Top 15 Best Movie Sequels

It is a well known fact that a hit at the Box Office frequently garners a horrid attempt to continue an otherwise completed story. For instance, The Matrix, Caddyshack, or Weekend At Bernie’s could quite easily fall into that category. However, just as often the public gets the further adventures of our main characters that actually add life to the franchise. The following 15 sequels are just that: the very best in narrative continuation.

15. Escape from the Planet of the Apes

This is probably the least popular choice on the list, but I am including it because it did such a great job of reversing the morality of the first film – in the original the Humans are treated like animals and kept in cages – in this film, the Apes are studied by humans in the return to Earth in the future. This film is both a prequel and a sequel as we go back in time chronologically, but forward in time sequentially. The only clip I could find for this film is the DVD series trailer.

14. Die Hard 2 (Die HARDER!)

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John McClane just wasn’t quite finished dealing death to the bad guys at Nakatomi Plaza, and he felt the need to dish out more than enough thrills and kills in and around an airport. Willis kicks the excitement level up just enough to keep the story alive and well. Twice more since, as well!

13. Predator 2

This time, rather than the jungle, Danny Glover tracks our space monster through the city streets, buildings, and backyards taking over nicely from Arnold. Key scenes in this fine continuation include the healing wound bit taking place entirely in an old woman’s bathroom, and the view of the creature’s trophy case at the end featuring an Alien skull! Sorry, all I could find was this review.

12. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Coinciding with the wonderful children’s book series, the adventure continues with Harry, Ron, and Hermione at Hogwarts. This time, now that Harry is a bit more familiar with his magic, the trio take on a giant Basalisk!

11. Toy Story 2

Originally planned for a direct-to-DVD release, Disney-Pixar decided most wisely to ship this sequel to theaters instantly creating another masterpiece. The search for Woody by Buzz and crew is at most heartwarming and adds a whole different layer to the story.

The wonderful song in the video was nominated for an Oscar.

10. Spider-Man 2

Largely considered to be the world’s greatest superhero movie, the sequel to the amazing SPIDER-MAN movie proved not only that one of the most beloved comic book characters can be translated to the big screen without sacrificing a bit of the humor and humanity brought to the page, but can also be directed by a moan much more well known for horror films: Sam Raimi. Tobey Maguire proved his chops as well by acting every bit the way we all see Peter Parker.

9. Drunken Master 2

In 1978 Jackie Chan became a huge international star (everywhere but in the United States) with Drunken Master . So in 1994 on the brink of becoming a huge star in the U.S. too, Jackie made this sequel/homage to the original. It continues the story of Chinese folk legend Wong Fei Hung. It’s one of his very best films. It was finally released in a slightly edited, specially dubbed version on U.S. screen in 2000. In 2000, they finally dubbed, edited and re-mixed the soundtrack to show Jackie at his very best in an amazing and thoroughly enjoyable action comedy which proves once and for all what an incredible athlete and martial artist Jackie is. This film has some of the most intricate, creative, and beautiful one on one fighting choreography you will ever witness. It’s also very funny and Jackie’s at the peak of his skills and charisma here.

8. Evil Dead 2

When Sam Raimi wrote and directed the original horror classic, EVIL DEAD, with Bruce Campbell, he was only trying to make a film and never anticipated the love he received. Having accumulated enough cash from the flick, Raimi went back to work essentially re-writing the story as a sequel and retelling as EVIL DEAD 2. It’s close to the original, but far superior.

7. Batman Begins

Okay – I realize that this is a prequel – but chronologically speaking it came after, so I am including it. Batman Begins was really the first Batman film that was of truly epic proportions. With brilliant acting from Michael Caine and the best onscreen batman to date (Christian Bale), how could we leave it off?

6. The Bride of Frankenstein

Not necessarily meant to be a sequel per se, the fearful saga of the lumbering and reanimated corpse leaps to a new terrifying level as the good doctor creates woman. The bride turns out to be even more horrifying than original!

5. Aliens

Ripley finds herself on a planet supposedly overrun by the very alien life forms she desperately tried to avoid in the original. With amped-up action and an all-out war with the bugs, Bill Paxton, Michael Biehn, and Lance Henrickson join the superb cast to do all out battle.

4. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Actually a prequel, though still the second in the story, the TEMPLE OF DOOM follows our hero, Indiana Jones, making his way around the world to India in order to rescue the Shankara Stones from the evil Mola Ram. Tagging along this time are Stephen Speilberg’s real-life wife, Kate Capshaw as a Hollywood dancer, and the every bubbly Short-Round. Most disgusting scene: Monkey brains! Oh, and those bugs, “aren’t fortune cookies!”

3. The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers

Peter Jackson did everything humanly possible to cram every bit of the Tolkein books into his sprawling, gorgeous trilogy. But even with that, there had to be a second movie and that had to come after the release of THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. The cliffhanger left the audience wanting so much more, and THE TWO TOWERS more than delivered. It would prove to be epic.

2. The Empire Strikes Back

Some of the most startling revelations ever brought to screen, the sequel to STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE gave the world the paternal Darth Vader, the patriarchal Yoda, and the growing love between a space scoundrel and a princess. Directed by Irvin Kirshner, the stark differences between the bleached frozen wasteland of Hoth, the wispy calmness of Cloud City, and the earthy filth of Dagobah, proved his creative worth to the original trilogy. The Jedi attains truth through the Force, and shows us just hour dour and unsettling the galaxy far, far away can be.

1. The Godfather Part 2

The Corleone family made us feel the raw, underhanded grit of being inside the Mafia. And much like a family in reality that we’ve all grown to love, they return in nearly a much stronger movie than the original. Perhaps the most well-known and most beloved sequel ever made, THE GODFATHER PART 2 continues to be a classic seen the world over.

Notable Omissions: Dawn of the Dead, Terminator 2

Contributor: StewWriter

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At the risk of being bombarded by hate-mail, I am doing another movie list! This is a list of the ten greatest cinematographic masterpieces. While many of these cinematographers have created more than one brilliant film, I have only included one each. Be sure to name your own favorites in the comments.

10. American Beauty 1999, Conrad L. Hall Amazon

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Lester and Carolyn Burnham are on the outside, a perfect husband and wife, in a perfect house, in a perfect neighborhood. But inside, Lester is slipping deeper and deeper into a hopeless depression. He finally snaps when he becomes infatuated with one of his daughters friends. Meanwhile, his daughter Jane is developing a happy friendship with a shy boy-next-door named Ricky who lives with a homophobic father.

9. Memoirs of a Geisha 2005, Dion Beebe Amazon


In 1929 an impoverished nine-year-old named Chiyo from a fishing village is sold to a geisha house in Kyoto’s Gion district and subjected to cruel treatment from the owners and the head geisha Hatsumomo. Her stunning beauty attracts the vindictive jealousy of Hatsumomo, until she is rescued by and taken under the wing of Hatsumomo’s bitter rival, Mameha. Under Mameha’s mentorship, Chiyo becomes the geisha named Sayuri, trained in all the artistic and social skills a geisha must master in order to survive in her society. As a renowned geisha she enters a society of wealth, privilege, and political intrigue. As World War II looms Japan and the geisha’s world are forever changed by the onslaught of history.

8. The Godfather 1972, Gordon Willis Amazon


Vito Corleone is the aging don (head) of the Corleone Mafia Family. His youngest son Michael has returned from WWII just in time to see the wedding of Connie Corleone (Michael’s sister) to Carlo Rizzi. All of Michael’s family is involved with the Mafia, but Michael just wants to live a normal life. Drug dealer Virgil Sollozzo is looking for Mafia Families to offer him protection in exchange for a profit of the drug money. He approaches Don Corleone about it, but, much against the advice of the Don’s lawyer Tom Hagen, the Don is morally against the use of drugs, and turns down the offer. This does not please Sollozzo, who has the Don shot down by some of his hit men. The Don barely survives, which leads his son Michael to begin a violent mob war against Sollozzo and tears the Corleone family apart.

7. Morte a Venezia 1971, Pasqualino De Santis Amazon

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In this adaptation of the Thomas Mann novel, Death in Venice, avant-garde composer Gustave Aschenbach (loosely based on Gustav Mahler) travels to a Venetian seaside resort in search of repose after a period of artistic and personal stress. But he finds no peace there, for he soon develops a troubling attraction to an adolescent boy, Tadzio, on vacation with his family. The boy embodies an ideal of beauty that Aschenbach has long sought and he becomes infatuated. However, the onset of a deadly pestilence threatens them both physically and represents the corruption that compromises and threatens all ideals. The closing scene is, in my opinion, one of the greatest and most tragic caught on film.

