Bring on the hate! Okay, maybe some of you will agree with a chunk of these, but for me, these are the best of the best in horror. My list does NOT include movies so bad I’ve watched them multiple times (Sleepaway Camp series). Some of these can be rearranged here and there depending on my mood at the time, but during the Halloween season, I know which films I am going to migrate to watching

  1. Halloween (1978) – I met him, fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. HalloweenNo reason, no conscience, no understanding; even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face and, the blackest eyes… the devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply… evil.” Movie. Ever. Anyone who claims Rob Zombie’s garbage remake was better is getting brutally killed off in my next book. The relentless stalking and killing without reason needed no explanation. It was terrifying, and the ending is still one of the greatest in movie history.
  2. Jaws.jpgJaws (1975) – “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” You wonder how many people truly never went back into the water after seeing this film. I’ve watched it dozens of times, and it never gets old.  From beginning to end, the original Jaws is still one the greatest films of all time.  A number of shark movies have come out since this one, and none of them can hold a candle to this one. Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfus, and Robert Shaw battling the great white over the last half of the film was cinematic gold.
  3. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)“One, two, Freddy’s Nightmare_on_Elm_Street_(1984).jpgcomin’ for you …” A killer who gets you in your dreams. It’s that kind of originality that is truly lacking from today’s filmmakers.  Robert Englund’s Freddy Krueger became a cult icon with this film, and he is still a household name today. A young Johnny Depp has the honor of suffering the most brutal of all Freddy’s kills. Although there were some good sequels, they would never top the original (and that includes the mediocre remake).
  4. Scream.jpgScream (1996) – “What’s your favorite scary movie?” I had all but given up on the horror genre when this Wes Craven masterpiece came out in theaters. Just goes to show you that with a good cast and an intriguing original story, a good scary movie can still be created. Their play on how cheesy horror films could be and the admission to the cliches of the genre made it that much better.
  5. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) – Nightmare 3.jpg“Welcome to prime time, bitch!” The top Freddy sequel brings back his original nemesis, Nancy Thompson along with the Dream Warriors who go to battle to finally end his reign of terror (well, at least for a year or so). The finish would have been enough to satisfy any series, but Freddy was just too popular to keep down.
  6. The Shining – “Heeeeere’s Johnny!” The top Stephen King Shining.jpginspired film on the list, this classic tale of the ghosts at the Overlook Hotel is horror at its finest.  Jack Nicholson is at his best when he plays a sociopathic/psychopathic character, and this was one of his greatest performances.  From the twin girls to the blood in the elevator to the Jack’s “writing,” you can’t watch this film without getting chills. The contents of Room 237 – that still creeps me out!
  7. IT Chapter 2 (2019) – For 27 years, I’ve dreamt of you. I IT Chapter 2.jpgcraved you. Oh I’ve missed you! Waiting for this very moment… TIME TO FLOAT!” – The finale to Stephen King’s greatest creation was a near three-hour marathon of thrills, chills, shock, and awe. The film keeps well with the novel and was able to manage the time change (the book’s present day being the 1980s vs the present day of the film). The adult versions of the Losers Club worked well compared to their child counterparts.
  8. Friday the 13th: Final Chapter (1984) – “Under extreme duress,Friday the 13th Final Chapter people are capable of extraordinary behavior. That’s what happened when your brother violently attacked the killer. At that moment, it was perfectly normal for him to act to protect himself.” Jason has been “killed” a number of ways, but the slide down the machete is still my favorite.  This is my personal favorite of the series, and it probably has more recognizable faces than any of the others.  Corey Feldman was just becoming popular, and Crispin “George McFly” Glover met a nasty death by corkscrew (and cleaver).
  9. IT Chapter 1 (2017) – “I’ll take him! I’ll take all of you! I’ll feast IT Chapter 1on your flesh as I feed on your fear…” King’s masterpiece finally sees the big screen and surpasses all expectations with its scares, shocks, funny one-liners, and action-packed battle scenes between Pennywise and The Losers Club. Great first piece of the IT saga. Bill Skarsgård had some big shoes to fill after Tim Curry’s chilling TV adaptation version of the clown, and he delivered.
  10. The Lost Boys (1987) – “One thing about living in Santa Carla ILost Boys never could stomach – all the damn vampires.” Vampire. Movie. Ever.  Why?  The vampires are evil, bloodsucking monsters and not wannabe goth teens who glitter like a school girl’s decorated lunchbox. Michael, Sam, and the Frog brothers battle David and his 80s hair metal band of the undead in a chilling tale with some well-timed humor.
  11. Halloween 2 (1981)“An hour ago I fired six shots into him and he just got up and walked away. I am talking about the real possibility that he’s still out there!” One of the best sequels in the slasher era brings back Michael Myers to finish off what he started earlier in the night. This was the final film to feature both Dr. Loomis and Laurie Strode in the same film although both appear multiple times separately later on.
