Tuesday, February 11, 2014

1990: The Year in Horror

Below you will find a recap of all of the major - and many of the minor - horror film releases of 1990. This is going to be part of an ongoing series here at Bloody Pit over the next year and I'll be moving backwards in time from this point on until I reach 1950. Granted I don't get sidetracked by life in the near future (always a possibility!), expect to see a new chapter posted about every two weeks until I finish this project up. I'm gonna start out by saying that writing up an entire year's worth of notable genre films proved to be quite the challenge for a rambler like me, but I tried my best to be as thorough yet succinct as possible and cover the genre from a multitude of different angles (the critical and commercial successes, what has endured over the years, etc.). So before this gets any longer than it already is, let's get the ball rolling...

The Hubble Space Telescope found its home in space, where it remains to this very day. East and West Germany officially saw Deutsche Einheit ("German Unity"). In South Africa, anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela was finally released after 27 years is prison. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was out and Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev was in. Seeds for the first Gulf War were planted after Iraq invaded Kuwait. Somehow, McDonalds franchises spreading their cholesterol-coated wings over Russia and China became a top news story. Blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughan and classical composer Leonard Bernstein both died, while Paula Abdul (ack!) and M.C. Hammer (ick!) dominated the music charts. Screen legends like Ava Gardner, Sammy Davis Jr., Greta Garbo and Barbara Stanwyck shuffled off this mortal coil as future stars like Emma Watson and Jennifer Lawrence were just entering it. A man named Tim Berners-Lee was putting the finishing touches on something called a "web server" for something called "The World Wide Web;" which would be introduced commercially the following year. It ended up doing OK. And a young boy named Joshua who may be related to yours truly - but then again, maybe not - accidentally shaved off his entire eyebrow while attempting to emulate the fashion stylings of his hero Robert Van Winkle aka Vanilla Ice. What do all of those things have in common? They were all major events in 1990. Well, most of them, anyway. And as any film buff worth their weight in Cheetos knows, what goes down in the real world often has a way of informing the types of movies studios want to make and what kind of movies people want to see. Not so much with 1990, which is marked primarily by a bunch of 80s carry-over. It was pretty much business as usual with more Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, slashers, sequels and, yes, even slasher sequels, dominating the big mainstream releases. Still, overall it wasn't a bad year at all, particularly in comparison to the rest of the decade. In fact, a good number of horror flicks were among the Top 50 highest-grossing films of the year.

Don't mess with me, Pretty Woman.

Despite deservedly middling reviews, Joel Schumacher's dreary, uneven Flatliners, a tale of glum med school students toying around with death and the afterlife, ended up becoming the highest-grossing genre film at the close of the year. Shocking, I know. That honor sadly ended up having little to do with the quality of the film itself and more to do with a case of good old fashioned luck: It happened to feature a young Julia Roberts aka Satan among the cast. Thanks to the playing a cackling hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold in the obscenely popular Pretty Woman (the fourth highest grossing film of 1990), Roberts became a household name and Hollywood's new 'It Girl' despite having a mouth roughly the same size of Kansas. Roberts' mere presence in the unexceptional Fatliners (which was strategically released just a few months after Woman) boosted the box office to 61+ million dollars, ensuring it a spot in the Top 20. The film even managed to narrowly out-gross the much more highly-regarded Misery (1990). Box-office aside, once award's season rolled around the following year, it ended up being Misery who dominated. The hit Stephen King adaptation would make history thanks to star Kathy Bates' memorable turn as sledgehammer-wielding backwoods whack-job Annie Wilkes. After netting the Golden Globe and several other major awards, Bates became the first-ever Best Actress Oscar winner for a horror film; taking out the also-nominated Roberts (in the hooker role) in the process. Justice was served. Time has also remedied this error, as nobody ever watches Flatliners anymore while Misery remains a popular, well-liked and frequently-viewed film.

A fitting farewell to Vinnie...and Burton and Depp still retained their charm.

