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

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
I actually just watched ED2 all the way through for the first time this past Halloween. It is indeed pretty dang Octo.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Evil Dead II didn't invent the gory comedy (see the films of Hershell Gordon Lewis, though I'm given to understand don't do that) but it certainly perfected it. Sam remade his own famously hyper-violent horror film as a comedy and it worked amazingly well. Its a shame that Bruce Campbell never became a leading man outside of b-pictures because he is incredibly charismatic. The monsters are still intense, the stakes are still high and camerawork is kinetic. But now it's a mix of the bloodiest of films with Three Stooges. Army of Darkness is fun but Evil Dead II is definitely the best of the series.
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
Query: if I wanted to show an Evil Dead movie to someone who hasn't seen any of them, I should just show them Evil Dead II, right? Provided this person is not much of a horror aficionado. And also is it fully accurate to describe Evil Dead II as a remake of the first one?
 

Dracula

Video Nasty
(He/His)
Query: if I wanted to show an Evil Dead movie to someone who hasn't seen any of them, I should just show them Evil Dead II, right? Provided this person is not much of a horror aficionado. And also is it fully accurate to describe Evil Dead II as a remake of the first one?
Yes on both accounts. Evil Dead 2 stands alone. It isn't a straight remake of the first one, but it tells essentially the same story at the same location with the same basic characters and same lead actor. There's no reference to the events of the original, so it's clearly not meant to be a sequel, despite the number in the title.
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
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.

So... do? It's 90 minutes.

Yes on both accounts. Evil Dead 2 stands alone. It isn't a straight remake of the first one, but it tells essentially the same story at the same location with the same basic characters and same lead actor. There's no reference to the events of the original, so it's clearly not meant to be a sequel, despite the number in the title.

I'll quibble a little with this. It's been said by Bruce Campbell that the early sequences with Linda are meant as a shorthand for the first movie, that they couldn't get the rights to their own film to provide a summary, so they just redid it... kinda. While, yes, I agree that you don't NEED to see the first one first (I actually originally saw them in reverse order), it definitely was written as a sequel, which is why the same shot of Ash on the porch with the Evil knocking down the door and rushing towards his mouth is redone in 2.

Anyways, the only thing I wrote in my submission to Drac was that I hated him for making me rank this list and therefore decide whether this or Texas Chainsaw Massacre is actually my favorite horror movie. Because they both rule for totally different reasons and both definitely deserve Criterion releases. (Evil Dead II is also the movie I've owned the most times, though Total Recall recently tied it at 4. Evil Dead II once on VHS, twice on DVD, and once on blu.)
 

Dracula

Video Nasty
(He/His)


No. 6 The Ring (2002)
Points: 221 | Lists: Dracula (#19); Zef (#1); Falselogic (#6); Issun (#15); Teg (#4); Bulgakov (#11); Dr. Nerd (#15); Jbear (#4)
“You will die in seven days.”

Hey! We already saw this movie!

Yes, we have seen a film titled "Ring" about a cursed video tape. However --

Well then let's move onto the next one, if this is just a repeat. We already watched Evil Dead twice.

This is a --


Let her finish, dude!

Ugh, fine.

The Ring is a 2002 American supernatural horror film directed by Gore Verbinski. It is a remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ring, based on the novel of the same name by Koji Suzuki. Naomi Watts portrays a journalist who investigates a cursed videotape that seemingly kills the viewer seven days after watching it.

Drac’s Notes: I believe this is the first instance on our list where we have had both the original film and a remake, and the remake has ranked much higher than the original. This was a high school movie for me, and one of the first horror films I built up the nerve to actually see in theaters. I went with my best friend from the neighborhood, who grew up on recorded horror movies and seemed, to me, to be impervious to any sort of scares.

Well, we were both scared shitless. The movie disturbed me in a way that stuck with me for years (particularly the depiction of the horrified faces of Samara’s victims). When we got back home to my buddy’s house, the light in his bedroom turned off suddenly and he refused to go inside.

It’s been a long time for me since I’ve rewatched this movie - I saw the Japanese film a few weeks ago after we discussed it here, and I’ve been wanting to give this one another go. I love the investigative journalism aspect of it, the thrill of having to solve a mystery before you meet an uncertain fate. The movie is full of cold, gray visuals.

