Top 50 Horror Movies.
July 1, 2007 4:32 PM   Subscribe

Top 50 Horror Movies This is one blogger's opinion of the Top 50 horror movies. There are some expected (Night of the Living Dead, The Exorcist) and some unexpected (Return of the Living Dead 3, Interview with the Vampire) choices for the top horror movies.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl (101 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I agree with quite a few of the items on the list (not necessarily the rankings) but "Cube" has number 2? I don't think so.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl at 4:35 PM on July 1, 2007

Cube is #2? Is this a fucking joke?
posted by Roman Graves at 5:02 PM on July 1, 2007 [3 favorites]

Your most intense nightmares suck.
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:04 PM on July 1, 2007

scream and blair witch are on there, but not shaun of the dead? and where's lawnmower man? go fig.

anyway, what surprised me more is that there're quite a bit of films listed that (a) I consider quite good, and (2) I'd never considered to be "horror" movies.

it's missing quite a lot of classic italian horror (think barbara steele) or hammer films. but honestly I was never terribly impressed by such despite so many reviews in their favor (e.g. glenn erickson).

regardless, it's a good list and certainly inspired me to go look for more than a couple films I've not yet seen. thanks!
posted by dorian at 5:10 PM on July 1, 2007

Anyone that ranks Cat People one rank above The Exorcist can't be taken seriously.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:13 PM on July 1, 2007

Are you shitting me, NO FRANKENHOOKER?
posted by The Straightener at 5:18 PM on July 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

also, yeah not sure why cube is #2 in the list; although it is quite a unique and good film, there are many in that list more deserving of the #2 spot.

also also, cube 2 'hypercube' is worth a watch.

on preview: cpb, I think that cat people (1942 not 1980s) may be ahead of exorcist since, as the writer points out, exorcist is so excessively referenced and for lack of a better word tainted at this point. whereas cat people is largely unknown yet still quite hitchcockian and in other ways creative. but yeah the ordering is overall questionable; as mentioned I am just thinking of it as a nice list of suggestions.
posted by dorian at 5:18 PM on July 1, 2007

where is joe bob briggs when you need him?
posted by growabrain at 5:19 PM on July 1, 2007

"Best of" lists inevitably suck.
posted by anansi at 5:20 PM on July 1, 2007

Anyone that ranks Cat People one rank above The Exorcist can't be taken seriously.

If by that you imply that Cat People doesn't deserve to be on the list, then I have to say that anyone who thinks such a thing can't be taken seriously. If you're just arguing about relative placement (which is kind of silly with this list—I join with everyone else in being aghast at the placement of Cube), then you've sure got an overheated way of phrasing it. Anyway, Cat People (the original) is a great movie, whatever number you want to stick on it.

Also, while I was glad to see Re-Animator on the list, it deserved higher ranking. But like I said, arguing about numbers is silly. (I'm just glad The Shining didn't make the list. That sucker is just not scary.)
posted by languagehat at 5:20 PM on July 1, 2007

posted by yoyo_nyc at 5:26 PM on July 1, 2007

Re: Re-Animator:

Stupid, gory, and fun.

Okay, it's not exactly high-brow, but I found and still find it to be a fairly clever flick.
posted by dgbellak at 5:30 PM on July 1, 2007

I'm just glad The Shining didn't make the list. That sucker is just not scary

Oh lh, it's pretty rare that you're wrong, but MAN are you wrong. Unlike pretty much every movie that's been mentioned on this page so far, The Shining has the distinction of being one of maybe five or so movies that have actually scared me in my life.
posted by jonson at 5:34 PM on July 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Excellent cho-



I see the vastly superior original on there, but the fact that any one of the sequels is here tells me what's wrong with the list: He just hasn't seen that many horror movies.

Basically what dorian said, but my tastes differ somewhat.
posted by dgbellak at 5:35 PM on July 1, 2007

MetaFilter: One Blogger's Opinion.
posted by absalom at 5:39 PM on July 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

The Company of Wolves wasn't even a horror movie, though it did have one particularly awesome scene. I don't care too much for this list. The Cube? The Crow? I personally don't even consider Return of the Living Dead or other "jokey" ones horror movies.

I thought The Shining (parts of it anyway) were pretty scary.
posted by erikharmon at 5:42 PM on July 1, 2007

Sure, it's one blogger's opinion; however, the list provided several new additions to my Netflix queue. Not that I needed additions to my 350 movie queue, but (hopefully) quality horror is always welcome.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl at 5:45 PM on July 1, 2007

I'm just glad The Shining didn't make the list. That sucker is just not scary

Did you see the miniseries? Because that was absolute crap.
posted by Citizen Premier at 5:50 PM on July 1, 2007

So you're telling me that there are opinions on the internet? Wow, I've got some top $N_large lists of $pop_culture_item for you!
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:51 PM on July 1, 2007

Crap, I worked on the DVDs for a lot of these. Thanks, Michael Montoure, for buying my shiny plastic discs!

