Seeing as this week is Halloween, I thought I'd change it up some and make a little post about some of the best horror films that are truly scary and also have been my favorites. Quite a few of these are newer, but they're all great, so I hope this pleases people or at least helps with what to watch. This won't be a traditional top ten, but there are still some awesome gems in here. Some spoilers are ahead, so take that how you want. Enjoy!
DIRECTED: Takashi Miike
WHY IT MAKES THE LIST: Much has been made about the slow burn of the buildup of the film, but the tension Miike is able to build not only helps to keep the viewer on edge, but it paints a gloriously vibrant picture of a person who is pure evil and is maybe the worst person you ever want to take advantage of. Easily one of the best horror films ever made, and the last fifteen minutes will leave you a changed person, unable to speak or walk from sheer terror.
Cabin in the Woods
DIRECTED: Drew Goddard
WHY IT MAKES THE LIST: Going in I had no idea what to expect, but that's what made the reward of watching the film that much more plentiful. The film is very meta in nature, and one of the things is does brilliantly is it's ability to turn the horror movie framework on it's head and create something that simultaneously borrow from other film while also being highly original and though provoking. It's a amazing movie full of humor, horror trademarks and an ending that leaves you wanting more, even though it's not possible.
DIRECTED: Breck Eisner
WHY IT MAKES THE LIST: Of all the bullshit, stale remakes we've gotten in the last decade or so, only a few of them even come close to being worthy of the audiences time, and even fewer stand up firmly against the original. “The Crazies” is one such film. The pacing is awesome, and the whole cast, and especially Timothy Olyphant are perfect in their roles of small town people trust into a giant government clusterfuck. I've seen it countless times now, but I still love the imagery and also while the scares aren't super in your face, the thought of something like this actually happening is what makes the film so unnerving and intense.
DIRECTED: Neil Marshall
WHY IT MAKES THE LIST: Easily the best horror film of the last twenty years, Marshall's film delivers from start to finish, and for once features creatures that are actually fucking terrifying. Also, much has been made of the female element in the newest “Mad Max” film, but these women were brutal and kicking ass nearly a decade before everyone freaked out over Charlize and her Goddesses. The darkness and claustrophobia also play a huge role in the evolution of the film, and from the opening jolts that literally start minutes in and to horrifying conclusion( the U.K. Ending is better in my opinion), this is a film so perfectly scary I know multiple people who refuse to watch it.
House of 1000 Corpses
DIRECTED: Rob Zombie
WHY IT MAKES THE LIST: I've seen this movie so many times that it's become one of my favorite horror movies ever. Sure it's a big outlandish and hokey, but the playfulness in the evil and how the Firefly family torments these purely unlikable people makes it worth while. Not to mention the way Zombie uses his own interesting brand of visuals and colors, and it makes “House of 1000 Corpses” an awesome addition to any Halloween viewing party. Also bonus point for films where the bad guys win.
the House of the Devil
DIRECTED: Ti West
WHY IT MAKES THE LIST: Now I've only seen this twice, but the fact that it makes the list is a testament to the nature of the film. It's very much a slow burner, and while it's creepy from early on, you don't really know where it's going until the third act when everything falls apart for the main character. Add to that a great performance from Tom Noonan and you have a minimal horror film that deserves more love than it receives.
DIRECTED: Pascal Laugier
WHY IT MAKES THE LIST: One of the most fucked up but beautiful films on the list, this is less of a horror film and more of a statement to the fucked up nature of people. I honestly don't know how someone came up with the super violent content, but the film is glorious in it's use of shocking imagery, horrible motives and an ending so eye opening you're left trying to figure out the ending on your own times. It's very much open to interpretation, but that's what makes it so great. We never know what they see at the end, or whether it's the most horrifying thing ever witnessed or something so gorgeous they can't deal with existing in the world.
DIRECTED: Jaume Balaguero
WHY IT MAKES THE LIST: Aside from “The Descent,” I don't feel like any film of recent history has done more for lesser known horror films that are so scary you don't want to watch alone. I made that mistake. Watching this by myself years ago at 2 A.M. in my bed proved to be a great mistake I'm still glad I made. The found footage genre is very hit or miss, but (Rec) manages to create a world that's incredibly dark and ominous, and scares the shit out of you. Once it gets going, you can't take your eyes off the screen, even though everything you see is highly unsettling.
DIRECTED: Stanley Kubrick
WHY IT MAKES THE LIST: In my opinion the greatest horror film ever made. The movie is long, but there's an undeniable tremor that goes through the whole film. The gradual creepiness that takes over the movie is perfect, and you never know quite where everything is coming from. Is Jack crazy? Is the hotel alive? I could talk about this movie all day, but in the end it's a film that needs to be experienced and not ruined for first timers.
Trick r' Treat
DIRECTED: Michael Dougherty
WHY IT MAKES THE LIST: What I like about this film is that it's gory, but not super gory, and it's pretty stylized but not in a way that's played out or stupid. The four main plots weave loosely through the scenery of the town and all the way through it keeps you wondering, laughing and enjoying the various fates of not only the main characters as we watch their various transformations, but we grow to enjoy and appreciate even the smallest characters who were left behind. See You Thursday!
Landon Murray is a published writer and an avid lover of music, books and films. He's also a lover of the New Orleans Saints. He was born in 1982 and has a chainsaw tattoo on his arm.
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