Thursday, October 13, 2005

Horror films: a list and an essay

Another film list: Total Film magazine presents its 50 Greatest Horror Movies of All Time. Very interesting selection - whatever you might say about the futility of lists in general, you have to give some credit to one that includes such titles as Romero’s Martin, Bergman’s Hour of the Wolf and Lynch’s Eraserhead. Many of my favourite films are on the list (including some that aren’t horror films in the most conventional sense - Psycho, Peeping Tom, Carrie, Bride of Frankenstein, Don’t Look Now, for instance).

While on the subject, here’s a wonderful essay (think I linked to it on this blog once before, a long time ago): "The critics were horrified", written by Jim Emerson, editor of the site. Emerson starts by reminding us how vulnerable this most cinematic of genres is to critical disdain. He writes:

Critics can be particularly rough on horror pictures. It's so easy - too easy, sometimes - to make these spook-shows sound risible and preposterous in synopsis, especially once you remove them from the darkness of the theater and examine them in the harsh light of black and white newsprint (or monitor pixels).

He goes on to talk about four underrated horror films that he thinks deserve re-evaluation. It’s a lovely piece, full of the protectiveness so often felt by die-hard fans of the genre (and incongruously tender, given that it discusses films like Cronenberg’s The Brood). Read the whole thing here.

P.S. Have been trying for some time to put together a comprehensive essay on my own experiences with horror films over the years. Been working on it for some time but (much like the body parts in early Cronenberg films) it just isn't coming together right. Soon.

P.P.S. Here are two related posts: on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Robert Bloch, Lon Chaney and The Legacy.


  1. I'm surprised they left out the cult Brit horror film '28 Days Later' - an apocalyptic look into the future of mankind. And 'The Omen' is missing too!

  2. what about The last house on the left,thats one creepy movie.If i remember rightly it was directed by Craven.