Liked Cube, but it's no #2... though I am looking forward to Vincenzo Natali's adaptation of Ballard's High-Rise (and secretly sad that Natali's doing it and not Cronenberg).
posted by infinitewindow at 5:56 PM on July 1, 2007

Oh, dear. On the one hand, this list is certainly...iconoclastic? On the other...oh, dear.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:01 PM on July 1, 2007

Before you make a list of the top 50 horror films, you should see more than 50 horror films.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:04 PM on July 1, 2007 [5 favorites]

No Invasion of the Body Snatchers? This list sucks.
posted by longdaysjourney at 6:07 PM on July 1, 2007

wheres Jaws or Alien?
posted by cazoo at 6:07 PM on July 1, 2007

In the Mouth of Madness:

The best John Carpenter film in years. Not that he'd been slacking, or anything, but he really outdid himself this time.

That's as far as I got and I'm going no further.
posted by dgbellak at 6:08 PM on July 1, 2007

That's as far as I got and I'm going no further.

This is especially true since Halloween, Carpenter's most innovative and culturally important work in horror, is nowhere on this list.
posted by Roman Graves at 6:16 PM on July 1, 2007

The Dark Half (1993) This film -- there's no other way to put this -- just simply got to me, for various reasons too personal to get into here.

Surely this is the best of the web.
posted by wfrgms at 6:17 PM on July 1, 2007

No mention of The Shining ?

37. The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
I wasn't really expecting much from this movie -- it looked like a cheap knockoff of Night of the Living Dead, and that's essentially true . . . .

What a dumbass, I don't care if he liked it or not , the fact that he doesn't understand that this film is a homage explains his total ignorance concerning horror films. Come talk to me after you've seen Spider Baby noobie.
posted by nola at 6:30 PM on July 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

My top ten at the moment:

Night of the Living Dead
Evil Dead 2
The Birds
Blair Witch Project
Stir of Echoes
Shaun of the Dead
American Werewolf in London
Evil Dead 1

That'll probably change next time the wind blows. These lists are subjective twaddle, but they're fun to do and argue about.

As for Cat People versus Exorcist? Cat People makes it into my personal top fifty. Exorcist does not. I'd watch the original black and white Cat People again. I don't mean the terrible eighties retread starring Malcolm McDowell and Nastassja Kinski. The original one was fun. The Exorcist is over-rated, and since I'm not catholic, I apparently just don't get it at all. It's at best for me a banal comedy.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:42 PM on July 1, 2007

The scariest thing about Lost Boys was the outfits. Eek!

I'd like to see Series 7: The Contenders get some more credit. The film is an extra-long episode of a reality show in which a group of people in a town or city are chosen at random- and the last one alive moves on to the next round. It's horribly cheesily presented, but that suits it, given what it's emulating. The basic concept, a world in which motiveless murder is entertainment, has very rarely been so well put together. It's bright and shiny and happy with itself and has not even a single trace of irony or a single moment in which anyone stops to say "Hey, this is wrong. For a film with no gore whatsoever it is incredibly brutal and relentless, and I always come out on the other side of it feeling completely drained and oddly violated.

Also, there's Session 9, a film about a group of labourers cleaning out the asbestos in an abandoned mental hospital. Shot on location at Danvers, it does an amazing job of creating a dark, gloomy, unnerving atmosphere. Just running the last line of the film through my head makes the hair on the back of my neck tingle.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:42 PM on July 1, 2007

I'm glad he had 'Near Dark' on the list. But my big problem with this list is that I'm not sure there are 50 good horror movies. I also liked seeing 'Cemetary Man'.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:44 PM on July 1, 2007

"it's got the body of a spider, but it's actually a baby"
posted by dorian at 6:44 PM on July 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

I stopped reading at Pumpkinhead... Then thought maybe I'd give him the benefit of the doubt, and wow, Hellraiser at #1? That's dumbtarded. This list sounds like it was written by someone who stopped watching movies in 1992. Ugh, lists suck.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 6:47 PM on July 1, 2007

I liked "From Beyond." So sue me. Still waiting for the new DVD to come out with the missing footage.
posted by erikharmon at 6:49 PM on July 1, 2007

These lists are getting old.
posted by delmoi at 6:50 PM on July 1, 2007

Good list. He's got the right movies in the right places, mostly. But CUBE at No. 2??? Great concept for a movie, pretty good overall but some of the worst acting I've ever seen in a feature film. And not really a horror movie.

