Horror Marathon 2016 wrap-up


Ok, this year I went above and beyond the call of duty, I watched 36 horror films in the month of October,  more than I have ever before.  Out of those, only seven of those I had seen before, and you will note that many of those are at the top of my list, for good reason.

Each year this gets harder to do, yeah there’s still plenty of horror movies out there, but they are either really  awful movies, like some of them that endured or I can’t get a hold of the films.  I watched all of these films through Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Shudder.  I miss the video stores.  I miss going in to a place where I can look around at VHS covers and pick a strange horror film.  So accessibility is a major problem now and a total bummer.  There are a bunch of films (all genres) that I would love to see, but you either can’t find, or I have to purchase them for a considerable amount.

That all said, here is my list, as it stands today of the films I saw in RANKING.  Yeah, it’s crazy, I will totally change it at some point, and I’m sure people will argue why this one or that should be higher.

  1.  The Thing
  2. Alien
  3. Exorcist
  4. Poltergeist
  5. Blair Witch Project
  6. The Entity
  7. Day of the Dead
  8. The Witch
  9. Monsters
  10. 1984
  11. Cannibal Holocaust
  12. Invitation
  13. Night Train to Terror
  14. The Taking of Deborah Logan
  15. Faces of Death
  16. Santa Sangre
  17. We are Still Here
  18. The Blob
  19. Re-animator
  20. Theater of Blood
  21. American Werewolf in London
  22. House on Haunted Hill
  23. Conjuring 2
  24. Pontypool
  25. House
  26. Hell Night
  27. Phantasm 2
  28. The Circle
  29. The Fury
  30. Brain Damaged
  31. Poor Pretty Eddie
  32. Willow Creek
  33. The Missionary
  34. Green Inferno
  35. Sharknado
  36. Knock, Knock

Now time for my analysis.  The first ones were easy, the last films were easy and everything in the middle is a mess, really hard to say.   Is Night Train to Terror really that much better than Theater of Blood?  Well, it’s hard to say, but I liked it more, felt it had more moments and would recommend it.  It’s subjective.

I’m also not saying that Blair Witch Project is the #5 greatest horror movie of all time, but out of THIS list, I think it has the most horror moments and theme that the others, although that could be debated, surely.  Positions #5-10 is tricky, all of those are pretty good, but not amazing.  The bottom 10 is not a surprise, but I would say ALL these films should be seen as a horror fan, except for Knock, Knock, Green Inferno and Sharkado, just skip those.

The Thing barely beats out Alien, mainly because I consider it much more of a horror film, while Alien has more sci-fi elements but has the best production and art direction of any film.  If the Shining was on my list it would be #1.  Jaws would be #2 probably.  Exorcist and Poltergeist are brilliant and one is barely better than the other.  Blair Witch is in a strange spot, but I couldn’t find a place for it, and as I looked on the list, it kept going higher and higher.

I was really surprised by how much I liked The Entity.  That is a film you should definitely see.  Some might not like that it is higher than Day of the Dead, but I don’t think Day of the Dead is the best of Romero’s films.  The Witch is high I know, but I really liked it.  Cannibal Holocaust is high too, and most probably haven’t seen it, but it struct a cord in me for some reason and I like the ideas that they were trying to go for, plus they filmed in the Amazon, extra points for that.  Night Train to Terror is another must see recommendation from me.  It’s crazy.  Even though Brain Damaged and Pretty Poor Eddie are low on the list, I kinda want to recommend them for you to watch.  There’s also a good handful of forgettable ones, House on Haunted Hill, Theater of Blood, House, Hell Night, Phantasm 2, these are good and have their fans but I wouldn’t say you gotta see them, unless you are a big fan.

That’s it for me.  I’m taking a break from the blood and guts for a while.


Andres Salazar is the author of the horror western comics www.pariahmissouri.com


Horror Marathon Day 22: Night Train to Terror


Night Train to Terror (1985)

This.  This is the type of 80s horror that I love.  It’s crazy.  You can watch it now on Shudder.  It starts with God and Satan on a train trying to decide the souls of mortals.  They have a black train conductor that serves them, it’s pretty awesome.

Night Train is an anthology film, like Creepshow and I really miss these.  The recent VHS movie has resurrected the concept and I hope that we get more of these, it’s a great way to get a bunch of little stories and hear/see from new directors.  As you probably can guess I also like anthologies in comics and other mediums, old Heavy Metal magazines were the best… which actually this kinda reminds me of them.  You get random killing, blood, sex and T&A, the staples of the 80s and while it doesn’t always make perfect sense, it kinda fun to watch.