  12. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) – Legend has it that Jason saw his mother beheaded that night. Then, he took his revenge, a revenge he continued to seek if anyone ever enters his wilderness again.” Here is another example of a sequel that was better than its original. While not yet sporting the hockey mask, this is the first Jason Voorhees movie, and it still is one of my favorites in the series. But … what the hell happened to Paul?
  13. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter (2012)“History prefers legends to men. It prefers nobility to brutality, soaring speeches to quiet deeds. History remembers the battle and forgets the blood. Whatever history remembers of me, if it remembers anything at all, it shall only be a fraction of the truth. For whatever else I am – a husband, a lawyer, a President – I shall always think of myself as a man who struggled against darkness.” The use of historical facts was a nice twist to this tale of the former president slaying the undead in his spare time and taking out the confederate vampire army (that part might actually be true) in order to save the country. Oh if only Abe would have taken his vampire friend up on his offer before he went to the theatre …
  14. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) – “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.” The Academy Award winning tale of an F.B.I. cadet enlisting the help of incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer Hannibal Lector to help catch another serial killer (Buffalo Bill) was brilliant on every level, from plot to delivery to the chilling performances by Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, and Ted Levine.
  15. Halloween: H20 (1998) – She faked her death… and, now, she’s the head mistress of a very posh, secluded private school in Northern California. Hoping and praying every year that her brother won’t find her.”  How do you breathe life into a series that seemingly died with a couple of really awful sequels?  You return to the original and bring back the scream queen-turned Hollywood star.  Jamie Lee Curtis is the rare case of the horror actress who actually made it big in movies.  While this movie could have been longer, the return of Laurie Strode made me almost forget about how terrible parts 5 and 6 actually were.
  16. Saw (2004) – “I want to play a game …” How could a movie that contained a wonderful mixture of horror, mystery, suspense, and well-timed gore spawn so many awful sequels? With the exception of the final one, the original Saw is the only one worth watching more than once.  It was the first movie in years that kept me guessing until the very end.
  17. Silver Bullet (1985) – “In the make-believe stories a man becomes a werewolf only when the moon is full. Maybe somehow, it’s different. Maybe he’s like this all the time. Only as the moon gets fuller… the guy gets wolfier.” Monster movies done right are the best, and they got King’s Cycle of the Werewolf adapted almost to perfection. Gary Busey and Corey Haim were awesome in this film, the kills were brutal, the music was chilling, and the finale was exciting.
  18. Jaws 2 (1978) – “I’m telling everybody at this table that that’s a shark! And I know what a shark looks like, because I’ve seen one up close. And you’d better do something about this one, because I don’t intend to go through that hell again!” Some sequels are awful, especially when they are following up a commercial blockbuster. While the third and (especially) the fourth films were not all that, Jaws II was actually a great follow-up to the original. Roy Scheider returning as Chief Brody helped make it a good film. I only wish they could have brought back Richard Dreyfus as well.
  19. Evil Dead 2 (1987) – “I’ll swallow your soul!” Here is an example of where I found the sequel to be better than the original (although I never understood how Ash didn’t remember he had been to that cabin in the original movie). The ghoul in the cellar is still one of the more horrific creatures from a scary movie that I have ever seen, and the deadites are the things nightmares are made of.
  20. Psycho II (1982)“No, Mother. I won’t do that. You can’t make me kill her.” As horror sequels started gaining popularity in the early 80’s, Hollywood decided to put out a sequel to a classic from 20 years earlier.  Anthony Perkins is excellent as Norman Bates, as he was in all four movies. Watching him struggle (and lose) to keep his sanity was compelling, and some of the devious characters in the film were ripe for the picking.
  21. Tremors (1990) – “They’re under the ground!” The other Kevin Bacon movie on the list featured him battling giant worm-like monsters living under the ground. Not entirely horror, but there was enough blood and killing that it deserves to be on this list. The plot was creative, given that monsters in the soil was a concept never covered to that point. Of course now they have six movies in the series.
  22. Shocker (1989) – “You like killing too, huh? There’s nothing about it. We’re killers.” Why this one never had a follow-up is beyond me. Horace Pinker was a new kind of killer who survived execution using electricity and transfers from body to body through that method. He was already dead, so bringing him back for another round or two shouldn’t have been too difficult.  As it stands, though, this stand-alone horror flick is terrifying and brutal but also has a satisfying ending (and a cool title track).
  23. Friday the 13th (1980) – “Jason was my son. And today is his birthday.” – While there were a couple sequels that were better, the original still ranks as one classic piece of horror history. Jason fans sometimes forget that Mrs. Voorhees (Betsy Palmer) was the original killer, but it was the final two lines of this film that foreshadowed what was yet to come in the series.  A young Kevin Bacon stars as one of the unwitting victims of mama’s rampage.
  24. Fright Night (1985) – “Look, I’m telling you, Jerry Dandridge is a vampire!” Vampires! Well, one vampire anyway. Jerry Dandridge moved into a peaceful suburb and started killing people until he was challenged by a high school punk who lived next door and a washed up horror TV host. Actually, this was a fun ride and one of the better vampire flicks of the last four decades.
