FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Oct 31, 2010

SHOCKtober: Heidi Martinuzzi's Top 20

Heidi Martinuzzi is the founder and Supreme Ruler of FanGirlTastic, which was born "Pretty/Scary" in 2004. The site has been championing (and criticizing) "women in horror" since the days before "women in horror" became a catch phrase and A Thing to Talk About. She's funny, she's smart, and if you've listened to, oh, 15 seconds of our show The Scare-ening, then you know she's not afraid to speak her mind. Behold as she speaks her mind about some horror movies she actually likes!

The following films are not all good films. They are not all bad. Certainly you will laugh after reading some of them; they are all my favorite horror films. Many I can watch over and over again; some are unbearable to watch and they are just so damn awesome. Some are culturally or intellectually important to the culture of cinema because of their artistic and sociological merit. Some, not so much cultural stuff.

Halloween (1978, John Carpenter)

This movie terrified my when I was a child. Terrified. I had panic attacks when I came home from school in the afternoon and was alone in my house until my mom came home from work, thinking Michael was standing in the bushes in my backyard, staring at me in my window. I’m seriously psychologically scarred because of this film.

Shower of Blood (2004, Tiffany Kilbourne)

The Birdemic of vampire films released by Brain Damage. The director used a pseudonym because he was so ashamed of having directed this. I show it every year on my birthday.

The Devil's Wedding Night (1973, Luigi Batzella)

A really weird Countess Bathory story that Elvira used to show on the old Movie Macabre, involving a glowing ruby ring, Italian women having sex with Satan, and vampire virgins roaming a castle. The only Euro-sleaze I can watch, and only because Elvira said so.

Dead Alive (1992, Peter Jackson)

Peter Jackson back before he started sucking.

Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2008, James Nguyen)

Why did someone let this guy release his film? I think we all know it is a giant pile of shit. But there’s nothing I love better than laughing at someone else’s pile of shit. Birdemic (like Paranormal Activity) is a testament to human stupidity and corporate greed, which is why I love it.

In Memorium (2005, Amanda Gusack)

This underrated movie by Amanda Gusack is Paranormal Activity if it weren’t awful. Captured footage of a haunting, before that became cliché, is super-creepy and well-executed. This movie isn’t distributed yet, so good luck finding it. It’s genius.

Event Horizon (1997, Paul W.S. Anderson)

Space horror, when it’s real gory, is always awesome. Because what the fuck is scarier than space? Nothing. Except demons or zombies In SPACE. Sam Neill is amazing, as usual.

Resident Evil (2002, Paul W.S. Anderson)

See, there IS one good video-game-to-movie-adaptation in existence. Okay, so you hardcore nerds are all, ‘but the character’s clothes were different waaah waaah’. Shut up. This is a great action/horror movie and a great adaptation for the rest of us who aren’t obsessed with a fake story about a series of events that never happened in real life. Milla Jovovich is one of the only actresses in the world who doesn’t annoy the shit out of me.

Dawn of the Dead (1978, George Romero)

I love the most boring, least action-packed of the ...of the Dead movies because it takes place in a mall, and stars Ken Foree. Do I need to have more of a reason?

Dawn of the Dead (2004, Zack Snyder)

Snyder is a great director and James Gunn is a great writer. And also – note this as a case where a horror remake actually rocked instead of sucked.

Terror Train (1980, Roger Spottiswoode)

You have: Gorilla costume; David Copperfield Magic Show; Jamie Lee Curtis. On a train. It’s magic!!! If only the gorilla was a real gorilla and it ass-raped someone as a joke, then Adam Sandler might have starred in it.

Black Christmas (1974, Bob Clark)

They just don’t make Margot Kidder like they used to. Before she was Lois Lane and went insane, she was brilliant as Barb Coard is this tense, claustrophobic, and creepy slasher movie wherein glass unicorns become murder weapons.

Videodrome (1983, David Cronenberg)

Videotapes and Beta or VC recorders are the new technology, are understandably they frighten all of us. This exploration of human sexuality and how it relates to putting a video tape into a player is horrifyingly accurate in its portrayal of how we are all mass-produced video tapes preprogrammed and video does stuff to our bodies.

Night of the Demons (1988, Kevin Tenney)

Kevin Tenney’s original movie is not sucky. It is GOOD, damn you. Didn’t you notice how Rob Zombie stole entire shots and scenes and art direction in his pile of shit House of 1000 Corpses? Girl in a costume dress walking down a hallway to eerie music? Anyone? Anyway, I could probably write some kind of academic paper on Night of the Demons describing how it is an allegorical Alice in Wonderland-style coming-of-age exploration of female sexuality and how gender inequalities relate to the ‘other’ (black people) in cinema, but I won’t because I don’t care to at this moment.

City of the Living Dead (1980, Lucio Fulci)

Italian directors have no fucking idea how to tell a story. That’s why watching any giallo is always so stressful, because no matter how hard you try, it won’t make any sense. City of the Living Dead is about 5 people who turn into zombies and awesome music playing in the background who explode into flames for no reason. Notice excessive use of back-of-head-hand-grabs-brains effect and evil, smiling little boys with ambiguous desires.

Pieces (1982, Juan Piquer Simon)

It makes fun of Asians with really offensive and out-of-place stereotypes and no one cared at the time! I love it.

They Live (1988, John Carpenter)

The world is run by evil, corporate aliens that force you into capitalism. Fight against capitalism by shooting everyone. How is this movie NOT a documentary?

