Top 10 Horror Movies Lists
A few weeks ago Time Out London issued of the Top 100 Horror Films of All Time. This list was compiled by getting 100 horror personalities to issue a top 10 list. I thought the article itself was fairly awesome, but I thought it would be fun to get the ECAV staff, and some of our favorite horror and cult film related writers from around the Internet to contribute their own personal top 10 of horror list. Not all of them are Top 10 Best Horror Movies, but they all are awesome reads, and are now here for your reading pleasure...
1. The Beyond (Lucio Fulci, 1981)
2. American Werewolf in London (John Landis, 1981)
3. The Wicker Man (Robin Hardy, 1973)
4. Martin (George Romero, 1976)
5. Lisa and the Devil (Mario Bava, 1974)
6. Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1977)
7. The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)
8. The Evil Dead (Sam Raimi, 1981)
9. Cemetery Man (Michele Soavi, 1994)
10. Re-Animator (Stuart Gordon, 1985)
I was a huge horror fan as a young child, or so I thought. When I hit the age of 12 or so, I thought I had seen it all, and had become bored with the genre. The truth of the matter was, I had grown up in the midst of the slasher boom of the 80's, and had seen all of those. A few years later as my interest in horror began to rekindle, I found the website www.houseofhorrors.com. This website had loads of titles, especially EuroHorror ones that I had never seen, and the first one that struck me was a film by director Lucio Fulci called Zombie. I immediately called my local Suncoast Video and special ordered the VHS, a few minutes later they called me back saying they actually had a copy on the shelf. I couldn't have bussed over there fast enough. A few months later they posted an article on the Beyond, and as I had been catching up with as much Fulci as I could get my hands on I promptly picked it up.
It immediately shot to the top of my favorite horror films of all time. A place where it has stayed since.
Obviously my list is very EuroHorror heavy, this shouldn't be a surprise considering this website is EuroCultAV.com. However, I absolutely love European Horror films, there is a way that European Horror films from roughly the period of 1957 (I Vampiri/Curse of Frankenstein) through the Mid 90's (Dellamorte Dellamore) really lit up my horror fiend imagination.
Outside of that I have some traditional favorites like American Werewolf in London, which is almost like horror comfort food to me. If I have a bad day, it almost certainly finds its way into my Blu-ray (previously DVD or VHS) at the end of it. As for Martin, I am a passionate supporter of what our own Sean Smithson refers to below as the Dead Trinity (totally appropriate name Sean), and I have loved those films dearly since I was probably 9-10 years old. However, there is something about Martin that just seeped it's way into my brain from the first moment I saw it for the first time close to 10 years ago, and it won't let go. The performance from John Amplas it truly timeless, and it takes on organized religion in the same way the Dead Trilogy takes on various social issues.
The Thing and The Evil Dead are on the list primarily for the same reason. They are simply great horror films. It's not often a remake surpasses the original, but the claustrophobic terror, and atmosphere of absolute dread mixed that John Carpenter creates alongside the still mindblowing effects from Rob Bottin create something truly special, and truly timeless. The Evil Dead takes what could be a cliched horror premise, and turns it on his head, and injects it with such intensity that you can't help but keep your eyes on the screen after 20, 60, 100 viewings. Finally, there's Re-Animator, this a film I was REALLY late to the party to only seeing when Elite released via their Millennium Edition DVD. I watched it pretty much every day for the next month with and without commentary, people call Return of the Living Dead the ultimate party zombie film, I would give that title to Re-Animator!
