(Photo by Paramount, New Line Cinema, Dimension Films, Maple Pictures, New World Pictures, Lionsgate / Courtesy: Everett Collection)

25 Essential Slasher Movies

Slashers — that gloriously grubby, stabby subsection of horror — were first unsheathed in the early 1970s, when Mario Bava stalked his cavorting, frequently disrobed victims around in A Bay of Blood. The movie set up mood of the slasher: Sexually charged, with a degree of mystery, where the ample cast of characters one-by-one take a sharp turn into doom. Slashers can be stylish (Opera, Dressed to Kill), carnal (Torso, Friday the 13th), grimly violent (The Prowler, The Burning), trashy (Pieces, The Slumber Party Massacre) and even supernatural (Halloween, Child’s Play). We’re studying all sides of the blade as we assemble movies that best represent this killer genre in the 25 Essential Slasher Movies.

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 42928%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Someone with a power drill shows up uninvited to Trish's (Michele Michaels) high-school pajama party.... [More]
Directed By: Amy Jones

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 44222%
Critics Consensus: There is indeed a good amount of tension in this French slasher, but the dubbing is bad and the end twist unbelievable.
Synopsis: A beautiful young Frenchwoman, Alex (Maïwenn Le Besco), travels out to the country to visit her family and brings along... [More]
Directed By: Alexandre Aja

#23

Maniac (1980)
40%

#23
Adjusted Score: 41135%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Childhood abuse triggers a man (Joe Spinell) to kill women and use their scalps to dress his mannequins.... [More]
Directed By: William Lustig

#22

Pieces (1982)
46%

#22
Adjusted Score: 46376%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A frustrated Boston detective searches for the maniac responsible for mutilating a number of university coeds.... [More]
Directed By: Juan Piquer Simon

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 58488%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Friends defy the rules of a legendary murderer and discover he is real when they start celebrating Valentine's Day.... [More]
Directed By: George Mihalka

#20
Adjusted Score: 48036%
Critics Consensus: Friday the 13th: Part VI - Jason Lives indeed brings back ol' Vorhees, along with a sense of serviceable braindead fun.
Synopsis: Years ago, Tommy Jarvis (Thom Mathews) killed infamous hockey-masked murderer Jason Voorhees (C.J. Graham), and the intensity of the experience... [More]
Directed By: Tom McLoughlin

#19

The Prowler (1981)
67%

#19
Adjusted Score: 37858%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A crazed World War II veteran gets revenge on his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend, then stalks teens 35 years later.... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Zito

#18

Torso (1974)
56%

#18
Adjusted Score: 54865%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A hooded killer with a hacksaw stalks college coeds (Suzy Kendall, Tina Aumont).... [More]
Directed By: Sergio Martino

#17

Candyman (1992)
77%

#17
Adjusted Score: 83265%
Critics Consensus: Though it ultimately sacrifices some mystery in the name of gory thrills, Candyman is a nuanced, effectively chilling tale that benefits from an interesting premise and some fine performances.
Synopsis: Skeptical graduate student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) befriends Anne-Marie McCoy (Vanessa Williams) while researching superstitions in a housing project on... [More]
Directed By: Bernard Rose

#16

The Burning (1981)
80%

#16
Adjusted Score: 76560%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: At summer camp, some teenagers pull a prank on the camp's caretaker, Cropsy (Lou David). But the joke goes terribly... [More]
Directed By: Tony Maylam

#15

Happy Death Day (2017)
71%

#15
Adjusted Score: 82561%
Critics Consensus: Happy Death Day puts a darkly humorous sci-fi spin on slasher conventions, with added edge courtesy of a starmaking performance from Jessica Rothe.
Synopsis: Tree Gelbman is a blissfully self-centered collegian who wakes up on her birthday in the bed of a student named... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Landon

#14

You're Next (2011)
79%

#14
Adjusted Score: 84204%
Critics Consensus: You're Next's energetic and effective mix of brutal gore and pitch black humor will please horror buffs and beyond.
Synopsis: The Davisons, an upper-class family, are extremely wealthy -- but also estranged. In an attempt to mend their broken family... [More]
Directed By: Adam Wingard

#13

Child's Play (1988)
71%

#13
Adjusted Score: 73297%
Critics Consensus: Child's Play occasionally stumbles across its tonal tightrope of comedy and horror, but its genuinely creepy monster and some deft direction by Tom Holland makes this chiller stand out on the shelf.
Synopsis: Gunned down by Detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon), dying murderer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) uses black magic to put... [More]
Directed By: Tom Holland

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 76458%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Favorite daughter Karen (Brooke Shields) is viciously strangled and set afire in church on the day of her First Communion,... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Sole

#11

Halloween (2018)
79%

#11
Adjusted Score: 101736%
Critics Consensus: Halloween largely wipes the slate clean after decades of disappointing sequels, ignoring increasingly elaborate mythology in favor of basic - yet still effective - ingredients.
Synopsis: It's been 40 years since Laurie Strode survived a vicious attack from crazed killer Michael Myers on Halloween night. Locked... [More]
Directed By: David Gordon Green

#10

Sleepaway Camp (1983)
78%

#10
Adjusted Score: 79434%
Critics Consensus: Sleepaway Camp is a standard teen slasher elevated by occasional moments of John Waters-esque weirdness and a twisted ending.
Synopsis: Bunks and the showers are a mad stabber's beat at a summer camp strictly for teens.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Hiltzik

#9
Adjusted Score: 74457%
Critics Consensus: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors offers an imaginative and surprisingly satisfying rebound for a franchise already starting to succumb to sequelitis.
Synopsis: During a hallucinatory incident, young Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette) has her wrists slashed by dream-stalking monster Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund).... [More]
Directed By: Chuck Russell

#8

Friday the 13th (1980)
63%

#8
Adjusted Score: 66991%
Critics Consensus: Rather quaint by today's standards, Friday the 13th still has its share of bloody surprises and a '70s-holdover aesthetic to slightly compel.
Synopsis: Crystal Lake's history of murder doesn't deter counselors from setting up a summer camp in the woodsy area. Superstitious locals... [More]
Directed By: Sean S. Cunningham

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 72964%
Critics Consensus: The rare slasher with enough intelligence to wind up the tension between bloody outbursts, Black Christmas offers fiendishly enjoyable holiday viewing for genre fans.
Synopsis: As winter break begins, a group of sorority sisters, including Jess (Olivia Hussey) and the often inebriated Barb (Margot Kidder),... [More]
Directed By: Bob Clark

#6

Dressed to Kill (1980)
81%

#6
Adjusted Score: 84566%
Critics Consensus: With arresting visuals and an engrossingly lurid mystery, Dressed to Kill stylishly encapsulates writer-director Brian De Palma's signature strengths.
Synopsis: When Liz Blake (Nancy Allen), a prostitute, sees a mysterious woman brutally slay homemaker Kate Miller (Angie Dickinson), she finds... [More]
Directed By: Brian De Palma

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 90056%
Critics Consensus: The Opera house location gives plenty to work with for director Dario Argento, who hits his decadently bloody high notes here.
Synopsis: A hooded figure forces a young diva (Cristina Marsillach) to watch as he murders performers in a production of Verdi's... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#4
Adjusted Score: 85742%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Following the murder of Countess Federica Donati (Isa Miranda), an heiress possessing a beautiful piece of beachfront property, members of... [More]
Directed By: Mario Bava

#3

Scream (1996)
79%

#3
Adjusted Score: 83871%
Critics Consensus: Horror icon Wes Craven's subversive deconstruction of the genre is sly, witty, and surprisingly effective as a slasher film itself, even if it's a little too cheeky for some.
Synopsis: The sleepy little town of Woodsboro just woke up screaming. There's a killer in their midst who's seen a few... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#2
Adjusted Score: 98227%
Critics Consensus: Wes Craven's intelligent premise, combined with the horrifying visual appearance of Freddy Krueger, still causes nightmares to this day.
Synopsis: In Wes Craven's classic slasher film, several Midwestern teenagers fall prey to Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a disfigured midnight mangler... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#1

Halloween (1978)
96%

#1
Adjusted Score: 104031%
Critics Consensus: Scary, suspenseful, and viscerally thrilling, Halloween set the standard for modern horror films.
Synopsis: On a cold Halloween night in 1963, six year old Michael Myers brutally murdered his 17-year-old sister, Judith. He was... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

In the past several years, we’ve seen something of a renaissance in horror, with films like It FollowsThe BabadookHereditary, and It earning widespread critical acclaim, while Jordan Peele’s Get Out even managed to nab four Oscar nominations and took home the trophy for Best Original Screenplay. But for years, horror films played the part of Hollywood’s whipping boy, as some of the most recognized and beloved icons in the genre — in all of cinema, even — were rooted in poorly reviewed franchises and films thought to cater to the basest instincts of moviegoing audiences.

