Saturday, December 17, 2011

Top 10: Collectible DVD Labels Part 1

Hey there! It's been a while, yet again. Same ol' stuff going down.

But we're not here for that. We're here to celebrate another Top 10 list, because everyone loves lists. Everyone! Just try to refute it.

Returning back to the topic that inspired me to create this blog in the first place, perhaps in order to find some type of structure once again with it, or perhaps just to dwell in my favorite topic: hoarding, I mean, collecting movies!

As someone who's been fanatical about spending any free dime (something hard to come by lately) he can on a disc encased with cinematic goodness, I've found certain labels to call to me, much like music fiends who follow specific labels' releases. Whether it's the packaging, the type of movie, or any combination of mitigating factors; these lines are just plain damned fun to collect. You remember as a kid wanting to collect baseball cards? Imagine that thrill but with something you can get at least a few hours of entertainment out of before it takes up shelf space.

The rankings of this list has been decided through taking into account various factors, such as how much enjoyment I get out of the films themselves along with how much fun I get out of hunting them down and the sense of accomplishment I receive.

And here's two words for any label heads that might be looking for ways to grab collectors' attention: Spine Numbers. You throw those on there and you've got me like a fish on a hook.

10. Blue Underground

Started when William Lustig left the Anchor Bay of old, Blue Underground has made a name for itself releasing some of the most primo cult titles. Argentos, Fulcis, and a healthy dose of various gialli help to make up a strong catalog of Euro-horrors that continue to hold a high demand amongst film collectors. That's not to say domestic titles are ignored. Quality titles such as Dead & Buried, The Crazies, and Q: The Winged Serpent leave a testament to American cult. But, and I find this to be true with a lot of labels, the quieter, less notable releases really stand out to me. Oddities such as Larry Cohen's Bone and the new wave Aussie musical Starstruck have become a couple of my personal favorite movies yet there is almost no mention of them amongst cult film circles. With the advent of blu-ray, Blue Underground has also made a name for itself with some of the most outstanding transfers of catalog titles that the medium has seen yet.

Unfortunately, it seems that the release of new titles has slowed to a crawl which is one of the factors in it being placed at #10. In 2011, they released only two, though very welcome, new titles to their catalog: The Nesting and Quiet Days in Clichy. I'm very glad they're supporting HD with such quality releases though I do wish we would see more unique titles released between the big name catalog reissues.

Still, when you receive a new Blue Underground disc, you know you've got quality. Usually it's a title you've been reading about for a while online and you're excited to just be able to watch the damn thing. But then you get their wonderful covers and a decent sized booklet typically containing a top-notch essay or two by various passionate writers giving each title the star treatment. Their films are typically Euro-centric which, combined with the special treatment BU gives them, gives off a feeling of prestige. Kind of like looking at a vintage Scotch magazine ad from the 60's.

Favorite titles: Bone, Starstruck, Q: The Winged Serpent, Vampyres, The Blind Dead boxset, City of the Living Dead

Upcoming titles: Night Train Murders blu, Baba Yaga blu, Strip Nude for Your Killer blu

9. Dragon Dynasty

Now, other than horror and the like, my favorite type of genre to throw on at any old time would be kung-fu and Asian action films, the love of which is why this line makes the list. The spine numbers aren't hurting it, either. (Note: I'll freely admit that if there was one all-encompassing Shaw Bros. line instead of their titles being spread amongst distributors, it'd probably take the place of this one, and probably move further up the list.)

Dragon Dynasty, owned by the frustrating Weinsteins, has had its fair share of criticisms. Cut releases, dub-titles, confounding commentary tracks, etc., all of which I agree with. None of that shit should have happened, but knowing that its existence is really to shuttle out the stuff the Weinsteins have acquired and don't know what to do with, we should be happy that it's only been this bad. If you can get past all that, you have a very nice range of movies that might otherwise have not been released here, remaining as expensive imports; and they definitely wouldn't have had as much mainstream exposure by being carried by big box stores such as Walmart. Because of this line, these movies have a decent chance at being discovered by a completely new audience.

