The 10 Horror Films You Must See to be a Well-Rounded Film Fan

Categories: Film and TV

There are some folks out there that don't watch horror movies. Some see the genre as nothing but boring trash, others don't like to be scared, and some just never got over a bad experience as a child. These are all valid reasons to not watch something: with more media than ever at our fingertips, why waste time watching things you know you won't like?

Still, in order to be a truly well rounded lover of film, you have to be willing to outside your comfort zone. You have to get past your dislike of black-and-white films to watch Citizen Kane, your annoyance with subtitles to watch the masterpieces of Bergman and Kurosawa, and accept all the discomfort that comes with watching The Birth of a Nation.

And yes, it means getting past whatever fears and objections have kept you away from horror movies. Fear is the engine that drives many of the movies you love, horror movies just take that idea to it's terrifying, logical conclusion.

Turn off the lights, turn up the sound, and don't be afraid to close your eyes if you have to. They're only movies after all.

10. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

While a subset of the current generation of horror filmmakers are in the middle of an arms race to see who can make the most graphic film imaginable, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a testament to the power of idea. While the movie is shocking, it's not particularly graphic; there's very little blood on account of the filmmakers thinking they were making a film that would get rated PG. TCM is a movie that doesn't need blood to be scary, however; sometimes bad things happen to good people, and sometimes those bad things involve cannibalism and chainsaws.

9. Frankenstein

Dracula may have been first of the iconic Universal monsters, and The Mummy may be a better movie, but Frankenstein is the icon. With Jack Pierce's makeup effects and Boris Karloff's charisma, the film gave birth to a character that still exists in pop culture to this day while delivering a fantastic movie along with it. You may know Dracula and the Wolf Man and the Creature from the Black Lagoon, but when it comes to the confederation of baddies from Universal Frankenstein will always be the best.

8. The Blair Witch Project

Movies are expensive, but horror is the one genre that regularly sees low budget films break in to the mainstream. Made on a budget of $35,000, The Blair Witch Project took a simple idea (the video of a college project gone horribly wrong) and made millions with it. It's the template that many a young horror filmmaker has taken in the years since its release. If you want to know why so many found footage horror movies exist and how the horror of the real can be powerful, you have to start with The Blair Witch Project.

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"If you want to know why so many found footage horror movies exist and how the horror of the real can be powerful, you have to start with The Blair Witch Project."

Or you can go 20 years earlier to Cannibal Holocaust. The director actually faced possible life in prison because it was believed the actors had been killed.

Still... I get that Psycho is a "classic" and it's worth seeing once, though it isn't of Hitchcock's better films, but I never understood why it continually makes these lists. Aside from the shower scene, it's rather dull as suspense movies go. Something like Repulsion is far more interesting and chilling.

CoryGarcia moderator communitymanager

@Smedley Cannibal Holocaust doesn't use the gimmick all the way through, and although I'm perfectly fine setting people up to watch Audition, I'd feel bad making them watch a turtle get legit hacked up.

Also, it's a pretty boring movie, but you can argue that the ending of Snuff did it first back in 76.

As for Psycho, I think there's a lot to like there, but I'm a fan of Anthony Perkins. I don't think the movie is supposed to be conventionally suspenseful; I find myself being more engaged by hoping Norman gets away with it.

And Repulsion has a lot of good stuff in it, but I'm more of a Rosemary's Baby person.


@CoryGarcia @Smedley Oh, don't misunderstand me... Cannibal Holocaust isn't a good film by any means, and I definitely agree with you in that animals should never be harmed or killed for entertainment.

I like Psycho and I like Perkins a lot (except for maybe in The Black Hole) but I just never felt that was Psycho was quite the film it's always made out to be, regardless of its most infamous scene.


@CoryGarcia @Smedley This is completely unfair, but I could say the same for Anthropophagus, but I only show that one to people for purely sadistic reasons. It's so long and so boring, that they had to put the climax of the film on a lot of the promotional material.

CoryGarcia moderator communitymanager

@Smedley I think it's the ending. It's a situation similar to Sleepaway Camp (odd comparison, but work with me); SC is a perfectly acceptable but utterly forgetable slasher up until the end, and you can't really forget it after you see it. Psycho is the same way, or you know, was the same way back in the day. That's my theory at least.

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