Jessi Barker MacDonald
(Writer - EuroCultAV.com)
1.Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)
2.Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1977)
3. The Evil Dead (Sam Raimi, 1981)
4. Inferno (Dario Argento, 1980)
5. Alien (Ridley Scott 1978)
6. American Werewolf in London
7. Cemetery Man (Michele Soavi, 1994)
8. Dawn of the Dead (George Romero, 1978)
9. Nightmare on Elm Street, A (Wes Craven, 1984)
10. Fright Night (Tom Holland 1985)
I debated for some time before making this list on rather it should be my top 10 picks of scariest horror films, or my my top 10 favorite horror films , because those 2 lists would look different from each other. I opted to make a list of my favorite horror films. Halloween has been my favorite for many years, as it's basically a perfect horror film. Suspiria and Inferno are just beautiful and such great atmospheric films. The Evil Dead is just plain fun, as is Fright Night. Alien has everything one would want in a horror film, it's genius, and genuinely scary. Cemetery Man is the most romantic zombie movie I've ever seen and is gorgeous. Films that would have made the list if I went the route of scariest films would be The Vanishing (1988) which terrified me as a child, and so did Let's Scare Jessica to Death. My name is Jessica, so the title alone frightened me, even. As an adult, films that scared me were Hostel, Silent Hill, and also House of the Devil.
(Writer - GeeksofDoom.com/EuroCultAV.com)
1. The Evil Dead - The ultimate “cabin in the woods” horror film, a tale of relentless terror told through director Sam Raimi’s impressive visuals and a killer sound design, not to mention the soon-to-be iconic performance from debuting Bruce Campbell. It all adds up to a cinematic experience that will gouge out your eyes and burrow into your subconscious.
2. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - Raw, unforgiving, and elemental horror that is the stuff of nightmares, no matter who you are.
3. Night of the Living Dead - Not the first zombie movie but as far as the genre goes George Romero’s classic directorial debut is the alpha and omega of walking dead cinema. Shot in stark black & white, this is pure apocalyptic horror you will not walk away from unchanged.
4. The Thing - The greatest remake. The greatest sci-fi/horror hybrid of the 1980’s. John Carpenter’s best film. Innovative visual effects by Rob Bottin that have yet to be matched in terms of twisted imagination and quality. Haunting, propulsive score by Ennio Morricone. A terrific cast of wonderfully realized characters headed by Kurt Russell. Chilly and immersive cinematography by the great Dean Cundey. An ending that can never be topped. This is a tried-and-true classic.
5. Halloween - It would be an insult to label this as a slasher film. John Carpenter’s greatest financial success is superior horror filmmaking, meticulously crafted with a level of profession and ingenuity most established directors could never match.
6. Tales from the Crypt - My personal favorite horror anthology film. The EC Comics stories that inspired this film (by brilliant cinematographer and director Freddie Francis) - not to mention the late 80’s/early 90’s HBO series - never failed to put the fright in me. Given an extra polish of British reserve the classic four-color terror tales come alive in a cold and bloody grip of pure cinematic fear.
7. Hellraiser - Although I prefer the first sequel Hellbound (not to mention his 1990 horror fantasy Nightbreed) there is no doubting the timeless drawing power and terrifying imagery on display in celebrated author Clive Barker’s first feature as a director. Countless sequels have never succeeded in dulling the original’s impact.
8. The Shining - The best film adaptation of Stephen King’s work to date and the author doesn’t even like it. That’s probably because director Stanley Kubrick’s version of The Shining wasn’t exactly faithful to the original novel. No matter; Kubrick wasn’t interested in making yet another ghost story. Instead he made his Shining into a methodically-paced descent into icy psychological terror anchored by strong performances from Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and young Danny Lloyd.
9. Zombie - I wouldn’t consider this the late Lucio Fulci’s finest accomplishment as a filmmaker, but it’s his only film that’s a pure, unpretentious roller coaster ride of rotting horror, gratuitous nudity, and magnificent gore effects.
10. Alien - What makes outer space such an inspired location for horror films is personified beautifully in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi fright fest. Fear of the unknown and being trapped in an isolated locale where you can only run so far before that which you are afraid of catches you meets one of the most iconic monsters in the history of film.
