So earlier this week Indie Wire posted their top 100 horror movies of all time. Yesterday I posted in their choices from 100-51, with some random thoughts or comments on each of them from me.
Here’s the list from 50 to number 1.
Tomorrow, a few overall thoughts, and my personal top 10…
Once again, all credit for choices goes to Indie Wire…
50. “Candyman” (Bernard Rose, 1992) Having read the short story it was based on, Candyman struck me at the time as being a fairly average Hollywood reworking. I liked the creepy incantation scenes, but otherwise have never really got the love for this flick.
49. “The Lodger” (John Brahm, 1944) Saw the Hitchcock silent – haven’t seen this one.
48. “Carnival of Souls” (Herk Harvey, 1962) This level of nightmarish/ fever dream weirdness I get. Always struck me as an extended Twilight Zone style piece.
47. “Ganja & Hess” (Bill Gunn, 1973) Nope, another one completely unfamiliar with.
46. “It Follows” (David Robert Mitchell, 2014) One of the more recent re-considerations of horror traditions – in this case a twisting of the ‘virgin as the last to die’ slasher trope, I had high hopes for this one, and while it was perfectly okay, it didn’t wow me the same as it did critics. It followed…but slowly. A brooding horror can be a great thing, but after a striking opening, I have to admit flashes of boredom throughout.
45. “The Blair Witch Project” (Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, 1999) One of the more devisive movies: even in the room I watched it in, one of us loved it, the other hated. I loved it – especially the ending, which I found bone chilling. One of those films I never felt the need to watch again though.
44. “The Brood” (David Cronenberg, 1979) Possibly Cronenberg’s ultimate body horror – not as out-and-out weird as Videodrome (which suffered from massive cuts on its’ UK release), and not as cheap as Shivers (although still obviously low brow). I thought The Brood was okay when I saw it as a teenager, but it wasn’t until ’83 and The Dead Zone I really started to ‘enjoy’ his work. Yeah, that does include Scanners.
43. “I Saw the Devil” (Kim Jee-Woon, 2011) Showing my ignorance of Korean horror now – another one I haven’t got around to yet. Now placed on my watch list: a shame Netflix/ Amazon seem to hold so few international horror movies.
42. “Freaks” (Tod Browning, 1932) Another one I saw way, way too early. Probably one of the first, and lasting, movies that influenced me into loving ‘horror’
41. “Possession” (Andrzej Zulawaki, 1981) Not seen: sounds interesting, placed on list. Loves me some Isabelle Adjani
40. “The Others” (Alejandro Amenábar, 2001) For me suffered from coming out so closely to Sixth Sign…but an atmospheric modern day gothic.
39. “The Devils” (Ken Russell, 1971) Much heard about, never seen. Mad old Ken…
38. “Black Sunday” (Mario Bava, 1960) Another classic I’ve heard much about, but never actually seen. My classics are quite spotty…
37. “Hausu” (Obayashi Nobuhiko, 1977) Nope. Sounds quite batty though…
36. “Don’t Look Now” (Nicolas Roeg, 1973) Grim, gruelling, at times wildly dated, but still one of the best endings in a horror movie, hell movie full stop, seen.
35. “Hangover Square” (John Brahm, 1945) A mark of changes in ‘horror’ I’m sure I remember this from a Sunday afternoon on the sittee viewing.
34. “The Devil’s Backbone” (Guillermo Del Toro, 2001) More creepy than horrific I’d say – and what a triple bill the box set of this, Cronos, Pan’s Labrynth is – I’m assuming at least one of those is still to come.
33. “Scream” (Wes Craven, 1996) Loved the beginning, love the meta aspects of it, and was always a fan of Wes Craven. If it ends up becoming the thing it’s playing with, and whether that’s a concious decision or merely a result of trying to be scary as well as funny is too big a question for my little brain to comprehend. I do know the sequels were universally shit though.
32. “Near Dark” (Kathryn Bigelow, 1987) A movie I bought on Blu Ray recently, but haven’t watched yet: I must do though – to see if it’s as good as I remember it to be. The silhouetted shots and Bill Paxton still stay in my mind from a first teen viewing.
31. “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (Robert Wiene, 1920) The best version I saw was with a live organ accompaniment. Even survived excessive studying during German Expressionist terms during Film Studies degree..
30. “The Wicker Man” (Robin Hardy, 1973) Ah, the bees- not the bees…oh, not that one. Incredibly dated in many scenes, still chilling in the best of them.
29. “The Innocents” (Jack Clayton, 1961) Difficult to appreciate on seeing it today, given the influence it has had on so many films since: suffice to say, if you haven’t seen it yet, you’ll probably see where this is going from a country mile away, but the journey getting there is creepy as hell.
28. “Pulse” (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2001) I lost this one in among the many Ringu types: I need to revisit.
27. “The Omen” (Richard Donner, 1976) Ah, I wasn’t allowed to see the film when it was available on very early VHS, but I was allowed to read the books. Not sure what that says about my parents or me, but when I did finally get to see it, it lived up to my hope/ expectations from the books. Never did see the remake: and while I’m sure there is absolutely no need to I’m tempted: but will check out some of the many on this list I haven’t seen yet before I do…
26. “Bride of Frankenstein” (James Whale, 1935) Also mentioned in my Universal Monsters post – is it better than the original Frankenstein? You know, I think it might be…
25. “Suspiria” (Dario Argento, 1977) I saw it, I thought it was weird as a fourteen year old. I frequently see it praised as genius. I need to watch it again.
