Do you remember your scariest moment in a movie? When I was about four years old, I watched William Castle's "House On Haunted Hill" and when I saw the old lady in the above video dart out, I almost screamed. It scared me so much that I've never forgotten it. I didn't realize it at the time, but it was because of that fright, I instantly became a horror movie fan and I haven't stop watching since. So it gives me great pleasure to once again go through the vast treasury of excellent horror films and put a list together.
Last year, I wrote my Top 25 Horror movies of all time to celebrate Halloween and I thought for this year, I'd fill out my next 25 movies. Since it's a very subjective process, there are no correct answers. I also included horror movies from the 30's and 40's which were highly influential to the genre, but some of you wouldn't find them all that scary now.
Please list your favorites in the comment section, but remember to check my Top 25 so you don't think I left off some of the greats.
The first and one of the best Stephen King adaptations to hit the big screen ever created. Never bully a menstruating seventeen year old girl who possesses telekinesis! The acting is topnotch, with Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie tearing up the screen and just when you thought it was over, it scares the sh*t out of you again.
This is the third film by Park Chan-Wook in his awesome vengeance trilogy that is truly a work of art. It's a story about a man being imprisoned for fifteen years without knowing by who, why or where and then is suddenly let go, which marks his mad pursuit of his captor. The imagery and set design is matched only by the total originality of the story.
28) The Fly:
In an accident that could only happen to a mad genius, a scientist has his DNA merged together with a fly and the results are mindblowing in David Cronenberg's remake of the 1958 original. It also made Jeff Goldblum a huge star.
29) The Conjuring:
I loved this film so much I wrote a review about it when it was released last year. This movie will make you jump out of your couch so many times you'll give up, and and just stand the rest of the way. It's the second best demon/possession movie of all time, right behind the Exorcist. Nuff' said.
30) Near Dark:
Academy Award winning director Katherine Begilow made this outstanding and completely original vampire movie in 1986, that portrays the living dead as a roving band of cowboy-like nomads, feasting on the blood of the world after dark in a camper. It also houses one of Bill Paxton's early and most fun portrayals of all time.
31) The Sixth Sense:
The ending of this movie had so much buzz swirling around it that it made M. Night Shyamalan an overnight star before most people saw the film. The praise was well deserved because it was a very scary picture. Too bad M. Night hasn't been able to come close to this flawless picture.
Cole Sear: I see dead people.
Malcolm Crowe: In your dreams?
[Cole shakes his head no]
Don't let the 1930's date fool you. This is a special movie and is the best of the best of the Dracula/ Frankenstein/Wolfman/Mummy movies that started the great run of horror in Hollywood.
33) Don't Look Now:
Nicolas Roeg's slow burn of a movie is based on a story by the great Daphne Du Maurier and although there's not a lot of action, Roeg infuses every frame with a sense of dread. It also benefits from tremendous performances by Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie and transformed the beauty that is Venice, Italy into a haunted waterway.
34) Black Sunday:
There has to be a place for Mario Bava on any all time horror list and I chose his beautifully realized Satan worshiping saga for my list. Asa, a hateful witch waits two hundred years to get revenge against the family blood line who tried to burn her at the stake. And with movies like Blood and Black Lace, many filmmakers believe Bava is also the inspiration for the American slasher film genre that blew up in the late 70's and 80's.
35) Wolf Creek:
I'm no fan of torture porn, but Wolf Creek is frightening on many levels. Several young backpackers take a trip the Australian outback and who they find there is more terrifying than they could have ever imagined.
Mick Taylor: See? Head on a stick!
Six girlfriends meet every twelve months to go on an adventurous trip and this year they get trapped in a cave deep in the bowels of the Appalachians -- only they aren't alone. It's a true claustrophobic thriller...
Holly: Hey, there's something down here...
37) Peeping Tom:
This movie was released the same year as Psycho and featured a serial killer using a camera to kill, but instead of elevating the director, it was so shocking to the critics at the time that it nearly destroyed his career.
Polanski was broke so he took the work on this picture and what he produced was truly terrifying. The beautiful Catherine Deneuve is brilliant as a woman who slowly loses her grip on reality and in the process, acts out with murderous violence.
