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The Conjuring / The Babadook / It Follows

The Conjuring (2013) Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse. The first James Wan movie to appear on the list, and the first of like a thousand movies in the greater "Conjuring universe."  Most of them tend to not be very good.  But they came from a solid foundation. I wouldn't say this movie brings a ton of new ideas to the table.  Even for a Wan movie - Insidious predates it by a few years.  Wha

Drag Me to Hell / I Saw the Devil / The Cabin in the Woods

Drag Me to Hell (2009) A loan officer who evicts an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse. Sam Raimi's triumphant return to horror. This movie is so much fun.  And so Raimi.  I can only imagine how many theatergoers went into the cinema thinking they were watching the next Saw or Hostel, and were just completely befuddled by what they were seeing.  In true Raimi fashion, physical comedy is once again the name of the day, almost making th

Trick 'r Treat / Let the Right One In / The House of the Devil

Trick 'r Treat (2007) Five interwoven stories that occur on Halloween. My favorite horror anthology film of all time.  This.  Not Black Sabbath, not the Creepshows, not Tales from the Darkside, not Cat's Eye, not Tales from the Hood, not V/H/S, not Three Extremes, not Trilogy of Terror, not Body Bags, not From a Whisper to a Scream, not The Monster Club, not Nightmares, not The ABCs of Death, not All Hallow's Eve, not Tales from the Crypt (the movie), not... well, you get the ide

Slither / Pan's Labyrinth / The Mist

Slither (2006) A small town is taken over by an alien plague, turning residents into zombies and all forms of mutant monsters. I cannot overstate how much I love this movie.  Between the stellar cast, led by an in-his-prime Nathan Fillion, playing a wonderful set of characters, with endlessly quotable and hilarious dialogue, and the huge number of incredibly disgusting scenes (which continuously top themselves)... like, I cannot speak enough superlatives about this movie.  It is

28 Days Later / Dawn of the Dead / The Descent

28 Days Later (2002) Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary. Here it is.  The film that changed horror forever. Do I think that change was for the better?  Yes, yes I do.  Seems like a pretty open-and-shut case to me.  Things got real visceral, real fast after this, which is exactly the sort of shake-up the genre needed to keep things fresh. Nowadays, I think the film still stands strong.  C

American Psycho / Session 9 / Dog Soldiers

American Psycho (2000) A wealthy New York City investment banking executive, Patrick Bateman, hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he delves deeper into his violent, hedonistic fantasies. I remember back in high school, I had a discussion with my mother about this movie.  Since we're both fans of horror, I was convinced she needed to watch it.  She had other ideas.  She had heard stories from her friends about how insanely messed up the book was

Ringu / The Sixth Sense / Audition

Ringu (1998) A reporter and her ex-husband investigate a cursed video tape that is rumored to kill the viewer seven days after watching it. I have to be honest, and admit that I was rather torn on whether to include the original Japanese movie, or the American release here.  That may be sacrilege to some corners of the horror community, but I don't care.  The remake brings a lot to the table, including a stellar job by Naomi Watts, and a few subtle changes that amp up the scares.

Event Horizon / Mimic / Deep Rising

Event Horizon (1997) A rescue crew is tasked with investigating the mysterious reappearance of a spaceship that had been lost for seven years. Hellraiser in space.  Did I make that up, or was that like a critic's quote used to promote the movie?  I don't remember, but it fits. Actually, lets call it Solaris, but stuff actually happens. Or how about Sunshine, before Sunshine was a thing. Whatever you want to call it, this is (yet another) movie I watched young (in t

Army of Darkness / In the Mouth of Madness / Seven

Army of Darkness (1992)   A sardonic hardware store clerk is accidentally transported to 1300 A.D., where he must retrieve the Necronomicon and battle an army of the dead so he can return home. I've bought this movie five times.  Initially, I got the director's cut as one of the very first DVDs I ever owned.  Then I got the edition that came bundled with the theatrical cut.  Then I bought the blu ray.  Then I bought the fancy Scream Factory version of the blu ray.  Then I bought t

Arachnophobia / The Silence of the Lambs / Dead Alive

Arachnophobia (1990) A new species of South American killer spider hitches a lift to a small California town in a coffin and starts to breed, leaving a trail of deaths that puzzle and terrify the young doctor newly arrived in town with his family. Did I mention that I had a fear of spiders growing up?  Because I still hate them.  Wouldn't touch one to save my life.  They're disgusting, they're all hair and legs and fangs, and they give me the willies.  Spiders suck. When I s

Hardware / Night of the Living Dead / Misery

Hardware (1990) The head of a cyborg reactivates, rebuilds itself, and goes on a violent rampage in a space marine's girlfriend's apartment. Hardware answers the age-old question:  what it would be like if Blade Runner was set entirely within someone's high-rise apartment?  Also, a killer robot slaughters everyone.  And there's also this extremely creepy neighbor who spies on the main character having sex and says some of the most disgusting shit this side of a porno fi

Pet Sematary / Tales from the Darkside / Jacob's Ladder

Pet Sematary (1989) After tragedy strikes, a grieving father discovers an ancient burial ground behind his home with the power to raise the dead. King superfan, remember? To be clear, I think there's room for improvement with cinematic Pet Sematary adaptations.  This movie is pretty damn good, but it can't hold a candle to the novel, arguably one of King's best novels (if not singular best), which is commonly cited as one of the scariest books ever written.  That's a tough a

Killer Klowns From Outer Space / Waxwork / Society

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) Aliens who look like clowns come from outer space and terrorize a small town. When I was a kid, we had cable, but none of the premium channels.  None that is, until the occasional free trial came around.  And every time we had a free trial for HBO, this movie would be on repeat.  And I would watch it every time. For those who haven't seen it, it's exactly what it says it is.  Killer aliens, that look like clowns, and kill people with pop

Dolls / Evil Dead II / The Lost Boys

Dolls (1987) A dysfunctional family of three stop by a mansion during a storm -- father, stepmother, and child. The child discovers that the elderly owners are magical toy makers and have a haunted collection of dolls. Stuart Gordon's second appearance on this list. If there's one thing I like almost as much as killer kid flicks, it's killer doll flicks.  Again, I don't know what that says about me, it's just the way it is.  I guess they're just inherently creepy, which taps

The Fly / Hellraiser/ Street Trash

The Fly (1986) A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong. David Cronenberg's third and final selection on this list. The greatest horror remake of all time?  That would be The Thing.  But The Fly is a not-too-distant second.  I love the original movie, but this one runs circles around it.  Jeff Goldblum is spectacular as the "Brundlefly", subverting the nature of the accident in the or

Re-Animator / Aliens / Night of the Creeps

Re-Animator (1985) After an odd new medical student arrives on campus, a dedicated local and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments centering around the re-animation of dead tissue. Or as they put it in American Beauty... that movie where "the body is waIking around... carrying its own head, and then the head goes down on that babe." I mean, that's all you really need to know.  I don't even need to say anything else to justify this placement. Aliens (198

A Nightmare on Elm Street / Gremlins / Phenomena

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1985) Teenager Nancy Thompson must uncover the dark truth concealed by her parents after she and her friends become targets of the spirit of a serial killer with a bladed glove in their dreams, in which if they die, it kills them in real life. Take away the pop culture infamy, and millions of sequels, and what do you have?  Just Wes Craven's greatest movie, with one of the 1980's greatest horror villains. I mean, what an ingenious concept.  A horri

Something Wicked This Way Comes / The Thing / Body Double

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) In a small American town, a diabolical circus and its demonic proprietor prey on the townsfolk. The scariest Disney kids movie ever made?  Maybe.  It's this or Return to Oz, and that's some damn good company to keep.  Where else would the house of the mouse dare to show the main kid lead seeing visions of his own bloody decapitated head?  Nowhere, that's where... Also, it has Jason Robards AND Jonathon Pryce, at their best.  Can't beat

An American Werewolf in London / Poltergeist / Creepshow

An American Werewolf in London (1981) Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists. The first appearance of John Landis on this list. This movie is fucking hilarious.  Don't get me wrong, it's a horror movie, and not a comedy that just happens to have horror elements in it (ie Ghostbusters, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, etc.).  But for a horror movies, it's fucking hilarious. I don't wan

The Shining / Scanners / The Burning

The Shining (1980) A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where a sinister presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from both past and future. Stephen King superfan, remember?  And even though King himself wasn't the biggest fan of this adaptation (probably because he had already entered his booze and coke phase), I think the rest of the world is in agreement that it's sublime. This is yet another movie that I

Halloween / Dawn of the Dead / The Brood / Alien

Halloween (1978) Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois to kill again. John Carpenter's first appearance, and let me tell you, it was extremely hard not to populate this list with like 15 of his movies.  Even the lesser ones are so fun, and endlessly enjoyable, that I'm constantly watching them.  Hell, I bought an entire set of his films on DVD, and then

The Omen / Carrie / Suspiria / Invasion of the Body Snatchers

The Omen (1976) Mysterious deaths surround an American ambassador. Could the child that he is raising actually be the Antichrist? The Devil's own son? Make no mistake, The Omen is clearly a movie that was designed to one-up The Exorcist, with the campiness factor unintentionally ramped up to 11. But you know what?  I don't consider that a bad thing.  I'm down with camp.  And I'm down with this silly tale of Damien, the devil's son, and everyone around him dying in the gories

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre / Black Christmas / Deep Red / Jaws

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) Five friends head out to rural Texas to visit the grave of a grandfather. On the way they stumble across what appears to be a deserted house, only to discover something sinister within. Something armed with a chainsaw. It feels a bit lazy to have a bunch of the horror heavy hitters like this on the list.  I mean, everyone and their sister likes this movie.  It's why they remake it every three or four years, while always keeping the plot exactly

Sisters / The Wicker Man / Don't Look Now / The Exorcist

Sisters (1972) A small-time reporter tries to convince the police she saw a murder in the apartment across from hers. Mr. De Palma's first appearance on this list, with one of my favorite films of his.  One thing that will trend more and more as I get into the 1980s and 1990s, are certain beloved filmmakers showing up multiple times here.  You can probably guess what some of those films will be. This is a movie that I spent ten plus years waiting for an HD release.  It (and

The Birds / Rosemary's Baby / Don't Torture a Duckling / The Other

The Birds (1963) A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people. This is one of the few horror movies my dad showed me when I was super little, and I was traumatized for quite a few years.  I'd imagine birds coming for my eyeballs, pecking faster than I could react.  One day my mom brought home a pet parakeet of all birds, and I a
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