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920, Robert Wiene)

It looks really really cool and it’s okay to love it because the Germans weren’t Nazis yet.

Suspiria (1977, Dario Argento)

One of the most beautiful movies ever made. Often copied, never equaled, the gem of Argento’s entire career.

The Slumber Party Massacre (1982, Amy Holden Jones)

Amy Holden Jones directed this for Roger Corman, and it is rife with symbolism. Carol Clover based an entire book on this fucking movie. A guy with a huge drill threatens naked girls with it. It’s a PENIS.

Critters (1986, Stephen Herek)

I love fuzzy little creatures. The Critters are cute, sort of like cats that eat you, and Dee Wallace and Billy Zane star. Plus, the critters talk to each other in critter talk with subtitles, often the best written lines in the film. They’re from an outer space critters planet and all the poor things want to do is eat that ugly redheaded boy, really.

Ghoulies II (1988, Albert Band)

Wait, a Charles Band movie on my list? Wow. Well, Ghoulies are kinda like Critters, only the second installment of the Ghoulies multi-billion dollar franchise takes place in a carnival. If you sit on a toilet, they’ll eat your butt and then laugh! Special appearance by ‘The Necronomicon’ and ‘a midget’.

Pumpkinhead (1988, Stan Winston)

1988 seems to have been a big year for my fave horror films. It was also the year when my older sister’s scary teenage friend, who was into metal and D&D and Satan, forced me to watch Pumpkinhead. He then made me go into the bathroom with him, alone (nervous yet?) to try the Ouija Board for the first time so we could call upon Pumpkinhead. I didn’t want to. I hate Pumpkinhead and his giant scary head.

Troll (1986, John Carl Buechler)

Julie Louis-Dreyfus makes her first onscreen appearance in John Carl Buechler’s fantasy horror movie starring the love of my life, Noah Hathaway. Anne Lockhart is a magical princess and there’s a wicked troll who loves turning people into … trolls. But when you’re a troll, you get to live in fairy land and everything is much much more awesome, so I’m not sure how this is a horror film. Special props go to the magic talking mushroom, to whom I want to give kisses and hugs.

Other Special Guest Top 20(ish) lists:


Jeff McMahon said...

Paranormal Activity is a good, very scary movie.

Anonymous said...

I would have been disappointed if Charles Band never made the list...what with Birdemic and all. ;)

AE said...

There are so many on this list I have been curious about but afraid to try -- Critters, Slumber Party Massacre, Night of the Demons. But I will take the advice of anyone who recommends Pieces. Loading up queue! Bring on the bad chop suey!

Robert H. said...


It would be, if it didn't depend so heavily on one of the main characters acting so stupidly, the only reason being that the story would collapse and the movie would be about 10 minutes.

Stupid White People Syndrome (SWPS) kills SO many movies...

A much better film is an Australian film, LAKE MUNGO, that actually has people acting like people and not doing stupid things simply because the story demands it.

deadlydolls said...

Glad to see some love for the first Resident Evil. When it came out back in ye olde turn o' thy century, it was surprisingly refreshing to see good old fashioned zombies back on the big screen. Sure, the best kill is ripped straight out of Cube, but it's still fun!

CashBailey said...

Now THAT'S how you write a damn list!

Thomas Duke said...

Listening to THE SCARENING, one might get the impression that Heidi hates everything. It's nice to see that this isn't quite the case.

Should one really seek out SHOWER OF BLOOD? That's colossal praise that Heidi watches it on her birthday every year. Is it just some sort of in joke between friends? Frankly, it looks like a giant piece of shit (but I guess that's the idea).

Happy post-Halloween!

Stacie Ponder said...

Shower of Blood is well and truly terrible. Some of find it hilariously so and can't wait for the yearly viewing, but some people can't stand it and don't come to Heidi's party until the movie is over. It's like any other bad/good movie, I guess!

Thomas Duke said...

I just realized that my post-Halloween was a false alarm, being that I'm on the east coast. Boy am I a fuck up.

Even though it dragged a bit in the first half, I had a real good time with Birdemic watching it in a bar. So, maybe I should check this out. If I hang myself after watching it, I will send you a nasty e-mail from heaven (or hell, or wherever I land on my feet).

15 minutes left to Halloween! (for west coast sidaz)

Synonymous said...

Any list with Resident Evil and They Live is OK by my book.

The Suspiria entry nails the complications of a remake. Any director can throw an actress in a room of barbed wire, sure, but they're not going to be able to replicate the beauty. (They might not even cue into the fact that the beauty, not the gore, is the defining element of the film.)

dementia13 said...

They Live is not a documentary because there has never been any resistance to the aliens. Otherwise, it's a true story featuring real-life action. Definitely a favorite of mine, but I left it off of my list because I had it classified as political documentary- err, science fiction.

I like writing academic papers on representations of race and gender inequities and allegorical explorations of female sexuality, but I'm pretty sure that Night of the Demons is none of that. It's like the Demons series, a great dumb, fun movie when you need one.

Ulrich said...

I liked Resident Evil a lot too. Then I watched Apocalypse and went "Meh" I haven't looked back ever since. Props for putting Halloween and Suspiria in this as well.

Ron said...

Two incredible works are missing from this list:

1. The Dentist

2. Evil Ed (you'll find that one right before you find "In Memoriam").

PS - You are now one of my favorite folks, Heidi. Don't become a virgin bloodbath.