One of the stories, The Death Club… great concept.  I don’t want to ruin it.

Did I mention this also is a musical?  We are talking straight up 80s-style break-dancing, leotards and sweat-bands.  It’s epic.

Did I mention it has Nazis?  Oh yeah, there is no Terror Train without the SS.  Just go see this.

I’m serious.




Horror Marathon Day 24: Faces of Death


Faces of Death (1978)

This is a documentary that I’ve always wanted to see, but I could never find it or was too scared to get it.  I finally took the plunge and I would NOT recommend this for the mainstream horror fan.  This is a collection of footage and stories of real crap going down, and you see people get killed.  Why would you watch this?  Is this entertainment?  Well, no it’s not.  It’s as entertaining as watching open heart surgery, but if you are interested in that and from an educational standpoint it’s pretty good.  The narration is not bad, and I’m glad it’s there, it does add to the film.

UPDATE:  After the film, I went and learned more about it.  Turns out only 40% of the films deaths and footage is real.  I had no idea, but this was made as a fake documentary.  While that completely changes the film for me, it does now make more sense some of these scenes with what I felt had to be fake.  Some of those bloody scenes, the blood is too thick and bright red.  Still an interesting film, and for the true horror fans, who want to see gruesome scenes, with no story, stuff you would see on CNN, check it out.


Horror Marathon Day 23: The Circle


The Circle. (On Netflix)

I like board games.  I like social games, like Werewolf, so movies based on a real-like horror game that people are trapped in I like.  The appeal is that I want to learn the rules and figure out the strategy to it and how the characters will somehow ‘win’ if possible.

The idea is that these people are in a room, they have to kill each other, kinda like Werewolf.  They are voting.

This is one of those super cheap films, that realizes solely on the dialog and social commentary, unfortunately, it’s not the best.  It’s okay, but I’m critical of films like this that are trying to say something about our way of life and this doesn’t bring anything new to the conversation.

It’s also missing some reveals or new elements that should have came into play in the second half, and again it’s just the same thing going on, every 2 minutes someone dies.

I’m probably a bad person because I would probably vote for the little girl or pregnant woman early on, and that was deemed ‘bad’ in the film.

I really like the very ending, and wish it went on for another 10 minutes.

I liked this film, wouldn’t say it was great, but it was ok-good.

3 skulls.


Andres Salazar writes a horror graphic novel called Pariah Missouri, you can learn more at www.pariahmissouri.com


Horror Marathon Day 21: Willow Creek


Willow Creek (2013)

Come on, a horror movie about BigFoot and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait?

You can find this indie film on Shudder.

I wish this was not a found footage film, and I LOVE found footage films, I just don’t see that it helps this story, other than it makes it easier to write the script.

This movie costs probably $300 to make; a tank of gas, craft services for the two actors and some memory on the camera.  Generally I like micro-budget films, this is not a negative, but this one needs at least a little money to make it feel like a true film.  While watching I’m just thinking about how cheap it is.  Even Blair Witch feels more like a true movie.

It looks like it was filmed in Yosemite or Kings Canyon national parks, which I know decently well, and that it for me always fun to see.  Years ago I wrote a small screenplay about a boy scout troop up in the woods and man I would still love to make that film, this reminds me why that location is so magical.

The beginning is a little slow, yeah, they are jerks, they mock BigFoot and the town and it’s denizens, shit will go down soon.

Little bit of Blair Witch in this too.

See, I have to be honest here.  I love camping, but in the night, when it’s quiet I do sometimes get freaked out, and crap like this freaks me out.

The ending is what you would expect, but that last 30 minutes when it’s all just in the tent, I couldn’t get into it.  There needs to be something more.  I also felt the acting was at it’s weakest here.  If I heard crazy-assed sounds coming outside my tent, I would at the bare minimum get my clothes and shoes on ready to make a run for it, or SOMETHING.  Do something!  I felt it wasn’t genuine, and that’s too bad because the premise had potential, a couple go into the woods to the original Bigfoot sighting… but here’s the thing, they didn’t add anything to the mythology.  They could have added anything, created something new to it.  I feel like Goldthwait wanted to stick to the accurate stories and accounts of Bigfoot, but hell, this is a work of fiction, so to me go all out.  Create a civilization, or group of them, rules, structure, supernatural, history, something to make it interesting.  It just wasn’t interesting.

I say pass on it, unless you are a die-heard found footage fan or Bigfoot fan.



Horror Marathon Day 20: The Thing


Two years after Alien, The Thing came out.  Same time as ET.  This wonderful horror film bombed at the box-office, but lives on in many horror-fan’s hearts, mine included.

