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Old 02-16-2008, 11:27 PM
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The Sub-genres of Horror: A Top 100 HDC Compilation

Hello folks of HDC and beyond,

It gives me great pleasure to post the Sub-genres Top 100 as recommended by the finest minds and critics alike here at Horror Dot Com. We have added 40 Honorable Mentions in each sub-genre, to give you a more diverse choice of pleasurable viewing according to your individual tastes in horror.

So sit back with your beer and chips, and read on. Please don't post any replies to this thread until I am finished...thank you.:)
"If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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Old 02-16-2008, 11:36 PM
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Ghosts and The Supernatural

Poltergeist (1982)

"When I first saw this movie I was about three years old. It scared the hell out of me. The little girl was just that creepy kind of performance people just wish for when making a scary movie. She was a cute and young little girl but still could make you shiver and wince at the same time while looking at the T.V. screen through the cracks of my fingers.
With other performances such as the old lady played amazingly by Zelda Rubinstein, I still shudder when I hear those words, "They're here!" " - Gorephobia

The Devil's Backbone aka El Espinazo del diablo (2001)

"Ghost stories have been around for ages, told around campfires and at sleepovers by adults and children alike.
Why is it then that we constantly find ourselves at a loss for great movies in the ghost story genre? I think it really boils down to atmosphere and that's Guillermo del Toro's "The Devil's Backbone" (El Espinazo del Diablo) strongest asset. Set during the Spanish Civil War, "The Devil's Backbone" tells the story of an orphanage and the secrets kept within.
The acting is superb, as I've mentioned the atmosphere is incredible, and there is a sense of dread that stays with you from the very start of the film. Politics, morality, and humanity are all blended together with excellent narrative and gorgeous cinematography to create a very chilling and truly magnificent movie." - Despare

The Fog (1980)

"They don't get any more atmospheric than this. Vengeful ghost,spooky lighting, and the star of the movie...the fog.
Jamie Lee was going for a tri-fecta in 1980, between Prom Night, Terror Train and The Fog, which many regard to be her finest work since Halloween.
Much like "Jaws" skewered people's perspective of the ocean....after watching this one...you will never look at a fog the same way. "There's something in the fog..."." - Newb

The Others (2001)

"The Others tells the tale of a mother and her two children living in a haunted, World War II era mansion. The children are photosensitive, allergic to sunlight so the curtains are closed throughout the movie. This creates a dreary atmosphere as well as many dark corners for people, or ghosts to lurk in.
The Others starts out like any other ghost story, with a few jumps and a ton of atmosphere, but the twist ending will leave you shocked!" - Miss Macabre

The Sixth Sense (1999)

Honorable Mentions:

House of Usher (1960)

"House of Usher was Roger Corman's first Edgar Allen Poe adaptation and it's one of the best. With a masterful script by Richard Matheson and a spot-on characterization by star Vincent Price, Corman set the tone for many Poe adaptations to follow - some more successful than others. The tale of a tortured soul beset by the fear he has inherited a familial madness and that his sister will follow suit is pure American Gothic.
Usher's moral decay is mirrored by the decay of his family home. Determined that his family curse will not carry on, Usher buries his sister in a tomb beneath the house, then frets he may have buried her alive.
Price's understated portrayal of madness, guilt and implied incest here is one of his career's best. Corman shot the film in two weeks for $250,000 but it looks far better than that. This is what made Corman the King of the B-movies in the 60s. He knew how to make a buck count. The house is dark and moody, full of rich reds, which contrast with the stark paleness of Usher and his sister.
Right up the the final conflagration which became a trademark of Corman's Poe films, everything clicks - atmosphere, acting, suspense. A true classic." - Neverending

The Other (1972)
"If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

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Old 02-16-2008, 11:45 PM
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English Gothic/ Haunted Houses

The Amityville Horror (1979)

"We're all aware of the controversy behind the Amityville Horror story: is it true, or is it a hoax? Well, with the original film installment, it's of little difference. the horror seems very real as we watch a family tormented by a series of wicked hauntings.
When the Lutzes move into a beautiful but nevertheless looming new house (which plays like a character itself), their joy turns quickly to misery as the angry spirits left from a hideous murder years ago begin to torment them. The appropriately bare-bones delivery of the film jostles the viewer as we watch Mr. Lutz descend into madness at the hands of the ghosts, abandoning his family in a veritable hell!" - Fortunato

The Changeling (1980)

