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 →

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 →

Horror stories involving music

Horror fiction does not often feature music as a plot element. True, the two are not a natural or obvious pair. But considering the omnipresence of music in our lives, this represents untapped potential. That seems to be changing with a spate of works published since 2016. For those of us who enjoy our horror and music together, I’ve compiled the list below, which I will periodically update. Whether music is the backdrop (The Shatter Point), the key to the story (Violin), or an element that adds atmosphere and mystery (The Willows) varies according to the work. I welcome your feedback. Continue reading →

10 best movies featuring a ghost story

Movie poster for Gothic ghost story Crimson PeakI love a good ghost story. Movies abound in the horror and slasher genres, some with quite effective soundtracks. Fewer films, however, qualify as a legitimate ghost story. That may be because it’s more challenging to subtly create dread than to shock with jump shots and gore. The 10 movies listed below don’t simply scare us. They use ghosts to explore themes of greed, guilt, loyalty, hubris, jealousy… Whether American, Spanish, British, Australian, Thai, or Japanese, these movies play with our sense of what is real. The characters themselves don’t quite know what to believe, but all of them must ultimately confront something fundamental about themselves or the world. The soundtracks, all using different approaches, effectively enhance the atmosphere. Continue reading →