The following films are not on my top 50 favorites. This doesn’t mean they are bad. Actually, many of them are quite good, some I even enjoy, but they didn’t make the cut because they aren’t my favorites. However, some of these films are so influential that they should be acknowledged and with this, they have been.
It (1990) -Technically it is a mini-series inspired by the Stephen King novel of the same name. Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise the demon clown is the stuff of legitimate nightmares. The rest of the movie isn’t much special.
The Omen (1976)– Going to be honest, never loved this film that much. However, it is well crafted and has this subdued terror to it. It may not be my favorite, but it is still exceptional.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)– I don’t like to discuss Roman Polanski much (for obvious reasons). However, the quality of this horror film is exceptional. I always laugh at the ending of this film, though I know in theory it is supposed to be absolutely terrifying. This is an incredibly well made and theoretically scary film. (If only it had a different director.)
Suspiria (1977)– This giallo (debatable) horror film will forever give me nightmares. It can be a tough watch. However, this film is of very high quality and very unsettling. If you like a more twisted kind of horror than the mainstream, this one is a must watch. Directed by the legendary Dario Argento.
Blair Witch Project (1999)– I don’t care for this film much, but I do respect what it did for television and film. Though at times I wonder if it did more good than bad? Still, this low budget found footage film changed the film landscape and you can argue about its faults and benefits for hours.
Nosferatu (1922)– This film for a long time was thought to be lost. Ordered to be destroyed by the widow of Bram Stoker (they basically stole the story without paying for the rights which is frowned upon in most places)
Let the Right One In (2008)- Here is a film which is artistically beautiful and powerful. About two peculiar children (one more so than the other) who unite under common ground. It is a well made movie that gets the best aspects of horror right. (I like it, just don’t love it!)
28 Days later (2002)– I’m always impressed when someone takes an overused and worn idea like zombies or vampires and finds a way to make them interesting again. This film does that, these aren’t Romero styled zombies, they are stronger, they run fast. They overwhelm and devour faster than you could imagine.
Cabin in the Woods– (2012) Directed by Drew Goddard, written by Whedon and Goddard. Starring Chris Hemsworth. Five friends go to a cabin in the woods only to uncover something far beyond what they ever could have expected. (You think it is going the Evil Dead route, but then it takes a mighty left turn. )
Carrie (1976) Movie inspired by the Stephen King novel of the same name. About an unpopular young woman in a troubled home who is going through puberty and learning that she has telekinetic powers.
Dawn of the Dead (1978)- Another George A. Romero zombie film. This one taking place in a shopping mall and driving home some heavy concepts about society. From commercialization to runaway capitalism and so many other things.
The Birds (1963)- An Alfred Hitchcocker (Oh, it is a typo, but I’m keeping it). Hitchcock takes something simple and everyday and turns it into something scary. I have never understood why so many people are freaked out about this movie? It doesn’t interest me, but when looking at films for their aesthetic c merits, it’s well above average.
Re-animator– (1985)- Basically it is the story of Frankenstein on steroids. Also, inspired by H.P. Lovecraft story (which again inspired by Mary Shelley.)
Jacob’s Ladder (1990)– A hard hitting look at PTSD (or is it PTSS these days) for veterans of the Vietnam War. Basically we have Jacob trying to uncover what is real and what is not. Is he being haunted by something of an evil spirit or simply the memories of his past experiences?
What Lies Beneath (2000)- A well-acted ghost story directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer It’s creepy, has some great scenes. Maybe not iconic, but certainly among the better ones.
Paranormal Activity (2007) – Another movie that uses found footage aspect to its benefit. Again, a lot of people (myself included) find it overrated. However, there are also plenty of fans and numerous sequels and copycats to date.
The Innocents (1961) – Have you seen The Others (2003) starring Nicole Kidman? Well, that is an exceptional ghost film which very much mimics The innocents. This film has a different style, but keeps with familiar themes.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)- Some would say this is the finest silent film ever made. I don’t know about that, but it is certainly the finest silent horror film I can think of. If you appreciate early film, this is a MUST WATCH!