The Doctor Gash’s Top 10 Greatest Horror Movies…Ever! series is in the books, and we’ve had an incredible response from you guys with tons of likes and great comments both here and on the Dread Central Facebook page.
We’re going to take one last look at the 10, and you can feel free to keep the discussion going in the comments section.
I would have loved to include so many films on this list. Believe me, it was really tough to get it down to just 10. The top 8 films were easy for me to name; however, numbers 9 and 10 were very difficult because each film placed toward the end of the list meant it was another one I couldn’t include. Some ones that I would have loved to include but just missed my cut were mentioned by many of you in the comments section and I thank you for that.
Here’s some of the titles that just missed my cut: Jaws, Alien, Nosferatu, Friday the 13th, The Evil Dead (and actually Evil Dead 2 was the sequel that was closest to making the list), Hellraiser, The Shining, The Devil’s Rejects (another sequel…calm down Zombie haters, I didn’t include it on the 10!) and The Thing. Hey, looking at that list, there’s another Top 10…Gash’s 11 through 20! Ah, maybe I should quit while I’m ahead.
Anyway, here’s how the 10 dropped…We kicked off the list with a film that may have taken many of you by surprise. Wes Craven’s genre-reviving slasher Scream (1996) came in at Number 10 and made the list for breathing some much needed life into the horror genre in the mid-90’s with a film that was as much a tribute to horror that came before it as it was a blueprint for what was to come. Scream was a launchpad for the careers of many of its young stars and brought unique and intelligent horror back to the limelight of mainstream cinema.
Following at Number 9 was sure to be the most polarizing film on the entire list. The Blair Witch Project (1999) has always been a love it or hate it kind of film. And those viewers to appreciate what the filmmakers were attempting to do understand that this film is a study in tension and suspense. In addition to that, The Blair Witch Project launched the modern day found footage sub-genre of horror and used the internet to market the film in a way that was absolutely unheard of at the time, but still copied today, nearly 15 years later.
Another Wes Craven film landed on the list next as A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) placed at Number 8. Introducing us to Freddy Krueger, the supernatural child-murdering monster who stalked his prey in the one place they couldn’t avoid, their dreams. Although the series got somewhat goofy as it went along, the original Nightmare was incredibly tense and downright scary. Krueger was a brilliant character that audiences were immediately drawn to. The film was bold, bloody…and simply brilliant.
Although the monster has become a harmless part of society today, when the horror classic, Frankenstein (1931) was initially released, the movie was absolutely shocking. Coming in at Number 7 on Doctor Gash’s Top 10 Horror Movies…Ever!, Frankenstein was a tale of one man’s hubris gone awry with grave-robbing, torture and child murder. It stunned audiences 80 years ago and still stands strong as one of the most impressive horror films ever created.
As horror movie antagonists go, Norman Bates is one of the most memorable ones in the history of the genre. Norman is innocent, even playful when we first meet him, but as his layers are peeled back, we discover he is an incredibly sick and demented man. Helmed by the great Alfred Hitchcock, the Number 6 film on the list, Psycho (1960), like Frankenstein, holds up remarkably decades after its release. And the final scene, when Norman has finally completely become Norma, is one of the most chilling you’ll ever see.
Kicking off the top five was a film that not only launched a horror franchise, it created an entirely new monster, the zombie. George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968), comes in at Number 5 on the list and was the origin of the walking dead. Little could Romero have known that the monster he created from inspiration he gleaned from Richard Matheson’s book I Am Legend would go on to become the darling of horror fans everywhere. Simply put, you wouldn’t be setting your Sunday nights aside to watch “The Walking Dead” if Night of the Living Dead didn’t start it all off on a lonely Pennsylvania farm 45 years ago.
The most critically-acclaimed horror film on record comes in at Number 4 on the list. Not only did The Silence of the Lambs (1991) win a slew of Academy Awards, it introduced us to one of the most cerebral and frightening serial killers ever committed to celluloid. Yes, Hannibal Lecter did appear on screen before The Silence of the Lambs (Brian Cox played Lecter in Manhunter), but it was Anthony Hopkins’ mesmerizing 16 minutes of screen time that would solidify Lecter as the certifiable nightmare he became…and make Silence one of the greatest horror films ever.
Another legendary slasher landed at the Number 3 film on the list. John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978), with all its links to Psycho, introduced us to the nightmarish shape that was Michael Myers. Jamie Lee Curtis launched her career with this devilish film and she’s still going strong today. Who would have thought that being chased by a guy in a modified William Shatner mask could be so lucrative?
My personal favorite movie comes in at Number 2. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) is a film that’s so gritty and intense it feels like you’re actually peeking in at true atrocities being committed. The Sawyer Clan are dirty, evil and absolutely out of their minds. The line between acting and true brutality was certainly blurred in the legendary dinner scene that leads to the climax of the film. Perfect horror.
Finally, Number 1. The Exorcist is an assault on the psyche. It’s a true good vs. evil story, and honestly, at its culmination, we’re not really sure who won. Filled with shocking imagery and a powerful story, The Exorcist is brutal. Linda Blair’s portrayal of Regan MacNeil, accentuated by the amazing voice-over work of Mercedes McCambridge, created perhaps the most chilling character ever to haunt the silver screen. For my dollar, there is nothing scarier.
That’s it, folks! Thank you again for all your comments. Now it’s your turn to share your personal Top 10 with us in the comments section below! Got get ’em!
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