Do you read CampBlood on a regular basis? I can't imagine why you wouldn't, unless perhaps you don't have eyes...but then, if you didn't have eyes, you wouldn't be reading this. Therefore, I can only reason that 1) you have eyes and 2) you read CampBlood on a regular basis. I'm glad for that- I was going to disown you if you'd replied in the negative, and no one likes to be disowned. Unless maybe you're some sort of pervert.
Buzz, who provides today's Special Guest Top 20, is the Head Counselor at CampBlood and he's one of my absolute most favoritest writers. He's funny, he's smart, and he's got great taste in horror movies. In fact, one of my Big Life Goals is to live with Buzz or at least live in close proximity to Buzz à la Melrose Place so we can watch horror movies together and then play Mall Madness or something. What, is that weird? Don't crush my dreams! Ooh, I should put this shit on my Vision Board!
Alright, this is a tough challenge. I mean, narrowing down my favorite horror movies to just 20? That's like asking Samantha Eggar to pick the favorite of her Brood. In the end, I took the tack of choosing only movies - good, bad, or ugly - that render me utterly incapable of changing the channel when they appear on the screen. Here goes...
Bloody Birthday (1981, Ed Hunt)
31 flavors of PURE WRONG. Everything about this movie - from the murderous kids to the oversexed teens to Julie Brown's tittehs - makes me want to wash my eyeballs out. (No offense, Julie, but I like my earth girls not QUITE so easy.)
Trick 'r Treat (2007, Michael Dougherty)
The youngest movie on my list, this nasty, underseen little gem pretty much sums up everything that is awesome about Halloween for me: Creepy old people, jack-o-lanterns, local legends, candy, monsters, mean kids, parades, and death.
Psycho (1960, Alfred Hitchcock)
Still flawless after all these years. Seriously, just try and find one, I dare you - I'll wait here. Start in the shower.
Sleepaway Camp (1983, Robert Hiltzik)
Is it derivative? Sure. Unintentionally camp? Totally. But it's also totally committed, unrepentantly mean, and completely batshit crazy. I mean seriously, how did this movie get made?! Oh right: Cheap local talent and cocaine. Brava!
Eyes of Laura Mars (1978, Irvin Kershner)
Boasting one of the oldest Final Girls in herstory and one of the best disco soundtracks ever, this ridiculous supernatural slasher set in the world of high fashion photography is even crazier than its leading lady (Faye Dunaway). Bonus points for putting Rene Auberjoinos in drag.
Tenebre (1982, Dario Argento)
Let's face it: Dario Argento is like the little girl with the curl - When he's good, he's very, very good; And when he's bad, he makes Tenebre. This movie is a steaming heap of shit and I wouldn't change a single thing about it.
Evil Dead 2 (1987, Sam Raimi)
This movie made me want to know everything there is to know about making movies. And Bruce Campbell. (Hubba, hubba!)
Alice, Sweet Alice (1976, Alfred Sole)
Any movie that has little girls being burned alive during a First Communion is aces in my book. All the Catholic guilt, none of the rapture!
Black Christmas (1974, Bob Clark)
A pitch-perfect slasher and still the gold standard, as far as I'm concerned. Somehow seeing all that violence unleashed on Canadians just seems that much more tragic, doesn't it? They're so nice!
Brain Damage (1988, Frank Henenlotter)
Goofy, sexy, and incredibly gruesome body-terror that also serves as an exhaustive study of its central character's studly physique? Sign my ass up! Also features the most penis-like horror villain since Max Schreck.
The Descent (2005, Neil Marshall)
The only movie to legitimately scare me in the past 5 years. Well, this and Food, Inc. Forreal, though - you gotta love a movie that is testicle-pinching scary BEFORE the monsters even show up.
Friday the 13th Part II (1981, Steve Miner)
Oddly, I have several "Part 2"s on my list of faves. Call me a Jan Brady sympathizer. But I actually think this slasher sequel par excellence actually improved on the original by deepening the mythology behind Jason and giving us one of the most kick-ass Final Girls ever (Amy Steel as Ginny). Muffin, you had me at "arf".
Ginger Snaps (2000, John Fawcett)
Wait, what did I say about Canadians? I take it back! This wonderfully dark and wickedly funny gem of pubescent horror tackled sisterhood, adolescent angst, sexual competition and dog-eating like nobody's business. Great stuff.
I, Madman (1989, Tibor Takacs)
Probably the "worst" movie on the list, this goofy post-modern slasher about a murderously obsessed mad scientist who stalks women who read his books has always been a favorite due to its garish production design and proudly oddball premise. Add Clayton Rohner, shake, and enjoy.
Return of the Living Dead (1985, Dan O'Bannon)
Pure punk putrescence. "Do you wanna par-taaaay? IT'S PARTY TIME!"
Night of the Creeps (1986, Fred Dekker)
One of my favorite movies ever, this inspired genre mashup (horror/sci-fi/detective/coming-of-age/comedy) works because of a huge dose of heart ... and of course the zombie with the axe and the slimy space slugs that infect a busload of prom-goers. There's always that.
A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985, Jack Sholder)
Gay teen struggles with repressed sexuality in the form of wisecracking undead serial killer. 'Nuf said. And, honest to goddess, I actually cried when Ron Grady got killed .... because it's just wrong to waste such hot tail.
Hellraiser (1987, Clive Barker)
A woman starts killing men in order to reconstitute the best fuck she ever had? Who hasn't been there, huh? Clive Barker's wonderfully icky debut gave all of us a glimpse of a world we'd probably rather remained in his own mind.
Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983, Jack Clayton)
A wonderfully dark coming-of-age tale, this adaptation of the brilliant Ray Bradbury novel may have been a bit sanitized but it still had plenty of bite - and it tackled childhood fears in a way that was at the same time both hallucinatory and terribly real.
Jaws (1975, Steven Spielberg)
The movie that launched a thousand bedwettings, this one still owns me, and always will. Fuck you, Steven - and the oft-malfunctioning mechanical shark you rode in on.
Other Special Guest Top 20(ish) lists: