ByTravis Hupp, writer at Creators.co

I've loved scary movies since long before I was old enough to be watching them. Don't blame my parents: they made some effort off and on to steer me toward less violent and traumatic film genres, but it was pretty clear it was a losing battle. From the moment I discovered the horror genre, I was fascinated by the mere fact of its existence; that people would deliberately watch films meant to unsettle them (at the very least) and be able to enjoy doing so. I soon found out why.

Watching a horror film is a test of bravery. An adrenaline surge of terror, panic and revulsion provided in the safety of your home or the theater. Horror movies give us visceral experiences that allow us to face universal fears in a controlled manner. The genre has its detractors; those who dismiss it as tawdry, trashy, even evil. But an argument can be made that horror films serve a needed and noble purpose (in addition to just being good old fashioned fun that feels a bit naughty, but really isn't).

The gems listed below are my personal favorite horror films, ranked backwards from 25th favorite to my absolute #1 favorite horror movie of all time. I'll warn you in advance: I kind of cheated on my number one choice. You'll have to read through the countdown to see what I mean. Unless you scroll down to see what I mean now, but if you do that, I will know and you will have to live with the shame of having disappointed some stranger on the internet. You don't want that, do you? Then we'd better get started.


#25: It Follows

Ghostly hands shampoo the victim malevolently
Ghostly hands shampoo the victim malevolently

An intriguing and subtly unnerving movie. There's nothing much gory or slasher-esque here; just slow but steadily mounting tension directed with a gauzy, disaffected vibe by David Robert Mitchell that expertly captures suburban adolescence. If the ending is a little anticlimactic, it's hard to hold it against this movie, since the horror in question here isn't something that would necessarily have any end point.

#24: Wes Craven's New Nightmare

The kid in this is almost creepier than Freddy
The kid in this is almost creepier than Freddy

The only other Elm Street film besides the original that's worth much, in my estimation. Though some of the special effects look a bit...1994...by today's standards, this is a truly scary movie that features a rather ingenious means of continuing Freddy Krueger's franchise and bringing back original star Heather Langenkamp. I won't spoil it for anyone by saying more than that, except to warn you that it's not just Mr. Krueger's finger-knives you need to watch out for. His tongue'll getcha, too.

#23: Friday the 13th, Part 2

No hockey mask yet, just a mongoloid mug
No hockey mask yet, just a mongoloid mug

Other horror movies are more sophisticated and have more on their minds, but Friday the 13th, Part 2 is monumental for being our first real introduction to horror icon Jason Voorhees, giving him a worthy origin story. Overall, this is just a straightforward slasher film, but it features moments and elements that rise above the usual trappings of the subgenre. It also features characters that are mostly less obnoxious than the usual venal teens that normally get sliced to ribbons in this kind of flick. As an added bonus, this one stars Amy Steel as Ginny, the best "final girl" in the entire Friday series (and one of the best in any horror film, ever).

#22: Honeymoon

I now pronounce you man and wifemonster.
I now pronounce you man and wifemonster.

This one is kind of a slow burn, but completely worth the investment. Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway deliver riveting performances as young newlyweds whose honeymoon becomes anything but the bliss they expected when one of them begins changing right before the other's eyes. Honeymoon is unnerving and affecting on multiple layers and has much to say about monogamy, marriage and fear of commitment. Scary and deep at the same time? Sign me up.

#21: Wolf Creek

Well, that was disturbing. Let's watch it again!
Well, that was disturbing. Let's watch it again!

A no-holds-barred frenzy of shocking violence and sadism, Wolf Creek is for horror fans who like their scary movies realistic and uncompromising. It's often unpleasant to watch, but then, that really is the point. If you're looking to always be entirely comfortable with what's onscreen and don't want to be challenged as a viewer, this genre (especially this movie) is not for you. If that disclaimer makes you feel more intrigued than put off, you will highly enjoy Wolf Creek. The struggle of the protagonists to survive crackles with tension, but it's John Jarratt's performance as Mick Taylor that makes this film truly terrifying.

