TSZDT

Well since I made my name on the internet (as small a name as it is) tackling a list, I figured, what the hell, let's SLOWLY tackle another one. This past weekend (1/23/16, 1/24/16) my wife and I locked ourselves in our bedroom, with plenty of snacks and our dog Emma, while the defining snowstorm of 2016 raged on outside and vegged on horror films. We both agreed that this has to be our favorite genre to watch together - not only because I'm a pussy boy who doesn't want to watch them alone, but because even when they're bad, they're really fun to rag on. Anyway - the most famous horror list currently circulating online has got to be THEY SHOOT ZOMBIES, DON'T THEY - a list of 1,000 horror, thriller, sci-fi and suspense titles that we've set our sights on.

This list will be updated at my leisure, much like the #1001Albums page. In fact, the formatting here will be the same as it is there - with the newest entry always appearing at the top, along with the film's poster, essential details (title, director, stars, etc.) and then a very short blurb containing my thoughts. We will be tackling the list in number order, from 1,000 to 1.

The entire THEY SHOOT ZOMBIES, DON'T THEY list can be found here


970. BLOOD DINER (1987 - Jackie Kong)  1/10
Main Cast: Rick Burks, Carl Crew, Roger Dauer, LaNette La France, Lisa Elaina

WOW...While not as disgusting and slimy as The Gore Gore Girls or Terror Firmer, this one was still bottom of the barrel type stuff. I'm finding that the films that TSZDT labels as "splatter" are going to be some of the worst ones I'm gonna' have to sit through.I suppose it's good for a laugh or two, but more in a make fun of it sort of way, rather than a genuine comedy type way. Take a PASS!


971. STOKER (2013 - Chan-wook Park)  4.5/10
Main Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole Kidman, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver

Great cinematography and great editing aside, this was just odd as hell. I had no idea what was going on throughout the movie and when we finally get the payoff at the end, it just isn't worth all the confusion that we just sat through. Unscary and too uninteresting for me to even get it to the average marker.


972. DEAD CALM (1989 - Phillip Noyce)  7/10
Main Cast: Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill, Billy Zane

Well this was a breath of fresh air and it's worth noting that I haven't given a film a rating higher than '7' since Dead Set, which was over ten movies ago. This one was a very effective thriller (not a horror), which takes place almost entirely on a boat. The claustrophobic setting only adds to the tension of the film. Really good stuff here...


973. THE SKELETON DANCE (1929 - Walt Disney)  5/10

Let me explain the '5'. On one hand, it's a six minute, animated short and that's hard for me to really get behind as anything more than just "cutesy". I didn't take it seriously, I just watched it and then it ended and I ticked off another notch on this list. On the other hand, the animation was pretty top notch and pretty much superseded my expectations of what could be done with pencil & paper and film in 1929. This would also work great as background noise, on a loop at a kid's Halloween party...just a thought.


974. THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (1928 - J.S. Watson Jr., Melville Webber)  1/10
Main Cast: Herbert Stern, Hildegarde Watson, Melville Webber

Well....at only thirteen minutes long, there isn't much to say about The Fall of the House of Usher. It's based on a Poe story and I had literally no clue what the fuck was going on, so I'll leave this one to the more sophisticated movie goer to decipher, and I'll move right along...


975. PLAY MISTY FOR ME (1971 - Clint Eastwood)  6,5/10
Main Cast: Clint Eastwood, Jessica Walter, Donna Mills, John Larch, Jack Ging

I wish my last name was GING!

Anyway...this was pretty good, but definitely not horror. Can I just say one last time how much I wish the creators of the list would have stuck to strict horror, instead of stirring in thrillers too? As it is, this was a fine film and something I can even thank the list for finally forcing me to see. This has been on my watchlist for YEARS.

EDIT: Holy cow - EVELYN WAS MRS. BLUTH??!!! Who knew...


