Thursday, 28 November 2013

Top 15: Greatest Horror Movies of All Time

Greatest Horror Movies That I've Seen

Horror is my second favourite genre of film. I despise the feeling of suspense that builds throughout these great films. I'm very easy to scare... in fact, I'm worse than a child when it comes to getting scared. But after getting the shit scared out of me, I just feel powerfully elated. Horror movies are just sensational! From nail-biting suspense, to scares that make me run out of the room, or to the hilarious moments shared with friends after being scared, I've compiled this list of my favourite horror movies. They are in no particular order, these are the greatest horror movies I've ever seen. It's not just about the 'scariness', but it's about the actual quality of script writing, performances, cinematography, music, the whole shabang! I can proudly call these the best horror movies ever made.

Spoiler: The Shining is not on this list. It didn't scare me, and I nearly fell asleep. I can appreciate the mastery of Stanley Kubrick in his other films, but he couldn't work his magic on me with this film. 

The Thing (1982) - John Carpenter

To me, this is the greatest horror movie ever made. Not only are these monster's the fucking scariest things I've ever seen on film, but the character's are freaking awesome. Everything about this film is just executed to perfection. When I was a kid, I got the worst nightmares from The Thing. I once dreamt that my Mum was turning into one of those things. NUFF SAID. 

The Exorcist (1973) - William Friedkin

I was raised a Catholic, so The Devil and demons were ingrained into my subconscious. Though it doesn't affect others as much, most movies with demons scare the shit out of me. The Exorcist is the ultimate film of its genre. The images in this film are seared into my mind. Fuck, everything about this movie is amazing! The crab-walk down the stairs made my sister leave the room, whilst I nearly wet my pants. The line "You know what she did, your cunting daughter," gives me chills but renders me in a petrified state. The Exorcist doesn't scare me as much after seeing it a million times, but I'd happily agree that it's the greatest horror movie of all time. Not my favourite, but it's certainly worthy of the title. 

Rosemary's Baby (1968) - Roman Polanski

This film taught me what to do when an old lady offers you hospitality. GET OUT THE CRUCIFIX, SPLASH HER FACE WITH HOLY WATER, AND SCREAM "THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU BITCH." But seriously Ruth Gordon gives a fucking powerhouse performance in this near-perfect horror movie. So does Mia Farrow, and the rest of the supporting cast. This film had me in utter suspense, and I absolutely marvelled at the demon sex-scene. No wonder Frank Sinatra divorced Mia Farrow. 

28 Days Later (2002) - Danny Boyle

28 Days Later was not the first zombie film I'd ever seen, but man, it felt like no other I had ever seen before. I consider 'the infected' to be the scariest zombie creations in cinematic history. Their vicious red-eyes, their crazy speed, and the absolute rabid, murderous rage that consumes them... they scare the hell out of me. When the group got stuck in the tunnel, and you could see the shadows of the infected running towards them... really masterful stuff. I also loved their logic and storyline behind the infected. Instead of the common-place 'undead' angle, they went for something awesome. I definitely think this is the best zombie movie ever made. 

Halloween (1978) - John Carpenter

Michael Myers is my favourite slasher-villain of all time. His dead black eyes, his slow and confident walk, and the fucking scary ways he shows up in scenes... I freaking love this guy. This movie in particular, scared the bajeebuz out of me. First of all, the theme to Halloween is one of the best in movie history. Second of all, its suspense building techniques are second to none. Third of all, I had to pause this movie several times, because I was too scared to keep watching. I watched it on my laptop in bed, and I just couldn't move. I was petrified during and after watching this movie... so it deserves to be on this list. 

The Conjuring (2013) - James Wan

The Conjuring is everything I love about horror movies all wrapped into one, awesome movie. I'm scared of ghosts, possessions, demons, and exorcisms. It's one thing to include these in a film, but it's another thing to give each of them a considerable section of the film, and treat them with respect. The hand-clap game gave me goosebumps. The 'ghosts' were freaking awesome. When we got to the demon portion of the film, BAM! Shit got real. Sheba (or whatever her name is) is the scariest looking fucking demon I've ever seen. THEY GOT IT RIGHT. And that exorcism in the basement... executed to perfection. This is just a solid, scary freaking movie. 

