A year and a half ago I put a Top 50 Horror Movies of All Time list right before I embarked on a mission to watch a horror and review a horror film every day for a year. I met that insane goal and have eyed a revamp of my original list for quite sometime now. In doing that, I decided to up it to a top 100 horror movies. There are notable differences in the lists (some films have moved up, others down) including the addition of some major horror films I left out the first go around, plus films that I discovered. Heck, I’ve watched (and reviewed) almost 500 horror films since my first list, the vast majority of them new to me.
I own and operate this site and write a couple weekly columns along with reviews for Bloody-Disgusting.com. And one thing I have learned about lists is that they will not please everyone. In fact, I am sure this list will piss off a bunch of people because I, “Left off _____ film, which is totally the bees knees and better than all your crappy picks”.
So, please, if you disagree with my picks that is fine, but please try and be constructive. There’s more than enough sh*t-stirring trolls on the Internet already. I recommend that you include your favorite 10, 25, 100 films in the comment section as opposed to being worthless. Capish?
This list is my opinion and is completely subjective. With that said, I hope you enjoy the list and find some good horror to watch below.
100C. Halloween III – Season Of The Witch (1982)
This movie does not get enough respect. Sure, it’s wildly out of place within the franchise, but it teaches us that we are actually made of worms and snakes. It also has one of the finest jingles of all time and has spawned a legion of amazing .gifs. I watch this one every Halloween like clockwork. “Happy, Happy Halloween. Silver Shamrock!” Anyway, wanted to start off with a fun pick to get this list going.
100B. Re-Animator (1985)
You have to be pretty cult to have a musical made after your film. And that’s exactly what Re-Animator has achieved. The musical, like the film, is a non-stop gore ride of ingenius proportions. Jeffrey Combs is right up there with Bruce Campbell for the leading American B-horror movie icon. It’s H.P. Lovecraft as seen through the eyes of Stuart Gordon’s crazy a** mind.
100A. Audition (1999)
At first I was not a fan of this work by Takashi Miike. It was too much for my virginal eyes. But it stuck with me and over the years I’ve come to realize that this is a special (and disgusting) flick that deserves credit for pushing boundaries and lingering with those who have seen it for years and years.
100. Dead Girl (2008)
This movie is so depraved and awesome. Upon my first viewing I made everyone I know watch it. Why? Originality counts, that’s why. If your morals involve not raping forcibly tied down zombie hotties then you might want to avoid this. It also proves that once you run out of holes you can, in fact, just make more. Boys will be boys, I guess.
99. Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
Cerebral horror is a good thing. Visually striking, unique and unnerving best sums up this “bad-trip” of a movie. Boldly goes to places not typically explored in horror.
98. Shock Waves (1977)
There is not enough aquatic Nazi zombie movies nor will there ever be enough. This is the best Nazi zombie horror flick (includes Dead Snow) ever made. As a bonus you get Christopher Lee, a run down resort and a whole lotta zombies. A gem of a film.
97. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
A most revolting movie if there ever was one. This one doesn’t have a massive cult following for nothing. Just bring a puke bucket if you have a sissy stomach.
96. Nosferatu (1922)
Not much is left to say about this film. Check out Shadow of a Vampire to see William Defoe give one of his best performances in a tale that is about the making of Nosferatu…sorta.
95. Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
My cinematic experience was one of the most memorable I’ve ever had. There wasn’t a person in the theater that didn’t nearly have a heart-attack. I saw a grown man in tears and girls and guys shrieking in those high-pitched tones that are only loosed when “fight or flight” is activated. The kitchen scene goes down as my favorite moment in horror last year. To boot, it has a fantastic ending that only serves to strengthen the original film. I get that cinema verite (found footage) films are hit or miss for audiences, but this one is one of the best of the genre – without doubt.
94. [REC] (2007)
It’ll stick with you for awhile. Scary, scary stuff that is packed to the gills with moments that will damn near tear your nerves to shreds.
93. The Exorcist III (1990)
Exorcist II = not so much. Exorcist III on the otherhand is a good film with a fine performance from George C. Scott (actor in my #1 film). A great opening scene, plenty of bone-deep chills and Patrick Ewing. Did you hear that? Patrick Ewing! Kidding aside. It’s so much better than you think it’s going to be.