976. MAREBITO (2004 - Takashi Shimizu)  6/10
Main Cast: Shin'ya Tsukamoto, Tomomi Miyashita, Kazuhiro Nakahara, Miho Ninagawa, Shun Sugata

Gave it a '6' because, honestly, there was something resembling a couple of really good ideas floating around in there, that really never, fully manifested themselves. I like the plot of a guy keeping a vampire as a pet, only to be forced to go out and kill for her, to get her blood. It kind of reminds you of "Let the Right One In", in that respect. I actually had no freaking idea what was going on, at times and by the end, I was totally bamboozled as to what exactly the endgame was. Definitely had potential, but it fizzled out somewhere in there...


313. BUD ABBOTT AND LOU COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948 - Charles T. Barton)  6.5/10
Main Cast: Lou Costello, Bud Abbott, Bela Lugosi, Glenn Strange, Lon Chaney Jr. 

The final film on our Universal Dracula detour...

Technically, I should've probably gone with a solid '6', but the ending was so good that I just had to bump it up a half notch. My biggest problem with this movie was that it tried to be both faithful to the Universal monsters, while also still trying to be an Abbott & Costello vehicle, as well. This film had the scenes that I was begging for in House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula, where two of the Universal monsters actually have a serious, fight to the finish, which leads us right into the climax of the movie. Other than that though, the serious side of the plot was lacking big time and since I'm a stickler for continuity, this did me no favors. SPOILER ALERT...

Wolf Man was killed in House of Frankenstein and then returned in House of Dracula, only to be cured of his wolfy ailment. Now, he's back again and still turning into a wolf at the first sign of moonlight. Dracula is showing up in mirrors, not to mention the fact that he too has been killed a few times now.

Oh and it's also worth noting that this is my first exposure to Abbott and Costello and it went over pretty well, as the night ended with me adding five or six of their other titles to my watch list. As for this, why was it called "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein", as they meet Dracula and Wolf Man just as much as they do Franky? Bottom line - it's fun and it's still really fun to see the monsters mingling. Just seeing Bela Lugosi's Dracula in the same scenes as the Frankenstein Monster was just so cool and that final scene where the Wolf Man grabs Dracula, in his bat state, and takes him over the cliff was pretty bad ass. I just wish the final moments for these three characters would have come in a more serious, better scripted film and not a comedy.


977. HOUSE OF DRACULA (1945 - Erle C. Kenton)  5.5/10
Main Cast: Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Onslow Stevens, Glenn Strange, Jane Adams

Finally, we get to the ACTUAL next movie on the list, #977...

Despite the appearance, yet again, of all of the classic Universal monsters, I didn't like this one as much as I liked House of Frankenstein. The plot here just didn't go as far with me and for the most part was pretty boring, with both Dracula and The Wolf Man seeking the help of Dr. Edlemann to cure them of their respective monsterhood. In the end (SPOILER ALERT) Edlemann goes mad, kills Dracula and actually ends up curing The Wolf Man. Recommended only to the staunchest classic horror fans.


794. HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1944 - Erle C. Kenton)  6.5/10
Main Cast: Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Glenn Strange, J. Carrol Naish

Despite it's title, this is yet another film in the Universal/Dracula series, as the classic vamp does make an appearance alongside fellow creatures The Wolf Man and Frankenstein's Monster. I actually had loads of fun with this and it was really cool seeing all of these monsters in the same film. This is actually more like two movies in one, with the first part delivering the Dracula story with (SPOILER ALERT) the famous Count calling himself Baron Latos and dying (yet again) when the sun catches him still awake. The second part focuses more on The Wolf Man and Frankenstein's Monster and at only seventy minutes this film packs quite the wallop. Easily my favorite of the Universal classics thus far.


568. SON OF DRACULA (1943 - Robert Siodmak)  5/10
Main Cast: Lon Chaney Jr., Robert Paige, Louise Allbritton, Evelyn Ankers, Frank Craven

Another mediocre installment in Universal's Dracula franchise. I will say that the son delivered better than the daughter, with Lon Chaney Jr. turning in a fine performance as the undead Count. Sure, he's no Bela, but he was creepy and I'd have liked to have seen more with Lon. I think, however, he's replaced by John Carradine int he subsequent films.


