Indie Wire’s Top 100 Horror Films Part 1 with some thoughts

As we’re building up to Halloween, here’s an interesting list – Indie Wire have released their list of the top 100 Horror Movies of all time.

I thought it would be interesting to list them here, with full credit to Indie Wire, and include my own comment on each – the comments are off the top of my head, and aren’t intended as any deep critical analysis or plot description, so may make no sense if you have, or indeed if you haven’t seen the movie in question… 100-50 today, 50-1 tomorrow, and my overall thoughts and  own top 10 the following day.

There’ll be a distinct lack of hyperlinks in this post because…well, because it would take forever to be honest…
100. “Village of the Damned” (Wolf Rilla, 1960) Scared the living crap out of me as a child. It was those eyes that did it every time.
99. “The Ring” (Gore Verbinski, 2002) A not bad remake of the original: which I’m assuming will show up later in this list.
98. “The Changeling” (Peter Medak, 1980) A distant memory of this one: I seem to recall the poster drew me in, and as young as I was, I recognised George C Scott stole the show

97. “Alucarda” (Juan López Moctezuma, 1977) A new one to me, but sounds intriguing; a cliché free sexually tinged posession story apparently

96. “Tales from the Hood” (Rusty Cundieff, 1995) An Anthology horror flick I haven’t seen…will keep an eye out for it

95. “Messiah of Evil” (Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, 1973) Another one not seen – an ominous, creeping seaside spooky story: this list is already giving me some stuff to hunt out…

94. “A Bay of Blood” (Mario Bava, 1971) Mario Bava movies used to pop up a lot in the early days of VHS: always with fantastically lurid covers…the films themselves never worked so much for me as Argento

93. “Trouble Every Day” (Claire Denis, 2001) Nope. Not seen – but Claire Denis, Vincent Gallo and Beatrice Dalle all in one place sounds a recipe for bonkers.

92. “The Tenant” (Roman Polanski, 1976) The least known of the Apartment trilogy by Polanski – it’s been an age since I saw this, but might well check it out again: it was the least of the three in my memory, but the Blu Ray on my shelf is calling out to me.

91. “Goodnight Mommy” (Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, 2014) Ok, this is starting to get a bit embarrassing: and I call myself a horror fan…by the synopsis a parental displacement slow-burn. When Indie Wire itself describes it as an endurance, I have my doubts as to how soon I’ll check it out…

90. “The Leopard Man” (Jacques Tourneur, 1943) I’m a fan of Tourneur’s work like Night of the Demon and Cat People…does that count for anything at all…?

89. “Viy” (Konstantin Yershov and Georgi Kropachyov, 1967) Hey, if nothing else this is suggesting a lot of possible reviews to come…soviet era/ shot witch tale. I’ll check Netflix, but am guessing finding it may be a bit more of a challenge.

88. “The Hunger” (Tony Scott, 1983) Phew, and we’re back with something I’ve seen: worst bits were the now horribly dated MTV style shots. Best bits? Well, as a sixteen year old boy it was the amazing Dick Smith agingmake up effects on Bowie. Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve sort of stuck in the memory for a while too…

87. “Masque of the Red Death” (Roger Corman, 1964) I remember watching this at the end of a horrorthon compered by Kim Newman at the Tyneside Cinema: it was not the type of Corman I was expecting…and in truth, wanted. I’ll blame it on my youthful years.

86. “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (Wes Craven, 1984) ANoES was a bit of a game changer for me. One of the first horror movies I managed to get in to see at the cinema at the grand old age of 15, it was, and remains one of my favourites.

85. “Antichrist” (Lars von Trier, 2009) Sigh. Lars. I tried to watch it. Honest I did – several times, and it wasn’t the horror that stopped me it was just…Lars.

84. “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” (Robert Aldrich, 1962) One of the earliest horror films I remember seeing – probably at a night over at my Grandad’s house. (That’s definitely where I saw ‘Angels with Dirty Faces’. Still one of my horror-film phobic wife’s favourites.

83. “The Ghost Ship” (Mark Robson, 1943) I am not sure about this one: it rings a bell, but I think I may be mixing it up with a Twilight Zone episode.

82. “The Skin I Live In” (Pedro Almodovar, 2011) Ah Pedro: watched this on a Boxing Day not long after it was released because nothing says Christmas like a mad scientist and a slow set of operations. More WTF? Than Shock!..definitely worth a look though

81. “Suspiria” (Luca Guadagnino, 2018) The new one – haven’t seen. The original – yeah, that’s got to come up later in this list surely?

80. “Kuroneko” (Kaneto Shindo, 1968) I’m a fan of a number of Japanese horror movies – classical and modern, but this one’s not one I’ve seen.

79. “Martyrs” (Pascal Laugier, 2008) I have heard so much about this movie – good and bad, including ‘sickest movie’ claims. It’s on iTunes, I’m going to watch it this weekend. Review to follow

78. “The Vanishing” (George Sluizer, 1988) I wrote about this in my post regarding underrated thrillers. I agree with everything Indie Wire say – best missing person movie ever. And avoid the remake like the plague.

77. “House on Haunted Hill” (William Castle, 1959) The original version and by far the best. First time I saw it I was disapointed at the lack of…anything. No FX, which for a fourteen year old gore obsessed kid was just boring. As I ‘matured’ (hmmm) I understood better the power of the unseen.

76. “Brotherhood of the Wolf” (Christophe Gans, 2001) This one has sat on my shelf for the longest time: the foreign/ horror combo has proved too much as a watching suggestion to anyone so far. I’m going to have to bite the bullet and watch this on my own – again, review to follow.

