CLASSIC CLIPS TOP 100 GREATEST HORROR MOVIES OF ALL TIME

The Criteria for our top 100 list are as follows: 1) Ground Breaking Cinematography and Special Effects (excluding CGI, which we consider, mostly but not entirely, to be over used and a lazy form of Art), 2) Groundbreaking and/or Original Plot, 3) Superlative Screenplay (original or adaptation), 4) Great Acting, 5) Great Directing and Producing, 6) Great Film editing, including Sound, and, 7) Lasting, memorable and original Musical Score. Other criteria include character development, level of suspense, intrigue, tension and sustained interest. The list of movies below contain at least one or more of the above elements, beginning with our pic for the # 100 spot.

 

100. The Phantom Carriage (1921)
One of the cnetral works in the hisotry of Swedish Cinema

The last person to die on New Year’s Eve before the clock strikes twelve is doomed to take the reins of Death’s chariot and work tirelessly collecting fresh souls for the next year. So says the legend that drives The Phantom Carriage (Körkarlen), directed by the father of Swedish cinema, Victor Sjöström. The story, based on a novel by Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf, concerns an alcoholic, abusive ne’er-do-well (Sjöström himself) who is shown the error of his ways, and the pure-of-heart Salvation Army sister who believes in his redemption. This extraordinarily rich and innovative silent classic (which inspired Ingmar Bergman to make movies) is a Dickensian ghost story and a deeply moving morality tale, as well as a showcase for groundbreaking special effects. - Source The Criterion Collection

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99. The Penalty (1920)
Featuring Lon Chaney in one of his breakout roles

This picture, based on the novel by Gouverneur Morris, was a tour de force for Lon Chaney, who plays a legless kingpin of the Barbary Coast underworld. When Buzzard (Chaney) was a boy, his legs were amputated by an incompetent doctor; now that he's an adult, his goal is to get revenge on the doctor, to become the ruler of the underworld and to have someone else's legs grafted onto his stumps. But an operation on a blood clot in his brain converts his evil mind to one that wants to do good. Rose (Ethel Grey Terry), the secret service agent who has been keeping tabs on Buzzard, falls in love with him now that he has reformed and marries him. Buzzard's old associates, however, aren't so thrilled with the change and they murder him. - Source Rotten Tomatoes

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98. Faust (1926)
Faust is the protagonist of a classic German Legend

The greatest master of horror in the silent era was a cheerful man, much loved by his collaborators, even though they might lose consciousness from time to time while enveloped in clouds of steam or surrounded by tongues of flame. F.W. Murnau (1888-1931) made two of the greatest films of the supernatural, "Nosferatu" (1922) and "Faust" (1926), both voted among the best horror films of all time on the Internet Movie Database: "Faust" surprisingly in fourth place, just ahead of "The Shining," "Jaws" and "Alien."- Source Roger Ebert

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97. London After Midnight (1927)
A lost film restored using still photographs

London After Midnight, (also known as The Hypnotist in the UK), is a 1927 American silent mystery film with horror overtones directed and co-produced by Tod Browning and starring Lon Chaney, with Marceline Day, Conrad Nagel, Henry B. Walthall, and Polly Moran. The film was distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and was based on the scenario, "The Hypnotist", also written by Browning.

The last copy of the film known to exist was destroyed in the 1965 MGM vault fire, making London After Midnight one of the most famous and eagerly sought after of all lost films. In 2002, Turner Classic Movies aired a reconstructed version, produced by , who used the original script and film stills to recreate the film's original plot. - Source Wikipedia

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96. The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1939)
Romantic, Drama, Horror Film starring Charles Laughton

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a 1939 American film starring Charles Laughton and Maureen O'Hara. Directed by William Dieterle and produced by Pandro S. Berman, the film is based on Victor Hugo's 1831 novel. - Source Wikipedia

Paris, France, 1482. Frollo, Chief Justice of benevolent King Louis XI, gets infatuated by the beauty of Esmeralda, a gypsy young girl. The hunchback Quasimodo, Frollo's protege and bell-ringer of Notre Dame, lives in peace among the bells in the heights of the immense cathedral until he is involved by the twisted magistrate in his malicious plans to free himself from Esmeralda's alleged spell, which he believes to be the devil's work. - Source letterboxd

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Honorable Mentions


The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1943)

 

 
 

95. The Hands Of Orlac (1924)
An Austrian Silent Horror Film

A world-famous pianist loses both hands in an accident. When new hands are grafted on, he is horrified to learn they once belonged to a murderer. - Source letterboxd

Orlacs Hände (English language title: "The Hands of Orlac"; French title: "Les Mains d'Orlac") is an Austrian silent film of 1924. This late Expressionist work, produced by Robert Wiene, has been remade twice. - Source Archive.org

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94. The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (1920)
A German Silent Film, considered to be the first Horror movie

Considered to be the very first horror movie, The Cabinet of Dr, Califari (The movie Universal originally didn't want Hitchcock to make), not only turned out to be a hands-down masterpiece but also effectively invented a genre: the psycho-killer slasher movie.

Source - Rotten Tomatoes

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari brought German Expressionist film to full view with art direction that’s every bit as dark and twisted as the story it tells. Set in an environment full of askew streets, warped roofs and staircases that travel at impossible angles, no film has the same spooky feel as this tale of a mysterious doctor and the sleepwalker he uses as a murder weapon. While the film’s influence is immeasurable, its visuals were more a catalyst for ideas than a target of direct imitation. This is partly because the look is so out there, and partly because the graphical set design could have lent itself more to the film medium - the painted-on shadows and canvas backdrops can make it seem as if the characters are walking on plywood theater stages rather than through a demented cityscape. Source - Pastemagazine

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93. The Man Who Laughs (1928)
One of the final German Silent Expressionism films

Director Paul Leni integrates German Expressionist techniques with the demands of the Hollywood system without compromising their effectiveness. For the film, the owner of Universal, Carl Laemmle, paired Leni with another preeminent German émigré, Conrad Veidt, who had appeared in a number of classic films, including The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari (1919). His costar was the demure heroine from The Phantom of the Opera, Mary Philbin. The actors worked with the studio's most talented and influential technicians, including production designer Charles Hall, who began his association with Leni on The Cat and the CanaryThe Man Who Laughs also marked the first makeup assignment for Jack Pierce, the maestro who subsequently sculpted the features of Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, and Lon Chaney, Jr. - Source PopMatters

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92. Mad Love (1935)
Peter Lore stars in his first American Film

Mad Love is a curiosity of 1930s Hollywood horror. Rather than a tale of a monster on the loose or of a mad scientist with a lust for glory, Mad Love is about a man at loose ends and a mad man who happens to be a scientist. It isn't that some of the movie's themes are sexual; the film dives head-first into the sea of sexual desire and the destruction that occurs when it is sublimated and perverted. - Source ClassicHorror.com

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91. Freaks (1932)
A Clever Sci-Fi/Horror Hybird

Freaks is an American horror film, released in 1932, a grotesque revenge melodrama in which director Tod Browning explored the world of carnival sideshows and the “freaks” that starred in them.

The story centres on the machinations of a femme fatale, the “normal” trapeze artist Cleopatra (played by Olga Baclanova), who seduces and marries one of the “freaks,” the little person Hans (Harry Earles), after learning that he has inherited a large fortune. Once the other sideshow performers learn of her self-serving plot to poison Hans with the help of her lover, circus strongman Hercules (Henry Victor), they exact a horrific revenge on the two, stabbing the strongman and viciously mutilating Cleopatra. At the end of the film as originally cut, Hercules is seen singing falsetto after being castrated, while Cleopatra—now tarred and feathered, minus her tongue and legs, with her hands deformed—is shown squawking and performing in her new role as a “chicken woman.” In subsequent cuts the castration scene was removed. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayeralso filmed a revised ending in which Hans reunites with his original lover, the little person Frieda (Daisy Earles). - Source brittanica.com

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90. Island Of Lost Souls (1932)
Sci-Fi / Horror adaptation of an H.G Wells Novel

A twisted treasure from Hollywood’s pre-Code horror heyday, Island of Lost Souls is a cautionary tale of science run amok, adapted from H. G. Wells’s novel The Island of Dr. Moreau. In one of his first major movie roles, Charles Laughton is a mad doctor conducting ghastly genetic experiments on a remote island in the South Seas, much to the fear and disgust of the shipwrecked man (Richard Arlen) who finds himself trapped there. This touchstone of movie terror, directed by Erle C. Kenton, features expressionistic photography by Karl Struss, groundbreaking makeup effects that have inspired generations of monster-movie artists, and the legendary Bela Lugosi in one of his most gruesome roles. - Source The Criterion Collection

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89. It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958)
One of the better Sci-Fi / Horror films of the 1950s

I strongly doubt that many people will disagree with me when I say that the original Alienis one of the finest sci-fi/horror films ever made. Its near-perfect mix of suspense and shock, its sketchy but vivid characters, its groundbreaking set design and superb special effects, and its intensely horrifying monster have all been well and justly noted by critics of all persuasions. But what many of my readers (the younger ones especially) may not realize it that Alien’s basic plot was lifted wholesale from a then-20-year-old film that few people under 40, outside the specialized world of B-movie geekdom, have seen. Chances are, you’ve already figured out that I’m talking about It!: The Terror from Beyond Space. - Source 1000misspenthours.com

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88. The Blob (1958)
A Cheesy, Drive-In Sci-Fi / Horror film

The Blob is an independently made 1958 American science fiction-horror film in widescreen color by De Luxe, produced by Jack H. Harris, directed by Irvin Yeaworth, and written by Kay Linaker and Theodore Simonson. The film stars Steve McQueen (in his starring feature film debut, as Steven McQueen) and Aneta Corsaut and co-stars Earl Rowe and Olin Howland. The Blob was distributed by Paramount Pictures as a double feature with I Married a Monster from Outer Space.

The storyline concerns a growing, corrosive, alien amoeboidal entity that crashes to Earth from outer space inside a meteorite. It devours and dissolves citizens in the small communities of Phoenixville and Downingtown, PA, growing larger, redder, and more aggressive each time it does so, eventually becoming larger than a building. - Source Wikipedia

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87. The Old Dark House (1932)
Charles Laughton in his first Hollywood film

Even if it hadn’t been essentially lost, James Whale’s The Old Dark House (1932) wouldn’t ever have fit, exactly, on the Mount Rushmore of Universal’s horror greats: Frankenstein, that ol’ corpse’s wife, the Wolfman, Dracula, and — since actually you can’t see him we can get away with five faces on this mountain — the Invisible Man. Whale directed the debut of the studio’s classic version of three of those characters, all but the Wolfman and Dracula, and his impeccably atmospheric House, shot one year after Frankenstein and three years before the Bride thereof, stands as another example of his and Universal’s 1930s streak of mining from horror lore an ideal essence. There’s no perfect monster in House, but there is a perfect haunted house, one where the lights won’t stay on, the stairways creak, a madman lurks, and a whimpering comes from behind a padlocked door. The film, now sparklingly restored and enjoying a release from Cohen Media Group, is to being trapped in a scary house what Frankenstein is to deranged scientists playing God: It’s the movies’ pure headwaters of the very idea. - Source villagevoice.com

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86. The Cat And The Canary (1927)
An American silent Horror Film, a box-office success

The viewer must respect the ambition of the film, especially as it was filmed when moviemaking was in its infancy. Many early films (both silent and talkies – this film was released a month before the first talkie film) bumble along inconsistently, as filmmakers were still experimenting with story pacing and cinematography techniques with this still-new media.

The Cat and the Canary, originally a stage play, weaves a tale now very familiar to lovers of the horror genre. Cyrus West, a millionaire, died a presumed madman. His will is only to be read 20 years following his death. The heir? A 20-something girl by the name of Annabelle West. However, the will has an odd condition – since the greed of West’s family drove him to madness (like cats surrounding a canary), Annabelle must be deemed psychologically sound, or the money turns over to a secret heir named in an envelope held by Mr. Crosby, the lawyer overseeing the will reading. - Source ClassicHorror.com

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Honorable Mentions


The Cat Creeps (1930)


 
 

85. The Black Cat (1934)
Univeral Pictures' biggest box-office film of the year

The Black Cat (1934) is a classic, enigmatically disturbing horror film from Universal Studios in the 1930s. It became Universal's top-grossing film of the year. The visually intriguing, austere, landmark horror film - a tale of European post-war anguish and death, was expressionistically directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. Its theme of the horrors of war would be echoed in his later films. He was obviously influenced by his previous work with German director F.W. Murnau (and his film Nosferatu (1922)), and by Fritz Lang's film Metropolis (1927). Art-deco sets by art director Charles D. Hall, and stark B/W photography by John Mescall evoke the proper atmosphere. - Source AMC Film Site

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84. The Raven (1935)
A gruesome film starring Boris Karlofff and Bela Lugosi

The Raven is a 1935 American horror film directed by Lew Landers (billed under his real name, Louis Friedlander) and starring Boris Karloff and Béla Lugosi. The picture revolves around Edgar Allan Poe's homonymous poem, featuring Lugosi as a Poe-obsessed mad surgeon with a torture chamber in his basement and Karloff as a fugitive murderer on the run from the police. Lugosi had the lead role but Karloff received top billing, using only his last name, Universal Studio's publicity strategy during much of the decade while Karloff's career was at its height.

Almost three decades later, Karloff also appeared in another film with the same title, Roger Corman's 1963 comedy The Raven with Vincent Price, Peter Lorre and Jack Nicholson. Aside from the title and references to the poem, the two films bear no resemblance to one another. - Source Wikipedia

A brilliant but deranged brain surgeon seeks revenge on the woman who spurned his marriage proposal in this well-performed chiller. With the help of an escaped convict, he traps the girl, her father, and her boyfriend in his Edgar Allan Poe-inspired torture chamber. - Source Rotten Tomatoes

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83. The Terror (1963)
One of Jack Nicholson's first films

Nary a complimentary review of this one, yet delivers an unsettling combination of mystery, intrique and horror. A Cult Classic in our books. - Source Classicclips.ca

When Roger Corman completed filming The Raven in 1963, it turned out that star Boris Karloffstill had two days left to go on his contract for the picture. Not wishing to waste those two days, Corman, and four other uncredited directors, improvised a script and filmed a new film; thus was born The Terror.  Corman used sets, crewmembers, and cast members from The Raven.

Lt. Andre Duvalier (Jack Nicholson) is a French officer separated from his regiment during the Napoleonic Wars. Alone on horseback, he encounters a mysterious woman (Sandra Knight) who gives him drink, but keeps vanishing. Duvalier traces her to the castle of Baron Victor Frederick Von Leppe (Boris Karloff) and his servant Stefan (Dick Miller). There Andre discovers the secret of the mysterious woman, bound up in an old tale of murder and vengeance which now haunts Von Leppe, and which may threaten his own existence as well. - Source ClassicHorror.com

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82. Eraserhead (1977)
A successful, expreimental horror film

This surreal examination of male paranoia is both a lasting cult sensation and a work of extraordinary craft and beauty. Our hero and title character, Henry, faces a number of horrifying obstacles in meeting someone of the opposite sex, meeting her parents, and procreating. Produced during a one-and-a-half-year period while director David Lynch was a student at the American Film Institute, the film launched him as a major new talent admired by cinephiles and filmmakers all over the world. It stands today as a milestone in personal, independent filmmaking. - Source The Screening Room

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81. Hellraiser (1987)
British supernatural horror film direced by Clive Barker

Now there's a blurb Stephen King should have written under one of his pen names. He may have seen the future of the horror genre, but he has almost certainly not seen "Hellraiser," which is as dreary a piece of goods as has masqueraded as horror in many a long, cold night. This is one of those movies you sit through with mounting dread, as the fear grows inside of you that it will indeed turn out to be feature length. - Source  

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80. The Premature Burial (1962)
American International Pictures, directed by Roger Corman

After huge financial successes with Fall of the House of Usher (1960) and Pit and The Pendulum(1961), it was little surprise that Corman would continue to mine Poe for box office cash in 1962 with the intense and disturbing Premature Burial.

The film is set in England and stars Ray Milland as Guy Carrell, a former medical student who is obsessed with the fear that he will be buried alive. He's convinced that a similar fate befell his father. Like the elder Carrell, Guy suffers from cataleptic attacks which leave him in an unconscious state with a pulse so faint that he appears to be dead. Terrified that he will be mistaken for dead and quickly buried, Guy builds an elaborate crypt with many fail-safe devices thrown in. - Source ClassicHorror.com

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79. Eyes Without A Face (1960)
 French-Italian horror film

At his secluded chateau in the French countryside, a brilliant, obsessive doctor (Pierre Brasseur) attempts a radical plastic surgery to restore the beauty of his daughter’s disfigured countenance- at a horrifying price. Eyes Without a Face, directed by the supremely talented Georges Franju, is rare in horror cinema for its odd mixture of the ghastly and the lyrical, and it has been a major influence on the genre in the decades since its release. There are images here - of terror, of gore, of inexplicable beauty - that once seen are never forgotten. - Source The Criterion Collection

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78. Carnival Of Souls (1962)
American independent horror film

Mary Henry ends up the sole survivor of a fatal car accident through mysterious circumstances. Trying to put the incident behind her, she moves to Utah and takes a job as a church organist. But her fresh start is interrupted by visions of a fiendish man. As the visions begin to occur more frequently, Mary finds herself drawn to the deserted carnival on the outskirts of town. The strangely alluring carnival may hold the secret to her tragic past. - Source Letterboxd

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77. Peeping Tom (1960)
British psychological horror-thriller film

The movies make us into voyeurs. We sit in the dark, watching other people's lives. It is the bargain the cinema strikes with us, although most films are too well-behaved to mention it.

Michael Powell's "Peeping Tom," a 1960 movie about a man who filmed his victims as they died, broke the rules and crossed the line. It was so loathed on its first release that it was pulled from theaters, and effectively ended the career of one of Britain's greatest directors.

Why did critics and the public hate it so? I think because it didn't allow the audience to lurk anonymously in the dark, but implicated us in the voyeurism of the title character. - Source  

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76. The Innocents (1961)
 Another British psychological horror film

The Innocents, brilliantly directed by Jack Clayton from Henry James novella The Turn of the Screw, is one of the best classic horror films. In some ways it is a traditional ghost story filled with virtually every haunted house trope, including candelabras, billowing curtains, and specters tapping on window panes; but it transcends its Gothic setting to become the story of what writer Christoper Frayling termed a “shattered Eden.” Miss Giddens soon finds out that behind the idyllic exterior of country life, there lies dark tales of lust, murder, and childhood innocence lost.

Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr), the new governess for two orphaned children in Victorian England, arrives at their idyllic country estate in the beginning of the psychological horror film, The Innocents (1961). The naive young woman, who has a lived a solidly middle class existence as a vicar’s daughter, marvels at the stately home and spacious grounds. Everything, including her two young charges, seems innocent and perfect. Then Miss Giddens glides past a perfectly arranged bouquet of roses. The fresh blooms wither and fall to the ground, a dark hint of things to come. - Source FilmInquiry.com

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75. The Conjuring (2013)
Winner of Saturn Award for Best Horror Film

Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most terrifying case of their lives. - Source Letterboxd

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74. The Uninvited (1944)
American supernatural horror film directed by Lewis Allen

Rich in atmosphere, The Uninvited, directed by Lewis Allen, was groundbreaking for the seriousness with which it treated the haunted-house genre, and it remains an elegant and eerie experience.

A pair of siblings from London (Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey) purchase a surprisingly affordable, lonely cliff-top house in Cornwall, only to discover that it actually carries a ghostly price - and soon they’re caught up in a bizarre romantic triangle from beyond the grave. featuring a classic score by Victor Young. A tragic family past, a mysteriously locked room, cold chills, bumps in the night- this gothic Hollywood classic has it all. - Source The Criterion Collection

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73. The Phantom Of The Opera (1925)
Perhaps the most frightening of American silent horror films

The Phantom of the Opera is a 1925 American silent horror film adaptation of Gaston
Leroux
's 1910 novel Le Fantôme de l'Opéra, directed by Rupert Julian and starring Lon Chaney in the title role of the deformed Phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House, causing murder and mayhem in an attempt to make the woman he "loves" a star. The film remains most famous for Chaney's ghastly, self-devised make-up, which was kept a studio secret until the film's premiere. The film was released on November 25, 1925. Source - Wikipedia

Lon Chaney stars as Erik, the Phantom, in what is probably his most famous and certainly his most horrifying role. Produced by Universal, the film shot in 1923 and shelved for nearly two years, and was subjected to intensive studio tinkering. While many expected a disaster, the film turned out to be a rousing success. It was both the stepping off point for Chaney's run as a superstar at MGM and the prototype for the horror film cycle at Universal in the 1930s. The story concerns Erik, a much-feared fiend who haunts the Paris Opera House. Lurking around the damp, dank passages deep in the cellars of the theater, he secretly coaches understudy Christine Daae (Mary Philbin) to be an opera star. Through a startling sequence of terrors, including sending a giant chandelier crashing down on the opera patrons, the Phantom forces the lead soprano to withdraw from the opera, permitting Christine to step in. - Source Rotten Tomatoes

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Honorable Mentions


The Phantom Of The Opera (1943)

 

 
 

72. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)
Fredric March tied Wallace Beery (The Chanp) for the Academy Award for Best Actor

Testing his theory that in every man dwells a good and an evil force, the reserved Dr. Jekyll (Fredric March) develops a formula that separates the two, turning him into a violent ruffian named Mr. Hyde. Thinking he has found the answer to one of life's grandest mysteries Dr. Jekyll soon realizes he is becoming addicted to his darker self as he unleashes his violent side on earthy dance hall girl Ivy (Miriam Hopkins) and fights Hyde to regain control of his body. - Source Vintage Film Festival

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71. The Pit And The Pendulum (1961)
Horror Film in Panavision and Pathe Color

Along with The Masque of the Red Death (1964), The Pit and the Pendulum is usually the fan favourite among Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe films. However, it does feel overshadowed by the success of The House of Usher, as though Corman and Richard Matheson felt like they were under pressure to make another Usher. The plot draws heavily upon The House of Usher – again an ordinary man travels to Vincent Price’s foreboding house in search of a woman who is close to him and has to force his way into the household against the unwelcome he encounters; the house and sanity of its owner is interwound and clearly crumbling; there is talk of the physical presence of the house where the depravities of the past have created a physical evil that affects the inhabitants/descendants in the present day; Vincent Price is cast as a tormented character crushed by the weight of his fears; and there is another premature burial plot. (Not that this is any different from the rest of the films in the Poe series – at times, it seemed as though Roger Corman and Richard Matheson merely shuffled around the themes and gave the characters different names). - Source MoriaReviews.com

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Honorable Mentions


The Masque of the Red Death (1964)

The Haunted Palace (1963)

 
 

70. Godzilla, King Of The Monsters! (1954)
One of the most recognizable, worldwide Japanese pop icon symbols - the first successful big monster since King Kong

The name says it all. Godzilla, King of the Monsters! is a 1956 Japanese-American science fiction kaiju film, co-directed by Terry O. Morse and Ishirō Honda. It is a heavily re-edited American adaptation, commonly referred to as an "Americanization" of the 1954 Japanese film Godzilla. In the United States the original black-and-white film had previously been shown subtitled in Japanese community theaters only, and was not known in Europe. This reedited version introduced other audiences outside of Japan to the character and labeled Godzilla as the "King of the Monsters". In Japan the film was released as Monster King Godzilla (怪獣王ゴジラKaiju Ō Gojira). - Source Wikipedia

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69. The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
American black-and-white science fiction monster film

Far north of the Arctic Circle, a nuclear bomb test, dubbed Operation Experiment, is conducted. Prophetically, right after the blast, physicist Thomas Nesbitt muses, "What the cumulative effects of all these atomic explosions and tests will be, only time will tell". Sure enough, the explosion awakens a huge fictional carnivorous dinosaur known as the Rhedosaurus, thawing it out of the ice where it had been hibernating for 100,000 years.

