Our list of the Top 30 Horror Movies of all Time. Do you Agree?………Horror films are one of the most consistently popular film genres of the last 4 decades. The point of a horror film is to provoke a ˜horrified’ reaction from the audience, or put simply to scare people. For the purposes of the top horror countdown it should be noted that while certain films might be better technically, this is a list that represents the films ability to scare combined with the cultural impact on horror films and society in general.
The Descent follows a group of cave-exploring twenty-somethings and the horrible trials they have to endure once in the cave. Directed by Neil Marshall as a follow-up to the very successful Dog Soldiers, The Descent increases the scare-factor and the tension to almost deafening proportions.
28 Days Later¦ was an attempt at redefining the horror genre by taking a conventional zombie apocalypse and bringing a unique sense of style to the table. He succeeding by redefining the zombie-horror sub-genre and launched the career of Cillian Murphy. The opening scene itself being one of the most unique and original scenes in film history
Directed by Roman Polanski, Rosemary’s Baby is a Mia Farrow-starring horror about a woman whose pregnancy takes a turn for the unexpected as strange people start forcing their way into her life. It is still chilling now, with a twist worthy of the top 30 horror films in itself and a scene involving a chap with horns and a pitchfork that is as brutal now as it was on release
Concluding George A. Romero’s original trilogy of the dead, Day of the Dead sees the majority of the human race turned into zombies while small pockets of humans survive. Romero’s keen eye for social commentary comes into force as he investigates the difference between military and scientific approaches to dealing with the zombie apocalypse in this affecting and intelligently handled horror film
Yasuhisa Yoshikawa (Jun Kunimura), a film producer, devises a mock casting audition in which young women would audition for the “part” of Aoyama’s new wife. Aoyama tentatively agrees to the plan. He is immediately enchanted by Asami Yamazaki (Eihi Shiina). In her audition, Asami says that she was a ballerina but had to give up dancing after an injury. Aoyama is attracted to her apparent emotional depth, but things take a turn for the terrible in this modern classic Japanese horror film.
Following on from Frankenstein, James Whale’s Bride of Frankenstein stands as one of the rare occasions where the sequel far surpasses the original. Iconic art direction, superb camera work and a host of great performances help to establish this as one of the best horror films ever made. Read the full review here…
The Orphanage (El Orfanato to give it its Spanish title) is a horror film presented by horror aficionado and all-round fantasy legend Guillermo Del Toro. His creation, The Orphanage proved to be a monster critical success at Cannes Film Festival in 2007 and is one of the most harrowing horror films of all time.
David Cronenberg’s most lasting and commercially successful body shock horror film is The Fly. Loosely based on the 1958 original, also called The Fly, itself based on a short story by George Langelaan published in Playboy magazine in 1957 Cronenberg’s The Fly was his most commercially successful film to date.
Wes Craven˜s Scream took a post-modern look at the slasher film and horror in general and with a tongue firmly poked in cheek riffed it for all it was worth. It had never been done before and the results were something truly special. While the sequels may have gone too far into parody, the original stands as one of the truly iconic horror films of all time.
John Carpenter is as synonymous with horror as Wes Craven, Tobe Hooper and George A. Romero. He developed memorable horrors like his seminal work Halloween. One of his most enduring legacies though is the science fiction horror The Thing, which combined state of the art puppetry with a deranged plot.
One of the earliest and most successful adaptations of author Stephen King’s works, Carrie is an iconic coming of age horror film with a strong central performance that underpins one of the most truly horrific and disturbing final acts in horror film history.
A combination of superb performances, detailed direction and one of the best twists in all of film help to establish The Sixth Sense as a true modern horror classic. The line I see dead people has firmly positioned itself in the lexicon of horror phrases and is as memorable today as it was on release.
Of the host of classic 1970s British horror films, The Wicker Man was one which made little impact upon release, but has slowly been regarded with greater and greater praise. Sometimes referred to as “the Citizen Kane of horror films” it is a moody and atmospheric horror film tied together with some incredible performances.
Slasher horror films are made on small budgets and released throughout the year now as one of the most prolifically produced sub-genres in film-making. However the was a time when the tropes were original and unique and at the forefront of this early expansion was John Carpenter’s Halloween.
