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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Top 10 Players of the 2010 World Cup

The lights have gone out in South Africa and the trophy has gone back to Spain for the next four years. So while we all relive all the excitement that the world’s largest sporting event has to offer, we reflect on the players who made the World Cup the dramatic clash of nations it always is.

10. Arjen Robben – The Netherlands

arjen robben
Arjen Robben is arguably one of the greatest Dutch players of all time. Despite missing the first two games of the World Cup due to a hamstring injury, he came back and helped his team surpass teams like Brazil and Uruguay to get into the final against Spain. Robben is a reliable presence on the pitch who’s pace and dribbling has made him one of the best wingers in the world. But he is not without controversy, he is often criticized for going to ground too easily and too often. During the World Cup he scored two goals and had one assist and because he was a real difference maker for the Netherlands, Robben was nominated for the Golden Ball award.
Where else does he play?
Arjen Robben began his football career at his home club, Groningen. But it wasn’t long before he caught the eye of some of the top clubs in the world. He has played for PSV, Chelsea, Real Madrid and currently plays for Bayern Munich.

9. Maicon – Brazil

After Cafu’s retirement, Brazil fans were skeptical if anyone could fill his shoes, but that is exactly what Maicon has been able to do, and today he is considered one of the best right backs in the world. Maicon encompasses speed, great touches, accurate crosses and on top of all that he scores the occasional goal. During the match against Korea DPR in the group stage he showed off his shooting ability, scoring from an almost impossible angle for what was one of the best goals of the tournament. The goal has been debated by football fans around the world as no one really knows if it was supposed to be a cross or if he actually meant to score.
Where else does he play?
Maicon made his debut to professional for Cruzeiro in 2001 and during his two seasons with the club they won the championship. In 2004 he was lured across the Atlantic to play for Monaco. Two years later he made a move to Internazionale where he and his teammates have won the last four Serie A titles as well as the 2010 UEFA Champions League.

8. Mesut Ozil – Germany

mesut ozil 533x400
Over the course of the World Cup, Mesut Ozil has risen from relative obscurity to someone who is being called the German Iniesta. He’s the kind of player that comes along once in a blue moon, a play maker whose vision, passing and inventiveness makes a huge impact on any game he plays in. At only 21, Ozil has become the one to watch and has even been called “a gift for German football” by Joachim Low. Usually wreaking havoc as a midfielder, he can also play as a left winger or even as a striker if the need arises. Ozil marked his first World cup with one goal, but his play making ability really stood out as he made three assists.
Where else does he play?
Ozil’s youth career was spent at several different clubs including Westfalia 04 Gelsenkirchen, Teutonia Shalke-Nord, Falke Gelsenkirchen and Rot-Weiss Essen before he made a move to Shalke 04. It was for Shalke that he made his senior league debut in 2006. He currently plays for Werder Bremen after moving there in 2008.

7. Andres Iniesta – Spain

andres iniesta 560x373
A creative player that is capable of playing anywhere in the midfield, Iniesta has been called the best player in the world by the likes of Wayne Rooney. He is most effective when he plays right in behind the strikers where his handling of the ball and his ability to race into threatening positions causes serious problems for opposing defenders. During the World Cup final, Iniesta became a Spanish hero when in the 116th minute he scored the winning goal against the Netherlands. He was named the Man of the Match for the final, as well as being included in the FIFA World Cup All Star Team.
Where else does he play?
A talented graduate of the Barcelona youth school, Iniesta made his senior level debut on October 29, 2002 and he’s been with the club ever since. He has helped Barcelona to four Spanish League trophies, one Spanish Cup, three Spanish Supercups, two Champions League crowns a UEFA Supercup and a FIFA Club World Cup.

6. Xavi – Spain

xavi spain 291x400
One of the greatest playmates in the world, Xavi is the center of which the rest of the Spanish team rotates. He is an incredibly hard working central midfielder who is just as comfortable defending as he is making breaks forward and setting up and scoring goals. But probably his most impressive attribute as a footballer is his creative genius.  Because of this he is one of the few players in football history who has won every major tournament open to him. During this World Cup, Xavi covered more ground and made more passes than any other player, making him an irreplaceable force in the Spanish machine.
Where else does he play?
A product of the Barcelona youth system, Xavi moved up to the senior team in 1998 and has been there ever since. During his time there Barcelona has won five La Liga titles, one Spanish Cup, three Spanish Supercups, two Champions Leagues and the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup. Xavi himself has won a plethora of awards including being included in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Al Star Team.

5. Wesley Sneijder – The Netherlands

wesley sneijder 551x400
At only 25, Wesley Sneijder has established himself as a powerful presence in the Dutch side. He is known the world over as a play maker who’s passing ability is among the best and who is comfortable playing both a fast and slow game as needed. But he can also score goals as he has shown at this year’s World Cup, tying as one of the top goal scorers with five. Even while those around him were not living up to their potential, Sneijder remained as brilliant as ever and carried the Netherlands all the way to the final. In the end the Spanish defence was just too much for the Dutchman to handle. Part of his greatness comes from his family, his father was a player and both his brothers play at a professional level, one at Stormvogels Telstar and the other at the Ajax youth academy.
Where else does he play?
A product of AFC Ajax’s famous youth academy, he moved up to the senior team when he was only seventeen, following in his older brother’s footsteps. In 2007 he caught the eye of Real Madrid who signed him to a €27 million contract making him the most expensive Dutch player in the world. From there he made a move to Internazionale in 2009 and earlier this year he helped his team win the 2010 Champions League Final.

4. David Villa – Spain

David Villa 533x400
Comfortable with either foot, David Villa has unleashed his goal scoring prowess at this World Cup, much like he usually does in Spanish colors. He has proved himself in international competition as an important member of a strong Spanish side at not only the 2006 World Cup but also at Euro 2008 (where he won the Golden Boot) and the 2009 Confederations Cup. And this World Cup was no different as he was tied as the top goal scorer of the tournament with five goals in all. Villa is type of player most coaches dream of, a hard-working forward that is capable of opening up the opposing defence and scoring goals. It is because of this that he is one of the top scorers in the history of Spanish football, second only to Raul.
Where else does he play?
David Villa began his football career at Sporting de Gijon in 2001 and then moved up to the top flight Spanish football with Real Zaragoza in 2003. From there he was transferred to Valencia, where he has played for the last five seasons. In May of this year Villa signed a four-year contract with Barcelona.

3. Iker Casillas – Spain

iker casillas 498x400
One of the best goalkeepers in the world, Iker Casillas captained La Roja to their first ever World Cup title. His reflexes, speed, agility and the ability to shut down one on one threats has earned him the nickname Saint Iker by both club and national fans. But he is not without his critics, many of whom believed that after the defeat against Switzerland, he should not be Spain’s first choice. With his legendary composure he silenced them, winning the next six games (including the final), five of which were clean sheets. A crucial member of the Spanish side, he no doubt made the decision of who should get the Golden Glove very easy.
Where else does he play?
Iker Casillas has been with Real Madrid since the beginnings of his youth career, but when you play for ne of the best teams in the world there’s not much of an incentive to leave. With the club he has won four La Liga titles, two Champions Leagues, a UEFA Supercup and an Intercontinental Cup.

