Written By: Alex Sandell
Blood! Guts! Sick Perversion! (And that's just "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2"!) It's all here, the best horror has to offer. As a horror movie addict, I've roamed through the back shelves of videostores, sat through thousands of cheap "made for video" embarrassments, braved sold out theaters full of jumpy teenagers on one opening night after another. All in search of that rare oddity; a good horror film.
Because when horror is good, it is the best (if you don't count a bunch of other movies that are better). "The best" is what I've put on this page, for your reading enjoyment. Now you can separate the trash from the slash and go straight for the classics!
*Note: The movies below are in
alphabetical order, NOT in order of preference!*
This movie has had such a strong impact on film, that you nearly forget it isn't just "another 'Alien' rip-off". The mother of the modern "monster/alien/robot/mutant-after-people" flick, this film aims to scare you silly, and succeeds.
"Alien" was followed by the excellent "Aliens", which aimed more for action, than it did for suspense. The pretentious, boring-as-hell, "Alien 3" came next. And, finally, this summer's dreadful disgrace to the series, "Alien: Resurrection".
As a whole, this movie fails, but thanks to the first (out of three) story (at the gas station), you'll be at the edge of your seat. If you shut this off after thirty-minutes, the film is one of the greatest suspense rides put out on video!
Gruesome, wildly directed film featuring a tree raping a woman. The only seriously scary film of the series (two more movies were to follow), with plenty of eerie shit that will most likely keep the horror "amateur" up for nights.
Followed by "Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn" which was more of a remake, than an actual sequel. "Dead By Dawn" twists a lot of the terror from the first into comedy, this time around. Still, there are a few good scares scattered about and just as much blood as the last time. Now you can laugh along with your nightmares!
"Evil Dead 2" was followed by the third installment in the series, "Army of Darkness". Although this was also a fairly good movie, it shamed the series by trying to hide the fact that it was a sequel in all theatrical and video advertising, by losing ALL horror elements and 99.999% of the blood, and reshooting the bleak ending in favor of some sappy, happy replacement.
Friday the 13th
I have a soft spot in my heart for "Friday the 13th" being that it was the first "adult" horror film I saw at the tender age of 9. Although it's nothing but "Halloween" in the woods, this film still manages to hit a nerve. A lot of creepy scenes toward the end, and tons of cool killings throughout (which became the trademark for all "Friday the 13th" sequels which followed), this film shouldn't be missed by horror movie fans.
"Friday the 13th" spawned 8 sequels. Part 2, which was nearly as good as the first. Part 3, which was rotten. Part 4, which was okay. Part 5, which was the bloodiest, but still pretty lame. Part 6, which introduced comedy to the series, and is one of the best. Part 7, which is horrible. Part 8, which is terrible. And part 9, which is unbearable. (A series that definitely should have quit while it was ahead.)
Imagine "Ghostbusters" if it was rated R, scary, and actually good. Directed by Peter Jackson ("Bad Taste", "Heavenly Creatures", "Dead/Alive" - all three good movies, "Heavenly Creatures" a classic) whom I consider to be one of the best directors to ever slip out of a womb, this film is equal parts art-house and mainstream entertainment. The funniest ghost story to ever hit the big screen has you laughing right up to the last 20 minutes when it becomes one of the most . . . um . . . "frightening" movies of the 1990's.
Considered a classic immediately upon release, "Halloween" is an unflinching portrait of homicidal evil. With "Halloween", John Carpenter created a terrifyingly unique horror experience which has been imitated (usually poorly) by one horror movie after another ("Friday the 13th", "Scream", "I Know What You Did Last Summer", etc.).
"Halloween" was followed by six sequels. The mediocre "Halloween 2", the unbearable "Halloween 3", the pretty-damn-good "Halloween 4" and "Halloween 5", the bloody, over-the-top "Halloween 6" and the mundane, "Scream"-influenced, "Halloween: H2O".
Considered by many (including myself) to be the best "haunted house" movie ever created. Scares the shit out of you without showing any gore or, for that matter, ghosts. Quite an accomplishment, for a ghost story.
A woman seduces horny guys (probably not the hardest thing she's ever done), brings them home and kills them. All this so her evil boyfriend can grow from a blob of blood back into a full-blooded human. Very violent, and filled with plenty of scary stuff to make you fart. (Do you get the hint, Oprah?)
Some people don't even consider this a horror film, simply because Spielberg directed it. This is the only movie that makes my palms sweat every time that I see it; not because of the bare boobs at the beginning (which I have to admit are enjoyable), but out of fear. As a child, I wouldn't even go into the deep end of a swimming pool, thanks to "Jaws" (you think I have a case against Spielberg?). One of the most suspenseful movies ever made, and one where the feeling of suspense doesn't leave when the movie ends. Just tell me you don't occasionally find yourself worrying about what's way down below your squirming feet when you're out swimming. *Chomp*
The sequels aren't even worth naming off. Just remember, if there's a number after the word "Jaws", it isn't worth renting. It isn't even worth watching on TNT at 4 in the morning.
