All of my life I have always been a huge fan of horror movies! My dad would always be working late at night, so my mom and I would watch horror movies until he came home. From when I was a first grader, my mom would drive me and my little brother to the local UDF in Marion, Ohio and we would purchase snacks before the movie. She used to give me money to buy whatever I wanted and whatever she wanted while she waited in the car. I used to always get a candy bar for myself and chips for the both of us. We watched a different horror movie each weekend until one day she stopped. Fast forward, as a young adult, my girlfriend (at the time) and I used to rent horror movies at the local video store. This was way before video streaming and I was always a horror movie buff. Here is my Top 10 horror movie list. I still enjoy horror, but it was nothing like it was before.
R 1999 ‧ Horror/Gothic/Fantasy ‧ 1h 50m Starring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci
Sleepy Hollow has a really dark, Gothic horror aesthetic to it.
Set in 1799, "Sleepy Hollow" is based on Washington Irving's classic tale "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Faithful to the dreamy custom-bound world that Irving paints in his story, the film mixes horror, fantasy and romance and features an extraordinary cast of characters that dabble in the supernatural.
While I am not a fan of the Sleepy Hollow story itself, I have always been interested in Gothic Horror, the fashion and the dark aesthetic. Also Johnny Depp happens to be my favorite actor and he often does movies like this. Christina Ricci is also really gorgeous and natural eye candy, but it was mainly the Gothic Horror elements, that captivated my attention to this movie.
Regarding the original story of Ichabod Crane, the Headless Horseman and Sleepy Hollow, I was never a fan of the book (to be honest I never read the real one, just the toned down kids versions while I was growing up, so I can't really make any educated comparisons. I do, however believe that the Sleepy Hollow movie deviates a lot from the original book (Ichabod Crane being depicted as more of a cowardly character in most other variations of Sleepy Hollow), but the point is still there.
R 1995 ‧ Horror/Drama/Mystery ‧ 2h 8m Starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman
For it's time, a serial killer who acts out the seven deadly sins was a fresh concept.
When retiring police Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) tackles a final case with the aid of newly transferred David Mills (Brad Pitt), they discover a number of elaborate and grizzly murders. They soon realize they are dealing with a serial killer (Kevin Spacey) who is targeting people he thinks represent one of the seven deadly sins. Somerset also befriends Mills' wife, Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow), who is pregnant and afraid to raise her child in the crime-riddled city.
By today's standards, Se7en may not seem like a horror movie, but it was terrifying for its time. The main reason why it is not classified as a horror movie anymore is probably because the entertainment industry has desensitized us with crime/drama television shows based around serial killers (which at one point, serial killer movies were classified as Horror). Nowadays, serial killers are just part of the main stream and they've lost their mystery and scariness. Just look at how many women now a days think Ted Bundy is hot (okay, so that's another topic entirely and I won't go into it here, but hopefully you get the point).
In my opinion, Se7en was the darkest crime movie for its time and I think movies like this paved the way for darker television series such as Law and Order SVU, Criminal Minds, Dexter and so forth. Without Se7en, I do not believe murder and crime shows would really exist like they do today. Everything seemed rather tame and lame back in the 90's, but Se7en pushed the boundaries. Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt are both great actors and I think they really shined in this movie.
R 1985 ‧ Fantasy/Horror ‧ 1h 44m
Personally I think HP Lovecraft technically proto-typed the the first concept of the zombie way before George Romero.
Loosely based on H P Lovecraft's classic horror tale, Herbert West is a young scientist who has a good head on his shoulders and another on the lab table in front of him.
As a movie, Re-Animator was not really well made. It had a really campy, cheesy comedy aspect to it, that may be a turn off to the more serious horror movie watcher, but I'm sure gore hounds can appreciate the visual aesthetics and the blood. I mainly like Re-Animator because I have always been a fan of HP Lovecraft's original short story, Herbert West Re-animator (this story is in public domain, so it's free to read if anyone is interested). Don't get me wrong, I still think it's a great adaptation of HP Lovecraft's original story, so I'm not saying it's bad (hell, it made my top 10 horror movie list, so how can I say it's bad?).