2. Thomas Mueller – Germany

thomas mueller
At only 20 years old, Thomas Mueller has used this World Cup to make the football world stand up and take notice. His versatility to play both as an attacking midfielder as well as a winger adds to his speed, vision and technical ability to make him an all-around stand out player. During the World Cup he was a surprise addition to Joachim Low’s side but he quickly made his mark by scoring Germany’s first goal of the tournament. But he didn’t stop there, he scored another four goals and made three assists, earning him the Golden Boot ahead of superstars like Villa, Sneijder and Forlan as well as the Best young Player award/
Where else does he play?
Mueller began as a youth at TSV Pahl an 1993. From there he moved into the Bayern Munich youth team in 2000 and has effectively moved up the Bayern ranks, making his senior team debut in August 2008.

1. Diego Forlan – Uruguay

diego forlan
While is not the captain, Diego Forlan has led Uruguay not only to the World Cup but all the way to the semi finals. A powerful presence up front, Forlan has the ability to both score and feed the ball to his teammates, predominantly his striking partner, Luis Suarez. “Cachavacha” as he has been nicknamed (because of a striking similarity to a comic book character of the same name), marked his second World Cup tournament with five goals, one of which was a penalty in the shootout against Ghana to get Uruguay into the semifinal. In the end he was given the recognition he deserved when FIFA awarded him with the Golden Ball. However, Diego isn’t the only Forlan to represent Uruguay at the World Cup, his father, Pablo, played in both the 1966 and 1974 World Cups. Despite this Diego grew up playing tennis and it was only after a family tragedy that he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps.


Top 10 Reasons Why Baseball is Better Than Football

The presence of baseball can be called superior to football in a number of ways.  From its history and other aspects seen in these 10 reasons, it is clear to see in what ways baseball is better than football.

10.  Every Day of the Week

Every Day
Unfortunately professional football is normally played on Sundays.  With exception to Monday nights, and other mentions, football lovers simply don’t get to see their beloved sport on a normal basis throughout the week.
Baseball is quite the opposite.  Games are played on every day of the week, including the weekends.  We can even add day and night games to boot, which clearly puts football to shame with the possibilities of games.

9.  Longer Schedule

Longer SChedule
More of a sport is a good thing, right?  Keeping with this theme, football only features 18 weeks of regular season games.  That translates to 16 games per team, for football enthusiasts.
Baseball is another matter of course.  The MLB schedule runs from the beginning of April to the end of September, with a total of 162 games per team in the regular season.  Football is one sport where you get to see comparatively little of your team, and baseball resides on the opposing end of the spectrum.

8.  Farm Systems

Of the four major professional sports in the U.S., football is the only sport to not have farm teams.  While the NFL may receive players from the Arena Football League or the Canadian Football League, there is no system in place for football franchises to develop talent on an appropriate team.
Baseball holds perhaps the most thorough farm system.  While independently owned, players remain under the control of their respective major league team.  This ensures that talent can be appropriately built at the right level, and ensures that teams are able to develop young talent.  It certainly adds breadth to baseball, where teams can harness such talent, such as in the case of the Tampa Bay Rays.

7.  Stats

Baseball Stats 549x400
Stat junkies simply rejoice in the dynamic options available in baseball.  Football and other sports cannot compare to the splits, sabermetrics, and percentages that make up the most statistically-rich sport present.
Even if you don’t appreciate all the stats that are available in baseball, you must respect them.  Aligned to the history of baseball, anyone can compare eras and all-time greats with any number of options.  Football cannot compete in this area.

6.  Commercials

This could easily be higher, depending on how the commercials and idle time ruins your football-watching experience.  According to a recent study, a football game averages 11 minutes of action, with 56% more time spent showing replays.
This unfortunate presence takes away from the fluidity of the game, where many are subjected to a few minutes of commercials after every change of possession, which adds up with the other time-draining actions that take place in a game.  Every half inning and a few relievers aren’t looking so bad now, right?

5.  The Family Experience

Taking the family to a ballpark on a nice summer day is another wonderful thing about baseball.  It’s too bad that the winter-filled gridiron battles aren’t exactly the right place for little ones, let alone the prices that are on average three times the cost of a baseball ticket.
A bonus to this is the presence of youth leagues around the country and beyond.  Baseball is still one of the better sports for young ones to get involved in and enjoy.

4.  All-Around Skills

team 560x373
Football is a sport for specialist.  With the exception of the “old days” in football, most players play one position, with a well-defined set of skills.
Baseball is a quintessential team game, where the game can be in the hands of the ninth batter in the final inning.  Baseball players are evaluated in terms of common tools, and baseball, along with other such as basketball, certainly oppose football in the need for athletes to have an all-around skill set.

3.  Playoff Series

mlb playoffs
While the sport itself can hardly be to blame, the playoff situation is unfortunate in many ways.  The sudden-death format allows for anything to happen, where the fate of a team rides on the balance of one game.  Many would, and have, argued that this may not allow the best team to win.  After all, it is only one game.
The playoffs in baseball again are much longer and interesting than football, arguably.  The seven-game series allow teams to battle over several days, with pitching matchups and fatigue to become involved.  It keeps the fans more involved in the games that baseball provides in the postseason, which is much more to say than the 11 minutes – or the single game – of a round in the NFL playoffs.

2.  History

baseball history 550x400
Football cannot dream of competing with baseball in the area of history, in any respect.  Most notably with the players throughout the ages, the baseball myths, giants, and hall of famers that have been seen trump arguably any sport’s history (at least for Americans).
Ruth, Mays, Cobb, Aaron, Wagner, DiMaggio, Williams, and the list goes on an on.  From the Shot Heard ‘Round the World to homerun records, Ripken’s streak, and the legacy of Jackie Robinson, the history of baseball trumps many sports in this regard, and certainly the NFL.