6. Barry Lyndon 1975, John Alcott Amazon

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Barry Lyndon, directed by Stanley Kubrick, recounts the exploits of an unscrupulous 18th century Irish adventurer (Barry Lyndon né Redmond Barry), particularly his rise and fall within English society. Ryan O’Neal stars as the title character. The Photographer, Alcott, used three f/0.70 lenses developed by Zeiss for NASA for use in the Apollo moon landings, which Kubrick discovered in his search for a lens that could film in low-light situations. The super-fast lens allowed him to shoot scenes lit with actual candlelight with an average lighting volume of only three candlepower. In fact, the film features the largest lens aperture in film history. Alcott won an oscar for his work on this film.

5. Ben-Hur 1959, Robert Surtees Amazon


When Prince Judah Ben-Hur hears that his childhood friend Messala has been named to command the Roman garrison of Jerusalem, he is thrilled. He soon finds however that his friend has changed and has become an arrogant conqueror, full of the grandeur of Rome. When Judah refuses to divulge the names of Jews who oppose Roman rule, Messala decides to make an example of him and sends him off as a galley slave. Through fate and good fortune, Judah survives the galleys and manages to return to Jerusalem in the hopes of finding his mother and sister, who were also imprisoned, and to seek revenge against his one-time friend.

4. Apocalypse Now 1979, Vittorio Storaro Amazon

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Vietnam, 1969. Burnt out Special Forces officer Captain Willard is sent into the jungle with top-secret orders to find and kill renegade Colonel Kurtz who has set up his own army within the jungle. As Willard descends into the jungle, he is slowly over taken by the jungle’s mesmerizing powers and battles the insanity which surrounds him. His boat crew succumbs to drugs and is slowly killed off one by one. As Willard continues his journey he becomes more and more like the man he was sent to kill.

3. Wo Hu Cang Long 2000, Peter Pau Amazon


This film is also known as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Li is a great warrior, famous throughout QING China for his adventurus life. He decides to give his powerful, ancient sword as a gift to an old friend of his, but soon the sword is stolen by a mysterious master of the martial arts. Now, it’s up to Li to uncover the thief and return the sword to its rightful owner.

2. Schindler’s List 1993, Janusz Kaminski Amazon

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“Schindler’s List” is the based-on-truth story of Nazi Czech business man Oskar Schindler, who uses Jewish labor to start a factory in occupied Poland. As World War II progresses, and the fate of the Jews becomes more and more clear, Schindler’s motivations switch from profit to human sympathy and he is able to save over 1100 Jews from death in the gas chambers.

1. Shichinin No Samurai 1954, Asakazu Nakai Amazon


A veteran samurai, who has fallen on hard times, answers a village’s request for protection from bandits. He gathers 6 other samurai to help him, and they teach the townspeople how to defend themselves, and they supply the samurai with three small meals a day. The film culminates in a giant battle when 40 bandits attack the village.

Notable Omissions: The Passion of Joan of Arc, 2001: A Space Odyssey

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The Simpsons has become a world phenomenon, with merchandise, television shows (19 seasons), and a movie. The characters are loved by young and old and many turns of phrase coined by the show have entered common use in English – for example: Doh!

Rather than presenting a list of the main characters, this is the supporting characters – the “people” that provide the backdrop for the hilarious antics of the Simpson family.


Principal Skinner who’s real name is Armen Tanzarian is the man in charge at Springfield Elementary. He tries very hard to keep control of the school while kissing superintendent Chalmer’s butt. However one mysterious student named El Barto will not let Skinner’s job be so easy. If that were not hard enough he has to deal with his overbearing mother every night and if he makes her mad he won’t be allowed to go antiquing with her.

notable episode: Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Badasss song


Comic book guy is the overweight proprietor of the local comic book store, The Android’s Dungeon. He enjoys marshmallow peeps and watching Sci Fi marathons and then broadcasting negative opinions via the internet.

notable episode: Worst Episode Ever


Nelson is the school bully at springfield Elementary. His favorite things to do are to pick on nerds and say “ha ha” when something bad happens to someone else. Once in a while Nelson will be friendly to the local nerds but that is only to lure them into a false sense of security.

notable episode: Sleeping with the Enemy


Ralph is a lovable dumb kid who happens to be the son of the chief of police. Some of Ralph’s career high lights are playing George Washington in a school play, being mistaken as a pumpkin during the hurricane and winning the school panorama contest with his unopened Star Wars action figures and then promptly breaking his wookie.

notable episode: I love Lisa


Smithers is the male apprentice to Mr. Burns, and he loves his job very much. Although Smithers is morally opposed to the many evil things his boss does, he loves him too much to let him know. Smithers is also an avid collector of Malibu Stacy dolls.

notable episode: Homer the Smithers

Chief Wiggum

Chief Wiggum is the local police chief and he takes his job very seriously… just kidding! Wiggum is a portly, pig snouted cop who believes the law is powerless to help people but not to arrest them.

notable episode: Pranksta Rap


Apu is the owner and operator of the Kwik E Mart. He is of Indian descent. His hobbies are working and selling overpriced goods. Apu and his wife have eight children. His favorite saying is “Thank you come again”.

notable episode: Homer and Apu


Krusty is the sleaziest, most foul mouthed clown on T.V. and he happens to be the idol of Bart Simpson. Krusty is a jewish clown who always loved to make people laugh unfortunately his Rabbi father disapproved and disowned him for his career, but thanks to Bart and Lisa they were able to come to terms. Krusty is famous for his signature greeting “hey hey”.

notable episode: Krusty gets Kancelled

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Moe is the local booze jockey of his own bar, Moe’s. Moe is a very ugly guy who can never seem to find the right woman. This could be because he is rude, crude and most of all really ugly.

notable episode: Flaming Moe’s

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Flanders is the religious nut, neighbor of the Simpsons. Homer considers Flanders to be his worst enemy but Flanders considers Homer to be his best friend. Flanders is the nicest guy in Springfield but is usually the doormat of his neighbor, Homer, but Flanders loves God too much to hate his neighbor. Flanders is most popular for his effervescent hello “hi-didly-ho neighborino”

Contributor: MPW

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Top 10 Greatest Soviet Films

The realm of Soviet cinema is woefully underrepresented here on Listverse, and is in general not as well known as Italian or French cinema. The Soviet Central Government primarily viewed film as a way to control the masses, and employed censors to make sure films adhered to party policies of social realism. That being said, many directors risked severe punishment in order to produce films that might not fit with official party lines, but were important nevertheless. I have only highlighted one film per director, but where possible I have included their other notable works. The list, in no particular order:


Boris Barnet’s first sound film is an underrated classic. The plot is set in 1914, and revolves around a German prisoner of war who is sent to a remote Russian village. The story is told in a series of episodes that depict the lives of the villagers as well as the soldiers on the front lines, as they deal with the war and the coming revolution. The colorful characters and impressive use of sound make this a must see for any fan of 1930’s cinema. Other works by Barnet include The Girl with the Hat Box and By the Bluest of Seas.

Director Dziga Vertov paved the way for cinéma vérité, or ‘truth cinema’ (think Woodstock, Hoop Dreams, and countless other documentaries) as a style of filmmaking, and nowhere is this more evident than in his experimental film Man with a Movie Camera. A film with no plot and no actors, Vertov attempts to show Soviet citizens at work and at play through the unfiltered lens of his camera. Vertov employed numerous techniques, including extreme close ups and tracking shots, to demonstrate his belief that film could go anywhere. The original release was silent and was accompanied by live music in theaters, since then various soundtracks have been added on (the soundtrack of the version on Netflix is very good – the one in the clip above is by Michael Nyman). Other works by Vertov include his Kino-Pravda newsreel series and Three Songs About Lenin.

The third film in Alexander Dovzhenko’s “Ukraine Trilogy” (along with Zvenigora and Arsenal), Earth is a symbolic silent film that deals with life, death, sex, violence, and other issues in a Ukrainian farming village. The farmers have to deal with greedy Kulaks (wealthier peasants), industrialization, and collectivization as their way of life is drastically changed. Dovzhenko’s use of montage is well done, and his ambiguity concerning the Soviet Revolution not only got him in trouble with the censors, but makes his film that much more important. Along with the other two movies of the Ukraine Trilogy, Dovzhenko is known for Ivan and Aerograd.

Like Earth, Storm Over Asia is a silent film that forms part of a trilogy. Vsevolod Pudovkin’s “Revolutionary Trilogy” consists of Mother, The End of St. Petersburg, and Storm Over Asia; while all three are considered masterpieces and would have been suitable for this list, I personally enjoyed Storm Over Asia the most. The story takes place in 1918 and focuses on a Mongol herdsman who suffers at the hands of the British occupiers. He joins forces with Soviets fighting the British, is discovered to be a direct descendent of Genghis Kahn, and eventually leads a resistance movement to drive the occupiers out of his country. Despite being a propaganda piece, Pudovkin’s use of montage and engaging storyline about the power of the individual make for a great movie.

