10 of the Best Horror Films Ever Made

A lot of film fans like nothing more than paying good money to be scared out of their seats, and with its almost endless amount of subgenres, horror films are probably the ones that use an audience's potential for imagination most effectively. With slashers, zombies, aliens, ghosts, vampires, evil robots, an endless cadre of psychopathic killers and just about anything else that can go bump in the night, horror movies have found their place in many a cinema-goers top ten list of all-time favourite films. Today we're going to have a look at some of the best scary movies ever made, from way back in the 1920's right up to the 2000's. So, hit the lights, cuddle up and prepared to be scared!

The Shining (1980)

Master filmmaker Stanley Kubrick has successfully turned every genre into cinematic art. Comedy, drama, war film, sci-fi and historical epic. Which is why people anxiously awaited to see what he could do with horror. He took another master's source material and turned Stephen King's already classic novel into what was hailed as a masterpiece of modern horror. With unforgettable performances, iconic imagery and dialogue, stunning locations, ominous camerawork, Jack Nicholson's descent into insanity boils ever so slowly below the surface.

 

Halloween (1978)

Masked killers were big in the 70's. Audiences demanded more blood and gore, and they needed faceless monsters that they couldn't empathise with. Enter John Carpenter's stroke of genius, Halloween. What later became the prototype for every slasher film since, and is today considered a dark masterpiece, started out as a low-budget film about a psychotic murderer stalking babysitters. But in the brilliant hands of Carpenter and Deborah Hill, when we follow Michael Myers returning to Haddonfield to finish up his murder spree, we're watching one of the most profitable indie films ever made.

 

Dracula (1931)

One of the most iconic big-screen portrayals of one of the most iconic villains of all time, this classic horror film earns a well-deserved place on our list. Nosferatu was taking over the world as Universal Studios decide to adapt the play that already had Bela Lugosi in the lead. While the studio also released the equally iconic Frankenstein film that same year, there's no ignoring the fact that there have been hundreds of Dracula's that have graced our screens in the last 100 years. And even today, people will still do a Bela Lugosi impersonation when pretending to be the King of Vampires. Although Christopher Lee's reimagining, starting with 1958's “Horror of Dracula” is a close second, Lugosi's eerie gaze and hypnotising voice will never be forgotten.

 

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

The little film that could, this indie masterpiece with its do-it-yourself horror aesthetic inspired the likes of Sam Rami and countless other future backyard home movie filmmakers. And it also gave birth to a little something we call the modern zombie. With its deep social commentary and an original storyline that we've now heard hundreds of times, this sci-fi horror film sees the reanimated dead begin to roam the earth looking to eat the flesh of the living. The main story revolves around a group of poor unfortunate souls that gets trapped in a small farmhouse and is soon surrounded by the undead.

 

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Director Wes Craven was inspired by the story of a group of people who actually died while they were dreaming, and he created a man of your nightmares. Putting a twist on the whole slasher craze, this dark fantasy series follows the demented and unrelenting Freddy Kruger, a demonic child-killer and king of one-liners, who is able to enter your dreams and use creative ways to end your life. Something as innocent as a nap can mean death for the kids of Elm Street, try as they might to stay awake. 12 years later, Craven would help rejuvenate the horror genre with the slasher classic “Scream”

 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

The early 70's were a time of cinematic experimentation and horror directors were doing their best to push the limits of what they could show on screen. Professor turned rogue filmmaker Tobe Hooper, had no studio telling him what to do, just a camera, a couple of friends and the hot Texas sun. What they created is one of the most unrelenting and visceral projects whose story of a family of cannibals who attack an unsuspecting group of teens was inspired by the killings of a real-life murderer. Nightmare-inducing, gritty and way too realistic, this one should only be seen on an empty stomach.

 

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

having already given us the shocking and disturbing “Repulsion” and the horror comedy “The Fearless Vampire Killers” earlier in the 1960's, no one expected Roman Polanski to top it all off with his greatest masterpiece in 1968. One of the most atmospheric and poetically haunting horror films of all time, Rosemary's Baby plays on a mother's paranoia during her pregnancy. The Oscar-winning film follows Mia farrow with these probing questions: Can I trust my neighbours? Is my husband out to get me? Will I give birth to a child demon? Questions every mother has asked herself, right?

 

Friday the 13th (1980)

What kicked off the longest running horror franchise of all time, this cheaply made super hit was developed as a response to the success of “Halloween” and other holiday-themed horror flicks. Sean S. Cunningham created something unstoppable. What started out as a thriller about a killer stalking sex-crazed teens at Camp Crystal lake, the film gave us one of the most iconic masked faces in horror, and which also spawned sequels, spin-offs, a TV series, books, comics and video games. Jason has been to hell and back many times and it seems like nothing is going to stop him.

 

No list of horror movies would be complete without at least mentioning “Psycho” (1960), “The Exorcist” (1973), “The Blair Witch Project” (1999), “Saw” (2004) and another John Carpenter shocker, “The Thing” (1982). But which of your horror favourites have we missed? What should be on our list and what shouldn't? Drop us a line and let us know. Until next time, happy viewing!

Leave a Reply