Saturday, June 12, 2010

Book 16 - 101 Horror Movies You Must See Before You Die

Steven Jay Schneider

I must admit this caught my eye when shopping at Winners - of all places - since books are rather uncommon there and you don’t often see a freaky close-up of demon-faced Linda Blair staring at you from a pile of girlie consumer items!

Though pocket-sized, it was a dense and informative 400+ pages, which I proceeded to actually read from front to back. Here is a fair review, which I think pretty much sums up how I felt. With contributions from over three dozen film critics and academics, the book did a great job appealing to a range of readers, from those with a casual interest in horror flicks to more dedicated cinephiles.

For a general cinephile like myself, I’ve seen over half of the 101 films listed, with over 80% of the ones between 1970 and 2007 (the cutoff year). I discovered more than a handful of films (mostly earlier classics) which I’m curious to check out. But what’s more, the book inspired me to revisit some oldies which disturbed me as a kid on late-night TV (like The Omen and The Howling). Sure, I could easily have discovered some of these eventually for free on the internet, but sometimes it's just nice to have a fun, glossy book to flip through on the couch.

Most naturally, any remotely serious film fan is going to argue about what did or didn’t make the cut. I felt there were definitely some serious omissions, such as:

• Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers
• Alien
• John Carpenter’s The Thing
• The Changeling (the George C. Scott one, not the Angelina Jolie one)
• Near Dark
• Misery

These could have easily replaced Dellamorte Dellamore, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Hellraiser, the Korean film A Tale of Two Sisters, Ju-On, or The Descent. With the exception of Dellamorte (which was atrociously cheesy and not scary at all - I don’t understand why film geeks love this flick so much), these films were generally okay or pretty good, but they don’t merit as must-sees before you die! Not when you've got some serious classics listed above that have been criminally omitted ;-)

If anyone is curious about the almost full list (it’s missing The Island of Lost Souls), I found one here.

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