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Top 25 Horror Films 2011: Results and Discussion


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Thanks for the full List! Surprised to see The Orphanage so high, but very excited about it. Definitely one of my favorite horror films.

I vote to extend this to 25 as well. As frustrating as I found Don't Look Now, it's still a wonderful horror film, especially for this list.

Oh, I like that we combined Let Me In and Let the Right One In. I think there is a very good movie that exists between the two, and this allows me to pretend that THAT movie placed 6th. ;)

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Ryan, noticing Ron Reed's recent postings on A&F made me realize that his initial reactions to Cat People made me want to check out the film, as did the subsequent conversation between he and Doug. It's all here (I'm linking to Ron's review). I think Doug's comment about the 'bus scene' rings true for me, too; it builds suspense using implication and sound and works marvelously, at least I think so. I can honestly see why you'd find it boring (even at a little over an hour!), but I think it's a remarkable film.

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Ryan, noticing Ron Reed's recent postings on A&F made me realize that his initial reactions to Cat People made me want to check out the film, as did the subsequent conversation between he and Doug.

Ha! Same here. Ron hit it on the head with: "Tourneur's films (so far) feel more like tragedies than they do like horror movies or thrillers, with a sense of weight, suffering, seriousness that's strong in the first two Tourneurs, as well."

But for me, a horror component does actually emerge from the psycho-sexual terror at the heart of the script. These well crafted glimpses of this dark and antagonistic force is a scary glimpse into what other films whitewash as passion or romance.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

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That's very disappointing. Many of the films on your shortlist I would not even class as horror.

It’s hard for me to understand how you could omit classics such as Santa Sangre, Hands of the Ripper, Quatermass and the Pit, Frankenstein Created Woman, Black Sunday, and Circus of Horrors.

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That's very disappointing. Many of the films on your shortlist I would not even class as horror.

It’s hard for me to understand how you could omit classics such as Santa Sangre, Hands of the Ripper, Quatermass and the Pit, Frankenstein Created Woman, Black Sunday, and Circus of Horrors.

I'm more sympathetic to your first complaint than to your second. My philosophy of general lists is that there are lots of worthy films out there and you should highlight some of them; there is not a canon of films that need to make any shortlist. In other words, it is perfectly legitimate to make a list of 25 greatest films and not include Citizen Kane, Casablanca or The Godfather.

There are films I would have liked to see make the list, including something by Fisher (I would have picked The Devil Rides Out myself). But I think it's a good list, though we do use horror somewhat broadly. There are horror aficionados among us (Scott Derrickson is one), but for us as a community horror is something of a less traveled country. So to an extent this is a list of great horror films compiled by people who are not, as a group, super aficionados of horror. Many of the films thus come from the borderlands of horror, and we've had long debates about whether a film like Alien, for example, qualifies as horror.

Hopefully some will find our list all the more interesting for its unconventionality. There are lots of lists out there that hit the "classics" you would wish to see included. Why should there be one more? This is our list, and I think it's a strong one.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

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for us as a community horror is something of a less traveled country. So to an extent this is a list of great horror films compiled by people who are not, as a group, super aficionados of horror.

And yet, many so-called fans of the genre are really just exploitation fans, judging a film only by how graphic and/or scary it is.

I showed the list to a friend of mine who writes for a popular genre films website. His reaction was "this is the list of films one has to see if they really want to understand the genre."

In eternity this world will be Troy, I believe, and all that has passed here will be the epic of the universe, the ballad they sing in the streets. -- Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson

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Scott Derrickson wrote:

: I showed the list to a friend of mine who writes for a popular genre films website. His reaction was "this is the list of films one has to see if they really want to understand the genre."

That's great news, Scott. Any chance this friend will be reviewing the list, once it goes live? :)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Scott Derrickson wrote:

: I showed the list to a friend of mine who writes for a popular genre films website. His reaction was "this is the list of films one has to see if they really want to understand the genre."