The Blair Witch Project (1999) - Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez

The Blair Witch Project has ruined camping for me! Watching this movie was one of the most nerve-racking, frightening experiences of my life. I don't care what anyone says, the acting was phenomenal and extremely believable. It is the greatest 'found footage' horror movie ever made. While this film didn't remotely scare some people, it had me petrified. It's the classic example of 'less is more,' where we don't know what the fuck is out there trying to kill them, which is what makes it so damn scary. All we know is that it's a witch of some sorts that kills children. Now that's fucking scary. 

An American Werewolf in London (1981) - John Landis

Believe it or not, An American Werewolf in London is a childhood favourite of mine. You know what the absolute scariest part of the movie is? Hearing the howls of the werewolf in the Moors. When the two Americans travel off the road and wander into the Moors... I just wanted to die. The suspense was built so perfectly, that the last thing I wanted was to see whatever made those shrieking howls. The most memorable part of the film is the transformation scene, which I consider one of the greatest scenes in movie history. The make-up and effects were unbelievably phenomenal, and David Naughton's reaction was priceless. Ahh, I could go on for ages about how great this movie is!

Honogurai mizu no soko kara, or "Dark Water" (2002) - Hideo Nakata

Dark Water scared the shit out of me in one scene, then had me in suspense for the rest. I wouldn't call it one of the scariest movies of all time, but that's not what horror movies are all about. The character development and mother-daughter relationship was one of the most touching things I've ever seen in a film, period. By the end, I got extremely emotional due to the courage and bravery of the mother, played by Hitomi Kuroki. This film makes my list, because not only is it scary... it's also one of the most touching films I've ever seen. 

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) - Philip Kaufman

My mum's favourite horror movie is the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). At one point in my life, the 1978 version was my all time favourite horror movie. There were moments that had me utterly terrified. There were moments were I felt overwhelmed with grief. There were moments where the suspense of the moment had me hiding under the sheets. But most importantly, the moment at the end seared this film into my mind forever. I cannot talk about the greatest horror films without mentioning the ending scene of Body Snatchers. Who knew Donald Sutherland could be such a scary bastard!

Alien (1979) - Ridley Scott

Alien is one of the only horror movies I would call 'perfect.' THIS MOVIE IS AMAZING. To me, the best thing about a movie filled with greatness is the main character, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver). She's strong, she's human, and she kicks ass. I just love her. As for the alien... it is one pesky, elusive, horrific looking monster. Its blood is acid, a mini alien protrudes from its mouth, it is super fast, super adaptable, and super pissed off. It runs around the space-ship killing off the crew one-by-one, leaving me in awe of the awesomeness, and jumping in fear every now and then. 

Jaws (1975) - Steven Spielberg

"I think we're gonna need a bigger boat!"
Jaws... another childhood favourite of mine. I've seen it at least a dozen times, and it is still as fresh as the first time I watched it. It's an ageless classic, a perfectly crafted film... a thrilling masterpiece. That score is probably the most recognizable theme in movie history, the actors were cast perfectly, the shark and cinematography were brilliant at making the whole thing look real and panicky, but most importantly, the suspense and fear throughout the film didn't let up until the credits rolled. It's another perfect horror movie. 

The Ring (2002) - Gore Verbinski

The Ring... what can I say? This film just gives me the heebie jeebies! Samara is probably the scariest fucking thing ever... except for that thing from The Grudge. This film has a great actress for the lead, Naomi Watts. But more importantly, its suspense building techniques are just perfect! Everything from the lighting, the music, the dialogue, and the expressions set up the creepy atmosphere in the most suspenseful way possible. The blurred photos, the fucking opening of the film, the supernatural occurrences, and then that freaking ending! The Ring is the best Hollywood remake ever made. I liked it even better than Ringu. 

The Omen (1976) - Richard Donner

The Omen is one of the greatest horror movies for this reason: No other horror film has ever had me so invested in the main characters. I rooted for Gregory Peck and his wife... I really became attached to them. That made everything that followed absolutely horrifying, because I wanted them to survive more than anything! This film builds a spine-chilling, demonic atmosphere as time goes on. Suspicious deaths, suspicious characters, and fucking unreal revelations make this one of the most exciting films ever made. Most importantly, it's a truly scary film. I love The Omen. If someone called it the greatest horror film of all time, I would not argue with them. It's just that good.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) - Wes Craven

A Nightmare on Elm Street scared me more than any other film I've ever seen. The first time I saw this movie, I was so scared that I could hardly breathe. There are over a dozen amazing moments in this film, one of my favourites being "I'm your boyfriend now Nancy!" Then a tongue comes out of the phone! To me, it was the brutal slaying of Tina that will stay in my mind forever. When she was being thrown around the room, and getting slashed open by Kruger's knife fingers... it left me speechless. It is one of the most brutal, spectacular horror scenes of all time. But the thing is, the whole movie is filled with horror, gore, and suspense. 

