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Top Ten Horror Movies [According To One Lifelong Horror Fan]

It’s that time of the year again where the leaves change color, the air turns brisk and the neighbor checks in on me from inside my closet. He’s always looking out for me looking stoic in his pale white mask. It’s also the time pumpkin spice takes over every menu and I totally hate it. No, I would never get a pumpkin spice macchiato with a double shot of caffeine. I’m not that basic.

I love the age-old tradition of watching horror movies, locking the door, shaking under the blanket… I mean watching fearlessly with ALL the lights off. Whether it’s the cheap jump scares, the blood or the hopeless girl running down to the basement instead of going outside we all have our opinions on horror movies and here’s my top ten.

Honorable mentions:

What’s a top ten list without a few honorable mentions? These movies were at one time or another on my top ten list and I often went back and forth with a few of them to put on this list. Friday the 13th was a tough one to leave off the list, but after taking out the nostalgia factor, I just couldn’t forgive the bad acting and bad writing that plagued this franchise. Paranormal Activity is very close to making the list because of how it was able to frighten me with showing me nothing. When I was a teenager I watched The Blair Witch Project and I thought it was a real story. The actors did such an amazing job and the simple story of getting lost was just so believable to me leading to a different type of viewing experience. Would have loved to have seen this movie in the theatre. 

10. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

My first viewing came in 2018 and this George A. Romero masterpiece still holds up to this day. The film takes place in mostly one location and does an excellent job creating terror in a closed space. It sends a very chilling message: The horror isn’t necessarily the zombies, but what becomes of the survivors in the aftermath of an outbreak.

9. An American Werewolf in London

This movie hits a practical effect bone that I didn’t know I had. I’m not a huge fan of monster movies, but I had to put this in due to how well the humor is mixed in with the horror. The leading men, Jack and David have great chemistry which makes this movie fun and a breeze to get through. The comedy gives you a sense of relief which makes the scares that much more unexpected. 

8. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

An absolute classic when it comes to slasher horror. Freddy Krueger isn’t the comical dream murderer that he becomes in the sequels, but that’s why I chose the original. When the character is played seriously the terrifying knives and dream sequences are very creepy, but not too serious 2010 remake.

7. The Shining

Watching Jack Torrance’s slow descent into madness is terrifying. After my initial viewing, I was left with a sense of wonder as this movie takes you on a thrill ride that left me in circles. Seriously, that maze still has me dizzy. The tracking shot where Danny Torrance is riding his bike through the hallway and hearing the sound of the wheels hitting the hardwood to the rug is one of my favorite shots in a horror movie and is capped off with the twin girls staring creepily asking innocent Danny Torrance to “Come and play.”

6. The Conjuring

A horror movie that is based on actual events, albeit loosely, is always going to catch my eye. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are fantastic as Ed and Lorraine Warren. As a believer of the paranormal, I was quite fond of how realistic it was portrayed. I hate it when movies that are trying to be like this film go over the top with cheap jump scares and this movie does a great job earning every jump scare.

5. A Quiet Place

I’ve never felt so bad to crunch on my buttered popcorn during a movie than when I watched A Quiet Place. This is another film that feels vastly different from any other horror movie. The idea of having an alien that is hypersensitive to hearing makes for great tension as we follow a family hoping to survive. 

4. Hereditary

Toni Collette was fantastic as Annie Graham. We follow her as she unravels the dark history of her family. This movie had me on my toes at every turn which made for great jumpscare and just downright terror. Like seriously, have you ever silently screamed before? Neither did I before this movie. I think my body just didn’t know how to react which is why it’s high on the list.

3. Halloween (1978)

A film that was originally going to be called “The Babysitter Murders,” is now synonymous with pure evil with iconic kills and long, lingering shots that give you an unsettling feeling that someone may be watching you. This movie doesn’t scare you with gore, but with what might be in your closet or under your bed. Have fun walking alone at night after watching this.   

2. The Exorcist

Heralded as the scariest movie of all time, “The Exorcist” is grounded in reality and takes terror to a whole new level. I watched it for the first time in 2019 when I was looking through my mom’s movie collection and found it on VHS. The dark night and that grainy look you get from a VHS tape made for a terrifying viewing.

1. Scream

“What’s your favorite scary movie?” This movie came out when I was 2 years old and I wouldn’t doubt that I had seen it that early as my sister watched me a lot and she was a very big horror fan. When I watched it back again more recently, I found myself fascinated with the story, the characters and the fact that it was able to parody the horror genre along with being a very scary movie. Scream breathed new life into the genre and isn’t just your average scary movie, but it’s also a murder mystery. The first time I actually watched it (and comprehended what was going on), I was absolutely shocked by the ending. 

Well, there it is, my top ten list and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Happy Halloween! Now I have to go and check out who is at my door. It sounds like a chainsaw. It’s probably my harmless pale masked neighbor, I told him I wanted to cut a tree down in my backyard.

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