As a movie, Re-Animator tries to stay as true as it can to Herbert West Re-animator and if you take the time to read the short story, you will pick up on subtle things that happen in the book that appear in the movie and things that happen in the movie that have nothing to do with the book. I really appreciate the fact that the writer and director kind of put their own twist on Lovecraft's story and noticing these differences and similarities make it a great movie.
Since Herbert West Re-Animator (as well as all HP Lovecraft's works are public domain, you can read it here: Herbert West Re-Animator by HP Lovecraft
1968 ‧ Drama/Horror/Science Fiction ‧ 1h 37m
Night of the Living Dead was what inspired the whole zombie craze we have today.
The dead come back to life and eat the living. Several people barricade themselves inside a rural house in an attempt to survive the night. Outside are hordes of relentless, shambling zombies who can only be killed by a blow to the head.
I have been a fan of Night of the Living Dead before zombie movies were even a thing! I remember watching this as a kid and thinking, wow, this is awesome! This lead me to discover more movies by George Romero, including Day of the Dead and Dawn of the Dead. Eventually I would see the Dawn of the Dead remake and I remember being completely blown away by it. I think it was around this time (2004 - 2006) when the whole zombie apocalypse thing started going viral and everyone began getting interested in zombies.
By today's standards, Night of the Living Dead probably isn't really scary, but it did pave the way to zombie evolution in games such as as Resident Evil, Left 4 Dead, Dying Light, 7 Days to Die, The Walking Dead series and even more games and movies along the way. The zombie is now a household name and it has truly captivated the entire world. I think we have George Romero and Night of The Living Dead to thank. By the way, this movie is in public domain, so you can watch if for free.
R 2002 ‧ Adaptation/Horror/Drama ‧ 1h 44m
The late R&B singer Aliyah as Akasha; she'll eat your heart!
Follows the legendary vampire Lestat (Stuart Townsend), who has reinvented himself as a rock star in the contemporary American music scene. His music wakes Akasha (Aaliyah), the queen of all vampires, and inspires her desire to make Lestat her king. Akasha's malevolent power is so great that all the immortal vampires must stand against her if they want to survive. Meanwhile, a young London woman with a fascination for the dark side (Marguerite Moreau) falls in love with Lestat.
I like Queen of the Damned for personal reasons. First and foremost, I have always had a romantic fascination with vampires, vampire lore, fiction, mythology and history. In a way, I saw myself in the movie version of Lestat. Most of you might not be able to relate, but I certainly did.
Lestat: "There comes a time for every vampire when the idea of eternity becomes momentarily unbearable. Living in the shadows, feeding in the darkness with only your own company to keep, rots into a solitary, hollow existence. Immortality seems like a good idea, until you realize you're going to spend it alone..."
That fucking quote really hits home... Every time I hear it, it just fucking reminds me of how even as humans, we really don't matter to anyone in the grand scheme of things. I don't know if any of you have ever felt it, but I have and I am not ashamed to admit that I have abandonment issues just like Lestat (he was abandoned by his sire Marius). Being alone for any great length of time can make things life a horror movie in itself, but that's just my opinion and it's how my mind works and how I'm programmed. I will not go into individual and comparative psychology in a top 10 horror movie post, so I'll end it by saying that the mind is a scary place and you can't beat loneliness. If you try to battle with loneliness, then loneliness will always win. Just like death always wins. We can, however find ways to subdue our loneliness and boredom, but it seems like everything we do is just a temporary fix to a long term problem. Some of you be lucky not to have a problem with being alone, and I envy you. I however, have never come to terms with it and it's terrifying to think about how many more years I have to deal with it. Since I'm not a vampire, I age just like everyone else. This is also scary for me to think about.
