10- 28 Days Later
This film from 2002 could possibly be to thank for revitalizing the zombie genre and is probably one of the best zombie movies of the last decade. Directed by Danny Boyle, 28 Days Later did something a little different with the “zombies” (or infected)—he made them run. This created a change from the slow moving living dead, the rage virus infected were truly terrifying and sprinting after you.
9- Blair Witch Project
Love it or hate it, the Blair Witch Project jump-started the “found footage” genre, ever so popular today. What really made Blair Witch so scary when it first hit theatres in 1999 was the marketing campaign that made it seem like a true story. Many people believed that the Blair Witch was real and that is what made this film so scary—the realism.
8- The Evil Dead
Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy is a classic in the horror genre, about demons possessing the living. The first entry from 1981 was a massive hit and still holds up today. It’s extremely violent and scary. From the Book of the Dead to a certain scene with a tree, Evil Dead is a must-see for horror fans.
7- Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is loosely based on the story of Ed Gein, a serial killer who kept human skulls, skin and body parts in his home. The film gives us some truly terrifying scenes with Leatherface and his cannibal family. The original film in 1974 was extremely violent for its time and is truly terrifying. The remake in 2003 is a great modern update and considered to be almost as good.
6 – Friday the13
No horror list can be complete without the original slasher from 1980 – Jason Voorhees. This horror classic which takes place at Camp Crystal Lake made a whole generation terrified of summer camp. The hockey mask and knife are a classic image of horror, and Friday the13 gave us one of the best examples of a twist ending. With a huge number of sequels and remakes, it’s obvious people can’t get enough of Jason.
5 – Nightmare on Elm Street
One, two, Freddy’s coming for you… 1984 gave us one of the most terrifying supernatural killers of all time – Freddy Kruger. With his iconic hat, red striped shirt and claws, Freddy is truly a nightmare. The premise that Freddy kills you in your dreams and you die in real life was original and horrifying, and still scares to this day. Anyone who watched Nightmare on Elm Street was sure to lose a few nights of sleep. Nightmare also gave us a young Johnny Depp before he was famous.
4 – Halloween
In 1978 John Carpenter gave us the most classic psychotic slasher of all time – Michael Myers. What is more classic than the Halloween theme song and that mask? “Halloween” thrusted Jamie Lee Curtis into mega stardom, and Michael Myers is a horrifying killer, he is the manifestation of evil who kills his family and stalks his sister. Halloween spawned several sequels (only I-III are good) to tell the story of Michael and Laurie Strode. The suspense and slow walking towering Michael Myers is iconic in the horror-slasher genre.
3 – Psycho
Classic horror director, Alfred Hitchcock, made this classic and iconic horror film in 1960, and it still holds up today as one of the greatest thrillers ever made. Who can forget the classic Psycho theme music and the scene in the shower with Janet Leigh? Anthony Perkins is perfect and chilling as troubled killer, Norman Bates.
2- The Exorcist
The Exorcist, directed by William Friedkin in 1973 is considered by many to be one of the scariest films ever made. It is still extremely frightening today, so imagine how horrifying it was back in 1973. There are many iconic scenes such as the “pea soup” vomit and 180 degree rotating head of Linda Blair . The fact that a 13 year old actress performed such shocking and vulgar themes made the movie a big controversy. There were also rumors of set of “The Exorcist” being possessed itself, and remains one of the most chilling movies about being possessed by the devil.
1 – The Shining
My number one horror film of all time is Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining from 1980 based on the Stephen King novel. Starring Jack Nicholson is possibly his greatest role of all time as Jack Torrence “HERE’S JOHNNY!” is not only one of the most classic horror films, but also one of the best movies of all time in any genre. “The Shining” is a psychological horror, with a chilling soundtrack as well as bizarre and frightening ghosts. Jack is slowly driven insane by the hotel, all work and no play make Jack a dull boy, and his family is in danger. From room 327, to red-rum, twins, flowing blood, a hedge maze; everything about “The Shining” creates on of the most iconic and perfect horror films.
Honorable mentions: Audtion, Ringu, Ju-On, Martyrs, Let the Right One In, Saw, Scream, The Amityville Horror and Dawn of the Dead (remake)