One of Sergei Parajanov’s two masterpieces (the other is The Color of Pomegranates), Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is a highly symbolic, beautiful film. The story is set in the Carpathian mountains, and has been described as a Ukrainian Romeo and Juliet- if Romeo had lived after Juliet’s death. Ivan falls in love with Marichka, the daughter of the man who killed his father. As his mother’s only surviving child, he leaves the village to work as a hired laborer and provide for her. However, before he can return to Marichka, she falls to her death while attempting to rescue an errant lamb. The story then follows Ivan through his descent into despair, marriage to the sensual Palagna, and Palagna’s inevitable betrayal. The film is shot in the Hutsul dialect and portrays Hutsul life and culture. Parajanov’s mesmerizing camerawork and color palette make this movie unforgettable.

This film won the Palm d’Or at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival, one of only two Soviet films to do so. Mikhail Kalatozov’s anti-war movie depicts the trauma and suffering the average Soviet citizen went through during WWII. Veronica and Boris are happily in love, until the war tears them apart. Boris is sent to the front lines, and everyone quickly loses touch with him. Meanwhile, Veronica tries to ward off existential despair while Boris’ draft-dodging cousin, who is in love with her, makes increasingly forceful advances. The Cranes are Flying is a superb drama; Kalatozov’s other famous work, I Am Cuba, has previously been featured on Listverse and is also great.

The only movie on this list I haven’t seen, but I felt it deserved a place here if only because of the sheer enormity of the project. The film took seven years to shoot, at a cost of over $100 million (with inflation taken into account it would cost over $700 million today, making it the most expensive film ever made). The original Soviet release was in four parts, totaling 484 minutes (8 hours!); subsequent releases shortened the film somewhat. According to the Guinness Book of World Records one battle scene used 120,000 soldiers, making it one of the largest battles scenes ever filmed. Sergei Bondarchuk’s epic was nominated for two Academy awards, winning one of them and a Golden Globe in the category of Best Foreign Language Film in 1969.

Definitely not for the faint of heart, Elem Klimov’s Come and See is a psychological war movie that makes Apocalypse Now look like child’s play. Florya, a young Belorussian boy, eagerly signs up to fight the Nazis invading his homeland during WWII. As the film progresses, he witnesses horror after horror as his naïve eagerness to fight gives way to disgust at the chaos around him. The visual and sound effects are amazing, and the acting is terrifyingly good. Brutal and unflinching, Come and See is probably the war movie that comes closest to accurately depicting the phrase “War Is Hell”.

The movie that put Soviet Cinema on the map, Sergei Eisenstein’s The Battleship Potemkin is routinely cited as one of the most influential propaganda films of all time, and was even named the greatest film of all time at the World’s Fair in Belgium in 1958. The movie presents a dramatized version of the rebellion in 1905 when the crew of the Potemkin revolted against their Tsarist officers, and is often seen as an initial step towards the Revolution of 1917. One of Eisenstein’s many masterpieces, along with Strike, October, Que Viva Mexico, Alexander Nevsky, Ivan the Terrible Part I, and Ivan the Terrible Part II.

The film that inspired this list, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris is a science fiction classic, and is one of my favorite movies. Psychologist Kris Kelvin is sent to a space station orbiting the planet Solaris, in order to check up on the crew and evaluate the mission, which has stalled because of the crew’s emotional stress. Once Kelvin reaches the station, he begins to experience strange hallucinations. The narrative moves slowly at times, but there is no denying the skill with which Tarkovsky deals with complex issues such as religion, humanity, and the nature of consciousness. Natalya Bondarchuck’s acting is also superb. Tarkosvky’s other films include Ivan’s Childhood, Andrei Rublev, The Mirror, Stalker, Nostalghia, and The Sacrifice.

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This is an unusual topic for a list, but (as you will see) it makes for great reading. Here we look at ten questions posed in movies that make you shudder – because as soon as you hear it, you remember what comes next; and that is almost always something dreadful. Be sure to add your own favorites to the comments.


The Question: “What do you mean I’m funny?”

This one is on the list because, at first, it is delivered harmlessly, and then the gravity of it is suddenly thrust upon us like a landmine. It is also the first of two appearances on this list from the 1990 mafia classic. Joe Pesci, brilliantly portraying Mafioso Tommy DeVito, is shooting the breeze and trading laughs with Ray Liotta, portraying Henry Hill, and others at a table. Everyone is laughing and having a knee-slapping good time listening to Tommy’s exploits. After really laughing up a storm at something Tommy said, Henry says “You’re really funny.” At first Hill isn’t taking Tommy’s response seriously as he’s figuring he hadn’t insulted him. DeVito gradually drops his smile all together and, after another mobster tries to calm him down, he says “No, no, he’s a big boy. He knows what he said.” Now the mood at the table is deathly serious as everyone, including Hill, is now fearing Tommy has, indeed, taken it as a grievous insult and seems terrified of what he’s going to do next. At the end of this suddenly intense pause, Hill gets it and laughingly tells Tommy to “Get the fuck out of here.” Everyone at the table, including Tommy, starts laughing and actually appear relieved that Tommy wasn’t serious. Tommy actually says “I almost had him.” And anyone who’s seen this juggernaut wise guy movie began to breath again after this moment.


The Question: “Have you ever come across someone you shouldn’t have fucked with?”

Now, if we were to have a terrifying movie question on the list that was delivered by a character portrayed by Clint Eastwood, you’d figure it would have to be the timeless “Do you feel lucky? Well, do you, punk?” from Dirty Harry. But the reason this one beats that one out is because it’s just as thought provoking, but a tad more directive in nature. Portraying disgruntled Korean War Veteran, Walt Kowalski, Eastwood happens upon a teenage girl and her spineless boyfriend, who are basically being manhandled by a couple of thug life galoots. The two are not taking Kowalski seriously at all as they see him as a foolish old man that they could easily beat down if he doesn’t leave like they tell him to. It is right in the confines of this safe moment for these two guys that Kowalski poses this question. Then suddenly, like everyone on the edge of their seat engrossed in the moment, they realize that no one would dare ask this question if they WEREN’T someone that was not to be fucked with! Before this scene is over, Kowalski rescues the girl from the thugs, and from having a frail boyfriend and even winds up looking good with the thugs too. Clint Eastwood style—a definite must see. I think anyone would agree that it’s truly terrifying to have this question posed to you, but picture it coming from the steely, assassin-like glare of an angry Clint Eastwood and it’s magnified a hundred times over.


The Question: “What did I tell you? What did I tell you?”

Just like number 10 on this list, this question from Goodfellas makes the list because of the timing of delivery and the sudden nature of the seriousness of the question. Robert DeNiro’s portrayal of lifetime wise guy, Jimmy Conway, was legendary like every other role he’s ever had. As the organizer of the infamous Lufthansa Heist, Conway, based on real life wise guy Jimmy Burke, was on edge about not having any attention drawn to his crew, and especially himself, immediately following the heist. As members of his crew begin to file into the bar to celebrate, when he sees some of the big time purchases some of them have made, he becomes infuriated. While also trying to keep his cool, he grabs one of them, who is gloating to him about a car he just bought, by the collar, stares him right in the eye as if he were a little child and sternly belts out this question to him, TWICE. Instantly, you realize that this guy just fucked up. And to make things worse, after Jimmy makes it clear to the guy that he’s going to take the car back, the guy actually has the nads to say something under his breath. This gets Conway’s ire up even more causing him to throw out an equally terrifying question which was, “Are you fuckin’ trying to be a smart guy with me?” I feel that it wasn’t until after this sequence with Conway that we knew how powerful this man’s influence was with his crew at this time.

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The Question: “Are you Sarah Conner?”

This question is not only more than worthy of being on this list, it has also become a pop culture staple in movie phrases outright. Now, he’s the “Governator”, running California with an iron hand but back then our good friend Ahhnuuld, was an up and coming, muscle ripped action movie dynamo. Portraying a frighteningly emotionless cyborg from the future, sent back in time to kill a woman that would give birth to the leader of his kind’s mortal enemies, which was US as humans, Schwarzenegger delivered this question to his first victim early in the film. After watching good ol’ Termie stock up on weapons, ammunition, and then kill the guy that tried to sell them to him, this question definitely terrified us because after he asked it, we sort of knew what was coming next. A hail of gunfire and then probably a computer readout in his head that said “TARGET IS DECEASED. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.” Over the course of the movie franchise, the Sarah Conner he was really after became a real ass-kicker (played with brutal intensity by the lovely Linda Hamilton). It took more than futuristic cyborgs to stop her. Cancer to be exact, but that was well after her son John, the exalted leader of the human resistance, was safely birthed and on his way to making SKYNET pay for trying to exterminate us.

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The Question: “Why so serious?”

