Do you like scary movies? Clockwise from top left: “Relic,” “Dracula’s Daughter,” “Joy Ride,” “Sorority Row,” “Sisters,” “Possession,” “Pet Sematary Two,” and “Eve’s Bayou.”
Top 25 Horror Films Of All Time
Scary thrills, terrifying chills, monsters, mayhem and macabre delights – this is horror hounds’ favorite season. You’ve already looked at mainstream slashers, ghost stories, and the usual Halloween classics. But what are some of the most underrated scary movies that keep your favorite horror fans up at night?
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We asked 25 horror icons, creators and experts to name the most overlooked horror films you shouldn’t miss, from the forgotten to the obscure to the genre’s most misunderstood. Here’s a wicked selection of them, for your viewing spree… (complete streaming and digital availability information by clicking on each film title).
In “Deep Crimson,” the story of a killer of lonely hearts, from left, Marisa Parades, Regina Orozco and Daniel Gimenez Cacho.
The suffocating rant of one of Mexico’s great misanthropes. Arturo Ripstein’s soulful treatment of the Lonely Hearts Killers obsession is a galling portrait of the banality of evil and a work of authentic nihilism that’s as ugly as it needs to be, making it almost watchable. Here’s true, humanity-as-horror in the grotesque tradition of “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer,” “Angst,” and “Man Bites Dog.” It’s so unpleasant that I really don’t recommend it.
Space horror is a difficult genre. But one little-seen film has been more successful than others in generating that vital frisson of dread, and that’s John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness. The strength of this film is that it resonates emotionally and intellectually. Emotionally, it plays like a nightmare with an isolated group of scientists battling horrors outside our world. Intellectually, he questions the nature of reality, using influences from Lovecraft, Argento, Jean Cocteau and Nigel Kneil to quantum physics. Plus, it has a haunting score and a finale that will blow your mind.
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The inaugural feature of HBO’s classic series was horribly underrated upon its release. Ernest Dickerson’s beautiful film is scary, funny, clever and wonderfully scary. The cast is an embarrassment of riches, featuring Dick Miller, Charles Fleischer, Brenda Bucke, Thomas Hayden Church, the amazing CCH Pounder and the fantastic William Sadler. But Jada Pinkett-Smith shines as the reluctant heroine and Billy Zane stuns in a performance for the ages. The final scene is legitimately sublime and sets up an epic build-up for what follows…damn, I want a sequel to this movie. This movie was ahead of its time.
Irving Pichel as Sandor and Gloria Holden as Countess Maria Zaleski in the 1936 film Dracula’s Daughter.
As a child I loved “Frankenstein”, “Dracula”, “The Wolf Man” and all the universal classics. But aside from Frank’s crazy bride, it was basically a “boys club” for the monster. Then I discovered Dracula’s Daughter (1936), starring a very goth Gloria Holden as a vamp with an appetite for the ladies. It was mysterious and alluring in a way that I didn’t fully understand. But then I got a chance to see it later when it aired on my show “Elvira’s Movie Macabre” and Whew! I realized she was the progenitor of all the ladies of the night, from Morticia Addams to Maleficent.
Rose Battis (Lynn Whitfield, left) comforts her daughter Eve (Journey Smollett, right) in writer/director Cassie Lemon’s drama Eve’s Bayou.
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“Eve’s Bayou,” written and directed by Kasi Lemons, is a beautiful and emotionally complex debut — and it has power as a family drama and as a domestic horror. “I killed my father in the summer, I was 10 years old,” begins Eva’s story. Set in Bayou, Louisiana, a segregated community in 1962, with an all-black cast, the horror of “Avi’s Bayou” comes from inside the house. A strong performance by newcomer Jurnee Smollett (then only 10 years old), supported by Samuel L. Jackson, Debbie Morgan, Lynn Whitfield, Megan Goode, Lisa Nicole Carson and Diahann Carroll, lush cinematography and Lemmons’ poetic screenplay present a touching story you’ll never get over. to forget
If you are jealous like me, then prepare for your worst nightmare. “The Exorcist” meets “High Fidelity,” “Possession” follows a husband’s (Sam Neill) descent into madness as he tries to figure out why his wife (Isabelle Ajan) suddenly left him. It quickly becomes clear that she’s having a torrid affair with someone…or more precisely: something. Ajan gives one of the most powerful female performances I have ever seen on screen and has had a profound effect on my horror work forever.