470. DRACULA'S DAUGHTER (1936 - Lambert Hillyer)  4.5/10
Main Cast: Gloria Holden, Otto Kruger, Marguerite Churchill, Edward Van Sloan, Gilbert Emery

The Dracula train rolls on...

This was kind of a stinker and too short to really amount to anything. In fact, we don't even find out that the relationship between Contessa Zeleska and Count Dracula is father/daughter until the final 15-20 minutes of the film and by then, we've probably put two and two together based on the title. Furthermore, the film isn't really creepy at all and I found myself watching the clock more than anything. I'm going to tire of these Dracula films quick.


53. DRACULA (1931 - Tod Browning)  6/10
Main Cast: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan

No need for a double take - I've skipped ahead to #53. But only because #977 is "House of Dracula" one of the sequels to Lugosi's original Dracula film. So we figured we might as well tackle them in order and at the same time, knock a few more movies off the list. In fact, there were five sequels to this original Dracula and they're all on the list.

As for this, I've lowered it one notch from my original BOOK review (I gave it a '7' back then). It's a perfectly fine film, but I'm not that nostalgic for stuff from the early 30s, so it's not something I go ape for or anything. If you want to read my original 1001 review, click here. Beware - it was written nearly seven years ago and probably sucks the big one.



978. THE CAT AND THE CANARY (1939 - Elliott Nugent)  5/10
Main Cast: Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, John Beal, Douglass Montgomery, Gale Sondergaard

Let's just call this one right down the middle, although leaning more toward the good side. The plot is sort of "Ten Little Indians"-ish, with a group of family members being called together for the reading of the will and the sole heir being put in danger after she is named as such.


979. HANDS OF THE RIPPER (1971 - Peter Sasdy)  5.5/10
Main Cast: Eric Porter, Angharad Rees, Jane Merrow, Keith Bell, Derek Godfrey

Not bad, not great either. Certainly a middle of the road, average film. This would be the first Hammer horror film on the list that we come to, I think. Eric Porter was the big find of the picture, turning in a great performance as the lead (Dr. Eric Pritchard). Not really long enough or thrilling enough to get me too invested, but it wasn't a total waste of time either. Very *MEH*.


980. TERROR FIRMER (1999 - Lloyd Kaufman)  1/10
Main Cast: Will Keenan, Alyce LaTourelle, Lloyd Kaufman, Trent Haaga, Debbie Rochon

Well...this sure put "The Gore Gore Girls" into a better light. This was disgusting, grotesque, disturbing and at times, vomit inducing...and the sad part is, those are probably just the type of "accolades" this film was going for. Another one that just makes you want to take a hot shower when you're done washing and make sure none of the stink of the film somehow wafted through the television screen. Maybe the worst film I've ever seen...


981. DREAD (2009 - Anthony DiBlasi)  4/10
Main Cast: Jackson Rathbone, Shaun Evans, Hanne Steen, Laura Donnelly, Jonathan Readwin

'4' is probably being a little generous, considering the plot of this film is held together with scotch tape, but I kinda' dug the ending and the whole thing with the Quaid character locking the Cheryl character up in a room with raw meat, which she couldn't stand because her rapist father was a butcher, was pretty diabolical. The film is based on a short story of the same name by Clive Barker. Was it just me or did the characters in the film use the word "dread" too much, as if they were trying to justify calling the film that. This also marks my first film from the After Dark Horrorfest a.k.a. 8 Films to Die For.


982. GASLIGHT (1944 - George Cukor)  6.5/10
Main Cast: Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotten, Dame May Whitty, Angela Lansbury

Well...it's not horror, by any means. And if we ARE going to consider this a horror film, then there's no reason why film's like Shadow of a Doubt and Dial M for Murder shouldn't also be included. Anyway, I wrote a full scale review on this back in June 2012 for the blog, which can be found by clicking here. The rating has gone down a bit since...


