I know you’ve all been waiting for this, so let’s get right into it.
American Werewolf in London (1981)
Surely the ultimate werewolf movie, forget the campy Hammer about the Wolfman, this film whilst being light hearted in parts has a really sinister edge to it. It starts off as two American travellers are attacked by a werewolf in the Yorkshire countryside by a werewolf. One is killed, the other is scratched by the wolf, and thus now carries the curse of the wolf.
From here David (David Naughton) becomes totally bewildered by his transformation into a wolf when the full moon strikes. Of course, we can’t finish a mini-review without mentioning the transformatiom scene which even by today’s standards shows some fantastic special effects. Remember this was 1981.
Anyways here’s a cool poster that has just been produced to commemorate the film’s 30th anniversary, and the trailer:
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
Quite possibly other than Carpenter’s take on The Thing, the finest remake of a horror film. From the first moment that the unfortunate young hitchhiker blows her brains into orbit, you know you are in for a brutal, but fun ride.
My criticism of the original (considered a classic) is the documentary style, but here the film is played as a straight up slasher with some very nasty villains. Of course there is the vicious Leatherface or Thomas Hewitt as he is sometimes known here, but it is R Lee Emery’s ‘Sheriff’ who steals the show with performance harking fans back to his days on Full Metal Jacket.
It also holds a special place in my heart, as it reminds me of my most bizarre experience in a cinema. Basically the part where Leatherface comes through the van roof with his chainsaw I had a delayed reaction, and thus freaked out everyone around me about 5 seconds too late.
Here’s the trailer:
The Burning (1981)
Another slasher gem from the golden period of 1981, which basically rips off Friday the 13th and adds a disfigured villain. Of course, it could be put into the so bad it’s good category, but The Burning is just too much fun for that. It follows all the slasher rules down to a tee, and features some excellent special effects by maestro Tom Savini, including some superb makeup for the villain.
Here’s another cool poster for The Burning and the trailer:
Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
The inevitable sequel which started off a whole franchise, is quite arguably the best of the series. I always found the original quite a slow burner, and ‘bag head Jason’ alot more terrifying than his loony mother. The premise is much the same, with Jason avenging his mother’s death in the first few minutes then returning to Crystal Lake to reak havoc on more youngsters.
Here’s some great artwork for the film and the trailer:
Surely one of the most original, and clever slashers of all time. It single handedly re-ignited the genre in the late 90s and paved the way for a new wave which included I Know What You Did Last Summer, Urban Legend and the fantastic Halloween H20.
A self aware, slasher reference galore fest, with intelligent characters and some great cameos (including Drew Barrymore and Henry Winkler). Also harks back to the classic slasher theme of ‘whodunnit?’ and keeps the audience guessing until the last half hour mark when the film becomes all kinds of brutal.
For me Courteney Cox steals the show as bitchy reporter Gail Weathers, showing a much darker side than her character Monica from Friends and also at least until Scream 3, created a film career for herself.
I’m sure you’ve all seen it before, but here’s the trailer one more time:
Look out for Part 3 later in the week!