We’ve Now Entered the Torture Porn Portion of the Countdown

My countdown of my 100 favorite horror films continues. Three torture porn films, a remake of a Japanese fright fest and a couple of classics are featured in tonight’s entry.

  1. Saw – 2004

Carey Elwes, Danny Glover, Tobin Bell, Dina Meyer and Shawnee Smith star in this shocker that is considered the opus of a sub-genre of horror film. James Wan directed this very original movie that kicked off a series of seven. Bell stars as Jigsaw, an engineering genius who designs and builds deadly traps. The folks imprisoned in these traps are chosen for some moral reason and have specific opportunities to escape. However, if the victims don’t figure it out in time…well…yeesh. The first two films are very good, but the series lost me after that.

  1. The Ring – 2002

After a slew of films in which a person who develops medium-like abilities is enlisted to help a spirit find its way in the afterlife after a horrific crime, you’d think this film was in the same vein. However, the creepy little girl from beyond really is evil and should be left in the well. The premise of the deadly videotape and the evil spirit reaching out with murderous intent makes for a good horror flick. This is another borrowed from a Japanese original and it is very well done. I like Naomi Watts and she is excellent in this. She was very much in demand after this.

  1. Hostel – 2005

To me this is the movie that put Eli Roth on the map. Young tourists stay at a hostel in Europe on the cheap, get lured into an underground human chop shop where they can be tortured and murdered for a handsome fee. One by one a group of friends falls prey to the murder traffickers. Featuring a cast of nobodies, Roth serves up a smorgasbord of torture porn. I found main actor Jay Hernandez’s performance to be over the top and you kind of hope he gets it. But…I guess you’ll have to watch to find out.

  1. Hostel: Part II – 2007

Similar premise to the first one, this is told from the female perspective. That’s what makes it interesting and better than the first. Lauren German, Heather Matarazzo and Bijou Phillips star. Vera Jordanova stars as the lure. There is an Elizabeth Bathory type scene with a suspended victim and scythe that is absolutely exhilarating to watch as a horror fan. Lauren German’s character goes to great lengths to buy her freedom and purchases a helluva lot more than she bargained for.

  1. Brides of Dracula – 1960

The sequel to Hammer Studios reboot of Dracula starring Christopher Lee, Dracula isn’t even in the film. This is one film in the franchise I had not seen until recently. I had a hard time finding it for some reason. I very much enjoyed it despite its leaps of faith for our unwitting heroine. David Peel is highly entertaining as Baron Meinster, our vampire antagonist. Of course Peter Cushing is along as vampire hunter Van Helsing. I’m still not sure how this is a sequel to 1958’s Horror of Dracula, but who cares? It’s an entertaining entry from Hammer Studios’ reboot of the Gothic horror classics.

  1. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari – 1920

I am not overly fond of silent films, however, there are a few horror classics that have my made my list, Phantom of the Opera earlier, and Nosferatu which comes later, and this one. German expressionism at its best, this film taught me the word “somnambulist.” The sleepwalking Cesare makes macabre predictions that seemingly come true with alarming frequency. Even at the end of the film you really aren’t sure what was real and what was a dream. This film set the groundwork for Universal’s torch-wielding mob o villagers tracking down the “monster” scenes of which we’ve become oh so familiar.

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