Also, THE SHINING is excluded. Mistake. That belongs somewhere in the top 10, perhaps top 5.
posted by zardoz at 7:01 PM on July 1, 2007

Shining: I strongly preferred the miniseries with De Mornay and Weber to the movie with Duvall and Nicholson, but neither of them deserved being in the top anything of any list. The miniseries simply made more sense and was more sincere to the source material. I tired of Nicholson chewing on the set pieces about ten minutes into the movie, and Shelly Duvall (god bless her little heart) is a walking chalkboard scratch. The kid they got did a good job. Red Rum! Red Rum! The rest of it was crap.

Frankenhooker: Might be in my top 250 but surely not the top fifty. It doesn't really get good until halfway through. Takes too freakin' long for him to get around to making her. I wish Quentin Tarantino would do a remake of Frankenhooker. He'd know what to do with it and how to make it work. The Brain That Wouldn't Die was essentially better because they put her head in neck juice.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:02 PM on July 1, 2007

Shorter MeFi thread: Replace Cube with The Shining.
posted by dgbellak at 7:05 PM on July 1, 2007

No Night of the Creeps? Blasphemer!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:05 PM on July 1, 2007

Lost Boys:
Mildly amusing on occasion. Tolerable parody of horror films, with a dated sensibility for its target demo at the time. Like Scream, Fright Night, and many other horror comedies, time has been unkind. It's not a true horror film.

Series 7: The Contenders
Fun. Creepy. Weird. Deserves more attention than it gets. However, it's not a horror film.

In fact I question the validity of the OP link cuz many of the films on his list I don't call horror films. Just cuz there's blood in Angel Heart, that don't make it a horror film. The only person that film scared was Bill Cosby, when he realized a talented woman he'd invested resources on was throwing her career away for an artsy fartsy nude scene. I bet he darn near had a coronary when he found that out.

But then I put a lot of horror comedy and 'b movies' in my personal top fifty. One man's trash is another's treasure.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:10 PM on July 1, 2007

From Beyond!
The Keep!
Basket Case!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:17 PM on July 1, 2007

There were many genuinely horrific films on that list. Just not necessarily in the way the listmaker meant.
posted by goatdog at 7:20 PM on July 1, 2007

Yay! Martin (#22) is one of my all-time favorites and is usually never mentioned on these sorts of lists. The best monster movies are those that leave us feeling a little sad for the monster.
posted by squalor at 7:44 PM on July 1, 2007

For me the only film that went beyond stimulating the simple emotion of sympathetic fear into actually provoking a panic attack was Polar Express in IMAX 3D.

I had to leave the auditorium and wait in the lobby. I craved benzodiazepines.

But besides that, the list is remiss for omitting The Shining. Pumpkinhead was surprisingly good...
posted by Tube at 7:49 PM on July 1, 2007

The Straightener: WHAT? You know of FRANKENHOOKER also?

My friend was in that film!
posted by mrzarquon at 7:50 PM on July 1, 2007

"My friend was in that film!"

Oh really? I'm so sorry. I feel for ya, man.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:59 PM on July 1, 2007

Hellraiser profoundly terrified and disturbed my in-the-closet 15 year old queer psyche for reasons that it's taken years of therapy to understand. IMO, it well deserves the #1 place on the list.
posted by treepour at 8:01 PM on July 1, 2007

Scanning down that list I was thinking, "I bloody hope he's got Hellraiser in there."
posted by forallmankind at 8:05 PM on July 1, 2007

Needs more Argento.
posted by milquetoast at 8:10 PM on July 1, 2007 [2 favorites]

I have to say, it's kind of a surprise to see this show up on the blue. I happen to know this guy personally (just saw him last week, as a matter of fact). For those of you asking things like "where is Shaun of the Dead?", bear in mind that he posted this list several years ago. I first read it before I moved to Florida, so that's four years at least. Possibly more.

And trust me on this, he ain't a noob and he has seen far more than fifty horror movies. Beyond that, I'll leave it to him to defend his opinions if he so desires.
posted by Lokheed at 8:17 PM on July 1, 2007

Nice to see John Carpenter's Vampires get some love. I was beginning to think I was the only one who liked that film.

And yes, Hellraiser's position on the top of the list is richly deserved.
posted by MrBadExample at 8:20 PM on July 1, 2007

I would need years of therapy to explain to me why Hellraiser should be on this list. I'd put Bride of Chuckie on this list before I'd put Hellraizer on it.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:26 PM on July 1, 2007

I'm pretty sure the kid (it has to be a kid) who wrote this hasn't even seen all these movies and is just including some because it's "expected". Likewise, if he hasn't seen these, he's probably missed some real gems that belong on the list (eg: "The Sentinel" or "Suspiria" etc.)
posted by RavinDave at 8:37 PM on July 1, 2007

I'm surprised at any horror movie buff who doesn't include at least a couple Asian titles on a list of his top 50, but whatever.