And what movies, indeed. The catalog ranges from the titans of Asian action with The Killer and Hard Boiled to classic Shaw Bros. kung-fu to newer, lesser-known titles such as Seven Swords or Born to Fight. Their release of SPL (unfortunately retitled with the generic Kill Zone) put me over the moon, priming me just in time for the recent wave of Donie Yen goodness with Ip Man and Return of the Fist. Their title Dog Bite Dog, one I had never heard of before or since really, turned out to be one of the most stark and hard-hitting films I had seen in years, becoming one of my favorite films. If there's one title I'd implore people to seek out, it'd be that one. And you can't forget the spine numbers. As any collecting fanatic will tell you, seeing those gaps in the numbering on the shelf with only drive the "gotta collect them all" madness further.

Favorite titles: Dog Bite Dog, Kill Zone, Hard Boiled, The Royal Tramp Collection, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, Come Drink With Me

Upcoming titles: Unfortunately, newly announced titles for the line come at random times, usually right around when you start thinking the line's dead. After releasing a flurry of Shaw Bros and blu upgrades to existing titles just in the last few months, they deserve to take a break, I suppose, with their only upcoming title listed on Amazon being the Dragon Dynasty Collection-Volume 2, collecting some of their most recent single releases.

8. Roger Corman's Cult Classics

When BCI/Deimos was sadly disbanded, cult dvd suffered a pretty big blow. One of the only highlights of that event was the main man behind it, Cliff MacMillan, was picked by Shout Factory to head up their newly acquired Roger Corman line of titles, helping to preserve a lineage for future generations.

Some of these titles had been released before through Corman's New Concorde label but most had been out of print and went for a decent price used. Others had never been released at all, some not even on VHS. Shout Factory should be given a medal for saving so many of these movies from getting swept by in time, many of them receiving deluxe special editions that are almost better than the movies deserve. They've got DVD, blu-ray, double, triple, and even quadruple feature discs to contain all this schlock!

I would have fawned over this line anyways, but they get extra points for bringing out one of my favorite movies in a great blu-ray right out of the gate with Rock N' Roll High School as their first release, along with Betty Thomas's Suburbia. They followed that up with the heavy hitters Death Race 2000, Galaxy of Terror, and Forbidden World, all on blu. Rather than taking a chance on the smaller known titles getting overlooked with single title discs, they paired movies up in packs to attract more attention, something I'm more than fine with. While I enjoy special features, I'll always prefer getting as many unique titles on disc as possible, even if the films are light with the extras. I even found a movie I had been wondering about for years through this line. As a kid, I had rented some movie dealing with a space crew and some kind of monster coming on board. Since it's a fairly generic plot, I came across a dozen or so movies it could be but was never sure of what one it was until I got the Terror Within/Dead Space disc I won in the DVDTalk Horror Challenge. One look at Marc Singer and his robot buddy and I knew I had finally got it. No idea if it's still any good yet. That's what I love about this line, they've released so many titles I used to gaze at as a child and can now finally watch. My only small gripe is their releases are heavily skewed towards the 70's stuff when I have a higher interest in the 80's/early 90's Corman stuff since that's what was coming out when I was growing up, but I'm definitely not snubbing my nose at the other titles. Great stuff, all of it.

Favorite Titles: Rock 'N' Roll High School blu, Vampires, Mummies & Monsters Collection, The Slumber Party Massacre Collection, Sword & Sorcery Collection

Upcoming Titles: The only upcoming titles with dates to them yet are the Lethal Ladies Collection, Vol. 2 and The Nurses Collection. DVD News Flash has a list of rumored future releases taken from Cliff himself.

7. Shameless

With the number of unique Euro titles being released only at a fraction of what was coming out during the medium's heyday, a company still premiering catalog titles should be commended.

