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Just Keep Telling Yourself It's Only a Thread: Talking Time's Top 50 Horror Movies!

Daikaiju

Rated Ages 6+
(He, Him)
Your collective statements about the book and movie remind me of something. I can't find the exact quote, but essentially Moebius said a writer will direct the plot in ways that follow the internal logic of the story. An artist will steer it in a direction that allows for more interesting visuals.
 

Dracula

Video Nasty
(He/His)
Jennifer's Body (2009)
Points: 51 | Lists: Dracula (#20); Neo Skimbleshanks (#3)
"Hell is a teenage girl."


Drac's Notes: Jennifer's Body is an underrated horror comedy starring the also underrated Megan Fox which really deserves a second look if you ignored, like I did, when it came out. It's about a teen girl who becomes demon-possessed after a dead-end emo band tries to sacrifice her to Satan. She starts killing her classmates, and her best friend, Needy (Amanda Seyfried) is the only one who knows what's going on. The movie is about equal parts hilarious and tragic. Diablo Cody, the writer of Juno, also wrote this film, and you can really tell in the bone-cuttingly funny dialogue. I absolutely love movies about girls being crude, and movies about girls with badass powers, and this one's got both of them, and a really good emotional heart. When I finally saw it, last year, I couldn't believe I'd slept on it for so long. But to be honest, I probably wouldn't have appreciated it as much when it came out.
 
It really is! I watched it when it came out and a few times since. I love the way Diablo Cody writes dialogue and this has to be Megan Fox’s best performance. (It’s at least her favorite) Adam Brody is a great villain in this. This has a really strong thematic core. Also one of those horror movies that acknowledges it is sad for parents when their children are murders.

Worst thing is the totally silent foreign exchange student. He should... have lines... among other things.

Why number 3? Well, I just watched it and liked it quite a lot and ranked lists do not come naturally to me. It’s like how judges are more or less punitive depending on how close they are to eating. Kind of arbitrary but in this case: harmless. I stand by it! Great film.
 

Dracula

Video Nasty
(He/His)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (Series)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
| Points: 59 | Lists: YangusKhan (#25); Octopus Prime (#22); ShakeWell (#5)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) | Points: 32 | Lists: Octopus Prime (#5)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) | Points: 32 | Lists: Neo Skimbleshanks (#5)
Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994) | Points: 31 | Lists: Neo Skimbleshanks (#21); Zef (#22)
"Nine, ten, never sleep again..."


Drac's Notes: Although four films from his long-running series made some individual lists, Freddy Kreuger joins Jason Voorhees just outside Talking Time's Top 50 Horror Films, with the original film in the series scoring about five points too few to make it. The original TNoES was directed by horror master Wes Craven and was about child murderer Fred Kreuger. In the years after the parents of children on Elm Street took it upon themselves to kill Kreuger, his demonic soul lives on in the dream world, from which he returns to terrorize the teenage offspring of his killers. The real innovation here was that Kreuger attacks people in their dreams, giving filmmakers a ticket to flex their SFX muscles. The whole series is full of crazy visuals and bizarre deaths. As the series marches on, the elaborate dream sequences become the real draw - along with Robert Englund's increasingly comedic performance as Kreuger. Unlike characters like Myers and Voorhees, Kreuger is strongly associated with a single actor, and only one other actor has ever portrayed the character.

The first Nightmare is a wonderful film. Heather Langenkamp's Nancy Thompson is one of the best "final girls" in horror history, and here Englund's Kreuger is portrayed as more deadly than silly. Nightmare 2 is about Freddy possessing the body of a teen, and is more or less unrelated to the first movie. However, the film is notable for its intensely gay subtext and some there are interesting (and sad) stories about the making of the film. Nightmare 3 ("The Dream Warriors") is everyone's favorite: Freddy comes back to finish his revenge on Nancy; he attacks a mental hospital full of memorable characters; the origins of Freddy are fully revealed and his body is laid to rest by the end. But it made too much money to end there, so there were still several more sequels. I always get Nightmares 4 ("The Dream Master") and 5 ("The Dream Child") mixed up, but I can at least say that 4 has one of my favorite songs ever. By this point, Freddy's reputation as a pop culture icon was firmly cemented, and the movies were crammed full of one-liners and increasingly elaborate death scenes.

Nightmare 6 ("Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare") is very strange. Freddy has killed every child in Springwood, Ohio, and the one kid left is now a teen who has to go back there and...do something, I guess. There's cameos by Alice Cooper, Roseanne Barr, and Tom Arnold. By the end, Freddy is Dead (again).