  25. April Fool’s Day (1981) – Muffy hasn’t been in an institution for three years, she’s been at Vassar!” Here is the epitome of campy 80’s horror!  More of a murder-mystery than a typical slasher, I still love how this one played out, with its somewhat unique ending.  Back to the Future fans will recognize Thomas F. Wilson (Biff/Griff/Buford Tannen) as one of the college kids.
  26. Critters (1986) – “Mom’s torn up and dad’s got this harpoon thing in his neck. And they’re getting bigger!” Campy and a bit cheesy, yes, but there’s just something about little deadly furball aliens who never stop eating that made me watch this over and over.  Horror stalwart Dee Wallace played the shotgun wielding matriarch of the family trying to fend off the creatures. The first sequel was all right as well, but the original was the best.
  27. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – “My family’s always been in meat!” While some of the sequels were decent, the original is still the best (and most disturbing) of the TCM series.  Leatherface and his family are introduced as a cannibal clan out in the woods feasting on another family who were unfortunate to have been passing through. Whatever you do, don’t eat the barbecue at the gas station.
  28. The Meg (2018) – “This is what attacked us. A megalodon.” Since the era of Jaws, filmmakers have tried to create a shark movie that captures the horror of the beast, and this film finally does what the others could not. The monster is bigger than anything ever seen, the story is cool, the humor is not forced, and the finale is satisfying. Jason Statham always delivers in action roles like this one.
  29. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986) – “Jason belongs in hell. And I’m gonna see he gets there.” After the debacle of A New Beginning, the F13 creators went back to what the fans loved – JASON! His rise from the grave was fun, the characters were intentionally campy and fun, and the battle scenes were some of the best in the series’ history. Oh, and the return to Camp Crystal Lake was pretty sweet as well.
  30. Arachnophobia (1990) – “In this first generation, the original male also produced a queen, and together they will construct a primary nest which the queen will guard. But eventually, she will create reproductive offspring of her own. And when that happens, this town is dead… and the next town… and the next town… and the next one, and so on.” I really hate spiders. This film made me hate them more, but it was fun watching them get knocked off at the end. Jeff Daniels, John Goodman, and Harley Jane Kozak starred in the comedy-horror flick that just crawled with creepy moments and scares throughout. The premise of a large, deadly South American spider hitching a ride into the country after an expedition isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds, either.
  31. Sleepy Hollow (1999) – “Villainy wears many masks, none so dangerous as the mask of virtue.” This dark adaptation of the classic Headless Horseman tale pits Johnny Depp on a quest to uncover the mystery surrounding the murders happening in Sleepy Hollow. There are secrets abound, and everyone believes that the horseman is responsible. The cast (including Christopher Walken as the horseman) was pretty strong, and the story was compelling from start to finish.
  32. Scream 2 (1997) – “The entire horror genre was destroyed by sequels.” Strong continuation of the Ghostface tale with a new killer targeting the survivors of Woodsboro, this time in a college setting. There were several fun twists and turns in this one (along with one death that still irks me), and the plot made sense after the secrets were revealed.
  33. Lake Placid (1999) – “I’m rooting for the crocodile. I hope he swallows your friends whole.” Betty White stole the show as the foul-mouthed old lady who continues to feed crocodiles at a lake, thus causing the beasts to create havoc in the area. Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Brendan Gleeson, and Oliver Platt added to the highly entertaining cast who had to battle the ginormous croc and stop its reign of terror.
  34. Phantoms (1998) – “Well, it’s the devil, don’t you think? Come up from hell tonight? I think he wants to dance with us.” This is my favorite Dean Koontz tale. Pre-Batman Ben Affleck plays a former FBI agent-turned sheriff trapped with a group of people in a small town that has literally died off.  But something is still there, and it is not going to let this group get out alive. There is a lot of jump scare moments, and Peter O’Toole is very funny as the obnoxious historian who knows all about “the Ancient Enemy.”
  35. Strangeland (1998) – “So much flesh … so little time.” 80s rocker Dee Snider starred in this twisted tale of a demented man who lures young people to his lair via the internet and kidnaps them in order to perform sick experiments (mostly involving piercings). Robert Englund in a non-Freddy role is superb as the white trash redneck out for blood, and Snider himself does a wonderful job as the madman. I’m surprised there was not a follow up to this film.
  36. Insidious (2010) – “It’s not the house that is haunted. It’s your son.” More in the realm of psychological horror, this jump scare film created a new twist on ghosts and possession. Lin Shaye was superb as the psychic medium hired to save a young boy who’s been taken over by an evil entity. The ending was a bit of a shock but clearly left things open for a sequel.
  37. The Thing (1982) “We’re gonna draw a little bit of everybody’s blood… ’cause we’re gonna find out who’s The Thing.” A research team in Antarctica is suddenly hunted by a bizarre, shape-shifting creature that can assume the appearance of its victims. What a cool idea. An interesting point, was that the movie began after something else had already happened. The beast had already caused a ton of carnage somewhere else. Unfortunately they wouldn’t touch on this until the prequel two decades alter.
