Okay, so I told you and you sent me even more good films to rent. I just might go get that David Cronenberg film tonight. And to John Fulton, who recommended “Homebodies,” it is available on video, but a bit hard to find (there were a couple used copies for sale on Amazon.com).
“My favorite horror movie is without a doubt ‘Les Yeux Sans Visage,’ or in English ‘The Eyes Without A Face.’ I read about this movie as a small child in a fanzine, and the image of the masked, faceless Christiane dressed in a Givenchy housecoat gliding through her father's mansion stuck with me so strongly that I literally searched the world over for a copy of this film on video. When at last I found a copy through Amazon I discovered that the film was well worth the wait. Little known, this Georges Franjou feature has been shamelessly copied for the past forty years (most recently in ‘Face/Off’), but none of the knock-offs compare to the uniquely Gallic mixture of psychological horror, brooding cinematography and gore (the surgery scenes are definitely NOT for the squeamish). This flick deliveres the goods!”—Chris Golden, Pensacola, Fla.
“‘Thesis (aka Tesis)’ is an amazing Spanish horror film about snuff films from the director of ‘Open Your Eyes’ (remade as ‘Vanilla Sky’) and ‘The Others.’ It's everything that ‘8mm’ tried to be. Might be a tough one to find but it's well worth your time.”—Pete S., Philadelphia, Penn.
“‘Let's Scare Jessica to Death’ is a great off-beat horror flick. Very suspensful and I don't think 100 people saw it.”—Cheryl B., Indianapolis
“‘Dark Night of the Scarecrow.’ Released during the height of the 80's vengeful spirit returns movement, Dark Night tells the sad, woeful tale of a wrongfully accused mentally challenged boy and his bloody, gory, post-mortem quest for acceptance in his ignorant, hick world. Look for the lovely reunion scene at the end. It'll melt your heart.—Name withheld
“‘Cemetary Man,’ directed by Michele Soavi. This is a somewhat hillarious zombie film of a sorts about a cemetary caretaker (Rupert Everett) who pretty much has to bury everyone twice as they refuse to stay dead the first time. This movie is more visually lavish and cerebral from your run-of-the-mill zombie horror. Chock full of dark humor and graphic gore (not to mention some nice eye candy provided by Ms. Anna Falchi), this movie has definitely won me over and put itself on my top 10 list. It is an extremely unique film that is really hard to describe accurately enough to give someone a proper feel for it. It is certainly one of those that just has to be seen.”—Chad Morris, Tyler, Texas
“‘Dead Alive’ by Peter Jackson. A rodent creature is brought to a zoo in Wellington, where it infects the domineering mother of an introverted man. Things escalate out of control despite the son's effort to hide the mother, but just in time, our hero comes out of his shell and saves the day and the girl. It is a laugh riot, but very gross despite the cheesy effects, which only helps the movie's sick sense of humor.”—Raquel Rodriguez, Lajas, Puerto Rico
“A Spanish movie called ‘The Devil's Backbone,’ set in an orphanage during the Spanish Civil War. It is a ghost story whose creepiness factor is high, and in which the level of anxiety is influenced by the uncertainty, chaos and danger brought about by the political upheaval. The best performances belong to the boys in the orphanage, with the standout being the young lead.”—Cheryl Newcomb, Chicago
“‘The Other,’ based on the Thomas Tryon. Before there was Stephen King, there was Tom Tryon. The movie stars twin boys, one apparently good, one apparently evil. Soon to be famous actors such as John Ritter have parts. And above all, there is Uta Hagen, the famous acting teacher, playing the boy’s grandmother. No special effects, just pure evil.”—Mark Haviland, Ledgewood, N.J.
“I really like ‘In the Mouth of Madness.’ The name alone gives me the chills. Sam Neill plays an insurance investigator for a publishing company who has lost its best selling author (Jurgen Prochnow). The author, Sutter Cane is now the most widely read author on the planet, and his books have been read by more people than have read the Bible. The creepiness factor is only enhanced by the investigator’s slow realization that he is becoming the lead character Cane's latest horror novel.”—Shane, Duluth, Minn.
“For an off beat movie try ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes.’ Disney does horror! It's not particularly scary. But there is a very good story and good acting as well. That combination is rare in a typical horror flick.”—Charles, Hoover, Ala.
“‘The Eye’ — this is a Hong Kong flick, and is one of the few scary movies I've seen in a long time that actually made me scramble backwards out of my seat trying to get away from the screen. It’s weird, it’s scary, and I have two words for you: purple tongue.—Stacy Parker, Ellensburg, Wash.
“My favorite is the ‘Legend of Boggy Creek.’ It has bad ’70’s hair, actors who look like real people, and a sort of backwoods oral tradition flavor. It seems laughably bad, and yet when it’s all over you're too creeped out to go out in the dark. It’s set as a documentary in the late-night-on-the-Discovery-Channel style, which gives it its eerieness. There is no blood or gore, only a lot of ‘what-ifs’.”—Angie I., Topeka, Kansas
“My favorite horror movie of the past few years, for overall effect and style, would have to be Stuart Gordon's (director of “Re-Animator”) recent film, ‘Dagon.’