I really like Nightmare 7 ("Wes Craven's New Nightmare"). Craven returned to direct the final film in the original series, in which Freddy Kreuger leaves dreamland to attack actress Heather Langenkamp, in reality. It attempts to address Kreuger's status as a pop culture icon and it's a fascinating film.

We've already talked about Freddy Vs. Jason. Finally there was the law-required 2010s remake with Jackie Earl Haley as Kreuger. I did not see this film and had no interest in seeing it. Perhaps Haley did a good job! I am not interested.

So what's your relationship with ol' Fred Kreuger? I didn't see any of the original films until I was in college, and I rented all of them in succession from the Hollywood Video in Falls Church, Virginia when I was home for summer break. I have very cozy memories of being tucked in bed and watching them on my laptop. I'd say they're all (at least the originals) worth watching at least for the visuals, if only a few of them are really good good.
 

Issun

TT's Resident Ace of Base Superfan
I've never seen a Freddy but from what I've heard about the first movie I'm legit surprised it didn't make the list.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Up until the 2000s, they were very careful to point out that Krueger was a filthy child murderer, figuring that a nightmare ghost that targeted children and chopped them to pieces with a glove made of knives was plenty bad enough.

But starting with FvJ, they decided that no, he also needs to be a pedophile as well. Did not like that particular retcon.

Otherwise, the original is probably the best movie, but 3 is easily my favorite of them all.
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
I only really remember the first Nightmare movie even though I'm sure I watched all of them with my friend in college. I also remember watching New Nightmare and still liking Scream more. They're fairly similar movies.
 
Earlier I said Halloween was my least favorite 80s slasher franchise; ANoES is my favorite. Partially because it's the best. Also because I watched them as a child, sure. (I watched the Halloween movies, too, though!) It's got a cool concept that allows for some great imagery. Also you're never supposed to root for Freddy against the kids. (sometimes, adults, sure!) Characters have deaths related to one of their two dimensions, but you aren't meant to think these 17 (going on 26) year olds have it coming. Freddy's said to be for kids and yeah, I guess I was attracted to the franchise, but like... because he was scary! I wasn't quite detached enough from the action to like appreciate his quips as a child, he was just a frightening menace, murdering my crushes and never shutting up.

ANoES is a classic. Freddy is fully frightening; not supposed to be comic relief for anyone. One thing this franchise does here and does often is kill off who you might think is the main character and let someone else take the reigns - I like that a lot. Helps emphasize that these characters aren't just canon fodder.

Freddy's Revenge is, among other things, the gay one. I never connected to it as a kid though I certainly appreciate it more now. It's just a bit sad to watch because it's not totally textual and, production-wise, was kind of a bad experience for Mark Patton. I have to check out his documentary. Kind of one of the unhappier endings in the series. But why would it be otherwise at the time it was produced? Also, Mark Patton's Jesse is not really in the Final Girl roll - Kim Myers takes over the last third of the movie which has some extremely cool looking dream beasties.

Dream Warriors is a fan favorite and it's hard to argue with it. Lot of things here stuck with me... the opening gave me a weird fixation with papier-mâché. Nancy comes back and she dies, but it's heroic and she helps some teens get through their experience with Freddy. Although, uh. Doesn't last. :( I wanna know how that one adult psychiatrist handled everybody's rapid deaths... what's he up to, now? At times, I thought that was Judge Reinhold. (it's not)

The Dream Master is the one I rank most highly. It's got everything I like - cool things to look at, great theme song, Danny Hassell. (more like The Dream Boat...) It's a Renny Harlin movie and what can I say, I love what he does. Well, did, between this, Deep Blue Sea, and The Long Kiss Goodnight. Don't know quite what his later films are like. It's really satisfying to watch Alice self-actualize with an extremely obvious stunt double towards the end of the film.

The Dream Child? Also well-liked by me. 3-5 are very satisying films for me and are a large part of why I love this franchise so much. Just a really haunting/goofy/sweet fantasy. The titular dream child is that little kid from Jurassic Park... makes you think. Shout-out to Kelly Jo Minter's Yvonne who survives a slasher flick as not just a black woman but a character who's like, "come on, fellow teens! We are NOT rapidly being murdered by an infamous spirit who keeps ostentatiously murdering local teens!" Ends on a high note with a Sinead O'Connor song that fucking slaps.

