Written by Briant Laslo

Briant Laslo

My goal here is to go throughout the year and each month pick out five of the best films, in my opinion, that in some way or another fit into the horror genre. They may not have been box office smashes. They may not have been critical successes. Some of them might even be more funny than scary. But, all of them will have made some kind of contribution to the genre or, at the very least, made their mark on me personally.

May has been an interesting month for horror movies. It boasts a few of the all time great classics, but it also has a number of sequels and remakes that are disastrous when compared to the originals. Because of that I’m replacing the Honorable Mentions section in this month’s article with a Less Than Honorable Mentions.

Top five lists are, by their very nature, subjective and meant to be fun, conversation starting pieces. So, I encourage everyone to get involved in the comment section. Give us your top five, or talk about any of the films I mentioned.

So, without further ado, here are the Top 5 Horror(ish) Movies Ever Released in the month of May!

The Chernobyl Diaries, May 25, 2012. This is a somewhat controversial selection as this movie has run the gamut when it comes to opinions about it over the years. It’s been called everything from “disaster porn”, disgusting, and inhumane to genius. While I don’t go so far as to say genius, I am in the minority of those who feel this is more than a worthwhile movie. Location and scenery go a long way in setting the atmosphere and the movie doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to blood and gore. The film had a small budget, in the neighborhood of $1 million, and used every bit of it to try and maintain the atmosphere. If you’re looking for several jump scares and gruesome mutants, give it a shot.

The Monster Club, May 27, 1981. There’s a decent chance you’ve never heard of this movie, but it holds a place in my childhood and therefore gets a spot on this list. But, beyond that, it earns its spot simply by having Vincent Price, Donald Pleasence AND John Carradine all in the same film! The movie is basically three separate short stories and has a very interesting set up where each of the stories is separated by… A band giving a musical interlude at the “monster club.” It’s kind of humorous, but there is still something creepy about each of the stories. It’s kind of like one of those things you watch and laugh at when you’re watching it, but then occasionally, late at night as you are about to fall asleep, something slips into your mind and starts eating away at you, making you feel uncomfortable, not allowing you to fall asleep, and then you realize it’s something from this movie! Now, that might just be because I was 10 years old when I first saw it, but it still has that kind of feeling to me. It’s also only slightly over an hour and a half long, so check it out.

Friday the 13th, May 9, 1980. I recently re-watched the original Friday the 13th and have forgotten how disturbing it was. Over the decades the whole Jason character has morphed into a caricature, almost becoming synonymous with horror movie monster/villain. But, the original Friday the 13th is really something that took what Halloween had done a couple of years previously, and threw in a twist to make the whole thing a bit more twisted. It’s amazing how many people forget that Jason was NOT the terrorizing force in the original Friday the 13th, but that it was his mother. While Halloween is the grandfather/originator of the modern slasher movie genre, the original Friday the 13th had the potential to spin off and be something greater. The sequels got progressively worse and went down the easy path of sticking with the formula and just focusing on trying to come up with more outrageous murder sequences, but that doesn’t change the fact that the original had something else to it that is often overlooked or forgotten. Plus, I do have a tie in with the Jason character, having met the actor who played him in several movies. Check out my story here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/meeting-jason-66698467

The Shining, May 23, 1980. Let me preface this by saying there are certainly some flaws in this movie, the confusing rewriting of the demise of the character Dick Hallorann chief among them. However, this is one of those movies where you’ve got two fantastic actors at the top of their game almost exclusively carrying the entire movie. Jack Nicholson gets tons of adulation and kudos for his performance as Jack Torrance, and rightfully so. But, Shelley DuVall is right there with him the entire way. Throw in the off kilter atmosphere that only Stanley Kubrick is able to create, and you’ve got yourself this classic. Tension, jump scares, literally gallons of blood, and some of the most unexpected and nightmarish images are all here. Don’t compare it to the book, and don’t try to analyze too much the photograph at the end. Just turn off the lights, grab some popcorn, and enjoy.

Alien, May 25 1979. There aren’t many movies that would beat out The Shining for the number one movie in any of these months, but Alien is one that does. There are very few movies that can redefine a genre. There are even fewer movies that can redefine multiple genres. Alien does this for both Horror and Science Fiction AND introduces the concept of a female action hero! While the original chest bursting scene is undeniably bloody, the movie does an amazing job of making you think it is much gorier than it actually is. There is a ton of tension and the atmosphere is so palpable that while I am not claustrophobic in my day-to-day life, some of the scenes in the crawlspaces during this movie made me believe that I am. This movie is 43 years old this month and is still as enjoyable and scary as it was when it was released.

Less Than Honorable Mentions: (remakes and sequels that failed compared to the original) Poltergeist (remake) May 22, 2015. Poltergeist II (sequel) May 23, 1986. 28 Weeks Later (sequel) May 11, 2007. Friday the 13th part VII: The New Blood (sequel, but also gives me my tie in to the Friday the 13th franchise)

And there you have it everyone, inarguably, the best 5 horror movies ever created and released in the month of May! Look forward to your comments and I’ll have another one out for you all next month.

By Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is a third-generation Ryukyuan-American, award-winning poet, author, and publisher with 20+ years in newspapers. Publisher of Space & Time magazine (est. 1966), two-time Bram Stoker Awards® Winner, and HWA Mentor of the Year, she shares Authortunities, a free weekly calendar of author opportunities at authortunities.substack.com.

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