1_ What is Your Favorite Horror Film or Which Horror Film Has Stood Out Most in Your Memory. Why? Werner Herzog's "Nosferatu the Vampyre or Phantom der Nacht." This is a German film that is a modern remake of the old classic -- I like how Herzog's surreal influence is used in this film, along with the soundtrack by Popol Vuh. You may not consider this horror, but just because a film does not depend on gore and violence does not exclude it from the horror category.
2_ Name Your Top 15 Horror Films and Give a Short Explanation for Each:
1. My favourite film is Werner Herzog's Nosferatu. I like the film because it is surreal and has a distinct style that not everyone appreciates. Herzog has the talent for creating an internal dissonance within the viewer coupled with a trance-like quality that is almost hypnotic.
2. Jean Rollin's "Fascination." This is a French film. I like this movie because again, it's surreal and haunting. My favourite aspect of all Rollin's films would be that they have a strange, convoluted quality to them that is not seen in conventional horror films. Another quality that I like is that all of his female vampires and characters are strong and powerful in their own right, or at the very least, eerie and disturbing.
3. I have seen almost every single Asian horror film that's out there, so I would have to add an Asian (Korean) horror to this list. Even though some prefer numbers one, two, and four, I really like the third installment in the Whispering Corridors series, being of course, "Wishing Stairs." What did I like about it? I like how the characters in the film slowly unravel and show their descent into a different state of mind -- I like the artistic cinematography and the music.
4. I love Barbara Steele, and I think she's great in "Nightmare Castle." This film has a B-movie atmosphere to it that I love, but at the same time, it's actually not that bad at all. I really like Steele in her dual roles here. (This film is Italian.)
5. Michele Soavi's "The Church" (La Chiesa); again, another Italian film by Dario Argento's protege. This is a gorgeous Gothic film awash in symbol. I wrote a review for it that is on the official Michele Soavi website: http://www.federicomauro.com/soavi/chie
6. Since I mentioned Soavi, I may as well go on to Dario Argento. I will always love "Suspiria." Anyone who watches this film either hates it or loves it, but most walk away stunned. What a brilliant film. It is the all-time masterpiece of Italian horror. I have seen most of Argento's films but his latest ones are not that good.
7. I am usually anathema to conventional or popular horror films; however, I have to add "Silent Hill" to this list just because I think it is one of the best modern horror films to date (it has excellent cinematography, music, and storyline). It is directed by Christophe Gans, who also gave us the "The Brotherhood of The Wolf." (This is a Canadian/French co-production.)
8. "The Fall of The House of Usher," directed by Jean Epstein. Would you consider this a horror film, or an art film? I think it is both. This 1928 film also served as inspiration for Dario Argento, who went on to influence Michele Soavi (already mentioned), and Toshiharu Ikeda (The Evil Dead trap series), as well as countless others, therefore, it is a forerunner to other great horror films. The film is served just the way I like them, surreal and symbolic more so than mindless gore and violence. The cinematography and music is absolutely haunting and the acting is par excellence. I would highly recommend this avant-garde work of art to anyone who has not seen it.
9. "Gothic", by the great Ken Russell. I really don't know why people seem to dislike this film, but I think it might be because, as one person I know put it, "they speak too much about too many intellectual things." Okay(!?) This is a very brilliant English film with surreal imagery abounding, not to mention a super soundtrack by the very talented Thomas Dolby. It is much more than just a pseudo-bio of Mary Shelley and friends, but a descent into a living nightmare. (This is psychological horror. And just as there is sleaze-horror and other countless categories of horror, this is psychological horror and therefore counts as a horror film.)
10. I love the Pang Brothers' films, and "Omen," a 2004 Thai entry, is more than just a horror film; like most Thai horror, this one has a preoccupation with themes of reincarnation and the metaphysical. I love this one because of the way the characters' stories intertwine and interrelate in such a complex and fresh way.
11. "The Night of The Werewolf" is a Spanish film by Paul Naschy (Jacinto Molina), also known as the Spanish Lon Chaney. This film gives life to the enigmatic Countess Bathory, and Julia Saly plays her perfectly. My favourite scene in this film is when Bathory is first awakened and awash in the blood of her victim. It's just perfect. This film has great visuals and used eerie Italian soundtrack music, which gives it that extra edginess.
12. "Fangs of the Living Dead" starring Anita Ekburg, and directed by Amando de Ossorio (Spanish). I love this film because it's so cheesy and mired in visual styles of the time period it was filmed in (love Anita's hair and eye makeup!) as well as just being a good old-fashioned horror film. I really wish more people would give this film a chance.
13. Speaking of de Ossorio, this brings to mind "Tombs of the Blind Dead." This film had some genuine creepiness and suspense to it. I have to warn you though, it's better to watch the film in its original Spanish language with English subtitles, because the English version has been hacked to pieces.
