50 Obscure Horror Films Every Horror Fan Should See: #'s 39-30


I continue the list of Fright Meter's 50 Obscure Horror Films Every Horror Fan should see with numbers 39 through 30.

Enjoy, and I do hope you discover a few films to add to your viewing list!




39.  Horror House on Highway 5


It is not an exaggeration to describe this film as one of the most unique horror films to come out of the 80's.  Perhaps that is why it has remained so obscure; it follows none of the traditional slasher conventions and often times plays like a freakish acid trip with surreal, often random scenes.   But heck, the premise itself---a psycho wearing a Richard Nixon mask terrorizing a group of traveling college students--is enough to make it worthy of seeking out!




38.  Blood Hook



Fans of Troma films may be unaware of this film, as it was definitely overshadowed in popularity with some of their other releases, such as The Toxic Avenger.  However, despite being very tongue in cheek (like most Troma films), Blood Hook is actually quite an enjoyable little slasher film from the 80's.  The plot centers on a madman armed with a giant fisher lure stalking people in town for an annual fishing contest.  Not only does the killer hook his victims like fish, he also ties his catch up with stringers!




37.  Bodycount



Most horror fans are familiar with director Ruggero Deodato because of his highly controversial and disturbing Cannibal Holocaust.  However, Deodato continued his work in the genre and in 1986 presented the world with his take on the American backwoods slasher with Bodycount.   Starring genre veteran David Hess, the film follows a group of young campers who are stalked and murdered by an evil Shaman.  Though the plot is thin,  Deodato's stylized camera work and interesting chase make it a unique entry into the 80's slasher annals.






36.  Funeral Home



A slow burn in every sense of the word, Funeral Home is an unsettling film drenched in atmosphere and uneasiness.  A young girl goes to spend time at her grandmother's house, which served as a funeral home for many years.  Now, grandma wants to turn it into a bed and breakfast; the only problem is, the guests disappear.  And what is with the creepy noises that come from the basement?   Creepy, with hints of Psycho sprinkled throughout, this is definitely one to seek out simply for the chills!  (Read our full review here).



35.  Harpoon:  Whale Watching Massacre



If you like your horror films gritty and nasty--making you want to take a shower after watching, then this is should be right up your alley.  A group of whale watching tourists became stranded at sea when their tour ship breaks down.  However, they are rescued by a fishing vessel; the only problem is is that it is owned by a family of homicidal maniacs.   With a grimy, claustrophobic setting and violent kills, and a cameo by Gunnar Hansen, this film proves there are still ambitious slasher films being made.  (Read our full review here).




34.  Dead Dudes in the House


Another criminally overlooked Troma released, Dead Dudes in the House, despite its noticeable low budget and sketchy acting in spots, is full of an undeniable 80's charm and even manages to create some real scares and disturbing images.  A group of college friends help fix up an old house that one of them just purchased.  Little do they know, the house is not empty and contains the spirit of a murderous old woman.   One by one, they fall victim to her and, in turn, become possessed themselves.  Again, if you can get past the low budget, this one is a hoot deserving of repeated viewings with a gang of friends!






33.  The Pit



A lonely young boy makes a gruesome discover in the woods near his house: a ravenous monster is living in a large pit.  Instead of being scared, he befriends it and begins feeding it-----people who have harassed him.  Filmed with bright colors and a disturbingly cheerful tone, The Pit, is certainly a unique film.  The wheelchair scene alone is worth checking this one out!



32.  October Moon



It would be easy to describe this film simply as a gay Fatal Attraction, but it is certainly much more than that.  It's also an engaging, realistic character and relationship study.  Naive and fragile Elliot finds himself in a confusing and ultimately dangerous dilemma when, despite have a fiancee, he falls in love with his male boss.  This film is realistic, sensitive examination of obsession, rejection, and intolerance.  The slow, focused narration leads brilliantly to the inevitably depression climax.  (Read our full review here).






31.  Night Warning



Also known as Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker, this engrossing films gives us a psychotic and obsessed female antagonist that makes Annie Wilkes and Alex Forrest look like Girl Scout Troop Leaders.  Indeed, Aunt Cheryl, portrayed in a powerhouse performance by Oscar nominated actress Susan Tyrell (seriously....her performance alone makes this film worth viewing), loves her nephew Billy so much that when he begins making plans involving moving away from her, she does whatever she can to prevent him from doing so.  Bloody, over the top, and deliciously disturbing, this film definitely deserves to be better known.





