Top Ten Favorite Horror Films

In honor of this auspicious day, here is my personal list of top ten favorite horror films:

10. Halloween (1978 version). Most of the film is just building… building… building… to that last half hour or so. You couldn’t do that today and make it work. And the music is just unforgettable.
9. The Howling. This was just about the perfect werewolf movie for me, especially with the notion of how the werewolves would attempt to deal with modern society.
8. The Omen (1976 version). Creepy kid and a terrific Gregory Peck. I’m one of the few people I know who also likes Damien: Omen II and The Final Conflict.
7. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978 version). This movie absolutely creeped me out when I first saw it.
6. The Mummy (1999 version). Indiana Jones meets Christopher Lee. Great fun and some gross effects.
5. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984 version). What made this movie for me was the fact that the dream sequences were so much like real dreams. When she’s running up the stairs and her feet are sinking into them? Terrific visual.
4. The Haunting (1963 version). What I love about it is that even at the end you don’t know what you just saw. Was it really ghosts? Was it Nell experiencing a subconscious telekinetic event? Or was it all an hallucination? It really could be any of those; I love the ambiguity.
3. Alien. I maintain that this is just as much a horror film as it is a science fiction film. The mood and tension are extremely well done, and there are plenty of “gotcha” moments to make you jump.
2. Horror of Dracula. I love all of the Hammer horror films, and chose this as a representative. It’s all about atmosphere with them, and they do it right. Even the worst of the films plot-wise make up for a lot of it with their great atmosphere.

And my all-time favorite horror film…

1. The Bride of Frankenstein. Of all the old Universal monster films, this one is far and away the best. It’s a terrific sequel; it expands the original material and takes it to new places. Plus the touches of humor and the wonderful characters just make this a joy to watch.

Please feel free to share some of your own favorites in the comments!

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Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

5 thoughts on “Top Ten Favorite Horror Films

  1. Hmmm… here's my 10 (in no particular order):
    1] Alien
    2] The Thing (1982 version)
    3] The Shining
    4] Let Me In (tied with Let the Right One In)
    5] The Exorcist
    6] Friday the 13th (1980 version)
    7] 28 Days Later
    8] Halloween (1978)
    9] Paranormal Activity
    10] The Blair Witch Project

  2. 1) Night of the Living Dead
    2) Messiah of Evil
    3) 28 Days Later
    4) Ginger Snaps
    5) Suspiria
    6) The Wickerman (Original)
    7) May
    8) The Dead Hate the Living
    9) The Killer Shrews

  3. I like all your choices. I would probably add The Evil Dead (original), Race with the Devil, Session 9, and Black Christmas (1974) which is a shamefully overlooked horror gem and IMO one of the most frightening movies ever made.

  4. Don't really have a top 10, but just a few that I always end up watching again and again.

    Carpenter's The Thing as well as the Hawks version. Both are good, but Carpenter's really capatalizes on paranoia and the slow build technique that it practically snaps in half at the end.

    The Shining. Either version, actually, but for different reasons. The original because of the psycidelic imagery and brain hurting wierdness of it, the miniseries because of its faithfulness to the original novel and themes of alcoholism, failure, and dysfunctional families.

    House on Haunted Hill. Both versions, again for different reasons. The remake simply because it's flat out entertaining and because it has some remarkably creepy moments that just do so well. The original Castle version for all the obvious reasons even if it was a bit shlocky.

    The Huanting, original version. Only horror movie to frighten me in broad daylight.

    There are others . . .

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