Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1989

This is it, the final 80’s list! This final year of the decade is the first list to have all foreign films in the TOP 5. I watched a hell of a lot of 80’s horror flicks over the past several weeks and probably seen an equal amount of crap and brilliance. Overall, I can’t deny the decade its share of memorable and original contributions that rank as some of my favourites of all time. One of these days I’ll take on every year of the 70’s!

Click the year to check out the list: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988.

#10 WARLOCK
Directed By: Steve Miner

Warlock barely qualifies as horror but it has an extra special place in my heart due to the presence of Richard E. Grant. After seeing the awesome Withnail and I and How to Get Ahead In Advertising I decided the devilishly funny Mr. Grant was the greatest thing to come along since sliced bread! While I don’t enjoy Warlock as much as I once did, I certainly get why it appealed to me so much back then. This fast-paced film has a ton of energy plus Grant and Julian Sands play off each other extremely well. The banter between the two characters is quick and witty, the effects are great for the time and although this one is much hammier than I recalled it is pretty fun.

#9 THE DEAD PIT
Directed By: Brett Leonard

Dead Pit has its problems. Mainly its entire first half! The dialog is lacklustre and the central female character is neither endearing nor interesting enough to care about when all the good shit happens during the second half. But I have to say, when it gets going it is pretty damn fun. There is an evil doctor who is pretty entertaining, a nun running around blessing water and most importantly, zombies! The zombies look fantastic and the effects in general are great. Considering the main character spends the film running around in her undies it could have been sexier and they really needed to get things started much earlier than they do, but nonetheless it does have its moments.

#8 PET SEMATARY
Directed By: Mary Lambert

There were a lot of piss-poor adaptations of Stephen King stories in the 80’s but in my opinion Pet Sematary is one of the better ones. Its one major flaw is the casting, particularly of Denise Crosby, who is one of my least favourite actresses of all time. Although Dale Midkiff wasn’t an awful choice for the Louis Creed character I would have preferred someone stronger. It does however have the great Fred Gwynne who is terrific and the adorable little tyke who plays Gage is excellent. The effects are great, the mood and atmosphere is impressive and there are some awesome moments of intensity. The screenplay was written by King himself, which goes a long way to explaining why despite some questionable casting the film captures the essence of the book.

#7 PUPPET MASTER
Directed By: David Schmoeller

What do you want from a low budget film about killer puppets? It’s campy, funny and at times gory and even suspenseful. Both the puppets and kills are very creative and for a film clearly made on the cheap they do a hell of a job with the visuals. The puppets drill, strangle and gouge their way through the cast and one of them even coughs up a leach! William Hickey is great as Andre Toulon the man who can give inanimate objects life. And of course there are Nazi’s in the plot! Big entertainment on a little budget!

#6 PARENTS
Directed By: Bob Balaban

I had forgotten what a great film Parents was! This delightfully original black comedy has a great cast that all give top-notch performances. The visuals are amazing, particularly the kids nightmares which are disturbing, vivid and terrifying. It is perfectly paced with steady building tension that had me on the edge of my seat. A dark, twisted, funny and entertaining flick.

#5 GOJIRA VS BIORANTE
Directed By: Kazuki Ohmori

I think this one might be my favourite of the new generation of Godzilla films! For starters, Godzilla fights a giant flower! A giant flower that consists of cells from a rose as well as cells from Godzilla himself! There is a great atmosphere and mood to the film, a great score and tons of action. Terrorists, a lonely scientist character who lost his kid and two kick-ass giant monsters! If you are a fan of monster flicks this is a must-see! Big fun!

#4 TETSUO, THE IRON MAN
Directed By: Shinya Tsukamoto

Visually this film is exceptional. Stop motion animation is used to great effect making wires, cables and metal come to life. Fast forwarding, quick cuts, severe camera angles and black and white photography add to the films hysterical nightmarish feel. A positively demented story full of sex and violence and twisted images that are an absolute fascination to behold. To read the review click here.

#3 THE CHURCH (LA CHIESA)
Directed By: Michele Soavi

Michele Soavi crafts a gorgeously gothic, elaborate and visually stunning horror film that is a feast for the eyes. Centuries previous an evil is contained and sealed off and a cathedral is built on top of it. Needless to say, the evil is let loose and mayhem and possessions abound! The set pieces are fantastic, the effects are very impressive and the soundtrack is absolutely amazing! Okay, the script is a bit iffy at times and borderline incoherent but it is none-the-less a highly entertaining film. Soavi followed this one up with the equally fun The Sect and his masterpiece Cemetery Man. Soavi was the last breath of great Italian horror and it personally saddens me that he didn’t do another genre film after 1994.

