Your Choice: Derek Rook Smashes Open His Horror Top Ten

Readers Choice Movie List

You know the drill … These are the articles that allow passionate horror fans from all across the land to reveal their favorite horror movies and most importantly explain WHY they love them.

It’s a thrill putting these lists together and I’m always grateful that the readers and individuals wanting to be involved have felt comfortable enough to give what are sometimes quite personal reasons for liking a particular film. If people read about horror movies that they have yet to watch and now want to track down and view because of these lists, then that alone would have made it all worth while.

Putting together any kind of ‘favorite’ list is really just capturing a moment in time. 12 months from now choices might be different and new movies watched. So, at this point in history I hand you over to todays horror loving decision maker … Derek Rook.

Derek is a publisher, artist, singer and dedicated horror movie fan. It’s always a good day when I get to communicate with him and I just knew he would have a list worth reading … I wasn’t disappointed.

Let’s take a look …



“This one is a no brainer. For me, this is the undisputed king! This movie was my first introduction to the dark world of Lucio Fulci (there were many more to follow) but man, did this monstrosity leave an impact! I’ve made it known that this movie is my all-time favorite horror film because it does everything a good horror movie should do … Invoke a sense of building dread and impending doom, make you feel that you’re doing something wrong by watching it and most of all … scare the ever loving shit out of you!”

“This was one of two Italian zombie outings that set me on the path of lifelong fear of the living dead. Ironically, this wasn’t the first zombie movie I ever saw, but this was, and still is, the best!”

The Exorcist.

The Exorcist

“Everyone on my mother’s side of the family (Italians, go figure), were born and raised God-fearing Catholics. Church on Sundays, prayer before meals, ashes on your forehead, everything’s a sin … you get the picture. They’d talk about this film as if the devil himself had been reborn and the birthing was committed to celluloid. I wouldn’t get to see it until I was about eleven, when we first got cable television. For the first two weeks, we had all the movie channels and I would peruse through them constantly, trying to skip past little Regan, who was playing in heavy rotation back in those days. One day I stopped at a scene where a mother was running into a bedroom and what she saw … and what I saw, I’ll never forget!”

The Shining.

The Shining

“I was about Danny’s age when this film came out in theaters. I remember being horrified at just the trailer on TV, and that was just scrolling text, some creepy music and an elevator lobby. then the elevator opened wide and, well … you know! For some reason, I remember hearing that my parents were going to see it and I was going to be hanging with a sitter. I was so concerned about Jack’s character for some reason that I asked for a full report on the who, what, where, when and why Jack Torrance dies in the film. For some reason I knew he died, don’t ask me how.”

“The movie aired on network television a few years later and I was sent to bed before it started to ramp up. But from my bedroom, I could hear it all and I was even MORE scarred mentally from what my mind compensated for. Years later I’d finally watch it in full and realized that it was only about a verbally and physically abusive, alcoholic, possessed father trying to kill his kid with an axe … which made me so much less fearful. Fuck my life!”

The Thing.

The Thing

“Ah, cable television. When it first came into my home, I used it exclusively to see all the movies that I either missed in the theatre, and/or to blatantly watch every single movie that my parents warned me not to. I was already a budding John Carpenter fan by then and had seen Halloween (1 & 2) and what would go on to be my favorite movie of all time, Escape from New York, but I was yet to see this one.”

“When it premiered on cable at 10pm on a school night, I had to pretend to fall asleep on the living room floor to get my fill of this movie. So the first time I saw this film was with one eye closed, which would soon graduate to both eyes after some of the more gory and horrific scenes. The movie felt like it was four hours long at the time and no matter what I did to shield my eyes from this nihilistic alien horror, nothing could deafen my ears to the bleak, droning heartbeat of Ennio Morricone’s death knell for Outpost 31 …”

Cannibal Holocaust.

Cannibal Holocaust

“It’s hard to admit that I love this movie. As I’ve grown older, this film represents what I hate most about the human condition and being an animal lover … well, ‘nuff said. I used to have countless movie nights at my house, just to see those who dared to watch get the ‘life’ drained out of them. That’s not me now. I have an appreciation for this movie, regardless of the content. It’s masterfully shot; it’s beautiful to watch from a cinematic POV … But man, what a gut punch of a movie this is.”

“The score by Riz Ortolani is almost like its own character. It sonically brings an uneasy peace to the visuals while occasionally exposing the rotten cancer just underneath the surface. Most movies will try to shock you to compensate for sucking. Not this one. Not by a long shot. This film is loved and hated and ironic and infamous. You WILL talk about this film. It unsettles you by provoking the most simplest of lessons. Life DOES go on … and that, to me, is the scariest truth of them all.”

The Last Dinosaur.

The Last Dinosaur

“When I was a kid, this movie only meant one thing to me … fear, of a GIANT fucking lizard that wants to eat me! Yep, that’s about it. I didn’t realize the subtle duel meanings of the title or the concept of getting old and becoming obsolete … a dinosaur, if you will. I was five. The giant fucking lizard is coming, RUN!!! My imagination was so vivid that as a child, I could make this creature appear out my bedroom window of a six floor apartment building. When I’d go outside, I’d see this dinosaur peering back over the tallest of treetops. RUN, goddamn it!!!”