This question sounds harmless enough. Three simple words forming a question that is designed to actually lighten the mood. But have them come out of the mouth of the most demented serial killer, super villain in comic book history, holding a very sharp straight razor, and preparing to carve up a guy’s head like a Halloween pumpkin, and they form a question terrifying enough to make this list. It’s no secret now that Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker in the Dark Knight was as epic as it was dark and gritty. I’m pretty sure he had a few other scary questions in that film that I may have overlooked, but this one is a standout. Thug Gambol, portrayed by Michael Jai White, wanted the Joker dead. The Joker feigns death; pretending to be delivered to Gambol dead by hired thugs. While viewing the “dead” Joker’s body, Gambol is sprang upon by a surprisingly alive and well Joker. Holding the razor closely to Gambol’s face, the Joker eerily pulls us through the dark side once again by recanting yet another, and different, story of how his own face became carved and mutilated. He then proceeds to, to coin a phrase from the defunct sketch comedy show In Living Color, “carve up Gambol like negro sushi.”


The Question: “Was that the boogey man?”

No disrespect to Rob Zombie’s new Halloween franchise, which I liked, but I felt it did not hold a candle to the creep factor in John Carpenter’s original 1978 classic. This movie set the standard for all crazed serial killer slasher movies to follow that came after it. And it magically did this without a lot of blood and gore. From the original score of the movie, to the way Michael Myers creeped through it like an apparition from another world, to the unfeeling and cold blooded murders of his victims, this movie nailed everything to the wall (including one of the victims). By the time our heroine, Jamie Lee Curtis, in her very first full length feature film, asked this question, we were all exhausted from sheer fright and horror as Mr. Myers stabbed, choked and slashed his way to this climax. Portraying Laurie Strode, who turns out to be Mikey’s sister, battered and bloodied and through tears, she is speaking to Dr. Loomis when she asks this question. Loomis was portrayed with sheer raw power by the late, great Donald Pleasance. Hats off to Loomis, who tried at every turn to convince us of how evil ol’ MM was, but we just couldn’t quite grasp it. Having been thoroughly spooked out at this point by Haddonfield’s finest, we already knew Dr. Loomis’ answer, “As a matter of fact it was.”


The Question: “Can you get me off the hook, Tom? For old times’ sake?”

America’s love affair with all things mafia would not be what it is without the Godfather. I officially don’t like anyone who doesn’t like the Godfather. With all the great lines in this film, it’s no wonder there’s a question from it on this list. The question itself is not all that terrifying and neither is the answer; what IS terrifying is knowing what both means. Abe Vigoda is portraying mafia point man, Sal Tessio, and he has already betrayed newly appointed Don Michael Corleone (I shouldn’t have to mention the awesome brilliance of Al Pacino in this role, but I will). What he doesn’t know is that Michael knows it, and so does his consigliari Tom Hagen. While he was trying to set up Michael, Michael set him up. Believing that he has successfully deceived Michael and is going with him to a “meeting”, Tessio and Hagen are intercepted by one of the bodyguards. He tells them that the boss is going to come in a separate car. Tessio says that will screw up his arrangements, to which the guard replies, “well, that’s what he says.” After they begin to proceed to their vehicle, Hagen stops and tells Tessio that he can’t go with him, either, as several bodyguards surround Tessio, it becomes obvious that Michael has found him out, and now he’s about to pay for his betrayal with his life. Probably because his character was an old salt in the business, and knowing how these things go, he takes it well and even asks Hagen to tell Michael that it was only business and that he always liked him. To me the terrifying part comes next. Tessio shows us that the fear of death can even get to an old Mafioso like him. Before Hagen splits, he looks at him with sad eyes and poses this now classic question. Without hesitation, Hagen looks back at him and says “Can’t do it, Sally.” Tessio is then lead into the car and driven away to his doom.


The Question: “Have you checked the children?”

This question has become so popular in American pop culture that when one voices it you instantly think of the horrifying movie it came from. As with Halloween, earlier, this seventies fright film has been imitated but, in my humble opinion, not outdone by it’s successors in 1993 or 2006. There are two things that are terrifying about this question. Number one, any threat against a defenseless child is terrifying, and two, picture it being posed to you telephonically by some maniac IN the same house with you!! Carol Kane is portraying Jill Johnson, who tragically, has to listen to the maniacal Curt Duncan, portrayed by actor Tony Beckley, ask her this not once but twice in the movie. The first time, she’s a young babysitter when he hits her with it. It’s horrifying to think that children you were hired to care for could be horribly murdered right underneath your nose, but it turns out that Duncan had already killed the children several hours earlier. Time and adulthood can’t save her from being in this situation again. This time, she’s a married wife and mother of two kids, herself. She and her husband are out celebrating a promotion, and a babysitter is at home with her kids. While at the restaurant, she receives another call from the homicidal Duncan who is now posing this question referring to her children. Eventually, we learn that her kids are okay but that doesn’t stop an explosive final confrontation between her and Duncan. Oh, and I should mention that veteran actor Charles Durning portrays cop turned private eye, John Clifford, who bursts in and saves the day at the very end.

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The Question: “Is it safe?”

Our question at number two comes from one of the best movies of all times. I would say that’s my opinion, but it’s also the opinion of millions of others as well. Based on a novel by William Golden, this 1976 suspense thriller is so good, that I can’t do it justice by trying to rip through the whole thing in this short blurb about the now world-famous question from the movie. It is an absolute must see, and crushes many modern day suspense movies into a fine powder. If you see it at Blockbuster, please rent it. Hell, right now it can’t be an expensive buy and if you bought it, you definitely would not be wasting your money. I’m going to thrust you right into the gripping moment of our question, though. Dustin Hoffman, with flawless excellence, is portraying Thomas “Babe” Levy, a history Ph D candidate, who has been abducted by Nazi war criminal Doctor Christian Szell, played by Sir Lawrence Olivier. So evil was Szell that he was voted to be one of the top 100 movie villains of all time by the American Film Institute. Szell mistakenly believes that Babe has vital information he needs in his efforts to obtain a very expensive, and rare, diamond collection. Outside of being a Nazi, Szell is also a skilled dentist. He uses these “skills” to torture Babe into giving him the information he wants. Unfortunately for Babe, Babe really does not know the information. So, Szell starts drilling holes in his teeth while repeating this question over and over again. It is a code question for this specific situation but Babe has no idea what the answer is and at one point, he answers one way and then when the question is repeated, he does a 180 and answers the opposite way in a desperate attempt to end the torture. He eventually passes out and those of us watching are left literally holding our mouths shut to give extra protection to our teeth.


The Question: “If they put you up in front of that grand jury, what you gone tell ‘em?”

Though gripping and compelling at times, At Close Range wasn’t one of those movies that you could officially classify as memorable. I liked it a lot and so did a lot of Christopher Walken fans. What gives this question the number one spot on this list is that the movie is not a work of fiction. It is based on the real life story of Bruce Johnston, Sr., head of a crime family in rural Pennsylvania in the 60’s and 70’s. In the film, Walken portrays Brad Whitewood, Sr., the character based on Johnston. A good movie but quite tragic; it will make your stomach churn. At a critical point in the film, Whitewood realizes that the police is getting close to him and his crew, which included sons Brad Jr. and Tommy (portrayed by real life brothers Sean and Chris Penn). To prevent the police from discovering him, he decides to execute his own sons and the other new members of the crew that may give him up. The question above comes from the scene where he and his crew take Tommy out to a secluded area. To make this scenario even more morbid than it sounds, his grave is already dug for his soon to be lifeless body. That’s when his father poses this terrifying question to him. Tommy tells him no without hesitation or trepidation. There is then a silent and motionless moment, then Tommy realizes that his father is going to kill him, anyway. He pleads with his father, briefly, before his father calls him a liar and shoots him in the face at point blank range. I made this question number one because it is both heartbreaking and quite frightening that a father would do this to his own son…and it actually happened in real life.

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With names like Ra’s al Ghul and Victor Von Doom, many great comic book villains were probably born with their careers set on evil. And, boy, do they have a resume list to show for it. Comic book supervillains have committed all manner of crimes, heinous and despicable, from a crazed clown trying to drive the police commissioner mad by forcing him to watch his paralyzed daughter getting violated, to an intergalactic despot building an army of followers who draw their power from the yellow light of fear, to the overlord of the planet Apokolips who tries to find an equation to destroy free will itself. Yeah, supervillains are a nasty lot… most of the time any way. Just like how The Punisher found his way into the ranks of the superheroes, not every super-adversary is a power hungry megalomaniac. Some are people who are just trying to do what they think is right. Some are just helpless, abused, worn-down people who have nothing better to do. And, some people just had one bad day. These are villains who, once you get to know them, aren’t so villainous after all.