30.  Dark Night of the Scarecrow



This made for television film packs a spooky punch.  Beautifully shot, with a dark, foreboding atmosphere and unsettling score, Dark Night of the Scarecrow is everything a horror film should be.  When a group of townsfolk wrongly kill a mentally challenged man because they believe he attacked a young girl, he comes back, dressed in the same scarecrow disguise that he was murdered in, to seek his revenge.  Highly effective with an unbearable amount of tension.







50 Obscure Horror Films Every Horror Fan Should See: #'s 50-40

Ask any die hard horror fan, and they will tell you that there is virtually no greater thrill than to seek out and finally land a copy of that rare, hard to find title to add to their collection.  I myself remember the days of scouring Ebay for obscure VHS copies of titles I came across in various horror forums and message boards.  The time and money spent paid off, as I was able to view many of the so-called "obscure" gems from the 70's and 80's.  However, nowadays, with the growth of the internet and video sharing sites, it doesn't take that much effort anymore to view most of these films.  Still, they are fun to seek out.

And certainly there are a plethora of lists out there by various blogs and horror sites counting down rare and "films you haven't seen."  While I occasionally come across something I have not seen, it is rare that a list truly contains lesser known gems.  Thus, I wanted to truly compile a list of films that truly have flown under the radar for one reason or another.  These films aren't perfect, nor are they the "best" horror has to offer, but each of them contain a quality that makes them special and stand out among the countless horror films out there.  There is a wide variety and something for every horror fan.  They will be revealed starting with numbers 50 through 40.

Please note that if you have seen the majority of the films on this list, I applaud you!  You are truly an awesome horror fan!  However, my hope is that there will some titles you haven't seen and certainly a variety of choices for younger and newer horror fans!

Enjoy!



50.  Sweatshop


Sweatshop came and went back in 2009 without garnering much attention in the horror community.  This is shame because, while it doesn't break any new ground, it's a quintessential 80's throwback slasher film replete with brutal, gritty kill scenes and a frightening ruthless killer.  True to slasher conventions, the film deals with a group of friends who break into an abandoned factory to throw a party, but instead encounter a bloodthirsty madman.




49.  Rovdyr


Fans of survivalist/backwoods horror such as Deliverance and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre should really dig this little gem from Norway.  Four friends traveling to a weekend getaway are ensnared into a sinister trap; they are left unconscious in the middle of the woods and when they awake, realize they are the quarry for a sadistic hunter.   Fast paced and violent, Rovdyr will definitely stick with you long after the credits roll.




48.  Easter Bunny Kill! Kill!


As horror fans know, no holiday is sacred.  From Black Christmas to Halloween to My Bloody Valentine, madmen have been slashing during the holidays since pretty much the inception of the slash genre.  So, it should come as no surprise that Easter gets its very own bloodbath in Chad Ferrin's Easter Bunny Kill! Kill!  The gritty, bloody film, which brazenly touches on several taboo topics, deals with a night of babysitting gone horribly wrong for a young mentally handicapped teen and his sadistic sitter, as a killer in a bunny mask shows up with a variety of sharp tools.  (Read our full review here).




47.  The Clown at Midnight



Scream revitalized the slasher genre in the mid-90's, causing a slew of slashers to be released both theatrically and direct to video.  Most of them were good, but the majority of them were simply copycats trying to cash in on Scream's success.  Released in 1999, The Clown at Midnight was sadly overlooked due to genre fatigue.  A group of teens fixing up an old opera house for a school project are locked in and killed one by one by a creepy clown.   With a competent cast including Margot Kidder, Oscar winner Christopher Plummer, and James Duval, the film competently captured the spark and charm of many of those memorable 80's slasher films.  (Read our full review here).




46.  Dolls



A family caught in a rainstorm take refuge in an isolated mansion run by a seemingly kind old couple.  As it turns out, the old couple makes dolls.  Lots of dolls.  Lots of creepy dolls.  Dolls is truly a little gem of a film that deserves to be much better known that what it is.  Full of atmosphere, disturbing death sequences, and interesting and unforgettable characters,  it is worthy of multiple viewings and will definitely have you saying "they sure don't make 'em like that anymore!"




45.  Murder Loves Killers Too



Contrary to what some horror fans will tell you, the slasher genre is NOT dead and there HAVE been some great slasher released in the last fifteen years.  While not perfect by an means, Murder Loves Killers Too is satisfying wink to the golden age of the slasher genre that doesn't let its obvious budgetary constraints hinder it in the least.  The film, which looks like it could have been made in the 80's, deals with a group of vacationing college kids who choose the wrong house to party.  Violent, bloody, and often times suspenseful, this slasher homage does things just different enough to make it stand out from the countless other direct to video slashers.




