Whoo, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Heads are falling off everywhere and flesh is rotting faster than it takes a car to slam into your face. It’s madness, I tell you. Really, madness this time. Not
But enough of yer damn talk, bring out the guns and turn up the music, the zombies is a comin’!
#13: The Blair Witch Project
One of the most basic aspects to a horror film is to build on suspense, really get a person on the edge of their seat, then release the scare. A lot of movies nowadays overshoot this formula and ruin it, but one of the few good films of our time is Blair Witch Project. The entire film is constant build up, with one hell of an ending. Sure, we don’t see anything supernatural but damned if the build up is nothing short of greatness. Though the first film was boring at times, with an ending like the one we got, it’s easily a great horror flicks for it.
#12: The Thing
The Thing would no doubt be a bit higher on the list if there weren’t so damned many incredible horror films. And while it doesn’t make the top 10, make no mistakes, this is a great horror flick with some great effects and killer suspense. While in some horror movies the build up can lead to frustration, as mentioned previously, similar to Blair Witch, the build up in The Thing is spot on.
#11: Evil Dead 2
Another great memorable classic film, but just not able to break into the top 10 is Evil Dead 2. Now the first one was great and lovable, but 2 just built on that greatness and cranked up the volume to 300. Sam Raimi does some awesome camera work here, and of course Bruce Campbell is great as the always memorable hero Ash. Though he started out humble, now he’s taking the chainsaw to Marvel Zombies and Freddy Krueger. Who would have thought one badass would make it so far.
There are so many great vampire movies but really, if there I had to suggest the greatest vampire flick of all it wouldn’t be the classic Dracula series from the 30’s or the remake from the 90’s, no, only one film in my opinion has perfectly captured the heart and soul of this horror sub-genre and given the strongest interpretation of the wicked shadow that is a vampire and that, of course, is Nosferatu. Such a chilling and haunting film that excites the mind and haunts the memories, images such as Count Orlock ascending the stares or peering over his victim are iconic images throughout horror. With such a creepy yet spot on scary film, how could anyone not have it in the top 10?
#9: Dawn of the Dead (original)
I had a hard time actually considering Dawn of the Dead as a horror film. Some times, it honestly feels like a damn comedy with some of the hilarious moments. The classic “pie to the face” gets a brilliant twist by adding zombies to that formula. But still, despite some quirky moments, it’s a true horror film to it’s name and was a great flick. The gore is top notch and when considering a top list of horror films, this makes it into the top 10 easily.
#8: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (original)
This gets my vote as one of the most realistic films ever, beating out Saw and the rest of them. This movie just feels like one giant nightmare where you can feel yourself there as the nightmare happens. It’s rural area so there is nowhere to escape and rarely anyone driving by often to try and get aid from. And the fact that a simple act of kindness to a hitchhiker that damns these poor teens is what really hits home and makes this movie a great film and a must see for any fan of the genre.
#7: Hellbound: Hellraiser 2.
Whenever I have to compare Hellraiser to it’s sequel, it’s an incredibly tough decision. Both a incredibly powerful in their imagery and freaky moments, both stories have the same protagonist whom I like and great villains, but in the end, 2 wins out for overall “What the **** did I just watch?” factor. Seriously, a bed that kills you? How could that not be horror movie gold?
#6: A Nightmare on
While later films pretty much sunk the franchise, the first film still stands out as a great movie with some incredible moments. Freddy Krueger was established as one of the top villains of the 80’s and with good reason. His debut film did a great job of confusing, but not to the frustrating level, it’s audience with if the characters where awake or asleep and if they where vulnerable to Freddy’s murderous antics.
Also, can you think of a more terrifying time to be stalked, then in your dreams? When your sleep, you can’t do anything, your just…sleeping, and though you may have some odd form of control in your sleep of your dreams, when the concept of the Nightmare franchise was just starting out, it was a freaky and well received one. So, despite the sequels really taking the fun out of it, the first film is a great time and a must see.
#5: Friday the 13th (original)
Yet another case of “great when it started but ruined by sequels”, Friday the 13th really pushed the image of “camp ground horror” and made it hard for many to go camping following this. What a lot of people seem to forget is that Jason was not the killer, but his mother, Pamela, was the first killer. This revelation still holds weight compared to most movie shock moments, right up there with Darth Vader being Luke’s father.
