Tuesday, October 26, 2010

95 Good and 39 Not So Good Horror Movies for Halloween

Can't spell SLAUGHTER without LAUGHTER - oxymoron

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Horror and Slasher movies. A personal listing by Rebecca Ryals Russell

With Halloween approaching I thought it timely to discuss Horror and Slasher Films. I've been shocked in the past twenty years at the plethora of these films that have graced our theatre and television screens. It seems nearly half of the movies made fit this genre.

I’m going to age myself here, as though you couldn’t guess from my pictures anyway, but when I was about twelve-years-old The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock came out. I was babysitting my sister, five years younger, and we watched it. Alone. Just the two of us. BIG MISTAKE. We woke each other during the night for bathroom company (which was about three feet from our bedroom door) for at least two months afterward. That was the scariest movie I had ever seen.

I had my own children watch it about ten years ago. While they enjoyed the classic nature and awesome direction that was Hitchcock, they weren’t exactly scared. Although the younger ones searched the sky whenever traveling from house to car or vice versa.

That is what has happened to the current generation of teens and twenties. They are completely desensitized to horror, gore, violence. Don’t even get me started on video games! (That’ll be another post.)

 As with all movie genres there are good films and bad to awful films. While researching this I gave it some thought and have categorized the following Horror to A-little-Scary movies into GOOD or NOT SO GOOD according to MY subjective movie-goer senses. If a movie has some psychology behind the scare or is based on actual events, it gets my thumb up. But violence and gore for the sake of it – no go.

The following sites have good info on horror/slasher films:


  1. 1408
  2. 28 Days Later
  3. 28 Weeks Later
  4. 30 Days of Night
  5. Alien(s)
  6. Amityville Horror (original)
  7. Blair Witch Project 1
  8. Burnt Offerings
  9. Candyman
  10. Carrie (original)
  11. Coraline
  12. Cube
  13. Dawn of the Dead
  14. Deliverance
  15. Desperation
  16. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (original)
  17. Event Horizon
  18. Exorcism of Emily Rose
  19. Fallen
  20. Four Horsemen
  21. Frankenstein
  22. Haunting in Connecticut
  23. I Am Legend
  24. Interview With a Vampire
  25. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (original)
  26. Jaws
  27. Misery
  28. Mothman Prophecy
  29. Mouth of Madness
  30. Ninth Gate
  31. Nosferatu
  32. Panic Room
  33. Pan's Labyrinth
  34. Planet of the Apes
  35. Poltergeist
  36. Psycho
  37. Quarantine
  38. Resident Evil
  39. Ringu
  40. Rose Red
  41. Rosemary's Baby
  42. Salem's Lot
  43. Seven
  44. Shutter Island
  45. Silence of the Lambs
  46. Sleepy Hollow
  47. Stir of Echoes
  48. Storm of the Century
  49. Sweeney Todd
  50. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (original)
  51. The Birds
  52. The Blob
  53. The Descent
  54. The Devil’s Backbone
  55. The Exorcist
  56. The Fly (w/ Jeff Goldblum)
  57. The Howling
  58. The Langoliers
  59. The Legend of Hell House
  60. The Mummy
  61. The Omen
  62. The Orphanage
  63. The Other
  64. The Others
  65. The Ring 1
  66. The Serpent and the Rainbow
  67. The Shining
  68. The Stand
  69. The Thing
  70. The Unborn
  71. Underworld (series)
  72. Untraceable
  73. What Lies Beneath
  74. White Noise
  75. Zodiac Killer
  76. Zombieland

Some things to remember about these lists. They are subjective to the viewer - ME. I have seen most of the movies on the bad list and while I enjoyed them at the time or at least sat through them at least once, I didn't consider them worthy of being called GOOD. The plot was weak, the characterization was weak or non-existent, the ending was lame. You get the point. But there is no reason not to see them just because I put them on my bad list. I love B-rated movies, especially those on the SyFy Channel, but some of these don’t even stand up to my low standards.

