My Current Top 25 Favorite Horror/Suspense Movies starting with #25

  • XXV. The Omen (1976) (Directed by Richard Donner)
  • XXIV. Suspiria (Dario Argento)
  • XXIII. Se7en (David Fincher)
  • XXII. Rosemary's Baby (Roman Polanski)
  • XXI. Scream (Wes Craven)
  • XX. Hellraiser (Clive Barker)
  • XIX. Wes Craven's New Nightmare (Wes Craven)
  • XVIII. The Descent (Neil Marshall)
  • XVII. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1973) (Tobe Hooper)
  • XVI. Night of the Living Dead (1968) (George A. Romero)
  • XV. The Thing (1982) (John Carpenter)
  • XIV. The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock)
  • XIII. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick)
  • XII. Misery (Rob Reiner)
  • XI. The Evil Dead (Sam Raimi)
  • X. Dead Alive (Peter Jackson)
  • IX A Nightmare on Elm Street (Wes Craven)
  • VIII. Halloween (1978) (John Carpenter)
  • VII. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock)
  • VI. Dawn of the Dead (1978) (George A. Romero)
  • V. Alien/Aliens (Tie) (Ridley Scott/James Cameron)
  • IV. Poltergeist (Tobe Hooper)
  • III. The Exorcist (William Friedkin)
  • II. Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme)
  • I. Jaws (Steven Spielberg)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Look at me Damien! I do it all for you! A closer look at "The Omen"

One of the best religious themed horror films in history is Richard Donner's 1976 chiller "The Omen" starring Gregory Peck. The movie revolves around the character Damien who is a young boy and happens to be the Antichrist. There are plenty of shock moments throughout the film highlighted by one scene in which a character is decapitated by a sheet of glass. Donner keeps the scares and suspense in high gear throughout the movie. What are your thoughts on "The Omen?"


One of the most stylish and artistic horror films in history is Dario Argento's "Suspiria." The Italian director is known for creating fright films that are long on style and short on substance or plot. "Suspiria" is a surreal nightmare of a movie. It is full of sensory images many of which are horrifying. It is a film that is very dreamlike in its nature. The music by "Goblin" is mesmerizing and perfectly suited for this bizarre world Argento has created. The music is chilling and it is among the best music in horror film history. There is plenty of gore and violence in this film like most of Argento's films. Argento is a master of colorful images and "Suspiria" represents the best this director has to offer. There is no horror film quite like "Suspiria." What are your thoughts on "Suspiria?"

Saturday, April 26, 2008

What's in the box?! A closer look at "Se7en"

Director David Fincher has crafted many good thrillers but his "Se7en" stands above all of them. It is an excellent crime thriller about a psychopath played by Kevin Spacey, who indirectly murders people who have committed one of the seven deadly sins (Pride, Sloth, Gluttony, Lust, Envy, Greed, and Wrath). This is a very suspenseful film with plenty of tension. The acting from Morgan Freeman and Bratt Pitt is very solid. The ending to the movie is unexpected and quite memorable. It is the best serial killer film since the masterful "Silence of the Lambs." What are your thoughts on "Se7en?"

Friday, April 25, 2008

"Rosemary's Baby"

One of the best psychological horror films in history is Roman Polanski's chiller "Rosemary's Baby." Polanski doesn't go for cheap thrills but instead sends shivers down your spine with scenes of psychological terror. There is very little blood and gore in the film but there is a disturbing scene in which Mia Farrow's vulnerable character is raped by the devil himself. This is one of the best horror films that has a religious or occult theme. The other films would be "The Exorcist" and "The Omen." This particular film focuses on Mia Farrow's character giving birth to the Antichrist. The entire film is suspenseful, unsettling, and very well directed and acted. What are your thoughts on "Rosemary's Baby?"