  38. Halloween (2018) – “In this town, Michael Myers is a myth. He’s the Boogeyman. A ghost story to scare kids. But this Boogeyman is real. An evil like his never stops, it just grows older. Darker. More determined.” The (second) return of Laurie Strode centered on Michael being captured immediately after the events from the original 1978 film and Michael escaping for the first time 40 years later. Jamie Lee Curtis is back and a bigger badass than ever before. The film had its flaws but overall it was so good to see the franchise get back to its roots.
  39. It Follows (2014) – “It could look like someone you know or it could be a stranger in a crowd. Whatever helps it get close to you.” I will give this one credit for being an original idea in an era of unoriginality. There are some very creepy elements (including the music), as the ‘being’ that follows the girl around just makes you cringe. If I had one complaint about the movie, it’s that there really wasn’t an ending. Was the being dead? That really wasn’t answered. So I guess the door is open for “It Follows 2.”
  40. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) – You shouldn’t have buried me. I’m not dead.” One of the better Freddy sequels, although I wasn’t too big on him killing off all the survivors from the third movie.  Robert Englund made this series and is the reason it went on as long as it did. New heroine Alice would make her first appearance and put up a memorable final battle at the film’s conclusion.
  41. Creepshow (1982) – “It’s Father’s Day. And I got my cake!” Holy crap was this a fun ride of short tales! The Father’s Day corpse, Stephen King’s unfortunate “rash,” and the comedy duo of Ted Danson and Leslie Nielson going dark were just a few of the neat little clips you can find in this classic anthology of horror.
  42. Psycho (1960)“A man’s best friend is his mother.” This film marked the introduction of Norman Bates, and the film that put the fear of God into everyone taking showers. This movie was shocking for its time and still stands strong as one of horrors all-time great creations. Janet Leigh’s shocking early death after being portrayed as the film’s central character broke all kinds of cinematic rules.
  43. Happy Death Day (2017) – “You had access to him. Did you drug him first? You knew that if he escaped, everyone would assume that he killed me. But it was always you.” In the era where remakes are taking over, it was great to see an original idea (kind of). If you haven’t checked this one out, think Groundhog Day: The Horror Version. The story of the college girl forced to relive her own murder until she finds her killer was surprisingly well done, as the acting was above average, the characters were fun, and the scares were pretty decent as well.
  44. 1408 (2007) – “Look, I’m not telling you not to stay in that room for your own good or for the profit of the hotel. Frankly, selfishly, I just don’t want to clean up the mess.” John Cusack doesn’t get enough credit as being one of the best actors of the past 25 years. This movie will have your heart racing from the moment he enters the room. Samuel L. Jackson was also strong (when is he not?) as the hotel manager.
  45. From Dusk Till Dawn (1987) – “I don’t want to hear anything about ‘I don’t believe in vampires,’ because I don’t fucking believe in vampires, but I believe in my own two eyes, and what I saw, is fucking vampires.” What started out as a dark action/crime flick quickly turned into classic horror with vicious vampires trapping people in a bar and killing anyone they could. George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, and Juliette Lewis were superb. This is one of Tarantino’s greatest creations, and one of the last really good vampire flicks.
  46. Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013) – Family’s a messy business. Ain’t nothing thicker than blood.” Another series where a new timeline was created, this direct sequel to the 1974 classic was a clever take on the Leatherface legacy, although the number of years from the original to modern day seem to be off (by a couple decades). Some great action throughout and an interesting twist by the end.
  47. Wolf (1994)“The demon wolf is not evil, unless the man he has bitten is evil. And it feels good to be a wolf, doesn’t it?” Jack Nicholson and James Spader duke it out as werewolves gone wild in this dark tale of a man bitten by a relatively normal wolf at the beginning of the film only to notice changes happening within himself. After biting the evil Spader, Nicholson’s character is left to deal with the other monster in order to survive. Neither wolf ever completely change into the beast, but they still have the strength, which makes this tale unique from other werewolf films.
  48. An American Werewolf in London (1981) – “On the moors, we were attacked by a lycanthrope, a werewolf. I was murdered, an unnatural death, and now I walk the earth in limbo until the werewolf’s curse is lifted.” Campy but frightening, this werewolf tale was gory but still encompassed a great deal of sad humor, from the rotting corpse friend who kept returning to the vicious nature of the beast. One of the more underrated monster films out there.
  49. Jigsaw (2017) – “I’m sure you’re all wondering why you’re here. You deny culpability no doubt for the circumstances in which you find yourselves. Salvation can be yours. An offering of blood will set you free. I want to play a game…” With some of the worst sequels of any horror series, the Saw franchise came back strong with both The Final Chapter as well as this surprisingly strong entry. Clever twists in this one brought me back to why I loved the original so much.
