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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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  • Repairing the Family
    By Jay Grummel Earlier this month I wrote about fond families, however the holidays are made up of many different types of families. Some will be hostile and dysfunctional or some will be loving and understanding. Whatever your family looks like this season, it’s always nice to read about ones other than your own. So, […]
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    Let’s time-travel to the year 2012 and the world is raving about none other than Katniss Everdeen. I remember being in elementary school, begging my mother to let me dress up as her for my birthday. Now it’s over ten years later and I’m still just as excited for the new movie as I was […]

Highlights of horror films

1. Psycho

Coincidentally, Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” was also inspired by serial killer, Ed Gein. In the film a young woman (Janet Leigh) is on the run after stealing $40,000 from her boss. She stops by a cheap motel for the night and is murdered in the shower by a shadowy maniacal killer.

This is the film that established the slasher genre. It is the benchmark that all other films aspire to. There hasn’t been a single slasher/horror movie not influenced in some way by this groundbreaking film since its release over 40 years ago.

The film made people, including its star, terrified of taking showers. It was one of the best filmmakers of all time at the top of his game full of actors delivering career defining performances.

Number of inferior sequels and remakes: 4

2. The Exorcist

When “The Exorcist” debuted in theaters in 1973 its tagline was “Nobody expected it, nobody believed it, and nobody could stop it.” This also describes the impact the film had as it hit America by surprise and redefined the horror genre. Full of shocking scenes and gruesome horror the film provided one of the most iconic scenes in the history of horror.

In the film, Satan possesses a young girl and a priest struggling with his faith is called on to perform an exorcism to rid the girl of the evil spirit inside of her. The film is coarse, bloody, shocking and brilliant.

Number of inferior sequels and remakes: 4

3. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Not to take anything away from the recent “Massacre” remake of last year, but it cannot hold a candle to the original. However, in some ways it is unfair to compare the two as the new version was slick and professional the original was cheap, with rough edges and a gritty feel to it. However, these elements only added to the horror of Tobe Hooper’s infamous classic.

Loosely inspired by the serial killer Ed Gein, “Massacre” is the story of a group of 20 something kids meeting a sadistic family of cannibals and being chased by one of their son’s Leatherface. The film is intensely creepy with one of the greatest horror villains of all time.

Number of inferior sequels and remakes: 4

4. The Shining

Stephen King, who wrote the novel by which the film is based, may have hated the film, but audiences loved it.

The movie centers on a family who become the caretakers of a large hotel in the mountains during its off-season. It all start out fine, but slowly things devolve and the father (Jack Nicholson at his most beautifully over the top) goes mad. It is up to the young son who has been given the gift of the Shining to save his mother and himself.

Kubrick’s version departs wildly from the book, but it delivers chills just the same. From the opening frames when an elevator opens and a seemingly endless river of blood rushes out towards the camera you know that you’re going to see something original.

Number of inferior sequels and remakes: 1

5. The Ring/Ringu

“The Ring” is an American remake of the Japanese hit horror film “Ringu,” which itself was a remake of a Japanese made-for-TV movie. For those who prefer alarming jolts, the English language version is for you. However, if you like the slow methodical buildup towards a terror filled conclusion and can tolerate foreign films check out the original Japanese version.

In the film people are dying exactly seven days after they watch a horrific, but cryptic tape. Journalist Rachel (Naomi Watts) must decipher the tape and figure out its origins to save herself and her young son.

Both films are filled with expert direction from Gore Verbinski (American version) and Hideo Nakata (Japanese version).

Number of inferior sequels and remakes: 1 American

5 Japanese

6. Halloween

How can one make a list of horror films in honor of Halloween without mentioning this John Carpenter classic? The movie featured one of the first unstoppable superhuman enemies, Michael Myers, which was subsequently ripped off by others (“Friday the 13th” and “Nightmare on Elm Street” to name two).

Michael was put into an institution at the age of six after murdering his sister after witnessing her get it on with her boyfriend. Fifteen years later he escapes and starts offing other young men and women who enjoy sex (which is all horror characters seem to really care about anyway). Along the way he goes after the heroine Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and she must outwit him to survive the fateful Halloween night.

Number of inferior sequels and remakes: 7

7. Alien

Not only one of the best horror films ever made, but one of the best science fiction films too. Alien is a terrifying trip into space as we witness a crew being stalked by a large grotesque alien creature.

The film is a masterwork in shooting, lighting, pacing and acting — especially that of heroine Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) who proved women could kick just as much ass as men.

The true highlight of the film is the Alien creature, with its long lanky frame, long slender head and ferocious teeth. Seeing the creature come out of the darkness towards one of the crew members will give you nightmares.

Number of inferior sequels and remakes: 4

8. Night of the Living Dead

This is the granddaddy of all zombie movies. It established every convention used in almost every zombie film to this day. They are mindless killing machines walking slowly, they feast on human flesh and you kill them by destroying their brains. The film was a benchmark in horror in 1968 and while time has not been as kind to this film as others on the list it deserves a spot as it originated an entire genre that has been exploited by many recent films (“The Dawn of the Dead” remake, “Resident Evil” films, “28 Days Later” etc.)

Number of inferior sequels and remakes: 5

9. May

A little known film from a couple of years ago “May” is about a young outcast who, after alienating the boy she has fallen in love with, goes to extreme lengths to “make a friend.” The film may not be widely known, but it does have its supporters. Critic Roger Ebert called it the best horror film since Halloween.

The film is full of horror, but also mixes in comedy and drama. Throughout you’re not quite sure what to make of the film or its main character, May (Angela Bettis), but as the film approaches its horrific climax you sense the dread coming and are at the edge of your seat while you watch.

Number of inferior sequels and remakes: 0

10. Gremlins

Forget the cheesy and cheeky sequel. The original “Gremlins” may have been a family film, and a Steven Spielberg film, but it was also pretty darn scary. We are introduced to a cute and fuzzy little guy named Gizmo who is a present to a high school boy named Billy (Zach Galligan) from his father. Gizmo gets wet and births many cute, but troublemaking Magwais. These Magwais eat after midnight and presto, they transform into Gremlins. These creatures are reptilian monsters that raise trouble all over town.

Sure it may not be scary now, but back when we were all five years old those Gremlins were the epitome of horror. Besides, you have to give credit to a movie that single-handedly changes the film industry. Because of the dark content and violence in this film the MPAA was forced to make a whole new rating designation — PG–13.

Number of inferior sequels and remakes: 1

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