Saturday, October 31, 2015

House of Scary Movie Rankings

I have previously ranked horror movie herehereherehere, and here. So let's do another few. As per the rules, these must be movies I have seen in the past couple years and remember well.

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968)
I watched this with my son last weekend. He was suitably scared/fascinated by this first of the modern zombie movies. I was afraid he'd be upset by the nihilistic ending (spoiler warning?) but it didn't bother him at all.

Story/Plot/Characters--Characters are thin and dialogue is functional, but it's well-acted and well-made for such a low-budget film. (2.5 points)
Special Effects--One of the first gory movies. Primitive by today's standards but still effective. (1.5 points)
Scariness--Yes. (1.5 points)
Atmosphere/Freakiness--I've mentioned before that one thing I'm looking for in horror movies is a sort of sense of isolation, like there's no escape from the situation. This has that in abundance, plus it's atmospheric in a more traditional sense as well (fog, cemeteries, etc.). (2 points)
Total=7.5 points

DAY OF THE DEAD (1978)
The sequel to Night of the Living Dead and no, I didn't show this one to my son. Maybe when he's older. Like 22. I have seen it as recently as last Halloween. One of the best horror movies ever made, and possibly my personal favorite. A genuinely scary movie but also a cogent satire of materialistic 1970s American culture.

Story/Plot/Characters--Good pacing, tight plotting, many complicated action scenes are presented clearly and coherently. Well-drawn characters. Dialogue a little less than sparkling but not actually bad. (3.5 points)
Special Effects--Cutting-edge effects at the time, possibly the goriest American movie made up to that point. Perhaps a little dated but grading on the curve gives it a full score here. (2 points)
Scariness--Some of the tensest, scariest scenes I have ever viewed. (2 points)
Atmosphere/Freakiness--So freaky. The scene near the beginning when the helicopter is taking off as the skyline of Philadelphia winks out behind it is one of the all-time great visuals. The scenes at the mall as zombies "shop" the corridors is unbelievably freaky. (2 points)
Total=9.5 points

MAN-THING (2005)
Here's a movie that counts as both a horror film and a comic book movie. I'll do it as a comic movie in a later post. I'm a big fan of the Man-Thing, especially his first comic series from the mid-1970s. It's set in a small town in the Florida everglades, where an ancient Indian site in the neighboring swamp has spawned a creature to protect it against the encroachments of modern industrialized society. I'll say right now this movie got some of the basics right but did not nearly capture enough of the weirdness of the comic in its heyday. By the way, this movie has nudity and gore and is not suitable for children

Story/Plot/Characters--One thing I really hate in movies is when Hollywood actors fake a Southern accent. The southern accents in this movie are terrible. Characters are thin (why did they do away with the nuanced characters in the comic?) and dialogue is god-awful. Still, the pacing moves well and the plot is mostly coherent. (1 point)
Special Effects--Some decent effects, but not anything to write home about. (1 point)
Scariness--If you rely on gore rather than suspense, you should really actually have more gore. (.5 point)
Atmosphere/Freakiness--Actually some fairly atmospheric scenes in the swamp and the oil refinery on the edge of town. (1.5 points)
Total=4 points

______________________________________________________________________________
Here's the master list of horror movies I've rated so far, and let's also add to it the color ranking I use with the comic movies.
Green=excellent  Blue=pretty good  Black=Okay  Red=avoid

Day of the Dead (1978)=9.5 points
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)=8.5 points
Frankenstein (1931)=8 points
King Kong (1933)=8 points
Village of the Damned (1960)=8 points
Night of the Living Dead (1968)=7.5 points
Jaws (1975)=7 points
Night Creatures (1962)=6.5 points
Phantom of the Opera (1962)=6.5 points
The Thing (1982)=6 points
Man-Thing (2005)=4 points
Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)=3.5 points
The Wolf Man (1941)=3 points

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