With that in mind, and with Halloween fast approaching, we here at Rotten Tomatoes decided to take a look back at some critical duds that, for whatever reason, resonated with us. While we readily acknowledge the flaws in these 14 films, we were also entertained by them, thrilled by them, shocked by them, or driven to fits of laughter. Read on for our staff favorite list of 14 Rotten Horror Movies We Love.


The Believers (1987) 39%

If you can love a film for a single moment, The Believers may steal your heart. Starring Martin Sheen, Helen Shaver, Robert Loggia, and Jimmy Smits, the 1987 horror-thriller based on Nicholas Conde’s 1982 novel The Religion is about a New York psychologist whose son becomes the focus of a brujería (black magic) cult that practices child sacrifice. At a party, Shaver’s character Jessica powders her cheek from a makeup compact that a brujo (male witch) has surreptitiously brushed his hand over. The witch Palo (Malick Bowens) then dances for the party crowd, and Jessica begins to fall into a trance-like state. Later, in a moment that will haunt your nightmares, a blemish growing on Jessica’s face erupts and a swarm of spiders emerge. Watch the trailer to catch a glimpse of the pulsating boil.


Beyond the Black Rainbow (2011) 61%

First off, come on — Beyond the Black Rainbow? That’s a killer title for any movie. This is the feature debut of director Panos Cosmatos, the man who successfully harnessed the power of Nic Cage and wowed the critics earlier this year with MandyBlack Rainbow is decidedly less focused than that movie — it plays more like an experimental exercise in moods and visuals — but the same singular, inscrutable weirdness that split the critics is also what makes it unforgettable. The story, as it were, centers on a young woman with telekinetic powers who is held against her will in a research facility and undergoes treatment from a doctor harboring secrets of his own. Pretty standard stuff so far, even if the vaguely retrofuturistic setting and ominous synth score do a lot to set an appropriately sinister tone. But then the movie takes a pretty sharp left turn with an acid trip of a flashback, and things go really off the rails. Is it all effective? Not exactly; its story does meander a bit, and it feels a little self-indulgent from time to time. But it is extremely pretty to look at; it’s one of those movies you can play in the background of a house party, just because it’s chock full of fantastic imagery. And it’s so good at evoking a specific sort of existential dread that you’ll swear you’ve dozed off and stepped into a 1980s nightmare. It’s not the scariest movie out there, but it’s icky, unsettling, and good for a shock or two.


The Cell (2000) 45%

Largely dismissed by critics not named Roger Ebert upon release, The Cell was a victim of being graded on the steep curve of The Silence of the Lambs, which was invoked in many a negative review. The unflattering comparison was accurate — The Cell lacks the psychological sophistication of Thomas Harris’ mindhunter franchise — but equating the two is hardly fair. The Cell is not a grounded investigation into a dangerous mind. Instead, it’s a savage opera. The film’s horrific power is drawn from director Tarsem Singh’s knack for unnerving tableaux, aided and abetted by legendary designer Eiko Ishioka’s eccentric costumes that practically defy categorization in their fragrant textures and curved edges. Not that there isn’t a human element in The Cell; you have Jennifer Lopez exuding her viperish charisma for the last time until her triumphant return to form in this year’s Hustlers, and then there is Vincent D’Onofrio giving himself over entirely to a succession of unforgettable grotesqueries while maintaining an undercurrent of tortured humanity throughout. The Cell is gaudy and mannered, but it achieves a quality of horror that cinema rarely aspires toward: the sublime.


Deadly Friend (1986) 19%

Deadly Friend walked so that Ex Machina could run. This 1980s Wes Craven flick is a Frankensteinian tale of body-blending: desperate to revive both his artificially-intelligent robot and his freshly-dead crush, a teenaged boy plugs the bot’s hard drive into the girl-next-door’s brain. Everything about it is goofy and nonsensical – more akin to Scream than anything on Elm Street. The only thing frightening about this “horror” movie is its titular character’s lack of ante-mortem autonomy… and maybe the force with which she can chuck a basketball. You’re more likely to howl with laughter than fear while watching Deadly Friend, but by the end, you’ll be cheering for its most unlikely of heroes.


Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) 19%

If you get to watch one Friday the 13th movie, make it The Final Chapter. Not only do you get a recap of the previous three film’s kills and minor plot developments, the fourth movie is the first where Jason wears the hockey mask for the whole time, making for a real classic experience. Of course, there’s more to this movie to recommend beyond Jason’s deft sartorial choices. The teenagers, horny and doomed as usual, include a hilariously and unhinged Crispin Glover. One adult character is actually trying to solve the mystery, giving the plot some forward momentum. The cinematography is uncommonly good, shot by Joao Ferandes, in tandem with director Jospeh Zito. They both previously made the famed underground slasher The Prowler together, and Zito carries over that movie’s cruel, relentless streak into the Friday franchise. Yet, Zito keeps Jason mostly out of sight until the final 20 minutes, who instead stalks his prey outside the frame, creating a mood of paranoia and claustrophobia. Kills are presented with close-up creativity: A victim’s hand squeezing a banana as they’re knifed from behind, or a tracking camera that captures one shadow killing another just as lightning illuminates the screen. It may seem like just another slasher, but horror fans with an open mind will see it as a unique roller coaster of thrills and blood spills.


The Hills Have Eyes (2006) 52%

It’s not hard to understand why this remake of Wes Craven’s classic about a family being stalked in the desert left some critics cold: as Richard Roeper said when he slammed the flick back in 2006, “it’s just nasty.” And we’re not going to argue back; the central trailer attack, which involves an incredibly brutal rape, is tough to watch. If you’re out at that point, we get it. But there’s incredible skill here too from director Alexandre Aja, who had just directed the terrifying and totally preposterous French slasher High Tension and knows his way around a good scare. He conjures dread and thrills in equal measure, and ultimately stages an extremely satisfying revenge-driven third act. It’s scary as f—k and it mostly unfolds in broad daylight! Aja is aided by a game cast that includes the criminally under-employed Vinessa Shaw, Kathleen Quinlan, Ted Levine, Emilie De Ravin, and the scene-stealing Dan Byrd.


Jennifer's Body (2009) 45%

Just Googling Jennifer’s Body brings up thinkpiece after thinkpiece talking about how underappreciated it was and retelling the story behind its cringey marketing campaign. But no one needs to be reminded that Jennifer’s Body is a good movie. Not a so-bad-it’s-good movie, not a good-but-ahead-of-it’s-time movie, just a solid, good movie. The cast was so 2000s it’s like watching a time capsule, and Megan Fox’s public image at the height of her career added layers to her performance. Her star power was fueled by blockbuster movies and sex appeal, and she was suddenly in a film that was the polar opposite of the Transformers franchise, again playing a sex symbol but one who becomes something monstrous, fueled by chaos, gore, insecurity, and toxic friendship. Jennifer’s Body was a salty little morsel when it debuted in 2009, and its sodium content hasn’t dropped since. Goes well with friends and frenemies alike.


Leprechaun 4 in Space (1996) 17%

Of all the franchises you could ever want to venture into space, the Leprechaun series probably isn’t high on the list. Although it’s often remembered for being Jennifer Aniston’s film debut, the first Leprechaun film leaves one wanting. (It’s boring!) From there, Leprechaun tries to find a wife (the very forgettable Leprechaun 2) and when that doesn’t pan out, he makes his way to Sin City in Leprechaun 3. What’s left for a wayward Leprechaun to do? Go to space, of course! Having already abandoned any prospect of maintaining a significant lore or continuity, Leprechaun 4: In Space begins with the promise of ripping off every single space movie you can think of, and it does. Warwick Davis’s Leprechaun has an inexplicable array of powers at this point that leads to one of the most ridiculous and hilarious death scenes in the franchise. The cast is game, led by an impeccably charming Jessica Collins. It seems unlikely, but Leprechaun 4: In Space proves a mission worth signing up for. It’s an unexpected delight to enjoy before you make your way to Jason X.


