Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cool Swag

Cool Swag: The Baby Edition


So, some of you know, most of you don't care, but I, your humble author, is a father-to-be. That's right. I am responsible for a new life. And, come to find out, that new life is male! Takes after his old man, eh? That being said, I've recently started shopping around for baby clothes, and while I hardly see the point in spending an absurd amount of money on clothes that a kid is going to grow out of in a matter of monthes, I can't help but want to purchase some of these for my spawn. Check them out for yourselves at RetroBaby and see what I mean.

How cool would my boy be in that Ramones onesie? Or this tiny little Millenium Falcon toddler tee shirt. Start em off right, ya know what I mean? So, if you have some rugrats, or are close to it, I'd highly recommend RetroBaby for some cool swag.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cool Swag

Cool Swag: Brandon Bird Prints

Ever wanted to see a picture of Christopher Lambert riding piggyback-style on Sean Connery's back? Course you have. Ever wanted to have a t-shirt with Jerry Seinfeld posturing as Bruce Lee? Who the hell wouldn't? Now is your chance. Just check this picture out to see what I mean:


Today's Cool Swag comes from pop artist Brandon Bird. You can check out his website for some great drawings and paintings, but you should also check out TopatoCo so that you can pick up some sweet prints of his work. One of my favorites is the Bam Thwop! Print (22x30) that is pictured. Great stuff!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ten Movies that Scared the Piss Out of Me When I was Young

Flicks that Scared Me as a Child

Growing up, I had an unhealthy fascination with all things horror (some things don't change). My mother likes to tell the story of how when I was three years old, I embarassed her by wandering around the store telling everyone that we were going to watch the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Of course, she wouldn't let me watch Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but she did eventually let me watch tamer horror flicks. Little did she know, they would end up affecting me enough so that I'd become a bonafide horror afficionado. To make matters worse, I also had a brother who was seven years older than me, occasionally using his advanced wisdom to pervert me with R-rated horror fare.

Here is a list of ten of those films that, at least in some way, left me a little bit traumatized and made me into the man I am today. And they are in no particular order.

1. The Witches (1990) - Who knew a Jim Henson production could freak the hell out of a six year old kid? Ah, that's right, this was directed by Nicholas Roeg. I remember that my parents took me to the theater to watch this one, and I had to cover my eyes during the transformation scenes. Perhaps what really worried me was that my brother had me convinced that the lady that lived behind us was none other than a witch herself, and this film only confirmed my suspicion that witches could easily live among us, with noone being the wiser. Son of a bitch, that's still true! Watch the TRAILER.

2. Jaws (1975) - Jaws is definitely one of the horror films I watched earliest in my development. I remember that I couldn't have been more than three years old when I first laid eyes on Bruce, the man eating star of the film. What stuck with me the most are the scenes with Sheriff Brody's sons (especially the youngest). To this day, I still fear the deep sea. I don't really know how much of an explanation you'll need for Jaws, as I am pretty sure that it has been scaring people off of beaches since its release. Watch the TRAILER.

3. Stephen King's It (1990) - I was six years old when Stephen King's It first hit the small screen. For some reason my mother, who had read the book even, deemed it appropriate material for a small kid to see. The first scene with little Georgie getting his armed ripped off stuck with me and haunted my dreams for years after. To this day, the image of Tim Curry's Pennywise will flash across my mind from time to time, giving me the willys. Watch a CLIP.

4. A Nightmare on Elm St. 3: Dream Warriors - This is one that I watched with my older brother on a rented VHS. Part three in the ANOES was my first introduction to Freddy Krueger and it would leave an imperssion. Not only was it my first introduction to that burnt up pedophile Krueger, but it also was one of my first introductions to the female body. Remember that water bed scene? I don't even want to begin to think about what that must have done to my impressionable mind, to see a beautiful naked woman turn into an undead child killer, so let's not even discuss that. Watch the TRAILER.

5. Mr. Boogedy (1986)/Bride of Boogedy (1987) - These were two made for TV Disney movies that were aimed at children and families that starred Richard Masur and Mimi Kennedy. They both involved a phantom of sorts that haunts a town called Lucifer Falls (get it!?). Looking back, they feature great casts with the likes of John Astin, Eugene Levy, and Kristy Swanson being among the groups in the two films. Anyway, Mr. Boogedy was my first real boogeyman that I thought was going to eat me if I didn't hide under my blanket at night. Watch the WHOLE FILM ON YOUTUBE.