This is possibly my favorite horror film, right there with The Shining and Alien.  This was a time with horror films always threw some comedy in it, and it drives me crazy.  The Thing does not do that, they play it serious and straight the whole time.

There’s a game I love called Werewolf, this is kinda like that, they are stuck in a place, no escape and one or many could be the ‘bad guy’.  Love this kind of thing.,, who do you trust?  Can you trust?

The effects are great and practical, and yeah some of them are freaking way out there, but I love it still.  You don’t have to make it look perfectly real, but you have to set this up to be believable, and this film does that.

Kurt Russell can do no wrong and man he is awesome in this film.

I really wish this was a 3 hour film and we could stay with the characters more.  There are about 12, which is a lot, and in the beginning it is hard to keep track of them all, but that is an extremely small negative to the film.

Go see this film.  Love it.

5 skulls.


Horror Marathon Day 19: Alien


Those of you who have been reading this for years know that I watch this movie, probably once a year, I love it that much.  Alien is in my top 5 movies of all time, so of course for the horror genre it’s like maybe number 1 or 2 (The other film would be The Thing, which I will talk about tomorrow)

Alien to me is one of the best movies made, the production design and art is simply amazing.  They just don’t make films like this anymore.  To see all these things made, real sets and props is breathtaking, if you haven’t seen it, it’s a real treat.

Comparing it to modern horror, if won’t have the same number of jump scares and gory scenes, but there are some truly iconic scenes that just about everyone has seen and made reference to.

What I love about it, beyond the production, and atmosphere and horror is that ages so well, I think it’s still effective and looks great.

Love this movie.

go see it

5 skulls


Horror Marathon Day 18: The Missionary


A twist on the slasher horror, what if Jason was a Mormon?

Actually that would be a great film, and this is not that, but it could have been.  It’s much more of a thriller than horror, but you don’t really know that until you see it.

The film-makers did some research, the characters sound Mormon, but that really wasn’t enough for me.

Other than that novelty, is it worth seeing?  Honestly, maybe not, there are better films out there, but I saw it and it wasn’t bad, just not good or great.

Too pedestrian, not enough horror and I’ll have to say, give it a pass, unless you want to see a Mormon thriller.


Horror Marathon Day 17: The Taking of Deborah Logan


Flipping through Netflix I found this film, it’s new and I thought I’d give it a try.  Unlike some of the others this month, I really liked this one.

I really like the concept of old age, dementia or some mental illness being a horror film.  You have this old lady who does crazy, harmful things and we never know, until half way through what is the cause.  It’s shot like a documentary, which is fine it works, but I bet you could have done it as a straight narrative and it might have turned out better.

I think the main characters are good, not a big fan of the journalist and cameraman, but it’s not distracting.  There are some good scares and I think it’s entertaining.  One of the better horror films out there in recent years that is also out on Netflix, so it’s pretty much free to watch, can’t complain about that.

So, my recommendation is go see it, I like the concept of a spooky senile lady.

Andres Salazar is the writer and creator of the horror graphic novel series Pariah Missouri www.pariahmissouri.com

Previous posts:

Horror Marathon Day 15: Green Inferno

Horror Marathon Day 14: The Re-Animator 

Horror Marathon Day 11: The Invitation

Horror Marathon Day 10: Cannibal Holocaust 

Horror Marathon Day 9: Monsters


Horror Marathon Day 16: The Fury


The Fury.

Might not be considered strictly a horror film, it is a thriller, with some horror moments and I think it loosely follows the structure and outline of a horror film, although some may say it’s a supernatural action film.

Yeah, so action, wow, right off the bat we have some killing, machine-guns, not something you usually see in a horror film, there’s no guy here with a knife chasing people, in this film its the government who are the bad guys and there’s evil, hidden group that is running PSI tests on kids.  Yeah this idea we’ve seen a lot in modern times, but I think back then when this was made it was much more novel.  And did I mention, there’s Kirk Douglas?  Oh yeah, the man is in this and he’s looking for his son, who, yep you guessed it is a physic and has been captured.  He’s somehow telepathically bonded to a cute teen-ager who is also a physic and together they look for the missing son.

There’s actually some cool ideas here, and I like that they are using the boy’s counselor, a beautiful woman to keep him in line, but of course that doesn’t last.

Again, it’s older, and I dig this.  One thing I have to say, you gotta see this for one reason.  The ending is the BEST ENDING OF ALL TIME.  I mean that.  I don’t even want to spoil it, but the very last scene and shot is the way you end a movie.  All movies should end this way.



