Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Top Fifteen Horror Flicks

My post over the weekend draw hardly any hits. That'll teach me to post on a holiday weekend!

Ooooh, I just love horror movies! I know so many people don't, but for those of us who do, horror movies are a special treat, at least when done well. I always have to watch them alone, since my wife won't watch them, and she's made my sons afraid of them. When I was their age I was an old hand at watching such films.

Let me note up front that I won't include movies that I already used on other lists, such as Alien, Aliens, or Hardware. They are horror movies, but also sci-fi, so I put them there. If I did include them here, they would be at the top. Note that I am choosing based upon what I enjoy watching the most, not upon which is scariest. I'm also not including ones that some might list as horror, such as Stephen King's Stand By Me or Shawshank Redemption, because to me they don't quite fall into the horror category.

1. The Silence of the Lambs - I was loathe to put this here, as to me it is more suspense than horror, but I don't plan on doing a suspense list, so here it is. The acting and directing are superb, and this is one taut and suspenseful film.

2. John Carpenter's The Thing - It's hard for me to pinpoint exactly why I love this one so much. There's just something about being trapped in Antarctica on a little base, and the storyline is done brilliantly.

3. IT - There are a lot of great Stephen King movies (along with some clunkers), but of the horror flicks, this is the best, in my opinion. So many great actors, both in the children's storyline and in the adults'.

4. Scream - Smart and funny mixed in with the chills and gore.

5. Final Destination 2 - I like all of the movies in this series, but this one is the eeriest and scariest.

6. Fright Night - A cool mixture of horror and comedy. I love how nobody believes the poor kid and he turns to a cowardly television horror host for help.

7. The Lost Boys - Slick and funny as much as it is scary, and again it has some great actors in it.

8. Exorcist 3 - The first one was just too sickening for me to enjoy watching, the second sucked. This one is amazing, with the best actors of any of the films. It's sad that so few have watched this one, the best of the franchise.

9. Graveyard Shift - A bit low budget, but to me it only seems to add to the realistic feel of this scariest Stephen King movie.

10. Shaun of the Dead - More comedy than horror, but this English sendup of zombie flicks is a must-see.

11. Salem's Lot - Not the horrible original, but the tv miniseries starring Rob Lowe.

12. Arachnophobia - Another great horror/comedy. Millions of spiders coming to get you!

13. The Dark Half - A downright scary Stephen King movie. The book is incredible, but Tim Hutton does a creditable job of bringing it to the screen.

14. 28 Days Later - Perhaps the best of the zombie flicks, though I really enjoy the newer Dawn of the Dead also.

15. Descent - I watched this in a theater in Manila, never having heard of it before. It's one of the few times I thought a movie was truly frightening, while also being fun.

Honorable Mentions:
Sleepy Hollow
The Shining
From Dusk Til Dawn
Jurassic Park
The 6th Sense
Resident Evil
Wrong Turn
I Know What You Did Last Summer
An American Werewolf in London (also the one in Paris is decent)
Brotherhood of the Wolf
A Nightmare on Elmstreet
The Hitcher
The Mist
The Blob
Night Watch/Day Watch (slick Russian horror)
Joy Ride
Snakes on a Plane
The Fly
Sometimes They Come Back
The Hills Have Eyes
Pet Sematary


  1. In the first Exorcist there's a scene where the mother is talking to a priest on a bench and an extra walks past in the background wearing a yrllow tartan suit with matching hat (Yes, matching hat!) that is the most horrifying thing ever captured on celluloid. Oh the horror.

    Moody Writing

  2. Mood - lol...

    You list some pretty good films. I like scary films, but I go for the creepy factor instead of the gore factor, as seen in films like Saw etc. One film that never fails is the Exorcism of Emily Rose. It's not jump out of your seat scary, but it's creepy as hell, and the fact that it's based on a true story doesn't help...

  3. First of all, whoever thinks Shawshank Redemption is horror is taking drugs.

    Secondly, I hate horror too, but I also think some of these films fall under the 'thriller' category?

    Is Beetlejuice horror? I remember loving that movie and having a laugh when I was young.

