20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA
Director - Richard Fleischer
Starring - Kirk Douglas, James Mason
The Nautilus, a giant squid, a neurotic James Mason: what else do you need? How about Kirk Douglas singing? The monster calamari’s sucker wounds on the sailors ruined my summer vacation.
Director - Fred McLeod Wilcox
Starring - Walter Pidgeon
My classmates and I argued during recess about what the “Monster of the Id” was. It took us an entire semester to figure out it was a saber-toothed tiger. (There was no video or DVD back then, remember?) We were prisoners of our imagination. A Robby the Robot action figure is on the desk next to me as I write this blurb.
THE BAD SEED
Director - Mervyn LeRoy
Starring - Patty McCormack
I accidentally saw this movie instead of a cowboy flick at a kiddie matinee birthday party. I feared the sound of tap shoes and girls with pigtails for years.
Director - Jack Clayton
Starring - Debra Kerr
Perfect film adaptation from a literary source. Brilliant black-and-white cinematography and sophisticated sound mix. What happened to those children? Oooh.
Director - Roman Polanski
Starring - Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes
Perfect movie. Stands the test of time. Cassavetes’s performance grows more layered each time I see it.
Director - William Friedkin
Starring - Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow
Director - Brian De Palma
Starring - Margot Kidder, William Finley
Best use of split screen to build suspense I’ve ever seen. My favorite mad doctor in the history of film.
HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER
Director - John McNaughton
Starring - Michael Rooker
Relentless. Unnerving use of documentary style to convey claustrophobic terror.
THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE (EL ESPINAZO DEL DIABLO)
Director - Guillermo del Toro
Starring - Eduardo Noriega
Beautiful, lyric, sad ghost story with political undertones. One of the kinkiest amputee-sex scenes since Romeo Is Bleeding.
Directed by and Starring - Bill Paxton
This film amazed me, fooled me, I never saw the ending coming. An underrated classic.
Director - Lucky McKee
Starring - Angela Bettis
Brilliant title performance, empathetic and scary at the same time. A kinky, twisted, contemporary, dysfunctional horror revenge tale set among the scruffy hills and struggling lives of East Hollywood. Don’t trust your vet. Bonus, Anna Faris as a hot lesbian.
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (LÅT DEN RÄTTE KOMMA IN)
Director - Tomas Alfredson
My favorite new take on the vampire myth. Hypnotic performances by the young leads. Forget your prejudice against subtitles and find this film!