Top Horror Films

Horror movies have always been a staple part of my movie diet. I’ve enjoyed watching them since childhood, though couldn’t tell you what my first was.What I can tell you is that my father let me hire and watch The Silence of the Lambs and Gothika at age 10. The only film he wouldn’t allow me to see was Arachnophobia – and thank goodness, I doubt my childhood fear of spiders would have been helped by that scream fest. My mother was a little bit more anti-horror film, but only when it came to the films she had already seen and been afraid of (read: Child’s Play and The Exorcist) but when we visited the video store she would let me pick a scary film and watch it alone in my room.

Because there’s nothing more healthy than ten-year-old girls watching Wrong Turn by themselves. A particularly horror-fruitful night was the evening that my bedroom television miraculously began to play proper television, and not just movies through the video / DVD player. It was one of those teen flicks starring Joshua Jackson and was about a killer re-enacting all those ghost stories you heard as a kid… Scary? Not really. Scary at 11pm by yourself on a stormy night when you’re only 10? Yep! My step-sister and I were also scared poop-less by I Know What You Did Last Summer, and despite all the adrenaline pumping fear of horror movies, I was hooked. I still haven’t seen everything, or even a lot, but I will pick a scary flick over a romantic comedy or drama any day.

The top spooky films that have given me the heebie-jeebies to this day however, would have to be….

1. The Shining

"Wha? What are you scared of that for?"
“Wha? What are you scared of that for?”

Perhaps it was because the first time I saw any part of this film I was about eleven, and it was the woman in the bathtub scene. Probably that. I had been out with my parents, we returned home, flopped on the couch and switched on the telly and it just came on. I was spooked.
It was the next viewing though, a year or two ago, that finally allowed me to see the mastery of this film. It’s striking, and eerie, the atmosphere is complete and ominous. Plus, Jack Nicholson’s eyes, the kid chanting Redrum, the dead kids, the increasing insanity… Yep, definitely creepy.

2. The Exorcist
There really isn’t any other reason for the film disturbing me than Reagan’s possessed face. That thing would scare a dog. Possession is a different cinematic experience to gory films or thrillers, and perhaps that is why the majority of films that scare me involve these ghosts and demons. They get your goosebumps up with disturbing your mind and conjuring up your imagination. They creep..

That woman. That bloody woman.
Come. Join us for dinner. We send the children to hunt the game.

3. The Chaser (Chugyeogja) , I Saw the Devil, and A Tale of Two Sisters

I did just lump together 3 Korean thrillers, yes. This is possibly racism, but I’m going to look at pushing them up together as an ode to the Korean ability to mesh thriller and action so well. The Chaser had me yelling at my television screen, a Tale of Two Sisters made me cover my eyes and I Saw the Devil had me jaw dropped in apprehension. Winners, all of them.
4. The Woman in Black
This film has all the classic elements: a creepy, old house in an isolated area, the feeling that the protagonist is trapped (the home is surrounded by swamp at different times) the scary legend in the small town and the strange movements when your back is turned…

"I'm scared of my own beauty."
“I’m scared of my own beauty.”

5. What Lies Beneath
Now this is a thriller. Michelle Pffeiffer is spectacular (ly pretty) and the suburban house feels like a looming, ghost home of secrets. There are some great jump moments, but it doesn’t rely purely on the jump – the climaxing creep is what gives you the real tingles.

6. Amytiville Horror
I actually had a couple of nightmares over this one. A friend and I decided to watch it on a stormy, dark night alone in her big, isolated house and it was quite the mistake… When the boy goes to the bathroom, washes his hands and looks to his left and that thing is standing there, we screamed, hugged each other and actually shed some tears.

John Cusack is Mike Enslin in Mikael Håfström's 1408
Goddamn it John, there were chances for freedom!