I never found any of The Shining remotely scary, ever. Alien was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life (I was 14 when I saw it) but even as a kid with a too-active imagination, The Shining was never anything but boring and silly to me. I don't get how many people include it on best horror lists.

As Stephen King adaptations go, Christine was just beautiful, but even it wasn't all that scary- and I scare pretty easily.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 8:37 PM on July 1, 2007

WHAT? You know of FRANKENHOOKER also?

Is FRANKENHOOKER something you'd have to be on supercrack to know about? Because I am high on supercrack.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:39 PM on July 1, 2007

at least a couple Asian titles

hmm, good point. oddly, the hk films that come to mind are wacky comedies whereas the japanese ones are just plain psychological and creepy. oh wait, that doesn't surprise me. can't think of any korean ones offhand, unless you count 'old boy'.

mr vampire
naked killer

dark water
posted by dorian at 9:00 PM on July 1, 2007

posted by Jikido at 9:10 PM on July 1, 2007

Where's Argento's Suspiria?

What about Cannibal Holocaust? (previously).

The Shining absolutely belongs in there. Seconding Carpenter's Halloween as well, Alien too. Carrie?

haha . sleepaway camp.

I dunno. This list is problematic.
posted by exlotuseater at 9:11 PM on July 1, 2007

My personal top ten (at least right now.)

10. Poltergeist
When I was eight, for some reason more vindictive than anything else, my mother forbade me from ever renting this, so it's still got a rebellious appeal to me. It's not truly scary, and I'm not sure it truly counts as horror, but it's brilliantly well done, and managed unheard-of special effects accomplishments from ILM 15 years before computers could do everything they were talking about.

9. Les Diabolique
I checked it out after reading Story, so I knew the twists ahead of time, and it was still effective. Plus, as has been mentioned above, this list needed some Italian in it.

8. Freaks
"One of us!" If you've seen it, you agree with me here. If you haven't, then yoiu've got some Netflixing to do. Still one of the creepiest things ever put on film.

7. What Lies Beneath
This entry might disqualify me from critiquing at all, and I get it. I really do. It's too slick. Zemeckis is just playing with film-school tricks. There's nothing really there. Etc. However, it's done extremely effectively, on every level. From the brilliant Harrison Ford casting, to the extensive use of water (taken itself from Les Diabolique, probably) to the use, alien to most slasher movies, of the heroine's actions actually being smart and resourceful, thus making the villain all the more firghtening for constantly being on top of her. This movie is almost too much for me to take sometimes, as by the end, every time the camera moves my ass clenches.

6. The Exorcist
My girlfriend is insistent that this should be #1 on any list of this sort, and that the excuse of all the hype and parodies is a cop-out. I agree, though I doesn't quite make #1 for me. It was parodies and hyped so extensively precisely because of how novel and disturbing it was. It garnered frights from images never seen before, creating it's own mythos effortlessly. See it again - it's lost nothing.

5. The Host
Too recent to have gotten on the list, and gimme a few years - it'll be higher on mine, I'm certain. Near perfect from first-frame to last, this Korean import has the balls to introduce it's monster in broad daylight, and focus more on family relationships and governmental sins than on carnage, with the result being that the end is one of the most effective I've seen, not just in horror, but in any genre, of the last decade. Gets even more props for having the most heart-stoppingly frightening scene of any horror movie maybe ever, all in total silence.

4. The Shining
I understand that it might not work fr some people. But if it works for you... well, there's a reason it's being mentioned so often on this thread. I can't adequately describe why it's as effective as it is. Maybe because Nicholson's Jack is such a slow-burner, and because Shelly Duvall and the kid are used in such a way as to make his actions almost understandable. Maybe because it seems the whole time as if nothing is happening, but if you miss even thirty seconds of it, you feel hopelessly lost. Maybe because of the attention to detail (remember Duvall's way-too-long-hanging cigarette ash in her first scene) which renders even the most innocuous segments with unease. It all comes together to maske Jack's madness palpable, and sympathetic.

3. Carrie
It just works. Maybe I'm nostalgic. The image of Sissy Spacek covered in pigs' blood, about to unleash hell, is iconic in a way that DePalma has never topped in his whole career. Here, he wanted to make a good movie, and succeeded. In later years, he just wanted to make audition reels of all the clever tricks he knew. After seeing whatever his latest travesty is, go back here to understand why we still let him make movies.

2. Shaun of the Dead
The best zombie flick ever, in my heretical opinion. Romero's films always had more to say, but he was never the craftsman I wish he could be. SotD takes a much smaller charge - British workaday boredom and complacency, and makes a genuinely scary, hugely funny, insanely tightly scripted and dazzlingly executed film out of it. Just recall Shaun, in the bodega, slipping ever-so-slightly on some unseen substance, to remember how well the scares and laughs were handled, coming simutaneously as the did throughout.