Not too much further down the box office food chain was Tim Burton's imaginative, amusing and whimsically gaudy fantasy / comedy Edward Scissorhands; a film that not only offered a touching send-off for horror icon Vincent Price (who passed away a few years later) but also helped to raise future A-lister Johnny Depp's stock in Hollywood and establish his reputation as a new kind of leading man with a penchant for 'quirky' projects (a reputation he has since all but completely destroyed). Burton would continue to keep Depp around for most of his later projects and the collaboration would hit its peak four years later with the release of the wonderful Ed Wood (1994); a humorous, affectionate portrait of the legendary "bad" filmmaker as well as his frequent star; down-on-his-luck, drug-addled horror star Bela Lugosi (embodied by Martin Landau in a deserving Oscar-winning turn). Since then, Burton and Depp have offered up (mostly) one disappointing, glossy, overly-produced film after another; exercises in astronomical budgets, extensive special effects and top notch production design missing much in the way of heart; cold technical proficiency at the expense of character, substance and story. Other films of note from 1990 that aren't horror films but nonetheless utilize elements of horror and thus may appeal to fans include Ghost (a romantic comedy-drama that became a runaway hit, an Oscar winner [for Whoopi Goldberg is a lively supporting part] and the second highest-grossing film of the year), Total Recall (Paul Verhoeven's highly enjoyable sci-fi / action film broke the 100 million mark to land it at #7) and RoboCop 2 (which failed to match the original's box office but pulled off an OK 28th placement).

Exploiting a common fear.

Also doing quite well (critically and commercially) was the Steven Spielberg-produced Arachnophobia (1990), which detailed a typically "Spielbergian" family-friendly PG-13-rated infestation of killer spiders of various size on a small town. Extensively marketed (including such tie-in merchandise as a novelization and video game) and the third highest-budgeted horror release of its year (at 30+ million dollars), the film was successful enough to establish Disney offshoot Hollywood Pictures (which was finally dissolved in 2007 after such bombs as Stay Alive [2006] and Primeval [2007]) and gave successful big name producer Frank Marshall his first chance to direct. Though Arachnophobia was chosen as Best Horror Film by the (hard-to-take-seriously) Saturn Awards and was popular in its day, the film is seldom even mentioned nowadays. In fact, numerous other genre films which grossed far less and were released with fewer bells and whistles that year, such as Adrian Lyne's cerebral chiller Jacob's Ladder and Ron Underwood's enthusiastic monster movie Tremors, have gone of to sizable cult followings while the supposed "Best Horror Film" of 1990 has no real reputation to speak of. It can now officially go join Flatliners in the meh corner. And so can Orion's The First Power, directed by Robert Resnikoff. It ended up becoming a surprise, out-of-left-field minor hit despite terrible reviews, more than doubling its 10 million dollar budget and scoring a #55 placement for the year, surpassing numerous, much-better efforts.

Gizmo reacts to opening weekend.

One of the biggest financial bombs of the year was Joe Dante's freewheeling horror-comedy Gremlins 2: The New Batch. Boasting a 50 million dollar price tag (making it the highest-budgeted genre film of the year), the film only brought in 41 million during its entire U.S. theatrical run. That may not sound like the end of the world... until you factor in that the original, by contrast, made 153 million on an 11 million investment. Unfortunately, even an extensive ad campaign, generally positive reviews and loads of tie-ins like mass-marketed Gizmo dolls didn't help matters. Even more unfortunately, this was that rare instance where a big budget sequel actually deserved to be a hit. As it turned out, audiences just weren't receptive to the film's anarchic rapid-fire succession of clever gags, satirical social jabs and impressive, imaginative special effects. However, on a positive note, the film did exceptionally well on home video and at least afforded some positive attention to deserving co-star John Glover as well as horror legend Christopher Lee (who'd been trapped in low-grade trash for years before being offered a role in this major release). Also under-performing on a smaller scale were Clive Barker's monster-heavy Nightbreed, which suffered from studio interference and was unable to duplicate the success of Barker's debut hit Hellraiser (1987), the ill-conceived Tom Savini-directed remake of Night of the Living Dead (which didn't even crack the top 100 for the year but has since picked up a following), the Dolph Lundgren vehicle I Come in Peace (which ended up several million short of its 7 million budget), the barely-released psychological thriller Mister Frost starring Jeff Goldblum and Stephen Hopkins' Predator 2 (which had over double the budget of the first but made a whopping 30 million dollars less). I mean, who'd have ever guessed that Danny Glover and Gary Busey didn't quite have the box office pull of Arnie Schwarzenegger.