75. “Sisters” (Brian De Palma, 1973) Everyone knows about De Palma’s Hitchock ‘admiration’/ ‘homages’…I always found this the weakest of them all. But that is from a viewing many, many years ago. Maybe I need a De Palma retropsective…

74. “Raw” (Julia Ducournau, 2016) Sitting on my ‘bought but not watched’ list right now…RTF.

73. “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” (John McNaughton, 1986) Oh, I remember the first time I saw ‘Henry’. That was quite a game changer as well – in a much less FX driven way Nightmare on Elm Street was. Michael Rooker is a powerhouse in this. The grime store version of Patrick Bateman.

72. “Hour of the Wolf” (Ingmar Bergman, 1968) Yeah, Bergman and horror: I’m not a fan at the best of times. I’ve tried. I’ve really tried – I’ve attended lectures and screenings and every thing. But the only scary thing I’ve found with Bergman is the thought of it being a double-bill. Sorry. I’m dumb.

71. “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (Francis Ford Coppola, 1992) I remember going to the cinema to see this and enjoying it at the time much more than the critics seemed to. I haven’t returned to it since, but maybe I should…

70. “The Seventh Victim” (Mark Robson, 1943) Unknown to me: premise sounds interesting: almost a crime noir.

69. “High Tension” (Alexandre Aja, 2003) Divisive twist ending: haven’t seen the movie, and Aja’s follow up work doesn’t inspire me to seek it out, but if it’s as inventive a twisting of the last girl standing ouvre as many seem to say, maybe I should.

68. “Dressed to Kill” (Brian De Palma, 1980) Probably the first De Palma movie I saw after Carrie. Even as a relatively cine-illiterate teen the ending and debt to Hitchcock stood out a mile…and I haven’t re-viewed it to try to take a more critical analysis of it since.

67. “Black Christmas” (Bob Clark, 1974) I never really get where the love for Black Christmas comes from (it was voted number one on one of those cheapy 100 horror movies you’ve never heard of’ type things on Amazon Prime…always felt just another generic Halloween rip off to me.

66. “The Descent” (Neil Marshall, 2005) The opening was more effective than the ending (I can’t remember if I saw the US or the UK ending first- either way, neither were particularly effective for me in what had been a good creeper up til that point)

65. “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (Don Siegel, 1956) Love it, but one of those rare occasions where I prefer (one of the many) remake…

64. “A Tale of Two Sisters” (Kim Jee-woon, 2003) On the list to see: I love a lot of Korean horror and this one promises twists and heartache. Sounds a fun night in…

63. “Let the Right One In” (Tomas Alfredson, 2008) Loved this film – made my top ten of the year in one of the lists I’ve got up on the site. A refreshing alternative to the Twilight stuff that was clogging everywhere up at the time.

62. “Jacob’s Ladder” (Adrian Lyne, 1990) Sigh. The best thing I can say about Jacob’s Ladder is it always provides Jason Manzoukas a good line of suggestion about other movies in the very funny ‘How Did This Get Made’ podcast…the ending had been done to death before this got made, and has been done to death since. (Pun intended)

61. “Evil Dead II” (Sam Raimi, 1987) Personally, for me the best of the Evil Dead films, and that’s about as high a praise as you can get.

60. “Poltergeist” (Tobe Hooper, 1982) It was ‘the’ pirate video for young kids like us to try and get hold of to watch around Halloween time. I’ve got it sitting on Blu Ray – I really should see if it holds up in crisp definition compared to my fuzzy (literally and figuratively) memory of it.

59. “The Sixth Sense” (M. Night Shyamalan, 1999) Yes, to be fair – I enjoyed it a lot a the cinema; guessing the twist about thirty seconds before the rest of the audience. (Linguistic expert friends spotted it from the very outset- I’m not that smart). Still stands up.

58. “The Haunting” (Robert Wise, 1963) Seeing this pop up I realise I was completely confusing it with the earlier review of ‘House on Haunted Hill’. What I said about that one up there – I meant for here.

57. “The Conjuring” (James Wan, 2013) It was okay. I’m surprised to see it so high here in the company, and a head of some, what I would consider much superior movies.

56. “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me” (David Lynch, 1992) Really? I don’t know what to say about David Lynch. I do love some of his stuff – Blue Velvet, Eraserhead, Twin Peaks season 1…but some of it I find willfully weird and it doesn’t work for me: Fire Walk with Me would fit squarely into that category.

55. “The Fog” (John Carpenter, 1980) I have always been a big John Carpenter fan- some of his movies will forever sit in my top 50/ 100 whatever (I wouldn’t go so far as to say lower than 20 but at least two would be in the 50.) but The Fog never did it for me. Maybe because I was of an age where I’d just read the James Herbert novel of the same name I was expecting a version of that. Whatever, now re-released in 4K, it might be time to give it another viewing.

54. “The Babadook” (Jennifer Kent, 2014) Quite the first time directorial debut. Quiet, creeping spookiness. And the illustrations are really effective – if Jerry Saddowitz like.

53. “The Witch” (Robert Eggers, 2015) Embarrassed to say I haven’t seen this, despite reading very good reviews of it. Definitely one on the list.

52. “Frankenstein” (James Whale, 1931) I’ve written about this elsewhere – see Universal Monsters posts on RagtagMagpie – suffice to say, yep. Definitely.

51. “The Spiral Staircase” (Robert Siodmak, 1946) Another one seen in, but not re-seen since, Childhood. Impressionable childhood. And while I didn’t understand terms like POV back then, I understood that it wasn’t a good thing in the way it was used here…

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