RIP Wes Craven…
I hate being scared. There are people that love getting scared, I am not one of them. But over the years of watching a crap ton of movies, I’ve grown to enjoy tons of classic and new age horror movies that both make me jump, but also make my skin crawl. It’s fair to say that I am not the best pick for critic when wanting to discuss horror films and I know horror has a huge following, but don’t be mad if some of these films aren’t on your standards of horror.
My type of horror varies from the supernatural to the slasher that lives down the street. I’m talking about the horror films that have substance or quality put into all the aspects of its being. I don’t tolerate mere jump scares, that’s cheep and really annoying to be honest. No, the best horror films come from the ones that manage to bring an unsettling atmosphere to the audience that follows them like a shadow.
10. 1408 (2007): Underrated. I’m a younger guy and this was one of the first horror films I wanted to see. It has the mystery that all great horrors films have but it also had a quality cast and source material I had actually read! It didn’t disappoint and earned its way onto my shelf of films whose area for horror started and ended with 1408.
9. The Cabin in the Woods (2011): A surprise to all of us, Drew Goddard and Joss Wheden banged out a scrip in under a week in Vegas only to have it be a near perfect blend of horror and comedy. It’s surprisingly scary, but not so scary that you can’t sleep at night. It was fun and original as well as being a huge satire to the horror genre himself.
8. The Babadook (2014): The scariest films are not the ones that show you a bunch of frightening images, but the ones that make you sink into a bog of imagination. I get scared of things that could happen to me. Make a movie about heights, forget about it, and seeing a child lose of his effing mind on screen as well as his nutty mother, yeah, that’s real horror.
7. Alien (1979): Going into the realm of sci-fi/horror, it doesn’t get much better than Alien. Confined to a space where “no one can hear you scream” is enough to make this fall under the horror category. The second film is great but that becomes more of an action/sci-fi film after awhile whereas the first film is a monster movie of sorts and is widely considered one of the landmark films in history for sci-fi and horror.
6. 28 Days Later (2002): I had to throw a zombie movie in there, but not just any zombie movie, a Danny Boyle directed zombie movie.
5. Poltergeist (1982): Who actually finds clowns funny? Yeah no one, because they’re creepy make up wearing lunatics that want to strangle us all! This is a perfect example of horror not having to be full of blood and guts, but rather suspense and the fear of the unknown. It’s far more iconic than we give it credit and it definitely holds up well to this day.
4. Halloween (1978): This is the standard for most horror films of its kind and proved that John Carpenter can make some of eeriest concepts come to life on some hard work and a score for the ages. Slasher films have never been the same since this landmark film and not many have been able to stay as scary as this film has been.
3. The Thing (1985): John Carpenter is a master director in his own right and has brought us some of the many great horror films in history, but none stand out to me as much as the chilling mystery of The Thing. A creature that can take the shape of any living creature it so wishes boasts for unsettling guesses on where the “thing” could be. The make and practical effects are superb and the frozen tundra is appropriately picked for the films setting.
2. Insidious(2010): This was one of the few horror films that made me happy I was scared. Weird I know. It was the conceptual brilliance of a cliched idea and the design of the red faced demon dude that made scream like a b****, but I don’t care. It was well acted and often fairly humorous once the two ghost whisperer dudes came. It proved to me that James Wan has a knack for making films I enjoy.
1. The Descent (2005): Neil Marshall is director and writer for a horror film that doesn’t ever need to show a ghoul or goblin to scare us. The claustrophobia alone is enough to make you stop breathing. A team of cave exploring women are stalked by blood thirsty creatures of the pitch black and it’s only worse because of the confined spaces. It was a film that I couldn’t look away from no matter how much pee leaked out. It’s a great film and is my standard for where most horror is measured.