Orphan (2009) 56%

[Warning: Spoilers Follow] Orphan is a campy, insane, ridiculous, over-the-top, frustratingly well-acted, Leonardo DiCaprio-produced, almost-Fresh-but-definitely-Rotten horror movie. There are few things scarier or more menacing in film than a sociopathic child — except, maybe, a sociopathic child who’s not really a child but a full grown adult woman who fools you into adopting her by playing on your emotions because you’re devastated by the loss of your unborn child, then definitely tries to kill you and your children while also gaslighting you and making you seem crazy so that she can eventually seduce your husband and be the new you. That’s perhaps the scariest use of all. And the only thing scarier than watching this movie when it was originally released is watching it now that it plays like an actual Daily Mail headline.


Prom Night (2008) 7%

An 7% on the Tomatometer seems a little harsh but isn’t completely unwarranted for the 2008 remake of Prom Night. It’s a predictable slasher film packed with jump scares, an escaped lunatic, an almost comical number of murders, and cheesy high-school prom sentiments like, “This is the time of our lives.” The plot is thin – a former teacher becomes obsessed with a high school student, kills off her entire family, and miraculously escapes from jail just in time for her senior prom, which he sees as the perfect opportunity to resume his murder spree. Even if the film doesn’t necessarily offer us anything new in the teen-horror genre, the fast-paced progression of the night’s events keep you intrigued. It’s worth seeing not only to see how many people this deranged murderer can actually kill off in the span of a high school dance, but also for a heartfelt performance by Brittany Snow, whose terror-induced mascara tears will make you feel for the poor protagonist.


Ravenous (1999) 49%

“He was licking me!” That sentence wouldn’t be out of place in a bro-tastic comedy, but it’s in a horror movie directed by the late Antonia Bird. Guy Pearce plays a disgraced lieutenant during the Mexican-American War who is sent to a remote military fort as punishment. Then an outsider (Robert Carlyle) arrives, seeking shelter; he claims to have been part of a camp that survived starvation by resorting to eating their companions. From there, everything goes to hell. Ravenous wasn’t just a scary movie, it was a period film, a war film, a claustrophobic supernatural thriller, and a cautionary tale about colonialism, human nature, and cannibalism. This may sound a bit heavy for those who turn to horror for fun and thrills, but the film really is as chilling as it is (ahem) digestible. Licking accusations aside, Ravenous has one of the best lines in movie history: “I said no food. I didn’t say there was nothing to eat.” Also, Robert Carlyle won a BAFTA the year before for playing one of the male strippers in The Full Monty.


The Strangers (2008) 48%

“Because you were home”: Chills every freaking time. Bryan Bertino’s mood-driven couple-stalked-by-masked-killers flick was dismissed upon its release, but has over the last decade or so come to be seen as perhaps the seminal slasher of the 2000s. Mostly because it’s scary as hell. Bertino makes excellent use of framing, letting his masked intruders resolve slowly into view from shadowy doorways like a trio of upgraded Michael Myserses, and he knows how deliver a solid “boo!” And like Laurie Strode’s serial psycho pest, these killers are relentless and devoid of any particular motivation, which only makes them all the more terrifying. Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman as the quarreling couple in their sights are both at their peaks here, conveying genuine terror and eliciting genuine sympathy. It’s a slasher in which you do want the victims to get away unscathed – a rarity in the last couple of decades.


Tales From the Hood (1995) 52%

Though many will balk at the comparison, a line can be drawn between Jordan Peele’s Get Out or Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite and the 1995 cult horror classic Tales from the Hood. All three features blend comedy and horror-thriller elements with biting social commentary. The cornerstone of each is one true fact: for the marginalized, the real horror story is not the monster under the bed but modern society itself. Though Rusty Cundieff, the film’s writer/director, didn’t possess the budget or cinematic scale of either Parasite or Peele’s Oscar-winning film, their DNA remains the same. Celebrated in the African American community as a comedy horror cult classic, Tales from the Hood utilized broad comedy to mask the film’s powerful commentary on race, injustice, gang violence, and politics. After a new generation of film fans discovered the film on Blu-ray and DVD, it enjoyed a welcome resurgence and prompted a Fresh sequel in Tales from the Hood 2, which hit theaters in 2018. A clear example of a film just a bit too niche to appeal to most, but it’s nevertheless a bona fide classic that’s more than worthy of a second look.


Thirteen Ghosts (2001) 17%

Twelve unsettlingly realistic looking ghosts. A spooky house that seems to move at will. A handsomely illustrated manuscript. Peak Mathew Lillard. Monk. Is there anything Thirteen Ghosts didn’t have going for it? Thanks to its stacked cast (Lillard and Tony Shalhoub scream alongside Shannon Elizabeth, Embeth Davidtz, and F. Murray Abraham) and incredibly creepy production design, Thirteen Ghosts is a treasure trove of jump scares and grotesque vignettes that will leave your skin crawling for days, especially one bone-cracking scene second only in horror to Dumplings. Oh, and there’s a kid who is obsessed with death and creates what can only be described as a proto-podcast called “Death Today” in which he discusses, you guessed it, death. The story is lean, but it gets the job done and leaves plenty of room for its spooky spectres to haunt it up. Grab your spectral viewers and get ready for a ghost-down.


Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Director Ari Aster unleashes Midsommar this week, his follow-up to breakout debut Hereditary, the family shocker made very much in the horror tradition of dark corners, black nights, and creeping shadows to conjure up scares. Midsommar, set in remote Sweden during a flower-dressed festival, is designed as an anomaly: A gruesome horror movie that allows all its gore and brutality to curdle in open, bright daylight. There’s no hiding away in this one, folks, inspiring us to offer up our own selection of the 11 scariest scenes where the blood shines bright as the sun.


11. Pinbacker Attacks in Sunshine (2007) 77%

(Photo by Fox Searchlight. All rights reserved/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Here’s a movie that turns up the heat — literally — as a space crew treks with a nuclear payload to reignite our dying sun. A monumental task for those onboard the Icarus II, but the real danger takes on a more human face when they encounter the derelict Icarus I, which disappeared on the same mission seven years earlier. Sunshine morphs into a sun-bright slasher in its third act, a contrast to the earlier somber psychological tone, but director Danny Boyle tackles the shift with zest, challenging himself to pull the knife out of shadows and into retina-searing white light.


10. The Finale in Session 9 (2001) 66%

A condemned asylum. Inside: clattering chains, disturbed wheelchairs, and crumbling wards. A group of people enter to clean up the place, some who harbor dark histories. Sound like a set up for classic dark and stormy Gothic tale? Not so with Session 9. What kind of clean up crew would work at night? Come on, this is a horror movie: Logic is king here. A slow atmospheric burn with minimal gore until its final minutes, but even when things go to hell, the blood is bathed in New England sun.


9. Freddy’s Coming For You in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) 95%


Time for a victory lap: Hop into the convertible on this bright school morning having vanquished the tormentor of fatal dreams, turn around and wave goodbye to your mom standing on the porch. Suddenly, the top slams down and the car peels down the street, as mama is sucked through the front door window. The nightmare has only just begun. The original Friday the 13th‘s Jason Voorhees made the last-second jump scare a mandatory inclusion for ’80s slashers and beyond. Freddy Krueger may have perfected it.


8. Michael Myers Stalking in Halloween (1978) 96%


John Carpenter’s classic did a lot of things right. Gave us a classic creepy synth score. Destroyed suburbia’s manicured image as a stronghold of safety and comfort. And it rolled out the red carpet to let masked killer Michael Myers to wander and stalk his prey in broad daylight. The shot of Myers staring up at you from among the billowing laundry sheets hung to dry in the yard remains an iconic and violating image.


7. The Day After in The Hills Have Eyes (2006) 52%


The Carter family is subjected to a litany of brutal terror over the course of 24 hours. During the initial day, they’re led off-road and their car gets mangled in the desert. The family separates in search for help. A dog gets gutted. The gas station attendant commits suicide. And always mutants are watching them from afar in the brush and rocks, leading to a long night of crucifixions, immolation, rape, murder, and baby-snatching. And then the next day, the cannibals feast on sun-cooked flesh. It’s a torturous chain of events that transforms the remaining Carters into out-for-blood hunters in a highly questionable, deeply satisfying revenge ending.


