This is the last week that’s in a random order, but it’s still random for now. After this week we will be counting down the top ten.
The original Japanese Godzilla is an almost perfect film. This is so close to being in my top 10 and if you asked me on a different day, it probably would be. From the moment this starts and the amazing score kicks in, it’s just pure brilliance. The effects were ground-breaking at the time and still look great now. Beyond the monster story it’s really about the effect of nuclear weapons and was made at a time when American occupation was still felt in Japan, and censorships on the effects of the bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were only just being eased. There isn’t really anything negative about this film, it’s outstanding and a must see. There is a Criterion release of this as well, that contains all of the Showa era Godzilla films, it’s a little pricy, but it’s worth it for the documentaries that put the film in its context with a lot of great interviews with the filmmakers.
When I first saw Poltergeist, it gave me the same kind of feeling that any of Spielberg’s films do. There’s a well-produced, high budget, and a (even though it’s horror) family feel to it. I know that Tobe Hooper directed the film and that’s clear, but you can still feel Spielberg’s touch on it. This is a great film and has some of the most memorable moments in all of horror history. It’s not the scariest film ever made, but watching this on a dark night with a bowl of popcorn is a hard one to beat.
There is a documentary series on Shudder, called Cursed Films, which dedicates an episode to Poltergeist and the so-called curse. It isn’t worth watching, it basically sums up what any rational person already knows. There isn’t a curse. I only mention it because the legacy of this film and its sequels seem to focus on the curse when it really shouldn’t.
The Dead Zone
David Cronenberg’s adaptation of my favourite Stephen King book is also my favourite Stephen King film. It manages to take a 500+ page book, boil it down to 90 minutes and somehow not miss a beat. Christopher Walken is brilliant in it, as is Martin Sheen. It’s a story about grief and loss, while also having a sub-plot asking if you could stop something horrible before it happens, but it means killing someone, would you? I don’t know why this film isn’t spoken about more, especially when people talk about adaptations of King’s books. It’s long overdue to be seen as the masterpiece that it truly is.
There is nothing that can be said about The Exorcist that hasn’t been said before. For some it’s the scariest film ever made. Some people completely dismiss it as being overrated. I wasn’t allowed to watch this growing up, one of the few films left out of my reach. My mum hates it, even the music (which is excellent) is enough to chill her. When I was older, I finally got a chance to see it (My mum wasn’t happy when she saw the film on my shelf) and while I don’t think it’s as scary as some people make out, it’s an expertly made film and is a horror film that could have only been made in the 70s. Long after watching it I kept on thinking about it, and I believe it is worthy of the legacy it holds.
Scream is my go to Halloween film. I’ve seen it many times and I absolutely love it. It takes all the trappings of horror and is completely self-aware about it. I didn’t really get it the first time I watched it, but after seeing more and more horror films, went back and found it even better. It’s something that rewards repeat viewings and is a treat to all horror fans. Wes Craven was a master of horror and this is his best film (in my opinion). I could watch this at any point. There is a part where they show snippets of John Carpenter’s Halloween (One of my other favourite films that didn’t quite make this list, although it was in draft copies), and that makes me want to watch again. I also think the sequels are good and can’t wait for the fifth one, due out in January. The TV show was really good, but I haven’t seen season 3.
Have you seen any of the films above? Love them, hate them? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading and until next time,