LISTS! Expect me to be posting a few of these on Space Cat Rocket Ship throughout November - aka NaNoWriMo month. These lists are likely to be personal and possibly obscure and even boring. I find it interesting to compile them and try and figure out my opinions. You may not find it interesting to read them. Anyhoo, here goes: in time for Halloween, five horror films. I don't recommend that you actually watch any of these films unless you have a good idea what you're letting yourself in for, by the way.
5. Perfect Blue
Not a film that I can readily recommend you watch, as it is genuinely disturbing throughout, but I am a fan of director Satoshi Kon, so it made my list in fifth place. I can't say that I'm in a hurry to watch it for a second time: Perfect Blue excels at maintaining an intense and palpable sense of threat throughout - not just a threat to your physical and emotional well-being, but also to your identity and your sense of existence within a coherent reality.
4. The Thing
I only saw this for the first time quite recently. I'd been interested in it for a while, because it seems to be the kind of thi- uh, movie that I'd either really like, or really freak out at. And, happily, it fell into the first category. The Thing is a movie about an isolated group of men, some of whom are not what they seem. So far, so unoriginal, but what sets The Thing apart is the nature of the shape-changing menace and the grotesque forms it takes. The incredible imagination shown by the guy in charge of effects (who was admitted to hospital with nervous exhaustion late during filming) resulted in a warped visual aesthetic that no contemporary movie could equal, stranded as we are between real and computer generated effects.
3. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn
The first Evil Dead film was much too nasty, the third way too silly, but in Evil Dead 2 Sam Raimi managed to create the perfect blend of sheer terror and hysterical comedy. The laughs and scares feed perfectly off one another as, for example, beleaguered hero Ash fights his own demonically possessed hand in a slapstick homage to the Three Stooges, before severing it with a chainsaw.
2. Shaun of the Dead
Two of the coolest things in the world, as least as far as I'm concerned, are George A. Romero's Living Dead films and Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's sitcom Spaced. Imagine my quasi-religious ecstasy, then, when Pegg and Wright went and made this fantastic half-horror half-comedy tribute to Romero; defying all previous measures of coolness and setting a new standard for contemporary British movies (it was actually possible for them to be good).
1. Dawn of the Dead
How many times has the word 'dead' appeared in this post? In George A. Romero's anti-capitalist horror, four survivors in a post apocalyptic America find that they have the whole mall to themselves. Cue decadence and callousness as they steadily lose sight of their humanity. On top of that, the dead are returning to life and they only have two things on their mind: eating the flesh of the living… and browsing aimlessly at the shops.