8. I tre volti della paura A.K.A. Black Sabbath (Mario Bava, 1963)
Despite its low budget production and especially its chaotic edition, this film’s quality is secured by Mario Bava, a key figure from the golden age of italian horror cinema and a pioneer of the peculiar Giallo genre. Also, as a tasteful gift for horror film suporters, the film is introduced and concluded by no one less than Boris Karloff.
As a result of the american edition of the film, we can talk about two versions of it. While the american edition delivered a decent product about ghosts, the italian offers bittersweet stories of murder an revenge. Both products, critically aclaimed, are worth to be seen. Yet, the italian edition suits better as a product brought by the hand of Bava.
The film is composed of three 35-minute unrelated short stories: The telephone, The Wurdalak and The Drop of Water. The telephone follows a girl tormented by awkward telephone calls; the Wurdalak is the story of a nineteen century russian noble man who finds a stabbed beheaded corpse; The Drop of Water is the story of a nurse called to prepeare a dead medium’s body.
Ranked 73 in Time Out magazine’s top 100 best horror films, this is an essential horror film to be seen.
7. Creepshow (George A. Romero, 1982)
An anthology brought by the team-work of George A. Romero and Stephen King, Creepshow met financial success enough to be considered a sleeper hit and secured two sequels of varying quality. As for its relevance among the genre, the films still holds a considerable amount of popularity among fans.
Most of the success of the film is due to its comic-like aesthetics displayed as an open tribute to EC Comics. Its frame story follows a restless child punished by his father for reading horror comics. While he is invited by a ghastly apparition to come closer, we are delighted with five horror stories contained in a comic recently thrown to the garbage.
6. Saam Gaan Yi A.K.A. Three… Extremes (Fruit Chan, Park Chan-wook and Takashi Miike, 2004)
An international production, Saam Gaan Yi is actually a sequel of 2002’ anthology horror film Saam Gaan. The film overcame its predecessor, gained cult status in a relatively short amount of time and brought a sequel, Saam Gaan Yi II that, tough mediocre in comparison, stills shares some of the spirit that made Saam Gan Yi one of the best horror titles from the last decade. Most of it is due to the direction work of Fruit Chan, Park Chan-wook and Takashi Miike; three largely known and hailed names from Asian Cinema.
Following the structure of three unrelated short horror films, Saam Gaan Yi presents Dumplings, Cut and Box. The first one, which later counted with a feature length also directed by Fruit Chan, is the story of an aging actress as she attempts to reclaim her youth. Cut follows the sadistic game played by a film director in order to save his wife from an extra of his own films. Box is the story of woman’s recurring nightmare about being buried in a box under the snow.
5. Trick r’ Treat (Michael Dougherty, 2007)
Another rotund critical acclaim for horror anthologies, Michael Dougherty’s Trick r’ Treat mixes tolerably cartoonish yet memorable characters with a nostalgic use of 70’s horror films aesthetics. The result is a one of last decade’s best horror titles. Even the quality difference between its stories’ connection seems fresh and acceptable.
Four interwoven stories surrounding a delirious Halloween night, Trick r’ Treat follows a Halloween-hating man, five kids attempting a prank, a sociopathic principal and a self-conscious virgin while making their way through that particular night in a town as dangerous as cheerful.
4. Tales from the Crypt (Freddie Francis, 1972)
The most acclaimed film based upon an EC Comics publication. For this adaptation, Amicus production selected four of the most memorable stories from the popular Tales from the Crypt and a story from The Vault of Horror.
Following the superficially strong but working frame story of five dead tourists unaware of their current situation, Tales from the Crypt recalls the stories told to them by the legendary Crypt Keeper in order to detail them how they finished dead.
3. Das wachsfigurenkabinett A.K.A. Waxworks (Paul Leni, 1924)
Waxworks is usually regarded as the first anthology horror film. However, there are actually several genres other than horror explored by this gem of German Expressionism directed by the legendary Paul Leni.
An obligated title for cinema supporters, Waxworks recalls the stories created by a nameless poet hired by a wax museum owner in order to improve the impact of his wax models. The nameless poet narrates two stories, just before dangerously merging reality with the world of his twisted and creative mind.
2. Kwaidan (Masaki Kobayashi, 1964)
The Special Jury Price of 1965 Cannes Film Festival, Kwaidan is based upon Lafcadio Hearn’s compilation of Japanese folk tales. Visually strong and beautiful, the film is a fairy tale-like late expressionist bet for slowness and tension that perfectly suited delivering a pausing, nearly melodic suspense; a rare and difficult but usually successful alternative for horror films.
Kwaidan is composed of three stories: The Black Hair, The Woman of the Snow and Hoichi the Earless. Based upon Hearn’s The Reconciliation, The Black Hairs follows a man’s regrets after leaving his wife for another woman in order to improve his social position. The Woman of the Snow recalls Yuki-onna, a legendary spirit from Japanese folklore. Hoichi the earless follows a blind musician as his friend fear he may have been just hired by ghosts.
1. Dead of Night (Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton , Basil Dearden and Robert Hamer, 1945)
One of the best horror films ever made and a source of inspiration for series and film makers beyond horror cinema; Dead of Night offered and masterfully exploited the later common horror films’ elements of the involving mystery of mirrors, the personality breakdown, the recurrence of nightmares and the power of premonitions among other things.
Based upon stories from H.G. Wells, E.F. Benson, John Baines and Angus MacPhail, the film follows an architect’s breakdown at a party as he claims to having seen everyone before in a dream. Encouraged by the other guests, madly attracted to his prediction powers, the architect reluctantly stays at the party while supernatural stories are told. Special acclamations to the ventriloquist dummy sequence, an obligated classic that inspired lots of parodies and imitations.
Author Bio: Emiliano is a 23-year-old Ethics and Logic professor in a mexican high school, his favorite directors are Gaspar Noé, Lars von Trier, Stanley Kubrick and Wim Wenders.