The 10-Best Horror Films

The 10-Best Horror Films
Film feature by: Witney Seibold



Horror is fascinating to me. There is an entire realm of thought out there which is devoted to the celebration of making people feel fear and discomfort. Here is a (much struggled over) list of my ten favorite horror films:

1) Nosferatu (1922). Max Schreck transcends acting and becomes the monstrous count Orlock, and F.W. Murnau succeeds in creating one of the most terrifying films ever based on “Dracula.” The place where film horror really began.




2) Bride of Frankenstein (1935). A sequel, yes, but more refined than the original. Campy, tragic, bold, frightening, and touching. The finest film of the Universal gamut (Very close, however, to Dracula).



3) The Exorcist (1973). A film that not only tells a terrifying story of pure evil and uncertainty invading one’s life, but a frank treatise on the place of religion in a secular age. Lovingly executed, and inarguably a classic.


horror-4midnight movie giant.

4) Eraserhead (1977). A weird Lynchian netherworld of groaning machines, mutant children, and sweet 1950s molls with deformed faces singing about death. Horror? That’s arguable. Unsettling, and scary? Most definitely. A



5) Halloween (1978). The most important film to horror movie fans of more than one generation. John Carpenter created the slasher genre. He also made a truly terrifying film on a shoestring, possibly opening the door for independents.



6) The Shining (1981). Kubrick’s ghost story, a contemplative meditation of fear and the workings of the insane mind, is enough to get under anyone’s skin. One of the most beautiful and spare of horror films. Kubrick knows exactly how to handle his images and frighten us more deeply then we thought possible.



7) The Evil Dead Trilogy (“Evil Dead,” 1982, “Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn,” 1987, “Army of Darkness,” 1993). Made for no money, these films are slightly disturbing, but threw the horror world for a loop, paving the way for the splatter-fests of the 1980s. The third instillation, “Army of Darkness,” is the most fun you’ll have at the movies.



8) Hellraiser (1987). Sex, the body, blood, pain, pleasure. Clive Barker’s intimate testament to the powers of lust, and the home of one of the most unique mythologies in all horror, and indeed most film. The low-tech special effects are some of the most effective I’ve seen. Good sequel, too.




9) Dead Alive (Braindead) (1992). The zombie movie stood on ear by New Zeland’s schlock-meister, Peter Jackson. The goriest movie of all time, and quite possibly one of the funniest. “Your mother ate my dog!” “Not all of it.”



10) In the Mouth of Madness (1995). A film that effected me deeply when I was 16. A dark world of slimy things that invade our minds, our very bodies, through the fiction of best-selling author Sutter Cane. Chaotic yet driven. Melodramatic, yet important. Blurs the lines between fiction and reality.


Runner up) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). A killer invading dreams. A dark neighborhood secret. And the most popular horror villain in the past 30 years, Freddy Kreuger. Very well done indeed.

Published in: on April 28, 2009 at 9:24 pm  Comments (13)  

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13 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I certainly haven’t seen as many in the genre as you have, but feel compelled to throw my unmentioned faves out there, in no particular order: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the original, of course), Night of the Living Dead (ditto), May, Audition, 28 Days Later and Candyman.

  2. To be fair, I wrote this list in 2002, and had not yet seen “May,” or “28 Days Later.” I don’t think I had seen “Night of the Living Dead” yet (I know, I was a late-bloomer on that one), and I can’t recall my thinking for “Chainsaw.” I think I just felt obligated to include “Madness,” since it was so important to me. “Candyman” is excellent, too, but I had just run out of space by that point.

  3. […] Shared The 10-Best Horror Films « Three Cheers for Darkened Years!. […]

  4. i get a feeling that wat is scary for some is not scary or horrorfull to others… i enjoy these movies for there classic style… thanx for making such a great compilation…

    i just finished them off by watching the shining last night and as they come they are each unique and scary in there own way…
    candyman is an excellent choice…

  5. Hello Witney:

    I love this site! I was reading up on Parker Posey, have been wondering where she had been, film-wise.
    Also, love the review of Single Man- Sumptuous-
    Keep up the insightful work!

    P.S. gee, unexpected – Thanks a bunch- that picture of the Excorcist will give me my 1 millionth nightmare about that movie!!!

  6. w0w iim scared 0f her .

  7. very scary movies

  8. this is so freaky

  9. Good list.Makes me want to watch them all this weekend.

  10. Hi dear.
    i saw the in the mouth of madness too. it is really unbelievable. and i remember it for 10 years.
    thank you very much

  11. Excellent list, many of my favourites listed here. I would, like one poster above, include Texas Chainsaw and both Night and Dawn of the Dead. I’m also a big fan of The Blair Witch Project.

    Nice one for including In The Mouth of Madness – an underrated film from John Carpenter.

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