Jeff Nelson is the Marketing Director for Scream Factory and is a true horror fan. He runs the Scream Factory Facebook and Twitter pages and is very interactive with folks via both, keeping all of us fans up date with the latest news and updates on all of their releases.
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Okay this was TOUGH to lock down to just 5 but here is goes:
(In no particular order)
1. DEAD SILENCE – James Wan may being get all the (well-deserved) recent spotlight for hit scareshows like Insidious and The Conjuring, but before both of those shocked audiences, he directed this little, visually-beautiful and interesting killer doll and ghost story mash-up that delivers some great old-fashioned scares. It’s funny, but when I saw this in the theater I was very indifferent on it and thought it was too goofy (you have to suspend disbelief a lot with the plot) but through subsequent viewings on DVD, I appreciate it more and more. Good twist ending and VERY underrated Charlie Clouser (Saw) score that’s very much inspired by Phantasm.
2. VISITING HOURS – I’m always amazed as to how well this one still holds up. Released in 1982, near the end of the big post-Halloween rip-off craze, this slasher film is smart, suspenseful and does the job better with the hospital setting than other horror films that have tried (i.e. Halloween II and X-ray). I also like that adults are in peril here (instead of kids at a camp, sorority party, prom night etc) and the actors – especially Linda Purl and creepy-as-hell Michael Ironside – are very believable which helps with the tension. Yes, I’ll even give points to William Shatner too.
3. THE SENTINEL – What a completely F’d up film…but a gem nonetheless. I love that Universal (back in 1977) was trying to come up with their hit devil horror film since Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist and The Omen from other studios prior were big successes…and what they conjured up this wild concoction that threw in the gates of hell, an old blind priest, fashion model shoots, A pre-Fright Night Chris Sarandon with a mustache, cameos by Christopher Walken and Jeff Goldblum, Beverly D’ Angelo masturbating on a couch, fat prostitutes eating cake...and, no, I am NOT making all this up! It’s crazy for sure, but yet it’s still creepy and certainly entertaining.
4. ROGUE – Although I think the best movie about an killer reptile is Alligator (1980) I still have to give high marks to this 2007 effort from the Director of Wolf Creek and which got the shaft with poor theatrical distribution at the time of its release, hence why more people don’t know about it. There are some seriously suspenseful scenes and croc attacks here and the beast comes across more menacing than any of its cousins did in other contemporary gator flicks Lake Placid or Primevil. I’ve surprised many friends with this one.
5. PRINCE OF DARKNESS – C’mon, you knew I had to throw in a Scream Factory release here (9/24 street date, BTW). I saw John Carpenter’s liquid-green-Satan-in-a-jar doomsday pic in the theaters when it came out and thought it was OK. Then for some reason in the 90s, I didn’t like it at all and found it dull. But in 2006-ish, I caught it on Fearnet again and it finally clicked. I can’t explain why but it just did—and I’ve watched it several times since. The sense of dread and creepiness in this film is something to behold and rarely do I see this executed so well. Like most of Carpenter’s earlier films, the Carpenter/Alan Howarth score is very key in creating the atmosphere. Also gotta love the casting of Jameson Parker doing the Tom Atkins mustache thing.
RUNNER UPS: When a Stranger Calls (which most people know), Curtains, Night School, Eyes of a Stranger, Dead & Buried, The Fury.