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Top Ten Horror Movies of All Time


The crisp fall air hits faces like a stepping out of a hot tub on a chill winter evening. The leaves on the trees are beginning to turn an orangish-yellow and our once closest ridden sweatshirts have reappeared once again. Along with this all-so-familiar time of the year comes the popular holiday, Halloween. With Halloween comes extensive costumes full of vibrant colors, an abundance of candy, and bone chilling horror movies. The later has become an icon for pop culture, especially in recent years and the argument over which one is the scariest has been going on for years. Well never fear for I am here, armed with a bowl of freshly popped popcorn, a nice snuggly blanket, and a pillow in which I can destroy to my liking. I have taken on the challenge of viewing some of the scariest movies known to man, so without further ado, let’s find out which ones made my top ten. (Note: I simply do not have enough time to watch every scary movie out there, so I will be using more popular movies for my viewing sessions).

 

Before we jump into our top ten, let’s take a look at the movies that just missed the cut. Here are the honorable mentions.

 

HM1.) When a Stranger Calls (2006)

First up comes the movie that still scares babysitters today. The remake of the popular 1979 film of the same name brought a whole new meaning to prank calling. The story follows a teenage babysitter who is babysitting a rich family with two children. Seems normal right? Except for the fact that the house has a secondary house in which their son sometimes lives in, she isn’t supposed to wake the sleeping kids, and oh yeah, the house is in the middle of nowhere. The horror begins after a series of phone calls from an anonymous caller. The tension builds as the caller starts describing things in the house and what the babysitter is doing. The ending also will have you watching the movie over a second time. It narrowly misses the cut due to the fact it is a remake and that it is more of a suspense movie than a horror one.

Memorable Quote: “Have you checked the children?”

 

HM2.) The Ring (2002)

The film opens with two naive young girls having a sleepover, the perfect setup for a horror film. Then the two share the story of a mysterious video tape which kills you essentially after you watch it, and of course, one of them watched it. One can only guess what comes next. The story follows journalist Rachel Keller who happens to be related to Katie and decides to investigate her death. Of course she discovers the video and some pictures with faces scratched out and puts two and two together. Now one can only guess that she watches the video and the rest of the movie follows her terror, because it does. This movie will keep you awake for the night. Then again what is so scary about a dead little girl that comes out of the TV when you watch a movie?

Memorable Quote: “Seven days.”

 

 

HM3.) Paranormal Activity (2007)

In this film, campfire ghost stories meet stationary video cameras. Paranormal Activity is the most popular ghost film to date. It was so popular in fact, that it sparked five sequels, three of them were mediocre. The fourth, however, was pretty awesome, and the fifth is coming out soon. However, this review will focus on the original, since it is the most well known of them all. The movie follows a couple, Katie and Micha who live in their home by themselves. The movie is shot in a unique style. It is shot to look like a documentary, much like another horror-type film, Cloverfield. Everything seems all fine and dandy at the start, but soon things begin to go ary. Random things in the house began moving without people touching them, and it soons becomes known that there ghosts in the house and that Katie has had a history with them. This series narrowly misses the top ten due to being rather repetitive and lacking in quality as each sequel came out. That being said, they are still fun to watch with a bunch of friends and the fifth one is a must watch for any horror fan.

Memorable Quote: “No. I promised you I wasn’t going to buy a Ouija board. I didn’t buy a Ouija board. I borrowed a Ouija board.”

 

 

Now its time to get to the top 10


10.) Pet Sematary (1989)

Rounding off our top ten list is the 1980’s horror classic. As if dead little girls weren’t creepy enough, dead little boys are sure to scare you out of your pants.The film is an adaptation of the popular Steven King novel of the same name. The film follows Louis Creed, his wife and two kids, and the constant topic of death. Like seriously this movie cannot stop talking about it. The family makes friends with their new neighbor, Jud, and learn a lot about the surrounding area, including discovering that there is a cemetery behind their house that can supposedly bring things back to life. The cemetery is soon tested when the daughter’s cat dies. From there things get worse. I won’t give away the ending, but prepare for it to be disturbing, terrifying, and rather depressing. Oh and yes the title is spelled correctly, the cemetery is named pet sematary, spelled just as so.

Memorable Quote: “First I play with Judd, then mommy came, and I play with mommy. We play daddy; we had a awful good time! Now, I want to play with you…”

9.) Friday the 13th (1980)

Considered an icon in the horror world, Friday the 13th takes the ninth spot on the list. Some of you may be wondering why it is so low on the list, and there is a reason it isn’t as high up as expected. Friday the 13th is a scary movie; don’t get me wrong. It is a classic and has its moments of brilliance that shine throughout the film. However, this movie is a slasher, the first of its kind no doubt, but a slasher nonetheless. There isn’t much backing to the terror, and it is extremely predictable. People are together in an isolated area. People split up. People get murdered one by one. Its the same story that you could expect from a slasher. That being said, it is on this list because the film helped start this genre of film. The slasher movies from here on out would have this, or the oh so scary halloween (we’ll get to that later), to go off of.

Memorable Quote: “You’re doomed! You’re all doomed!”

8.) Silence of The Lambs (1991)

 

Next up on the list is the academy award winning, crime-horror film, Silence of The Lambs. This is arguably one of the best movies on the list. However, the story isn’t quite scary enough to put it on the top. The movie follows police detective Clarice Starling and her private interviews with mass cannibalistic murderer Hannibal Lector.  The story is thrilling, compelling, and surprisingly terrifying at times, a.k.a the night vision goggle scene. If you don’t see any other movie on this list, watch this one.

Memorable Quotes: “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.”

