Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1995
I seen a significant number of titles from 1995; or so I thought until I copied the IMDB list for the year. I watched an additional seventeen titles for the year which gave me a grand total of 78 films to work with; not even half of the 193 titles listed. Nonetheless 78 was a chunky number that gave me plenty of wiggle room. It goes without saying that there was a healthy helping of dreck in the mix but overall 1995 was rather a hoot! I gave the films in the number one and two spots a 5/5, I rated films three and four 4.5/5, films five through nine were rated 4/5 and film ten I rated 3.5/5. I also rated the following six films 3.5/5 The Moor’s Head, Screamers, The Grotesque, Species, Castle Freak and Lord of Illusions. I have been including some films on these lists that are not listed as horror on IMBD. Two popular films from 1995 did not come up on the IMDB horror list; one I decided to include (see spot #2) and the other, based on a Stephen King novel I did not. Dolores Claiborne will get the review treatment later this week but she is not a horror film.
Directed By: Larry Fessenden
Habit is one of three vampire films I included on this top ten list. Having covered the 60s, 70s and 80s before this 90s feature there has never been a decade where vampire films have not been popular. Habit is definitely a more subtle approach to the sub-genre. Sam is on a path of self-destruction after the recent death of his father and breaking up with his girlfriend. In a drunken haze he hooks up with a woman named Anna who he comes to believe is a vampire after she nibbles on him during sex. Larry Fessenden wrote, directed and stars as central character Sam and does a solid job on all fronts. Fessenden is believable and empathetic in the role of Sam. Meredith Snaider who plays Anna is cute and quiet albeit onerous. Aaron Beall is also good as Sam’s sanctimonious friend Nick. New York’s nightlife in all its trippy glory plays an important part in the film and is used to great effectiveness. Habit is an inconspicuous journey into vampirism. Fessenden takes a stylish approached and adds a nice creeping uneasy feel to it. The slow boil and lack of gore will not appeal to everyone but I quite enjoyed Fessenden’s interesting and circumspective take on the subgenre.
#9 EVIL ED
Directed By: Anders Jacobsson
Anders Jacobsson’s Evil Ed is a 90ish minute long love letter to horror. There are countless nods to other horror films with a heavy how do you do to The Evil Dead series. He calls the heartless study exec Sam Campbell, includes an Evil Deadesque POV camera shot, and Ed gives a guy a beating reminiscent of Ash’s hilarious battle with his possessed arm in Dead by Dawn, and hell the film is called Evil Ed (although I suppose that could have been some love for Fright Night too)! And it isn’t the only ode by any means! Look for winks to The Shining, Halloween, Gremlins and Silence of the Lambs among others. Ed is a mild mannered film editor who is transferred to the Splatter and Gore department after the former editor committed suicide. He is tasked with editing the Loose Limbs series; a popular and infamously graphic franchise of splatter films. Ed is sent to a cabin belonging to the company’s sleazy exec to do his work which quickly causes him to begin hallucinating and going completely and utterly mad! Evil Ed is poorly dubbed (possibly intentionally so) with fabulously fun and frivolously over-the-top effects. Tongue is planted firmly in cheek and the result is a wild, action-packed, fast paced, funny trip that I thought was an absolute riot!
#8 GODZILLA VS DESTROYAH
Directed By: Takao Okawara
Woohoo! 90s Godzilla…I love you! Godzilla vs. Destroyah is basically a sequel to the original 1954 Godzilla. Godzilla is really hot under the collar in this one…you might even say so hot he is nuclear! They bring in the grandson of Dr. Kyohei Yamane (Dr. Yamane is a character from the original film) who deduces that Godzilla’s heart has become a nuclear reactor of sorts and the giant beast is heading for a meltdown! A meltdown that would explode with the force of a thousand nuclear explosions and destroy the world! If that isn’t enough threat it would seem that Dr. Serizawa’s Oxygen Destroyer from the original film has created tiny microorganisms that have evolved over the decades into crab-like monsters. Coined Destroyah they also wreak havoc on Japan. And what is this?!! Minilla, or mini Godzilla is all grown up and is practically the size of his adapted dad! Psychics, scientists and giant monsters oh my! Lots of awesome Kaiju action, a great story and a ton of destruction. This is one of the best of the newer generation Godzilla flicks and if you love your Kaiju as much as I do, Godzilla vs Destroyah is a must see!
#7 TALES FROM THE CRYPT: DEMON KNIGHT
Directed By: Ernest R. Dickerson
Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight was filmed right here in beautiful supernatural British Columbia! The last time I seen Demon Knight was when it was out in theatres. Damn! The Collector is pursuing a drifter by the name of Frank Brayker who possesses a powerful key; the last of seven keys that would give ultimate power. He holds up in a boarding house where the residents including a prostitute, a convict, a postal worker and a creepy cook become involved in the action when all hell literally breaks loose. This high-energy horror-comedy is fabulous fun! Gore, laughs, neato effects and great action. It has a campy attitude that is a perfect complimentary nod to its source material. All the performances are decent with Dick Miller, Gary Farmer, Charles Fleischer, Jada Pinkett, Thomas Haden Church and William Sadler. The highlight here is definitely Billy Zane who is an absolute shitload of awesomeness as the delightfully evil Collector! Zane often plays the bad guy but I don’t think I have ever seen him play it with such zealous relish as he does here! Frankly the story is completely daft but boy is Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight freaking entertaining!
#6 301, 302
Directed By: Cheol-su Park
This was my first viewing of the excellent South Korean film 301, 302. The film’s name references two women’s apartment numbers. Apartment 302 is inhabited by Yun; an introverted writer with a hard-core aversion to food. In apartment 301 lives Song, a recently divorced cook obsessed with food. Song is new to the building and does her best to make friends with Yun who does her best to avoid Song. Every day Song brings Yun a plate of food which Yun promptly dumps in the garbage. Eventually Song runs into Yun as she is about to dispose of a plastic bag full of Song’s meals. At first Song goes absolutely berserk but the two women actually become friends and relay to each other their stories. 301, 302 begins with the disappearance of Yun and a cop questioning Song about her neighbor. The aforementioned bits are flashbacks. The question isn’t so much what happened to Yun, it is more of a question of why and how. What we learn about the women changes our view of them significantly. The vast majority of the film takes place in the two women’s apartments that visually reflect their personalities. These two women could not be more unalike but yet they share a common thread of obsession. Sin-Hye Hwang as Yun and Eun-jin Pang as Song are both excellent in their roles. 301, 302 is more of a mystery filled drama than straight up horror but it has its moments. There isn’t anything graphic here, but the insinuated stuff works just as well. The countless scenes of food preparation and gorging were a touch nausea-inducing for me. 301, 302 is not vegetarian-friendly, or animal lover-friendly for that matter. 301, 302 is well filmed, beautifully acted and an absolutely engrossing piece of cinema.
#5 BLOOD AND DONUTS
Directed By: Holly Dale
A Canadian made horror-comedy with a female director no less! There are far too few female directors and even fewer that do horror. Blood and Donuts was even nominated for three Genie Awards (the Canadian equivalent to the Oscars). The story is about a vampire named Boya who is awaken after a twenty-five year nap. Boya frequents a 24 hour donut shop where he befriends a taxi driver and falls in love with a waitress but some local criminals and an ex-lover become a serious threat to him and his new found chums. Blood and Donuts is a clever, funny and charming tale. It has little gore and violence and even its vampire does his best not to harm human beings preferring to drink the blood of rats and birds. When his friends are in harms way however the fangs do come out. Gordon Currie who plays Boya is attractive and very likable and his smart and sassy love interest Molly played by Helene Clarkson is a real gem. There is also a noteworthy cameo from David Cronenberg as a crime boss. Blood and Donuts has a well thought out story that is funny and enthralling and a collection of wonderfully quirky characters. Blood and Donuts proves that there was still plenty of room for fun and originality in the vampire subgenre.
