Guts and Grog Tooned Up

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Doc Shares His Top Ten

Jaws – I hate when people tell me that good movies aren’t horror movies. Movies that “norms” deem good. Silence of the Lambs wins an Oscar… it’s a psychological thriller, right? Well let me buck my own system here. Jaws isn't a horror movie. It’s a movie about people. A drama. A movie about family and perhaps more a Western (big bad shark comes to town and a sheepish sheriff has to take faith in the rebel, drunkard who could as soon be his enemy as his compadre). Jaws has the best dialogue of any movie. Ever. Bold statement? Yes. I’ve been watching it since I was a kid when it first aired, very cut on WPIX channel 11. I used to play Jaws Legos before it was cool (before YouTube made all the movies Lego movies). Favorite scene: the cabin scene on the Orca, crew drunk and singing and regaling stories of wars and wounds. That or when Matt Hooper tries to explain to Mayor Larry his theory of sharks and what is likely to be the outcome of keeping the beaches open… Sick vandalism.

Creepshow – This is my first anthology horror picture. This could have easily been Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors or Tales from the Crypt from Amicus and I bet on some days they are on this top ten list in place of Creepshow. But not today. Today we talk about Adrian Barbeau’s nipples poking through her shirt as fluffy devours her. My first experience with the greatness of Hal Holbrook. A James Harrison score that should be used in more movies as it was used in the faux trailer for Thanksgiving by Eli Roth. We talk about the beginning of my love affair with George Romero, EC Comics, Stephen King (as writer and actor) and my fear of cakes, graveyards and whisky (all things I love as well). Creepshow was shown to me by my father with neighborhood kids in tow perhaps too early in life. I think I was five. I have never been as scared as I was when watching Nathan Grantham’s hand pop out of the ground. I still jump. I won’t go in tight places. I fear meteors. I fear plants. I fear bugs. I fear the tide line. I will forever feel the need to get jumpy and go blub blub blub.

The Blues Brothers – I still laugh at every scene in this movie and refer to nuns as penguins even though I didn’t have the pleasure of being in an orphanage or going to Catholic school. I love the music and the repeated homicide attempts by Carrie Fisher on John Belushi’s life. I quote it all the time. It’s almost a dialect. I consider The Blues Brothers as influential on me in my appreciation of movies as it is on my musical taste. 

Ghostbusters – I used to record scenes on a my tape dec and play them on my front porch while listening to the soundtrack and playing G.I. Joes on my front porch. I thought Gozer was hot. So was Jeanine. So was Dana (possessed and not). I see each of the Ghostbusters in myself. A little Ray. A little Winston. A little Peter. A little Egon. I probably did half my ghost hunting and Weird NJ rides later in life because I wanted to find a reason to make a proton pack come to life. The opening library scene still gets me. Ghostbusters is as scary as it is funny and thought provoking. I always wonder which building in Manhattan skyline is actually the temple of a pre-Sumerian deity.

The Beyond – This is the one that got me. The Italian horror picture that made me love them all (for better or worse). Sometimes I remind folks that I saw Demons 2 before The Beyond but I didn’t understand how it fit into the world view of horror. The Beyond was an eye opener. I love the score (both the US and traditional version by Frizzi). Has the perfect cast. Each scene has a phantasmagoric terror to it and one I still don’t full understand but love. The Beyond taught me what it meant to see and enjoy gore. From time to time City of the Living Dead wanders past The Beyond as my favorite Fulci movie, but not for long. Even Cannibal Holocaust and Nightmare City usurp The Beyond on my favorite Italian horror movie list… but it doesn’t stay that way.

It’s a Wonderful Life – I cry at this movie every time I watch it. I used to get completely loaded and watch this on repeat. Now I save it for the Christmas time and enjoy it. I savor it. I try not to abuse it or watch it to much because I want every moment to be special now. Hell, I am George Bailey. Wanted to see the world. Live in the same town (nearly) that I grew up in. Stayed close. Started a family. Fix up the house. Always fighting strange incarnations of Potter.  I like to live my life as though George’s life is my own. I do not always succeed but during moments of great duress I realize that I do have a wonderful life. I love Buffalo Girls.

Grindhouse – This is the most perfect union of two movies I have seen. I cannot watch them separately. I must watch them both with trailers and advertisements and bumpers. I want it all. I do not want the extended version. On one hand I get a gruesome juicy disgusto fest with fun filmmaking and homages galore. On the other I get some of my favorite cars, favorite songs and favorite women. Tarantino is a genius. Rodriguez too.

Empire Strikes Back – I’m not sure if it was the toys or the movie that got me more, but when I first saw this and played my first of Hoth on my living room carpet I became a lifer. A Star Wars fan for life. By including this on this list please do not let me suggest that I like the other movies in the original trilogy any less. I like them all equally, but Empire had a profound impact on my sense of play and morality. I wish George Lucas had left it alone but I have hope that someday I’ll get to enjoy an HD version of Empire again without the “upgrade”. Empire is as frightening as it is thrilling. The summary in Clerks pretty much says it all as to why this is an amazing movie to watch and love.

Inglorious Basterds – I watch this several times a year and quote it more often than even I realize. I love the characters and their voices as well as the revisionist, fantastical history that is created by one of my favorite directors. The music is the perfect Tarantino amalgam of classic movie scores and stings. I love the cast. I love the Bear Jew. Christoph Waltz is a genius, but he’s not the only genius in this picture.

Young Frankenstein – I love Mel Brooks and Young Frankenstein is the perfect blend of the spooky and the hilarious. Gene Wilder and Marty Friedman banter like the road map for slap stick shtick comedy. It’s sexy and yet strangely empathic creating emotional connections that I’m not entirely certain I understand. This has one of the best endings of any movie and not just a comedy or not just a horror movie for that matter.

From the bowels and brains of American International to the rib cage and eye sockets of Amicus, Dr. James Terror will write your eyes shut with, well... TERROR!!! (and perhaps a bit of camp now and again for flavor). The focus of DOCTERROR.COM is to enjoy and shape the horror-verse for the horror community. We review a variety of horror and science fiction titles with a focus on positive or constructive reviews meant to guide the audience rather than create a negative environment. You'll find retrospectives, lists, faux movies and faux video games as well as giveaways and tributes.Writing Your Eyes Shut From the Pre-History to the Post-Apocalypse of Horror. In addition to DOCTERROR.COM Dr. Jimmy also contributes to The Liberal Dead, The Dead Air Horror and Genre Podcast and The Little Punk People Blog. Look for his annual Italian Horror Week mid-July featuring guest writers, giveaways, and 8-Bit Faux video games by Hacktvision based on some of your favorite Italian Horror features.

No comments: