I decided to start a series of "Top 5" horror movie lists based on various themes. It might be a top 5 list according to best acting, or a top 5 list according to goriest scenes. These lists can be endless really, and it would be interesting to see in the end which film has overlapped lists the most. I decided to start with a list that classifies the five best horror films according to the depth of their plot. I must say that this is quite an important issue for me. Many have the absurd idea that horror is a sort of fetish, practiced by those weirdos who were left behind in the whole socializing game. I loudly object! I firmly believe that many horror films provide not only a thrill ride but also plenty of food for thought. You may pull out for me the scariest ghosts, goriest murders or darkest cellars, but if there is no depth in your horror, it is very very very hard to get some serious piss streaming down my pants. So let's start with the first list. The following movies might not be the scariest or the most accomplished, but in terms of plot, I can honestly say that they really got me thinking. Comments, as always, are highly appreciated.
The ultimate fear of any boy: the fear of disappointing his mother. I've always believed that the scariest aspect of this movie lies in the relationships. The relationship between mother and son; the relationship between a man and the woman he lusts over; the relationship between a guilty woman and herself. There is an infinite amount of material to chew on and I can assure you that a new gem will be unraveled with each view.
4) Dawn of the Dead
This is simply one of the greatest parodies in film history. Now, I know Romero didn't intend it to be as eye-opening as it came out to be; he declares that he just wanted to make a fun horror movie. But apart from succeeding in this, he also managed to create what in my opinion is one of the best statements about commercialism to ever come out from Hollywood. The setting is simple: A bunch of zombies shuffling through a shopping mall. Do I really need to add more?
I know that this is hardly going to be a popular one but I stand by my choice. Not as deep as the original short story by Clive Barker (The Forbidden) but still manages to retain that same foreboding atmosphere masterminded by the great Mr Barker. Candyman is not an ordinary slasher movie, but one which uses the violence to symbolize decay, the people living within it, and the desire to be known; to be important to someone and write your name down in the pages of history ( or on the walls of a town in the case of this movie). What are you prepared to do to give meaning to a life that's devoid of it? This movie made me question it and I loved it for this.
2) Mulholland Drive
My horror buddies keep insisting that this is a "Noir" but I can't understand why one should allow such restricting genre barriers. The beauty about this movie is that you can sit and watch it with any mind frame you please. Noir will do; thriller will do, but also horror. The most horrific aspect of this movie is not just the atmosphere or its seemingly random collage of scenes, but the theme. It delves into the subject of dreams-the ones you have when you're sleeping, but most importantly, the ones you have when you're wide awake. Hollywood, I believe, is used allegorically here as one of the most prominent symbols of the American Dream. The real question which this movie asks in my opinion is this: what can our dreams turn us into? What do we allow ourselves to become and on whom do we allow ourselves to become dependent? Now this, taken to the extremity taken in this film, allows for some serious 'horror' moments that are dealt with phenomenal artistry by Lynch.
1) Requiem for a Dream
I've read it many times so I am going to repeat it: This movie, even though classified as R, should be shown to kids everywhere. The topic here is "Addiction" and I've always considered this work of art to be 3 parts movie, 1 part shock treatment. The last twenty minutes are pure madness. Through out the entire film, I kept asking myself the same question: WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? should on earth human beings allow this on themselves. The answer is simple: because the human mind has the unfortunate ability to fabricate dreams that not only recur endlessly, but also format everything else inside which might be of value. Just ask yourself as you're watching: Have I ever dreamt about something so obsessively? You need not go into the depth that the great Hubert Selby Jr takes his characters (in the novel of the same name but faithfully recreated by Darren Aranofsky) to know what it feels like to cross that line which divides go-getters from madmen. This movie will struck several chords for all of those who have the audacity to fight for their dreams and will (not subtly) remind you that the abyss is simply not deep enough for all those who forget what balance is all about.