How does a delicious piece of chocolate sound, little boy?

Nicolas Roeg's wonderful The Witches, based on the 1983 Roald Dahl book and one of the final projects for producer Jim Henson, also failed to set the box office ablaze and came in at #98 for the year. Some slight controversy by parent's groups, who labeled it "too dark" and "too cruel" for a children's movie, didn't help matters, but I really can't think of a better way of teaching children not to take candy from strangers than by making those strangers child-hating witches plotting to turn kiddies into mice using tainted chocolate. Interestingly, those same parents who made a fuss over Roeg's film had no issue taking their little ones to see Macaulay Culkin violently beat, pummel, impale and burn a pair of bumbling burglars for laughs; helping to turn Home Alone into the #1 highest-grossing film of the year. Interestingly, both Henson and Dahl (who referred to The Witches as "appalling" in interviews and highly disapproved of the altered [happy] ending) passed away in 1990 within just months of each other. Anjelica Huston's deliciously evil performance as the "Grand High Witch" Eva Ernst - coupled with her performance as an amoral con woman in the excellent The Grifters - won her numerous critics awards that year, making her the second most lauded actor to appear in a horror film this year (just underneath the aforementioned Bates).


Also notable this year was the return of four Exorcist alum who suddenly burst back onto the scene with new genre releases. Least of these projects was Linda Blair's return to the bile-spewing material that initially made her famous in the unsuccessful spoof Repossessed, alongside Leslie Nielsen. Exorcist director William Friedkin - in a much-publicized-at-the-time "return to horror" - offered up The Guardian, the not-very-successful tale of a seductive, emotionless Druid nanny (admirably played by Jenny Seagrove under the circumstance) that did mediocre box office despite the director's pedigree and much marketing. Best of the lot by a wide margin was Exorcist screenwriter William Peter Blatty's Exorcist III, which he'd originally planned as Legion (the same name of the novel it's based upon) before financiers Morgan Creek Productions imposed a title change and forced him to add an exorcism scene at the climax that had no actual bearing on the main plot. George C. Scott, ridiculously nominated for a Worst Actor Razzie for his usual solid work, headed up a fine cast that included great supporting turns from Brad Dourif, Ed Flanders and original Exorcist star Jason Miller (whose scenes were also added at a later time to tie it to the original). The film received extremely mixed reviews from perplexed critics upon release and, though it doubled its budget (#48 for its year) and wasn't a complete financial disaster, it was still considered a major disappointment at the time. The film would briefly make headlines the following year when it was revealed to be serial killer / cannibal / necrophile Jeffrey Dahmer's favorite film. In fact, it was playing on a TV in Dahmer's bedroom the night he was arrested after her attempted to force pick-up Tracy Edwards to pose for nude photos at knifepoint. In recent years, Exorcist III's reputation has managed to rebound thanks to a positive reevaluation from audiences and critics alike and has picked up its fair share of admirers in the process.

As a wise man once said, "Don't fuck with Chuck."

The studio slasher flicks that had dominated the previous decade were finally starting to run out of steam. Thanks to disappointing box office on their previous installments, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers (the top three horror icons of the 80s) were all allowed a breather to let a few other less-prolific icons catch up. The biggest (and perhaps only) true slasher success of the year ended up being Child's Play 2; a reasonably fun follow-up to Tom Holland's 1988 killer doll hit, which nearly made back its entire budget opening weekend alone. By the end of its theatrical run it had tripled its budget internationally, ensuring the obligatory Child's Play 3 (1991) the following year. Not faring nearly as well was the third installment in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise. Jeff Burr's Leatherface was besieged by MPAA issues, prompting New Line Cinema to gut the film and release the resulting incomprehensible R-rated mess in January to unsuspecting moviegoers. As if that wasn't bad enough, New Line still attempted to cash in on the ratings fiasco by marketing it as "The most controversial horror film ever." This resulted in terrible reviews, a low gross and, perhaps worst of all, highly-disappointed fans who felt seriously misled. The series took another hit a few years later when Kim Henkel, the original film's co-writer, attempted to resurrect Leatherface and company once again with Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994). The film was so laughably bad it would take another decade for the concept to once again be successfully exploited with a lucrative 2003 remake, which itself spawned several sequels.

