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Discussion in 'Reader Polls' started by Kolpitz, Jun 26, 2007.
Flat out and honest, Re-Animator.
This is such a tough vote between TCM, Halloween, Phantasm, Bird with the Crystal Plumage and Re-Animator. And hell, American Werewolf too. But I had to go with Phantasm just for it's wacky yet creepy originality.
I honestly think Phantasm would have a chance to win if it had the nostalgia factor for me but I only saw it for the first time a year ago. Similar thing with Halloween. I didn't like it the first time I saw it as a kid (apparently I was a very stupid child) but now I love it. The other choices for me are (with prerequisite nostalgia): Fright Night and An American Werewolf In London. Werewolves are much cooler than Vampires, plus AAWIL is one of my all-time favourites so I'm thinking it wins for me.
Mentions go out to Wrong Turn, May and Piranha. They won't get my vote but they're movies that I love.
I went for American Werewolf, though i guess Landis is hardly a Horror Director.
But it just hit the ground running and is well made.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre. No question.
1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
3. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
7. The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
8. An American Werewolf in London
9. Fright Night
11. It's Alive
12. The Changeling
13. Critters 2: The Main Course
14. Session 9
16. Wrong Turn
17. Demon Knight
Extremely impressive how well almost all of these films have held up.
Chain Saw. While Halloween is more widely known (and it's great, too), Chain Saw is on another level of terror.
I feel like Tobe Hooper has been unfairly maligned for never having topped The Texas Chain Saw Massacre considering no one else has. I find his subsequent filmography to be uneven and fascinating in equal measures.
Very tough choice. I went with Halloween for Carpenter, with Hoopers Texas Chainsaw a very close second.
That sounds good and everything, but do you think about how unreliable that is? It's great to recognize how much talent he'd have shown us if things had been different. But, is there any hope for him now?
And, really... weren't Lifeforce and Spontaneous Combustion actually pretty bad movies and Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 pretty darn overrated regardless of the fact that all were indeed fascinating on-paper? Yes. Yes, they were.
These are good points, and I wouldn't argue that he's in the league of Romero, Carpenter, or Craven, all of whom hit several peaks throughout their careers. But ultimately the run of Eaten Alive, Salem's Lot, The Funhouse, Poltergeist, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 is very respectable in my opinion.
My point is more about the legacy of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre in that almost no film has been able to match it despite legions of imitators. I'm not making excuses for Hooper, most directors would kill to start their career with a masterpiece, and it's fair to be frustrated that he never really came close again.
It's just that I find a lot to enjoy in his work, problematic as some of it may be. In particular I really like the surreal and dreamlike artificiality shared by Eaten Alive, TCM 2 and The Funhouse, which is a significant contrast to the verisimilitude that seems to give the original Chain Saw much of its power.
I'm rewatching Eaten Alive in a few days, so I'll see how that holds up then.
The Funhouse I outright despise and have utterly no idea how it gets its current reputation. Boggles the(my) mind.
I was hoping for surreal and dreamlike when I blind-bought TCM2. Unfortunately, it's just rubbery, airheady, and flaccid. It's trying to be a low budget insane film with a big budget Hollywood look- you can't do those shots, those pans, those long takes with a Hollywood look with these actors flopping around and let the pacing go limp. That's not the way they made, for example, Romancing the Stone, or the Bond films, or The Goonies, etc. (Loads of appropriate examples.) Hooper wants to make mostly the same movie as the first, at least the 2nd half totally breaks down that way, in a new venue. Wacky actors running around, hopping up and down, acting wacky... while the camera just sits there. Everything just sits. And stops. And waits. And watches. There's no life, no energy, no anything. That's more annoying than dreamlike. It's only as surreal as the last film but it still has the effect of floppy action filmed to look like something's eventually going to happen and by the time they get underground, not a single thing does. The movie's over by the halfway point. And yet... it's still going.
Some people talk very disparagingly about Carpenter's The Fog because of the fact that it was reshot and reedited and Carpenter himself was wary about it and the studio was concerned and it didn't get the best of critical reviews when it first came out (Ebert comes to mind). But this film deserves that film's reputation. Comparatively, it blows my mind that TCM2 has seen a bigger surge of fanlove and critical reevaluation.
Poltergeist, of course, rules though. And I have no outstanding issues with Salem's Lot.
Halloween is my favorite film. But the choice is TCM. A stunning, insane debut that could have gone off the rails, but instead is a perfect post summer of love sun-drenched texas nightmare. Brilliant, even if largely by luck.