GBV's Top 100 Horror Movies of All Time!

We here at The Good, The Bad, and The Verdict love our horror movies.  Both of us grew up with vampires, werewolves, swamp monsters, irradiated beasts and everything around and in-between, and never has our love of the genre wavered. And it's with that love in mind that we decided to create our ultimate top 100 list of horror movies.  How did we decide on this spooktacular countdown? We scoured the Internet for dozens of "Top Horror" movie lists, collated everything, inserted our own personal rankings, added, divided, averaged, and then sorted it all. Really, the process is something a mad scientist would love and make lesser men tremble, and, hopefully, has given us the definitive list of best horror movies.  Enough talk - let's see where our favorites ended up!

Les Diaboliques (1955)
Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
Starring: Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse, Charles Vanel
A wife and her husband’s mistress conspire to kill the man whom they both apparently dislike because of his cruel and boorish attitude. However things don’t quite go as planned (do they ever?)  There’s plenty of tension and a sense of unease that help elevate this past just being some melodramatic story about an unlikeable man, his chronically sick wife, and a woman who plays a pivotal role in their lives.

Black Swan (2010)
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey
Black Swan is one of those films that can divide an audience and serve as the spark for a debate as to what makes something a horror film. Regardless of what side of the aisle you might find yourself, there’s no denying that Aronofsky delivers an engaging look at mental illness, the prices one has to pay for stardom, and some great performances from Portman and Kunis.

Mandy (2018)
Director: Panos Cosmatos
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache
If there’s one thing that will stick with you after watching Mandy it’s without a doubt Cage’s wild and almost animalistic performance. It’s almost as if Cosmatos told Cage “Take every character you’ve previously played, combine them, and then turn things up to eleven.”  

The Howling (1981)
Director: Joe Dante
Starring: Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan, Christopher Stone
Despite there being a bunch of terrible sequels, it seems like The Howling tends to be forgotten when movies about werewolves are talked about, which is a shame because it’s one of the better ones out there.  Great special effects, some good scares, the right amount of humor, and references to other films along with a sad ending followed by a well placed final scene all adds up to a memorable lycanthropic experience.

Ready Or Not (2019)
Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett
Starring: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O'Brien, Elyse Levesque
If you took Get Out, added a dash of home invasion, and then multiplied it by the average of every adaptation or riff on The Most Dangerous Game, you’d get something that looks a little like this.  That’s not meant to be a knock against the film or anything, mind you - although it might be selling this wickedly scripted takedown of the rich and privileged a little short.

It (2017)
Director: Andy Muschietti
Starring: Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgård,  Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard
There are always going to be people who prefer the 1990 miniseries and Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise, but we’re going to go on the record as saying Bill Skarsgård’s take on the evil clown is the better of the two.  In fact, we’ll say that the entire adaptation is better, although the whole twp-part thing kinda stinks. Bloodier, scarier, and spot on with its portrayals of bullying, this should maybe have come in a little higher than 95.

The Mummy (1932)
Director: Karl Freund
Starring: Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manner
More atmospheric than scary, The Mummy follows the accidental resurrection of Imhotep (an ancient Egyptian who was entombed alive as punishment for attempting to bring his dead lover back to life), by some archaeologists.  While the scenes where Imhotep is wrapped, leaving only his frightened, pleading eyes visible is, indeed, quite disturbing, the profound lack of actual mummies wrapped in gauze and walking stiff-legged after people is a bit of a letdown, if that’s what you were hoping for.   

The Phantom Carriage (1921)
Director: Victor Sjöström
Starring: Victor Sjöström, Hilda Borgström, Tore Svennberg
This isn’t just one of the oldest films in our list, it’s considered by some to be one of the first HORROR films (although it could easily be shelved with a handful of other genres). Beautifully shot and appropriately moody when needed, its use of double exposure to create ghostly images is one of the earliest practical effects in film history.

Misery (1990)
Director: Rob Reiner
Starring: James Caan, Kathy Bates, Frances Sternhagen
While Reiner is most known for his comedic roots and output, he’s also responsible for making one of the most faithful and terrifying adaptations of a Stephen King novel.  He didn’t do it alone, of course, with Bates and Caan turning in fantastic performances.  And there’s that scene.  You know the one.  The one that no doubt had creative types everywhere second guessing how closely they would interact with fans.  Yeah - THAT scene.  It alone is cringe worthy enough to make it on this by itself.

The Last House on the Left (1972)
Director: Wes Craven
Starring: Sandra Peabody, Lucy Grantham, David A. Hess, Fred Lincoln
One of the few movies on this list that makes some people feel filthy or grungy just from watching it.  While the ending should be satisfying to most everyone, the graphic violence and rape present between that and the start of the film will make it hard for them to get there.  The inclusion of slapstick-like scenes of bumbling cops intercut with the brutality itself is enough to turn some people off. Despite, or actually, because of, its subject matter, this is much more horrific than its ranking may indicate.

The Devils (1971)
Director: Ken Russell
Starring: Vanessa Redgrave, Oliver Reed
Graphic violence, graphic sexuality, and its graphic take down of religion, all mingle together under Russell’s guidance to make one of the most controversial films on our list. The story of a priest accused of witchcraft, The Devils found itself banned and censored, in some places for over 30 years and with various cuts and edits over the course of nearly a dozen different theatrical and home video releases.  Is it scary?  Not in the traditional sense. Is it horrific?  Depending on your feelings regarding religion, yes - without a doubt it is.

The Wolf Man (1941)
Director: George Waggner
Starring: Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Rains, Warren William, Ralph Bellamy
The defining werewolf movie, The Wolf Man features one of the most tragic and sympathetic characters in, not just horror, but all of movie history. Any fan worth their salt knows that “even a man who is pure of heart” can succumb to the bite of a werewolf, and poor Larry Talbot is no exception. Certainly a walking definition of “wrong place, wrong time”, Talbot suffers for no reason other than pure fate and we all benefit from his horrors in the form of this classic monster flick.

Pulse (2001)
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Starring: Kumiko Asō, Haruhiko Kato,Kurume Arisaka
The first Japanese “J-horror” film on our list, this exploits the still relatively new Internet to tell a tale of ghosts intruding into the “real” world.  While it’s got some great moments (a terrifying scene with no musical cues to influence the scares), it’s a little long and can be a bit of a slog for some people - and the lack of any real blood and guts doesn’t help much. Still, there’s enough doom and gloom going on that if “cerebral horror” is your thing, Pulse is something that should be on your watchlist.