Luther the Geek and indy slashers... taking a bite out of the majors.

As is often the case, the best slasher flicks of the year were actually all lower-budgeted regional productions made apart from the studios. Blood Salvage (from Georgia), involving a redneck, bible-thumping organ harvester and his two half-wit sons preying on waylaid travelers, the gory and nasty Luther the Geek (from Iowa), which centered around a metal-toothed psycho terrorizing a farm family, and Dead Girls (from California), featuring a masked psycho targeting a female metal band, were just three titles that managed to best what the big studios were doing on a fraction of the budget. Of these, Blood Salvage managed the most attention because it was fincially backed by, and featured a cameo from, boxer Evander Holyfield. While doing PR for a future Trump Plaza bout against Seamus McDonough, Holyfield managed to squeeze in plugs for the film any time he could, describing it as a "splat-fest" and saying of his role "I'm on the screen for about two minutes!;" adding "My goal is to become the heavyweight champion. Once I retire, if I decide I want to act, that will be something to fall back on." Holyfield did indeed become the heavyweight champion in 1990, and repeated that feat three more times. He also wrote several books, proved his virility by having ten kids with three different wives and faced a much-publicized real-life horror of his own after getting a portion of his ear bitten off by Mike Tyson during one now-notorious bout. As far as the acting career was concerned, Holyfield appeared in a TV commercial to plug "1-800-Lawyers," played roles like "Convict Football Player" in Necessary Roughness (1991) and "Man in Riot" in Summer of Sam (1999), and most recently landed a Reality TV gig as part of the UK "Celebrity Big Brother" household, where he made headlines once again by suggesting that homosexuals should "... go to a doctor and get it fixed back right."

I'm the victim of nocturnal rapture. I have to release my lowest instincts with a troll.

Some other 80s favorites were also dredged back up for sequels; which were sometimes very limited theatrical releases but mostly made their faint mark as video store shelf-filler. Frank Henenlotter delivered a couple of typically bizarre films; the belated sequel Basket Case 2, which did well enough to prompt a part 3 the following year, and the outrageous Frankenhooker, which was hurt after being slapped with an unfair X rating (Richard Stanley's stylish desert-set killer robot  flick Hardware suffered a similar fate). Brian Yuzna delivered the in-name-only, psycho-Santa-free sequel Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation and there was also The Amityville Curse (part 5 in its series), Class of 1999 (an unrelated follow-up to the 1981 surprise hit Class of 1984), The Gate II, the Italian production Killer Crocodile II, Maniac Cop 2 (a rare case of a sequel significantly improving upon the original), Prom Night III: The Last Kiss, Psycho IV: The Beginning (the made-for-cable-TV last hurrah for Anthony Perkins' legendary Norman Bates), Watchers II, Witchcraft II: The Temptress, Xtro 2: The Second Encounter and numerous others. The most entertaining of these films were Jim Wynorski's Sorority House Massacre II and Hard to Die (basically the unofficial Sorority 3), which were so intentionally ridiculous, over-the-top, campy and trashy they became minor cult favorites constantly on rotation on late night cable throughout the decade. The real enduring cult hit to emerge from the never-ending spate of sequels though was actually the wonderfully terrible in-name-only follow-up Troll 2. An Italian production filmed in Utah for Filmirage, director Claudio Fragasso's film featured acting and dialogue so other-worldly awful the film has gone on to a huge and ever-increasing cult following over the years. The recent phenomenon was eventually detailed in the documentary Best Worst Movie Ever (2009), directed by Troll 2 star Michael Stephenson, who'd also appeared in Fragasso's dull haunted house film Beyond Darkness in 1990.

Beauté voluptueus... coming to DVD... in 2023.