"As a child the now iconic bouncing red ball, child's abandoned wheelchair and creepy music box singed my mind and caused a restlessness I had not experienced until that time (eventually these images were replaced by a very different horror movie featuring a dream-invading child murderer).
Yet I do not think I fully understood the scope of The Changeling until recently reviewing the film as an adult. (To get a similar effect as when I first saw this I decided to use my old Vestron VHS copy and popped my video in with all the lights out.)
I have to say WOW! Those images still packed the punch intended but now the whole story line, character interaction, hidden meanings and musical score became an essential aspect of the fright factor.
The story revolves around a professional musician and professor who during car trouble (on vacation with his family) makes his way to a phone booth to call for help while his wife and daughter frolic near the stalled car in the snow. Along come two vehicles barreling down the
icy roads in opposing directions and he is helpless to witness an accident that suddenly takes his family from him.
After several months of recovering from the traumatic loss (especially of his little girl) he moves to an area where he has some friends, a new job, and into a home that has a very eerie and somewhat familiar past to it. As time goes on he realizes that someone or something is trying to make contact with him from within the gothic dwelling and more importantly wants something from him.
Is it because he lost a child that he is able to be reached by this entity?
One of the things that strikes me as truly interesting and scary about this film is that not one but 3 children are directly impacted negatively throughout it, starting with his daughter at the beginning of the movie and continuing through the mystery of his new home, on towards another young girl who has nothing to do with any of the injustices that are eventually exposed, but happens to live in the wrong place.
Is there anything truly scarier than children in peril? Who or what is The Changeling?
Watch this classic and see why movies such as The Ring, Silent Hill and Premonition have all borrowed from it over the years." - Cinestro

The Haunting (1963)

"There's no single drop of blood or a surprise scary appearance of visible ghostly figures but still Robert Wise made a milestone of horror out of it. This is a film that still today's new uprising filmmakers of haunted house movies should consider as a 'Holy Book' for them specially in terms of cinematography, lighting, sound effects and characterization. From the very beginning of Eleanor's entrance into the house made you feel that there was something lurking around every corner, or there was something that was going to happen, but you just didn't know quite when. A brilliant adaptation from the novel The Haunting of Hill House (1959) by Shirley Jackson where a whisper coming from the creepy walls of Hill house at midnight works in a more terrifying way than a scream." - Roshiq

The Innocents (1961)

"The film starts with Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr), a nineteenth century British governess, is appointed to take care of two children, Flora and Miles. Upon arriving at the bleak mansion she meets the housekeeper and also Flora. Miles arrives a few days later from school. The children seem like little angels but, following a series of bizarre events and examples of the children's wicked impulses, Miss Giddens begins to suspect that all is not what it seems. An unresolved mystery that charges the events of this Gothic story with a dreadful sense of uncertainty far more thrilling than the simple supernatural chills of a typical haunted house movie.

The film made masterly in every way with a great performance from beautiful Deborah Kerr as the troubled Victorian governess, superb black-and-white wide screen photography by Freddie Francis and Georges Auric's truly distinguished soundtrack of laughs and whispers. Not forget to add the remarkable performances by the two children, and we're given a ghost story that stays with us not because of spring-loaded frights, but because of how it tingles our nervous system throughout the eerie, unsettling finale. Truman Capote's screenplay centered on the question: are the two children really possessed by the ghosts of the dead, or is their governess merely imagining everything? Producer-director Jack Clayton keeps the film firmly grounded in reality, so that the essence of this psychological study strikes far more strongly.

The Innocents is one of the most intelligent and evocative ghost story filmed in those golden years of cinema when the audience around the globe witnessed some brilliant celluloid works on English Gothic and Psychological horror ever made. This film adaptation of Henry James' The Turn of the Screw is like a lost Titanic that sunk into the middle of the phenomenal success of Psycho (1960), What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) and The Haunting (1963)." - Roshiq

The Shining (1980)

Honorable Mentions:

House on Haunted Hill (1959)

The Legend of Hell House (1973)
"If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

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American Gothic/ Surreal Horror

Carnival of Souls (1962)