Raw (2016)
Director: Julia Ducournau
Starring: Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Laurent Lucas
Quite possibly one of the most disturbing “coming of age” films, this story of a veterinary student who develops a taste for meat is a bit of a slow burn that drops enough nuggets during its runtime to keep viewers invested in the characters.  Their patience is paid off with one of the most surprising third acts and reveals of all of the films on this list.

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014)
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Starring: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Mozhan Marnò, Marshall Manesh
Called the “first Iranian vampire Western”, we’re pretty sure it’s the ONLY “Iranian vampire Western”. Amipour delivers a moody and fantastically shot film reminiscent of Sergio Leone’s films with a touch of graphic novel stylings.  Oh, yeah - and there’s a vampire who spurs memories of 1922’s Nosferatu and is basically the movie’s anti-hero.  Shot entirely in Persian this is without a doubt one of the most original horror movies you’ll see.

Hour Of The Wolf (1967)
Director:  Ingmar Bergman
Starring: Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, Gertrud Fridh
Gothically surreal, Hour of the Wolf is the story of a painter, Johan, who begins having disturbing visions and severe insomnia. Confiding to his wife, Alma, he recounts a childhood trauma and tells her about the ‘Hour of the Wolf’ which " the hour when most people die, when sleep is deepest, when nightmares are more real”.  It’s said that Bergman drew from his own life and experiences in this tale of demons (real and/or imagined) layered with themes of sexuality, infidelity, and insanity.

The Night Of The Hunter (1955)
Director: Charles Laughton
Starring: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, Billy Chapin
With a straight-forward plot, director Charles Laughton had plenty of time to indulge in making The Night of the Hunter not only a thrilling film noir, but a stark, avante garde black and white (when it was cool to be in color) tale of greed, seduction, and corruption. With a controversial figure in the form of an evil preacher, sometimes surreal, dream-like cinematography and even kids in peril, it’s no wonder director Laughton called this "a nightmarish sort of Mother Goose tale".

I Walked With A Zombie (1943)
Director: Jacques Tourneur
Starring: James Ellison, Frances Dee, Tom Conway
One look at the date and you’ll know that you’re not getting shambling walkers or fast-running infected.  In fact, to be honest, there really aren’t ANY zombies in sight here, but that’s okay.  The story is engaging enough with the right amount of supernatural voodoo elements to make this tale of a Canadian nurse who travels to the island of Saint Sebastian in the Caribbean where she experiences first-hand the horrors of the strongly held supernatural beliefs of the local natives.

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
Director: Terence Fisher
Starring: Peter Cushing, Hazel Court, Robert Urquhart, Christopher Lee
Considered a classic now, the first film in the “Hammer Horror” brand, this was not very well received by the UK media, calling it - among other things - "depressing and degrading”. The US was a bit more open-minded and time has been much forgiving than those earlier reviews.  What was never in doubt was the memorable look and feel of the film along with Cushing’s powerful turn as Baron Victor Frankenstein, both of which give this the qualities that influenced contemporary directors like Tim Burton.

Under the Skin (2013)
Director: Jonathan Glazer
Starring: Scarlett Johansson
Johansson gives a mesmerizing performance as an alien who preys on human males in this clever film that features her driving around in a van, picking up men in unscripted sequences filmed with hidden cameras.  More sci-fi than horror, if we’re being honest.  Still, it’s disturbing enough to at least earn a “slash/horror” after its sci-fi designation.

Inside (2007)
Director: Julien Maury & Alexandre Bustillo
Starring: Béatrice Dalle, Alysson Paradis
For a country that likes to equate itself with love, France certainly knows how to kick the asses of people that say they need their horror just a little more violent.  Inside is the story of a home invasion (which are scary enough already) and amps up the violence to levels that have been called "repellent".  Grisly, gory, and brutal, we suspect this could break some people like films such as Martyrs and High Tension did.  At least it’s no A Serbian Film.

Black Sunday (1960)
Director: Mario Bava
Starring: Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Andrea Checchi
Bava’s directorial debut doesn’t disappoint as this Italian gothic horror brings the goods.  When a vampire witch and her lover are put to death in a fairly gruesome way, the witch curses those involved.  This curse comes around 200 years later and we’re treated to all sorts of things that go bump in the night like vampires, ghosts, and skeletons as well as some very effective practical effects and cinematography.  Ultimately a love story, there are plenty of thematic and visual elements that keep this squarely and effectively in the realm of horror.

Onibaba (1964)
Director: Kaneto Shindo
Starring: Nobuko Otowa, Jitsuko Yoshimura, Kei Satō
A mother and daughter loot dead bodies and seduce a couple of merchants to unload their ill-gotten goods.  That’s when a mysterious samurai shows up and things get hot and heavy - literally and figuratively There’s secret sex trysts, jealous fits of rage, a little murder, and a wicked looking Hannya mask that has some pretty gripping qualities.  Set in medieval Japan, there’s plenty of stuff going on to keep even jaded viewers engaged.

The Sixth Sense (1999)
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Bruce Willis, Toni Collette, Haley Joel Osment
While this does have a few borderline scary moments, we have a feeling this made the cut for this list on the strength of its third act twist.  The sad part is that no matter how good a film this is, it really does rely on said twist to pack any type of real punch - and if you know what that twist is it all sort of loses any oomph.  All of which doesn’t take away any of the emotional gravitas of Osment whispering “I see dead people”.

Aliens (1986)
Director: James Cameron
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen
Yeah, this is a sci-fi/action movie and it seems like a stretch to see this included on this list, but stop and think about it for a minute. There’s one scene - you know which one - that has so much tension in it that you can’t help but freak out along with everyone else after Hicks takes a peek up into the ceiling.  Yeah, that scene.  That alone is enough to get this film on the list, but add to it everything else that this throws at you and yeah, you’ve got one scary sci-fi flick.