Andres Salazar is the writer and creator of the horror graphic novel series Pariah Missouri www.pariahmissouri.com

Horror Marathon Day 15: Green Inferno

Horror Marathon Day 14: The Re-Animator 

Horror Marathon Day 11: The Invitation

Horror Marathon Day 10: Cannibal Holocaust 

Horror Marathon Day 9: Monsters


Horror Marathon Day 15: Green Inferno



Why do I do this to myself?

Yeah I am hungry for more cannibal movies… well, I saw Cannibal Holocaust and I actually liked it, so I wanted to see the newest film in this genre of horror, Green Inferno, which takes some of the same plot points, but it is fair to say that this is it’s own film.

What’s bad is the writing.  The dialog.

It looks pretty, they put money into the shots, I’ll never say anything bad about that, but it’s just visual and again no substance.

And then Eli adds these horrible comedic moments that just aren’t funny.  The same jokes that are in a bad 80s movie, and it’s still not funny man.  You are killing me (not in a good way).

Seriously?  A tribe that chews coca leaves regularly to get a high is going to lose consciousness from some weed? I’m not an expert on the chemistry, but it’s cheesy things like this that Roth uses to no effect.  I mean, if he was going for something bad then he succeeded, but I don’t get the feeling he’s trying for that.

Anyways, it’s a bad film, If you like the colors red and green I’d say see the film, they did a great job in post with the filters and color correction, other than that, don’t bother.




Horror Marathon Day 10: Cannibal Holocaust 

Horror Marathon Day 9: Monsters

Horror Marathon Day 14: The Re-Animator


The Re-Animator

Each month when I do this 31-day exercise, I repent of some of the classics, undoubtedly people say, ‘really, you haven’t seen that one?’ and so it is with the classic Re-animator.  I have never seen this before tonight.  Part of the reason why is I’m not a fan of the comedy stuff (although Dale and Tucker vs Evil is brilliant).

Right off the bat, I have to say the special effects are good, not John Carpenter good, but still good.

I think the problem that this film might have with today’s audiences is that it doesn’t have the Look and atmosphere was a horror film. The scenes are all bright, everything is lit and in that way it feels dated.  Today’s movies are all about shadow, darkness and obscured shots.  So if this same exact film, same script was shot with today’s look, I think it would be a big hit.  If you can get past all of that, I still think it’s good.  It similar to people who like modern comics, but can’t read Silver age stuff.  They are still filled with great stories, you just have to put your mind back in those times with the art and visuals of the time.

This is pretty freaky.  There are a couple of scenes that are pretty out there.  So it does bring the horror in the second half.  I recommend it.

Andres Salazar writes a horror graphic novel called Pariah Missouri, you can learn more at www.pariahmissouri.com

Horror Marathon Day 13: Poor Pretty Eddie


Poor Pretty Eddie

I’ve been looking for some old 1970s horror, and found this little film on HULU.

Words to not describe this film.

It’s about a rapist who loves a high-yella black woman, so maybe he’s not racist?  I don’t even know.  I know there’s rape and racism.  It’s not played for laughs, although some of the acting and characters are cartoonish, I can only hope that the south wasn’t ever THIS bad, and I lived in Arkansas in the 80s.

It’s frustrating in one part because our main protagonist is a prisoner, and she doesn’t seen to be able to escape or do anything other than be a victim, but I can’t put that completely in the negative column as this is a horror film, and that’s pretty standard, still there were times I was like, come on, do this or do that.

Pretty Eddie is our titular villain, but there are times that he saves our protagonist from other worse off fates, or maybe it’s just his obsessiveness.  The other supporting cast are actually interesting, and there is one plot point with Eddie and an older woman that I felt was actually good and interesting, I thought she would be the main villain, but unfortunately she is just another victim of Eddies.

I actually like the racist angle, we don’t see that too much in horror, other than the black guy gets killed first.  So to have it as the major source of tension I liked.

The ending, well really the entire thing feels like something that Tarantino as watched and studied multiple times.

This is a movie I’d love to see re-made.

If you want to see Redneck horror and a black woman be made a prisoner of “love” then this is for you.  If you want to see a film that clearly has inspired Tarantino, this is probably on his list of films.


Andres Salazar is the writer and creator of the horror graphic novel series Pariah Missouri www.pariahmissouri.com

Horror Marathon Day 12: American Werewolf in London

Horror Marathon Day 11: The Invitation

Horror Marathon Day 10: Cannibal Holocaust 

Horror Marathon Day 9: Monsters

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