  50. Shaun of the Dead (2004)“Look, I don’t care what the telly says, all right? We have to get out of here. If we don’t they’ll tear us to pieces, and that is really going to exacerbate things for all of us.” Zombie horror is usually not my favorite sub-genre, but this campy comedy-horror crossover kept my attention with its unique combination of quick wit and old school horror. I thought the dry humor of going to the pub for a drink in the middle of a zombie apocalypse to be quite comical, to be honest. There were some gruesome deaths, both zombie and living folks, and the story played out nicely, even if the end scene with Shaun and his best friend (now a zombie) playing video games was a bit hokey.
  51. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) – “I know all about accidents and let me give you some advice: when you leave a man for dead, make sure that he’s REALLY dead!” After running over a man in the road and leaving him for dead in the lake, a group of college kids discover someone knows of their crimes and is now after them. This was a good whodunit in that we really don’t discover the motive or the killer until the big reveal late in the film.
  52. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) – “Boys, boys, boys. You never should’ve been doing this.” Gore, gore, and more gore headline the return of Leatherface and his “family” more than a decade after the original TCM. Dennis Hopper was brilliant as the unstable, yet determined Texas Ranger out to avenge his family. Oh, and the end battle alone made this entry a worthwhile watch.
  53. Scream 3 (2000) – “Well, all I know about trilogies is that in the third one, all bets are off.” The last good Scream film wraps up the tale of Ghostface and the secrets behind all the killings that surrounded Sydney Prescott. Fun cameos, sly humor, gruesome deaths, and an interesting twist make up what should have been the final film in the series.
  54. Insidious, Chapter 2 (2013) – “In my line of work things tend to happen when it gets dark.” Strong sequel to the original, with the story continuing immediately after the shocking conclusion to the first film. They dig deeper this time and answer most of the questions that we had the first time around, plus there is a definitive conclusion to the story of the creepy old lady ghost who was terrorizing the Lambert family.
  55. Psycho III (1986) – “I never went away don’t you know that by now? You can’t get rid of me. I’ll always be with you Norman. Always.” Mother once again has control over Norman’s sanity, as the third entry to this series has us watching Norman battle and continuously fail to harness his demons. Even a love interest cannot stop Mother from taking over.
  56. Saw: The Final Chapter (2010) – “To be able to sustain such a traumatic experience and, uh… and yet find a positive in that grizzly act. It’s a remarkable feat, indeed. Remarkable… if not a little perverse.” After years of crappy, repetitive, predictable sequels, we finally get a satisfying ending to a Saw film. The return of the Jigsaw survivors along with the final end to Hoffman’s unoriginal character was fun to watch.
  57. Identity (2005) – “As I was going up the stairs, I met a man who wasn’t there. He wasn’t there again today. I wish, I wish he’d go away.” Clever film about a mental patient with multiple personalities trying to kill them off in his head. John Cusack was very good in this one, and the mystery surrounding everything that was happening on that stormy night was compelling.  The plot was very creative, something we don’t see a lot of anymore.
  58. The Raven (2012) – “It seems my own writing has become the inspiration for an actual killer.” John Cusack is brilliant as Edgar Allen Poe, frantically searching for a killer who uses his writings for motivation in the murders.  The film delves into the mystery surrounding the writer’s death (although I don’t believe he ever tracked a killer), and the secrecy surrounding the identity of the killer was well kept until the revelation at the end. Very brutal at times, this macabre tale is a must-watch for fans of both history and horror.
  59. The Frighteners (1996)“Give it up, Frank! Death ain’t no way to make a living!” Perhaps more campy than horror, this film does delve into the dark elements of murder and the undead, as a Grim Reaper begins picking off people in a small town. Michael J. Fox was solid as the ghost investigator, and his ghost pals were excellent comic relief. Classic scream queen Dee Wallace (The Howling) along with Jake Busey play the psychotic killers and do a frighteningly good job.
  60. The Visit (2015)“You’re blind… you’re blind. I am the exposer. I am a seer. I see the veiny, deformed… face of the world.” Nothing like a trip to the grandparents’ house for a week. Of course, this is no ordinary trip, and these are no ordinary grandparents. A movie that hopefully doesn’t scare kids from going to family outings is filmed as a documentary from the kids’ perspective and is much more than they bargained for. The film is creepy with some dark humor thrown in, and the story moves along nicely and makes you wonder what is really happening with those grandparents.
  61. The Thing (2011) – “You think they’re gonna pay a bonus for bringing home an alien instead of core samples?” Prequel to the early 80s classic which tells the story of the initial group who encountered the thing prior to it escaping (through the dog). Cool effects and some great action sequences highlighted what was a convincing “origin story” horror film.
  62. Misery (1990) – “I know I left my scrapbook out. I can imagine what you might be thinking of me. But you see, Paul, it’s all okay. Last night it came so clear. I realized you just need more time. Eventually, you’ll come to accept the idea of being here.” The ultimate in celebrity stalker stories, this Stephen King classic lands a famous writer at the home of his biggest (and most insane) fan after a car accident. She nurses him back to health but will not let him leave, and when he “kills off” her favorite literary character, things get a little hairy. Kathy Bates and James Caan were wonderful in their roles. The sledgehammer to the ankles scene is still one of the most cringe-worthy moments in cinematic history.
