I’m back again today with another in my “best of” series. Today’s list comes from 1983. You can check out previous lists below:
I’m loving putting these lists together and have gotten a great response. Without further build up, here’s 1983!
Chewie’s Top 5 Horror Films From 1983
All of these films received their US theatrical release within calendar year 1983. If you want to see the full list of all films eligible for this list you can view it here. Keep in mind, these are my “favorite” movies not necessarily what I’d consider the “best” movies.
The House On Sorority Row – After a seemingly innocent prank goes horribly wrong, a group of sorority sisters are stalked and murdered one by one in their sorority house while throwing a party to celebrate their graduation.
Jaws 3-D – The sons of police chief Brody must protect civilians at a Sea World theme park after a 35-foot shark becomes trapped in the park with them. When you think of disposable cardboard 3-D glasses and crappy 3-D effects this is the film you should be thinking of.
Amityville 3-D – A reporter moves into the ominous Long Island house to debunk it of the recent supernatural events and becomes besieged by the evil manifestations which are connected to a hell-spawn demon lurking in the basement. More 3-D crap from 1983, but it holds a special place in my heart. If you can get by the effects this one tells an effective story. Currently holds a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and that’s probably pretty accurate.
The Dead Zone – Johnny Smith is a young schoolteacher with his whole life ahead of him. Unfortunately, after leaving his fiancee’s home one night, he is involved in a wreck with an 18-wheel tractor-trailer and is in a coma for 5 years. When he wakes up from it, he discovers he has an ability to see into other people’s lives, past, present and future, by coming into physical contact. But the visions he has are often frightening, and even apocalyptic. Directed by David Cronenberg based on a novel by Stephen King and starring Christopher Walken and Tom Skerritt – how could you go wrong?
Psycho II – After twenty-two years of psychiatric care, Norman Bates attempts to return to a life of solitude… but the specters of his crimes — and his mother — continue to haunt him. It’s clearly not the masterpiece the original is but it’s got enough of that brilliance left over to be a damn fine film in its own right.
The Top Five
I’m really enjoying putting these lists together. It gives me the opportunity to go back and rediscover some truly amazing films.
#5 – The Evil Dead
Written and directed by Sam Raimi, The Evil Dead focuses on five college students vacationing in an isolated cabin in the woods. They find an audiotape that releases a legion of demons and spirits and they one by one begin to become possessed. I’m sure I’ll catch some shit for not putting this higher on my list but as I said when I reviewed the film I just don’t “get” the allure of this flick. I’m sure it’s got to do with the fact that I came to it so late in life and I’m pretty positive that had I seen it sooner it would hold a special place in my heart as other films on the list do. All of that said, it’s as high on my list as it is because of the groundbreaking visual effects even on a shoestring budget.
#4 – Something Wicked This Way Comes
Can two young boys overcome the worst the devil himself can deal out? Wishes are granted, but twisted as only the esteemed Mr. Dark can make them. Based on the Ray Bradbury novel. It was produced and released by Disney but this is about as far from a Disney flick as you’ll ever get. It’s been quite some time since I’ve revisited this one but if left a very “dark” mark on me from the first time I saw it.
#3 – Christine
Hell hath no Fury…like a 1958 Plymouth. Directed by John Carpenter and starring Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul and Harry Dean Stanton. Set in 1978, it tells the story of a sentient and violent car named Christine, and its effects on Christine’s owner. It doesn’t hold up great in my opinion but for the time this was damn scary.
#2 – Cujo
A friendly St. Bernard named Cujo contracts rabies and conducts a reign of terror on a small American town. Directed by Lewis Teague and starring Dee Wallace, Danny Pintauro and Daniel Hugh Kelly it’s the second film on the list based on a novel by Stephen King. I haven’t liked much of his recent work (actualyl that’s not fair, I’ve not read most of it) but in the 70’s and 80’s he was a prolific horror writer turning out brilliance like this. Dogs are scary. Crazy rabid dogs are scarier.
You’re travelling through another dimension. A dimension, not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land who’s boundaries are that of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone! Four horror/sci-fi segments directed by four famous directors which are their own versions of classic stories from Rod Serling’s landmark television series. What can I say… I love anthologies. All four segments are great and the cast here is a who’s who of names you know… and not just from horror films: Albert Brooks, Dan Aykroyd, Burgess Meredith, Scatman Crothers, John Lithgow and many more. Lithgow’s performance in particular as the “crazy” guy seeing a gremlin on the wing of his airplane is the stuff of legend.
Did I leave off your favorite horror film from 1983? Leave a comment with your thoughts!