14. What would a favourites list like this be without a Hammer Horror inclusion? These are the films most of us grew up with. Strangely enough, while my mom always liked Christopher Lee, I preferred Peter Cushing and Donald Pleasence. "From Beyond The Grave" features both of them, cast in a typical group of horror tales told through the scope of vignettes. My favourite story was the one about the Blue Drawing Room, it was incredibly dreamlike and spooky. I especially enjoyed the performance by Pleasence -- must be the famous hypnotic gaze. I also liked the inclusion of morality behind these tales. Great production, great plots, great actors, great overall. (This is a British film).
15. Last but not least, the great "Fearless Vampire Killers", a film by Roman Polanski that at first seems quirky and fun, but it has great touches to it (cinematography, music, etc.), and who can forget the infamous vampire ball near its ending? This was probably the apex of the film. I also like the scene where the main character hears eerie singing throughout the castle and the faces of old ancestors' glare at him as he travels down the hall of portraits. This is one of the most well-done gothic scenes I've seen in horror films. (This is another UK production.)
3_ Favorite Horror Scores/Composers:
The score for "Suspiria" and "Inferno" are two of the best from the older horror films.
The score for "Silent Hill" is the best from the most modern-day films that I can think of. I also like the score for "The Sisters," a Thai horror film.
The Goblins are top of the list, along with Popol Vuh, Ennio Morricone and Akira Yamaoka.
4_ Recent Horror In Your Life and Your Thoughts On Each:
I've been watching a lot of Asian horror lately because there is very little I find interesting these days in American horror.
a) Last Horror Film Seen in Theater?
I had the grave mispleasure of seeing "The Grudge 2" in the theatres, wherein my husband and I had a harder time dealing with the noisy kids on their cell phones than the film itself (which is not that good I'll admit.
b) Last Horror Film Seen at Home?
The last most memorable film I've seen would be "The Spiritual World," an excellent 2008 Thai horror. This film has some of the best camerawork, story, and soundtrack that I've seen to date in regards to Asian horror. Want to see a trailer of the film? Go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6AY6ND7
5_ Favorite Director(s):
a) Non-Horror Directors: Werner Herzog.
b) Horror Directors: The Pang Brothers (Danny Pang Fat/Oxide Pang Chun).
(*note* Directors must have taken part in at least THREE horror films to count in catergory B)
6_ State Your Thoughts on the Horror Cinema to be Produced in the Following Countries and Name One to Three Favourite Film For Each Country:
American: Never produced anything of great interest except a handful of movies and continues its downward spiral as we speak. Some of my favourites? "The Shining," "Carnival of Souls," and "White Zombie."
British: Better than American horror, but getting kind of cheesy too. My fave British films aren't really current either (except for "Dark Corners") -- they include "Gothic," "From Beyond The Grave," and "The Company of Wolves (which would have been #16 on my list). I must also add "The Monster Club." That was a great film!
German: German horror seems to be pretty good though sparse. One of my modern favourites, besides the one I already mentioned ("Nosferatu"), would be "Tears of Kali." I also like the black and white "Vampyr." Being German myself I'm afraid I don't normally automatically picture Germany with horror films, even though Germans have always been fascinated by gothic horror tales.
There is a lot of underground German horror, although I am not into that sort of extreme violent and pornographic stuff -- most of it has been banned by the government. Besides the earlier expressionist classics, Germany has a long way to go to become reknown for its modern horror films (I have seen a few, one being "Tears of Kali," but no others really worth mentioning). It has a lot of competition from the modern Asian horror spectrum.
I know that some people like all the violent stuff from Germany, but I don't consider violence to make a film a "horror" film.
Asian: "Wishing Stairs," "Omen," and "The Spiritual World" are a few of the best Asian horrors I've seen. I like substance, and Asian horror does offer quite a bit. Asian horror is much better than American horror and most people dissatisfied with American horror are finding a niche in Asian horror. It truly is a modern-day phenomena.
Italian: "The Church," "Suspiria," and, if you want to count it as horror -- "The Stendhal Syndrome." (I also really like "The Reincarnation of Isabel.") Dario is probably the only well-known director from Italy right now -- at least among Americans. Still, a lot of people don't know who he is. Italian horror had its heyday once, but it seems to be dying out.