The Cabin In The Woods (2012)
Director: Drew Goddard
Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison
It’s hard to find a movie as meta as Cabin in the Woods… if Scream deconstructed and revitalized the slasher, then this (almost literally) pulled back the curtain on them showing the viewer much more than they should have been. Featuring what is most likely one of the most paused non-nude scenes in film history, the inner workings of horror movies are played for laughs, but also with a ton of respect and care.  We’re gonna make a wild comparison here and say the ending reminds us of Monty Python and the Holy Grail in that there’s really no way to end the film other than the way they end the film.  And what an ending this has.

His House (2020)
Director: Remi Weekes
Starring: Wunmi Mosaku, Sope Dirisu, Matt Smith
The horrors of being a refugee are probably worse than many of the movies above and below this, mainly because they are real.  Mix that up with some supernatural scares and this isn’t just a film delivering a message, it’s a terrific debut offering from Weekes.

They Live (1988)
Director: John Carpenter
Starring: Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster
Not a horror movie in the strict sense, the subject matter is nothing if not horrific for anyone that wouldn’t find themselves aligned with the antagonists here.  Famous to many for Roddy Piper’s ad-libbed “I have come to chew bubblegum and kick ass - and I’m all outta bubblegum” line, Carpenter’s classic is as relevant today as it was in 1988, if not more so.

The Lighthouse (2019)
Director: Robert Eggers
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson
Here’s another one of those movies that is sort of hard to call horror when listed with many of the others on this list. A masterclass in the slow burn, this has so much going on that it would take a lot more space than we’ve given ourselves for these capsules to discuss even a fraction of it.  If awards matter, this has a ton of nominations and wins, mainly for Dafoe and Pattinson who are both superb in their roles.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)
Director: David Lynch
Starring: Sheryl Lee, David Bowie, Chris Isaak, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Wise, Kyle MacLachlan
Unrestrained by television’s standards and practices, Lynch was able to show just how screwed up the people of Twin Peaks were as well as graphicly put on display the horrors that Laura Palmer had to endure before meeting her untimely demise. Initially looked down upon because it didn’t provide the closure and explanations that people wanted for the TV show, Fire Walk With Me has aged like a fine wine and has become almost as loved as the show that spawned it. 

House of Wax (1953)
Director: André De Toth
Starring: Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Phyllis Kirk, Carolyn Jones
While House of Wax is itself a delightful thriller, its hook was that it was a 3D picture.  While there are a few scenes that really make use of the 3D gimmick, it’s not overdone and in fact somewhat takes a backseat to the story and performances themselves. Take away the stereoscopic images and there’s still an engaging and respectable thriller on screen.  

Black Christmas (1974)
Director: Bob Clark
Starring: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon
While Halloween and Friday the 13th are often credited with creating the modern slasher, Black Christmas may have a thing or two to say about that. While admittedly a bit slow-paced, the plot features elements that would eventually become tropes within the sub-genre, from its holiday setting to a “final girl” and a twist ending.  There are inventive kills, a mysterious killer, tense moments of antica…pation, and a smart script that seems, in retrospect, to be a bit TOO smart at times. The past couple of decades have seen Black Christmas get some more of the credit it’s due and had that been the case a little earlier, this may have jumped forward a few spots on the list.

Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
Director: Werner Herzog
Starring: Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz
Herzog’s modernized version of the 1922 Nosferatu is a better film simply due to the technological advancements, but that might be the only area.  Still, the fact that there are English and German cuts of the film is impressive and the story itself DOES deviate from Dracula and Nosferatu enough to make this its own.  And while it may be a little slow, it sure does LOOK nice.

Carnival Of Souls (1962)
Director: Herk Harvey
Starring: Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger
Following a car accident, Mary relocates to Salt Lake City where she begins to experience some rather frightening encounters after seeing an abandoned pavilion that used to house a carnival.  What follows is an eerie and unsettling affair populated with ghouls and a chalk-white faced man, all of whom cause no small amount of terror in poor Mary.   Before ultimately turning into a ghost story that feels like it would be right at home in the mind of Rod Serling, there are some effective scenes of horror as Mary attempts to deal with what she is experiencing. 

Train To Busan (2016)
Director: Yeon Sang-ho
Starring: Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi, Ma Dong-seok, Kim Su-an
This didn’t introduce the fast zombie, but it’s hard not to say it very well might have perfected it.  Let’s be honest - that scene in the train station (you either DO or WILL know the one) - pure nightmare fuel. While there’s not a ton of social commentary or characters with a voice that needs to be heard, there is enough of both to engage the audience and keep us invested in the fates of our main characters. There’s also plenty of action to deal with and really, it’s the adrenaline that is Train’s main draw.  Not unlike a train itself, the film picks up speed until it’s tearing down the track before eventually coming to its final stop.

The Wailing (2016)
Director: Na Hong-jin
Starring: Kwak Do-won, Hwang Jung-min, Chun Woo-hee, Jun Kunimura
At pretty darn close to three hours The Wailing can seem like a massive undertaking. But for those that do they are in for one memorable ride. There are zombies, ghosts, supernatural happenings… heck, it might be quicker to list what ISN’T thrown into the mix here.  The surprising thing is that it never feels like too much is being piled on the plate. And that runtime we mentioned?  It never feels that long thanks to Na’s meticulous pacing. 

Shaun Of The Dead (2004)
Director: Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Nick Frost
Shouldn’t this be higher on the list?  Maybe if it wasn’t such an EXCELLENT comedy and satirical take on like a dozen things and was “just” a horror movie, it might be further up the list. We get it - accolades and influence on pop culture doesn’t = horror, but if we’re being honest, we feel that SotD transcends being stuffed into one box, but can also understand why there’s bound to be a segment of horror fandom that prefers their horror with laughs.  They also probably do not like Reese Cups, but we digress. Shaun of the Dead is a great movie any way you cut (or shoot, or bludgeon, or throw records at) it.

Us (2019)
Director: Jordan Peele
Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss
Peele didn’t hit a sophomore slump with his second film as Us is arguably his best film to date.  From the nerve racking “home invasion”, the whole idea of “the tethered”, and the subtle (and so subtle) metaphors and allusions, this packs a lot into its runtime and nothing seems to be sacrificed along the way. We guarantee you won’t think about ‘Hands Across America’ in the same light after watching this.