  63. Fright Night (2011) – “He’s a real monster and he’s not brooding, or lovesick, or noble. He’s the fucking shark from Jaws. He kills, he feeds, and he doesn’t stop until everybody around him is dead.” So many horror classics had crappy remakes, but for a change we had a good one here. The updated story of Charlie, Jerry, Peter Vincent, and Evil Ed didn’t sway too far from the original as far as storyline goes, but its modernized version was entertaining, not to mention, Colin Farrell was superb as the new vampire.
  64. Urban Legend (1998) – “Someone’s in the back… SEAT!” Although the college campus scene has been done to death, the only good entry to this series hit on a number of popular “urban legends” which were brought to life by a psychotic student. This film also had some surprisingly great actors (not counting Tara Reid), with Robert Englund, Jared Leto, and Rebecca Gayhart leading the way.
  65. Friday the 13th Part III (1982) “He was so grotesque; he was almost inhuman! He had a knife … and he attacked me with it!” Over the years, this entry to the popular slasher series has grown on me. Maybe it was Shelly’s pathetic attempts for attention, maybe it was Jason getting the hockey mask, or maybe it was the creatively brutal death scenes. In any event, whenever I have a F13 marathon, this one is included.
  66. My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009) – Are you there, Harry? You living inside Tom? Huh? Are you in there?” Even Valentine’s Day isn’t safe from the horror. This time it’s a pickax which is the weapon of choice, leading to some gruesome kills. Technically there have been two of these, but this modern day version was only a remake and not a sequel/prequel. The film wasn’t exactly filled with Hollywood A-listers, but it was still a pretty decent old school type horror film with a nice whodunit aura thrown in as well.
  67. The Evil Dead (1981) – “I believe I have made a significant find in the Kandarian ruins, a volume of ancient Sumarian burial practices and funerary incantations. It is entitled “Naturum De Montum”, roughly translated: Book of the Dead.” Sam Raimi’s classic had a much more serious tone than the films that would follow. The creepy vibes, the voracity of the deadites, and the brutality involved in the deaths (and body takeovers) made this one of the most disturbing films from my youth.
  68. The Exorcist (1973) – “You show me Regan’s double, same face, same voice, everything. And I’d know it wasn’t Regan. I’d know in my gut. And I’m telling you that ‘thing’ upstairs isn’t my daughter.” Chilling and shocking as any horror film you will ever see, this classic still withstands the test of time and has permanently altered people’s enjoyment of pea soup.
  69. Thir13en Ghosts (2001) – Did I say there’s a petting zoo downstairs? No! There are ghosts downstairs, Arthur!” A family inherits an eccentric estate that just happens to be the prison for a number of ghosts as well as an instrument that supposedly opens the “eye of hell.” The ghosts were both creative and extremely terrifying, and I am always a fan of horror movies where the cast is trapped in a building from which they cannot escape. Tony Shalhoub and Matthew Lillard were good in their respective roles, and the film actually had a solid ending!
  70. Aliens (1986) – “My mommy always said there were no monsters – no real ones – but there are.” Ellen Ripley returns to battle multiple beings this time around, and for a change, the sequel (in my opinion anyway) was actually better than the original. Michael Biehn and Bill Paxton were among a strong ensemble cast that made kept this movie exciting until the end.
  71. The Collection (2012) – “I’m gonna make you feel everything that I felt. And then I’m gonna kill you. So that you can never hurt anyone.” Gory sequel that picks up soon after the original Collection movie and gives another strong story of the vicious masked killer and the brutal traps he sets for his unwitting victims. Some decent characters helped move this film along, and a more satisfying ending puts it ahead of its predecessor.
  72. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988) – “There’s a legend around here. A killer buried, but not dead. A curse on Crystal Lake, a death curse: Jason Voorhees’ curse.” As zombie Jason becomes more powerful, the hockey masked killer now faces a girl with telekinetic abilities which made for some cool battle scenes over the last half hour of the film. The corny ending of the dead father coming out of the lake still makes me facepalm, though.
  73. Deepstar Six (1989)“Look at that mother…” This little cult classic has always been one of my favorites. The crew of an experimental underwater nuclear base crosses paths with a subaquatic monster that begins targeting them for extinction after a mishandled test of their equipment. The film is pretty intense, and some of the deaths are quite gruesome. You really started wondering how they were going to kill the thing and if anyone would survive.
  74. The Relic (1997) – “Never thought there’d be a worse way to die than a shark attack. Having my head ripped off never occurred to me.” A monster that feeds (and mutates) off human brains and South American leaves is about to take over a city if it escapes the museum to which it is encompassed. I liked the aura of this film, and the fact that it takes place in an enclosed (albeit large) space makes for a better film than if the being was running amok over an entire city. The cast is pretty solid, and the scares are plentiful.
  75. House (1986) – It won Roger. It tricked me. I didn’t think it could, but it did. It’s going to trick you too, Roger. This house knows everything about you. Leave while you can!” William “The Greatest American Hero” Katt was entertaining as the writer who moved into a haunted house in the hopes of finding his missing son. George Wendt and Richard Moll also took time off from their respective sitcoms to be featured in this neat little flick.
