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#1-#100

The 1,000 Greatest Horror Films: #1-#100

The 1,000 Greatest Horror Films: Introduction | #1-#100 | #101-#200 | #201-#300 | #301-#400 | #401-#500 | #501-#600 | #601-#700 | #701-#800 | #801-#900 | #901-#1000 | Full List | Sources | The 21st Century’s Most Acclaimed Horror Films | Top 50 Directors

The Exorcist

1. (0) The Exorcist

William Friedkin

1973 / USA / 122m / Col / Possession | IMDb
Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb, Kitty Winn, Jack MacGowran, Jason Miller, Linda Blair, William O’Malley, Barton Heyman, Peter Masterson

“I’ve revisited The Exorcist over the years and found it effective every time. Because it’s founded on characters, details and a realistic milieu, the shocks don’t date; they still seem to grow from the material… The movie is more horrifying because it does not seem to want to be. The horror creeps into the lives of characters preoccupied with their lives: Father Karras (Miller) with his mother and his faith, Father Merrin (von Sydow) with his work and health, Chris MacNeil (Burstyn) with her career and marriage. The movie also gains power because it takes its theology seriously–for a movie, anyway.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

The Shining

2. (0) The Shining

Stanley Kubrick

1980 / USA / 144m / Col / Haunted House | IMDb
Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers, Barry Nelson, Philip Stone, Joe Turkel, Anne Jackson, Tony Burton, Lia Beldam

“The Shining, Stanley Kubrick’s indelible take on both the horror genre and the popular fiction of Stephen King, is both a radical distillation of its source novel’s densely stuffed ghosts-and-gore imagery as well as a conflation of its hidden central theme of the true-life horrors of domestic abuse. The result is a film that, though it ignores almost every major spook-show episode in the novel (nope, no teeming wasp’s nest here), enhances everything that’s legitimately unnerving about King’s book… Kubrick’s The Shining dwells at the outer limits of what can be thought of as a genre film, stretching the definition, filling it out, leaving it richer in its wake.” – Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine

Psycho

3. (0) Psycho

Alfred Hitchcock

1960 / USA / 109m / BW / Thriller | IMDb
Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Janet Leigh, Martin Balsam, John McIntire, Simon Oakland, Frank Albertson, Patricia Hitchcock, Vaughn Taylor

“Where would we be without Psycho? Fifty years on and Hitch’s delicious cod-Freudian nightmare about a platinum-blonde embezzler (Leigh) who neglected to consult a guide before selecting her motel still has much to answer for. It blazed a bloody trail for the much-loved slasher cycle, but it also assured us that a B-movie could be A-grade in quality and innovation. It dared to suggest that your star didn’t need to surface from an ordeal smelling of roses (or, indeed, at all). It combined a knife, a scream, a melon, some chocolate sauce, Bernard Herrmann’s greatest score and more than 70 edits to push the envelope of screen violence.” – David Jenkins, Time Out

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

4. (0) The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Tobe Hooper

1974 / USA / 83m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain, William Vail, Teri McMinn, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, Gunnar Hansen, John Dugan, Robert Courtin

“If you haven’t seen it in a while, here’s a reminder: It’s really fucking scary. Horror movies long ago had the horror taken out of them, but the gritty physicality of Texas Chainsaw is all too terrifyingly real. Shot through with Watergate-era malaise, it’s a chilling portrait of a nation with nowhere to hide, where selfish hippies are preyed upon by maniac rednecks in a world devoid of order. Hysterical, excessive and, oh yes, a masterpiece.” – Sam Adams, Philadelphia City Paper

Halloween

5. (0) Halloween

John Carpenter

1978 / USA / 91m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Kyes, P.J. Soles, Charles Cyphers, Kyle Richards, Brian Andrews, John Michael Graham, Nancy Stephens, Arthur Malet

“It’s more clear than ever that John Carpenter’s Halloween is a remarkable film that towers over the endless clones that followed it. In fact—and this doesn’t really detract from Scream’s cleverness—watching Halloween again makes it apparent just how saddled with poor self-parody so many of its slasher follow-ups were… Carpenter’s story of childhood killer Michael Myers’ return to the town in which he has become a symbol of all that is dark relies more on suspense and suggestion than cheap shocks and gore, which in itself makes it a better film than its successors… Ignore the Prom Nights and the Friday The Thirteenths; Halloween cuts deepest.” – Keith Phipps, A.V. Club

Alien

6. (0) Alien

Ridley Scott

1979 / USA / 117m / Col / Science Fiction | IMDb
Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto, Bolaji Badejo, Helen Horton

“One of the great strengths of ‘Alien’ is its pacing. It takes its time. It waits. It allows silences (the majestic opening shots are underscored by Jerry Goldsmith with scarcely audible, far-off metallic chatterings). It suggests the enormity of the crew’s discovery by building up to it with small steps: The interception of a signal (is it a warning or an SOS?). The descent to the extraterrestrial surface. The bitching by Brett and Parker, who are concerned only about collecting their shares. The masterstroke of the surface murk through which the crew members move, their helmet lights hardly penetrating the soup. The shadowy outline of the alien ship. The sight of the alien pilot, frozen in his command chair.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

The Thing

7. (+1) The Thing

John Carpenter

1982 / USA / 109m / Col / Science Fiction | IMDb
Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, T.K. Carter, David Clennon, Keith David, Richard Dysart, Charles Hallahan, Peter Maloney, Richard Masur, Donald Moffat

“A flop upon its release (by Universal, two weeks after Spielberg’s E.T.), this spatial masterpiece of desolate Arctic vistas at odds with close-quarters claustrophobia has since been hailed as a high totem of modern horror-making. There remains something deeply unnerving about Carpenter’s ambiguity as to whether the movie’s shape-shifting alien is distorting its hosts’ personalities or merely revealing something of their primal selves.” – Scott Foundas, The Village Voice

Rosemary's Baby

8. (-1) Rosemary’s Baby

Roman Polanski

1968 / USA / 136m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer, Maurice Evans, Ralph Bellamy, Victoria Vetri, Patsy Kelly, Elisha Cook Jr., Emmaline Henry

“Horrifying and darkly comic, Rosemary’s Baby was Roman Polanski’s Hollywood debut. This wildly entertaining nightmare, faithfully adapted from Ira Levin’s best seller, stars a revelatory Mia Farrow as a young mother-to-be who grows increasingly suspicious that her overfriendly elderly neighbors (played by Sidney Blackmer and an Oscar-winning Ruth Gordon) and self-involved husband (John Cassavetes) are hatching a satanic plot against her and her baby. In the decades of occult cinema that Polanski’s ungodly masterpiece has spawned, it has never been outdone for sheer psychological terror.” – The Criterion Collection

Night of the Living Dead

9. (0) Night of the Living Dead

George A. Romero

1968 / USA / 96m / BW / Zombie | IMDb
Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne, Judith Ridley, Kyra Schon, Charles Craig, S. William Hinzman, George Kosana

“Night of the Living Dead came out of nowhere, or to be more precise, Pittsburgh, and turned into the most influential horror film since Psycho. George Romero’s remarkably assured debut, made on a shoestring, about a group of people barricaded inside a farmhouse while an army of flesh-eating zombies roams the countryside, deflates all genre clichés. It traded the expressionistic sets of the traditional fright flick for a neorealistic style—Romero’s use of natural locations and grainy black and white gave his gorefest the look and feel of a doc… This was Middle America at war, and the zombie carnage seemed a grotesque echo of the conflict then raging in Vietnam.” – Elliott Stein, The Village Voice

A Nightmare on Elm Street

10. (0) A Nightmare on Elm Street

Wes Craven

1984 / USA / 91m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Jsu Garcia, Johnny Depp, Charles Fleischer, Joseph Whipp, Robert Englund, Lin Shaye

“As often occurs in low-budget features, some of the acting around the fringes is slightly amateurish, and the ending suggests post-production tinkering, but “A Nightmare on Elm Street” works gangbusters in all the ways it really counts. Terrifically spooky and original—at the point in which the movie was made, there had never been anything like it—the film continues to feel completely modern despite being almost a quarter-century old” – Dustin Putman, The Movie Boy

Suspiria

11. (0) Suspiria

Dario Argento

1977 / Italy / 98m / Col / Giallo | IMDb
Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Miguel Bosé, Barbara Magnolfi, Susanna Javicoli, Eva Axén, Rudolf Schündler, Udo Kier, Alida Valli

“As distinctive in its painterly colors as Val Lewton’s horror films were in their expressive swaths of black and white, Suspiria serves up a gorehound’s feast of explicit mayhem. But never has gratuitous bloodletting seemed so ornately beautiful… Argento’s vibrant color scheme leaps off the screen like a ’50s Technicolor musical, with sets and lighting design that fill the Cinemascope frame with bold reds, greens, yellows, and blues… Long admired in cult circles, Suspiria stands as one of the most visually striking horror films ever made, and the high watermark of a first-rate splatter stylist.” – Scott Tobias, A.V. Club

Jaws

12. (0) Jaws

Steven Spielberg

1975 / USA / 124m / Col / Nature | IMDb
Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Carl Gottlieb, Jeffrey Kramer, Susan Backlinie, Jonathan Filley, Ted Grossman

“Jaws is a lively, chaotic swirl of contradictions, prodigious talent, and formal mastery. It’s a thriller that played a role in the entire restructuring of Hollywood’s methods of selling its films to the public. Jaws was the sure-to-be calamity that became one of the most beloved and quoted films of all time… The surprise is how good it was and still is. The film is a strange mixture of the über-controlled and the wild and wooly. Imagine if portions of Psycho were spliced into one of Hal Ashby’s early films and you’d be closer to the film’s tone than you might think.” – Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine

Dawn of the Dead

13. (0) Dawn of the Dead

George A. Romero

1978 / USA / 127m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger, Gaylen Ross, David Crawford, David Early, Richard France, Howard Smith, Daniel Dietrich, Fred Baker