6. Randy’s Death in Scream 2 (1997) 81%


You knew director Wes Craven wasn’t fooling around when he killed off know-it-all cinebuff Randy, portrayed by Jamie Kennedy as someone as smart and cynical as the audience. How could he have fallen for the afternoon masked killer in the local news van with noisy nearby breakdancers? Oldest trick in the book! But it’s also series’ most shocking homicide outside of Drew Barrymore’s, the one that tells the oh-so-smart audience that no one was truly safe. The Arquettes, Courteney and David as Gale and Dewey, frantically search for the killer in the college square by accosting students with their new-fangled mobile phones, presenting on screen when awful taunting calls escaped the constraints of landlines and curly cords, and into a new world of free-roaming terror.


5. The Ceremony in The Wicker Man (1973) 88%

Midsommar owes a blood debt to this provincial classic: the unsettling tale of an uptight Christian cop investigating a young girl’s disappearance on an island of decadent mystic pagans has thematic and visual parallels to Aster’s film. Likewise, nearly the entire movie is set during the day among verdant nature and maypole celebrations and foreshadowing musical rhymes that seem to follow the officer everywhere he goes. It’s far too late when he realizes the true nature of his work, leading to a fiery climax in the friscalating dusk light.


4. The Premonition in Final Destination 2 (2003) 48%

Some of the best horror wedges its way into the normal, degrading the routine and humdrum into a morass of paranoia and fear. Final Destination 2 does that with the daily morning commute, because what could be more humdrum than getting in our 1,000 lb. metal husks every day, navigating them manually down the road as cars careen towards us in the opposite direction separated only by capriciously painted lines on the ground? Suddenly, something as innocent as a flatbed of loose tree logs becomes a rolling thunder revue of broken windshield, splattered heads, and Michael Bay–style auto explosions.


3. The Opening Chase in 28 Weeks Later (2007) 71%

28 Days Later‘s famous opening features calm shots of the hero wandering an empty London metropolis depopulated by zombies — moments we would consider eerie, almost beautiful, but not scary. 28 Weeks Later takes the opposite approach. It’s set in the countryside, as a band of infected descend upon defenseless survivors. The camera is in your face, the footage choppy and frantically (but not confusingly) edited, save for a gliding crane shot as our new “hero” flees across the field and towards a waiting river boat. The fact that he just abandoned his wife to the zombies moments earlier contribute to the gut-punching bleakness of the situation. Now that we consider scary.


2. Leatherface Appears in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) 89%

Like a rusty chainsaw, Tobe Hooper’s horror masterpiece takes a moment to rev up. But once it gets going, the movie is relentless, grinding down the viewer’s endurance up until the famous ending of Leatherface cutting the rising sun light in boiling anger. It’s a great final appearance, but his first introduction is even better. Hapless travelers, in search of gas for their thirsty boogie van, approach a piquant homestead, oblivious that its inhabitants are cannibal freaks who have no qualms doing their dirty deeds in daylight. Leatherface suddenly appears from out of a hallway, smashes his victim’s head in with a hammer as the body crumples and twitches on the ground, and then slides the slaughterhouse door shut. Looks like meat’s back on the menu, boys!


1. The Beach Attack in Jaws (1975) 98%


The scene that made a generation of filmgoers terrified of open water. It’s immaculately crafted pop horror and it still works today. Steven Spielberg uses a collage of beach crowd noise and throngs of people innocently rising to disorient the viewer, telling us to be just as alert as Roy Scheider’s police chief. Spielberg famously had to use every filmmaking tool he knew to overcome critical obstacles like a malfunctioning shark, and here heightens and stylizes reality as Jaws approaches the beach. A split diopter lens shot puts an obtrusive face and a possibly drowning distant swimmer in equal focus. A dog is discovered missing. We get that terrifying first-person viewpoint as Jaws picks his victim, and the incessant John Williams theme building on the soundtrack. Then a dolly zoom as terror dawns on Schieider’s face. A geyser of blood erupts out in the ocean as pure pandemonium breaks out, and a frantic mother loses her son. It’s a powerful scene in how powerless it makes a man of law feel against a force of nature.

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Jigsaw is back in theaters this Friday, bringing back memories of the bygone era between 2004 and 2010 (the release years of the first and last Saw movies) when every horror movie released seemed to fall under the guise of ‘torture porn.’ They involved inflicting the most amount of pain in the slowest way possible, where dark fates could lead to death, or something worse: living on, literally broken in body and mind. Relive the pain with 24 best and worst (mostly worst) torture porn movies pieced and sorted by Tomatometer!

Alexandre Aja - Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage.com

Alexandre Aja is the French horror prodigy, inducted into Alan Jones’ splat pack, whose first film High Tension (Switchblade Romance in the UK) led to the high profile Hollywood remake of The Hills Have Eyes and now to Mirrors, a new take on a Korean original.

Kiefer Sutherland stars as a beleaguered ex-Cop who takes a nightwatchman job in an abandoned department store with a murky past. The silver-backed glass of the title is concealing a dark secret.

We caught up with Aja for his only UK interview to learn more about the movie as well as his latest project, a 3D remake of Joe Dante‘s classic Piranha.

I saw the movie recently at Frightfest.

Which cut of the movie did you see? Did you know there’s a cut for the UK which is different from the cut that’s being used in the rest of the world. The movie was rated 18 and they butchered the movie to get it rated under 15. They might have shown you the good one because they only did the cuts very recently. The first cut has been released in the States and the rest of the world. Fox decided to cut it here. I really don’t know why they took that decision.

It’s strange because usually in the UK it’s good. High Tension was released uncut, and The Hills Have Eyes was as well.

Mirrors

This has been around for a while.

Yeah, it was right after The Hills Have Eyes that I received the script from Fox not knowing it was based on the Korean movie. I didn’t really connect with the story or the characters. But in the movie itself something really strong stuck with me after reading the script and that was the idea of using the mirrors not only as an object but as a killing device. I thought it was something that hadn’t been done before but it tapped into this universal fear we all have inside of us. It had been waiting to be tapped.

The idea of an alternate reality behind the mirrors is something we all thought about as kids.

Of course, there is something about looking on this side of the mirror to see if we can look through to the other side.

Did you see the Korean film in the end?

Of course, after we read the script I went to see the movie and the movie itself confirmed everything I thought about the script and the idea that you could control the reflection and to make you do stuff you’re not supposed to do.

Who wrote that English script then?

I don’t remember, but it was basically word-for-word the Korean movie. Scene by scene. We completely rewrote it, and that was the deal with Fox. Let us, Greg Levasseur and I, take the script and write a completely new one with it. I wanted to keep the idea that we have mirrors everywhere around us and I wanted to not only have them in the department store but to have them all around. I wanted to find a way to get out of the department store and bring the threat into the world. And, of course, I realised I could take it beyond just the mirrors and into every reflecting surface like the water.

Mirrors

What was it about Keifer that made him the right choice?

When I was writing the script I realised the fact that making this movie would be more expensive than The Hills Have Eyes and I knew I would need a strong leading actor – a big star. I started thinking about all the classic movie-star men and Keifer was one of the first men that came to my mind because I was thinking about who could play that ex-cop character who’d lost everything, turned to alcohol and was really trying to put his life back together by taking a job as a night watchman. I was thinking of Keifer in Flatliners. I was twelve or fourteen when I saw Flatliners and it was such an amzing movie. It was really scary and his character was so cool and romantic, and dark at the same time. It was exactly the character we were thinking so for me Keifer was an obvious choice. People know him as Jack Bauer, who’s quite a different character.

Yeah, my goal was to bring the other Keifer back. To bring the Keifer we used to see in The Vanishing, Flatliners, The Lost Boys. Not the Keifer who became Jack Bauer. But at the same time it was interesting because Keifer is not an actor who makes it a composition. He’s an actor with a personality of his own and every character he plays is a side of himself. When you spend time with him, as I did, you realise that he is the guy from Flatliners, he is Jack Bauer, he’s all of them.

Were you surprised by what he brought to the material?

We met and felt a connection immediately and we made a deal almost on the spot which was that he was in charge of making that character believable and deep and making something scary and suspenseful. Together we’d make the best movie we possibly could.

You spoke about not wanting to get pigeonholed as a horror director, but you’ve stayed in the genre ever since High Tension. Why?

I love the genre. As an audience member I love to be scared. The only thing as a filmmaker I don’t want to do is to repeat myself and so far I have the feeling that High Tension and The Hills Have Eyes and P2 are all completely different movies. Maybe I will reach a point where I’ve felt that I’ve explored all the subgenres within horror and from that point I will maybe look for something else, or some other kind of movie.

Mirrors

Right now I’m really attracted by stories and a lot of the stories that I’m interested in right now are dealing with a genre element.

Does it ever affect you, surrounding yourself with horrific images all the time?

For the first time on this film I started to scare myself with what I was writing. I’m not superstitious and I don’t believe in the supernatural, really, in movies. While writing we did so much research in the history and legends and it started to make an affect.

What’s the status on Piranha 3D?

We’re preparing to shoot in Spring. The thing is it’s such a difficult movie, not only because of the technicality of it and the CGI fish, but also because it all happens in a lake. We were supposed to start shooting now, but the longer to leave it the colder the water gets. The movie takes place during Spring Break and, of course, the studio wanted it ready for the summer, but if you’ve got 1000 people who need to get murdered in the water, you have to wait for the right temperature for the water, for the weather, for everything.

Mirrors

Most of the film takes place outside on location in the lake. It’s all there, it’s so simple. An earthquake releases prehistoric piranhas during Spring Break. All these drunk American kids being torn to shreds by crazy fish. You can’t make something more different than Mirrors than this movie and I’m really excited about it because it’s such a thrill ride. It’s super-gore, super-action, it’s going to be really amazing. I’m so excited about that project.

Do you embrace these challenges? Desert, then mirrors, now underwater with CGI fish in 3D…

I have a feeling that may be true because when I did High Tension we had only $2m, shot everything by night and it was a nightmare. I had a feeling it would be the most difficult movie I ever made. And then we made The Hills Have Eyes in the middle of the summer in the desert and after that I thought no-one could do anything more difficult. Then we spent 6 weeks in an underground parking garage for P2 and Mirrors was just something no-one can imagine because of all the technicalities. This is way more difficult and way more challenging than all the other movies put together. Maybe I’m looking forward to that – at the very least it’ll keep me from falling asleep!

RT’s got the first trailer for November’s horror-thriller P2, from the people who brought you High Tension!

In P2, a young, corporate workaholic named Angela (Alias star Rachel Nichols) finds herself trapped on the second floor of a parking lot late Christmas Eve, with no cell phone reception and a dead car battery. What’s worse: she’s not alone. Held captive by the building’s creepy security guard (Wes Bentley), Angela breaks free but must fight for her life to escape.

Written and produced by French horror filmmakers Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur (the team behind High Tension and the Hills Have Eyes remake), P2 is helmed by first-time director Franck Khalfoun, who also helped script the film. If you loved High Tension, expect more survivalist suspense (with a touch of gory violence) from the French-born threesome.

The trailer also features the scariest renditions of some of your favorite holiday tunes ever (think “Carol of the Bells” meets John Carpenter) — setting a nicely ominous atmosphere. The film’s score comes courtesy of electronic composer tomandandy.

Click here to watch the exclusive trailer!

P2 will hit theaters November 9.

Under his new deal with Rogue Pictures, Wes Craven is going to continue producing remakes of his own movies like "The Hills Have Eyes" and "Last House on the Left." Though IMDB is listing a "Shocker" remake, Craven thinks another early ’90s horror remake will come first.

"The two films we did with Universal way back there, ‘Shocker’ and ‘The People Under the Stairs,’ are natural because Rogue Pictures is part of [Universal,]" said Craven. "I think the one more likely to be done after we do ‘Last House’ would be ‘People Under the Stairs.’ And I’m not sure why but we’ve found a couple of directors who really want to remake that. That would be more likely. But there’s a limited amount of us. Marianne Maddalena‘s producing all these and we don’t want to kill her so we’ll probably do one and a quarter a year, one 1/3 a year."

The original featured a thieving teenager running around the house of horrors of an inbred couple who kidnapped children to make their perfect nuclear family. Full of social commentary about the time, a new "People" would have to be updated.

"The funny thing is we’re back into another Bush era. There was more in that era of Bush Sr. of the haves and the have nots way down at the bottom and cutting social services and stuff. This Bush is so obsessed with the war that it’s not quite the same template but we’ve had a couple directors give some interesting ideas so we’ll see."

A half-dozen new soldiers enter the marketplace this weekend trying to topple the kingdom of "300" which has reigned supreme at the box office for the past two weeks.

Mark Wahlberg toplines the sniper thriller "Shooter," animated ninja turtles fight crime in "TMNT," and mutated zombies attack in "The Hills Have Eyes 2." In addition, moviegoers will get to choose from the kids adventure "The Last Mimzy," the sports saga "Pride," and the Adam Sandler drama "Reign Over Me." Holdovers should witness some large declines as these new pics all fight over the time and attention of ticket buyers. The box office may not have room for all to survive.

Seventeen years after shocking the film industry with a record March opening, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back but in animated form in "TMNT." The Warner Bros. toon features the voices of Patrick Stewart, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Ziyi Zhang and carries a PG rating that is friendly for kids. Given the violence, "TMNT" should skew more to boys and might even pull in those who grew up with the characters in the late 1980s and early 1990s. With all the R-rated films recently, there have not been too many choices for kids this spring. "The Last Mimzy" is the only new release that will provide direct competition for that audience. Bringing its turtle power to 3,110 theaters, "TMNT" may generate a bow of roughly $16M this weekend.


They’re back.

Hot off his recent Oscar nomination, Mark Wahlberg hits the big screen in the action thriller "Shooter" playing a former Marine sniper trying to clear his name after being wrongly accused of trying to assassinate the U.S. President. The R-rated film comes from "Training Day" director Antoine Fuqua and co-stars Danny Glover and Michael Peña. The film is banking on the starpower of Wahlberg who has been able to anchor hits in recent years. Late summer pics like last year’s "Invincible" and 2005’s "Four Brothers" opened to $17M and $21.2M, respectively, and brought in solid sales overall. "Shooter" is targeting the adult action crowd with appeal that will reach both men and women. Certainly "300" will play to much of the same audience and be a factor. Though no Damon or Cruise, Wahlberg has indeed become a believable action hero and is in a role that audiences will buy him in. Plus his Academy nod for "The Departed" has only increased audience respect for the former rapper. Opening in 2,600 theaters, "Shooter" might take in about $16M for the weekend.


Mark Wahlberg, playing a guy named Swagger, in a movie called "Shooter."

Last March, Fox Searchlight hit gold with the horror remake "The Hills Have Eyes" which bowed to $15.7M and grossed $41.8M overall. A year later, the sequel is born this time coming out through Fox Atomic, the studio’s new division geared towards young adult audiences with genre fare. "Eyes 2" once again is targeting the horror crowd with slick marketing hoping to lure in those seeking R-rated gore and violence. Plus the distributor is premiering the trailer to the upcoming fright sequel "28 Weeks Later" with the new "Hills" installment to help give moviegoers more for their money. Much of the audience for the first pic will probably return, although the sequel will face more competition as "300" and "Shooter" will both be drawing in young men. Attacking 2,500 theaters, "The Hills Have Eyes 2" could open to around $13M this weekend.


"The Hills Have Eyes, Too."

New Line studio chief Bob Shaye steps back into the director’s chair with the family adventure "The Last Mimzy" based on a popular short story. The "E.T."-like film about a boy and a girl who find a mysterious animal with mystical powers hopes to attract an audience of kids and parents, but will have to face some stiff competition from its studio’s former heroes, the Ninja Turtles. That toon should take away more boys than girls so "Mimzy" may end up skewing a bit more female. New Line hopes that much of the crowd that spent $75M and counting on "Bridge to Terabithia" will take a spin with this new effects-filled fantasy so sneak previews were held to help raise awareness and get buzz spreading. Still, a competitive environment will probably cut into its potential. Landing in over 3,000 sites, "The Last Mimzy" might gross about $12M this weekend.


"The Last Mimzy."