6. Return to Oz (1985) - Sure, it's not a horror movie, but you couldn't have convinced me of that when I was a kid. To be honest, I don't remember what exactly scared me about this movie. I think it was the weird monkey creatures, or maybe that tin can robot dude, but it could have been the odd looking Fairuza Balk for all I can remember. The point is, there was so much freaky crap in this movie, that I don't know if I can watch it now without feeling tense. Watch the TRAILER.

7. Buried Alive (1990) - This particular Buried Alive is a TV movie from 1990 that stars Tim Matheson and Jennifer Jason Leigh. It was helmed by future Stephen King adapter Frank Darabont. This is one that I have not seen in nineteen years, not since it was first aired on television. From what I remember it was a revenge tale of a husband (Matheson) whose wife (Leigh) tries to kill him, but doesn't quite succeed, and he comes back from OUT OF THE GRAVE to seek vengeance. Sounds like it should've been an episode of Tales From the Crypt (which, by the way, that show didn't exactly help me become a well adjusted child either). Pretty heavy stuff for a six year old to handle!

8. Pet Sematary (1989) - Jesus, where do I start with what scared me in Pet Sematary? Little undead infant Gage Creed running around killing Herman Munster, ghostly teenager whose missing half of his head or...ah, yes, that's the one. Rachel Creed's spinal menangitis riddled sister Zelda. You remember Zelda, right? That freaky bitch that Rachel had to help feed when she was a kid? Man, that freaked me so far out when I was a kid. Today it doesn't have the same impact, but at the time I had to wonder if something like that could happen in real life...could people turn into deformed monsters? Perhaps that was one of the first times in my life that I had to come to terms with the horrors of illness, with nature taking its toll on us and changing our feeble bodies against our will. Or maybe she was just one freaky bitch. Watch the TRAILER.

9. Alice Sweet Alice (1976) - I remember actually watching this one with my sister, so it wasn't all my brother's fault. We had this one on video tape. For those that haven't seen it, the film is about the murder of a young girl (a pre-Blue Lagoon Brooke Shields) that is killed during her first communion and what happens, as a result, to her reclusive sister and main suspect, Alice. It's actually a pretty decent little horror/thriller that you should check out, but it did definitely freak me out as a kid. There's so much Catholic iconography in the film, I can only imagine how screwed up it would have made me had I been Catholic! Watch a FAN MADE TRAILER

10. Drop Dead Fred (1991) - Sure. Drop Dead Fred is comedy. Or at least that's what they want you to think. When I saw this one video I must have been around seven years old, and, luckily, I never had an imaginary friend. But that didn't change the fact that Fred scared the beegezus out of me. I mean, even with the beautiful Phoebe Cates there to distract me, I was still freaked out. Especially by the damn dream sequence. I think it was just the concept that Fred, a figment of Lizzie's imagination, just would not leave her alone. It worried me. Hmmmm...I wonder if my family has a history of mental illness? Damn, I am finding out a lot about myself. Watch the TRAILER.

And there you have it, folks, the ten movies that screwed me up the most. Oh, sure, there were others. I remember watching the sequels to both Halloween and The Evil Dead on VHS at a young age. They didn't help matters, but I don't think that they had quite as much of an impact as the ten flicks listed above. What about you? Why are you so messed up?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Upcoming Film Preview: Big Fan


Upcoming Film Preview: Big Fan
Directed by: Robert D. Siegel
Starring: Patton Oswalt, Kevin Corrigan, Michael Rapapaport
Country: USA
Release date: August 28, 2009
View the TRAILER

Plot Synopsis: While it might sound like a perfect set up for a silly comedy, Big Fan, the store of a life-long New York Giants fan (Patton Oswalt) whose life changes completely when he is beaten up by a Giants player, keep in mind that this movie was written and directed by Robert Siegel (writer of last year's The Wrestler). From what I've heard, this is actually a fairly powerful movie, that may sometimes suffer from Siegel's lack of prowess behind the camera (it is his directorial debut, after all). I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Jennifer's Body Poster


Last month I did an Upcoming Film Preview on the forthcoming Jennifer's Body. As of late, there have been a ton of naysayers coming out about the film, mainly stemming from the fact that it features Megan Fox or that it is written by Diablo Cody. I say who cares. This is a halfway decent sounding genre picture that has room to actually be good, so I'm not sure why horror fans wouldn't get behind it. Anyway, it seems the production company has eschewed the former, True Blood-style poster and come out with this new one. I think they have a certain demographic in mind here, and I think that this is a wonderful ploy.