1.  America’s Past Time

Baseball is America’s past time, which creates the final reason why baseball is better than football.  This final point is much more in the spirit of baseball than it is something negative for football.
The historical basis of baseball has transformed the sport into something that is not able to be divided from the nation’s history.  Long before the attention given to basketball, football, and other sports, baseball was there.  The greats, the atmosphere across many of America’s stadiums, the history, and the sport as a whole, are inextricably part of America, to which no other sport can compete.
by Brian Neese


Top 10 Funny Zombie Movie Moments

The first zombie movie was 1932’s White Zombie. It’s not very funny (at least not intentionally funny) and it definitely isn’t scary. Since then, there have been hundreds of zombie movies made, and I think the best ones are a combination of both. Some use funny moments to relieve the tension between zombie attacks; others use zombie attacks to break up the funny moments. Either way, researching this list was a lot of fun.
Other than my sense of humor, the only other criteria used was that each movie could only be listed once. Of course, the movies included on this list had to actually be zombie movies.  Sometimes alien-controlled or demonic characters are included in the zombie genre, but I disagree. For example, I’ve disqualified Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead series from this list because the ‘deadites’ featured in these films are actually demon-possessed corpses, not zombies.
If you don’t agree with my choices, please share your favorite funny zombie movie moments or zombie one-liners in your comments below.
(Note about video clips: I’ve included the location of each quote for longer clips – if you let the clips play through from the beginning be prepared for gore and spoilers.)

10. Tell Him To Get Burt Reynolds

Dawn of the Dead
(Starts at :18.)
Steve: Oh, oh! Uh… Rosie O’Donnell, tell him to get Rosie -
Kenneth: Ooh, yah, Rosie!
Tucker: Nah, too easy… give him something hard.
Ana: You guys had really rough childhoods, didn’t you- little bit rocky?
Steve: Hey, sweetheart, let me tell you something. You, uh, you have my permission… I ever turn into one of those things, do me a favor, blow my… head off.
Ana: Oh, yeah, you can count on that!
When the undead rise, civilization will fall.
The action in Dawn of the Dead centers around a group of people barricaded in a shopping mall during a zombie outbreak. The scene selection above- where characters are killing time by killing zombies- is unique to the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. Alternately, the original 1978 version of the movie has a funny scene where a character is attacked by zombies when he stops to take his blood pressure. (These are just two examples of the differences between the original and remake of the movie.)
The original Dawn of the Dead was the second Living Dead film made by George A. Romero. There are six Living Dead films (plus four remakes). The first in the series, Night of the Living Dead, appears on this list as well (#8). Other titles are: Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead, and Survival of the Dead.

9. They’re Using Tools

Bride of Re-Animator
(You can watch the clip at YouTube (embedding was disabled),  it starts at 1:50. Or you can watch the trailer for the movie, below.)
Herbert West: (zombie is using an ax to break down the door) My god, they’re using tools.
Death. Mate. Re-Animate.
Dedicated medical student Herbert West can’t resist making observations even while fighting for his life. Bride of Re-Animator (1990) is the sequel to Re-Animator, which appears at #5 on this list.

8. They’re Coming To Get You, Barbara

Night of the Living Dead
Johnny: They’re coming to get you Barbra
Barbra: Stop it! You’re ignorant.
Johnny: They’re coming for you Barbra.
Barbra: Stop it, you’re acting like a child!
Johnny: They’re coming for you… Look! There comes one now…
They’re coming to get you…
Possibly the best zombie movie every made, certainly the most influential – George A. Romero’s 1968 Night of the Living Dead released the relentlessly slow-approaching, brain-eating classic zombies into our popular culture. A pop culture phenomenon that has spread over the years, infecting everything from classic literature (like the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) to music, to video games and toys (check out for examples).

7. I love you… let me eat your br-a-a-a-a-a-a-i-n-s

Return of the Living Dead
(Starts at :30.)
Freddy: See? You made me hurt myself again! I broke my hand off completely at the wrist this time, Tina! But that’s okay, darlin’, because I love you, and that’s why you have to let me eat your br-a-a-a-a-a-a-i-n-s.
Second best quote from this clip (at :05): I know you’re here because I can smell your br-a-a-a-a-a-a-ins.
They’re back from the grave and ready to party!
A special moment in zombie movie history: zombies start asking for ‘br-a-a-a-a-a-a-i-ns’ for the first time in Return of the Living Dead (1985). Another first for Return of the Living Dead: it’s the first zomedy or zom com. This type of movie has become increasingly popular, with recent examples such as Shaun of the Dead, Fido, and Zombieland.
Return of the Living Dead is based on a book by John Russo and the first movie in a series of five films (they all have ‘Return of the Living Dead’ in their titles, such as Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave).

6. Weedman Said It

I Was A Teenage Zombie
(Starts at :15.)
Guy: Who said that?
Drug Dealer Zombie: (pops up from backseat of car) Weedman said it. (girl screams) Here’s your weed… Your seaweed!
A killer party you won’t forget.
When a group of teenagers accidentally kill their drug dealer they dump the body into toxic water and he returns as a zombie. This low budget film was obviously influenced by The Toxic Avenger. The director worked on the set of The Toxic Avenger at Troma Studios and (as pointed out in an article at Goregirl’s Dungeon) one of the movie characters is named after Troma Films co-founder Lloyd Kaufman.

5. What Are You Thinking… How Do You Feel?

(Starts at 2:50.)
Dr. Carl Hill: W-e-s-s-s-s-s
Herbert West: Yes, doctor, it’s Herbert West. What are you thinking? How do you feel?
Dr. Carl Hill: Y-o-o-o-o-o-u
Herbert West: (writing in notebook) ‘You’…
Dr. Carl Hill: B-a-a-a-s-t-a-r-d!

Herbert West has a very good head on his shoulders… and another one in a dish on his desk.
Re- Animator (1985) is based on a H.P. Lovecraft story and stars beloved horror actor Jeffrey Combs, who has appeared in 8 different Lovecraft film adaptations and at least 30 other horror films. (There is also a third and final Re-Animator film: Beyond Re-Animator (2003), which is definitely the weakest of the three movies.)

4. Uh, That’s Still Tender

(Starts at :30.)
Columbus: I can’t believe I shot Bill Murray!
Tallahasee: Mr. Murray?
Bill Murray: Uh, I’m just Bill I think, now…
Tallahasee: Bill?
Bill Murray: Ya?
Tallahasee: (touching wound) I don’t think we’re going to be able to stitch this
Bill Murray: Uh… that’s still tender…
This place is so dead.
Zombie movie meets road movie, and it’s one hell of a ride. Released in 2009, this is the most recent movie on the list.

3. Your Mother Ate My Dog!

Brain Dead (a.k.a. Dead Alive)
(Starts at 1:05.)
Paquita Maria Sanchez: Your mother ate my dog!
Lionel Cosgrove: Not all of it.
There’s something nasty in Lionel’s cellar – His family!
Brain Dead (1992), made in New Zealand, was Peter Jackson’s first professionally made movie. It is considered the best zombie movie of all time by some, and the goriest by many.

