We asked Destin Pfaff for his Top 5 favorite Horror Films…
5 – Dolls – before there was Annabelle… there was Dolls! From the people behind Re-animator comes this super fun 80s romp. A fairy tale about a twisted toy maker that is infinitely better than Chucky and Puppetmaster combined! It’s got the set up of The Old Dark House (which has just been beautifully remastered) and stars Guy Rolfe – nice pacing, solid stop motion, scary dolls and a killer teddy bear! Oh, and an enjoyable performance by 80s character actor Stephen Lee! Watch it!
4 – From Beyond – Another from the master Stuart Gordon, From Beyond is the poster child for what 80s horror was – blood, sex, gore, monsters, boundary pushing and character-heavy performances. Think Hellraiser, but with the monsters always around us. Starring the stunning Barbara Crampton, the cool Ken Foree and Re-animator’s Jeffrey Combs with a phallus sticking out of his forehead, From Beyond does not disappoint!
3 – Mute Witness –This mid-90s masterpiece from Anthony Waller is pure Hitchcockian suspense done right. Set in Russia, an American film crew utilizes a local set for their horror film, only to accidentally lock their mute special effects wiz in the studio overnight. When she stumbles upon a real snuff film being shot – terror ratchets up and her night of horror begins. This is a great date movie for both fans and non-fans of horror films alike!
2 – The Devil’s Backbone – From Guillermo del Toro, this period piece children’s story is full of Toro’s trademark touches. Its fantasy, fable, terror and innocence wrapped into one. When a boy arrives at a mysterious orphanage during the Spanish Civil War, he discovers haunts and dark secrets that are even more frightening than the giant unexploded bomb in the courtyard. It’s in Spanish, and if you don’t speak it, read it. DON’T watch it dubbed!
1 – City of the Living Dead – Also known as The Gates of Hell (and a few other titles), City of the Living Dead is hands down my favorite Lucio “Zombie” Fulci film. A priest hangs himself – opening up the gates of hell, and its up to small group of strangers to travel to a plagued city to stop that from happening. Genuine creepy moments are abound – both in gore and in suspense. If you ignore some of the plot choices and the few beats of weakness, this feels like a 70s film (even though it was released in 1980) – which adds to its raw horror. The swagger of Christopher George and charisma of Catriona MacColl help make this one of the best underappreciated horror films ever!