Top 10 Most Unforgettable Horror Films

Note: The list includes Hollywood films only. And these are not a list of the best horror movies but the most unforgettable for me. This is my list after all. Haha. This was originally written for crunkish.com. I know this post is too late for the Halloween but what the heck.

Why do we love watching horror films? Simple. We love being scared. Fear is one of the most powerful emotions. There are many types of fears and there are many things that people fear. One universal fear, transcending cultural barriers, is the fear of death. Although it is not the most common type of fear, if you try to analyse other fears, they all boil down to the fear of death. You do not fear darkness per se, you fear that there might be someone or something we couldn’t see that might threaten your life. You fear heights because you might fall and face a certain death. You fear snakes because it might bite you and inject some poison that would eventually kill you.

And because it is such a powerful emotion, fear of death is something that movies can use and play on effectively. People are emotional masochists. Although we know that we will get scared watching them, we still can’t get enough of them.

Horror movies elicit fear from viewers by using graphic violence or giving life to characters, often of supernatural origin, that will grab that fear inside us and give it terrifying shake. Here are my top 10 most unforgettable horror movies of all time.

10. Dracula (1931)

“I am Dracula. I bid you welcome.?

Enter the world of Count Dracula. After a very agonising drive through the Carpathian mountains, Reinfield finds himself in the castle of Dracula, who is a vampire. The sinister count drugs him and turns him into one of his poor thralls. After turning Lucy Weston into a vampire by sucking blood, the count focuses on her friend Mina, daughter of Dr. Seward. The doctor, then, asks for help from a specialist, Dr. Van Helsing, to detect the cause of the mysterious deterioration of Mina’s health. After realising that the count is indeed a vampire, Dr. Helsing prepares himself and Mina’s loved ones for what is yet to come and tries everything to prevent Mina from turning into a blood-thirsty monster.

If you are not the type who watches black-and-white films, you’ll be surprised to still get terrorized by the movie despite its lack of color. In fact, it helps in the overall effect of the movie. Dracula is considered one of the first classic American horror films.

9. The Others (2001)

“How do you keep them out, when they’ve already invited themselves in?“

Nicole Kidman‘s first attempt to star in a horror film was a great success both critically and in the box-office. She plays the role of Grace Stewart, an overprotective mother to her two children, both suffering from a rare ailment. The kids can’t be exposed to sunlight or they would die. Grace is determined to protect her kids from everything. But that proves to be very difficult as the house they are living in appears to be haunted. As the family and their household help are bothered by the presence of what they call “the others,? they discover one thing about them that will surely shake the sanity of the audience.

This movie is one of the top 10 highest grossing horror films of all time and it deserves every single penny. Critics are all raves about it, too. The minimalist approach sets this film from many in-your-face ghost and monster movies that are rampant in Hollywood. You will surely fear the “others? even when you don’t really see them. This movie successfully builds up the tension in the first hour only to blow your mind (in a good way) in the remaining minutes. The twist is completely nerve-wracking.

8. The Ring (2002)

“You will die in seven days.?

Another film in the top 10 highest grossing horror movies in the history of Hollywood is The Ring, remake of the 1998 Japanese film Ringu. Naomi Watts is a Seattle newspaper journalist who finds out that her teenage niece is scared to death literally one week after she watched a creepy nightmarish videotape (which doesn’t make any sense) at a motel cabin in some rustic area. She gets hold of the tape and watched the video only to find out that whoever watches the tape will die in seven days. To make matters worse, her sort of psychic son watches the tape, too. Now, she has to break the curse or they will die in seven days.

The premise of the story is horrific enough. Add the impressive cinematography, effective production design and beautiful direction, The Ring will scare all hell out of you. In fact, even after watching the movie, you will be thinking about it for weeks. You’ll start to wonder what will happen to the mother and son since the film is open-ended. You’ll also get paranoid of the unlabelled videotape sitting in one corner of your room. And whenever the phone rings, you will be scared to answer. The Ring really inflicts lasting terror on its viewers.

