Top 10 horror movies of all time

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  1. The Exorcist (1973)

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This story about a 12-year-old girl who starts acting strangely is especially frightening because it is based loosely on actual events. Regan begins acting peculiarly by speaking in tongues and levitating which leads to her mother contacting a priest for help and both Father Merrin and Father Karras are called in to exorcise the demon from her. In addition to the troubling story as well as the creepy feel of the movie in general, there was also speculation that the set was cursed as production was troubled from the beginning and some members of cast and crew were victims of the tragedy.[i]

  1. The Shining (1980)

the-shining-001This psychological horror film was based on a book by Stephen King and produced by Stanley Kubrick, which is a pairing that does not disappoint. The story about Jack Torrance and his family’s experience during an off-season at the Overlook Hotel is deeply troubling, and Jack Nicholson gave a legendary performance as the film’s lead. His interactions with the paranormal coupled with his descent into madness make this one legendary film.[ii]

  1. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

mv5bmtk0ndi3ntewmv5bml5banbnxkftztgwnjgwndgwnze-_v1_sy1000_sx660_al_This classic horror film is one of the first “slasher films” and it is particularly frightening as it blurs the boundaries between what is real and what is imaginary. Set in the Midwest, a group of teenagers are being stalked in their dreams by Freddie Krueger, a terrifying man with burn scars and razor blade fingers. If he is able to kill them in their dreams, they die in real life.[iii] Surely, this horror film has led to many sleepless nights for viewers.

  1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

mv5bzdi3owe0zwmtngjjos00n2e4lwfiotatzjq4otninziwn2nkxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymtqxnzmzndi-_v1_Despite the fact that the original version of this movie was released over forty years ago, there has been a steady stream of remakes and sequels since the beginning, so much so, that it is now a major franchise in the horror film industry. This story about a group of stranded hitchhikers who are hunted by a family of cannibals including the main antagonist, Leatherface, is so terrifying that upon its release it was banned in several countries and theaters across the United States refused to show it due to is gruesome nature.[iv]

  1. Halloween (1978)

mv5bnzk1ogu2nmmtntdhzc00njdllwe5ytmtztq0mgexztqzogqyxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymtqxnzmzndi-_v1_This genre favorite about an escaped psychiatric patient who stalks a teenage girl and her friends, is considered to be the first slasher film created. And like other classic horror films, it to, has led to the creation of an entire franchise based upon the original. It was also one of the first movies to use a theme song when the killer appeared-another element that widely influenced later horror productions.[v]

  1. Frankenstein (1931)

frankenstein-1931This character, based on an early 19th century novel by Mary Shelley, is a staple for Halloween costumes for good reason. The plot centers on a scientist and his assistant who seek to build a monster from parts taken from corpses and they accidentally give him a brain, leading to a terrifying identity conflict. The film is a defining part of the horror genre due to themes of science fiction, the concept of self and a general macabre tone. It’s been controversial since its initial release, and has been edited by state censorship boards and even called blasphemous due to the scientist’s line in which he claims to be God due to his ability to give life.[vi]

  1. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

rosemarys-baby-1968This is another psychological thriller based upon a novel; this one was written by Ira Levin and it tells the story of a pregnant woman who discovers that because of a pact that her husband made with the devil, her unborn child is the spawn of Satan. This film has made such an impact that the Library of Congress has deemed it to be so culturally, historically or aesthetically significant that is has been selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.[vii]

  1. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

night-of-the-living-dead-1968As an independent horror film, this flick had a remarkably low budget and became an almost instant financial success and is the most profitable horror film not produced by a major studio. The plot centers on a group of individuals trapped in a rural farmhouse that is being attacked by a group of the ‘living dead’, also referred to as zombies. Though earlier zombie movies were made, this one became the definitive depiction of the zombie apocalypse.[viii]

  1. Jaws (1975)

jaws-1975This film is based on a novel of the same name in which a great white shark attacks vacationers on an island in a resort town on the west coast. This film also had a very troubled projection from the start, though it came to be the highest-grossing film of all time until Star Wars was released. Much of the terror and suspense from the film can be attributed to its minimalist soundtrack. But perhaps the reason this film resonated as a deep-seated fear for so many audience members is that, unlike other themes explored in horror, this film focuses on a creature that we know to exist in real life.[ix]

  1. Psycho (1960)

psycho-1960Considered to be one of Hitchcock’s greatest works, this psychological thriller was unprecedented in its depiction of violence and sexuality at the time of its release, specifically the shower scene in which the female lead is murdered. However, it became very successful upon its release and has been known to explore so many themes that it has been called the first psychoanalytical thriller. It is regularly mentioned as one of the greatest movies of all time.[x]

Author: Rikki Roehrich

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References :

[i] The Exorcist (film). (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Exorcist_(film)
[ii] The Shining (film). (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shining_(film)
[iii] A Nightmare on Elm Street. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Nightmare_on_Elm_Street
[iv] The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Texas_Chain_Saw_Massacre
[v] Halloween. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween_(1978_film)
[vi] Frankenstein. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankenstein_(1931_film)
[vii] Rosemary’s Baby. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary%27s_Baby_(film)
[viii] Night of the Living Dead. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_of_the_Living_Dead
[ix] Jaws. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaws_(film)
[x] Psycho. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psycho_(1960_film)
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