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Horror Movies To Watch on That Desert Island

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Horror Movies That are Hard to Find But Easy to Love

  • Apr 1, 2009
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If I were ever to be stranded on that fabled desert island and had enough advance warning to be able to pack  a few DVDs from my favorite genre (the horror film) I'd totally freak out . I t would be nearly impossible to narrow a list down to 10 or even 20 choices. Nope it wouldn't be easy, but after much thought I've come up with this list of lesser known films as my first choice. And you won't find any Big Name Directors or horror comedies on this list either. I had to find some way to eliminate the contenders.  Oh, they'd better have a VCR on that island too because a couple of these have never been released on DVD!

1. THE LAST MAN ON EARTH--Richard Matheson may not have approved of this adaptation of his novel "I Am Legend but I loved it. His main objection was the casting of horror star Vincent Price in the role of Neville and the fact that they turned his nearly unfilmable ending into something resembling the Crucifixion of Christ. True, but its still the best version of the book available on film after 3 attempts.

2. I, Zombie--Released in the states by Fangoria magazine this little independent zombie flick follows the life of a young British film student as he gradually becomes a zombie and decides to record the event on film for posterity. Its a terrific piece of work and deserves a DVD release. It also predates all other films of its kind.

3. BURN WITCH BURN--1963 adaptation of Fritz Leiber's novel "Conjure Wife" in which he theorized that all women are witches--the magical kind. Or at least the ones at Hempnell College where his protagonist Norman Saylor teaches Cultural Anthropology are, and they are all using their magics to further their husbands' careers including his own wife Tansy. What to do? This has a British DVD release but so far nothing on this side of the pond.

4. SHE CREATURE--Filmed in 2001 with special effects by the Late Stan Winston, this period film is the story of  sailors who steal a live mermaid from a wealthy old man. Once they set sail for America with their prize on board they find out that she is even more deadly than she is beautiful. This is simply an exquisitely shot film with marvelous effects making for a very realistic mermaid. It has nothing to do with the 1950s film of the same name.

5. THE ASPHYX--A photographer in Victorian England  discovers the secret of eternal life while photographing public executions. Grief stricken by the death of his wife he becomes obsessed with ensuring that he, his daughter, and her fiance never suffer the same fate. Tragically he learns that there are things worse than death. This film has been released on DVD but is currently on moratorium and is difficult to find.

6. DERANGED--The closest thing to the real story of Ed Gein the  mid-western farmer who served as the inspiration for the "true events" upon which such diverse films as TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and PSYCHO were based. Written and directed by the team of Alan Ormsby and Jeff Gillen.

7. NIGHT FEEDERS--A bunch of good old boys who barely know which end of the rifle the bullet comes out of go deer hunting in North Carolina but run smack dab into some very hungry aliens. This flick is a tribute to what real talent can do with a miniscule budget! Don't let the  bad alien effects put you off  because this is a super film in every other way. Exceptionally good acting by a likeable cast.

8. THIRST--David Hemmings co-stars in this Australian film from  1987 about a woman abducted by a cult to be their leader. Its got its faults to be sure but with me originality overcomes a lot of weakness and this is a definitely a bit different. It was given a DVD release in 2002.

9. EYES OF FIRE--A bizarre story about a small group of settlers who go off into unknown Indian territory after one of them is involved in a scandalous sexual dalliance. Their pastor leads them into a valley that was obviously settled and abandoned previously and they decided to call it home despite some frightening occurrences and the fact that even the Indians won't enter the valley. We're still waiting on a DVD release for this very chilling, very effective and surprisingly original film from the 80s.

10. BRAIN DEAD--Written by Charles Beaumont who (along with Richard Matheson) was responsible for many of the most memorable episodes of "The Twilight Zone". A strange film in which either Bill Paxton or Bill Pullman convinces Bill Pullman or Bill Paxton to operate on the brain of a schizophrenic scientist (Bud Cort) and then finds him self suffering from the scientists delusions.
Horror Movies That are Hard to Find But Easy to Love Horror Movies That are Hard to Find But Easy to Love Horror Movies That are Hard to Find But Easy to Love Horror Movies That are Hard to Find But Easy to Love