#2 BAXTER
Directed By: Jérôme Boivin

Ever wonder what man’s best friend is thinking sometimes? Well, you won’t want to know after watching Baxter. Baxter is a handsome English bull terrier with some darkly comical and rather nasty points of view. The film moves along at a steady pace as we see Baxter move from one home to another bringing his unique brand of menace along for the trip. The characters and plot lines are well developed and every minute is a fascination to behold. This brilliant French film is a humorous, disturbing and extremely original entry that stayed with me long after the credits rolled.

#1 SANTA SANGRE
Directed By: Alejandro Jodorowsky

Alejandro Jodorowsky films are a mind-blowing experience. Love them or hate them you certainly can’t say they don’t leave a vivid impression. Santa Sangre is horrifying, haunting, violent, disturbing, demented and startlingly beautiful. Slums and sideshows are the backdrop for one of the most twisted tales of a mother and her son ever filmed! I actually went to see this at a theatre in Toronto and several audience members left mid-film. I guess this one isn’t to everyone’s taste. In all my years of movie going I have never experienced anything like Santa Sangre on the big screen. This film wows me every time I see it, and each and every time feels like the first.

Here are the rest of the films that made the shortlist: I, Madman, Communion, Dr. Caligari, Beware: Children At Play, Clownhouse, Leviathan, Out Of The Dark, Mind Trap, The Dead Next Door

16 Responses to “Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1989”

  1. Just added Baxter and The Church to my queue – neither of which I’ve seen, both of which are right up my alley by the sounds of things.

    Oh, and on your short list you cite Dr. Caligari – you mean the one by “Rinse Dream”? He made a few XXX flicks, one of which (Cafe Flesh) is easily one of the best porn films ever, and another of which (Night Dreams) ranks right up there too . Super interesting guy.

    • goregirl Says:

      GGG-Yes indeedy…Stephen Sayadian also goes by the name of Rinse Dream! I must admit, I’ve watched only a handful of porn and for the most part they have been “the classics”, you know Behind the Green Door, Deep Throat, Debbie Does Dallas and then a couple porn/horror flicks from Joe D’amato…oh and Edward Penishands…just because! Checked out the summary for Cafe Flesh and sounds entertaining, has a pretty good rating to! I’ll add to the queue.

  2. Not the best year for horror movies I must say. The Burbs would top my list…if it counts! 🙂

    • goregirl Says:

      Dan-The last couple films on the list are iffy but I actually LOVE the rest of this list. It is a pretty unique and interesting selection. Leaving Burbs off the list was a blunder. The film definitely qualifies as horror-comedy, and although it wouldn’t have changed the top 5, it definitely would have made the list! OOPS!

  3. your most eclectic list thusfar — the kid who played Gage: wasn’t he the same kid that in Kindergarten Cop said, “Boys have a penis, girls have a vagina”?

  4. The Film Reel Says:

    It’s interesting to see the progression of films through the 80’s, you can almost see the decade coming to a close with the style of film.

    Awesome that Tetsuo is in there, what a freaking wacked out movie that was!

    • Will-it is so true…you really can see the trends from year to year through the 80’s. There are years that are heavy with slashers, and others with horror-comedy and the last few years of the 80’s were really heavy with straight to video titles.

  5. Kate-If I’m not mistaken, I think it was you who recommended Baxter to me. Absolutely, fucking awesome flick!

  6. Extraordinary top ten!
    I agree with your picks. Well, maybe I would pick “Evil Dead” over “Puppet Master”. But that’s just my opinion!

    “Santa Sangre” is one of the most underrated horror movies of all time. I love every scene of it. It’s brilliant, touching, gory.

    Great site.
    I invite you to visit mine 🙂
    Keep it good!

    • Thanks Rodrigo! Alejandro Jodorowsky is brilliant! EVIL DEAD 2 was actually my #1 pick for 1987, but I forgive you.

  7. Eh, sorry , Evil Dead II is from 1987. My mistake. I’m a terrible person.

  8. Had Tetsuo on my instant queue for ages now, word on the street is that it’s no joke, gotta get in the right mood for that one. And I’ve never seen Puppet Master, but thanks to being terrified of Chucky as a kid, I am thus somewhat terrified of this fucked-up-dollfest as well. So sad…

  9. MorriconeFreak Says:

    What, no “Society”? … I AM a butthead …

  10. […] for Tetuso in 2009, Goregirl’s Dungeon’s first year. It also made my top 10 list for 1989. Read my review for Tetsuo, the Iron Man […]

  11. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone mention Society in any context before this comments section! I was so creeper out by that film as a teenager. Great flick!

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