"A young woman, Mary, is in a car crash at the beginning of this film. She appears to be the only survivor, and she is now haunted by an apparition of a mysterious evil looking man. After the crash she tries to go on with her life, but she has trouble relating to people. She lands a job as a church organist but loses the job after the minister witnesses her orgiastic bout of almost demonic music. Throughout the film she's drawn to a deserted amusement park where she sees ghoulish figures. She loses her grip on reality more and more, as she sees these figures with increasing regularity. Finally, visiting the deserted pavilion once more, she joins the world of the apparitions and we learn an astonishing secret...which is one of the biggest twists in this cult classic!" - Neverending

In The Mouth of Madness (1995)

"In the Mouth of Madness is far more intelligent and creepy than it is often given credit for; its an intriguing film that actually stuck with me long after I shut off the television. Of all of Carpenter's films, this one may be his most underrated.
Inspired by the tales of H.P Lovecraft, the atmosphere is spot on, the imagery is disturbing, and the film does an excellent job of blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. Its like watching a nightmare unfold; you just aren't quite sure when reality ends and the nightmare begins. The casting of Sam Neil as an insurance investigator investigating the disappearance of hugely successful horror novelist Sutter Cane is perfect. I have rarely seen him better. In many ways, the script is a rather twisted love letter to horror literature, which manages to stir and terrify us with words and imagination." - Jenna26

Jacob's Ladder (1990)

"In this under-appreciated acid trip of a film, we follow Tim Robbins as Jacob Singer, a Vietnam war vet who begins to experience violent, demonic hallucinations.
Immersing us in a subjective reality, Jacob's Ladder forces us to witness the same horrible world as Jacob, leaving little room to catch your breath. It's only too soon that you realize that each terrifying image, each nightmarish hallucination, and each cruel reality (although it becomes increasingly hard to separate them) served to set you up and knock you down, reeling in a final revelation. If you haven't seen it yet, make it a priority, and prepare to peel back the many layers of Jacob's Ladder." - Fortunato

Session 9 (2001)

"Session 9 is a horror film that has subtlety down to an art form. while slow-paced, this recent addition to the genre features plenty of intense scares.
When a group of Hazmat workers are hired to clear asbestos out of an abandoned insane asylum, they find much more than that. as they're pulled into the asylum's terrifying and mysterious past, and you, the viewer, are sucked in along with them. And in a slow crescendo, the horror escalates into a dizzying conclusion that will stick in your head long after the film is over!" - Fortunato

Videodrome (1983)

"When Cronenberg puts his mind to something, well, you know what happens. This time, it's the good old boob tube and it's related media.
In Videodrome, Max Renn, a sleazy TV producer, stumbles upon a rogue broadcast featuring murder, torture, and all sorts of unpleasant things. A journey of acquisition ensues - with Max wanting the rights to air Videodrome as the "next big thing," while his sadomasochistic girlfriend Nicki travels to audition for it.
This journey decays into a mess of psychosis, murder, and tummy-vaginas (among other things) as the people behind Videodrome try to turn Max into their biological weapon against the media masses. By the last line, your mind is left a steaming pile of mush, and you are marked, wondering exactly what it is you just witnessed." - Fortunato

Honorable Mentions:

Blue Velvet (1986)

"As many authors point out, the journey into adulthood is a scary one. Stephen King reveals it to be a place full of carnivorous clowns, dead bodies and vengeful rednecks. James Joyce shows it to be existential thin ice where dreams of hell coincide with beautiful epiphanies and night journeys into whorehouses.
Blue Velvet is a young man's journey into adulthood and into the underbelly of suburban America. Lynch examined urban madness sublimely in Eraserhead and dissects the suburbs in Blue Velvet. The great surrealist turns into a twisted chimera of Abel Ferrara and William Faulkner for this small town gothic. Jeffrey, the film's protagonist must face off with Dennis Hopper's Frank, an adult with adolescent bravado and infantile sexuality to claim his own adulthood. This world of dive bars, hiding in closets and fake policemen coincides with falling in love with the young innocent blonde that offers a chance at a normal life. Jeffrey braves the underworld, claims the girl and yet, there is something just as sinister at the other side of all of his travails.
A great mystery, a great noir, a great coming of age movie with moments of chilling horror, perverse eroticism and exquisite acting." - Doc Faustus

Repulsion (1965)
"If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

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Psychological Horror

American Psycho (2000)

