10. The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)
Directed by: Jack Arnold
The creature is a misunderstood fella; and mostly is considered as the lesser known and all around lesser creature from the Universal monster family because his movies were released later in the monster movie days. However, this film stands as my all-time favorite of the Universal monster series. An archaeological team is informed of a discovery on an island of a fossilized hand from a prehistoric creature. Intrigued, an assembled team of explorers journey to the island to research the hand but arrive to find the village of previous diggers brutally slaughtered by a mysterious animal. What they’ll soon learn is that the creature they’re learning of that was long believed to be dead is alive and living within the lagoons of the island. It soon begins wreaking terror on the crew, and falls in love with the lead explorer’s girlfriend (Julie Adams). I fell in love with this movie when I was a child simply because of the sheer entertainment this movie provides. I love how director Arnold doesn’t show much of the creature until the middle of the film where we’re really surprised to see his appearance as he carries off actress Julie Adams into the water. The monster is purely creepy and very cool, and the entire movie is creepy fun. It was later followed by two sequels which were just as good.
9. The Sixth Sense (1998)
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Genius writer director M. Night Shyamalan made his mainstream debut with the shocking summer sleeper hit “The Sixth Sense” which also introduced Haley Joel Osment as Cole Sears, a young boy with a ghoulish secret he keeps from most people. Everyone just dismisses it as strange behavior. One night while hospitalized, he meets doctor Malcolm Crowe played by Bruce Willis who takes a dramatic turn. Malcolm Crowe discovers Cole’s secret. Cole can see dead people; now the two will attempt to comprehend his twisted gift while using it to help people around him. M. Night Shyamalan who made my list of my favorite directors of all time managed to shock audiences with this creepy and melancholy film which mixed great writing, a great story, and excellent performances by the great cast. What Shyamalan did in this film was very similar with what he did in “Signs” except the tone in this film is a lot more grim and he relies a lot of foreboding tension and sound. Often times he’ll bombard the screen with complete silence and uses Hitchcock’s device of horror by adding the tension very slowly and then exploding with sharp sounds and scares that make a mark on the audience. It surely did make a mark on my mind and in my nightmares. Watch for the shocking surprise ending that will leave you in awe and with your jaw hanging down on the floor.
8. The Fog (1979)
Directed by: John Carpenter
John Carpenter gave a slew of horror masterpieces to horror fans in his career from “Halloween” to his version of the horror classic “The Thing”, to “Prince of Darkness”, to “Vampires” he created some truly original work. In one of his best, “The Fog”, Carpenter offers up another original film in which a town which is surrounded by an ocean is haunted by a deadly mysterious fog that carries along with it murderous vengeful demons that intend on killing certain towns folks.
This starred a slew of talented horror veterans like Janet Leigh, Jamie Lee Curtis, Hal Holbrook, and Adrienne Barbeau. Carpenter masters suspense and atmosphere in this film and manages to evoke an edge of the seat climax when the fog begins to take over the town while the townspeople try to dodge it and outrun it. Carpenter re-defines horror, though being a director of different genres. The entire film also can create a very uneasy feeling from within the audience who often know the fog may be appearing soon but never know when. Carpenter who often has shoestring budgets for his earlier films manages to make good use of a fog making machine, and gives even more torture to the imagination never revealing the real appearance of the demons, often hiding their features in shrouds of darkness and shadows.
7. Carrie (1976)
Directed by: Brian De Palma
Adapted from Stephen King’s first hit book, suspense director Brian De Palma took on the task of directing this film and created an instant horror classic. Carrie White is a bullied young girl at a high school and a recluse who lives with her religious fanatic mother, Carrie has the gift of telepathy and soon her powers begin to unfold when she’s had enough bullying. Any actress who starred in such a memorable role would take a risk of being type cast, but that was never the case with Sissy Spacek who starred as Carrie. She supplies a powerful performance as the impish and dangerous Carrie who is pretty much tortured by everyone throughout the whole film. This is one of my all time favorite horror movies not only because of the story and the excellent performances by Spacek and (then) newcomer John Travolta who plays the lead bully who helps in the torture of Carrie, but because of the incredible climax of the film when Carrie is crowned homecoming queen and is greeted with a bucket of pigs blood that fall onto her head. De Palma skillfully crafts the climax with much suspense and drama. Watch this classic film, you won’t be disappointed.
