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Poll: Best Horror Movies?


The Descent - My vote for best horror film of its decade

Today I want to brainstorm a list of the best horror movies. Any era is fine. Any subject is fine. I do, however, want to make a distinction based on my own experience with horror films:

I just want them to scare me. I’ve been bored by plenty of horror movies that are mainly just gory, and I’ve been frightened by films that show no blood at all but are unbearably suspenseful or that let events unfold in just the right way so that that delicious creeping dread sets in. And there have been wonderful combinations of the two.

I guess that’s a roundabout way of saying I don’t preemptively dismiss a movie because it’s billed as violent/gory/gross.

That said, I really don’t watch that many horror movies.

Feel free to list according to whatever your own definitions and preferences are.

Here are a few of my own favorites:

The Descent (2005)

Being lost in a cave is scary. Being lost in a cave full of monsters that don’t actually show up for the first half of the movie turns out to be way scarier.

Don’t Look Now (1973)

Grief in Venice! Psychics! A little figure in a red coat that is always just out of reach! Knives! Jack Bauer’s dad!

Frailty (2001)

One of two movies in which Matthew McConaughey didn’t annoy me in any way. Bill Paxton plays a father whose mission from God involves meting out justice to “demons.” But the demons look like people…because he’s crazy and they are really are just people. The most unnerving part of Frailty is that he wants his kids to participate.

Paranormal Activity (2009)

I’m a sucker for found footage movies.  I saw Blair Witch opening weekend, I absolutely loved Cloverfield, I found Rec to be a wonderfully scary movie, and its sequel even managed to please, but I like Paranormal Activity better than all of these others. The premise is very simple: a couple films themselves at night while they sleep. Bad things happen in their house while they’re asleep, escalating into a memorable ending that made me laugh even though my heart was beating pretty fast.

I could go on all day–guess I watch a fair amount of horror after all…but I want to see what you guys are into as well.

I’d love to hear about your favorites.


PS: I forgot John Carpenter’s The Thing, based on the story Who Goes There? I had to mention it. A truly scary film.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • spencer throssell October 10, 2011, 12:03 pm

    When I was about 9 years old, I saw part of some version of “Night of the Living Dead” on television. Just that clip (a zombie kid knocks on another kid’s bedroom window at night, asking to be let in. If memory serves, the kid lets him in, and is promptly eaten), gave me nightmares for years.

    The Exorcist films also scare the crap out of me!

  • Your sister October 10, 2011, 12:05 pm

    The Descent is my favorite. Remember when we went to see it together and you dislocated your thumb? I also like Poltergeist. Josh I was trying to find When Darkness Loves Us at our library and they didn’t even have it in the database. I want to read it!

    • Josh Hanagarne October 10, 2011, 12:25 pm

      Somehow, yes, I still remember that.

    • Michelle October 11, 2011, 8:52 am

      I agree, I also love Poltergeist. Actually, I watched Poltergeist II last night. I can’t believe I’d never seen it before. As expected, it wasn’t near as good. And the ending was hokey. There’s actually a Poltergeist III too.

      • Josh Hanagarne October 11, 2011, 9:48 am

        I think Poltergeist is pretty close to perfect.

        I thought Poltergeist 2 was pretty cheesy. Sweat lodge! I also remember Coach puking up some giant tequila worm shortly after telling his wife “A man has needs!”

        • Michelle October 11, 2011, 9:51 am

          Yeah, that’s pretty much all I got out of it too.

        • Sarah October 11, 2011, 11:20 am

          Ewww, all I remember from that movie is that scene…and I still won’t drink tequila because of it.

  • Ryan October 10, 2011, 12:07 pm

    Not much for horror myself, but I did like Stir of Echoes with The Bacon. I also loved The Frighteners, which Peter Jackson directed.

    • Josh Hanagarne October 10, 2011, 12:25 pm

      Hey, you’ve got to love The Bacon.

      • Sarah October 11, 2011, 11:27 am

        Since we’re discussing horror movies, when I saw “The Bacon” all I could think about was that Randy Quaid movie “Parents”…”Dad’s bringing home the bacon!”

  • Catherine Deane October 12, 2011, 9:52 am

    The Grudge, Spiral, Shutter, the Ring….I like creepy movies with girls who have unusual powers of appearing places or who move in a surreal way. If I had one choice of super power it would be teleportation, although the ability to regenerate/come back to life might be pretty good too.

    • Josh Hanagarne October 12, 2011, 12:03 pm

      As someone who has been spending time in airports, I would choose teleportation in a heartbeat!