  1. 13 Ghosts
  2. 2001 Maniacs
  3. Alien 3 & Resurrection
  4. Arachnophobia
  5. Black Christmas
  6. Cabin Fever
  7. Children of the Corn
  8. Chucky
  9. Cloverfield
  10. Drag Me toHell
  11. Exorcist 2
  12. Final Destination (all)
  13. Friday the 13th (all)
  14. Ghost Ship
  15. Grindhouse (both)
  16. Halloween (all)
  17. Hellraiser
  18. Hostel
  19. House of Wax
  20. I Know What You Did Last Summer
  21. It!
  22. Jaws the Revenge
  23. Joy Ride (all)
  24. My Bloody Valentine
  25. Nightmare on Elm Street
  26. Pet Semetary
  27. Piranha
  28. Prom Night
  29. Pterodactyl
  30. Rest Stop
  31. Return of the Living Dead
  32. Saw (all)
  33. Scream
  34. Silent Hill
  35. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  36. The Grudge (all)
  37. The Hills Have Eyes
  38. Wickerman
  39. Wrong Turn (all)

Here is a listing of Scary stories based on actual events. While I’m not saying these films are GOOD, they are at least interesting from that aspect.
  1. It (1990)
  2. The Ring(1972)
  3. Don't Look Now(1973)
  4. The Exorcist (1973)
  5. Halloween (1978)
  6. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
  7. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
  8. Jaws(1975)
  9. Audrey Rose(1977)
  10. Hills have Eyes(1977)
  11. The Amityville Horror(1977)
  12. The Entity(1981)
  13. Dead Ringers(1988)
  14. Gothic(1986)
  15. Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
  16. An American Haunting (2006)
  17. Primeval (2007)
  18. Them (Ils) (2007)
  19. The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)


Susanne Drazic said...

Hi Rebecca. Interesting movie lists. I've seen quite a few of them.

Have a great week!

Karen McGrath said...

Oh Rebecca, the Birds is my number one favorite horror flick! Hitch was a Master! Psycho was pretty good, too.

Charlie said...

Hi Rebecca. I loved the birds. One flick that didn't make your list that I found pretty entertaining was Paranormal Activity. I can't wait to see the second one. It isn't as good as some with a plot but it made me jump, which is how I judge a good scary movie. I don't want to throw up, I just want to jump. thanks for the read.
C.K. Volnek

Rebecca Ryals Russell said...

Charlie, I actually just saw Paranormal 2 with my daughter last night. I think it was better than the first one and they had a great way of tying the two together. You'll love it!

Brenda Kezar said...

The movie that always scared me the most when I was younger was "The Blob" (the originals, not the 90's remake).

One for the list (though I haven't decided if I think it would fall under "good" or "bad" is "The Mist" from Stephen King. I loved the short story and the movie was pretty good--until the new ending for the movie. It definitely was a "punch in the gut" surprise ending, but I'm not sure if I liked it.

Rebecca Ryals Russell said...

I agree about the Blob. To this day I check the shower drain while showering. And I was super upset about the ending to The Mist. What a let-down!

Fiona said...


If you haven't seen The Fog, you should; it remains my favorite scary movie. The first two Halloween movies are good (the first started the whole slasher movie genre) but sadly the series later turned into the quest for cash!

A guy in college took me to a screening of The Entity and then left me there because he got scared! I don't like those kind of demonic/psychological horrors.


Fiona said...

PS - When I refer to The Fog, I mean the original one with Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh, not the horrible excuse of a remake.

Rebecca Ryals Russell said...

I've actually seen the original Fog. I love classic movies and have seen most, if not all, of the Classic Horror flicks.

I prefer psychological, demonic thrillers, as long as they're not cheesy. I saw Paranormal 2 the other night and it was truly scary because you never seen the entity - only the effects.

My series Seraphym Wars deals with demons and their evil, including its psychological damage.

Fiona said...

One that terrified me when I saw it in the cinema was the Blair Witch Project. I know it's been mocked a lot since, and it is a one time only movie, but the creepiest part was the sound of stones being piled up outside the tent each night. For the next few nights, I'd lie in bed waiting to hear an ominous rattling noise!

Erika Gilbert said...

I remember being scared of Alien. It gave me nightmares until I dreamed that I had an alien-repelling force field around me! I think I may have been too young when my dad took me, being only ten.

Scott said...

The old B&W movies, especially from Universal or Hitchcock, win it for me. I like the atmosphere that B&W movies can create with lighting and shadows way more than and any brightly colored gore fest, or something dull like Blair Witch Project. That said, it's hard to get more creepy than the first Poltergeist movie.

Charlie said...

I'm not usually into foreign films with subtitles, but I absolutely loved Pan's Labyrinth. Such a dark film and so suspensful I never even realized I was reading subtitles.

I haven't seen The Orphanage. It is as good as Pan's Labyrinth? Recommended by anyone? Might have to check it out for Halloween if it made the list.
C.K. Volnek

Rebecca Ryals Russell said...

Pan's Labrynth is one of my daughter's and my favs. We've watched it several times.

The Orphanage is excellent! Very suspenseful. I also LOVED The Others with Nicole Kidman. If you haven't seen it, it's a MUST. And It's Not Scary, but totally a ghost story. So cool.

Fiona said...

The Others is excellent and highly underrated. Very atmospheric.