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May 13, 2009
Good job!! I have actually wanted to see some of these but they are indeed very difficult to find. Thanks for sharing this with us! Smiles
May 13, 2009
I ZOMBIE and EYES OF FIRE aren't on DVD as far as I know (which is why I still have 2 VHS players. BURN WITCH BURN and THE ASPHYX are on moritorium BUT THE ASPHYX is scheduled for a new release although the date hasn't been made public. The others are fairly easy to find on amazon and are cheap too. NIGHT FEEDERS and SHE CREATURE can still be found in a lot of video stores since its a fairly recent release.
May 14, 2009
I would love to see Burn Witch Burn, Eyes Of Fire, & The Asphyx. I am also anxiously awaiting the release of Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker. Code Red has promised us a release but it keeps getting pushed back. Hmmf. Thumbs up!
May 14, 2009
There's one that never even had a video release as far as I know. If you didn't catch it in the drive-ins you were out of luck.
May 14, 2009
I think Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker may have been released on videotape as Night Warning but that's kinda rare. Maybe Thorn-EMI? I used to see the box rental in one of the local video chains but that's been a long time so hopefully we won't have to wait much longer on the DVD release. I have heard some fantastic things on this film.
May 14, 2009
I hate it when they do that. Its hard enough for me to keep track of movies without title changes. When I was collecting all those movies on VHS I would wind up with a lot of duplicate because of that and the fact that I'm bad at remembering titles. I'd remember what I had by the cover art instead.
May 14, 2009
It certainly does make things difficult even for the serious movie fanatics who know more than they should about films. I bought a previously viewed copy of D'Amato's Buried Alive on VHS tape once from Blockbuster for less than $5. Years later, I was shopping for DVDs & I found a film called Beyond The Darkness which seemed kinda familiar after I read the case inserts. Come to find out, there are numerous titles for various European movies & this is just one of the many. It drives me nuts sometimes!!
May 14, 2009
Tell me about it! As a martial arts movie fan this was a major problem from the very beginning. We'd got the drive-in back in the 7os only to find that we'd seen the movie the were showing under a different title only a few moths earlier. And when they hit video it was even worse. That's one reason we started our fanzine--to help our friends sort everything out.
May 14, 2009
That really stinks! I hate shelling out hard-earned money to see something twice when it's a simple case of different titles. That fanzine sounds like a very cool idea. Maybe you could do a blog or something on lunch to help readers everywhere differentiate. Hmm, lunch fanzines? That has a nice ring to it. *Grins*
May 14, 2009
We're long past that stage. Although there is still some confusion regarding names. I took such a long time getting all the names straight in the Wade-Giles system that I refuse to use the PinYin for instance.
May 14, 2009
I'm sure that must be a very exhausting task but undoubtedly helpful to many.
May 15, 2009
Actually it was more frustrating than exhausting. Once I came in contact with people who spoke the language and were fans of the genre, a whole new world opened up. After that it was just a matter of getting everybody to agree.
May 15, 2009
That must have been quite an experience. Atleast you were up for the challenge & I salute you. I probably would've given up before even getting started.
April 28, 2009
I just re-read this review and noticed you mentioned Richard Matheson. Are you a fan of his and might we be able to expect a review of one of his books sometime? :) Hint, hint.
April 29, 2009
I love Matheson and that's a great idea but if I did it it would probably be to compare one of his movies to the book. I'm just too film oriented. Plus there's this terrible inertia I'm still dealing with right now. About a week ago I saw a Bollywood movie that knocked me off my feet and I really want to write that up but I just can't get it in gear. I saw this 3 and 1/2 hour flick 5 times in a 3 day period! That's how much I liked it, and yet I can seem to write a word about it.
April 23, 2009
Thanks! Now off to the video store I go..and yes, like me, they do have VHS.
April 23, 2009
You're very lucky to have a place that still stocks vhs! May I make a few other suggestions? BLOOD AND DONUTS (A vampire flick I reviewed here), LUNATICS A LOVE STORY (with Ted Raimi), CAST A DEADLY SPELL, (made for tv but still terrific), and DAY OF THE BEAST a Spanish film subtitled. I don't know what your tastes are like but there's got to be something in there somewhere for you.
April 28, 2009
And I'm gonna have to pimp one of my favorite horror films... Prince of Darkness. It's a John Carpenter film about a group of theoretical physics students who find what me the devil in the basement of a church. It's got zombies, time travel (sort of), quantum physics, a demonic birth, and Alice Cooper. What's not to love?
April 29, 2009
That one left me so cold for about a decade. I think it was the whole theoretical physics part. Put me right to sleep the first time I saw it. The second time I saw it I was in a better frame of mind, but it was 10 years later. Its a much easier movie to find than the ones I recommended which are only out on vhs at the moment.
April 02, 2009
I was genuinely pleased to see "She-Creature" make your list! I thought that movie was underrated. All Hail the Queen!!
April 02, 2009
That's why I'm here Woop. Everybody can (and has) reviewed THE DARK KNIGHT) but nobody even mentions films like this one. Such a shame. I had a wonderful "action figure" (quite large) of the creature that had been issued by Stan Winston's studios but somehow it got into the wrong pile of things when I made the move up north. sigh.
April 06, 2009
Agreed. Anyone can say just how good a well-proclaimed "great movie" is; the challenge is reviewing something hardly anyone has heard of, and to convince folks that it is good. You do an exceptional job in doing so, and this is also the reason why I stick to Asian cinema most of the time.
April 01, 2009
Ditto. I'm pretty sick of seeing cheap public domain copies of Vincent Price films and I'm dying to get my hands on some quality DVDs if they ever come out with any.
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About the reviewer
karen ()
I am the poster child for inertia. Where ever I am is where I plan to stay FOREVER.   So much so in fact that it took me decades to understand the punchline about why   the chicken … more
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Movies For That Desert Island


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