DISCLAIMER: Joel's 'Top 25 Horror Films For Halloween' is just for fun. It's tied in with my 'Top 50 Films Of All Time' list that I put together several months ago. This specific list was requested by my good friend Sheena. This list is actually a direct tie in to episode 3 of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour'. On that show, I go down this list and detail out my thoughts on these films and why they're included. You will notice that some entries have multiple films listed. That's because they're tied together in some way and deserve to be included together. Again, this is my own list and you can do with it what you will. Now, I will also have a follow up post to this one, that ties in with the show as well. It's a list of honorable mentions and horror/comedies that are awesome, but didn't fit on this list. If you disagree, that's okay. These are strictly my opinions and mine alone. I'm posting these early in the month, so you have time to work your way through the list before Halloween.... if you're so inclined. Anyway, that's it. Let's get it on!
# 25: The Last Man On Earth
This is the film, in my opinion, that started what would become the Romero zombie craze. This Vincent Price classic is more about vampire like creatures than zombies, but they sure act like the undead and this has the same feel. If you haven't seen this, you need to. Brillance.
# 24: the August Underground trilogy
This entry on my list will probably draw some questionable looks from some of you. As a series of horror films, these rank right up there with the big budget classics. What Fred Vogel created is something far to realistic and disturbing that it demands an audience. These films are to recent indie horror what 'Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer' was to indie horror of the past. trailer for 'August Underground':
trailer for 'August Underground':
trailer for 'August Underground: Mordum':
# 23: The Descent and The Descent: Part 2
What you have here is a series of horror films that taps into our fears of being trapped and the unknown. It also has some scary ass monsters that are somewhere between vampires and zombies. The first film is amazing and surprisingly, the second one is just as good! If you have a chance, watch them back to back and turn out all the lights. It's a great ride.
trailer for 'The Descent':
trailer for 'The Descent: part 2'
# 22: Scream
You may be letting out a big groan right about now, but let's look at this seriously. What Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven did.... was bring back horror into the mainstream. Granted, it had some adverse side effects and a lot of mediocre 90's teen horror PG-13 flicks that resulted. However, it also allowed a lot of other films to get made. Hollywood realized that there was a big market for being scared. For that, you have to see why this made the list.... and I also think it's a damn fun film. So there.
# 21: [REC] and [REC]2
There aren't too many Spanish films that make lists like these. It's not to say that there isn't great Spanish horror out there, it's just few and far between still. What these two films did is inspiring. They led to two American remakes, 'Quarantine' and 'Quarantine 2: Terminal' and helped to further the zombie subgenre of plague or virus films. If you haven't seen these, they're both fantastic and there are two more films in the works for this series, before it ends.
trailer for '[REC]':
trailer for '[REC]2':
# 20: Hostel and Hostel 2
Again, you're questioning my choices. I, personally, think that Eli Roth is one of the best of the new class of horror directors. You may only know of the 'Hostel' films because of the whole "torture porn" buzz words. I hate those words. You really just need to come into these two films with an open mind and you might just see what I see. Two very entertaining films, with a dark and twisted center.
trailer for 'Hostel':
trailer for 'Hostel part II':
# 19: Haute Tension aka High Tension
If I was to make a list of my favorite horror directors of the past 20 years, Alexandre Aja would be on that list. This was his breakout film and even if you think it was confusing and already been done.... you can't deny how great it still is. This film oozes horror, but with such beautiful cinematography and storytelling. It is one of the reasons I fell in love with French horror. If you haven't seen this, now would be a good time to go and watch it.
# 18: Halloween 2 (1981)/ Halloween 2 aka H2 (2009)
By now, you may have stopped reading this list and wondered what in the hell was wrong with me. If not.... stay with me, it's going to be a fun ride! And after that's been said, it brings me to the 'Halloween' franchise follow up films. John Carpenter left the franchise after part 1 and left it up to Rick Rosenthal to pick up where he left off. I think he did a great job and 'Halloween 2' fits perfectly in with the original and sometimes is even better. Rob Zombie's version was done by him and continues on with his original vision. It is considered by most to be a big, gory dud. I think it's what slasher films could be. More than just dead bodies.... there's some thought involved. That's just my 2 cents worth.
trailer for 'Halloween 2' (1981):
trailer for 'Halloween 2' aka 'H2' (2009):
# 17: The Ring (2002)
Before you cry FOUL! at my decision to include this, have you seen this remake? I know that the J-horror remake trend is played out, but this one was at the beginning and (I think) surpasses the original. I may be a Naomi Watts fan and that may skew things a bit, but I still firmly believe this is a great horror film that deserves a place in the countdown.