16. The Innocents (1961)
The Innocents is a 1961 British horror film based on the novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. The title of the film was taken from William Archibald’s stage adaptation of James’ novella. Directed and produced by Jack Clayton, it stars Deborah Kerr, Michael Redgrave and Megs Jenkins. Falling within the subgenre of psychological horror, the film achieves its effects through lighting, music and direction rather than gore and conventional shocks.
Alfred Hitchcock only made two proper journeys into the world of horror film-making. The first was Psycho and the second was the hugely underrated The Birds, which is loosely based on a story by Daphne Du Maruier.
Learning from this mistake, Hitchcock did not press screen Psycho and it became one of the most iconic and popular horror thrillers of all time. Yet when compared restrospectively, Peeping Tom is every bit as well made and constructed as its peer and deserves more notoriety than it currently possess’.
Sam Raimi˜s Evil Dead trilogy has become something of a cult classic over the years. Shot on generally small budgets, it relied on the supreme charisma of lead star Bruce Campbell and a neat combination of horror and comedy that helped to define the genre for years to come. The pick of the bunch is the second film, which runs a similar plot to the first but with the budget to make it look and feel impressive.
12. The Haunting (1963)
The Haunting is a 1963 British psychological horror film by American director Robert Wise and adapted by Nelson Gidding from the novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. It stars Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, and Russ Tamblyn. The film revolves around the conflict between a team of paranormal investigators and the house in which they spend several nights.
The four movies that Nicolas Roeg directed (or co-directed) in the 1970s are the films on which his reputation is built; Performance, Walkabout, Don’t Look Now and The Man Who Fell to Earth. While all very different, they are all generally strange, often disturbing and incredibly distinctive visually. Don’t Look Now is the best of the lot and on the best horror films of all time.
Steven Spielberg˜s film Jaws, the first ever summer blockbuster, and such a commercial and critical success that it created it’s own sub-genre and became the outline for marketing strategy by all studios from that time to the present day. It is the definition of horror and is a masterpiece.
One of the most recent additions to the sub-genres is the ˜found footage horror’ films. Despite the implication of a terrible ending for all the characters involved, it was only a matter of time before a film defined the genre. That film came in 1999 and was called The Blair Witch Project.
George A. Romero˜s classic Night of the Living Dead set the bar for how horror films are viewed today. So full impact was it that it lead to many sequels and established Romero as the king of zombie films. Slightly dated now, but still worthy of inclusion for its importance to the horror genre as a whole.
Possibly the greatest science fiction horror film of all time; Alien is a masterpiece by director Ridley Scott. It brings the unimaginable to life, creating a relatable fear from unknown and a sense of realism from the outlandish. This is horror at its finest.
The opening salvo from Suspiria is one of the purest moments of horror and it’s clear that Argento aims to grab the audience and let them know that what they’re about to witness is not going to be a pleasant or entertaining ride, but will push the boundaries of what their senses can handle.
Director and zombie aficionado George A. Romero is credited with bringing zombies into the mainstream of horror films. The combination of creeping threat, slightly comedic zombies and Romero˜s often cutting social commentary help make Dawn of the Dead one of, if not the greatest zombie films of all time.
Alfred Hitchcock one of the most important directors of all time and Psycho is his most successful film. The idea of a social outcast, tied to his elderly mother, living in the middle of no where is an incredibly chilling idea for a film and Hitchcock uses his incredible sense of space and timing to create a claustrophobic and constantly intimidating atmosphere.
In 1984 The Video Recordings Act was passed which banned a certain list of films from distribution. One of the higher profile films associated with this movement was Tobe Hooper˜sThe Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Such was the perceived horrific content of the film that it wasn’t officially released for home viewing until 1999.
The Shining˜s unique creative style took the film away from the book to such a degree that original author Stephen King felt the need to voice his displeasure, but Kubrick˜s vision of a family trapped in a hotel over a particularly harsh winter remians one of the most horrifying and fantastic films ever made.
The undisputed king of controversy, terror and the whole horror genre was, and still remains, William Friedkin’s The Exorcist. Upon release, The Exorcist became a sensation taking huge receipts at the box office and fuelled by a marketing campaign and word of mouth that described the film as the most horrific and scary film ever made.