2. She’s So Drunk

Shaun of the Dead
(Starts at 1:00.)
Shaun: (sees zombie in his backyard) She’s so drunk.
2nd favorite: He’s got an arm off… get him. 3rd favorite: You’ve got red on you.
In a time of crisis a hero must rise…from his sofa.
Shaun of the Dead, another example of a recent zombie comedy, references many classic zombie movies. For example, Shaun’s mom’s name is Barbra, which opens the door for Ed to shout “We’re coming to get you, Barbara!” when they are on the way to rescue her. At work, Shaun mentions that a coworker named Ash is sick and can’t come in for his shift. (The Evil Dead trilogy character Ashley J. ‘Ash’ Williams is a sales clerk at S-Mart. Evidently the Shaun of the Dead co-writers, director Edgar Wright and lead role actor Simon Pegg, think Raimi’s movies belong in the zombie category.). Also, excerpts from the Dawn of the Dead soundtrack are used throughout the film and news broadcasts make reference to 28 Days Later and Night of the Living Dead. And, of course, the movie title is a play on Dawn of the Dead.

1. You’re Dates Are Here

Night of the Creeps
Detective Cameron: I got good news and bad news, girls. The good news is your dates are here…
Girl: What’s the bad news?
Detective Cameron: They’re dead.

Second favorite quote from this movie: What I’m going to need is your standard flame-thrower.
If you scream… you’re dead.
Night of the Creeps (1986) isn’t the best movie on this list, but I think this scene deserves first place.
Parasites from space infect a frat boy. When two geeks accidentally thaw out his frozen body, the infection spreads and carnage on campus ensues. The main characters are named after popular horror and sci-fi directors, including Cronenberg, Raimi, Carpenter, Landis, and Cameron.

Bonus Material

More Funny Zombie Movie Moments
For a larger collection of funny zombie movie moments, check out our playlist at the TopTenz YouTube channel.
Fans of Sam Raimi and The Evil Dead
Had it been eligible, Army of Darkness would have filled 8 spots on this list and Evil Dead II would have taken one spot. Army of Darkness is one of my favorite movies of all time and, really, it’s just that funny. It’s the Blazing Saddles of action movies, the Spaceballs of medieval horror, the Fletch of the Cthulhu Mythos… you get my point… You can visit The Evil Dead Sam Raimi playlist at the TopTenz YouTube channel to see a selection of from these movies.
Sources: The Definitive Zombie Movie,, Rotten Tomatoes,, IMdb, YouTube, Wikipedia.


Top 10 Grossest Halloween Candy

Halloween brings out the kid in all of us. Although for the adults, it’s really about dressing up in wild costumes for a fun party or decorating the house to scare the bejeebus out of any visitors. For kids, Halloween is still all about the candy. It’s quite a unique holiday that, over time, has evolved into telling ghost stories and hording sweets.
Several candy companies have gotten into the spirit of Halloween by developing their own version of gross-out treats, which you can enjoy all year around.
Here then are the top 10 grossest Halloween candies:

10. Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans

bertie botts beans flavors1
If you’re a true Muggle, you might not have any idea what these special jellybeans are all about. But true devotees of the world of Harry Potter are quite familiar with Bertie Botts and her confectionary concoctions. Borrowing a page from the best-selling novels and popular film franchise, this collection of jelly beans come in such delightful flavors as dirt, ear wax, rotten egg, soap and vomit. There are some regular good tasting jellybeans in each batch but buyer beware!

9. Sour Flush Toilet Candy

sour flush candy
It’s a toilet full of sugar! It’s a plunger lollipop! It’s both! Sour Flush Toilet Candy is shaped like an actual tiny toilet. You flip the lid and dip in one of your flavored lollipop plungers and, “Voila!”- you’ve got a tasty treat simulating the unclogging of your toilet. Insert your own joke here.

8. Crime Scene Candy Tubes

crime scene candy tube1
Nothing says Halloween like a good old-fashioned crime scene. Now the kiddies can get in on all the CSI fun with their own edible Crime Scene Candy Tube. Each tube is filled with drinkable goodness in three flavors: Blood, Urine and Saliva. Yes, that’s Blood, Urine and Saliva (or cherry, lemonade and apple if you’re being picky).

7. Box of Boogers

box of boogers
Full disclosure: you won’t really know you’re eating simulated boogers unless you have the actual Box of Boogers handy. Each individual booger looks like it could really be a typical piece of gummy green or yellow candy. But thanks to the packaging that proudly proclaims “Tangy gummy boogies that look and feel real” you won’t soon forget what you’re supposed to be chewing on.

6. Scorpion Suckers and Chocolate Covered Bugs

scorpion suckers
Wasn’t there always a kid in every neighborhood who would eat a bug for a nickel? Now everyone can get into that act with these actual ants, crickets dipped in chocolate or scorpions encased in lollipop candy. They are completely edible and taste great, so the reviews say. Fear Factor candy anyone?

5: Nose Hose

nose hose
You know you’re in for a tasty treat with a candy slogan that is “It’s snot what you think!” The Nose Hose works on the simple principle of strapping a big plastic nose on your face then having a tube run through to drip sweet tasting liquid onto your waiting tongue. Fun for the whole family.

4. Ear Wax Candy

ear wax candy
Keeping with the “what can we eat from our head” theme, Ear Wax Candy is perfect for when you’ve got a craving to eat some ear wax but don’t really want to eat actual ear wax. You get a big plastic ear with a handy ear drum snap lid. Inside the ear canal is a fruity-jelly like substance that approximates ear wax. You dip in your plastic swab, scoop out some ear goop and lick away.

3. Zit Poppers

zit poppers candy
How devastating was it to discover a pimple on the eve of the big dance? Or to have your graduation photo ruined because of an errant blemish. Ahh, to be young again with a face full of acne. Now you can relive all those wonderful moments of teenage angst with Zip Poppers. Imagine gummi candies shaped like huge pimples loaded with gooey jelly that you squeeze or pop out to taste. Available in strawberry and watermelon just like regular acne.

2. Chocka Ca-Ca

chocka ca ca
As the name implies, Chock Ca-Ca are bite size pieces of chocolate shaped to look just like what babies leave behind in their diapers. And if you need more convincing, each piece of Chock Ca-Ca actually comes wrapped in their own diaper. This unique treat comes in blue for boys and pink for girls packaging. Won’t it be fun to bring this gift at your next baby shower? Chances are you’ll never be invited to another baby shower. Mission accomplished. (Image:

1. Lick Your Wounds Candy

lick your wounds candy
Have you ever found yourself wearing a Band-Aid and wishing you could pull it off and lick a piece of candy underneath? Well, now you can with these delightful candy scabs. Underneath the pad of a typical Band-Aid is a lollipop-style hard candy that you can take a few licks of and then replace. S-w-e-e-e-e-e-e-t. Just be on the lookout for skin hair. Did we mention this is gross candy?
By Rick Bitzman
What was your favorite Halloween candy?