And we must shout out to the marketers, or whoever it was, that decided to put the footage from the cursed tape right at the beginning of the film’s actual VHS release. That was some brilliant shit, right there.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Is the Ring the best Gore Verbinski movie? Its definitely up there. But yeah, this is a good movie that unfortunately a lot of piss poor copycats tried to crib from, leading to a lot of bad adaptations of good movies.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I remember two things clearly from watching The Ring; that the actual haunted tape was way creepier than the content of the rest of the movie, and the nightmarish sequel hook would be solved pretty handily if they just gave the tape to someone whose terminally ill or something.

Also, since the movie came out just as DVD players became cheap and plentiful, the concept of a haunted VHS tape kind of had the legs kicked out from under it.

Sorry, Sam!
 

Zef

Find Your Reason
(He/Him)
I remember two things clearly from watching The Ring; that the actual haunted tape was way creepier than the content of the rest of the movie, and the nightmarish sequel hook would be solved pretty handily if they just gave the tape to someone whose terminally ill or something.

There were two alternate endings planned for the movie, one filmed, and one not. The filmed one involved leaving the Cursed Video at a Blockbuster, where it would presumably be picked up by an unwary customer. It was nice and ambiguous but deemed too ambiguous in the sense that it left Aidan's fate entirely up to chance, so they went with the moral ambiguity that Rachel would have to show his copy to someone personally if she wanted to save his life.

The unfilmed one, though, was about deliberately showing the video to Chris Cooper's character, a death row inmate. That's why when Noah is visited by Samara, there's a closeup to the newspaper article he has left a ring-shaped watermark on. But ultimately they decided this ending was way too pat so the entire character was cut.

Well, we were both scared shitless. The movie disturbed me in a way that stuck with me for years (particularly the depiction of the horrified faces of Samara’s victims). When we got back home to my buddy’s house, the light in his bedroom turned off suddenly and he refused to go inside.

I saw it in a group of 4, and it terrified us during but we loved the experience, and talking about it, on the way home. I then spent the following weel just GORGING myself on all things J-horror--info and reviews, anyway--registering at the major Ring fansite, and discovering a brand new genre. I even registered at a tiny online HK film importer that carried a bunch of recommended (and English-subbed) Asian horror films, like the original Ringu, Ju-on, Kairo, A Tale of Two Sisters, Battle Royale, and Seance, all of which I shared with that same group of friends before any of them officially hit US shores. So, I have the director of Mouse Hunt and Rango, and Naomi Watts' ear-shattering, brain-piercing screams, to thank for finding a new favorite film genre.

(Also during the week: as my Ring research took me into some Japanese urban legends sites, the lights in my room flickered on and off for about a minute, which only enhanced the experience :p)

Next weekend, two of us took three other friends to see the movie, and we coordinated so that a few seconds after the end of the film we'd call their cellphones. We nearly got punched for it after they calmed down :devilish: They definitely did NOT appreciate when we said we had seen the film seven days earlier, and we had to pass it on to someone else.

And we must shout out to the marketers, or whoever it was, that decided to put the footage from the cursed tape right at the beginning of the film’s actual VHS release. That was some brilliant shit, right there.

The DVD release is also pretty brilliant (and I'm now inclined to check the BR, which I've collected but not watched yet.) The main menu has a hidden "Don't watch this" option in the corner, which you can easily find with the mouse on a PC but requires some cursor juggling with a remote control. It shows you an extended version of the Cursed Video, and, when it ends and kicks you out to the main menu again, it plays the ringing sound of an old rotary phone loud enough to hear down the well.

(Fun fact: many US fans insist that "Ring" does not refer to the light filtering beneath the lid of the well, nor to the ring-shaped virus from the novels, but to the phone ring.)

There's also a... legend, I want to say, because everyone in the fandom believed it back then but I'm doubting it now, that Dreamworks', ah, viral marketing included leaving anonymous VHS tapes in public places with the infamous "COPY" masking tape label on the front, containing, obviously, Samara's Cursed Video. I got a hold of one of those on eBay, weeks after the film had just released, and with superb image quality (for VHS) so I want to believe a) it's real and b) Dreamworks really DID do that.

And within the same year, well. I did this. Yeah. The webmaster and largest fan on the aforementioned Ring site, Javier Lopez, who would later become a chief localization supervisor for ADV Manga (back when ADV Manga still existed--and back when ADV itself still existed) liked it enough to send me the Azumanga Daioh omnibus when that was published.

