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#101-#200

The 1,000 Greatest Horror Films: #101-#200

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

Dellamorte Dellamore

101. (+7) 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

...E tu vivrai nel terrore! L'aldilà

102. (-7) …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

Jacob's Ladder

103. (-7) 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

Dracula

104. (+8) 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

The Fly

105. (+9) The Fly

Kurt Neumann

1958 / USA / 94m / BW / Science Fiction | IMDb
David Hedison, Patricia Owens, Vincent Price, Herbert Marshall, Kathleen Freeman, Betty Lou Gerson, Charles Herbert


“Because movies in the 50s couldn’t have the extravagant effects of movies in the 80s (let alone the massive CGI fantasy creation of today’s cinema), a film like this one had to rely on suspense, mystery and characters, keeping the big reveals and money shots to a minimum. It’s not that “The Fly” is a lickety-split, fast-moving character burn. Instead, it’s a mystery for the characters in the film. Oddly enough, the mystery is blown for pretty much anyone who saw this film once it left theaters. The human-fly hybrid moments are such a part of our popular culture now that there’s no surprise at all. Everyone knows what’s under Andre Delambre’s sheet. Everyone knows where we will finally see him in the end. The beauty of this film is that it manages to be entirely watchable and engaging even with this knowledge.” – Kevin Carr, 7M Pictures

Phantasm

106. (-9) 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

Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht

107. (0) Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht

Werner Herzog

1979 / Germany / 107m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz, Roland Topor, Walter Ladengast, Dan van Husen, Jan Groth, Carsten Bodinus, Martje Grohmann, Rijk de Gooyer


“One striking quality of the film is its beauty. Herzog’s pictorial eye is not often enough credited. His films always upstage it with their themes. We are focused on what happens, and there are few “beauty shots.” Look here at his control of the color palate, his off-center compositions, of the dramatic counterpoint of light and dark. Here is a film that does honor to the seriousness of vampires. No, I don’t believe in them. But if they were real, here is how they must look.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

The Fog

108. (+8) 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

The Mummy

109. (+9) The Mummy

Karl Freund

1932 / USA / 73m / BW / Monster | IMDb
Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Arthur Byron, Edward Van Sloan, Bramwell Fletcher, Noble Johnson, Kathryn Byron, Leonard Mudie, James Crane


“The clear stand-out – and, my love for Freund notwithstanding, the reason that The Mummy still works so beautifully – is Karloff, whose bandaged-up mummy is a memorable image, but whose stiff, menacing Ardath Bey is a magnificent performance of a tremendously compelling villain. There’s none of the plummy charm that he frequently brought to his subsequent villains; Bey is not without wit (which he uses to cutting effect against the blithely imperialistic British characters), but he is without humor, and Karloff’s performance is an unimpeachable triumph of presence and restraint.” – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

The Last House on the Left

110. (+3) The Last House on the Left

Wes Craven

1972 / USA / 84m / Col / Rape and Revenge | IMDb
Sandra Peabody, Lucy Grantham, David Hess, Fred J. Lincoln, Jeramie Rain, Marc Sheffler, Richard Towers, Cynthia Carr, Ada Washington, Marshall Anker


“What does come through in “Last House on the Left” is a powerful narrative, told so directly and strongly that the audience (mostly in the mood for just another good old exploitation film) was rocked back on its psychic heels. Wes Craven’s direction never lets us out from under almost unbearable dramatic tension (except in some silly scenes involving a couple of dumb cops, who overact and seriously affect the plot’s credibility). The acting is unmannered and natural, I guess. There’s no posturing. There’s a good ear for dialogue and nuance. And there is evil in this movie. Not bloody escapism, or a thrill a minute, but a fully developed sense of the vicious natures of the killers. There is no glory in this violence.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Candyman

111. (+8) 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

House on Haunted Hill

112. (-14) House on Haunted Hill

William Castle

1959 / USA / 75m / BW / Haunted House | IMDb
Vincent Price, Carol Ohmart, Richard Long, Alan Marshal, Carolyn Craig, Elisha Cook Jr., Julie Mitchum, Leona Anderson, Howard Hoffman, Skeleton


“The number of people who have made B-pictures and seemed to genuinely love that they were doing it is a small list indeed, and rare indeed is the B-movie artist whose work suggests such enthusiasm for his job – it puts Castle on a rarefied level next to the like of John Carpenter, a director you could not otherwise compare him to. House on Haunted Hill might be dumb and corny and reliant to a ludicrous degree on Price’s withering sarcasm, but it not only knows what it is, it loves being what it is, and that’s enough to make it one of the very best “boo!” movies that I have ever seen.” – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

113. (-11) What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Robert Aldrich

1962 / USA / 134m / BW / Psychological | IMDb
Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Victor Buono, Wesley Addy, Julie Allred, Anne Barton, Marjorie Bennett, Bert Freed, Anna Lee, Maidie Norman


“What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is a classic for a reason: it’s gorgeously atmospheric in both the visuals and the soundtrack, and it’s a marathon of high-impact Grand Dame acting. The film came out in the moment when “film history” was really beginning to find its footing as a discipline, and in some ways, this is one of the great first moments in film nostalgia: it counts on its audience knowing the actors’ work and being suitably terrified by their transformation from leading ladies to aggressors in a bleak psychological battle; it is scariest not just because Jane is a terror, but because Bette Davis is the one bringing her to that point.” – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

The Masque of the Red Death

114. (+6) The Masque of the Red Death

Roger Corman

1964 / USA / 89m / Col / Gothic | IMDb
Vincent Price, Hazel Court, Jane Asher, David Weston, Nigel Green, Patrick Magee, Paul Whitsun-Jones, Skip Martin, Robert Brown, Julian Burton


“In one of his best villainous performances, Price displays admirable restraint, avoiding the over-the-top ham that typified his horror roles at this time, instead putting his tongue-in-cheek style in the service of his bemused character (instead of using it as a sarcastic comment on the character), and the script is sophisticated in a way that few horror films are. Corman does the best work of his career, aided by the wonderful cinematography of Nicolas Roeg. MASQUE is not only the pinnacle of Corman’s Poe films; it is also one of the best horror films ever made.” – Steve Biodrowski, Hollywood Gothique

Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein

115. (+6) Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein

Charles Barton

1948 / USA / 83m / BW / Comedy | IMDb
Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Lon Chaney Jr., Bela Lugosi, Glenn Strange, Lenore Aubert, Jane Randolph, Frank Ferguson, Charles Bradstreet


“I remember the first movie I saw on television when I was, like, “Oh wow, you can do this in a movie?” was Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. That was my favorite movie when I was five years old. The Abbott and Costello stuff was funny, but when they were out of the room and the monsters would come on, they’d kill people! And the big brain operation when they take out Costello’s brain and put in Frankenstein’s Monster’s brain was scary. Then this nurse gets thrown through a window! She’s dead! When’s the last time you saw anybody in a comedy-horror film actually kill somebody?… I remember thinking, these are the greatest movies ever made. You get a great comedy and a great horror movie – all together.” – Quentin Tarantino, Interview Magazine

Witchfinder General

116. (+9) Witchfinder General

Michael Reeves

1968 / UK / 86m / Col / Gothic | IMDb
Vincent Price, Ian Ogilvy, Rupert Davies, Hilary Heath, Robert Russell, Nicky Henson, Tony Selby, Bernard Kay, Godfrey James, Michael Beint


“Price is superb as real-life witchhunter Matthew Hopkins, who satisfies his lusts for money, power and sex under the guise of a Christian seeking to rid the world of Satan worshippers. Writer-director Michael Reeves pulls no punches with this absorbing material, and while the film (based on Ronald Bassett’s novel) fudges many of the historical facts, it’s unrelenting in its depiction of the way in which unbridled evil has the power to destroy all forms of innocence and virtue.” – Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing

The Old Dark House

117. (+20) The Old Dark House

James Whale

1932 / USA / 72m / BW / Gothic | IMDb
Boris Karloff, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton, Lilian Bond, Ernest Thesiger, Eva Moore, Raymond Massey, Gloria Stuart, Elspeth Dudgeon, Brember Wills


“Whale was probably more at home with The Old Dark House than any of the other horror films, due to the sophisticated characters, witty dialogue, and the wonderful old house set. He’s very good at providing chills that aren’t as campy as his monster movies, but are still slightly corny and funny. […] I have to give Whale credit for shooting the movie on a single set, but avoiding staginess or play readings. He made an example of a real moving picture. The screenwriter, Ben Levy, must also be credited for some of the brilliant dialogue, as Whale was able to obtain the best and wittiest of them for his horror movies. (The movie was adapted from a novel by J.B. Priestley.) It’s the ultimate haunted-house movie, and the ultimate spoof of them at the same time.” – Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid

Gojira

118. (+32) Gojira

Ishirô Honda

1954 / Japan / 96m / BW / Monster | IMDb
Akira Takarada, Momoko Kôchi, Akihiko Hirata, Takashi Shimura, Fuyuki Murakami, Sachio Sakai, Toranosuke Ogawa, Ren Yamamoto, Hiroshi Hayashi, Takeo Oikawa