Top 10 Famous & Deadly Swords

The first sword appeared during the Bronze Age.  It was made of copper and was uncovered at the Harappan sites in present-day Pakistan.  By the Middle Ages iron and steel swords were being mass produced and used in battle.  Soldiers were trained in swordsmanship and prepared for combat.  It was before the era of guns and high powered artillery and face to face fighting was the norm.  During this time in history, all of the royal generals, kings, and emperors owned personal swords.  These weapons were manufactured by the greatest sword makers of the time.  Many historical manuscripts document events surrounding significant swords.  This article will be examining ten world famous swords that still survive today.  Mythological and legendary swords will not be listed.

10.  Tomoyuki Yamashita’s Sword

Tomoyuki Yamashita was a general of the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.  He became known during the war after conquering the British colonies of Malaya and Singapore, ultimately earning the nickname “The Tiger of Malaya.”  After the end of World War II, Yamashita was tried for war crimes relating to the Manila Massacre and many other atrocities in the Philippines and Singapore.  It was a controversial trial that ended with a death sentence for Tomoyuki Yamashita.  The case changed the United States rules in regards to command responsibility for war crimes, creating a law known as the Yamashita Standard.
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The Sword
During his military career, Tomoyuki Yamashita owned a personal sword that contained a blade manufactured by famous sword maker Fujiwara Kanenaga sometime between 1640 and 1680.  The weapon had its handle remade in the early 1900s.  The Samurai sword was surrendered by General Yamashita, along with his army, on September 2, 1945.  It was taken by General MacArthur and given to the West Point Military Museum where it remains today.  The sword is one piece in a great collection of military arms housed at the West Point Museum.

9.  Curved Saber of San Martin

José de San Martín was a famous Argentine general that lived from 1778-1850.  He was the primary leader of the southern part of South America’s struggle for independence from Spain.  San Martín is a South American hero and the 1st Protector of Perú.  Under the lead of San Martín, Peruvian independence was officially declared on July 28, 1821.  In the state of Argentina, the Order of the Liberator General San Martin is the highest decoration given out.
Curved Saber
The Sword
One of the most cherished possessions of José de San Martín was a curved sword that he purchased in London.  San Martín admired the saber’s curved blade and felt that the weapon was maneuverable and ideal for battle.  For this reason, he armed his cavalries of granaderos with similar weapons, which he deemed important for charge attacks.  The curved sword stayed with San Martín until his death and was then passed down to the General de la Republica Argentina, Don Juan Manuel de Rosas.
In his will San Martín referred to the sword as “The saber that has accompanied me throughout the War of Independence of South America.”  In 1896 the weapon was sent to the National Historical Museum in Buenos Aires where it remains today.  In the 1960s the sword was stolen on two separate occasions and this caused museum operators to build a screened gazebo to protect the artifact.

8.  Seven-Branched Sword

The Baekje Dynasty was an ancient kingdom located in southwest Korea.  At its peak in the 4th century, Baekje controlled colonies in China and most of the western Korean Peninsula.  They were one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, together with Goguryeo and Silla.  In 372, King Geunchogo of Baekje paid tribute to Eastern Jin and it is believed that a Seven-Branched Sword was created and given to the king as a sign of praise.
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The Sword
The weapon is a 74.9 cm long iron sword with six branch-like protrusions along the central blade, which is 65.5 cm.  The sword was developed for ceremonial purposes and was not built for battle.  In 1870 a Shinto priest named Masatomo Kan discovered two inscriptions on the Seven-Branched Sword.  One of them states “At noon on the sixteenth day of the eleventh month, fourth year of Taiwa era, the sword was made of 100 time’s hardened steel.  Using the sword repels 100 enemy soldiers.  Appropriate for the polite duke king.”
The Seven-Branched Sword contains many statements, but the most controversial involves the phrase “enfeoffed lord,” used when describing the King of Wa as a possible subservient to the Baekje ruler.  The sword is an important historical link and shows that a relationship did exist between the East Asian countries of this era.  The original Seven-Branched Sword is currently housed in the Isonokami Shrine in Nara Prefecture of Japan.  It is not on display to the public.

7.  Wallace Sword

William Wallace was a Scottish knight who lived from 1272-1305.  Wallace is known for leading a resistance against England during the Wars of Scottish Independence, which were waged during the late 13th and early 14th centuries.  During his lifetime, William Wallace was appointed the Guardian of Scotland.  He led an infantry of soldiers who engaged the enemy in hand to hand combat.  The prize possession of many of these soldiers was their sword.  In order to survive on the battlefield one had to be a talented swordsman.  In 1305, William Wallace was captured by King Edward I of England and was executed for treason.  Today William Wallace is remembered in Scotland as a patriot and national hero.  His sword is one of the most famous in the world.
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The Sword
The William Wallace sword is located at the National Monument in Stirling, Scotland.  The shaft of the sword measures 4 feet by 4 inches in length (132cm) and it weighs 6.0 lb (2.7 kg).  The sword is said to be the weapon that Wallace used at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 and the Battle of Falkirk (1298).  The pommel on the sword consists of an onion-shaped piece of gilded iron and the grip is wrapped with dark brown leather.  The hilt or handle that is currently on the Wallace sword is not the original.  It is believed that the sword has been modified on separate occasions.
After the execution of William Wallace, Sir John de Menteith, governor of Dumbarton Castle, received his sword.  In 1505, King James IV of Scotland paid the sum of 26 shillings to have the sword binned with cords of silk.  It is said that the sword underwent many changes, which might have been necessary because Wallace’s original scabbard, hilt and belt were said to have been made from the dried skin of Hugh Cressingham, who was an English commander.

6.  Tizona

El Cid is a man that was born circa 1040 in Vivar, which was a small town about six miles north of Burgos, the capital of Castile.  The Kingdom of Castile was one of the medieval empires of the Iberian Peninsula.  During his lifetime El Cid became a successful military leader and diplomat.  He was named the chief general of the army of Alfonso VI and became a Spanish hero.  El Cid was the king’s most valuable asset in the fight against the Moors.  He was a skilled military strategist and strong swordsman.
The Sword
El Cid owned and used many different swords in his lifetime, but the two most famous are Colada and Tizona.  Tizona is a sword that was used by El Cid to fight against the Moors.  The weapon is one of Spain’s most cherished relics and is believed to have been forged in Córdoba, Spain, although considerable amounts of Damascus steel can be found in its blade.  Damascus steel was primarily used in the Middle East.  Tizona is 103 cm/40.5 inches long and weighs 1.1 kg/2.4 pounds.  It contains two separate inscriptions, with one listing a manufactory date of 1002 and the other quoting the Catholic prayer Ave Maria.  Tizona is currently on display at the Museo de Burgos in Spain.