Everyone knows the story of Batman: the boy who watched his parents gunned down by a low-life criminal, and declared his lifelong battle against the forces of crime, to make sure no one ever had to suffer through what he had. Prometheus is an inverted case. The son of two criminal hippies, Prometheus (we never learn his real name), traveled the country with his parents for years until law enforcement agents cornered the three of them, and shot his parents down in front of his eyes. Prometheus’s hair turned white due to the trauma, and declared that he would spend his life battling the forces of justice. While Prometheus doesn’t have the most prolific record in supervillain history (he did come close to defeating the JLA once, and then later appeared in the awful Cry for Justice mini-series), his story serves as a reflection of the “Why?” in super-hero stories. Prometheus views the forces of justice as an oppressor, who reign an iron fist down on people like his parents, who in his eyes, weren’t doing anything wrong. It is very much a case of nature vs. nurture, and perhaps in an alternate reality, Prometheus could have been a great hero.


From the panels of Alan Moore’s acclaimed graphic novel on the nature of the superhero itself, Adrian Veidt is a manipulator to put Svengali to shame. Once a member of the Watchmen, Veidt was known as Ozymandias, and was considered to be the smartest man in the world. The novel itself details Veidt’s retirement from ‘costumed-adventuring’ like the other members of the team, along with the revelation that the murders that have been occurring were directed by him. At the end of the book, Veidt nukes New York City, in order to unite the world (in the midst of a cold war) against a false alien menace. While Ozymandias may have more of a superiority complex then a desire to truly do good to the world (it’s a deep novel), he is nonetheless, believing that he is doing the right thing. Veidt desires not power, not wealth, but simply peace, and is willing to cross the line to obtain it. And, while his plan is certainly full of holes for someone who claims to the be world’s smartest man, Veidt is a reflection of what someone with that much power could do in the real world, all in the name of peace & justice. It’s difficult to explain, but read Watchmen and you’ll see that nothing is black and white.


Dr. Curt Connors began as Peter Parker’s friend and fellow scientist, until experimenting with lizard DNA in an attempt to regrow his amputated arm had a horrible side effect. Connors became the Lizard, and repeated an endless pattern of trying to keep his alternate personality under control, losing it, and having Spider-Man develop a temporary cure. There is little room to indict on Connors predicament, as he is very much a victim of his own sensible ambitions. He is Spider-Man’s friend, and has helped him scientifically on numerous occasions, cursed with a violent altar-ego he can’t control. He’s lost his humanity, his career, his family, all over an attempt at regaining something he lost. The Joker once said that all it takes to drive a person insane is one bad day. Curt Connors has been living with the results of that day for his entire continuity.


Don’t let Arnold’s performance as this great villain in Joel Schumacher’s “Batman & Robin” fool you; Mr. Freeze is a tragic villain if there ever was one. He began as a gimmick-based villain during the Silver Age of Comics. It wasn’t until Paul Dini, co-creator of Batman: The Animated Series imagined a new form for the character, that he truly got a chance to shine. In the episode “Heart of Ice” Batman faces Mr. Freeze for the first time, when Freeze launched ice-based attacks on divisions of a Gotham based company. Batman then discovered that Freeze began life as Dr. Victor Fries, a scientist who specialized in cryogenics. Fries’ wife, Nora, had contracted a terminal disease, and Fries, using money he had embezzled from a science experiment the company had hired him for, cryogenically froze her so that he could search for a cure while she waited. After going over-budget, the CEO discovers Fries’ embezzlement and pulls the plug on Nora, leaving her to die from her illness. When Fries tries to stop him, he gets knocked into a bunch of chemicals, which leave him in a state where his body cannot survive out of sub-zero temperatures, hence the freeze suit. “Heart of Ice” went on to win an Emmy and has had its story adapted into mainstream Batman continuity. Now, Mr. Freeze is the tragic villain in Batman’s rogues gallery, always working alone and wanting to spread cold and despair onto all those he encounters, especially the man who ruined his chance for revenge against those who killed his wife: Batman.


Depending on who you’re talking to, Bizarro is either an imperfect clone of Superman, or a reversed version of Superman from another world. The one thing that is consistent is that Bizarro is the 10-year-old with issues in DC’s supervillain lineup. Bizarro’s intelligence is that of someone under ten, with all the powers of Superman, and spends his time either being used by other, smarter super-villains (Lex Luthor, The Joker, etc.) or just getting angry and fighting Superman. But, at heart, Bizarro just wants to be like Superman, albeit in his own, inverted way. He can’t control his powers, he’s too dumb to truly discern right from wrong, and uses his powers as an outlet for anger and frustration that he himself can’t fully understand. It’s almost like Bizarro was constructed as a massive manipulation tool for readers’ sympathies.


Another character brought to us from Batman: The Animated Series, and created by Paul Dini. Dr. Harleen Quinzel was an intern at Arkham Asylum, who attempted to get inside the mind of the Joker so she could write a tell all book on the subject. What emerged was “Silence of the Lambs” if Jodie Foster hadn’t matched Hannibal in intelligence. By trying to get inside Joker’s mind, Joker got into the good doctors, and she ended up falling for him, and becoming his sidekick and girlfriend, Harley Quinn (get it?). She’s been adapted into the comics, where she’s become a fan favorite, and is always involved in some sort of on-again off-again relationship with The Joker. And, as you’d suspect, a psychotic killing clown prime of crime doesn’t make for the best person to have as your significant other. Harley has become someone of an icon for abusive relationships, as Joker is constantly cruel to her, always telling her she “isn’t getting the joke” and pushing her out of windows. Sadly, Harley finds it hard to go back, and just ends up crawling back to Mr. J, convinced of her own worthlessness, and blaming herself for upsetting him. And I thought Bizarro was sad.


This thousand year old arch-nemesis of Captain Marvel (who’s actually a DC creation despite the name), has only recently shown himself to be as sympathetic as this list qualifies him for. Adam hails from ancient Egypt, and draws his powers from the gods of their pantheon. After removing the ruthless dictator of his country from power, Adam took control and ended up failing in the long run, largely due to the deaths of his family members. After launching a World War, Adam takes his status as a corrupted anti-hero, who simply wants to protect what he loves in the world, namely his home and his people, but is driven to villainous means due to his personality and desperation. Black Adam’s story is one of a failed hero, who is eventually replaced by the boy scout Captain Marvel, and his constant anger and need to have things the way he believes they should be. Adam has even sided with heroes from time to time, including nearly sacrificing himself to repel the forces of Darkseid. We can only hope that he doesn’t get corrupted any further.


While Miss Selina Kyle probably has the most sympathetic back story of any character on this list, she’s become so far from villainy and is actually so tame when it comes to her crimes, she ranks higher as an anti-hero than a straightforward villain. Beginning her story as a prostitute in Gotham’s seedy underbelly, Selina learned to survive by being as tough as nails, and as flexible as a cat, going on to don the famous costume when times hit especially hard. She has been a jewel thief for most of her career in crime, and is always on the look out for herself and her surrogate sister Holly Robinson. Selina never asked to be a criminal, she just did what she had to do to survive, and just got used to it over time. She’s also assertive as hell, always looking out for number one, and can side with anyone who can benefit her needs, which is usually Batman. The relationship between herself and Batman has become one of the enduring dualities in comic book history, as Batman rarely battles her in her criminal doings, and the two have even been romantically involved at several points, leading to her discovering Batman’s secret identity. With a troubled past, a hard-times-call-for-such-measures approach to life, and actually managing to get to Bruce Wayne’s soft side, Catwoman is so layered, that she barely even qualifies as a supervillain.


Harvey Dent is Batman’s greatest failure, and a constant reminder of how much someone call fall from grace. Once the bold and crime-fighting district attorney who was on the verge of cleaning up Gotham for good, Dent’s own personal demons arose at just the wrong time. A childhood full of abuse and hardship lead to Dent’s revelation of a split-personality that he could barely control. Again keeping with the Joker’s idea of one bad day, Dent was finally pushed over the edge when a gangster threw acid in his face during a trial, which lead to the left side of his face hideously melted away. The psychological and physical trauma overwhelmed Dent, leading to self-doubt, self-loathing, and the violent altar-ego influencing his other half. Dent eventually became Two-Face, a villain at odds with his own duality, and so tortured that he couldn’t even tell right from wrong, and left all of his decisions to the fair flip of a coin. To this day, Two-Face not only is a victim as much as he is a tortured soul, but he represents Batman’s biggest failure in losing someone as good as Harvey Dent. Many are familiar with this story due to The Dark Knight, which perfectly summed up what Two-Face is: confused, angry, unsatisfied, and tortured. A man who lost control of himself, and thus, surrenders all in his life to chance.


