Let's be honest: when it comes to horror, it's not everyone's cup of tea. It's an acquired taste which leaves some breathless for more and others trembling behind the couch. For me, watching horror usually involves 90-minutes of staring at my own hand, which is a shame because the genre has crafted some of the most brilliant storytelling to grace the silver screen, and launched dozens of iconic characters into the global psyche.
So I have conducted a very scientific and totally non-biased list of movies to help on those nights when you want to curl up with your loved one, and tentatively suggest one of your favorite horror movies, knowing full well he/she will be hiding behind a pillow within the first 30 minutes.
1. 'Zombieland' (2009)
Zombieland is not a horror, it's more of a comedy with a lil' zombie action thrown in. Good for an introduction to blood and guts, but lacking in any real terror.
2. 'It Follows' (2014)
Intriguing, plot-driven story about sex and the supernatural. You'll want to know what happens, which will keep you watching.
3. 'Signs' (2002)
Let's be honest, Signs is a little crap, but that's why it's good for beginners. There's enough there for a few good jumps, but really you just want to see the aliens. I also saw it when I was probably too young.
4. 'Jeepers Creepers' (2001)
A little scary, and quite bloody and gross. It's not full-on, but it's a solid bet. If you want less scary, more ridiculous, try Jeepers Creepers 2.
BONUS: The Classics
Freddy, Jason, Michael, Chucky — these are all solid bets when first venturing into the realm of horror. They're also a little cheesy, so probably won't leave you with too many sleepless nights.
Intermediate Jump Scares
5. 'The Babadook' (2014)
Considered a modern classic, and a must-see for fans of film as well as horror.
6. 'The Others' (2001)
The movie that finally made me okay with creepy, atmospheric haunting movies! I still love this film, and it still terrifies me to this day.
7. 'Paranormal Activity' (2007)
Another must-see, even though now the formula has been done to death. Jump scares galore, and the realism totally sells it. A lil' spooky, watch with caution.
8. 'Silence of the Lambs' (1991)
Acquaint yourself with Hannibal Lecter but keep the pillow handy.
Let's turn it up a notch...
9. 'The Purge' (2013)
Great concept, a little bloody, a little OTT. Nothing mind-blowing but good, old-fashioned fun.
10. 'The Strangers' (2008)
If home invasion isn't your bag, maybe avoid this one. If you've built up the resilience, go right ahead!
11. '28 Days Later' (2002)
The one thing that hasn't scared me half to death is zombies — ambling, slow, comedic zombies. Introducing 28 Days Later! The film that entirely shattered that for me.
12. 'Thirteen Ghosts' (2001)
I think I saw this when I was 13, and it was terrifying, but I survived. If a teenage me can do it, so can you.
Batshit Crazy Bloodbaths
This is for all ya'll who've made it through and are looking for some real terror.
13. 'Hostel' (2005)
Eli Roth's acclaimed torture porn flick is well known for its graphic and violent imagery. If it's gore you want, as well as a compelling story, Hostel is for you.
14. 'Saw' (2004)
For those of us who aren't well versed in the ways of terror, Saw is a tough ride — but totally worth it (until about Saw 3).
15. 'Baskin' (2015)
That's it, you've made it, congratulations. There is nothing more I can do for you now. Go forth, young horror freak, and embark on a journey of fear and adrenalin.