Top: House with Laughing Windows (1976), Deep Red (1975)
Middle: The Seventh Victim (1942)
Bottom: Black Sabbath (1963), Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
I wasn’t going to participate in Ed Hardy’s 31 Flicks That Give You the Willies List due to suffering massive list-making burnout following the recent Favorite Foreign Language Film poll (which I still want to write about in more detail), but at the last minute I decided to send him a list of nominees. As I’ve mentioned before, horror is far and away my favorite film genre so I had an incredibly hard time narrowing down my list of favorite films to a mere 31.
I will confess that I cheated a bit since I deliberately left off any film that I knew had already gotten 3 votes and wouldn’t need mine to make the final list of nominees. Some of those films included Suspiria (1977), Martin (1977), The Wicker Man (1973), Dellamorte Dellamore aka Cemetery Man (1994), The Shining (1980), The Exorcist (1973), Psycho (1960), Alien (1979) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). With that confession out of the way, here are the . . .
31 FILMS THAT GIVE ME THE WILLIES (Listed by release date)
1. Frankenstein (1931; James Whale)
2. The Seventh Victim (1942; Mark Robson)
3. The Uninvited (1944; Lewis Allen)
4. Night of the Demon (1957; Jacques Tourner)
5. Blood and Roses (1960; Roger Vadim)
6. The Brides of Dracula (1960; Terence Fisher)
7. The Innocents (1961; Jack Clayton)
8. Night Tide (1961; Curtis Harrington)
9. Carnival of Souls (1962; Herk Harvey)
10. The Haunted Palace (1963; Roger Corman)
11. Black Sabbath (1963; Mario Bava)
12. The Haunting (1963; Robert Wise)
13. Castle of Blood (1964; Antonio Margheriti)
14. Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971; Piers Haggard)
15. Daughters of Darkness (1971; Harry Kumel)
16. Lizard in a Woman’s Skin (1971; Lucio Fulci)
17. Short Night of the Glass Dolls (1971; Aldo Lado)
18. Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971; Armando de Ossorio)
19. All the Colors of the Dark (1972; Sergio Martino)
20. Don’t Look Now (1973; Nicolas Roeg)
21. Deep Red (1975; Dario Argento)
22. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975; Peter Weir)
23. The Tenant (1976; Roman Polanski)
24. House with Laughing Windows (1976; Pupi Avati)
25. Full Circle (aka The Haunting of Julia, 1977; Richard Loncraine)
26. The Brood (1979; David Cronenberg)
27. Possession (1981; Andrzej Zulawski)
28. Zeder (1983; Pupi Avati)
29. The Reflecting Skin (1990; Philip Ridley)
30. Cure (1997; Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
31. Audition (1999; Takashi Miike)
After sending Ed my list I was surprised and annoyed with myself because I managed to forget to include films like Georges Franju’s Eyes Without a Face (1960) as well as my favorite horror anthology, Spirits of the Dead (1968) and lots of early Japanese and Spanish horror films that I love. I also neglected to include any films with Peter Lorre, Christopher Lee and Klaus Kinski who all appeared in some of my favorite thrillers. Where did my head go? I have no idea.
Some conclusions I came to after making my list:
1. Sexually repressed women, ghosts, the supernatural, vampires and devil worshipers/cults give me the willies. Since I’m not a religious person, I find it extremely amusing that so many satanic horror films made my list but I think it’s more about the esoteric elements of these films and the constant mystery of the unknown than the actual “devil” that gives these types of movies their edge. I’m also just plain frightened by cults or large masses of of people with a ‘group think’ mentality that causes them to harm others.
2. Only four American directors made my list. British and Italian directors dominate it. This isn’t a surprise since I really don’t care for American horror films all that much.
3. 1960 and 1971 were two of the most amazing years for horror cinema. At some point during the list making process I had six or eight films from each of those years on my list.
4. The only director that has more than one film on my list is the greatly under-appreciated Italian director Pupi Avati who makes some of the most fascinating and chilling films I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately I’m clearly in the minority when it comes to my affection for Avati since none of his movies made it on the final list of 180 Nominees. And as far as I know I’m the only person who even bothered to nominate any of his films for inclusion.
Last but not least…
I hope to write about some of the lessor seen films mentioned above that didn’t make the Official Nominee List in the future.