This movie had some great suspense going for it and was one of those “gorey, but only after the proper build up” films. Something that Saw and Hostel could learn from. Either way though, it’s a great flick and always fun to watch for the season, or before you go camping.
#4: Night of the Living Dead
You want creepy, freaky, insane and dark? This movie practically invented those words and expanded on them more than any film could hope to come close to. While the term “zombie” was already known in the media, Night of the Living Dead really created the popular image of the zombie and shot it into the pop culture.
This film is easily the greatest zombie film ever, it’s got all the elements, people trapped in a house surrounded and whatnot, and lots and lots of zombie carnage. It’s just about all you need to really sell it. But we get more! The rising character tension was great and the build up to the ending is insanely good, this would be #1, if it weren’t for the next 3 films.
#3: The Omen
Once again I point out, build up, horror movies, it’s really good. The Omen is one of those movies that sticks with you long after it’s over and you’ve moved on. It doesn’t simply bring up faith, it brings up your whole trust system. Can you really trust anyone, even a child?
My favorite scene is and forever will be the graveyard scene in which the protagonist discovers the horrifying truth about Damien’s mother, she was a jackal! While it’s not very gory or over the top, it’s got some great suspense and moments that make the skin crawl and it’s a classic for this.
#2: The Exorcist
This film is often regarded as the scariest movie of all time and for good reason. Whereas Omen didn’t show us too much as far as the supernatural is concerned, Exorcist does everything the Omen doesn’t as far as that goes. There are so many bone chilling moments, but my favorite is when we see the Demon’s face flash as the main hero of our story runs towards his mother in a dream sequence. That haunting face has been burned into my mind and if you ever see this movie, you won’t forget the face either.
My only complaint with the Exorcist is it’s ending. While it’s satisfying enough, I felt there was just something left open that the sequels never capitalized on. And with a meh ending, it is made up for with an incredibly ominous opening.
#1: Halloween 1 and 2
Choosing the greatest horror film of all time is no easy task, mind you. And I in no way claim to be an expert in the field that I’ve seen every movie or remember every movie I’ve seen. So I’m sure the #1 slot is different for a lot of people across the spectrum of horror fans, but for me, there is no better than the original Halloween and it’s sequel. Now I know it’s cheating, but really, these might as well be the same film since 2 only takes place seconds after 1. Even in Hellraiser 2 there was a fairly solid gap which made it accessible, but Halloween 1 and 2 might as well be Halloween 1 and drop the 2. Their both incredibly great films and together ,they tell a great story that should have ended here. Some argue that in a weird continuity, 4 and up is all like a “what if the series kept going?”
I myself hate everything after 3, but still acknowledge the others as sequels. though if there where ever a grade A must see rock you to your core horror experience in a film, then the Halloween experience is that. While you can watch these 2 movies separate, I highly suggest you watch them back to back. Both incredible films and even more incredible as a solid story.
Now I feel it is time for some quick Honorable mentions for all the horror fans out there that may be disappointed that their favorites didn’t make the list.
Psycho misses the list mainly because, outside of the shower scene, the film just doesn’t stand the test of time anymore. It’s a great film, but I don’t even feel it’s horror. More psychological and intrigue than horror. Though I mean no disrespect to the film, it is still great.
The birds also missed the mark. I loved this film as a child, but I recently re-watched it and found myself incredibly bored the second time around. Maybe it’s just me but, like Psycho, it’s lost it’s staying power in current times.
An American Werewolf in
Now there are several other films I could mention, but the best way to sum it up is this: There are tons upon tons upon tons of great horror movies out there and nobody has seen them all and nobody’s list of favorites is the same. Mine is my own opinion and my personal favorites, just because I love Halloween doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t have Psycho as their #1. Everyone’s opinions vary and just as I respect others opinions to like other horror movies, I hope other will respect my opinion for favorite horror movies.
With that, I leave you with a simple reminder. Halloween is a day to celebrate everything scary and haunting, use this to your advantage, enjoy it. It can be a day to return to your youth and enjoy days long gone, or create new memories with old friends. Either way, Halloween is a special day that should always be treasured.
Happy Halloween everyone.