Total Film’s 50 Greatest Horror Movies

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

If you’re looking for viewing material this Halloween, you might turn to Total Film’s 50 Greatest Horror Movies — or to my commentary on that list from a few years ago:

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.


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