The monster starts making its way down the east coast of North America, sinking a fishing ketch off the Grand Banks, destroying another near Marquette, Canada, wrecking a lighthouse in Maine, and crushing buildings in Massachusetts. The monster eventually comes ashore in Manhattan, and after tearing through power-lines attacks the city. The monster's rampage causes the death of 180 people, injures 1,500 and does $300 million worth of damage. - Source Fandom


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Honorable Mentions


It Came From Beneath The Sea (1955)

The Giant BehemothThe Giant Behemoth (1958)

 

 


 
 

68. The Invisibe Man (1933)
A haunting, shocking revolution in special effects

The Invisible Man is an American 1933 Pre-Code science fiction horror film directed by James Whale. It was based on H. G. Wells' science fiction novel The Invisible Man, published in 1897, as adapted by R.C. Sherriff, Philip Wylie and Preston Sturges, whose work was considered unsatisfactory and who was taken off the project. Produced by Universal Pictures, the film stars Claude Rains, in his first American screen appearance, and Gloria Stuart. The film has been described as a "nearly perfect translation of the spirit of the book." It spawned a number of sequels, plus many spinoffs using the idea of an "invisible man" that were largely unrelated to Wells' original story.

Rains portrayed the Invisible Man (Dr. Jack Griffin) mostly only as a disembodied voice. Rains is only shown clearly for a brief time at the end of the film, spending most of his on-screen time covered by bandages. In 2008, The Invisible Man was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." - Source Wikipedia


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67. Goodnight Mommy (2014)
Selected as the Austrian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards

In the heat of the summer. A lonesome house in the countryside between woods and corn fields. Nine-year-old twin brothers are waiting for their mother. When she comes home, bandaged after cosmetic surgery, nothing is like before. The children start to doubt that this woman is actually their mother. It emerges an existential struggle for identity and fundamental trust. - Source Rotten Tomatoes

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66. It Came From Outer Space (1953)
American black-and-white science fiction horror film

Director Jack Arnold's groundbreaking 1953 It Came from Outer Space thriller, based on a Ray Bradbury story, tells the quietly creepy yarn about aliens who take oveer the identities of small-town Arizonans after their spaceship crashes is considered one of te seminal films in the science-fiction genre. It also boasted one of the more effective uses of the then-popular  3-D process.  - Source britannica.com

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Honorable Mentions


I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)


 
 

65. House Of Wax (1953)
American color 3-D horror thriller film,  starring Vincent Price, a remake of the 1933 film Mystery of the Wax Museum

On April 10, 1953, Warner Bros. held the world premiere of the 3D film House of Wax at the Paramount in Times Square. In a trade ad touting a "new era of our business!" days before the pic's debut, studio chief Jack L. Warner hailed House of Wax's release as "an occasion as historic as August 5, 1927, when we held our first showing of 'Talking Pictures.'"

The plot of House of Wax, which, incidentally, was made once before in 1933, as The Mystery of the Wax Museum, is no great shakes but it is eminently serviceable. A mad sculptor is operating a waxworks museum in which he uses some actual cadavers covered with a thin layer of molten wax. He not only steals the bodies from the morgues and other places but actually kills the people he fancies resemble historical figures needed for his tableaux. He also recreates in wax recent crimes he himself has committed, using the bodies of the victims. The entire atmosphere is ideal for horror, color — and 3-D. 

Vincent Price, aided and abetted by the expert makeup of Gordon Bau, gives the part of the sculptor as much ghoulishness as the audience can stand. - Source hollywoodreporter.com

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Honorable Mentions


The Mystery Of The Wax Museum (1933)


 
 

64. Suspiria (1977)
Italian supernatural horror film directed by Dario Argento

An innocent American ballet dancer's excitement at being accepted to a prestigious European dance school turns to terror when she discovers that the institution is a cover for a murderous coven of witches. - Source Rotten Tomatoes

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63. The Mummy (1932)
Another Universal Monster, starring a sensational Boris Karlof

The Mummy is a 1932 American Pre-Code horror film directed by Karl Freund. The screenplay by John L. Balderston was from a story by Nina Wilcox Putnam and Richard Schayer. Released by Universal Studios, the film stars Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Edward Van Sloan and Arthur Byron. The film is about an ancient Egyptian mummy named Imhotep who is discovered by a team of archeologist and inadvertently brought back to life through a magic scroll. Disguised as a modern Egyptian, the mummy searches for his lost love, whom he believes has been reincarnated into a modern girl. - Source Fandom

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62. Jacob's Ladder (1990)
A disturbing, psychological-thriller-horror film

Jacob's Ladder is a 1990 American psychological horror film directed by Adrian Lyne, produced by Alan Marshall, written by Bruce Joel Rubin and starring Tim RobbinsElizabeth Peña, and Danny Aiello. The film's protagonist, Jacob, is a Vietnam veteran whose experiences prior to and during the war result in strange, fragmentary visions and bizarre hallucinations that continue to haunt him. As his ordeal worsens, Jacob desperately attempts to figure out the truth. - Source Wikipedia

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61. REC (2007)
Yet another successful home-made, shaky cam, documentary style horror film

REC (stylized as [•REC]; short for "record") is a 2007 Spanish found footage supernatural zombie horror film co-written and directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza. The film centers on a reporter and her cameraman covering a firefighter intervention in an apartment building in Barcelona. As the situation escalates, after some of the building's occupants show animalistic and murderous behavior, the reporter and cameraman find themselves confined inside the perilous building.

The film was a commercial and critical success. It is now recognized as one of the early successes, and one of the best films in the found footage genre.  Rec placed at number 60 on Time Out's top 100 list.

The film spawned the REC franchise, and was followed by three sequels: REC 2 directed by Balagueró and Plaza in 2009, REC 3: Genesis directed by Plaza in 2012, and REC 4: Apocalypse directed by Balagueró in 2014 as the final installment in the franchise. The film was remade in the United States under the name Quarantine in 2008. - Source Wikipedia

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60. What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962)
Winner of Academy Award for Best Costume Design

As a child, Baby Jane Hudson was the toast of vaudeville. As an adult, however, Baby Jane was overshadowed by her more talented sister, Blanche, who became a top movie star. Then, one night in the early '30s, came the accident, which crippled Blanche for life and which was blamed on a drunken, jealous Jane. Flash-forward to 1962: Jane (Bette Davis), decked out in garish chalk-white makeup, still lives with the invalid Blanche (Joan Crawford) in their decaying L.A. mansion. When Jane isn't tormenting the helpless Blanche by serving her dead rats for breakfast, she is plotting and planning her showbiz comeback. Convinced that her days are numbered if she remains in the house with her addlepated sister, Blanche desperately tries to get away, but all avenues of escape are cut off by the deranged Jane. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? sparked a trend toward casting venerable Hollywood female stars in such grotesque Grand Guignol melodramas as Lady in a Cage (1964) and Hush...Hush Sweet Charlotte (1965). In addition to revitalizing the careers of Davis and Crawford, whose real-life mutual animosity came through loud and clear, the film made a star of sorts of 24-year-old character actor Victor Buono, cast as a porcine mama's-boy musical composer. Lukas Heller's screenplay was based on the novel by Henry Farrell. Source Hal Erickson, All Movie Guides

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59. The Wolfman (1941)
The Visual Effects are Stunning for this Period

The Wolf Man serves its horror straight. A very substantial cast undertakes to sell believably a tale of superstitious folklore - the one about the werewolf - and producer-director George Waggner dresses it up with all the craft at the command of a studio practiced in spinning horror yarns. Smart is the touch of Gypsy mysticism introduced in the character played by Maria Ouspenskaya. Destined to be brought to sudden ends are the roles in which Bela Lugosi and Fay Helm appear. Technically the picture is strangely beautiful in the low-key photography by Joseph Valentine and the stunning art direction by Jack Otterson and Robert Boyle.  - Source The Hollywood Reporter


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58. Re-Animator (1985)
American horror comedy film, nonetheless scary

Scientist Herbert West has discovered a fluid which brings living tissue back to life. After the death of his professor, West moves to a new university to continue his research. He involves a fellow student and the student's fiancée in his research by experimenting on their dead cat. Dan, fascinated by West's research, agrees to smuggle him into the hospital morgue. - Source Rotten Tomatoes

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57. Dracula (1931)
Bela Lugosi at his finest, spawned an entire genre and numerous sequels - like the legend itself, a classic that will endure forever

Dracula (1931) is one of the earliest classic American horror films from Carl Laemmle's Universal Pictures - an acclaimed masterpiece directed by Tod Browning, known also for two other vampire films: London After Midnight (1927)(aka The Hypnotist) with Lon Chaney, Sr., and his own sound-era remake, Mark of the Vampire (1935) (aka Vampires of Prague), with Bela Lugosi and Lionel Barrymore sharing Lon Chaney's dual role. On account of Universal's success with this classic Dracula film, the next year, Browning went on to direct the truly bizarre, classic horror film Freaks (1932) for MGM - a controversial and grotesque film that has achieved cult status, and was banned for almost thirty years in Britain.

