Halloween is finally here, the scariest night of the year! And there is nothing like spending it watching a great horror film.
Time Out London presents the 100 best horror films, chosen by the 100 most representative filmmakers and professionals of the seventh art. With big names like Guillermo del Toro, Rob Zombie, Stanley Kubrick, John Carpenter and Ridley Scott.
Here is the top ten:
THE EXORCIST (William Friedkin)
During the seventies, the horror was divided in two fields: the “psycho” real life fears and the “zombies’ night” fears. The Exorcist, the winning film of this survey, was the first one in achieving the absolute mixture of these two fields. A film based on the William Meter Blatty novel. The author told that the story was inspired by real facts, a real exorcism that was performed to a kid. The Exorcist is definitely a horror film that is still enjoying its success after four decades.
THE SHINING (Stanley Kubrick)
The Stephen King’s tale was adapted in the big screen with an intriguing and, sometimes, distressing narration. The director achieved an oppressive atmosphere and some of the most striking horror scenes. Added bonus: he didn’t have to use the darkness to cause fear or tension.
THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (Tobe Hopper)
Five friends at the hands of a murderous family, whose favourite appliance is the chain saw. The film is precursor of a horror cinema that kills teenagers. The director used methods like: innocent kids, horrifying house in the woods, the night, the sound of the chain saw and the murder’s mask for his horror scenes.
PSYCHO (Alfred Hitchcock)
It has become a classic horror and thriller film. Every scene of the film is almost legendary. The shower scene is one of the essential ones, as well as one of the most well-known in the history of cinema. The scene goes by for three minutes and it includes 50 shots. Hitchcock used the “transferring the threat from the screen to the people’s mind” technique.
ALIEN (Ridley Scott)
It is already considered as classic film, it revolutionised the seventh art industry with its contribution of a different conception of two genres: science fiction and horror. His success brought along sequels and acceptable adaptations. The film has been the inspiration for many other films.
THE THING (John Carpenter)
The Thing’s first release was a complete disaster, but with the perspective of time, it has become one of the most powerful horror films, combining suspicion and uncertainty with imagination.
ROSEMARY’S BABY (Roman Polanski)
The Woodhouses have just moved to a new house and they decide to have a child. When Rosemary gets pregnant, she notices that something isn’t going on how it should. The film, which is a Polanski masterpiece, is characterised by the Fact that the real horror is never shown but suggested.
HALLOWEEN (John Carpenter)
The film tells the story of Michael Myers, a psychiatric patient locked up for killing his older sister, who after 15 years confined in a mental hospital, escapes looking for his younger sister to repeat his crime. The opening sequence is a masterclass in how to unsettle the nerves. Carpenter was able to give us a perspective from the murder’s point of view; moreover he took advantage of his musical talent. It is the most visceral and tense film of the survey.
SUSPIRIA (Dario Argento)
Suzy, an American ballet student, starts going to the Tanz Academy to improve her skills. Soon she will realise the strange behaviour the staff has, which combined with the terrible deaths that have occurred, will make her suspect that something sinister is going on. The film is characterised by an extreme use of colour and a careful modernist inspiration set design.
DAWN OF THE DEAD (George A. Romero)
The plot is about a group of survivors that takes refuge in a mall from the zombies’ invasion arising on the Earth. It is the most savage film of the survey, its influence is noticeable in all the zombies’ films and it is still an almost violence master piece.