1. Halloween
I feel like he left this one off intentionally, almost begging us to ask why. Fine. What I don't understand is what the hell problem he'd have with the best horror movie in history, the one which created the genre as we know it, which organically set up all the conventions that everybody else slavishly followed, not understanding the underpinnings that made them work so well here. Ever since, virgins have survived in slasher movies, by virtue of being virgins. Jamie Lee Curtis survived because she was responsible, where the others were not. Her virginity wasn't a virtue in and of itself, but rather a side-effect of her since of responsibility. Michael Myers (The Shape, in this one) as the cold and faceless monster, was inscrutable and unstoppable bec=fore that was just how it was done. Ask yourself honestly, which is scarier? Freddy Krueger's grotesque vamping, or The Shape's lack of any readable emotion at all? Halloween made horror respectable, because it cared about it's audience. All of its disciples dragged horror back into the gutter by making horror about tits and blood, logic and story be damned.

I could keep writing, but I don't want to bore you further. Good post.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:19 PM on July 1, 2007

And Les Diabolique isn't Italian, and I'm a moron.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:25 PM on July 1, 2007

Metafilter: it's got the body of a spider, but it's actually a baby
posted by JHarris at 9:30 PM on July 1, 2007

Series 7: The Contenders
Fun. Creepy. Weird. Deserves more attention than it gets. However, it's not a horror film.

Then how would you classify it? Sure, it's not a film about scares and jolts. It's a film that conveys an overwhelming wrongness and doesn't back down even a fraction of an inch from it. I can't think of a more thoroughly disturbing film. Sure, it's full of black humour, but that doesn't make it a comedy.

Maybe I don't understand what horror's about. I think it goes so much further than fear, and that's part of why I think Series 7 is one of the best horror movies ever made- it contains not a single scare, and yet it's the most horrible thing I've ever seen. In its celebration and trivialisation of murder, it's gone beyond fear and into complete, profound wrongness. It illustrates a world in the Lovecraftian tradition- one in which human life means nothing whatsoever.

And that's far, far more horrible than anything on the list.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:33 PM on July 1, 2007

Though opinions will differ wildly and consensus is impossible -- for my own part, a horror film must at the very least have an element of supernaturalism or fantasy. Elsewise, I toss it into the "thriller" or "suspense" box.
posted by RavinDave at 9:40 PM on July 1, 2007

where's Spielberg's A.I?
posted by es_de_bah at 9:41 PM on July 1, 2007

If Series 7 counts, then by my estimate so would Battle Roayle, which would receive a very high slot on my list.

I think horror has to be concerned largely with visceral fear. Maybe Series 7 does that more so than BR, now that I think about it, but I think of it really as a very dark thriller.

Doesn't take anything away from it's quality, though.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:48 PM on July 1, 2007

THIS scared me when I was seven years old. Does that count?
posted by exlotuseater at 9:54 PM on July 1, 2007

I agree that Suspiria belongs on the list, along with some more Asian titles, some Romero movies, at least ONE Vincent Price flick, some more classic horror overall would be nice. Where's Silence of the Lambs? Carrie? 28 Days Later? Most importantly - this list needs at least 50% fewer BAD vampire movies

They say to each their own. That dude can keep most of his list.
posted by SassHat at 10:26 PM on July 1, 2007

Needs more Shining and Dawn of the Dead.
posted by Eco at 10:27 PM on July 1, 2007

He says Lance Henriksen is "better known now as the star of television's wonderfully creepy Millennium," which was 1996-1999; that and not having any post-1999 movie listed indicates the list is from around 1999.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:29 PM on July 1, 2007

I'm not entirely certain I understand what happened in this film, although I have some ideas.... So I rated it number 31

this person has the lamest taste in horror

Where's The Omen?

Where's Rosemary's Baby?

The Ring?

The Shining?

Now I'm in a bad mood
posted by mattoxic at 10:32 PM on July 1, 2007

We don't like lists around here, do we?

If we're sharing, I found Dellamorte Dellamore quite endeering. Not quite horror, not quite romance, not quite zombie, but for some reason I sympathized deeply with the majority of the characters.
posted by porpoise at 10:33 PM on July 1, 2007

Part of why Series 7 doesn't get its due is because most people don't know where it fits. Technically I agree that it fits into the thriller category better than horror. However, it doesn't quite fit that category either. And personally I don't know where it would go.

Just what is a thriller? This depends on who you talk to, but it's actually a VERY broad generalized descriptor for film, television, and literature. It's not a very useful descriptor in film.