THE EXORCIST - Arguably "the scariest film ever made", William Friedkin's megaclassic terrifies me to this day. I saw it far too young, on first release actually in 1973, when I was 6 years old. I was a "monster kid" and read Famous Monsters religiously and had already seen some pretty adult fare thanks to the Baltimore film students who made up my counsel of godfathers, an extended family. But when mom took us to see this, and I refused to leave the theater, I had no idea my fortitude was about to lead to what wold be a lifelong scar. Poor Regan Mcneil. I related. No father. A hardworking single mother. And back during the time it was first released? Occultism in America was at an all time high. The success of THE EXORCIST didn't cause that type of thing, it was a result of it. So for my little mind, lines blurred, and being Episcopal at the time only drove the entire thing home. I spent the next decade plus being deliciously terrified that I too would become possessed! or, somehow "attacked" by a Regan McNeil, who for whatever reason would choose to seek me out and "get me".
These days I am grown old and cynical, and am an atheist, but THE EXORCIST still gets into my lizard brain, and takes me back to the six year old I was, and scares the shit out of me.
James Whales' FRANKENSTEIN - One of my earliest memories is watching this touching outsiders tale. There is nothing for me to say that hasn't already been said a zillion times. Karloff's incredibly sensitive performance, James Whale's austere and moody direction, this film isn't just a masterpiece, it's an American treasure. Made by foreigners!
THE HOWLING - With it's EST/self-help angle and John Sayles screenplay, this tale of self-help and realization therapy gone haywire, is quietly an unheralded time capsule of the obsessive get-to-know-yourself 80's. Factor in Joe Dante's fast paced and fun style of directing, and my favorite lycanthropes ever to leave claw-marks on a screen, courtesy of wunderkind Rob Bottin, and it makes a damned good argument as best werewolf film ever. Even compared to the OTHER big 80's werewolf film.
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS 1978 - Updating the Cold War paranoia theme, Phillip Kauffman's update of the Don Siegel classic ratchets up the fear ten fold, the last reel playing out almost like a survival horror film.
THE DEAD TRILOGY which I will now dub THE DEAD TRINITY due to the more recent additions, and the fact that it IS the unholy trinity of undead perfection. Romero's soap box for his ideals holds up to this day, with the allegories to racism, consumerism, and the military complex. Sadly prophetic, the only thing we're missing these days are creatures that actually try to eat our flesh.
THE FOG - A faerie tale fable of impending doom, with a beginning told in real time, John Carpenter aimed high and away from madmen and butcher knives. Opting instead for the moody scenery of upper northern California's coastline. this creep-fest unfolds as quaintly and spookily as the ghost tale told by John Houseman in the film's famous opening sequence. A salty tale of sea water drenched revenge that owes to Poe as well as EC comics.
THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN - The first in the massive Hammer Films horror cycle. The creature design eschews that flat top look of the original (strictly due to legal reasons ironically) and achieves something far more gory and disturbing than the classic Jack Pierce design we all know as the "real" Frankenstein's Monster. Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing team up as monster and maker, in the first of many classic pairings. Hammer and Universal are the building blocks of any (and I mean ANY) good "horror education". If you've not seen this, run don't walk.
JAWS - Under pressure diamonds are formed, and the technical hell Spielberg and crew went through to make Peter Benchley's novel of shark terror is almost as legendary as the film itself. Action/horror/drama. A true hybrid genre enthusiasts dream really. This set up filmmakers like James Cameron and films like ALIENS to happen. Fun, paralyzingly scary, and an incredible cast. Undeniable.
VIDEODROME - This was my first true taste of the paranoid realm of David Cronenberg, and his surreal visions of dystopian horror. What some of these scene must have looked like on the page, and how they were able to translate them to the screen, is beyond me. Claustrophobic, psychedelic, erotic. man, nobody and I mean nobody does genre cinema like Cronenberg. A fucking master.
SUSPIRIA - The nightmare logic and faerie tale quality make for a perfect pairing, in this hyper colorful fevre dream. It's easy to not realize that 99% of the cast are women as well. When I first saw this as a young teen, I knew it was something special, but the filter of sometimes not-so-linear editing, and over-broad [performances, was off putting to the younger me. Then, when it's more horrifying tones started to emerge with repeated viewings, it eventual climbed it's way to the first row of the top shelf of my collection.
Sean, also included a few extra list for your recommendation pleasure...