“Dawn of the Dead is one of the best horror films ever made — and, as an inescapable result, one of the most horrifying. It is gruesome, sickening, disgusting, violent, brutal and appalling. It is also (excuse me for a second while I find my other list) brilliantly crafted, funny, droll, and savagely merciless in its satiric view of the American consumer society. Nobody ever said art had to be in good taste.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Låt den rätte komma in

14. (0) Låt den rätte komma in

Tomas Alfredson

2008 / Sweden / 115m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl, Karin Bergquist, Peter Carlberg, Ika Nord, Mikael Rahm, Karl-Robert Lindgren, Anders T. Peedu

“Though subtlety and atmosphere may be two of the key factors that help distinguish Let the Right One In from a vast majority of jump-cut-laden adolescent vampire flicks, the filmmakers don’t shy away when the time comes for all hell to break loose. Not only does that stylistic decision allow cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema the chance to get a little creative during some of the film’s more intense sequences, but it also helps to make the violence all the more effective when it actually occurs onscreen, skillfully laying the groundwork for a beautifully executed payoff that will nudge Let the Right One In into near-classic territory for many.” – Jason Buchanan, TV Guide

The Blair Witch Project

15. (0) The Blair Witch Project

Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sánchez

1999 / USA / 81m / Col / Found Footage | IMDb
Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, Michael C. Williams, Bob Griffin, Jim King, Sandra Sánchez, Ed Swanson, Patricia DeCou, Mark Mason, Jackie Hallex

“Shot with handheld cameras, Blair Witch has the look of a student film and its accompanying outtakes, but more importantly, it feels real. Its three principals (Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, and Joshua Leonard) all give fine performances, creating fully realized characters from apparently candid moments in the film’s first half and doing a thoroughly convincing job of appearing scared witless in its second. And scary it is, but in a way not seen too often before. Blair Witch’s novel approach relies almost entirely on suggestion and implication, tapping into the same feelings conjured by a mysterious creak in an empty house.” – Keith Phipps, A.V. Club

Carrie

16. (+1) Carrie

Brian De Palma

1976 / USA / 98m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, William Katt, John Travolta, Nancy Allen, Betty Buckley, P.J. Soles, Priscilla Pointer, Sydney Lassick

“Wickedly reckless and deliriously tasteless, Carrie is about the creation of a sorceress, a geek-girl fantasy—what nerdy high-school chick hasn’t longed to zap the popular bitches?—rife with hilarious sexual symbolism (my personal favorite is Carrie’s control of a wildly leaping fire hose). No movie ever needed to end with an orgasm as much as this one, and De Palma rises to the occasion with a scene many have imitated but none have duplicated. Even when his heroine is postmortem, it seems De Palma can’t stop watching.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, Reverse Shot

Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens

17. (-1) Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens

F.W. Murnau

1922 / Germany / 94m / BW / Vampire | IMDb
Max Schreck, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder, Georg H. Schnell, Ruth Landshoff, Gustav Botz, Alexander Granach, John Gottowt, Max Nemetz, Wolfgang Heinz

“A masterpiece of the German silent cinema and easily the most effective version of Dracula on record. F.W. Murnau’s 1922 film follows the Bram Stoker novel fairly closely, although he neglected to purchase the screen rights—hence, the title change. But the key elements are all Murnau’s own: the eerie intrusions of expressionist style on natural settings, the strong sexual subtext, and the daring use of fast-motion and negative photography.” – Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

Poltergeist

18. (+1) Poltergeist

Tobe Hooper

1982 / USA / 114m / Col / Haunted House | IMDb
Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Beatrice Straight, Dominique Dunne, Oliver Robins, Heather O’Rourke, Michael McManus, Virginia Kiser, Martin Casella, Richard Lawson

“While not many movies insist on the suspension of disbelief that Poltergeist demands, skepticism vanishes quickly. For Poltergeist is more than an entertaining spook show. It’s also touching, funny and human. To give any of the plot away would be a gross disservice. (Small children who think the objects in their rooms take on scary shapes when the lights go out, however, should be kept away from Poltergeist at all costs.) Though the film avoids the blood and guts endemic to the genre, it is nonetheless a goose-pimpler. The performances are all first-rate, and tiny Heather will melt the hardest heart.” – People

The Evil Dead

19. (-1) The Evil Dead

Sam Raimi

1981 / USA / 85m / Col / Possession | IMDb
Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor, Betsy Baker, Theresa Tilly, Philip A. Gillis, Dorothy Tapert, Cheryl Guttridge, Barbara Carey, David Horton

“Twenty years after its original theatrical release, Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead still feels like the punchiest horror flick this side of a Dario Argento gialli. Made on a shoe-string budget, The Evil Dead is difficult to assess for what initially seems like nothing more than B-movie schlock. Ash (Bruce Campbell) and his friends take a weekend trip to the woods only to stumble across the mysterious Book of the Dead. Spells are unleashed, friends go zombie and Ash is forced to test the limits of his squeamishness. Raimi’s script is riotously deadpan, his compositions undeniably breathtaking and inventive. The director relentlessly fashions the film’s first half as a creepy-crawly sweat chamber with evil seemingly taking the form of an omniscient, roaming camera.” – Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine

28 Days Later...

20. (0) 28 Days Later…

Danny Boyle

2002 / UK / 113m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Alex Palmer, Bindu De Stoppani, Jukka Hiltunen, David Schneider, Cillian Murphy, Toby Sedgwick, Naomie Harris, Noah Huntley, Christopher Dunne, Emma Hitching

“From eerie vistas of deserted London to unnerving views of Manchester reduced to burning rubble, this Dogme-driven apocalyptic nightmare from director Danny Boyle is a tense, exciting and terrifying horror. A powerfully iconoclastic Dawn-meets-Day of the Dead hybrid (written by Alex Garland, author of The Beach), this triumphantly executed piece of contemporary horror has genuine shock value with its down-and-dirty violence and disturbing authenticity. Shot on digital video for a documentary feel that is tempered with occasional, unexpected flashes of surreal artfulness, Garland’s compelling story grips on every level as Boyle’s visual concept dovetails perfectly with the atmospheric narrative to produce an engrossing assault on the senses.” – Alan Jones, Radio Times

The Descent

21. (0) The Descent

Neil Marshall

2005 / UK / 99m / Col / Monster | IMDb
Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder, MyAnna Buring, Nora-Jane Noone, Oliver Milburn, Molly Kayll, Craig Conway, Leslie Simpson

“From the high-impact opening shock to the poignantly bleak ending, this underground Deliverance is designed to cause maximum stress in anyone remotely claustrophobic, vertiginous or afraid of the dark. Marshall’s expert choreography of the creepy “crawler” creatures provides the extra terror, while they provide the full-on skin-slicing gore. As a writer and director he has a keen understanding of what makes the horror genre tick, and overturns the usual conventions with canny wit. Super-scary and vicious, both psychologically and physically, this cleverly produced chill-ride is edgy British horror at its very best.” – Alan Jones, Radio Times

An American Werewolf in London

22. (0) An American Werewolf in London

John Landis

1981 / USA / 97m / Col / Werewolf | IMDb
Joe Belcher, David Naughton, Griffin Dunne, David Schofield, Brian Glover, Lila Kaye, Rik Mayall, Sean Baker, Paddy Ryan, Jenny Agutter

“‘An American Werewolf in London’ is one of the few horror films that explore the psychological effects of lycanthropy alongside the physical and the fallout. David’s vivid dreams subsequent the attack are still startling and intense, and they’re very bad omens that he will more than likely submit to the beast and lose his essence as a man. “An American Werewolf in London” has every chance to be cheap and exploitative and prefers instead to create a very heartfelt and terrifying vision of a man becoming a werewolf, and to this day there’s yet to be a horror film that touches on the curse with superior aptitude.” – Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed

Evil Dead II

23. (+2) Evil Dead II

Sam Raimi

1987 / USA / 84m / Col / Comedy | IMDb
Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley DePaiva, Ted Raimi, Denise Bixler, Richard Domeier, John Peakes, Lou Hancock, Snowy Winters

“Sam Raimi’s eye-popping sequel to the cult classic original deftly treads the line between frightfest and horror satire. Starring Bruce Campbell, Raimi’s favorite non-actor — or, as Raimi calls him, “the king of acting in reverse” — the film either follows nonsensically on the heels of the first or completely replaces it; it takes place in the same cabin with the same Book of the Dead, as if Ash would simply head on back to try his luck a second time. (He is just about that dim.) Deploying the full range of low-budget effects, Evil Dead II still looks junky, but Raimi’s goofball sense of humor makes the film’s very tawdriness appealing.” – Sam Adams, Philadelphia City Paper

The Omen

24. (-1) The Omen

Richard Donner

1976 / USA / 111m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Billie Whitelaw, Harvey Stephens, Patrick Troughton, Martin Benson, Robert Rietty, Tommy Duggan, John Stride

“This apocalyptic movie mostly avoids physical gore to boost its relatively unoriginal storyline with suspense, some excellent acting (especially from Warner and Whitelaw), and a very deft, incident-packed script. There is not a single original theme in The Omen, but its makers are so resolute in avoiding padding, and so deceptively accomplished in their use of emotional triggers, that you come out wondering how the film succeeds so well. The secret lies partly in the hermetically tight construction which, among other things, veers the action to a spooky chase across Europe just when other horror movies are getting bogged down in what dumb effect to produce next.” – Time Out

The Haunting

25. (-1) The Haunting

Robert Wise

1963 / USA / 112m / BW / Haunted House | IMDb
Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, Russ Tamblyn, Fay Compton, Rosalie Crutchley, Lois Maxwell, Valentine Dyall, Diane Clare, Ronald Adam

“Often overwrought in its performances, this adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s novel The Haunting of Hill House – a group of people gather in a large old house to determine whether or not a poltergeist is the source of rumours that it is haunted – still manages to produce its fair share of frissons. What makes the film so effective is not so much the slightly sinister characterisation of the generally neurotic group, but the fact that Wise makes the house itself the central character, a beautifully designed and highly atmospheric entity which, despite the often annoyingly angled camerawork, becomes genuinely frightening.” – Time Out