#4 THE PROPHECY
Directed By: Gregory Widen
A war in heaven? Angels? I remember thinking back in the day that this was a film that was just not going to appeal to me on any level. How wrong I was! These are not your halo-wearing, white-clad, winged whimsy’s out to do good. Apparently the whole heaven and hell thing is not as cut and dry as your bible says it is. Turns out some angels are having issues with management. Christopher Walken is definitely the highlight here as the defiant, spellbinding and cheeky angel Gabriel. He is too much fun! I guess we are not supposed to root for Gabriel, but how in the hell can you help but not? He is such a wildly entertaining character! Every performance in the film is perfecto and it boasts a pretty damn impressive cast too! Handsome Eric Stoltz plays good angel Simon, Elias Koteas plays ex-priest turned police detective Thomas, the lovely Virginia Madsen plays a teacher who gets tangled up in the whole ordeal, Amanda Plummer and Adam Goldberg play two of Gabriel’s unfortunate human puppets and the immensely talented Viggo Mortensen plays Lucifer. Mortensen is so freaking good he actually steals some of Walken’s thunder! The Prophecy’s story is pretty convoluted and crazy but I can not say it was not compelling. The Prophecy is packed to the brim with action, humour, thrills galore and great performances not to be missed! It is the best mother-fucking film I have ever seen about angels I’ll tell ya what!
#3 THE DAY OF THE BEAST
Directed By: Álex de la Iglesia
Angel Berriartua a Priest and Theology Professor has cracked the code and discovered the day on which the Antichrist will be born. With the help of Jose Maria a heavy metal loving acid head and Cavan the host of a popular occult TV show he sets out to find where the birth will take place. Will the unlikely trio discover the location of the Antichrist’s birth and save the world? The Day of the Beast is not without some drama and violence but first and foremost it is a comedy, and a damn funny one at that! The characters are a blast, the acting is great and it is packed with a ton of energetic, funny, action-packed goodness. The Day of the Beast is a seriously entertaining little nugget from Spain that is one helluva hoot! To read the full review click here.
Directed By: David Fincher
I could not very well include The Silence of the Lambs on these lists and not include Seven. I consider both to be thrillers but both films do have a serial killer plot. If you have somehow managed to miss this one, the Seven of its title refers to the seven deadly sins. The killer is a meticulous type who takes the time to slowly starve a man for a full year. Now that is dedication. You have to give the guy points for creativity! I mean the seven deadly sins enacted? How fun is that? Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Lust, Pride; but our killer saves the last two sins of Envy and Wrath for his pursuing cop friends in the finale. And what a delicious finale it is! Morgan Freeman plays the detective heading into retirement and Brad Pitt plays the recently transferred rookie. Pitt and Freeman have good chemistry and play off each other quite well. Who doesn’t like Morgan Freeman?! The man is just ridiculously lovable and brings class to even the worst crud. Pitt I have mixed feelings about. I enjoy him in his quirkier roles like Snatch, Fight Club and especially Twelve Monkeys but his roles in Meet Joe Black and Legends of the Fall make me want to wretch. In any case, he is excellent in Seven. Seven is a slick looking film with meticulous pacing a wonderfully nasty premise and a finale that can’t be beat; add great performances and what you have is perfection.
#1 THE ADDICTION
Directed By: Abel Ferrara
Grad student Kathleen Conklin is bitten by a vampire and attempts to come to terms with her insatiable cravings for blood. That doesn’t exactly make the film sound screamingly original but I assure you in the hands of Abel Ferrera it most definitely is. Abel Ferrara has a unique style and in my opinion his films were a huge highlight of the decade. King of New York, Bad Lieutenant and The Funeral are all fantastic (I was however disappointed in his one other horror entry Body Snatchers but I won’t hold that against him). Besides his unique style he also regularly casts my man Christopher Walken who is without a doubt one of my favourite actors of all time. Despite the appearance of Mr. Walken, this film really belongs to the talented Lili Taylor. Lili Taylor gives a wonderfully brooding performance as the loquacious and articulate student who tries to adjust to this strange and violent existence she has been thrust into. “What makes you think you’ve been forgiven for lying to your mother as a child or having slept with married men in adultery or paying taxes that turn Central America into a mud puddle?” This allegorical and angst-ridden tale makes all manner of commentary on the nature of good versus evil among other topics. The performances across the board are all magnificent, as is the black and white photography, the score and every other bloody thing about The Addiction. The Addiction is a smart, beautiful and superbly acted vampire flick for those who enjoy a more thoughtful and philosophical approach to their horror.