Now there are a few detriments when it comes to Shameless. If you live in the States, like me, then you're going to have to import these which automatically raises the price a bit. Even though the basic price is fairly cheap, rather ten dollars when converted, you still have to pay a higher shipping price as well as your bank charging you a conversion fee. Another problem is that many of their titles are easily available here domestically, released through Blue Underground or other cult labels. If you're over in Europe and you're reading this, none of this applies to you since you have to do all this shit when ordering our domestic labels. So you guys don't even have to sweat it. For the Yanks, you're probably asking why the hell I'm even bringing this label up, let alone placing it higher than something like Blue Underground?

Well, it's because they're just so goddamn collectible, which is what this list is all about. The packaging doesn't just catch your eye, it assaults it with bright yellow plastic and covers, harkening back to the Italian pulp novels that gialli get their name from. They not only have the spine numbers racket thing going for them, but the spines also form an image of the company's logo, effectively doubling the fucking spine madness. And that's not to say the films themselves are slouching either. They carry some of the big heavy hitters of grungy Euro horror such as New York Ripper, much of which is readily available here so picking those up would be pretty much for the nutball collectors like me. But they do have titles that are harder to pick up domestically. Phantom of Death is a giallo directed by Cannibal Holocaust's Ruggero Deodato and stars Michael York. The Designated Victim, Escape From the Bronx, Footprints on the Moon, Oasis of Fear, Ratman, and What Have They Done to Your Daughters? are all unavailable with a legitimate release here in the States but are available through Shameless. They recently made the plunge into HD, creating the world's first "yellow"-rays, which frankly are just damned snazzy. With the Shameless label, their strengths are definitely in the physical presentation of their titles and how satisfying it is to collect them, more so than probably any other line on this list.

Favorite Titles: The Bronx Warriors Trilogy, Ratman, What Have They Done to Your Daughters?, The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh

Upcoming Titles: Four Flies on Grey Velvet blu, Cemetery Man

6. Mondo Macabro

Sometimes you need something fresh, something unique, something fucking different. The same old slashers, zombies, ghosts, etc. are feeling stagnant. Hell, even the whackjob giallos are feeling a little too familiar. Well, Mondo Macabro is about as far as you can fucking get from normal when it comes to movies.

If you want a crash course in cult cinema from all around the world, Mondo Macabro's catalog is all you need. I don't believe any of their titles are from American, with only one or two being in English at all. They truly span the globe; France, Spain, Japan, Bollywood, Filipino, they're all represented here with the most outlandish sights you'll see in a film. Even though some of their titles can still be categorized into categories like a giallo or Pinku eiga, they still manage to go past what you could think is capable in their fields. You ever see disembodied head fly around with its spinal cord and internal organs attached fly around and suck the blood of a baby while still in the womb? You sure as shit will here. Or how about a two-hour+ musical Bollywood ripoff of A Nightmare on Elm Street? You're covered. They've even got Paul fuckin' Naschy in there.

Another aspect that I love about this line, speaking as a collector, is their packaging. The plastic used for the cases are always a bright red, making them stand out from the sea of regular ol' black on the shelves. When placed together, the glaring red calls out from the shelf, almost like the Pied Piper of Crazy Shit. "Hey you! You wanna have an acid trip like your daddy used to write home about?" This line just speaks to me. Besides the unique packaging, it brings me sights from the furthest corners of the world. I'm someone who craves new and unique ideas in film. I'm always pushing and scouring for the most obscure titles possible. With Mondo Macabro, that itch is consistently scratched and for the adventurous film freak, I can't recommend them enough.

Favorite Titles: Bollywood Horror Collections 1, 2, and 3, Blood Rose, Don't Deliver Us From Evil, Mystics in Bali,

Upcoming Titles: Their most recent title was the Santa-decimating Don't Open Till Christmas with no other titles announced at the moment, but Mondo Macabro takes their time on releases so I'm sure more will be upcoming.