Thrillers can be romantic, forensic, political or military, eco-disaster or simply disaster, spy, conspiracy, techno... I mean with all the prefixes attached to the word 'thriller' the phrase starts to lose any meaning. You might as well say "technocinema" or "disaster film" and you'd be saying almost the same thing as "technodisasterthriller"

The phrase "supernatural thriller" would often be synonymous with "horror" but not always. Thrillers typically have a lot of action, making "Raiders of the Lost Ark" technically an "action thriller" and it even has a little supernatural quality thrown in there for good measure.

Series 7 and Raiders of the Lost Ark simply can't be in the same category. It's not that Raiders is better. At this point we're comparing apples to oranges, but they both have action, and they both thrill.

This is ultimately why lists of this nature fail to definitively improve anything. Anything short of categorizing films the way scientists categorize species of wildlife, fails to do any genre, or any film, justice.

Is Series 7 any particular genre? it's got a little of everything, as the best films always do. At its heart it's a painfully dark satire on the entertainment industry's growing lack of compassion for individual humanity in the face of pandering to humanity's own sick and insatiable need for sex & violence. It's also a parody of reality television. Here's an attempt at pinning it down...

Dark Satiristic Action Comedy Suspense Thriller Parody of Reality Television.

How 'bout 'dem apples?
posted by ZachsMind at 12:58 AM on July 2, 2007

Although I loved "The Frighteners" (which had some truly creepy ideas in it), I always wondered what would have happened if they tossed the humor and played it dark. It kinda failed at the box office, most likely because it confused the audience (and the marketers).
posted by RavinDave at 1:11 AM on July 2, 2007

The best films always do flummox the marketing guys.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:13 AM on July 2, 2007

Over at there's a top fifty list that's more valid than the OP or mine or any one other person's, and even that list I find distasteful.

The only one in the top ten on the imdb list i can agree with is Jaws.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:33 AM on July 2, 2007

This list does not accurately portray my own feelings about horror movies as a genre.
posted by thatswherebatslive at 1:55 AM on July 2, 2007

Horror films, on the whole, are the worst sort of films made. Cheap thrills, delivered in unimaginative and ever-more-grotesque ways (see: Saw).

It's not usually wrong to state a preference, as Mr Hornby reminds us, but in this case I think we can all make an exception.

I wouldn't wipe a baboon's arse with this list. It's ridiculously bad. The Shining is the best of the (usually bad, naff, clich├ęd, oversold) genre.

This guy should be banned from list-making, or, at least, from the front page of the Blue.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:51 AM on July 2, 2007

I was pleased to see Carnival of Souls on there. I just recently saw it and love the slow-boiling creepiness of it.

And it's in the public domain too!

Also dorian: Hong Kong produced Gin Gwai / The Eye, which is properly chilling -- I still shiver when I get into some lifts.
posted by Katemonkey at 2:51 AM on July 2, 2007

mattoxic - let it go; the guy is obviously some sort of knuckle-dragging Philistine.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:53 AM on July 2, 2007

This Top 50 list doesn't even make my Top 50 Top 50 Lists list.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:26 AM on July 2, 2007

I slept on it, and I still can't believe the mind-bending awfulness of this list. It's really quite impressive! Whither Takashi Miike; Dario Argento? The Lost Boys and Scream but no Jaws, Alien, Audition, Suspiria, Dawn of the Dead, The Shining, The Ring, May, Ginger Snaps (off the top of my head)...really, internet? Really? I appreciate that this guy feels in no way obliged to regurgitate the expected titles, but something like this amounts either to pure contrarianism (Cube is the second best horror movie ever? EVER? c'mon, NO ONE believes that -- not even the guy who wrote this list could possibly believe that!) or taste so questionable that...yeesh.

On the other hand, it's cool to see him nodding to good and often overlooked stuff like Cemetery Man and Prince of Darkness (the latter -- despite having a script that might well have been babelfished to English from Swahili -- features some of the strangest, creepiest themes and imagery I can think of in a horror film, and the fact that it only kind of makes sense somehow works in its favor, turning the proceedings disturbingly nightmarish and surreal...YMMV, of course, as some people think it's just fucking ridiculous and I can see how it could play that way if you're in the wrong frame of mind for it, but...yeah, moving on). And I'm just astonished to see that someone else even remembers Dance of the Damned (not that it'd end up in my top fifty...maybe my top three hundred and fifty?).
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:40 AM on July 2, 2007

On review:

Holy fucking hell, no Seven?! GAHHHHHHHH!!!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:45 AM on July 2, 2007

Oh lh, it's pretty rare that you're wrong, but MAN are you wrong. Unlike pretty much every movie that's been mentioned on this page so far, The Shining has the distinction of being one of maybe five or so movies that have actually scared me in my life.

