Gordon is best known and rightfully so for his masterful rendition of "Herbert West: Reanimator. But death doesn't enjoy being cheated.
The movie is half Grand Guignol , half blood-splattered comedy, and completely cool. Remember the Japanese horror craze of the s? Hideo Nakata's Ringu remains fresh and cleverly terrifying. This is the one about the cursed VHS tape that kills anyone who plays it, and while this international horror hit inspired a surprisingly solid American remake, it still stands as one of Japan's most deviously entertaining cinematic exports. Inside beats out High Tension and Martyrs in a photo finish.
Part of what makes this ferocious home-invasion thriller so powerful is that our protagonist is a very sensitive and very pregnant woman A shockingly intense cat-and-mouse game keeps the audience squirming. Where it goes The first [REC] exploded onto the horror scene in and instantly found fans all over the globe -- and then we got a sequel that was, somehow, even better.
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All you need to know is that an apartment building gets quarantined after a horrific virus starts turning people into ravenous monsters. Tod Browning's controversial revenge thriller is a horror film that could never be made, remade, or even replicated these days without all sorts of people getting really angry. But the movie earns a place in horror history for employing actual circus "freaks" as its ensemble cast. It's a brutal, bitter, and cold-hearted piece of genre cinema, and one that any new horror fan should experience at least once.
Yes, we needed to include a second film by Guillermo del Toro -- he just gets the genre. On the surface, Pan's Labyrinth 's about a young girl who escapes to a dark fantasy world after the horrors of war invade her normal one. Beneath, the film opens itself to a wide array of darkly compelling interpretations. Plus del Toro's imaginative creatures and lush photography make it so damn beautiful to look at. By this point, you either love or hate The Blair Witch Project. I'm still on team "love," and here's why: A group of clever young filmmakers rolled the dice on a style of filmmaking that very few people had dabbled in, crafted their own freaky mythology, delivered a powerful collection of scares, and became a viral sensation well before anyone used the phrase "viral sensation.
Se7en is a very dark detective story, and an underappreciated highlight of the horror genre. The tone, the attitude, and the visual palette of David Fincher's noir simply screams "horror story" to me. Before you argue, think about the crime scenes, the eternal rainstorms, and the mercilessly intense third act, and then tell me that Se7en isn't, in some large way, a horror film. And a really amazing one, too. Don't let the endless array of slapsticky sequels fool you; the original Japanese version of Godzilla is a dead-sober metaphor for the horrors of warfare in the atomic age -- something that the American version and those aforementioned sequels seems to have overlooked.
Godzilla , a skyscraper-tall monster who breathes atomic rays and stomps over measly humans, is actually scary in this film. Go figure. There's a good reason that this Robert Wise thriller is frequently mentioned among the finest examples of haunted-house cinema: because it is one.
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Based on a short story by Shirley Jackson, it's about four poor souls who start digging into a terrible old house, and it may just be the template for every traditional haunted-house movie you've ever seen. Regarding the remake of The Haunting , let us say nothing at all. Long before Freddy Krueger became the slasher version of Gallagher, he was presented as one of the most ominous horror villains of all time. I don't like a whole lot of the sequels OK, Dream Warriors is pretty good , but there's no denying that the original Nightmare on Elm Street still holds up as a remarkably scary movie.
The late, great Wes Craven knew when a scary story should be light Elm Street is mostly the latter -- and that's part of why it works so damn well.
If you're a giallo newbie and you're looking for a starting point into the world of wildly violent Italian horror films, seek out Dario Argento's disconcertingly beautiful Suspiria. It's about a young lady who arrives at a fancy dance academy, only to realize that people are dropping dead all over the place. OK, the plot sounds like a standard American slasher flick, but "standard American slasher flicks" stole most of their tricks from the Italians.
And you simply haven't lived until you've savored the aural splendor of a Goblin score. A police officer visits a bizarre, isolated island community while looking for a missing girl, only to slowly realize that there's some super-creepy old-school witchcraft afoot. The Wicker Man is one of those "slow-burn" horror stories, and yes, the truly goofy Nicolas Cage remake spoiled some of the surprises, but this Christopher Lee-led mystery is a truly disturbing horror classic for those who settle in and pay close attention.
Although generally listed in the science-fiction section, Philip Kaufman's adaptation of the classic Jack Finney story easily qualifies as one of the most effective horror films of the late 20th century. The Don Siegel version is a bona fide classic in its own right, but this version tucks all sorts of creepy little details into virtually every scene, all but oozes an uneasy sense of paranoia, and is subtly and consistently distressing, These factors, in addition to a fantastic ensemble cast, earn this remake a spot on this list. Not to mention that freaky final shot.
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Whereas most "horror comedies" are basically comedies with a clear injection of horror imagery, this John Landis masterpiece combines both genres into a movie that is sincerely funny and legitimately terrifying. In some ways it's your standard "man becomes werewolf, kills people, feels awful about it" format. In others, it's a wonderfully unique and surprising piece of genre cinema.
It simply never gets old. Stephen King may not be a huge fan of Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining , but movie fans sure do seem to be. This tale of a family stuck in a snowbound hotel all alone features some of the most terrifying sequences ever, but it's probably Jack Nicholson's gloriously unhinged performance that movie buffs remember the most.
Well, Nicholson and those freaky twin girls. And that hedge maze.
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And that bleeding elevator. And that woman in the shower. This one bored me to tears when I saw it as a kid, and there's a good reason for that: Rosemary's Baby is made for grown-ups. Not only is Roman Polanski's movie another one of those "drama! Some of the Universal Monster classics feel a bit underwhelming these days sorry, Dracula but such is not the case with James Whale's wonderful one-two punch of ill-fated resurrection, which still holds up as a thing of dark, twisted beauty.
The original Frankenstein is awash in effectively tragic moments, and the sequel seems to take great delight in moments of weird humor.
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Some like me, for example would argue that Bride is the superior film, but you certainly need to watch them both to get the best result. Preferably in the same night. While many would argue that the sequel which is also sort of a remake at the same time is vastly superior to the much scrappier original film, it seemed wrong to include one without the other. Evil Dead is a brilliant micro-budget masterpiece about a group of poor saps who awaken a bunch of demons.
The sequel is pretty much the same thing, only with a slightly bigger budget and a dark, twisted sense of humor. There's no choosing between the two. Also feel free to finish off the trilogy with 's Army of Darkness. The Idea of being trapped in a spaceship with a ravenous creature from another planet is terrifying enough. Ridley Scott's Alien ups the ante by allowing its freakishly unsettling antagonist to change forms throughout the film. At any given moment, we don't know where the monster is hiding, and we also don't know what it will look like. Plus the massive spaceship starts to feel a lot like a haunted house that the crew cannot escape, not to mention that there's a robot spy on board -- just to raise the tension a little bit.
There's a lot of scary stuff going on in Alien , and we haven't even touched on the creature's disturbingly sexual assaults. Some argue Jaws is not a horror film. I say any movie that made millions of people afraid to go swimming qualifies.
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It's also a big-time crowd-pleasing adventure movie, but come on. We're all scared of sharks, and Spielberg's foray into blockbusters really taps into that fear on a gut level. Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw's pushed-to-the-edge dynamic also makes it a whole lot of fun. And of course there's John Williams' primally unsettling musical score.
Although not approved by Bram Stoker's estate which ended up suing and bankrupting the film's production company , this unofficial adaptation of Dracula still holds up as one of the earliest, eeriest examples of vampire cinema.
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