92. Sleepaway Camp (1983)
I can never pin down exactly why I like this film so much, maybe it’s the camp, maybe it’s the wild ending. Who knows? I don’t care either. It’s fine low-grade slasher fun.
91. The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
Not for everyone. Plenty of gore and a compelling story in the early Wes Craven flick. Michael Berryman (on the poster) is one scary lookin’ dude, don’t you think?
90. It (1990)
The most frightening movie of my childhood. Completely runs out of gas by the end, but the rain gutter scene scene with Pennywise hiding in the drain is etched into my nightmares. That one scene alone gets this movie on my list.
89. Suspiria (1977)
Visually a masterpiece. Combined with Goblin’s soundtrack and Argento’s steady hand this is a must see for any lover of horror.
88. The Host (Korea) (2006)
Korea’s Godzilla is fun, scary, and just a bit campy – like best of Creature Features. One of the finest Korean horror films around (Watch I Saw the Devil if you haven’t) and I would be amiss to not include it here.
87. Night of the Comet (1984)
The best of Valley Girl Horror. So funny and well written that I had to find room on this list. An absolute masterpiece of a B horror comedy flick. The girls are so damn lovable, oblivious and good with machine guns that there is never a dull moment in this film. Nostalgia can be a fine mistress.
86. Misery (1990)
Oh, Kathy Bates! You are one helluva a scary woman and I’m not talking about the time I saw your boobies in About Schmidt. Great performances all around make this a memorable and unique piece of cinema that will surely have you engaged from the get go.
85. Three…Extremes (2004)
A good one to show to your kids. Squirmy, gross and disturbing it manages to try and cross about every line they could think of in order to make you throw up. In order of my faves: Park, Chan, Lee.
84. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
I wasn’t going to include any comedy first films, but then I thought about it and realized this is my list and I’ll do what I want. This film, besides being HILARIOUSLY fun, sparked an explosion of Brit horror comedies that has yet to let down and made household names out of the stars.
83. Ringu (1998)
Hideo Nakata straight up owned J-horror for a few years. This effort essentially scared the entire world into the fetal position. Wowza does this one get my blood flowing.
82. Deep Red (1975)
Agrento’s most complete film (though not my favorite and a seminal horror flick if there ever was one. Does anyone who likes Italian horror not like this flick? Unlikely. If anything, a bunch of people will whine that I don’t have this in my top 15 or so.
81. Night of the Demons (1988)
My favorite party horror flick. I’d feel bad to leave this off. Also, Asian Barbie is smoking hot and then there’s that bit with the lipstick. ’80s cheese gore horror at its finest.
80. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
For a movie that has been remade what seems like a dozen times, the 1978 version sticks with me as the best version. This, like The Thing is exactly why remakes can be phenomenal if done right. It’s a goose bump inducing and gory ride for start to finish.
79. Hour of the Wolf (1968)
Bergman is my favorite director and I have Shane Black (Monster Squad) to thank for it (I became hooked on Bergman after seeing Last Action Hero, of all films). Existential dread and demonic plagues galore. It’s as haunting as it is devastating.
78. Scream (1996)
Stylish, smooth, and sexy sums up this mid-nineties entry from horror maestro Wes Craven. While not the scariest flick in pure terms, outside of the first few minutes, Scream packs a punch and redefined slasher flicks as we know them.
77. Cat People (1942)
While I enjoyed the campy remake (and Ed Begley Jr.’s role) I’ll take the original any day. A supernatural psychological thriller that has no equal.Legendary Val Newton produced this timeless classic.
76. Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)
Heart-stoppingly tense spaghetti slasher from Dario Argento – his first feature film as a director. It’s brilliant, violent, stylistic, technically sound, and terrifying. Still one of his best works and one of the best Giallos (at least in my mind).
75. Insidious (2011)
Easily one of the jumpiest horror films in YEARS. The first 3/4 of this movie are undeniably some of the finest horror put to screen (maybe the best?). But what truly makes this film great is that is works on more than one level. I’ve had discussions with multiple cinephiles on this movie that have lasted longer than the film itself. After three viewings, a Q&A with James Wann and Leigh Whannell and all those debates, I can safely say this film is the Inception of horror movies.
74. The Others (2001)
The most frightening thing about this movie to me is the lack of a soundtrack. Your’e not told when to be scared or told when you can relax. And because of that, you’re on edge the entire film. I was in a theater when this first came out and a girl in the row in front of me passed out due to fright. Not a joke.
