapid chainsaw action make this a true classic in the genre and Raimi’s best film. They don’t make ‘m like this anymore. Classic.

Greatest moment: In the cellar with sweet Henrietta. Complete madness.

01. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

This is it, my all-time favorite horror movie. What makes it so good? It is just a trip to become part of Romero’s apocalyptic zombie world for a couple of hours. When used properly as in Dawn of the Dead, zombies are really a marvelous invention. They can be sad, scary, or comical and at the same time serve as a metaphor for the consumerist society. The shopping mall as a zombie survivor stronghold works incredibly well. The movie features well written characters, appropriately disgusting special make-up effects by Tom Savini and great music. It is the most atmospheric horror film; very rich in ideas and horrific imagery. I love it.

Greatest moment: Going shopping off course!

*OMITTED:

The Evil Dead (1981)

In 1980 three friends went out to shoot a cheap horror movie that was destined to become a genre classic. The handsome one, Bruce Campbell, became the actor of the group. ‘He was the one that girls wanted to look at.’ Sam Raimi later became a top director in Hollywood (directing Spiderman). And finally, Rob Tapert became a successful producer. The Evil Dead is still a very effective horror flick to this day with many unforgettable moments, such as the tree rape scene and blood-soaked finale.

Greatest Moment: The gory climax in the cabin.

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Ash vs Evil Dead 2 Kicks Evil’s Ass Literally

After the magnificent season 1 I thought it couldn’t get any better, but I was DEAD wrong. The sequel to the glorious return of director Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell (B-movie star and author “If Chins Could Kill”) contains even more inventive humour, massive amounts of gore and ultra stylish visuals. Groovy!!

After the heroic, but self-serving Ash made the completely selfish deal with half-demon Ruby the Dark One – original author of Necronomicon aka Book of the Dead that has awoken evil on earth once AGAIN – he and his dear friends Kelly and Pablo have been enjoying life in Jacksonville. Ash no longer uses his chainsaw to dismember deadites, but to open new vats of beer and to impress hot girls (“What a pleasure for you to meet me”). But when evil shows up anyway, this is a dealbreaker. They gave peace a chance, now it’s time for war.

The trio head towards Ash’s hometown in Michigan, where Ash’s dad still lives, like his son a lady killer. Once there, they attempt to retrieve the necronomicon before Ruby’s evil spawn can use it to make earth a living hell. This is the start of a whole series of outrageous challenges. First Ash has to fight a possessed anus in a morgue (“There is only one asshole in this town, and that asshole is me!” BLEM!) Next is a battle against Ash’s beloved car and his resurrected sister Cheryl (awesome return of Ellen Sandweiss).

Finally, after escaping from a loony asylum and slaying many deadites, Ash and Kelly (Pablo is temporarily dead) return to the 1980’s, so they can obtain the book from the cabin before Ash will ever find it as young man. And guess who still lives in the fruit cellar of the old shack? That’s right:


Sweet Henrietta

Ash will need all of his superior wits and tools to get out of this one. But no need to worry. This is Ash we’re talking about after all, perhaps the greatest hero who ever lived. Season 2 does seem to be the end of the Evil Dead revival, but even if it is; this is one hell of a glorious return. Like the movies, this show is already a classic. So if you she-bitches are ready, then let’s go!

Ash vs Evil Dead: 5 Greatest Moments

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Ash is back in
Ash vs Evil Dead

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Ash: man, I missed this guy! Bruce Campbell is back in the role that made him King of the B-actors. And he looks as good as ever and his humour is still as dry as a bucket of Sahara sand. In 23 years (since ‘Army of Darkness’), he hasn’t changed much. He still has a lousy job in a store as stock boy, he is still picking up chicks, and he still has his chainsaw and boomstick lying around for emergencies. And they’re needed, because it takes only 10 minutes before Evil shows up. Bigtime…

So what are the best moments in this epic first season? (spoilers obviously)

5. Shoot First, Think Never
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Ash has looked deep inside himself with a guided ayahuasca tour and found the core of his being: whatever you do, don’t think. Ash is most effective when he doesn’t think at all and that’s how he defeats the horrible demon Eligos.

4. Two of Us
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When Ash goes back to the cabin, the place where it all began, the series goes back to its roots also: nerve wrecking terror. He faces several evil entities including some evil kid (‘someone needs to wash your mouth kid and that someone is me’). But equally great is his fight against another Evil Ash. He is often his own worst enemy. Luckily Good Ash always has some tricks up his sleeve.

3. Trailer Trash
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Ash takes on the possessed Vivian – his trailer park neighbour. It is in this classic battle that Ash is reattached to his beloved chainsaw plus he gets to use his BOOMSTICK! “Yo granny, hope you took your Geritol. Because it’s time to dance”.

2. Summoning up a Total Nerd
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Ashley Williams is at his best when he’s acting like a complete idiot. Like the time he purposefully wants to summon a weak demon to get rid of evil.
Ash: Lionel, have you found a wimpy demon yet?
Lionel: I have found a minor demon named ‘Eligos’. Possesses knowledge of hidden things. A demon of the mindscape.
Ash: Well perfect. Sounds like a total nerd. Okay, get him out.

When Eligos appears it doesn’t look much like a wimp. Classic Ash.

1. Calling up Spirits
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Ash messed up things before, but how he manages to summon up demons this time must be his greatest (and funniest) fuck-up. Ash is getting high with a hooker and she tells him she finds poetry so damn sexy. Ash says he has something lying around. It may not be French, but Necronomicon Ex Mortis (which he keeps in his house because…?) will have to do. Soon they’re citing passages and laughing their asses off. Superb comedy.