#20: Slither

Don't eat any meat before or during this movie
Don't eat any meat before or during this movie

Slither is a gory and unassumingly fun campfest from then up-and-coming director James Gunn (who went on to direct an obscure little arthouse flick called Guardians of the Galaxy). Not only does this movie have a top-notch cast (Elizabeth Banks, Nathan Fillion, Michael Rooker, etc.) but it uses mostly costume and make-up based special effects, rather than leaning on CGI. That's a refreshing rarity these days and it works especially well with Slither's whole motif. It's more funny than scary, but Slither still manages to implant some suitably squirmy images in the viewer's mind, and the film's invading monsters are not something i'd ever want crawling around my neck of the woods. For added amusement, the special features contain one of the funnier gag reels in recent memory.

#19: Paranormal Activity

Maybe the demon just wants to snuggle?
Maybe the demon just wants to snuggle?

I know, I know, the found footage genre is getting played out. However, Paranormal Activity was released before that became the case. The sequels have been hit-or-miss (I quite enjoy Paranormal Activity 3 and The Marked Ones), but it's understandable why this opening volley would spawn an enduring franchise. Micah Sloat and Katie Featherston inhabit their characters in an organic, believable way, which makes it all the more heartbreaking and scary when a demonic entity unravels their lives. Not just any found footage movie is as effective as this one, and it's to the credit of everyone involved that Paranormal Activity is so absorbing and enduring.

#18: Pumpkinhead

It's a horror film, so Lance Henriksen's in it.
It's a horror film, so Lance Henriksen's in it.

Another movie that utilizes practical creature effects to spectacular result. Of course, Pumpkinhead had little choice in the matter, since CGI wasn't a thing yet in 1988. What's truly remarkable is how well this movie holds up today, even in comparison to far more recent releases. Pumpkinhead himself is more fearsome and realistic than 75% of the computer rendered blobs that are meant to intimidate viewers in many newer movies. This movie also features one of Lance Henriksen's strongest performances. The whole thing becomes even more impressive when you consider that Pumpkinhead is the debut film from its director, Stan Winston.

#17: The ABCs of Death 2

A valuable tool for teaching children the alphabet
A valuable tool for teaching children the alphabet

The ABCs of Death films feature 26 shorts directed by 26 directors, each one of whom is given a different letter of the alphabet to inspire them. The original had a few flashes of brilliance but was still mostly forgettable or memorably bad. I rolled my eyes when I heard there would be a sequel, but now I'm taking that eyeroll back. The second installment is a giant improvement, featuring plenty of shorts that maximize their few minutes of running time to deliver concentrated doses of horror goodness that are all the more effective for being brief. As with most anthologies, not every short is a winner. "F" is for Falling is bland, unscary and derivative. "N" is for Nexus is incredibly cheesy but only seems partially aware of it. The strong entries greatly outnumber the weak this time, though, and the truly great ones leave lasting impressions. Good luck getting "M" is for "Masticate" or "J" is for "Jesus" out of your head, and if the almost poetically grotesque "D" is for "Deloused" doesn't make you feel crawly for a while, you may need to go for counseling.

#16: Insidious

Sultry!
Sultry!

In some ways, this is a by-the-numbers movie about a haunting, but don't let that fool you. Insidious pushes the envelope even while exploring familiar themes. The herky jerky visuals of the ghosts and demons that populate the ominous dimension known as the Further are creepy enough on their own. Throw in the nerve-shredding score for thematic effect and they become downright terrifying. Insidious has other key ingredients that make it far stronger than the average ghost story: a director born for the horror genre in James Wan, and committed performances from a talented cast including Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, Barbarba Hershey and especially Lin Shaye as Elise Rainier.

#15: Zombieland

The most Twinkie-centric movie of all time?
The most Twinkie-centric movie of all time?

To some genre purists, Zombieland might not qualify as a horror movie, but it passes by my barometer. The way I gauge it is like this: if I can believe the "evil" in question in a movie poses a legitimate threat to the protagonists which isn't easily avoidable for anyone who isn't inept, it counts as a horror movie. If not, then not. That's why I refer to Zombieland as a horror/comedy and Shaun of the Dead strictly as a comedy. Both are good films, but the former boasts zombified hordes that move with more bloodlust and seem all around deadlier than the lazy, bumbling drones featured in the latter. As hearty as Zombieland's undead fiends are, it's the ensemble cast and the inherent humanity of the screenplay that make this movie the triumph it is. Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson and Abigail Breslin all have good chemistry as a band of survivors that manages to become tight knit even while constantly antagonizing each other. Oh, and a comedy legend pops up for one of the funniest and most effective cameos you'll ever witness.

