Everyone likes something different in a movie genre. For horror, I tend to be more conservative. What I look for in a horror film. This is my list, my favorites. Please, tell me your thoughts, and or create your own.
- 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 am more about fear, rather than disgust.
- 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, though sometimes that does more bad than good.
- 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.
- Again, these are my favorites. I don’t claim them to be the best, but they are the best for me. If you have films you think I should watch or just want to share your picks. Feel free to let me know.
21-Tremors (1990) If you hate Tremors, you may not be an American. Starring Fred Ward and of course Kevin Bacon. About large underground worms which have a taste for humans among other things. This falls into the range of comedy-horror, but there are certainly some creepy or unnerving moments throughout the film.
22-Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) The classic, the legend itself. This movie is short, it is gritty, and although has some brutality to it, the worst comes from your imagination. The film has one part that really annoys me. I can’t stand it and need to pass over it. (I get that you are scared, but the level of screaming is too annoying for me to endure.) Still, it remains as incredibly influential and one of the finest horror films ever crafted. Could the events in this film actually happen? (Some aspects of it did already, but likely not all of it.)
23-The Conjuring (2013) Another wonderful James Wan movie. The bulk of the film is simple ghost story scares placed perfectly. The third act gets really intense however. It uses the tropes of successful horror in a grand manner. He also presents us with the Warrens, Lorraine and Edward. Two paranormal investigators who actually looked into these cases. Yes, the movies are highly elevated from the actual events, but some of it is quite true. That alone makes it all the more creepy.
24-Sinister (2012) Certainly well above average for a “found footage” type movie. Starring Ethan Hawke as the troubled nonfiction writer in search for the truth behind grisly murders. The film is intense, gritty, and gives off this creepy vibe at all times. Insidious is a fine film, but this movie drew me in more and I was not laughing at any point. (Though if I really think about it, I could probably find something.)
25-Insidious– (2010) I know a lot of people who rave about Insidious. James Wan does a great job building suspense and using simple practical scares to get people. There is one famous scene in this film which a lot of people get freaked out at, but I laugh almost every time I see it. (Oh man did I laugh the first time I saw it.)
26-American Werewolf in London (1981) I may not appreciate the added humor in this movie, but it still remains perhaps the best werewolf film out there. The transformation scene in this film is the stuff of legend. The film gives us a very personal look of the tragedy that is becoming a werewolf. Being a werewolf isn’t that cool and this film shows that through the character dynamics.
27-Ravenous (1999) This is a movie about cannibalism and Christianity. Alright, that last part is a stretch, but it does try to link the two and makes some interesting theories (For a fictional film.). This movie is dark, but it is also kind of fun. It has this twisted humor about it which works better than it should. Also, the final act is both brutal and fun, it is hard not to enjoy. Eat or die, Bon appetite.
28-Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) A lot of people hate on this film, but I think it is well-acted, with stunning set designs, and a bit more true to Bram Stoker’s work. Is it perfect? Of course not, but I think Anthony Hopkins and Gary Oldman do a good job. Also, while some can bash him for driving people nuts, Francis Ford Coppola does such great work at the details.
29-The Descent (2005) A horror film ahead of its time. Featuring largely a female cast who are far more than ditzy teenagers. They wander into a never explored cave system for some fun. Wind up being hunted by strange creatures. This movie is intense and quite brutal. It may be the goriest movie on this list. I have to respect the intensity of the film. Plus, it only amplifies my desire to stay above ground.
30-The Dead Zone (1983) Oh, Christopher Walken, you’ve really made some stellar movies. This movie is about a man who gets into accident and goes into a coma, upon awaking he finds that he has developed amazing psychic powers. Though they eventually foretell of the end of the world. The question becomes, do you kill someone to save the world or hope that things alter for the better?