The Vanishing (1988)
Director: George Sluizer
Starring: Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, Gene Bervoets, Johanna ter Steege
Nothing could be more horrifying than being in a strange place (in this case, a foreign country), and having a loved one up and vanish. What do you do? How do you go about finding them? How can you move past such an incident?  This is exactly what Rex endures when the love of his life, Saskia disappears at a rest stop. A psychological cat and mouse game ensues which eventually ends on a rather disturbing note.

Audition (1999)
Director: Takashi Miike
Starring: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina
Some say this is a precursor to the “torture porn” genre which we can see the argument in favor of.  But Miike’s brutal and influential film is so much more than just that.  Equal parts misogyny and feminist revenge film, Audition has a lot going on and just as much to unpack during its nearly two hour runtime which, due to the slow burn nature, may be too long for some viewers to sit through before the violent payoff.  However, the lull of complacency is a big part of why everything works so well and makes this the neo-masterpiece that it is.

The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
Director: Roger Corman
Starring: Vincent Price, Hazel Court, Jane Asher
This may actually, and accidentally, be Corman’s best film (and we don’t just mean of his Poe adaptations)..  The vibrant Technicolors and set design (thanks in part to being able to use leftover castle sets from a previous film) give the film a look befitting of a higher budgeted film. Yes, it may not be very scary, but Vincent Price (who should undoubtedly be on a horror Mt. Rushmore when one is made!) still manages to squeeze some evil and sadistic glee from his role of Prince Prospero.

Dead of Night (1945)
Directors: Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Robert Hamer, Basil Dearden
Starring: Michael Redgrave, Mervyn Johns, Frederick Valk, Roland Culver
Another anthology, another bag of hits and misses.  When Craig, an architect, arrives at a country cottage to discuss some renovations, he realizes that he’s seen all of the people that are present in a dream. This leads the guests to share stories of eerie events with one another, and thus our setup for the five tales that follow, with one involving a ventriloquist’s dummy named Hugo being the better of the lot.  A return to Craig and the guests wraps up the bookend events.  A little too much humor probably cost this a few spots, but it’s still a chillingly good movie for its time.

The Omen (1976)
Director: Richard Donner
Starring: Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Billie Whitelaw
What’s more horrifying than swapping your dead newborn with the baby of a mother who died in childbirth and not telling your wife?  Doing this without realizing that the baby you’ve taken is the antichrist, that’s what.
The Omen tells the story of Robert and Kathy Thorn along with Damien - their hellspawn.  Of course, it’s not until some nasty stuff starts happening  that either realize something isn’t quite right with their five year old son and by that point it’s too late. Although critically panned upon its release, it was popular enough to warrant three sequels and a remake.

It Follows (2014)
Director: David Robert Mitchell
Starring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi
Is it delivering a message about STDs or the HIV/AIDS epidemic? Is it a parable for fear of relationship commitment?  Does it really matter when it’s such a scary movie that works on multiple levels anyway?  Ultimately, who cares?  Mitchell crafted a nearly perfect thriller that is still spawning imitators and is itself destined for masterpiece status at some point (if not already).  Can you tell we like this film?

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Director: James Whale
Starring: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Ernest Thesiger, Elsa Lanchester
It’s not often that a sequel is often cited as a superior film, and there are plenty of people who bestow that honor here.  Picking up right after the events of Frankensteis and following a clever opening, we learn Henry Frankenstein is alive and his mentor, the grandly-named Septimus Pretorius, wants his help to make a mate for the monster who also survived the events of the earlier film. It’s really the subject matter here that lands this so high (or low, depending on your POV)  on the list - people were not too fond of man being made to look as an equal to God - because ultimately it’s the saddest and most heartbreaking of the Universal Monster films.

Scream (1996)
Director: Wes Craven
Starring: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Matthew Lillard
We’re not gonna lie - we’re a bit surprised this isn’t at least a few spots higher considering its importance to horror in general and to slashers specifically.  Not many films can boast that they practically resurrected an entire sub-genre of films!  The fact that it became a franchise that is still going strong today puts it in with some pretty solid company.
(We’re sad this wasn’t at the top of the list because we had a really good “What’s your favorite scary movie” joke all prepared.  Oh well…)

Eraserhead (1977)
Director: David Lynch
Starring: Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph, Jeanne Bates, Judith Roberts
Trying to explain the symbology, themes, and meanings that one experiences while watching a  David Lynch film is like trying to herd cats. And we mean that as the highest compliment.  Eraserhead’s horror is a result of Lynch’s cinematography, subject matter, and - most of all - its sound. Constant low-level background noise mixed with industrial sounds creates a heightened sense of dread that permeates every aspect of this surreal nightmare

Ring/Ringu (1998)
Director: Hideo Nakata
Starring: Nanako Matsushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rikiya Otaka
The idea that you’ll get a call seven days after watching a videotape which will kill you is laughable - until it happens.  Nakata delivers the goods with a truly nail-biting supernatural entry that, while a bit of a slow burn, carries such a strong sense of foreboding terror that you don’t even notice the time.  Variety even says that the slow pace, with "its gradual evocation of evil lying await beneath the surface of normality", is one of the film's biggest strengths to which we’d have to agree.

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956)
Director: Don Siegel
Starring: Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Larry Gates, King Donovan, Carolyn Jones
You’ve got to admit that it’s weirdly odd that a movie clearly serving as an allegory for the loss of one’s personal identity within a Communist system and steeped in McCarthyism has a lead actor with the last name McCarthy.  Or maybe it’s not so odd?  Regardless, this is a pretty terrifying tale (that is sadly neutered by its theatrical ending) and is such a memorable and influential sci-fi classic that it has inspired countless remakes and/or reimaginings.

28 Days Later (2002)
Director: Danny Boyle
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston
People are always going to debate whether or not this is a “zombie” movie, but the bottom line is that Boyle delivered one of the most adrenaline fueled horror movies ever. From the moment Jim discovers a church full of infected to the blood-soaked ending, there are just enough slower moments to allow you to catch your breath.  Equal parts horror film and social commentary, this is one of the best “zombie” movies out there.

Possession (1981)
Director: Andrzej Żuławski
Starring: Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill, Margit Carstensen, Heinz Bennent
What starts out as a possible spy movie quickly spins into a psychological horror experience and rapidly descends into the madness of Cronenberg-esque body horror before settling into an uncomfortable little sci-fi box.  Truly hard to classify beyond “horror”, this is certainly that as it is yet another film in this list that landed on the UK’s “video nasties” list.