44.  American Nightmare



Fans of 70's Italian gaillo films will wonder why they have never heard of this little Canadian gem from 1983.  Combining the best elements from both the gaillo and the American slasher genre, American Nightmare tells the story of a brother who begins an investigation into his sister's disappearance to discover that someone is stalking and murdering local prostitutes and strippers.  Suspenseful, interesting, and often times sleazy, it is a shame this one is not better known, if just for the fact that it contains some of the best stalk and slash sequences of the 80's, as evidenced below.




43.  American Gothic



Horror fans who grew up in the 80's may be familiar with this one, or at the very least remember the VHS cover from their days of browsing the horror section at the local video store.  Starring Yvonne DeCarlo and Oscar winner Rod Steiger, American Gothic is truly an unforgettable film that stands head and shoulders above most of what was released in the 80's.  A group of friends get stranded on an island inhabited by a truly bizarre family comprised of the strictly religious parents and their grown children who act like they are still little kids.  They, however, are not as innocent as they appear and any infraction on their strict family rules is met with dire consequences.  Full of both memorable scenes and characters, this is must see for any horror fan.  (Read our full review here).




42.  The Poughkeepsie Tapes



Despite a lot of positive buzz back in 2007, this one failed to obtain a proper United States release---that is until this year.  Told "found footage" style, the film chronicles the crimes of a serial killer who stalked Poughkeepsie, NY for years before his videos where discovered by police.  Very few films can be truly classified as scary anymore, but this is one of them.  Authentic looking enough to be unsettling, the film contains some of the most disturbing sequences put to film in the last decade.  Truly thought provoking and disturbing.  (Read our full review here).




41.  The Collingswood Story



This film proves that budget in the right hands, a lot can be accomplished with virtually not budget.  Told strictly through webcam conversations, the film tells the story of a girl who reaches out to a psychic with the help of her boyfriend after experiencing some strange things in her new house.  As the evening goes in, it is apparent something sinister is at play, but is it what we think?   Chilling, highly effective with an ending that will knock your socks off, The Collingswood Story begs to be watched at night, alone, with all the lights off.




40.  Devil Times Five



One of the earliest killer kid flicks, 1974's Devil Times Five gives us five little murderous heathens (including 70's teen heartthrob Lief Garrett) who escape together from their psychiatric hospital and terrorize a group of vacationers staying at a winter cabin.  Disturbing sequences, including a man being beaten and stabbed to death for what seems like an eternity and a piranha in a bathtub sequence and the obvious glee the children get from their killing spree make this a deliciously demented, memorable film very worth of our list.






Christopher Lee Selected to Receive the 2014 Fright Meter Lifetime Achievement Award




The Fright Meter Awards committee has selected Christopher Lee to receive the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award.  Below, committee member Paul Counelis explains why this living horror legend was selected (as if any explanation is needed)!


There is perhaps no greater living horror royalty than Sir Christopher Lee. With apologies to treasures like Robert Englund, Wes Craven and Roger Corman, Lee is perhaps the most obvious line to follow when tracing our genre’s lineage back to its classic origins, and it’s all the more impressive when you consider that he is still gracing our screens with new output even at the age of 91.

As an actor, Lee has an unfathomable number of credits to his name, with the majority of those emanating from horror and thriller films. He has appeared next to some of the most legendary of greats and more than held his own; often stealing scenes from men whose first names are no longer even necessary, such as Karloff and Cushing. His stirring voice work is also notable, since it is as prominent and well-loved as anyone this side of Vincent Price. His turn as Dracula was great and memorable as to actually spark a legitimate debate between his portrayal and Lugosi’s, which is by itself a noteworthy feat.

Truth be told, little explanation is really needed for why SIR CHRISTOPHER LEE is this year’s choice for the Fright Meter 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award, but if you REALLY need any, there are 278 of them (and counting) available for your enlightenment in the form of his immortal movies.


Tom Savini Accepts the 2013 Fright Meter Lifetime Achievement Award


The Fright Meter Awards Committee selected Tom Savini to be the first ever recipient of the Fright Meter Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Savini has worked in the industry for nearly forty years.  He is best known for his ground-breaking make up and special effects in such films as Dawn of the Dead, Friday the 13th, Maniac, The Burning and The Prowler.  His frightening realistic effects set the standard in the industry and provided some of the most memorable scenes in horror film history.  Additionally, Savini has directed several genre films, including the 1990 remake of George Romero's classic Night of the Living Dead.  Savini has also appeared on camera, acting in films such as The Ripper, Creepshow 2, Grindhouse, Django Unchained and Machete Kills. 