There were also numerous foreign-language films of note from around the globe, though many of these weren't released here in the U.S. until well after the fact... granted they were released here at all. Alain Robak's highly entertaining Baby Blood was a success in France, but wouldn't see the light of day in America until 1994 when distributor A-Pix had the film dubbed (Gary Oldman of all people provided the voice of the creature!) and released it to video under the new title The Evil Within. Despite garnering some brief attention at European film festivals, Greek-director Nikos Nikolaidis' beautifully-photographed (in black-and-white) and extremely odd Singapore Sling wouldn't be officially unveiled in America until 2006. The successful, award-winning sequel A Chinese Ghost Story II was barely released here ten years after the fact by Tai Seng Video, who also handled the same year's Hong Kong action-horror comedy Encounters of the Spooky Kind 2 and the wonderful Mr. Vampire offshoot Magic Cop. Numerous others like A Holy Place from Yugoslavia, director Djordje Kadijevic's take on Nikolai Gogol's "Viy," have yet to receive any legitimate U.S. release. It wasn't always just foreign horror efforts to get delayed recognition either. That fate sometimes even befell homegrown ones. Take John McNaughton's Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer for instance. Though it debuted at the Chicago International Film Festival way back in 1986, it took four long years for it to reach the masses thanks to the MPAA slapping it with an X rating. Thankfully, this raw, gritty, disturbing, insightful and brilliantly-directed low budget film (shot on 16mm for 110,000 dollars) would become an unlikely critic's darling, which prompted a limited theatrical re-release in 1990, followed by a successful debut on home video after the 'X' rating was surrendered in favor of an 'unrated' tag. The film has since gone on to be roundly considered one of the finest American horror films of the past thirty years.

The usual sex, gore and cannibalism served up artsy to be palatable for critics.

Also hoping for some critical respectability, though not really catering to mainstream taste, were a handful of riskier art house efforts that embraced the grisly and horrific. Peter Greenaway's beautifully-made The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, a disturbing revenge tale featuring outstanding art direction, funeral procession music, frank nudity and a gruesome cannibalism finale, was an early recipient of an NC-17 rating but managed to pull in a respectable 7.7 million nonetheless thanks largely to it being labeled "shocking" by the press. Philip Ridley's film festival favorite The Reflecting Skin, an atypical vampire tale, barely made much of a ripple upon release but later found a small following on home video. Even more polarizing was E. Elias Merhige's Begotten, a true love-it-or-hate-it exercise in grainy, gritty black-and-white style (with a near-incomprehensible "plot"), and Jorg Buttgereit's Der Todesking ("The Death King"); a morose, depressing meditation on suicide and death following up on his notorious debut feature Nekromantik (1987) with much less attention.

Crime has a new enemy, and justice has a new face.

Darkman, Sam (Evil Dead) Raimi's enjoyable action / horror / superhero mash-up and first major studio movie, was a modest success, earning 33.8 million in America (and nearly 50 m. dollars worldwide) on a 16 million budget. That was not only enough to earn it 36th place for the year, but it also prompted two direct-to-video sequels soon after; Darkman 2: The Return of Durant (1994) and Darkman 3: Die Darkman Die (1995). The film likely also helped Raimi secure the director's chair for the blockbuster Spider-Man superhero franchise (2002-2007) further down the line, which has earned well over a billion dollars to date. Meanwhile, in a year otherwise quite lacking in similar films, John Schlesinger's psycho-thriller Pacific Heights pulled in a respectable 40th place with nearly 30 million dollars. Though it's fairly good of its type and features a strong performance from Michael Keaton as a psycho tenant, the film is not all that fondly remembered these days and barely discussed. Even it turning up on Bravo's 2004 countdown of "The 100 Scariest Movie Moments" didn't spark much interest.

Pennywise: Haunting the dreams of Gen-Xers since 1990.

On TV, Frank Darabont made his successful feature debut with the horror-thriller Buried Alive starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tim Matheson and Tommy Lee Wallace's Stephen King-based mini-series It became a ratings success and went on to prove it had a much-longer shelf life than Ralph Singleton's dreary killer rat King adaptation Graveyard Shift; another 1990 release. A big part of It's enduring popularity can almost exclusively be attributed up to Tim Curry's frightening embodiment of the killer clown Pennywise, which probably freaked out more children this year than any other horror character and is still fondly remembered by nostalgic adults today. On the tube, there was also Jekyll & Hyde, with director David Wickes and star Michael Caine hoping to strike gold a second time after their previous collaboration Jack the Ripper (1988), the BAFTA-winning A&E mini-series The Green Man, directed by Elijah Moshinsky and starring Albert Finney, the Duel-inspired Wheels of Terror starring Joanna Cassidy and numerous TV shows like "Tales from the Crypt," "Friday the 13th: The Series," "Freddy's Nightmares," "Monsters," "The Hitchhiker," "War of the Worlds" and "She Wolf of London" still working the syndication rounds. Perhaps best of all, 1990 also saw the release of the TV special "The Horror Hall of Fame," a surprisingly good, well-researched and informative celebration of the genre, both past and present.