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I want to know who I'm looking at: A closer look at "Scream"

The film that revitalized the horror genre in the 1990's is "Scream" which was directed by Wes Craven of "A Nightmare on Elm Street" fame. The film is a horror film about people who like horror films and know the rules about how to survive if they were a character in a horror movie. The movie is fun, cool, and stylish. The opening scene in the movie is masterfully conceived by Craven and writer Kevin Williamson. There are some nice plot twists in the film which surprise the viewer. There are plenty of references to other horror films throughout the movie which make it even more entertaining. The movie is violent but most of the gore is contained to the opening and closing scenes. All of the actors in the film seem to be enjoying themselves. This is one of the best horror/psychological thrillers of the 1990's. What are your thoughts on "Scream."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

We'll tear your soul apart! A closer look at "Hellraiser"

"Hellraiser" is Clive Barker's directorial debut and it is also his best film. This is one nasty film out of Great Britain. It is gruesome, gory, gooey, and gross. Characters attempt to summon pleasure, but instead wind up summoning pain and agony through a puzzle box. They are basically ripped to shreds by hooks that come flying out of nowhere. The Cenobites are the villains in "Hellraiser" and they are lead by the incredibly intimidating Pinhead played by Doug Bradley. He is one of the most evil characters in the history of horror films. He wants nothing more than to keep his victims in perpetual agony. The film is quite violent, but the story is definitely interesting and Barker's direction keeps the horror movie enthusiast entertained throughout the film's run time. What are your thoughts on "Hellraiser?"

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"Wes Craven's New Nightmare"

The second best film in the "Nightmare on Elm Street" series is in my opinion "Wes Craven's New Nightmare" which happens to be the seventh film. The original film, also directed by Craven, is my favorite but "New Nightmare" is one very clever and scary film. Craven, who also wrote the script, blurs the line between reality and fiction. The hideously scarred villain Freddy Kruger crosses over from the popular horror movies into the lives of the actual actors who played the characters in the movies. The movie is a great deal of fun. Craven keeps the scares and suspense coming. There is violence and gore but nothing too sickening for viewers with weak stomachs. What are your thoughts on "Wes Craven's New Nightmare?"

Monday, April 21, 2008

"The Descent"

One of the most unsettling and claustrophobic films to come out of Great Britain in years is Neil Marshall's horror movie "The Descent." It concerns a group of women who decide to go explore a cavern they have never explored before only to come face to face with monstrous creatures. This is the best film ever made which has a cave as its primary setting. The director Marshall does an excellent job of making the audience feel like they are right there with these women. The film is certainly scary. In addition to the real possibility of getting lost in this cave these female characters have to survive hordes of threatening creatures. The film has its fair share of violence and gore but nothing is taken to an extreme. There is also plenty of tension and suspense throughout the film and the ending is quite memorable. What are your thoughts on "The Descent."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hit 'em grandpa. A closer look at "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"

"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" which was released in 1973, is based on actual events that happened in Texas, and it is this knowledge that makes the movie that much more horrifying. Tobe Hooper directed this film in almost a documentary fashion which seems to have a greater impact on the viewer than a regular horror movie would . The material is completely disturbing. A group of teenagers stumble upon a house where a cannibal family lives and are disposed of one by one. The main villain is Leatherface who simply has no concept of morality (like the rest of his family). He is one of the most menacing villains in horror film history. The scene where he appears for the first time with his skin mask on and drags his victim back to his "workshop" is nothing short of terrifying. The film is indeed violent but the violence is not very explicit especially for today's standards. There are a few cringe inducing sequences though. This movie is certainly scary and the movie generates plenty of tension. It is one of the best horror films of the 1970's. What are your thoughts of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre?"

Saturday, April 19, 2008

He's coming to get you Barbara. A closer look at "Night of the Living Dead"

George A. Romero is recognized for creating the zombie film and "Night of the Living Dead" was his first. The movie was, and remains to this day a genuinely scary film. The film was released in 1968 and was considered quite violent and bloody for its time. The movie still has the power to shock and repulse the viewer. There are plenty of unforgettable images of zombies eating human flesh. This movie is the movie for which all other zombie pictures are judged. It is a highly influential horror film. Horror directors today who are interested in making a zombie film need to look no further than "Night of the Living Dead" for inspiration. I personally prefer Romero's sequel "Dawn of the Dead" beacuse I believe it has a bit more entertainment value, but I recognize "Night of the Living Dead" to be the more important film in horror movie history. What are your thoughts on "Night of the Living Dead?"

