Welcome back to the top 100 horror film countdown! Keeping things chugging along here are the next 10 films in the list! To recount, I used a three prong ranking system (historical significance, scare factor and enjoyability) to try to corral the films into some semblance of a list. You can view previous entries here: #100-51 #50-41
40. I Know What You Did Last Summer – Do you remember the time horror movies starred young nubile actors and were actually good? A product of the 90s genre redefining slasher flicks, this movie starred Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr., and Ryan Philippe at the height of their popularity and makes good on just about every horror cliche. But it’s such a fun romp of a movie, with terrifying deaths and harrowing chase sequences thrown in for equal enjoyment.
39. The Others – Chilling and clinical, this ghost tale is proof that you can have a twist that both compliments and enhances the story. Part of Kidman’s one-two punch that year, its one of her best performances. Also, the sound design for this movie is in the top 10 all time for horror films.
38. Misery – All hail Kathy Bates! Every horror film has to have a good villain and Bates’ Oscar winning turn as Annie Wilkes is one of the best. This one of the best adaptations of a Stephen King novel, drawing on both the humor and terror of the novelist’s tome.
37. Suspiria – This giallo horror film directed by Dario Argento plays like Black Swan‘s old more worldy cousin who isn’t afraid to get dirty. With one of the best scores and some truly creepy scenes it was assured a place in the top 50. Arguably the best color pallet of any horror film, Argento uses reds and blues and shadow juxtaposed with the gore and scares to create a memorable thriller.
36. [REC] – Much of the alure of found footage is the immediacy that it brings to the proceedings. Add that to the already claustrophobic setting of being trapped in an apartment building with infected goons just waiting to eat you and you’ve got [REC] the supreme Spanish horror film. That final shot still haunts the mind.
35. Repulsion – The mind can be a scary place and none more so than that of someone descending into madness. A major staple in the “Women Who Lie to Themselves” genre (thanks to Nathaniel Rogers for that), Roman Polanski’s film is so claustophobic that no matter where you turn you can’t escape the horrors.
34. Final Destination – Much like the Saw franchise, the Final Destination series has become content with being bland repeats. But nothing can take away the peverse fun that was watching death come for each of the people involved in the first Final Destination film. All of the deaths are memorable and creepyu, but it’s the calculated nature that the filmmakers took to this sensationalist story that made it such a great film.
33. Cloverfield – The best American monster in years, Cloverfield certainly built up itself from that amazing first trailer. This film lived up to the hype and was a blast from start to finish (I still get shivers thinking about that night vision scene in the tunnel). More of an all out assault than a composed thriller, there are many allegories that can be made to 9/11 which give me hope that horror films can go back to their societal commentary days of the 70s.
32. Seven – Horror films don’t necessarily have a formula that they follow in order to make them horror films. However, Fincher’s sojourn into darkness more that fits the mold of a world where bad things happen and everything has high stakes, two key elements successful horror films have. The art direction and makeup are flawless and the performances of Pitt and Freeman are so lived in and world weary. Spacey has never been more clinical, or more fun than here.
31. Nosferatu – Who’d have thought that a “rip off” of the original Dracula would be the best film of the tale? Nosferatu is the best version of the Dracula tale, seamlessly blending German expressionism with Stoker’s dreamscape. I’ll never know what possessed them to shape the creature the way they did, but the grotesque face and claws are fascinating, it’s no wonder they became iconic.