- Source AMC Filmsite

Movie lore has it that Bela Lugosi could barely speak English when he was chosen by Universal Pictures to star in "Dracula" (1931). Lon Chaney had been scheduled to play the role, a wise casting decision after his success in the silent classics "The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and "The Phantom of the Opera.” But he died as "Dracula” was going into production, and the mysterious 49-year-old Hungarian, who starred in a 1927 Broadway production of "Dracula,” was cast. Legend must exaggerate, because the Hungarian emigre Lugosi had been living and working in the United States for a decade by the time the film was made, and yet there is something about his line readings that suggests a man who comes sideways to English--perhaps because in his lonely Transylvanian castle, Dracula has had centuries to study it but few opportunities to practice it. - Source Roger Ebert

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Honorable Mentions


Dracula - Spanish Version (1931)


Nosferatu (1922)



 
 

56. Sinister (2012)
American supernatural horror film

Sinister is a frightening thriller from the producer of the Paranormal Activity films and the writer-director of The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Ethan Hawke plays a true crime novelist who discovers a box of mysterious, disturbing home movies that plunge his family into a nightmarish experience of supernatural horror. - Source Rotten Tomatoes

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55. Frankenstein (1933)
Not the first Horror / Sci-Fi Movie, But the Most Terrifying

The classic and definitive monster/horror film of all time, director James Whale's Frankenstein (1931) is the screen version of Mary Shelley's Gothic 1818 nightmarish novel of the same name (Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus). The film, with Victorian undertones, was produced by Carl Laemmle Jr. for Universal Pictures, the same year that Dracula (1931), another classic horror film, was produced within the same studio - both films helped to save the beleaguered studio. The sequel to this Monster story is found in director James Whale's even greater film, The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). - Source AMC Film Site

"Frankenstein" is a film about a mad, obsessed scientist, Dr. Henry Frankenstein", who creates a monster, by taking body parts from dead people. Upon placing a brain inside the head of the monster, Henry and his assistant Fritz are amazed that the experiment is alive. When the monster mistakenly kills Maria, a young girl he meets down by the river, the town is up in arms and aims to bring the monster to justice. They find the monster and his creator in an old windmill, where the monster is attempting to kill his maker. Source - Rotten Tomatoes


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Honorable Mentions

Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)



 
 

54. King Kong (1933)
The Greatest Classic Adventure-Fantasy-Horror Film of all Time 

King Kong, landmark American monster film, released in 1933, that was noted for its pioneering  special effects by Willis O’Brien. It was the first significant feature film to star an animated character and also made actress  Fay Wray an international star.

Director Carl Denham (played by Robert Armstrong) leads a film crew to a remote, uncharted Pacific island in search of the legendary Kong, a gigantic ape. After the island’s inhabitants abandon actress Ann Darrow (Wray) to Kong, Denham and his crew pursue the beast through the dinosaur-infested jungle. They eventually capture Kong and take him to New York as a sideshow attraction, with disastrous results. The climax of the film, when Kong climbs the Empire State Building while clutching a terrified Ann, is one of the most famous in film history. Kong safely places Ann aside and then battles machine-gun fire from swarming planes, which mortally wound him and cause him to plunge to his death. Denham then utters the film’s signature lines: “Oh, no. It wasn’t the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast.” - Source britannica.com

King Kong is especially noted for its stop-motion animation by Willis O'Brien and a groundbreaking musical score by Max Steiner. In 1991, it was deemed "culturally, historically and aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. A sequel quickly followed with Son of Kong (also released in 1933), with several more films made in the following decades. - Source Wikipedia

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Honorable Mentions

King Kong (2005)



 
 

53. The Fall Of The House Of Usher (1960)
American horror film directed by Roger Corman

Philip Winthrop (Mark Damon) travels to the House of Usher, a desolate mansion surrounded by a murky swamp, to meet his fiancée Madeline Usher (Myrna Fahey). Madeline's brother Roderick (Vincent Price) opposes Philip's intentions, telling the young man that the Usher family is afflicted by a cursed bloodline which has driven all their ancestors to madness. Roderick foresees the family evils being propagated into future generations with a marriage to Madeline and vehemently discourages the union. Philip becomes increasingly desperate to take Madeline away; she agrees to leave with him, desperate to get away from her brother.

During a heated argument with her brother, Madeline suddenly dies and is laid to rest in the family crypt beneath the house. As Philip is preparing to leave following the entombment, the butler, Bristol (Harry Ellerbe), lets slip that Madeline suffered from catalepsy, a condition which can make its sufferers appear dead.

Philip rips open Madeline's coffin and finds it empty. He desperately searches for her in the winding passages of the crypt, but she eludes him and confronts her brother. Now completely insane, Madeline avenges herself upon the brother who knowingly buried her alive. Both die as a fire breaks out, ending the Usher bloodline, and Philip escapes and watches the burning house sink into the swampy land surrounding it. The film ends with the final words of Poe's story: "
... and the deep and dank tarn closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the 'House of Usher'". - Source Wikipedia

In the early 1960s, low-budget filmmaker Roger Corman convinced American International Pictures to give him enough money to fund a movie based on Edgar Allan Poe's "Fall of the House of Usher." The film would be entirely in color, a first for AIP, and would also feature something unheard of for such a low budget studio: a star. 

Thus began the fruitful collaboration between Corman, AIP, and Vincent Price, working together to bring out a cleverly produced series of Poe movies. The first, The Fall of the House of Usher (or simply House of Usher), is often considered the best and for good reason. Although Corman's skills as a director had not yet completely matured, the adaptation was solid, both in concept and execution.

Vincent Price is, perhaps, the most effective piece of atmosphere in the movie. It is his talent to portray haunted and tortured twisted together into a single emotion. His voice exudes horror, both given and received. He rarely speaks in anything stronger than a whisper, and yet his presences dominates the film.... - Source ClassicHorror.com

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52. The Haunting (1963)
American supernatural-psychological-horror film

Anthropology professor Richard Johnson investigates reports of psychic phenomena at a "troubled" New England mansion known as Hill House. He is joined by Julie Harris and Claire Bloom, women of radically different temperaments who share a common gift for ESP. Cynical Russ Tamblyn, who stands to inherit Hill House, goes along with the paranormal investigators, hoping to get a few laughs. He doesn't -- nor does Harris, the person most adversely affected by the various ghoulies, ghosties and things that go bump in the night which reside throughout Hill House. Both Julie Harris and Claire Bloom insist to this day that they experienced genuine ghostly disturbances during the filming of The Haunting. Conversely, director Robert Wise noted that he wanted to undergo a paranormal experience, but never did. - Source Rotten Tomatoes

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51. Creature From The Black Lagoon (1955)
One of the Best Sci-Fi/Horror Films by Director Jack Arnold

Jack Arnold's now famous monster movie - Creature From The Black Lagoon has become a horror, cult classic. Immortalized in the minds and hearts of those who see it. This is the classic monster movie no one should miss! It broke ground in several areas, especially underwater cinematography. - Source Unknown

The scary Creature was an embodiment of the fears of the Fifties!

The unspeakable gill-man of "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" may seem amusing today:
A slimy, upright froglike creature whose leering intentions upon the film's heroine, the dishy
Julie Adams, are so obvious that they can make today's modern audiences giggle. But the gill-man spoke powerfully to the era in which he was created -- so powerfully that there were two sequels (Jack Arnold did not direct the inferior third one).

"The Creature from the Black Lagoon" takes us back to a cinematic era that is less explicit, perhaps more poetic, and certainly more subtle in the way it depicts the sources of what it is that scares us. - Source The Baltiore Sun

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50. The Orphanage (2007)
Spanish supernatural horror film, winner of seven Goya awards

Now here is an excellent example of why it is more frightening to await something than to experience it. The Orphanage has every opportunity to descend into routine shock and horror, or even into the pits with the slasher pictures, but it only pulls the trigger a couple of times. The rest is all waiting, anticipating, dreading. We need the genuine jolt that comes about midway, to let us see what the movie is capable of. The rest is fear.

Hitchcock was very wise about this. In his book-length conversation with Truffaut, he used a famous example to explain the difference between surprise and suspense. If people are seated at a table and a bomb explodes, that is surprise. If they are seated at a table, and you know there's a bomb under the table attached to a ticking clock, but they continue to play cards - that's suspense. There's a bomb under "The Orphanage" for excruciating stretches of time. - Source 

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49. It Follows (2014)
American supernatural-psychological-horror film 

It Follows is a 2014 American supernatural psychological horror film written and directed by David Robert Mitchell, and starring Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary, Olivia Luccardi, and Lili Sepe. The film follows a teenage girl named Jay, who is pursued by a supernatural entity after a sexual encounter.

The film debuted at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, and was later purchased by RADiUS-TWC for distribution. After a successful limited release beginning on March 13, 2015, the film had a wide release on March 27, 2015. It received critical acclaim and grossed $23.3 million worldwide. - Source Wikipedia

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48. Don't Breathe (2016)
An Intense, creepy, cat-and-mouse thriller / horror film

Don't Breathe is a 2016 American horror thriller film directed by Fede Álvarez, and co-written by Álvarez and Rodo Sayagues. The film stars Jane LevyDylan MinnetteDaniel Zovatto, and Stephen Lang, and focuses on three friends who get trapped inside a blind man's house while breaking into it.

The film was produced by Ghost House Pictures and Good Universe. The film premiered at South by Southwest on March 12, 2016, and was theatrically released on August 26, 2016, by Screen Gems and Stage 6 Films. It received largely positive critical reviews and grossed over $157 million. - Source Wikipedia

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47. 28 Days Later (2002)
British post-apocalyptic horror film - these zombies are fast!

28 Days Later is a 2002 British horror film directed by Danny Boyle. Set in present day England, the story depicts the breakdown of society following the accidental release of a virus known as "Rage" (which renders people mindlessly violent) and focuses upon the struggle of four survivors to cope with the ruination of the life they once knew.

The film takes a more personal perspective of the film protagonist's as opposed to a more expanded view of society's downfall. Instead of viewing how the situation in London has gotten out of hand the viewer is only left with the aftermath at the films start. The film is almost a first person account through Jim's (Cillian Murphy) eyes. - Source Fandom

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Honorable Mentions


28 Weeks Later (2007)


 
 

46. Insidious (2010)
Won a Fright Meter Award for Best Horror Film

Saw franchise veterans James Wan and Leigh Whannell team with Paranormal Activity writer/director Oren Peli to give the familiar haunted house story an exciting new twist with this tale of a family that moves into an old house and begins to suspect they are under siege from otherworldly forces when their young son inexplicably falls into a deep coma. As devoted parents Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai (Rose Byrne) struggle in vain to uncover the root cause of their son's condition, the stress of the situation gradually begins to take its toll on their once-strong relationship. Later, when darkness falls and specters appear to reach out for them from the shadows, the frightened parents realize they're dealing with powers beyond human comprehension. - Source Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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45. Don't Look Now (1973)
Considered a classic and an influential work in horror and British Film,  directed by Nicolas Roeg

The hero of “Don’t Look Now” is a rational man who does not believe in psychics, omens or the afterlife. The film hammers down his skepticism and destroys him. It involves women who have an intuitive connection with the supernatural, and men who with their analytical minds are trapped in denial--men like the architect, the bishop and the policeman, who try to puzzle out the events of the story. The architect’s wife, the blind woman and her sister try to warn them, but cannot.

Nicolas Roeg’s 1973 film remains one of the great horror masterpieces, working not with fright, which is easy, but with dread, grief and apprehension. Few films so successfully put us inside the mind of a man who is trying to reason his way free from mounting terror. Roeg and his editor, Graeme Clifford, cut from one unsettling image to another. The movie is fragmented in its visual style, accumulating images that add up to a final bloody moment of truth. - Source

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44. Repulsion (1965)
 British psychological horror film directed by Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski followed up his international breakthrough Knife in the Water with this controversial, chilling tale of psychosis. Catherine Deneuve is Carol, a fragile, frigid young beauty cracking up in her London flat when left alone by her vacationing sister. She is soon haunted by specters real and imagined, and her insanity grows to a violent, hysterical pitch. Thanks to its disturbing detail and Polanski’s adeptness at turning claustrophobic space into an emotional minefield, Repulsion is a surreal, mind-bending odyssey into personal horror, and it remains one of cinema’s most shocking psychological thrillers. - Source The Criterion Collection

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43. Get Out (2017)
Nominated for 4 Academy Awards, Including Best Picture

Now that Chris and his girlfriend, Rose, have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family's overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter's interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could have never imagined. - Source Rotten Tomatoes

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42. Hush (2016)
A gruesome, cat-and-mouse slasher / thriller / horror film

In this heart-pounding thriller from acclaimed writer and director Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Before I Wake), silence takes on a terrifying new dimension for a young woman living along in the woods. Author Maddie Young (Kate Siegel) lives a life of utter isolation after losing her hearing as a teenager. She's retreated form society, living in seclusion and existing in a completely silent world. But one night, the fragile world is shattered when the masked face of a psychotic killer appears in her window. Without another living soul for miles, and with no way to call for help, it appears that Maddie is at the killer's mercy... but he may have underestimated his prey. As this horrifying game of cat and mouse escalates to a breathless fever- pitch, Maddie must push herself beyond her mental and physical limits in order to survive the night. - Source Rotten Tomatoes

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41. The Descent (2005)
British adventure horror film 

Opening to rave reviews in the U.K. in July of 2005, the creature-feature went on to show at the Venice Film Festival and garnered the top prize for Euro feature at Sweden's Fantastic Film Festival. The Descent was picked up for future U.S. distribution by Lion's Gate, whose work was cut out for them considering the tame opening of the similarly-themed stateside production of The Cave in late-August of the same year.