“The special effects for this re-released 1954 film by Ishiro Honda may now look a bit creaky, but the storytelling is muscular and the post-nuclear parable it offers is passionate and fascinatingly ambiguous… Godzilla wreaks devastation on Japanese cities – portrayed in such a way as explicitly to recall Hiroshima and the Allies’ bombing of Tokyo. Could it be that Godzilla gave Japan a way of confronting the carnage imaginatively, without the chagrin of military defeat? Or that Godzilla symbolises Japan’s defiant survival, and even indeed its righteous anger and its own undiminished potential for retaliatory destruction?… Either way, Godzilla’s killing looks movingly sacrificial, a renunciation of violence.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Pet Sematary

119. (+21) Pet Sematary

Mary Lambert

1989 / USA / 103m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Dale Midkiff, Fred Gwynne, Denise Crosby, Brad Greenquist, Michael Lombard, Miko Hughes, Blaze Berdahl, Susan Blommaert, Mara Clark, Kavi Raz


“A motion picture of loss and regret, “Pet Sematary” imagines the worst in its view of the permanent disintegration of a family. Haunting, sorrowful and reverberatingly eerie, the film is also complemented by the punk-rock flair of The Ramones (who perform the title track over the end credits) and the thoroughly unsettling, gothically enhanced instrumental score by Elliot Goldenthal (2007’s “Across the Universe”). That “Pet Sematary” is as creepy as it is without bogging down in genre trappings is a rare miracle in horror circles. Director Mary Lambert trusts in the universality of her characters, their tightly drawn relationships with each other, and the insurmountable conflicts they face to carry the story forward. It is these things that most resonate—these are what we relate to and can connect with, after all—and the reason why “Pet Sematary” has endured and not been forgotten in the twenty years since its release. ” – Dustin Putman, The Movie Boy

Le locataire

120. (+21) Le locataire

Roman Polanski

1976 / France / 126m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Roman Polanski, Isabelle Adjani, Melvyn Douglas, Jo Van Fleet, Bernard Fresson, Lila Kedrova, Claude Dauphin, Claude Piéplu, Rufus, Romain Bouteille


“Movies about madness tend to lose me after a certain point. The tension vanishes when one realizes that any absurdity, any trick, is available to the film maker. The director and his audience must share a set of rules for what passes for ordinary behavior if suspense is to be maintained. These rules do not exist in “The Tenant.” That “The Tenant” works so well is because it’s not strictly about madness, though that is its narrative form. It’s about emotional isolation that has become physical.” – Vincent Canby, New York Times

Village of the Damned

121. (-12) Village of the Damned

Wolf Rilla

1960 / UK / 77m / BW / Science Fiction | IMDb
George Sanders, Barbara Shelley, Martin Stephens, Michael Gwynn, Laurence Naismith, Richard Warner, Jenny Laird, Sarah Long, Thomas Heathcote


“A modest but intelligent and extremely effective adaptation of John Wyndham’s novel The Midwich Cuckoos, about a small English village which mysteriously and inexplicably succumbs to a 24-hour trance-like sleep, after which the womenfolk all discover that they are pregnant. The alien children, strangely alike in appearance, prove to be endowed with telepathic and kinetic powers…You don’t get much explanation, and the overall plot may not withstand detailed analysis. But the atmosphere and pace are superbly handled, and the performances of the sinister, inhumanly intelligent ‘children’ never falter. The allegorical possibilities (generation gap?) are there, but they don’t get in the way.” – Time Out

I tre volti della paura

122. (0) I tre volti della paura

Mario Bava

1963 / Italy / 92m / Col / Anthology | IMDb
Michèle Mercier, Lidia Alfonsi, Boris Karloff, Mark Damon, Susy Andersen, Massimo Righi, Rika Dialina, Glauco Onorato, Jacqueline Pierreux, Milly


“The dexterity Bava exhibits across these quite distinct narratives is somewhat astounding, from the lurid colors and serpentine camera pans of his giallo-ish opener, to the palpable suspense and gothic beauty of his triumphant Karloff-headlined second story, to the EC Comics-style spookiness of his concluding entry, which features a corpse whose undead smile is unforgettable. Black Sabbath is a gem of stunning visuals, but more fundamentally, it’s also – like the rest of his finest films – an exemplar of expressionistic visual storytelling.” – Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness

Faust: Eine deutsche Volkssage

123. (+19) Faust: Eine deutsche Volkssage

F.W. Murnau

1926 / Germany / 85m / BW / Fantasy | IMDb
Gösta Ekman, Emil Jannings, Camilla Horn, Frida Richard, William Dieterle, Yvette Guilbert, Eric Barclay, Hanna Ralph, Werner Fuetterer


“FAUST is an extremely stylish horror fantasy in the best tradition of German silent cinema, featuring brilliant photography, magnificent art direction, and magical special effects which still have the power to amaze. The opening sequence is a mesmerizing example of Murnau’s supreme visual artistry, showing the demonic Horsemen of the Apocalypse (War, Plague, Famine) riding through the sky, Mephisto confronting the angel in Heaven, and the gargantuan-sized Mephisto hovering over the city and casting a giant shadow over it as he spreads his wings. Every shot of Carl Hoffman’s chiaroscuro photography seems to be filled with smoke and fog, creating a breathtaking shadow play of light and shade, while the imaginative sets, with their slanted roofs and twisted steps, were all built in forced perspective (a Murnau trademark) to maximize each specific camera angle.”” – TV Guide’s Movie Guide

Körkarlen

124. (+24) Körkarlen

Victor Sjöström

1921 / Sweden / 100m / BW / Supernatural | IMDb
Victor Sjöström, Hilda Borgström, Tore Svennberg, Astrid Holm, Concordia Selander, Lisa Lundholm, Tor Weijden, Einar Axelsson, Olof ås, Nils Aréhn


“The Phantom Carriage from Swedish director Victor Sjostrom was originally released way back in 1920 and has long been revered as a classic example of early supernatural cinema. Said to have been an early inspiration for Ingmar Bergman, the film is a haunting tale based around a legend that the last person to die on New Year’s Eve is fated to become the spectral driver of the titular cart, travelling the land for a year and collecting the souls of the newly departed… Far more than mere music, the score throbs and whispers, flowing eerily and menacingly throughout, complementing the images and bringing them to sinister life. No longer slow, the action takes on an almost hypnotic quality.” – James Mudge, Beyondhollywood

In the Mouth of Madness

125. (+18) In the Mouth of Madness

John Carpenter

1994 / USA / 95m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Sam Neill, Julie Carmen, Jürgen Prochnow, David Warner, John Glover, Bernie Casey, Peter Jason, Charlton Heston, Frances Bay, Wilhelm von Homburg


“Carpenter uses the abnormal to his advantage also creating a finale that is so remarkably bizarre with his use of makeup effects to create odd looking zombie characters, and his change of colors and textures; you begin to feel absorbed into the film as well. The last moments of the movie is such a head trip, it will stay in your mind for days on end when you’ll begin to wonder what was real in the film and what wasn’t and ask who has the trick been played on? The characters in the film, or the audience watching it? Hardly terrifying, but where Carpenter fails in that device he makes up for in ambitious leaps of mind-boggling and odd entertainment. His knack for change in perspective and illusion truly make this a memorable masterpiece.” – Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed

The Uninvited

126. (-11) The Uninvited

Lewis Allen

1944 / USA / 99m / BW / Haunted House | IMDb
Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, Donald Crisp, Cornelia Otis Skinner, Dorothy Stickney, Barbara Everest, Alan Napier, Gail Russell


“There’s nothing particularly frightening about “The Uninvited.” Its thrills and chills are little frissons that tickle the imagination instead of grabbing by the throat. Instead, it has earned its honored place in the haunted house genre primarily by dint of its earnestness. Even when Rick and Pamela fire off one-liners, one never gets the sense that Allen or the screenwriters have planted tongues in cheeks. The twisty back story has its campy elements, but they’re always taken seriously and the film delivers a potent emotional payoff as a result.” – Christopher Long, Movie Metropolis

Son of Frankenstein

127. (-4) Son of Frankenstein

Rowland V. Lee

1939 / USA / 99m / BW / Monster | IMDb
Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, Josephine Hutchinson, Donnie Dunagan, Emma Dunn, Edgar Norton, Perry Ivins, Lawrence Grant


“Boris Karloff’s man-made monster is revived in the castle of Frankenstein to provide material for another adventure of the ogre. Basil Rathbone, son of the scientist-creator, returns from America to the family estate, becomes intrigued with the dormant ogre and revives him with idea of changing the brute nature within. There are secret passages and panels; surprise opening of doors; and well-timed sound effects to further create tense interest. For offering of its type, picture is well mounted, nicely directed, and includes cast of capable artists.” – Variety Staff, Variety

The Hills Have Eyes

128. (-25) The Hills Have Eyes

Wes Craven

1977 / USA / 89m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
John Steadman, Janus Blythe, Peter Locke, Russ Grieve, Virginia Vincent, Suze Lanier-Bramlett, Dee Wallace, Brenda Marinoff, Robert Houston, Martin Speer


“Though not particularly bloody, THE HILLS HAVE EYES is an extremely intense and disturbing film. As is the case with Sam Peckinpah’s classic, STRAW DOGS, it becomes oddly and distressingly exhilarating to watch the nice family become increasingly savage in their efforts to survive. Not for the squeamish, this low-budget potboiler is one of the prime examples of the what was so fascinating about American horror films in the 1970s. It can be profitably read as the kind of thematically rich meditation on the dark side of the American family that could only be done in the exploitation horror genre.” – TV Guide’s Movie Guide