The Invisible Man
Director: James Whale
Starring: Gloria Stuart, Claude Rains, William Harrigan
Dr. Jack Griffin, after experimenting with a dubious drug, has used it to concoct a serum that renders him invisible. What he doesn’t know is that it’s also making him a bit crazy.  It’s those two things that combine to make this one of the best of the “Universal Monsters” movies.  Throw in some wicked dark humor, a smart script, and some of the best special effects seen on-screen at the time and you’ve got yourself a classic.

Kwaidan (1964)
Director: Masaki Kobayashi
Starring: Tatsuya Nakadai, Rentarō Mikuni, Tetsurō Tamba, Keiko Kishi
This Japanese anthology film featuring four stories is heavy on the ghosts and if that’s your thing, you’re in for quite a treat here.  Like most anthologies not every story is a home run, and with a run time of about three hours it definitely takes a commitment.   However those that do will be treated to a magnificently shot film full of almost surreal colors that almost forgets that, at its core, it’s a horror movie and becomes something… more.

Godzilla (1954)
Director: Ishirō Honda
Starring: Akira Takarada, Momoko Kōchi, Akihiko Hirata, Takashi Shimura
Anyone that knows Mike and Joseph will be surprised to see this film barely making the top 50, but while the titular monster’s rampage over and destruction of Tokyo (itself a thinly veiled allegory for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki less than ten years earlier), is indeed horrific, it’s known far more as a science-fiction/monster movie by everyone, including The Good, The Bad, and The Verdict.

The Haunting (1963)
Director: Robert Wise
Starring: Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, Russ Tamblyn
This is a bit of a polarizing film with some people feeling that it is a bore and that there is barely any plot and what plot it has is weak, while others laud it as a masterpiece and genuinely frightening haunted house film.  As always, the truth lies somewhere in between and that’s where we here at GBV reside.  Yes, there are some tense moments and great examples of supernatural happenings, but those complaints about the plot aren’t entirely wrong either.  In any case, The Haunting is certainly a movie worth being on this list.

Re-Animator (1985)
Director: Stuart Gordon
Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, David Gale
There are plenty of movies on this list that mix comedy and humor to varying degrees of success, and  Re-Animator is one of the better ones.  Dark humor and outrageous situations are mined for the blood-drenched laughs as Jeffery Combs steals the show with his portrayal of the psychotic Dr. Herbert West.  Don’t be fooled by the mention of humor, though - this is full of gore, scares, and a pretty unsettling scene that gives new meaning to a sexual phrase we can’t mention since we try to remain more or less “family friendly” here.

Poltergeist (1982)
Director: Tobe Hooper
Starring: Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Beatrice Straight, Heather O'Rourke 
We’re not even going to go into the whole “this movie is cursed” thing because, well, we don’t need to - this is scary as hell on its own!  From little Carol Anne saying “They’re here”, to chairs stacking themselves on a table in the blink of an eye, to killer clown toys, old trees, and a foundation pit full of skeletons, there’s more than enough to keep you on the edge of your seat and gripping the arms of the chair as the Freeling family deals with their house of horrors. Oh, but it’s rated PG - it can’t be THAT scary! Wrong! It IS that scary and would have gotten an “R” rating if it weren’t for Stephen Spielberg being Stephen Spielberg and wielding the might of Stephen Spielberg.

The Babadook (2014)
Director: Jennifer Kent
Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Hayley McElhinney Daniel Henshall
The Babadook is one of those films that can divide a group of viewers almost right down the middle and is one of the most “in your face” with its subject matter, offering very little in terms of symbology or hidden meanings (for better, not worse)..  Does that mean the titular creature isn’t real?  No, it just means that sometimes it’s just easier to fight our fears when they take on a physical form. The tricky part is making sure they’re not as scary as Mister Bababook can be.

The Evil Dead (1981)
Director: Sam Raimi
Starring: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor, Betsy Baker
Birthing a franchise that includes sequels, remakes, toys, video games, a TV show, and just about any other thing you can imagine, this cult-classic that put both Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell on the map brings the goods.  Funny, scary, and bloody as hell, The Evil Dead is that rare independent movie that transcends its limitations to become something original and influential.

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978)
Director: Philip Kaufman
Starring: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright
There’s maybe a handful of remakes that surpass the original and this is one of them. While the original had the scare of communism at its heart, this one - coming at the tail end of the 70s - is more akin to the fear that the hippies of the 60s and early 70s had to becoming yuppies and losing their whole counterculture street cred. There’s also the specter of government surveillance hovering over everything (like a spy satellite!), all of which - in addition to that ending - makes for one scary world.

The Witch (2015)
Director: Robert Eggers
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie
This is one of those films that practically defines the term “slow burn”. However, rather than letting it simmer for the entire runtime, Eggers gooses things with some eerie and creepy moments that prod you forward through the slower moments.There are some great performances here and Taylor-Joy is impressive in her debut, but I think we can all agree that the TRUE star is the G.O.A.T. goat, Black Phillip.

Videodrome (1983)
Director: David Cronenberg
Starring: James Woods, Sonja Smits, Deborah Harry
You can’t get much more horrific than an unauthorized TV signal broadcasting what appear to be snuff films.  Well, we take that back. If you add in some hallucinations, a method of causing brain tumors in viewers, a deeply-layered conspiracy, and Blondie’s Debbie Harry as a radio host who, while looking into the broadcasts, disappears only to return on screen, you might. Seeing Cronenberg’s name might make you expect to see people with television sets growing from their bellies like nightmare Teletubbies, but honestly the whole body horror thing seems a bit toned down here when compared to most of his other films.

Deep Red (1975)
Director: Dario Argento
Starring: David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Gabriele Lavia, Macha Méril
Marcus, a musician, happens to spot a murder being commited and, after rushing to see if he can stop it, finds himself a part of the killer’s deranged agenda. Often cited as one of the best the genre has to offer, Deep Red was released at the height of the giallo heyday and features plenty of bloody kills, kinetic camera work, and of course a mysterious, black-gloved killer.  

Hereditary (2018)
Director: Ari Aster
Starring: Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd
If critics love a film but audiences - for the most part - are not as enamored with it, what does that say about the film? That’s a good debate question, but since we’re only concerned with the horror aspects of the films on our list, we’ll say that that imbalance is solely because horror is subjective and can be divisive.
Regardless of where one may fall in that conversation, I’m sure everyone can agree that Hereditary is, if nothing else, a pretty darn creepy movie.

