Jack’s (Revised) Best Horror Movies

I took out last year’s list, which we talked about on the show. Looked it over.

Found that I no longer liked it. Reworked it a little. Obvious subjective. Now tell me yours.

10.) The Game (1997) This isn’t really considered a “horror” movie, but it gives me chest pains every time, thinking about how hopelessly trapped Michael Douglas is when his highly suspect brother, Sean Penn, gives him a mysterious “membership” in a company that promises “experiences”. This movie is the best argument ever for re-gifting, my friends.

9.) Rosemary’s Baby (1968) Maybe because I watched it on Channel 38 in Boston as a kid, when I wasn’t supposed to, and scared my 11 year old self (and little brother). But it’s also one of those less-is-more, restrained kind of scary movies. “What have you done with its eyes?” Plus, seeing extras from the Andy Griffith Show as Satan-fans is something you have to see.

8.) Terrifier (2016) There’s a lot of hype about the sequel right now, but the original was a movie no one knew anything about, and I know for me, it caught me completely off guard on Netflix.  You can’t help but hate Art the Clown. It’s the baddest of the bad-clown movies, which is saying something.

7.) Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) Belongs on any list like this. It’s clear that everyone in the world who ever makes a scare movie has watched this one.

6.) The Ring (2002) Call me weird, but that horse-on-the-ferry scene is the hardest thing for me to watch in a movie full of hard things to watch.

5.) Friday the 13th (1980) Maybe not the best in the series, but props for getting us started with Jason, summer camp horrors, and a still unknown Kevin Bacon who gets lucky, then really unlucky.

4.) The Omen (1976) Gregory Peck is one of the most brilliant casting decisions. Who’s harder to scare than Gregory Peck? But it happens. Like #9, this movie comes from an era with more restraint. There’s plot, and dialog, to get through in between the jump scares.  Worth it every time.

3.) Halloween (1980) Hello Michael Myers! This, improbably, became the “007” franchise series of horror movies and gave Jamie Lee Curtis a very mansion somewhere.

2.) Silence of the Lambs (1991) As with #10, not everyone considers this a horror movie. For me, it’s one of my all-time, all-category favorite movies, worth rewatching every year at some point. Why not this time of year? It also passes the horror movie cliche test: quotable lines everyone gets (“with some fava beans and a nice Chianti”), symbols (Lecter’s traveling mask) and and all the good gross-out stuff, like insects, human skin and Tom Petty music (just kidding, I like Tom).

1.) The Shining (1980) It’s the “Mona Lisa” of horror movies: a masterpiece of acting, plot and cinematography. It is not, flat out, the scariest movie, but it is a an exceptionally well-made movie that is scary. Nicholson and Duvall are the President and First Lady of horror movies, for me.


More about: