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Just Keep Telling Yourself It's Only a Thread: Talking Time's Top 50 Horror Movies!

Daikaiju

Rated Ages 6+
(He, Him)
Too late!

 

Beta Metroid

At peace
(he/him and such)
My list (really regretting blanking on Shin Godzilla):

1) Babadook (2014)
2) Poltergeist (1982)
3) Alien (1979)
4) Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948): It may be a comedy, but this movie manages to be quite an effective climax to the original “Dark Universe.” Can you believe this was the third movie to group Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster, and the Wolf Man, and the first one where they...actually interact with each other? The Wolf Man has gone in a great direction, with his human form utterly beleaguered at his inability to die or end his curse (which requires ignoring/retconning previous movies, but even those movies ignored/retconned their own predecessor), so choosing to direct his energies at defeating other monsters. Lugosi returning to the role of Dracula (the only feature-length film other than the 1931 Dracula where he does so!) is incredible, and he’s fantastic when trying to pass as a harmless aristocrat. Unfortunately, the Frankenstein Monster is basically a prop at this point, and even though Abbott and Costello would work with Karloff on multiple occasions, he’s not on board for this one. But all the monsters get plenty of screentime, and screentime with each other. They’re all played totally straight, with the comedy deriving entirely from Abbot and Costello’s shenanigans. There are some classic Halloween setpieces, with spooky woods and stormy castles, there’s a surprise bonus monster/actor, the score is iconic (I always think of this movie’s respective musical cues for the monsters as their themes), there’s even a really nifty animated intro. And it’s absolutely hilarious!
5) Godzilla (1954)
6) War of the Gargantuas (1966): While it may be a stretch to call this horror, as kaiju flicks go, this one goes particularly out of its way to place individuals in peril in shocking and inventive ways. And since this is kinda, sorta, a Frankenstein movie (long story), it’s fitting that it has far more moments resembling traditional horror movie scares than others. This movie opens strong, with a ship suffering a suspense-filled octopus attack, before said octopus is suddenly driven off by one of the eponymous Gargantuas, who proves to be even more terrifying. There are some really creative shots throughout this movie as the Gargantua seeks out humans to gobble, including using forced perspective to have both it and fleeing victims swimming in the same shot, a shot of some boaters suddenly seeing it staring up at them from beneath the surface, its legs blending in with trees in a misty forest, and it sprinting, which sets it apart from most kaiju. Outside of the horror vein, there’s a lot of monster-derived pathos in this one, with a pair of kaiju brothers who have very differing stances on humans. Generally one of the strongest Toho flicks, with the only real mark against it being that it doesn’t really have an ending...it just smashes to a halt.
7) Rodan (1956):
This is one of those movies where it’s really hard to go in without knowing the premise, but it’s a great ride if you can manage that. There are layers and layers of red herrings, and the movie is suspenseful. Our protagonists are from a small mining village, and the mines and caverns make for very effective scenery, especially before the mystery has been revealed. After the revelation...well this is a film where Toho goes particularly all-out with the effects (and would in fact recycle many shots from this movie well into the 1970s). And it manages to generate some sympathy for the titular critters by the end.
8) Aliens (1986)
9) Terminator (1984)
10) Psycho (1960)
11) The Birds (1963)
12) Predator (1987)
13) The Thing (1982)
14) Halloween (1978)
15) Scream (1996)
16) The Fly (1986)
17) Get Out (2017)
18) Us (2019)
19) The Blob (1958): This movie opens with a very silly theme song! Also, I'm not sure how conscious this was, but it seems to inspire a few iconic movie sequences (like Jurassic Park's kitchen scene). It has a surprisingly open-minded message about bridging the generation gap, particularly with a cop learning a lesson about his prejudices against those wild teenagers. And it manages to close on an incredibly dark and ominous note that is a really effective sequel hook, even though that's only in retrospect, and it was almost definitely intended as an unambiguously happy ending at the time.
20) Trick r Treat (2007)
21) Shining (1980)
22) Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954): The location, the creature effects, and the swimming/aquatic cinematography go a long way in this movie. It does manage to be quite suspenseful, and creates an incredibly memorable creature (who is an extremely sympathetic character throughout).
23) Cabin in the Woods (2011)
24) Identity (2003): My wife introduced me to this movie just this past year, and it may dip more into "mystery/thriller" than horror, but it definitely has spooky vibes. It centers on a small group of people stranded in a remote motel under a range of tragic-unpleasant circumstances. But all is not what it seems! It has some intriguing twists and turns, and I like the mood it sets.
25) Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
 
I love Rodan. My favorite “serious” old kaiju movie. Those crumbling mountains look delicious.

Child’s Play was the famous series I forgot to vote for. Just rewatched it. Not sure which entry is my favorite but either Seed or Bride just because Jennifer Tilly has so many opportunities to be interesting/funny/sad. (happy she’s in Cult but really a shame her character’s so subordinate to Chucky there) Also the 1998 DVD commentary for Bride with Tilly is good. (Sometimes ancient movie commentaries should be left alone)
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
So I see some people are adding thoughts on movies they had that did not make the main list, so I guess I'm going to do that.