An American Werewolf In London (1981)
Director: John Landis
Starring: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Griffin Dunne, John Woodvine
With the name John Landis attached to this you can correctly expect it to be funny.  But scary? Worry not, because it brings a horror A-game as well.  What The Wolf Man did for werewolves in 1941, this did for them forty years later as the genre quickly eschewed the furry man with wolf-like features to full-on wolves. When David (Naughton’s character) is first shown changing into a wolf it’s one of the most terrifying transformations in cinematic history.

The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Director: Eduardo Sánchez, Daniel Myrick
Starring: Heather Donahue, Michael Williams, Joshua Leonard
Sanchez and Myrick caught lightning in a bottle with their found footage tale of three kids lost in the woods.  While not the first of its kind, it firmly established the framework of the found footage format.  Its biggest strength came from being released at the exact right moment in time, just as the Internet was becoming commonplace and allowed for the film to literally create its own urban legend overnight. While the ending had many scratching their heads, there’s enough palpable growing dread that by the time that ending rolls around even the most divisive critics gasped, not even realizing they’d been holding their breath. 

Cat People (1942)
Director: Jacques Tourneur
Starring: Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Tom Conway, Jane Randolph
Fear and implied dread drive this story of Irena, a fashion designer, who is convinced she comes from a line of people who turn into panthers when aroused. I think today we call them “cougars”.  Anyway, despite being a bit lacking in script or actress Simone Simon’s acting prowess, Cat People is still a very effective horror movie. Utilizing a methodical and moody look, it is both ominous and mysterious AND it originated the jump scare with a tension-filled technique that has come to be referred to as a “Lewton Bus” (named after producer Val Lewton).

Vampyr (1932)
Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
Starring: Julian West, Maurice Schutz, Rena Mandel, Jan Hieronimko
In this rather slow affair that comes across as a silent movie that forgets it has a voice, a young man who is versed in the occult and supernatural stumbles into a situation involving a murder, a pair of sisters, an odd doctor, and a vampyr.  Shot with a soft focus, the film has a very ethereal feel to it which, when paired with the locations used for filming, gives it an atmospheric and creepy look when needed.

The Innocents (1961)
Director: Jack Clayton
Starring: Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkins, Michael Redgrave
There’s a lot of ghost movies in this countdown and The Innocents is one of them.  Or is it?  Full of eeriness, the ambiguity of the paranormal is central to this story of Miss Giddens (Kerr), a governess who is hired to care for the niece and nephew of a wealthy bachelor at his estate, Bly Manor. Giddens becomes convinced that the children are possessed by the ghosts of two previous employees at the estate.  There’s plenty of odd goings on that may or may not be of supernatural origin to keep the anxiety levels high as this plays out.  

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Director: Wes Craven
Starring: John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund
Before he became the one-liner spitting Bugs Bunny of the slasher sub-genre, Freddy Krueger was one of the scariest dudes on screen in any decade.  With the blurred lines of reality, Nightmare and Krueger presented a hellish existence that even sleep couldn’t provide respite from and, honestly, was probably worse than being awake.  There’s plenty of things about Nightmare on Elm Street that are scary and earn horror street-cred in spades, from the premise of Krueger murdering children, to scenes of him walking up an alley, his arms stretching out to the sides, to an ending that rivals that of Carrie for its shock value. While it’s debatable as to referring to this as modern is accurate considering it’s almost 40 years old, this is without a doubt a “modern classic”.

Let The Right One In (2008)
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Starring: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar
This is one of those movies that defies the expected norms of its content (in this case vampires) and presents something unique and (darkly) beautiful.  Quiet, intimate, and horrific all at once, it’s much more than just a “vampire movie” at a time when vampires were almost everywhere in every theater and were just action movies with fangs like Blade, 30 Days of Night, and Underworld.

King Kong (1933)
Director: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack
Starring: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot
Not a traditional “horror” film, Kong packs enough moments to cause some scares, especially to audiences in 1933 who had never seen such a spectacle. Prehistoric monsters, mysterious savages, and a giant ape loose on the streets of New York probably made viewers wish prohibition was the rule of the land as a stiff drink would have certainly helped take the edge off.

Dracula (1931)
Director: Tod Browning
Starring: Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Helen Chandler
Although he later took turns as other characters from the Universal Monster movies, Lugosi is most remembered for his portrayal of the Count, itself an image that influenced the look of vampires for years to come.  The use of shadows and the great set design play a big part in making this such an effective chiller. Although there were changes from Bram Stoker’s book to the play that this was based on, it’s still a solid and defining piece of horror movie history.

The Wicker Man (1973)
Director: Robin Hardy
Starring: Edward Woodward, Britt Ekland, Diane Cilento, Christopher Lee
When one thinks of “folk horror”, The Wicker Man is most likely the first film that springs to mind.  While not scary or horrific in the sense that many of the moves on this list may be, there is a certain air of underlying doom that floats around everything.  There’s the total dismissal of Christianity in favor of pagan gods that shocks Police Sgt. Neil Howie (Woodward), who is looking into the disappearance of a girl who may have been sacrificed, odd remedies for ailments, casual sex in the fields, and a propensity for singing, all of which create an unnerving film.

The Birds (1963)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette
Seagulls just randomly attacking patrons of a gas station/diner, drawing blood and causing an explosion is one thing.  The scene where Tippi Hedren’s Melanie sits outside of a small schoolhouse while behind her crows begin to multiply on a jungle gym as the kids inside the school sing a nonsense song is on a totally different - and terrifying - level. There’s plenty more chills within, but man - none more so than that one.

Eyes Without a Face (1960)
Director: Georges Franju
Starring: Pierre Brasseur, Édith Scob, Alida Valli, Juliette Mayniel
The video for Billy Idol's song is --- just kidding. Wearing a mask to conceal her disfigured face, Christiane - the daughter of a slightly nutty surgeon - slowly becomes aware of her father’s methods in which he attempts to restore her unscarred face (that he caused).  Showing skin-graft surgery was pretty wild for the times, and some movie-goers actually passed out when watching the film. Tame by today’s standards, there is - nonetheless - some pretty shocking stuff here.

