I realized I’ve never made a top ten list of my favorite horror films, so here they are. As discussed in this post, I do tend to think of favorite movies as the ones I revisit again and again, and love showing to friends. So these aren’t necessarily what I would classify as the best horror films (perhaps another post down the road can cover that). This is more a list of the horror films I’ve willingly watched the most times because I love them so much.
This is not ranked because it was already hard enough to only choose ten movies for this list.
If this was a ranked list, this would be number one. It is hard to overstate Scream‘s impact on me, and its place in cementing me as a lifelong horror movie fan.
One sentence about why you should watch it: Because it’s Scream.
For more on this movie: Why You Should Watch: Scream
Although I usually say this is my absolute favorite movie to sound smarter and more prestigious than I am since it is really Scream, but I really do enjoy revisiting The Shining. On the surface, it shouldn’t work for me as well as it does. It’s leisurely paced, a situation I wouldn’t get caught dead in, and I hate thinking about how Shelley Duvall was treated on set. But the music, visuals, and hypnotic tone push away any doubts. A true classic.
One sentence about why you should watch it: So you can appreciate all the times it is referenced (especially all the times a room or number is 237 in other media).
For more on this movie: Why You Should Watch: The Shining
The Blob (1988)
One of the only “oddballs” on an otherwise basic list, but I saw this at a very young age and have loved it ever sense. The awesome practical effects, exciting pace, and bonus parody of Friday the 13th have kept it in the top ten indefinitely.
One sentence about why you should watch it: A perfect science-fiction horror blend with great effects and 80s vibes.
For more on this movie: Why You Should Watch: The Blob (1988)
You had me at two teenagers trying to scare one another on a dark, stormy night about a cursed tape.
One sentence about why you should watch it: So that jump scare at the beginning can traumatize you too.
Such a unique, garish fairy tale. I will always be terrified when Suzi sees what is behind the door.
One sentence about why you should watch it: You’ll never see anything else quite like it, and once it earned me a free shot at a bar so maybe you’ll get a free shot too!
For more on this movie: Why You Should Watch: Suspiria (1977)
A Nightmare on Elm Street
To be honest, I wasn’t blown away the first time I saw this or the original Halloween. (I KNOW and I’m SORRY). But over time, I have come completely around and have to acknowledge that Nancy Thompson is one of my biggest inspirations and my absolute favorite final girl.
One sentence about why you should watch it: Nancy Thompson is the greatest final girl of all time.
For more about this movie:
- Why You Should Watch: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
- The Greatest Final Girl of All Time: The Everyday Inspiration of Nancy Thompson
The Final Girls
I know this is more comedy, but I absolutely love this movie and its ability to make me both laugh and cry repeatedly. It is my favorite of my favorite movies (!?) to show to someone who hasn’t seen it. And I consider it crowd pleaser even for non-horror fans.
One sentence about why you should watch it: You will laugh, you will cry, and you will never hear the song “Bette Davis Eyes” the same way again.
For more about this movie: Why You Should Watch: The Final Girls
I initially watched this when I heard it was similar to Silent Hill. This is the movie that made me appreciate how important sound design and mixing is to my love of horror films.
One sentence about why you should watch it: It is scary, manipulative, and was filmed in an actual abandoned mental asylum that is rumored to be haunted.
For more about this movie: Why You Should Watch: Session 9
I will just pause here and say these last two were tougher to narrow down. The first eight came to me easily, but I had to think a bit more about these last two, so down the road or depending on my mood, they could get bumped. Continuing…
I keep thinking “no…this can’t possibly be one of my all time favorites…” but I keep coming back to it and making people watch it so it is time to call a spade a spade.
One sentence about why you should watch it: One of the only excellent video game adaptations ever made with monsters you will have a very hard time forgetting.
For more about this movie:
- Why You Should Watch: Silent Hill
- “Do You Not Know We Will Judge the Angels?”: A 15 Year Retrospective on Silent Hill (2006)
A modern classic that skirts the line between horror and thriller while serving as a reminder of the way scary movies can tap into the horrors of reality in visceral ways.
One sentence about why you should watch it: When the car pulls up at the end, it was the most scared I’ve ever felt for a main character at the conclusion of a film.
For more about this movie: I Would’ve Voted for Obama a Third Time: Analyzing Get Out