73. The Creature from The Black Lagoon (1954)
Way ahead of its time in both putting a hot lady in a bathing suit and in chills. The underwater stuff is well-shot and frightening.The best creature feature of the 1950′s.
72. Carrie (1976)
It’s Carrie. They all like to laugh at her. Not a good idea.
France essentially dominated the 2000′s with their “New Wave French Extremity” films. And boy were they brutal and unforgiving in a way that almost no other films had ever been. Lines are crossed. Tension is ratcheted up to the breaking point. And yet, they all seem to have an artistic touch to them. Haute Tension is all those things. And the last five minutes are on par with anything horror has to offer.
70. Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971)
A fantastic piece of Spanish cinema ripe with great special makeup and effects. This is certainly one that is worth tracking down, especially if you love older Euro foreign horror (Italian or otherwise).
69. Cujo (1983)
I was torn between this or Maximum Overdrive as Stephen King’s finest adapted work. Just kidding, but in all honesty Cujo stars a rabid St. Bernard and a Ford Pinto. What more could you want? The ending of this movie may be a bit of a letdown but don’t let that stop you from biting into this flick. Hehe.
68. Candyman (1992)
Virginia Madsen is a looker. The atmosphere is dark and real. This movie is able to sustain fear for long periods of time. You get the feeling that this whole movie could be real life and that helps to drive home the Candyman’s badassness.
67. Ju-On (2002)
Long dark haired girls are a staple of Japanese horror. This movie provides a few moments so tense you’ll be white-knuckling your couch, your blanket, your dog – whatever is close. Good gravy. I damn near jumped out of a chair while watching.
66. The Entity (1982)
This is a fantastic horror movie and it is nice to know that Martin Scorsese agrees with me. There aren’t many more terrifying plot devices than being repeatedly raped by an invisible demon on a nightly basis. To this day I want to believe that magic, and only magic, was used to create the crazy realness of the rape scenes.
65. Let the Right One In (2008)
One of the coldest, calculating, and menacing characters in all of horror cinema lives in this film. I hate to be one of those, “Everything is either the best or worst thing ever people” but I can’t help it in this case. I won’t be surprised if this movie makes its way to the top of many best of all time lists. LTROI blows the door off the vampire genre in both its originality and beauty (Rated low on my list because I want to see how it stands up over the next few years).
64. Cemetery Man (1994)
Aka Dellmorte Dellamore – loosely translated from Italian it means awesome movie (or Of Death, Of Love). This movie is hard to describe other than a series a bizarre and funny events occur in a world where the dead come back from the grave seven days after burial. This is what good horror movies should aspire to be – nothing cliché, no marketing ploys in effect, just some people out to make an entertaining movie about decapitated heads, necrophilia and death puppets.
63. Zombi 2 (1979)
A big thank you to Lucio Fulci for bringing ocular violence to the zombie genre. Memorable for all the right reasons, well mostly for the gore and the most superb giant-wood-stick-in-your-eye scene you can imagine. Is it campy? Yes. Does that matter? No.
62. May (2003)
May is a sociopath whose only friend is a handmade doll, at least when the film starts. This movie reminds me not to date the creepy chick who works as a veterinary assistant. She has access to all kinds of tools and medicines that *if* put to the wrong use could make for a nice little bit of niche filmmaking.
61. Night of the Hunter (1955)
Robert Mitchum (his best role) will scare the piss out of you. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a flick that has stuck with me more and for such a long period of time. I watched this with my Grandmother when I was about 13.
60. Gremlins (1984)
Be careful of the “Mogwai” and for goodness sake, don’t get him wet. As with any good horror movie it takes blatant acts of stupidity to unleash the fury of evil. One of the finest Christmas horror/comedies ever made. I mean c’mon, Gizmo is just so damn cute. What was that rule about midnight again? Give him more to eat or something like that.
59. Frankenstein (1931)
The original. The best. If you can watch this without diluted eyes it’s easy to see why this is one of the most famous and macabre tales of all time.
58. The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
Revenge is a dish best served in large quantities. Dr. Phibes doesn’t care if you didn’t kill his wife. He still wants to drain your blood while having a conversation with you. Having seen tons of violent scenes that don’t bother me at all; something about watching a live person being drained of blood still creeps me out to this day. I am also a sucker for villains that have a lot of time and money on their hands and like to see how it all plays out.