Truly a pioneer in the industry, Tom Savini has devoted his career to the horror genre, and his impact on the genre will be felt for years to come. 


Tom Savini accepts the 2013 Fright Meter Lifetime Achievement Awardf from Fright Meter Awards Committee member Colt Seaver Nowell.

The 10 Best Final Girls in Slasher Film History


Every horror knows that one of the hallmarks of a slasher film is a great final girl.  Someone the audience can root for and someone who has the wits and guts to fight back against the murderous madman.  Virtually every slasher film has a final girl, and like anything else, some are much better than others.  After considering the literally hundreds of final girls from the hundreds of slasher films released over the years, I give you my picks for the Ten Best Final Girls in Slasher History.   Don't be afraid to comment and let me know whether you agree, disagree, or who you think was left off the list!



10.  Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp), A Nightmare on Elm Street
Fighting and outsmarting Freddy Krueger is no small feat, considering he is able to stalk you at your most vulnerable  However, Nancy Thompson does just that while maintaining the nice, good girl image that is associated with a good final girl.    Her wholesome looks and innocent nature allow the audience to immediately form a connection with her and actually care about her nightmarish ordeal.  Nancy uses her smarts to trick Freddy, hence allowing her to seemingly defeat him.   
 

 
9.  Courtney (Cecile Bagdadi), Final Exam
Hands down the most underappreciated final girl in horror history, Courtney is the quintessential final girl; smart, wholesome, and not afaid to fight back when attacked by a psychopath.  Alone on a spooky college campus and discovering her friends have been murdered, she engages the killer in a breathtaking game of cat and mouse which is one of the best chase sequences in slasher movie history.  And like a good final girl, she ultimately gets the best of him.
 

 
8.  Jannicke (Ingrid Bolso Berdal), Cold Prey
Poor Jannicke and her friends just wanted to have an awesome ski trip.  Unfortunately, after one of them gets hurt, they choose the wrong old abandoned hotel to take shelter in.  Extremely atmospheric and tension filled, Cold Prey is easil one of the best slasher flicks released in the last twenty years.  The Norwegian film brilliantly plays with the American slasher conventions, including giving us a kick-ass final girl.  Jannicke is quick, clever, and definitely a fighter.


 
7.  Yasmine (Karina Testa), Frontier(s)
Frontier(s) is French director Xavier Gens wink to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  A group of friends escaping the violence of the city take shelter in a bed and breakfast that is unfortunately run by a group of butchering psychopaths.  And much like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Frontier(s) comes down to one final girl, Yasmine, who like Sally Hardesty, is mentally pushed beyond the limits of what is imaginable.  But unlike Sally, Yasmine does not let this get the best of her.  Instead she bottles her rage until the right moment and proceeds to fight back in the most brutal and unrelenting manner possible, proving she was definitely the wrong girl for this family of psychos to mess with!



6.  Jess Bradford (Olivia Hussey), Black Christmas
Black Christmas was released a full four years before John Carpenter's slasher classic Halloween.  The films have obvious similarities, and though Carpenter's film deserves to accolades it receives, I have always found Black Christmas the more effective film.  The characters in Black Christmas are much more colorful and interesting and Jess is a perfect example of this.  The exact opposite of virginal good girl Laurie Strode, Jess is an strong-willed, independent young woman who refuses to be controlled or manipulated.  She makes a controversial decision, disregarding her boyfriend's desires because she knows it is what is best for her.   Jess was definitely a feminist before her time.  And when the times comes to face a maniacal killer, she does what she needs to do to survive.



5.  Alice (Adrienne King), Friday the 13th
Alice is instantly likable and Adrienne King lights up the screen with her girl-next-door charm.   It is because of her extreme likability that we the audience grow to care about her and then, ultimately root for her.  When she discovers that her fellow counselors have all been brutally butchered, she resists the temptation of becoming a helpless, emotional mess and is not afraid to get her hands dirty with Mrs. Vorhees.  She fights back aggressively and ultimately wins  thanks to a handy machete.   However, it is a shame she was murdered so easily without a fight in the sequel.

