The editors of Total Film have presented their list of The 50 Greatest Horror Movies of all time. Here’s the first half of the list:
1 THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE 1974
2 HALLOWEEN 1978
3 SUSPIRIA 1977
4 DAWN OF THE DEAD 1978
5 THE SHINING 1980
6 PSYCHO 1960
7 THE WICKER MAN 1973
8 ROSEMARY’S BABY 1968
9 DON’T LOOK NOW 1973
10 CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST 1980
11 THE THING 1982
12 CARRIE 1976
13 THE EXORCIST 1973
14 THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT 1999
15 WITCHFINDER GENERAL 1968
16 THE HAUNTING 1963
17 THE EVIL DEAD 1981
18 PEEPING TOM 1960
19 ALIEN 1979
20 BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN 1935
21 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD 1968
22 CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE 1944
23 SWITCHBLADE ROMANCE 2003
24 A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 1984
25 AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON 1981
I’ll have to hunt down a few of those, which I haven’t seen yet — I spent last Halloween weekend catching up on horror movies — but first I must fulfill my obligation to disagree with those rankings.
I won’t quibble over one and two; they’re obviously horror classics. The first Halloween, by the way, is remarkably low-gore. Let’s skip to three. Last year I anxiously awaited seeing Suspiria for the first time — thank you, DVR and obscure cable channel — and I can say it was a total waste of time. It wouldn’t make my top 50.
Dawn of the Dead definitely deserves to be high on the list — even the fast-zombie remake — but the original Night of the Living Dead deserves to be higher — and way, way higher than 21.
The Shining is definitely super-creepy. Psycho, on the other hand, has one utterly, fantastically horrifying shower scene — and not much else. I’d rank it much lower. I don’t know The Wicker Man.
Rosemary’s Baby is brilliant. I don’t know Don’t Look Now or Cannibal Holocaust, but I have my doubts. The Thing, Carrie, and The Exorcist all belong high on the list. I only caught Carrie for the first time last year — again, huzzah for the DVR! — and it might be one of the best horror movies I’ve ever seen. It’s so much more than that one famous blood-bath at the end.
The Blair Witch Project worked for me. The Haunting didn’t. At all. I don’t know Witchfinder General.
Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead is a classic, of sorts, but it’s better known for its extremely quotable sequels, the tongue-in-cheek Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness. I don’t know Peeping Tom.
Alien may be my favorite “horror” movie of all time, but I understand why not everyone would rate it as one of the top horror movies of all time: it has all the trappings of serious science fiction.
Bride of Frankenstein may be a classic, but it’s awful. Of course, the original Frankenstein is really, really awful — but it introduced an iconic character design for the monster, and it had some wonderfully gothic imagery. Still, I can’t believe the abnormal brain bit from Young Frankenstein was in the original.
I haven’t caught Curse of the Cat People yet, and I don’t know Switchblade Romance, but I did rewatch A Nightmare on Elm Street last Halloween, and I wasn’t impressed. I haven’t seen An American Werewolf in London in years, but I remember it as good ‘n’ creepy.