Heh. I was deliberately baiting the Shining-lovers there, I'm afraid. I know people who were terrified by the movie, and I respect the fact that it evoked such strong emotions in them, but for me, ethnomethodologist's words hold true:

I never found any of The Shining remotely scary, ever.
posted by languagehat at 6:22 AM on July 2, 2007

Even the cackling 120 year old nekkid corpse lady?
posted by RavinDave at 6:55 AM on July 2, 2007

I never found any of The Shining remotely scary, ever.


ps many thanks Katemonkey for the suggestion. if it scares the crap out of me, I'll have you to blame!
posted by dorian at 7:06 AM on July 2, 2007

also also: Carnival of Souls... I checked and good lord I do have that on dvd. slow and boiling is the lot of it. in a good way, mind. again I blame glenn erickson.
posted by dorian at 7:23 AM on July 2, 2007

Some questions: Why the hell do people insist on misspelling 'cemetery'? Why are Carnival of Souls and Near Dark so overrated? Will just any random Top 50 or 100 or 1000 list by just any random blogger make for an FPP? Did we ever think we'd find someone stupid enough to list Bram Stoker's Dracula as one of their favorite horror movies?
posted by JT at 8:22 AM on July 2, 2007

I'm not a fan of horror movies (which of course qualifies me to comment in this thread) and after some reflection, I think I've figured out why: they don't scare me, for the most part. I think being scared by a horror movie requires a deeper level of suspension of disbelief than what is required to enjoy a fantasy or science-fiction movie, and I can't seem to suspend my disbelief that much.

To be clear: there are plenty of horror movies that startle me. I'll jump just as much as everyone else when the killer pops up out of nowhere right behind the heroine. But I draw a distinction between being startled and being scared.

I've only ever seen three movies which I can say truly scared me:
The Wizard of Oz, when I was about five. (I had to go and hide in the kitchen whenever the Wicked Witch was on screen!)
The Exorcist, when I was about twelve.
The Blair Witch Project, the only one that's scared me as an adult, and even though I knew in advance it wasn't a true story.

I went to see some of the films at the "Midnight Madness" program at last year's Toronto Film Festival, just because I wanted to see as many movies as possible during the festival and that's the only showing they have at that hour. I enjoyed the two horror/comedy blends, and also the horror/mockumentary I saw. The one straight horror film I went to put me to sleep.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:56 AM on July 2, 2007

Woo hoo! HORROR!

What's interesting to me what has become less and/or more scary to me now that I have become a parent.

I also have to admit, I CANNOT wait to see From Beyond again, though I can't really say I like the new cover art for it.
posted by SentientAI at 9:10 AM on July 2, 2007

kirkaracha is quite right; I wrote that list back in 1999, maybe early 2000 at the latest. It's in serious need of revision; there's been a ton of great horror movies since.

I'm not going to defend the films I listed (although there are more than a couple I wouldn't have chosen if I were sitting down to make the list today) -- everyone has their own opinions, and these were mine. If you disagree with them -- well, it doesn't mean I think you're an idiot or a newbie. I'm just sayin'.

I will say why some films people mention above didn't make the list, though:

Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Alien: I think of these more as science fiction films than I do horror films. Similarly, I just don't consider Series 7 or Battle Royale horror movies, but I love both of them.

Jaws: I've never seen it. I prefer my horror to be about the horrible things people do to each other.

Halloween: This is another one that I can't fairly judge -- I'd seen too many of its imitators first, and everything that it did that I know was daring and different and original was just .... part of the genre, to me, by the time I saw it, and *whispers* I just found it kind of boring. Sorry. Donald Pleasance is fucking excellent, though, and sells the story much better than anything else in the movie.

The Shining: I've had a recent conversion experience over this one. I always found it boring, myself -- but I got talked into seeing it on the big screen, and I finally got it. It really needs a cinema screen to convey the sense of scale and isolation, and now I love it.

Anything by Argento: Meh. I've seen Suspiria, and I thought it was overblown and nonsensical. Is there anything else of his you'd suggest I give another try?
posted by webmutant at 9:16 AM on July 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Jaws: I've never seen it.