#14: Child's Play

Looks like you got a cold sore there, Chuckster
Looks like you got a cold sore there, Chuckster

If you've never seen this movie, be warned: Child's Play is scarier and less cheesy than you're probably imagining. Going campy would have been the easy, predictable route. To the credit of director Tom Holland and his cast, that's not what they did. Chucky is legitimately menacing, both visually and as a character. Catherine Hicks turns in a powerful performance as Karen Barclay, a single mom struggling to protect her son from a murder doll and convince the law that they're not both just crazy. Every installment in this franchise after the not-too-shabby Child's Play 2 is completely extricable, but the first time out, they really got it right. I hope Chucky is done justice like this again one day.

#13: Dread

Also don't eat meat before or during this one
Also don't eat meat before or during this one

From the mind of Clive Barker comes a more cerebral and emotionally resonant brand of torture porn. Unlike Jigsaw from the stubbornly mediocre Saw franchise, the antagonist here would rather torture their victims' minds for a while before starting on their bodies. Dread is an unflinching look into the nature of fear and the limits of human resolve. It's the kind of movie that has the potential to make us ask what vile acts we all may ultimately be capable of. If that isn't what horror is all about, I don't know what is.

#12: A Nightmare On Elm Street

Endings of nightmares don't need to make sense
Endings of nightmares don't need to make sense

A justifiable classic, I'd probably rank this one even higher if it wasn't for that dubious multiple-ending, which needed to be explained to many people. The confusing climax aside, this is an accomplished piece of filmmaking. Elm Street is another prime example of old costume and make up effects proving more effective than many cutting edge computer animating tricks of the modern era. More importantly, it introduced the world to Freddy Krueger, the most terrifying dream boogeyman ever, who will surely carry on terrorizing new generations of children until the sun dies and Earth is lost. Maybe even after that, since Krueger primarily exists in a dream dimension.

#11: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Don't eat meat OR cheese anytime close to watching
Don't eat meat OR cheese anytime close to watching

So scary it will make you feel dizzy. In one sense, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is very straightforward. Some kids get killed by a lumbering crazy wearing other people's faces, until only one increasingly traumatized, unhinged girl is left. In another sense, the film is deceptively complex. It's bound by the gritty, visceral reality of violence inflicted on human beings by other human beings. Nothing supernatural is apparent in the proceedings (despite the presence of voodoo-esque chicken bones in the murder house) yet our protagonist seems to have fallen down a rabbit hole into some new reality where all roads lead her back into the same danger she fled from. Whether that idiosyncracy is something you care about or not, this is a movie that will bowl you over with its unabashed savagery. Horror doesn't get much more hardcore than this.

#10: The Cabin in the Woods

This movie's moral: Pot protects you from evil
This movie's moral: Pot protects you from evil

The Cabin in the Woods may be tongue-in-cheek, but don't count it out as a horror film. It's also fascinating, harrowing and features scenes so thick with chaotic monster action that you have to rewind repeatedly or watch in slow-mo to even begin to get a full sense of everything that's going on. It's almost mindboggling, the sheer amount of horror lore and love that's stuffed into this movie. Ok, so maybe Cabin won't terrify you, but it will make you re-think the films that do. And you will feel a big, goofy smile spreading across your face when you realize that screenwriters Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard are essentially seeking to explain why all horror movies in history occurred, and even to link them together into a single, enormous narrative. Kind of like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but with more severed organs flying everywhere. And with iconic characters whose appearance must be altered slightly to get around copyright infringement, since the filmmakers don't have the rights to them. And with the good guys having nothing you could call a power, except maybe that one of them is protected from sinister machinations by having smoked way too much weed. But other than that, just like the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

#9: The Descent

"Do I have something on my face?"
"Do I have something on my face?"