57. The Boogens (1981)
Gets a nod because A. It conceals the monsters for much of the film, something rare. Imaginations are always more frightening than things filmmakers can dream up. And B. Because the dialogue between the characters (who are likable) is very real and natural sounding. Believe me, after you see a couple hundred flicks with idiotic a** hat teens camping somewhere this comes off as a major breath of fresh air.
56. Prince of Darkness (1987)
This film is highly underrated, until now. John Carpenter’s other works may be more popular but this is one of his finest efforts. Basic plot: Something very “evil” is trapped in a jar downstairs in a church and Donald Pleasance hires a group of scientists to check it out. They soon discover the jar contains Satan, the real deal himself, and they may have just let him loose. Hate when that happens.
55. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Americans love their malls and guns. Any horror aficionado has likely seen this flick many times over. Zombie and Romero go together like fat kids and cake or reality shows and suck.
54. Pet Semetary (1989)
Killing children can payoff big time in horror movies. This Stephen King adapted movie scared the crap out of a generations of kids. The image of Gage’s shoe on the freeway still haunts my nightmares along with a host of disturbing images from this flick. Horror fans might also know Miko Hughes (Gage) went on to star in A New Nightmare, Mercury Rising, and told Arnold that, “Boys have a penis and girls have a vagina.”
53. Salem’s Lot (1979)
Outside of making it into the lyrics of an Emimen song (sigh) this movie had a lot going for it. For starters, Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist, Lifeforce) directs this made for television vampire romp. On the other hand, the sequel is one of the worst movies ever made and is responsible for launching Tara Reid’s career.
52. The Amityville Horror (1979)
Slow paced thriller based on true events. Loosely based. Will put a good scare into most folks who aren’t used to the now common tropes used in the film. The remake is God awful.
51. The Orphanage (2007)
Spanish horror at it’s best. Should be considered a modern masterpiece by not just lovers of horror, but lovers of good film. Artistically it’s a cut above most horror and the best part, its still terrifying. The kind of film that makes you turn some extra lights on…during the viewing.
50. Deathdream (aka Dead of Night) (1974)
Director Bob Clark made two horror movies. Both are in my top 50. This is like American Psycho meets a zombie film meets an anti-war flick. And it’s scary as hell on multiple levels. Was recently on Netflix Instant. Put it in your queue, stat!
49. Friday the 13th (1980)
The Voorhrees are good at spawning sequels. The original is still a fun watch and features a young Kevin Bacon.
48. The House of the Devil (2009)
I’m still not convinced this movie wasn’t made in the ’80s. It’s like Rosemary’s Baby and every other slow burning cult horror filmed wrapped into one massive awesome payoff of a movie. Director Ti West may save the horror genre from remake saturation and sequel-itis single-handedly.
47. Motel Hell (1980)
“It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent’s fritters.” Ever seen a scary butcher with a pig mask? This is the movie where that image originates. Motel Hell also features humans buried up to their necks and “plowed” to make the perfect snack meat. Honestly, this flick makes me smile with joy every time I see it (want proof – look me up on Xbox Live – my Gamertag is Motel Hell).
46. The Legend of Hell House (1973)
A near perfect example of a haunted house movie. Richard Matheson adapted the screenplay from his book. It comes off as a simple atmospheric chiller on par with any of the best gothic Brit horror around.
45. Psycho (1960)
Birds of prey are scary. So is Norman Bates.
44. The Invisible Man (1933)
I watched this off Netflix Instant for the first time about 6 months ago and was stunned at how captivating this film ended up being. Great story and great acting by Claude Rains (his first role). The entire mad scientist genre owes credit to this horrific tale.
43. Horror Hotel (1960)
I harp on atmosphere a lot and this movie has one of the finest of the bunch. It’s not scary by modern standards, but it has a pervasive sense of dread that is so effective you’ll be thoroughly sucked into this thriller. And the ending. Oh boy the ending is goodness personified.
42. The Haunting (1963)
A fine (and one of the first) additions to the haunted house movie motif. The lack of seeing the “bad guy” lets our imagination grow wild and enhances the fear throughout. Still to this day, The Haunting remains far more frightening than any number of remakes bearing a similar name.
41. Halloween (1978)
I’m not a huge fan of this film personally, especially when compared to the superior Black Christmas, but it is what it is. And that’s a classic with one of the most recognizable scores in film history. It’s impact on horror films is undeniable.
40. Cube (1997)
You may have the urge to bone up on some math after watching this thriller. Made mostly in one room (kinda like the first Saw movie) on a shoe-string budget (400K) but still manages to thrill the piss out of you. This movie is compared to the original Saw in many ways but, is in fact, much, much better. Note: I hate Saw movies.
39. Pumpkinhead (1988)
Don’t mess with crazy small town people who can conjure up demons. Especially, don’t kill said crazy small town person’s kid in a dirt bike accident. Otherwise, well you know, all hell will break loose on you and your teenage friends. One of my favorite film and titles from the horror genre. Lance Henriksen’s best performance.
38. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
If you like child molesters then you’ll love Roman Polanski. Before he ran away from the U.S. for raping an underage girl he made a film about Satan raping a fresh faced Mia Farrow. Very sophisticated, slow building horror masterpiece. Check out The House of the Devil for a modern take.
37. 28 Days Later (2003)
Fast zombies are more frightening than slow herds of zombies. Danny Boyle wants us to believe so anyway. Nice take on the genre. How do you direct Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, and then Slumdog Millionaire? Dude is a genius, that’s how.
36. The Fog (1980)
The thing about John Carpenter was for a while he was the best horror director on earth. He’s come back to reality, but he did Halloween, Escape from New York, this, Halloween II, The Thing, and Christine in a 5 year period. That’s mind-blowing. The Fog doesn’t get as much love as some of the others, but it should. It’s an old-fashioned ghost revenge story that remains crisp and scary to this day. Atmosphere over gore will usually win out every day. It does here.
35. Don’t Look Now (1973)
Very sophisticated Brit horror that focuses on human nature, grief and apprehension instead of visceral in your face horror. It’ll get to you. Donald Sutherland is solid.
34. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
So damn real that it could be a documentary. I mean eff, Henry is a crazy SOB completely brought to life by Michael Rooker. Unflinching is the best way to describe this movie. The camera plays no tricks. What you see is what you get. An what you get is a movie that will make you feel very uncomfortable.
33. Puppet Master (1989)
Horror nonsense at its best and most ridiculous. The puppet with the knife is quite scary and the plot is well, something that only Full Moon could produce. Don’t even pretend Chucky was better than Mr. Toulin and his puppets.
That rare movie that captures everything great about being a kid with the bonus being it’s all about classic monsters. A movie that I will randomly quote until the day I die. Also, Scary German Guy.
32. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Not bad for a first time director (Tober Hooper). Okay, well a lot more than not bad. Who would win in a fight? Leatherface, Jason, Freddy, Ash? Let the debate rage.
31. Dead Alive (1992)
Brain Dead (aka Dead Alive) has been deemed the goriest movie of all time. Enough said. Well almost, Peter Jackson directed this gem and the lawnmower scene is pure cheese horror awesomeness.
30. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
This is not the movie you want to fall asleep to while watching. This horror classic stars one of the most recognizable figures in the genre – Freddy Krueger. Similar to Friday the 13th, this movie spawned a ton of crappy sequels that have nearly destroyed the legacy of the first film. For the Johnny Depp fans in the world, this was his first movie ever.
29. Aliens (1986)
The best sequel ever made. Shuns the more horror oriented first film for balls to the walls action, thrills, chills, and the hotness that is Sigourney Weaver doing her thing. “Not bad for a human.”
28. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
After this movie came out some friends of mine and I went camping and built our very own Blair Witch set in the mountains. We also brought the movie along and watched it in the tent at night. Bad idea if you wanna sleep. But I fully recommend this as one of the best ways to enjoy Blair Witch; just don’t get it confused with The Bare Wench Project.
27. My Bloody Valentine (1981)
One of the best slashers and best holiday themed horror flicks. It’s atmosphere takes it well above many of the other gory horror flicks out there in the horrorscape. Doesn’t skimp on the blood or creative kills either. The acting, well, the acting is typical, but the dialogue is laugh out loud stuff at times (in a good way).
26. The Omen (1976)
The score as much as The Peckster’s performance make this an all-time fave of mine. If you like slow-burning horror this is must. It also provides one of the most tortuous climaxes in horror.