You can't keep an old cat down.

And still plugging along through all this for better or worse were some old hands who should need no introduction to horror buffs, including George A. Romero (who directed half of the Poe double-feature Two Evil Eyes along with Dario Argento and had his hand in writing the moderately successful Tales from the Darkside: The Movie), Lucio Fulci (who delivered the barely-released bore Demonia and a strange greatest hits package of sorts with A Cat in the Brain), Tobe Hooper (who continued to soil his reputation with the forgettable made-for-TV movie I'm Dangerous Tonight and the big screen bomb Spontaneous Combustion, which was dumped into 50 theaters and quickly yanked after it grossed only 50K), Bert I. Gordon (who contributed the Satanist-run modeling agency exploiter Satan's Princess), Larry Cohen (whose The Ambulance was pretty much a direct-to-video release despite a solid cast), Charles Band (who gave us the killer cyborg film Crash and Burn as well as a sexed-up take on "Beauty and the Beast" called Meridian for his fledgling company Full Moon Entertainment) and Wes Craven (whose long-forgotten TV movie Night Visions made even less of an impact than Hooper and Fulci's contributions).

Even Roger Corman made a long-overdue comeback to the director's chair for the first time since 1971 with Frankenstein Unbound, which should have been an event but unfortunately the film wasn't successful on any front. It remains his last film as director to date, but that didn't stop him from producing at least 13 (!) other films the same year. Films like the early erotic psycho-thrillers Body Chemistry and The Rain Killer, Adam Simon's very interesting Brain Dead (which utilized an un-filmed Charles Beaumont script), Katt Shea's gripping (and underrated) psycho cop thriller Streets, Jim Wynorski's Poe-inspired The Haunting of Morella, Sally Mattison's driller killer slasher sequel Slumber Party Massacre III and several other films made by Corman's Concorde company each managed to bring in well over a million dollars apiece on very limited theatrical runs with minimal marketing and then did even better business on home video and cable afterward.

Def by Alienator: American Independent Trash. From Troma. Of course.

Fred Olen Ray's American Independent Productions was throwin' em out right and left with such 1990 direct-to-video releases as Alienator, a Terminator copy starring female bodybuilder Teagan Clive, Haunting Fear, another film "inspired by" Poe, and Spirits, which was actually one of the only haunted house films of its year. Troma Entertainment likewise kept busy exploiting the video market with such memorably re-titled releases as Fertilize the Blaspheming Bombshell (formerly Mark of the Beast) and A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell (formerly Dark Fortress). They NYC-based company did their best business however when they acquired James Bond III's Def by Temptation, a succubus tale which offered something audiences weren't getting anywhere else this year: a horror film with an all-black cast, As a result, the film pulled in a quite-respectable 2.2 million on a limited big screen run, made even more on video and ended up becoming one of Troma's all-time biggest money-makers. It's also worth noting that Corman, Ray and Troma's Lloyd Kaufman remain extremely busy to this day.

No more wire hangers.

Descending further into the depths of trash flick obscurity will turn up numerous other enticing titles. Who could forget Francis Teri's The Suckling, the touching tale of an aborted fetus flushed down a toilet, coming into contact with toxic waste, turning into a giant mutant monster and then laying waste to the denizens of Big Mama's Whorehouse? Or Linnea Quigley's Horror Workout (dir: Kenneth J. Hall), the time-honored fusing of horror flick with exercise video that culminates in the titular Scream Queen donning a Ronald Reagan mask and slaughtering all her lingerie-clad workout buddies for eating all her popcorn. Fauzi Mansur, Brazil's pride and joy, gave us a double helping of poorly-dubbed Satanic gore with The Ritual of Death and Satanic Attraction. And if you'd like to find out whether or not an amateur surgeon can cure his dwarf daughter's stature issues with glands stolen from corpses, you could always check out Dan Pan's Pituitary Hunter from Hong Kong. Other titles like I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle, Sorority Girls and the Creature from Hell, Attack of the Killer Refrigerator, Petrified Beast from the Frozen Zone, Maniac Nurses Find Ecstasy and Revenge of the Radioactive Reporter may not even require much comment beyond their titles but, hey, you never know with these things...

