So, we’re on to the final chapter of the films that changed the way I have looked at cinema. A personal voyage that has delved deep into my childhood and my teenage years too. Film is a subjective journey that escorts the viewer into a new world, so it may not make sense to you why these flicks have been picked, but stick with them and all will become clear, or I hope it does.
If you need to catch up on my first five, click here. So, with the pleasantries out of the way, shall we proceed?
The oldest film on my list, John Carpenter’s 1978 masterpiece was the film that began my enjoyment of the slasher genre.
And by enjoyment, I of course mean sitting with my hands in front of my eyes for the majority of the run-time. This seventies film set the standard for the genre with its incredible mix of horror, teenage angst and obviously that iconic tune.
Jamie Lee Curtis became the scream queen of the period and Michael Myers was the antagonist that made you check your wardrobes before going to bed – or was that just me?
It still gives me chills to this day. Sure, it’s been impersonated, remade and has about 100 sequels to its name, but that doesn’t tarnish the memory of one of the greatest horror films ever made.
Quite a bizarre entry on the countdown but stick with me and all will become clear.
In the winter of 2007, I went through a hard break-up and believe it or not, the remake of Hairspray really helped me through it.
It wasn’t all plain sailing however; the DVD was bought by my former lover for us to both watch at some point in the future. Alas that wasn’t meant to be and the box sat on my shelf for a couple of weeks completely unloved as I tried to come to terms with my loneliness.
Eventually I decided to pop the DVD on and was blown away by how well written and beautifully acted the whole film was. From John Travolta’s amazing turn as Edna Turnblad to Michelle Pfeiffer’s villainous Velma Von Tussle, it was the cheerful uplift that I so desperately needed at that time.
Ah Alien, you’ve turned me into a snivelling wreck on many occasions. The sole reason I began having night terrors, Alien found its way into my life in 2011 when I watched it for the very first time.
It’s my partner’s all-time favourite film and when that’s the case, you kind of have to watch it. Especially considering we have watched the entire Jurassic Park series upwards of 50 times – and don’t get him started on Desperate Housewives. Seriously, don’t.
There’s no denying Alien is an absolutely astonishing film and it is without a doubt one of the best horror films I have ever seen, but those face-huggers have been the cause of many sleepless nights in the Brannon household, trust me.
#2 Jurassic Park
The great thing about these articles is they throw up a few surprises. I was all ready to put Jurassic Park at number one until I remembered my now first choice.
Steven Spielberg’s 1993 masterpiece not only changed the way blockbusters were made, but it categorically began my dangerous obsession with dinosaurs. They’re not just for kids you know.
I was Sam Neill’s Alan Grant at four years old. Playing with my plastic prehistoric beasts and pretending they were real. I even created a model Jurassic Park in my mum’s rockery – to which she was not best pleased, but it stayed there for months and I was very proud of it.
And I now collect Jurassic Park memorabilia, to the dismay of my partner, a collection which is growing year on year and shows no signs of stopping.
#1 The Land Before Time
Littlefoot, Petrie, Cera, Ducky and Spike made up the majority of my childhood. When I wasn’t watching ‘real’ dinosaurs in action, I was submersing myself in the animated world of the Great Valley.
The Land Before Time broke my little heart and it was for more reasons than that bas*ard sharp tooth killing Littlefoot’s mother. In 1994, I lost my nana and I remember sitting and watching this film and crying my eyes out.
In some ways though, this animated beauty helped me through an incredibly tough time. My mum tells me I became reclusive and barely spoke, naturally I don’t remember this but looking back at the message this film sent me, I’m sure it made me realise that loved ones never really leave us, they just move to a special place reserved for the very best of us.
The Land Before Time spawned over a dozen sequels that my little sister has enjoyed watching just like me over the years – it has a very special place in Brannon family history and for that reason, it has to be the most influential film in my life.