Wednesday, October 01, 2014

'90s Horror Poll: Introduction/Honorable Mentions

If there's one thing that most of the people who responded to my poll of the best horror movies of the 1990s agreed on, it's that the decade was kind of a crappy one for horror. While the '70s and '80s were treasure troves for genre fans, the decade that click bait articles repeatedly remind us we're children of was actually pretty thin on horror movies that are remembered and celebrated two decades later (though I wouldn't rule out the possibility of an "I Know What You Did Last Summer: An Oral History" article popping up in a few years for the twentieth anniversary). Horror movies struggled in a decade where pop culture was pretty much defined by irony, which would lead to one of the best horror movies of the decade and a slew of imitators. It also didn't help that, quite frankly, a lot of iconic horror filmmakers produced some of their weakest work during the decade; while John Carpenter and Wes Craven both have films on the list, it was also the decade that produced Village of the Damned and Vampire in Brooklyn, and directors like George A. Romero and Dario Argento are completely absent here.

So why devote a list to a middling decade? If these lists give us an opportunity to consider some of our favorite movies in the context of the time they were made, then the horror movies that have held up seem even more special for their diamonds-in-the-rough status. And there were some great ones, though it's telling that several of the movies on this list are ones that wouldn't even be considered horror movies by a lot of fans. The ones that played it straight largely did so by playing on our imaginations in different ways, veering into surrealism or that famous euphemism "psychological thriller" that filmmakers would use to give their movies an aura of respectability (though there are still plenty of zombies, monsters and other boogeymen included on the list as well).

There were, conveniently enough, 30 movies that got four or more votes, so I'll begin listing one a day, starting tomorrow. But first, a list of honorable mentions after the jump. Two of the people who submitted polls were kind enough to write a little bit about their own dark horse favorites; I'll be posting their pieces later today. Thanks again to everyone who submitted a poll - you can check out many of the individual top tens here.

Movies that received one vote:

99.9 (Agusti Villaronga, 1997)
The Addiction (Abel Ferrara, 1995)
Alien: Resurrection (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 1997)
Alone. Life Wastes Andy Hardy (Martin Arnold, 1998)
Body Bags (John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper, 1993)
Body Parts (Eric Red, 1991)
The Boneyard (James Cummins, 1991)
Brainscan (John Flynn, 1994)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Fran Rubel Kuzui, 1992)
Buried Alive (Frank Darabont, 1990)
Castle Freak (Stuart Gordon, 1995)
The Dark Side of the Moon (D.J. Webster, 1990)
Dark City (Alex Proyas, 1998)
Deep Rising (Stephen Sommers, 1998)
Dr. Giggles (Manny Coto, 1992)
Dust Devil: (Richard Stanley, 1992)
The Eight Immortals Restaurant: The Untold Story (Danny Lee and Herman Yau, 1993)
eXistenZ (David Cronenberg, 1999)

The Exorcist III (William Peter Blatty, 1990)
Felidae (Michael Schaack, 1994)
Flatliners (Joel Schumacher, 1990)
Freaked (Alex Winter, 1993)
Gemini (Shin'ya Tsukamoto, 1999)
Ghostwatch (Lesley Manning, 1992)
Halloween H20 (Steve Miner, 1998)
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (Joe Chappelle, 1995)
Hardware (Richard Stanley, 1990)

Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (Anthony Hickox, 1992)
Idle Hands (Rodman Flender, 1999)
Innocent Blood (John Landis, 1992)
It (Tommy Lee Wallace, 1990)
Kalifornia (Dominic Sena, 1993)
The Kingdom II (Lars von Trier and Niels Vørsel, 1997)
Leprechaun (Mark Jones, 1993)
Necronomicon (Christophe Gans, Shûsuke Kaneko and Brian Yuzna, 1993)
Organ (Kei Fujiwara, 1996)
Outer Space (Peter Tscherkassky, 1996)

Perfect Blue (Satoshi Kon, 1997)
Pi (Darren Aronofsky, 1998)
Psycho (Gus Van Sant, 1998)
The Quiet Family (Kim Jee-woon, 1998)
Red Spirit Lake (Charles Pinion, 1993)
Red to Kill (Hin Sing 'Billy' Tang, 1994)
Safe (Todd Haynes, 1995)
Schramm: Into the Mind of a Serial Killer (Jörg Buttgereit, 1993)
Shock 'Em Dead (Mark Freed, 1991)
Species (Roger Donaldson, 1995)

The Stand (Mick Garris, 1994)
The Suckling (Francis Teri, 1990)
Tale of a Vampire (Shimako Sato, 19920
Terror Firmer (Lloyd Kaufman, 1999)
Tesis (Alejandro Amenábar, 1996)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (Kim Henkel, 1994)
There's Nothing Out There (Rolfe Kanefsky, 1991)
Troll 2 (Claudio Fragasso, 1990)
Urban Legend (Jamie Blanks, 1998)
Wicked City (Tai Kit Mak, 1993)
Wolf (Mike Nichols, 1994)

Movies that received two votes:

Baby Blood (Alain Robak, 1990)
Benny's Video (Michael Haneke, 1992)
Blade (Stephen Norrington, 1998)
A Cat in the Brain (Lucio Fulci, 1990)
Def by Temptation (James Bond III, 1990)

Frankenhooker (Frank Henenlotter, 1990)
Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993)
Lake Placid (Steve Miner, 1999)
Lord of Illusions (Clive Barker, 1995)
Man Bites Dog (Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel and Benoît Poelvoorde, 1992)
Mimic (Guillermo del Toro, 1997)
Night of the Living Dead (Tom Savini, 1990)

Nightbreed (Clive Barker, 1990)
Phantasm IV (Don Coscarelli, 1998)
The Reflecting Skin (Philip Ridley, 1990)
Scream 2 (Wes Craven, 1997)
Stir of Echoes (David Koepp, 1999)
Vampires (John Carpenter, 1998)

Movies that received three votes:

Cape Fear (Martin Scorsese, 1991)
Cronos (Guillermo del Toro, 1993)
Cure (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 1997)

Gremlins 2: The New Batch (Joe Dante, 1990)
Interview with the Vampire (Neil Jordan, 1994)
The Kingdom (Lars von Trier and Niels Vørsel, 1994)
Nightwatch (Ole Bornedal, 1994)
The Ninth Gate (Roman Polanski, 1999)

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