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Ultimate Fright: My top 10 horror flick picks


1) Texas Chainsaw Massacre (dir: Tobe Hooper) 1974

By far the best horror movie ever is this original TCM classic. It's surprisingly not as gory as the title infers, but the twisted saga of Sally and wheelchair-bound Franklin travelling with some friends goes hazardously awry after they pick up a hitchhiker whose brother makes "headcheese real good." Enter cannibalistic inbred nut-jobs and good ol' chainsaw-wielding Leather Face and you're off and running. This movie is so demented that it keeps you on the edge of your seat not only due to the sheer terror involved, but also the hilarious dialogue and goofy acting.

2) Evil Dead (dir: Sam Raimi) 1981

Horror at its frenetic peak! This is the one of the most hilarious, knuckle-biting and gory creep fests ever made. Lantern-jaw Bruce Campbell and pals wig-out royally in a cabin in the woods possessed by at least three Linda Blairs from The Exorcist and blood spews like wretched wine. This is one fast-paced inventive gore-fest that can make you laugh as hard as you scream.

3) Audition (dir: Takeshi Miike) 1999

Japan's hardest working and most prolific film maker, Miike, has made arguably the creepiest movie ever. It seems to be a tragic, almost boring love story until the halfway mark. Then something happens causing the movie to take so many jaw-dropping turns, bending into unfathomable sadistically evil and surreal images that your guess is as good as mine as to what the hell went wrong.

4) Suspiria (dir: Dario Argento) 1977

From the Italian Giallo master comes this disturbing witch story about a possessed dancing school. Using vibrant color and artistic misogyny, gruesome deaths are bloodier than the red curtains in the hallways. Suspiria keeps us guessing as to the identity of the killer, crafts ingenious deaths that are horrific and gory, and builds up all kinds of cheesy tricks and suspense. The absolutely abrasive soundtrack by Goblin gets right under your skin and stays there.

5) Dawn of the Dead (dir: George A Romero) 1978

The nightmarish, colorful follow up to Night of the Living Dead is the classic of all classics, with a script by Dario Argento, soundtrack by Goblin and special effects by wizard Tom Savini. This has it all: zombies, bikers, cops, good girl/sexpot, helicopter pilot dweeb, and it takes place in America's quintessential establishment-the shopping mall. The gore just doesn't seem to stop and gets more inventive as it goes. The Undead shall truly rule the world.

6) Saw (the series) (dir: James Wan, Darren Lynn Bousman, David Hackl) 2003-2008

The sequels keep this sadistic morality tale (and main character, Jigsaw) alive, never succumbing to the curse of bad sequels as they are all intertwined, resembling a good HBO series (in fact that's what it should be so we wouldn't have to wait a whole year for each one). It's all about the gizmos, the torture, the clues, the blood and guts AND making the right choices in life. True to form, Saw V follows the rules and doesn't disappoint.

7) Rabid (dir; David Cronenberg) 1977

Porn star Marylyn Chambers goes legit with this tale of a modern day (well, the '70s), predatory vampire-like monster. Chambers is in a motorcycle accident, then after waking up in the hospital she inexplicably finds a mechanical drill-like syringe that oozes goop out of her armpit. Sexually agitated, she attacks people with her new-fangled gizmo, turning them rabid. Soon, most of Montreal is foaming at the mouth. It's a typical Cronenberg testimonial on the wrongs of technology and society, but so over the top that everyone should see this sleeper.

8) Blood Feast (dir: Hershel Gordon Lewis) 1963

The granddaddy of all things gore! Drive-in schlock-master Lewis made this super low budget gem to kick off his "blood trilogy" (2000 Maniacs and Color Me Blood Red were to follow). Fuad Ramses (a demented caterer) prepares an Egyptian feast of sorts (requiring a sacrifice). Thanks to some ingenuous and messy special effects, the gore still stands up to this day, although the campy style and hilarious bad acting will have you rolling on the floor.

9) Maniac (dir: William Lustig) 1980

Joe Spinel (GodfatherI & II) has never been better than in this sick and sadistic murder spree that thinly resembles Son of Sam. Some of the best gore-effects ever by Tom Savini (in a cameo showcasing his head exploding) are impressive as hell, but women hated it when it came out, making it the first slasher pic to get protested and boycotted. It tells the story of a twisted psychotic mama's boy who has to go out at night and kill. He talks to and has sex with mannequins in his basement.

10) Near Dark (dir: Kathryn Bigelow) 1987

In this flick we have modern-day vampires driving a Winnebago with the sunlight blocked out by duct tape on the windows while on a road trip feeding frenzy. This is a real creeper with gratuitous violence and the obligatory camp factor. It maintains an evil sinister mood while delivering the shocks and the laughs, especially when the vampires incite a blood-spewing bar fight with rednecks. Lance Henriksen shines as the vampire leader.

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