Mexican: These are true gems. I like the films "The Black Pit of Dr. M" and "The Witch's Mirror." I also saw "The Orphanage" not too long ago and it's pretty good for a modern horror (this is actually a Spanish/Mexican film). "Santa Sangre" was one of the first films that I remember being influential. This is a Mexican-Italian collaboration; however, Jodorowsky himself is a Chilean of Jewish/Ukrainian descent, and the film was written by Claudio Argento, so, very multiethnic. :D
Spanish: I've already mentioned "The Night of The Werewolf" and "Tombs of the Blind Dead." I'll also add "Horror Rises from The Tomb" to this list. I've seen many Spanish horror films, but frankly, like the Italians, this country had its heyday and we have yet to see something as visually stunning as the old masterpieces. The last modern Spanish film that produced any attention among the average person would be "The Darkness," although I found it rather conventional. Stylistically more elevated than American horror, but still kind of dull.
French: Anything by Jean Rollin. Besides "Fascination," I also like "Lips of Blood" and "The Shiver of The Vampires." As for modern day French horror, it seems to be "okay." The last modern French horror I saw was "House of Voices," which was atmospheric and interesting, but it shares a common theme with "The Orphanage" and "The Darkness." Not lots of originality going around these days it seems.
Anywhere Else: The last Australian film I've seen would be a low-budget horror called "Sleep-Paralysis." Lots of people hated it, but I thought it was a great film.
7_ Which Era is Your Favourite For Horror and Which Era do You Believe Generated the Best of Horror? Discuss: The 60's and the 70's, although I think the 60's produced the best horror films.
8_ First Horror Movie You Remember Seeing? "... AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS!"
9_ Five Favorite Non-Horror Movies? Discuss Each.
1. "Heart of Glass" by Werner Herzog. It's a film about a small village abounding with superstition. When the secrets to making a special ruby red glass dies, along with the man who made the glass, the entire town goes haywire. This is a very symbolic and surreal film, with great music by Popul Vuh.
2. "Fritz Lang's Indian Epic." The inspiration for the Indian Jones stories. These two films (The Tiger of Eschnapur/The Indian Tomb) are awash in exoticism and colour. It's about an architect who falls in love with an Indian temple dancer who really isn't Indian at all but has devoted her life to The Goddess. At the same time, she is pursued by a vengeful Maharaja. Lots of intrigue and a storyline about how fate plays a grand part in life.
3. "Steppenwolf," directed by Fred Haines. This is my favourite book, so naturally it's my favourite film. It's about an outsider (Harry) who cannot relate to modern man and finds solace in the friendship with his female counterpart (Hermine). From her he learns to expand his selves and his soul, and to learn to live in the modern world despite its dissonance.
10_Three Favorite Guilty Pleasure Horror Movies, The Ones You Know Are Terrible But Love Anyway:
I wouldn't enjoy something if I did not truly like or appreciate it. I don't feel guilty about what I like.
11_Favorite Genre Actors/Actresses:
(*note* same as directors, must have taken part in at least THREE genre pieces)
Udo Kier tied with Donald Pleasence
12_ The Worst of The Worst.
a) Name and Discuss in Detail the Three Horror Films You Consider to be Most Over Rated:
1. ANY of the Saw films (terrible). Worthless, pathetic attempt at so-called "horror" that should be a shame and disgrace. Senseless/mindless violence for modern-day "bread and circus" types.
2. ANY films by Rob Zombie. For a man who seems to love horror, he sure doesn't know how to make horror films. His films are trashy.
3. The "new" Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Another terrible piece of trash. Just awful.
b) Name and Discuss in Detail the Three Horror Films Which You Consider to be the Absolute Direst Z Grade Junk:
Can I add all of the above? Seriously. What's to say about this worthless trash?
(*Note: For those who think horror must include lots of gore violence to be classified as a genuine "horror" film, sorry, but you're wrong.)
Addendum: Before anyone tells me that I still need to see "this and that," I have literally seen everything under the sun from every country, as I have been watching horror films before you were born. If you want your applicants to name more obscure favourites, then you need to let us list more of them. Just because you like an obscure Spanish film doesn't mean we have not seen the same film, but maybe it isn't our favourite film. When asking us to name favourite films, it is like asking us which films are most memorable, and for most people, memorable films are the first ones that impressed us the most, at least initially; but I like said, this does not mean that we are not acquainted with more obscure titles.
My first comment:
Your list isn't half bad but the condescending attitude is irritating. Guess what, we already know that Fascination is a French film and that "just because a film does not depend on gore and violence does not exclude it from the horror category." Which explains why we're in a community called Horror Elitists.
Secondly, telling me that you've been watching horror films since before I was born is both self-indulgent and, potentially, wrong. You may be older than me but there are community members in their 40s who--guess what--, have probably been watching horror films since before you were born.
Plus, not that it matters, but I guarantee I can name at least 15 horror films that you haven't seen.
Is this a competition now?
No, this is a rating community. We rate you.
And, her final response before throwing in the towel:
I am deleting my post here. As I suspected, this is a place for egomaniacs to make themselves feel better about themselves. I never liked clubs anyway. Well, it was a nice experiment. Have fun!!