  76. Critters 2 (1988) – “You’ve got nothing to lose but your lives.” – Cute sequel to the more serious original flick about the rolling porcupine-like monsters who shoot people with poison darts and eat their flesh. This was not as good as the original, but as far as sequels go, it was still entertaining to watch, and the crites were just as vicious as the first time around.
  77. Insidious, Chapter 3 (2015) – “I always wanted to know, how I would go. Tell me friend… how I meet my end.” The third entry is actually a prequel set before the haunting of the Lambert family. The plot centers on Elise Rainier and how she initially agrees to use her psychic ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity. Not as strong as the other two but a worthwhile watch if you’ve been following the series.
  78. Children of the Corn (1984) – “In my dream the Lord did come to me, and He was a shape. It was He Who Walks Behind the Rows. And I did fall on my knees in terror, and hide my eyes, lest the fierceness of His face strike me dead!” This was by far the most disturbing story by Stephen King, simply because it’s something that might actually happen (at least until they get to the part with He Who Walks Behind the Rows). Terminator fighter Linda Hamilton led a strong cast that included some disturbing performances by the children.
  79. Happy Death Day 2 U (2018) – Now you’re stuck in this day. Congrats. Oh, and by the way? You’re going to die. Again… and again… and again.” Holy crap, they made an entertaining sequel to an idea that one might think would only be good for one film! The original cast is back for this one, and a different timeline is drawn up from the first film. The clever way to keep the story going was encouraging for the future of horror. Kind of.
  80. Cursed (1997) – “I’m not going to kill her. I’m just gonna rip her to shreds and let her choke on her own blood… and then maybe I’ll eat her.” Filled with a cast of “hey I’ve seen that actor somewhere before” (including mega-douche Scott Baio as himself), this modern day werewolf tale, directed by horror master Wes Craven, adds humor and horror to the story about a group of kids who must find and kill the wolf that attacked them in order to avoid the same fate themselves.
  81. Firestarter (1984) – Ever since this child was born, her father has been trying to inhibit her use of those powers. But what if his control had weakened now?” Young Drew Barrymore was no longer playing with friendly aliens. She was playing with fire. This was one of the better adaptations from a novel by King and had me fearing fire for a long time.
  82. Hostel (2005) – “Be careful. You could spend ALL your money in there.” Demented plot surrounding an entity that lets you experience the act of murder … for a fee. People are lured to this house of horrors and are killed in the most horrific manners. It was good to see a strong protagonist in this one, which often isn’t the case in some of the more “shock horror” films.
  83. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) “Six bodies, Sheriff! That’s what I’ve seen between here and Ridgemont! A filling station in flames! I’m telling you Michael Myers is here, in this town! He’s here to kill that little girl and anybody who gets in his way!” The first timeline of Michael Myers continues with the return of Dr. Loomis to Haddonfield trying to fend of The Shape who escaped captivity. It was pretty cool to see this film happen after they said Myers would never be brought back after the second movie. The remaining films in this timeline sucked, but this one was pretty solid.
  84. Lost Boys: The Thirst (2010) – “The only thing that stands between him, and the annihilation of the total human race, would be us – the Frog brothers.” Finally, a strong follow-up to the original Lost Boys classic. While not nearly to the caliber of the original, the plot was fun, the action was fierce, and the return of the Frog brothers was a nice, nostalgic moment.
  85. Gerald’s Game (2018) – “This monster was real, real as they come. As real as the cuffs, as the dog. As real as the eclipse.” King’s novel was brought to life by Netflix, and what you might think would have been tough to pull off on screen was actually well done. Creepy elements reside in the tale of a woman cuffed to a bed after her husband suddenly dies of a heart attack. Strong acting, a chilling aura, and a fun ending (not to mention the Moonlight Man) were all present and made this film quite enjoyable.
  86. Christine (1983)“Whoa, whoa. You better watch what you say about my car. She’s real sensitive.” Another Stephen King adaptation makes the list, and this time it’s a killer car that attaches itself to its new owner and eliminates anyone who gets in his (or its) way. This film has sort of a “sell your soul to the devil” vibe, as the main character goes from bullied kid to super popular after finding the car. But his attachment is eventually fatal. Keith Gordon (Back to School) played the nerd-turned-jock very well.
  87. Piranha (2010) – “Piranha hunt in packs – not for protection, but for overwhelming force. They’re organized, methodical. The first bite draws blood. The blood draws the pack.” Elizabeth Shue and Ving Rhames lead a surprisingly popular crop of actors who battle thousands of killer mutant fish released from under the ocean floor after an earthquake. This film had a true 80s horror vibe which made it more entertaining.
  88. Jason X (2001) – “Jason Voorhees. He killed nearly 200 people and simply disappeared without a trace. Under the right buyer, he could be worth a fortune.” The ‘Jason in Space’ venture didn’t go over well with too many fans of the series, but I thought it was fun and a new scenario for the hockey masked killer to figure out. Uber-Jason fighting the android was cool as well.