Scream

26. (+1) Scream

Wes Craven

1996 / USA / 111m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Drew Barrymore, Roger Jackson, Kevin Patrick Walls, David Booth, Carla Hatley, Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich, Lawrence Hecht, Courteney Cox, W. Earl Brown

“The best fright fest of the ’90s, Wes Craven’s “Scream” playfully tweaks many of the horror/ slasher conventions in place since the arrival of “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th” in the mid-’80s, but it does so with a fiendishly clever, complicated plot that makes it an instant classic, and not simply of the genre. Though it begins and ends with requisite bloody roughness, the film deftly mixes irony, self-reference and wry social commentary with chills and blood spills.” – Richard Harrington, Washington Post

The Birds

27. (-1) The Birds

Alfred Hitchcock

1963 / USA / 119m / Col / Nature | IMDb
Tippi Hedren, Suzanne Pleshette, Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy, Veronica Cartwright, Ethel Griffies, Charles McGraw, Doreen Lang, Ruth McDevitt, Joe Mantell

“With death dropping blandly out of a clear sky – its menace magnified into apocalypse from the crop-dusting scene in North by Northwest – this is Hitchcock at his best. Full of subterranean hints as to the ways in which people cage each other, it’s fierce and Freudian as well as great cinematic fun, with ample fodder for the amateur psychologist following up on Hitch’s tortuous involvement with his leading ladies.” – Tom Milne, Time Out

The Fly

28. (0) The Fly

David Cronenberg

1986 / USA / 96m / Col / Science Fiction | IMDb
Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz, Joy Boushel, Leslie Carlson, George Chuvalo, Michael Copeman, David Cronenberg, Carol Lazare, Shawn Hewitt

“‘What am I working on? I’m working on something that will change the world and human life as we know it!’ So Seth Brundle (Goldblum) promises in the opening line of Cronenberg’s inspired remake… This is a film about fusion. That of man and insect, of course; but also the emotional and physical fusion between man and woman – liberating and painful as that may be. The playful, quirky chemistry between Goldblum and Davis in the first half of the movie ensures that this gothic horror is heartbreaking as well as stomach-churning (the special effects by Chris Walas are still staggering).” – Tom Charity, Time Out

The Silence of the Lambs

29. (0) The Silence of the Lambs

Jonathan Demme

1991 / USA / 118m / Col / Crime | IMDb
Jodie Foster, Lawrence A. Bonney, Kasi Lemmons, Lawrence T. Wrentz, Scott Glenn, Anthony Heald, Frankie Faison, Don Brockett, Frank Seals Jr., Stuart Rudin

“Although Demme does reveal the results of the killer’s violence, he for the most part refrains from showing the acts themselves; the film could never be accused of pandering to voyeuristic impulses. Under-standably, much has been made of Hopkins’ hypnotic Lecter, but the laurels must go to Levine’s killer, admirably devoid of camp overstatement, and to Foster, who evokes a vulnerable but pragmatic intelligence bent on achieving independence through sheer strength of will.” – Time Out

Bride of Frankenstein

30. (+1) Bride of Frankenstein

James Whale

1935 / USA / 75m / BW / Monster | IMDb
Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson, Ernest Thesiger, Elsa Lanchester, Gavin Gordon, Douglas Walton, Una O’Connor, E.E. Clive, Lucien Prival

“The best of the Frankenstein movies–a sly, subversive work that smuggled shocking material past the censors by disguising it in the trappings of horror. Some movies age; others ripen. Seen today, Whale’s masterpiece is more surprising than when it was made because today’s audiences are more alert to its buried hints of homosexuality, necrophilia and sacrilege. But you don’t have to deconstruct it to enjoy it; it’s satirical, exciting, funny, and an influential masterpiece of art direction.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

[Rec]

31. (+2) [Rec]

Jaume Balagueró & Paco Plaza

2007 / Spain / 78m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Manuela Velasco, Ferran Terraza, Jorge-Yamam Serrano, Pablo Rosso, David Vert, Vicente Gil, Martha Carbonell, Carlos Vicente, María Teresa Ortega, Manuel Bronchud

“[Rec] softens us up with a gentle prologue in which the crew of a late-night ‘reality TV’ show… make a late-night visit to a fire station. Then comes a call about an old woman trapped in her apartment. When [they] break into the apartment, they are attacked by a shrieking, zombie-like woman in a blood-stained nightdress… The less you know about what happens next the better. Suffice it to say that nothing in the previous work of joint directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza prepared us for the nerve-shredding intensity of the ensuing scenes. A brilliantly staged early scare signals that the safety rails are off and, despite an unexpected, last-minute swerve into the supernatural realm, the edge-of-the-seat tension is sustained to the very last second.” – Nigel Floyd, Time Out

Ôdishon

32. (-2) Ôdishon

Takashi Miike

1999 / Japan / 115m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina, Tetsu Sawaki, Jun Kunimura, Renji Ishibashi, Miyuki Matsuda, Toshie Negishi, Ren Ohsugi, Shigeru Saiki, Ken Mitsuishi

“Miike’s static long shots and symbolic use of color subversively recall Ozu, and the audition itself becomes, intentional or not, a studied take on stately naïvete. Audition’s stylistic trapdoor, though, isn’t as abrupt as many seem to suggest, because a shaking body bag and a troubled Asami (sitting by her phone waiting for Aoyama’s delayed call) terrifyingly portend the chaos yet to come. Miike’s torture mechanism is very much based on the premise that performance is crucial to the freeing of the soul, and just as Asami’s rage is as much a product of Freudian psychosexual repression, so too does it express a need to negate her passivity.” – Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine

Shaun of the Dead

33. (-1) Shaun of the Dead

Edgar Wright

2004 / UK / 99m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Nick Frost, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran, Nicola Cunningham, Keir Mills, Matt Jaynes, Gavin Ferguson, Peter Serafinowicz

“A hybrid of stylish suspense and dry comedy, Shaun Of The Dead tries to do right by all its contributing elements and mostly succeeds. No laughing matter, the zombies come straight out of a George Romero film, lumbering along with a fearsome intensity. Wright directs with an expert sense of rhythm but never lays his technical finesse on with Guy Ritchie thickness; he lets his characters take center stage even after he’s shown he can frame them through a gaping hole in a zombie’s stomach.” – Keith Phipps, A.V. Club

Frankenstein

34. (0) Frankenstein

James Whale

1931 / USA / 70m / BW / Monster | IMDb
Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles, Boris Karloff, Edward Van Sloan, Frederick Kerr, Dwight Frye, Lionel Belmore, Marilyn Harris

“A stark, solid, impressively stylish film, overshadowed (a little unfairly) by the later explosion of Whale’s wit in the delirious Bride of Frankenstein. Karloff gives one of the great performances of all time as the monster whose mutation from candour to chill savagery is mirrored only through his limpid eyes. The film’s great imaginative coup is to show the monster ‘growing up’ in all too human terms… The film is unique in Whale’s work in that the horror is played absolutely straight, and it has a weird fairytale beauty not matched until Cocteau made La Belle et la Bête.” – Tom Milne, Time Out

Don't Look Now

35. (0) Don’t Look Now

Nicolas Roeg

1973 / UK / 110m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland, Hilary Mason, Clelia Matania, Massimo Serato, Renato Scarpa, Giorgio Trestini, Leopoldo Trieste, David Tree, Ann Rye

“Conceived in Roeg’s usual imagistic style and predicated upon a series of ominous associations (water, darkness, red, shattering glass), it’s hypnotically brilliant as it works remorselessly toward a sense of dislocation in time; an undermining of all the senses, in fact, perfectly exemplified by Sutherland’s marvellous Hitchcockian walk through a dark alley where a banging shutter, a hoarse cry, a light extinguished at a window, all recur as in a dream, escalating into terror the second time round because a hint of something seen, a mere shadow, may have been the dead child.” – Time Out

The Ring

36. (0) The Ring

Gore Verbinski

2002 / USA / 115m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman, Brian Cox, Jane Alexander, Lindsay Frost, Amber Tamblyn, Rachael Bella, Daveigh Chase, Shannon Cochran

“Expanding on the strong visual sense evinced in the otherwise mediocre The Mexican, director Gore Verbinski creates an air of dread that begins with the first scene and never lets up, subtly incorporating elements from the current wave of Japanese horror films along the way. He succeeds mostly through sleight of hand. When the shocks come, they interrupt long stretches in which the camera lingers meaningfully as characters accumulate details that confirm what they already know: What they’ve seen will kill them, and soon.” – Keith Phipps, A.V. Club

The Wicker Man

37. (0) The Wicker Man

Robin Hardy

1973 / UK / 88m / Col / Mystery | IMDb
Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento, Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt, Lindsay Kemp, Russell Waters, Aubrey Morris, Irene Sunters, Walter Carr

“The film creates atmosphere as well as any horror movie of the sound era; but where the contemporaneous Italian horror cinema, for example, was all about an atmosphere of the uncanny and of a certain cosmic vileness that makes everything horrible and unreal, The Wicker Man is a movie that manages to create, in watching it, something akin to the heightened feeling of queasiness that comes right before a storm. But it does this entirely under the surface: obliquely, it’s all about a shouty cop being rude to odd, and even outright weird neo-pagans, but neo-pagans who seem unfailingly nice. – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

Hellraiser

38. (0) Hellraiser

Clive Barker

1987 / UK / 94m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Sean Chapman, Oliver Smith, Robert Hines, Anthony Allen, Leon Davis, Michael Cassidy, Frank Baker