White Zombie

129. (-5) White Zombie

Victor Halperin

1932 / USA / 69m / BW / Zombie | IMDb
Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy, Joseph Cawthorn, Robert Frazer, John Harron, Brandon Hurst, George Burr Macannan, Frederick Peters, Annette Stone, John Printz


“White Zombie’s canvas is too condensed to achieve absolute greatness but the mastery of mood and emotion on display suggests a work that has been fully realized within its own boundaries, elevating itself above its particular minutiae and into the realm of myth. Through its own ravishing simplicity, the film achieves the near-operatic.” – Rob Humanick, Projection Booth

Mad Love

130. (+21) Mad Love

Karl Freund

1935 / USA / 68m / BW / Psychological | IMDb
Peter Lorre, Frances Drake, Colin Clive, Ted Healy, Sara Haden, Edward Brophy, Henry Kolker, Keye Luke, May Beatty, George Davis


“”Mad Love” is frequently excellent when Mr. Lorre is being: permitted to illuminate the dark and twisted recesses of Dr. Gogol’s brain. In the theatre des horreurs, which he attends night after night, you see him in his box watching his lady tortured upon the rack, veiling his eyes in an emotion which is both pain and sadistic joy as he listens to her screams. There is an extremely effective scene in which the doctor, going quite definitely mad, hears the voice of his subconscious lashing him for his failure to conquer the woman. In the climactic scene, when the doctor loses all contact with reality and immerses himself in his Pygmalion-Galatea identity, his maniacal laughter raises the hair on your scalp and freezes the imagination.” – Andre Sennwald, New York Times

Pit and the Pendulum

131. (+24) Pit and the Pendulum

Roger Corman

1961 / USA / 80m / Col / Gothic | IMDb
Vincent Price, John Kerr, Barbara Steele, Luana Anders, Antony Carbone, Patrick Westwood, Lynette Bernay, Larry Turner, Mary Menzies, Charles Victor


“If Pit and the Pendulum doesn’t manage to be quite as impressively atmospheric as its predecessor, it’s perhaps because the original story doesn’t have the same sense of universal corrosion as Poe’s work – and this is maybe for the best, given that Poe’s sense of a rotten world came from a rather dark place in his brain, and it speaks well of Matheson and Corman that they weren’t able to attain the same sense of hopelessness. Still, Pit and the Pendulum captures exactly its predecessor’s greatest achievement: it is every bit a B-movie, with all the directness and lack of pretense that implies, and yet it is treated with absolute care and gravity by people anxious to do right by Poe’s incontestably sincere approach to his tales of the weird and uncanny.” – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

132. (-6) The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Wallace Worsley

1923 / USA / 133m / BW / Melodrama | IMDb
Lon Chaney, Patsy Ruth Miller, Norman Kerry, Kate Lester, Winifred Bryson, Nigel De Brulier, Brandon Hurst, Ernest Torrence, Tully Marshall, Harry von Meter


“The storytelling is mix of the grandiose and the clumsy, with Chaney largely anchoring the film and the size and scope of the spectacle elevating production. The sets are magnificent, the biggest that Universal had built to date (the giant exterior of the cathedral and surrounding building remained standing for decades and were reused for Universal’s defining horror classics of the thirties)… Chaney’s make-up is spectacularly grotesque… But the make-up is only the surface. Chaney gave Quasimodo a dynamic physical life, scrambling down climbing ropes (he was at times doubled by a stunt man) or hanging from the bell rope like a big kid, and a childlike innocence that gave every emotion a purity and intensity that drove his loyalties.” – Sean Axmaker, Turner Classic Movies

The Unknown

133. (+19) The Unknown

Tod Browning

1927 / USA / 63m / BW / Thriller | IMDb
Lon Chaney, Norman Kerry, Joan Crawford, Nick De Ruiz, John George, Frank Lanning


“Although it has strength and undoubtedly sustains the interest, “The Unknown,” the latest screen contribution from Tod Browning and Lon Chaney, is anything but a pleasant story. It is gruesome and at times shocking, and the principal character deteriorates from a more or less sympathetic individual to an arch-fiend. The narrative is a sort of mixture of Balzac and Guy de Maupassant with a faint suggestion of O. Henry plus Mr. Browning’s colorful side-show background.” – Mordaunt Hall, The New York Times

House of Wax

134. (-7) House of Wax

André De Toth

1953 / USA / 88m / Col / Thriller | IMDb
Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Phyllis Kirk, Carolyn Jones, Paul Picerni, Roy Roberts, Angela Clarke, Paul Cavanagh, Dabbs Greer, Charles Bronson


“House of Wax is not particularly scary or suspenseful, but it is a lot of fun and effectively creates an atmosphere of dread using bright colors and shadows. One great 3-D effect has Buchinsky leaping from just under the foreground, so that it looks like he has come out of the audience. The movie also has a sense of humor, as shown by the use of the paddleball man in front of the wax museum who whacks the toy into the audience. The movie is also known as Vincent Price’s first foray into horror, for which he is now best remembered.” – Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid

Them!

135. (+19) Them!

Gordon Douglas

1954 / USA / 94m / BW / Nature | IMDb
James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon, James Arness, Onslow Stevens, Sean McClory, Chris Drake, Sandy Descher, Mary Alan Hokanson, Don Shelton


“By far the best of the ’50s cycle of ‘creature features’, Them! and its story of a nest of giant radioactive ants (the result of an atomic test in the New Mexico desert) retains a good part of its power today. All the prime ingredients of the total mobilisation movie are here: massed darkened troops move through the eerie storm drains of Los Angeles, biblical prophecy is intermixed with gloomy speculation about the effect of radioactivity. Almost semi-documentary in approach, the formula is handled with more subtlety than usual, and the special effects are frequently superb.” – Time Out

Frankenstein

136. (-8) Frankenstein

J. Searle Dawley

1910 / USA / 16m / BW / Monster | IMDb
Mary Fuller, Charles Ogle, Augustus Phillips


“Despite the poor quality of the print, Dawley’s monster is on a par with many in modern horror films and must have seemed truly disturbing when the film was first released. Rather than being assembled from parts, he is created using a chemical process that sees him emerge as a skeleton gradually acquiring flesh. It’s a haunting image which substantiates his unnaturalness. Unfortunate, then, that when fully developed he resembles a member of Lordi, but Charles Ogle still manages to make him seem threatening, looming impressively. Opposite him, Augustus Phillips is a master of grand gestures, making the hero a complex if somewhat effete individual, a man whom we can feel for even in this limited context. This Frankenstein is not, in modern terms, very sophisticated, but it fills out its running time well and viewers are unlikely to lose patience with it.” – Jennie Kermode, Eye For Film

The Abominable Dr. Phibes

137. (-33) The Abominable Dr. Phibes

Robert Fuest

1971 / USA / 94m / Col / Comedy | IMDb
Vincent Price, Joseph Cotten, Hugh Griffith, Terry-Thomas, Virginia North, Peter Jeffrey, Derek Godfrey, Norman Jones, John Cater, Aubrey Woods


“The whole thing is a deadpan, blood-soaked lark, buoyed by uniformly terrific performances – I’ll admit that knowing Cotten’s role was intended for Peter Cushing makes it a lot harder to like what he’s up to in the part – and bright, contagiously weird visuals, and one of the oddest soundtracks that any “horror” movie has ever received (mostly smoky jazz and swing recordings of pop standards – and anachronistic for 1925, to boot). It may even be the quintessential Vincent Price vehicle: it is, after all, a sustained exercise in being very smart about being a very dumb B-movie, and this, applied to acting, describes nearly all of Price’s great roles (though some, like Witchfinder General and a few of the Roger Corman Poe movies, find him genuinely acting well).” – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

The Cat and the Canary

138. (+18) The Cat and the Canary

Paul Leni

1927 / USA / 108m / BW / Haunted House | IMDb
Laura La Plante, Creighton Hale, Forrest Stanley, Tully Marshall, Gertrude Astor, Flora Finch, Arthur Edmund Carewe, Martha Mattox, George Siegmann, Lucien Littlefield


“It’s a stylishly well-executed old-fashioned horror-suspense thriller that’s laced with a macabre humor, arty German expressionism, an uncommon architectural style and sets a strong mysterious mood. It was a forerunner of the Universal horror films of the 1930s, which copied many of its eerie effects such as clutching hands, disappearing bodies, a masked killer, secret passageways, and sliding panels. It came at the apex of the silents, when such films as Garbo in Love and De Mille’s The King of Kings also appeared. Critics at the time said it lifted the mystery genre into the realm of art. Though even creaky for that time, Leni plays it more for laughs than scares.” – Dennis Schwartz, Ozus’ World Movie Reviews

Funny Games

139. (+5) Funny Games

Michael Haneke

1997 / Austria / 108m / Col / Home Invasion | IMDb
Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Mühe, Arno Frisch, Frank Giering, Stefan Clapczynski, Doris Kunstmann, Christoph Bantzer, Wolfgang Glück, Susanne Meneghel, Monika Zallinger


