31 Days of Scares – Day 15 – Horror Movie Picks From King Hazard

Our 31 Days of Scares is moving along with tons of ass-kicking special features released so far that should help you get by easily throughout the entire month of Halloween. I own Day 15 and I get to share my list of favorite horror movie picks this year. The list is mostly a mishmash of sci-fi horror, but I’ve included two cult classics that should hit home with most horror fans. Hint, one’s a horror anthology from the ’80s written by Stephen King and the other has braaains!

Pick your best guess and check out the list below. If you think my selection is garbage, then check out the one by Hell’s Template from Day 14 of our 31 Days of Scares.

No.5 Event Horizon (1997)

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson

Yes, it’s known that Paul W.S. Anderson sucks as a director! However, he directed two films that I approve with flying colors. Before he made and destroyed the Resident Evil film franchise, he solidified himself as a Hollywood director with Mortal Kombat and did something very special with Event Horizon. Of course, Horizon still has all of Anderson’s signature trademarks, like the overuse of CGI, but for once the story is actually good and pretty creepy. For me, it’s like Hellraiser meets Paranormal Activity in space.

You get all the jump scares from one with a taste of freakishly good old school gore from the other. It makes good sci-fi horror about a spaceship that mysteriously disappeared for seven years in a black hole and came back from hell. A crew discovers it, but you’ll have to watch to see if any of them survive aboard the crazy ship.

Event Horizon

No.4 Leviathan (1989)

Directed by George P. Cosmatos

Oddly, I only recall three underwater sci-fi films with aliens released in 1989. There was James Cameron’s The Abyss, which was PG-13 and was the first film in history to have digital 3-D water effects. It was also the most successful one at the box office and with film critics.

Then there were DeepStar Six and Leviathan, both are horror films that feature a merely identical sea monster in the deep that stalks and kills a crew in a sealed underwater outpost. What’s weird is that these two films are also identical in their stories, so much so that they even have similar looking casts and some scenes resemble one another a lot. Especially, the decompression pod scene in which both characters burst from water pressure.

It’s my opinion that Leviathan had a bigger budget than DeepStar Six, and more celebrities attached to it, like Peter Weller, Amanda Pays, and Ernie Hudson. So it makes the film a lot more appealing between the two, as far as I’m concerned.

Hands down, my pick goes to Leviathan, and I still consider it one of the scariest underwater monster films of it’s time.

Leviathan (1989)

No.3 Critters (1986)

Directed by Stephen Herek

My last sci-fi horror pick on this list goes to Critters, which is another one from the ’80s, but all hell breaks lose on land with tiny creatures known as Crites. The film stars Dee Wallace-Stone, M. Emmet Walsh, Billy Green Bush, and Scott Grimes.

Critters was widely believed to be inspired by Gremlins, so it packs a similar humorous punch with every kill count. Some of the characters in the film like Charlie McFadden played by Don Keith Opper are actually pretty entertaining. Just picture Ernest in a real horror film.

Just keep in mind this was considered horror in it’s theatrical release. Critters was a modest hit for New Line Cinema, grossing $13,167,232 at the box office.

This film isn’t scary at all now, but if you’re looking for something fun and entertaining, then look no further than Critters. You’ll have a few laughs here and there, especially when Billy Zane’s character Steve gets killed by a Crite inside a barn after trying to engage in sex.


No.2 Cat’s Eye (1985)

Directed by Lewis Teague

I’m not going to dwell a lot over this horror anthology written by Stephen King because, frankly, I only remember one of the three segments in Cat’s Eye. From my recollection, a special cat travels long distances in search of a young girl named Amanda (Drew Barrymore) who runs into trouble with an evil troll that lives inside the walls of her house. This segment is called “General” and it’s the only one of the three that actually features the cat in a major role. In the first two segments, the cat plays an incidental role and a witness, hence the film’s title, Cat’s Eye.

“General,” as a standalone film, could have been great. The visual effects are believable, and the troll has a few good tricks up his sleeve to escape the cat a few times, but he doesn’t last long. Let’s just say he goes airborne. Even if the first two segments could be considered lackluster to some, I still think the last one makes up for the entire anthology and is worth a watch this Halloween.

Cat's Eye (1985)

No.1 The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Directed by Dan O’Bannon

Just because George A. Romero’s name isn’t attached to this zombidy doesn’t mean it sucks. Screenwriter John Russo is attached and the name should be enough to get you interested in The Return of the Living Dead. After he parted ways with Romero on Night of the Living Dead, Russo retained the rights to any titles featuring “Living Dead.” As a result we got a new zombie series to Night that spawned several sequels.

The film bears no resemblance to Night thanks to director Dan O’Bannon, who accepted the job to direct under one condition — the right to rewrite Return so it could be more radical than Romero’s film. Because of this, the film ended up much more comical with eccentric dialogue.

The Return of the Living Dead still remains at the top of the food chain since it was the first horror film to popularize the “zombies eating brains” concept. Just wait for Tarman and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

The Return of the Living Dead

Honorable Mentions:

V/H/S (2012)
Deep Rising (1998)
Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)
Maniac (2012)
The Collection (2012)

31 Days of Scares

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