“Barker’s dazzling debut as a director creates such an atmosphere of dread that the astonishing visual set pieces simply detonate in a chain reaction of cumulative intensity. His use of the traditional ‘teenage screamer’ heroine (Larry’s daughter) tends to undercut the unsettling moral ambiguities of the adult triangle, and the brooding menace of the Cenobites is far more terrifying than the climactic rollercoaster ride. These are small quibbles, however, in a debut of such exceptional promise. A serious, intelligent and disturbing horror film.” – Time Out

The Innocents

39. (+1) The Innocents

Jack Clayton

1961 / UK / 100m / Col / Haunted House | IMDb
Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkins, Michael Redgrave, Martin Stephens, Pamela Franklin, Clytie Jessop, Isla Cameron

“Is it the finest, smartest, most visually savvy horror film ever made by a big studio? Deborah Kerr is the sexually straitjacketed governess subject to either the ghastly duplicity of her dead-eyed charges (Martin Stephens and Pamela Franklin) or the threatening ghosts of the estate’s previous servants—or both—and it might be the most unforgettable performance by a British actress in its decade. Clayton’s filmmaking, mustering frisson by both candle and blazing daylight, could serve as an object lesson in its genre. Only Robert Wise’s The Haunting, out two years later, came close to its edge-of-sight menace, repressed gothic angst, and all-suggestion creep-outs.” – Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice

Saw

40. (+2) Saw

James Wan

2004 / USA / 103m / Col / Splatter | IMDb
Leigh Whannell, Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, Ken Leung, Dina Meyer, Mike Butters, Paul Gutrecht, Michael Emerson, Benito Martinez, Shawnee Smith

“Saw is everything a thriller should be. Instead of a long-winded back story to lead into our premise, Wan and Whannell move right into the thick of things. The story is exceptionally clever, revealing the characters and Jigsaw himself very carefully. Just when you may think you’re getting a handle on a character or a situation, Saw throws you for a loop again and again. The intensity is constant and absolutely relentless. Much like the tests Jigsaw puts his subjects to, Saw is an endurance test. When you think you can relax and take a deep breath, it hits you again.” – Jeff Otto, IGN

Freaks

41. (-2) Freaks

Tod Browning

1932 / USA / 64m / BW / Thriller | IMDb
Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Roscoe Ates, Henry Victor, Harry Earles, Daisy Earles, Rose Dione, Daisy Hilton, Violet Hilton

“Freaks uses authentic circus performers and unapologetically exploits their real genetic malformations in a melodramatic masterpiece of black comic horror. A scheming trapeze artist marries a circus midget for his money; his fellow performers welcome her as an honorary “freak” and their chanting ritual – gabba gabba, one of us! – left me gasping… What cultural references are there for this? Poe? David Lynch? Antonin Artaud? Diane Arbus? Maybe. Freaks is filled with poignancy; it offers a premonition of eugenics, as well as a provocative comparison with the alienated condition of women and the freakish nature of all showbiz celebrity. It is a work of genius.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Braindead

42. (-1) Braindead

Peter Jackson

1992 / New Zealand / 104m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Timothy Balme, Diana Peñalver, Elizabeth Moody, Ian Watkin, Brenda Kendall, Stuart Devenie, Jed Brophy, Stephen Papps, Murray Keane, Glenis Levestam

“Dead-Alive is one outrageously gruesome set piece after another, a movie in which the human characters are boring but the limbs, eyeballs, and — especially — intestinal tracts have an exuberant life of their own. There are no rules in Jackson’s slapstick carnival of gore. Bodies tear themselves in half; rib cages are ripped from their owners; a murderous monster baby burrows into someone’s head from the inside; the hero plows through a living room full of zombies while wielding a raised lawn mower. Do you really want me to go on? Dead-Alive obviously isn’t for everyone, but it’s the most delirious bloodbath since Re-Animator, the kind of horror movie that makes you want to turn your head — and then dares you to look away.” – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Re-Animator

43. (0) Re-Animator

Stuart Gordon

1985 / USA / 104m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, David Gale, Robert Sampson, Gerry Black, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Peter Kent, Barbara Pieters, Ian Patrick Williams

“Stuart Gordon doesn’t just push the envelope of good taste with this one; he tears right through it. From the opening scene the gross factor is set at a high level, and it only escalates until it reaches a moment that has remained one of the most infamous in contemporary horror film history. The sheer audacity of this film is enough to justify its cult status, but there is much more to it that has made it one of the best entries in the splatter-film subgenre. Violence and gore will only carry a film so far. What this movie has in its favor is a sharp and witty sense of dark humor. While sometimes campy, the comedy is played seriously by the actors, who never wink or nudge at the camera.” – Felix Gonzalez Jr., DVD Review

Ringu

44. (+1) Ringu

Hideo Nakata

1998 / Japan / 96m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Nanako Matsushima, Miki Nakatani, Yûko Takeuchi, Hitomi Satô, Yôichi Numata, Yutaka Matsushige, Katsumi Muramatsu, Rikiya ôtaka, Masako, Daisuke Ban

“Director Hideo Nakata manages to strike a genuinely alarming balance between the cultural depths of Japanese folklore and the surface sheen of latter-day teen culture. With its video curses, late-night television links and matter-of-life-or-death phone calls, Ring has more than enough techno-friendly trappings to ensnare the average channel surfer. But lurking at the bottom of its well of intrigue is a timeless terror more attuned to the mature sensibilities of an adult audience. And it is this unique combination of old folk devils and contemporary moral panics which gives Ring such a nerve-rattling edge.” – Mark Kermode, Sight and Sound

Friday the 13th

45. (-1) Friday the 13th

Sean S. Cunningham

1980 / USA / 95m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Jeannine Taylor, Robbi Morgan, Kevin Bacon, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartram, Mark Nelson, Peter Brouwer, Rex Everhart

“When viewed in comparison to the current state of horror movies as defined by the Hostel and Saw series, the original Friday the 13th seems downright tame, if not genuinely classical with its stripped down, campfire-tale aesthetic. And that is, ultimately, what the film is: a campfire boogeyman story designed to do little more than build tension and deliver a few well-timed shocks, which it does with precision and even a bit of artistry. It’s certainly easy to knock Friday the 13th for its various faults, but what those criticisms usually boil down to is an assault on its limited aspirations. Sure, it doesn’t do a whole lot, but what it does do it does quite well.” – James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk

The Others

46. (0) The Others

Alejandro Amenábar

2001 / USA / 101m / Col / Haunted House | IMDb
Nicole Kidman, Fionnula Flanagan, Christopher Eccleston, Alakina Mann, James Bentley, Eric Sykes, Elaine Cassidy, Renée Asherson, Gordon Reid, Keith Allen

“This is a modern horror film with an old-fashioned touch, relying on suspense and the suggestion of the supernatural to generate a disturbing sense of the Uncanny. In the manner of classic haunted house movies like THE INNOCENTS (1960) and THE HAUNTING (1963), THE OTHERS uses a deliberately steady pace to increase tension, gradually drawing viewers into its mystery until they are so engaged that they completely susceptible to the effectively executed scare tactics. Although the actual shocks are few and far between, the film maintains interest with its intelligent storytelling, and the rich atmosphere sustain the mood of supernatural dread throughout.” – Steve Biodrowski, ESplatter

Les yeux sans visage

47. (+1) Les yeux sans visage

Georges Franju

1960 / France / 88m / BW / Gothic | IMDb
Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli, Juliette Mayniel, Edith Scob, François Guérin, Alexandre Rignault, Béatrice Altariba, Charles Blavette, Claude Brasseur, Michel Etcheverry

“An incredible amalgam of horror and fairytale in which scalpels thud into quivering flesh and the tremulous heroine (Scob) remains a prisoner of solitude in a waxen mask of eerie, frozen beauty… Illuminated throughout by Franju’s unique sense of poetry – nowhere more evident than in the final shot of Scob wandering free through the night, her mask discarded but her face seen only by the dogs at her feet and the dove on her shoulder – it’s a marvellous movie in the fullest sense.” – Tom Milne, Time Out

Peeping Tom

48. (-1) Peeping Tom

Michael Powell

1960 / UK / 101m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Karlheinz Böhm, Moira Shearer, Anna Massey, Maxine Audley, Brenda Bruce, Miles Malleson, Esmond Knight, Michael Goodliffe, Martin Miller, Jack Watson

“Few films have as strange and tortured a destiny as Peeping Tom. Unanimously savaged by critics at the time of its 1960 release, Michael Powell’s sympathetic portrait of a mild-mannered serial killer was pulled from London theaters in less than a week… Today, thanks largely to a 1980 revival engineered by Powell enthusiast and fellow director Martin Scorsese, Peeping Tom is rightly seen as a horror classic and sophisticated psychological journey… Peeping Tom was a bold, subversive risk. Far ahead of its time, it’s a study in voyeurism that equates photography and moviemaking with scopophilia, the morbid urge to gaze.” – Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle

Repulsion

49. (+1) Repulsion

Roman Polanski

1965 / UK / 105m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser, Yvonne Furneaux, Patrick Wymark, Renee Houston, Valerie Taylor, James Villiers, Helen Fraser, Hugh Futcher

“Roman Polanski followed up his international breakthrough Knife in the Water with this controversial, chilling tale of psychosis. Catherine Deneuve is Carol, a fragile, frigid young beauty cracking up in her London flat when left alone by her vacationing sister. She is soon haunted by specters real and imagined, and her insanity grows to a violent, hysterical pitch. Thanks to its disturbing detail and Polanski’s adeptness at turning claustrophobic space into an emotional minefield, Repulsion is a surreal, mind-bending odyssey into personal horror, and it remains one of cinema’s most shocking psychological thrillers.” – The Criterion Collection

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

50. (-1) Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

Robert Wiene

1920 / Germany / 78m / BW / Psychological | IMDb
Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski, Rudolf Lettinger

“Undoubtedly one of the most exciting and inspired horror movies ever made. The story is a classic sampling of expressionist paranoia about a hypnotist who uses a somnambulist to do his murders, full of the gloom and fear that prevailed in Germany as it emerged from WWI. There are plenty of extremely boring sociological/critical accounts of the film; best to avoid them and enjoy the film’s extraordinary use of painted light and Veidt’s marvellous performance.” – David Pirie, Time Out