Holy damn, did this go long. I just clocked it and it's running at almost 2500 words already. I guess you can tell I'm passionate about this, huh? I was really planning on making this all under one post, but I think for both my benefit and for those of you reading, I'll bring it to a close. I'll get the second part of it up within the next day or two so as to not keep the world in suspense. Until then, I bid you adieu and wish you well on your movie hunting.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

31 Alternative Films for Halloween

(Insert the usual excuses for another absence on my part here, employment problems, family health issues, yadda yadda.)

Well, as everyone probably knows by now, Halloween's almost here once again, and you know what that means, right? Uninspired top ten lists from every non-genre media source imaginable! Because the experts at Entertainment Weekly who also put Glee on their covers three out of four times in the month know exactly what they're talking about!

Here's a rundown of what you're going to see on just about every damn list that people will be passing around on Facebook and the like while the sites rack up hit counts (don't even get me started on that one title per page bullshit these sites are doing now): Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Shining, etc. They'll also throw in a more contemporary title like Paranormal Activity to be hip and get people debating whether it deserves to be counted. It's the same every year. And why? Even non-horror fans of heard of all these and have most likely seen them by now. Must be hard shooting fish in a barrel.

Look, one of the main reasons I bothered to start this blog (and occasionally use, bada-BING!) was to pass the word around about lesser known films and to help discover otherwise overlooked movies. The films these lists perpetuate are great films, I'd never deny that. They are essential viewing for any horror fan, or film nerd in general. Problem is no one's addressing the question of what's next. With that in mind, here are 31 movies that I've noticed are either under-appreciated or just flat-out ignored. One for every day of the month! For you! See what I did there?

I tired to find a good mix of just about every kind of horror film out there, from dead serious to completely moronic, just to cover the spectrum of tastes. Are all these movies great? Hell no. No way are these better than the big guns of say The Exorcist, but why live your life on repeat? Take a chance, live a little. These films all have a least a few qualities that worth appreciating and I feel that every one of them are at least entertaining enough to create a fun October.

As for me, I'm going to partake in the October Horror Movie Challenge over at DVDTalk where I'm going to see how many horror movies I can watch in a month, of which just about all are going to be first time viewings in order to provide me with a whole new set of ammunition for this blog, lists like this, and a potential Youtube channel. We'll see. If anyone would feel inclined for a fun time and good conversation all about horror, anyone and everyone is encouraged to sign up and participate over there. In the meantime, please enjoy the following films. Find them anyway you can, buying, streaming, whatever you've got to do, man. I'd prefer people to buy and support the releases, especially for the specialty labels such as Code Red, but we all know how money's tight nowadays. Anyway, I hope you enjoy my list of flicks to check out.

1. Paranoiac

Rather than watching Psycho and it's well-known twist ending (SPOILER: It was a sled) for the 1,000th time, check out this Hammer entry inspired by Hitchcock's opus. A long-thought dead brother returns to upset his family, and Oliver Reed drinks. And drinks. And drinks. It builds up slow with a few good suspense scenes until a pretty satisfying twist ending. It's a fairly overlooked film in Hammer's catalog, probably because it doesn't have their customary takes on the old Universal Monsters, but it's worth checking out, and the boxset with seven other Hammer movies on it is definitely worth hunting down.

2. Isolation

If you're in the mood for something along the lines of Carpenter's The Thing but know that film by heart, check this one out. After messing about with cow genetics, a bovine monster is born and terrorizes a small group of people on the farm that birthed it. It sounds hooky, but the creature and the birth scenes are fairly disturbing and fall in line with the grotesqueness of Bottin's designs. A relatively recent and passed by movie.

3. Sheitan

A Frenchie's take on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The combination of surreal plot turns, a morbid sense of humor, and highly uncomfortable situations create a film you can't turn away from, even if you desperately want to. Vincent Cassel especially will be hanging around your subconscious for a while after a viewing.