6. From Dusk till Dawn (1996)
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
This told the story of two vicious brothers Seth and Richie Gecko who flee from the police and take a family hostage to take them across the border to Mexico. They await for a meet with other mobsters to take them to El Ray, but first must wait for the night at the local nightclub “The Titty Twister” where they discover that the entire club is inhabited by blood sucking vampires. All out carnage ensues and they and other survivors must fend off against the colony of vampires at all costs and live through the night. This is one of the coolest and greatest horror flicks you’ll ever come across if you’re a fan of both Tarantino’s work and horror films. Tarantino implants his “Reservoir Dogs” elements into this film with George Clooney as Seth who is a vicious killer and all around bad-ass and drops it into a horror setting. Savini has an effective and incredible role as “Sex Machine” the kung fu fighting, whip slinging biker who helps the crew fight the vampires. There’s some unbelievable direction from Robert Rodriguez who skillfully switches modes in the movie from a “Reservoir Dogs” feel to instant horror pandemonium. Tarantino and Rodriguez combine to bring the audience many memorable scenes including the final showdown in the club, the pool hall fight between sex machine and the stripper vamps, and the dance scene featuring a very sexy Salma Hayek.
5. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Directed by: George A. Romero
This earned a special place in my list after I witnessed one of the best horror movies that has ever been made. Believe the hype, this is one of the greatest and upon looking at the zombies, you can’t help but instantly catch on to what George A. Romero was trying to allude towards with his monsters. Dawn of the Dead is a message of consumerism (even undead the zombies linger around a mall for no reason but instinct) and capitalism (How even after the end of the world we still rely on products, and fight for money), with a story that still holds up today despite the time of its release because of its still clearly resonant commentary on murder, racism, religion, and greed. It’s down to eleven on the list, because I hadn’t seen this until recently, but when I’d finished it, it deserved a place on my list. This movie starts off with much brilliance as Romero doesn’t show the zombies until thirty minutes into the film where we start off at a news station airing debates about the epidemic of the walking dead and then we enter into zombie goodness. Great film, and a very intelligent story courtesy of Romero who paves his way into movie history, and for many good and bad imitators, including the very inferior but entertaining remake. With the better original Dawn of the Dead, Romero added logic to his movies. With this remake, everything seemed to just happen overnight, like very quickly and without any reason to it or probable logical source. With the original better “Dawn of the Dead”, things seemed to be happen over a matter of months and quickly progressing in to a worldwide epidemic, hysteria, paranoia, rioting, quarantining, martial law, attempting to deduce and hypothesize what was happening, and then before anyone could come to a conclusion civilization ended. With the remake it was just wham, bam, carnage, mayhem, and nothing really sensible. Romero actually contributed something to film with “Dawn of the Dead.”
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1983)
Directed by: Wes Craven
Spielberg taught in his biography that he created most of his stories from newspapers and magazine articles. Wes Craven did the same thing with this film based on an incident in a foreign country involving a boy who experienced horrifying dreams involving a disfigured man, the dreams continued for months until the boy drank coffee to stay up. When he finally fell asleep, his parents discovered him dead. Thus, a horror classic was born; Named after Craven’s childhood bully, Freddy Krueger, played by Robert Englund is a disfigured fedora wearing, clawed dream demon who begins stalking young teens in their dreams. Now, a girl who witnessed her friend’s death at the hands of Krueger attempts to delver into her own dreams and confront the demon and expose him to her town whose towns folks kept a secret. Craven gave birth to an immediate horror classic that didn’t bid well in the theaters but lived on in the video circuit, and created a horror icon through Freddy Krueger and Robert Englund who stars as the memorable demon. This is an atmospheric and truly terrifying film that explores worst nightmares. Though the ending made no sense, this is still one of my favorites and an entertaining watch.