Videodrome

51. (0) Videodrome

David Cronenberg

1983 / Canada / 87m / Col / Body Horror | IMDb
James Woods, Sonja Smits, Deborah Harry, Peter Dvorsky, Leslie Carlson, Jack Creley, Lynne Gorman, Julie Khaner, Reiner Schwartz, David Bolt

“When Max Renn goes looking for edgy new shows for his sleazy cable TV station, he stumbles across the pirate broadcast of a hyperviolent torture show called Videodrome. As he struggles to unearth the origins of the program, he embarks on a hallucinatory journey… Videodrome is one of writer/director David Cronenberg’s most original and provocative works, fusing social commentary with shocking elements of sex and violence. With groundbreaking special effects makeup by Academy Award®-winner Rick Baker, Videodrome has come to be regarded as one of the most influential and mind-bending science fiction films of the 1980s.” – The Criterion Collection

The Cabin in the Woods

52. (+3) The Cabin in the Woods

Drew Goddard

2012 / USA / 95m / Col / Comedy | IMDb
Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Brian White, Amy Acker, Tim De Zarn

“Would you like your head thoroughly messed with? Then check straight into The Cabin in the Woods, the sort of horror movie that knows all the rules, knows that you know, and knows that you know it knows. But you still don’t know what’s coming next, for while this fiendish meta-horror makes a joke of its own mechanics – so much “how”, so little “why” – it also brings both victims and torturers into an unexpected alignment, one in which chaos is guaranteed and there’s literally nowhere to run.” – Anthony Quinn, Independent

Dracula

53. (-1) Dracula

Tod Browning

1931 / USA / 75m / BW / Vampire | IMDb
Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan, Herbert Bunston, Frances Dade, Joan Standing, Charles K. Gerrard

“This seminal classic from director Tod Browning is one of the most famous horror movies ever made, but by today’s standards it is rather talky, stagebound and bloodless, with most of its important chills occurring off-screen. However, it remains the most subtly romantic and highly atmospheric rendition of Bram Stoker’s tale about the Transylvanian count, with Browning orchestrating the opening scenes to macabre perfection.” – Alan Jones, Radio Times

El orfanato

54. (+4) El orfanato

J.A. Bayona

2007 / Spain / 105m / Col / Haunted House | IMDb
Belén Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Príncep, Mabel Rivera, Montserrat Carulla, Andrés Gertrúdix, Edgar Vivar, óscar Casas, Mireia Renau, Georgina Avellaneda

“This is a movie whose power and emotional pitch lie in the understated: the discreet performances, the lack of special effects, the laconic script. Yes, one can quibble over an unnecessary prologue, a drawn-out séance and a sentimental final sequence, but these are minor flaws in a poignant film that looks to the past and the world beyond to illuminate the realities of the present.” – Maria M. Delgado, Sight and Sound

Martyrs

55. (+1) Martyrs

Pascal Laugier

2008 / France / 99m / Col / Splatter | IMDb
Morjana Alaoui, Mylène Jampanoï, Catherine Bégin, Robert Toupin, Patricia Tulasne, Juliette Gosselin, Xavier Dolan, Louise Boisvert, Jean-Marie Moncelet, Jessie Pham

“[Martyrs is] one of the most extreme pictures ever made, one of the finest horror movies of the last decade… What begins as an archetypal genre piece soon twists and snaps in unexpected directions, its dizzying plunges down midnight-black rabbit holes keeping viewers disorientated and vulnerable… Martyrs is, according to Laugier, the “anti-Hostel”, its savagery devoid of glee and its scalpel scraping at mind and soul… a technically brilliant, emotionally resonant, uncommonly cerebral horror film that dares to bend every rule, blend every mood. The first half comprises a reeling camera, disjointed cutting and a half-glimpsed phantom… The second half is mechanical and methodical, evoking Michael Haneke’s cruel austerity yet infused with genuine tenderness.” – Jamie Graham, Total Film

Black Christmas

56. (-2) Black Christmas

Bob Clark

1974 / Canada / 98m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Marian Waldman, Andrea Martin, James Edmond, Doug McGrath, Art Hindle, Lynne Griffin

“A precursor to “Halloween” and infinitely superior as a thriller and slasher film, “Black Christmas” is that masterpiece of horror that has various facets years after its creation, and there’s yet to be a slasher that’s as unsettling and haunting. While I’ll always love The Shape emerging to chase after Laurie Strode, for my money “Black Christmas” is the supreme slasher film that succeeds as a nightmarish, and twisted practice in mystery and ambiguity filled with entertaining in-jokes, and a director who is not above leaving the audience with as many answers as they had before watching his work.” – Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

57. (-4) Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Don Siegel

1956 / USA / 80m / BW / Science Fiction | IMDb
Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Larry Gates, King Donovan, Carolyn Jones, Jean Willes, Ralph Dumke, Virginia Christine, Tom Fadden, Kenneth Patterson

“Siegel, as ever rough-edged and machismo, is clearly taken with this smart screenplay’s many levels, and deliberately lets this film run from terror to melodrama to comedy. As screenwriters were being blacklisted, he went for the jugular of American paranoia. As Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter, both hitting a shrill exaggeration in performance, dash about avoiding assimilation while no one listens, Siegel’s isn’t a work of paranoia; it’s a sarcastic attack upon it.” – Ian Nathan, Empire Magazine

The Sixth Sense

58. (-1) The Sixth Sense

M. Night Shyamalan

1999 / USA / 107m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams, Trevor Morgan, Donnie Wahlberg, Peter Anthony Tambakis, Jeffrey Zubernis, Bruce Norris, Glenn Fitzgerald

“Though not without some genuinely frightening moments, The Sixth Sense is less a horror film than a moody piece of magic realism. Shyamalan’s approach, composed largely of Kubrickian extended takes, has a sense of purpose and an artful construction that respects both its story and its audience, allowing both to take their time sorting things out.” – Keith Phipps, A.V. Club

Dawn of the Dead

59. (0) Dawn of the Dead

Zack Snyder

2004 / USA / 101m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Mekhi Phifer, Ty Burrell, Michael Kelly, Kevin Zegers, Michael Barry, Lindy Booth, Jayne Eastwood

“Like Romero’s pulpy progenitor, there’s a fair share of laughs, including a sequence where zombies are picked off from long distance based purely on their spurious resemblance to celebrities. Most of all, though, this is about zombie-crunching action, from the initial, tense opening – including a stunning pre-credits sequence in which we follow Polley through the beginnings of the unexplained plague – to a final kick-ass third in which our heroes load up with weaponry and souped-up trucks and head out to face the zombie holocaust. It’s here that the controversial decision to eschew the lumbering zombies of lore and go for fast-moving vicious bastards really pays off, generating a genuine sense of fear and revealing this for what it really is: a pared-down homage to Aliens.” – Empire Magazine

Paranormal Activity

60. (0) Paranormal Activity

Oren Peli

2007 / USA / 86m / Col / Found Footage | IMDb
Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Mark Fredrichs, Amber Armstrong, Ashley Palmer

“Don’t expect CGI clouds of ectoplasm: the scares here are strictly bargain-basement, even reduced-for-clearance: a chandelier swings, a shadow looms and things go bump! – and then thump!, to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth. Peli’s film revives the honourable tradition of chills-by-suggestion, whereby what we don’t see is far scarier than what we do. In fact, the very eeriest moment is a lengthy shot in which we just gaze at an empty room, and dread what will come next.” – Jonathan Romney, Independent on Sunday

Day of the Dead

61. (+3) Day of the Dead

George A. Romero

1985 / USA / 96m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Joseph Pilato, Jarlath Conroy, Anthony Dileo Jr., Richard Liberty, Sherman Howard, Gary Howard Klar, Ralph Marrero, John Amplas

“Though still unmistakably allegorical, much of the irony and parable foreshadowing of the first two films has all but vanished, leaving behind bitterness, lament and cynicism. In a world that seems to drift further and further into a diplomatic declaration of martial law with each and every Presidential address, the overriding voice of Day of the Dead speaks for the universal rage of all displaced peoples, backed into a corner and certain that they are in the oppressed minority. Day of the Dead is the synthesis of all the racial, tribal, social and governmental concerns of the first two films, and Romero’s notions are not pretty.” – Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine

Candyman

62. (-1) Candyman

Bernard Rose

1992 / USA / 99m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams, DeJuan Guy, Marianna Elliott, Ted Raimi, Ria Pavia, Mark Daniels

“Candyman charts the systematic social degradation inflicted upon Helen by her mentors, militant Cabrini-Green gang members, the police, her husband, and ultimately the Candyman himself. Played by Tony Todd (and his velvety basso profundo voice), the Candyman is a svelte, sexual monument, far removed from the silent brutality of your average serial slasher. Rose’s dizzy, Jungle Fever-ish romanticism is juxtaposed against his cold, Cronenbergian dystopia to create Candyman’s uniquely baroque use of modern urban blight, subtle political undercurrents, and hints of fallen woman melodrama. It creates a startlingly effective shocker that gains power upon further, sleepless-night reflection.” – Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine

The Mist

63. (0) The Mist

Frank Darabont

2007 / USA / 126m / Col / Monster | IMDb
Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher, Toby Jones, William Sadler, Jeffrey DeMunn, Frances Sternhagen, Nathan Gamble, Alexa Davalos

“Darabont generally understands what works and what doesn’t in King’s story and makes the best of what he can – his few changes only spell out stuff that was better left deliberately vague in book form but need to be highlighted in a movie. His filmmaking choices also yield some wildly fluctuating results – the handheld camera technique and lack of musical score are strengths, the production values are solid too, but the decidedly weak CGI renders some sequences – most notably the tentacle attack in the early scenes – almost laughably bad. Its the more practical effects moments, and the vague shapes in the distance of the mist, that prove far more effective.” – Garth Franklin, Dark Horizons

