Dave's Halloween List 2007 To this day I'll remind my Mom that my love for horror movies is her own doing. As a child, my parents were staunch Christians and all forms of horror, whether comic book or film, were banned from our household. What was a 10-year old boy to do? The answer is simple: sneak over to your friend's house every day to watch them. With his parents at work all day, my love for horror flourished in his home. The long bike rides to the video story introduced me to the many sequels of Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and the countless other horror movies from the 80s. I missed out on the Top 10 list fun last year. Rhett was determined to get me to post one this year, insisting that I posted it early of all things! As luck would have it, I too was determined to not miss out on the festivities this time around. It's a fun way to pimp some of the movies we love. Anyone that reads my reviews know there are a handful of goofy horror movies that I love, mostly from the 80s. While nostalgia is a huge part of my love for horror, I'm determined to mix it up a little this year. And these aren't just the ones I'm recommending, but the ones that I actually plan on watching for enjoyment value (outside of reviewing) during October. My goal here is to include some of my favorites from all sides of the horror genre. Lets take a peak. 10. Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) Title aside, Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of Dracula is the most faithful to Bram Stoker's novel. We all know the story, but how it's told and how it looks makes all the difference in the world. Coppola delivers a modern day masterpiece, from the dazzling makeup and effects to the meticulous set design. Gary Oldman gives the performance of his career, for here he is in fact Count Dracula. The entire supporting cast (I'm giving Neo a pass) give equally impressive performances. I can't think of a better movie to open my Top 10 with. Turn out the lights and watch as Coppola and crew bring Stoker's novel to life. 9. Nosferatu (1922) From Coppola's modern day classic, we go to German filmmaker F.W. Murnau's silent era classic, Nosferatu. An unauthorized version of Dracula, and one that was almost lost forever due to a copyright suit by Bram Stoker's widow, Nosferatu proves that even silent, 85 year old movies can pack quite a fright. This is in large part due to the performance of Max Schrek as Count Orlok, one of the most eerie and effective portrayals of the Count. From the long, skeletal fingers to the hypnotic scare, he nails portraying the darker, animal-like side to Dracula. Thanks to his performance and the effective score, Nosferatu is a classic not to be missed. 8. Night of the Living Dead (1990) Cry sacrilege if you must, but Savini proved something to me back in 1990: a remake isn't always a bad thing. Actually, it can be a good thing if done right. The trick to to take the original, spin it, and give a different take on it. I don't want to watch a shot for shot remake (I'm looking at you Psycho 1998), but I'll gladly take a peak if it's a different take on the original. Such is the case here, with Savini ultimately delivering a familiar, yet different tale about a group of folks trapped in a farmhouse that is surrounded by bloodthirsty zombies. Add in some modern day Gore from Savini, how can you go wrong? 7. Dawn of the Dead (2004) Don't hate me for being a remake supporter. While I dislike many remakes, there are some that do it right, and Dawn of the Dead was another that did just that. It takes the idea of the original and runs in a completely different direction. Take the mall out and there's virtually nothing similar between the two movies. While the remake doesn't achieve the greatness found in Romero's classic, nor does it hold a candle in comparison, the remake is a good horror movie. Isn't that what it's all about? There's good acting, great effects, lots of gore, a fun story, and steady pacing. I'd venture to guess that if it was called anything but Dawn of the Dead, those that disliked it would have liked it. It's when we are forced to compare it with the original that we start hating it. Look at Dawn as a separate movie and you too will enjoy it. Be sure to go with the unrated cut for some great extra gore shots. 6. The Thing (1982) Topping off my remake recommendations is John Carpenter's The Thing. While easily one of the best remakes ever created, it leaves those hating the idea of remakes in quite a predicament. How does one hate remakes and love Carpenter's The Thing? Yet I'd venture to bet that many horror fans do exactly that. As mentioned above, taking the idea of the original and going in a different direction with the story is the best course for a remake. The Thing does just that. With its chilling, claustrophobic environment and musical score, coupled with the top notch special effects, The Thing not only marks one of the best science fiction films of all time, it marks the high point of Carpenter's career. It's a must see for all. 5. They (2002) I'll admit it now: I'm climbing on my soapbox here and listing They simply to get the movie more attention. I enjoy it, don't get me wrong, and I do plan on watching it again this month during my many marathons. But They slipped under the radar of too many horror fans and I'd like to see it get more attention. It's flawed, yes, but it delivers some great scares and one of the better endings (and alternate endings) I've seen in a modern day horror. As an added bonus, it stars Laura Regan, one of the most beautiful woman in Hollywood today. But don't watch They for the pretty face, watch it to be genuinely surprised and entertained by the only decent horror released under the 'Wes Craven Presents' label. 4. Phantasm II (1988) Balls to the walls, Phantasm II is the Indiana Jones of the horror genre. It has it all: action and adventure, great effects and gore, an epic story, and a top notch cast. Reggie and the gang are back in what may be Don Coscarelli's finest movie made. James LeGros taking the place of Michael Baldwin in the role of Mike didn't bother me in the least. He nailed the role and if anything, improved upon it. Reggie Bannister develops Reggie into the anti-hero, similar to Bruce Campbell and Ash from Evil Dead. Reggie is the reluctant hero, not wanting to be where he is and just not able to get a break (or laid in Reggie's case). The story is so epic, so apocalyptic, one can't help being letdown by the subsequent lower budget sequels that followed. To see Phantasm as its finest, be sure to give Part II a spin. 3. Friday the 13th Part VI (1986) It's been a guilty pleasure of mine since childhood, and remains to this day my favorite Friday sequel. It's one of the last Friday sequels to follow the tried and true formula of Friday the 13th movies. There's no outer space, no Freddy, no psychics, and no crazy Vorhees mythology. Nope, Part VI tells the simple tale of a mass murderer brought back to life by a bolt of lightening, courtesy of his old friend Tommy Jarvis (played here by Thom Mathews). He promptly returns to Crystal Lake to do what he does best: kill anyone in sight in the most creative manner possible. A must see for Friday fans. 2. Nightmare on Elm Street III The sequel themed part to my Top 10 ends with Nightmare on Elm Street III: The Dream Warriors, the finest of the Elm Street sequels. It features a return by Nightmare creator Wes Craven, along with actor Heather Langenkamp, Freddy's original and finest foe. It's the last Elm Street where Freddy still manages to portray a dark and menacing character. While the humor does creep in here, it's much less prevalent than what it becomes in the subsequent sequels. Nightmare III manages to provide a good story and remains the finest Nightmare sequel to date. 1. Suspiria (1977) No one that knows my style in horror would expect me to put a euro horror as my number one choice this year. While I admit I'm not the biggest euro fan, Argento's Suspiria has always been a favorite of mine. For my number one pick I wanted to list the one movie that I've been aching to watch for ages, and the one I would most recommend to horror fans as essential viewing for the month of October. Suspiria fits the bill. I remember the first time I saw it on laserdisc, nearly 10 years ago now. It's one of the few horror movies that managed to frighten and unsettle me as an adult. Between Goblin's score and Argento's beautiful use of colors, Suspiria leaves you spellbound. I had the movie stuck in my mind for the days and only with repeat viewings did I truly come to appreciate it for the classic it is. It's Argento's masterpiece and one of my favorite movies. To this day watching the movie has an effect on me, almost as if I'm watching it again for the first time. Like a fine painting, it's something that you continue to appreciate from each viewing. Not to be missed!