 
4.  Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Scream
 By the mid 1990's, the slasher genre was all but dead.  Scream came along and reignited the genre, creating a whole new generation of slasher lovers. Kevin Williamson's clever, tongue in cheek script walked the fine line of being a parody by acknowledging and poking fun at slasher cliches and conventions.  And of course, like any good slasher flick, he gave us a tough, likable final girl in Sidney Prescott.  Trying to deal with her mother's tragic murder, Sidney is a flawed character who, while initially your stereotypical virginal good girl, she certainly is not a character who is pigeon-holed to this characterstic.  What is great about Sidney is that the viewer witnesses her growth and toughening throughout the four films. 
 
 
 

3.  Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), Halloween
Yes, Jamie Lee Curtis is the "Scream Queen," and I bet many probably thought Laurie Strode was a shoo-in for the top spot.  Yes, Jamie Lee Curtis is a brilliant actress and her Laurie Strode truly is the quintessential final girl:  meek, innocent, virginal, the goody two shoes.  She successfully fights back against Michael Myers, though it is really Dr. Loomis who saves her from being murdered in the first two films.   And though she is pretty bad ass in Halloween: H20, in Halloween: Ressurection, she is resorted to a mummbling nut case who becomes a much too easy target for Michael Myeres.  Still, it is hard to deny that Laurie Strode is the archetype of final slasher girls.



2.  Erin (Sharni Vinson), You're Next
Move over, Laurie Stode.  Meet Erin.  You're Next final girl Erin is a prime example of the evolution of the slasher final girl.  Not the least bit meek or mild, Erin harbors a secret that allows her to outsmart a group of homicidal maniacs and successfully engage them in their own game.  She's clever and has a survival instinct like no other, using whatever she can to fight back against her attackers with absolutely no mercy.  Erin is a final girl for the new generation, as her seemingly harsh, no nonsense approach to surviving is much more refreshing than watching a crying, hysterical mess going through the motions in order to defeat the killer. 


1.  Ginny (Amy Steel), Friday the 13th Part 2
Killing off Alice, the sole survivor from the first film, in the opening scene of Friday the 13th Part 2 was a risky move, but also illustrated that the sequel meant business.  While it was depressing to see Alice disposed of in a such a gruesome manner, all was made better with the introduction of the sequel's heroine, Ginny.   Ginny is beautiful, bubbly, relatable, and when the time comes, extremely resourceful and intelligent.  She goes toe to toe with Jason Vorhees in one of the most exciting climaxes in horror history, and ultimately knows exactly what to do to get the best of him.  She exemplifies everything a great final girl should be and it is no wonder that legions of Friday the 13th fans declare her as their favorite character (besides Jason of course) of the series. 

 

 

The Hanover House


Year:  2014
Director:  Corey Norman
Cast:  Brian Chamberlain, Casey Turner, Anne Bobby, Erik Moody

Robert Foster and his wife, Shannon, are heading back home from his father's funeral when he hits a young girl with his car.  Frantic, he rushes to find seek help and comes upon an old farmhouse, unaware that the house has been waiting for him.
 
The Hanover House is the first feature length film from Maine filmmaker Corey Norman who gave us the highly effective shorts The Barn and NATAL.  Both of these short films allowed viewers a glimpse into the type of filmmaker Norman is striving to be and his penchant for easily creating an escalating sense of dread and constructing an eerie atmosphere.  And since one of the selling points of The Hanover House is the fact that it was filmed in a real life haunted farmhouse, Norman certainly provided himself the perfect setting to put his talent to work.  And he does not disappoint. 
 
First, I cannot express just how great this film looks.  IMDB has the budget listed at roughly $22,000, and I do not think I have seen a better looking horror film this year.  The direction is tight and the cinematography is clean and crisp with some breathtaking images of the Maine countryside.  Many times, films with small budgets struggle to overcome this constraint when it comes to visual aesthitics, but this is not the case with The Hanover House.  Night scenes are lit appropriately, which is crucial to the third act of the film.  Speaking of which, the film moves along at an appropriate pace, though some may feel the exposition and second act drags a bit.  It is here that the film plays out more like a dramatic character study than a horror film set in a haunted house.  Our protagonist is not a happy-go-lucky family man that is often associated with these types of films.  Instead, Norman (who penned the screenplay with his wife, Haley) is not afraid to give us a flawed, damaged protagonist in Robert Foster who has been shaped by a pretty miserable childhood and family life.  His mother (a great supporting turn by Anne Bobby) is not the most supportive and loving woman, and his uncle is downright repulsive.  Brian Chamberlain is very impressive as Foster and easily displays the emotions of a man stuggling to overcome his past so that he can embrace his future by starting his own family.  Turner is servicable as his devoted wife, though her performance drastically improves as the film the progresses.  As a whole, the entire cast is very good and their performances are much better than what you'll see in most low budget film, though Chamberlain is the standout.

