At this time of year, there are piles of lists for “Scariest Movies of All Time.” or “Yuckiest Yuk Fest” blah, blah… I figured that I would do something different and make a messy list of different films, light-hearted, fun soaked, blood soaked, or just plain dumb slasher films from the horror genre. These are the films that make monsters a little more “Hu-man” or more “card-board” enjoy the movies!
Mad Monster Party? (1968)

This is an incredible film, originally a theatrical release made by Rankin/Bass, the creative team behind such classic TV specials as "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer", "Frosty", "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" & many other kids favs. These shows created cult status characters, such as "Herbie", the toy making elf who wants to be a Dentist, (who hangs out with misfits, and performs oral surgery on the Abominable snow beast!) "Mr. Heat Miser and Snow Miser," and the Vincent Price voiced evil Rabbit "Irontail" to name a few. Baron Von Frankenstein (Boris Karloff voiced) first discovered the secret of creation, now he has discovered the secret of mass destruction, so he’s ready to retire, and why not!? He throws a party (hence the name) and invites all the famous monsters so he can name his successor (his nephew Felix) before he retires. Everyone wants the job, but it becomes clear that the doctor’s clumbsy nephew may get the job he politely declined, that is if he can survive the mad monster party! All the classic movie monsters are here, in puppet form, as designed by top Mad Magazine artist Jack Harris. The process called Animagic revolutionized the stop motion medium, which has influenced multiple generations of artists. Also starring the voices of Phyllis Diller and Allen Swift. Fantastic animation and cool music make this a most excellent Halloween party!

Title Screen type: Hand Drawn, Rating 8 Glyphs
Opening Credits Type: Rating 10 Glyphs

Nosferatu (1922)

Everyone knows the original story of Bram Stokers Dracula, as well as the story behind this film, F.W. Murnau’s Dracula ripoff, which was the first (silent of course) filmed version of the book. Then Stokers widow got bent and had the film pulled and destroyed. All that behind us, this is an excellent Dracula movie nonetheless, Nosferatu the creature, boasted remarkable animalistic makeup that looks rat-creepy even today, with modern techniques and CG digimagic. Rat bastard Max Schreck gives a sinister performance as the vampire who terrorizes the city of Bremen and is ultimately destroyed by a determined lovely frauline Greta Schroeder, who’s willing to sacrifice herself to end the “Reigh of th Rat”. Expressionist director Murnau applies plenty of heavy-handed symbolism, and it works in a haunting rather than distracting way. Hundreds of Dracula films have followed, including a beautifulful art film by Werner Herzog in 1972, but this “original” is still a fantastic film worth watching at least every Halloween.

Title Screen type: Uncial style font, Rating 7 Glyphs
Opening Credits Type: Futura, Rating 6 Glyphs

Edison’s Frankenstein (1910)

Wow, you say 1910! Holy wow man, that’s older than Noferatu by like 12 years! Yep, this little gem is old, (some say the first horror film!?) and very short, it clocks in at about 15 minutes, and above all, its fun, yep. The plot of this little Franken shorty (the first filmed Frank version of course) focuses on Victor Frankenstein’s return from university and his attempt to create a living man from the dead, man! The film uses elaborate special effects for the creation of the monster, employing reverse photography in one scene to provide the illusion of flesh and sinew spinning through the air and wrapping itself around the skeleton. The monster which emerges from the vat is a messy haired, humpbacked beast (the fiend must be found!). Said monster spends most of the film (8 mins?) terrorizing Frankenstein and his bride with unwelcome appearances. However, the monster’s antics abruptly come to an end when he gazes at his atrocious reflection in a mirror, and dissapears into said mirror!?. The special effects are good, as well as the make-up and sets. It’s certainly not a masterpiece, it’s to simple, but set in a continuous loop one could watch it forever!?

Title Screen type: Old English/Gothic, Rating 5 Glyphs
Title Cards: Helvetica Bold, Rating 1 Glyph

The Serpent And The Rainbow (1988)

Y’all remember this: Don’t bury me…I’m not dead! Well I’ll tell you what, it’s time to dig it back up and take a look at Wes Craven’s old Haiti Zombie movie. Here’s the plot, based on a true story even, Dennis Allan (Bill Pullman) is a scientist paid to visit Haiti and find the rumoured drug that makes people totally paralyzed but conscious, a literal living dead (not walkin and eatin brains, but more like premature burial kinda thing)!! Could this be the origin of the "zombie" legend? Al heads out on a strange and often surreal bender of an investigation of the crazy social chaos in Haiti. Often being used by both sides of good-evil and evil-good. Al must decide what is science, what is superstition, what’s that hot Haitian babes number, and what is the unknown, in a world where crooked police and crooked witch doctors rule. A little slower than I remember, but Al’s voodoo dream sequences are trippy,and the ending is pretty goofy crap.

Title Screen type: Fiesta, hand colored?, Rating 6 Glyphs

Devils Backbone (2001)

What is a ghost? An emotion, a terrible moment condemned to repeat itself over and over? An instant of pain perhaps? Something dead which appears at times alive. A sentiment suspended in time… like a blurry photograph… like an insect trapped in amber.” These words begin the sad story of the Santa Lucia School during the last days of the Spanish Civil War. A wonderful story about ghosts, unexploded bombs, gold, murder and deception etc. Go buy this movie, you’ll enjoy it, I promise. Guillermo del Toro Director of Chronos, Mimic, Blade II and Hell Boy made this little treat with lots n lots of atmosphere and life. The Devils backbone is a great story, ghost’s and all, not real scary, just a good engaging tale, brought to life by Del Toro.