I really wish I liked Freddy's Dead more but unfortunately I don't. Most of the time Freddy's been pretty limited in what he can do but suddenly he's just a normal slasher and has like murdered an entire generation in this town? What a bummer! I hope Alice and Yvonne got out... Anyway, there's a lot of lore here. Sometimes there's lore. You know what? I like that Lezlie Dean was in this and showed up for the documentary decades later with some silent roller derby servants. Weird and fun.

Wes Craven's New Nightmare blew my mind as a child. Introduced me to the concept of metafiction. Lot to latch onto and as AdrenalineJohnnyUnusual (brain!) mentioned the last image is really strong. Also this caused me to always look out for Tracy Middendorf in things as a kid - she popped up in the Angel pilot and a few episodes of Alias. Anyway, very cool fairytale vibe in this one.

Freddy vs. Jason. Eh. Liked it a lot when I saw it (in fact, it's the only one I saw in theaters) but it's a better Jason movie than Freddy one and I'm sorry; I know this is bad, I'm just, like, "the looooore!" how are all these things fitting together.

Remake: do not like. I will say this: when I saw it I felt a twinge of sadness for the woman playing Nancy because I recognized everyone else in the cast from various CW shows or Twilight or whatever. But I had no idea who she was. This film was kind of a cultural flop; guess she never made it... anyway, turns out that's what famous and acclaimed actress Rooney Mara looks like. No, I haven't seen Carol. I'll get to it!
Up until the 2000s, they were very careful to point out that Krueger was a filthy child murderer, figuring that a nightmare ghost that targeted children and chopped them to pieces with a glove made of knives was plenty bad enough.

But starting with FvJ, they decided that no, he also needs to be a pedophile as well. Did not like that particular retcon.
I didn't remember them making this too much more explicit in FvJ (I think maybe even Freddy's Dead kind of did, though) but it was very explicit in the remake and a huge mistake. Absolutely a good thing good taste forced some plausible deniability in the 80s - it would be even grosser to have Freddy just keep quipping and winning otherwise. It almost looks like the remake will do something interesting and have Freddy not have committed sexual abuse but instead be a victim of paranoid parents now out for revenge. That's kind of the obvious thing to do considering Craven was influenced by the McMartin preschool trial case and maybe other Satanic panic stories. But no, he did it, and now he's unkillable and I guess going to assault Rooney Mara offscreen before murdering her. Awful. Charmless movie. Okay, the last kill is cool. (even though again: I don't want that ending!)

Highly recommend the long documentary Never Sleep Again which just has the cast and crew talking about these movies. Friday's also got something like it - Crystal Lake Memories.
 
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Dracula

Video Nasty
(He/His)
Up until the 2000s, they were very careful to point out that Krueger was a filthy child murderer, figuring that a nightmare ghost that targeted children and chopped them to pieces with a glove made of knives was plenty bad enough.

But starting with FvJ, they decided that no, he also needs to be a pedophile as well. Did not like that particular retcon.

Yeah, as neo skimbleshanks mentioned above, this wasn't exactly new for FvJ. I want to say it was Freddy's Dead where they made this explicit. Which is just another reason I don't much like that one.
 

Tegan

dirtbag lesbian
(She/Her)
For some reason this thread stopped appearing in my notifications so I missed the last couple of entries. Oh noooooo.

The Fly is a masterclass on not only how but why to do a remake: it takes a gripping but shallow sci-fi monster movie from the fifties and recontextualizes it into a story about the slow degradation of a loved one, both physically and psychologically. It also features Jeff Goldblum channeling Nicolas Cage and making it work.

The Shining is a movie I can only watch once every couple of years because of how close to home it hits, but it's rightly regarded as a masterpiece. It also gave us one of the greatest parodies ever made in the best Halloween episode of The Simpsons and also one of the most inexplicable, unsettling references in any piece of Scooby-Doo media.

Jennifer's Body is legitimately really fuckin' good and nobody appreciated it in its time, myself included. We all thought it was some dumb sexy cheerleader thing but it's actually this intensely queer-coded deconstructivist horror-comedy thing. Also the kid who played Young Neil from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is in it, playing pretty much the same character but like three years younger, so I like to pretend it's set in the same universe.

I've tried to enjoy A Nightmare on Elm Street a couple of times but it just doesn't do it for me. I admire the sort of Dumbass Charisma that Robert Englund is bringing to it and the effects are often still quite good but I just can't get it to land for whatever reason. Still gotta give the sequels a shot.
 

Tegan

dirtbag lesbian
(She/Her)
I would like to just home in on the fact that Scooby-Doo made it onto this list and Jason did not.