Once the action moves from the funeral to the actual house referred to in the title of the film, there are plenty of chilling moments.  Of course, hitting the little girl is a somewhat symbolic catalyst that allows Robert to seek out help at the house, and the scene of handled in an effective and realistic manner.  The scenes inside the farmhouse often have a very etheral look and feel to them, which aids in creating that incredible atmosphere that Norman is so proficient in achieving.  Besides the typical creaks and moans associated with a typical haunted house film, there are some eerie visual elements that are speficic to Robert and his own personal demons.  To say much more would give away specific plot elements.  The ending of the film is surprising and definitely not "safe"  but adds another layer to the film's plot that moves it beyond just being a "haunted house" flick. 

Though this truly is a good film with little to complain about, there are just a few minor issues that some may find problematic.  First, as mentioned, the exposition and second act of the film is quite lengthy and plays out like a dsyfunctional family soap opera rather than a genre film.  This provides valuable characterization for the lead, but some of the more interesting secondary characters aren't given much to do in the grand scheme of the film; Anne Bobby is particularly underutlized. Additionally, the actual house is a great settting and there are some creepy scenes, but it seems like more could have been done to amp up the horror elements a bit.  The "ghost girl" has been done to death in these types of films, and it would have been interesting to see a different approach used.

Overall, The Hanover House is extremely well made and should be a paramount example to aspiring independent filmmakers of how to do it right with very little.    It's obvious that The Hanover House was constructed with passion and care.  This film, along with his short NATAL, has the potential to and will hopefully catapult Norman  to the front of the pack of independent horror filmmakers in terms of recognition and accolades.

Fright Meter Grade:
 


 
 

10 Most Disturbing Death Scenes from 80's Slashers


Ahhhh, the 80's.  To most die-hard slasher fans, they represent the "golden age" of the genre.  I have very fond memories of going to the local mom and pop video store as a kid and being in awe of the plethora of new VHS cover art staring back at me from the shelves.  It seemed that new slasher flicks were being released by the bucket load each week.  While some of them were pretty terrible, others aided in defining the decade.

The problem was that the by the end of the decade,  plots became formulaic and stale: gather a bunch of young people in a remote location and have them get killed off one by one.  Many slasher fans accepted this and, instead of searching for unique plots, they instead focused on the next best thing: the kill scenes and gore!  After all, what would a slasher film be without these elements?  Luckily, filmmakers were happy to oblige, as each new film released seemed to be trying to out due the last in terms of bodycount and gore.  And while there are literally thousands of death scenes displayed throughout the hundreds of slashers released during the decade, a few stand out as being truly memorable because of their sheer nastiness.

Here are my Top 10 choices for the nastiest and most disturbing kill scenes from the 80's slasher era:


10.  Ice Skating Death from Curtains
Curtains stands out as one of the better of the slashers released during the 80's: the cast, the production values, the tension all come together perfectly to form a more clever and serious slasher than was being released during this time.   However, one murder sequence definitely sets the film apart.  A young actress hoping to land a coveted role goes out for a morning ice skate only to be stalked by an unknown killer in a hag mask.   Let's be clear: this scene in not on the list because of gore, but because it truly is a terrifying scene.  It's incredibly shot, thick with tension, and the image of the figure skating in the hag mask and armed with a sickle will not soon be forgotten.  




9.  Deer Antler Impalement from Silent Night, Deadly Night
One of the most controversial slasher films of all time, Silent Night, Deadly Night was protested by angry parents and religious groups and had its theatrical run cut short because of the uproar.   And honestly in hindsight,  it is sort of understandable why these people were upset, as Silent Night, Deadly Night does seem to bask in the glory of splashing the traditional peacefulness of the Christmas holiday with blood and gore.  The most memorable death scene involves a half naked Linnea Quigley meeting her fate on a pair of deer antlers.  It's a nasty scene that scores points for creativity and for boldly showing the impalement and its aftermath.