Marius: "You are the damnedest creature! You make me think of the old story about Alexander The Great. He wept when there where no more worlds to conquer."
R 1994 ‧ Horror/Drama/Science Fiction ‧ 2h 3m
This scene from Mary Shelly's Frankenstein captures the aesthetics of Gothic Horror entirely!
As Viktor Frankenstein (Kenneth Branagh) is dying he shares a tale of gruesome terror with a sea captain. Viktor, using previous experiments by a brilliant scientist, was able to bring a creature (Robert De Niro) assembled from body parts back to life. Once he realized how destructive his experiments had become, he abandoned the creature and tried to live a normal life with his fiance (Helena Bonham Carter). The lonely creature seeks out Viktor and demands one of two things: a bride or revenge.
Having been a fan of Gothic Horror, how can I not like Mary Shelly's Frankenstein? The only difference between the movie and the original Mary Shelly novel, is that the monster was portrayed as a tragic creature in the novel and he was portrayed as less tragic in the movie. In spite of not being 100% true to the novel (let me be real, I thought the novel was boring). Mary Shelly's Frankenstein is still a great movie because it successfully captured all the elements of Gothic Horror on film. This is rarely done correctly and each time it is, I am just thrilled to see it. Other than that, who doesn't know the story of Frankenstein? I would assume it is considered a staple name in horror by now.
NC-17 2004 ‧ Horror/Mystery/Crime ‧ 1h 43m
You have one minute... You haven't seen the movie. How do you get out of this Jigsaw contraption?
Photographer Adam Stanheight (Leigh Whannell) and oncologist Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) regain consciousness while chained to pipes at either end of a filthy bathroom. As the two men realize they've been trapped by a sadistic serial killer nicknamed "Jigsaw" and must complete his perverse puzzle to live, flashbacks relate the fates of his previous victims. Meanwhile, Dr. Gordon's wife (Monica Potter) and young daughter (Makenzie Vega) are forced to watch his torture via closed-circuit video.
Saw was a great movie for it's time. At this point in my life, the only other good horror movie about a dark and twisted serial killer was Se7en. Saw definitely reminded me of that, but went darker and more twisted. Even if you are not a fan of Saw, then you might know that they made a lot of sequels, each one of them terrifying and more gory than the last. Eventually this type of movie would be known as "torture porn". If you are a Saw fan, then I don't need to tell you why you like it. There seems to be two different types of Saw fans out there. The first one is the gore hound and the second one who is interested in the psychological thrill and hypothetical "what would I do" scenario. Maybe as a distant third, there might be people like me who are truly horrified as I am fascinated by the darker aspects of human nature and brutality. No matter what type of fan you are, I'm sure you will enjoy the Saw movies regardless of your interests.
R 1994 ‧ Action/Horror ‧ 1h 16m
I would not want to meet this guy during a dark and stormy night...
Five gutsy townspeople unite to eradicate a ghoul-infested graveyard. Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's short story.
As I have said before, I am a fan of HP Lovecraft and The Lurking Fear is hands down, my favorite short story by HP Lovecraft. Therefore, I might be biased. If you were to read The Lurking Fear before watching the movie (as opposed to the other way around), then I suppose you might have a better appreciation for the movie adaption. The movie is not true to the book and I would only say that it is extremely loosely based on the concept of HP Lovecraft's The Lurking Fear story, but none the less, I still believed it was still an entertaining movie.
Even though this is an older movie, I really didn't watch it until maybe 2013. As a matter of fact, I never even knew it existed, because it was such a low budget, B movie. As a movie made in the mid 1990's, I thought it had too much of the campy and cheesy humor of that decade. I am not a fan of this type of humor or horror movie production, but when I took one look at the monster, I was just hooked. I mean, this guy is one scary mother fucker isn't he? You have to wonder what a creature like that is all about, it's origins and why it looks like that. The movie doesn't go into detail about it, but if you read The Lurking Fear short story, you will know why creatures like this exist. Just keep in mind, that the movie depiction of the "ghoulish" creature is not the same as what is described in the book. I personally think the movie version is more fascinating (and frightening) to look at.