I saw this on a big screen with great surrround sound, which probably sold it for me. It’s a loose adaptation of, what else, a couple H.P. Lovecraft stories that Gordon skillfully turns into a solid block of chases, chills, dark humour, (both intentional, and otherwise...and a bit of the best gore I have seen in a long time.
It was shot in a small rain soaked Spanish coastal village. The twisted streets, old buildings, and cavernous houses make for great atmosphere. The sound editing provides deep chills as you can often hear monsters before you can see them. A very lucid and tight film at the same time, “Dagon” is a step above Gordon’s early ’80s Lovecraft fare, and a whole lot better than the recent “King of the Ants.” I highly recomend watching this on a large screen with surround sound, especailly after a big seafood meal...”—Nate M., Tacoma Wash.
“‘Night of the Living Dead,’ the original black and white. Just the thought of dead people eating you, just creeps me out. There have been remakes but there is nothing like the black and white.”—Leona
“‘Caltiki, the Immortal Monster’ (1959). I saw this movie years ago, when I was a small child. It scared the crap out if me. It was great!”—A.R. Zerbest, Albuquerque
“‘The Legend of Hell House’ (1973) - Based on Richard Matheson's novel and starring Roddy McDowall, Pamela Franklin, Clive Revill and Gayle Hunnicutt. I love haunted house movies and this little-seen chiller is one of my favorites. It is about a group of scientists who venture into a house to prove or disprove whether it is truly haunted and if there is life after death. Anyone who has ventured into the house previously has either died a horrible death or emerged nearly insane. The mood and atmosphere are the best features of the film and there are some truly startling and scary moments that add to the overall tension. The big revelation at the end, however, is more absurd than shocking. A bit of a disappointment after all that has led up to it. But still a great addition to your Halloween film viewing!”—Joe Tate, Seattle
“‘Jacob’s Ladder.’ It has an excellent creepy plot and one of the best mind-blowing endings ever.”—Tim Thompson, Arlington, Texas
“For my money, ‘Event Horizon’ is still the best sci-fi horror movie ever. The cast is great, the set (designed after the inside of Notre Dame) is creepy, and the story incredibly interesting. There are some great jump-out-of-your-seat moments, but the true scare comes from the constant degeneration into madness that just leaves you with a creepy feeling that the worst is just around the corner.”—TG, San Francisco
“Check out the movie, ‘The Changeling.’ I am getting goosebumps right now just thinking about it! George C. Scott starred in it. No gore just spine-tingling creepiness! My favorite scene is: the main character drives to a river and throws in a rubber balls that he is constantly finding around the old mansion he has purchased. Upon arriving home the wet ball is bouncing down the stairs to greet him!”—Kathy
“Hey! I accidentally stumbled upon a movie at a thrift store called ‘Pieces.’ It is a very old movie with bad effects and overly dramatic music, but it works. The acting is not too bad but the movie is quite disturbing. The ending will get you.”—Donna, Minneapolis
“‘Army of Darkness’ — it's third in a trilogy, the first two are ‘Evil Dead’ and ‘Evil Dead 2.’ I like it because it’s almost a cross between comedy and horror. The first two in the trilogy are very similar to each other, and it almost seems like they just remade the first one. But ‘Army of Darkness’ is a new story; it's a B movie, so it's got pretty bad special effects, but the main character is great.”—Melissa Behnke, Belleville
“David Cronenberg’s ‘The Brood.’ Even though it’s cheesy in a particularly ’70s way, this movie is absolutely terrifying. And like all good Cronenberg movies, the horror turns out to stem from the scariest thing of all: human psychology. Keep the lights on.”—Kate Peltier, San Francisco, Calif
“‘Homebodies.’ I haven’t seen it in 25 years and can’t find it on VHS or any format. It’s about a group of retirees who start killing those who are trying to evict them from theirr building. Would love to see it again.—John Fulton, Spokane, Wa.
“The original ‘The Haunting’ from the Shirley Jackson novel ‘The Haunting of Hill House.’ Never seeing any ghosts makes it one of the scariest movies ever made. It stars Russ Tamblyn and Richard Johnson.”—Shannon Lindsey, Seagoville, Texas
“‘Motel Hell’ is still one of the freakiest movies around. I can’t say much about it without giving away the plot surprises. It will make you think twice about rural motels off the main highway!”—Elena Graves, St. Clair Shores
“John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing.’ It has all the elements of true horror: Uncertainty, inability to get away and complete paranoia. Gory to the extreme it is not for the weak.”—Name withheld, Atlanta
“‘Conqueror Worm’ with Vincent Price. I think it was made in the early 1970s. It's about the Salem Witch hunts, very much a classic.”—Randy T., Loveland, Colo.
“‘The Uninvited’ is a 1940 movie that stars Ray Milland. This mystery/ghost story kept my interest and the coastal setting is impressive. Done in black and white, this movie harkens back to the days of good story telling. Enjoy.—Bill Ferullo, Barrington, N.H.