4. The Convent

One of the two main titles I will spout on about every damn year until I hear people actually checking it out. There's nothing new here, really. It's a callback to the classic Night of the Demons, which if you haven't seen that you need to do so promptly, but The Convent treads similar ground with a unique sense of humor and characters that are genuinely fun to watch. A bit goofy, intentionally I feel, but fun as hell. The perfect movie to have on during a party.

5. Primal Rage

One of the films I've found only through the dvd releases of Code Red. It's a predecessor to films like 28 Days Later, but a lot more low-budget and a lot more Italian. Diseased monkeys instill a murderous virus in humans which spreads among a campus. One of the highlights of the film is the Halloween party scene which has the largest assortment of bizarro costumes and masks I've seen, in a film or otherwise. I think the effects guy was allowed to just go nuts and make every mask he could dream up. Great 80's fun.

6. Lisa and the Devil

Movies like Black Sunday usually get all the attention from Bava fans, but of the man's work that I've watched thus far, this is probably my favorite. A twisting dream-like excursion through a gothic mansion, with Telly Savalas, who may or may not be Satan, chewing (or should I say sucking) every scene he appears in. A lovely little mind trip. There's an alternate version with new footage that tried to cash in on the Exorcist craze on the same dvd but I haven't gotten around to watching that version yet so I can't tell you if it's worth your time. From what I hear, it's probably not.

7. Theater of Blood

There's a wealth of Vincent Price movies you can pick from for the holiday, and for your sakes you better watch at least one each year. If you haven't seen it, then I'd throw this one out there for my pick of the year. Price plays a bitter actor who gets his revenge on his critics through murders inspired by Shakespeare plays. The inventiveness of the kills as well as the film's gallows humor combine for a perfect mixture that's great to watch on a crisp fall afternoon.

8. Dance of the Dead

Only a couple of years old, but it already feels overlooked when you look at how far lesser zombie films have been received in the same time frame. Successfully recreating the sense of humor that was found in The Return of the Living Dead is no easy feat, but to do so in a film that also stands on its own is truly worth commending. It's great to see a truly fun film that calls back to the older classics without falling into the trap of relying solely on fanboyism like so many other indie films have lately.

9. Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer

Speaking of which, how many times have you had to sit through a horror-comedy and watch as yet another movie tries to pass off a pale imitation of Ash from Army of Darkness as the next big thing? How would you like to see a movie that's successful at it? I'm still surprised at how little-seen this film is. The internet horror community seems to know it, but it deserves to catch on with a bigger audience. Jack Brooks as a character is hilarious and compelling that manages to stand as a unique creation, while the film revels in a latex-laden ode to 80's monster movies. Jack's initial meeting with his psychiatrist alone is a scene for the books, in my opinion. It's not high art, but it's goddamn fun.

10. Dead End

The other film I will evangelize until the world ends. A family's road trip for the holidays ends up being a trip that's both funny and disturbing, frequently at the same time. The film's worth watching for Ray Wise's performance alone, which will have you questioning why this guy isn't a major name. A perfect example of how great a movie can be with the right combination of good writing, performances, and atmosphere all in a limited location with little means. The one film above any other on this list I'd recommend.

11. Re-Cycle

Maybe not a full horror film, but there's enough upsetting imagery and atmosphere to qualify it enough. It mostly takes place in the dreamscape, creating the opportunity for Asian horror's answer to Tarsem's visual spectacles. As well as a few tense sequences, the end's just heartbreaking making for a nice, more thought provoking film to counteract the usual crassness of the genre. The film came out just a bit after the bubble burst for Asian horror here in the U.S. but it's well worth checking out. Especially if you're burned out on the whole long-haired girl with the haunted Ipod thing they've been doing for over a decade.

