My mother is the biggest horror movie fan I’ve ever met. The only person I can think of to top her may be her mother, and even then it’s a close call. To say the least, loving horror movies runs in the family. In honor of the spookiest holiday of the year, Halloween, which also happens to be my mother’s birthday, I wanted to pay tribute to her and all the great classic horror movies she passed down to me. Without further ado, my top ten favorite horror movies!
10. Stephen King’s Children of the Corn (1984)
Now, this one doesn’t really stand the test of time like the others on my list do, and it isn’t quite the best movie, but it haunted me throughout my childhood. In it, the devil convinces all the kids in a Midwest town to kill the adults and serve him indefinitely. It’s got some creepy parts and John Franklin’s voice as Isaac played in my nightmares, but as a quality horror movie it doesn’t quite match up to the greats. The loss of innocence in the kids of the town and just seeing a super spooky corn field in a majority of the shots helped sell this movie to me as a worthy horror flick.
9. Carrie (1976)
Carrie sent chills down my spine when I saw how disturbing it was. The incessant bullying Carrie endured, along with her psychotic evil mother, made me glad she gets her revenge at the prom. I remember being so mortified by the pig blood scene, an image you can’t get out of your head for days after you finish watching. This movie has you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Sissy Spacek is also incredible and iconic in this role, leaving you nail biting until the very gruesome end.
8. Child’s Play (1988)
I hate creepy dolls. I have a horrible phobia of inanimate objects that can come to life, so this movie really terrifies me whenever I watch it. Chucky is vulgar, sickening and surprisingly strong for a toy. Then again, he is possessed by the dark soul of a serial killer. A killer doll coming to life and being able to nearly slaughter a family definitely makes it an important one to be on my list since that kind of thing is one of the scariest things I can imagine. After watching this, I had nightmares that all the stuffed animals in my house would come alive to eat me. This movie only helped reaffirm my fear of ventriloquist dummies too.
7. Friday the 13th (1980)
Right off the bat, Jason Voorhees is one of the most important horror movie villains to ever exist. I like all the movies in this franchise so much, it’s hard to pick just one so I’ll settle for a blanket statement that all of them are fantastic. These movies had me so scared when I was younger, I never wanted to go to summer camp. These iconic pictures helped push along the idea that as soon as you have sex in a horror movie you die, and that virginity will save you when a crazy killer is after you. While that was not a theme I cared for in the slightest, especially not when I was busy watching Jason slash people up in his very memorable hockey mask, I still loved watching every single reboot of it. Kevin Bacon is one of my faves, and the scary level they achieve on their low budget in the early movies makes them that much sweeter.
6. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
I really do have a soft spot in my heart for the classics. Freddy Krueger kept me up countless nights after first watching “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” Wes Craven, horror god, knew exactly what to do to make my skin crawl. Creepy little girls singing while playing jump rope, a slasher killer with knives for fingers, that terrible fedora he wears, and that one scene where blood is gushing out from the bed like a full on geyser. All of the details of these films had me jumping out of my seat every time I watched them, but I just couldn’t get enough. And who can forget the appearance of a cute young Johnny Depp? I sure can’t. All else aside though, Krueger lives on in my nightmares.
5. Halloween (1978)
This one steals the show for the creepiest horror movie music to ever exist. Movies like “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th” set the bar incredibly high and created a precedent for all future horror movies to come. I’m also kind of a sucker for the masked killers in the genre. This movie had me hiding behind my mom every time I watched it. Michael Myers was perfectly haunting, silent and creepy in every reboot, and his terrorizing knows no match. When I think of horror movies, this one is always the first to come to my mind, and it would be one of the first movies I recommend everyone see on Halloween if they want to sit down for a good scare.
4. Scream (1996)
“Scream” is one of the most classic slasher films to date. I loved this movie growing up and each of its later sequels too. Sidney Prescott was the horror goddess I admired, being able to escape each and every doom that seemed nearly impossible to get out of. I also loved how they always kept you guessing, and you could never tell who the killer was up until the very end. Again, Craven mastered “Scream” and made it a movie that laid out what a horror movie should be. “Scream” toyed with clichés while brilliantly incorporating them into the plot, and made Sidney smart, cunning and so much fun to watch.
3.The Shining (1980)
I have a picture of Jack Nicholson’s face from the “Here’s Johnny!” scene on the outside of my dorm. This movie is an absolute masterpiece cinematically, and Kubrick does everything perfectly to make this movie as creepy as it can be. Watching Nicholson descend into madness makes this movie so expertly scary. The creepy empty hotel and excellent, brief use of terrifying images make this one of the greatest in the genre to me. Danny riding around on his tricycle, the flashing gorey images of slashed up little girls, and elevators full of blood really bring this movie to one of the high spots. The entire film has an eerie vibe and you never know what to expect. It even has one of the most memorable movie lines, “Here’s Johnny!,” which was actually improvised; all together this horror flick left me sleepless and speechless. I love Kubrick so much I want to include “A Clockwork Orange” on this list as well, but it just misses my mark for being a horror movie unfortunately, so it just has to be an honorable mention.
2. Psycho (1960)
Before I knew the story of Norman Bates, I had no idea what I was in for with this one. Bates seemed so charming and sweet, up until the big reveal at the end. This movie has gone down as one of my favorite movies of all time, but especially one of my favorite horrors. Alfred Hitchcock is the horror legend, and he really set the tone and cemented himself in the genre with this film. Thrillers didn’t exist like this before him, and they were never the same after. “Psycho” was shocking for its time and the story lives on even today with shows like “Bates Motel.” This movie was monumental for its time and still lives on today was one of the most iconic horror films to date, making it my number two.
1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
This movie shook me to my core, without a doubt taking the cake for me on this list. It really has no boundaries and shocked me more than I can explain in words. It was cheaply made, not the best quality, but the acting is impeccable and the horror doesn’t stop. My heart was racing the entire time I watched it. Maybe some movies are better made or more disturbing, but this movie was terrifying for me from start to finish, and when I think of a movie that scared me to where I was affected for hours and days later, this has to be it and nothing can match up. The level of creepiness this movie achieved is unmatched in my book, and I couldn’t help but look away and even pause it multiple times to gain my composure. “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is worth the watch every time, especially in the midst of Halloween for anyone looking to be terrified by a great movie this spooky season!