I don't need to tell you how awful the Michael-Bay-produced remake of the 1980 slasher classic is going to be. (I haven't seen it yet myself, but c'mon.) So, this week, instead of shelling out 12 bucks to suffer through a third-rate remake of a second-rate horror film, devote your time to watching one of these infinitely more inspired movies.
It's been said thousands upon thousands of times before, but it's worth repeating: this is truly one of the most artful horror movies ever made. Seriously, watch the first 20 minutes and tell me if you've ever seen a death scene so beautifully choreographed.
The Fly (1986)
At the heart of this slightly campy deliberation on obsession is a tender love story, it just so happens to involve giant, mutated bug-human-hybrids and a teleportation experiment gone horribly wrong. (This one also demonstrates the rare instance where the remake is better than the original.) Jeff Goldblum plays the role of the charismatic scientist perfectly; he takes himself seriously, but you can still tell that he's having fun with it, which serves well to balance out Gina Davis's humorless performance.
Haute Tension (High Tension) (2003)
Alexandre Aja's gore-fest is not for the faint-hearted; it's one of the most grisly, disturbing horror films I've seen in years (I'm thinking of the NC-17 cut, specifically.) The ending, which I won't reveal here, isn't exactly anything that you haven't seen before, but nonetheless it feels deserved, coherent and, dare I say it, actually pretty shocking.
Batoru Rowaiaru (Battle Royale) (2000)
A group of schoolchildren are kidnapped and brought to an island, provided with deadly weapons and told that the last one standing is the winner. I really don't think I need to say anymore.
The Omen (1976)
Avoid the remake starring Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles - one of the blandest, most boring "actresses" in Hollywood; seriously, how does she still manage to get work? - as it pretty much shat all over this horror classic, which basically invented the creepy-little-kid subgenre of horror. Plus, Gregory Peck! [insert high-pitched squeal here]
Odishon (Audition) (1999)
For the first half of this film, you can't even really tell that what you're watching is indeed a horror movie. That is until Takashi Miike takes off the kid's gloves and serves up scene after disturbing scene of unadulterated madness. Writhing, disfigured body in a bag? Check. Forced vomit consumption? Check. Needle torture? Check. Honestly, if you can sit through this film without wincing once you are officially not human.
Infested (aka Ticks) (1993)
Mind-numbingly ridiculous horror done right. Seriously, this one makes Arachnophobia look like Citizen Kane (and by that I mean boring and overrated.)
Janghwa, Hongryeon (A Tale of Two Sisters) (2003)
This film is based on a Korean folktale, and it is as beautiful as it is haunting. (The Uninvited was a remake of this, but it's unlikely that it could live up to the original. Notice a pattern emerging?)
The second David Cronenberg selection on this list, and rightly so; no one else can blend gruesome horror with dark critiques on humanity like he can. James Woods stumbles upon a strange TV station that airs snuff and seems to be broadcasting specifically for him. It's kind of like the Ring, if the Ring were made in a time when certain technologies were still new enough and strange enough to evoke confusion and panic, and if it were actually scary. So, then, it's nothing like the Ring.
Dead Alive (aka Braindead) (1992)
Before there was Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, there was Peter Jackson's Dead Alive. The tale begins with a rabid Sumatran rat-monkey and it only gets better from there. The film boasts of being literally the bloodiest of all time; nearly 300 liters of fake blood were used for the final scene alone. If that's not an indicator of cinematic success, I don't know what is.
So there you have it. Not a particularly original list, I'm sure, but seriously, if you want to see horror done right and you have yet to see one (or any) of the above, do yourself a favor, rent ‘em, download ‘em, whatever. Just be prepared to have your face rocked the fuck off.