24. “The Birds” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963) Hmm, so how much of Hitchcock’s work do we class as out-and-out ‘horror’. I love The Birds, but it wouldn’t make it into my top ten Hitch movies.
23. “I Walked With a Zombie” (Jacques Tourneur, 1943) I don’t think I’ve ever seen the film, but boy have I seen the imagery over the years.
22. “Repulsion” (Roman Polanski, 1965) Yep, it’s in there. And yep, it’s still effective. Perhaps more so in today’s age than it ever should have been.
21. “Carrie” (Brian De Palma, 1976) The importance of Carrie, both the book and the film, cannot be underestimated in their respective impacts on their medium. I have to say in all honesty though, that I think it’s in the top three of King’s weakest books, and the film always struck me as dated even when I first saw it around ten years after it was made…I know, sue me.
20. “The Fly” (David Cronenberg, 1986) If Nightmare on Elm Street was a game changer, then The Fly was the next quantum leap forward for me: Blyth Wallaw, balcony seat. Scary as shit. Loved it. Saw sequel, once…went back to original many times.
19. “Get Out” (Jordan Peele, 2017) Well, it deserves to be in here, no doubt. This high? Hmm. I enjoyed the hell out of it, pretty much all the way to the end, where it all got a little bit too Stepford Wives. I’ll still watch anything Jordan Peele does though- whether it’s acting or directing.
18. “The Silence of the Lambs” (Jonathan Demme, 1991) That was a long walk home after watching the midnight screening of SotL back in Reading. By the time Hannibal came out I was outright laughing at the pantomime of Lector, and ray Liotta eating his own brain, but the first…it still works, despite the million and one copycats/ rip-offs/ skits since.
17. “Nosferatu” (F. W. Murnau, 1922) Another one studied. Another one that’s great with a live organ accompaniement if you can sort one out to come round to your house…
16. “Jaws” (Steven Spielberg, 1975) The original summer blockbuster. I’ve never really thought of Jaws as a horror movie. Still great though. Not the biggest Spielberg fan in the world, but one of my favourites of his.
15. “Cat People” (Jacques Tourneur, 1942) Saw this one after seeing the remake – it didn’t have the graphic violence, the special effects or, Nastasia Kinski spending a lot of the time naked. Hence, at the time as a pervy/ gory young teen I thought it was boring. Nothing happens…in my now infinite wisdom, the pool scene is creeping suggestion at its best.
14. “28 Days Later” (Danny Boyle, 2002) A surprisingly high entry, but a good original take on the zombie flick – even if the word’s never used.
13. “Audition” (Takashi Miike, 1999) Another one I’ve written elsewhere on this site. 3/4 masoginistic almost comedy and then…wow. Strong stuff.
12. “Dawn of the Dead” (George A. Romero, 1978) Probably my favourite zombie movie of all time. Very happy memories of watching this as a teenager obsessed with special effects make up.
11. “Deep Red” (Dario Argento, 1975) Bird with the Crystal Plumage or Tenebrae stand out as the key Argento films for me, although I appreciate this is considered by many as his masterpiece- it’s been too long: I need to rewatch this.
10. “Night of the Living Dead” (George Romero, 1968) The term ‘seminal’ is over used (perhaps only by me), but this would qualify. As I say, of the original trilogy Dawn is my preferred choice, but the importance and influence of Night cannot be over-stressed.
9. “Alien” (Ridley Scott, 1979) So good Scott is still going back to the well with Prometheus and Covenant, but nothing has come close to it in his repertoire, and while its’ debatable as to whether this or Aliens is the best of the entire franchise, I think it’s unquestionable that this is the horror of the series.
8. “The Thing” (John Carpenter, 1982) Happy to see this one in there – love pretty much everything about this movie.
7. “Eyes Without a Face” (Georges Franju, 1960) Ummm, embarrassingly I don’t think I’ve seen it.
6. “Psycho” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960) Of course it is! Survived many many lectures and studies, and still one of my all time favourites
5. “Halloween” (John Carpenter, 1978) As good as so many of the following rip offs were bad. Still going strong with the new one out this week.
4. “The Exorcist” (William Friedkin, 1973) Ok, am interested to see what comes above this now – and I can guess one…Personally wouldn’t make my top ten, but undeniably important, and at times damned scary
3. “Rosemary’s Baby” (Roman Polanski, 1968) Underwhelmed me on first viewing, but I was just way too young. In later years the paranoia, and the place it holds within Polanski’s other works, makes it a slow nerve shredder -and what a final scene.
2. “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (Tobe Hooper, 1974) Nasty, unpleasant to watch – in the best/ worst kind of way. None of the sheen or gloss of a modern horror movie, it’s just invasive all the way through. Not a film I particuarly like to watch again and again, but does what it’s supposed to.
1. “The Shining” (Stanley Kubrick, 1980) Sigh. Ok, it had to be, when it hadn’t appeared by the top five, but…I like the Shining well enough. It has some good scenes, and it has a good mounting tension. But it also has some awful shots, some wonky dialogue, and I don’t personally find it scary. At all. I’m afraid I’m firmly in the Stephen King camp in finding the book far more effective than the film. I know the critics love it, and there’s certainly some interesting stuff there (see Room 237 for the theories), but best horror film ever? Nah. Don’t get it.