Whether he is Max Eisenhardt, Magnus, or Erik Lehnsherr. Whether he is Sir Ian McKellan or Michael Fassbender. Whether he wears a stupid looking bucket on his head, or bathes himself in purple, Magneto is everything a supervillain needs to be. He is ruthless, incredibly powerful, has done horrible things, and can justify all of it. Magneto is a survivor of the Holocaust, but not without losing his family and his home, and witnessing first hand what truly horrible things human beings can do each other. After discovering his mutant power to control magnetic fields and calling himself Magnus, he clashes with his close friend Charles Xavier over the hypothetical existence of a new race of humanity (which are revealed to be mutants). Xavier believes in peaceful coexistence between mutants and humans, but Magnus’ fear and first hand accounts of the Holocaust drive him to believe in inevitable war between the species. After discovering that Xavier is a mutant, Magnus becomes Magneto, and leaves his friend to found the X-Men. Originally portrayed as a megalomaniac, Magneto has become the Malcolm X to Xavier’s Martin Luther King. Magneto believes in protecting mutant kind from humanity that hates them, and is willing to use whatever means necessary (sound familiar?) to achieve that. Magneto stands as the self-imposed realist to Xavier’s dream, using his vast power to help keep mutant-kind safe from decimation and persecution, a fear he has every reason to believe given his backstory. He has even joined his enemies, the X-Men, to carry on his friend Xavier’s dream after Xavier supposedly died. He’s the Malcolm X of mutants, and given the story of Malcolm X, only close-minded people wouldn’t find either case sympathetic, and even valid.

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At present there is a writers strike on in Hollywood – this is the perfect opportunity for a budding screenwriter to make a blockbuster film and sell it to the big Hollywood producers. Below I have selected (with a little help from JT) 10 stories that would make truly amazing films. Be sure to tell us your own preferences in the comments – maybe we can inspire a great new film to be made.

10. Sharks in Venice


The advent of Snakes on a Plane has opened up the flood gates for all kinds of likeminded cheesy horror films to dominate our screens with their absurd titles and ‘why didn’t I think of that’ premises. The most promising of this new batch of horror films is Sharks in Venice (‘They’re SHARKS….in VENICE!’) It’s a film that, as long as it delivers what its title promises, simply can not fail. A gondolier paddles desperately away from the Great White it has just poked in the eye; Hammerheads dive out of the water and begin gobbling up idle children playing on the canal front; and whale sharks shimmy through the narrow waterways, tearing away at Venice’s fragile canals, sinking the city further into its watery oblivion. Cue Samuel L. Jackson (or in this case Stephen Baldwin…), shark in one hand, telephone in the other: ‘I have had it with these motherfuckin’ SHARKS in these motherfuckin’ VENETIAN CANALS!’

9. Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand


If nothing else, this film could act as a balance to the ultra-left films of the likes of Michael Moore. This is probably the greatest novel by Ayn Rand and it tells the story of a future in which the producers are being robbed by the looters who feel that they deserve the fruits of the producers because they (the looters) have a moral right to it. This is a very Robin Hood type tale but one in which we see Robin Hood as the villain. The film is supposedly set to be produced but there has been no action on the part of the producers for some time. Angelina Jolie is set to play the part of the main women (Dagny).

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8. The life of Antonio Ghislieri

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Antonio Ghislieri (Pope Saint Pius V) lead one of the most fascinating lives of the 16th century. He reformed monasteries (to eradicate immorality), he reformed many facets of the politics of the Roman Catholic Church (and consequently Europe), he provided funding against invading Muslim attacks on Europe, he excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I and declared that the English were not subject to “the false queen”, and he financially supported the successful Battle of Lepanto. His body is incorrupt and can be seen in the Sistine Chapel (image above). Regardless of your political or religious views, Antonio Ghislieri is one of the most important figures of medieval Europe.

7. By the Rivers of Babylon Nelson DeMille


By the Rivers of Babylon is a fantastic book about a flight from Israel that becomes stranded in the desert near Babylon (modern day Iraq). When a group of Arabs come to attack the plane, the Jews onboard decide that they are going to fight back. This would make a fantastic action movie and the presence of Muslims and Jews make it very suitable for the current political climate in the world.

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6. Brave New World Aldous Huxley


Brave New World is probably the greatest novel by Aldous Huxley. It is set in the far future where people are born through cloning. The government feeds its people with a drug called Soma to make them “happy”. Set in London in 2540 AD, the majority of mankind is united in a one world state. People typically die at age 61, having maintained good health and apparent youth up to that point. Their bodies go to crematoria, where vital elements such as phosphorus are extracted from the exhaust of the furnaces. People are raised without parents. This novel is chock full of amazing and novel ideas that it would be an incredibly unique movie.

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5. The Pillars of the Earth Ken Follett


This incredible novel tells the tale of the building of a Cathedral in 12th century England. It goes in to great detail about the lives of the masons at the time and has intrigue and historic realism packed in. This could be another Name of the Rose, or Braveheart. This is a masterpiece film waiting to be realized.

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4. Lunar Park Brett Easton Ellis


This is the most recent book by Brett Easton Ellis (of American Psycho fame). It is a “true” story of his marriage to a famous actress and his decline in to apparent insanity – helped along with extremely large doses of Ketel One and prescription medication. The best thing about this story is that it involved monsters! There is so much potential in this book to take movie goers on a roller-coaster ride through insanity and the lifestyles of the A-listers. Of course, any book by Ellis would make a great movie (and in fact, three have already).

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3. The Charm School Nelson DeMille


The Charm School is a brilliant book by Nelson DeMille (the second on this list). It is about a group of American’s working at the US embassy in Soviet Russia. They accidentally stumble upon the “Charm School” – a school being run by the Soviets to train their spies to infiltrate American life. This is one of the best espionage books I have ever read and it would make an incredible movie. Someone needs to get on to this one FAST.

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2. The Life of Jack Churchill


Jack Churchill is the man you aspire to be; a man of such unparalleled genius, god-like greatness, and staggering beauty that the fact a film has yet to be made of his life is nothing short of criminal. A skilled bagpipes player, Churchill joined the army during WWII, and went into battle with a sword, and a bow and arrows. He survived many dangerous missions and escaped from two different concentration camps. After the war, Churchill became a stunt archer for Hollywood movies, before devoting his life to surfboarding, becoming the first person to ride the River Severn’s five-foot tidal bore on his own home-made board. If there ever was a man who needed a film, it was Jack Churchill.

1. Foundation Series Isaac Asimov


I consider the Foundation series by Asimov to be his greatest work. I am just astounded that no one has bothered to make a screenplay from one of these books. They have the universal scope of the Star Wars movies and could potentially result in a trilogy of films of equal quality to the original three Star Wars movies. There is an entire franchise to benefit from here – yet no one has done so. This is the series of books I would most want to see made in to a film.

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Every franchise has them, adult fans. Whether the fans refuse to grow up, or see nothing wrong in enjoying the things that made their childhood special, there are adult fans all over children’s franchises. We’re going to look at the top ten children’s franchises with overwhelming adult fans.


Released in 2000 and continuing on to 2003, with a recent revamp series, Beyblade was a series that took Japan by storm. While it didn’t have the biggest impact in other markets, this franchise, revolving around battling tops with mystical spirits in them, caught the attention of many older fans. The anime attracted fans with their crisply designed characters and amusing spinning top battles, where mystical spirits would be called from the tops. Admittedly, these scenes were actually animated rather nicely. The games relied on customization of the tops themselves, players could buy several tops and mix and match parts, and this aspect drew in fans who thought about how weight of various parts could affect spin time and make a beyblade either easier to knock out of the ring or harder.


Making her first appearance in 1959, this stunning toy has occupied the minds of little girls for generations, but it also has a rather large following in adults. The franchise has seen barbie be a doctor, go to school, get married and be a princess in her own animated adventures. However, it seems that this caught the attention of adult fans more than the children they’re aimed at. Whether the appeal is the collectible value or the draw of having an army of plastic girls at your disposal, older fans are plentiful. There have even been rather large conventions for the product that tend to draw quite a lot of adult fans…a surprising number of whom are adult males.


Seen as a show for kid’s in the U.K., the show has gotten itself a decent amount of older fans. It’s usually fans who grew up with one of the Doctors in the past, watching adventures of their favorite incarnations of the Time Lord in their youth. There are forums and magazines, conventions a plenty, and also the world’s longest running fan project in the form of The Doctor Who Audio Drama. Interestingly enough, the 27 year nonstop run of these has actually beat the official series, which ran for 26 consecutive series.


This series covers the adventures of Jem, the alter-ego of music company owner Jerrica Benton, and her band, known as the Holograms. The series caught the attention of children in the 80s with its vivid color, and original Hannah Montana story, keeping a singing superstar identity a secret. Jem uses a machine her father left her to change the way she looks. Of course, there was another draw: the singing. It grabbed the attention of both adults and children, making Jem and the Holograms a breakout success. Though her popularity has faded, Jem has stayed in the minds of many fans as they grew older, creating a surprisingly large fanbase. Many of these people have gone on to become fans of Samantha Newark, one of Jem’s voice actresses, who recently released an album of her own.