983. DEAD SET (2008 - Yann Demange)  8/10
Main Cast: Jaime Winstone, Andy Nyman, Riz Ahmed, Adam Deacon, Warren Brown

Man, where did this gem come from? Technically, this isn't a movie, but rather a television show - split into five episodes, which aired on the E4 channel, in the U.K. in 2008. The mini-series incorporates a few of my favorite things, including zombies and Big Brother. When a zombie epidemic breaks out outside the Big Brother house, the house guests continue their refuge and are joined by one of the show's crew. Loved it! MAYBE the best thing I've watched for this project so far, besides Cache.


984. THE LIVING DEAD GIRL (1982 - Jean Rollin)  6.5/10
Main Cast: Francoise Blanchard, Marina Pierro, Mike Marshall, Carina Barone, Fanny Magier

Despite my less than stellar rating, this was actually really good and just the sort of horror that I'm coming to really enjoy. I can't edge it into '7' territory or anything, just because - but forget my number and check this out if you're into blood & guts, zombies & bloodsuckers. I look forward to more Jean Rollin from this list.


985. ANATOMY (2000 - Stefan Ruzowitzky)  3/10
Main Cast: Franka Potente, Benno Furmann, Anna Loos, Sebastian Blomberg, Holger Speckhahn

This very un-scary, very un-good film from 2000 really had no place on ANY sort of a top list, let alone a list of the greatest horror. The film is about a med student who gets accepted to the most prestigious med school in Germany, only to discover a secret society called the "Anti-Hippocratic's", who believe that killing a few to save a lot isn't so bad. SNOOZER!


986. BELOW (2002 - David Twohy)  3.5/10
Main Cast: Bruce Greenwood, Olivia Williams, Holt McCallany, Matthew Davis, Nick Chinlund

Considering this is the only film Darren Aronofsky has credited to him solely for writing, I'm shocked that this hasn't popped up on my radar until now. I'm also shocked that such a talented writer/director as Aronofsky, would have penned something so lousy. I found this script to be full of holes and ultimately non-sensical. I'm wasn't really following along all that well and am quite certain that you'd have an impossible time trying to draw a line from point A to point B, plot wise, in Below. The film is set during World War II and there's something about historical horror that just doesn't do it for me either. Take a pass on this one, unless the Aronofsky credit has you too curious.


987. CACHE (2005 - Michael Haneke)  8/10
Main Cast: Daniel Auteuil, Juliette Binoche, Maurice Benichou, Annie Girardot, Lester Makedonsky

Not really a horror film, but I had no qualms about re-watching Cache, if only to try and crack more of the puzzle that it presents to it's viewers. I think the goings on of Haneke's 2005 near-masterpiece are pretty cut & dry upon second inspection, but I won't spoil anything for you here. The film tells of a family's distress when they begin receiving mysterious videotapes delivered to their doorstep. I actually wrote a pretty in-depth analysis of the film when I saw it for the first time last year, which can be read here.


988. THE TUNNEL (2011 - Carlo Ledesma)  6.5/10
Main Cast: Bel Delia, Andy Roboreda, Steve Davis, Luke Arnold

This is one of the very few found footage films that I didn't go absolutely ape crap over. I liked it, sure - but it's probably one of the worst found footage films I've seen; which isn't saying much, considering I usually love the genre. However, the presence of a score here (which really has no place in found footage) and the talking head interviews (which basically serve as spoilers to let us know who makes it out at the end and who doesn't) too me out of it. Still though, it's a fun one and well worth your time.


989. THE GORE GORE GIRLS (1972 - Herschell Gordon Lewis)  2.5/10
Main Cast: Frank Kress, Amy Farrell, Hedda Lubin, Nora Alexis, Henny Youngman

I'll justify the '2.5' by saying that the film DOES have a plot and even has a sensible ending for detailing who the killer was and why they were murdering the strippers. Otherwise, this was just putrid. With a bit of research, I found out that director Lewis was known as "The Godfather of Gore", pushing the envelope in horror further than anyone was pushing it at the time. This was too far though and this actually gave me a grimy feeling just watching it - as if the Netflix people were shaking their heads as they stuffed this DVD in an envelope and shipped it off to me. Avoid if you can...