So yeah you could say I like The Ring quite a bit!
 
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Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
I saw it in a group of 4, and it terrified us during but we loved the experience, and talking about it, on the way home. I then spent the following weel just GORGING myself on all things J-horror--info and reviews, anyway--registering at the major Ring fansite, and discovering a brand new genre. I even registered at a tiny online HK film importer that carried a bunch of recommended (and English-subbed) Asian horror films, like the original Ringu, Ju-on, Kairo, A Tale of Two Sisters, Battle Royale, and Seance, all of which I shared with that same group of friends before any of them officially hit US shores. So, I have the director of Mouse Hunt and Rango, and Naomi Watts' ear-shattering, brain-piercing screams, to thank for finding a new favorite film genre.

Since I doubt it'll make the top five, I'll just say that my vote went to the first movie I saw in this genre, which was Kairo (aka Pulse). I forget exactly who showed it to me, since it's not the sort of thing I'd have sought out on my own - presumably someone from my old anime club. But man, while the plot meanders all over the place, the whole thing is just creepy as hell. (Haven't seen the inevitable American remake, heard it doesn't really hold up super well.)

And within the same year, well. I did this. Yeah. The webmaster and largest fan on the aforementioned Ring site, Javier Lopez, who would later become a chief localization supervisor for ADV Manga (back when ADV Manga still existed--and back when ADV itself still existed) liked it enough to send me the Azumanga Daioh omnibus when that was published.

Now that is just delightful, and an awesome story to boot!
 

Nich

stuck in baby prison
(he/him)
I think I've said this before, but the twist works better in the American remake than the original for reasons of pacing. Most horror movies are on the short side, about 80-90 minutes. In the original, Sadako is "laid to rest" about 60 minutes into the movie, but your mind knows a movie isn't 60 minutes long, so you're waiting for the catch. The remake pads things out just enough so that Samara is "laid to rest" around 90 minutes in--right when you're expecting the movie to be about over. So when the rug gets pulled out from you, you really feel that sense of "but this was supposed to be finished" along with the characters.

Also, when I saw this in college, I lived alone in my dorm room and I'd forgotten to turn off the TV, which was tuned to a blank channel because my PS2 was hooked up to it. So I came back from that movie, opened my door, and saw the TV on and almost had a heart attack.
 

Vaeran

yeah yeah yeah yeah
(he/him)
Seven days? That's ages. What if I get bored, or need a television, couple of books? Anyone for chess? Bring me knitting.
 

Issun

TT's Resident Ace of Base Superfan
The Ring. Hoo boy. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and pull up a seat.

So most of the time when I put something on a list I submit, it's because of how much I love it, or sometimes because it's an important example of the subject of the list. I guess the second criteria kind of applies here, but only if you squint.

You see, I had to put The Ring on a list of my top horror movies because no media has terrified me for so long afterwards. The funny thing is, it didn't scare me when I watched it (I did jump when my friend called halfway through, but that didn't last. All told, I went to bed that night just fine. Then, at midnight, I woke up.

The TV in my bedroom suddenly became a source of abject terror. I couldn't sleep. I might have been shaking. So I went out into the living room and put on Serial Experiments Lain, another of three DVDs I had rented from Ring and My Big Fat Greek Wedding (those of you that have watched Lain probably know what's coming). I pressed play and then turned away to watch my pet hamster for a moment. The thing about Serial Experiments Lain is that it starts out with very loud TV static. I must have jumped at least a foot in the air. That was when I really knew that The Ring had gotten into my head. I ended up sleeping in my recliner with all the lights on and the menu for Greek Wedding running in the background that night.

It took a couple of weeks for me to sleep without the light on again. Then a couple of years later I saw The Ring 2 with my brother. I figured seeing a Ring movie with a bunch of people would help make me less afraid from the original. Ha ha nope. Once again I was terrified. So I rewatched The Ring and also watched Scary Movie 3, hoping that would take care of it. It only made things worse of course. I slept with the lights and radio on for a straight month. I had to end my playthrough of Wild ARMs because of the well in one of the towns. Years later, I still had night terror dreams about Samara coming out of the TV. I don't think it's too farfetched to say that this movie truly traumatized me, and I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe something about an object as innocuous and everyday as a television becoming that, and the effectiveness with which it was displayed did things to me. So I had to put it on my list, because when I think of a film that truly scared me, this is it.