Deborah Carey in a scene from the 1961 psychological horror drama The Innocents, based on Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw.
I’m not sure if this movie is underrated because it really isn’t by those who have seen it, but The Innocents, Jack Clayton’s version of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, certainly deserves better recognition. . It’s the most terrifying and psychologically complex ghost story I’ve ever seen, presented with an ambiguous nobility that’s literally spine-tingling. Deborah Kerr gives a career-best performance as a sexually troubled Victorian governess whose former charges may or may not be possessed by the evil spirits of former servants. The atmosphere is memorably suggestive, the filmmaking unforgettable. Gothic angst at its worst. I get excited just thinking about it.
Best Classic Horror Movies Of All Time
Having produced a vampire film myself, and celebrating their timeless hits, they are clearly outstanding. Shrek, Lugosi, Kinski, Lee and Oldman make their films timeless with compelling performances. The bloody narratives of Stoker’s original tale, “Near Dark” and “Let the Right One In,” depict the complexities of relationships using modern constructs. But the movie that deserves more love is Daughters of Darkness. Delphine Seyrig’s uniquely stunning performance and compelling dual plot lines that collide in an explosive finish give this film its bite. The film’s visual beauty is perfectly matched frame by frame by its steamy sexual center. The sense of danger and desire is palpable with the whole lesbian atmosphere, which is ahead of its time with the gender of its protagonist.
I’m still shocked that this movie isn’t talked about enough: “Triangle” on the surface seems like a basic movie about a group of ships that get into bad weather and end up on another ship. But there are many more layers to this film that one might expect, and one that gives a terrifying twist is the deja vu effect. Things begin to repeat and repeat as this mysterious hooded stranger begins to end the group’s lives one by one. As the cycle progresses, you begin to realize that there is no end…or is there? This leaves it open to your own interpretation. And the combination of horror/slasher with sci-fi elements makes the film significantly tailored for an audience that didn’t like it. This is a highly recommended watch, not just once, but several more times, because there are things you might miss.
Granted, this is a pretty moderate pick for me, but it’s a movie I’ll stick with whenever I get the chance because people can’t believe how good it is because it was a TV sequel to a classic horror movie. In particular, “When a stranger calls” in 1979. Nineties horror girl Jill Scholen plays a woman deeply traumatized by her experience as a teenage babysitter. He appeals to the survivor of the first film, again played by Carol Kane – and I’d argue that Kane gives a much stronger performance here; Her delivery is absolutely soothing throughout. As in the original, there’s a parallel plot that follows both the protagonist and her troubled tormentor, and there’s an important discussion of the types of support systems women must develop to combat predatory behavior of all stripes. And so many scary moments – scary as hell. Writer-director Fred Walton also returns to helm the sequel, and I just think his work is underappreciated at all.
This movie is a touchstone for us, right up there with Halloween, Elm Street, and Scream. A tight and gripping thriller about estranged brothers on the road being chased by an invisible killer – a truck driver with a haunting voice heard only on CB (played brilliantly by Ted Levine) – “Joy Ride” is full of thrills, scares, humor and heart. And once this movie gets going, it never stops. Then there’s Steve Zahn. Steve F-Zan! He’s at his absolute best in this one, and his no-nonsense approach to humor gets better every hour. In fact, this entire movie gets better with each viewing. And spoiler alert, a VHS copy can be found in the new “Scream” (2022).
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Shamefully overlooked and acclaimed, the 1979 revisionist vampire thriller The Thirst unleashes the crucifixes, fangs,
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