The Descent is a frenetic, action-packed bloodbath with the dial constantly cranked up to 11. The young women the story is centered on are well-developed characters who seem like living, breathing people (particularly Shauna Macdonald as Sarah and Natalie Mendoza as Juno). This makes us cheer even more when one of them gives a hungry, cave-dwelling, giant rat-looking thing a thorough dispatching. It also makes us actually give a flying crap when one of the women is overtaken by the subterranean monsters, or when circumstances drive them to turn on each other. Obviously, everything is made even scarier by the darkness and claustrophobia of the cave setting, and director Neil Marshall makes the most of it. The creatures in the movie (sometimes referred to as "crawlers", though not in the actual film) are suitably menacing, and their attacks are vicious and frequent. Beneath the clash of human and crawler and the literal lakes of gore, there's also a surprising undertone of tenderness in The Descent's handling of its characters humanity.

#8: Let Me In

"LET ME IN...to borrow some eyedrops, please."
"LET ME IN...to borrow some eyedrops, please."

I chose this American adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel, Let the Right One In, for my countdown over the Swedish film which came out first, because Let Me In is simply more cohesive and features fewer needlessly distracting elements. Both the adaptations are good, largely because they're based on the same, well-written story, but the American version's director, Matt Reeves, seems like he had more control over the tone and performances in his movie. For example, Let the Right One In contains a bizarre scene in which the young male lead treads water in a pool for an extended period while visibly gulping down mouthful after mouthful of chlorinated water. No matter how invested you are in the story, it's hard not to be pulled out of it by such an awkward display, and to start wondering if this boy is gonna drink the entire pool instead of worrying about the dialogue between the characters. Let Me In also features various scenes set in a pool, but wisely leaves out any egregious water gulping. Anyone who doesn't speak Swedish is also disadvantaged when trying to enjoy Let the Right One In because of the strange casting choices made for the voice actors to use for English dubbing. When you've already cast an actor as a bully who is significantly shorter than the person he's supposed to be bullying, it's not the wisest decision to then choose a female voice actor for the bully's dubbing. It's almost impossible to believe that the character of Oskar could ever be intimidated by the nasal little dweeb who nips at his ankles in Let the Right One In. The American film features Dylan Minnette as the bully, who is actually bigger than Kodi Smit-McPhee's central character, and who can actually pull off a menacing performance. Other actors in the American film are superior, as well. Chloe Grace Moretz's performance as Abby was justifiably star-making and Richard Jenkins delivers a much deeper turn as Abby's protector than his Swedish counterpart. Let the Right One In has a few strengths Let Me In doesn't (Ika Nord as Virginia, for example) but Let Me In is better at getting profound themes across while trimming excess fat from the story. As such, it's the American adaptation that most effectively portrays the lengths human beings will go to in order to protect love, and the bone-deep ache which comes from outliving it.

#7: Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead

"Did nazi coming" get it? Get it?? Yay, puns!
"Did nazi coming" get it? Get it?? Yay, puns!

The original Dead Snow is decent, but mainly useful as a preamble to this movie. Having seen it will make Stig Frode Henriksen's role in the sequel more amusing, but is otherwise unnecessary. Seeing Dead Snow 2, however, is absolutely necessary for anybody who doesn't hate fun. This movie is a blizzard of extreme gore and unpredictable, non-stop hilarity. Despite the comedic elements, Red vs. Dead's zombie nazis are still deadly and grotesque, which helps the movie succeed as a horror film as well as a comedy. It's far less profound than some of the other entries on this countdown, but it also has more replay value. Like the kind of replay value where you might consider starting the movie over the moment it ends and watching the whole thing again. It's that entertaining.


#6: Oculus

"Help, this mirror ate my butt and elbows!"
"Help, this mirror ate my butt and elbows!"

Oculus is the type of horror movie that likes to keep you guessing about what exactly is going on from one moment to the next. Just when you think you've got it figured out, it jolts you with another surprise. Neither the viewer nor the characters can ever be entirely certain that reality is what they think it is, which heightens the level of dread this movie inspires. Karen Gillan delivers an intense performance as Kaylie Russell, who is convinced the terror she and her brother (Brenton Thwaites) lived through as children was not just a delusion caused by a psychological break, as his therapists suggest. Katee Sackhoff is heartbreaking and frightening as the children's mother, who seems to be a favorite target of the demonic mirror the movie is named for. Good acting, an original premise, an unpredictable screenplay and an unflinchingly brutal ending make Oculus a well-rounded horror experience that's difficult to beat.

