Dennis Heaton is a Canadian horror treasure. Most of you know his name because he created The Order and The Imperfects. While that’s valid for most of us, I also know him as a friend of a friend I bother regularly. This was a bad spot to be in, because it meant he was in danger of being asked to tell me his five favorite horror movies. Cue the evil cackle followed by thunder!
If you’re a nerd like me, you’ve probably asked yourself what an award-winning screenwriter would watch in their free time. Like many of my other favorites, Dennis ended up choosing movies he always references, returns to, or watches clips of. As any horror lover knows, it’s hard to have only five favorite movies. What kind of sick person would even think to ask such a thing? Cue an evil giggle that turns into an evil cackle. Anyway, I’m happy to report that the streak of bangers continues with Dennis’ list. He also made it easy to identify a theme in his titles, which I appreciate as we near October and my brain becomes more decorative than functional.
The Thing (1982)
Where You Can Watch: Peacock
A group of researchers find themselves hunted by a shape-shifting alien. This is arguably one of John Carpenter’s best movies, so I am always happy to see it on these lists. I’m here for the paranoia, practical effects, and everything leading up to a damn near-perfect ending. My only complaint is that I didn’t get to watch Kurt Russell and Keith David’s characters keep each other company until the bitter end. If you’re not suspicious of your friends, family, coworkers, etc., watch this movie and start looking at them sideways immediately. Now that we’re here, I bet somehow, someway, this movie was at least referenced in the Bodies Bodies Bodies pitch deck.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Where You Can Watch: Freevee, Peacock, Plex, PlutoTV, The Roku Channel, and Tubi
A group of friends’ road trip is derailed by a family of cannibals and a chainsaw-wielding psycho. This was Tobe Hooper’s baby and led to a franchise that is still giving the fans new media to celebrate today. It’s near impossible to think of any of Hooper’s other credits first when listing his filmography because this one is a uniquely loud and violent calling card. May we all be so lucky to have something so memorable before we’re done. I’m starting to get the sense that Dennis likes the chaotic classics. Which is an agenda I can support wholeheartedly.
Dawn Of The Dead (1978)
Where You Can Watch: N/A
A small group of survivors find refuge in a mall during a zombie outbreak. This is my favorite sequel in George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead franchise. However, this also confirms that Dennis is here for chaotic retro vibes. I think this might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship because same!! While I also enjoyed the remake, I’m happy Dennis has included the “original recipe” as he calls it. There will never be another movie set in a mall this good, and I need more streamers to give people the chance to watch this cinematic masterpiece. I was lucky enough to catch it on YouTube not long ago because I never saw the whole movie as a kid. One of many parenting fails I would like to bring up at a holiday dinner soon…
Zombi 2 (1979)
Where You Can Watch: PlutoTV
While investigating a man’s disappearance, a group of strangers find themselves on an island with a doctor trying to cure a zombie epidemic. I haven’t seen this movie, but I know it’s directed by Lucio Fulci. So, I think it’s safe to say this will be a wildly good time. I also love that Dennis rolled in with two zombie movies because that subgenre doesn’t get nearly enough respect. This also scans because he did give us the zombie horror comedy Fido, after all. Zombi 2 is also known as Zombie if you’re trying to find it in the universe. It was also supposed to be the sequel to 1978’s Dawn Of The Dead, which was released as Zombi in Italy. I love finding a movie I don’t know that leads to a rabbit hole for me to procrastinate in.
The Silence Of The Lambs
Where You Can Watch: Max
A rookie F.B.I. cadet works with a charismatic cannibal to track down a different serial killer who skins his victims. This is polite chaos with a nice Chianti. Most of us were too young to fully understand what was going on between Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins’ characters. However, we weren’t too young to know that it was cinema. This movie has carved out a special place in pop culture history, and I’m happy Dennis included it in this list. However, I can’t help but notice he chose a lot of cannibal and zombie flicks. I think it’s safe to say that his favorite subgenre is going to fall into one of those camps. I feel like we should also expect more zombie titles out of him in the future. However, what do I know? I’m just a girl on the internet who suddenly needs a second dinner…
Dennis wanted to cheat for a sixth-place movie but ended up with a tie between ten movies! I was going to pretend to have rules again, but I like many of these, so I’ll allow it. Other titles that he considers his favorites are: The Exorcist, Demons, Un Chien Andalou, Nosferatu, Eraserhead, Meshes Of The Afternoon, Eyes Without A Face, The Fly, Frankenstein, King Kong (1933).
So, he’s definitely a fan of the chaotic movie, and I support that agenda. After all, that’s what makes cinema fun. He also likes when villains reduce, reuse, and recycle their victims. If more of us had some of our supporting characters eaten alive, many movies would be quicker and sicker. Like, have you ever tried not getting excited when you’re watching a movie and someone suddenly takes a bite out of someone? It’s like going to Disney World from your couch! Anyway, follow Dennis on Twitter to keep up with his future projects. If you enjoy his list, live deliciously by checking out some of his film and television credits.