  89. The Wolfman (2010) – “Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms, and the autumn moon is bright.” A retelling of the classic tale of the wolf man was both surprising and intense all throughout. A man returns to his home in England after his brother is murdered by a werewolf who soon attacks him, leaving him with the mark that turns him into the wolf as well. Sir Anthony Hopkins was masterful as the evil John Talbot, Benicio Del Toro was also solid as Lawrence Talbot, and the final battle of werewolves was a very effective ending.
  90. Green Room (2015) – “Now Gentlemen and Ladies. Whatever you saw or did… Is no longer my concern. But let’s be clear… this won’t end well.” Sir Patrick “Captain Picard” Stewart as a racist, neo-nazi killer was an interesting change of pace from what we’ve become accustomed to seeing out of him. The plot is simple – a punk band is forced to fight for survival after witnessing a murder at a neo-Nazi skinhead bar. There are some shockingly brutal kills, but the compelling element and aura this film emitted made it worth watching until the end.
  91. Alien (1979) – “You still don’t understand what you’re dealing with, do you? The perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.” – The original shocker that started with a being shooting from the stomach of a regular guy before growing into a monstrous being that bleeds acid and kills almost an entire crew of people. Sigourney Weaver becomes a household name with her performance, and the film spawns a number of sequels.
  92. The Collector (2009) – “Why didn’t you listen to me? I told you to stay with me!” With the success of Saw, the more gory, brutal films started coming out, including this one about a killer who set up a house of horrors with disturbing traps and creative kills. The shock value was high, the scares were legit, and the ending clearly stated they were making a sequel.
  93. The Stepfather (1987) – “All we need is a little order around here.” This was a shocking tale of a man marrying into ready-made families and murdering them the minute the perfect unit is ruined. Terry O’Quinn was a believable secret psychopath, able to charm one minute and brutally murder the next. A fun watch for any fan of 80s horror.
  94. Freddy vs. Jason (2003) – “Everyone forgot! That’s why they weren’t afraid anymore! That’s why I needed Jason to kill for me to get them to remember. But now he just won’t stop…” The 20-year anticipation of this combination fell short with a lot of fans, myself included. Not bringing in Kane Hodder was a big issue, but the story itself really wasn’t that interesting. The nostalgia element carried most of this film, and the end battle was cool, but the protagonists were nothing to write home about.
  95. Hostel Part II (2007) – “Anyone who comes to this place… cannot leave… without killing.” Gruesome sequel with more unsuspecting people lured in only to be kidnapped and sold to rich people who want to feel what it’s like to murder a person. The cringeworthy ending of how the woman escaped still gives me chills.
  96. The Return of the Living Dead (1985) – “Listen, there’s a bunch of people from the cemetery who are stark, staring, mad, and they’ll kill you and eat you if they catch you.” Campy zombie film in which a town is overrun by zombies that emerge from a cemetery after a chemical is released into the rain. Entertaining and fun to watch, but don’t try to think too hard about the plot.
  97. Fright Night Part 2 (1988) – “Let’s talk about blood, Mr. Vincent, it’s very precious to me.” Often lost in time, this hard to find sequel brings back the original heroes Peter Vincent and Charlie Brewster to do battle with the sister of the vampire they killed in the original. Not the best vampire film out there, but at least they don’t sparkle.
  98. Dr. Giggles (1992)“Get ready to take your medicine, Moorehigh. The doctor is in.” I have always had a soft spot for this film, and I really don’t know why. The title is great, and the demented “doctor” (Larry Drake) was a very believable psychopath. Although he was not actually a doctor, the man’s father was, and his surgeries were not performed on willing people. This was just a good, old-fashioned horror movie about a deranged killer with a creative twist.
  99. Child’s Play (1988) – “Hi I’m Chucky, wanna play!” One of the few times where I wasn’t deeply entrenched in an 80s horror series. The original Chucky tale was by far the best one, as its original storyline of a possessed doll murdering people until he can free himself was enticing. Chris Sarandon, post Fright Night, portrayed a good detective, and perhaps the lack of he and Catherine Hicks in the sequels kept the other films from being all that memorable to me.
  100. Maniac Cop (1988) – “He’ll kill again… he enjoys killing.” Bruce Campbell, during his Evil Dead days, stepped away from the chainsaw to battle a murderous police officer who had set out for revenge against the city that wronged him. It was a little corny but still an exciting little flick with a pretty cool finale.
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Eric Woods resides in Springfield, Illinois and has been writing since grade school. The author of 10 full length stage plays, his first novel PUMMELED was published in June of 2018. He is in the process of finishing his second novel, the horror story DRAGON’S BLOOD which is scheduled for release in October 2019. Eric has been a local freelance writer since 2005, writing for such outlets as Springfield Business Journal Illinois and SO Magazine. He serves as a tour guide for the Lincoln Ghost Walk in Springfield and was a collegiate speech and debate coach for seven years. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s Degree in Communication from the University of Illinois Springfield.

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