Friday, October 16, 2015

Ghost of Scary Movie Rankings

I have previously ranked horror movie hereherehere, 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.

Another Hammer feature, this was our family movie last Saturday. Something of a rarity, and one of my personal favorites, with fine acting and a very clever script. Takes place in an English coastal town long known as a center for smuggling untaxed wine and spirits into England, as well as for its local legend about "marsh phantoms." When Captain Collier and his men show up to investigate smuggling reports, they find themselves stymied by the local parson, played by Peter Cushing, who is both a genuinely dedicated clergyman but also the mastermind behind the town's smuggling operation. Captain Collier disbelieves the local marsh phantom superstition and is determined to take his men out on the march at night to intercept the smugglers. This may not be a wise choice on his part!

Story/Plot/Characters--Well-acted, script fits together like a machine, great characters. Generally good pace except a couple scenes are a bit slow. (3.5 points)
Special Effects--Effective effects for what they are. The marsh phantoms are fine, although I don't think they'd bear pausing the screen. Some scenes feel a bit sound-stagey. (1 point)
Scariness--Not especially frightening, but some tense moments. (.5 points)
Atmosphere/Freakiness--Very atmospheric, although it lacks some of the isolated feeling I like in horror movies. (1.5 points)
Total=6.5 points

One of our movies last year, and a true classic. I don't need to recount the plot, do I? I will just say that upon rewatching, I was greatly impressed with how much pathos Boris Karloff pulled out of a role with no speaking parts, limited facial expression, and clumsy movements.

Story/Plot/Characters--As so often in these older movies, some drawing room-type scenes play a little slowly. But well-acted, tight script, untouchable plot. (3.5 points)
Special Effects--The effects were so well done that even still the popular imagination of a mad scientist's laboratory brings this movie to mind, and despite a number of subsequent Frankenstein productions people still think of Karloff when they think of the Monster. (2 points)
Scariness--Grading a little bit on a curve here, but for its era, some scary parts. (1 point)
Atmosphere/Freakiness--The castle, the laboratory, the mob with pitchforks, the foggy woods: dripping with atmosphere. (1.5 points)
Total=8 points

Another of our movies from last year, and one of the few horror sequels to actually top the original, with Dr. Pretorious an especially chilling addition to the list of characters and the Monster's attempt to make a friend truly emotionally affecting. Roughly covers the second half of Mary Shelley's novel.

Story/Plot/Characters--From start to finish a memorable classic, with only one minor, but extremely annoying flaw: a shrill, obnoxious old woman played by Una O'Connor, who mars several scenes near the start with her whiny antics. (3.5 points)
Special Effects--The effects are even better than the already excellent ones in the first movie. (2 points)
Scariness--Just as scary, or slight more so, than the first. (1 point)
Atmosphere/Freakiness--All the atmosphere of the original, plus the sinister and freaky Dr. Pretorious gives this movie the full number of points on this score. (2 points)
Total=8.5 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

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

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