Wondering if any similar long-runners are gonna lose by splitting the vote between entries (I definitely didn't vote for the first film in my favourite slasher series).
Hey Past Tegan, ya nailed it. Enjoy that three or four days of political stability while they last.
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
Nightmare is such a fantastic films, I'm honestly surprised it didn't get enough votes to crack the top 50. Freddy is terrifying because YOU HAVE TO SLEEP EVENTUALLY. There is no way to completely avoid him. The ending is wonky, at Bob Shaye's request, because there needed to be a sequel hook, but I can overlook that. In a movie series about dreams, it's pretty easy to headcanon your way into "that part was just someone dreaming."

Also, I'm a sucker for a great rotating room gag.

Fun fact: There are not one, but two Bollywood versions. The better known one is called Mahakaal and not only features a Freddy ripoff, but plenty of musical numbers.
Up until the 2000s, they were very careful to point out that Krueger was a filthy child murderer, figuring that a nightmare ghost that targeted children and chopped them to pieces with a glove made of knives was plenty bad enough.

But starting with FvJ, they decided that no, he also needs to be a pedophile as well. Did not like that particular retcon.

Otherwise, the original is probably the best movie, but 3 is easily my favorite of them all.

It's not explicit, but it's definitely implied from the beginning. ("I'm your boyfriend now, Nancy!") The remake got a lot more explicit with that stuff, including plot points mentioned above. Jackie Earle Haley is good as Freddy, and I like that it, like New Nightmare, made Freddy scary again, BUT... it's just a mess of a movie, even worse than the Friday the 13th remake, but maybe not quite as bad as Freddy's Dead?
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I admire 4 for adding in a pretty major piece of new lore that there’s a Dream Master who exists as an anti-Krueger and which no other movie ever references again. Even though that same character is back for the sequel.

4 also had one of the cooler means of defeating Freddy, with him looking at himself in a mirror in the Dream Dimension, seeing his own true form, and getting so scared of himself that he does of shock.

Or at least that’s how I interpreted it; movie was kinda vague on what was going on there IIRC
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
The first Nightmare surprised me with how good it was when I first watched it. It's legitimately effective. Not quite able to make my list though. The only sequel I've seen is 2 which is... a weird movie.
 

Dracula

Video Nasty
(He/His)


No. 8 Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Points: 190 | Lists: Sabrecat (#21); Rascally Badger (#3); Issun (#12); Teg (#5); Kirin (#5); Bulgakov (#10); Adrenaline (#13)
“You’ve got red on you.”



Shaun of the Dead is a 2004 horror comedy film directed by Edgar Wright. The film was written by Wright and Simon Pegg, who stars in it as Shaun. Along with friend Ed, played by Nick Frost, Shaun is caught unaware by the zombie apocalypse; they attempt to take refuge in a local pub with their loved ones.

Drac’s Notes: Shaun of the Dead was much of the world’s introduction to Edgar Wright. It’s a parody of the zombie genre and really the whole genre should have probably stopped here. This one did it the absolute best and nobody has improved on it since then. The best parodies are the ones which homage the parodied genre successfully, and Shaun does it flawlessly. Plus this movie has a strong emotional core, which is often lacking in winky-noddy comedies like this. It’s both a fantastic horror film and a fantastic comedy. Definitely worthy of being in our top 10.

That was a silly movie about people killing zombies in a pub.

It certainly was!

WELL THEN WHY AM I CRYING!?

It's normal. I cried too.

I also cried.

*Sniff* Same.

I am a phase-core construct with incidental human anatomy. It is impossible for me to simulate the physiological expression known as "crying." Nevertheless, I cried.
 
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Zef

Find Your Reason
(He/Him)
I admire 4 for adding in a pretty major piece of new lore that there’s a Dream Master who exists as an anti-Krueger and which no other movie ever references again. Even though that same character is back for the sequel.

4 also had one of the cooler means of defeating Freddy, with him looking at himself in a mirror in the Dream Dimension, seeing his own true form, and getting so scared of himself that he does of shock.

Or at least that’s how I interpreted it; movie was kinda vague on what was going on there IIRC

I always thought it was a rather philosophical "evil can't stand the sight of itself" deal.

I also always thought that Nightmare 4 had blatantly stolen that from Thundercats :p
 

Beta Metroid

At peace
(he/him and such)
I need to watch Shaun again. I love Hot Fuzz and World's End to pieces, but I haven't seen Shaun in a long time, and for some reason zombies are just not a flavor of monster that I tend to enjoy.