If you are interested in the film at all, the red band TRAILER is out now, too!

For those not in the know, here is the plot synopsis, one more time: Plot synopsis: The film follows little-miss-perfect cheerleader Jennifer Check (Megan Fox), who becomes possessed by a demon and starts feeding off the boys in a Minnesota farming town. Her best friend is forced to kill her, escape from a correctional facility, and track down the devil-worshiping rock band that caused her transformation.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Films from the Crypt: Episode 6 - Society (1989)


Films from the Crypt: Episode Six - Society (1989)

Director: Brian Yuzna

View the trailer

Starring: Billy Warlock, Devin DeVasquez, Evan Richards

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Every so often, when the planets align just right, I come upon a movie that makes me scratch my head and think to myself and wonder how in the hell could I have missed this one? Brian Yuzna's directorial debut, Society, is one such film.

First up, a little background. The film was completed in 1989, but not released in the States until 1992. The reception to the film in America was relatively poor, and it still has yet to achieve even a cult status that it richly deserves. It played a little better in Europe, but is still not seen on the same scale as other, lesser genre pictures.

In the tradition of Yuzna's earlier production work (Re-Animator, From Beyond), Society is an icky picture with fantastic special effects that really push the limits of taste (in a good way, of course). The film revolves around 17 year old Billy Whitney, a normal kid living in Beverly Hills where he begins to think that maybe everytthing is not right with the world. Strange things are happening, Billy starts to see things, like his sisters body in impossibly contorted positions, and becomes increasingly paranoid that his family are harboring some kind of secret and are possibly incestuous. Confirming Billy's fears, his sister's ex-boyfriend Blanchard tries to get him to face the reality of the situataion. It turns out the conspiracy of weirdness runs deeper than Billy thought. As a somewhat ham-fisted indictment of the societal ladder, Society hits and misses on a lot of levels.

Interestingly enough, somewhat defiantly of convention, Yuzna does not begin the film with an idealized world that begins to crumble as the film progresses. Instead he begins the film with a feverish, paranoid sequence where Billy is running through a shadowy house and clutchin a knife to his chest. From this set up, the audience becomes aware that Billy is living in a world of fear. There is a half-hearted attempt to fool the audience into thinking that Billy is crazy, but noone watching the film would fall for that trick.

No, Billy is not crazy. The "society" that he lives in really does have a seedy underbelly that is far worse than he imagined. By the end of the second act, we realize that something is wrong with the inhabitants of Billy's community, and have confirmed our suspicions that it may even be a physiological anamoly. But it isn't until the third act that the curtain is fully drawn back to showcase a perverse orgy of sexual deviancy, mixed with other-worldly transformations of people into strange alien-ish beings that are just as gooey as anything out of From Beyond and the devouring of human beings. The special effects are especially effective here, including an extremely large scale, and very convincing, bit of puppetry. Turns out the rich really do "feed off the poor" in this community, and of course I mean that literally. I shouldn't have to explain the implications that this literalization of a metaphor brings with it, as it's more than opaque to anyone that can think.
Butthead
Certainly such material would have been handled better by a director with a better mind for satire. Someone who could deftly weave this disgustingly funny web with more ease would be able to make the film much more intersting. As it is, the humor is uneven and the scares are not really scary, so I'm really not sure how to explain why the film works for me so well. I'm a sucker for the "everyone is out to get me" genre, dating back from Hitchcock's "wrong men" films and even up to Disturbing Behavior and The Faculty (yep). Toss in some more deliquent, body horror aspects and some amazing grue and you've got yourself a hell of a film in my book. And, maybe that's all it is. As I've said, the message of the film is handled with the subtlety of a drunken elephant and none of the actors are going to be up for Oscars any time soon, but it just clicks with me. It's a perfect storm of that eighties goodness. I highly recommend it, especially if you liked any of the other films mentioned here.