5.  Napoleon’s Sword

In 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte became the military and political leader of France after staging a coup d’état.  Five years later the French Senate proclaimed him emperor.  In the first decade of the 19th century Napoleon and the French Empire were engaged in conflict and war with every major European power.  Ultimately, a series of victories gave the French a dominant position in continental Europe, but as history would later repeat itself, in 1812 the French began their invasion of Russia.  The decision to invade Russia marked the turning point in the fortune of Napoleon.  In 1814, the Sixth Coalition invaded France and Napoleon was captured and exiled to the island of Elba.  He would escape, but ultimately died in confinement on the island of Saint Helena.  Historians regard Napoleon as a military genius and a man who made strong contributions to the operational art of war.
The Sword
On the battlefield Napoleon carried a pistol and a sword.  He owned a large collection of arms and artillery.  His weapons were one of a kind and included the best materials.  In the summer of 2007, a gold-encrusted sword that once belonged to Napoleon was auctioned off in France for more than $6.4 million dollars.  The sword was used by Napoleon in battle.  In the early 1800s, Napoleon presented the weapon to his brother as a wedding gift.  The sword was passed down from generation to generation, never leaving the Bonaparte family.  In 1978, the sword was declared a national treasure in France and the winner of the auction was not identified.

4.  Sword of Mercy

The Sword of Mercy is a famous weapon that once belonged to Edward the Confessor.  Edward the Confessor was one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England before the Norman Conquest of 1066.  He ruled from 1042 to 1066 and his reign has been characterized by the crumbling disorganization of royal power in England.  Shortly after Edward the Confessor’s death, the Normans began to expand into England, led by the infamous William the Conqueror.
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The Sword
The Sword of Mercy has a broken blade, which is cut off short and square.  In 1236, the weapon was given the name curtana and has since been used for royal ceremonies.  In ancient times it was a privilege to bear this sword before the king.  It was considered a merciful gesture.  The story surrounding the breaking of the weapon is unknown, but mythological history indicates that the tip was broken off by an angel to prevent a wrongful killing.
The Sword of Mercy is part of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom and is one of only five swords used during the coronation of the British monarch.  The weapon is rare and is one of only a small number of swords to survive the reign of Oliver Cromwell.  Cromwell is known for ordering the melting down of ancient artifacts for scrap gold and metal.  During the British coronation, the Sword of Mercy is wielded as the monarch bestows knighthood upon the recipient of honor.

3.  Zulfigar

Zulfiqar is the ancient sword of the Islamic leader Ali.  Ali was the cousin and son-in-law of the prophet Muhammad.  He ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661.  By some historical accounts, Muhammad gave Zulfiqar to Ali at the Battle of Uhud.  Muhammad admired Ali’s power and strength on the battlefield and wanted to present him with the cherished weapon.  The sword is a symbol of the Islamic faith and is admired by millions of people.
Zulfiqar is a scimitar, which refers to a West Asian or South Asian sword with a curved blade.  It is said that Ali used the sword at the Battle of the Trench, which is a famous siege attempt on the city of Medina.  During the battle, Muhammad, Ali, and other Muslim defenders built trenches to protect Medina against the much larger confederate cavalry.
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The Sword
A few conflicting images of the famous scimitar sword exist.  Some of them describe the weapon as having two parallel blades, emphasizing its mystical abilities and speed, while others portray Zulfiqar as a more traditionally-shaped scimitar.  Some historical drawings depict the sword with a split, V-shaped blade.  According to the Twelver Shia, the weapon survives today and is kept in the possession of Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi.  The weapon is part of the famous collection called al-Jafr.
Al-Jafr is a mystical Shia holy book.  It is composed of two skin boxes that contain the most important artifacts from the time of Muhammad and Ali.  The collection has been passed down over the generations, with each new Imam receiving it from his dying predecessor.  The contents of Al-Jafr are quite impressive, but they are not made available for public viewing.  One section of the book describes the Islamic rules, directives and matters surrounding wars, including a bag that contains the armor and weapons of Muhammad.  Zulfiqar is said to sit among the priceless artifacts.

2.  Honjo Masamune

Masamune was a Japanese swordsmith that is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest metallurgists.  The exact dates for Masamune’s life are unknown, but it is believed that he worked from 1288–1328.  Masamune’s weapons have reached legendary status over the centuries.  He created swords known as tachi and daggers called tant?.  The swords of Masamune have a strong reputation for superior beauty and quality.  He rarely signed his works, so it can be hard to positively identify all his weapons.
The Sword
The most famous of all Masamune swords is named Honjo Masamune.  The Honjo Masamune is so important because it represented the Shogunate during the Edo period of Japan.  The sword was passed down from one Shogun to another for generations.  In 1939 the weapon was named a national treasure in Japan, but remained in the Kii branch of the Tokugawa family.  The last known owner of Honjo Masamune was Tokugawa Iemasa.  Apparently Tokugawa Iemasa gave the weapon and 14 other swords to a police station in Mejiro, Japan, in December of 1945.
Shortly thereafter in January 1946, the Mejiro police gave the swords to Sgt. Coldy Bimore (U.S. 7th Cavalry).  Since that time, the Honjo Masamune has gone missing and the whereabouts of the sword remains a mystery.  Honjo Masamune is one of the most important historical artifacts to disappear at the end of World War II.

1.  Joyeuse

Charlemagne is a man that was born circa 742.  He is one of the greatest rulers in world history and became King of the Franks in 768.  In 800 he was named Emperor of the Romans, a position that he held for the remainder of his life.  In the Holy Roman Empire he was known as Charles I and was the first Holy Roman Emperor.  During Charlemagne’s lifetime he expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire, which covered much of Western and Central Europe.  Charlemagne is regarded as the founding father of both the French and German monarchies, as well as the father of Europe.
The Sword
Joyeuse is the name of Charlemagne’s personal sword.  Today, there are two swords attributed to Joyeuse.  One is a saber that is kept in the Weltliche Schatzkammer in Vienna, while the other is housed at the Louvre in France.  The blade on display at the Louvre claims to be partially built from Charlemagne’s original sword.  The sword is made of parts from different centuries, so it can be hard to positively identify the weapon as Joyeuse.  The hilt of the sword indicates a manufactory date around the time of Charlemagne.  The heavily sculpted gold pommel is made in two halves and the long gold grip was once decorated with diamonds.
Charlemagne’s sword appears in many legends and historical documents.  Bulfinch’s Mythology described Charlemagne using Joyeuse to behead the Saracen commander Corsuble as well as to knight his friend Ogier the Dane.  After the death of Charlemagne, the sword was said to have been contrarily held by the Saint Denis Basilica and it was later taken to the Louvre after being carried at a Coronation processional for French kings.