Repulsion (1965)
Director: Roman Polanski
Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser, Patrick Wymark, Yvonne Furneaux
The first film in Polanski’s “Apartment Trilogy”, Repulsion is an unsettling psychological horror. Detailing the horrific and nightmarish experiences of Mary that happen as a result of men showing amorous feelings towards her, she is clearly disturbed and most likely schizophrenic after suffering some form of sexual trauma (as is heavily implied and all but stated outright). You can’t get much more horrific (or repulsive) than that.

Don't Look Now (1973)
Director: Nicolas Roeg
Starring: Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland
Known more for its editing, imagery, and a controversial sex scene than its horror vibe, Don’t Look Now still has enough creepy stuff going on to crack the top 25.  Through a fragmented timeline, the notion of precognition is not only delivered to the parents of a drowned child, but imprinted on the viewer in both obvious and subtle ways. It’s the study of grief, though, that makes this not only an exceptionally nind-trip of a horror experience, but a great character study as well.

Frankenstein (1931)
Director: James Whale
Starring: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles, Boris Karloff
While this wasn’t the first horror movie, or even the first Universal Monster movie, it’s still held in such high regard that it is considered by many to be the grand-daddy of the horror flick.  Beautifully shot with wonderful, gothic set pieces and a laboratory full of gizmos and Tesla coils that would become the template for the mad scientist lair, the story of how a man became God by creating life is one of the greatest films ever made.

Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
Director: Sam Raimi
Starring: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley
There are two types of horror fans in the world.  One of them says this is a sequel to The Evil Dead and the other believes this is a remake - and we’re inclined to be in the second camp. Consider the first one a proof of concept type of thing, after all - everything in the Evil Dead universe that followed has more tightly wound roots to this film.  Regardless of where you stand, the fact remains that this is a much more polished, tighter, bloodier, and all-around more entertaining version of the events of the first movie.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Director: Tobe Hooper
Starring: Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, Gunnar Hansen
While not the first movie to fit the “slasher” model or to feature social commentary by way of characters and events within the film, Texas Chain Saw Massacre certainly refined and utilized them quite well.  A mostly bloodless affair, the true horror and violence is depicted in such a real and visceral way that the imagery stays with you longer as your subconscious adds in details it expected to see.  So effective at delivering the scares, numerous other creators such as Ridley Scott and  Wes Craven consider it to be one of the most influential movies to their own work.

The Exorcist (1973)
Director: William Friedkin
Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Jason Miller, Linda Blair
Spinning heads, floating beds, inappropriate use of a crucifix - these are just a few of the things that make this such a memorable film. Linda Blair is fantastic as young Regan who is seemingly possessed. The scares come from the sight of a young and innocent girl forced to speak in tongues, spew vomit, undergo painful medical tests, and other horrible actions.  The biblical implications and portrayals of “good” and “evil” are easy buttons to push in a lot of people and The Exorcist had its share of moral and ethical arguments lobbed at it which helped create a buzz about the film and more than likely played a part in the rumors and urban legends of the film being cursed.  Through all of that, though, one of the scariest parts of this movie is arguably Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells musical score.

The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
Director: Jonathan Demme
Starring: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine
Horror movies generally get a bad rap by those that like to think themselves above it all.  The fact that so many of those same people heaped piles of praise onto a horror movie is damn funny.  Foster and Hopkins are stellar and it’s no surprise they dominated the awards season.  The film itself is just as amazing, delivering tense and downright horrific moments and giving us iconic lines about lotion, baskets, and hoses. The scene in the dark as Clarice stumbles around blindly will have you chewing your fingernails, while another scene will forever be in your mind any time you hear the song "Goodbye Horses"

Freaks (1932)
Director: Tod Browning
Starring: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Roscoe Ates
It took almost 30 years for this film to overcome the stigma of its portrayal of the titular “freaks” as being a controversial exploitation of the disabled actors. Claimed to be “too grotesque” and “brutal”, it was initially banned in the United Kingdom.  All of the controversy aside, this is - without a doubt - a horrific sideshow (no pun intended) of revenge full of memorable imagery and plot points.  While it isn’t PC to say it, you really can’t refuse to mention that the visuals of the eponymous Freaks add to the horror of the experience. But it’s that “fear” of something different that helps portray the sideshow performers as regular people who live and love just like the rest of us.  Gooble gobble.

Peeping Tom (1960)
Director: Michael Powell
Starring: Carl Boehm, Moira Shearer, Anna Massey, Maxine Audley
The title of the movie tells you a lot of what you need to know - that we’re dealing with a voyeur.  Mark Lewis (the titular “peeper”), is a movie crew member who aspires to make his own film. When we learn what makes Mark tick, you can’t help but feel a little sorry for the awkward and shy guy, however when Mark crosses the line more than once it’s hard to find any sympathy for him.  Elements of Peeping Tom are found in the slasher sub-genre making this an early proto-slasher type of film.

Get Out (2017)
Director: Jordan Peele
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford
Up until this point Jordan Peele’s rep was based in comedy, so it’s no surprise that Get Out has some humorous moments, but as a whole, this showed everyone that Peele was much more than a comedian
Criticized by some as playing the race card, racial tension no doubt fuels much of the film’s fire, but to pigeon-hole it as something trite and condescending as such is missing the whole point of the film. For a movie to push buttons as this did is impressive.  For it to be done by a freshman director is outstanding.

The Fly (1986)
Director: David Cronenberg
Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz
There are a handful of remakes in this countdown, but none ranking so much higher than the original as The Fly, and with good measure.  While the original The Fly is a solid B-movie sci-fi flick with horrific elements, this version is straight up horror with sci-fi merely serving as the platform on which Cronenberg serves this pre-digested dish.  Body horror, gore, and a dream sequence that isn’t for those with weak stomachs.

Carrie (1976)
Director: Brian De Palma
Starring: Sissy Spacek, Amy Irving, Nancy Allen, William Katt, John Travolta, P.J. Soles, Piper Laurie
Horror hits on a few different levels here - bullying, a changing body, and supernatural powers. Mix all that up and you have a recipe for trouble.  While the ending, or the entire prom, might get the most recognition, the most horrific scene comes much earlier in the movie in the girl’s locker room at school. This first film adaptation of Stephen King’s first novel spawned a bit of a franchise, but the less said about all of them, the better.

