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Friday, March 13, 2015

101 Horror Films I Must See Before I Die

Horror films come in repressive or progressive varieties, either sustaining societal mores through terror and catharsis, or subverting them by overturning the moral status quo in favour of a new, terrifying (but perhaps, in the long run, better?) order (or chaos).

The authors of 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die compiled a number of shorter genre lists for those of us too intimidated to attack the long list. I've already noted which science fiction and action films of the editors' chosen 202 I've seen; now let's see how much of the horror canon I've seen, and how many frights are yet to come. Movies I've seen are listed in bold type.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
The Golem
The Phantom of the Opera
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
White Zombie
The Old Dark House
Island of Lost Souls
King Kong
The Black Cat
The Bride of Frankenstein
The Wolf Man
Cat People
I Walked with a Zombie
The Bad Seed
The Curse of Frankenstein
The Horror of Dracula
The Tingler
Eyes Without a Face
Peeping Tom
Black Sunday
The Innocents
Carnival of Souls
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
The Birds
The Haunting
The Masque of the Red Death
Hour of the Wolf
Rosemary's Baby
The Devil Rides Out
Night of the Living Dead
Valerie and Her Week of Wonders
The Abominable Dr. Phibes
Daughters of Darkness
The Last House on the Left
Don't Look Now
The Exorcist
The Wicker Man
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Deep Red
The Omen
The Hills Have Eyes
Dawn of the Dead
Nosferatu the Vampyre
The Brood
Cannibal Holocaust
Friday the 13th
The Shining
Dressed to Kill
The Howling
The Beyond
An American Werewolf in London
The Hunger
A Nightmare on Elm Street
The Fly
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn
A Chinese Ghost Story
The Vanishing
Jacob's Ladder
The Silence of the Lambs
Man Bites Dog
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Cemetery Man
The Blair Witch project
The Sixth Sense
The Devil's Backbone
The Others
28 Days Later
A Tale of Two Sisters
High Tension
The Descent
The Orphanage

That's 49 out of 101, not quite half of what would seem to be a somewhat representative list of the horror films I "must see." Several of the films I haven't seen are waiting for me on my movie shelves; others are completely outside my experience. I imagine several readers are wondering how it's possible I haven't seen Jaws or The Wicker Man or The Blair Witch Project yet; what can I say? Even at over 100 movies a year, it's unlikely I'll see every movie ever made before I die. Or will I? Say, that might make an interesting premise for a horror movie...


Stephen Fitzpatrick said...

Holy dogpoop, I had NO idea you'd never seen Jaws. I would have thought the references would have driven you to it. Now I don't even want you to see it, because it's probably been oversold... This is tragic!

Also, The Sixth Sense is suspenseful, but hardly a horror film.

Jeff Shyluk said...

Jaws stands up well even today. I don't think it could be oversold, as it's a brilliant film. It is dated, though. And today I wouldn't put it squarely in the horror column, either. It's in a category of its own, much like Ghostbusters. Back in the '70's, though, it was terrifying enough to keep people out of the ocean for at least a decade.

The Sixth Sense, on the other hand, is pure horror, although the stark raving mad terror comes not from the film itself but from finding out what M. Night Shyamalan's next movie is going to be.