No, not the recent movies, which many “diehard” fans will tell you aren’t real Transformers, but the shows and toys that have been spawned from the series in the 80s. Originally a co-production between Toei Animation, Hasbro Toys, and Takara Tomy, the series was animated in Japan and scripted in America, becoming an overnight smash hit in the 1980′s. As the first series ended, it continued to spawn spin-offs, movies and comic books in Japan. With the release of Beast Wars in the mid 90′s, the franchise saw a revival of popularity in older fans. There have since been yearly BotCons, where the fandom gathers to mingle and talk with staff and cast on the shows, as well as being able to snag original BotCon-only designed toys. There are even some adult fans who, despite being diehards, won’t accept certain series: some who hate the Japanese only series, some who hate Beast Wars, giving birth to the comical saying TRUK NOT MUNKEY. Transformers has been a hit with kids since their childhoods, and with a new movie and TV series on the way, it shows no signs of slowing.

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The magical adventures of the boy wizard have captivated the minds of both adults and children all over the world, ever since its release. The dark themes involve a central villain, as well as the more dramatic aspects of Harry’s upbringing at the hands of his aunt and uncle. All these elements leave him with problems ranging from social awkwardness to flat out loneliness. This all comes to a head in a dramatic final battle, set in the overtaken school, that will be sure to marvel people when it hits the theater. Harry Potter has many tones that resonate with the older crowd and captivate them just as much as the young audiences. It has led many movie studios to try to find the next big book to film series, with it looking like Twilight has been the ‘it’ thing for teens and moms, but nothing yet for fantasy fans. There have been card games, board games, toys and candy, even real-life rock bands inspired by the world of Harry Potter. We’ll even be seeing a Harry Potter themed park soon enough. So, despite the series ending, it seems that it’s here to stay in the hearts of adults and children, alike, for quite some time.

Twilight New Picture

Everyone’s “favorite” blockbuster vampire series. The story is that of a young girl who falls in love with a vampire, and it chronicles the journey through which she goes to be with him, and it certainly has its share of adult fans. This should come as a surprise to no one, though, with their young heartthrobs taking lead roles and being oh-so-perfect, the main characters are an instant draw for a certain subsection of adults…particularly adult women. There is a massive fangroup known as Twilight Moms which, you guessed it, is a community for adult women and mothers who became fans of the series thanks to their children’s interest. It’s even been reported that they’ve made Jacob and Isabella the most popular baby names of the year 2009. It’s also launched the rather amusing meme “If these were 50 year old men screaming for teenage girls, they’d be in jail” which reflects a bit on what’s found to be socially acceptable these days.


Admittedly, this one spans more than a single franchise, but I thought it was still worthy of mention. In the eyes of much of the mainstream media, and populace, comic books are still things for kids. However, that has not been totally true for a good number of years now. Adult storylines and themes have been introduced into the comics, actually making them things some people would rather children not read (Yo, Tony Stark’s alcoholism is totally great for a superhero). We have cons, we have animation, fanfics and comics, toys aimed at adults (not like that!) and conventions all over the place. Though the various heroes might find it hard to remain in the public eye at times, they are still ever present in the eyes of the older fans.


Gotta Catch ‘em All? Not anymore. With the number of Pokemon reaching nearly 500, Nintendo tossed out that slogan long ago. The franchise continues to span episodes of anime, and new games are all over the place for kids to get into. However, it’s the adult fans that really find the hidden wonders of the stuff. A trend known as “EV training” has been increasingly popular in older fans. Players train their Pokemon in specific ways to learn certain moves and have certain stats, something some might see as a tad bit too optimistic for kids who lack the patience to work through that kind of commitment. There are also fans who have managed to follow all 500+ episodes of the anime series, still hoping for the day Ash will become a Pokemon master, or some decent character development will occur. Alas, it seems that all of Ash’s Pokemon will instantly become weak the moment a new region is started, though that won’t stop older fans from recalling moments in recent episodes that contradict an episode four years ago.


That’s right, Power Rangers. The most unlikely franchise to have older fans, a badly produced show with terrible acting? You’d be surprised to learn that the internet fandom is huge for the 16 various series. There are discussions that range from how a Ranger is racist, thanks to the comment “I’m never trusting a lizard anymore”, to threads that seem to go on forever thanks to one off lines of dialogue, made when it wasn’t sure that the show would go beyond a first season. The show has had a single fan convention, though a second is on its way, and the members of the fandom seem to be in constant contact with the actors and staff. Some people have gone on to decry the series as rubbish kid stuff and moved on to the Japanese Super Sentai series, from which they were spawned. However, they still remain fans of brightly colored heroes and rubber suits. When it comes to fans that have stayed longer than expected, it’s Power Ranger fans. Though the various shows can have some surprisingly dramatic themes at times, the finale of the fifth season, Power Rangers Turbo, saw the big bad of the series actually win and defeat the Rangers, blowing their base up and seemingly leaving them with no hope. At the behest of a friend, I saw the final series. When the final series, R.P.M., began production, it was assumed by the staff that this was the last one, so they went all out on dramatics. Power Rangers R.P.M. begins after the villain has won, already having taken over the earth and turned it into a wasteland. The Rangers aren’t saving the planet this time, they’re defending the last remaining human city and remnants of humanity. The series also pokes fun at established conventions, such as the explosions, posing, brightly colored suits and oddly toyetic mecha.

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In our less-and-less-literary age, TV has gradually become the primary font of wisdom for the great mass of population – most of us get our news from television network and cable sources, for example. Commentators on culture and society have often tried—almost since television’s invention—to raise the alarm about this growing tendency of ours to look to the small screen for all of our news and entertainment. Their efforts have proved unsuccessful, as we know–TV nearly laid low the film industry in the 1950s, and TV and the internet together have beaten print media pretty well into submission.

Not all is bad in TV-land, however; even in the midst of an ocean of meaningless and inane fluff, television has at times managed to fulfill its early promise of bringing knowledge and learning to a mass audience. Sometimes through government-mandated regulation, sometimes through the simple desire of a few wise individuals to raise the standard a little.

So was born the television documentary series, and what follows is a list of the ten greatest of these that went out across the airwaves over the last forty years.

10. The Body in Question

Jonathan Miller’s History of Medicine, in 13 parts, presented in 1978 on the BBC and on PBS stations in America. Miller, in the series, used a combination of visual images and lecture-like presentations to not only trace the history of medicine, but to explain the working of the human body in entertaining ways. The excerpt is a perfect example, where old friend Dudley Moore is enlisted to help explain the mystery of dexterity.

9. Victory at Sea Buy Now

One of the earliest television documentary series and one of the first dealing with WWII, Victory at Sea used extensive archival footage—up to that point unseen by the public—taken during the war, to illustrate the long naval struggle that helped bring Allied victory—from the Battle of the Atlantic to the island hopping campaigns in the Pacific. What helped make the series even more memorable was the participation of composer Richard Rodgers, who wrote the stirring theme music.

8. The Civil War Buy Now

Ken Burns’ well-known and highly acclaimed series that made a star out of author Shelby Foote, whose commentary is one of the most enjoyable and fascinating aspects of each episode. Touching, poignant, fascinating – The Civil War is viewed today as not only Burns’ best work, but it became the new standard for history-related television documentaries. With David McCullough’s excellent narration and the period music, this series became one of PBS’ most popular ever.

7. The Ascent of Man Buy Now

Jacob Bronowski’s essay on the scientific progress of man since his very beginnings, this series was one of the original, groundbreaking triad produced for BBC 2 in the late sixties/early seventies (the other two being Civilisation and Life on Earth).

This excerpt, though it cuts off at the end, is a powerful statement delivered at the site of Auschwitz, the Nazi concentration camp.

6. The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau

For the first time in television history, viewers were taken, in color, under the waves, into the depths of the ocean and around the world to examine marine life, learn about the fragile nature of our oceans, and the natural world that is dependent on the sea. At turns narration is delivered (until his tragically early death in 1975) by Rod Serling—with his authoritatively pitched and often-imitated voice—and Cousteau himself, who gives the occasional commentary with his characteristic Gallic accent, as equally imitated as Serling’s. Cousteau’s often-poetic words, rolling in the ear like the echo inside a chambered nautilus, remind us that he was not merely the inventor of the aqualung, not merely an ocean- and nature-conservationist, but also a man of deep feeling and tremendous wisdom; skilled not only with diving equipment and camera, but also with conveying to us, the audience, the fascination, wonder and respect he felt for the silent world whose exploration he had helped pioneer.