Friday, April 18, 2008

You gotta be f***ing kidding me. A closer look at "The Thing" (1982)

John Carpenter is responsible for directing one the most freakish and bizarre films in cinematic history. His "The Thing" delivers some of the most astonishing and jaw-dropping visual effects I've ever seen in a movie. In addition to the impressive visuals, Carpenter provides plenty of suspense and tension throughout the film. The "blood test" scene stands out as the most intense sequence because the viewer has no idea which character is infected by "The Thing." It simply isn't who you think it is going to be. Kurt Russell leads a solid cast and John Carpenter provides the music (as he often does in his films), but the real standout in this movie is the disturbing visuals and makeup. This movie is a remake, but Carpenter makes it his own and is very successful in creating a sci-fi horror classic. What are your thoughts on "The Thing?"

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A closer look at "The Birds"

Alfred Hitchcock was one of the few directors that could make a film about birds genuinely frightening. He succeeded in a major way. "The Birds" is simply one of the most suspenseful movies involving killer animals in the history of film. Hitchcock builds the suspense and tension with every scene. There are many memorable scenes in the picture most notably the scene involving the birds gathering on the school playground jungle gym. Hitchcock was a master of suspense and "The Birds" represents one of his finest suspense movies. What are your thoughts on "The Birds?"

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Heeeeeeeere's Johnny! A closer look at "The Shining"

Jack Nicholson gives an extremely entertaining performance as the increasingly psychotic character Jack Torrence in Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece "The Shining." The movie is based on Stephen King's horror classic but Kubrick makes it his own. He creates an atmosphere of dread throughout the film. There are scares and shocks aplenty to be found here. Kubrick makes the setting of "The Overlook Hotel" scary. The scene where young Danny rides his big wheel around the halls of the hotel, and then comes face to face with the two ghosts of the girls who were brutally murdered by their father, is genuinely frightening. As good as Kubrick's direction is, the movie belongs to Nicholson, who steals every scene he is in as the deranged caretaker. The movie has some substantially violent scenes as well as some nudity but none of it is over the top. This is an excellent horror movie which features one of Nicholson's best performances and one of Kubrick's best directing jobs. What are your thoughts on "The Shining?"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I'm your # 1 fan: A closer look at "Misery"

Rob Reiner's "Misery" is based on the excellent horror thriller by Stephen King concerning a writer who is held hostage by a crazed fan. The movie captures much of the mood and intensity of the novel. It is a tremendously suspenseful movie. The writer, Paul Sheldon, is played by James Caan who does a fine job of displaying his agony and helplessness. Kathy Bates plays Annie Wilkes who holds Sheldon hostage and forces him to write a novel for her. Bates gives an amazing performance and the Oscar she won for this role is greatly deserved. She is truly psychotic and menacing. She gets into this role with reckless abandon. The director Reiner is successful in building more and more tension with each scene. The Annie Wiles character becomes increasingly demented as the movie progresses. The movie has one extremely cringe inducing scene which is virtually unbearable to watch (if you haven't seen "Misery," watch it and you will know what I mean). I was very impressed with this adaptation of one of Stephen King's best novels. What are your thoughts on "Misery?"

Monday, April 14, 2008

Join Us! A closer look at "The Evil Dead"

Stephen King called "The Evil Dead" a "ferociously original horror movie" when it was released in the early 80s. He was correct. It is both ferocious and original. This movie is not for the squeamish. It is extremely bloody and gruesome. The violence is taken to such an extreme that it becomes cartoonish. Consider the premise: When demons possess a group of college students who are vacationing in a remote cabin in the woods they must be dismembered by the unaffected students. This is roller coaster ride of a movie. The director, Sam Raimi, keeps things moving at a very fast pace. His direction is full of imaginative camera work and his script is full of bizarre scenes. Take for instance the girl getting raped by trees or the poor student taking a sharp pencil to the ankle. You will not see things like this in most other horror movies. The acting in the movie is decent enough. Bruce Campbell plays Ash who proves to be up to the task of taking on the demons. This film is the best of the "Evil Dead" trilogy because it is the scariest and because it is pure horror. What are your thoughts on "The Evil Dead?"

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I kick ass for the Lord: A closer look at "Dead Alive"

Years before Peter Jackson directed "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "King Kong" he directed arguably the bloodiest horror film in film history. "Dead Alive" is one disgusting movie. It is also one of the most inventive and original horror movies ever made. It boasts one creatively gruesome scene after another. The collection of characters founds in this movie add a significant amount of humor to the movie. There is a Nazi doctor, a Ninja Priest, and an annoying zombie baby who are involved in the most hilarious scenes in the film. All the blood and gore in the film is balanced by the considerable humor. Peter Jackson created a truly imaginative piece of work with "Dead Alive." There is no other movie quite like it. What are your thoughts on "Dead Alive?"

Saturday, April 12, 2008

One, Two, Freddy's coming for you: A closer look at "A Nightmare on Elm Street"

Wes Craven is a well known director in the horror genre and it is "A Nightmare on Elm Street" which he is most recognized for. This represents his best work because it is very imaginative and original. He also created the horror icon Freddy Krueger which countless children around the United States have dressed up as for Halloween. The premise that a psychopath can kill his victims in their dreams is truly terrifying. Robert Englund plays Krueger to the tilt. He makes him incredibly menacing and evil. The film also marks the movie debut of Johnny Deep and he appears in one scene involving a geyser of blood that will be remembered for a long time. The movie is tremendously scary and unsettling. The music in the movie is perfect because it creates a constant ominous tone. "A Nightmare on Elm Street" is among the best horror films of the 1980s and it certainly is best film of the long series. What are your thoughts on "A Nightmare on Elm Street?"

Friday, April 11, 2008

Was that the boogeyman? As a matter of fact, it was: A closer look at "Halloween"

This is one influential horror film. Released in 1978 and directed by John Carpenter, "Halloween" has led to countless slasher imitations. "Halloween" is the best film of its type ever made. Some people might be a little disappointed with the lack of blood and gore in the movie. I think the movie is plenty scary and suspenseful without the excess violence. It is directed by Carpenter in an expert way. The film works because it is minimalistic and restrained. There is a purity about it. I believe this represents Carpenter's best work. The music for the movie was also composed by Carpenter and it is the most memorable music in the history of the genre. Like the movie itself, the music is minimalistic. It is very simple but very chilling and effective. The actors due a serviceable job for the movie. Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis and Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode are the standouts in the movie. The rest of the cast are just incorporated into the movie so they can be disposed of by the relentless psychopath Michael Myers. "Halloween" is a classic and the best slasher movie ever made. What are your thoughts on "Halloween?"

Thursday, April 10, 2008

We all go a little mad sometimes: A closer look at "Psycho"

"Psycho" is one of two Alfred Hitchcock films that was given an "R" rating. "Psycho" which is Hitchcock's best film in my opinion will always be best remembered for the shower scene in which Janet Leigh's character gets stabbed to death by Anthony Perkins iconic Norman Bates. Bates is one of the most infamous villains in cinematic history. The film is filled with typical Hitchcock suspense and mystery. This film just happens to have the most suspense and scares of all his films. His direction and camera angles are masterful in this film. The acting by Leigh and Perkins is exceptional. The music by longtime Hitchcock collaborator Bernard Hermann is timeless. "Psycho" is a horror/suspense masterpiece film that will be imitated and studied for decades to come. What are your thoughts on "Psycho?"

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

When there is no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth: A look at "Dawn of the Dead" (1978)

One of the very best horror films of all time, let alone the 1970s, is George A. Romero's classic zombie film "Dawn of the Dead." It is an incredible viewing experience. The film which delivers plenty of scares and gore is also a terrific social commentary on consumerism. The setting of the shopping mall for the majority of the picture is priceless. The zombies have invaded the shopping mall because it is what they remembered doing for most of their lives when they were regular human beings. This movie is my favorite of Romero's zombie pictures because of the entertainment value and because the movie has something to say about society, which I believe is that we have become too materialistic. The makeup and gore effects by Tom Savini, who worked with Romero on some of his other films, is outstanding. The music by "The Goblins" (who also did the very creepy music for "Suspiria") is certainly memorable in this movie albeit a little weird at times. The acting is reasonably good considering most of the actors in this film are not household names. The movie is not for anyone with a weak stomach. There is blood splattered throughout the movie. It is extremely violent but I think most people know what they are getting into when they sit down to watch a zombie movie. When you sit down to watch "Dawn of the Dead," you are in my opinion, going to experience the best zombie picture in film history. What is your opinion of "Dawn of the Dead?"

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

In Space No One Can Hear You Scream: A closer look at "Alien" and "Aliens"

Ridley Scott's 1979 film "Alien" may have the single most shocking scene in horror film history. You know the one I'm talking about. Yes, it is the scene at the dinner table where John Hurt's character has a very unfortunate moment where the Alien that has been living inside him decides to burst out of his chest. The alien scatters down the table and out of sight. The rest of the film concerns the crew of the spacecraft trying to fight for their lives against "The perfect organism" as Ash's character states. The film is full of terrific suspense and shock moments. It is great entertainment from beginning to end. It is one of the very best creature films ever directed. What is your opinion of "Alien?"

James Cameron's 1986 film "Aliens," the sequel to the excellent "Alien," is even more intense than the original. Cameron is known for action and this film is loaded with it. It is a relentless picture that rarely gives you a chance to catch your breath. The violence is virtually nonstop. This time around, there are more aliens, and it is the movie where the "Queen Alien" is introduced. Like "Alien," this movie is filled with suspense and thrills. It is not for people that have heart conditions. In my opinion, it is James Cameron's best film. What is your opinion of "Aliens?"

Monday, April 7, 2008

They're Heeeeere! The #4 movie on my list: "Poltergeist"

Released in 1982, Tobe Hooper's "Poltergeist," in my opinion, is the scariest ghost story ever filmed. It is also one of the scariest "PG" rated films ever made ("Jaws" being the other). The story is by Steven Spielberg and it is full of frightening moments. From the old tree crashing into the kids room to the demonic clown trying to strangle the boy. The most unsettling and disturbing aspect of the film is the Carol Anne abduction by the "TV People." We later learn she is held hostage by "The Beast." The movie is chock full of terrific visual effects especially for the early 80's. The music by Jerry Goldsmith is atmospheric and often chilling. The acting is solid throughout especially Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams as the parents trying to keep it together despite all the bizarre happenings taking place in their household. The directior, Tobe Hooper, who also directed the terrifying "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," did a brilliant job with "Poltergeist." It remains and will remain one of my favorite scary movies. What are your thoughts of "Poltergeist?"

Sunday, April 6, 2008

It's an excellent day for an exorcism: The #3 Movie on the List: "The Exorcist"

William Friedkin's "The Exorcist" is one disturbing and scary film. Released in 1973, it had people passing out and vomiting in theaters. It is a visceral film with plenty of shock moments that include the pea soup vomit, the spinning head, and most memorably, the crucifix masturbation scene. It is not restrained horror by any means. The film is so well directed, and the acting (particularly by Linda Blair as the girl possessed) is so convincing, that everything presented on screen is believable, that is, that this could very well happen and supposedly did happen to a child in Georgetown. Demon possession is a terrifying thought and "The Exorcist" is the best film ever on the topic. What are your thoughts on "The Exorcist?"

Saturday, April 5, 2008

I'm having an old friend for dinner: The # 2 movie on my list: "The Silence of the Lambs"

Winner of Best Picture, Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins), and Best Actress (Jodie Foster) for 1990, "Silence of the Lambs" is a masterpiece. It is flawlessly directed and acted from the first frame to the last. Anthony Hopkins gives an unforgettable performance as Hannibal Lecter, the brilliant cannibal who assists the vulnerable and inexperienced FBI rookie Clarice Starling, played terrifically by Jodie Foster. The movie has many memorable scenes highlighted by the exchanges between Lecter and Starling and the scenes involving the Buffalo Bill character, played by Ted Levine, who preys on women so he can use their skins. Truly disturbing material elevated to art by director Jonathan Demme. A truly great American suspense film. What is your opinion of "The Silence of the Lambs?"

We're going to need a bigger boat: "Jaws" The # 1 movie on my list

"Jaws" which was released in 1975 is my favorite horror/suspense movie of all time. Steven Spielberg who directed the film created a masterpiece. It was the movie that started the whole concept of the summer blockbuster. It was incredibly influential. It gave so many beachgoers second thoughts about entering the water and with good reason. The movie depicts horrific scenes of swimmers becoming meals of a 25 foot Great White shark. Everything about the movie is excellent from the acting of Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss to the unforgettable music of John Williams. It ranks as one of Spielberg's finest films and one of the greatest movies ever made. Feel free to give your thoughts on "Jaws."

What are your favorite horror/suspense movies?

I composed a list of my favorite horror/suspense movies starting with number 25 and counting down to number 1. Let me know what your favorite horror movies are and if you think my list is a good one. Are you surprised with any of the movies on my list and do you think I have unwisely left any off?