The Return of the Living Dead

64. (+2) The Return of the Living Dead

Dan O’Bannon

1985 / USA / 91m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Thom Mathews, Beverly Randolph, John Philbin, Jewel Shepard, Miguel A. Núñez Jr., Brian Peck, Linnea Quigley

“O’Bannon’s filmmaking techniques are simple and resourceful, with shots following the actors around the room in consistent medium shots as they volley rapid-fire (and quotable) dialogue off of one another. It’s the zombie movie Howard Hawks never got to make, and frankly it’s less Rio Bravo than His Girl Friday with all the ribald humor on display. Well acted, with endearing characters from both the punk contingent and the middle-aged office guys.” – Jeremiah Kipp, Slant Magazine

Eraserhead

65. (0) Eraserhead

David Lynch

1977 / USA / 85m / Col / Surrealism | IMDb
Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph, Jeanne Bates, Judith Roberts, Laurel Near, V. Phipps-Wilson, Jack Fisk, Jean Lange, Thomas Coulson

“Watching Eraserhead today, what emerges is the sheer, immersive clarity of David Lynch’s vision, the sense of a world unlike our own and yet inextricably bound to it: a world in which all the light has been sucked out, leaving only horror and isolation, desperation and unattainable dreams. Knowing the struggles Lynch and his crew underwent to complete this wildly uncommercial labour of love, over five years of scratching for every budgetary dollar, the absence of compromise astounds. Eraserhead is a singular work of the imagination, a harrowing, heartbreaking plunge into the darkest recesses of the soul.” – Tom Huddleston, Time Out

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

66. (-4) Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Philip Kaufman

1978 / USA / 115m / Col / Science Fiction | IMDb
Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright, Leonard Nimoy, Art Hindle, Lelia Goldoni, Kevin McCarthy, Don Siegel, Tom Luddy

“Though it lacks the awesome allegorical ambiguousness of the 1956 classic of sci-fi/political paranoia, Kaufman and screenwriter WD Richter’s update and San Francisco transposition of Jack Finney’s novel is a far from redundant remake. The extraterrestrial pod people now erupt into a world where seemingly everyone is already ‘into’ changing their lives or lifestyles, and into a cinematic landscape already criss-crossed by an endless series of conspiracies, while the movie has as much fun toying with modern thought systems (psychology, ecology) as with elaborate variations on its predecessor.” – Time Out

El espinazo del diablo

67. (+3) El espinazo del diablo

Guillermo del Toro

2001 / Spain / 106m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Marisa Paredes, Eduardo Noriega, Federico Luppi, Fernando Tielve, Íñigo Garcés, Irene Visedo, José Manuel Lorenzo, Francisco Maestre, Junio Valverde, Berta Ojea

“This is not a good advert for Hollywood. Not just because Del Toro’s poised and poignant ghost story contains more substance and is executed with more style than a half dozen Hollywood monster movies, but because, working for a major studio, Del Toro turned out such dross himself, namely Mimic. Here the director returns to his Spanish language roots for a complex Gothic horror set in a school for orphaned boys during the Spanish Civil War. Building slowly from a stately start, Del Toro manages to unite all his disparate elements – ghosts and gold, infidelity and politics – for a devastating final reel. The command of sound and colour is breathtaking.” – Colin Kennedy, Empire Magazine

Profondo rosso

68. (-1) Profondo rosso

Dario Argento

1975 / Italy / 126m / Col / Giallo | IMDb
David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Gabriele Lavia, Macha Méril, Eros Pagni, Giuliana Calandra, Piero Mazzinghi, Glauco Mauri, Clara Calamai, Aldo Bonamano

“Deep Red was Dario Argento’s first full-fledged masterpiece, a riveting thriller whose secrets carefully unravel via a series of carefully calibrated compositions that become not unlike virtual gateways into Freudian pasts. Like Argento’s ever-flowing camera, Deep Red’s killer is everywhere—the protagonist’s claustrophobia becomes a physical response both to the film’s oppressive mise-en-scène and Argento’s formal framing. Unlike The Cat O’ Nine Tails, there’s no silly scientific rationale here for the film’s murders (indeed, there are no easy answers). Argento delicately grapples with issues feminism and masculinity within Deep Red’s meticulously visual exegesis of a troubled psyche.” – Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine

Cat People

69. (-1) Cat People

Jacques Tourneur

1942 / USA / 73m / BW / Supernatural | IMDb
Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Tom Conway, Jane Randolph, Jack Holt

“First in the wondrous series of B movies in which Val Lewton elaborated his principle of horrors imagined rather than seen, with a superbly judged performance from Simon as the young wife ambivalently haunted by sexual frigidity and by a fear that she is metamorphosing into a panther. With its chilling set pieces directed to perfection by Tourneur, it knocks Paul Schrader’s remake for six, not least because of the care subtly taken to imbue its cat people (Simon, Russell) with feline mannerisms.” – Tom Milne, Time Out

Drag Me to Hell

70. (+1) Drag Me to Hell

Sam Raimi

2009 / USA / 99m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, Dileep Rao, David Paymer, Adriana Barraza, Chelcie Ross, Reggie Lee, Molly Cheek, Bojana Novakovic

“As scary as the film is, it is still downright hilarious in all the right (and sometimes very wrong) ways. I fear that the more casual horror fans won’t quite get the joke; the joke of course being that the entire film is actually One. Big. Joke. Drag Me To Hell is both an old-school celebration of classic eighties horror flicks and a pitch-perfect spoof of modern-day terror-tropes, from its Danny Elfman-aping score to its Ghostbusters-esque spectres. It would all be laughable if it still weren’t so damn frightening. Raimi teases the audience like a master seducer (note one sequence featuring a pesky fly flirting with Lohman’s upper lip). Each moment is almost unwatchable for its intensity, but you’d be crazy to look away.” – Simon Miraudo, Quickflix

The Changeling

71. (-2) The Changeling

Peter Medak

1980 / Canada / 107m / Col / Haunted House | IMDb
George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, Melvyn Douglas, Jean Marsh, John Colicos, Barry Morse, Madeleine Sherwood, Helen Burns, Frances Hyland, Ruth Springford

“The mansion, a gigantic and rickety invention, represents what most people would automatically picture after hearing the words “haunted house.” It’s dark and creepy, and it’s a wonder that Scott’s character even agreed to live there. While the house provides the aura of dread that pervades the movie, the restraint shown by director Peter Medak is just as responsible for the effectiveness of the tale. Instead of inundating us with over-the-top haunted house hijinks, he bides his time by waiting before introducing the ghostly happenings – a weird noise here, a horrifying vision there – which provides a satisfyingly ominous atmosphere.” – Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress

Cannibal Holocaust

72. (+3) Cannibal Holocaust

Ruggero Deodato

1980 / Italy / 95m / Col / Cannibal | IMDb
Robert Kerman, Francesca Ciardi, Perry Pirkanen, Luca Barbareschi, Salvatore Basile, Ricardo Fuentes, Carl Gabriel Yorke, Paolo Paoloni, Lionello Pio Di Savoia

“Despite poor dubbing, this is a more interesting and unusual film than its schlock-horror title and subject matter might suggest. The intense climax is approached with excellent cinematography and editing, as savage cruelty is eerily juxtaposed with beautiful scenery and Riz Ortolani’s terrific score. Its pointed attack on exploitative film-making seems somewhat rich in the circumstances, but this is well made, uniquely unpleasant and almost deserving of its huge cult status.” – Time Out

Dracula

73. (-1) Dracula

Terence Fisher

1958 / UK / 82m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Michael Gough, Melissa Stribling, Carol Marsh, Olga Dickie, John Van Eyssen, Valerie Gaunt, Janina Faye, Barbara Archer

“This creepy period yarn has retained much of its bite… One shouldn’t be brutal about a film of such noble intent, but as ‘horror’ it doesn’t have the honest-to-goodness scares that modern audiences expect. Still, Christopher Lee’s Dracula is a menacing and complex presence who never lets his fangs and cape dominate. There’s also the canny use of vampirism as an allegory for drug abuse and sexually transmitted disease: is this the camp forerunner to Abel Ferrara’s The Addiction?” – David Jenkins, Time Out

Haute tension

74. (-1) Haute tension

Alexandre Aja

2003 / France / 91m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
Cécile De France, Maïwenn, Philippe Nahon, Franck Khalfoun, Andrei Finti, Oana Pellea, Marco Claudiu Pascu, Jean-Claude de Goros, Bogdan Uritescu, Gabriel Spahiu

“Director Alexandre Aja manages to create one of the most layered and suspenseful slasher films ever made since “Halloween” and while displaying often disturbing scenes of graphic violence, the film’s main point is its atmosphere and tension as these two people play a game of cat and mouse trying to outwit one another relentlessly. The film continuously runs on a loop of a pretty plot-less and utter pointless violence and gore which becomes an exercise in snuff and brutality that didn’t satisfy any need I had for a true horror movie.” – Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed

Janghwa, Hongryeon

75. (-1) Janghwa, Hongryeon

Kim Jee-woon

2003 / South Korea / 115m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Kap-su Kim, Jung-ah Yum, Su-jeong Lim, Geun-Young Moon, Seung-bi Lee, Park Mi-Hyun

“The film’s most striking aspect is Kim’s framing, which includes a fair number of overhead shots and off-kilter angles. The art of horror filmmaking lies in defining screen space, so that audiences are led to look beyond the foreground for what might be jumping into the emptiness. With A Tale Of Two Sisters, it takes time to adjust to what Kim shows, which means the audience—and the sisters—have a hard time figuring out where the scares are coming from.” – Noel Murray, A.V. Club

Near Dark

76. (0) Near Dark

Kathryn Bigelow

1987 / USA / 94m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein, Tim Thomerson, Joshua John Miller, Marcie Leeds, Kenny Call, Ed Corbett