“No facile explanations are offered for the killers’ behaviour; rather, through their regular asides to the camera, and by occasionally disrupting the otherwise ‘realist’ narrative, Haneke explores both the emotional and physical effects of violence, and interrogates our own motives in consuming violent stories. Amazingly, very little violence is actually seen; we hear its perpetration and witness its aftermath, which (though no less disturbing) is absolutely crucial to the responsible treatment of such a horrific subject. Brilliant, radical, provocative, it’s a masterpiece that is at times barely watchable.” – Time Out

It Follows

140. (+81) It Follows

David Robert Mitchell

2014 / USA / 100m / Col / Monster | IMDb
Linda Boston, Caitlin Burt, Heather Fairbanks, Aldante Foster, Keir Gilchrist, Ruby Harris, Christopher Hohman, Olivia Luccardi, Maika Monroe, Lili Sepe


“It Follows is simply one of the most fascinating and atmospheric horror movies in recent memory. It oozes dread with its simple, single-minded concept that is as unrelenting as the titular “it” terrorizing the protagonists. It doesn’t waste time with extraneous subplots, long-winded backstories or even an explanation of what “it” is and where it came from. This is a lean, mean film that’s all about making you feel the paranoia that its characters experience.” – Mark H. Horror, AboutEntertainment

The Babadook

141. (+81) The Babadook

Jennifer Kent

2014 / Australia / 93m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Tiffany Lyndall-Knight, Benjamin Winspear, Noah Wiseman, Carmel Johnson, Hayley McElhinney, Craig Behenna, Peta Shannon, Cathy Adamek


“At the beginning, the tension is all wrapped up in this out-of-control child. Wiseman, who was 6 when the film was shooting and is making his screen debut, is an ideal mix of wide-eyed innocence and tantrum-throwing rage. At one point, as his screeches fill the car, you may wonder how his mum has managed to go this long without strangling him… That is the subtext running through the film — the threat of imaginary monsters and the real ones humans are capable of becoming… Many times along the way, you fear you know where things are going. But Kent is clever in choosing unexpected spots to pull the rug out from under you.” – Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times

Janghwa, Hongryeon

142. (-31) 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

The Cabin in the Woods

143. (-14) 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

The Mist

144. (-10) 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

Creepshow

145. (+1) Creepshow

George A. Romero

1982 / USA / 120m / Col / Anthology | IMDb
Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau, Fritz Weaver, Leslie Nielsen, Carrie Nye, E.G. Marshall, Viveca Lindfors, Ed Harris, Ted Danson, Stephen King


“Romero and King have approached this movie with humor and affection, as well as with an appreciation of the macabre. They create visual links to comic books by beginning each segment with several panels of a comic artist’s version of the story, and then dissolving from the final drawn panel to a reality that exactly mirrors it. The acting also finds the right note. Such veterans of horror as Hal Holbrook, E. G. Marshall, and Adrienne Barbeau know how to paint their personalities broadly, edging up to caricature. Nobody in this movie is a three-dimensional person, or is meant to be. They are all types. And their lives are all object lessons.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Häxan

146. (+1) Häxan

Benjamin Christensen

1922 / Sweden / 91m / BW / Witchcraft | IMDb
Maren Pedersen, Clara Pontoppidan, Elith Pio, Oscar Stribolt, Tora Teje, John Andersen, Benjamin Christensen, Poul Reumert, Karen Winther, Kate Fabian


“Grave robbing, torture, possessed nuns, and a satanic Sabbath: Benjamin Christensen’s legendary film uses a series of dramatic vignettes to explore the scientific hypothesis that the witches of the Middle Ages suffered the same hysteria as turn-of-the-century psychiatric patients. But the film itself is far from serious—instead it’s a witches’ brew of the scary, gross, and darkly humorous.” – The Criterion Collection

La chute de la maison Usher

147. (-60) La chute de la maison Usher

Jean Epstein

1928 / France / 63m / BW / Gothic | IMDb
Jean Debucourt, Marguerite Gance, Charles Lamy, Fournez-Goffard, Luc Dartagnan, Abel Gance, Halma, Pierre Hot, Pierre Kefer


“What was theoretical in Epstein’s The Three-Sided Mirror is here freer, more lucid and ethereal, and from its first image of a visitor with busy fingers wading through a tangle of trees and branches to the final orgy of poetic destruction, the director intensely considers the push-pull relationship between life and art—the precarious soul-suck between the two and the chaos their battle risks. When Debucourt’s Usher looks at his painting, he is both staring at the visage of his elusive wife’s representation and the audience itself. Epstein treats celluloid not unlike Usher’s canvas—a delicate, fragile thing to draw on (slow or fast, sometimes twice, thrice, four times over)—and to look at the screen of this film is to witness a portal into a complex, heretofore unknown dimension of cinematic representation.” – Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine

Martin

148. (-9) Martin

George A. Romero

1976 / USA / 95m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
John Amplas, Lincoln Maazel, Christine Forrest, Elyane Nadeau, Tom Savini, Sara Venable, Francine Middleton, Roger Caine, George A. Romero, James Roy


“George Romero’s quasi-comic movie (1978) about a teenage vampire (John Amplas) remains his artiest effort, and in some respects his most accomplished work. To some extent, the film is as much about the boredom of living in a Pittsburgh suburb as it is about anything else. It is also about the death of magic that this banal existence brings about. Despite the usual amounts of gore, this is a surprisingly tender, ambiguous, and sexy film in which Romero’s penchant for social satire is for once restricted to local and modest proportions.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

Fright Night

149. (+14) 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

Ginger Snaps

150. (-45) 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

Event Horizon

151. (-41) Event Horizon

Paul W.S. Anderson

1997 / USA / 96m / Col / Science Fiction | IMDb
Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Richard T. Jones, Jack Noseworthy, Jason Isaacs, Sean Pertwee, Peter Marinker, Holley Chant


“What saves Event Horizon from becoming some hokey Amityville Horror in space is the realistic performances of the cast—including Joely Richardson (Vanessa Redgrave’s daughter) and Apollo 13’s Kathleen Quinlan—and the strong element of psychological horror built into the script by first-time screenwriter Philip Eisner. Director Paul Anderson (Mortal Kombat) knows precisely when to insert action elements to beef up the film’s terror quotient, and its atmospheric art direction and meticulous production design—which is on a par with that of the great-looking Alien films—makes the spooks-in-space idea frighteningly believable.” – Steve Newton, Georgia Straight

The Devil Rides Out

152. (+5) The Devil Rides Out

Terence Fisher

1968 / UK / 96m / Col / Witchcraft | IMDb
Christopher Lee, Charles Gray, Nike Arrighi, Leon Greene, Patrick Mower, Gwen Ffrangcon Davies, Sarah Lawson, Paul Eddington, Rosalyn Landor, Russell Waters


“Over the years, this film’s reputation has grown enormously, and its cult status must be as high as any horror movie. Richard Matheson, who scripted it, was able to improve immeasurably on Dennis Wheatley’s ponderous novel, and it is consequently the best film that Fisher and Hammer ever made, an almost perfect example of the kind of thing that can happen when melodrama is achieved so completely and so imaginatively that it ceases to be melodrama at all and becomes a full-scale allegorical vision. Christopher Lee has never been better than as the grim opponent of Satanism, and the night in the pentacle during which the forces of evil mobilise an epic series of cinematic temptations rediscovers aspects of mythology which the cinema had completely overlooked.” – Time Out

Sei donne per l'assassino

153. (+19) Sei donne per l’assassino

Mario Bava

1964 / Italy / 88m / Col / Giallo | IMDb
Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok, Thomas Reiner, Ariana Gorini, Dante DiPaolo, Mary Arden, Franco Ressel, Claude Dantes, Luciano Pigozzi, Lea Lander


“Bava was never known for the strength of his stories — which may be the single reason he is not better known and appreciated today — but Blood and Black Lace is actually one of his stronger narratives, a dark mystery building to a memorable payoff. It’s one of Bava’s most accomplished works, executed with a dazzling, unprecedented use of bright colors and deep shadows (sometimes both at once). The killer wears a very creepy, faceless mask, and mannequins are constantly on display, not to mention the grim, reserved countenance of the models; this gives the entire production a weird quality, which is broken only when the characters meet their maker. The violence is surprisingly brutal for its day, and still has the power to shock, especially given the stoic beauty of the rest of the film.” – Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid

Get Out

154. (+212) Get Out

Jordan Peele

2017 / USA / 104m / Col / Thriller | IMDb
Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Marcus Henderson, Betty Gabriel, Lakeith Stanfield, Stephen Root, LilRel Howery


“Writer and director Peele has pulled off a masterstroke with one of the most timely and horrifying satirical takes on anxieties facing African Americans in the 21st century. If that’s not enough, it also takes aim at the horrendous slaving past that blights the country’s history… Peele’s writing is sharp and to the point. There’s not wastage in the story. It gets straight to the point – that racism in all its forms is a horror story in and of itself. While it may make some audiences uncomfortable shining a light on the subject in an entertaining way, it doesn’t lessen the impact of the ignorance. The film even has the balls to take a pop at US policing in a suitably scathing remark on how some officers go beyond their powers to target people of colour.” – Garry McConnachie, Daily Record

À l'intérieur

155. (+7) 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

Session 9

156. (+9) 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 VVitch: A New-England Folktale