Top Ten Acts Dissed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Growing up in Cleveland in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, we were well aware that our radio stations rocked! We also knew artists who were embraced here often went on to nationwide fame. It was a wonderful time and place to grow up- an amazing part of the rock music scene. All of this beautiful music was, and is, the background for our lives.
When discussions about where to put the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame started, the loud and public outcry over where it rightly belonged brought it home to its Lake Erie perch. When the decision was made to build the Hall in Cleveland, we were in full agreement. However, many of us disagree with the nominating committee and rock experts when it comes to the crazy omissions- performers who definitely belong in the Hall, yet remain overlooked. We read the eligibility requirements- 25 years since they put out their first record and unquestionable musical excellence- and we wonder who, exactly, these brain-dead cretins are that are voting? We argue about them at parties and wonder what the heck is going on that these acts could possibly be excluded.
Here is one Cleveland girl’s list of the top 10 acts that have been dissed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

10. Michael Stanley

Michael is our hometown hero and his music rivals anybody in the Hall. Those who’ve heard him sing, get it. This man should have been more famous around the world than Mick Jagger, in my opinion. He’s a singer, and a songwriter, and his songs tell the story of growing up in Cleveland the way Springsteen’s glorify Jersey. Yes, he’s a local legend, but he is definitely eligible for nomination and inclusion based on unquestionable musical excellence.

9. Motley Crue

The Crue is a little edgy, and yes they are even quite grungy at times—in other words, these guys are the epitome of true rock stars. From all the hard partying days, scrapes with the law, through rehab and getting sober in the late eighties, they rocked! This band influenced scores of later bands, and deserves to be in the hall for that reason alone.

8. Styx

Yes, I have heard all the arguments about the commercial sound. In other words, this band played the music that people wanted to hear, and wanted to buy. I certainly don’t understand how that could be construed as something negative. Four consecutive albums certified multi-platinum, including The Grand Illusion through Paradise Theater.

7Electric Light Orchestra

One of the biggest selling bands in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, ELO was an English band that had much more success in the United States. After a career selling more than 50 million albums worldwide, including 12 different studio albums and more than four dozen singles, is there really any doubt that they belong in the Hall of Fame? And what about that crazy spaceship?

6. Judas Priest

I was tempted to say “WTH?” about this band. They have been nicknamed “Metal Gods” based on their song of that name, have sold over 35 million albums around the world, and are widely noted as having influenced many metal bands and musicians. In fact, MTV named them the number two most influential heavy metal band, behind only Black Sabbath. Through a number of Platinum albums- Hell Bent for Leather, British Steel, and Screaming for Vengeance- the band showed their musical power on song after song. Rob Halford’s leather biker look was picked up by most of the band, and lots of other rock stars as well.

5. Journey

Journey’s music is so uber-popular, it is hard to believe that they keep getting overlooked. Just one song, Don’t Stop Believin’, is the largest-selling downloaded tune on iTunes, and has been used in the Sopranos, Family Guy, and Glee, as well as helped the Chicago White Sox focus on their World Championship in 2005. Frontman Steve Perry is also eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame as an individual, and most fans of the band would be satisfied with that, as Steve Perry IS Journey. (Though they continue to tour with some less-talented singer at the helm, it is not the same band without Steve.)

4. Joan Jett

Often called the Queen of Rock, Joan Jett is best known for belting out I Love Rock ‘n Roll, her number one smash hit for two months in 1982. With three albums certified platinum or gold, and a score of other hits, including I Hate Myself for Loving You, Light of Day, and Bad Reputation, Joan is a hard-driving, guitar-playing rocker that just happens to be a beautiful woman. She has made appearances on TV shows, starred in the movie Light of Day with Michael J. Fox, and played in Broadway musicals, in addition to touring with the USO for the past twenty years.

3. Peter Frampton

Astounding that voters seem to have forgotten his little double live album that sold more than six million copies just in the United States, and led to sold out arenas and stadiums around the country in the late 1970’s. Frampton Comes Alive! made Peter an instant superstar and spawned hits that are still played regularly on every classic rock station around the country.

2. Def Leppard

The last time I saw Def Leppard in concert they played for three hours, and still did not have enough time to perform all of their hits. Hysteria, released in 1987, had seven top 100 hits- one of the only albums ever to do so. Def Leppard sold more records in the United States in the 1980s than any other band. They also won American Music Awards for best heavy metal artist and best heavy metal album (Hysteria, 1989). The band is well known for standing by drummer Rick Allen when he lost an arm in a car accident in 1984. They continue to tour and perform today, and are expected to release a new live album in 2011.

1. Kiss

Yes, they are goofy with their crazy platform boots and makeup…but the music speaks for itself.  Kiss is one of the highest-selling bands ever, having sold over 100 million albums around the world, with 24 gold albums in the United States alone. They are well known for their makeup, fire breathing, smoking guitars, blood spitting, and pyrotechnics during live shows, believing that when people pay to be entertained, they should give it their all.


Top 10 Under Appreciated Silent Horror Films

Some of the most influential and beloved horror films came from an era before gory special effects, prosthetic limbs designed to be torn off actors, and meager shock scares.  These were the silent horror films.  Even today, while many silent films have disappeared from popular consciousness, silent horror films still maintain a widespread audience.  Whether they are the products of German Expressionism or early Hollywood creature features, they continue to intrigue and influence film makers and audiences to this day.  Some silent horror films have gained legendary status (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Nosferatu, Faust, The Phantom of the Opera, The Hunchback of Notre Dame), while others have been either ignored or forgotten in recent decades.
Here is my top 10 list of underappreciated silent horror films.  Arranged chronologically from the date of their release, these films were some of the most influential horror films ever made.
(For a film to qualify for this list, it must still survive in some capacity.  Lost films or films with a majority of the footage missing are not eligible.)

10. Le Manoir du Diable

Directed by Georges Méliès
This odd little cinematic jewel by early film pioneer Georges Méliès (whose most famous film remains A Trip to the Moon) is considered to be the very first horror film.  Clocking in at around three minutes, it contains many images that would go on to become staples of the horror genre.  The first image of the film is of a plastic bat hanging from a wire being dangled inside a medieval castle.  It quickly turns into Mephistopheles who summons all manner of objects and beasts.  These include a bubbling cauldron, skeletons, ghostly apparitions, and witches.  He uses these to torment two intruders to his castle.  The film ends with one of the men grabbing a crucifix and using it to repel Mephistopheles away.

9. Frankenstein

Directed by J. Searle Dawley
The first ever adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this film was a product of Thomas Edison’s Edison Studios in the Bronx, New York City.  This twelve minute short took three days to shoot and was directed by J. Searle Dawley.  It contains an extremely condensed version of the classic tale.  Doctor Frankenstein creates a living monster, the monster rebels against Frankenstein, the monster runs away after learning of his horrible appearance, and peace is restored.  However, this film provides an interesting twist to the story in that it implies that the monster was nothing but an outward manifestation of Doctor Frankenstein’s internal madness.  It contained some crude, yet strangely effective, special effects for its time.  The most memorable is when Frankenstein creates his monster by pouring a series of chemicals into a cauldron.  A skeleton pops out of the top and slowly gains shape and flesh.  Imagine the face melting scene in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” but backwards.