Targeting the African American audience this weekend is Lionsgate with its swim team drama "Pride" starring Terrence Howard. The PG-rated film will try to appeal to males with the sports saga and females with its human drama and half-nude muscular men. But Howard has not yet proven that he can open a picture on his own and "Pride" may not be the one to increase his future salary demands. "Remember the Titans" and "Coach Carter" both opened north of $20M and much of that was due to starpower. Plus Chris Rock found out last week that African Americans will not just show up for any film with a predominantly black cast. Diving into 1,518 theaters, "Pride" could swim to a weekend gross of about $7M.


Terrence Howard in "Pride."

Adam Sandler goes back to serious territory with the R-rated drama "Reign Over Me" playing a man whose life fell apart after his wife and kids were killed on 9/11. It’s no surprise Sony is releasing the film given all the cash the comedian has made for the studio over the years. Don Cheadle and Jada Pinkett Smith co-star. Given the subject matter, the rating, and Sandler’s Bob Dylan haircut, the actor’s core audience of immature young males will not be lining up this time. Remember "Spanglish‘"s $8.8M bow? Well, it could get worse for "Reign." After "United 93" and "World Trade Center," demand isn’t very high for yet another look at September 11. Given all the choices in the marketplace, adult audiences will be divided between many films so only a small slice might go this way. Debuting in 1,671 venues, "Reign Over Me" could open with about $6M.


Sandler and Cheadle in "Reign Over Me."

The mighty King Leonidas barely broke a sweat over the last two weeks in his box office victories. But the invading armies this weekend will pose a great threat to "300"’s rule. "Shooter" and "Hills" will provide the most direct competition. A 50% drop may be in order which would leave the Warner Bros. epic with roughly $16.5M for the frame and an impressive $157M in 17 days.

"Wild Hogs" may finally see a normal drop and slide by 40% to $11M giving Buena Vista $121M to date. "Premonition" should lose half of its audience and fall to $9M for a ten-day cume of $30M.

LAST YEAR: Spike Lee and Denzel Washington joined forces for the heist thriller "Inside Man" and found themselves at number one with a potent $29M opening. Universal went on to collect $88.5M domestically and $183M worldwide. The competing actioner "V for Vendetta" dropped from first to second with $12.3M falling 52% in its second weekend. Debuting in third was the horror flick "Stay Alive" with $10.7M on its way to $23.1M for Buena Vista. Rounding out the top five were "Failure to Launch" with $10.5M and "The Shaggy Dog" with $9M, both in their third weekends. Bowing in seventh place was the blue collar comedy "Larry the Cable Guy" with $6.9M leading to a $15.7M final.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Though a highly-paid and well-liked star, Sandra Bullock has never been a big pull on opening weekend for her films. Now the actress hopes to reach a career high with her new suspense thriller "Premonition."

The PG-13 chiller finds the acclaimed actress playing a woman who finds herself in a parallel existence where her husband has been killed in an accident. No other major stars are here so this is Bullock’s to make or break. Most of her major hits have opened only in the mid-teen millions. Surprisingly, the star’s biggest debut ever has been only $16.2M delivered by both "Speed 2" in 1997 and "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" in 2002.

"Premonition" should skew female and play to a mature crowd. Teen interest could be mild. Those who find "300" too gory and violent might choose this pic for their weekend thrills. And when it comes to marketing scary flicks, nobody does it better than Sony. But critics have not been too kind thus far and that may make older women hesitate. Plus "Wild Hogs" will provide some competition as Travolta and company have been drawing a solid female following. Creeping into 2,831 theaters, "Premonition" could open with around $17M this weekend.


Does the premonition say anything about a low box office?

Chris Rock takes on the roles of writer, director, star, and producer in his latest comedy "I Think I Love My Wife" playing a bored businessman and husband who is tempted by a curvy female friend. A remake of the 1972 French film "Chloe in the Afternoon," the R-rated pic co-stars Kerry Washington, Gina Torres, and Steve Buscemi. The Fox Searchlight release should play to a mature adult crowd given the theme and may struggle to connect with Rock’s single young male following. The African American audience will make up a significant portion of the overall turnout as the former Saturday Night Live star still has some pull at the box office. But reviews have been underwhelming which could affect older moviegoers. Rock has been out promoting "Wife" feverishly and is counting on his core fan base to show up. The previous spring comedies he headlined were 2003’s "Head of State" and 2001’s "Down to Earth" which bowed to $13.5M and $17.3M respectively. However, those more commercial pics were given wider releases. Stepping into 1,776 locations, "I Think I Love My Wife" could debut to about $9M.


Chris Rock tries the adult comedy genre in "I Think I Love My Wife."

Horror flicks have not exactly been on fire in 2007 and Universal’s new release "Dead Silence" is not about to change things. The R-rated film about a talking dummy that terrorizes victims comes from James Wan, writer-director of the first "Saw" film. That has become its only marketing tool as otherwise, "Dead" looks and feels like any generic fright flick. Even its title is blah. Typically there is always some audience for every slasher pic so a modest bow could result, especially if fans of Jigsaw who don’t want to wait seven months for another "Saw" installment come out to see what Wan has been up to. Young adults looking for violence this weekend are much more likely to see "300" which will be a hard film to battle. Opening in 1,802 theaters, "Dead Silence" might debut with a quiet $6M.


"Dead Silence," … I’m speechless already.

"300" reigned supreme over the box office last weekend leaving the competition in the dust with a colossal opening far bigger than anyone expected. The Spartan war tale has joined the year’s other biggest hits – "Ghost Rider," "Wild Hogs," and "Norbit" – as films lacking critical acclaim but still debuting far ahead of industry expectations. "300" is the best-reviewed of the lot and has generated the most buzz. A large drop is expected since last weekend’s tally included Thursday midnight shows and because of the intense upfront demand which drew so much of the total audience in the first week.

King Leonidas and company have kept the momentum going with strong midweek sales as Monday saw $7.6M and Tuesday dipped to $6.5M. These are huge numbers for this time of year and college students on spring break may certainly be a contributing factor. Competition from the new films will not be much of a factor, however the start of the NCAA college basketball tournament will take many young males out of the picture. A 55% fall for "300" would still give the Warner Bros. juggernaut a comfortable lead in first place with about $32M. The ten-day total would surge to a staggering $127M.

The motorcycle comedy "Wild Hogs" has been enjoying good legs with a 31% drop last weekend. The new crop of films should not pose too much of a threat and the Tim AllenJohn Travolta pic could retain its silver medal standing on the charts. A 30% decline to $19M should occur leaving Buena Vista with a terrific $103M after 17 days. That would give 2007 three $100M+ blockbusters by mid-March. A year ago, none had reached nine digits at this same point.

LAST YEAR: With a haircut that would later inspire Britney Spears, Natalie Portman debuted atop the charts with the sci-fi thriller "V For Vendetta" which opened to $25.6M. The Warner Bros. release went on to capture $70.5M domestically and $131M worldwide. Falling a notch each were the romantic comedy "Failure to Launch" with $15.6M and "The Shaggy Dog" with $13.4M. Paramount opened the teen girl comedy "She’s the Man" in fourth place with an estimated $10.7M on its way to $33.7M. "The Hills Have Eyes" rounded out the top five with $8M in its sophomore scare.

Source: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

For the first time in nearly a month, North America’s most popular movie won’t be about motorcycles. Warner Bros. goes back in time 2,500 years for the epic war saga "300" which aims to conquer the box office with ease.

Other studios have conceded the frame to the effects-driven actioner as the only other film opening wide is the family drama "The Ultimate Gift" which will cater to a non-violent crowd that prefers to keep decapitations to a minimum in their weekend entertainment.

Two and a half years after running the historical epic genre into the ground with "Alexander," Warner Bros. is back to breathe new life into the industry with "300." The R-rated war film stars Gerard Butler as the Greek king who in 480 B.C. led his small battalion of brave soldiers in battle against the mighty Persian army. Directed by Zack Snyder ("Dawn of the Dead"), "300" is based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and features stylized action sequences and a visual look unlike the endless line of epics that hit multiplexes a few years ago.

Warner Bros. got the ball rolling early last fall with exciting trailers that really energized the target audience of male action fans who now will be very satisfied by the amount of blood, gore, and female nudity in the picture. Momentum has been building ever since and today, "300" is an event film for many. The film lacks a marquee star but that should not matter much. The unique look and feel should compensate for that as moviegoers will find the film to be worth paying top dollar for to see on the big screen. This is not one to wait for on DVD. And unlike other epics, this one keeps it just under two hours which will allow theaters to offer enough showtimes per day. The marketplace is ready for "300." Aside from "Ghost Rider" which is going into its fourth lap, there will be little direct competition for "300" to face so King Leonidas and his men should prevail in this battle.