A group of close female friends on a yearly adventure vacation find themselves trapped and hunted in a series of caves by an unknown force that lurks in the shadows. As tensions arise in the group, they are faced with another danger -- one whose love of the dark is as strong as its lust for blood. - Source Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi

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40. Saw (2004)
American horror film, one of the best since Scream in 1996 

The directorial debut from filmmaker James Wan, this psychological thriller comes from the first screenplay by actor Leigh Whannell, who also stars. Whannell plays Adam, one of two men chained up in a mysterious chamber. The other, Dr. Gordon (Cary Elwes), like Adam, has no idea how either of them got there. Neither of them are led to feel optimistic by the man lying between them dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Together, Adam and Dr. Gordon attempt to piece together what has happened to them and who the sadistic madman behind their imprisonment is. Also starring Danny Glover and Monica Potter, Saw premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. - Source Matthew Tobey, Rovis

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Honorable Mentions

Saw 2 (1935)



 
 

39. The Amityville Horror (1979)
Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score

The Amityville Horror is a 1979 American supernatural horror film based on Jay Anson's book of the same name (1977). Directed by Stuart Rosenberg, it features James Brolin and Margot Kidder as a young couple who purchase a home haunted by combative supernatural forces. The story is based on the alleged experiences of the Lutz family who bought a new home in Amityville, New York, where a mass murder had been committed the year before. It is the first film based on the Amityville horror.

Upon its release in the summer of 1979, The Amityville Horror was a major commercial success for American International Pictures, grossing over $80 million in the United States and going on to become one of the highest-grossing independent films of all time. It received mostly negative reviews from critics, though the film has been contemporarily noted by some film scholars as a classic of the horror genre.

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score by composer Lalo Schifrinand Kidder also earned a Saturn Award nomination for Best Actress. A remake was produced in 2005. - Source Wikipedia

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Honorable Mentions


Amityville (2005)

 

 
 

38. Friday The 13th (1980)
The second successful modern American slasher film 

Friday the 13th, Like Halloween, whose premise and slasher idea it ripped off, is one of the most successful independent horror films ever made. But Genres must be born somewhere, just as The Blair Witch Project and its shaky handheld camera technique spawned the Paranormal Activity Trilogy. - Source Classicclips.ca

Camp Crystal Lake has fallen on hard times. After several deaths in The '50s and the sabotage of two other reopening attempts, the children's camp has remained an abandoned relic of the past. Steve Christy, the son of the camp's previous owners, plans another reopening and works hard to realize it. On the 13th of June, two weeks before the opening, the counselors Steve hired to run the camp arrive to help him.

But someone else shows up as well - someone with murderous intent... - Source TV Tropes


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Honorable Mentions


Friday The 13th
Part 2 (1981)


Friday The 13th
Part 3 (1982)

 
 

37. The Mist (2007)
Nominated for three Saturn Awards

Based on the Stephen King Novella of the same name, The Mist explores the hideous monsters lurking in the human mind that surface (as if reflecting the ones that eventually introduce themselves from the Mist) in a macbre collection of apocalyptic paranoia, suspicion, hate, desperate self preservation and murder as reality unravels before them in a living nightmare. - Source Classicclips.ca

David Drayton and his young son Billy are among a large group of terrified townspeople trapped in a local grocery store by a strange, otherworldly mist. David is the first to realize that there are things lurking in the mist - deadly, horrifying things--creatures not of this world. Survival depends on everybody in the store pulling together, but is that possible, given human nature? As reason crumbles in the face of fear and panic, David begins to wonder what terrifies him more: the monsters in the mist or the ones inside the store, the human kind, the people that until now had been his friends and neighbors? - Source Rotten Tomatoes

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36. Let The Right One In (2008)
Winner of The Saturn Award for Best International Film

Let The Right One In is a Sweedish, Romantic Horror film directed by Tomas Alfredson, based on the 2004 novel of the same title by John Ajvide Lindqvist, who also wrote the screenplay. The film tells the story of a bullied 12-year-old boy who develops a friendship with a vampire child in Blackeberg, a suburb of Stockholm, in the early 1980s. Alfredson, unconcerned with the horror and vampire conventions, decided to tone down many elements of the novel and focus primarily on the relationship between the two main characters. Selecting the lead actors involved a year-long process with open castings held all over Sweden. In the end, the 11-year-olds Kåre Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson were chosen for the leading roles. They were subsequently commended by both Alfredson and film reviewers for their performances. The film received critical acclaim and won several awards, including the "Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature" at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival and the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation's 2008 Méliès d'Or (Golden Méliès) for the "Best European Fantastic Feature Film", as well as four Guldbagge Awards from the Swedish Film Institute and the Saturn Award for Best International Film. - Source Wikipedia

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35. The Sixth Sense (1999)
Nominated for six Academy Awards

"The Sixth Sense" isn't a thriller in the modern sense, but more of a ghost story of the sort that flourished years ago, when ordinary people glimpsed hidden dimensions. It has long been believed that children are better than adults at seeing ghosts; the barriers of skepticism and disbelief are not yet in place. In this film, a small boy solemnly tells his psychologist, "I see dead people. They want me to do things for them." He seems to be correct.

- Source

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34. The Omen (1976)
Winner of Academy Award for Best Original Score

For many, The Omen represents the final film in Hollywood's unofficial 'Devil Trilogy', a look at the rising cultural interest in Satanism that began with Rosemary's Baby (1968), and blossomed with the genre classic The Exorcist (1973). Yet as part of the commentary track included on the new Collector's Edition DVD version of the 1976 blockbuster, the plot does not necessarily revolve around the birth of the Antichrist. According to director Richard Donner, his initial approach to the film was that of a father's worse nightmare, an unsettling story of a prominent man of political importance who committed an act five years before that haunts him daily. All the ritualistic killings and portents of evil? Just coincidences that feed his already growing parental paranoia. - Source PopMatters

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33. A Quiet Place (2018)
Nominate for 1 Academy Award

John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place is a nerve-shredder. It’s a movie designed to make you an active participant in a game of tension, not just a passive observer in an unfolding horror. Most of the great horror movies are so because we become actively invested in the fate of the characters and involved in the cinematic exercise playing out before us. It is a tight thrill ride—the kind of movie that quickens the heart rate and plays with the expectations of the audience, while never treating them like idiots. In other words, it’s a really good horror movie. - Source 

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32. The Dead Zone (1983)
An American horror thriller film

The Dead Zone does what only a good supernatural thriller can do: It makes us forget it is supernatural. Like "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Exorcist," it tells its story so strongly through the lives of sympathetic, believable people that we not only forgive the gimmicks, we accept them. There is pathos in what happens to the Christopher Walkencharacter in this movie and that pathos would never be felt if we didn't buy the movie's premise.

Walken plays a high school teacher whose life is happy (he's in love with Brooke Adams), until the night an accident puts him into a coma for five years. When he "returns," he has an extra-sensory gift. He can touch people's hands and "know" what will happen to them. His first discovery is that he can foresee the future. His second is that he can change it. - Source Roger Ebert

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31. Dawn Of The Dead (1979)
An American action-zombie-horror film by George A. Romero

How many Walking Dead Zombie movies can (will) they make? Well...here's another Flesh devouring, Zombie Dead movie! It's not bad, really. But like all walking dead movies, the horror gets REAL bad! This is the first remake of the 1968 horror classic, 'Night of the Living Dead', directed by George A. Romero. - Source Classicclips.ca

Packed with more blood, more gore, and more bone-chilling, jaw-dropping thrills, Dawn of the Dead Unrated Director's Cut is the version too terrifying to be shown in theaters! Starring Mekhi Phifer, Ving Rhames and Sarah Polley in an edgy, electrifying thrill-ride. When a mysterious virus turns people into mindless, flesh-eating zombies, a handful of survivors wage a desperate, last-stand battle to stay alive and human. - Source Rotten Tomatoes

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Honorable Mentions


Shaun Of The Dead (2004)


 

30. Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)
Nominated for 7 Academy Awards

An unusually long pre-credits sequence establishes the roots of faded Southern belle Charlotte's (Bette Davis) insanity; she'd been witness to the dismemberment murder of her fiance (Bruce Dern) and the suicide of the murderer, her own father (Victor Buono). Years later, Charlotte remains a recluse in her decaying southern mansion, zealously guarding the secret of her father's guilt; she is cared for by her slatternly housekeeper (Agnes Moorehead). When her house is targeted for demolition, Charlotte fears that this will uncover her lover's body parts and thus confirm that her father was a murderer. She desperately summons her seemingly sweet-tempered cousin Miriam (Olivia De Havilland) to help her fight off the house's destruction. Miriam brings along the family doctor (Joseph Cotten) to calm Charlotte's frayed nerves. When Charlotte begins to be plagued by horrific visions of the homicide/suicide of so long ago, it appears that she has gone completely insane. But soon we learn who is behind these delusions...and why. Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte was intended by director Robert Aldrich as a follow-up to the successful Joan Crawford/Bette Davis horror piece Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962). Ms. Crawford was originally slated to play Miriam, but became seriously ill shortly before filming started. Davis, who disliked Crawford intensely, suggested that the role of Miriam be filled by her best friend, De Havilland. On the first day of shooting, Davis and DeHavilland pulled a "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" routine by toasting one another with Coca-Cola--a catty observation of the fact that Joan Crawford's husband was an executive with the Pepsi Cola company! - Source Hal Erickson, Rovi

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29. An American Werewolf In London (1981)
Winner of the first ever Academy Award for Best Makeup

While wandering the English moors on vacation, college yanks David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) happen upon a quaint pub with a mysterious patronage who warn them not to leave the road when walking after dark. Irreverent of such advice as characters in horror films always are, the two decide to find a short cut....David wakes up in the hospital with a nasty bite wound to his shoulder; the freshly deceased, and rapidly decomposing, Jack arrives soon after to deliver the grim news that, unless he commits suicide, David will become a werewolf when the moon is full. David dismisses the encounter as a hallucination, but all indicators point to lycanthrope; evenings of barking and bloodletting follow closely behind. While the story is thin and much of the tongue-in-cheek humor is overdone, there are plenty of genuine jolts thanks to makeup guru Rick Baker's eye-popping special effects. The werewolf, resembling a cross between a bear and a wolverine, appears frighteningly real, and, given the fantastic premise, the gore is most convincing (although surprisingly and refreshingly scant). The hospital dream sequences are creative, and the scenes in which the werewolf runs rampant through downtown London are particularly good. In all, An American Werewolf in London is an original, atmospheric film that manages both to scare and amuse. While dismissed by most American critics upon its release, the film managed to secure a place in the annals of American cinema when Baker won an Academy Award for his amazing effects and creature designs. - Source Jeremy Beday, Rovi

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28. Signs (2002)
An American science fiction horror film

A thriller set in Bucks County, Pennsylvania focusing on the mysterious appearance of a five-hundred-foot design of circles and lines carved into the crops of the family farm. Graham Hess is the family patriarch who is tested in his journey to find the truth behind the unfolding mystery. - Source Rotten Tomatoes

Signs unpacks mystery, suspense, high wire tension and suprising horror! - Source Classicclips.ca

M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs" is the work of a born filmmaker, able to summon apprehension out of thin air. When it is over, we think not how little has been decided, but how much has been experienced. Here is a movie in which the plot is the rhythm section, not the melody. A movie that stays free of labored explanations and a forced climax, and is about fear in the wind, in the trees, in a dog's bark, in a little girl's reluctance to drink the water. In signs.