3. 28 Days Later… (2003)
Directed by: Danny Boyle
I love this film with all my heart; this shocker from underrated director Danny Boyle arrived into select theaters in the summer of 2003 with rave reviews from critics. Leonard Maltin deemed this: “Scary as Hell” including me who raved almost non-stop about this film in my review. This apocalyptic horror film opens in modern day London where a lab is conducting mysterious experiments on animals. A group of animal rights activists break into the lab and attempt to free caged monkeys despite the frantic warnings of the scientists who urges them not to set them free. They are released regardless and are attacked viciously. Days later a young man awakes from a coma in a hospital to find it literally deserted without any trace of human life. He sets out to the town and discovers all of London is deserted. When he is attacked by red-eyed raving lunatics, he stumbles upon two survivors who inform him that a deadly virus has broken loose when, if the diseased blood comes in contact with human skin, the person becomes a murderous lunatic within thirty seconds. For the opening scene alone is why you should see this incredible film. Who didn’t shudder when Jim is walking through the deserted London city streets looking for some form of human life. Director Boyle created an original concept, he lets us get into the mind of the victims enduring the horrifying zombies that stalked them throughout the entire film. We were able to explore the films characters’ minds and their personalities all at the same time while inflicting shocking violence and action upon the audience. Watch for the closer where Jim attempts to dodge two zombies in the dark, who are running around the mansion slaughtering each of the soldiers in different rooms. Boyle shows that horror films can be horrifying, gory and psychological all at the same time.
2. The Lost Boys (1987)
Directed by: Joel Schumacher
Arguably the greatest vampire movie ever made, and one of my favorites, this timeless vampire flick drips with eighties moods showing the fashion of the time and hilarious lingo from the past, but all of it is overlapped by an incredible tale of a family who move to a city by the coast with their grandfather after the mother goes through a hard divorce. The two brothers of the family discover the town and soon begin to discover it’s horrifying secret within the community. The oldest brother Michael gets involved with a gang of hipsters who immediately accept him and initiate him in blood converting him into a vampire, while the youngest brother meets two comic shop owners who convince him that vampires are lurking in the town. Kiefer Sutherland gives his best performance as the vampire head honcho David and the movie is full of hip storylines and hilarious sequences picking fun at itself while terrifying the audience. The vampire effects are downplayed by the director until the exciting climax where the brothers must fend off against a gang of vampires in their house. Watch for the shocking last twenty minutes, the great scenes between the heroes and the vamps fighting it off throughout the house, and an awesome climactic fight scene between villain Sutherland and hero Jason Patric who sports long hair resembling rocker Bon Jovi. Watch this with a crowd, it’s a good one.
1. The Exorcist (1973)
Directed by: William Friedkin
Voted “The scariest movie of all time” by movie critics worldwide, and numerous film institutes, and also banned by bible thumper Billy Graham who declares there is an actual demon in the films celluloid, this shocking horror movie based on the novel by William Peter Blatty made waves in the seventies causing loads of controversy with audiences, religious organizations, and even spawned a mystery when strange accidents began occurring throughout the filming. This tells the story of young Reagan Macneil, a beautiful little girl who lives with her single struggling actress mother. The two have lost faith in life and god until weird incidents start to occur within their house and young Reagan’s personality begins to rapidly change when she begins muttering Latin and becomes increasingly violent. Desperate, Reagan’s mother seeks out the help of a young priest who has also lost faith in god due to a hard life, and along with an experienced old winded reverend, who has finished a hard battle with the devil years before, the two will attempt to discover if Reagan is possessed by the devil and battle for her soul and their sanity.
Shocking, terrifying, and aggressively character driven, this is arguably the greatest horror movie of all time by horror fans. With the incredible dark direction from William Friedkin, he supplies an incredibly scary horror movie which was boycotted by religious groups in the seventies. The movie takes its time by introducing the likable vulnerable characters slowly and develops the plot with ease making way for the shocking finale which will literally put chills down the viewers spines. There are some rather incredible special effects that were ahead of its time and rather influential being used again and again in latter day horror flicks. There are a lot of memorable scenes in the film including when Reagan is floating from her bed, the scene where her head spins, and the infamous vomit sequence. This spawned two sequels, and inspired much research into the occult, this is an excellent film and as a hardcore horror fan, this is my all time favorite horror movie.