“Looking back on it now, I get the same feeling as I do when I watch the final scenes of The Wild Bunch. I get it now. So let your boulder grow no moss, my friends … but if so, put it on a giant man-made catapult and fire it into the head of your favorite make believe monster. Such is the spice of life.”

Night Of The Zombies.

Night of the Zombies IMDb

“Oh you vile, dirty, dirty piece of tasteless shit! I love you! Fulci’s ZOMBIE is my favorite living dead film, but THIS movie is just a rotting carcass on a hot pavement in the dead of summer. If they named this movie VILE, it would go nicely with the other ninety-seven alternate titles for this flick. This is Grindhouse cinema at its best/worst. Lousy dialogue, low-brow humor, sexism, loads of stock footage, bat-crazy senseless plot, mean-spirited, and with more WTF moments than you can shake the clavicle of a child at.”

“I was eleven when I first saw this movie. When you’re eleven, you look to adults to protect you. As I watched this movie, I asked myself, “Who the fuck out of this crew of retards could ever protect me from a zombie?” And believe it or not, THAT’S what made this movie scary to me back then. The adults in this movie literally behave like a bunch of full frontal lobotomy-stricken imbeciles who all but willfully jump into a hoard of zombies and yell, “CATCH!” But I digress; this is the movie you’d want to see in a seedy theatre on 42nd Street back in the heyday. It’s a dirty micro-budgeted living dead nut-gazm of WHAT THE GOOD FUCK IS … THAT? A perfect fucked up little zombie film. See it to believe it.”

The Return Of The Living Dead.

The Return of the Living Dead

“In the summer of ’85, the second sequel to George A. Romero’s undead opus hit a limited run of theatres. More widely released was this punk rock number. I was thirteen and was in desperate need of a parent or adult guardian to get me in to see this film. I tried once with the Keys’ family, but instead I was ushered in to see ‘Back To The Future’. So I relied on the one person who would take me and my childhood friend Todd to see this film, my Mom … who was even more deathly afraid of zombies than I was. There was a disclaimer on this movie before the opening credits, it said that the film was based on “true events”. Well, so much for my adult guardian.”

“By the end of the film and the ride home and the next two weeks that followed, I got to hear her scream, “That movie was REAL!!!!” which did absolutely nothing to curb my fear of zombies or my neediness to have an adult save me from a zombie apocalypse.”

Nightmare In A Damaged Brain.

Nightmare in a Damaged Brain

“I love controversy, apparently. This flick has plenty of it. To my knowledge it never got a proper release in theatres and some cut versions made prints on VHS, but thank Beelzebub that the advent of DVD and a handful of purists would one day release the uncut, come-n-fuck-me-version of this little gem. This movie goes by several titles (the truncated NIGHTMARE being the most popular) and the big draw was that the special effects were done by TOM SAVINI, only that wasn’t true, well, sort of. Again, controversy. This movie made Europe’s “video nasty” list outright and what an honor to have. It DOES have some jarring, visceral moments for sure. If Michael Myers and Travis Bickle raised a child, his name would be George Tatum. My Dad used to own a dojo in Somerville, MA. Down the street was a convenience store that sold comic books and rented VHS videos. My Dad and I would stop there and I’d get a comic book and he’d rent two movies, one for him and my stepmother, and one for me. He chose Kiss of the Spider Woman … I chose this.”

“Speaking of 42nd Street … there are some great shots of the dirtiest streets of the Big Apple in this gem, not to mention, the child violence (both toward and administered by), some truly disturbing visuals and some of the worst parenting from the bitchiest mother on the planet. Watching this when I was twelve was like watching porn. Shower time after seeing this.”

Yeti : Giant Of The 20th Century.


“Now we’re talkin’. I used to have this recurring dream of a giant gorilla-like man in a red-barred glass cage … that screamed like a rabid child and had an afro like Angela Davis. Fast forward 25 years, I found a website dedicated to the worst movies of all time, and this one was on top of the list. Alas, my recurring dream was no dream at all. Dreaming of Mimmo Craig dressed up like a hairy Bee-Gee is probably doing nothing good for my tough guy persona right now, but even Danzig has to buy kitty litter once in a while. Fuck my life, squared”

“This HAS to be the wackiest film on my list, by far. It’s not scary, it’s not gory, but it has a charm that almost no other movie of its kind can shake an oversized erect nipple at. Yeti changes size unintentionally (from 15ft to 200ft) depending on the laughably bad composite shots, you need more than ten fingers and toes to count all the Yeti crotch shots, I dare you to tell the difference between a police car and a taxi in this film and I double dog dare you to sing along to the Yeti theme song, performed in fine 70’s disco style by THE YETIANS! No shit! BUT, it does have enough crazy antics to entertain and remind me of a time when life was as tall as a skyscraper, just waiting for an ape-like monster to … climb down on?”

A HUGE thank you to Derek for taking some time to be involved. If YOU would like to feature and reveal a horror top ten then just message me below or on facebook and I’ll be in touch.

Support Halloween Love

If an item was discussed in this article that you intend on buying or renting, you can help support Halloween Love and its writers by purchasing through our links:

Horror on Amazon

(Not seeing any relevant products? Start your search on Amazon through us.)