Halloween special: My favourite horror films

The Shining (1980)
(Unforgettable over-the-top performance by Jack Nicholson. Not the scariest film in my opinion, but maybe the most re-watchable on my list, for the atmosphere and layers of meaning. Based on this film, no wonder Kubrick is often called the best director of all time. I reviewed it in 2011 here on the blog)

Psycho (1960)
(The shower scene is an iconic moment in cinema history. The mother at the house is the most frightening ordinary human being I can think of in a horror film. A masterpiece by Alfred Hitchcock.)

[Rec] (2007)
(Spanish, recommended to me by a horror fan, I was scared! Very claustrophobic and with a reality-tv feeling)

The Exorcist (1973)
(Before director William Friedkin lost his mind, he made one of the most successful horror films of the 70s. What makes it even more chilling is the fact it’s based on a true story. The image here has become a legendary reminder of the film)

Poltergeist (1982)
(You will never look the same way again at a tree outside your window, or a fuzzy tv-screen! 80s nostalgia all the way)

Gremlins (1984)
(Its actually part comedy, part horror. Not for kids, I remember I saw it fairly young, before the 15 rating on the video box said I should. The cute little creatures are not all cuddly!! Amazing to me how many classic 80s movies Corey Feldman is in, he reminds me of childhood. Feels very 80s, they don’t make em like this anymore. A definite nostalgic movie. Joe Dante is another director who was at the top of his game in the 80s, and like William Friedkin hasn't been the same since)

Eraserhead (1977)
(I’m a big Lynch fan. Not sure if Eraserhead even classifies as horror, its surreal, haunting, and very original. Possibly the weirdest film ever. I’ve only seen it once, so I should really watch it again soon. Check my review to read more)

Antichrist (2009)
(Warning, not for kids. Lars Von Trier created a controversial and lets not forget thought-provoking horror mystery. The ending and motivations of the characters still have me guessing till this day, which is a good thing. I’m currently reading Trier on Von Trier, an interview book on the director's career, so a Lars Von Trier blogathon is in the works)

The Ring (2002)
(Takes a page out of the same book as Poltergeist by making watching TV a dangerous endeavour, but goes in a different direction and is original in its own right. And of course I can watch Naomi Watts in anything. This is the US remake of a Japanese horror film)

Alien (1979)
(I usually don’t think of Alien as horror, more as atmospheric science fiction, though it has one of the most famous horror moments of all time. Much like Ridley Scotts Blade Runner, look out for the incredible art direction. The actual story has been duplicated on countless occasions, so perhaps Alien has lost some of its power for me because of this. I think it works best finding it as a teenager, that's when I loved it, anyway. The sequel Aliens (1986) is a must-see from the IMDB top 250 as well. James Cameron should direct more sequels, as T2 was also masterful)

The Blair Witch Project (1999)
(Saw it in the theatre in 99, an extremely tense experience that had me glued to the screen. Sadly doesn’t hold up well for me on TV. A film that maybe was stronger at the time, before the secret was given away, and has a modern feel to it by being an edgy documentary-style tale. Ultra low-budget feature was part of what created the hype. You won't fancy going out in the woods afterwards! I dug the sequel-even though the critics killed Blair Witch 2)

Thanks for reading! I may re-evaluate the captions when I review the films, just some quick-fire scribbling here.
Agree? Disagree with my list? What are YOUR favourite horror films, and why?


  1. Great list. I did hate the trees outside my window for a while after watching Poltergeist. And Blair Witch is probably the scariest film ever in my opinion.

  2. I haven't watch Blair Witch Project, although when it was released I wanted to. You like The Ring? I only watched the Japan version, and it is enough for me. So creepy.

  3. Never been a Halloween fan and I really don't like horror movies, but this year I watched Let me in....it was pretty good!Great review, as always!

  4. Many films here that I want to see... Psycho, The Blair Witch Project, Alien, The Ring (both versions)...
    I think I'll start with Alien, because I'm still a teenager ;).

  5. There's simply not enough praise one can give Psycho. A masterpiece.

    Love seeing Eraserhead and Antichrist here, two warped fever dreams from the minds of masters.

    Great list!

  6. Interesting, eclectic list! I absolutely despised Antichrist which was shocking and controversial just for the sake of it. Have yet to see REC although I thought the US remake Quarantine was pretty decent. I need to check it out!

  7. Blair Witch freaks me out! Especially the last half hour. I love the way the tension is built in that film. Psycho will always remain brilliant! Cool list (I'm trying to psych myself up to watch the Ring - either version :s eep! )

  8. Oh you've got a big surprise coming to you, Wendy! Nice choices. BARNEY'S VERSION had a 2010 release, no?, thus an Oscar nom for Giamatti last year. TREE OF LIFE is the metaphysical bomb, and I mean that in a good way!

  9. @Robert: Poltergeist I think is scarier if you find it as a kid, even if it actually was not made for children! Weird ( :

    @Andina: You should try Blair Witch Project! I did think The Ring US version was good. Didn't like the original Japanese, as a few of the faces of the Asian actors looked very similar, which confused me.

    @Aziza: Thanks, "Let me in" I have not seen. The Swedish original I found to be a bit overrated and over-hyped.

    @Mette : Hope you enjoy Alien. You have to see Psycho one day, a must-see ( :

    @Alex Withrow: Eraserhead and Antichrist are probably the strangest and most unconventional horror films on the list, thanks.

    @Castor: I realize many hated Antichrist, I found it to be rewarding for the characters. Everyone seems to accept the controversial violence in Drive (2011), no?
    The controversy in both films for me was not really necessary. Bad publicity is sometimes good publicity. Who knows.

    @Ruth: The ending of Blair Witch really freaked me out too in the cinema. Thanks for dropping by!

    @Colin: BARNEY'S VERSION was released in 2011 over here. Giamatti got the golden globe in jan 2011.
    And yes, lots of adjectives have been used re. TREE OF LIFE, that was a unique description I had not seen before ( :

  10. I just found your blog through SplitReel.
    Interesting list. There's an unexpected mix of films here. I appreciate the inclusion of absolute masterpieces like "Psycho", "The Shining" and "Alien".
    I haven't really seen "Antichrist" or "Eraserhead" but I'll be putting them on my ever-larger list of films I need to watch.
    Allow me to suggest a few of my own:

    "Let me in" (go for the original in French if you have to pick one)
    "The Orphanage" (a more contemporary entry to my favorites in horror)
    "The Descent"
    John Carpenter's "The Thing"

    Check out my blog, I recently made a post commemorating this year's Halloween.


  11. @niels85: The Orphanage has been on my radar, somehow I always missed it. The Thing I think would have had a bigger impact if I'd found it as a teen, it didn't blow me away. Don't know The Descent, will check the trailer, thanks.
    Ok, I shall check out your site later today!


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