8. The Student of Prague

Directed by Stellan Rye and Paul Wegener
The Student of Prague is an early German horror film that contains a basic retelling of the classic Faustian tale.   It involves a poor student named Balduin becoming completely obsessed with a countess.  He ends up making a deal with a sorcerer named Scapinelli to give everything he desires, including great wealth.  In return, he must sign a contract.  You can figure out where the plot goes from there.  The film is notable for several different reasons.  First, it contained some very prominent special effects that were considered quite extraordinary for the era.  The most famous is where Balduin shares the screen with a double of himself.  Also, Scapinelli is an incredibly important figure in the development of horror films.  He was one of the first characters who would seduce the protagonist with deals and bargains instead of defeating him with demons and infernal magic. It was due largely in part to this film that the entire trope of “Satan as a salesman” developed and flourished in the world of cinema.

7. The Golem: How He Came into the World

Directed by Paul Wegener and Carl Boese
The Golem: How He Came into the World was a milestone in German Expressionism.  If The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari hadn’t literally been released mere months before this film, it would have gone down as one of the very first films of its genre.  The third (and only surviving) in a trilogy of films about a giant clay golem, this film explained the horrible creature’s origins.  We travel to the slums of Prague in the 16th century where a local rabbi creates a clay golem and brings him to life to protect the Jewish community from their enemies.  Unfortunately, the golem goes crazy, sets fire to the town, and goes on a killing spree.  In addition to having some of the greatest sets and cinematography of the entire German Expressionist movement, The Golem: How He Came into the World was significant because it helped create one of the very first widely recognized movie monsters.  The golem paved the way for all of the vampires, werewolves, mummies, and other deadly creatures that would come to populate horror films in the coming decades

6. Häxan

Directed by Benjamin Christensen
Häxan holds the distinction of being the only documentary on this list.  The film is an examination of superstition and makes the academic argument that much of the hysteria concerning medieval witch-hunts can be ascribed to mental illness.  While this may not sound very appropriate for a horror film, what makes it qualify for this list is how it goes about making that argument.  The film is based partly on the Malleus Maleficarum, a 15th century German inquisitor guide.  As such, director Christensen indulges in lengthy recreations of witch covens, satanic rituals, and inquisitional witch hunts.  Scenes include a Witches’ Sabbath, the supposed possession of an abbey of nuns, and a cruel reconstruction of a scene where an inquisitor tricks an innocent woman into pretending to be a witch, in the process condemning her to be executed for witchcraft.  While it may be a piece of academic film making, no horror enthusiast should go without experiencing this film.

5. The Hands of Orlac

Directed by Robert Wiene
Released in 1924, this Austrian film would introduce a plot that has been recycled countless times in multiple forms of media.  The story goes that a concert pianist named Paul Orlac gets a hand transplant after he loses his own in a terrible railway accident.  As fate would have it, the replacement hands were those of a recently-killed murderer.  Soon, Orlac finds himself fighting the urge to kill those around him.  Things go from bad to worse when his father, whom he was on the outs with, is found murdered.  The film features an early performance by horror icon Conrad Veidt who famously played the somnambulist in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and the titular character in The Man Who Laughs.  Though the film would be remade several times over the years, including the classic American film Mad Love with Peter Lorre, this was where the idea of possession through medical transplant began.

4. Waxworks

Directed by Leo Birinsky and Paul Leni
Featuring a who’s who of early German actors (including Emil Jannings, Conrad Veidt, William Dieterle, and Werner Krauss) and direction by legendary horror director Paul Leni, Waxworks is a dream come true for horror enthusiasts.  The film itself is actually an anthology film that encompasses many different stories.  It involves a waxworks proprietor who hires a writer to create a series of stories for his various exhibits.  These include the Caliph of Baghdad, Ivan the Terrible, and Jack the Ripper.  The audience travels to different eras of time as the film reenacts the writer’s various stories.  At first the film plays more like a fantasy adventure than a horror story…at least until the writer discovers that the Jack the Ripper statue has come to life…
Serving as Paul Leni’s last film made in his native Germany before moving to America, it was an appropriate send-off for one of German Expressionism’s greatest auteurs.

3. The Monster

Directed by Roland West
Easily one of the strangest films on this list, Roland West’s film The Monster featured a unique blend of horror and humor that was unusual for the time.  But that isn’t to say that the film wasn’t important as a mainstream horror film.  In fact, The Monster could very well be one of the most influential horror films ever made.  It pioneered two important archetypes for horror films.  The first was that of a mad scientist that had minions at his disposal.  The mad doctor in this case is named Ziska.  At the beginning of the film, Ziska takes over an abandoned sanitorium only to kidnap people to use in his mad experiments.   This leads to the second important innovation in The Monster: the implementation of the ‘old dark house’ trope.  Armed with compelling characters, creepy sets, and an infectious sense of humor, The Monster raised the bar for horror films.

2. The Unknown

Directed by Tod Browning
What do you get when you combine one of the greatest horror directors and one of the greatest horror actors of all time?  The answer is The Unknown.  A collaboration between director Tod Browning (Freaks, Dracula) and Lon Chaney Sr. (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Phantom of the Opera), The Unknown is one of the most unsettling horror films from the silent era.  Chaney plays Alonzo the Armless, a criminal posing as an armless circus freak to avoid the law.  He falls in love with Nanon, the circus owner’s daughter, who has a crippling fear of being touched by men.  Because of her fear, she is friends with Alonzo who is unable to touch her.  So one night, he decides to have his arms surgically removed so he can be with Nanon.  As fate would have it, while he is gone, she is miraculously cured of her illness and falls in love with the circus strongman.  Upon discovering this, Alonzo loses his mind and swears to take revenge.  An intense film combining some of the greatest minds of early horror films, The Unknown is not to be missed.

1. The Cat and the Canary

Directed by Paul Leni
Before he made his most famous film The Man Who Laughs, director Paul Leni created the gothic masterpiece entitled The Cat and the Canary.  Like his earlier film Waxworks, this film utilized a unique blend of German Expressionism, horror, and humor.  Inspired by a 1922 black comedy of the same name, The Cat and the Canary would go on to be one of the most beloved and imitated (it was remade 5 times) silent horror films of the 1920s.  At least…it was at the time.  Nowadays the film has been largely ignored or forgotten.  It truly is a shame, because the film was incredibly influential at the time, even going on to inspire Alfred Hitchcock.  It deals with a young girl named Annabelle who inherits her uncle’s fortune after a reading of his will 20 years after his death.  But, in order for her to gain the fortune, she must have a clean bill of mental health.  Things are complicated when she and her family stay in his old haunted mansion and are stalked by a mysterious figure.  What’s worse, the mansion becomes the hiding place for an escaped lunatic simply known as “the Cat.”  Will she maintain her sanity?  And who, or what, is stalking her?  And what of “the Cat”?  Watch this classic and find out.