39) Blair Witch Project:
Since its release, no horror movie has been parodied or even panned as much, but when it hit the theaters, this film had the type of hype you couldn't pay for. And with a budget that's less than most new luxury cars, it turned a standing-room-only theater into a whimpering crowd. This movie didn't 't translate very well to the smaller television screen, but since it was released in 1999, no movie has been as influential to the horror movie of today.
40) Dead of Night:
This 1945 horror movie is exceptional and was way ahead of its time -- I would say, even Lynchian.
Architect Walter Craig, seeking the possibility of some work at a country farmhouse, soon finds himself once again stuck in his recurring nightmare. Dreading the end of the dream that he knows is coming, he must first listen to all the assembled guests' own bizarre tales.
This is the movie that turned ventriloquist dummies into nightmares.
A medical school student creates a serum that restores dead things back to life. Whatever could go wrong? It starts out pretty campy, but once a very good Jeffrey Combs gets his formula working, all hell breaks loose.
42) The Cure:
I'm a huge fan of Kiyoshi Kurosawa and this is my favorite film he directed. A wave of gruesome murders is sweeping Tokyo. The only connection is a bloody X carved into the neck of each of the victims. I doubt many people have seen this gem, but you should -- immediately.
As I've said, I'm no fan of torture porn, but James Wan came up with an original concept and pulled it off brilliantly and the bottom line is, it was scary as hell.
44) Paranormal Activity:
Inspired by Blair Witch, I didn't see this in the movies, but it still scared the sh*t out of me as I streamed it at home on a Saturday night. How could looking at video from the night before raise the hair on my head? This movie was made for around $15K and made over 190 million.
This is a true independent film if ever there was one. With no money or special effects, Herk Harvey creates a spine-tingling thriller and gives us the first glimpse of the modern-day zombie. Slant:
....remains virtually unsurpassed in its capacity to sustain dread. Candace Hilligoss's proto-feminist is an adrift spirit in an unwelcoming world, alienated by men and God and perpetually surfacing from a living nightmare beyond her comprehension. The enigmatic nature of her plight, and of the ethereal, titular carnival, suggest a multitude of fates to which death is preferable.
46) The Brood:
David Cronenberg did it again with this 1979 creep-fest starring the wonderful Samantha Eggar. A psychologist (Oliver Reed) uses his New Age techniques to try and help a woman who is struggling with the term "motherly love."
Being a celebrated author isn't all it's cracked up to be, just ask Paul Sheldon. Kathy Bates won the Oscar for being his #1 fan and James Caan suffered a hobbling. What could be better?
Annie Wilkes: I thought you were good Paul... but you're not good. You're just another lying ol' dirty birdy.
48) From Beyond:
This was Stuart Gordon's next movie after Re-Animator and it holds a place dear in my heart, because I've always been partial to monster movies. Based on a H.P Lovecraft story, Dr. Pretorius (Bride of Frankenstein reference) desires to stimulate all our senses for his S&M proclivities by ticking your pineal gland. Unfortunately for him, the Resonator opens up a whole new world that's quite hungry.
Crawford Tillinghast: It ate him... bit off his head... like a gingerbread man!
49) Blue Velvet:
From the moment David Lynch takes his camera and goes beneath the surface, you know you'll never be the same by the end of the film. Has there ever been a scarier character than Frank Booth?
This is a horror gem from Thailand that finds how a young photographer and his girlfriend discover mysterious shadows in their photographs after a tragic accident.
Only a deranged mind could turn a Polaroid picture into a nightmare. Unlike many horror films, this one has an ending to die for.
Update: Here's numbers 1-25 of my Halloween frightmares.
25) Invasion of the Body Snatchers
24) A Tale Of Two Sisters
22) Let the Right One In
21) The Haunting
20) Evil Dead II
18) The Hills Have Eyes
16) A Nightmare on Elm Street
15) Silence Of The Lambs
13) The Omen
12) The Birds
10) Rosemary's Baby
8) The Shining
7) Night Of The Living Dead
5) Thing From Another World/The Thing
4) Texas Chain Saw Massacre