7.) The Shining (1980)

 

Next up on the list is another Stephen King book-to-movie adaptation. The Shining follows Jack Torrance (played by the absolutely terrifying Jack Nicholson), his wife Wendy, and his son Danny, as Jack takes over the position of winter caretaker of the mysterious Overlook Hotel. The plot starts off pretty normal but soon takes a turn for the confusing. Danny, who is kind of a strange child, learns he possesses telepathic powers, called “shining”, from the chef Hallorann. We soon forget about that however and begin to focus on Jack. Jack, who is fully aware that the last caretaker caught some sort of “cabin fever” and murdered his family, has taken the job to help him with his writing career. As expected Jack starts to become more violent and lash out at his family. Oh yeah I forgot to mention, he sees a lot of ghosts too. One of which, the former caretaker, tells him that he has to correct his family, so he tries. Then the kid uses his telepathic powers to call the all mighty chef, there is some murmur of redrum, and axes coming through doors. If you are into Stephen King and/or psychological thrillers, this movie is definitely for you.

Memorable Quote: “Here’s Johnny!”

6.) Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

 

Continuing down the list we have the horror movie that would certainly ensure that you wouldn’t sleep the night after watching it. The film that really iconized psychological horror, also earned itself a remake in 2010. The film features a young Johnny Depp in his feature film debut and the terrifying Robert Englund as the horrific Freddy Krueger. The film is considered a slasher, like Friday the 13th, but finds itself much higher on the list do to the stories scare factor. I mean really what isn’t scary about being killed in your own dreams? The story does follow slasher suit with a lot of blood and death and an interesting backstory for the killer. Nightmare on Elm Street is scary, rather unnerving actually, and earns the sixth spot do to this. My advice, watch this in the morning so you may have a slight chance of sleeping that night.

Memorable Quote: “Whatever you do… don’t fall asleep.”

5.) The Conjuring (2013)

 

Coming in the fifth place spot is the movie that follows the “true” events recorded by supernatural activity investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. By “true” events I mean based on true events, with that there is a lot of room for interpretation. The film opens with introducing Ed and Lorraine by showing the story of Annabelle the demonic doll (soon to be a released film, which I am oh so excited to see) and how they dealt with it. Then after defeating the doll, they put it with all of the other equally creepy artifacts they keep in their own home. Smart idea. Then the story transitions into a possessed house in which discount Kyle Chandler (the dad), his wife, and his five daughters move in to. All heck breaks loose when they find a boarded up door to the cellar, and of course having the IQ in which required for a horror movie, they decide to open it. To sum up the rest, there is a lot of possession, a cop with an intelligence to prove, and creepy ghostly figures. The Conjuring is one of the best horror movies I have seen in a while. It is scary, well written, and actually has an ending I liked. I suggest picking this movie up and watching it with some of your friends. I guarantee you will enjoy it.

Memorable Quote: “It was just a draft.”

4.) Sinister (2012)

 

This is one of the most terrifying movies I have seen in a long time. It takes the top spot among the newer horror films because it will simply make your spine tingle. This movie has three main factors that make it so spine-chilling. The first being the home films. These collections of seemingly harmless atic movies will make you want to turn away in absolute disgust and terror. Secondly, the music. I don’t know off the top of my head who wrote the music for this movie but they should get checked out, because the music in this film made my blood curdle. Lastly, and of course most importantly for any decent horror movie, there are insane little children. Don’t watch Sinister if you scare easy or are not hardcore for horror movies, you will regret it.

Memorable Quote: “I like that you made the movies longer; they are better this way.”

3.) The Evil Dead (1981)

 

What is worse than being murdered by a mysterious, creepy man in the woods? Being forced to kill all of your demonically possessed friends of course. That is pretty much the plot of The Evil Dead. However, the movie is absolutely terrifying for being from 1981, and don’t even get me started on the remake. The movie is disturbing, horrific, and mind boggling. A slasher without an outside person doing the slashing? Revolutionary. This movie really terrorized those who watched it by making them believe that they were never safe, not even amongst their own friends.

Memorable Quote: “Kill her if you can, loverboy.”


2.) Halloween (1978)

 

Narrowly missing the top spot is the slasher that inspired all slashers- Halloween. The story begins with the slasher’s , Michael Myers, not-so-tragic backstory. The man did a lot of bad things, and he was put in jail because of them. Then as expected, he gets out and goes on a mass murdering spree. It is just too bad that teenagers happen to always be the target of the murderous type with a sharp object. Halloween sparked the slasher genre and has one of the most iconic characters of all time. Michael Myers, with his blue jumpsuit, and his ghastly white mask (arguably one of the creepiest of all time) is sure to be in your nightmares for years to come.

Memorable Quote: “Death has come to your little town, sheriff.”

 

1.) The Exorcist (1973)

 

Taking the top spot on our list is arguably one of the creepiest of all times, and would set a standard for horror movies to meet from then on. A supernatural terror, The Exorcist gave us the first glimpse at what many of the movies on this list have: a possessed little girl. It really is one of the most terrifying things in the world, and The Exorcist was the first to exploit it. It also introduced ouija boards, and there is nothing that is not scary about those things. The plot is your basic possession/exorcism storyline. A person gets possessed and a priest is called in to get rid of the demon. However, this movie was one of the first to portray this process on screen, and it was rather hair-raising. The exorcist is such a classic, being the oldest movie on this list. That being said, it brought to the table all the necessities for a fantastic horror movie, and more. Plus the music in it is amazing, particularly the theme of the film.

Memorable Quote: “The power of Christ compels you!”

 

Like the list? Did we forget one of your favorite horror movies of all time? If we did leave a comment!

 

Chase Petty (chase.petty@student.pella.k12.ia.us)

 

About Amy Blanton