Happy Halloween! Of course I have to do this ranking today. Horror movies are a staple of the spooky season, so it's necessary that I rank my favorites on the scariest night of the year. There are so many great, fun horror movies. While writing this list, I was shocked at how difficult it actually was. There were movies I wanted to include. There are movies I wanted to move higher. It made me realize how much I love this genre and these movies. That said, here are my ten favorite horror films of all time.
10. The Shining
The Shining is such a weird film for me. I do not love it. I would give it a Savory. But, for some reason, this is the film I find myself researching the most. I rewatch so many scenes from The Shining. There's so much genius in this movie. I really wasn't a fan of it when I first watched it, but I've seen it three times now, and it keeps growing on me. I always want to rewatch it. I always think about the classic, iconic imagery from it. It really sticks with me, so even though I don't love it, I have to include it on this list, because it's kind of a great movie.
Psycho is cool. I'm sure if I didn't know all the twists, this film would be one of my favorites, but it came out in 1960, so everyone knows all the surprises that this movie holds. Despite that, this movie is still fantastic. Alfred Hitchcock knows how to craft tension and pay it off with this big, shocking moments. He's just a genius when it comes to filmmaking. Anthony Perkins's Norman Bates is one of the great villains of all time. This film is also super cool to go back through and rewatch, because you see all of the foreshadowing and clues about where it's headed. It's a great, classic movie that is hugely important to the horror genre.
8. A Quiet Place Part II
One of the most intense films I've ever seen, A Quiet Place Part II displays John Krasinski's talent as a director. He knows how to put you on the edge of your seat and not let up. This film is extremely fast-paced. It's extremely well-done. It has a heartfelt, emotional core that kind of carries the movie. It's one of the best blends of horror and true, deep family drama that I've ever seen. This is a great, great movie that may be light on scares for some, but the sheer amount of pulse-pounding thrills should make up for that.
How can you not have a best horror movies list without Halloween? This film is so important for the genre. There are so many things about this film that are just amazing: John Carpenter's creepy direction and haunting score, Jamie Lee Curtis's first (and possibly best) performance, and, of course, the Shape himself. Michael Myers is, in my opinion, the greatest horror villain of all time, so of course his introductory outing is one of my favorite scary movies. It's a simple premise that is executed with mastery. Sometimes, that's all you need to make a great movie.
It's pretty hard to do something different with the slasher genre, but Scream finds a way. This movie has all of the thrills that usual slashers have. The opening scene is one of the best scenes in film history. It combines the horror and tension with the incredible, clever meta humor that makes this film so memorable and so good. Wes Craven re-invented the modern horror movie by commenting on the genre itself. It makes fun of horror while also being a love letter to it, and, as a massive horror fan, I love that. If you haven't seen Scream, do yourself a favor and go watch it.
5. The Silence of the Lambs
While I love Scream, there is a massive jump in quality here. It is shocking to me that The Silence of the Lambs is FIFTH on this list. This is one of my favorite movies. It's essentially perfect. On a technical level, everything is executed to the best possible result. Performances? Perfect. Tension? Perfect. Direction? Perfect. Script and story? Perfect. Characters? Perfect. This movie does everything right. It's a detective thriller injected with this psychological horror aspect that Hannibal Lecter brings. It's extremely intense while also getting in your head and causing you to have one of the weirdest and best experiences you will ever have while watching a movie. I love this film so much. It's amazing.
4. Doctor Sleep
It is such a shame that more people don't recognize Doctor Sleep. This film is an absolute masterpiece. Obviously, in my opinion, I like it more than The Shining. It adopts elements of Stanley Kubrick's film, but it quickly establishes itself as its own thing. While The Shining was a story of isolation and madness, Doctor Sleep builds on the lore that The Shining established to give you a fantastic story about these vampires that hunt people with the shining. Mike Flanagan brings his A-game here, making a sequel to Stanley Kubrick's film, but also honoring Stephen King's novels. I adore the hell out of this movie, and I wish more people would check it out.
3. The Thing
In a modern world filled with big CGI monsters and lots of green screens, The Thing stands out as an incredibly unique horror film. It's a truly fantastic film that has an amazing ensemble cast of memorable and likable characters balanced with some of the nastiest and coolest looking horror effects ever. John Carpenter knows how to craft tension (as previously stated with Halloween), and he brings even more of that to The Thing. Because of the nature of the story, you aren't sure who you can trust, so it creates this ridiculously intense film paid off with big, shocking moments. The practical gore effects here are jaw-dropping. If you hate CGI, watch The Thing, because you will LOVE the practical body horror. It's one of the many things that make this movie incredible.
Steven Spielberg's shark thriller is still one of the greatest movies ever made. Yes, Jaws is absolutely a horror movie. It's scary. The shark is essentially a monster. The choice to not show the shark makes this film all the more effective. Spielberg's stunning direction paired with John Williams's simple, terrifying score make this movie. While that is good enough, Peter Benchley's screenplay crafts three fantastic main characters that are compelling, charming, and fun to spend time with. It's a horrifying story that you care about with characters that you love. It's Jaws. There's nothing else I can say that hasn't already been said.
1. Get Out
I liked Get Out when I first saw it. The second time I saw it, I loved it. The third time I saw it, it became one of my three favorite movies of all time. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can prepare you for what this film is. A twisty, unpredictable horror film that has some of the best direction, dialogue, and acting ever. Jordan Peele nailed what he was going for here. It's creepy and effective, but it also has some great moments of comedy. All of that is wrapped in subtle social commentary that will stick with you for hours after the credits roll. This is the movie I suggest to everyone. If you haven't seen Get Out, that is the next movie you are watching. It's an unforgettable experience that you will not regret.