Bullied Teens, the Greatest Jumpscare Ever Filmed and the Birth of a Franchise

We are in the Top of the Countdown of My 100 Favorite Horror Films kiddies. We are getting to the point where the films need no introductions, but I’ll write the descriptions anyway.

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1976

For my money, this is the best Stephen King adaptation of them all. Based on the novel that launched King’s mercurial career, Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, John Travolta, William Katt (Greatest American Hero), Amy Irving, Nancy Allen and P.J. Soles all star in this tale of the supernatural and kinetic rage.

Shy, oppressed Carrie White is asked to the prom and a horrible prank leads to Carrie unleashing her telekinetic abilities on her fellow prom-goers. The recent remake with Chloe Grace Moretz was passable but it didn’t have the believability of the characters of the original. Moretz didn’t fly as the bullied, repressed, tortured soul that Spacek pulled off wonderfully, although Julianne Moore does a nice job as Mrs. White.

.There are many iconic moments in this film. For some reason, filmmakers have had trouble over the decades adapting King’s work for the big screen. Brian De Palma did a great job with this one.

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2010/2008

As you can see, there aren’t very many newer films in the top end of the countdown. A movie really has to grab me. I also find that remakes tend to fall flat. These two are exceptions.

A young bullied boy befriends the female vampire who moves in next door. The original Swedish version is phenomenal and the American remake is excellent. Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloë Grace Moretz star in the American version. The relationship between the bullied Oskar and Eli/Owen and Abby (U.S. version) begins as friendship and slowly becomes co-dependence and maybe even love as the two learn to protect each other, and even desire to do so. Although a bit slow paced, these films are unusual and different and very well acted.

Based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, it’s a tale of Gothic horror for the vampire and a coming of age story for the bullied boy, these movies are well-written and gritty.

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1990

This is the sequel to The Exorcist we should have gotten. From IMDB, “A police Lieutenant uncovers more than he bargained for as his investigation of a series of murders, which have all the hallmarks of the deceased Gemini serial killer, leads him to question the patients of a psychiatric ward.”

That description doesn’t come close. George C. Scott plays that police lieutenant as all kinds of Satanic goings on plague him. He plays the Kinderman character and Ed Flanders plays Father Dyer from the first film, as Pazuzu continues to terrorize Georgetown in Washington, D.C. Basketball great Patrick Ewing and model Fabio make cameo appearances.

This movie features the single greatest jumpscare ever filmed. Brad Dourif also stars and he is his usual creepy self.

MV5BMTkyNzc4NjkwNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzI2Mjc1MDE@._V1_18. Hellraiser
1987

“We’ll tear your soul apart!” Clive Barker is at his best with this film that centers around a puzzle box that can summon all kinds of hell – literally. We were introduced to Pinhead and the Cenobites. Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence and Sean Chapman star in this gory thriller.

Chapman plays Frank, a macabre adrenaline junkie who wants to test the limits of pleasure and pain. He finds his solution in the form of the puzzle box. He finds a way back from the other side and embroils his brother’s family in his evil. Doug Bradley stars as the iconic Pinhead.

Based on the novella The Hellbound Heart, Hellraiser spawned an entire universe that includes several sequels, novels and comic books. I watched this again recently and I was surprised at how well it still holds up 32 years later.

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