As for the film itself, it is brilliantly made. The filter choices, the way Verbinski manages to make every scene vaguely unsettling, the tape itself, of course, and the slow burn of the film's most iconic scene. It is very good and I fucking hate it.
 

Tegan

dirtbag lesbian
(She/Her)
No. 29 Ring (1998)
Points: 93 | Lists: Sabrecat (#6); Zef (#6); Teg (#6)​
No. 6 The Ring (2002)
Points: 221 | Lists: Dracula (#19); Zef (#1); Falselogic (#6); Issun (#15); Teg (#4); Bulgakov (#11); Dr. Nerd (#15); Jbear (#4)​

The movie so nice I voted for it twice! The only complaint I addressed with the original was the goofy scare chords that accompany dramatic reveals and the American one omits that factor entirely; and despite the original being very recognizably culturally Japanese, it doesn't really lose anything in the localization. If anything it's just a little bit better. Two points better, some would say (23 points better, most would say, apparently).

Shout-outs to my dude @Zef for being double-voting buddies.
 

Zef

Find Your Reason
(He/Him)
I think I've said this before, but the twist works better in the American remake than the original for reasons of pacing. Most horror movies are on the short side, about 80-90 minutes. In the original, Sadako is "laid to rest" about 60 minutes into the movie, but your mind knows a movie isn't 60 minutes long, so you're waiting for the catch. The remake pads things out just enough so that Samara is "laid to rest" around 90 minutes in--right when you're expecting the movie to be about over. So when the rug gets pulled out from you, you really feel that sense of "but this was supposed to be finished" along with the characters.

Also, when I saw this in college, I lived alone in my dorm room and I'd forgotten to turn off the TV, which was tuned to a blank channel because my PS2 was hooked up to it. So I came back from that movie, opened my door, and saw the TV on and almost had a heart attack.

Rewatching the climactic sequences for both, you're right about the pacing, but it's also the way Nakata and Verbinski play with the emotional resolution and the revelation that it's not over.

Taking the "coming out of the well, surrounded by emergency services" scene as the starting point, Ringu takes a more clinical, if not slightly detached assessment of what just happened. Asakawa and Ryuji are still trying to figure out the mystery of Sadako's past, they take stock of their own condition, and leave. Then he drops her off at her apartment, and the performances and music swell with a powerful emotional reconciliation between the two estranged leads. You can easily imagine that the rest of the denouement will involve them getting back together, going to pick up their son at her parents' place, and end maybe provide one final message about family unity, in contrast to Sadako's experiences, to cap off the film's themes. But then, next morning, we get the current date header and the creepy leitmotif to indicate someone still has a countdown, and if it's not Reiko, it can only be Ryuji.

Meanwhile, The Ring goes uber-schmaltz with the thematic reconciliation when Rachel and Noah conclude that Samara just wanted to be heard. They believe they have solved the mystery, and the camera pulls back in sync with the music in a blatant, "It's over, the trauma is past now" composition you've seen in a hundred horror and slasher films. Then they go together to pick up Aiden, and there's a tiny scene on their way home where Aidan witnesses a subtle, wordless connection between his parents. It's not as intense as Reiko and Ryuji's, suggesting it's more a moment of shared relief and empathy than a renewed relationship, but Aidan's response to it is more important. The suggestion here is that, since the film has been emphasizing the kids' perspective so much (Samara and Aidan's), the familial reconciliation will come from his point of view. But the reality is, when he wakes up next morning, the very first thing he says is, "You helped her? You weren't supposed to help her," and the entire bottom drops out. Because, holy shit, what does that mean? So if the original revealed that Reiko may be saved, somehow, but the curse is still on, the remake says Rachel is fine but things might actually be worse for all her efforts.

Shout-outs to my dude @Zef for being double-voting buddies.

 

Beta Metroid

At peace
(he/him and such)
As I said earlier, I've only seen the Japanese Ring, but hearing the consistent praise for the remake means it's a likely addition to next October's viewing list.

Wow, we're already in the top 5! My predictions:

5) Babadook
4) Get Out
3) Psycho
2) Thing
1) Alien
 

Daikaiju

Rated Ages 6+
(He, Him)
And here's mine!