“There’s a ghastly humor in all this, and Bigelow brings it out without overindulging it. Faced with a nearly repulsive subject, she makes the blood flow inside it, stream out over the cuts. “Near Dark” (MPAA-rated: R for sex and violence) is probably too violent for any but hard-core horror audiences. But unlike “The Hitcher,” it isn’t illogically violent or artificially horrific. Bigelow’s visual style–rudimentary in her earlier film, “The Loveless”–is often sensational here. She’s made a film whose pop nihilism and occasional wild beauty can raise a few honest shivers.” – Michael Wilmington, Los Angeles Times

À l'intérieur

77. (+2) À l’intérieur

Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury

2007 / France / 82m / Col / Home Invasion | IMDb
Alysson Paradis, Jean-Baptiste Tabourin, Claude Lulé, Dominique Frot, Nathalie Roussel, François-Régis Marchasson, Béatrice Dalle, Hyam Zaytoun, Tahar Rahim

“A compelling, unusually nasty little horror flick, Inside takes an exceedingly simple premise – a pregnant lady is terrorized by a psychopath – and just runs with it. Sarah (Alysson Paradis) is nine months pregnant when a crazy maniac (Beatrice Dalle) breaks into her house and immediately makes it clear that she’s not leaving without the unborn child. Directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury have infused Inside with an exceedingly dark (both literally and figuratively) sensibility that proves impossible to resist; the incredibly stylish visuals (which certainly owe a lot to Panic Room) are undoubtedly a highlight, while Paradis does a superb job of ensuring that Sarah never quite becomes a horror-movie stereotype” – David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews

Carnival of Souls

78. (0) Carnival of Souls

Herk Harvey

1962 / USA / 78m / BW / Psychological | IMDb
Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger, Art Ellison, Stan Levitt, Tom McGinnis, Forbes Caldwell, Dan Palmquist, Bill de Jarnette, Steve Boozer

“With its striking black-and-white compositions, disorienting dream sequences and eerie atmosphere, this has the feel of a silent German expressionist movie. Unfortunately, so does some of the acting, which suffers from exaggerated facial expressions and bizarre gesturing. But the mesmerising power of the carnival and dance-hall sequences far outweighs the corniness of the awkward intimate scenes; and as Mary, caught in limbo between this world and the next, dances to the discordant carnival music of time, the subsequent work of George Romero and David Lynch comes constantly to mind.” – Time Out

Aliens

79. (+1) Aliens

James Cameron

1986 / USA / 137m / Col / Science Fiction | IMDb
Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein, William Hope, Al Matthews, Mark Rolston

“The first of these movies remains one of the great sci-fi horror achievements of the modern cinema, but its sequel, “Aliens,” is that rare instance where a follow-up deviates from the formula and finds an effective rhythm in propelling the story. As a vehicle to showcase the emerging talents of a then-relative newcomer named James Cameron, the movie also inspired the way many such films have been made in the years since: with full ensembles of distinctive speaking parts, moody photography that exploited claustrophobic feelings, and a sense of storytelling that was gradual but unrelenting in the way it imprisoned characters in a world of nonstop terror.” – David Keyes, Cinemaphile

Les diaboliques

80. (-3) Les diaboliques

Henri-Georges Clouzot

1955 / France / 114m / BW / Psychological | IMDb
Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse, Charles Vanel, Jean Brochard, Thérèse Dorny, Michel Serrault, Georges Chamarat, Robert Dalban, Camille Guérini

“Before Psycho, Peeping Tom, and Repulsion, there was Diabolique. This thriller from Henri‑Georges Clouzot, which shocked audiences in Europe and the U.S., is the story of two women—the fragile wife and the willful mistress of the sadistic headmaster of a boys’ boarding school—who hatch a daring revenge plot. With its unprecedented narrative twists and terrifying images, Diabolique is a heart-grabbing benchmark in horror filmmaking, featuring outstanding performances by Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, and Paul Meurisse.” – The Criterion Collection

The Conjuring

81. (+9) The Conjuring

James Wan

2013 / USA / 112m / Col / Haunted House | IMDb
Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston, Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy, Kyla Deaver, Shannon Kook

“The Conjuring has just enough tongue-in-cheek visual elements—like the goofy yellow font introducing the film’s title and “true-story” origins, the ostentatious zooms, and the prevalence of high-waist jeans—to maintain an element of levity without undermining the film’s frights. The period touches never distract from the deft storytelling, in which Wan juggles two separate families and their distinct wants, fears, and stakes… As the thematic emphasis jockeys between their stories, multiple events often occur simultaneously, particularly toward the climax, giving the film a swift pace and a tension that primes the audience to jump.” – Sarah Mankoff, Film Comment Magazine

Jacob's Ladder

82. (+1) Jacob’s Ladder

Adrian Lyne

1990 / USA / 113m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña, Danny Aiello, Matt Craven, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Jason Alexander, Patricia Kalember, Eriq La Salle, Ving Rhames, Brian Tarantina

“Jacob’s Ladder invites participation and is an intellectually stimulating experience. Even for those who know the ending, there’s still pleasure to be had in piecing together the puzzle and figuring out how everything fits together. Without the final piece – that is provided in the last scene – it can be a frustrating experience, but there are those who will figure out the truth before it is explicitly revealed. The film’s tone, with its gothic settings, demonic images, and affinity for darkness and shadows, is more reminiscent of horror than anything else, although some would argue that Jacob’s Ladder should be seen as science fiction or even a war movie.” – James Berardinelli, ReelViews

Misery

83. (-1) Misery

Rob Reiner

1990 / USA / 107m / Col / Thriller | IMDb
James Caan, Kathy Bates, Richard Farnsworth, Frances Sternhagen, Lauren Bacall, Graham Jarvis, Jerry Potter, Thomas Brunelle, June Christopher, Julie Payne

“The casting is inspired: Caan oozes frustration at his physical disability, while Bates brings authority and an eerie naturalness to her demented character, her homespun expressions (‘oogie’, ‘dirty birdy’) providing a bizarre counterpoint to her increasingly cruel actions. Reiner captures just the right level of physical tension, but for the most part wisely emphasises the mental duels. Terrific.” – Time Out

The Howling

84. (-3) The Howling

Joe Dante

1981 / USA / 91m / Col / Werewolf | IMDb
Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan, Christopher Stone, Belinda Balaski, Kevin McCarthy, John Carradine, Slim Pickens, Elisabeth Brooks, Robert Picardo

“The Howling is a cracking good horror film, anchored by strong performances. Rather than being a stereotypical female victim, Karen is smart, fierce, and formidable, even when she’s vulnerable in the face of hairy beasts. The movie is also aided by groundbreaking special effects, which still look phenomenal today. Makeup wizard Rob Bottin developed a smoother, more convincing way to do werewolf transitions than had ever been seen before. Without a doubt, the showstopping moment comes when we spend several minutes watching a character morph into a wolf. This has to be one of the seminal moments in ’80s horror.” – Mike McGranaghan, Aisle Seat

Phantasm

85. (+1) Phantasm

Don Coscarelli

1979 / USA / 88m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
A. Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, Reggie Bannister, Kathy Lester, Terrie Kalbus, Kenneth V. Jones, Susan Harper, Lynn Eastman-Rossi, David Arntzen, Ralph Richmond

“Cheap Phantasm was; unimaginative is emphatically was not. It looks on paper an awful lot like plenty of other films, past and future, on the model of “inquisitive kid gets in over his head”; horror films and thrillers with one foot planted firmly in bedtime story. What sets Coscarelli’s picture apart from its genre cousins is the batshit crazy tone, a certain feeling of his not giving any kind of a shit whatsoever about telling a story that makes sense; it’s suggested at the end that some indeterminate amount of the movie might have been a nightmare, even a recurring nightmare, complete with a shocker ending that seems to immediately invalidate that same possibility.” – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

Zombi 2

86. (+6) Zombi 2

Lucio Fulci

1979 / Italy / 91m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Tisa Farrow, Ian McCulloch, Richard Johnson, Al Cliver, Auretta Gay, Stefania D’Amario, Olga Karlatos

“The Italian goremeister’s breakthrough film features not a single believable character or plot point, no semblance of narrative cohesion or momentum, scraggly editing, horribly dubbed dialogue and a deadening lack of subtext. Yet via a few satisfyingly blood-splattered set pieces and some nice panoramic shots of voodoo-spawned zombies shuffling through a dusty Caribbean shantytown and emerging from the graves of centuries-old Spanish conquistadors, Fulci’s film nevertheless achieves a ghastly sort of brilliance. With close-ups of zombie mouths tearing flesh from victims’ throats, an eyeball being impaled on a shard of wood, and some hilariously unnecessary T&A, Zombie delivers the grisly B-movie goods.” – Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness

Dracula

87. (+1) Dracula

Francis Ford Coppola

1992 / USA / 128m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Richard E. Grant, Cary Elwes, Billy Campbell, Sadie Frost, Tom Waits, Monica Bellucci

“Shot almost entirely on sound stages, film has the feel of an old-fashioned, 1930s, studio-enclosed production made with the benefit of 1990s technology. From the striking, blood-drenched prologue onward, the viewer is constantly made aware of cinema artifice in its grandest manifestations. Detractors may compare this to “One From The Heart,” but the mechanics are really quite impressive and provide plenty to marvel at. Thomas Sanders’ production design, Michael Ballhaus’ lensing, Michele Burke’s makeup and, especially, Japanese designer Eiko Ishioka’s amazing costumes create a dark world of heightened irreality within a context that is both Gothic and Victorian.” – Todd McCarthy, Variety

Ginger Snaps

88. (-4) Ginger Snaps

John Fawcett

2000 / Canada / 108m / Col / Werewolf | IMDb
Emily Perkins, Katharine Isabelle, Kris Lemche, Mimi Rogers, Jesse Moss, Danielle Hampton, John Bourgeois, Peter Keleghan, Christopher Redman, Jimmy MacInnis

