During the month of October, following tradition, I shall only be watching horror films. And I will also be counting down my 100 favourite horror films. I have a list of my top 300 online, so I’ll post that at the end (but there’s no way I can be bothered to do write ups for all of those). The ranking of the entire list is a mixture of how much I like the film in general, how much I like that film as horror and its rewatchability. Therefore, some films that I really love could be ranked fairly low due to the fact that they’re not really a horror film to me.
As a word of warning: my taste in horror tends to lean towards modern horror; that is 1980+. I like atmospheric and tense films. I like comedy horror. I like zombies. I like films that explore – to some extent – human nature and society. I like creativity. I like fun. A lot of films in the top 100 are films that were personal childhood favourites and that I still feel stand the test of time – though some I may not have watched in a while. So, with all that in mind, let’s start the countdown…
#100 – El orfanato (2007)
Although the ending is a bit of a letdown, the atmosphere of this film is amazingly tense. The kid with the bag on his head is way more creepy than it has any right to be, and the spook factor of the film keeps you hanging on for the next scene even if it starts dipping into the sugar bowl every now and then.
#99 – Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
Often unfairly dismissed as being exploitative torture porn, most people seem to entirely miss the satire and the fact that it is an – admittedly, unexpectedly – very well made film. Although the animal scenes are tough to watch, the film is held together by a strong (yet, hardly subtle) social commentary and surprising intelligence. It’s an uncomfortable watch, but in all the right ways.
#98 – The Shining (1997)
This was #2 on a list I did a while back about the 10 most traumatizing horror films of my childhood. That should more than enough explain its inclusion here. To be completely fair, I haven’t seen it in a very long time and the 217 scene is pretty much the only thing I remember, because it is burnt into my brain. From what little I’ve heard others say about it over the years, I’m not too keen on rewatching it again, but as it stands this was a very important film in my life.
#97 – Thinner (1996)
For some reason, when I was younger I thought that Christopher Walken played the lead character. Had a bit of a surprise when I watched it a long time later and found that it wasn’t him. It’s quite melodramatic and the acting and whole feel is very ‘TV movie’, but it’s entertaining. And though it doesn’t really dig deep into any issues, it manages to be creepy-ish on a surface level.
#96 – Deep Blue Sea (1999)
Essentially a cheesy slasher film with a shark, but it doesn’t matter how many times I watch it, it’s amazing every time. Once upon a time it was my favourite movie (when I was 8/9-ish), so I’ve seen it a fair few times over the years. There’s a lot of cheese, a lot of questionable acting… but there’s also Samuel L. Jackon’s amazing scene, LL Cool J’s parrot, Stellan Skarsgard’s ‘rescue’ and it’s a shark eating people, ffs. What more do you want?
#95 – The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)
Another atmosphere-rich film with an oddly very strong story. I went into this one fairly apprehensively because it was like ‘a zombie film with some voodoo and Haitians’ and that instantly bored me, so I was shocked at how good a film it was. Part mystery, part thriller and part horror, these elements blend well into a nicely taut film.
#94 – Murder Party (2007)
My love for this grew gradually over time; the more I thought about it, the more I realised how much I liked it. It starts off strong and ends strong, but in the middle it dwindles slightly. This isn’t exactly a bad thing, but on a first watch it makes you a little unsure of where it’s going. It was a strange film, tbh, but I liked its sense of humour and you could tell that it was made with genuine love.
#93 – Equinox (1970)
This film is absolutely indescribable. It is hilariously awesome and has to be seen to be believed.
#92 – Body Melt (1993)
Australia’s film output is generally crap, but occasionally I come across something which gives me hope for our future. This is one of those films. It’s one crazy, gory, body horror experience. A sprinkling of satire abounds, but it’s mostly the awesome gory stuff that makes this worth watching.
#91 – L’uccello dalle piume di cristallo (1970)
I am far from a fan of giallo, but this one works so well because it is a tight and stylish thriller, with an actual plot. Interesting story, nice cinematography, some nice kills, loads of atmosphere. Good stuff.