25. Phantasm (1979)
The Tall Man is (imo) the scariest bad guy of all time. His spiked balls are not good, especially if they are in your face. With a vibe and feeling all of its own, this movie shows that horror classics CAN be made with little money and great vision alone. I met Angus Scrimm (the Tall Man) a few weeks back. Great guy. He seems like a sweet ole grandpa, minus the part where he scares the piss out of me.
25A. Killer Klowns From Outer Space
The movie, along with IT, that ensured I have no desire to be around clowns in any capacity. As I’ve grown older I now appreciate the hilarity of the film and like it even more. Out of all of my top 100+ here, I’ve watched this film the most times. It’s like an old friend now. What’s sometimes lost here is the Klown costumes and just how damn good they were (so good they were reused in a Ernest movie a few years later).
24. Creepshow (1982)
This movie stars Ted Danson and Leslie Neilson. That alone makes it great. If you didn’t already know, Creepshow is a series of short films based on old time comics, directed by George Romero. Stephen King’s cameo as the man with green moss growing all over him is so much fun, I tell ya.
23. In the Mouth of Madness (1995)
The words H.P. Lovecraft and John Carpenter send horror freaks spewing accolades left and right for good reason. Sam Neil portrays a horror writer on the edge of sanity with superb brilliance. Must watch to truly appreciate. “Live any good books lately?”
22. The Wolfman (1941)
It’s tragic. It’s classic. It’s still a whole heck of a lot better than anything being made today. It’s been on Netflix Instant for awhile now. I whole-heartedly recommend checking it out as a starting point into the classics.
21. Poltergeist (1982)
Some of the finest scares the business has to offer. The special effects, even by today’s standards, are outstandingly good. All of that in a nice PG package. See?
Good Great horror films can be PG.
21. Last House on the Left (1972)
A retelling of The Virgin Spring, Wes Craven delivers a shock fest that will get under your skin. This film looks like trash, sounds like trash, and it IS mostly trash, which makes it the perfect exploitation film. Along the way a guy named Kruger shows up and one of the most disturbing and painful scenes of cinema reside in LHOTL. It’s only a movie, It’s only a movie…
21A. Trick ‘R Treat (2006)
It’s flat-out heresy this film didn’t get a proper theatrical release. Along with Creepshow this film stands as one of the best horror anthology made by humans.
20. Frailty (2001)
Bill Paxton gives one of the most truly frightening performances ever put on film. Seriously. Frightening. Told in similar style as The Usual Suspects, Frailty builds suspense slowly and methodically to a near perfect pitch.
19. Event Horizon (1997)
This movie is flat out scary. Say what you will but Sam Neil losing his mind in space while literally traveling through hell is awesome. This one will give you night terrors for a long time to come.
18. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Movies that make you laugh first then scare you are often the best and AAWIL is no exception to that rule. The werewolf transformation is still to this day one of the best on screen morphs, crushing the CGI crap used in modern films. The Slaughtered Lamb, and Piccadilly Circus scenes are among the best of all time. On a side note, I am glad that Rick Baker came back and did the wolf effects in The Wolfman, saving that film from being a disgrace.
17. Night of the Creeps (1986)
I could talk about the merits of this film for hours, but I think it sums it up best when I say I was on the original petition to get this movie to DVD (which it has finally!). Hands down this is one of the best 80’s horror flicks. Night of the Creeps and Monster Squad are my John Hughes movies. “Good news girls is your dates are here. The bad news. They’re dead.”
16. Carnival of Souls (1962)
Basically, if this movie was made in 1998 it would be on everyone’s best of all time horror lists and M. Night Shyamalan would not be directing movies into the ground. I don’t want to give away too much if you haven’t seen it but this movie was WAY ahead of its time. It gives me chills like few do.
15. Hellraiser (1987)
Clive Barker is a weird son of a bitch, and for that, we should all be grateful. This flick is considered a masterpiece of the genre by many top critics. Unfortunately, Hellraiser suffers from sequel overdose as do most of the greats. But, if you are looking for some grisly action and a date with a dude who has pins in his head, then this movie will abide, just like The Dude. Avoid the sequels, seriously (3 forward are garbage).