What made money, what gained the respect of critics and what has endured with fans.

Horror, Top 10 Box Office (U.S. Domestic Gross)
(Rounded up or down to nearest hundred thousand.)
Title - Director - Domestic Gross - Overall Ranking For Year

1. Flatliners (Joel Schumacher) [61.5 million] [#18]
2. Misery (Rob Reiner) [61.3 million] [#19]
3. Arachnophobia (Frank Marshall) [53.2 million] [#22]
4. Gremlins 2: The New Batch (Joe Dante) [41.5 million] [#31]
5. Darkman (Sam Raimi) [33.9 million] [#36]
6. Predator 2 (Stephen Hopkins) [30.7 million] [#38]
7. Pacific Heights (John Schlesinger) [29.4 million] [#40]
8. Child's Play 2 (John Lafia) [28.5 million] [#41]
9. Jacob's Ladder (Adrian Lyne) [26.12 million] [#47]
10. The Exorcist III (William Peter Blatty) [26.10 million] [#48]

RottenTomatoes Scores:
(Note: Not all films - particularly limited releases and foreign-language films have enough reviews for a score and thus can't be factored in here.)
Title - Director - Positive Review Percentage as of Feb. 2014 (subject to change)

1. The Witches (Nicolas Roeg) - 100%
2. Arachnophobia (Frank Marshall) - 91%
3. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (Peter Greenaway) - 90%
4. (tied) Misery (Rob Reiner) - 88%
4. (tied) Tremors (Ron Underwood) - 88%
5. Darkman (Sam Raimi) - 80%
6. The Reflecting Skin (Philip Ridley) - 75%
7. Jacob's Ladder (Adrian Lyne) - 70%
8. (tie) Gremlins 2: The New Batch (Joe Dante) - 68%
8. (tie) Night of the Living Dead (Tom Savini) - 68%
9. (tie) Basket Case 2 (Frank Henenlotter) - 67%
9. (tie) Stephen King's It (Tommy Lee Wallace) [made for TV] - 67%
10. Begotten (E. Elias Merhige) - 63%

IMDb User Ratings (Top 10):
(Films must have at least 150 votes for consideration.)

Title - Director - IMDb Rating as of Feb. 2014 (subject to change)

1. Misery (Rob Reiner) - 7.8
2. A Holy Place (Djordje Kadijevic) - 7.7
3. Jacob's Ladder (Adrian Lyne) - 7.6
4. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (Peter Greenaway) - 7.5
5. The Green Man (Elijah Moshinsky) [TV miniseries] - 7.3
6. (tie) Devil Man - Volume 2: Demon Bird (Umanosuke Iida) [animated] - 7.2
6. (tie) Magic Cop (Wei Tung) - 7.2
6. (tie) Tremors (Ron Underwood) - 7.2
7. (tie) A Chinese Ghost Story II (Siu-Tung Ching) - 7.1
7. (tie) The Reflecting Skin (Philip Ridley) - 7.1
8. (tie) Encounters of the Spooky Kind II (Ricky Lau) - 6.9
8. (tie) Night of the Living Dead (Tom Savini) - 6.9
8. (tie) Stephen King's It (Tommy Lee Wallace) [made for TV] - 6.9
9. The Witches (Nicolas Roeg) - 6.8
10. The Death King (Jörg Buttgereit) - 6.7


You can read my own personal, always-changing Top 10 list of favorites from 1990 and access of full list of 1990 horror reviews / releases by clicking RIGHT HERE

Thanks for taking the time to read and, as always, any comments, corrections or even criticisms are always welcome. Leave 'em below and I'll get back with you as soon as I can.
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