Life of Ken Starr, The
Probably the most haunting film of all time. Mr. Starr, like so many zombies before him, is desperately in need of a life. To get it, he feels he must invade everyone else's private lives, one after another, while destroying the economy and making the United States come off as a gigantic joke to the rest of the world. Will he be the end of mankind as we know it? Or is he just a pimple waiting to be popped? The credits have yet to roll on this film, and the monster known as "Ken" lives on. Make sure your shades are pulled and all lights are off. He's out there somewhere. "He is evil - absolute evil." - Dr. Sam Loomis
Nightmare on Elm Street, A
Although most of the sequels were a total joke (in more ways than one), this is still a wicked little film that took "low-budget" into a whole new direction. Working a few jokes into its numerous scares (instead of the other way around, like its sequels), this film entertains you from all angles, making itself one of the greatest horror movies ever made.
Followed by "A Nightmare on Elm Street 2", which is worth a rental, if you're bored. "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors" which has a good premise that doesn't really go anywhere. "A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master", the most popular of the series, but also one of the worst. "A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child" which could have been one of the best of the series, if the annoying producers and studio didn't interfere with what was once a wonderful script. "Freddy's Dead" which is one of the worst horror movies ever made. And, finally, "Wes Craven's New Nightmare" which beat "Scream" to the punch in the "talking about movies within a movie" theme, and is definitely worth checking out if you haven't already seen it.
Night of the Living Dead
A low-budget classic. Made in the sixties, this black-and-white film is one of the greatest horror movies ever put on the big screen. A group of people get trapped in a house surrounded by mind-eating zombies. Should've won an Oscar.
"Dawn of the Dead" and "Day of the Dead" followed. While neither live up to "Night", they're both excellent films.
"The Tall Man" is probably the most frightening of all the "horror heroes." This film is extremely creepy, and is guaranteed to send chills up your spine. Plus, those flying balls and mutant Jawas are pretty cool.
The average "Phantasm II" followed, but thankfully the series got back on track with the excellent (with exception to the cheesy jokes thrown in toward the end) "Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead". I heard there was a part 4 out there somewhere, but I haven't been able to locate it.
These films have sort of entered the dustbin of horror history, but you owe it to yourself to discover one of the best horror series ever made!
My favorite horror movie of all time. "Psycho" hits levels of greatness all other horror movies can only dream of reaching. If you haven't seen this, do yourself a favor and turn off the computer and run to the video store!
Followed by the so-so "Psycho 2", the excellent "Psycho 3" and the unbelievably well-made (and underrated) "Psycho 4: The Beginning".
Return of the Living Dead
Basically a remake of "Night of the Living Dead", a group of people get stuck in an old church with zombies attacking them from inside and out. This is in the "Reanimator", "Evil Dead 2", "Dead/Alive" vein, turning blood into comedy. But, unlike the other three films, this one focuses a bit more on horror, and makes it a point to separate the scares from the chuckles.
With what is probably the longest nude scene in horror history, and the coolest zombie put on film, this should be on the top of your list of "must see" terror. Still, that 80's clothing has just gotta go (probably why they included the nude scene).
Silence of the Lambs
Basically the third chapter in the "Ed Gein" series (following "Psycho" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"), this film has all the horror and gore you'd expect to find from an independent film. That's what makes it so weird: this is a big-budget studio movie starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. Still, it remains dark and gritty and manages to give you the creeps for days to come.
While unable to live up to "Psycho"'s greatness, "Silence of the Lambs" is still right on par with "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", making this a movie you cannot miss. (And I'm sure you haven't, being that it made like 17 billion dollars at the theater and on video.)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The
Hands down the most disturbing movie ever created. This film, like "Psycho" before it (both are loosely based on notorious Wisconsin pervert and murderer, Ed Gein) doesn't show you much gore, but lets your imagination run wild. Extremely hard to get through, but worth the effort just to see film making at its best. This isn't a movie as much as it's an experience (and not a very "fun" one, at that). If you want to be scared, sickened and disturbed, this is the film for you! Can you survive The Texas Chainsaw Massacre?
"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" was followed by two worthwhile sequels, and one big pile of crap. The over-the-top gorefest, "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2" and the recent fourth installment, "Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation" are both good horror movies, in their own right. Just stay away from part 3 . . . it sucks worse than Texas itself.
Now, go watch some movies - I didn't spend hours putting this together for nothing! Tell me what you think of the films that I picked, what ones you still have to see, and what ones you want to strangle me for for not adding, by emailing email@example.com
©1998 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved]. I wouldn't recommend copying this. Hey, anyone that watches all of these horror movies can't be that stable, right? You wanna chance it?
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