7/10

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Name That Vampire

Okay, boils and ghouls, we're back with another edition of NAME THAT VAMPIRE! The rules are simple. Check out the pic, and name the film that the image comes from. If you can throw in any additional information like the actor, character, etc. that's all welcome as well! Get to work:

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Top Ten Horror Movies of the 1950s

Top Ten Horror Flicks of the Fifties

Going back to the fifties, it becomes harder to find a distinct line between horror and sci-fi. In this era, the byproducts of science had become the most horrific things imaginable (check out Radiation Cinema for more on that). The nuclear era was in full swing, and the public knew little about what kind of effects this could really have on them. So, we get pictures with shrinking people and giant ants. This being the case, I'm really not going to make any attempt to exclude films that may be more sci-fi/horror than they are horror/sci-fi. It's really easier this way.

And, full disclosure (just so I don't get lynched), I've never seen Diabolique or Eyes Without a Face. But I will.

10. House of Wax (1953) - What's that? A 3D remake of Michael Curtiz's Mystey of the Wax Museum starring Vincent Price? Mark me down. If you liked the earlier Curtiz effort, then you'll enjoy this somewhat campier, but more energetic and creative remake. It's the story of a horribly disfigured man who takes out his agression on his victim, subsoquently dipping their dead bodies into wax and putting them on display at his wax mueseum. From that description alone, you have to give the film cool points. Add the fact that the evil caretaker of this museum is none other than the late, great Vincent Price and I think we've got a winner on our hands.

9. Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953) - Setting a prescedent for what would in later years become an absolute staple in the horror world, the horror-comedy, the Abbot and Costello "Meet" films were a necessary smirk on the face of horror film. It seems that horror goes through cycles. When the Universal Monster pictures were first released, they were shockingly scary pictures that frightened every movie goer who braved them. But by the late forties and early fifties, those same Universal Monsters had been pretty much played out as Universal cashed in on as many spinoffs and sequels as they could. By that point, the only thing left to do with them was to play them for laughs. The same is true for most horror franchises that carry on a little passed their prime. Think about Freddy's Dead and Jason X or Leprechaun in tha Hood. Yeah, it's still happening. Going back to the film in question, the "Meet Jekyll and Hyde" is the best of the pictures that they made. Go back and watch it, it's a riot.

8. The Tingler (1959) - It's hard not to admire William Castle. The man was the PT Barnum of the film world, giving his sometimes lackluster films extra cache by incorporating great gimmicks into the screenings. For The Tingler, Castle had theater attendants wire their seats with joy buzzer type devices that would administaor a small shock during certain pivotal scenes. Fascinating! On top of all that, the movie itself ain't half bad either! Vincent Price, at his campiest, plays Dr. Chapin, a doctor who unwittingly unleashes a slug-like creature that is formed from...fear. That's right, it's hokey, but undoubtedly one of the most fun creature features you're likely to see.

7. Horror of Dracula (1958) - You knew there had to be at least some Hammer Horror make its way onto the list, and what better picture than 1958's Horror of Dracula? Known simply as Dracula in its native Britain, the picture stars, you guessed it, Peter Cushing as Van Helsing, and Christopher Lee as Dracula himself. We're lucky that Hammer was still around to remind us that gothic horror could still be really excellent, even while Hollywood was busy tackling new foes. Perhaps the best cinematic telling of the Dracula story, Horror of Dracula gives us just the right amount of horror, eroticism, action, and humor.


6. The Thing From Another World (1951) - Later on, this picture would be completely restructured as (and bested by) John Carpenter's The Thing. But even though the "remake" is superior, doesn't mean that the original isn't a wonderful little scientists in the arctic unwittingly thaw out a blood thirsty alien that has been frozen in the ice. From there, you can imagine what kind of bedlam breaks loose. If you've only seen Carpenter's version, you'll be surprised to find out that the Thing in this picture is a humanoid (James Arness, no less!) and that the strong sense of paranoia is all but nonexistent. Even still, the film is a tight little exercise in tension and fear of the unknown. I would really recommend that you get your hands on a copy of this Howard Hawks produced (and, perhaps partially directed) gem.

5. The Blob (1958) - Starring a young Steve McQueen, The Blob is an oft under appreciated little gem about a gelatinous, all devouring creature from outer space run amok in small town America! The film plays out like a lot of films from the fifties, there's a group of teenagers that become privy to the alien's existence, but nobody believes them until things start to get pretty hairy. Actually, I guess that's still the trope for a lot of modern horror flicks as well. If ain't brok I guess...anyway, even though the story sounds pretty stock, it's exceptionally well made (especially for a non-major studio film in the fifties!) and actually still holds up well today.