14. Ginger Snaps (2000)
Not exactly sure why I like it so much, well, there is tons of blood and gore, two Goth obsessed sisters, great acting, ingeniously smart writing, directing, and solid scares. I guess that makes it easy to love this film and announce it as the best werewolf movie of all time, sorry Lon Chaney.
13. Fright Night (1985)
Easily the best vampire movie starring Amanda Bearse of Married With Children fame. This 80’s cheese fest is radical dude. With a huge tribute to Vincent Price this movie is not only a classic, but also a horror buffs delight. This is my absolute favorite vampire movie. Of All TIME.
12. The Shining (1980)
I prefer the Simpson’s take in the now classic Tree House of Horrors episode “The Shinning” only slightly more than the actual movie. No TV and no beer do make Homer go crazy. If you somehow haven’t seen this I doubt you are reading this list anyway. I often sit around with my mouth open thinking about the technical brilliance of this film. The best “unreliable narrator” film in existence.
11. Videodrome (1983)
This is a movie that has to be seen to be appreciated. How much of what is going on is real vs. what is just in James Woods’ head? One may never know. This movie is outright weird and creepy from start to finish. “Long live the new flesh!”
10. The House on Haunted Hill (1959)
This William Castle chiller remains suspenseful to this day. A bit cheesy, a bit spooky, but a helluva a lot of fun. Vincent Price gives one of the finest performances of his storied career.
9. The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
The cult following of this film continues to grow with each viewing of this splatter fest of comedy and chills. Essentially, this is the perfect mix of horror and comedy. While others have fallen to the wayside, TROTLD has stood up to the test of time and is every bit as enjoyable as the day it came out. Anybody need a split a dog? A quick shout out to my friend and actress Jewel Shepard (the punk rawk chick in this film) who is fighting cancer. Love ya, Jewel!
8. The Ring (2002)
It’s not often that an American remake of an Asian horror movie is even worth watching. This makes it all that much more impressive that The Ring not only is worth watching, but is one of the scariest movies ever made. I remember walking out of the theater thinking to myself that I sure hope some idiots don’t come along and spoof the opening scene using Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy in place of the high school girls. Doh.
7. The Descent (2005)
A near perfect horror movie. This is the story of what happens when spelunking goes terribly wrong. Every horror film in the 2000’s wishes it could be this frightening. Much like what Jaws did for the ocean, The Descent does for caves. Neil Marshall has become a major force in the horror world.
6. Black Christmas (1974)
This is the best slasher film. Period. Made in 1974 well before the Halloween explosion and slasher party of the 1980′s. If horror films were treated like family Christmas films, this instead of Director Bob Clark’s other holiday related film would be shown on TBS for 24 straight hours. I refer to, of course, A Christmas Story.
5. The Exorcist (1973)
If you have seen this movie a million times I recommend picking up a copy of the book. There were points while reading when I would have to get up and turn more lights on or simply put the book down and go watch some mindless comedy to get my mind right. The movie of course stands tall among the greats of all time.
4. Evil Dead II (1987)
Sam Raimi delivers the best horror comedy movie of all time in his sequel to Evil Dead. My affection for this film borders on the kind of love that needs a restraining order. Heck, I am not at all embarrassed to let you know that my dog’s name is Ash. A true masterpiece of blood, guts, and gore. On a side note, If you like the one man alone for most a movie idea, then 1408 is a nice little flick.
3. The Thing (1982)
I wish Hollywood horror movie producers would take a look at the effects used in this movie. This is the kind of stuff nightmares are made of. There are tons of jumpy moments, claustrophobia, and enough Wilford Brimley to please even the most discerning of viewers. “Why don’t we just wait here for a little while… see what happens…”
2. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Yes Barbara, they are coming for you. The original movie has spawned more spinoffs, shows, and books than can even be counted. This is indeed a landmark film.
1. The Changeling (1980)
It’s odd how much certain films can impact you at the time you watch them. The Changeling is one of those films for me. It’s one of a very select few films that has the ability to get under you skin and truly terrify. My recommendation: Watch alone, with no lights, cellphones, or other distractions to take you out of the moment. This flick is all about storytelling and needs your full attention. There is no gore nor special effects, just pure mind-numbingly frightening horror. Enjoy!
If you happen to be looking for a review of a particular horror movie, check out my archive which is a simple list of almost every horror review I’ve done (about 400+ and counting).
I have a new website dedicated to Movie Posters. Check it out by clicking the image below. Thanks.