The posters show crop circles, those huge geometric shapes in fields of corn and wheat, which were seen all over the world in the 1970s. Their origin was explained in 1991 when several hoaxers came forward and demonstrated how they made them; it was not difficult, they said. Like many supernatural events, however, crop circles live on after their unmasking, and most people today have forgotten, or never knew, that they were explained. "Signs" uses them to evoke the possibility that ... well, the possibility of anything. - Source  

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27. The Others (2001)
1st English-language film to receive Best Film Award at the Goyas 

Billed as a gothic horror, mystery suspense film, it is, hands down, the best and most unique Ghost Story ever told. Nicole Kidman as mother of two, Grace Stewart, is outstanding, mysterious and cryptically eccentric. The plot is unique, the setting as eerie as the psychological aspects of this twisting corridor of thrills that keep you riveted to the screen. The performances of all actors in this film, especailly that of the two children, Christopher Eccleston, who plays Charles Stewart and Alakina Mann, who plays his sister, Anne Stewart, is sensational. Brilliantly written, directed and scored by Alejandro Amenábar. - Source ClassicClips.ca

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26. The Birds (1965)
Nominated for 1 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects

The Birds (1963) is a modern Hitchcock thriller/masterpiece, his first film with Universal Studios. It is the apocalyptic story of a northern California coastal town filled with an onslaught of seemingly unexplained, arbitrary and chaotic attacks of ordinary birds - not birds of prey. Ungrammatical advertising campaigns emphasized: "The Birds Is Coming." This Technicolor feature came after Psycho (1960) - another film loaded with 'bird' references. - AMC FilmSite

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25. Poltergeist (1982)
Nominated for 3 Academy Awards

Poltergeist (1982) is a memorable supernatural horror film from co-producer/co-writer Steven Spielberg who teamed with director Tobe Hopper (known for his cult horror classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)). It was Spielberg's first smash hit as a co-producer, who was paired with Frank Marshall (who later produced Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)).

It was the highest-grossing (domestic) horror film of 1982 (bested by E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) at # 1), and the eighth highest-grossing film overall in the same year.

This classic 'haunted house ghost story' is fascinating to watch, with its extraordinary special effects created by George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic team, and a screenplay by Spielberg, Michael Grais, and Mark Victor. However, in the early 80s, it was criticized for only receiving a PG rating (after the filmmakers protested its original R rating), given its intense scenes of horror - accentuated by the new Dolby sound system technology. In reaction (in part), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in 1984 created a new ratings category in between PG and R ratings - PG-13.

This Spielberg production was released at the same time as another suburban tale with visitors: E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982). It could also be interpreted as a threatening, scarier version of director Spielberg's pre-E.T. film: Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). - Source AMC FilmSite

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24. House On Haunted Hill (1959)
 One of the Best American supernatural horror film ever

House on Haunted Hill, is an American horror film, released in 1959, produced and directed by popular B-filmmaker William Castle, who was known for his theatre gimmicks. The movie later developed a cult following.

Vincent Price played Frederick Loren, an accentric millionaire who rents a reportedly haunted mansion for one night under the pretense of hosting a party for his wife, Annabelle, whom he believes to be after his fortune. He explains to his guests that any among them who survives in the house for one night—during which all communication with the outside world will be cut—will receive a prize of $10,000. Each is presented with a pistol in order to fend off the house’s ghosts. Annabelle warns the guests that she fears Loren means her harm and meanwhile plots with her lover, Dr. Trent, to trick one of the guests into shooting him. Assorted terrors haunt the guests at every turn, including ghosts, a severed head, and Annabelle’s (later revealed to be faked) death. Though her plot finally comes to fruition and Loren is “shot” by one of the guests, the gun proves to have been loaded with blanks. Trent attempts to dispose of what he thinks is Loren’s corpse, but he is pushed into a vat of acid by Loren. Loren later uses Trent’s skeleton to scare Annabelle into the acid as well. - Source brittanica.com

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23. The Babadook (2014)
Australian psychological horror film

Six years after the violent death of her husband, Amelia (Essie Davis) is at a loss. She struggles to discipline her 'out of control' 6 year-old, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), a son she finds impossible to love. Samuel's dreams are plagued by a monster he believes is coming to kill them both. When a disturbing storybook called 'The Babadook' turns up at their house, Samuel is convinced that the Babadook is the creature he's been dreaming about. His hallucinations spiral out of control, he becomes more unpredictable and violent. Amelia, genuinely frightened by her son's behaviour, is forced to medicate him. But when Amelia begins to see glimpses of a sinister presence all around her, it slowly dawns on her that the thing Samuel has been warning her about may be real. - Source IFC

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Honorable Mentions


Boogeyman (2005)


 

22. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956)
Preserved by the National film Registery as significant

Science Fiction or Horror? Both, with a tiwst of communist invasion, socio-politival paranoia. Alien Invasion of earth was nothing new by this time with previous movies such as Space Invaders from Mars, War of the worlds, ect., but aliens actually taking over human bodies, was. Indeed, the idea of aliens absorbing the entire being of humans, including their identiry an minds, except for emotions, becasue these aliens have no need of such uselss aspects, was terrifying in itself. Th e aliens were all the same, in essecne, thinking and acting the same. This sameness, oneess was a socio-politivcal paranoia, and although the enemy of democracy hgad been defeated in world war 2, the fear of that the idea itself might remian in some minds, that it might actually fester in the American populace mindset, was very much still real. It was a cutural angst, the fistrust of one's own neighbors, the fear that they may be communists, or at least its sympathizers, and so the enmy is within and may very well manifest itself eventually in the hearts and minds of political leaders. When the film was released domestically in February 1956, many theaters displayed several pods made of papier-mâché in theater lobbies and entrances, along with large lifelike black and white cutouts of McCarthy and Wynter running away from a crowd. The film made more than $1 million in the first month, and in 1956 alone made more than $2.5 million in the U.S. When the British release (with cuts imposed by the British censors took place in late 1956, the film earned more than a half million dollars in ticket sales. - Source Wikipedia


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Honorable Mentions

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978)



 
 

21. Psycho (1960)
Nominated for 4 Academy Awards

Alfred Hitchcock's powerful, complex psychological thriller, Psycho (1960) is the "mother" of all modern horror suspense films - it single-handedly ushered in an era of inferior screen 'slashers' with blood-letting and graphic, shocking killings (e.g., Homicidal (1961)The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)Halloween (1978)Motel Hell (1980), and DePalma's Dressed to Kill (1980) - with another transvestite killer and shower scene). While this was Hitchcock's first real horror film, he was mistakenly labeled as a horror film director ever since. It was advertised as

"A new - and altogether different - screen excitement!!!"

The nightmarish, disturbing film's themes of corruptibility, confused identities, voyeurism, human vulnerabilities and victimization, the deadly effects of money, Oedipal murder, and dark past histories are realistically revealed. Its themes were revealed through repeated uses of motifs, such as birds, eyes, hands, and mirrors.

The low-budget ($800,000), brilliantly-edited, stark black and white film came after Hitchcock's earlier glossy Technicolor hits Vertigo (1958) and North by Northwest (1959), and would have been more suited for as an extended episode for his own b/w TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. In fact, the film crew was from the TV show, including cinematographer John L. Russell.

The master of suspense skillfully manipulates and guides the audience into identifying with the main character, luckless victim Marion (a Phoenix real-estate secretary), and then with that character's murderer - a crazy and timid taxidermist named Norman (a brilliant typecasting performance by Anthony Perkins). Hitchcock's techniques voyeuristically implicate the audience with the universal, dark evil forces and secrets present in the film.

Psycho also broke all film conventions by displaying its leading female protagonist having a lunchtime affair in her sexy white undergarments in the first scene; also by photographing a toilet bowl - and flush - in a bathroom (a first in an American film), and killing off its major 'star' Janet Leigh a third of the way into the film (in a shocking, brilliantly-edited shower murder scene accompanied by screeching violins). The 90-odd shot shower scene was meticulously storyboarded by Saul Bass, but directed by Hitchcock himself. - Source FilmSite

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Honorable Mentions

Paycho (1998)



 
 

20. Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Preserved by the National film Registery as significant

A young wife comes to believe that her offspring is not of this world. Waifish Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) and her struggling actor husband Guy (John Cassavetes) move to a New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and odd neighbors Roman and Minnie Castavet (Sidney Blackmer, Ruth Gordon). When Rosemary becomes pregnant she becomes increasingly isolated, and the diabolical truth is revealed only after Rosemary gives birth. - Source Empire

Roman Polanski's "Rosemary's Baby" is a brooding, macabre film, filled with the sense of unthinkable danger. Strangely enough it also has an eerie sense of humor almost until the end. It is a creepy film and a crawly film, and a film filled with things that go bump in the night. It is very good.

As everyone must have heard by now, the movie is based on Ira Levin's novel about modern-day witches and demons. But it is much more than just a suspense story; the brilliance of the film comes more from Polanski's direction, and from a series of genuinely inspired performances, than from the original story. - Source  

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19. Scream (1996)
Winner of 3 Saturn Awards

Scream is a 1996 slasher film directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson. The film revitalized the slasher film genre in the mid 1990's, similar to the impact Halloween had on late 1970's film, by using a standard concept with a tongue-in-cheek approach that combined straightforward scares with dialogue that satirized slasher film conventions.

