Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Top 20 Horror Movies - #6) Deep Red (1975)

One of the things that I'm doing this month as I celebrate Halloween here in the Land of Way is taking the time to rank my Top 20 Horror Movies and my Top 20 Horror Novels.

I want to be clear that I'm basing these choices on my own humble opinion.  I'm not trying to rank these movies in accordance with their place in pop culture, but I'm offering up my take on the best horror films that I have ever watched and enjoyed.  There are some familiar candidates that I consider to be great pictures that didn't make the cut because there wasn't room, and there are some films that are widely regarded as great pictures that didn't make the cut because I feel that they are overrated.  There are also a few instances where it was difficult to determine whether or not a movie belonged to the horror genre (I said "no" to Aliens but "yes" to Jaws), and it may also be worth noting that this is largely a modern list (as long as you're okay with my classification of modern as anything after 1960) that only features one lonely creature from the so-called "Classic Monsters" films produced by Universal Studios.

Thus far, the list includes:

#20) The Fly (1986) 
#19) The Howling (1981)
#18) Night of the Living Dead (1968)
#17) Alien (1979) 
#16) Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
#15) Suspiria (1977) 
#14) Phantasm (1979)
#13) Evil Dead 2 (1985)
#12) Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) 
#11) The Descent (2005)
#10) Fright Night (1985)
#9) Halloween (1978)
#8) Return of the Living Dead (1985)
#7) An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Dario Argento strikes again!  Seriously, these days the dude can't make a decent movie to save his life, but there was a time when he was a force to be reckoned with.  This is his finest achievement, a robust offering that is well-loved by many and yet vastly underrated.

Top 20 Horror Movies - #6) Deep Red (1975)

Dario Argento used to make top-notch horror films; he was known for his deft use of a moving camera and his lively color palettes which served to inject a surreal element into his work.  Dario was no stranger to gore either, and he had a serious jones for twisted plots.  Though he has completely lost his ability to make a quality film in this day and age, Argento was lighting up the screen with sensational chillers and gruesome thrillers in the 70s and 80s.  In my personal opinion, while Suspiria will always be more popular, this is his finest film.  Suspiria was #15 on my list and it is surely a top-shelf horror film, but for my money, Deep Red is more exciting and far more fulfilling.  While Suspiria is a fairy tale of sorts, Deep Red is a blood-curdling mystery that is equal parts slasher flick and ghost story, though to label it as either would be inaccurate.  David Hemmings stars as a pianist who witnesses a horrific murder without being able to identify the killer.  Soon, he and an intrepid reporter (the wonderful Daria Nicolodi as Gianna Brezzi) are trying to solve a vicious mystery that reaches into the past.  As they work to uncover the truth, the death toll rises and it becomes quite clear that they are in great danger.  Stellar cinematography, an amazing score by Goblin, and one of Argento's most inventive plots come together in Deep Red, an elaborate whodunit that is full of scares and twists.  Finally, while there can be no doubt that the death scenes in Suspiria are sick and demented, the murders that occur in Deep Red may be even more disturbing. 

The moral of the story?  If you witness a brutal murder, do yourself a favor and leave the subsequent investigation to the police.

A spectacular score, gruesome kills, and creepy imagery are among Deep Red's many highlights.

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