8.  Raft Massacre from The Burning
The Burning is an interesting little summer camp slasher that has successful shed the initial stigma of  just being a Friday the 13th clone.   The story of Cropsy, the camp caretaker who returns to take revenge for having a horrible prank pulled on him does mix up slasher conventions, giving us a final male.  It also contains a downright nasty little scene where Cropsy succeeds in taking out an entire raft of campers with a single pair of gardening shears!   With special effects by Tom Savini, the scene is orchestrated brilliantly.   We do not see it coming, as we are conditioned to believe the cliche of safety in numbers.  Moreover, the pain inflicted on our young victims is palpable.  Fingers are chopped off, throats are impaled and the camera never flinches away.




7.  Curling Iron in the !*$@# from Sleepaway Camp
Another summer camp themed slasher, Sleepaway Camp deservedly enjoys a massive cult followings.  It's a clever and mean-spirited little film made all the more disturbing because the kids actually look like kids!  Besides having one of the most ballsy (no pun intended) and shocking twist endings in the history of film, it also contains some surprisingly graphic murder scenes.  However, it is the film's least graphic murder, at least in terms of what the audience sees, that makes this list.  Camper Judy, a hateful little bitch that you want to punch every time she is on screen, relaxes in her cabin only to be punched and then have a hot curling iron inserted into her.......well you know.   I have to admit that when I first saw this film, I was not sure what exactly was happening.  Chalk that up to being young, but upon multiple viewings, it becomes blatantly obvious where the curling iron is inserted.  It was wise that the the audience isn't shown much; it makes the sizzling sound effect and Judy's screams much more agonizing.



6.  Drill Through the Head from The Gates of Hell
Okay, it's technically not a slasher film, but The Gates of Hell (AKA City of the Living Dead) is a gory and batshit crazy little from Lucio Fulci that contains a death scene too horrid to pass up.  Forget the scene of the girl being forced to puke up her own guts; the scene where a girl's boyfriend meets her angry father, who proceeds to slowly and maniacally push his head into a large table drill is even more disturbing.   First, there is the slow build up as the poor fellow's head is pushed closer and closer to the spinning drill bit.   We the audience wonder "are they really going to show that" and we brace ourselves.  And yes, they really DO show it.  The camera never flinches away as the drill better enters one temple and emerges from the other in amazingly realistic fashion.



5.  Rat Eats Through Stomach from Epitaph
Epitaph is a little seen slasher from the mid-80's that could be summed up as a guilty pleasure.  It was released on DVD  by Troma back in 2007 under the title Mommy's Epitaph.  Despite being poorly made, it truly is an intriguing little film about a homicidal mother and the family who deals with her crimes by moving from city to city so she isn't caught.  In this particularly nasty scene, the mother ties a helpless psychiatrist, who she discovers has been masquerading as a friend to get details on the mother's life,  in the basement.  Mother proceeds to take a hungry rat, place it in a metal bucket and tie the bucket to the pleading woman's stomach.  She then uses a blow torch to force the rat to eat through the woman.  It truly is a vile scene that I am surprised is not more well known.



4.  Double Axing from Nightmares in a Damaged Brain
Gritty, grimy, and unrelenting, Nightmares in a Damaged Brain (AKA Nightmare) is one of the "video nasties" from the early 80's.  It's a grim film, with a dark and sinister tone similar to Maniac, which it is often compared.  It is one of those films that you feel the need to shower after viewing it.  And no scene contributes to this better than the scene where the antagonist has a flashback to murdering his father and his mistress as a child.  He catches them having kinky sex, and instead of running away screaming with his eyes covered like a normal child, he does the next best thing, grabs an axe and proceeds to hack them to death.  It's an insanely bloody and violent scene, made all the more disturbing by the fact that a child is the perpetrator.



3.  Fishing Gaff in the !*$@#  from The Mutilator
The Mutilator truly is the quintessential 80's slasher film.  This is not saying that it is necessarily a good film (though I do think it is better than it is given credit for), but that it captures the qualities of the slasher genre perfectly.   The isolated beach setting creates a tense atmosphere, and the murders are certainly gorier than a majority of what was being released during this time.  The mean-spirited scene that makes this list involves the killer slamming a girl onto a garage workbench and then forcefully inserting a large fishing gaff in between her legs and maneuvering just right so that the tip emerges from her belly.  It's an unpleasant scene to watch--even for males--mainly because the killer seems to be getting off on his deed.