4. Them! (1954) - Giant insect movies were a staple of the fifties sci-fi/horror genre, but none were better than 1954's Them!. The story is simple, a group of investigators and scientsits come upon a group of giant, radiated, killer ants! From there, the army gets involved and eventually everything works itself out (though, not without a few casualties). Like I said, a simple story but one told deftly and shot skillfully enough to clearly set it apart from a lot of the other, often rushed and hackneyed, giant insect flicks of the same era. Check it out if you're a fan.

3. House on Haunted Hill (1959) - An absolute horror classic, House on Haunted Hill sets up a trope that would be used in horror films for a long time. The idea of gathering a group of people together and having them stay a night in a haunted house has been used over and over again throughout the years. Sometimes its pride that's at stake, in the case of House on Haunted Hill, it's a cash prize that lures the victims into the house. Vincent Price, in the role he was born to play, delivers the goods as the creepy-as-hell Frederick Loren, host of this macabre party. This is probably William Castle's most respectable picture, but that didn't deter him from bringing in at least one of his patented gimmicks. During a particularly pivotal scene in the film, there happens to be a flying skeleton. Well, if you happened to be in the theatrical audience for the film upon opening, you might just have been lucky enough to witness a lovely plastic skeleton flying from the rafters of your cinema as well!

2. The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) - Based on an amazing story by Richard Matheson (which I highly recommend you read), The Incredible Shrinking Man is the story of Scott Carey, a man who becomes radiated by a cloud of pesticide and, you guessed it, begins to shrink. While the effects were quite stunning for the time, and there's a lot of emphasis on the science fiction elements of the story, the real meat of the things lies within Carey's ability and inability to cope with his physical defencies (in his case, shrinking). The tension between he and his wife becomes obvious the smaller he gets, and it becomes increasingly difficult for him to function. Of course, there are spectacular action sequences as well, including an epic fight with a spider.

1. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) - Usually read as an allegory about Mcarthyism (the writer was black-listed), Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a timeless tale about people not being exactly what we think they are...of course, in this case, "not what we think they are" means replacement "pod" people from outer space. No biggie. Anyway, the movie is a true classic piece of fifties science fiction terror and tension that ends in one of the most iconinc closings in cinema history. Having been remade many times (including a rarely seen effort from Abel Ferrara), the original is still the best and a great starting point for anybody interested in the world of terrificly terryfing vintage sci-fi/horror pictures.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy O'Choke Day

The 'Choke Turns Two

Ladies and gentlemen, today is certainly a special day in the history of Olympic Artichoke. Today, July the 4th 2009, marks the second anniversary of the day that the O'Choke opened its digital doors! We just want to thank everyone that has recently joined up and followed us as we try and grow and progress, hopefully you've enjoyed some of our trivial musings. And, we implore you, gentle reader, to keep coming back as we serve up even more! If all goes according to plan, and no North Korean missles have blown me out of the sky, I'm just about to land back safely in Texas from my honeymoon in Maui. So, let's all celebrate together, and greet every one we meet with a hardy "Happy O'Choke Day!" Diggit.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Now That's Art!

Here are some beautiful skull sculptures done by an artist known as Jim.







Take a look at the rest of his work here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Now That's Art!

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan - 1989

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Top Ten Horror Movies of the 1960s

As we go back further in time, the movies get less gory, there are fewer sub genres, and we lose that sta

10. Witchfinder General (1968) - Ever wanted to see Vincent Price in his most evil role? Look no further than Witchfinder General (sometimes known as Conqueror Worm). This Michael Reeves directed period piece is the story of Matthew Hopkins (Price), notorious witchhunter and rapist, as he makes his way across Europe driving confessions out of innocents and then killing them for their troubles. I told you that it was Price's most devious role. This little British piece most definitely needs to be seen more, luckily the DVD is readily available (namely in the Vincent Price Collection), so pick it up!

9. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) - Robert Aldrich directs and Bette Davis and Joan Crawford star in this tale of former child star Jane Hudson (and aged Bette Davis) and her sister Blanche (Crawford). Davis' Baby Jane is absolutely creepy-as-hell and one of the recurring figures from my nightmares as a child. Watch the two sisters relationship as it collapses further into truly bizarre oblivion. A great film, and Aldrich's later Hush...Hush Sweet Charlotte makes a wonderful companion piece to it!