If you've ever seen Scanners, you can probably guess what reading the above just did to my skull. Dear, sweet baby Jesus!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:35 AM on July 2, 2007

webmutant - thanks for your response. Here's the thing *whispers as well* I didn't see Jaws until a couple years ago, after a lifetime of loving every movie that it spawned, and having gone through Film School. See it now. It is amazing. However, know that you might get a similar feeling to it that you get from Halloween, e.g. you know tat it created all these techniques, but you've seen them over and over so many times in other movies that they just can't affect you in the same way. Fine. Still, go see it. You'll love it.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:47 AM on July 2, 2007

Don't Look Now

Scared the crap out of me. They are making a "remake." It will suck.
posted by tkchrist at 3:24 PM on July 2, 2007

PS. Blair Witch was total shit.
posted by tkchrist at 3:25 PM on July 2, 2007

Yeah, I'll agree with the original Cat People on the list. I'll also say that Brazil, even though it is not a horror movie, scared the willies out of me, and makes me even more apprehensive given recent events. It's one of those films that I know I should watch again, but keep putting it off. If I was making this list, I'd probably throw on The Birds, and up Night of the Living Dead.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:14 PM on July 2, 2007

Oh, and just for sheer kooky character performance, my list will probably include Buba Ho-tep, although it is in a genre of its own.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:20 PM on July 2, 2007

1. A horror film doesn't have to scare YOU in order for it to be classified as a horror film. That's like saying a comedy has to make you laugh. I've seen some excellent dark comedies that didn't make me laugh out loud very much, but I still found them funny, perhaps in a twisted or sadistic way. Likewise, tearjerker films don't have to make YOU cry.

2. If a film "must" be seen on a large screen in order to be percieved as a great film, that alone diminishes its validity. That's like saying you have to eat a hotdog at a baseball game in order to tell whether or not it's one of the greatest hotdogs ever. That's bullshit. If it's not a great film on your laptop, it's not a great film period. Whether what you're watching is twenty feet tall or twenty inches diagonal doesn't matter.

3. Bubba Ho-tep freakin rocks!

4. Blair Witch Project freakin rocks. It's the sequel that was a piece of shit.

5. Jaws must be seen.

There's a list I think someone should make. Movies that must be seen if someone is to consider themselves a film buff type. Here's my crack at it. These are films, in no particular order, which HAVE to be seen. I think a group of people should determine an absolute fifty films which are indispensible in terms of understanding the history of cinema and the importance of cinema in our society. This is just a sampling of such a potential list. That might actually be a useful list if it could be done.

2001 Space Odyssey
Apocalypse Now
Blade Runner
Blue Velvet
City Lights
Citizen Kane
A Clockwork Orange
Doctor Strangelove
Godfather (which I hate passionately, but it's a must-see)
The Graduate
Lawrence of Arabia
Manchurian Candidate (Frank Sinatra, not Denzel Washington)
Maltese Falcon
Modern Times
North By Northwest
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
Pulp Fiction
Silence of the Lambs
Singing In The Rain
Star Wars
Sunset Boulevard
Third Man
Wild Bunch
Wizard of Oz
posted by ZachsMind at 2:13 AM on July 3, 2007

The Good The Bad and the Ugly
Back To The Future
When Harry Met Sally
The Princess Bride
Raising Arizona
Doctor Zhivago
Taxi Driver
Raging Bull
Deer Hunter

...dang this is tough.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:18 AM on July 3, 2007

Whether what you're watching is twenty feet tall or twenty inches diagonal doesn't matter.

Er ... yeah. I'd much rather watch the sweeping vistas and epic battles from "Return of the King" on my 2-inch iPod screen. And if I twirl it around by the power cord, I can almost get that Dolby stereo effect.
posted by RavinDave at 2:24 AM on July 3, 2007

Whether what you're watching is twenty feet tall or twenty inches diagonal doesn't matter.

That's one of the most ridiculous statements I've ever seen about movies. The hot dog comparison is silly; here's a better one: if a piece of music doesn't sound good when you're listening to it on a phone while somebody else holds their phone up to a speaker, it's not a good piece of music. I don't care if it's Beethoven's Ninth: if it sounds like crap when I'm listening to a scratchy old LP through my cell phone, it is crap. Brilliant!
posted by languagehat at 5:21 AM on July 3, 2007

Scratch that, Hat. Reverse it.

If a song is so good that you can tell it's good even if you're listening to it under conditions that are not optimum, then you know it's a really good song.

Back in the days of CB radios, my dad showed me how the squelch knob works. Without it, all you get is static and garbled messages, but when you use the squelch, it screens out the static and allows you to hear more clearly messages that are stronger or closer to your location: messages of more pertinence to you personally.

There's a lot of reasons why I don't bother going to the movie theater anymore. Just one of them is this: I'd much rather see a very good film on my home set up than a mediocre film with bells and whistles at an IMAX.

Many years ago, Eddie Murphy used to have this comedy routine about marijuana. He'd say he only smoked it once and nothing happened. His friends said to him, "that's cuz you didn't smoke it right!" How can you not smoke something right? You just inhale! It was just bad weed, is all. Murphy didn't have to have optimum conditions to figure that one out.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:33 PM on July 3, 2007

« Older The Strangest Shop in All of Paris   |   Look, don't touch Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments