There really are such a thing as good scary movies you have to see to believe. You hear others talk about them or a friend tries to describe them to you, but you eventually realize that descriptions are not enough to satiate your desires and there is only one thing you can do... watch. The true allure of the horror genre is its ability to allow one to experience terror in relative safety which is why so many great horror films remain so popular. Any of those listed below would be a great choice to watch with friends or all by yourself (if you’re feeling brave). Although the movies are numbered, they are in no particular order and will be revealed to you over several articles, so be sure to check out the other parts if you like this one. I hope you enjoy reading this list as much as I enjoyed writing it.
“Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places.” ~H.P. Lovecraft
Horror Films Every Fan Has To See
1- Dawn of the Dead (1978): The zombie virus has
• Cringe Scene: Early in the movie a SWAT team is raiding an apartment building where residents are ignoring martial law. One of the doors gets opened and a zombie comes walking out. The zombie’s wife is nearby and goes to embrace him. The zombie delivers two very graphic bites. Once you see this dreadful scene there will be no illusions about what type of film you’re watching.
• Memorable Quote: “When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.”
• Trivia: Most of the movie was shot in the Monroeville Mall in Pennsylvania, east of Pittsburgh. Many diehard fans still go there to visit the area, although it is very different from the way it once was.
2- The Silence of the Lambs (1991): An eager FBI
• Memorable Confrontation: Dr. Lecter is taken to see Senator Ruth Martin to give her details on what the person who has her daughter looks like. I won’t spoil it for you, but there is an exchange between them in which Lecter mentions her nipples. This scene shows how truly evil Lecter is.
• Memorable Quote: “It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.”
• Trivia: Jack Crawford’s character was based on real life detective John Douglas.
3- Hellraiser (1987): A young girl accidentally summons
• Introductions: The first time Kirsty solves the puzzle box we get a good look at all four of the Cenobites and realize just how intelligent and polite these monsters are - which makes them even scarier.
• Memorable Quote: “Who are you?” “Explorers in the further regions of experience. Demons to some. Angels to others.”
• Trivia: Doug Bradley, who played the Lead Cenobite in the credits, was given the name of Pinhead by fans.
4- Poltergeist (1982): A normal
• Creepy Scene: Carol Anne begins to touch the TV and all of a sudden a spiritual hand jumps out at her. Watch this in the dark and see if you don’t jump - at least a little.
• Memorable Quote: “It lies to her. It tells her things only a child can understand. It’s been using her to restrain the others. To her, it simply is another child. To us, it is The Beast.”
• Trivia: The franchise is said to be cursed because several people associated with it died prematurely.
5- Suspiria (1977): A ballet student travels to Germany
• Memorable Scene: There is a scene in the movie where a girl dies and falls through a beautiful stained glass skylight window. It is so violent yet so beautifully shot.
• Tagline: “The only thing more terrifying than the last 12 minutes of this film are the first 92.”
• Trivia: Originally the ballet school was for girls no older than 12. The studio balked at this as they felt a film this violent involving children would be banned. Dario Argento (director) raised the age limit to 20 but didn’t do any rewrites on the script, hence the childlike dialogue.
6- The Texas Chainsaw
• One Heck of An Entrance: A boy is slowly making his way towards an open doorway after hearing a noise when all of a sudden Leatherface comes out and attacks. He quickly subdues the boy and drags him behind the metal door where he violently slides it shut.
• Narration at Beginning of Film: “The film which you are about to see is an account of the tragedy which befell a group of five youths, in particular Sally Hardesty and her invalid brother, Franklin. It is all the more tragic in that they were young. But, had they lived very, very long lives, they could not have expected nor would they have wished to see as much of the mad and macabre as they were to see that day. For them an idyllic summer afternoon drive became a nightmare. The events of that day were to lead to the discovery of one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of American history, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.”
• Trivia: The chainsaw used by Leatherface was a Poulan 245A with a piece of black tape covering the logo to avoid possible lawsuit.
7- Psycho (1960): Psycho is a black and white film
• Memorable Scene: The shower scene and the death of Janet Leigh.
• Memorable Quote: “It’s not like my mother is a maniac or a raving thing. She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?”
• Trivia: Hitchcock bought the rights to the novel anonymously from Robert Bloch for only $9,000 US. He then bought up all the copies of the novel he could find to keep the ending a secret.
8- Nosferatu (1922): This film is officially the first film
• Eerie Scene: Count Orlok is slowly walking in through a doorway and with each step getting closer to his victim. You just have to see it as describing it doesn’t do a whole lot.
• Creepy Quote: It will cost you sweat and tears, and perhaps…a little blood.
• Trivia: The film barely escaped total destruction because of a court case brought on by Bram Stoker’s widow on copyright infringement. She won the case and all original prints were ordered destroyed. By this point, though, the movie had already been circulated around the world.
9- Gremlins (1984): A father gives his son a unique pet
• Scary Moment: Mom slowly looks into the kitchen to see a gremlin eating batter out of a mixing bowl. She quickly hides as the gremlin turned its head because it thought it heard something. This always creeps me out for some reason. You realize that these little things are dangerous.
• Tagline: Cute. Clever. Mischievous. Intelligent. Dangerous.
• Trivia: This film (along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) was the major cause the MPAA created a PG-13 rating, as a lot of people felt the violence shown was too much for a PG rating and not enough for an R rating.
10- An American Werewolf in London (1981): Two
• Memorable Scene: The werewolf transformation. Nuff’ said.
• Funny Quote: I will not be threatened by a walking meatloaf!
• Trivia: The studio wanted John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd cast as the leads. Landis, thankfully, did not take their advice.