My Top Ten 1970-1999 Horror Movies

Oh man – this was a hard list to do since the majority of my favorite horrors are from the ’70s & ’80s. I’ll also have watched shitloads, so am sure I’ve forgotten to add some great ones & I’ll be annoyed I forgot them. Oh well – I can update the list if so!

Some Rules/Notes:

1. I’ve had to make this a Top Forty, and even then I’m missing some favorites. So I have some “honorable mentions” listed at the end. And the ’80s especially was the decade for “franchises” but it’s too hard to rank every single sequel in those cases plus I see each series as a whole. So, where I mention some, I kind of mean the series. I’ve only listed some specific sequels if any were actually really good (Dream Warriors!). And, let’s face it, the first movie is usually a million times better than the rest (Halloween! Almost wish it was a standalone film…).

2. Also, in order to do this, I’ve decided to leave a few films out that I love/really like but I don’t see as “horror” films…

Alien/Aliens (Two of my all-time favorite films. I don’t think “horror” with these – I think sci-fi)
Jaws (Again, I just think “action thriller”)
They Live & Hardware (Sci-fi)
The Crow (I’m not really sure what genre this one is but I adore this film)
Blade (See it more as a comic book movie)
Ghostbusters (Not horror to me – just comedy)

3. And I’ve added horror comedies into this list. I used to keep them separate (I did a list HERE). But… I figure they’re still horror as well. So some of these, including my second favorite, aren’t scary horror.

4. Finally, I’ll just add this (Is anyone actually reading my long & rambling intros?!): This list is absolutely ridiculous. There used to be a blogger I really liked who told me off one day for all the “ties” on my lists & that I need to number them differently if there are ties & I can’t have more than ten in a top ten. And I was all “My blog, my rules!”. He was awesome, though, and I’m really sad he completely disappeared. Anyway – he’d have a meltdown over this list. I mention 17 films in my top ten (seriously) and number 20 alone mentions 8. I admit that’s pathetic but, hey, I’m indecisive & also hate the thought of leaving anything out. Should I also admit that I go back & rearrange my old lists sometimes?! I think I have some sort of disorder. So I dedicate this list to that dude.

So here’s my ranked list counting down to My Top Ten 1970-1999 Horror Movies (but including way more than 40 movies):

Top Forty:

40. The Blair Witch Project (Yes, I liked this first film)
39. Night Of The Creeps
38. The Exorcist (Low, I know – not big on this, mainly just love Tubular Bells)
37. The Hitcher
36. Tremors
35. Waxwork
34. Hausu
33. The Craft
32. The Stepford Children & The Stepford Wives (Children is a cheesy TV movie & big guilty pleasure of mine)
31. Magic

Top Thirty:

30. Society
29. Children Of The Corn (Only the first one)
28. The Changeling (Probably deserves to be higher but in all honesty I need to rewatch it – would maybe move up then)
27. Friday The 13th (I’ve shockingly only seen a few of these, so only really the first couple of films for this one)
26. Child’s Play (First three – Yes, I liked the third one too)
25. Chopping Mall
24. April Fool’s Day
23. The Return Of The Living Dead
22. The Sixth Sense
21. The Wicker Man

Top Twenty:

20. David Cronenberg – The Brood, etc (Sorry for the big cheat but what do you expect from someone who mentions 17 movies in their Top Ten?? 😉 Other than The Fly, I’m lumping all the rest of Cronenberg’s films that I like together. Big fan of his style, although his movies aren’t ones I revisit like a lot of other horrors. In order starting with my favorite of the remaining films of his: The Brood, eXistenZ, Scanners, Videodrome, Shivers, Rabid, Crash. Need to rewatch The Dead Zone)
19. Don’t Look Now
18. The Amityville Horror
17. TIE: Phantom Of The Paradise & The Rocky Horror Picture Show
16. Scream
15. It
14. Fright Night
13. Pet Sematary
12. The Fly (Unlike the other Cronenbergs, I’ve watched this many times)
11. Night Of The Comet

****Top Ten:****

10. Dario Argento – Deep Red, etc (Did it with Cronenberg so might as well with Argento too! Deep Red is my favorite followed by Suspiria, although I need to rewatch that. Next is Phenomena, which isn’t nearly as good, but the rest of what I’ve seen of his wouldn’t make this Top 40 list)

9. TIE: Carrie & Halloween (Only the first Halloween film & honestly for the score more than the film itself)

8. TIE: Poltergeist & An American Werewolf In London

7. The Lost Boys

6. The Thing

5. The Omen

4. A Nightmare On Elm Street (A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is also great – Love the whole series but these two by far the best)

3. The Shining

2. Gremlins (Do like Gremlins 2 as well but the first one is much better)

1. Dawn Of The Dead & Day Of The Dead (Dawn Of The Dead is my favorite horror film while Day Of The Dead may not be quite as good but it’s a lot of fun & I love it too. Obviously, the Romero “Dead Trilogy” tops my overall favorite horror movies list I may post on Halloween)

Honorable Mentions:

Stephen King (I have several in the list but I watch every King adaptation & even like most of the bad ones. I ranked them all HERE once – the top two not horror! – but need to add ones from recent years. Some more I liked: Cujo, Maximum Overdrive, Silver Bullet, Cat’s Eye, Misery, Firestarter, etc)
Body Horror (I did a separate list HERE as I find these fascinating but they’re not exactly Top 40 material: From Beyond, Re-Animator, Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Altered States, Basket Case)
More: The Toxic Avenger (Didn’t feel right putting Troma in the 40 but I do like this one. Actually, I like the first three), The Evil Dead Series (Sorry, I don’t hate these but I never really got into them), Hellraiser Series (Also not really a fan overall but appreciate its fucking weirdness), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Not big on these either), Candyman (Meh), Arachnophobia, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, The Entity, Sisters, Dolls, Alice Sweet Alice, Pumpkinhead, The People Under The Stairs, From Dusk Till Dawn, Audition

Some I Need To Rewatch Again Before Really Knowing Where To Rank Them:

Stephen King (‘Salem’s Lot & The Dead Zone. Crazy I’ve not rewatched these when I’m obsessed with Stephen King & these are actually my favorite of his books – But I did rank them with the other King movies because my lists make no sense. Should also rewatch Creepshow, Misery, The Stand & Christine)
John Carpenter (Really liked The Fog but, again, need to rewatch it as well as these: Prince Of Darkness & Christine, as mentioned with King)
More: Ringu (I know I included it in my Top Foreign Horror Movies list but I really do need to rewatch it before knowing where to rank it here), The Hidden, The Blob, Phantasm, Near Dark, Black Christmas, Dracula

Want To See These!:

The Amusement Park
Martin
The Exorcist III
Puppet Master

The Conjuring (2013) Review

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The Conjuring

Directed by James Wan

Starring:
Vera Farmiga
Patrick Wilson
Ron Livingston
Lili Taylor

Running time: 112 minutes

Plot Synopsis:

This “based on a true story” movie follows paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) as they investigate mysterious supernatural occurrences at the home of the Perron family (parents played by Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor).

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My Opinion:

I really enjoyed this film. I rarely watch horror movies anymore as they seem to have turned into nothing but the torture porn variety that I can’t stand. Give me either a good old fashioned 70s & 80s slasher with cheesy special effects I can actually handle or a creepy old-school supernatural thriller. The Conjuring, I’m happy to say, comes pretty close to feeling like a genuine 70s supernatural thriller.

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The Conjuring opens with the Warrens showing us a previous case they worked on where a doll had become possessed. Dolls freak me out. Dolls freak a lot of people out and the makers of The Conjuring clearly know this. They take as many horror movie cliches as they can and throw them all at us. But all horror movies do this anyway. The Conjuring at least manages to use every trick in the book in a few fairly original & effective ways. (To be honest, the doll was too over-the-top freaky. The music box was more subtle & far creepier… )

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The Conjuring takes place in the 70s, which helps add to the overall creepiness. I’m a sucker for 70s films so that will have helped my enjoyment of this.The clothes! The cars! The 70s were so groovy! (From what I remember of the decade as I spent the latter part of it watching Sesame Street). So I really liked the look of the film. It’s no The Shining as far as the look and feel go (can anything really beat that one?!). But I appreciate the effort they put into making this feel more like a good old-school haunted house movie.

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Did The Conjuring scare me? I know that’s the main question people seem to be asking. Well, I can’t really think of a movie that ever HAS scared me. There are some that give me the heebie jeebies a little bit. The one I just mentioned, The Shining, is probably the film I find the creepiest and comes the closest to “scaring” me. The Conjuring didn’t scare me, no, but had I seen it for the first time alone & in the middle of the night, I’m pretty sure I’d have slept with the lights on.

It’s fairly intense and that tired old “based on a true story” thing DOES seep into your brain whether you believe it or not – that’s why so many horror movies use that line. (I’ve not yet looked into the true story of the Warrens & Perron family so can’t comment on how true this film actually is). I was a little bit jumpy through the film but, as always, you know when the scares are coming. The film also shows us more of the “ghostly visitors” than I was expecting but I know they need to keep things balanced as the younger cinema goers expect that these days. I’ve always been someone who’s been more scared by the things we don’t actually see. However, I think The Conjuring strikes a decent balance at trying to keep the old-school supernatural horror fans like me and the current generation of fans happy.

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The number one reason that I think makes this film stand out so much compared to other horror films of recent years, though, is this: The acting (particularly the two female leads). Too many current horror films are full of either horrible acting or completely unlikeable characters. I don’t want to watch a movie with either of these things – I don’t think the rules should be any different for the horror genre. Lili Taylor was the best thing about this film for me. She was genuinely believable as a loving mother who just wants to protect her five daughters. I know she’s been in plenty of things in more recent years but not much that I’ve seen so it was great seeing her in a big role in this – I’ve always especially loved her part in Say Anything. Vera Farmiga is also great in this although I kind of feel I’ve seen her play a similar role before. The bond the two woman share as they both have daughters was very good. The men are fine but really take a backseat to all the females in the film (Ron Livingston especially seems to have very little to do). Being a woman, I really liked seeing a film with such strong female leads. Even all six daughters in this film do an excellent job, which is great as there has been some especially bad child-acting in horror films.

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Summary:

The Conjuring uses every trick in the book to scare us but at least uses those tricks in some fairly original & effective ways. The film has a good look & feel which will keep fans of old fashioned horror films happy but I think should also please a younger generation of fans who want something other than torture porn. But the thing that makes the film stand out the most in its genre is some great performances, especially those of the strong female leads. This film feels like a more grown-up horror film and will hopefully pave the way for similar films in this genre. I don’t think it’s the best “haunted house” film I’ve seen but it’s a refreshing return to an old formula that’s a step in the right direction in a generation now filled with some mind-numbingly bad and excessively gory so-called horror films.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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