List your favorite horror movies!

I’m a big-time horror movie fan, more so of supernatural horror than slasher films, which don’t really work for me. For example, I really don’t care for any of the Jason or Freddy movies because they lack style or imagination compared to, say, the Dr. Phibes films. Here are some of the movies that have scared and enthralled me.

[li]Dawn of the Dead A film of powerful social satire as well as a flatout gore fest featuring some of Tom Savini’s most ghastly effects.[/li]
[li]The Wicker Man A richly evocative take on the Christians vs. pagans theme, TWM has great performances from Christopher Lee and Edward Woodward. The film also has a terrific folk music score.[/li]
[li]Hellraiser Unsophisticated viewers only see the gore and completely miss Clive Barker’s weaving of the themes of sexual submission and dominance, and how there is a very thin line between exquisite agony and unbearable pleasure. I don’t think there has ever been a more capable rendering of the eroticism of pain on film.[/li]
[li]The Addiction Starring Lilli Taylor as a grad student turned vampire, this movie explores the theme of vampire-as-junkie, always looking for the next fix, and it also has strong S/M overtones.[/li]
Evil Dead 2: Dead Before Dawn H.P. Lovecraft meets the Three Stooges.

You already hit three of mine (see if you can guess which ones!), so I’ll add:

The Exorcist: Still manages to create an absolutely believeable atmosphere of terror. Chris Macneil exhausts all medical and scientific possibilities before resorting to religion–and so does Father Karras.

Prince of Darkness: A rarely-seen John Carpenter movie that has some interesting ideas and remains pretty scary despite some serious missteps. Those synchronized dreams from the future still freak me out.

Alien: One of the few times Mr. Style-Before-Substance Ridley Scott got everything exactly right. Ten Little Indians in space.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: For better or worse, ushered in a new type of horror film, but this one is better. The killers are not invincible, the depraved, filthy setting is believable, and the heroine is not superhuman but is saved through happenstance.

Poltergeist: The single best haunted house movie ever.

Let’s go back a little further:

  1. Bride of Frankenstein: The Monster’s personality really comes through in this one, and the humor throughout adds a great dimension (Una O’Connor is a hoot). “We belong dead.”

  2. Dracula: Sure, nobody’s really going to confuse a oppossum with a giant rat, and Bela Lugosi’s a bit wooden, but c’mon man, its DRACULA. Dwight Frye as the loony Renfield is terrific. Interestingly enough, he also played Igor in the original Frankenstein.

  3. The Black Cat: Karloff and Lugosi in a very impressionistic setting. The story makes absolutlely no sense, but the cinematography and lighting are great.

  4. King Kong: See the re-edited version if you can. King Kong takes Fay Wray back to Skull Mountain and rubs her ragged-cover body with his finger tips then sniffs his finger to get her scent.

  5. In Cold Blood: Not designed to be a horror movie, but knowing that these events really took place scares me more than any slasher film I’ve ever seen. A 12 gauge shotgun makes one helluva mess.

Dead Alive. It’s the only horror movie that I still will voluntarily watch. Lots of gore, comedy, and just plain old what the fuck kinda stuff happening in it.

The Hammer films from the late 50’s to about 65 for bringing new life to the genre
The first Evil Dead, because it proved, again, that you don’t need a huge budget to make a really scary movie
Of course, Night of the Living Dead (the original) 'nuff said
And I disagree with you pldennison, the original The Haunting (Robert Wise, 1963) is still, and by far, the best haunted house movie

My favorite horror movies have to do with A-bombs, atom fear, and mutant fauna. Also I ignore classifications: if it scares ME then it’s a horror movie.

Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Return of the Living Dead (so funny, and great a-bomb footage at the end).

Atomic Cafe (not technically a horror film; don’t care: it terrified ME), Them, Dr. Strangelove, Attack of the Giant Crab Monsters, the Giant Claw, the Birds (no a-bombs mentioned but c’mon, it’s in nuke central). Tremors was underrated. Broken Arrow had a great under-desert atomic blast.

The Day After, A Boy and His Dog, the Omega Man, Planet of the Apes (NOT looking forward to the remake), Silent Running. Alien. Tales From the Crypt.

Videodrome (only because Deborah Harry is QUEEN OF THE UNIVERSE AND RULES ALL).

The Shining (Kubrick) is my all time favorite ghost story.

These are just a few of my favs.

“Freaks” (1932), the daddy of 'em all. I have shown this to friends who were so (pardon the expression) freaked out that they told me to WARN them before pulling something like that on them again. But there IS nothing else “like that . . .”

Eve: great call, ‘Freaks’. Did you ever see another of the ‘lunatics take over the asylum’ flicks: Herzog’s “Even Dwarves Started Small” (or also translated as 'even dwarfs have to start somewhere)? Speaking of Herzog I still need to see his version of Nosferatu, in bleeding color.


I posted a question to GD about the pinheads in Freaks and got some pretty good responses. I found out their real names and a little bit of their history. Absolutely charming girls.

The April Vanity Fair has an article about the years 1930-1934 and how the Hays Code hadn’t come into effect yet. Lots of cutting edge material (including Freaks and the first King Kong) got made. Very interesting stuff. It also has an article about the making of “Myra Breckenridge” which is interesting as well. Raquel Welch…now there was a woman-and-a-half. Sorry for the brief hijack.

My favorites have pretty much been covered (Dawn of the Dead, Aliens, Freaks, Poltergeist, The Haunting, Dracula, Frankenstein, etc.), so I thought I’d wander into the dangerous territory of Horror Films I Liked, and Am Not Sure Are Actually Good.

The Hitcher. C. Thomas Howell takes on a deliciously psychotic Rutger Hauer in a deranged cross-coutry odyssey.

Nomads. Odd movie with Pierce Brosnan as a French anthropologist. Haunting. Features Adam Ant and Josie Cotton.

The Haunting. David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve, and a cast of monkeys. Sort of. Stylish vampire thriller.

Another vote for Prince Of Darkness. This movie had me creeped out for days afterwards.

A Nightmare On Elm Street. Like highlander, stick with the first movie, and leave the sequels alone (Unless you’re looking for cheesy movies).

The Exorcist. Saw it again in the theater when it was rereleased, and it’s STILL a creepy movie.

Scream. Loved the humor. I know it’s not scary, but STILL.

The Omen.

I’m going on a childhood memory, because I haven’t seen it in over 25 years, but Something Wicked This Way comes scared the shit out of me.

Jaws. I stayed away from beaches for awhile after seeing this.

Psycho. The shower death scene that was so good it’s been copied a gazillion times in other movies.

The Shining. Jack Nicholson takes an slightly above average movie and makes it spooky.

Oooh! Oooh! Iforgot to mention Poltergeist, Hellraiser, and the Evil Dead series! Bad Sealemon! Bad Sealemon!

Also, John Carpenter get another homerun with The Thing.
Props to the remake of The Blob, for introducing the cliched high school quarterback hero/romantic lead in the start of the movie, only to make him the second victim.

Silence of the Lambs – This is my all-time favorite movie, regardless of genre. But it fits well with this post.

Night of the Living Dead – I actually am in the process of writing a history paper that deals primarily with this movie. And Silence of the Lmbs, too. I love that class…

The Shining – I love this movie, too.

Poltergeist – Only movie I’ve ever screamed in the middle of. Made me fear clowns more than Stephen King’s IT.

The Exorcist – The ultimate horror film.

I think that’s it for my top favorite, but I like anything that gives you a good scare. Or, tried to and in doing that, gives you a good laugh…

Interestingly enough, the Igor in the original FRANKENSTEIN was named Fritz.

(Sorry, plnnr, old pal, I just couldn’t resist…“original” is debatable, too, as the Edison studios made a version in 1910.)