7. 1408
I was honestly disturbed by this movie, even feeling like I couldn’t watch it again. I think it has to do with the setting – one room. One room you can’t leave. One room that’s beginning to turn on you… On my second viewing I tried to look for moments where John Cusack’s character could have left, and every moment he doesn’t take to leave the room makes me feel uneasy. In my mind, John Cusack is still in that room today. I’m sensing a theme between my horror movie fears and buildings turning on their occupants…

Anything to do with ghosts, or demons, or possessions, trumps gore for me, but what scares you?
Leave some scary suggestions below and I’ll check them out and post my verdict on what made me covered my eyes the most.

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31 thoughts on “Top Horror Films

  1. I suggest you check out some European horror films like: High Tension – Inside – Martyrs – Eden Lake – Frontiers; also check out my “Obscure Recommendations” page on my blog, and I have a horror section. Also on my “Underrated Films” page I have a horror section and there may be some ones you haven’t seen. 🙂

    1. I loved the Omen. I had it up on this list for a bit but then took it down because I felt like my list was too long. But I had it up because of the masks Damian appears in in his mother’s nightmares. Shudder. That bluish one gave me a nightmare haha. That was in the newer one though, I haven’t seen the original. Drag Me to Hell was awesome too.

  2. I hate horror movies because they really do scare the crap out of me. I’ve seen quite a few of the ones you’ve mentioned up there. I am drawn to them though and I can’t resist the temptation. I always make sure someone is staying over if I watch one, just in case it turns out super scary. I’ve been known to leave all the lights on and check the cupboards. Paranormal Activity drove me insane. I was scared I’d be dragged out of bed by some invisible entity for like a week!

    1. Oh they scare the poopers out of me too! Sometimes I have to pause the movie and ask why I do this myself. But like you, I can’t resist the temptation. I must be a sucker for punishment. Haha I always make my boyfriend tell me when the reeeally scary bit is over while I look away… because I’m smooth like that.
      Oh man, I refused to stick my leg out of the bed for ages after Paranormal Activity and referred to the entity as a ‘goat demon’.

  3. Nice to read your posts again! I have been on a hiatus from WP for a while and I have missed it. I am not a fan of scary movies, somewhat surprisingly, as they never scare me. Despite that, I truly want to watch What Lies Beneath!

    Now that I think about it, I do like some scary movies. I like clever plots such as the one in “Nine Dead”. If a plot is really innovative I can get into it.

    Anyway, (sorry for the aside) Great Post! 🙂

    Adieu, scribbler

    1. How was the hiatus? I’ll have to come see your first post back 🙂
      What Lies Beneath really is good. I did see it for the first time when I was about twelve though so I was much more easily impressed then haha. But I loved it the second time last year.

      There has to be some plot for a horror movie to be good!
      Haha don’t worry, your aside was good. Thank you! And glad to see you back!

      1. Thank you and I am currently looking for What Lies Beneath. M hiatus was filled with me catching up on work, sleep, more work and more sleep 🙂

        And also to refocus myself on my writing, which I had strayed from far to long.

        Anyway, thanks, it is glad to be back. I love to read all of the wonderful posts in my reader!

  4. I haven’t seen most of those. Must do something about that. My daughter recently went on a horror movie marathon and came home addicted to the Child’s Play movies. They only watched #1 but she immediately hired out 2 and 3. I told her to watch the Blair Witch Project. (am I a bad father?) She didn’t think it was scary… According to some writing books I’ve read it’s perfect because you see the fear in the characters but you never see the source of the fear. They say that’s why Jaws was so successful – you hardly see the shark because the mechanical thing they built wouldn’t work properly.

    1. Haha no not at all. Maybe father’s don’t care so much about horror movie watching unlike a lot of mum’s. Of course, mothers probably have to hear about the nightmares more.
      I always think that the scariest things are the things you can’t see! I watched a movie a few weeks ago called Sinister and it was good and scary up until the end when the film shows the monster / ghoul / thing. Totally ruined it.
      Insidious is the only movie that has shown the evil thing and pulled it off that I’ve seen. I wonder what other movies pull it off well.