Other effects-driven R-rated action films have found success recently in the spring months. In 2005, Keanu Reeves‘ "Constantine" bowed to $29.8M and "Sin City" opened to $29.1M while last March "V for Vendetta" debuted with $25.6M. All three films ended in the $70-76M range. "300" looks like it has the strength to go higher. The marketing has been brilliant, competition is weak, and excitement is high. Warner Bros. will score its first number one opener of the year with "300" which invades 3,103 theaters, including Imax venues which will add a few extra bucks. A Friday-to-Sunday gross of about $38M could result.


"300," finally in theaters.

Fox Faith, the new wing of Twentieth Century Fox dedicated to films with uplifting religious themes, rolls out its family drama "The Ultimate Gift" starring James Garner, Brian Dennehy, and Abigail Breslin who comes straight from her high profile Oscar nomination for "Little Miss Sunshine." Based on the best-selling book, the PG-rated film tells the story of a young man who instead of getting his expected inheritance after the death of his wealthy grandfather, is given a series of challenges to help him build character and learn what is truly important in life. Grassroots marketing is being used to court the faith-based audience and a dollar from every ticket sold will be donated to one of a number of different charities. Still, the film is not being given a marketing blitz so large numbers are not expected. Opening in over 800 theaters, "The Ultimate Gift" may gross about $3M this weekend.


"The Ultimate Gift," with Abigail Breslin.

After opening almost everywhere else in the world, the hit Korean horror film "The Host" makes its ways to American shores through Magnolia Pictures this weekend. The R-rated creature feature debuts in about 70 theaters and has been garnering impressive reviews since its premiere last May at the Cannes Film Festival. Fox Searchlight platforms its family saga "The Namesake" from director Mira Nair ("Monsoon Wedding," "Vanity Fair") in six theaters in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Toronto. Starring Kal Penn, the PG-13 film about the struggles of an Indian-American family will expand weekly throughout the rest of the month.


"The Namesake"

After three weeks of motorcycle flicks ruling the box office, a stylized trip back in time with "300" will come as a welcome change of pace. "Wild Hogs," which powered its way to a surprisingly potent $39.7M bow last weekend, will drop out of pole position. With little direct competition, look for a reasonable dip in sales. The Buena Vista release has been a crowdpleaser and will remain the top choice for moviegoers in the mood for a laugh or anything with big Hollywood stars. A 35% decline could result giving "Hogs" a weekend tally of around $26M and a ten-day cume of $74M.

Paramount’s serial killer pic "Zodiac" got off to a moderate start last weekend and will have another R-rated film aimed at adults to deal with. A drop of 40% may occur putting the murder mystery at $8M for a total of only $25M after ten days. Sony’s "Ghost Rider" will become the first member of the 2007 century club and should fall 45% to $6M for a $103M cume. The Nicolas Cage pic is set to take a serious hit thanks to 300.

LAST YEAR: The Matthew McConaugheySarah Jessica Parker romantic comedy "Failure to Launch" debuted at number one leading a new crop of films with $24.4M. The Paramount release found its way to $88.7M. Opening in second place was the Tim Allen kidpic "The Shaggy Dog" with $16.3M followed closely by the new horror flick "The Hills Have Eyes" with $15.7M. Final grosses reached $61.1M and $41.8M, respectively. The Bruce Willis actioner "16 Blocks" dropped to fourth with $7.4M. After two weeks at the top of the charts, the Tyler Perry comedy "Madea’s Family Reunion" tumbled from first to fifth with $5.7M.

Source: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

While over at the New York Comic Con to help hype his "Hills Have Eyes 2," horror master Wes Craven answered a few questions about the possibility of a "Scream 4" — and yes, a "Hills Have Eyes 3."

Regarding a second sequel to the remake of the original "Hills Have Eyes" (got all that?), Mr. Craven gave the standard answer: Wait and see if Part 2 makes any coin and then we might have some news for you.

But when someone broached the subject of a third "Scream" sequel, Wes had this to say: "I think that it’s not completely off the table at this point, as far as the studio making it. I was asked if I’d be interested, but I said it would depend on the script. [Scream 4] isn’t something that’s around the corner or anything, they are now thinking about it."

So what say the "Scream" fans out there? Do we even want a "Scream 4" at this point? Hasn’t the series pretty much run its course by now? Or are there new and juicier horror conventions worth skewering / copying?

Source: Bloody Disgusting

I saw lots of cool stuff when I was in Morocco watching "The Hills Have Eyes 2" get made, but there’s a just-released one-sheet for the flick that’s just now being unleashed for everyone. So if renegade mutant lunatics are your thing, feel free to check it out.

Enjoy the mutated madness over at JoBlo’s.

"Hills 2" features a bunch of new mutants who enjoy terrorizing a team of young National Guardsmen (and Guardswomen). And based on what little I saw on set, those who enjoyed both Wes Craven‘s "Hills Have Eyes" AND Alex Aja‘s version should probably have a fine time with the sequel. It hits theaters on March 2nd.

In this week’s Ketchup, Robert Downey Jr. finally gets cast as "Iron Man," and George Lucas discusses many things, including "Indiana Jones 4."

Also, the "Superman Returns" DVD will be affordable to everyone (in China), and the "Fantastic Four" sequel has an attractive new cast member. Read on for details.

This Week’s Most Popular News:

Robert Downey Jr. IS Iron Man

Marvel has picked Robert Downey Jr. to play billionaire-turned-metallic superhero Iron Man, AKA Tony Stark, in the John Favreau-directed comic adaptation slated for 2008.

George Lucas Donates $175m, Quits Movies, and Discusses "Indy 4"

The somewhat wealthy George Lucas recently donated $175 million to the USC School of Cinematic Arts — after which he denounced the world of filmmaking and basically said "Now TELEVISION, that’s where it’s at!" Then he dropped a few new non-hints about "Indiana Jones 4" and went home to his 12 mansions.

"Superman Returns" Fights Pirates With $2 Price Tag

In an attempt to defeat the dastardly pirates of the home video market, Warner Home Entertainment will be selling the "Superman Returns" DVD for a price comparable to black market knock-offs, at about 2 bucks a pop.

Gorgeous Model Joins "Fantastic Four 2" Cast

Fashion model turned actress Beau Garrett has been signed to play the Human Torch’s love interest in next year’s "Fantastic Four" sequel. Here’s hoping she owns a few fire extinguishers.


"You know, people also doubted Michael Keaton as Batman."

In Other News:

  • Jack Black‘s new production company, Electric Dynamite, will helm the film based on a New York Times article "In College Football, Big Paydays for Humiliation," about small college football teams earning money for playing against national powerhouses.
  • Franka Potente will star in "Pope Joan," a big screen version of Donna Cross’ bestselling novel about a female pope.
  • Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon will co-produce "The Game of Sunken Places," based on the children’s book by M.T. Anderson.
  • Halle Berry is set to star in "Class Act," as Reno, Nevada teacher Tierney Cahill, who ran for congress in 2000 after a challenge from her students.
  • David Ayer will write and direct "Mafia Cop," based on the life of Louis Eppolito, the NYPD detective who moonlighted as a mob hitman.
  • Drew Barrymore‘s Flower Films will produce the film versions of Melissa de la Cruz’s "The Au Pairs" series of young-adult novels.
  • Rogue Pictures will produce an untitled adult sex comedy to be written by Erik Lindsay and directed by Joe Nussbaum, the same duo behind the upcoming "American Pie: The Naked Mile."
  • Joe Nussbaum will also direct Erik Lindsay’s "Cougars" for Focus Features, about a group of young men who set out to date older women.
  • Sam Jones will make his directorial debut with "Boomerang," a comedy about a man who reclaims his life from his controlling parents.

Habemus papam?

Effortlessly proving that Hollywood has officially run out of new ideas … production is about to get underway on that "Revenge of the Nerds" remake we’ve been hearing about. Can a remake of "Private School" be far behind?

From Variety: "On Oct. 9, filming begins in Atlanta on "Revenge of the Nerds," a reimagining of the 1984 cult comedy being produced by McG and his Wonderland Sound & Vision partner David Manpearl.