157. (+210) The VVitch: A New-England Folktale

Robert Eggers

2015 / USA / 92m / Col / Witchcraft | IMDb
Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Lucas Dawson, Ellie Grainger, Julian Richings, Bathsheba Garnett, Sarah Stephens, Wahab Chaudhry


“Laying an imaginative foundation for the 1692 Salem witchcraft trials that would follow decades later, writer-director Robert Eggers’ impressive debut feature walks a tricky line between disquieting ambiguity and full-bore supernatural horror, but leaves no doubt about the dangerously oppressive hold that Christianity exerted on some dark corners of the Puritan psyche. With its formal, stylized diction and austere approach to genre, this accomplished feat of low-budget period filmmaking will have to work considerable marketing magic to translate appreciative reviews into specialty box-office success, but clearly marks Eggers as a storyteller of unusual rigor and ambition.” – Justin Chang, Variety

Drag Me to Hell

158. (0) 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

Paranormal Activity

159. (-28) 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

Dawn of the Dead

160. (-24) 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

The Conjuring

161. (+3) 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

Ju-on

162. (-30) Ju-on

Takashi Shimizu

2002 / Japan / 92m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Megumi Okina, Misaki Itô, Misa Uehara, Yui Ichikawa, Kanji Tsuda, Kayoko Shibata, Yukako Kukuri, Shuri Matsuda, Yôji Tanaka, Yoshiyuki Morishita


“The creep factor in this film is high, not because either the kid, or the specter look particularly scary (though the latter may fit that description at points), but because Shimizu is a master of camera shots, timing and the unexpected. Your nerves are left perpetually unsteady, never knowing the reach of the specter’s killing power. Not even the best of the slasher movies can compete with the non-stop, pulse-racing tension found here.” – John Strand, Best Horror Movies

Army of Darkness

163. (-33) Army of Darkness

Sam Raimi

1992 / USA / 81m / Col / Comedy | IMDb
Bruce Campbell, Embeth Davidtz, Marcus Gilbert, Ian Abercrombie, Richard Grove, Timothy Patrick Quill, Michael Earl Reid, Bridget Fonda, Patricia Tallman, Ted Raimi


“It would be wildly easy for this to turn into something sour and cynical, to the point where it would be almost unbearable to watch. The only reason it doesn’t is because of how much joy is going into the project: Army of Darkness is a movie’s movie, cheerfully referencing the great Jason and the Argonauts, and lingering over its vibrantly cheesy special effects with real, obvious love for the sets and monsters it evokes. I is a celebration of artifice and spooky atmospherics, refusing to take its content seriously mostly because it’s so pleased to have fun, and if that leaves it the shallowest of the Evil Dead trilogy, it is nonetheless maybe the most wholly charming.” – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

Shivers

164. (-19) Shivers

David Cronenberg

1975 / Canada / 87m / Col / Body Horror | IMDb
Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry, Allan Kolman, Susan Petrie, Barbara Steele, Ronald Mlodzik, Barry Baldaro, Camil Ducharme, Hanka Posnanska


“Cronenberg is obviously an artist who exploits our disgust at the gore and goo of carnality, our shame over, and fear of, physical decay. (Is anything more frightening than the violent eruption of incomprehensible symptoms of an illness?) Furthermore, he detects in our vague anxieties an unacknowledged, horrifying sensuousness, a pathological confusion of sex with death that often haunts us. Finally, “Shivers” is an unnerving vision that overwhelms the medical profession’s complacent rationalism. It takes malicious pleasure in the transmission of a sexual plague by a simple, superficially harmless kiss. Perhaps the most oral of horror films, Cronenberg’s work reaches its chilling climax as the fashionable housing project is transformed into a hive swarming with cries of a dreadful, undesirable ecstasy.” – Bob Stephens, San Francisco Examiner

The Seventh Victim

165. (+6) The Seventh Victim

Mark Robson

1943 / USA / 71m / BW / Mystery | IMDb
Tom Conway, Jean Brooks, Isabel Jewell, Kim Hunter, Evelyn Brent, Erford Gage, Ben Bard, Hugh Beaumont, Chef Milani, Marguerita Sylva


“Without ever up and telling us, “this is where the horror is, now” – The Seventh Victim builds up an impressive amount of tension, just from skillfully manipulating how much the characters (and thus, the audience) are allowed to know at any given moment, while progressively darkening the movie as it goes, starting off in well-lit interiors and daylight, and ending in thick, impenetrably dark nighttime alleys. Despite keeping closer to naturalism than any previous Lewton film – likely the result of swapping Tourneur, whose subsequent films all have an element of the visually fanciful, with Robson, whose films certainly do not – and tying in rather obviously with the concurrent rise of film noir which was just then in its infancy, The Seventh Victim eschews the nihilistic urban realism of noir, ramping up tension by becoming increasingly unpredictable and uncanny.” – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

The Amityville Horror

166. (+9) The Amityville Horror

Stuart Rosenberg

1979 / USA / 117m / Col / Haunted House | IMDb
James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger, Don Stroud, Murray Hamilton, John Larch, Natasha Ryan, K.C. Martel, Meeno Peluce, Michael Sacks


“The Amityville Horror has reached classic status not only among the “ghost story” freaks but among most horror freaks that I have had the pleasure of coming in contact with – and I believe it has earned that status. Even though the film is a little dated, The Amityville Horror stills succeeds in what the film makers set out to accomplish. It still gives you that creepy, eerie feeling that every good ghost story should create.” – Lee Roberts, Best Horror Movies

Child's Play

167. (+22) Child’s Play

Tom Holland

1988 / USA / 87m / Col / Evil Doll | IMDb
Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Alex Vincent, Brad Dourif, Dinah Manoff, Tommy Swerdlow, Jack Colvin, Neil Giuntoli, Juan Ramírez, Alan Wilder


“Putting a menacing spin on the childhood idea that ours toys are alive, “Child’s Play” is a character-based thriller with a particularly creepy dark streak and a rare protagonist who is barely out of kindergarten. The film’s economically incorporated special effects, a mixture of animatronics, puppetry and human stand-ins, bring Chucky to vivid life, while Catherine Hicks (later going on to star in the long-running television drama “7th Heaven”) and young Alex Vincent (in his acting debut) are always convincing as an endangered mother and son faced with an unthinkable terror. With humor taking a backseat to good, old-fashioned suspense, and a sterling climax that raises the ante on the notion of an “unstoppable” killer, “Child’s Play” is an impressive horror highlight of the late-’80s film scene.” – Dustin Putman, The Movie Boy

Gremlins

168. (-19) Gremlins

Joe Dante

1984 / USA / 106m / Col / Comedy | IMDb
Hoyt Axton, John Louie, Keye Luke, Don Steele, Susan Burgess, Scott Brady, Arnie Moore, Corey Feldman, Harry Carey Jr., Zach Galligan


“It’s a bit of Halloween at Christmastime, as the wicked are punished while the righteous simply have the wits frightened out of them, all for our edification and amusement. That puts some of the film’s darker materials into context. Dante crafts his funhouse with care, and in order to scare us, he needs to convince us of the seriousness of the threat. The gruesome sights of gremlins buying it in the microwave or meeting the wrong end of an electric juicer shock us, but also establish the idea that these are dangerous creatures. With that in place, Dante can then temper the mayhem with his gentler instincts and give us a happy ending without diminishing from the fright-wig shocks that crop up along the way.” – Rob Vaux, Mania.com

The Lost Boys

169. (-36) The Lost Boys

Joel Schumacher

1987 / USA / 97m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Dianne Wiest, Barnard Hughes, Edward Herrmann, Kiefer Sutherland, Jami Gertz, Corey Feldman, Jamison Newlander, Brooke McCarter


“In the grand scheme of things, this is obviously just a frothy teen picture, just edgy enough in its depiction of subcultures and violence to seem more cutting-edge than condescending, and just free enough with jokes that it’s safe for non-fans of horror to come in, despite a considerable amount of blood for its presumptive target audience – then again, in the 1980s, teen films weren’t half as sanitary and washed-out as they are now. The nervy sexual undercurrent to the whole thing makes it relatively unique among most of the films in the same wheelhouse from the same time, but it’s such a small thing in the overall scheme of the movie. Still, its fleet, and it’s not nearly as stupid as “Peter Pan with vampires” could easily be, and like I said: great final line. I’m disinclined to call it anything other than well-made trash, but the key here is well-made: a breezy, fun teen genre film that’s pleasurable without being taxing.” – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

From Dusk Till Dawn

170. (-17) From Dusk Till Dawn

Robert Rodriguez

1996 / USA / 108m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo, Tom Savini, Fred Williamson


“George Clooney, in his only horror role to date, gives a ballistic performance as the gangster Seth Gecko who has to fight for his life, while Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu, and Harvey Keitel are bittersweet as the disjointed Fuller family who have to come together and make their peace when the vampires gain the upper hand mid-way. “From Dusk Till Dawn” is that perfect party horror movie that’s infinitely rewatchable. It’s filled with quick one-liners, top notch performances, and endless laugh out loud moments that double as genuine scares. Despite the low budget, every cast member puts their A game in the film, and “From Dusk Till Dawn” remains that genuinely excellent nineties horror film that you simply can’t help but adore.” – Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed

The Incredible Shrinking Man

171. (-12) The Incredible Shrinking Man

Jack Arnold

1957 / USA / 81m / BW / Science Fiction | IMDb
Grant Williams, Randy Stuart, April Kent, Paul Langton, Raymond Bailey, William Schallert, Frank J. Scannell, Helene Marshall, Diana Darrin, Billy Curtis


“Not merely the best of Arnold’s classic sci-fi movies of the ’50s, but one of the finest films ever made in that genre. It’s a simple enough story: after being contaminated by what may or may not be nuclear waste, Williams finds himself slowly but steadily shedding the pounds and inches until he reaches truly minuscule proportions. But it is what Richard Matheson’s script (adapted from his own novel) does with this basic material that makes the film so gripping and intelligent… a moving, strangely pantheist assertion of what it really means to be alive. A pulp masterpiece.” – Geoff Andrew, Time Out

The Tingler

172. (+5) The Tingler

William Castle

1959 / USA / 82m / BW / Science Fiction | IMDb
Vincent Price, Judith Evelyn, Darryl Hickman, Patricia Cutts, Pamela Lincoln, Philip Coolidge


“”Be afraid. Be very afraid. And when you are afraid, for Heaven’s sake don’t hesitate to scream.” The Tingler is famous as one of the first ever audience participation cinema experiences. Chapin (Vincent Price) happens to have dedicated years of his life to studying fear, which he suspects is caused by a parasite attached to the human spine. Now he may have the opportunity to capture a live specimen – but, all moral concerns aside (every character here is quick to forsake them), can he really control it?… Opening the door for endless experiments in making more out of the cinema experience, The Tingler is one of the most important genre films of its time, and it has enough humour to remain endearing to this day. ” – Jennie Kermode, Eye for film

El laberinto del fauno

173. (-12) El laberinto del fauno

Guillermo del Toro

2006 / Spain / 118m / Col / Fantasy | IMDb
Ivana Baquero, Sergi López, Maribel Verdú, Doug Jones, Ariadna Gil, Álex Angulo, Manolo Solo, César Vea, Roger Casamajor, Ivan Massagué


“With its painterly palette and densely detailed production design, Pan’s Labyrinth evokes great works in any number of artistic mediums, from the paintings of Goya and Balthus to the films of Luis Bunuel and Dario Argento… It’s in its sophisticated politics that “Pan’s Labyrinth” qualifies as Del Toro’s most mature work; he depicts fascism not just as a failed political or philosophical system… but primarily as the failure of imagination. As Ofelia makes her quiet and courageous way through the faun’s to-do list — while the sentient world around her falls apart — her own imagination, her willingness to surrender to her own creative subconscious, becomes the means not just of escape but of survival.” – Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

The Plague of the Zombies

174. (+21) The Plague of the Zombies

John Gilling

1966 / UK / 91m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
André Morell, Diane Clare, Brook Williams, Jacqueline Pearce, John Carson, Alexander Davion, Michael Ripper, Marcus Hammond, Dennis Chinnery, Louis Mahoney


“Plague of the Zombies plays the sort of inventive games with the concept of zombification that you rarely see now that the zombie movie has become a fully-fledged sub-genre. Brought back to life by Caribbean witchcraft, the white eyed, grey skinned creatures of the title sit somewhere between the voodoo-revived corpses of 1940s Val Lewton and the living dead to come of George Romero and his imitators. The mystery here is not what is happening – a pre-title sequence confirms voodoo is at work in this small Cornish town and reveals who it’s being used on – but why local people are being systematically led to their deaths and transformed into undead shells of their former selves.” – Slarek, CineOutsider

Tremors

175. (+15) Tremors

Ron Underwood

1990 / USA / 96m / Col / Monster | IMDb
Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross, Reba McEntire, Robert Jayne, Charlotte Stewart, Tony Genaro, Ariana Richards, Richard Marcus


“With a tip of the hat towards its ’50s forefathers, this canny genre entry exploits its novel subterranean threat to the max, the ingenious situations being orchestrated with considerable skill by first-time director Underwood. Bacon and Ward project a wonderful low-key rapport, based initially on jokey ignorance before giving way to terse apprehension. It’s great to hear authentic B movie talk again, especially when the cast takes it upon itself to name the monsters, only to come up with ‘graboids’ by default, and to debate their probable origin: ‘One thing’s for sure…them ain’t local boys’. This is what a monster movie is supposed to be like, and it’s terrific.” – Time Out

M

176. (+21) M

Fritz Lang

1931 / Germany / 117m / BW / Crime | IMDb
Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut, Otto Wernicke, Theodor Loos, Gustaf Gründgens, Friedrich Gnaß, Fritz Odemar, Paul Kemp, Theo Lingen


“Building its story on visual rhymes that are carried by dialogue that periodically turns into offscreen narration, and fusing the two great traditions of silent film–montage/ editing and camera movement/mise en scene–this astonishing movie represents an unsurpassed grand synthesis of storytelling. Lang himself correctly maintained to the end of his life that M was his best film–not so much for its formal beauty as for the social analysis that its form articulates.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

Kairo

177. (+50) Kairo

Kiyoshi Kurosawa

2001 / Japan / 119m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Haruhiko Katô, Kumiko Asô, Koyuki, Kurume Arisaka, Masatoshi Matsuo, Shinji Takeda, Jun Fubuki, Shun Sugata, Shô Aikawa, Kôji Yakusho


“Cross the “Ring” series with “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and the result wouldn’t be far from “Pulse,” another step on the road back to the psychothriller genre by which cult Japanese helmer Kiyoshi Kurosawa first made his name overseas… Though “Pulse” has vague correspondences with Kurosawa’s more serious movies, like “Charisma,” it never strays far from its genre roots, with an ambiguous tone that oscillates between sheer psychothriller silliness and moments of haunting abstraction when time and the real world seem to momentarily freeze. Lensing by Junichiro Hayashi is a fillip throughout, with a cold, clammy patina in several scenes (such as Ryosuke and Harue in the subway) that could come from no other director.” – Derek Elley, Variety

Hausu

178. (+22) Hausu

Nobuhiko Ôbayashi

1977 / Japan / 88m / Col / Surrealism | IMDb
Kimiko Ikegami, Miki Jinbo, Kumiko Ohba, Ai Matsubara, Mieko Satô, Eriko Tanaka, Masayo Miyako, Kiyohiko Ozaki, Saho Sasazawa, Asei Kobayashi


“No summary really does House justice. And every little thing about it demands attention: from the schoolgirls themselves—precocious archetypes who go by the nicknames Gorgeous, Melody, Fantasy, Prof, Sweet, Mac, and Kung Fu—to the anything-goes flourishes of gimmick and technique, which evoke everything from silent film to children’s shows, classic surrealist cinema to Italian giallo. Obayashi crams every frame with a surplus of mad ideas, as if his background in 30-second spots demanded he never let the screen remain calm for an instant. He loves superimpositions, Day-Glo matte horizons and cotton-candy color schemes, crudely animated special effects (like amputated fingers playing a piano and a watermelon that becomes a carnivorous, high-flying human head), and jarring, jaw-dropping juxtapositions.” – Steve Dollar, Paste Magazine

Santa sangre

179. (-12) Santa sangre

Alejandro Jodorowsky

1989 / Mexico / 123m / Col / Surrealism | IMDb
Axel Jodorowsky, Blanca Guerra, Guy Stockwell, Thelma Tixou, Sabrina Dennison, Adan Jodorowsky, Faviola Elenka Tapia, Teo Jodorowsky, María de Jesús Aranzabal


“While not as baffling, analogical or surreal as El Topo, Santa Sangre is still full of symbolism, hallucinations, gore and general insanity. The basic narrative is pure slasher horror, but there is much more to enjoy, and read into, in a tale which covers family values, religious fanatism and personal identity amongst other things, but at no time in an exploitative way. Even Jodorwsky’s use of real Down’s Syndrome teens and circus performers is handled well. This is the sort of world David Lynch and Federico Fellini would take us to. Rather than revelling in the weirdness, it becomes completely natural. For every uneasy or unsettling moment there is a darkly humourous one.” – Martin Unsworth, Starburst

The Devils

180. (+23) The Devils

Ken Russell

1971 / UK / 111m / Col / Historical Drama | IMDb
Vanessa Redgrave, Oliver Reed, Dudley Sutton, Max Adrian, Gemma Jones, Murray Melvin, Michael Gothard, Georgina Hale, Brian Murphy, Christopher Logue


“It’s a blistering, raw attack on governmental misuse and perversion of religion to achieve its own end. While it presents strikingly irreligious imagery, the film itself is not irreligious in the least. Indeed, at the height of perverted insanity of the mass exorcisms, Grandier walks into the midst of it all and says, “You have turned the house of the Lord into a circus, and its servants into clowns. You have perverted the innocent.” It is this that the film attacks, not the Church itself. Bear this in mind if you choose to tackle this remarkable—and for some, remarkably difficult—film.” – Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress

Vargtimmen

181. (-13) Vargtimmen

Ingmar Bergman

1968 / Sweden / 90m / BW / Psychological | IMDb
Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, Gertrud Fridh, Georg Rydeberg, Erland Josephson, Naima Wifstrand, Ulf Johansson, Gudrun Brost, Bertil Anderberg, Ingrid Thulin