8. The Birds (1963) - You knew that Alfred Hitchcock would be on here in some shape or fashion, and he debuts on the list with one of my favorite genres: animals run amok. In Hitch's case, its harmless little birdies that go nuts on humanity. Tippi Hedren stars, along with a whole bunch of birds, in this one. While it may be considrered pretty tame by today's standards, I gurantee that for days after you watch this flick, you'll feel ill at ease when you find yourself around a large group of bids.


7. The Last Man on Earth (1964) - This adaptation of Richard Matheson's beloved novel I am Legend is actually really good. With noneother than Vincent Price in the lead Dr. Robert Morgan (Neville from the book), The Last Man on Earth does take its fair share of liberties with the story, but gets the themes pretty much right, which is something that you really have to do when adapting this particular novel. Though possibly miscast here, Vincent Price does a very good job trying to capture the intricacies of the self-destructive last man on the planet.

6. Pit and the Pendulum (1961) - The teaming of Roger Corman, Barbara Steele, and Vincent Price to tackle poe is like a gothic fanboy's wet dream. I'll spare you the details on the story, but I do have to talk a little bit about the glorious set pieces in the film that really pop. The gothic soundstages are particularly extravagent, especially for an AIP picture. The influence that this film had on later Italian directors like Bava and Argento is pretty evident upon first viewing, and makes the film that much more interesting when watched in context.

5. Carnival of Souls (1962) - One of the eeriest pictures you may have never seen Carnival of Souls is a near masterpiece directed by a ma, Herk Harvey, who is relatively unknown outside of this film. After a tragic accident, our heroine, Mary, travels to a town to become an organist in a church. Seeing strange apparations at an abandoned carnival, Mary begins to realize that everything is not as it seems in this new town. The movie is filled with great imagery that will really stick with you. Carnival of Souls is available everywhere on DVD and on the net because it is public domain, but I would definitely recommend the Criterion Collection DVD release.


4. The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) - Roman Polanski directs and stars in this hilarious take on the vampire genre. This farce, sometimes known as Dance of the Vampires, is the story of Professor Abronsius and his assistant as they stumble ass backwards into the hands of Count Krolock and his horde of the undead! I highly recommend that you try this flick out, especially if you enjoy films like Young Frankenstein or any of the Abbot and Costello meet the Universal monster pictures. Great stuff.


3. Rosemary's Baby (1968) - Polanski makes the list for a second time, this one, however, is played completely straight. One of his greatest achievements, Rosemary's Baby managed to be both a fantastic film and a commercial success (never an easy feat) that really pushed the envelope of what was taboo in American cinema. I'm sure it was at least a little shocking to see a film about a woman being impregnated by the Prince of Darkness back in 1968. No matter what the socio-political climate may have been in the 'Nam/Manson/Hippie era, American film had (and still is to a lesser degree) been historically conservative. That must've been a kick in the head for a lot of right-wingers, but there is little question that it's a wonderful picture.

2. Psycho (1960) - Hitchcock's master piece of susepnse may drag a little long for some people, but if you have the patience to get through the somewhat tedious set-up, Psycho is an amazing character study that still has the ability to chill today. Anthony Perkins' Norman Bates is a truly strange character, but especially for 1960. A cross-dressing, corpse loving mama's boy, Bates is somewhat based on notorious necrophile and killer Ed Gein. Obviously I have to mention the notorious shower scene, which all the *oomph* has been taken out of for first time viewers because of the countless parodies. Yes, watching it today, the shower scene still holds up very well and is still one of the all-time greatest deaths.

1. Night of the Living Dead (1968) - Of course George A. Romero's seminal picture that essentially created the rules for the modern zombie tops out the list. There are many layers to the film, people "read" it as a social commentary all the time, the focal point being a black protagonist facing an onslaught of exclusively white foes that never stop barraging him. Obviously there is more to it than that, but that is one way that people "read" the film. Even just on the surface, however, the movie is as fantastic a piece of film-making as you are ever likely to see. The fun, and scary, Alamo-type story is one of the all time greats that allows the viewer to put himself in the same scenario without a whole lot of imagination.
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