12. Tales From Crypt (1972

Probably a more familiar title to those who are fans of older horror, but there's a few generations now that aren't as well versed with this one. Before the puppet cackled for HBO, the Cryptkeeper was played with his usual British elegance by Sir Ralph Richardson, who dispensed with the customary stories of bad choices and twisted morals. For no other reason, it should be watched for Peter Cushing's story which remains one of the few sequences in film that moved me to tears.

13. Vengeance of the Zombies

Probably not the best place to start with Paul Naschy, but dammit, I love the weird ones. A combination of Bava-like gothic sensibilities, giallo, and old-fashioned voodoo zombies, the film is definitely not for those who enjoy logic. But if you love being draped in the dream logic of Eurohorror, this is going to be a good time. Plus it's got all the Naschy hallmarks, including playing three(!) roles, bedding numerous women, and displaying his manliness at every opportunity.

14. Blood and Black Lace

I threw this in mainly for historical purposes in case someone comes by and is interested in dabbling into the pool of the giallo since I know a lot of horror aficionados are at least aware of this one. Considered to be the first true giallo, this murder mystery is filled with the Bava touches that made his films so succulent. Blues, reds, oh my! Start with this one and go on to discover all of the lurid offspring it created.

15. Home Movie

With all the interest in found footage movies, this one was completely skipped over. A priest comes to discover how evil children can be while filming home videos of his family. It gives you just enough to leave you bugged out by the time the film ends but never tips its hand and ruins the effect, creating a tense little movie that'll creep up on you later as you think it over.

16. Malefique

A tight little movie that primarily takes place in one jail cell, showing just effective economy of space can be with a little bit of good writing. Four inmates find a book of spells but of course receive more than they bargained for once they try their hand at it. With it's Lovecraftian feel and an odd sense of humor, it'll feel right at home alongside the likes of From Beyond. And of course, for his efforts, what do we offer the director? The remake of One Missed Call. Poor son of a bitch.

17. Dead & Buried

This not-quite a zombie film has developed a strong cult following but deserves a larger audience. The denizens of a coastal town take a strong dislike to tourists, at least until their corpses start walking around. A beautifully shot, well written little horror film with a few squirm inducing moments that has flown under the radar too long. Just quality film-making.

18. Trick or Treat

The internet has been abuzz the last few years for Michael Dougherty's Trick 'R Treat, but let's not forget the other flick that'll pop up in a Google search. It basically boils down to Skippy vs. Heavy Metal, directed by the fucking accountant from The Untouchables. You'll never forget such moments as a demonic entrance via a record played backwards or a woman assaulted by a monster unleashed through her walkman (TM.). A perfect example of the fun 80's horror would frequently provide and which is sadly little-seen today.

19. Contamination

You love Alien? You wanna see a complete bastardization in the grand style of Italian exploitation? Then look no further! Never again will there be such a record number of stupefying putrefying and gravity defying explosions of bodily goo! Beware the most gag-inducing egg sacs ever committed to celluloid! Beware the bird-beak of the asparagus mother alien! Find a copy! Today! Exclamations!

20. Just Before Dawn

A morality tale to promote the awareness of the legions of crazed rednecks in the Oregonian woods. Though in reality, you'll probably just a find a gaggle of hipsters going green or whatever they call it nowadays. Essentially, a backwoods horror film with young kids running afoul of hillbilly murderers, this one stands out thanks to great photography, excellent pacing, and a truly whack job of an ending. Boy howdy!

21. Flashback

A slasher from Germany, this one will definitely surprise you, especially if you're expecting another early-DV shot shitfest that littered video shelves through out the first half of the 2000s. Even though the dvd here is full-frame and dubbed, the beautiful cinematography and mischievous sense of humor still shines through. I've never seen a movie revel in its own wickedness as I did in this one's final act. Definitely a little known gem that should be sought out.