Suspiria (1977)
Director: Dario Argento
Starring: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci
Stylistic and crammed full of vibrant colors, Suspiria is arguably Argento’s most influential horror film.  The story is engaging as Suzy - a young American ballerina - travels to Germany to attend an esteemed dance school. If possible, things get worse following a brutal murder and accidental death as Suzy begins to deal with some discomforting episodes. While the hook is probably not much of a secret anymore, especially in light of the recent remake, we feel it’s important enough to the overall experience that we’re not going to potentially ruin it for anyone.

Nosferatu (1922)
Director: F. W. Murnau
Starring: Max Schreck, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder, Alexander Granach
Considered by some to be more Dracula than Dracula, Nosferatu works on a number of levels.  The lighting and use of shadows is enhanced by the stark black and white, while the lack of dialogue adds to its overall creepiness factor, forcing the viewer to create the sounds and voices in their head which is always going to be a little more scary than not.  The biggest knock on the film isn’t any fault of the production, but that because of the number of different releases - all of which seem to have their own tinting and musical scores - it’s hard to find the best one to watch.

Night Of The Living Dead (1968)
Director: George Romero
Starring: Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Marilyn Eastman, Karl Hardman
Shot on a shoestring budget, NotLD far surpassed any expectations Romero and company could have dreamed about. Pretty tame by today’s standards, the film kicked some taboos of the time to the curb and re-defined what a “zombie” was in popular culture.  Incredibly influential, we may as well just credit it with the creation of the entire zombie horror sub-genre. Oh, and while we said it was tame by today’s standards, that’s not to say it’s not without scares and horrific elements!

The Thing (1982)
Director: John Carpenter
Starring: Kurt Russell, A. Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Richard Dysart
Originally considered to be too nihilistic at a time when optimism reigned, The Thing has since become one of the most revered sci-fi films of all time and we couldn’t be happier.  With amazing practical effects, great portrayals of the characters by the actors involved, and terrific music by Ennio Morricone and Carpenter himself, we here at GBV would certainly slide this into our personal top10s.  Full of tension, some fun and claustrophobic action, a simple plot that engages you with the fear of not knowing who may be infected, and that - yes, nihilistic - ending make this a classic of both sci-fi and horror.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Director: Robert Wiene
Starring: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Fehér
While the story of a mad and murderous asylum director provides plenty of fear-filled thoughts, it’s undoubtedly the LOOK of the movie that rattles the cages of viewer’s imaginations the most. Looking like they sprang from the mind of an evil Dr. Seuss, everything has a twisted and warped look to it.  Perspectives are off, lines are heavy, black, and curving, the ends of shadows look like those of knives, and streets that spiral like those you might see in Oz.  To express any thoughts on the subtext of this visual style would no doubt ruin the ending, and in fact just mentioning this may be too much.  We’ll stop now except to say this is quite the disturbing looking film, and leave it at that.

Dawn Of The Dead (1978)
Director: George Romero
Starring: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott Reiniger, Gaylen Ross
There are many people who call this the quintessential zombie movie, and we here at The Good, The Bad, and The Verdict would agree.  From the tenements of Philadelphia to a shopping mall outside of Pittsburgh, Dawn of the Dead is sandwiched in-between Night and Day of the Living Dead in George Romero’s living dead trilogy, but easily succeeds as a stand-alone film since no characters here appear in the others and vice versa.  Much talked about for its satirical take on consumerism and sporadic dark humor, it’s also gory and grim as hell with some of the best practical effects seen on film. We’re actually a little surprised this didn’t place a bit higher on the list.

Jaws (1975)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary
When is a slasher movie not a slasher movie? When it’s a movie about a shark meticulously stalking its prey in the open waters off of a coastal beach town that relies on tourist money to stay alive.  Like Alien, this follows the template for a food slasher film even if said template didn’t exist yet.  Much has been written about the troubled production and the unexpected problems the mechanical sharks created, and how - ultimately - the lack of usable “shark” footage” provided the movie’s greatest scares by forcing the viewer’s imagination to picture the great white monsters.

Halloween (1978)
Director: John Carpenter
Starring: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, P. J. Soles, Nancy Kyes
The Shape. The boogeyman. Michael Myers.  Whatever you want to call him there’s no debate about how iconic Carpenter’s masked killer has become over the past 40+ years.  Numerous sequels, reboots, comic books, novelizations, video games, and toys have all worked together to cement the Halloween franchise’s place in the pantheon of horror. Arguments can be made about the quality of everything that followed, but the original will always be one of the scariest movies of all time.

The Shining (1980)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers, Danny Lloyd
It’s not often a horror movie transcends its genre, but Kubrick managed to do just that with this adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name. Much has been said and written about this film, so to even try in this small amount of space would be a folly.  Suffice it to say that, despite the differences and inconsistencies with the source material (or perhaps because of), this hits on a few different levels making it one helluva scary ride

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Director: Roman Polanski
Starring: Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Ralph Bellamy
While Rosemary’s Baby may be the second film in Polanski’s “Apartment Trilogy”, (behind Repulsion and before The Tenant), but without a doubt the most well known of the three.
As we watch Rosemary Woodhouse (Farrow) slowly descend into madness thanks to her unexpected pregnancy we’re treated to subtle horror as it becomes more and more clear what is going on, so that by the ending all we can do is watch.  

Alien (1979)
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton
When is a slasher movie not a slasher movie?  When it’s a sci-fi horror featuring a wicked, other-worldly monster stalking the crew members of a spaceship that unwittingly pick up a stowaway when investigating a derelict ship. From shock during the dinner scene to the tension as the survivors shrink in numbers as they creep down darkened walkways in search of the creature, this practically follows the template refined by Halloween a year earlier and Friday the 13th a year later.

Psycho (1960)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, John Gavin, Vera Miles, Martin Balsam
While it can be argued that Hitchcock made better films than Psycho, it’s pretty much widely accepted that this is his most famous.  While Jaws made you afraid of going to the beach, Psycho made it pretty hard to endure a shower thanks to one particular scene everyone knows about.  While there were unnecessary sequels, a remake, and a prequel TV show, this original story of Norman Bates and his mom has secured its spot at the top of our list based on its enduring themes and horrific imagery.