Christopher Marquette ("Fanboys," "The Girl Next Door") and Kristin Cavallari (formerly of the MTV series "Laguna Beach") have been cast in the film. Marquette will play the leader of the nerds, and Cavallari a sorority girl alongside Katie Cassidy (the forthcoming "Dallas"). Also newly cast in the pic are Dan Byrd ("The Hills Have Eyes") and Efren Ramirez ("Napoleon Dynamite").

Kyle Newman
directs the pic."

Thoughts?

Horror auteur Wes Craven has announced his return to making his original horror films, and is currently writing his first writing-directing project since 1994’s "New Nightmare."

Craven‘s new flick will be made with Rogue Pictures, who also joined with him to form a new horror-centric production arm, Midnight Pictures. Midnight already has a project in the works — the recently announced remake of Craven’s 1972 slasher, "The Last House on the Left."

Other flicks being considered for Midnight’s slate include remakes of such horror classics as the electric serial killer film, "Shocker" and the heartwarming family tale, "The People under The Stairs" — both, naturally, originally written and directed by Craven himself.

Craven recently collaborated with his son, Jonathan Craven, in co-writing the script for a new "The Hills Have Eyes II." The sequel to last year’s remake of Craven’s 1977 original "HHE" (to which Craven previously wrote and directed an original sequel in 1985) is currently being filmed and slated for a March 2007 release.

But back to this new project. According to Variety, Craven’s return to writing after twelve years of directing other people’s scripts (among them "Vampire In Brooklyn," "Music of the Heart," and "Scream 3") will be a "Sixth Sense"-like supernatural story with a teenage protagonist.

The fright-flick filmmaker did write the script for his short installment in the multi-director anthology, "Paris Je’Taime," but has apparently been itching to return to directing his own works: "It’s appalling to me that you have to go back to 1994 to find an original that I wrote and directed, so this is very important to me."

Tag Cloud

DC Comics The CW discovery Star Trek japanese saw critics NBC monster movies USA Network hidden camera Travel Channel comic book movie Fox Searchlight Calendar halloween tv reviews italian movies Lucasfilm classics natural history justice league anime screen actors guild Universal Pictures PBS new york reboot BET Awards Rom-Com crime festival Marvel Television cartoon Musical jamie lee curtis video Academy Awards Reality Competition lord of the rings what to watch Black Mirror crossover chucky dexter Year in Review free movies SDCC Lionsgate spanish language spain HFPA laika comiccon superhero Opinion cults Cannes Comedy Sony Pictures Reality San Diego Comic-Con TV One new zealand casting Creative Arts Emmys IFC Films talk show Disney Channel BAFTA anthology medical drama Universal kong marvel comics Emmys political drama Shudder Pirates child's play Set visit DC Universe Amazon Studios Columbia Pictures all-time ESPN MSNBC Spectrum Originals batman miniseries godzilla CBS All Access aliens stand-up comedy directors TruTV DC streaming service new star wars movies documentaries south america streaming parents Captain marvel docuseries mob Spike quibi mockumentary ITV The Walt Disney Company Animation Hallmark Christmas movies razzies Prime Video ghosts Black History Month OneApp TLC green book travel Comic-Con@Home 2021 obituary archives History comic Trivia X-Men game show television cars suspense USA social media Music animated Food Network adaptation binge boxing fast and furious BBC One romance Chilling Adventures of Sabrina popular franchise die hard E! LGBTQ ABC Family australia spider-man Amazon HBO Go 24 frames book hispanic venice facebook TNT renewed TV shows President dramedy zero dark thirty Shondaland Discovery Channel rotten Exclusive Video Starz war Amazon Prime period drama Adult Swim kaiju criterion psychological thriller FOX The Arrangement Freeform Winter TV rt labs Hollywood Foreign Press Association Mudbound mcc historical drama Valentine's Day Interview Superheroe Mary poppins Television Critics Association American Society of Cinematographers Sneak Peek science fiction biography deadpool movie Drama Watching Series E3 Mindy Kaling Rock HBO Max Podcast 20th Century Fox TCM joker serial killer Apple TV+ 2015 Sci-Fi Showtime Pop TV feel good Horror supernatural spanish Tags: Comedy Funimation 45 high school Star Wars HBO comic books children's TV kids AMC worst Anna Paquin king arthur Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Esquire BET thriller Elton John harry potter versus ViacomCBS Winners dark Crackle Broadway YouTube Premium CNN 79th Golden Globes Awards 2016 Certified Fresh Awards Tour golden globe awards Binge Guide marvel cinematic universe Turner Classic Movies emmy awards Syfy VICE Disney+ Disney Plus psycho rom-coms transformers TV FX hispanic heritage month Women's History Month rt archives live event remakes blockbuster Tokyo Olympics PaleyFest ABC Tarantino YA Mary Poppins Returns doctor who hist Countdown Writers Guild of America Ellie Kemper Thanksgiving cancelled Avengers SXSW adenture Super Bowl adventure Rocky Alien cancelled TV series GIFs Hulu scary superman game of thrones Marathons japan biopic Marvel Studios robots TCA revenge telelvision a nightmare on elm street women critic resources Paramount Tumblr legend Pride Month The Witch Amazon Prime Video nbcuniversal cooking 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Sundance TV VOD toy story Fantasy dragons Nat Geo Comic Book crime thriller stop motion Schedule wonder woman comics Mystery witnail Action Image Comics WarnerMedia TV movies Comedy Central foreign Extras 2018 comic book movies CW Seed APB The Purge action-comedy Martial Arts Video Games asian-american ID Premiere Dates Apple The Academy Netflix canceled Britbox disaster NBA 90s unscripted Box Office black comedy streaming movies dceu sopranos Paramount Network AMC Plus debate Chernobyl Election documentary Teen jurassic park Photos dreamworks Fargo art house CMT Pixar royal family Western Toys Holiday sequels Film TCA Winter 2020 FXX independent dc space Mary Tyler Moore romantic comedy football composers scary movies screenings vs. breaking bad teaser Vudu cats spy thriller Trophy Talk 2020 Grammys slashers YouTube PlayStation Legendary Pacific Islander halloween Awards elevated horror universal monsters Lifetime Christmas movies Comics on TV Nickelodeon NYCC hollywood leaderboard Disney Plus strong female leads Biopics MTV Lifetime cancelled TV shows Cartoon Network Peacock sitcom Classic Film Bravo Infographic cancelled television IMDb TV crime drama nature christmas movies mission: impossible Ovation OWN Acorn TV Masterpiece young adult FX on Hulu dogs name the review king kong boxoffice twilight international A&E slasher genre Christmas TIFF Polls and Games tv talk scene in color festivals know your critic Brie Larson Tomatazos best Character Guide cops concert series comedies Paramount Plus Pop Wes Anderson Film Festival 007 sports Heroines technology Disney TBS Arrowverse Country Emmy Nominations worst movies singing competition RT History olympics Red Carpet james bond Hallmark satire award winner blockbusters Nominations Sundance Now Crunchyroll TV renewals indiana jones Epix Best and Worst richard e. Grant 1990s Rocketman 71st Emmy Awards prank Musicals Summer aapi IFC Baby Yoda 72 Emmy Awards 4/20 Television Academy DirecTV true crime Walt Disney Pictures blaxploitation spider-verse Disney streaming service Warner Bros. gangster Ghostbusters Kids & Family fresh BBC ABC Signature stoner theme song posters sag awards based on movie docudrama vampires Logo Dark Horse Comics Marvel Apple TV Plus Cosplay 2021 Turner Family latino werewolf Sundance SundanceTV YouTube Red Stephen King Oscars Quiz heist movie First Look trailers GLAAD First Reviews 21st Century Fox book adaptation spinoff 2019 ratings basketball CBS Fox News french golden globes politics zombie Tubi DGA MCU 73rd Emmy Awards indie El Rey Song of Ice and Fire BBC America A24 TCA 2017 Pet Sematary WGN See It Skip It cinemax TV Land Spring TV video on demand VH1 mutant Holidays films rotten movies we love RT21 99% TCA Awards Instagram Live Trailer finale target pirates of the caribbean canceled TV shows nfl live action Netflix Christmas movies black zombies Neflix Fall TV sequel Endgame National Geographic 2017 rt labs critics edition LGBT Superheroes police drama scorecard trophy diversity toronto news Hear Us Out New York Comic Con The Walking Dead GoT 93rd Oscars