    BTW, I watched 'Paranormal Activity' the other night. My Sig. Oth. insisted. Sometimes he's gotta get his way. OMG! It's filmed doco style. Blair Witch Project copycat kinda thing. But better. SO CREEPY. I had to turn all the lights on at the end to calm my heart rate.

  4. Jessica, I so miss not being able to watch these great movies with my kids. My wife really has them spooked, yet there is so much great storytelling in these. I'm tired of enjoying them alone. It's so much funner to watch these with others.

  5. you cover almost all the bases in the honorable mentions. What about Amityville Horror. From your list, I am inferring that you have yet to see Drag Me to Hell or the Evil Dead Movies. Get thee to netflix.

  6. I'm SO not a fan of horror. I've only seen a few of these. But I do like Silence of the Lambs. Creeped me out for a long time.

  7. ted!?!?!?! how old are your kids?!??!? i have to say that i'm with your wifey on letting young kids watch too scary of movies... of course my hubs likes to pull our littlest (loves scary movies!) right next to him when he watches scary movies. the kid never sleeps in his own bed though! i think my sweet hubby is warping him with the horror movies! :)

    i used to never be able to watch horror movies. even little shop of horrors gave me terrible nightmares! no joke. but recently a scary person i know in real life got arrested and will be in jail for 15 years to life, and now nothing is nearly as scary as it was before! i'm actually finding i enjoy some most scary movies! but demon ones still freak me out too much! there's one called MIRRORS or something like that- ohmygoodness!!!! TERRIFYING!!! you should give it a shot. and then i really enjoyed THE STRANGERS (i believe that's the title) with liv tyler. paranormal activity was pretty scary as well. and!!!and!!! I LOVE LET ME IN!!! i never saw let the right one in- so i can't argue which is better, but let me in was brilliant! :)

  8. Budd, I saw the Evil Dead movies, but I didn't like them. The production quality was too low for my pickiness. Amityville Horror was okay, sort of like Poltergeist in that I enjoyed watching it once, but it wasn't good enough for me to care to watch again.

    Victoria, my boys are 13 and 11. I saw Mirrors, I think, but I don't remember it.

  9. The last horror movie I remember being scared by was "The Ring". And only because my friend suggested if I couldn't sleep, to put the TV in my room. "No!" I gasped, "You don't understand! It comes from the TV!"

    I like my horror movies to be funny as well. Shaun of the Dead is a great movie: "You've got red on you."

  10. Oh, interesting list. I've only seen about 40% but you and I seem to largely agree on what's good... either needs to be a little subtle or a little funny in addition to the straight horror? I definitely prefer suspense and mind games over gore.

  11. The Thing should be at the top of everyone's list! And it will be a shame when the remake of Fright Night comes out.

  12. I never heard they were remaking Fright Night. Why remake a classic?

  13. Oh good, I'm back from the long holiday just in time for horror movies. Not only do I love any horror movie that will make me scream, I've written some short horror stories just for kicks. Silence of the Lambs..yes..and all the ones that followed. Anthony Hopkins is amazing. Movies about demonic possession are great because they make my hubby hide under the blanket. Exorcist is by far the scariest. Might I suggest the Exorcism of Emily Rose. Pet Sematary was good, but the book was better. I hate clowns. It's Stephen King's fault. One of his best in my opinion is the Langoliers. The hills have eyes is gross. The one scene where the deformed guy is breastfeeding made me shut if off, but yes it is scary. The Saw movies are scary, but bloody. I loved the Final Destination movies. I'm countering your Scream with my Grudge. Freddie Crooger scared the crap out of me. Still, I thought the remake of Nightmare on Elm Street sucked. I've recently watched Case 39 and Mirrors 1 and 2. Pretty scary.

  14. Laila, I didn't bother watching the later Elm Street movies. I liked the Langoliers, though it didn't seem much like horror to me. Yep, the book for Pet Sematary was far better.

  15. I don't watch a lot of horror films, but you've covered all the ones I ever liked.

  16. I'll pretend you didn't list Final Destination 2. Other than that, nice. I feel my own list coming on...

  17. I would have added the Ring to your list. I also think that the Exorcist was far more terrifying than the Exorcist 3.