I appreciate a lot about the first Nightmare film, but I have quibbles with it that kept it just outside my short list. I get that there's an abstract, unpredictable nature to the horror due to the dream element, and some of it is down to Freddy toying with victims, but I have a hard time getting fully invested when the stakes are murky. It just feels to me that Freddy only isn't winning immediately because he's choosing not to, not through any particular quality of his would-be victims. Also, not really a criticism, but I'm amused that the movie essentially
inspires the Home Alone franchise
in its eleventh hour.

Another observation that mildly amuses me is that the first movie is very clearly set in California. I believe they end up retconning the location to Ohio, which is no fault of the first movie. There's certainly nothing wrong with a California setting...though the Midwestern one is a more traditional horror atmosphere. But the California setting meshes with New Nightmare better.

I haven't seen anything between the first one and New Nightmare, so maybe I can't fully appreciate Freddy's loss of edge over the course of the franchise, but I thought New Nightmare was neat. It made my top 30. I appreciate it trying different things, and a franchise based around a killer who invades dreams and warps reality was a great choice for this meta-horror concept.
 

Issun

TT's Resident Ace of Base Superfan
Shaun is just wonderful and eminently quotable. Hot Fuzz is my favorite Wright/Pegg/Frost film, but this one is probably the best one.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
It took me a long time to see Shaun just because I'm not generally into zombie movies, but I'm glad someone finally talked me into it. Good times.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I’ve often been quite vocal on my opinions on zombies and their associated media (they’re the boringest monster), but Shaun is the exception.
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
I get that there's an abstract, unpredictable nature to the horror due to the dream element, and some of it is down to Freddy toying with victims, but I have a hard time getting fully invested when the stakes are murky. It just feels to me that Freddy only isn't winning immediately because he's choosing not to, not through any particular quality of his would-be victims.

Sometimes they wake themselves up before he kills them (Nancy on the steam pipe), sometimes someone else does (at the sleep clinic), sometimes Freddy just wants to torture and scare them, because he's a serial killer and he likes to torture people? He's also a nigh-invincible dream ghost killer, it's not like efficiency is something he needs to commit to.
 

Tegan

dirtbag lesbian
(She/Her)
Shaun of the Dead is a perfect movie. There's absolutely zero fat on it, and everything they put in there is practically flawless. I'm particularly a fan of how many times the story folds in on itself with foreshadowing and ironic echoes of previous scenes (a few choice bits include Shaun going to the store twice, Shaun and Ed playing video games and then exchanging identical dialogue while shooting zombies later, and Ed's plan for a day of drinking accurately predicting the entire plot of the movie). What a great movie.
 

Dracula

Video Nasty
(He/His)


No. 7 Evil Dead II (1987)
Points: 203 | Lists: Kishi (#5); Patrick (#2); Kirin (#19); Octopus Prime (#12); Johnny Unusual (#14); Dr. Nerd (#2); ShakeWell (#2)
“Who’s laughing now!?”



Evil Dead II is a 1987 American supernatural horror film directed by Sam Raimi, and a parody sequel to the 1981 horror film The Evil Dead. Written by Raimi and Scott Spiegel, Evil Dead II stars Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams, who vacations with his girlfriend in a remote cabin in the woods. He discovers an audio tape of recitations from a book of ancient texts, and when the recording is played, it unleashes a number of demons which possess and torment him.

Drac’s Notes: Few directors get the chance to return to their earliest material with a bigger budget and greater experience, but that’s what happened with Evil Dead II. Raimi was saddled with this project after the failure of his second film, Crimewave, and the studios pressured him to make a sequel to his earlier work. But what he produced was less of a sequel and more of a remake, a movie which repeats many of the first film’s beats but with a grade level higher quality and humor.

I like this movie a lot. Like the original, it’s a parade of crazy special effects, but now it’s got that horror comedy stuff that y’all know I love and it ends with an explosion of puppetry, stop-motion models, and goopy blood. It’s a film that just does not give a fuck. I watched both it and the original Evil Dead over and over in high school, and when I do get the hankerin' to see an Ash Williams movie, this is the one I reach for, and is in fact the only of the films I own on Blu-Ray.

I'm crying again.

What? Why?

The poster has an alive skeleton on it.


The alive skeleton wasn't in the movie!!!!

There were plenty of alive skeletons in the film, TS. You just couldn't see them because they had flesh on top of them.

THOSE DON'T COUNT AND YOU KNOW IT
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Now, what's interesting here is that I DID vote for this, but it's the only Evil Dead movie or TV show I did NOT watch.

I'm just that confident I'd love it if I ever did.
 
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