Top 5 Horror Movies
Horror as a Genre
Before we delve into the list, it is important to understand and define the genre. I wont try to explain 'why we watch horror films', that would be a long task best left to another hub. What I want to do here is define what I see as horror.
Horror is linked heavily to the thriller genre. Both follow a traditional narrative format, whereby there is suspense and build-up, a climax, and resolution. However, I think the definition of Horror as a genre is that all of this is focused on a monstrous or semi-monstrous entity. A focus on the victim and protagonist trying to resolve the entity is more likely to be classified as 'thriller' in my opinion. Of course, the lines can and do blur often.
In truth, the more protagonists are in deadly risk (or possibly just being killed) the closer the film classifies as Horror, in my mindset. This means that the heroes, even though they may be the point of view of the story, are always trying to react to some monstrous entity, so that it, not them, becomes the main actor.
Lastly, another personal quirk, I define Horror as involving some monstrous or semi-monstrous entity. That is not to say that a normal man cannot be the 'monster', but you would have to look at his motivations. If his motives are understandable, then its likely some form of crime drama.
Night of the Living Dead
#1 Night of the Living Dead
Directed By: George Romero
Written By: George Romero & John Russo
Night of the Living Dead is a 1969 film about the dead returning to life, and trapping a woman with a group of survivors inside a farmhouse. The movie, at this time, was groundbreaking, because the concept of the horde of ravenous zombies had not yet come to fruition. Beforehand, a single Zombie was a minor monster, the simple servant of a keener intellect, and could be harmless.
This film introduced the idea that Zombies returned in vast numbers by mysterious means. They also now gained a hunger for flesh, particularly brains, and could spread their condition to anyone they killed. This was a first, and instantly created a whole new subgenre.
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#2 Graveyard Shift
Directed By: John Singleton
Written By: Stephen King (Based on his Short Story)
This might seem like a slightly interesting pick for my second favorite horror movie of all time, but I felt that it warrants more attention than a casual glance. Truly, the reasons I like it are personal, and can probably be best attributed to liking the mix of suspense and horror. I love how the focus is on working the mill alone at night, and the relationship between the workers and management is slightly examined. Its as if, other than the monstrous rat underneath the mill, that this relationship might be more responsible for what happens. I feel its definitely worth a watch for any enthusiast.
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#3 Fire in the Sky
Directed By: Robert Lieberman
Written By: Travis Walton (Based on his Experiences)
Fire in the Sky is the movie adaptation of the real experiences that happened to Travis Walton in November of 1975 in rural Arizona. Travis went missing for several days, possibly as long as a week, and his logging crew were suspected of murdering him. Their story was out of this world, claiming that Travis had been taken into what appeared to be an Alien spacecraft.
Things only got more disturbing after Travis returned, and begins to have vivid dreams of his experiences aboard the ship. If you are at all interested in UFOs and UFO-phenomenon, this is definitely a movie you should want to see.
#4 28 Days Later
Directed By: Danny Boyle
Written By: Alex Garland
28 Days Later is a revision of Romero's Zombie horde. This film came along at a time when zombie films and media were just starting to make a comeback, think to other media, specifically video games like Resident Evil. The film was the first movie to take a serious look at zombies in some time, with films of the 90s looking to the zombie horde with comedy in mind. Whatever inspired our love of post-apocalyptic zombie fiction (some reckon it might have been 9/11), that trend is still strong with us today.
28 Days Later Movie Trailer
Directed By: Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza
Written By: Jaume Balaguero, Paco Plaza, and Luis Berdejo
Rec is another exciting change-up to the zombie/infection scenario. In this tale, a single apartment is experiencing some sort of homicidal epidemic that turns people into mad, ravenous monsters. A great piece, I loved it for its found-footage format, and the fact that the English version included some great set-up scenes about a news crew filming what a fire department does for a living.
However, keep in mind that the original is in Spanish. The American remake was renamed and re-branded as Quarantine, and runs a separate continuity. Both are excellent movies for a Friday Night.