THE GENRE GEEK LIST
THE NIGHT STALKER
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK
THE DEVILS RAIN
RACE WITH THE DEVIL
THE SENTINEL Insane co-satrring cast. Every frame cotains an interesting character actor or at the very least, the beautiful Christina raines (no relationg to Claude)
THE OMEGA MAN
THE CLASSY LIST
NIGHT OF THE DEMON
THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE
ISLAND OF LOST SOULS
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?
(Writer - Twitch.com)
1. Rosemary's Baby
3. The Return of the Living Dead
4. The Beyond
5. Dead Alive
6. Dawn of the Dead
8. Mad Love
9. Masque of the Red Death
Richard Glenn Schmidt
Top 10 Favorite Worst Horror Films
Almost two years ago, I made my top 10 list of favorite horror films. Looking at it now (http://www.cinemasomnambulist.com/2010/10/my-top-10-favorite-horror-films-october.html), I still stand by every single one of those titles and their positions on my list. So when Scott asked me to contribute my top list, I decided to do something a little different. I thought, “Hey, what are the films that I reach for that illicit groans from people around the room and pangs of guilty pleasure in my belly?” This is a list of my worst favorites. And yes, there are movies on this list that are pretty good movies in someone’s eyes. But you shouldn’t trust their eyes.
10. Murder Weapon – This obscure poop-gem only barely makes the list. I’m afraid that Murder Weapon is just freakin’ boring. It does make up for the dull bits with some over-the-top gore effects and bold faced cheese. The presence of scream queens Linnea Quigley and Karen Russell (okay, not exactly a household name) will make your memories of this film much better than the act of watching it, I promise. I’m not even sure what this film is supposed to be about. Oh and Lyle freakin’ Waggoner is in this.
9. Christmas Evil – Now Christmas Evil isn’t exactly a bad movie, in fact, it’s quite good. It just seems a little off somehow. I decided to drop this one on an unsuspecting group of partiers and there were as many groans as cheers throughout this film. Among those people, the consensus was that it was a bad film but you know what? Every one of those motherfuckers remembers that night and Christmas Evil quite fondly.
8. Werewolf Woman – There is more wrong than right with this assterpiece. And yet, somehow, this film works. And just so you know, don’t go into this expecting much werewolf action. If this had come out around the time of The Howling or An American Werewolf in London, this film would have been very, very different I am sure. But it was 1976 and nobody gave a shit about werewolves. So yeah, the werewolf theme is abandoned almost immediately. If you’re looking to scrape the bottom of the barrel of Italian horror without getting burned too badly, Werewolf Woman is the way to go.
7. Savage Weekend – Everything about this movie screams failure but there in the background, almost inaudibly is a whisper of success. Savage Weekend is one of the best films from those el cheapo multipacks of horror films that you can find. It’s exploitative, offensive, weakly plotted, and detrimentally melodramatic but it also has a mean streak a mile wide. You need to see this.
6. Girls Nite Out AKA The Scaremaker – If you don’t like Girls Nite Out, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. As most fans of this goofy little slasher flick will tell you, there is just SOMETHING about this one. It could be the endless parade of likable (debatable) characters or maybe it’s the killer wearing a bear costume armed with a four piece steak knife killing apparatus. There’s a cool band name buried in that last sentence. Anyway, I am pretty obsessed with this one and I can’t really explain it.
5. TerrorVision – For my money, there are few films as quintessentially 80s as TerrorVision. It’s wild, it’s wacky, it’s perverted, and it’s very, very satirical. I saw this film on cable in my pre-teen days and it scared the fuck out of me. Now it just makes me laugh and laugh. Unless you’re a stick in the mud d-bag, I think you will have a great time with this slimy and eclectic flick. I’m sorry I couldn’t think of a better word that eclectic.
