Horror Movies You Need To See, or It’s My Site, I’ll Pick As Many As I Want

I just finished listening to the 20th Horror 101 podcast which lists the 20 favorite horror movies of the creators. Each of the four individuals was allowed to pick their top five horror movies. These are not supposed to be the best horror movies, but their favorites.

Now I know that I have made lists like this before, but I’m pretty sure I was working around a theme for those. Besides, tastes change over time, new movies come out, I needed something to write about today, and here you go. I am going to do something a little bit different this time. I am going to list the movies, along with a brief reason why I like them, without any external help. In other words, I’m not going to search “Best Horror Movies” on the internet. More importantly, I’m not even going to go down and look at my movie collection. These means you can be sure of two things:

These are the movies that are memorable enough that they come to mind without any external prompting.

I am going to forget some really good movies.
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I am also going to completely ignore the whole “Five Best” thing, because as the title says, I can. So, without further ado, the movies which pop into my head.

Hellraiser/Hellbound: Hellraiser 2
I am listing these two movies together because that is the way that I watch them. I very rarely watch
Hellraiser without watching its sequel soon after. This movie scores on all possible indices. The story is brilliant. I love the idea that the characters are drawn into the nether world because they are on a quest for sensual satisfaction. The story and the imagery could only come from a master like Clive Barker. Damn it, I just love me some Cenobites.

A Nightmare on Elm Street
When in doubt, assume that I am talking about the original movies and not remakes, re-imaginings, updates, or Americanized versions. Some might question
NOES but take a second to forget the wisecracking satire of himself that Freddy becomes and concentrate on the original film. If that doesn’t work, check out this review.

Alien
Say what you want, this movie is horror. The sequels (and I love most of them, just got them on Blu-Ray) fall more thoroughly in the Sci-Fi genre (and there is nothing wrong with that) but the first one is the classic haunted house/people trapped in a cabin in the woods story. The steady build up of tension in this film is amazing. The fact that we don’t see the Xenomorph in all of its glory for most of the film is part of this.

Halloween
Another movie which people dismiss because of the franchise which followed it. This is a great, scary flick which helped define the genre for a while. I have not seen the remake (big shocker) but I understand that there is quite a bit of back story presented. This is exactly what the viewer does not want. Michael Myers is all the creepier because we don’t know his back story. The bit we have in the very beginning where the viewer, via POV, stalks the first victim, and Dr. Loomis’ explanations are all we need and all we want.

Trick r Treat
I love, love, love this film. Some people rage about anthology films with multiple stories. Until
Trick r Treat I really did not have an opinion one way or the other. I enjoy each of the stories told in this collection and I love the way they are tied together.

The House of Wax
Vincent Price. Enough said. I’ve seen this in the theater on more than one occasion. Bonus points for having some of the best 3D effects outside of a Three Stooges short.

Near Dark
Probably my favorite vampire movie. No ridiculous, angsty high school romance. No far reaching courts to keep the undead in their places (and to later rebel against for the sake of the ridiculous, angsty, high school romance). There is not an ounce of sparkly glitter on these vampires. Instead we get a roving family of gritty, dusty, predatory psychopaths. The scene where the band of fanged folk are surrounded and each bullet hole lets in a shaft of lethal daylight is brilliantly shot. What can I say about the bar scene other than it made me want to buy spurs?

A Tale of Two Sisters
If you are not familiar with this movie, go see it now. It is brilliant. The end will harm you physically.

The Orphanage
See the description of the previous movie. I described viewing these two back to back as a double sucker punch to the soul.

The Crow
Does this count as a horror movie? I don’t know. I do know that it is one of my favorite films. I watch it at least once a year and I can recite all of the dialog. The world is poorer for the loss of Brandon Lee.

The Exorcist
You don’t even have to be religious for this film to bother you. Considering the kind of impact that this movie has when watching it on television, I can’t imagine how I would feel seeing it on the big screen.

The Blair Witch Project
If you can look past everything you know about
Blair Witch, the marketing (which was absolutely genius), the glut of found footage films which followed, all of the parodies, etc and focus on the actual film, you will find that it is quite creepy. It has been a long time since I have seen it. I don’t know if I would be able to divorce myself from all of that. I do know that when we went to see it in the theater (original release) it was a beautiful sunny day and when we walked out it was overcast with lightning. We arrived home to find our trees had crapped branches all over the place. A lot of them looked like that weird symbol thing from the movie. I threw every one of those branches across the street before going inside. The final scene of that movie still bothers me.

Paranormal Activity
Speaking of found footage films, I love this series. I genuinely enjoyed every one of the
PA films, but it was the first one which creeped me out the most. Serious, leave the lights on creep out.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
This movie is not as gory as you remember. The sequels which follow, sure. This first film? Go back and watch it. For the most part it was your imagination which filled in the blanks left by the film. Shame on you. Bonus points for the opening “crime scene” stuff which lend the film a level of authenticity. That stupid flash bulb sound still bothers me.

The Silence of the Lambs
Another one that I wonder about the classification of. I think that this is more of a suspense film, but others toss it in with horror and I am more than willing to take it into our genre. Brilliant performances all around.

The Evil Dead Trilogy
Yeah, I know I am cheating again, but this is another one of those cases where if I watch one, I watch them all.
3 What people tend to forget (or in some cases never know) is that the first film is, for lack of a better term, straight up horror. There is no humor to cut the creeps here and there are a lot of creepy things in this one. Possession, demon summoning, tree rape. The other two may contain more gore if blood is measured by the gallon, but there is all of the slapstick to cut it for you. That first movie is still an over the top scare fest.

Well I listed considerably more than five, didn’t I. Keep in mind, this was just off the top of my head. I’m sure that I will have to revisit this list later while I am kicking myself for something I excluded.

Look for All Of The Movies I Forgot To List Because My Brain Is Old And Dried Out in the future.


1 Which means I will probably have to do an addendum to this list sometime in the future.
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2 Cool. Now I have an idea for a future post.

3 The Mrs does the same thing with the
Godfather movies. Even the third one.