Are You Scared? The Top Ten Horror Films Ever!!!!

Like most movie buffs, I love me a good old-fashioned top ten list. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to find ten similar things and then put them in order of quality. Plus, you can tell a lot of things about a person by perusing their lists of things…I think. Without further ado, here are Michelle’s top ten favorite horror films!

10. Creepshow:  I’m a huge fan of EC Comics. Just something about the art style, twisted story lines and 1950s camp really does it for me. Creepshow is an homage to those comics and written by Stephen King to boot!  It uses the comic book motif to its full advantage, using crazy colors and even panels and thought balloons occasionally. It’s funny, gory, silly and even has a cameo by Mr. King himself.

9. Audition: Asian horror films have had a huge impact the last couple of years and with good reason.  They push the boundaries of what can be considered acceptable in a horror movie and the industry is getting a sorely needed kick in the ass from it. Audition is one of those movies you lend to your friends and don’t tell them what it’s about. “Here, you go.You like horror movies, right? I think you should give this a watch!” you say with a sly smile on your face. Piano wire never looked so scary.

8. Hellraiser 2: I know this one seems oddly specific but it is my favorite out of all the Hellraiser series.  While I do enjoy the first film, Hellraiser 2 takes everything to the next level. The character design, music, story and atmosphere are perfect. I'm of the opinion that the series peaked with this one and progressively went to shit in the sequels. Pinhead and the Cenobites are actually scary and not caricatures of themselves like they are in the later films.

7. Human Centipede: When I first heard about this movie, I seriously thought it was made up. The premise is so ridiculous, so over the top that it has to be some kind of joke. Except it isn’t. The director, Tom Six, rolls with it, plays it straight and actually pulls it off.  “Body horror” is a somewhat underused trope in horror films and is most famously employed by David Cronenberg’s films. When done correctly it can be absolutely terrifying and Human Centipede hits all the right notes.  Side note, stay away from Human Centipede 2, it’s horrible.

6. Return of the Living Dead:  Zombies have overrun popular culture as of late and I know everybody is getting sick of them.  I have always been fascinated/obsessed with zombie movies and this is one of my favorites. Return of the Living Dead is 1980s to the core and injects a lot of humor into the zombie genre.  It also boasts one of the coolest looking zombies I have ever seen, Tar Man. There are also a lot of boobs, if you are into that sort of thing.

5. Dead Alive: Many people don’t know that before he directed the epic Lord of the Ring films, Peter Jackson used to make gory, raunchy horror films.  Dead Alive is probably his most infamous one and is one hell of a ride. This movie revels in gross out moments, buckets of blood and guts, politically incorrect characters, and general mayhem. It took me a long time to even find an uncut version of the film—it was censored in almost every country it was released in.  Once you watch it, you will never look at lawnmowers the same way again.

4. Re-Animator:  Loosely based on a H. P. Lovecraft story, Re-Animator is a fun little flick.  It’s a clever twist on zombie movies and has its tongue firmly planted in cheek for the entire movie.  I would almost say it’s the quintessential 1980s horror film.  They honestly just don’t make films like this anymore unfortunately.  The special-effects are amazing and somehow manage to not look dated, even by today’s standards.

3. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors:  I love the A Nightmare on Elm Street series and adore Freddy Krueger.  The dream concept gave the various directors free reign to come up with cool ways to kill people and Freddy’s one-liners were the icing on the cake.  My personal favorite happens to be the third installment and I fully admit that nostalgia plays a big part in it.  It’s corny, has a hair metal band theme song (that rocks) and Freddy is basically a standup comedian with a claw. I loved every second of it. I still say, “Welcome to prime time…bitch!” every once in a while.

2. Irreversible: To me, the scariest horror movies are about real people doing monstrous things. Vampires, werewolves and zombies can be frightening but ultimately you know you are safe because they don’t exist. Not so with evil people.  If you watch the news or read the paper, you hear about the horrible things that people perpetuate on each other on a daily basis. Irreversible is about just that—the terrible things that one person can do. I have only seen this movie once. There is a scene that is so harrowing and gut-wrenching to watch, I felt physically ill afterwards. I had to stop the movie. I have seen a lot of horror films and this is the only movie that made me question whether I wanted to see the rest. I did watch the rest of it and it was beautiful and rewarding. This movie is the true definition of horror film.

1. Dawn of the Dead (original): George Romero has lost his way with zombie movies.  Land of the Dead and Diary of the Dead aren't very good.  However, he gets a free pass for basically inventing the whole zombie genre and for making what I consider the best zombie movie ever, Dawn of the Dead. Pretty much all zombie clich├ęs and conventions come from this film. From the iconic shopping mall setting to the shambling green-faced zombies (with make up by the great Tom Savini), it has everything a zombie film should have.  There is some commentary about consumerism and human nature thrown in for good measure too. Of note, The Dawn of the Dead remake is pretty good as well, and is one of the only remakes I actually like.

-by Michelle Kisner