I’ve put off writing this list for obvious reasons…as such a fan of the genre how do I narrow it down to just 10? How do I choose where one fits over another? Wouldn’t it just be filled with zombie movies? These questions always seemed impossible to answer until now…
I’ve chosen 10 horror films that I have seen more times then I can remember, films that I have grown up on & films that I watch now & still enjoy as much as I did the first time I saw them.
This is my top 10 horror movies ever.
10 – The Eye (2002)
When I got into J-horror there were 2 movies that had an insane impact on me, one was The Ring & the other was this. Mun (a classical violinist) has been blind most of her life & undergoes an eye cornea transplant after receiving donor eyes. Everything seems good at first until she starts to see strange things that others can’t.
The Eye is a ghost story but one filled with genuine scares, impressive acting, an interesting story & an ending that will stay with you. The moments of beauty mixed with horror are really something.
9 – Candyman (1992)
Based on a short story by Clive Barker, Helen Lyle is researching urban legends & hears of one about a person known as Candyman. Say his name 5 times in the mirror then turn the lights off…he will appear behind you & it won’t end well. As she researches the legend she begins to uncover the terrifying truth about the Candyman.
One of the bleakest but satisfying horror movies I’ve ever seen. From the musical opening shots of the city to the bloody end, Candyman is a lesson in horror movie making.
8 – Hellraiser (1987)
Also based off a short story by Clive Barker, Hellraiser tells the story of a puzzle box that when opened by someone gifts them with unimaginable pleasures. The definition of pleasure though is arguable…
Hellraiser is one of the most inventive movies on this list combing excellent gore, make-up & acting. There are few films that are this harrowing to watch & it turned Pinhead into a household name.
7 – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
The original & still the best…Freddy Krueger is a murdered child molester getting revenge on the parents who killed him by invading their teenage children’s dreams & killing them. If you die in your dream…you die in real life.
Back when Freddy was an actual horror-movie character, Nightmare has some of the most terrifying visuals effects I’ve ever seen in a horror movie (that didn’t rely on special effects). The film is imaginative, smart & very gory.
6 – Dawn of the Dead (1978)
The 2nd movie in George A Romero’s original ‘Dead’ trilogy is many peoples favourite. It sees the zombie outbreak reaching full-on panic time & a group of people escape to a mall that they then fortify to keep the zombies out. Everything they need is at their fingertips but with the dead desperate to get inside & there no way out who is really in control?
The lesson here is consumerism…Dawn’s parody of it is both smart & thrilling to watch. As zombie movies go it is not the best of the bunch but it is incredibly well-acted with real meaning behind it.
5 – Ring/Ringu (1998)
The J-horror that started me off…I was blown away while begin scared shitless.
Ring tells the story of a cursed videotape that, when watched, will kill the viewer in 7 days. A TV reporter (and single mother) begins investigating deaths surrounding the fabled tape & uncovers the shocking truth that threatens everyone she loves.
Its impact hasn’t been dented by time & awful American remakes.
4 – Day of the Dead (1985)
The final part of Romero’s ‘Dead’ trilogy sees the world in ruins from the zombie hordes. A group of survivors made up of scientists & soldiers have been surviving in an underground base but tensions are running high & paranoia is running rampant.
The best of Romero’s Dead trilogy was once the one I disliked the most. I’ve grown to love its bleak style, gory visuals & outstanding acting. Day of the Dead will leave you exhausted through pure will to survive. It is outstanding.
3 – The Thing (1982)
The warmest place to hide is man…with that tagline came the most terrifying extra-terrestrial to ever grace our screens.
A group of American scientists deep in the Antarctic come under attack from an alien being that can take the form of its victims. It could be sitting amongst you & you would never know.
The Thing is one of the most tension filled horror movies I have ever seen & it never loses impact even with multiple views. Amazing acting with an ending that just feels right, this is the best alien horror movie out there.
(I swapped these next 2 several times…both are hugely important to me. They both could have been at No.1)
2 – Halloween (1978)
As a boy, Michael Myers murdered his sister in cold blood. Many years later he escapes while being transferred from the asylum & heads back to his hometown. There he targets Laurie Strode & her friends on the night of Halloween.
That music…that moment he steps out behind the bush…that moment he is in the backyard looking up…that moment he is in the backseat of the car…that moment he smashes his way through the closet…that moment when he sits up…that moment when he is gone.
Halloween is all about its moments & they are brilliantly done. The number one slasher movie ever & I don’t see that ever being topped.
1 – Return of the Living Dead (1985)
When a secret government container hidden in a supply warehouse gets broken it releases a gas that spreads over a nearby graveyard & reanimates the dead into almost indestructible creatures with brains.
Brains…get used to that word here. These zombies are the scariest zombies you’ll ever see. The entire film breaks from the traditional zombie rules & is better for it. A metal soundtrack, amazing acting, well placed nudity & an ending that will leave you gob-smacked. Return of the Living Dead is worthy of this spot because of the impact it has had on my life. I can watch it now & still be on the edge of my seat in awe & fear.
So there they are…my top 10…I wouldn’t change a single one. What about you?