Top 13 best horror movies of all time

Top 13 horror moviesI admire horror movies that create a sense of horror with subtlety and artistry. Ten years have passed since I created my “Top 13 Horror Movies for Halloween” list. For that list, I included whimsical and comedic movies to offer a range of moods. This time, I want to focus on truly unsettling movies. I’ve also had second thoughts about one film on the list (which I’ll go into below). And some excellent movies have come out in the intervening years. So it’s time to offer a new list based on updated impressions. We can debate what qualifies as a “horror” movie, but each of those in this list thematically deals with horror. Continue reading →

Midsommar could be the best horror score since Psycho

Scene from MidsommarI’ve rarely been as enthused about a film score as I am about Bobby Krlic’s score for the horror movie Midsommar. Not since Bernard Hermann’s biting strings in Psycho has background music given me such goosebumps. Krlic, who goes by the name The Haxan Cloak on his solo projects, has composed a powerful, visceral score that blends dark dissonance, ancient folk music, and ambient sounds. And Krlic’s relationship to the film may be a unique one. Director Ari Aster wrote the screenplay while listening to The Haxan Cloak’s music. Continue reading →

Top 10 Best Dance Songs of All Time

DJ mixing dance musicSuch a tough choice. Looking back over half a century of dance music, how do you choose only ten songs? I settled on these particular tracks because they represent a range of influences, and stand out for their lyrics, subject matter, musicianship, and power. They are not necessarily the most popular tunes of their time (although some became huge pop hits), or even the most influential. For that you can consult other top 10 lists. These tracks touch that universal human impulse to move your limbs to the rhythm, but have something more to say than just “Let’s dance.” Continue reading →

Gothic horror creeps up on you in “The Monk”

Gothic horror in "The Monk"A religious leader, thought to be the model of righteous living, molests a teenage girl and conspires to hide his despicable behavior. Sounds like the plot of a modern novel, right? Or something pulled from recent headlines. But, no, it’s the backbone of a Gothic novel written in 1794 by Matthew Lewis. Published two years later, in 1796, The Monk tells two interwoven stories about corruption and the abuse of authority. The Gothic horror element creeps up on you, though. Warning: the following post contains spoilers. Continue reading →