The Top Ten Best Horror Movies of All Time
Seeing a scary movie is one of the great pleasures in life. Many of us live in very safe worlds, without a lot of thrills and chills. That is one of the reasons that horror films are so popular. When Halloween rolls around, everyone starts thinking about the best horror movies to watch. Here is a list of the top ten best horror movies of all time. Pick out a few of these scary movies and pop them in for Halloween, or anytime of the year, for some wonderful cinema terror.
One of the true masters of Hollywood terror, Alfred Hitchcock, is at the peak of his powers here. The black and white cinematography is simply stunning in both its beauty and creepiness. The shower scene is perhaps the most famous horror scene of all time, and the music accompanying it is equally famous. If you have never seen it, you absolutely must. It is a truly great psychological horror film.
Often thought to be a true story (although not really), this film about a family of cannibals terrorizing five youths is simply devastating in its horror. Who could ever forget the penultimate scene with Leatherneck dancing around like a maniac with his chainsaw? This is one of the movies that will literally have you on the edge of your seat the entire viewing.
One of the greatest directors of all time, Steven Spielberg is probably more responsible for galeophobia (fear of sharks) than anyone else in the history of the world. Though the shark does look a bit dated, that takes nothing from the sense of terror present throughout the film. The score is one of the scariest of all time. Not recommended before a trip to the beach (even just to the lake).
Definitely the most overlooked and underrated of the horror films on this list, this movie delivers psychological terror in a science-fiction setting. A must-see for horror and science-fiction fans alike, this movie is incredibly well-acted by its stars Laurence Fishburne and Sam Neill. Watch it late at night with the lights off, unless you don’t want nightmares.
This movie is all about playing with the viewer’s mind. We are never sure what is real or what isn’t, and the whole time we feel completely uneasy. This movie is a true classic from a legendary director, Roman Polanski. Every single actor in the film delivers a wonderful performance. The only trouble with this film is wondering afterwards why Hollywood can’t deliver psychological terrors this subtly or masterfully anymore.
5. The Shining
Stephen King is the undisputed king of terrorizing people with his imagination. Unfortunately, frequently his works are very lengthy books that don’t translate well to the big screen. There are some obvious exceptions, and this is a big one. Stanley Kubrick, one of the greatest directors of all time, directs Jack Nicholson in one of his signature roles. Although Nicholson roaming the halls with an axe is extremely scary, the little kid, Danny, saying, “redrum,” has to be the creepiest part of the film.
Made for an incredibly low budget of only $320,000, this movie is the greatest independent horror movie ever made, as well as one of the most successful independent films ever released. The director, John Carpenter, is a true genius. He filmed this classic horror movie in only 21 days, and composed the score himself in only four days.
Some fun trivia includes the following. Due to the shoestring budget available for the film, the mask for Michael Myers was the cheapest one the costume department could find: a William Shatner mask. Carpenter cast Jamie Lee Curtis as an homage to one of his idols, Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock cast Curtis’ mother, Janet Leigh, as the female protagonist in Psycho.
This is another underrated film that has not found nearly a wide enough audience. Tim Robbins is masterful as the title character, and director Adriane Lyne does perhaps the most wonderful job ever of putting the audience in a two hour long dream state. Danny Aiello is given a brilliant supporting role as Jacob’s chiropractor and runs with it, delivering the greatest performance of his career. This movie contains more disturbing images than any other horror film out there.
2. The Exorcist
This movie is on countless lists as the best horror movie of all time, and for good reason. It is a smart, scary horror story that takes itself and the audience seriously. It does not dumb things down for the viewer, which is something all too many films do today. No other horror film does as good a job of setting up a contrast between good and evil. This is the movie that defines for many what a horror film should be.
1. The Thing
The Thing is not only the greatest horror movie ever made, it is one of the greatest films ever made. No other movie keeps the viewer so tense from start to finish. The best thing about this movie is the constant state of unknowing that the audience is in. The audience never knows who one of the good guys is and who The Thing is until it is too late.
When The Thing transforms, it is truly frightening. The creature effects from Stan Winston are unmatched to this day. They are so good that it is hard to believe this movie is almost thirty years old. This is a movie that grabs you, squeezes you tight and doesn’t let go until you are completely spent 109 minutes later. Don’t watch it alone.