David Kajganich, screenwriter of Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria spoke on The Gaylords of Darkness Podcast about there being two kinds of horror: Rigorous and less rigorous horror. To me, that defines the movies I watch once or twice and forget about and the ones that I rewatch many times because they offer plenty to ponder. For this edition, I mixed in some less rigorous films and reveled in their easy-going charms!
33) Thirst (2009) – South Korean director Park Chan-wook’s offbeat vampire tale is many things at once! A twisted take on a tragic love-triangle featuring vampire priests and vengeful ghosts, Thirst is a thrill-packed libation for the parched throats of its viewers.
34) Baron Blood (1972) – Another grisly tale photographed with loving care by Mario Bava. This time it is a haunted castle featuring lovely Elke Sommer being terrorized by Joseph Cotton’s rotting corpse. Good clean fun on a Saturday night. This movie features an extraordinary setting in an actual, medieval Austrian castle.
35) Thirsty for Love, Sex, and Murder (1972) – Turkish copyright infringement cinema from the 1970s needs to be the subject of a documentary! This highly ridiculous, unauthorized remake of Sergio Martino’s The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (AKA Blade of the Ripper), the Citizen Kane of Giallo cinema, is too much fun to miss. The IMDB description says it all: An introvert party goer in the ’60s makes it a habit of kidnapping meretricious female models to hidden spots out to wild nature to rape them, and of returning them to their homes nevermore.
36) Scare Me (2020) – First Time Watch! A horror movie about the horror genre? A meta-peek into the deranged skulls of horror’s creators? A loving ode to the power of storytelling, I highly recommend this one.
37) Adult Babies (2017) – First Time Watch! Give it a pass. You will never get the time you spent watching it back.
38) The Mortuary Collection (2020) – First Time Watch! Probably my favorite new movie this year. It was an excellent, genre-wise anthology film. The wrap-around story was pretty good also. The true MVP is Clancy Brown, who has nearly 300 acting credits on his IMDB. Remember him from Highlander? Hail Caesar? Carnival?
39) Sweetheart (2019) – First Time Watch! Representation is important, and J.D. Dillard’s attempt to include subtext about racism and sexism adds food for thought to a pretty good survivalist horror film. Star Kiersey Clemons attempts to remain alive after being shipwrecked on an island while facing a thoroughly engaging giant predator. When other survivors show up, she discovers she must face two deadly dangers at once.
40) The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw (2020) – First Time Watch! I am still thinking about this one. Moody and atmospheric, with an excellent cast but a script and story that left much unsaid. If you don’t mind movies that leave questions unanswered (I don’t), then by all means, watch this one.
41) Sleepy Hollow (1999) – Tim Burton’s classic adaptation of the beloved tale first told by Washington Irving as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is an under-appreciated member of American horror(along with Sweeny Todd)! And there is not only Christopher Lee but also Christopher Walken! So much to love about this movie. It has truly become comfort food for my brain.
42) The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020) – First Time Watch! Farewell to beloved actor Robert Forster. This film illustrates the way toxic people make everything about them. I would suggest that writer-director-star Jim Cummings needs to talk to his sponsor. I really wanted this film to be more about the monsters and mayhem and less about the protagonist’s decline into total assholishness.
43) May the Devil Take You (Sebelum Iblis Menjemput) (2018) in anticipation of its upcoming sequel (May the Devil Take You Too), I am re-watching this. I don’t know why I have had such an obsession with Indonesian horror films, but they rarely disappoint. Just like in The Evil Dead, a group of people in the woods unleash a demonic presence. Chaos reigns. Director Timo Tjahjanto (Macabre, The Raid) proves that the vilest evil comes from within our own family. The movie is hella scary! The Queen of Black Magic, directed by Kimo Stamboel, the other half of Indonesia’s Mo Brothers, is also high on my list of most anticipated films.