12) Mandy - Boy, if there's one movie on my list that I'm surprised didn't make the big list it's... well, it's Midsommar, but if there are two, Mandy is the other one. An indie darling from Panos Cosmatos (Beyond the Black Rainbow) soaked in style and violence with Nic Cage at his Nic Cage-iest fucking up cultists with the most metal chainsaw you've ever laid eyes on, I love everything about this movie. Maybe it's a recency bias, but I doubt it.
21) Tales from the Crypt Presents Demon Knight
- I knew this one wouldn't make the list, but I have a historical love for it. Not only because I love the TV show, but this movie is pure, distilled horror fun with a cast that is clearly just having a ball. From CCH Pounder's matriarchal hotel owner to Jada Pinkett-Smith's unlikely heroine to the ever-underrated William Sadler as the titular Demon Knight to that guy Dick Miller to, of course, Billy Zane as the Collector, this one is a super fun ride. It's not quite Evil Dead II, but it's as close as the '90s got without being a direct sequel to that film.
23) Midsommar
- For some reason I thought this one did make the list, but looking over the list, it appears not, so color me surprised. Ari Aster's follow-up to Hereditary (he made those movies in consecutive years! Can you imagine?) doesn't quite hit that level for me, but it's still fantastic. With moments of genuine shock and pathos, it may be a bit slow, but I recommend it.
24) The Strangers - Not a lot of horror films stick with me. This one did. There isn't much to it, but the premise is enough to be chilling.
25) Suspiria (2018)
- When this was announced, I banged the drum about unnecessary remakes. I love Suspiria, I think it is indisputably Dario Argento's master work. This film does exactly what a remake should do and reworks the original premise in such a way that while it is recognizable as the same skeleton, the meat is different enough that it just works. Also... that ending.

Also, I realized I didn't put Green Room on my list, probably because I guess it's not straight horror, but it should have been on there anyways, Jeremy Saulnier is a goddamn genius, even his Taco Bell commercial is good.
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
So I see some people are adding thoughts on movies they had that did not make the main list, so I guess I'm going to do that.

12) Mandy - Boy, if there's one movie on my list that I'm surprised didn't make the big list it's... well, it's Midsommar, but if there are two, Mandy is the other one. An indie darling from Panos Cosmatos (Beyond the Black Rainbow) soaked in style and violence with Nic Cage at his Nic Cage-iest fucking up cultists with the most metal chainsaw you've ever laid eyes on, I love everything about this movie. Maybe it's a recency bias, but I doubt it.
23) Midsommar - For some reason I thought this one did make the list, but looking over the list, it appears not, so color me surprised. Ari Aster's follow-up to Hereditary (he made those movies in consecutive years! Can you imagine?) doesn't quite hit that level for me, but it's still fantastic. With moments of genuine shock and pathos, it may be a bit slow, but I recommend it.
25) Suspiria (2018) - When this was announced, I banged the drum about unnecessary remakes. I love Suspiria, I think it is indisputably Dario Argento's master work. This film does exactly what a remake should do and reworks the original premise in such a way that while it is recognizable as the same skeleton, the meat is different enough that it just works. Also... that ending.

Also, I realized I didn't put Green Room on my list, probably because I guess it's not straight horror, but it should have been on there anyways, Jeremy Saulnier is a goddamn genius, even his Taco Bell commercial is good.

I voted for all four of these! They all should have made the list!
 

SabreCat

Sabe, Inattentive Type
(they/them)
Bit late, but when The Babadook came up so high on the list, I had no idea what it was. I'd seen a couple of memes (notably, "Baba Is Dook", haha), but lacked the context. I asked my wife, who's much more of a horror buff than I, if she'd seen it.

"Oh, yeah. I hated the ending. Also that kid. I wished he'd get eaten by a monster, by the end."

hah...
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
Here's my movies that didn't make the final list:

12. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
A few years ago, I read a compelling essay making the case for David Lynch as a horror director, with this movie as its main argument. When I rewatched it somewhat recently, it really was striking how "horrific" it actually was compared to how I remembered it the first time. This isn't even the only David Lynch movie on my list!

15. Day of the Dead
I had 3 of Romero's Dead movies on my list, and I could see this one overtaking Dawn's place if I watched it more times or more recently. It's thematic focus on "military vs. science" was compelling, and the way it tries to "humanize" the pet zombie is a pretty interesting evolution for the Dead series.

17. mother!
This movie is exhausting to sit through. It's one of my few picks that I would consider borderline horror, because it's not really trying to scare you and it's not really a thriller or a mystery... but it's still pretty horrific! Another one that I haven't rewatched since the first time I saw it, but I kind of dread watching it again just because of how stressed out I was the first time.

19. Shivers
Cronenberg's first theatrical film. I was impressed the first time I watched it mostly because of how low-budget it was while also being extremely good. Like most of his other movies, it's pretty thick with social commentary subtext, because at its heart it's actually a zombie story without typical zombies (sex zombies?!). The design of the central "parasite" is pretty goofy though.

20. Pontypool
One of the most unique and compelling ideas for a horror movie I can think of, and the amount of restraint it has to keep the setting entirely closed to the radio station itself does an excellent job of creating tension (I'm sure it's more of a budget reason than anything else, but that's where brilliant stuff comes from sometimes).

23. Eraserhead
The other Lynch movie I included. I haven't actually watched this since the very first time I did way back in college, but it's still stuck with me after so many years.
 
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