“A brilliant Gothic fantasy about an artist who has disappeared, leaving only a diary; and through that diary we move into flashback to observe a classic case history of the Bergman hero haunted by darkness, demons and the creatures of his imagination until he is destroyed by them. The tentacular growth of this obsession is handled with typical virtuosity in a dazzling flow of surrealism, expressionism and full-blooded Gothic horror… In its exploration of the nature of creativity, haunted by the problem of whether the artist possesses or is possessed by his demons, Hour of the Wolf serves as a remarkable companion-piece to Persona.” – Tom Milne, Time Out

House of Usher

182. (+28) House of Usher

Roger Corman

1960 / USA / 79m / BW / Gothic | IMDb
Vincent Price, Mark Damon, Myrna Fahey, Harry Ellerbe


“Price is his usual impressive self as the almost certainly incestuously inclined Roderick Usher who, having buried his sister alive when she falls into a cataleptic trance, becomes the victim of her ghostly revenge; but it is Corman’s overall direction that lends the film its intelligence and power. The sickly decadence and claustrophobia of the Usher household – which is both disturbed and temporarily cleansed by the fresh air that accompanies Damon’s arrival as suitor to Madeline Usher – is admirably evoked by Floyd Crosby’s ‘Scope photography and Daniel Haller’s art direction, the latter’s sets dominated by a putrid, bloody crimson. But Richard Matheson’s script is also exemplary: lucid, imaginatively detailed and subtle.” – Time Out

Cronos

183. (+18) Cronos

Guillermo del Toro

1993 / Mexico / 94m / Col / Vampire | IMDb
Federico Luppi, Ron Perlman, Claudio Brook, Margarita Isabel, Tamara Shanath, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Mario Iván Martínez, Farnesio de Bernal, Juan Carlos Colombo, Jorge Martínez de Hoyos


“The overt references to Dracula (the final shot of a white-skinned Gris is a stunner), the cutaways inside the cronos to the throbbing bug operator, and Perelman’s deliriously wacky performance all stand out as fascinating tangents in a film constantly looking for solid narrative ground. Del Toro is at his best when gleaning the most complex moments from one genre universe and smashing them into another (The Devil’s Backbone is still his greatest achievement for this reason). But those cinematic concerns are there from the very beginning of his career, and Cronos acts as a fascinating introductory course on del Toro the humanist, someone wholly concerned with juxtaposing symbols of innocence (children, fairy tales) with the horrors of the adult world (war, greed), all while finding the dark comedy underneath the madness.” – Glenn Heath Jr., Slant Magazine

The Bad Seed

184. (-4) The Bad Seed

Mervyn LeRoy

1956 / USA / 129m / BW / Evil Children | IMDb
Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart, Evelyn Varden, William Hopper, Paul Fix, Jesse White, Gage Clarke, Joan Croydon


“The Bad Seed (1956) sets this thriller in the suburbs and explores the age-old questions of the effects of nurture and nature on behavior and how they relate to the criminal mind. Seed is based on Maxwell Anderson’s 1954 Broadway hit of the same name, and employs all , except one, of the play’s principal actors. The film received a few Oscar nominations, including a nod for the young Patty McCormack. Despite the amusing broad acting which garners the Camp classification that this film gets today, Seed tackles serious questions of behavior, heredity, childrearing and class warfare that can resonate with people in any era.” – Deborah Thomas, Examiner

Mystery of the Wax Museum

185. (-25) Mystery of the Wax Museum

Michael Curtiz

1933 / USA / 77m / BW / Mystery | IMDb
Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Glenda Farrell, Frank McHugh, Allen Vincent, Gavin Gordon, Edwin Maxwell, Holmes Herbert, Claude King, Arthur Edmund Carewe


“Compared to other horror movies of the same vintage, the thing one primarily notices about Mystery of the Wax Museum is that it doesn’t spare anything: right from the images of wax models melting in a grotesque parody of human decay and rotten, near the very start of the film, the filmmakers pile on images that are more concerned with scoring fast knockouts than sidling around behind us to be creepy and subdued. Mystery of the Wax Museum has many wonderful characteristics, but not subtlety. The camerawork is often heavily artificial and exaggerated, a clear and rather exciting attempt to bring the discordant angles and geometry of Germany Expressionism into the by-necessity well-lit interiors and florid colors of red-green Technicolor. Farrell’s performance, which I find absolutely captivating, has all the grace and insinuation of a machine gun nest.” – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

Le manoir du diable

186. (+5) Le manoir du diable

Georges Méliès

1896 / France / 3m / BW / Haunted House | IMDb
Jeanne d’Alcy, Georges Méliès


“Le Manoir du Diable (The Devil’s Manor) is considered the first horror film ever produced. The debut of director Georges Méliès, it premiered in 1896 at the Theatre Robert Houdin on Christmas Eve… In the year 1896, the castle brimmed with cinematographic significance. Not only is the castle the perfect environment for horror elements to manifest, but it’s a fitting battleground for a confrontation between the cavaliers and Mephistopheles. Symbolically, their confrontation is much more than the conquest of good over evil. It represents the impact of monumental changes in technology on Western civilization, and the supremacy of Christian values against impending revolution. It also reduces the magnitude of its own symbolic importance as the first horror film to a comical satire–revealing its self-awareness and both reveling in and ridiculing the genre conventions.” – Gregory LaFata, Fear Central

Sisters

187. (+19) Sisters

Brian De Palma

1973 / USA / 93m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Margot Kidder, Jennifer Salt, Charles Durning, William Finley, Lisle Wilson, Barnard Hughes, Mary Davenport, Dolph Sweet


“Sisters becomes an energetic reference to the great scenes and themes of Hitchcock’s work. Beyond Psycho’s plot structure, we get Norman Bates’ motivation. Vertigo’s psychological premise (the obsessive seeker creates the object of obsession in its absence), a body hidden in an apartment (taken from Rope), a Bernard Herrmann score, and Rear Window’s crime solving via voyeurism also turn up here. Even if the abundance of such themes don’t manage to make Sisters better than the combined work of Hitchcock, they all integrate well into the tale that the director tells. Certainly, Sisters feels less constrained by the indebtedness caused by creating homage than De Palma’s later works like Dressed to Kill or Obsession. De Palma’s constantly winking eye and his juxtapositions of horror and humor keep us interested as the film slides into logical implausibility. Though the performances are solid, the director is clearly the star of this show.” – Jeremy Heilman, MovieMartyr

Non si deve profanare il sonno dei morti

188. (-10) Non si deve profanare il sonno dei morti

Jorge Grau

1974 / Italy / 93m / Col / Zombie | IMDb
Cristina Galbó, Ray Lovelock, Arthur Kennedy, Aldo Massasso, Giorgio Trestini, Roberto Posse, José Lifante, Jeannine Mestre, Gengher Gatti, Fernando Hilbeck


“Even if judged on style alone, the film would be a triumph; though not much different from your typical lurching creeps, these zombies wheeze and moan like no other, a simple audio gimmick that is blatantly manipulative but absolutely creepy, not the least for its relative subtlety. Let Sleeping Corpses Lie artfully builds its atmosphere of spiritual (and social) unrest with its gliding cinematography, and the thrills pile up faster than any of its potential flaws or abandonments of logic. Though no Halloween or Carrie, this little gem is not unlike an undiscovered wine, long ripening and ready to be savored.” – Rob Humanick, Projection Booth

¿Quién puede matar a un niño?

189. (-15) ¿Quién puede matar a un niño?

Narciso Ibáñez Serrador

1976 / Spain / 112m / Col / Evil Children | IMDb
Lewis Fiander, Prunella Ransome, Antonio Iranzo, Miguel Narros, María Luisa Arias, Marisa Porcel, Juan Cazalilla, Luis Ciges, Antonio Canal, Aparicio Rivero


“Ibáñez Serrador methodically draws out the waiting game, and as the kids gather their sinister forces and close in on our unsuspecting couple, a moral conflict arises. The adults are forced to contemplate the unthinkable, doing battle with the little monsters and struggling with the notion that they may have to kill or be killed. Tom manages to get his hand on a machine gun, and he carries it around with him protectively as the audience wonders to themselves how he’ll answer the question posed in the title. Whether or not the answer surprises us during these cynical times, the aftermath is as disarming as it is disturbing. The closing 10 minutes come from a different era in filmmaking, when horror movies could spit in the eye of the status quo and say that good does not always prevail, no matter how much we’d like it to.” – Jeremiah Kipp, Slant Magazine

The House of the Devil

190. (+33) The House of the Devil

Ti West

2009 / USA / 95m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Jocelin Donahue, Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov, Greta Gerwig, AJ Bowen, Dee Wallace, Heather Robb, Darryl Nau, Brenda Cooney, Danielle Noe


“Yet another of this year’s homage-facsimiles, The House of the Devil forgoes campy self-awareness in favor of reverential faithfulness—and in doing so, implicitly critiques contemporary horror cinema. With its cinematography combining unadorned realism and angular expressionism, and its title sequence emblazoned with yellow title cards and marked by synth music, freeze frames, and sudden zooms, Ti West’s latest mimics ’80s horror flicks with a straight face. Its rhythms, dialogue, and period detail are so finely attuned to the style of its chosen era that, were it not for a technical dexterity generally absent from its predecessors, the film might pass as an exhumed relic.” – Matt Noller, Slant Magazine