"The ongoing argument about this one is did he or didn't he? The "he" in question is Patrick Bateman and his violent crimes.
From my point of view, yes, he did.
If you've read Ellis (Author of the book on which the film is based) you know he's a satirist, and a completely absurd one, great no doubt, but absurd. The film mirrors this with dropping chainsaws, exploding police cars etc.
Were they killed in those particular gruesome manners? No.
From the beginning we're told that Bateman is losing his grip on what little sanity and control he has left. Those exaggerations of actual events, are manifestations of this.
Why is Paul Allen's place clean?
Why is the woman so stern in dismissing Patrick? She's aware, doesn't care, and knows the incident will be bad for business...then why?
Then there's the conversation with the lawyer towards the end. He claims he met with Allen in London. Really now? Well wasn't Allen meeting with Halberstram, while Halberstram was meeting with Bateman, while Bateman was actually meeting with Allen?
By the way, who the hell is Davis?
That's what's being satirized, the superficial, greedy, impersonal, yuppie American, lifestyle of the 80s. The script being a bit too ambiguous can blur that point. In my opinion, this is the only glaring weakness of the film. Other than that, you've got good direction. Although flawed, a very funny, smart, dark script. And solid acting, which includes Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman. One of the best performances in horror or film period. Really good movie all around, definitely one of the best modern horrors that all genre fans should see." - AUSTIN316426808

"Here is a movie that is just amazing. The sheer brilliance of Christian Bale is what sticks out. He has become such a great actor it is awesome to look back and know he had added his touch into the horror genre. In this film he plays a crazy New York investment banker who just begins to kill people for seemingly no reason. That is not all though because if you watch closely and read in-between the lines you can probably tell it might be all in his mind. That's what makes this film so awesome because it plays with your head and emotions. It is definitely a must-see." - Gorephobia

Psycho (1960)

"Alfred Hitchcock's darkest and scariest movie works on so many levels because it so sucessfully blends so many genres so intricately. In fact, the film could technically be uniquely categorized as a romantic-noir-slasher-con-drama-twist-detective flick. Mostly, though, what makes it so damn effective is its characters; after all, in order for a horror film to work, it needs believable characters. Hitchcock lets us get to know his beings so well that by the end of the film it feels like we've been through a hurricane.
Psycho was the birth of the slasher film, and is certainly one of the most shocking, but it is something much finer than that. It is what links the horror genre to class, and what stepped the industry's bar up so high. It is truly a legend and a revolution in film-making." - Alkytrio666

"If you were alive in 1960 you could not help but notice the distinct aroma of halibut permeating the air. Psycho would be the culprit....keeping many women out of the showers. Hitchcock was an artist and this was his Van Gogh. Tony Perkins captured perfectly the ultimate "momma's boy." Many sequels followed but none captured the suspense of this one, from the opening scene to the shocking final one..."I wouldn't hurt a fly"." - Newb

Se7en (1995)

"Probably Fincher's most gripping narrative to date, and certainly his most devastating look at that primitive, evil side of human nature. The whole ensemble gives tragically human performances. Pitt brings a boyish excitement to the case, eager to go snooping around for clues with no idea of the moral consequence of such involvement; Paltrow is sadly sweet and quiet, almost angelic in this neo-noir-ish world of rain and shadows; and long before the Coens' Oscar-winner's discouraging word, Freeman proved that the evolving world is no place for old men- this new kind of crime is something almost incomprehensible, even to us. The film is profoundly intense. It keeps things from us, but not cheaply; the clues are all there, everything is in place from the get-go. So what makes the film an important part of horror history? The detective film is not often dipped in the horror genre, and when it is it must be done with precision and care. Fincher is not a nihilist, but he certainly has no problem watching his characters suffer. Still, the story is told in crime-scene style, often sparing its audience from the visual violence of the crimes. This is mature story-telling, but it's also a much creepier way of playing with us; the proof is the way our skin crawls throughout the film, and the way our spine tingles during its finale." - Alkytrio666

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

"Unprecedented [for a horror movie] five Academy awards including Best Picture, this is Anthony Hopkins at his best. Very tense game of cat & mouse with an edge of your seat finale. Actually if you take away the skinnings and beheadings, this is a very touching love story between a troubled young lady and an older man.So grab the one you love...open a nice bottle of chianti with some fava beans and enjoy.
"Well, Clarice - have the lambs stopped screaming?" " - Newb

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

"In what are perhaps the two most ferocious female performances in horror history, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford delved into a new kind of psychological terror which would be imitated infinitely (including a second turn by the original duo themselves!).
What is most unsettling about the film is its slow-burn - the way it lets us grow very intimate with every aspect of the two womens' lives, and never pre-maturely unleashes its climax. Only when we feel most uncomfortable and vulnerable does the film attack us, and the effect is terrifying." - Alkytrio666

