Thriller

The House With Laughing Windows (1976)

“The House With Laughing Windows” is one of those chillers that sets an uneasy tone from the start and maintains the ominous mood admirably throughout. It doesn’t hurt that stylistically the film is wonderfully lensed and the surroundings gradually become a bit otherworldly as the oppressing mood slowly tightens around the lead character. Director Pupi Avati manages to maintain the sombre mood and gradually escalate the tension. But be forewarned that it’s a fairly slow burn affair.

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

The small mining town of Valentine’s Bluffs has a bloody history that coincides with Valentine’s Day. The annual celebration is eagerly awaited and two supervisors of the Hanniger mine leave early and fail to check on methane levels with a number of workers still below. An explosion occurs and leaves the miners buried beneath as the celebrations go on above….

Friday the 13th: Part III (1982)

“Part 3” introduced the iconic image of a hockey masked maniac who’s essentially a killing machine that refuses to die and dispatches of his victims in spectacular ways. Type “hockey mask” in Google and there are numerous references for Jason on the first page of websites and images. So iconic is the look of this serial killer and for this fact alone then “Part 3” is an important piece of horror cinema. As an entry in the long running series it’s in the upper tier; surpassed by Parts 1 and 4 (the best of the bunch), Part 2 and Part 6 but narrowly beating out Part 5.

The Initiation (1984)

Coming at the tail end of the slasher film’s popularity and subsequent inevitable foray into self-parody; “The Initiation” is a thriller/slasher that’s very competent in every department and takes itself seriously. It has a terrific cast of old pros and good up-and-comers, a neat mystery that’s very well played out and solid set-pieces that are both well staged and executed with flair.

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Intruder (1989)

It’s stretching it to call “Intruder” a classic but it is an enjoyable late entry in a genre that was all but disappearing to a direct to video market. That’s for the most part thanks to some astonishing make-up effects and an overall gruesome nature in the flick’s kill scenes that “Intruder” scores highly among genre buffs.

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The ‘Burbs (1989)

Director Joe Dante is one of my favorites. He’s delivered some bona-fide classics like “The Howling”, “Gremlins” and “Innerspace”.
He’s simply an imaginative filmmaker who can play in more ways than one with the material at hand and, therefore, make them fairly unique and original.
Like many of Dante’s other films, “The ‘Burbs” pays a great deal of homage to a particular genre while also carving out a satirical standpoint that gives it it’s own identity.

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Prowler (1981)

A girl named Rosemary writes a “Dear John” letter to her boyfriend oversees during WWII. Some time later she’s out with her new beau during a graduation dance and a figure clad in army fatigues stabs them both to death with a pitchfork

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Without Warning (1980)

“Without Warning” is a fun cross between gruesome sci-fi and slasher flicks that were doing good business in the late seventies and early eighties. A real coup was getting two terrific old timers Palance and Landau to headline the proceedings and inject real intensity into their wacky characters. They certainly help distinguish “Without Warning” and raise it from being of interest to only genre fans into being also a real curio.

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Jamie Blanks double feature: “Urban Legend” (1998) and “Valentine” (2001)

Ever since “Scream” (1996) re-charged the horror industry that was, at the time, slowly migrating towards Direct to Video the genre has stayed relevant among A-listers and, obviously, below that as well. A number of exciting talent were able to take advantage of this boost early on; among them Australian born director Jamie Blanks, an obvious horror enthusiast who made two noteworthy entries in the “New-age” slasher category.

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