990. SLAUGHTER HIGH (1986 - George Dugdale, Mark Ezra, Peter Mackenzie Litten)  7/10
Main Cast: Caroline Munro, Simon Scuddamore, Carmine Iannaccone, Donna Yeager, Gary Martin

I really liked this! Definitely the best thing I've seen from this list so far. This is just as good, if not better, than Friday the 13th and follows the same basic blueprint as that film did. We have a group of teens (although they're actually grown-ups attending what they think is their high school reunion), a psycho killer in a mask, a gory slasher (this is gorier, I think) and a twist ending. Yet, for some reason, we all know and love Friday the 13th, while no one has ever heard of Slaughter High. This is the film they should be remaking and putting on TV every October. Sure, the acting and script are terrible, but that comes with the territory when you're dealing with slasher flicks. At least with Slaughter High, you get the sense that the filmmaker's care, as there are some shots that are certainly brought to you from the mind of someone who knows what they're doing. Oh and by the way, the beware of the bathtub scene. I was eating while watching this and when the bathtub scene hit, I actually had to tell myself, "it's only a movie".


991. THE HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK (1980 - Ruggero Deodato)  6/10
Main Cast: David Hess, Annie Bell, Christian Borromeo, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Marie Claude Joseph

This is a rough one to rate. On one hand - it was cheaply made, terribly acted and had a pretty awful script, that more resembled a soft core porn than any real semblance of a film. On the other hand - it really wasn't that bad - and honestly, if the sex had been removed, then this would've ceased to be a horror movie. As it is, it's barely a horror movie anyway - but the one scary thing it has going for it, is that the two villains are rapists and the threat of being raped is scary. The film tells the tale of two lowlifes who invite themselves to a party, only to hold the other five party guests hostage, threatening the women with rape and the men with beatings - to which they deliver on both counts. Hess is pretty great as the lead low life. The film even manages to sneak a twist in on us, which somehow, despite it's logic, made me appreciate the film even more.


992. THE BOOGEY MAN (1980 - Ulli Lommel)  5/10
Main Cast: Suzanna Love, Ron James, Nicholas Love, John Carradine, Raymond Boyden

I actually ended up buying this from Amazon, as I was already doing some other online shopping and it was cheaper to buy this from Amazon, so that I could qualify for free shipping. Honestly, despite the *blech* rating, this wasn't too bad and just the sort of thing I'm after from this list. The music was very creepy, but also very similar (to the point of being a rip off) of Carpenter's score for Halloween. Not sure the film made much sense either... An evil mirror? Anyway, I had fun with it.


993. BOTCHED (2007 - Kit Ryan)  4.5/10
Main Cast: Stephen Dorff, Jaime Murray, Edward Duly Baker, Bronagh Gallagher, Geoff Bell

Well, I normally hate horrors that are also comedies, but this was a somewhat fine way to spend ninety minutes. Don't get me wrong, I didn't love it or anything and as you can see, I rated it below average. But, for what it's worth, the laughs weren't atrocious, as the Boris character actually had me LOLing a few times. However, this really isn't the type of thing I'm looking for in this list. Next...


994. SUGAR HILL (1974 - Paul Maslansky)  5.5/10
Main Cast: Marki Bey, Zara Cully, Robert Quarry, Don Pedro Colley, Richard Lawson

Well, it wasn't as bad as I expected a zombie, blaxploitation film to be. The plot was pretty straightforward, with plenty of fine make-up effects, creaky doors and slithering snakes to make any Halloween movie-thon complete. Keep your eyes peeled for the killer chicken foot and the zombie massage. Bad acting aside, I'd give this a mild recommendation...very mild, but mild nonetheless.