Title Screen type: Rating 5 Glyphs
DVD Menu Type: Rating 10 Glyphs (Befco’s UM Abort!)

In the Mouth of Madness (1995)

Horror writer Sutter Cane (Jurgen Prochnow, of Das Boot fame) has dissapeared, and, all Hell is breaking loose, well at least Howard Phillips Lovecraft style hell is squirmin & bustin out! Cane, it seems, has the descriptive ability to really bring his evil monsters to life, yowza! Jaded insurance investigator John Trent (Jurassic Park’s Sam Neil) is sent to investigate Cane’s mysterious dissapearance and ends up in the sleepy little East Coast town of Hobb’s End. Strangely, this town is supposed to be a figment of Cane’s fertile imagination! Here’s a breakdown list of the convoluted plot; bizarre new world, sci-fi mystery story, exceedingly complex, film noirish quality, suspensful ghoulish fantasy, cynical humor, great special effects. The whole description makes ya want to go buy it tody eh? This is a John Carpenter film, which nowadays means, "Crap Alert!!!" Luckily this was before Carpenter got real stuck in a dull ass rut. In The Mouth Of Madness has verve and style, plot holes yes, fun ride also yes.

Title Screen type: Serif face, Rating 5 Glyphs (for glow effect)
Opening Credits Type: Serif glow, Rating 5 Glyphs

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

This strange little slasher horror movie is set in the mining town of Valentine Bluffs (clever huh?), Even though there’s a Valentine in the towns name, the townsfolk haven’t celebrated this day in 20 years due to a terrible mining accident, hockingly someone(thing) survived and is in a mental hospital, waiting for an anniversary to come along. This year is it! The first return of the Valentine’s Dance, the biggest event of the year! Sadly someone (or something?) is trying to put a stop to the fun by delivering heart-shaped candy boxes with real hearts in them! Of course the dance is cancelled due to possible "heart attacks", so smartly the young folk decide to hold a party inside the mine instead. So the maniac miner in black starts dipatching the young’un’s in good ole slasher style. If you love slasher flicks, you’ll like this, it has everything- thrills, spills and just enough stupid shit to satisfy. Or if you’ve seen it before, it’s nowhere near as good as you remember – and still heavily edited.

Title Screen type: Serif with Hearts, Rating 2 Glyphs
Opening Credits Type: Rating 2 Glyphs

Session 9 (2001)

Writer/Director Brad Anderdson (Next Stop Wonderland) shot this at the Danvers State Hospital in Massachutses a creepy and gothic looking huge old abandonned building. The film centers around a crew of workers hired to remove the asbestos from the abandonned asylum. Of course the building is ‘evil’ ala the Shining, and all the characters have quirky problems that the script ploddingly delivers. The Session 9 name comes from the last session a Sybil style character had who was once a patient of the said hospital. Some nice twists, some good scares occur, and decent tension, and I was definetly intrigued but the film never really coalesces into a really good picture, and the big blood bath ending is a anticlimactic let down. Part psychological thriller part horror film, part dud. Plus the whole she-bang was filmed with a Sony 24P so it looks like real hi-rez video, not film. Spend your time on a session at the local skate park instead.

Title Screen type: Dynamoe, Rating 8 Glyphs (Label files for each sessions manila file folders?)

Wild Zero (1999)

Ace, a rock and roll fan with a greasy pompadour, and lots of cool posters on his wall, is on his way to see his favorite group Guitar Wolf, the raw Japanese rock/punk band when a strange thing happens aliens invade the Earth! That’s not all, people start returning to life as flesh eating zombies! Ace and the members of the band (real life band Guitar Wolf, go figure) get caught up in many misadventures with a psycho rock manager in tight short-shorts and a wig, transsexuals, naked women shooting zombies in the shower, ugly people in love, leather jackets, loud raucous music, laser guitar picks, motorcycles (scooters), muscle cars (Corollas) lots of booze and fire, and blood-thirty zombies ready to tear them all apart! Yup it’s all VERY strange. And a helluva lot of fun to watch this messy Rock n Roll monster fest.

Also the dvd is loaded with features, like a music video, and the first ever DVD “drinking game”. Watch the movie or play along with the game!

Title Screen type: Hand Drawn, Rating 10 Glyphs (Beautiful)
Opening Credits Type: Helvetica and Times, Rating 1 Glyph

Blood Feast 2 (2002)

Herschell Gordon Lewis is back! In 1963, H.G. Lewis directed the first "gore" movie–Blood Feast. After directing a long list of other gore classics (Wizard of Gore, 2,000 Maniacs, Color Me Blood Red) HGL called it quits in 1972 and pursued a succesful career in marketing and advertising–he’s written over twenty books on the subject! Of course, eventually someone HAD to make "Blood Feast 2, " thank God it was the gore master himself. Everything you would expect to be in this movie is, bad over-the-top acting, hokey effects, gratuitous blood, gratuitous nudity, one dimensional characters, gore and more gore. The script is actually more clever and laced with great black humor than HG’s 60’s films. Tons of fun whether you like old b-movies, or new b-movies.

Title Screen type: Blood Feast, Rating 5 Glyphs (one of BrainEaters sloppier designs)
Opening Credits Type: Rating 5 Glyphs

Copyright ©2004 by Brad Nelson. All rights reserved.
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