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!


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.

Wat vinden we toch zo fascinerend aan zombies?

Wanneer de zombierage precies begonnen is weet ik niet meer. Was het met de film 28 Days Later in 2002? Daarvoor hoorde je nooit wat over zombies. Inmiddels wordt je doodgeslagen met de levende lijken. Talloze films, televisieseries, iPhone spelletjes. Games zoals Dead Rising en Left 4 Dead. Zombies duiken zelfs op in spellen waar ze eigenlijk niks in te zoeken hebben zoals Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 en Red Dead Redemption. Waarom is en blijft het zo’n interessant fenomeen?

Ik heb geen idee, maar ik kan wel vertellen wat ik boeiend vind aan de levende doden. Mijn fascinatie is begonnen met de horrorfilm Dawn of the Dead (let wel, het origineel uit 1978). Wat ik daar zo geweldig aan vind is het apocalyptische gevoel dat die film weet te creëren. Je bent echt op reis met die groep overlevenden en de plek waar ze schuil houden – een groot winkelcentrum overspoeld met stinkende lopende lijken – is een geniale vondst.

Daarnaast wordt het zombiethema in Dawn of the Dead gebruikt als metafoor voor consumerisme, een thema dat mij persoonlijk erg ligt. Mensen maken alles kapot met hun gedrag. De uitwerking hiervan is soms komisch, maar net zo goed angstaanjagend. Tot slot is de rampenfilm an sich een heerlijk genre omdat het in hersens van de mens zulk bekend materiaal is. Onze voorouders hebben al miljoenen jaren met allerlei rampen moeten dealen, dus het zien van een ramp op televisie maakt meteen de nodige adrenaline los in de hersenen en daar voel je je uiteraard lekker door.

The Walking Dead

Maar goed, Dawn of the Dead is alweer 35 jaar geleden, dus wat heeft de hedendaagse markt ons te bieden? Dan kom ik toch uit op de serie The Walking Dead. Ik moet zeggen dat ik het eerste seizoen waardeloos vond ondanks de erg sterke make-up en gore effecten. Het script was gewoon bij vlagen totaal ongeloofwaardig (even uitgaande van het gegeven dat je zombies zelf wel kunt accepteren als enigszins geloofwaardig scenario). In één aflevering was een groep L.A. bendeleden vrijwillig in een bejaardentehuis aan het werk. Meen je dat nou? Ja, echt.

Maar seizoen 2 heeft me toch wel gegrepen. Het mooie vind ik hoe menselijk gedrag wordt beïnvloed door een ramp zoals een zombie-uitbraak. Beschaving is maar een dun laagje vernis en mensen keren snel terug naar hun werkelijke aard. De feminisering van de samenleving komt abrupt ten einde en wreedheid tegenover zombies en andere mensen neemt al snel gruwelijke vormen aan. Betekent dat, dat iedereen opeens een moordenaar is en een verkrachter? Nee, dat niet, maar sommigen zeker wel. En zo is het goed mogelijk dat je beste vriend je opeens wilt vermoorden om er met je vrouw en kind vandoor te gaan. En dat vind ik wel een geloofwaardig scenario.