2. Bayonet Through the Skull  from The Prowler
The Prowler is a gem of a film that still to this day is Tom Savini's crowning achievement in terms of special effects.  It deals with a killer disguised in a World War II get up who stalks and butchers a group of college students during the night of their annual dance.  The film succeeds by layering on the tension and atmosphere and director Joseph Zito, who would go on to later direct Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter skillfully demonstrates his penchant for the genre.  While all the deaths are violent and gory, one stands out as being particularly unpleasant.   A young man preparing to get into the shower with his girlfriend has a bayonet driven through the top of skull until it exits his chin.  The scene is cringe-worthy for several reasons, one being the sound effect of the blade entering the skull. Savini's attention to detail is often displayed, as the victims eyes roll to the back of his head and he heaves for air and relief.




1.  Bandsaw Lobotomy  from Intruder 
Perhaps the last great slasher film of the 80's, Intruder came along at a point when the slasher genre was virtually on its last leg.  Fans had become bored with the stale and predictable formula.   Though Intruder does not stray too far from the slasher formula, it does set itself apart with fairly likable characters, an interesting setting, unsettling atmosphere, and some very stylistic camera work and direction.  The kills are quite brutal; a guy gets his head crushed in a trash compactor (which easily could have made this list), another is lifted and impaled on a meat hook.  However, it is the infamous "bandsaw lobotomy" scene that stands as being the most disturbing and cringe-worthy death scene from any 80'slasher film.  A young worker has his head fed through a meat saw.  What makes this scene so damn disturbing is (a)how realistic the whole thing looks...seriously, check out when the saw hits the dude's teeth! and (b) the camera never, ever flinches away, even as the poor guy's head splits in two.   I truly have never seen anything like this scene since.  Truly unforgettable.




2013 Fright Meter Award Winners



The Fright Meter Awards are presented annually by the Fright Meter Awards Organization, a non-profit organization dedicated solely to honoring and recognizing excellence within the horror genre. The nominations and winners are determined by members of the Fright Meter Awards Committee.
Members consist of horror fans, bloggers, actors, producers, directors, and others, making the Fright Meter Awards truly the most prestigious horror award given. The Fright Meter Awards aim to select and nominate worthy films regardless of budget, means of release, or popularity.


So without further ado, here are 2013's winners...

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:

*The Conjuring* winner
Insidious Chapter 2
The Lords of Salem
Maniac
Stoker





BEST EDITING:

The Conjuring
Evil Dead
*Maniac* winner
Stoker
V/H/S 2  






BEST SCORE:

The Conjuring
Evil Dead
Insidious Chapter 2
*The Lords of Salem* winner
Maniac






BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS:

Carrie
The Conjuring
*Evil Dead* winner
Insidious Chapter 2
World War Z 

BEST MAKE UP:

American Mary
The Conjuring
*Evil Dead* winner
Frankenstein's Army
V/H/S 2





BEST SCREENPLAY:

*American Mary* winner
The Conjuring
Insidious Chapter 2
John Dies at the End
Stoker 






BEST SHORT HORROR FILM:

Baby-Sitting
*The Captured Bird* winner
Familiar
The Girl at the Door
SEANCE






BEST ENSEMBLE CAST PERFORMANCE:

American Mary
*The Conjuring* winner
Evil Dead
Insidious Chapter 2
Stoker 






BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Tristan Risk for "American Mary"
Julianne Moore for "Carrie"
*Lily Taylor for "The Conjuring"* winner
Isabelle Nelisse for "Mama"
Nicole Kidman for "Stoker"



BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Ron Livingston for "The Conjuring"
Lou Taylor Pucci for "Evil Dead"
*Rhys Wakefield for "The Purge"* winner
Epy Kusnandar for "V/H/S 2"
Rob Corddry for "Warm Bodies" 



BEST ACTRESS:

*Katharine Isabelle for "American Mary"* winner
Vera Farmiga for "The Conjuring"
Jane Levy for "Evil Dead"
Sharni Vinson for "You're Next"
Mia Wasikowska for "Stoker"






BEST ACTOR:

Patrick Wilson for "The Conjuring"
Patrick Wilson for "Insidious Chapter 2"
*Elijah Wood for "Maniac"* winner
Matthew Goode for "Stoker"
Jeffrey Combes "Would You Rather" 


BEST DIRECTOR:

Jen & Sylvia Soska for "American Mary"
*James Wan for "The Conjuring"* winner
Fede Alvarez for "Evil Dead"
James Wan for "Insidious Chapter 2"
Chan-wook Park for "Stoker"


BEST HORROR MOVIE:

American Mary
*The Conjuring* winner
Evil Dead
Maniac
You're Next



Check out the official Fright Meter Awards website -http://www.frightmeterawards.com

You can also find  the Fright Meter Awards on Facebook here:  Fright Meter Awards