That's great news, Scott. Any chance this friend will be reviewing the list, once it goes live? :)

Yes, he wants to do a story on it. He writes for four different websites though, and I didn't ask him which one he'd post it on. I'll push for a heavy traffic site.

"The list is an absolute good. The list is life." -- Ben Kingsly, Schindler's List

Edited by Scott Derrickson

In eternity this world will be Troy, I believe, and all that has passed here will be the epic of the universe, the ballad they sing in the streets. -- Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson

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It’s hard for me to understand how you could omit classics such as Santa Sangre, Hands of the Ripper, Quatermass and the Pit, Frankenstein Created Woman, Black Sunday, and Circus of Horrors.

From the nominations? Probably because most of us here haven't seen the films you mention. As SDG says, horror is a bit of a less-traveled country 'round these parts, and a lot of us had to do some catching up to do before voting just based on the nominees we do have. (FWIW, I've seen three of the six you mention, but I don't really love any of them, which is why I didn't put them forward.)

This is our list, and I think it's a strong one.

It's more interesting than many I've seen, at any rate.

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Man, now I feel bad for not visiting like I should. I was told about this after some discussion at Hollywood Jesus and my review of the new I Spit on Your Grave. I have a question, did anyone nominate The Devil's Rejects by Rob Zombie? Other than that one being left off the list, I think a very good list here, and am also surprised at the number of older films listed here. I was also surprised that the remake of The Thing got nominated over the original.

Mike

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Arts and Faith Top 25 Horror Films page is now live:

http://artsandfaith.com/t100/25_horror.html

Jeffrey Overstreet's accompanying blog post is here:

http://imagejournal.org/page/blog/the-top-25-horror-movies-will-anyone-hear-you-scream

Thanks again to all who participating in nominating, discussing, voting, and blurbing.

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The Arts and Faith Top 25 Horror Films page is now live:

Thanks. It looks great. After reading all the write-ups, I like them ... but I'm still not completely sure what I think of this list. I guess I'll withhold my opinion until I've actually seen more of them.

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Just wondering, is Scott still going to write an intro or some such thing in connection with this list?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Just wondering, is Scott still going to write an intro or some such thing in connection with this list?

I was wondering that too. I loved Scott's friend's line about "the list of movies you need to see to really understand the genre." If he's not using it, I will.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Image, a journal of literature and the arts, proudly presents the first-ever themed Top 25 List, chosen to accompany the Top 100 List, after discussion and debate within the Arts & Faith online community. This year's pick was Horror films, a list spanning 90 years, from 1920's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari to 2010's Let Me In.

Oh! I didn't realize we were only rolling out Top 25 lists at a rate of one a year! I sort of thought we'd be doing them more frequently ... quarterly, maybe.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Image, a journal of literature and the arts, proudly presents the first-ever themed Top 25 List, chosen to accompany the Top 100 List, after discussion and debate within the Arts & Faith online community. This year's pick was Horror films, a list spanning 90 years, from 1920's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari to 2010's Let Me In.

Oh! I didn't realize we were only rolling out Top 25 lists at a rate of one a year! I sort of thought we'd be doing them more frequently ... quarterly, maybe.

I second this notion. There are so many possibilities, we could probably still do 4 a year for the next 10 years before even going back to redo any of them.

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Sorry for not writing the intro -- it was a work-related situation that prevented me from doing so. But I thought Overstreet did a great job with his intro so I can't say I feel that bad.

In eternity this world will be Troy, I believe, and all that has passed here will be the epic of the universe, the ballad they sing in the streets. -- Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson

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Yeah, I'm not sure where the "biannual" thing came from.

Huh. Weird.

At one point we talked about doing several top 25 lists per year, but in the press release we said we would do one annually.

Which raises the question where that came from.

Are y'all keen on doing more?

Well, Persiflage and I are keen. Anyone else?

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Is that Greg's post in #2 above? Sounds like a press release. Anyway, that post says the t100 will be done every two years, with a genre specific list done every year.

Yes, that's the press release. It's being reposted now at a lot of news aggregator sites. I'm not linking to those, but it's getting out there!

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

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"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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