The film is followed by Scream 2. - Source Fandom

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18. Carrie (1976)
Nominated for 2 Academy Awards

Carrie is a 1976 American supernatural horror film based on Stephen King's 1974 epistolary novel of the same name. The film was directed by Brian De Palma and produced by Paul Monashwith a screenplay by Lawrence D. Cohen. The film received two Academy Award nominations, one for Sissy Spacek in the title roleand one for Piper Laurie as her abusive mother. The film featured numerous young actors including Nancy AllenWilliam KattAmy Irving and John Travolta whose careers were launched or escalated, by the film. It also relaunched the career of Piper, who had not been active in show business since 1961. Carrie was the first of more than 100 film and television productions adapted from or based on the published works of Stephen King. - Source Fandom

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Honorable Mentions

Carrie (2013)



 
 

17. The Fly (1986)
Winner of 1 Academy Award for Best Make-Up

Considered fairly gruesome in its day, the original 1958 The Fly looks like Mister Rogers' Neighborhood compared to this 1986 remake. Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis star as Seth Brundle, a self-involved research scientist, and Veronica Quaife, a science-magazine reporter. Inviting Veronica to his lab, Seth prepares to demonstrate his "telepod," which can theoretically transfer matter through space. As they grow closer over the next few weeks, she inadvertently goads Seth into experimenting with human beings rather than inanimate objects. Seth himself enters the telepod, preparing to transmit himself through the ether -- but he doesn't know that he is sharing the telepod with a tiny housefly. - Source Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Honorable Mentions


The Fly (1958)


 
 

16. The Thing (1982)
Besides Hallowween, Director John Carpenter's Best horror film

Any argument about whether or not modern remakes can ever be better than the ‘classic’ originals should be ended pretty quickly by mentioning The Thing. With the help of SFX genius Rob Bottin, John Carpenter crafted an intense, frosty sci-fi thriller featuring Hollywood’s ultimate movie monster: one that could be any of us at any time, before contorting into a genuine biological nightmare. - Source Unknown

In remote Antarctica, a group of American research scientists are disturbed at their base camp by a helicopter shooting at a sled dog. When they take in the dog, it brutally attacks both human beings and canines in the camp and they discover that the beast can assume the shape of its victims. A resourceful helicopter pilot (Kurt Russell) and the camp doctor (Richard Dysart) lead the camp crew in a desperate, gory battle against the vicious creature before it picks them all off, one by one. - Source Empire

Back in 1997 Carpenter told Empire that "You'll never, ever, see anything like The Thing again." Like MacReady and Childs we're still waiting. We might be for a long time yet. - Source Empire


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Honorable Mentions

The Thing From Another World (1951)



 
 

15. A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
One of the scariest American slasher films ever

A Nightmare on Elm Street (full title: Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street) is a 1984 horror-fantasy film, and the first film in the original film series. The film stars Heather Langenkampand John Saxon, as well as Johnny Depp in his feature film debut. Set in the fictional Midwestern town of Springwood, Ohio, the plot revolves around several teenagers who are stalked and killed in their dreams by dead child murderer Freddy Krueger. The teenagers don't know why Krueger is trying to kill them, but their parents hold a dark secret from long ago. - Source Fandom

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14. The Witch (2015)
Chilling American-Canadian period supernatural horror film

In this exquisitely made and terrifying new horror film, the age-old concepts of witchcraft, black magic and possession are innovatively brought together to tell the intimate and riveting story of one family's frightful unraveling in the New England wilderness circa 1630. New England, 1630. Upon threat of banishment by the church, an English farmer leaves his colonial plantation, relocating his wife and five children to a remote plot of land on the edge of an ominous forest - within which lurks an unknown evil. Strange and unsettling things begin to happen almost immediately - animals turn malevolent, crops fail, and one child disappears as another becomes seemingly possessed by an evil spirit. With suspicion and paranoia mounting, family members accuse teenage daughter Thomasin of witchcraft, charges she adamantly denies. As circumstances grow more treacherous, each family member's faith, loyalty and love become tested in shocking and unforgettable ways. Writer/director Robert Eggers' debut feature, which premiered to great acclaim at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival - winning the Best Director Prize in the U.S. Narrative Competition - painstakingly recreates a God-fearing New England decades before the 1692 Salem witch trials, in which religious convictions tragically turned to mass hysteria. Told through the eyes of the adolescent Thomasin - in a star-making turn by newcomer Anya Taylor-Joy - and supported by mesmerizing camera work and a powerful musical score, THE WITCH is a chilling and groundbreaking new take on the genre. - Source Rotten Tomatoes

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Honorable Mentions


An American Haunting (2005)

The Giant BehemothThe Entity (1982)

 

 


 

13. Misery (1990)
Winner of 1 Academy Award for Best Actress

Adapted from a Stephen King novel, Rob Reiner's Misery cast James Caan as a writer at a career crossroads. The film opens with Paul Sheldon (Caan) completing work on his latest novel, a break from his popular series of novels featuring the character Misery Chastain. He gets into a severe car accident and is saved by Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), a reclusive woman who nurses him back to health. Annie is a huge fan of the Misery novels, and she finishes reading the new one while Paul is convalescing. She becomes enraged when she discovers that Paul has killed off Misery. Annie injures Paul's foot severely so that he is unable to leave her house, and forces him to write a new Misery novel. A local sheriff (Richard Farnsworth) and Paul's agent (Lauren Bacall) both attempt to track down what happened to the missing author. Misery shot the relatively unknown Kathy Bates to stardom, winning her one of the few Best Actress Oscars ever bestowed for portraying an evil character. - Source Rotten Tomatoes

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12. Alien (1979)
Winner of 1 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects

"In space, no one can hear you scream." A close encounter of the third kind becomes a Jaws-style nightmare when an alien invades a spacecraft in Ridley Scott's sci-fi horror classic. On the way home from a mission for the Company, the Nostromo's crew is woken up from hibernation by the ship's Mother computer to answer a distress signal from a nearby planet. Capt. Dallas's (Tom Skerritt) rescue team discovers a bizarre pod field, but things get even stranger when a face-hugging creature bursts out of a pod and attaches itself to Kane (John Hurt). Over the objections of Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), science officer Ash (Ian Holm) lets Kane back on the ship. The acid-blooded incubus detaches itself from an apparently recovered Kane, but an alien erupts from Kane's stomach and escapes. The alien starts stalking the humans, pitting Dallas and his crew (and cat) against a malevolent killing machine that also has a protector in the nefarious Company. - Source Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

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Honorable Mentions


Aliens (1986)


 
 

11. House Of 1000 Corpses (2003)
A uniquely twisted and demented American horror film

Taking his cue from such 1970s horror classics as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and The Hills Have Eyes (1977), animated rocker Rob Zombie goes celluloid with the throwback shocker House of 1000 Corpses.

Running low on gas as they travel the highways of America in search of the ultimate roadside attraction, a group of teens pull into Captain Spaulding's (Sid Haig) museum of oddities (which also offers fried chicken and gasoline) only to become obsessed with uncovering the mystery of a legendary local maniac known only as Dr. Satan. When an attractive and mysterious hitchhiker subsequently offers to give the thrill seekers a personal tour of Dr. Satan's old stabbing grounds, a breakdown forces them to take refuge with a group of menacing oddballs as a fearsome storm rages outside. As the evening progresses and the backwoods hosts' Halloween festivities become ever more threatening, the teens soon realize that the legend of Dr. Satan may hold a bit more contemporary weight than any of them had previously thought. - Source Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Honorable Mentions


The Devil's Rejects (2005)



 
 

10. The Evil Dead (1981)
The second, most successful Best low-budget horror film ever besides Night of the Living Dead (1968)

This auspicious feature debut from Sam Raimi -- shot on 16mm in the woods of Tennesse for around $350,000 -- secured the young director's cult status as a creative force to be reckoned with. The nominal plot involves five vacationing college kids -- Ash (Bruce Campbell), his girlfriend Linda (Betsy Baker), and their classmates Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss), Scott (Hal Delrich) and Shelly (Sarah York) -- making an unplanned stopover in an abandoned mountain cabin surrounded by impenetrable woods. Before settling in for the night, they come across an ancient-looking occult tome filled with dense hieroglyphics and macabre illustrations, a dagger fashioned from human bones, and a reel-to-reel tape recorder. The taped message, dictated by a professor of archaeology, describes the contents of the Sumerian "Book of the Dead," filled with incantations used to bring otherworldly demons to life, giving them license to possess the living. The message goes on to explain that those possessed by these demons can only be stopped by total bodily dismemberment. When played among the group later that evening, the professor's recorded translations of the ritual chants traumatize the strangely prescient Shelly ... and simultaneously release an ominous presence from the depths of the forest. The evil spirits take to their dirty work with gusto, first assuming control of Shelly and transforming her into a cackling, murderous hag with superhuman strength; the others imprison her in the fruit cellar and chain the trapdoor shut. The spirits then begin to possess the other women, including Linda -- who immediately turns on Ash with a barrage of punches and sadistic taunts. Unable to bring himself to chop up his lover's corpse, Ash gives her a more customary burial in the woods -- which proves to be a big mistake. As the others succumb to demonic influence, Ash's horrific predicament becomes increasingly grim until, when all hope seems lost, he stumbles upon a final, desperate solution to the ghoulish onslaught ... well, maybe not. Despite the shoestring production values, Raimi has fashioned a tight, lightning-paced fever dream of a movie, filled with operatic overacting and outrageously gory effects that give the project a comic-book feel. Based on an earlier 8mm short titled Within the Woods, this feature version was fraught with distribution difficulties before finding its first audience overseas. After considerable word of mouth (and a glowing endorsement from horror author Stephen King), the film became a hit on home video, where it achieved further notoriety thanks to its highly-publicized banning in Britain amid the notorious "Video Nasties" censorship campaign. Raimi, along with producer Robert Tapert, writer Scott Spiegel and much of the same crew, cranked up the story's comic aspects several dozen notches for the rollicking semi-remake, Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn. - Source Cavett Binion, Rovi

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Honorable Mentions


Evil Dead II (1987)

Evil Dead 2013
Evil Dead (2013)

 
 

9. Paranormal Activty (2007)
One of the scareist American supernatural horror films ever

Paranormal Activity is a 2007 American supernatural horror film co-produced, written, directed, photographed and edited by Oren Peli. It centers on a young couple (Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat) who are haunted by a supernatural presence in their home. They then set up a camera to document what is haunting them. The film utilizes found-footage conventions that were mirrored in the later films of the series.

Originally developed as an independent feature and given film festival screenings in 2007, the film was acquired by Paramount Pictures and modified, particularly with a new ending. It was given a limited U.S. release on September 25, 2009, and then a nationwide release on October 16, 2009. The film earned nearly $108 million at the U.S. box office and a further $85 million internationally for a worldwide total of $193 million. Paramount/DreamWorks acquired the U.S. rights for $350,000. It is the most profitable film ever made, based on return on investment, although such figures are difficult to verify independently as this is likely to exclude marketing costs.

The film is the first (chronologically, the third) entry in the Paranormal Activity film series. A parallel sequel and prequel, Paranormal Activity 2, was released in 2010. The success of the first two films would spawn additional films in the series: the prequel Paranormal Activity 3 in 2011, and Paranormal Activity 4 (the sequel to the second installment) in 2012. The fifth installment, The Marked Ones, was released in 2014, and the sixth installment, The Ghost Dimension, was released in 2015.

On June 19, 2019, Paramount announced that a seventh installment is in development. - Source Wikipedia

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Honorable Mentions


Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)


 
 

8. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
One of the scareist American supernatural horror films
ever and the most successful independent films of all time

The Blair Witch Project is a 1999 American supernatural horror film written, directed and edited by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez. It tells the fictional story of three student filmmakers—Heather DonahueMichael C. Williams, and Joshua Leonard—who hike in the Black Hills near Burkittsville, Maryland in 1994 to film a documentary about a local legend known as the Blair Witch. The three disappeared, but their equipment and footage is discovered a year later. The purportedly "recovered footage" is the film the viewer sees.

Myrick and Sánchez conceived of a fictional legend of the Blair Witch in 1993. They developed a 35-page screenplay with the dialogue to be improvised. A casting call advertisement in Backstage magazine was prepared by the directors; Donahue, Williams and Leonard were cast. The film entered production in October 1997, with the principal photography taking place in Maryland for eight days. About 20 hours of footage was shot, which was edited down to 82 minutes.

When The Blair Witch Project premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 1999, its promotional marketing campaign listed the actors as either "missing" or "deceased". Owing to its successful run at Sundance, Artisan Entertainment bought the film's distribution rights for $1.1 million. The film had a limited release on July 14, 1999, before expanding to a wider release starting July 30. While critical reception was mostly positive, audience reception was split.

The film is heavily credited with popularizing the found-footage technique which was later used by similarly successful horror films such as Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield. A sleeper hitThe Blair Witch Project grossed nearly $250 million worldwide on a modest budget of $60,000, making it one of the most successful independent films of all time. The film launched a media franchise, which includes two sequels (Book of Shadows and Blair Witch), novels, comic books, and video games. - Source Wikipedia

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7. Jaws (1975)
Winner of 3 Academy Awards

Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's 1974 novel of the same name. In the film, a giant man-eating great white shark attacks beachgoers at a New England summer resort town, prompting police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) to hunt it with the help of a marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a professional shark hunter (Robert Shaw). Murray Hamilton plays the mayor, and Lorraine Gary portrays Brody's wife. The screenplay is credited to Benchley, who wrote the first drafts, and actor-writer Carl Gottlieb, who rewrote the script during principal photography.

Shot mostly on location on Martha's Vineyard in MassachusettsJaws had a troubled production, going over budget and past schedule. As the art department's mechanical sharks often malfunctioned, Spielberg decided to mostly suggest the shark's presence, employing an ominous and minimalistic theme created by composer John Williams to indicate its impending appearances. Spielberg and others have compared this suggestive approach to that of thriller director Alfred HitchcockUniversal Pictures gave the film what was then an exceptionally wide release for a major studio picture, on over 450 screens, accompanied by an extensive marketing campaign with a heavy emphasis on television spots and tie-in merchandise.

Considered one of the greatest films ever madeJaws was the prototypical summer blockbuster, regarded as a watershed moment in motion picture history, and it won several awards for its music and editing. It was the highest-grossing film until the release of Star Wars in 1977. Both films were pivotal in establishing the modern Hollywood business model, which pursues high box-office returns from action and adventure films with simple high-concept premises, released during the summer in thousands of theaters and heavily advertised. Jaws was followed by three sequels, all without Spielberg or Benchley, and many imitative thrillers. In 2001, it was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." - Source Wikipedia

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6. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
A terrifying American horror-slasher film

Now here’s a grisly little item. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is as violent and gruesome and blood-soaked as the title promises -- a real Grand Guignol of a movie. It’s also without any apparent purpose, unless the creation of disgust and fright is a purpose. And yet in its own way, the movie is some kind of weird, off-the-wall achievement. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to make a movie like this, and yet it’s well-made, well-acted, and all too effective.


The movie’s based on factual material, according to the narration that opens it. For all I know, that’s true, although I can’t recall having heard of these particular crimes, and the distributor provides no documentation. Not that it matters. A true crime movie like Richard BrooksIn Cold Blood which studies the personalities and compulsions of two killers, dealt directly with documented material and was all the more effective for that. But The Texas Chainsaw Massacre could have been made up from whole cloth without any apparent difference. No motivation, no background, no speculation on causes is evident anywhere in the film. It’s simply an exercise in terror. - Source

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TheTexas Chainsaw Massacre (1998)


TheTexas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

 
 

5. Halloween (1978)
The first successful American slasher film ever

When considering similitude in cinema, if Michael Myers is indeed derivative of the Frankenstein monster, does that make filmmaker John Carpenter our generation’s modern-day Prometheus? Certainly, Carpenter’s creature creation in Halloween (1978) did more than mirror a powerful and seemingly unbeatable brute. The Shape literally changed everything.

The emergence of this particular killer, and his film, redefined the horror genre and reshaped macabre movie making. The slasher flick not only came to prominence but filmmakers found it fashionable to center their scary movies around a number of other significant calendar dates (Friday the 13th, April Fool’s Day, My Bloody Valentine).

But still there is only one Halloween. Well, what about Rob Zombie’s 2007 version or the new 2018 incarnation? Ah, who’s counting? Genre fans know it all came courtesy of Carpenter’s seminal picture. But to answer the question posed earlier is a bit more complicated. Prometheus? Well, we know Carpenter is at least a cinematic scientist – a creator. 

Carpenter gave an entire subgenre of fright life. There are no holiday horror hits without Carpenter, and Sean S. Cunningham’s Friday the 13th (1980) would not have been able to rip off Halloween. And that’s exactly what Cunningham told his screenwriter Victor Miller they were going to do. Wait, does that make Cunningham Dr. Pretorius? 

There’s not much to say about Halloween that hasn’t been explored before. Michael Myers breaks free, comes to Haddonfield and stalks Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her carnal companions. It’s a simple premise. Despite the lack of blood, gore and an antagonist’s motivation,Halloween continues to spark critical analysis from new fans and young critics discovering the film for the first time. As Dr. Frankenstein once said, “it’s alive!” - Source Retro Recommendations

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4. Night Of The Living Dead (1968)
The most successful Best low-budget independent horror film of all time - unsurpassed to this day

How can this be one of the top 100 Best Films of all time? After all, it was a low budget ($114,000 to make) horror movie and, besides the lead male role, Ben, played by Duane Jones, the first non-white lead in a movie of any kind, and, maybe Karl Hardman, who played Harry Cooper (also Co-Producer), the protective, dilligent and paranoid father and husband, the TV Newscasters and George Kosana (Sheriff McClelland) and the Living Dead themselves, the acting was sensationably horrible and melodramatic. However, we also need to give a plug for Russell Streiner (Co-Producer) for his short lived role as 'Johnny', Barbara's (Judith O'Dea) brother. His famous line in the graveyard at the beginning of the movie is still one of the most memorable and iconic of all horror films since then and now. "They're coming to get you, Barbara." Incredibly, the film grossed $12 million domestically and $18 million internationally, earning over 250 times its budget. George A. Romero, the brilliant director of the now famous horror cult film, has also become a horror, household name. The film worked superbly, and may not have been as successful had it been filmed in color, not simply because of the makeup, but also because the varius shades of black and grey shadows added to the creepy atmosphere the film exuded. It was also played on the big Drive-In theatre screens, where it mostly debuted and was an instant hit with the throngs of teenagers who, back in the late 1950's and 1960's, capitalized on the dark and private confides of their automobiles to make out. The plot was also unique, the setting perfect (what? an old farm house in the middle of nowhere), the eerie music and of course the meanacing, walking corpses with an appetite for living, human flesh. The film was gruesome to its canabalistic core, a terrifying concept never before experimented with by any film before it. - Source ClassicClips.ca

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Honorable Mentions


Night Of The Living Dead (1990)


 
 

3. The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
Winner of 5 Academy Awards, Including Best Picture

The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 American psychological horror film directed by Jonathan Demme from a screenplay written by Ted Tally, adapted from Thomas Harris's 1988 novel of the same name. The film stars Jodie FosterAnthony HopkinsScott GlennTed Levine, and Anthony Heald. In the film, Clarice Starling, a young FBI trainee, seeks the advice of the imprisoned Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer to apprehend another serial killer, known only as "Buffalo Bill", who skins his female victims' corpses. The novel was Harris's first and second respectively to feature the characters of Starling and Lecter, and was the second adaptation of a Harris novel to feature Lecter, preceded by the Michael Mann-directed Manhunter (1986).

The Silence of the Lambs was released on February 14, 1991, and grossed $272.7 million worldwide against its $19 million budget, becoming the fifth-highest grossing film of 1991 worldwide. The film premiered at the 41st Berlin International Film Festival, where it competed for the Golden Bear, while Demme received the Silver Bear for Best Director. Critically acclaimed upon release, it became only the third film, (the other two being It Happened One Night (1934) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)), to win Academy Awards in all the top five categoriesBest PictureBest DirectorBest ActorBest Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay. It is also the first (and so far only) Best Picture winner widely considered to be a horror film, and one of only six such films to be nominated in the category, along with The Exorcist (1973), Jaws (1975), The Sixth Sense (1999), Black Swan (2010) and Get Out (2017).

It is regularly cited by critics, film directors, and audiences alike as one of the greatest and most influential films of all time. In 2018, Empire ranked it 48th on their list of the 500 greatest movies of all time. The American Film Institute, ranked it as the 5th greatest and most influential thriller film of all time while the characters Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter were ranked as the greatest film heroine and villain respectively. The film is considered "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant by the U.S. Library of Congress and was selected to be preserved in the National Film Registry in 2011. A sequel titled Hannibal was released in 2001, in which Hopkins reprised his role. It was followed by two prequels: Red Dragon (2002) and Hannibal Rising (2007). - Source Wikipedia

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2. The Shining (1980)
The most unappreciated, greatest and most influential horror films of all time

Stephen King, author of the best selling horror novel, The Shining, said that Jack Nicholson, who played the protagonist in the movie The Shining, Jack Torrance, didn't shine. "The story is about a guy who goes crazy," King is qouted as saying, "not about a guy who is crazy." Nevertheless, Jack Nicholson's portrayl of the fictionalized, deranged, pyschopathic Jack Torrance, was sensational. While Nicholson may have not have lived up to the charachter expectations King had set forth in the novel, in our view, Jacky-Boy went above and beyond. In fact, the entire cast was superb, especially Danny Llyod (Danny Torrance), Wendy Torrance, Jack's weird and paranod wife (Shelly Duval) and Dick Hallorann, the Hotel Cook, (Scatman Crothers).

The days drag on far too long for Jack Torrance, the winter caretaker of the Ovelook Hotel, and, before long, boredom (confusion, claustrophobia and paranoia) begin to play on Jack's feeble, alchoholic mind, turning it, over the course of months, to thoughts of murder.

Stanley Kubrick’s elegant adaptation of Stephen King’s haunted hotel story is often cited as The Scariest Horror Movie Ever Made, perhaps tied with The Exorcist. - Source Classicclips.ca

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1. The Exorcist (1973)
Winner of 2 Academy Awards

The Exorcist (1973) is the sensational, shocking horror story about devil possession and the subsequent exorcism of the demonic spirits from a young, innocent girl (of a divorced family). The Exorcist was notable for being one of the biggest box-office successes (and one of the first 'blockbusters' in film history, predating Jaws (1975)), and surpassing The Godfather (1972) as the biggest money-maker of its time.

Critically, it was presented with ten Academy Award nominations, two of which won (Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound). The other eight nominations included: Best Picture, Best Actress (Ellen Burstyn), Best Supporting Actor (Jason Miller), Best Supporting Actress (Linda Blair), Best Director, Best Cinematography (Owen Roizman), Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, and Best Film Editing. [Until The Silence of the Lambs (1991), the film was the only horror film to be nominated for Best Picture in Academy Award history.

The controversial nature of the film's content - exorcism (accompanied by blasphemies, obscenities and graphic physical shocks), was supposedly based upon an authentic, nearly two-month long exorcism performed in 1949 on a 14-year old boy (with pseudonym "Robbie Mannheim") in Mt. Rainier, Maryland by the Catholic Church (in the form of a fifty-two year old Jesuit priest named Fr. William S. Bowdern and Fr. Raymond Bishop). The official exorcism was reported in Thomas B. Allen's and Carl Brandt's 1993 book PossessedThe True Story of an Exorcism. [Possessed (2000) was also a pay-TV-cable Showtime movie of the same name, starring Timothy Dalton.] The film's plot was also partially inspired by a similar demonic possession case in Earling, Iowa in 1928. - Source AMC FilmSite

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