Honorable Mentions:

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

Maniac (1980)
"If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

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Human Atrocity

Audition aka Odishon (1999)

"Seven years after losing his wife to cancer, middle-aged widower Aoyama finds the new bride with the help of a film producer friend at a casting call for a non-existent movie. Asami (Shiina) is modest, polite, sexy, a trained dancer - and, apparently, available. As Aoyama nervously begins dating her, the film slips into a nightmare. Is his paranoia and guilt causing him to imagine the worst, or is Asami really a woman physically and mentally damaged by men since her childhood and out for revenge?
This is one of the finest works of Takashi Mike, especially the scene when the phone in Asami’s apartment rings and she smiles in an evil manner and a large bag (with someone or something inside it!) sitting on the floor begins to move....or even the gut-wrenching torture scenes at the climax, punctuated by soft recitals of “kiri-kiri-kiri-kiri” definitely scores a top mark by any true horror fan of the genre." - Roshiq

Eyes Without A Face aka Les Yeux sans Visage (1960)

"Released in 1960 to harsh critical review, Les Yeux sans Visage in time would raise the bar for horror to come. Hauntingly lyrical and atmospheric, this film tells the tale of a brilliant surgeon gone mad with grief over the disfigurement/destruction of his daughter's face, resorting to horrifying extremes to make her pretty again. It's a film that is beautiful and serene throughout, punctuated with harsh violence and dazzling imagery. After bouncing perfectly between these two extremes for 80+ minutes, it finishes with a poetically powerful climax, securing its spot among the most original, aesthetic, and shocking horror films of all time." - Fortunato

I Spit On Your Grave aka Day of the Woman (1978)

The Devil's Rejects (2005)

"In an almost unbelievable jump in cinematic artistry and sensibility, Rob Zombie's second feature forces us once again to follow the wretched, depraved Firefly family, this time managing to somehow make them alluring and almost winsome. Pitted against the vengeful brother of a previous victim, the Fireflys become the ultimate anti-heroes as they travel around raising hell, and leaving a bloody trail behind them. The point of their violence is never made explicit, and this makes it all the more horrifying as the audience never knows what will happen next.
A wonderful throw-back to 70's exploitation cinema, The Devil's Rejects is a horror film that shocks in all the right places. At the very least, you'll never hear "Free Bird" the same ever again." - Fortunato

The Last House on the Left (1972)

Honorable Mentions:

Inside (aka) └ l'intÚrieur (2007)

Peeping Tom (1960)
"If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

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Traditional/ Pagan/ Ritualistic Horror

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

Suspiria (1977) (*Giallo*)

"Argento's bizarre witch story is a kaleidoscopic, grand spectacle; horror as goofy, gorgeous, gory high art.
Sure the plot is thin, unevenly paced, and has a fairly anti-climactic ending, but those (for me, at least) are lost in the film as a whole. It more than makes up for its shortcomings with style, composition, color; really everything else.
It has some of the strangest, wildest, most entertaining (often murder) scenes in the genre. And of course one of the strangest, wildest, most entertaining scores in the genre as well." - Fortunato

The Black Cat (1934)

"Modern horror with its current ethical standards does not usually give the censors much to be scared of. But in 1934, Universal was doing it in spades.
When most think of Universal monsters, they think of Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolfman and the Mummy, but miss some of the greatest aberrations ever to grace the silver screen.
A little makeup used in the Expressionist idiom could create a special sort of monster: the deviant. This creature left the censors shaking and got horror films banned in England. Boris Karloff in The Black Cat, is everything polite society is not about. He worships Satan, he keeps a dead woman in suspended animation, he exalts in the chaos of the war that created him and he poses threats of all sorts to his hapless guests. Universal was showing the devil in the flesh. He threatens to destroy not only lives, but to undermine common decency and to bring misrule into the world. Director Edgar Ulmer, former expressionist set designer, projected the horrors of World War I and deftly and capably posed the same questions as Yeats and Eliot. Oozing charm and evil, he confronts his rival Bela Lugosi and challenges him to a chess game with Bergman-esque results. The two titans on screen together cannot help but remind us why they were the faces that spread horror throughout America and proved it a commercially viable genre.
One can see how this film's brilliant setup and sexually aberrant undertones inspired Kiss of the Vampire and thereby The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Though great as the Frankenstein monster, in The Black Cat Karloff shows us just what sort of moral entity Yeats felt was "slouching towards Bethlehem". " - Doc Faustus