5. Nope
4. Nuh-uh
3. Hell no
2. Oh dear God, WHY?
1. ALL THE NOPE

I'm pretty confident in my choices!
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I’m fairly confident on what three are (Babadook, Thing and Alien)but the other two are still anybodies game
 

Dracula

Video Nasty
(He/His)


No. 5 Psycho (1960)
Points: 230 | Lists: Zef (#11); Rascally Badger (#7); Falselogic (#5); Patrick (#8); Issun (#20); Beta Metroid (#10); Johnny Unusual (#1); ??? (#4)
“A boy’s best friend is his mother.”



Psycho is a 1960 American psychological horror thriller film produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The plot centers on an encounter between Marion Crane, an embezzler on the run, and Norman Bates, the shy proprietor of a secluded old motel, and its aftermath.

Drac’s Notes: First thing’s first: On my master table, I had a #4 vote for this film, but I apparently erroneously attributed it to Johnny Unusual, and I’d already included his #1 vote for the movie. My guess is I accidentally put JU in there for someone else’s vote. I did quick scan of my DMs to see if I could find the missing #4, and didn’t find it right away. So it’s possible this movie should be lower on the list!

Regardless, Psycho is one of the most famous horror films of all time. Although it’s not a “slasher,” it was a film about a violent stabby murderer which prefigured the slasher genre. The violence shown in the film was extremely shocking for the time. Hundreds of filmmakers have paid tribute to the infamous shower scene, in which Crane, who was built up in marketing as the film’s main character, is killed early on.. (Spoilers here for a 61-year-old film.)

I don’t have much else to say about Psycho, because it’s been quite a long time since I’ve seen it last. Like Silence of the Lambs and The Shining, it’s a crossover horror film, breaching many top-50-ever lists and receiving wide accolades from critics of all backgrounds. So, have you seen Psycho lately? What are your thoughts on it?

Well, that settles it. I'm never taking a shower again.

You already don't take showers, you doofus. You only take bleach baths.

GUESS I'M NOT TAKING THOSE AGAIN EITHER
 
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Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
I have to say, as largely a big fan of Hitchcock, I'm not really high on this movie. The movie is a lot of fun until the shower scene, and after that it kind of goes off the rails. I'm not adverse to movies with unusual structures, I just find that this one is a lot less entertaining after it pulls out the rug.
 

Zef

Find Your Reason
(He/Him)
Since I doubt it'll make the top five, I'll just say that my vote went to the first movie I saw in this genre, which was Kairo (aka Pulse). I forget exactly who showed it to me, since it's not the sort of thing I'd have sought out on my own - presumably someone from my old anime club. But man, while the plot meanders all over the place, the whole thing is just creepy as hell. (Haven't seen the inevitable American remake, heard it doesn't really hold up super well.)

Yeah, I wish Kairo had made it in at all (it was my #2). It's the creepiest film I've seen, and many of its themes stayed with me. The American remake is absolutely execrable and turns the philosophical analysis of the original into a generic "cell phones are haunted!" horror that has nothing to do with the issues of alienation and social anxiety Kurosawa was getting at.

(Also lament that neither of the Dark Waters will make it in. The American version is the reverse of the above scenario, where it took an already great ghost story and added an ocean of depth.)
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I only watched the movie for the first time about a year or so ago.

Going in knowing well in advance all the twists didn’t do watching it any favours, especially considering how everything people praise about the movie is how effectively it hides its narrative swerves, I’ll say that. But Mothers final speech about not swatting a fly managed to be super creepy.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
So, have you seen Psycho lately? What are your thoughts on it?
Yes, we watched it in October, and Katie hadn’t seen it before. She was thoroughly creeped out, and we both enjoyed it a lot. Part of that enjoyment is just that Hitchcock makes movies that are excessively pleasant to watch. Some parts haven’t aged as well as others, and the best parts have been overexposed, but even with those points against it, it’s a great movie.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Psycho holds up well enough, but it would have been way more effective in the original context. Like Drac says, Janet Leigh was a big-name actress, and the advertisements set her up to be the film's protagonist, so it was shocking when she died extremely early.

Hitchcock demanded that theaters implement a "no late admission" policy for the movie so that they wouldn't miss the pivotal scene. Very controversial at the time.
 
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Dracula

Video Nasty
(He/His)
I suppose I should have spoilered that stuff, even though it feels like at this point nearly everyone is aware of the film's major twists. I'll go ahead and do it, just on the off-chance.
 
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