      1. She also loved Super 8 for a while. You don’t see the evil thing clearly in that until near the end when it becomes sort of less angry and emotionally stable. Not sure if that’s a horror as such but still…
        Haven’t heard of Sinister or Insidious – I must get out more.
        In John Marsden’s Everything I know About Writing, he describes a movie where in one scene you see a trembling little dog unable to leave a room where presumably someone is beating the crap out of someone else. (That’s an excellent book, by the way. Highly recommended.) I think that’s where he liken it to the Show don’t Tell mantra in writing. If the movie focused on the beating, that would be equivalent to Telling, but by showing the frightened and helpless little dog, the movie makers were Showing us that something dreadful is happening just out of shot.
        I think.

  5. I hate most horror films, because I’m a massive wuss. But Woman in Black is amazing, at least on stage – I’ve never seen the film. The book is pretty good too, but being a drama queen I prefer the theatre! I’ve heard good things about the Shining but I just feel it’s better to leave it. After watching The Ring I still don’t like being in a dark room with a switched off TV.

    1. You’re the second person to say that about the Ring!
      I was so scared by it the first time I watched it, but then we watched it a second time with some immature boys who paused it on the girl’s face after she’s seen Samara ring girl and they put it on slow motion. It was actually hilarious and I have since never been scared of that film.
      Well if you’re ever looking for a horror movie the Woman in Black is good and since you already know the story you won’t be too spooked 🙂

  6. Funny thing, I also saw ‘Silence of the Lambs’ at a fairly young age and wasn’t particularly phased, but later on as an adult, watching that parody episode of South Park on a dark and stormy night really got to me! 😀

    1. Oh those dark stormy nights can turn anything into something scary!
      My friend and I watched Prom Night alone together on a stormy, dark night and we actually screamed a few times haha.

  7. Now my father *did* take me to see Arachnophobia at the tender age of 10 or so, despite the fact that I was terrified of spiders. Maybe he thought it would cure me? It was a terrible, terrible mistake. One my parents paid for dearly with weeks of sleepless nights.

    As an adult I can’t watch horror movies, I just get too disturbed by them. The last one I saw was The Ring and I still can’t be in a dark room with a TV without getting spooked. And the Blair Witch Project kept me from camping for at least a couple of summers. Now I just don’t even bother trying. Sometimes even the trailers make me hide my eyes…

    Oddly, I’ve seen both the Exorcist and the Shining and neither scared me at all. Maybe because I’d read the books first and knew what to expect?

    1. Ooooh, you poor thing. I would have been up for weeks as well. After I watched it a couple of years ago I made my boyfriend check behind the toilet before I’d go… those spiders could jump.

      It’s funny how in adulthood a lot of us seem to get worse with horror films. Maybe it’s our knowledge that the things could really happen? When I was young I was satisfied with the ‘it’s just a movie, it’s fake’ saying but now that I’m older I’m like, ‘but what if the ghosts really DO live in attics??”

      Reading the book first definitely keeps some of the fear away I think. A lot of the thrill seems to come from fear of the unknown.

  8. I’m impressed! Great list here for sure. The Shining and The Exorcist are both always great and still creepy no matter how many times you watch them. Absolutely LOVE I Saw the Devil, revenge thriller at its best. If you haven’t seen Ti West’s ‘House of the Devil’, definitely give that a watch. It’s a slow burn kind of horror film so if you like that style, then there is a lot to love about that one.

    1. I’ll definitely give it a watch, I think I’m up for most horror films though I won’t watch anything that is just an excuse for gore and chopping up hot chicks. They have to have some story.
      Thanks for the suggestion!

  9. Have you seen “Paranormal Activity”? The first one is actually pretty creepy. “The Exorcist” is my all-time favorite horror film. I saw it for the first time when I was 5. Big mistake! I still love “Poltergeist”, too.

    1. I was actually scared in Paranormal Activity! I called the spirit a goat demon and refused to accept that there aren’t goat demons living in my roof.
      I guess you could say horror movies easily spook me… haha.
      Oh yes that would be a big mistake! You poor thing! I still need to see Poltergeist.

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