22. Satan's Little Helper

If you just want a movie with a flat out fucked up sense of humor, this is your target. Probably one of the most twisted movies released in years, a little boy goes about helping his beloved Satan as he goes about murdering and terrorizing about a small northeastern island. Through it all, it somehow convinces you that what you're watching is hilarious. What a pair of balls on this one.

23. Vampire Killers

Let's be frank, a hell of a lot of imitators set out among the fallout of Shaun of the Dead to capture some of the same success. Thus far, this is the only one to come close to the quality of the aforementioned film. Created by the team behind the quality BBC show Gavin & Stacey, the film sees a pair of dolts out for female accompaniment get caught up in a centuries old plot involving...lesbian vampires. It has a similar sense of humor as Shaun but manages to carve its own identity as it goes. The final shot in the movie is just uproarious.

24. Blood Dolls

Now, you've got a lot of options when it comes to Charles Band and tiny terrors. But nothing matches the sheer absurdity of this film. There is not one aspect of this movie that comes close to reality or logic. Everything and everyone is unhinged, leaving you with a giant case of What the Fuck? as it ends, leaving you not sure if you should be giddy or get some fresh air to remember what sanity was.

25. The Possession of David O'Reilly

You'd be forgiven for passing by this film's horribly nondescript cover on Netflix Instant. But that shouldn't stop you from going back and checking out a fairly creepy and frightening film. It manages to find that perfect sweet spot of showing you just enough and leaving the rest to your imagination, creating moments of pure terror. Forgotten to the world for the most part, this one is at least readily available.

26. The Ugly

At first glance, this might appear to be a take off on Silence of the Lambs, and that approach is probably how they got their funding, but it delves into a smaller, more intimate case study of a disturbed young man. The performances in the film are top notch and the climax will haunt you for a while upon viewing, which is why I'm still surprised how little known the film is some fourteen years after its release.

27. Biozombie

And now for something completely different. A Japanese punk rock zombie comedy, which is frequently hilarious. Filled with reprehensible characters, it's an overall nihilistic movie that exists solely for zombie mayhem and crass humor. And it's glorious. For an unabashedly filthy good time, this is your best option.

28. Curse of the Fly

The original Fly and Cronenberg's remake are well known, but the third installment of the original series is an often passed over gem, offering tragedy of Shakespearean proportions in the guise of a B-horror movie. I do believe that I have never watched as depressing a horror film amongst what would be considered the "classic" era. There may not be much in terms of an actual Fly monster, but the title does not deceive. This deals with the consequences of the legacy left behind from the original film, leaving no character untouched by the time it reaches its conclusion. Heavy stuff for its era.

29. Christmas Evil

Black Christmas and Silent Night Deadly Night tend to steal the thunder when it comes to Christmas themed horror movies, but if you want another slice of crazed, yuletide fun, this would be a great runner-up. A sad little man keeps track of all who's been naughty or nice all year long, waiting for Christmas to let his mind snap and dole out "gifts" before concluding with a baffling final farewell shot. Guaranteed fun times.

30. The Bloody Pit of Horror

A bizarro slice of cheese, this oddball concerns a group of models arriving to a decrepit mansion (yet it looks so chic...) only to find a deranged man believing himself to be an executioner from the Middle Ages calling it home, and doesn't particularly like interlopers. Basically, it involves women succumbing to the ridiculous traps of a man who dresses and and acts like a rejected villain from the 60's Batman series. It's as hilarious as it sounds.

31. American Gothic

Yes, this gleefully totes its connection to the famous painting all over its cover, which would make you believe it takes place on a traditional mid-western farm, yes? Well, no. It's set among the coastal cliffs of an island off the Pacific Northwest. And that's not all that's whacked in this movie that involves more backwoods terror as a group of young people (aren't they all?) stumble across a family seemingly stuck in the 19th century, and two fifty year olds mentally stuck as children. Pretty crazy fun that many may remember from its VHS cover when perusing the rental shelves, but not as many have actually seen it. Now's as good a time as any.