2012 ‧ Thriller/Horror ‧ 1h 33m
In my opinion, hunting werewolves has always been an interesting horror movie concept.
A mysterious creature terrorizes a village, and Daniel teams up with werewolf hunters to track down the vicious beast. As villagers are attacked one by one and, themselves, turned into beasts, Daniel fears the foe is someone close to them all.
I was impressed the first time I watched this movie. As a movie itself, Werewolf: The Beast Among Us might not have been the best in terms of production quality or acting, but the story was intriguing. It also really appealed to me because it was reminded me of Van Helsing (the one with Hugh Jackman). The only reason why I didn't put that movie on this list was because Van Helsing was more of a Fantasy/Adventure movie than it was horror. Although Van Helsing did feature characters from famous literary horror, the movie itself could not be classified as horror. Werewolf: The Beast Among Us, however is a horror movie as much as it is a mystery. It follows a group of werewolf hunters, each one with a different set of skills and talents as they hunt for a werewolf terrorizing a small village in (what appears to be Eastern Europe).
As a fan of Gothic Horror, I really enjoyed this movie's aesthetic and feel. I have always been interested in the dark and mysterious feel of movies made in this era (1800's). If you are into Gothic Horror, then you will definitely enjoy Werewolf: The Beast Among Us.
R 2003 ‧ Horror/Mystery/Slasher ‧ 1h 53m
Who would not be afraid of Leatherface and getting dismembered by a chainsaw?
In this remake of the horror classic, a group of young travelers -- including Erin (Jessica Biel), Andy (Mike Vogel) and Morgan (Jonathan Tucker) -- comes across an isolated rural home while driving through Texas. Unfortunately for them, the decrepit house is the residence of a family of deranged backwoods killers, most notably a hulking masked brute known as Leatherface (Andrew Bryniarski), who begins to hunt the stranded youths down. Will any of the friends survive the nightmarish ordeal?
Growing up as a little kid in the 90's and entering my young adult age in the early 2000's, we didn't have frequent access to the internet. This was before the days of Snopes, Wikipedia and YouTube, so we could never really fact check. I remember back in the 90's there was a kid who told me about this movie and how it was based off a true story (In a way, it was loosely based off of serial killer Ed Gein, but a lot of elements were of course, fiction). Back then, I didn't know which aspects of the movie were fictional, so I assumed it was all somewhat true (which was why it was so scary to me). With all the information we have at our disposal nowadays, I don't think the mystery behind the "true story" of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre can really hold up, but back then I thought it was truly terrifying.
I still remember going to my first haunted house during Halloween back in 2004. I was not afraid of anything in that place because I had seen it all. Then at the very end, we were walking though a room with meat hooks and fake bodies dangling from the ceiling in chains. All was quiet and there were no actors visible. Then all of a sudden, from behind us, a door flies open and I hear the sound of a chainsaw starting. I remember that was the single moment in the entire haunted house experience where I got startled and had literally jumped. I remember my girlfriend at the time and another female friend of ours were just screaming hysterically as the man in the Leatherface costume chased us out with the fake chainsaw. That is the type of horror that I love!
Over the years, there have been many sequels to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. For the most part, they are a bit over the top and ridiculous, but I enjoyed the 2003 remake simply because, in my opinion, it had the same elements of horror that the original had. Then again, in this day and age, it is relatively easy to obtain a gun (at least in the US). So therefore, if you have a gun, then I'm sure Leatherface with his chainsaw will be a bit less scary.
All of my life I have always been a huge fan of horror movies! My dad would always be working late at night, so my mom and I would watch horror movies until he came home. From when I was a first grader, my mom would drive me and my little brother to the local UDF in Marion, Ohio and we would purchase snacks before the movie.