7. The Shining (1980)

“Come out, come out, wherever you are.?

This Stanley Kubrick film and Stephen King adaptation is the ultimate nowhere-to-hide movie. Jack Nicholson is Jack Torrance in this 1980 horror classic. Torrance is a novelist who takes the job of being the keeper of the Overlook Motels Inn standing in the Colorado Rockies. He accepted the job despite the knowledge that the previous caretaker, Grady, butchered his entire family and later committed suicide. He brings his wife and his son to the motel with him and stays there. His son turns out to have an amazing power called “the shining,? enabling him to have visions of the past and the future.

Despite being warned about the horrors in the motel, especially the sinister Room 237, Torrance chooses to stay until all hell breaks loose. Torrance is slowly driving into insanity, becoming more aggressive. Both his wife and son get convinced that Torrance is turning into the monster that Grady was.

6. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

“Believe me, you don’t want Hannibal Lecter inside your head. “

This masterpiece is one of the few horror movies to receive an Oscar nod for Best Picture. Starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins as the notorious psychopath Hannibal Lecter, this movie proves to be one of the most successful and the greatest psychological thrillers in the history of cinema.

It tells the story of Clarise Starling, an FBI agent, who tries her best to save a woman from the serial murderer Buffalo Bill. To help track down the criminal, she tapped the demented killer and cannibal Dr. Lecter. Hannibal fed them clues in exchange for better conditions. Soon, she will regret having the malevolent Lecter involved in the case.

This totally riveting horror flick is really an unforgettable fright-fest. If you watch this film, be sure to prepare a room in your nightmares for the seething Lecter, one of the most fiendish movie characters of all time.

5. The Sixth Sense (1999)

“I see dead people.?

The Sixth Sense created so much fuzz upon its release. This movie put M. Night Shyamalan on the map of tinseltown. It is the all-time highest grossing horror movie. It tells the story of a psychologist Malcolm Crowe (portrayed by Bruce Willis) who has a new patient, Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment). Cole claims that he can see dead people. Having just survived a near-death experience, Crowe accepts the case because it is different from all his other cases. Thinking that Cole was just having delusions, Crowe tries to get to the root of this madness in a very chilling process. Are Cole’s visions real? Are they just really delusions?

Shyamalan’s treatment is very subtle and silent. It will grab your weakness and squeeze it hard by not showing anything frightening at times that you are anticipating it. Just when you have released a sigh of relief, something will happen that will surely leave you gripping on your chair. This is an intelligent shocker with a wicked twist.

4. The Blairwitch Project (1999)

“I’m afraid to close my eyes. I’m afraid to open them.?

Another outstanding horror movie released in 1999 is The Blairwitch Project. This film is also one of the highest-grossing horror films ever. What sets this thriller apart from all the other flicks is its stark reality and simplicity.

The film was marketed as the videotape found in the woods months after three students entered the haunted forest for their school project. Watching the film, you will be made to believe that it actually happened and that what you are seeing is the actual footage of the trio’s entire ordeal. The film is like a documentary — no music, shaky camera, poor sound and terrible lighting. But these elements do not make it awful. In fact, they made it more effective and convincing.

Another amazing thing about the film is that the witch is never shown ever. This allows the audience to create your own image of the witch. Sometimes, what you have in your head is more fearsome than what any film can show you. You will just feel scared for the three characters as if you were in their situation, scared and helpless in the woods. It is like a psychological torture. You create your own monster and it will haunt you to death.

3. Psycho (1960)

“Mother! Oh God, mother! Blood! Blood! “

Alfred Hitchcock never got hold of an Oscar statuette all his life but he was able to produce countless memorable films. One of these is the classic Psycho, released in 1960. Marion Crane desperately wants a new life. She flees to the city of Phoenix in Arizona with a bag of cash she stole from her employer. On the way to her sanctuary, she stops at the seemingly normal Bates Motel. The hotel is being run by the ostensibly innocuous Norman Bates. Later, in a spine-tingling murderous way, Marion finds out that he is anything but.

Psycho is a suspense masterpiece. It started the whole craze over the slasher sub-genre. It is also Hitchcock’s last black-and-white motion picture. The celebrated director redefined the word “terror? in this famed psychological thriller. Today, almost half a century later, the film remains in the consciousness of the viewing public. The shower scene and its vicious musical score continues to haunt those who have seen this gripping horror spectacle.

2. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

“I just can’t take no pleasure in killing. There’s just some things you gotta do. Don’t mean you have to like it. “

Considered “the grandmother of all slasher films,? The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a complete fright-fest. It is also one of the greatest horror films of all time, inspiring several sequels and remakes. Based on the horrifying true story of Ed Gain, a group of five friends head through the back roads of the state of Texas on their way to the grave of a relative. While en route, they encounter a shady hitchhiker. The man slashes himself and his wife. They are able to eject the hitchhiker from the car but they are forced to stop looking for gas. They wander over a sinister house nearby.

What they failed to realize is that the house is owned by the ghoulish Leatherface and his demented family. The entire family are not just plain crazy and evil. They are also cannibalistic. Soon, they find themselves being hunted down by the family one by one in ways so gruesome it will make your stomach turn inside out. After you watch this film, seeing a chainsaw and going on a trip will never be the same again.

1. The Exorcist (1973)

“The power of Christ compels you.?

When it comes to unforgettable horror movies, The Exorcist is always on top of the list. It is one of the most shocking, most provoking and most sensational horror pictures of all time. It tells the horrifying story of actress Chris MacNeil and her only child Regan. As she begins to see odd symptoms such as violent seizures, the actress tries her best to determine what has been pestering Regan. She has consulted so many doctors but no one is able to give her a decent diagnosis. Finally, she desperately seeks spiritual help from Father Karras and Father Merrin.

Director William Friedkin‘s excellent adaptation of the famed William Peter Blatty‘s best-selling book successfully disturbs its audiences with petrifying scenes and powerful acting performances. Who would forget a possessed child screaming blasphemous words while self-mutilating and swiveling, intensifying all the fears in yourself. One of the highest grossing horror movies in Hollywood history, The Exorcist inspired a number of movies both remakes and parodies.

These horror films are really unforgettable not just because of their gripping storylines but also their excellent technical aspects. Truly, horror films will never die. As long as there’s a scary story to tell, there will be more horror movies that will haunt us even years after their release.
images courtesy of wired.com, timeinc.net, best-horror-movies.com, guardian.co.uk, washingtonpost.cpm, nst.com.my, imageshack.us, dailymail.co.uk, virginmedia.com, hauntedamericatours.com

Comments

  1. I’ve seen all these movies except The Shining, The Ring, and Dracula. But I gotta agree with your number 1 and 2 even though I’m not much of a horror fan. 😛 I remember watching the Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a kid out in the middle of nowhere. Our nearest neighbor was probably a couple of miles away. Scared the s#@t out of me. Haha. Good times. Good times.

  2. i wondered why “It” didn’t make it in this list. hehehe. from the list, its only psycho that i haven’t seen. probably because i am not really into classics, or is this classic to start with? i thought it is since its black and white and then i saw texas chainsaw. hehehe

      • Hi, I must say I really like this site. It’s informative and everything is well written. I loved your list of horrors, but I agree that “It” definitely should have made the cut! I’m a horror fanatic and classics are always the best. Pennywise the clown was a legend! I own quite a few classic horrors and my list of all time favourites would include- The nightmare on Elm Street series, The Friday the 13th series, the original Halloween, The evil dead, The Warlock series.

  3. I haven’t seen any of these movies except for The Shining. I don’t like watching horror movies, I’m a wimp. Besides, I just don’t like the idea of paying to scare yourself.

    Anyways, The Exorcist is off-limits in our house. The reason because my mom had a hard time sleeping for the whole three months after she saw this movie when she was still in college. Same happened to me with the Exorcism of Emily Rose. Didn’t sleep for weeks because every time I tell myself that it was only a movie it reminds me that it was based on True Story.

    • Havent seen the Exorcism of Emily Rose. I remember I so wanted to see it back in college but I chose Flight Plan instead. (Blame Jodie Foster.)

      I just don’t like the idea of paying to scare yourself.

      The opposite is exactly why i love watching horror movies in the theatre. 😛

  4. “The Ring” has to be the scariest movie for me so far. Good thing I didn’t watch it on the big screen. It gives me the creeps when the girl comes out of the teli! yikes!

    Chucky (Child’s Play) was also a good horror film.

    • hmm, for me, The Ring is much more effective on the small screen than the big screen.

      TV: watching alone, seeing that freaky little girl crawling out of your TV, and nanonood ka rin ng TV! It gives you the feeling that anytime now, the girl will crawl out of YOUR tv screen.

      As opposed to watching it in the theatre, you’re with dozens of people, and imagine if the girl crawls out of the screen, it’d have to be a giant ghoulish girl; which is more ridiculous than scary to me. hehe.

      AND YEAAAH! Loved Child’s Play 1, 2, 3!!!

      • Child’s play was good till they turned it into a comedy! So many legends are killed that way! I have seen waaaaaaaay too many horror films! 🙂 I just love the thrill! A few more good modern ones- The skeleton key, Shutter, The children, The unborn, The eye.
        The original Omen was good too!

  5. super katakot ang The Blairwitch project!
    the sixth sense, tama ka, wicked twist! kaloka ang ending.

    (hey guys, pls dont question yoshke why some films didnt make it in the list. after all, its his list)

    • wahaha, okay lang naman gravity. meron din kasi talaga akong films na nakakalimutan and it’s nice when i’m reminded of them.

      re sixth sense, actually, mas gusto ko ang The Others kesa Sixth Sense, haha.

  6. i think the most influential horror films shudve been on the list haha like HALLOWEEN or FRIDAY THE 13th and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Sixth Sense was a bummer! haha but good list tho!

  7. I’ve seen all these except Dracula and Chainsaw (1974).

    Kahilo ang Blairwitch Project. The 6th Sense is Shamaylan’s best film (only). Ganda ng twist ng The Others.

    Bakit di kasama ang Rocky (Rocky Balboa) series. Katakot kaya si Sly Stallone. Joke lang! =)

    • LOL @ Rocky.

      For me naman, Shyamalan’s best film is Signs. Haha. Next siguro, the Village. Hindi ko masyadong bet ang The Sixth Sense. haha

  8. hey! I’m on horror movies din. I watch those flicks and man The Others really gave me creeps. Chainsaw massacare….grabe….d ko kayang tingnan just like the wrong turn, saw, or final destination….Interview with the vampire is good to too though not that scary. Also the movie, the crow…

  9. I don’t really find the blairwitch project scary..it’s just kinda freaky…you know with the witches and everything..

    try the movie audition..it’s good..and you may also want to try cannibal ferox..it isn’t scary as in scary with ghosts and stuff…it becomes scary if you imagine it being done to you..and ya know what..it scared the hell outta me.!….and I wouldn’t recommend it to you if you don’t like gory stuff…trust me it’s not like what you are expecting it to be…

    • Cannibal Ferox? Why haven’t I heard of it yet? I have seen everything on this list and I agree that it belongs with the best. What about a list of the worst horrors? That should be a very long one and should consist of mostly new horrors! The crap they make these days is appalling!

  10. Ahhh, all of these are definitely unforgettable. Is Silence of the Lambs really considered as horror? But the Shining scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. I kinda wished IT would be on a list like this, but at the same time, the ending was very bad. Maybe…75% IT should be ranked somewhere.

  11. meron na din po nung “Shutter” remake ng hollywood. Can’t remember the cast nga lang. “The Others” naaalala ko ung time na first time ko pinan0od yan sa avr wayback highschool days. Hahah.. Impressive. 🙂

  12. Jeepers Creepers 1 and 2 must also be in the list. Am still waiting for its part 3. What’s taking it so long?

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