5. Alastair Cooke’s America

Another of the early great BBC color documentaries, this one was author Alastair Cooke’s paean to America, his adopted home. In 13 parts Cooke examined the history of the United States from colonization up to the societal upheaval of the 1970s.

Another truncated clip, but the only one, sadly, that I could find.

4. The World at War Buy Now

With amazing interviews and archival footage, this near-definitive documentary series covered all of WWII from the pre-war days in Germany, Japan and Italy, up to the very end, with the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Laurence Olivier’s softly intoned narration set an ever-present mood of the tragedy taking place in each episode, so that the series seemed often bleak and hard to take… but this is the way, one can argue, that war ought to be presented.

I remember this series in my childhood and youth, and it never failed to haunt me—from the opening theme music and montage, to the stark footage, to Olivier’s voice moving through it all, with a sort of implied sadness which one begins to share with each successive viewing.

3. The Blue Planet Buy Now

From an underwater lake to close-up photography of sharks and a blue whale, to a fascinating trip into the black abyss, this is my favorite of David Attenborough’s documentaries on the life of our planet. His first was the historic Life on Earth, followed by series such as The Life of Mammals, Planet Earth and of course The Blue Planet—each series full of such beautiful film work that I was hard-pressed to pick one of them. One of the greatest things about The Blue Planet is its stirring score, and the feel it gives for the epic drama of the oceans.

2. Cosmos: A Personal Voyage Buy Now

Carl Sagan’s master work, one might say; the synthesis of ideas he’d presented in his various books up to that point, from The Dragons of Eden to Broca’s Brain. With great depth and yet with the care and elegance of an accomplished teacher, Sagan presents us with the wonder of the cosmos—all that is, or ever was, or ever will be. Similar to Cousteau in his use of occasionally near-poetic prose, Sagan’s program took countless viewers out into the void of space and inwards to the atom, and beyond.

Partly an exploration of the universe, partly an exploration of his philosophies of science and life, and partly a loving tribute to the men of learning and wisdom he admired (most notably Johannes Kepler, who first brought us understanding of how the planets move around the sun, and Eratosthenes, the ancient Greek scientist who first determined the circumference of the earth), Cosmos is one of the most poignant and moving television documentaries ever made—in no small measure due to the lovely musical score and (for the time) excellent computer-animated effects. Like most of the series on this list, it holds up today every bit as powerfully and successfully as when it was first broadcast.

1. Civilisation: A Personal View Buy Now

It was truly difficult to choose between this series, the first documentary broadcast on the then-newly created BBC 2, and Cosmos, one of the widest-ranging and most wondrous (and life-affirming) of all these selections… but Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation wins out, for me, not only because of its historical importance (predating all other documentary series on this list with the exception of Victory at Sea) but because of the erudite skill and faith exhibited by its creator-host. Clark’s adeptness before the camera is matched by the unadorned elegance of his words, presenting, with a combination of wit and commanding brilliance, his views on how the art of civilization progressed from the fall of Rome to modern times. His manner is that of the friendly and gentle schoolmaster, and his love for the great heroes of civilization which he admires is plainly evident. His descriptions of the works (and person) of Antoine Watteau, for example, are done with delicate perception and poignancy, and it’s this style of Clark’s, more than anything, for which he became widely and rabidly admired towards the end of his life. Indeed, Civilisation was a wildly popular series (for a documentary) bringing Clark acclaim and attention which he’d never imagined he’d receive. (David Attenborough tells, in the DVD release of the series, of the time when Clark came to America for a public appearance. Experiencing the overwhelming adulation of the crowds of people that flocked to see him, Clark had to escape into a bathroom, where he cried for several minutes).

Proof of the magic worked on the mind and senses by this program—my thirteen-year-old daughter will sit, without encouragement from me, watching it, enraptured—not only because of the beautiful paintings, architecture, and music—but also because of the wonderful grandfatherly air of Kenneth Clark. She was deeply (if momentarily) saddened when I told her that he’d been dead for many years now. Such teachers–such lovers of knowledge and art–are rare.

I earnestly counsel anyone who hasn’t seen this series, and is in any way interested in the history of art and of Western Civilization, to go out and buy it or rent it. In my opinion its power to move and fascinate, to instruct and inspire, has not diminished in the slightest in the nearly forty years since its production.

Contributor: Randall

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So, we have looked at the best science fiction books and movies, but how about the worst? I have scoured the net looking for the worst of the worst, and after a lot of tough decision making, here it is! The ten worst science fiction films ever made – with youtube clips! Ordered from worst to worstest. [Yes, I know that is bad English.]

10. Star Trek: The Final Frontier, Director: William Shatner [1989]

I had to include at least one Star Trek film. It was a tough pick between this and Nemsis, but this one wins. The crew of the Federation starship Enterprise is called to Nimbus III, the Planet of Intergalactic Peace. They are to negotiate in a case of kidnapping only to find out that the kidnapper is a relative of Spock. This man is possessed by his life long search for the planet Shaka-Ri which is supposed to be the source of all life. Together they begin to search for this mysterious planet

9. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Director: Sidney Furie [1987]

The clip is short – but you get the point – falling in space? What happened to gravity? Lex Luthor steals a hair of Superman’s head from a museum and uses it to create Nuclear Man, an android that gets energy from the Sun. His purpose of course is to use him as a weapon to kill Superman, so that Luthor will be free to realize his criminal plans.

8. Frankenstein Conquers the World, Director: Ishirô Honda [1965]

During WWII, a human heart taken from a certain lab in Europe (Dr. Frankenstein’s) is kept in a Japanese lab, when it gets exposed to the radiation of the bombing of Hiroshima. The heart grows in size, mutates and sprouts appendages, and eventually grows into a complete body and escapes. Later, a feral boy with a certain physical deformity (a large head with a flat top) is captured by scientists who refer to the boy as Frankenstein. The creature grows to the height of 20 feet, escapes again, fights police and army, and is practically indestructible. Later, a reptilian monster goes on a rampage. Eventually the Frankenstein creature and the reptile face off in a terrible battle.

7. Robot Monster, Director: Phil Tucker [1953]

Watching this clip, I think I understand why women were not in the military in 1953! The Robot Monster has been sent to Earth as the advance party of an impending invasion. Ordered by The Great One to capture several humans, the Robot Monster becomes confused once it learns more about humans.

6. Sant Claus Conquers the Martians, Director: Nicholas Webster [1964]

My favorite line: Martian1: “You stay away from those children!” Martian 2: “That will be easy to do. They’ve escaped!”. Martians, upset that their children have become obsessed with TV shows from Earth which extoll the virtues of Santa Claus, start an expedition to Earth to kidnap the one and only Santa. While on Earth, they kidnap two lively children that lead the group of Martians to the North Pole and Santa. The Martians then take Santa and the two children back to Mars with them.

5. Monster a go-go, Director: Bill Rebane [1965]

“When you walk out, you will wonder what you have seen!” – I think the voice-over guy was having a premonition! An astronaut comes back to Earth and crashes in a field, incredibly irradiated and wreaking havoc. Just as they have him cornered, he disappears, and the “real” astronaut is found 7,500 miles away in the Pacific Ocean, “alive, well, and of normal size.”

4. Turks in Space (Dünyay? Kurtaran Adam in Oglu), Director: Kartal Tibet [2006]

Hmm – where have I seen those light-sabers before? This one is so bad that I can’t even find a synopsis for it! I will just say, this is rated the 6th worst film by IMDB (including non-SF films).

3. Plan 9 from Outer Space, Director: Edward D Wood Jr [1959]

“Can your heart stand the shocking facts about Graverobbers from Outer Space?” That’s the question on the lips of the narrator of this tale about flying saucers, zombies and cardboard tombstones. A pair of aliens, angered by the “stupid minds” of planet Earth, set up shop in a California cemetery. Their plan: to animate an army of the dead to march on the capitals of the world. (The fact that they have only managed to resurrect three zombies to date has not discouraged them.)

2. The Beast of Yucca Flats, Director: Coleman Francis [1961]

A defecting Russian scientist is transformed by an atomic test into a hulking monster, Tor Johnson, of course. Not much else except some people are killed, boys get lost, and a rabbit sniffs Tor’s corpse. If you liked the clip, watch the whole thing here.

1. Battlefield Earth, Director: Roger Christian [2000]

How could this have not been a disaster? It is effectively a Scientology advert in film format. Someone put together a nice little clip of the best/worst bits so I have used that here. In the year 3000, man is no match for the Psychlo’s, a greedy, manipulative race of aliens on a quest for ultimate profit. Led by the seductive and powerful Terl (Travolta), the Psychlo’s are stripping Earth clean of its natural resources, using the broken remnants of humanity as slaves. What is left of the human race has descended into a near primitive state, believing the invaders to be demons and technology to be evil.

Topic suggested by: RobS

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