Can’t wait for the second season. Loved this one.

Raimi, Tapert, Campbell: bring it on!

Kenmerken van een échte held

Door Jeppe Kleyngeld

Ash, The Dude, James Bond, Raoul Duke… ga zo maar door. Ik heb een hoop helden gekend in mijn 33-jaar lange – en ik mag gelukkig zeggen zeer rijke – leven. Maar als ik moet schrijven over wat een echte held typeert, kies ik instinctief toch meteen voor The Man with No Name, het stoere, rauwe en eervolle, door Clint Eastwood vertolkte personage in Sergio Leone’s befaamde Dollars trilogie. En dan specifiek het eerste deel van het drieluik: A Fistful of Dollars (1964).

Het personage lijkt in eerste instantie een opportunist, die tussen twee rivaliserende bendes in gaat staan en geld verdient aan het vermoorden van bendeleden aan beide kanten en het doorsluizen van informatie. Maar hij is geen opportunist. Vanaf het begin is hij betrokken bij de goede mensen in het verhaal. Zij worden onderdrukt door de bendes en The Man with No Name zet alles in wat hij heeft om ze te helpen. Ook het geld dat hij verdient met het omleggen van de slechteriken geeft hij aan de arme mensen. En hij wil er niks terug voor hebben. Op de momenten dat hij niet ingrijpt, heeft dat puur te maken met zijn scherpe intellect. Hij weet dat het soms beter is om zijn tijd af te wachten, om uiteindelijk te kunnen zegevieren.

Wat kenmerkt nu dit personage dat zonder twijfel een inspirerend rolmodel is? Ik noem er vijf.

1. Hij is onbevreesd
The Man with No Name rijdt een beangstigend stadje binnen waar direct een dode man op een paard voorbij komt rijden. Op zijn rug staat ‘Adios Amigo’ geschreven, zien we als het paard waar de dode man op zit langs Eastwood de woestijn in rijdt. Geen probleem, Eastwood heeft zijn doel duidelijk voor ogen en hij treedt het zonder angst tegemoet. Als hij al angst heeft, laat hij zich er in ieder geval niet door weerhouden zijn doelen na te streven.

2. Hij betaalt zijn schulden
Bij binnenkomst in het dode stadje, wordt hij direct beschoten door een stel dronken bandito’s. Hij duikt onder in een herberg, waar hij wat eten en drinken krijgt van de sympathieke eigenaar. Deze man waarschuwt hem gelijk dat als hij blijft, hij zo goed als zeker vermoord zal worden in de strijd tussen de twee clans: de Baxters en de Rojos. Maar omdat The Man with No Name de herbergier niet kan betalen, blijft hij toch net zo lang tot hij genoeg verdiend heeft om hem terug te betalen. Dat getuigt van respect voor de gewone, werkende man.

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3. Hij neemt het op voor de zwakkeren
Legendarisch is de scene waarin ‘The Man’ langs de doodgraver loopt (‘get three coffins ready’) en recht op de mannen af wandelt die hem bij het betreden van de stad hebben beschoten. Hij confronteert ze met hun gedrag en neemt het daarbij op voor zijn paard: ‘He is feeling real bad, my mule. You see, he got all riled up when you fired those shots at his feet. You see, I understand that you were just playing’ around. But the mule, he just doesn’t get it. Of course, if you were to all apologize…’ De bandieten lachen hartelijk om zijn verzoek. ‘I don’t think it’s nice, you laughing’, vervolgt hij, nu met een heel gevaarlijke uitdrukking op zijn gezicht. ‘See, my mule don’t like people laughing’. He gets the crazy idea you’re laughing at him. Now, if you apologise, like I know you’re going to, I might convince him that you really didn’t mean it.’  10 seconden later zijn de bandieten dood. Eastwood heeft zich alleen vergist in aantal, dus voert hij de bestelling op bij de doodgraver: ‘My mistake. Four coffins.’  Cooler is niet mogelijk.

4. Hij lijdt ook pijn
The Man with No Name is niet een held wie alles altijd maar gemakkelijk afgaat. Nadat hij de onderdrukte vrouw Marisol heeft bevrijd van de slechte Ramón Rojos en heeft herenigd met haar zoontje Jezus, wordt zijn dubbele agenda ontdekt door Ramón. Hij krijgt een genadeloos pak slaag wat hem bijna het leven kost. Wie zijn doel wil bereiken, moet soms pijn lijden. The Man ondergaat dat als een echte man wat veel respect verdient.

5. Hij heeft niet alleen vaardigheden, hij is ook intelligent
Bandiet Ramon weet het goed te omschrijven; ‘I don’t like that Americano. He is too smart to be just a hired fighter. When someone with that face works with his gun, you can count on two things. He’s fast on the trigger, but he’s also intelligent.’ Hij lijkt tegen het einde van de film echter zijn eigen les vergeten te zijn. Hoe vaak hij The Man ook neerschiet, hij blijft maar opstaan. Een kogelvrij vest kan wonderen doen. Deze scene werd ook bewonderd door Biff Tannen in Back to the Future: Part II. In hoeverre dat een aanbeveling is, valt te bezien, maar een feit blijft dat ze niet veel slimmer komen als The Man with No Name. En hij wint het gevecht uiteindelijk, het laatste kenmerk van deze held der helden. Wat een held, niet?