995. SLEEPWALKERS (1992 - Mick Garris)  6/10
Main Cast: Brian Krause, Madchen Amick, Alice Krige, Dan Martin, Jim Haynie

I had seen this a couple of times when I was younger and remembered liking it enough back then. Some may cite the death by corn cob and clearly fake cats attacking the main character as grounds for writing this one off as garbage, but I liked it. It served it's purpose and was easily the freakiest movie from the list, thus far. Also, the song "Sleep Walk" by Santo & Johnny is used to maximum effect, with the entrancing tune being transformed into something very eerie and downright creepy. Scenes to look out for: the car chase scene and the one where the beautiful Madchen Amick dances in the movie theater lobby to The Contour's "Do You Love Me?".


996. VENUS IN FURS (1969 - Jesus Franco)  3.5/10
Main Cast: James Darren, Maria Rohm, Barbara McNair, Klaus Kinski, Dennis Price

Boy, another Jesus Franco movie that I just didn't understand and actually, even moreso than "Dr. Z". Are we to assume that Klaus Kinski and his two sidekicks were vampires? You see, I have to assume that there was some sort of connection to vampires, because a part of the end sequence had a red, blue & green hues on the camera - very similarly to "Les Vampires" (1915). I don't know...What I do know is that I sincerely hope we're done with Jesus Franco as it pertains to this list, as his movies leave me intrigued - YES, but they seem to be very self indulgent pieces that are only usable for the jollies of the director. Take a pass...


997. BLOODY BIRTHDAY (1981 - Ed Hunt)  6/10
Main Cast: Lori Lethin, Julie Brown, Elizabeth Hoy, Billy Jayne, Andrew Freeman

This is leaning more toward what I've been looking for out of this list - at least in some part. Going into this list, one thing I wanted a heaping helping of was 80s, B-slasher movies and it doesn't get anymore B than Bloody Birthday. Complete with plenty of gratuitous sex scenes and laughable plot details (or lack thereof), this was just a lot of fun to watch and my wife & I had a hoot making fun of it. In all seriousness though, there was some not-too-shabby camerawork and really, within the realm of this film, where fourth graders are vicious serial killers, everything made sense...mostly. Just pretend the children are mutants who have the built in ability to shoot guns and lift adult bodies for times their size and it'll go a lot easier for you...


998. THE DIABOLICAL DR. Z (1966 - Jesus Franco)  4.5/10
Main Cast: Estella Blain, Mabel Karr, Fernando Montes, Howard Vernon, Marcelo Arroita-Jauregui

This one was just...weird. I'm not really sure what the hell was going on, to be totally honest with you. However, there was enough intrigue here to get me through it and honestly, if the script had just been a hair stronger, this could've passed for something mildly watchable. As it is, you can tell we've started out at the bottom the barrel.


999. FIEND WITHOUT A FACE (1858 - Arthur Crabtree)  4/10
Main Cast: Marshall Thompson, Kynaston Reeves, Kim Parker, Stanley Maxted, Terry Kilburn

Even at something like seventy-five minutes long, this was still a bore. It really didn't get going until about the last fifteen minutes, when we finally see the monsters and get a full explanation of what they are and where they came from. The entire first hour was just the set-up and by the time we got into the meat & potatoes, there wasn't enough time left to savor it. If they could've built everything up within the first thirty minutes and given us forty five minutes of action, it would've been worlds better.


1000. THE SKULL (1965 - Freddie Francis)  6.5/10
Main Cast: Peter Cushing, Patrick Wymark, Christopher Lee, Jill Bennett, Nigel Green

This was a good one to start with. It was short enough that it never got boring and the cast & story was strong enough that it flew by. Nothing stellar or anything, but it was fine and I dug it enough to give it a mild recommendation. Keep 'em comin'!

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for these reviews. I'm currently at 882/1000 on this list, so it's interesting to see the opinions of somebody just beginning to make their way through the list.
    All things going well, mightysparks should update the list next month.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG, a comment on the TSZDT page. Thank you Ryan, much appreciated! Are you documenting your progress anywhere or strictly watching?

      Delete
    2. Yes, there's a thread on the iCheckMovies forum for working on the list, and I'm posting about the films as I watch them:
      http://s15.zetaboards.com/iCheckMovies/topic/7944915/1/

      Delete