5. A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warriors
Even now almost 30 years on this movie is still way better than it ever should have been. The first is a classic and Freddy’s Revenge the sequel was, let’s be honest, a mild disappointment. This third movie just ramped everything up, the gore, the fun, Freddy being Freddy and the characters – Dream Warriors to put it bluntly is awesome!
Dream Warriors takes place in a psychiatric hospital where a bunch of kids whose characters are all fleshed out within the movie reside. They all have the same problem, dreaming of Freddy Krueger. A new worker arrives to help them in the form of the survivor from the first movie Nancy Thompson and with this introduction; Part 3 seems like a genuine sequel to the first film. John Saxon who played Nancy’s dad in the original also returns.
The kills are inventive as the franchise for the first time utilizes people’s love, hopes and fears within their dreams to give us a stunning narrative. Robert Englund as Freddy is on top of his game and many Elm Street fans still recognize this movie as the best of the franchise. Chuck Russell directs and he would go on to make a very fitting tribute to The Blob a year later. Dream Warriors also stars Patricia Arquette and Laurence Fishburne who became Hollywood A stars year’s later.
4. Son of Dracula
The third Dracula movie of the Universal franchise is perhaps the best one they ever did. Yes, even better than the original. Now make no mistake no one can replace Bela Lugosi as the count least Lon Chaney Jr who plays the count here- but story wise you could do far worse than Son of Dracula.
The atmosphere is electric and has a real feel for the southern times, plagued in smoky waters and an atmosphere of dread. For its time, shot in 1943 Son of Dracula has a bleak and surprising ending. The acting is great, the plot sharp and this movie can claim to be the very first one where we see bat transform into man. The one fault for fans is the accent of Lon Chaney Jr but he still has a presence and his accent alone can’t bring down such a powerful horror movie.
3. Evil Dead II
Let’s get one thing straight – Evil Dead II is a direct sequel to The Evil Dead. Time and again when reading any review or piece on Evil Dead II we are told that this is a big budget remake of the original. At that point make it clear in your minds that you are not reading a piece from a fan of horror films.
The first few minutes of this sequel are recounting briefly what happened in the original movie, why? Well because six long years had passed between the two movies and some people need reminding. So why you ask didn’t they use the old clips? Licensing problems prohibited director Sam Raimi to do this.
This sequel even has the exact moment (Ash screaming at the camera) from where the first movie ended. Plain and simple this is a sequel. Now that rant is off my chest let’s explain why Evil Dead II is quite rightly one of the best horror sequels ever.
The story follows Ash played by the ‘can do’ Bruce Campbell. He has somehow survived the night whilst all of his friends have become victims of the demons. Alone in the cabin after a failed escape he starts to go slowly insane. This is where Raimi comes in, he uses the camera to incredible effect and gives us the viewer quite literally a tour de force in film making.
The film is complete with what can only be akin to Tom and Jerry madness. The movie is a ride that has gone from being a cult film to all out horror masterpiece, complete of course with a knock out ending that for first time viewers will leave your jaw firmly on the floor!
2. Dawn of The Dead
More of another chapter rather than a straight sequel however it would be churlish and obviously there would be a gap in the list if I didn’t include this George A Romero classic. Made 10 years after his often terrifying Night of the Living Dead, Dawn introduces us to new characters. Here they are holed up in a shopping mall, where with the world ravaged by roaming zombies they start a new life.
But it’s only so long until zombies find a way into their lives and all hell breaks loose. Not just a horror movie but a social commentary on everything from gun toting rednecks, the Vietnam War and consumerism.
Dawn of the Dead breaks out of that horror cycle fairly quickly and is in general regarded by the horror faithful as the Gone with the Wind of the genre.
1. Bride of Frankenstein
James Whales’ follow up to the classic Frankenstein (1931) is almost as good if not better in some respects. This time the monster speaks, something that actor Boris Karloff was initially against. However it is only on repeated viewings that one gets a true impact that a speaking monster makes on this movie.
It is a film essentially about loneliness. The monster is being hunted down and has no friends and nowhere to turn too. The blind man needs the monster more than the monster needs him and in the final act the monster needs a bride because by then he has learned about sharing and love, the essential ingredients at least in the 1930s of life itself.
Through words the monster can now relate the emotions and solitude of man. For a franchise that is seen with modern eyes to be somewhat goofy, Bride stands very much alone in the other corner of serious horror. A true triumph of film.
Author Bio: David Bronstein loves horror movies with a passion, be it watching the first ever horror movie, The House of the Devil or the latest independent slasher. He is a freelance writer in movies, music and sport. David can be contacted at [email protected]