I’ve participated in about fifty threads like this, but what th’ hell…my favorites are Paramount’s ISLAND OF LOST SOULS (1933), for the great Charles Laughton performance, for Kathleen Burke as the Panther Girl (rowrr!), for the House of Pain, for “The natives are VERY restless tonight,” and for “Not to spill BLAUGHT…DAT is da Law…ARE WE NOT MEN???”…

Polanski’s REPULSION (1965). “Hey, let’s do PSYCHO from the lunatic’s point of view!”…

Henri-Georges Clouzot’s LE CORBEAU (1943). Not really meant to be a horror movie, but chilling nonetheless. A series of mysterious poison-pen letters appear over a period of weeks in a small French village, leading the townspeople into paranoia, violence, and suicide. Clouzot got into a lot of hot water over this movie, as it was financed by a Nazi-run film company and was perceived as anti-French. Really cool, though…if you liked his LES DIABOLIQUES or WAGES OF FEAR, try this one.

Anyone ever seen the 1988 Dutch film “Spoorlos,” released in the U.S. as “The Vanishing?” Yikes! I don’t want to give away the ending, but it haunted me for . . . well, a few minutes, anyway.

When I was growing up one of the networks (I think it was USA or maybe TBS) use to have play a horror movie every Saturday night. They called it Saturday Nightmares. Since my family was so odd we made popcorn and watched it every Saturday night with out fail.

My favorite horror movies come from the ones I watched then.

The movie I thought was the scariest was Rosemary’s Baby. The Shinning and Salem’s Lot also terrified me.

The most “funniest” ones were the Night of the Living Dead movies and the “Its Alive” movies.

slight highjack
I remember watching one movie, but I can’t remember the name of it. It was about a man who was separated from his deformed siamese twin brother. He kept his brother in a chest of some sort and it would get out of the chest sometimes and kill people. Does anyone remember that movie or am I crazy?

Zumba, the movie you refer to is Basket Case. More info can be found at

Creepy film.

I once again stand corrected in my orthopedic shoes. I knew he was called Fritz even as I was writing Igor. A comic little fella, whatever his name was. As for Charles Ogles’ performance in the first Frankenstein, we’ll call that a wash. That’s a pretty damn obscure reference. IIRC they produced the scene where the monster is created by filming a paper mache’ effigy of the monster as it burned and then running it backwards. Voila’! The monster seems to be formed from smoke and flame.

As for The Shining - What in God’s name was Shelly Duval doing in that piece of trash? She was as wooden as a cigar store Indian. Put her and Keanu Reeves together and you could build a sturdy piece of furniture.

How about
Phantom of the Paradise– Mid-70’s pastiche of Phantom of the Opera, Faust, and The Picture of Dorian Gray, all set to a Paul Williams rock score

The Abominable Dr. Phibes and its sequel, Dr. Phibes Rises Again– Mad concert organist doing in old British character actors in entertainingly gruesome ways

Dracula–The Lugosi film has been re-released with a Philip Glass score performed by the Kronos Quartet that is positively eerie

Reanimator–A 1986 Lovecraft adaptation that lent new meaning to the phrase, “giving head.”

The Stand Can anything be creepier than the scenes of
people dead from the superflu while “Don’t Fear The Reaper” plays on the soundtrack?

I have to agree with most of goboy’s choices. And with Eve’s selection of Freaks (I’ve mentioned many times that an unwatcheable evening of films would be Freaks, Eraserhead, and The Forbidden Zone. Just too weird for words.) I like a lot of the others, but don’t think of King Kong, for instance, as horror.

My all-time favorite horror film is Psycho – direction by Alfred Hitchcock, story by Robert Bloch, Anthony Perkins and the rest of that talented cast. And it’s one of the few times that Alfred “Let the audience see what’s going to happen so they’ll squirm” Hitchcock actually allowed a twist ending.
I though The Thing was superb sf/horror. The original Christian Nyby/Howard Hawks film has much to recommend it (Even John Campbell gave it a commendation, although somewhat back-handed), but I prefer the John Carpenter remake as more faithful to the story – wonderful paranoia there.

I didn’t like Alien for reasons I’ve given elsewhere, and I think of Aliens as straight sf rather than horror.