Andrew’s Top 50 Favorite Horror Movies of All Time (31-40)
31-Shaun of the Dead (2004)- Zombies in a comedy film? At first, this seems like a bad idea, but the directing of Edgar Wright and the comedy duo that is Nick Frost and Simon Pegg make it work. Add in a cast of familiar British actors and a great sense of humor about the zombie horror genre. You wind up with a great film. Also, for a comedy, it still has some heartbreaking moments. You may add comedy to a zombie film, but at its heart reminds something tragic and dark.
32-Frankenstein (1931) Featuring the fantastic work of Boris Karloff. This is the film that made myself and millions of others aware of his remarkable talents. (He also was a kind and gentle soul.) Directed by the talented James Whale (Bride of Frankenstein/The Man in the Iron Mask), this film is a visual wonder for its time. It has a feel that was well ahead of many other films of its time. Yes, the novel (Frankenstein) by Mary Shelley is by far superior and this movie is loosely connected to that. (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in 1994 is the far closer version to the novel.) Retained in the movie is the amazing possibilities and dangers of science. That the ability to “play God” can have unintended and disastrous consequences. Also, this film suggests the creation is a blank slate, it is the perceptions of the society (though not without reason) and his creator that is most foul. With life comes responsibility, and if you ignore or shun it, may lead to dire consequences both personal and abroad.
33-Dracula (1931) It may be among the first vampire films, but it remains among the finest made. Bela Lugosi brings infinite charm and class to the role of Count Dracula. Inspired by the novel of the same name by Bram Stoker, this film drastically alters its content (to fit the more restrictive movie codes and audiences). Tod Browning proved himself a quality director with this film although he could never equal its greatness again. While the film has very limited scares, it defined the look, sound, and style of Dracula and vampires for decades to come, and launched Bela Lugosi into the American spotlight. The overall production value (clothing, props, FX) is also well above most other films in this early era of film.
34-Fright Night (1985) A great teen vampire flick from the 1980’s, I’ll admit it is a bit creepy how sexual it gets. I mean the vampire in this film is bordering on being a sexual predator of underage girls. However, the movie mixed humor and horror very well. Talks a lot about faith, love, friendship, and salvation. This film is a perfect horror film for the 1980’s. (Honorable mention being The Lost Boys)
35-Halloween: H20 (1998) I feel that if you are a die-hard fan of the franchise, you appreciate this film more than others? Did they add too much humor? I think so, but it pays tribute to the best of the Halloween franchise. I love that Jamie Lee Curtis returned as Laurie Strode. You get to see how traumatic that one night of events was to her. There is also that correlation between it and Frankenstein the novel which they even discuss in the movie. Sometimes you need to take the monster head on, because if you don’t you may wind up losing much more than what you would have at an earlier point in time. This was also an attempt to end the series. (Although studios know nothing of closing how a franchise before it gets too terrible.) I still consider this the second best Halloween movie in the entire series and the remakes.
36-The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954) Granted this is more science fiction than others on this list, but it has elements of horror for sure. The movie discusses things like man’s exploration of the unknown. That while it is fascinating, it is not without risk. That there are things out there which could harm us even if they are fascinating. It also brings those two schools of thought. Do we study something at all cost in the pursuit of knowledge? Or do we kill something when it becomes dangerous?
37-The Howling (1981)- Another classic werewolf movie. This one about a traumatized reporter who thinks time away from work will be the cure-all. What she doesn’t realize is she has already been placed in a trap she may never escape. This film has pretty good transformations and a few really cool twists. It may be a bit dated, but few can even match it. (Still among the best werewolf films in history.)
38-Sleepy Hollow (1999) A Tim Burton horror movie which is rarer than you may think. An adaptation of the Legend of “Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving (A fantastic October read if you’ve never read it.) Starring Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Michael Gambon, and of course Christopher Walken (my favorite). I love the feel of this film and keeps you guessing until the end. I do have issues with the ending kind of rushing things to an abrupt close. If not for that, it would be higher on my list.
39-Dog Soldiers (2002)- If you love werewolves, then chances are you love Dog Soldiers. Imagine if werewolves were militarized. This movie answers this question of what that could be like. It keeps you guessing, has tons of action. When it is violent, it is brutal. Still one of the best werewolf movies in history.
40-1408 (2007) A movie about a very haunted hotel room. Starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. Again, I like my horror to be psychological. This movie messes with the characters mind, body, and soul. It also does the same for audiences. I went in expecting to dislike this film but came out enjoying it far more.
Where will it go?
Get Out (2016)- I couldn’t decide where to place this film. It is a great social allegory discussing race in various forms. The horror elements are here, but they aren’t the point of the film. Still, when things finally go down in this film, it gets intense. Is Get Out particularly scary? No, but it is still an important film.