4. Vampires – Every horror fan knows that John Carpenter went down several rabbit holes in his career. One of the most entertaining of those holes is the insanely uneven Vampires. This film starts off with tons of promise, starts to slip a little, and then just goes all to fuck and there’s nothing I can do but watch it over and over again. Between the sweaty Baldwin, the pointlessly vulgar James Woods, and the bewildered priest character, there’s a lot going on here and none of it comes together. There is even a painfully obvious (and call this is a spoiler if you have to) moment where the production ran out of money. Instead of an awesome final battle, we get a friggin’ montage. However, there is something just plain loveable about this mess. Oddly enough, my wife loves this one.
3. Ghoulies – Oh shit! I know he didn’t just call out my precious Ghoulies! During the diminutive monster phase that was clogging video stores in the 80s, I loved Ghoulies above all others. There are several memorable and weird scenes (and midgets) in this and the puppets are just fun. Because I rented them the same weekend, Ghoulies and April Fools Day are forever linked in my mind. They make a great double feature, by the way. I’m serious.
2. Alien Predator AKA The Falling – I caught this on TV as a kid and it has haunted me ever since. The unfortunately titled Alien Predator is a clunky (and I do mean CLUNKY) splatter classic that will probably never find its audience. The plot is needlessly complicated and scenes just sort of happen. Aliens infect people or whatever and people explode or whatever. What makes this film important are the otherworldly and arrestingly strange moments that are impossible to forget for some reason.
1. Rosso Sangue AKA Absurd – It is almost impossible to defend this film when someone hates it. Rosso Sangue, as it is called in Italy, is a very special (meaning retarded) and gory Halloween rip off from Italian porn-meister and almost-king of horror, Joe D’Amato. The paltry plot and overlong scenes will fascinate and stun you with boredom. However, the gore really is quite nasty and this has than inexplicable Eurohorror vibe that I love so much and have pursued constantly for the last decade.
(Writer - EuroCultAV.com)
TOP 10 WINNERS OF THE BEST ACTOR ACADEMY AWARD... TO APPEAR IN HORROR FILMS
1. Robert De Niro -- MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN
2. Denzel Washington -- FALLEN
3. Geoffrey Rush -- HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL
4. Jack Nicholson -- WOLF
5. Forest Whitaker -- SPECIES
6. Colin Firth -- DORIAN GRAY
7. Anthony Hopkins -- THE WOLFMAN
8. William Hurt -- FRANKENSTEIN
9. Jon Voight -- ANACONDA
10. Nicolas Cage -- THE WICKER MAN
(Writer - EuroCultAV.com)
As an introduction to my list, I'd like to tell anyone who reads this list that I'm certainly no Horror Movie Aficionado. That being said, my tastes may very well be totally different from those who might regularly view these genre films and in doing so might list them among their favorites. I'm not sure what my top ten films ever would look like, but I find it difficult to imagine many Horror Movies on there. You may call such a thing blasphemy, and perhaps rightfully so, but I implore you to not judge me too harshly especially considering how few of the Horror Movie requirements I've seen. In full disclosure I have to tell you what I haven't seen to tell you what I have. With this information it's possible to understand why so many of these films didn't make my list. Of course I won't sit here and labor listing every horror movie ever existing, but I can give you a cliff-notes version. I'm almost ashamed to admit I haven't seen a single Halloween film, for instance. I've never seen a full Friday the 13th or The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and I've seen a small number of the Elm Street series. I haven't seen the Fly. Though many more exist, I feel I've given a decent amount of information for you to discredit my entire list. Regardless, I'm going to write one. Without further ado, here is my top ten Horror Movies:
9. 28 Days Later
6. Dawn of the Dead (Snyder. I know, I'm lame)
5. The Host
4. The Exorcist
1. High Tension
There you have it. There are probably a few unexpected items on that list, but then again there are probably a few movies that you may feel I picked to simply be safe. However, as much as my virtual word can mean, I will give it regardless. These are my picks, for sure. Other notable, but didn't quite make the cut, Horror Movies include Shadow of the Vampire, The Evil Dead, They Came Back(French Zombie flick. More of a drama anyway.), Jaws(Cause, you know, everyone says Jaws), and Event Horizon.
As a note, I wish to hell that Silent Hill was a movie I enjoyed. That game scared the shit out of me as a kid.