Some of these films have slid down in the countdown because I am making room for a few new ones. That doesn’t mean I like these any less. Until we get into the Top 30, many of these movies are presented in almost no particular order. Much of the horror genre involves the supernatural, the after-life and the underground. Tonight’s films fit that criteria.
82. Pet Sematary
The late 1980s – early 1990s was a great time for a wide variety of horror films. Another Stephen King adaptation, this one reinforces the notion that maybe, just maybe, sometimes dead is better.
Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby (Star Trek: The Next Generation) and Fred Gwynne (The Munsters, My Cousin Vinny) star in this tale of tragedy and demonic resurrection. After a couple’s young son is killed in a tragic accident, the husband and father finds a way to bring his boy back via the nearby native American burial ground. As you can imagine, this does not go well.
The movie begs the question, how far would you go to bring a deceased loved one back from the dead? Gwynne delivers an underrated performance as the next-door-neighbor who is all-to-willing to educate Midkiff’s character on the local folklore and the possibilities. King based the novel on a real-life experience where his own son was almost hit by a truck. Avoid the remake. As much as the filmmakers tried to put their own spin on the story. Sometimes, original is better.
81. Night Breed
I love Clive Barker. He’s one of my favorite authors. I recently read The Scarlet Gospels. This won’t be the last of his work that appears on this countdown. This one seems to be a favorite among Barker devotees, and not many others. Written and directed by Barker, Craig Sheffer and David Cronenberg star in this creature feature (there are a lot of creatures), in which the humans are actually worse than the “monsters.” Charles Haid of Hill Street Blues fame also stars.
Based on the 1988 novella, Cabal, Barker weaves a tale of an underground society of monsters and their attempt to stay hidden from the world of men. In the end, it is the men who come for the monsters. This is one film I will make an exception for when it comes to empathy for the oppressed and persecuted creatures of the night.
One of my favorite scenes involves a porcupine hybrid woman who is both tantalizing and deadly.
80. The Fog
John Carpenter and Debra Hill wrote and Carpenter directed this terrifying film starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Adrienne Barbeau. I make it a habit not to give too many spoilers away in these capsules and I don’t intend to with this. There is a real feeling of foreboding and dread as the fog rolls in. Barbeau’s local radio DJ character Stevie Wayne gives a harrowing play-by-play account of the otherworldly phenomenon. Before long, it becomes apparent something(s) malevolent has/have arrived with the cloud.
If you like Carpenter and his aesthetic, and his do-it-all-himself manner of film making, this is a must-watch. Two years removed from Halloween, and two years away from The Thing, Carpenter is really stretching his legs as a storyteller during this part of his prolific career.
What I will say, is avoid the 2005 remake. For the life of me, I don’t understand why filmmakers try to make the monsters sympathetic. They’re monsters for crying out loud. Tragic backstory be damned. Why do we have to feel sympathy for the ghosts/goblins/vampires/ghouls/science experiments gone wrong when they start killing the local populace? I don’t give a damn why the sailors in The Fog have come back. I don’t feel sorry for them. Karma is a bitch, let’s just leave it at that. Watch the original, leave the remake in the fog where it belongs.