Here is my top 50 favorite movies of all time. Some I consider among the best ever made, but some are just sheer fun. Please see my honorable mentions list for horror films I respect, but may not love nearly as much as these.
Everyone likes something different in a movie genre. For horror, I tend to be more conservative. I liked to be scared or unnerved, but no disgusted. Here are many of the things that make me love a horror film.
- Give me a sense of tension. Make me feel uneasy while watching the film.
- Give me characters I can root for. People I would remember and stick out above other movies I’d watch.
- Have the monsters be unique. Maybe they have a reason for their treachery, maybe not. Whatever the case, make them memorable.
- I do not like shock value in my horror. As in lots of jump scares and violence so graphic is disgusts and shocks me. (I find it cheap and lacking in substance.) I am more about fear.
- Finally, while not always needed. If you can apply some social commentary or moral philosophy. All the better with me.
- Doesn’t hurt if they inspired the genre in some manner, though sometimes that does more bad than good.(One found footage movie that doesn’t suck and the whole world goes crazy with them.)
- While there are many variations of horror. I do consider movies which involve the supernatural to be more horror. So, movies like American Psycho or Don’t Breathe can be considered horror, I’m counting them as thrillers or crime based horror. Therefore my horror is based in dark fantasy/science fiction. Things that are far less likely to ever happy or exist. With a few exceptions.
- Please keep in mind that Horror/Fantasy/ and Science Fiction all overlap. So some of these films will have science fiction/ fantasy genres in them, but also horror. Labeling them exactly can be very difficult. Jaws for example can be considered horror, but I’m not including it because I am less certain.
41- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street-(2007)- A Tim Burton film featuring Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp (What a surprise!) The film also features Sacha Baron Cohen, Alan Rickman, and Timothy Spall. It is a musical, but also fitting of the horror genre. A psychopathic barber returns to the streets he once roamed as an innocent young man. The story inspired by the play of the same name which was crafted by the great Stephen Sondheim. This is one of my favorite musicals and horror, too. Yeah, it takes a while to get to the violence, but once it happens, it flows throughout the rest of the film. There are things about this movie that hit me personally. I think anyone who has been truly wronged and experienced great tragedy can appreciate this film. It also has a thing or two to say about revenge.
42-Pumpkinhead (1988) The demon of revenge rises from the grave to exact brutal justice upon the living. An 80’s film with the best and the worst that the decade had to offer. An interesting premise about revenge and “justice”. Though his appearance is a bit lacking (some costumes hold up better than others). Still, it is a fun film for Halloween and some of the sequels aren’t terrible either.
43- The Fog (1980) This is the second John Carpenter film on my list (not the last). This film gets forgotten a lot, but it is enjoyable. Carpenter’s use of sound and music always enhances tension. He creates a slow burning horror film filled with mystery and terror. If you get a chance, watch this film and appreciate the subtle awesomeness of it. I miss movies that feel like this. So authentic and carefully crafted.
The Others (2001) Yes, I mentioned The Innocents (1963), the film which inspired this one, but I actually like this version better. I think it is one of Nicole Kidman’s finest work. A good ghost story with solid acting performances. You need to check that out when you get the chance. Well above the average ghost story film we so often see.
45-The Wolf Man (1941) I love classic Universal horror. Featuring Claude Rains and Lon Chaney Jr. (He may not be as talented as his father, but he plays this role well.) It isn’t the first werewolf movie, but it may be the first good one. I love when horror is more tragic than bloody and this is a perfect example. A person facing upsetting circumstances which comes full circle.
46-Phantasm (1979) A sinister man known as “Tall Man” and his lethal weapons comes up against a pesky teenager. This movie is quite intense and dark. A perfect horror film to end the 1980’s. It is unnerving and unpleasant. I value it from a film perspective, but it makes me skin crawl.
How good is this cover art! We don’t make these things like we did and that is a loss on our part.
47-Friday the 13th (1980) I tend to like my horror to be a bit more cerebral. This movie is a knock off Michael Myers and Halloween (1978) which was so successful a couple years earlier. It is certainly different in various aspects and I do enjoy the twist within it, but still never going to be a favorite. Also, I consider this to be probably the best one of the franchise. I mean it has Kevin Bacon! You can’t lose!
Here was my in-depth look at this film from way back- https://andrewthemovieguy714.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/friday-the-13th/
48-Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988) Do you like clowns? If not, avoid this one. It is bad enough we have clowns trending around the Western world right now, but at least they aren’t these Klowns. Oh yeah, comedian Christopher Titus is also in this one. Look for him.
49-Shadow of the Vampire (2000) With a movie inspired by the making of Nosferatu and a cast featuring Willem Dafoe, John Malkovich, Carey Elwes, Eddie Izzard. I couldn’t avoid putting it on this list. Not only is it well acted, but it takes the vampire concept and spices it up. Once bland, now it feels refreshing.
50-They Live (1988)- It should be no shock to you that this action-horror by John Carpenter which stars Rowdy Rody Piper would be on my top 50 favorite horror list. I will admit it is a touch light on horror, therefore it is so low on the countdown. Though, that fight scene is still one of the very best ever made.