Monday, September 1, 2014

Jed Bundy's Labor Day TOP 100 Horror Movie Countdown

Labor Day TOP 100 Horror Movie Countdown 
(Updated frequently until we hit #1)

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100. The Toxic Avenger (1984)
99. The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
98. Child's Play (1988)
97. Friday the 13th (1980)
96. Pet Sematary (1989)
95. Candyman (1992)
94. Christine (1983)
93. Final Destination (2000)
92. The Fog (1980)
91. Phantasm (1979)
90. High Tension
89. Zombie (1979)
88. The Devil's Rejects (2005)
87. 28 Weeks Later (2007)
86. Hellraiser (1987)
85. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
84. Martyrs (2008)
83. Fright Night (1985)
82. Blade (1998)
81. The Crazies (2010)
80. The Howling (1981)
79. Pontypool (2008)
78. Insidious (2010)
77. The Mist (2007)
76. Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)
75. Paranormal Activity (2007)
74. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
73. The Exorcist III (1990)
72. Arachnophobia (1990)
71. Wolf Creek (2005)
70. The Ring (2002)
69. Tremors (1990)
68. The Frighteners (1996)
67. Day of the Dead (1985)
66. [Rec] (2007)
65. Gremlins (1984)
64. Creepshow (1982)
63. Repulsion (1965)
62. The Lost Boys (1987)
61. Black Christmas (1974)
60. They Live (1988)
59. The Descent (2005)
58. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
57. Re-Animator (1985)
56. The Changeling (1980)
55. Videodrome (1983)
54. The Thing from Another World (1951)
53. The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
52. Carrie (1976)
51. The Wicker Man (1973)
50. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
49. Eraserhead (1977)
48. Persona (1966)
47. Suspiria (1977)
46. Peeping Tom (1960)
45. The Sixth Sense (1999)
44. I Saw the Devil (2010)
43. The Fly (1986)
42. Godzilla (1954)
41. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
40. Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994)
39. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
38. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
37. Funny Games (1997)
36. Army of Darkness (1992)
35. 28 Days Later... (2002)
34. The Invisible Man (1933)
33. Dracula (1931)
32. The Haunting (1963)
31. Poltergeist (1982)
30. Saw (2004)

60s Italian Horror Review: Kill, Baby... Kill! (1966)

Kill, Baby... Kill! (1966)
Director: Mario Bava
Writers: Romano Migliorini (story), Roberto Natale (story)
Stars: Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Erika Blanc, Fabienne Dali

Review by Rick Austin

A woman, clearly agitated, goes to the top of a tower. In a daze, she sees the spikes of a gate far below. She screams, clearly not wanting to be there, but inexplicably jumps and impales herself on the spikes. Over ominous music, we hear the sound of a young girl laughing cruelly.

No, it isn't what happened in Miley Cyrus' head, it's the introduction to Kill, Baby... Kill!, an Italian horror movie that you may not hold out much hope for, but you may be surprised...

Doctor Eswai, a coroner with blonde, black and grey hair all-in-one hairstyle, arrives at the local boarding house to meet the police inspector. He gets the usual treatment reserved for outsiders. Yes, it's that old favourite, suspicious villagers who despise visitors coming to Carpathia. Eswai finds out that the dead woman wrote a letter to the police explaining her plight, but since the woman is about to be buried it looks like the locals don't want an autopsy performed.

The bald community leader appears to be useless in helping with the investigation, and the best that the coroner can do for an assistant is a young woman called Monica who seems fearful. But as night falls and the autopsy gets underway properly, the child's laugh strikes up again. Still, little happens until the early hours when the coroner gets ambushed by the locals and is rescued by the town witch.

The witch also performs a protection ritual on a woman who works at the boarding house, and it seems like it's just in time, because the creepy young girl is drawing near. The coroner doesn't understand if everyone in town is overly superstitious, mad, or if there's something more going on. Naturally, he has to know the truth and can't resist sticking his nose in the town's business.

He visits a crazy old lady in a villa that's off-limits, and then gets involved in a game of hide-and-seek with the strange young girl who keeps disappearing and laughing. Sometimes she's there, sometimes all he can find is a bouncing ball, but there's always the mocking laughter. All we know is that her name is Melissa Graps, age seven... and that she died in 1887.

Can our fearless (and rather clueless) hero get to the bottom of the mystery? Will his insistence on finding a rational explanation for everything, and his rejection of magic in favour of science be his downfall? Will the police inspector ever show up again? Will this ghost-child control more people and force them to kill themselves?

Ghost stories are a staple of horror, but are rarely done justice. Given that this is a dubbed Italian 1960s horror film filmed on a limited budget, you'd be forgiven for expecting the worst. You'd be wrong though, because it's a surprisingly good – if dated – film. It doesn't look that good on the surface, and by rights it shouldn't work at all, but it does.

The performances are mostly standard, and the characters are one-dimensional at best. The sets are average, the formula is standard, the music is bad and the most innovative camera trick is to zoom in and out in a bid to build atmosphere. Yet it's the small touches – the bouncing ball, the spiral staircase shots, the witchcraft, the way our hero appears doomed to fail by adhering to science when we know he shouldn't – that make this film work the way it does. It's greater than the sum of its parts.

Melissa does look creepy, like the Bad Seed and Damien got together and had a far worse child than either of them could handle. She backs it up too, driving people mad with ease. The sequence towards the end with Eswai, chasing himself through repeating rooms, gives us that guilty pleasure of seeing our hero succumb to the madness. This is one of those times when you know the villagers are right, and you'd join them in urging the coroner to run, run, run for his life!

There are flaws with it, but it's better than you may think. I can't lie and say it's brilliant, because it isn't, but it's certainly better than many other efforts. If you're looking for what The Ring would have been like if made in the Hammer glory days, this is it.

Kill, Baby... Kill! may not be the most famous of horror films, or the flashiest, but it's ahead of its time and strangely haunting.

- Rick Austin
Staff Writer

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