“John Fawcett’s cult teen horror film uses the idea of mutation – both biological and sociological – to provide a witty and intelligent exploration of what it means to become and live as a woman in middle-class suburbia. Twinned in Victorian boots, plaid skirts and over-sized overcoats, the fuzzy-haired Fitzgerald sisters – Ginger and Brigitte – are cast as mutants in the homogenous world of Bailey Downs, a fictitious Canadian town of pristine picket fences and sports pitch triumphs. The sisters deviate from the norm, not only in their Gothic fashion choices but also in their biological development. As their mother tactfully remarks in one of several awkward family dinner scenes, ‘the girls are three years late menstruating – they’re not normal’.” – Eleanor McKeown, Electric Sheep

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

89. (-4) Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

John McNaughton

1986 / USA / 83m / Col / Crime | IMDb
Mary Demas, Michael Rooker, Anne Bartoletti, Elizabeth Kaden, Ted Kaden, Denise Sullivan, Anita Ores, Megan Ores, Cheri Jones, Monica Anne O’Malley

“The tensions developed here are more behavioral and psychological than those essayed by Hitchcock, though the insights into the personality of a compulsive killer are at best partial and perfunctory. What mainly registers is the nihilism of the warped ex-con (Rooker) and his dim-witted friend and accomplice (Towles), who joins him in a string of senseless murders, which the film makes chillingly believable.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

La maschera del demonio

90. (-3) La maschera del demonio

Mario Bava

1960 / Italy / 87m / BW / Gothic | IMDb
Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Andrea Checchi, Ivo Garrani, Arturo Dominici, Enrico Olivieri, Antonio Pierfederici, Tino Bianchi, Clara Bindi, Mario Passante

“Intense gore also being part of the Italian horror experience, I take pleasure in thinking that this early masterpiece of the form would be, in its little way, intense enough that even after decades of increasingly explicit and imaginative bloodletting, Black Sunday still includes moments that can be genuinely unsettling. The hallmark of Bava’s filmmaking is style, atmosphere, and alarming violence, and these things are all at their very best here, in his most approachable and perhaps even his most beautiful film. It’s a tremendous start to what would end up being one of the most brilliant careers in all of horror, and one of the genres undeniable masterpieces.” – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

Se7en

91. (-2) Se7en

David Fincher

1995 / USA / 127m / Col / Crime | IMDb
Morgan Freeman, Andrew Kevin Walker, Daniel Zacapa, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, John Cassini, Bob Mack, Peter Crombie, Reg E. Cathey, R. Lee Ermey

“Admittedly, designer unpleasantness is a hallmark of our era, and this movie may be more concerned with wallowing in it than with illuminating what it means politically. Yet the filmmakers stick to their vision with such dedication and persistence that something indelible comes across—something ethically and artistically superior to The Silence of the Lambs that refuses to exploit suffering for fun or entertainment and leaves you wondering about the world we’re living in.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

Vampyr

92. (-1) Vampyr

Carl Theodor Dreyer

1932 / Germany / 83m / BW / Vampire | IMDb
Julian West, Maurice Schutz, Rena Mandel, Sybille Schmitz, Jan Hieronimko, Henriette Gérard, Albert Bras, N. Babanini, Jane Mora, Georges Boidin

“With Vampyr, Danish filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer’s brilliance at achieving mesmerizing atmosphere and austere, profoundly unsettling imagery (The Passion of Joan of Arc and Day of Wrath) was for once applied to the horror genre. Yet the result—concerning an occult student assailed by various supernatural haunts and local evildoers in a village outside Paris—is nearly unclassifiable, a host of stunning camera and editing tricks and densely layered sounds creating a mood of dreamlike terror. With its roiling fogs, ominous scythes, and foreboding echoes, Vampyr is one of cinema’s great nightmares.” – The Criterion Collection

Night of the Demon

93. (+3) Night of the Demon

Jacques Tourneur

1957 / UK / 95m / BW / Supernatural | IMDb
Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins, Niall MacGinnis, Maurice Denham, Athene Seyler, Liam Redmond, Reginald Beckwith, Ewan Roberts, Peter Elliott

“A major work in that minor genre, horror movies. Intelligent, delicate, and actually frightening (no kidding), this was directed by Jacques Tourneur, author of many of the best of Val Lewton’s famous series of B-budget shockers. A shot or two of a cheesy monster (insisted upon by the producer) are the only violations of the film’s sublime allusiveness, through which the unseen acquires a palpitating presence. Tourneur is attempting a rational apprehension of the irrational, examining not so much the supernatural itself but the insecurities it springs from and the uses it may be put to.” – Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

Fright Night

94. (+3) Fright Night

Tom Holland

1985 / USA / 106m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, Roddy McDowall, Stephen Geoffreys, Jonathan Stark, Dorothy Fielding, Art Evans, Stewart Stern, Nick Savage

“A farrago of cartoonish exaggeration (mouthfuls of fangs, razor-sharp talons and eyes like burning coals), knowing humour and ’80s camp, it shouldn’t even begin to work, and yet, strangely, it does, sort of, thanks to the assured handling of writer/director Holland, and two performances in particular – Geoffreys as Charley’s pal Evil, and McDowall as the timid vampire killer. The music helps, covering an ambitious range from piano-murdering suspense-raisers, through disco fodder, to a Sparks tune.” – Time Out

Dead of Night

95. (+5) Dead of Night

Various

1945 / UK / 103m / BW / Anthology | IMDb
Mervyn Johns, Roland Culver, Mary Merrall, Googie Withers, Frederick Valk, Anthony Baird, Sally Ann Howes, Robert Wyndham, Judy Kelly, Miles Malleson

“Unlike most other anthologies—which are usually directed by one person—Dead of Night divides its content between four different directors. That the end result is as cohesive and flows as naturally as it does is a testament to the strengths of all its directors. Basil Dearden handled the wraparound segments dealing with the gathering at the manor. The final four minutes of the film, an unbearably chilling whirlpool of madness, is a tour de force depiction of the man’s nightmare.” – Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine

Session 9

96. (-3) Session 9

Brad Anderson

2001 / USA / 100m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
David Caruso, Stephen Gevedon, Paul Guilfoyle, Josh Lucas, Peter Mullan, Brendan Sexton III, Charley Broderick, Lonnie Farmer, Larry Fessenden, Jurian Hughes

“The entire movie is like one giant jigsaw puzzle; mind you, this movie is very plot-driven and very loooong but stick with it, because in the end all the pieces puzzle will come crashing together and when they do, it’s a jaw-dropper. People looking for a quick scare here and there won’t find it here; there isn’t a witty ending, there’s not a lot of jumpy moments and there’s no masked man running around slashing teens. But what this lacks in the dazzle department it makes up for in brains and plot. I suggest you check out this intelligent horror flick, it’s a doozey.” – Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed

The Wolf Man

97. (-2) The Wolf Man

George Waggner

1941 / USA / 70m / BW / Werewolf | IMDb
Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Rains, Warren William, Ralph Bellamy, Patric Knowles, Bela Lugosi, Maria Ouspenskaya, Evelyn Ankers, J.M. Kerrigan, Fay Helm

“Like most of the Universal crop, this intelligent and sophisticated picture unfortunately sports a brief running time (70 minutes), but the screenplay by Curt Siodmak manages to pack the proceedings with all manner of intriguing developments, including discussions on the duality of man as well as the place of superstition in a God-fearing world. Jack Pierce’s makeup design is superb, and the strong cast also includes Ralph Bellamy as the local constable, Lugosi as a doomed fortune teller, and Maria Ouspenskaya as the gypsy woman who attempts to help Larry.” – Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing

The Fog

98. (-4) The Fog

John Carpenter

1980 / USA / 89m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, John Houseman, Tom Atkins, James Canning, Charles Cyphers, Nancy Kyes, Ty Mitchell, Hal Holbrook

“”The Fog” orchestrates a thick pall of apprehension and good-time suspense as the murderous motives of the ghosts in the fog are uncovered and the climax works itself out. An attack on Stevie at the lighthouse is tautly filmed, as is a set-piece where Andy and his elderly babysitter are accosted in her home by the enveloping stratus clouds. Like any great story to tell around a fire on a chilly night, “The Fog” ends with the portentous notion that it may return. “If this has been anything but a nightmare, and if we don’t wake up to find ourselves safe in our beds,” Stevie surmises, “it could come again.”” – Dustin Putman, The Movie Boy

...E tu vivrai nel terrore! L'aldilà

99. (+2) …E tu vivrai nel terrore! L’aldilà

Lucio Fulci

1981 / Italy / 87m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Catriona MacColl, David Warbeck, Cinzia Monreale, Antoine Saint-John, Veronica Lazar, Anthony Flees, Giovanni De Nava, Al Cliver, Michele Mirabella, Gianpaolo Saccarola

“It is something of a perfect horror movie. The genre, as I have argued and others have argued before me, is all about the interruption of the quotidian by the uncanny; horror, that is, is the presence of inexplicable danger in the face of the most banal kind of normality. It’s hard to think of a better way to describe The Beyond than “inexplicable”, the plot rolls along so capriciously and arbitrarily.” – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

Dellamorte Dellamore

100. (-2) Dellamorte Dellamore

Michele Soavi

1994 / Italy / 105m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Rupert Everett, François Hadji-Lazaro, Anna Falchi, Mickey Knox, Fabiana Formica, Clive Riche, Katja Anton, Barbara Cupisti, Anton Alexander, Pietro Genuardi

“The cemetery itself is a triumph of production design, an inhabited world with curious nooks and crannies (the Ossuary, Gnaghi’s cellar in the watchman’s house). It’s also a representation of Francesco’s state of mind, and the essence of the movie rests in the ways he discovers to break away from it. Gory and playful, darkly humorous and flippantly bleak, Soavi’s film is a joyride through a sullen state of mind. After Francesco takes his revenge on the world outside, and sets himself to escaping from the life he’s made, Dellamorte Dellamore finally offers up its own definition of madness.” – Bryant Frazer, Bryant Frazer’s Deep Focus