#5: The Mist

Starring Andrea, Dale & Carol from Walking Dead
Starring Andrea, Dale & Carol from Walking Dead

The Mist is one of the few films which has Oculus beat on brutal endings. I'd go so far as to say the ending of this Stephen King adaptation is one of the most fearless, emotionally wrenching finales ever filmed. This is also possibly Thomas Jane's best performance yet aside from Dirty Laundry, a short-film on Youtube in which he reprises the role of the Punisher. The Lovecraftian beasts which wander into our world from other dimensions are plenty threatening, but they aren't the scariest element of The Mist. The scariest part is the opportunistic religiosity of the arrogant Mrs. Carmody (in an amazing performance by Marcia Gay Harden), who is able to incite a fearful throng of survivors to obey her every whim, even when it involves bloodshed. Laurie Holden, Sam Witwer, Toby Jones, William Sadler and many other talented folks also star in this apocalyptic thriller from director Frank Darabont.

#4: The Children

You shouldn't have made them eat brussel sprouts
You shouldn't have made them eat brussel sprouts

If you have children, I'm sure they're lovely, non-homicidal cuties, who never come down with mystery illnesses that kind of resemble a zombie virus. So I hope you won't be offended when I say that Tom Shankland's movie The Children makes me exceedingly glad that I have none. I want to be able to keep watching and enjoying this really friggin' scary movie about tiny tots with a severe case of bloodlust, but I could never do that if I had children of my own. Because there are legal consequences if you lock your children out of the house and refuse to take care of them, even if you're doing it because a horror movie convinced you they're a threat to your life. And they say it's a free country. Hmph.

#3: Suspiria

Black Swan's got nothin' on Suspiria
Black Swan's got nothin' on Suspiria

From the insanely stabby opening sequence to the fiery showdown of the climax, Suspiria is 92 minutes of pure gonzo horror excess as only Dario Argento can deliver. The plot can be a little hard to pin down at times, but Susie Harper holds it all together with her performance as the vulnerable yet inquisitive Susie Bannion. The film's sets feature lush, vibrant color clashing with endless pools of shadow, increasing the viewer's sense that Susie could accidentally wander away from safety and into a nightmare whenever she turns a corner or enters a room. The film's score (provided by Italian progressive rock band, Goblin) cranks the terror up to the next level as characters writhe in pits of barbed wire, get their throats torn out by their best friends, or get their chests stabbed open so that it will be easier to see their heart (to stab them in it). Needless to say, Dario Argento is not of the "less is more" school of gore in horror cinema. In fact, I doubt Mr. Argento has ever uttered the words "less is more" about anything. Because that sensibility led to the existence of Suspiria, I salute him for staying true to his artistic vision.

#2: The Exorcist

"Meet my vestigial forehead twin, Bob."
"Meet my vestigial forehead twin, Bob."

People warn the uninitiated all the time that a certain horror classic is "the most terrifying movie ever." No other classic horror film lives up to that hype as well as The Exorcist. The first time I watched it (around age 11), I was freaked out for days afterward. Which made me want to watch it again, naturally. Now I've seen it countless times, but it still has the ability to creep me out. Director William Friedkin elicited incredible performances from Linda Blair as Regan and Ellen Burstyn as her mother. For whatever it's worth (something that's pretty debatable these days), The Exorcist represents one of the few times a horror movie has been decorated with Oscar gold. It won a statue each for its screenplay and sound, and was nominated for eight others. This is without a doubt one of the scariest and most well-crafted horror films ever made. But my personal number one favorite horror movie of all time is...