# 16: Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn
You know, I really shouldn't have to even mention this cult classic. Everyone should see this once. End of story.
# 15: Let The Right One In
Best. Vampire. Film. Ever. This is a cinematic masterpiece of horror filmaking. A pitch perfect film.
# 14: 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later
You've got to hand it to Danny Boyle, the man seems to do no wrong. He also brought the idea of running zombies back into vogue. Granted, these films are about plague/virus victims and not zombies, but it's a subgenre of that genre. These films are a perfect two part storyline with a third, yet to be written.
trailer for '28 Days Later':
trailer for '28 Weeks Later':
# 13: The Devil's Rejects
According to most reviewers, Rob Zombie's best film to date. I love it and think it's way above average for a horror film.... hell, a lot of non-horror films too. However, it's not my favorite Rob Zombie flim. Regardless, this is a must see.... but watch 'House of a 1000 Corpses' first!
# 12: The Shining (1980)
What list would be complete without 'The Shining'? A classic and one that still scares me when I watch it. Jack Nicholson at the peak of his game.
# 11: A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
It's kind of funny, this film is a classic. However, everytime I re-watch it, I'm not sure that it holds up as well as we'd all have liked. Don't get me wrong, I still love it and Freddy is a horror icon.... despite some increasingly bad sequels.
# 10: Dawn Of The Dead (2004)
Here's yet another remake/reboot, however, it doesn't do better than the original. Despite that, it's still one of the best horror films of the new decade! It made zombies scary again and paid homage to its roots.
# 9: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
You can't deny that this film deserves to be on just about every best of list for horror there is. It's a classic that inspired generations of film makers after it was released and is constantly being studied. If you haven't seen it, you should.
# 8: Psycho (1960)
The slasher film is a staple of modern horror, but have you seen where it all began? And don't let the age of the film fool you. It is equally as good as anything that's out there right now. Hitchcock was the master.
# 7: Night Of The Living Dead (1969)
I love zombies. I've said it 100 times before. This is the film that started it all. (Just make sure the version you see is endorsed by George A. Romero, as this film is public domain and anyone can mess with it.)
# 6: Halloween (1978)/ Halloween (2007)
I love both versions of 'Halloween'. I think John Carpenter set the stage for the modern masked slasher and Rob Zombie brought it into the modern era. (Perhaps, not entirely by himself.) Both of these films are a staple to watch during the Halloween holiday.
trailer for John Carpenter's 'Halloween':
trailer for Rob Zombie's 'Halloween':
# 5: The Blair Witch Project
This is one of the films that everybody loves to hate or at least pretend they don't like it. I have never waivered in my love of 'The Blair Witch Project'. Ever since I first heard about it, I was hooked. It is one of the only films that I can watch anytime, anywhere and always get the chills at the end scene. I LOVE IT!
# 4: The Exorcist (1973)
This is, quite possibly, the scariest film ever made. I have a hard time watching it to this day. I tried to read the book once and got sick. There is something about this film that is not right, but that's what makes it the classic that it is.
# 3: Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead
This film is so amazingly disgusting, but also one of the most entertaining films you might ever see. I can't say enough good things about this film. However, it is NOT for everyone! You have been warned.
# 2: House Of A 1000 Corpses
This film is one of my all time favorite films, horror or otherwise. I seriously considered putting it in the #1 spot, but I think the #1 film edges it out just a bit. I've seen 'House of 1000 Corpses' so many times that I've lost count. I can put it in anytime anywhere. It's a 70's gritty throwback and can be difficult to watch at times.... but don't let that sway you. It is amazing. I love you, Rob Zombie.
# 1: Dawn Of The Dead (1978)
This is it.... my favorite horror film. I love this film for so many reasons. Despite it's laughable special effects and the fact that it's so dated, it still could go toe to toe with just about any modern zombie flim ever made. I had my love of zombies begin after seeing this film.