1995 Horror Films – Best Horror Movies of 1995

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 12:52 pm

The same year that O.J. Simpson was standing trial, some of the best horror films of 1995 were being released in theaters. While plenty of 1995 horror films would be considered stinkers by viewers with the slightest amount of taste, there were also a handful that actually qualified as good movies. That’s where this list comes in.

If you’d like to have access to more than just 1995 horror films, be sure to become a subscriber to Netflix. There are never any late fees, postage is pre-paid, and they have over 100,000 movies to choose from. To get started, all you have to do is sign up for a free Netflix trial membership.

Now let’s program the WABAC machine for 1995 and see what horror flicks are in store. And we might also remind the jury that O.J. is going to eventually end up in prison anyway, so there’s no point in prolonging our agony.

In the Mouth of Madness – John Carpenter’s “Apocalypse Trilogy” kicked off with The Thing and Prince of Darkness, and it concludes with this film that pays loving tribute to the Cthulhu mythos. Sam Neil is a private detective hired by a publishing company to track down missing horror writer Sutter Cane (Jurgen Prochnow). What he doesn’t realize is that Cane plans to unleash a race of elder beings onto the planet, and much of what happens is because the mad author wrote it that way. Neil is great as the incredulous investigator driven to madness, and Carpenter sets the mood with a mixture of creeping dread and gleeful nihilism.

Tales from the Hood – The hip-hop answer to Twilight Zone: The Movie and 1972’s Tales from the Crypt, this Rusty Cundieff (Fear of a Black Hat) film dusts off the horror anthology gimmick with entertaining results. With a tale of three gangstas buying drugs from a creepy funeral home operator (Clarence Williams III) acting as a linking device, the film includes longer segments dedicated to a murdered city councilman who returns for revenge, a boy abused by his stepfather, a racist senator hounded by voodoo dolls, and a doomed gang-banger. Clarence Williams III is wonderfully eccentric, and David Alan Grier delivers a strong performance as an abusive stepfather.

The Prophecy – Christopher Walker is the angel Gabriel. Viggo Mortensen is Lucifer. The rest of the cast includes Elias Koteas, Virginia Madsen, Eric Stoltz, Adam Goldberg, and Amanda Plummer. As war rages in Heaven, multiple factions seek the darkest soul on Earth, which can be used as a terrifying weapon to tilt the balance of power. Of all the 1995 horror films, this one has the most bizarre melding of quality cast and outlandish premise. Still, the end result is a tasty little horror flick that spawned four sequels (each of diminishing quality).

Species – Blending elements of sci-fi and horror, Species was a monster hit at the box office, largely due to the constant nudity exhibited by mega-babe Natasha Henstridge. The Canadian model-turned-actress portrays Sil, the result of splicing human and alien DNA. After escaping captivity, the rapidly-growing SIL hit’s the road, looking for a good man to breed with. Meanwhile, she’s pursued by a team that consists of Alfred Molina, Michael Madsen, Forest Whitaker, Ben Kingsley, and Marg Helgenberger. Sil’s less seductive form was designed by Swiss artist H.R. Giger, who knows a little something about aliens himself.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation – Re-edited and re-issued all to hell, this fourth installment of the franchise is notable for featuring both Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger before they were Hollywood stars. The plot shouldn’t be hard to recognize: kids wander into the woods in Texas; have car trouble; and stray across a family of deranged cannibals, one of whom is pretty handy with a chainsaw. Southern-fried film critic Joe Bob Briggs called it “the best horror movie of the ‘90s.” Is there any greater praise?

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The Addiction – Any project involving Abel Ferrara is going to be slightly off-kilter, and that certainly applies to this black-and-white tale of vampirism. Lili Taylor stars as a philosophy student who gets bitten and soon resorts to drinking the blood of the living. Interestingly enough, the vampires justify their actions by blaming their victims for not being strong enough to resist them. Lots of high-minded bloodsucking going on in this one, and then Christopher Walken shows up as a vampire who’s conquered his addiction. An engaging work, just don’t go in expecting From Dusk till Dawn.

Seven – At the top of my list of the best horror films of 1995 is this nightmarish vision from director David Fincher and starring Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt. The latter is a homicide cop who’s just transferred into a choking metropolis where it rains all the time, and the former is his world-weary predecessor who wants nothing more than to retire and move far, far away. But the plans of both men are derailed when a serial killer begins to strike, committing murders inspired by the seven deadly sins. While Pitt is more than adequate as the hotheaded cop, this is Freeman’s show all the way. His simple-yet-effective characterization (dig that hat), strong voice-over work, and subdued charisma make Det. William Somerset one of the all-time great movie cops. Darius Khondjl delivers breathtaking cinematography, and the outstanding supporting cast includes Kevin Spacey, R. Lee Ermey, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Richard Roundtree. If you’re a fan of cinema, this one is a must-see.

Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh – Tony Todd returns as the hook-handed Candyman, and this time he’s summoned to New Orleans on the eve of Mardi Gras. As the bodies start to accumulate, we learn more about the history of Candyman–a tragic story that stretches all the way back to the days of slaves and plantations. While not as good as the original, the sequel still provides plenty of blood for your buck, and Todd is reliably entertaining as the massive spirit of vengeance.

Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight – Before she married Will Smith and started wearing designer clothing, Jada Pinkett Smith portrayed a number of feisty young ladies, and Jeryline is no exception. She’s a former criminal out on a work release program, forced to clean up around a ramshackle boarding house that used to be a church. That is, until the mysterious Frank Brayker (William Sadler) appears, a demon known as a Collector (Billy Zane in a cowboy hat) hot on his heels. From that point on, people start dropping like flies, including CCH Pounder, Dick Miller, Thomas Haden Church, and Charles Fleischer. And don’t forget about The Crypt Keeper, the show’s lovably ghoulish mascot featured both before and after the main feature. Definitely better than Bordello of Blood (despite the great title).

Lord of Illusions – Written and directed by horror author Clive Barker, this melding of horror and film noir gave Scott Bakula a starring big screen role following his stint on Quantum Leap. He plays Harry D’Amour, an investigator hired to look into the mysterious death of a stage magician. This leads to a group of crazed cultists and their deranged leader who intends to prove that death isn’t the end. Famke Janssen co-stars in an early role.

That concludes our list of the best horror films of 1995. For more films in the genre, be sure to sign up to become a member of Netflix. We do get a small commission if you decide to join, but it doesn’t add to your costs and goes right back into the site.

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