[Rec] (2007) - Jaume Balaguero, Paco Plaza

"Hey Ben, there's a really scary movie on TV you should watch," said my Mum. I then proceeded to the lounge-room, sat down, and watched [Rec]. I had no idea what to expect. Then BAM! This movie made me jump, scream, and cry like a little girl! I'll never forget the night I watched this movie on a whim, because I stayed up talking about if for ages with my family. What made it so scary was not knowing what the hell was wrong with these things! Oh, and the fact that they were super fast, super crazy, flesh-eating creatures! Then the final moments of the film, in the attic... with that monster... probably the most horrifying 5 minutes I can recall ever seeing on film. 

Honourable Mentions: 
The Strangers (2008), Scream (1996), Psycho (1960), Friday the 13th (1980), Ringu (1998), Ju-on: The Grudge (2002), Evil Dead (2013), Aliens (1986), The Others (2001), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)


  1. No classic Evil Dead films?

    I've seen a few nasty films, 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' really unhinged me for some time because it comes across like a real footage flick.

    'Jaws' is probably the greatest ever in the terms of making generations of people terrified of open water haha any kind of open water!, MASSIVE paranoia that just can't be controlled or beaten!.

    'The Fly' remake is a good gore flick although not really scary.

    'Saw' and all its sequels do make me wince I must admit, the deaths can be pretty horrific, much like 'Hostel'.

    I don't really like horror flicks to be honest, I might see the odd one if its huge or part of a cool franchise like Freddy and Jason but all these possession and torture porn flicks can be unpleasant.

    1. I haven't seen the Evil Dead films yet (though I have seen bits and pieces). When I fully get to see them, I'll judge whether they make the list. Totally agree with you on 'Jaws,' it really is a timeless classic. I didn't really like The Fly. I loved the emotion towards the end, and the amazing make-up, but that was about it. I'm not a big fan of Jeff Goldblum. I think the first Saw movie is awesome, and the rest are decent in their own right.

      Freddy and Jason flicks are far from the best (but their originals are great in their own right). I'm not a big fan of torture porn, but I am a fan of being scared and entertained. That's why I love horror.

      Thanks Phil!

  2. Yes. Love your top choice. The Thing is great for some many reasons, the effects, the feeling of isolation and the feeling of paranoia and suspicion. You just have no idea who is infected (is that the right word?) by the beast, it so well done that the suspense is unbearable at times.

    I'm not a catholic but the Exorcist terrified me, not so much now, but I am deeply fascinated by the belief in demons and the devil. However, I feel The Exorcist is tad dated. The swearing, vomiting and of course masturbating, isn't quite as shocking anymore.

    I prefer Black Christmas over Halloween. I recommend you see if you have not. I was quite 'meh' on The Conjuring not as impressed as others.

    The transformation scene in American Ware wolf in London is indeed one of the best scenes in the cinema and Jaws and Alien was suspense masterpieces.

    I would include the the likes of Audition, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Orphanage, The Brood, The Fly.

    For me the Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the greatest horror film ever made because despite the lack of blood and real hardcore violence, the movie's atmosphere is so oppressive and so powerful that is convinces the viewer that they are seeing more violence than there actually is.

    Anyway, can't really argue with your list.

  3. Glad you loved The Thing! I agree that The Exorcist is dated by todays standards, but I do feel its scare factor is even better than any modern exorcism movie. I haven't seen Black Christmas, but it's on the top of my watchlist now!

    I haven't seen Texas Chainsaw Massacre for many years, and I haven't seen The Orphanage or The Brood yet (though I can't wait to check them out). The Fly is great, but I'm not a huge fan of it. Once I revisit all of the films you've mentioned, then I'll see if they make the cut :)

    Thanks Myerla!

  4. These aren't necessarily "scary" horror films, but what I consider pretty good entertainment are the Roger Corman/Vincent Price Edgar Allen Poe films. Fun movies to watch for old fashioned B-movie entertainment and worth checking out in my opinion. If you're into those types of movies that is.