Antichrist

191. (+49) Antichrist

Lars von Trier

2009 / Denmark / 108m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Storm Acheche Sahlstrøm


“Antichrist is a boldly personal film, tossing all von Trier’s ideas about faith, fear, and human nature into an unfettered phantasmagoria, full of repulsive visions and fierce scorn. It’s also the most lush-looking movie von Trier has made in about 20 years. Antichrist starts with a gorgeous black-and-white prologue—spiked, in typical von Trier perversity, with explicit sex and operatic tragedy—then moves to woodland sequences where the edges of the frame look subtly distorted… Cinema’s leading Brechtian wouldn’t seem like the best choice for a visceral examination of real emotional pain, but von Trier makes Antichrist about how aesthetic control can be as impotent as therapeutic control when it comes to dealing with nature at its wildest.” – Noel Murray, A.V. Club

May

192. (-26) May

Lucky McKee

2002 / USA / 93m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto, Anna Faris, James Duval, Nichole Hiltz, Kevin Gage, Merle Kennedy, Chandler Riley Hecht, Rachel David, Nora Zehetner


““May” is a wonderful and powerful statement on the struggle for perfection and acceptance, and what lengths many of us will go through for it. Even the mentally unstable ones. A marvelous cinematic debut from director Lucky McKee, “May” is a tragic and gut wrenching look at a girl who would do anything to become the ideal person for the people in her life, and eventually unwound from the aftermath of imperfection and idealistic visions of our loved ones.” – Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed

Tenebre

193. (-24) Tenebre

Dario Argento

1982 / Italy / 101m / Col / Giallo | IMDb
Anthony Franciosa, Christian Borromeo, Mirella D’Angelo, Veronica Lario, Ania Pieroni, Eva Robin’s, Carola Stagnaro, John Steiner, Lara Wendel, John Saxon


“The film synthesizes all the familiar Argento motifs (psycho killers, bloody violence, convoluted plot twists, pulse pounding music) into an almost perfect symphony of fear that overcomes many of his traditional shortcomings (credibility and characterization). The truly impressive achievement of this movie is that it is not just a collection of outrageous set pieces, tied together by an off-the-wall plot; it is a compact, tightly structured unit that attacks the viewer’s comfort zone with all the precision of a deftly wielded scalpel.” – Steve Biodrowski, Cinefantastique

The Hitcher

194. (-24) The Hitcher

Robert Harmon

1986 / USA / 97m / Col / Thriller | IMDb
Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jeffrey DeMunn, John M. Jackson, Billy Green Bush, Jack Thibeau, Armin Shimerman, Gene Davis, Jon Van Ness


“All in all, the film is bottomlessly nihilistic, which certainly accounts for the acidic reception it received in 1986 (it has since picked up a bit of a cult; you’ve no doubt picked up by now that I enthusiastically count myself a member). But it earns the nihilism, I think; for one, by casting things so clearly as a kind of dark fantasy, divorced from the actions of real people. And also, by being so utterly damn good at creating that nihilism: it is a brilliantly shot and acted film with drum-tight editing and a tetchy, synth-driven score that should sound irredeemably like the ’80s (and honestly, that’s often just how it does sound), but hits certain points where it’s sufficiently otherworldly to boost those scenes to an extra level of bleakness. Just because something isn’t nice doesn’t mean it can’t be well-made.” – Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy

Dèmoni

195. (-19) Dèmoni

Lamberto Bava

1985 / Italy / 88m / Col / Possession | IMDb
Urbano Barberini, Natasha Hovey, Karl Zinny, Fiore Argento, Paola Cozzo, Fabiola Toledo, Nicoletta Elmi, Stelio Candelli, Nicole Tessier, Geretta Geretta


“Sure, when you break it down nothing about this movie (co-written by Dario Argento) makes a lick of sense, but none of that matters at all because Bava throws so much unmitigated carnage, and havoc, and blood, and rage, and sheer terror at the screen that it just becomes a minute flaw. In the midst of these clawed, mindless, merciless, cunning monsters mutilating and tearing their poor human victims to pieces one is either too excited or horrified at the madness ensuing on screen that you never once stop to think “Wait–where is the goddamn story?” It doesn’t matter at all. Lamberto Bava is one of the few directors who have gotten away with creating a horror film with zero plot because the special effects and tension and mayhem are so well played and so brilliantly crafted that it becomes utterly irrelevant. For a low budget movie from the eighties, the make up is phenomenal and these monsters look absolutely bloodcurdling as if transferred from our worst nightmares and fears.” – Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed

Insidious

196. (-4) Insidious

James Wan

2010 / USA / 103m / Col / Haunted House | IMDb
Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Barbara Hershey, Andrew Astor, Corbett Tuck, Heather Tocquigny


“The masterminds behind the first Saw and Paranormal Activity join forces on Insidious for a bump-in-the-night shocker, which plays out in such a high, trilling key of baroque anxiety it’s both jumpy and ludicrous. Laughter in horror movies is often a good sign they’re doing something right, but this goes beyond even Sam Raimi’s brazen Drag Me to Hell as an elaborate wind-up, and reaches a tipping point where the guffaws take over from genuine scares… The final act is pure horror camp, even if director James Wan has raided the dress-up box to death by then. His film, barging its way around the genre with unrestrained glee, is nothing more objectionable than a rickety ghost-train ride, cackling as it speeds up and flies off the rails.” – Tim Robey, The Telegraph

The Mummy

197. (+15) The Mummy

Terence Fisher

1959 / UK / 86m / Col / Monster | IMDb
Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Yvonne Furneaux, Eddie Byrne, Felix Aylmer, Raymond Huntley, George Pastell, Michael Ripper, George Woodbridge, Harold Goodwin


“Despite the overwhelmingly cliché story, it is so well told that you never realize you’re watching something familiar. The pacing is fantastic, never too slow, never too fast. The story begins in the past, offering a brief backstory and explaining both John Banning’s limp and the motivations of the mummy. Once in the present, the story jumps right in with a crazy old man’s stories of living mummies, a mysterious box falling into the bog, and the mummy arising from the mud and murk into turn-of-the-century England. The instant you start to get bored, the story changes yet again, moving into a flashback sequence that explains how the mummy came to be, creating not just a monster, but a character we can sympathize with. Before you know it, the film is half over. And then the fun really begins – the last sequences being filled mostly with mummy attacks and anti-mummy stratagem.” – Julia Merriam, Classic-Horror.com

Wolf Creek

198. (+1) Wolf Creek

Greg Mclean

2005 / Australia / 99m / Col / Slasher | IMDb
John Jarratt, Cassandra Magrath, Kestie Morassi, Nathan Phillips, Gordon Poole, Guy O’Donnell, Phil Stevenson, Geoff Revell, Andy McPhee, Aaron Sterns


“McLean captures that real horror in a brutally unHollywood way, one that goes beyond the frank, almost documentary style of the cinematography and performances and the presentation. The young actors playing the kids are so simply effective that they couldn’t be more removed from the jokey, self-aware snarkiness of most modern “horror” movies, in which everyone knows they’re following a formula and the ending is preordained and it’s all a big joke. And John Jarratt’s Mick is something of a throwback, in the best sense: he’s not a cartoon maniac, like Jason or Freddie, but a genuine human person who’s gone off a deep end that is, unfortunately, all too familiar in the modern annals of crime and depravity. Mostly, though, it’s how McLean refuses to give in to the expectations we typically bring to horror movies, that everything must wrap up in a particular way and concepts like justice and fairness must prevail. Cuz as we all know, the real world is only rarely that satisfying.” – MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filosopher

Frailty

199. (-20) Frailty

Bill Paxton

2001 / USA / 100m / Col / Psychological | IMDb
Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, Powers Boothe, Matt O’Leary, Jeremy Sumpter, Luke Askew, Levi Kreis, Derk Cheetwood, Missy Crider, Alan Davidson


“A resoundingly old-fashioned and well crafted study of evil infecting an American family, “Frailty” moves from strength to strength on its deceptive narrative course. Though Brent Hanley’s script feels like it’s based on an account of white Anglo-Saxon serial killers run amok in middle America, it’s a genuine invention that has its cinematic roots in the rich soil plowed by such disparate works as Charles Laughton’s “Night of the Hunter” and Tobe Hooper’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Pic’s dark-night-of-the-soul mood derives from the former, while the latter inspired the notion that the family that kills together stays together. Final effect is of a timeless work that could have been made at any point in the past 20 years.” – Robert Koehler, Variety

The Serpent and the Rainbow

200. (-18) The Serpent and the Rainbow

Wes Craven

1988 / USA / 98m / Col / Supernatural | IMDb
Bill Pullman, Cathy Tyson, Zakes Mokae, Paul Winfield, Brent Jennings, Conrad Roberts, Badja Djola, Theresa Merritt, Michael Gough, Paul Guilfoyle


“Depending largely on hallucinations and psychological terror (a la Altered States), and working from a Richard Maxwell and A.R. Simoun screenplay inspired by Wade Davis’s nonfiction book of the same title, Craven provides more atmosphere and creepy ideas than fluid storytelling. But it’s nice for a change to see some of the virtues of old-fashioned horror films—moody dream sequences, unsettling poetic images, and passages that suggest more than they show—rather than the usual splatter shocks and special effects (far from absent, but employed with relative economy).” – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader