This is a pretty difficult list to put together as I love so many horror movies that to pick my top 10 was almost impossible. I also felt that it was way too difficult to put the list in any kind of order, so because of that they are in no particular order.
MY TOP 10 MOVIES:
1. 28 Days Later (2002)
Director: Danny Boyle
Cast: Alex Palmer, Bindu De Stoppani
Plot: Four weeks after a mysterious incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.
This was the beginning of a completely different zombie for me. Usually they were slow and cumbersome. Not any more. With this movie zombies ran and they ran fast. Out of all the beasties of horror, zombies scare me the most. I think it’s because however a zombie was created it was indiscriminate, anybody could be infected and it spread quickly. It meant that there was a possibility of everyone you know could be a zombie and then come after you to take a bite. A possibility of no government, no police force, no doctors; just you, totally and utterly alone *shudders* I had nightmares after watching this movie.
2. The Exorcist (1973)
Director: William Fredkin
Cast: Ellen Burstyn, Max Von sydow, Linda Blair
Plot: Based on the novel written by WIlliam Peter Blatty. When a teenager is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.
I was born in the year this movie came out, but I know that it caused mayhem when it did. People actually threw up in the cinema and passed out – could you imagine that happening today? That’s why this film is in my top ten. It’s a classic and it broke new ground. Nowadays it’s hard to get me to even jump. I would have loved to have felt that terror, that much fear just from watching a movie. If you watch it now, it’s so dated. It’s such a shame when films don’t look how they did originally, but it happens to them all.
3. Scream (1996)
Director: Wes Craven
Cast: Courteney Cox, Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Drew Barrymore
Plot: A psychopathic serial killer is stalking a group of teens just like in the movies!
This film was the rebirth of the slasher movie. It was so brilliant it became one of my favourite horror movies of all time after just the first scene. Drew Barrymore was brilliant and the timing of her demise was completely original and utterly unexpected. This is a classic for me. If you haven’t watched it yet, you must!
4. Jaws (1975)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Schneider,
Plot: When a gigantic white shark begins to menace the small island of Amily, a police chief, a marine scientist and a grizzled fisherman, set out to stop it.
I loved this movie. I was fairly young when I watched this and it had my heart pounding. The opening scene is just genius and this was the start of my love affair with all things Steven Spielberg. I love all him movies so this had to be in my list. Now the shark looks ridiculous but in the seventies, when this film was released, this was state of the art electronica and it was so realistic that the film caused panic every time a shark was seen close to the beach. People were actually frightened to enter the water and that for me just shows the power of film.
5. Halloween (1978)
Director: John Carpenter
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence
Plot: A psychotic murderer institutionalised since childhood escapes on a mindless rampage while his doctor chases him though the streets.
The original slasher movie. The music alone caused the hairs on my whole body to raise up. Although there have now been a zillion sequels, prequels and re-makes of this movie, this one will remain the best. It’s a classic within the genre.
6. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Director: John Landis
Cast: David Nauton, Jenny Aguitter
Plot: Two American tourists in England are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists.
This is a brilliant showcase for how horror and comedy go hand in hand. One minute you’re laughing the next you are jumping out of your seat. This movie, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, was released 28 years ago. When you watch it now, it is dated and the werewolf scene is nothing like the graphics we see today. But back then it was so real. I can still hear the crunch and crack of the bones and they morphed from human to were and it made my skin crawl. One of my favourite scenes is where the two guys are lost on the Yorkshire moors and it’s all jokes and then BAMB! They get attacked. One of the guys is mauled and it’s as gruesome as any horror movie of that time. Absolute classic.
7. Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Director: Jonathan Demme
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster
Plot: Based on the novel written by Thomas Harris. A young FBI cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims.
I think this is one of my favourites because of the cast as well as the story and direction. I love Anthony Hopkins, but most of his films were pretty serious, so when he was cast as Hannibel Lecter I thought that it was a weird choice. But he became Hannibel Lecter and totally creeped me out. He was just brilliant and I think because he had never played a part like that before, it made him all the more sinister.
8. Poltergeist (1982)
Director: Tobe Hooper
Writer: Seven Speilberg
Cast: Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams
Plot: A family’s home is haunted by a host of ghosts.
This is such a great supernatural horror. “There here” is probably the most famous line from the movie. But it isn’t just the words, uttered 5 year-old Carole-Anne as she pressed herself against the television screen showing nothing but white noise, that made this phrase so spooky but more the way she said them.
9. The Omen (1976)
Director: Richard Donner
Cast: Gregory Peck, Lee Remick
Plot: An American ambassador learns to his horror that his son is actually the literal antichrist.
Satanised children always freak me out in films and I think this one does it like no other. The child is pure evil and whoever played the character did a great job. There was a remake of The Omen recently and it was really bad. The kid was laughable. So, if you want a good fright rather than laugh, watch the original.
10. The Shining (1980)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall
Plot: Based on the novel written by Stephen King. A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.
I love Nicholson, he’s one of my favourite actors, and I just loved him in this. He was just completely crazy and his portrayal of Jack Torrance chilled me to the bone.