#1: The Scream series

The horror series about how scary horror fans are
The horror series about how scary horror fans are

Now you know what I meant when I warned you that I was cheating on my choice for the top slot. I don't feel any shame about it, either. You see, Scream is simply one of the most intelligent and original horror franchises of all time. Its devotion to character is something the genre could use more of. Most importantly, it's the franchise that stars the incredible Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott; hands down, the best final girl of all time. Sidney is the perfect combination of vulnerability and resourcefulness, and the scripts for these films tend to be well-balanced between putting Sidney in grave danger and letting her give as good as she gets. Dewey and Gale are strong, memorable characters in their own rights, but Sidney is the one who really carries these films. Since Scream is one of the few horror series to use the same central protagonist in every film in the franchise, and since Sidney Prescott is a badass in every single installment, I couldn't stomach the idea of not including her entire story arc in my countdown of favorites. Especially because the entire series is more or less a love letter to the horror genre, and each installment has something unique to say about the specific "rules" of different types of fright flicks.

The movie that saved horror
The movie that saved horror

When the first Scream came out in 1996, the horror genre was sputtering out at the box office. The few new horror films that were released were mostly drab and forgettable. It didn't seem like anyone involved with them even cared what they were doing. As a diehard horror fan, I remember fearing that I would mostly have the classics and slashers I'd already seen to satiate my need for scary movies, since it was looking unlikely that many new horror films I'd actually want to watch would be greenlit. Along came Scream to deliver just the kind of kick in the pants that the horror industry needed. Suddenly, there was a fun, energetic, humorous, but ultimately still scary horror movie making mondo bucks at the box office and garnering mostly positive reviews from critics. Scream made moviegoers from all over savvy to the "rules" of a horror movie, hence challenging all future horror filmmakers to give us something we haven't seen before (not that all of those fimmakers have so far proven equal to the task). Lightning had been caught in a bottle and horror movies would never be the same.

Jerry O'Connell is less douchy here than in Piranha
Jerry O'Connell is less douchy here than in Piranha

When Matthew Lillard's character in Scream blurts out "These days, baby, you gotta have a sequel!" I allowed myself to hope that meant a Scream 2 would someday exist. Soon after, I heard that my prayers were answered: a sequel had been greenlit and Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette and Jamie Kennedy were all set to reprise their roles. In chapter 2 of the Scream saga, viewers get to learn about the "rules" of horror movie sequels, all while observing the ways Scream 2 inverts them. Sidney Prescott really comes into her own in this one, displaying some defensive moves we didn't know she was capable of in the first installment and proving just how resilient she is. Also, in my opinion, (and I may be in the minority here) Jada Pinkett-Smith's opening sequence performance in Scream 2 is even more riveting than Drew Barrymore's in the first film.

In which the Lance Henriksen requirement is met
In which the Lance Henriksen requirement is met

Scream 3 shook the franchise up a bit. New wrinkles such as Ghostface being able to mimic other people's voices rather than just modulate his own were things that I welcomed and found interesting, but some Scream purists weren't huge fans of. Personally, I think this film gets an unfairly bad rap simply because Kevin Williamson (screenwriter for Scream and Scream 2) passed the torch to Ehren Kruger this time around. Though some moments are definitely over the top (the exploding bungalow, for example) it's hard not to think that was an intended part of the film's commentary about how excessive the third installments of most movie series tend to become. There's much to love about Scream 3. The ghost of Sidney's murdered mother is used against her to a greater degree than before, making her more vulnerable and bringing her closer to emotional breakdown than we've previously seen her. In keeping with tradition, we get to learn about the "rules" of trilogies. Parker Posey's Jennifer Jolie is one of the best characters in the entire Scream franchise, and snags many of its best lines. Her interplay with Courtney Cox's Gale Weathers is great fun to watch, and helps the viewer invest in both characters. It all culminates in an intense, well-crafted showdown between Sidney and the latest iteration of Ghostface that is impeccably acted by Neve Campbell and her co-star (who I obviously cannot reveal without giving away Ghostface's identity).

The chapter that redefines the word "lemonsquare"
The chapter that redefines the word "lemonsquare"

I know I wasn't the only one who felt a tingle of anticipation when I found out a fourth Scream was on the way 11 years after the release of Scream 3. So much had happened within the genre and the culture as a whole in that time which seemed ripe for some Scream-style satire, and my interest was further piqued by the trailers which proclaimed "New decade, new rules." Those new rules pertain to reboots, which Scream 4 ostensibly sort of is, and no sooner are they established than they're turned on their head, in typical franchise form. This final Scream underwent some script re-working and reshoots of a couple scenes, and ideas from Kevin Williamson, Ehren Kruger, and probably some other people ended up in the finished product. As a result, Scream 4 has more rough edges than the other films in the series. It's also the scariest, darkest and most hardcore of the 3 sequels, and its commentary about both cinema and culture is even sharper than before. Neve Campbell is arguably more compelling than ever as Sidney , who has put her life back together and is determined not to be victimized any further, and Wes Craven is in top form, like he always is when directing a Scream film.

"Halloween" isn't a personal favorite. Deal with it
"Halloween" isn't a personal favorite. Deal with it

Those are my favorite horror films. Not necessarily the ones with the most critical acclaim across the board, or the same ones you would pick, but the ones that mean the most to me, personally, and/or scare me the most effectively. In compiling this list, there were many other films I love that ultimately didn't make it. Below is a list of some of those Honorable mentions:

- Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers: If you love the Halloween franchise, this might be your least favorite installment. If, like me, you generally dislike the franchise, this might be a highly enjoyable (and scary!) exception.

- Final Destination 3: For some reason, the only movie in the Final Destination series I have any use for. It could be that the opening sequence with the roller coaster is just so effective at building tension. Or the presence of Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Or the nail-gun-meets-human-face scene. Regardless, I just really dig this silly little movie.

- The Birds: Alfred Hitchcock. Killer birds. A classic. You have to respect how good this movie is despite the limitations of the era.

I'll take a sequel to this now, please & thank you
I'll take a sequel to this now, please & thank you

- Hellbent: A gay slasher film. Some of the characters are a little stereotypical and the script seems to feel a responsibility to preach safe sex that a slasher targeted at heterosexual audiences probably wouldn't bother with, but there's still really cool, smart stuff here. A couple of the cat-and-mouse chase sequences are among the best I've seen in slasher films, and it's always a welcome switch-up to have a final guy as the lead instead of a final girl.

- Hatchet: Victor Crowley is kind of a reimagined, amped up Jason Voorhees. This movie is awesome and all, and has a lot of replay value, but I already have the "real" Jason Voorhees in my top 25, so the character inspired by him will have to settle for an Honorable Mention. Sorry, Vic.

- We Need to Talk About Kevin: I'm not sure this movie would quite qualify as horror if it wasn't for the chilling performances of Ezra Miller as the titular Kevin and Tilda Swinton as his mother. There's no way I can describe to you why this movie is so disturbing without giving too much away. Just watch it.

Do zombies have sex with each other? Find out here!
Do zombies have sex with each other? Find out here!

- Dance of the Dead: The poster above tells you a lot of good things about why I might pick this one as an Honorable Mention. It doesn't tell you why it's not in my Top 25, so I'll fill you in on that part: It's not Zombieland, and Zombieland is slightly better. Only slightly, though. And that's saying a lot. Zombieland is waaaaay better than most other movies.

- The Ugly: A surreal, gory and shocking film that invites the viewer to figure out if a serial killer is guilty of his own actions, or being compelled by a malevolent influence.

- The Conjuring: Another well-crafted James Wan horror film starring Patrick Wilson (this time joined by Vera Farmiga). Though it's ultimately it's own story (and allegedly based on a true one) The Conjuring is slightly too reminiscent of other films to quite break into my Top 25. Plus, I'm still not sold on that title. I mean, nothing exactly gets "conjured" in the entire movie. Everything was already there.

- In the Mouth of Madness: Cheesy and melodramatic at times, this John Carpenter movie is still creative, energetic and scary. It does a decent job of screwing with your mind and making your skin crawl. And watching Sam Neill go batty is just good times.

- Jeepers Creepers and Jeepers Creepers 2 : The first movie seemed like it should have been a little longer (and maybe cut out the part about the Creeper using underwear to track potential victims) and the second one could have paid more attention to a few of the characters in its large ensemble. Still, these are solid, exciting horror flicks over all, and the Creeper is certainly one of the most gruesome and original movie monsters to come along in a while.

"This new face peel is just DIVINE, darling!"
"This new face peel is just DIVINE, darling!"

I could keep talking about scary movies I love all day, at least. Instead, I'd rather issue a challenge to my fellow horror fans to tell us what your favorite horror films are (especially if your choices are different than mine). What would make your Top 25?


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