The Omen (1976)

The Wicker Man (1973)

"Some could call The Wicker Man a confusing hippie artifact. Some could say it is more drama than horror, but there is horror at its core; the fear of ancient, primordial, hard to comprehend things. The Wicker Man is Lovecraft without tentacles. A contemporary Christian authority figure is forced to confront beliefs older than himself, which in certain ways are inspiring and beautiful, yet in others terrifying and harsh.
Christopher Lee is brilliant in his portrayal of a crafty pagan priest and Edward Woodward is stirring as the policeman who discovers "the true meaning of sacrifice". In an time where buildings are blown up in the name of faith and we wage a crusade in the Middle East, a film about the power of faith to do good and evil is more relevant than ever and more frightening than ever. An intelligent theological meditation and a cool, cerebral work of horror." - Doc Faustus

Honorable Mentions:

Beetle Juice (1988)

Candyman (1992)
"If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

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Occult Horror/ Demonic Possession

Black Sunday aka La Maschera del Demonio (1960)

"Black Sunday is a masterpiece amongst masterpieces from one of the greatest directors of all time: Mario Bava.
I really don't know what it is about Bava that I love so much. Is it his use of color? Is it his willingness to push the boundaries of all sorts of taboos? Is it his imaginative set designs, or his use of atmosphere in general? It's all these things... and so much more. There is no better example of all the subtle brilliance that made Bava a legend in Black Sunday, supposedly Tim Burton's favorite horror film of all time. and I whole-heartedly agree with Burton.
The movie starts out with a good, old fashioned, witch burning. But this is no ordinary, every day, witch burning! They put the Mask of Satan on this particular witch (played by the gorgeous scream queen, Barbara Steele, in a dual role no less!), who seems to be part vampire-part witch, to hold all of her powers in. And if the Mask should come off? Look out, good guys!!
In Steele's other role, she plays a girl who is, naturally, a descendant of the witch, who wishes to possess her body with the help of her sidekick after being brought back to life.
The plot is great, but the film is more than just the plot. It's been rated in many lists as one of the top 5 horror films ever made and it's due almost solely to the haunting atmosphere and amazingly rich set design.
Why do we watch foreign movies, and foreign horror in particular? Because directors like Bava have no interest in pandering to Hollywood spoon-fed audiences, and this results in some of the most adventurous and creative film-making in cinema history." - Knife Fight

Demons aka Demoni (1985)

"There are two main things I like about Demons:
One is the sheer aggressiveness of it. Up until recently, I was frustrated with horror movies that didn't really "go for the throat" the way Demons does. While I enjoy a fine movie that is "creepy," I was really getting tired of the amount of movies that I considered "thrillers" passing themselves off as horror movies.
But not Demons! Demons is a horror movie, through and through. A horror fanatic's horror movie, if ever there was one, with no apologies.
I just really like how, once things start turning sour for the heroes and heroines, they don't just start sliding downhill, they take a nosedive into a complete Charlie Foxtrot of utter shit... and they never really get out of it.
The second thing I like about Demons is the plot... or lack thereof. There are no explanations offered, which leaves the audience semi-disoriented and, in my opinion, adds to the horror. The premise is just kinda like, "Ok, here are these few people, suddenly thrust into this situation.... What are they (you) gonna do?"
And that's it. It's just a group of people finding themselves in a ludicrous, albeit terrifying, situation, with no explanation as to why or how.
And, for some reason, the audience (us, in the safety of our homes) buys it. What doesn't work for most movies, not having any exposition, somehow succeeds here in spades.
It's not for the faint of heart, but for those of us, like me, who enjoy a good cartoon now and again, Demons is about the most fun you'll have with your home entertainment system." - Knife Fight

Night of the Demon (1957)

The Evil Dead (1981)

"Originally titled "Book of the Dead", The Evil Dead is a horror classic that was followed by two sequels and established director Sam Raimi as a master of the genre. Also written by Raimi, it tells the tale of a group of college students who journey to a deserted cabin in the woods, where they encounter body-possessing demons. Eventually they are picked off one by one by the spirits until only Ash (Bruce Campbell, in his cult classic role) remains to battle off the forces of the evil dead.
The Evil Dead is one of a kind, truly wonderful film. This low-budget, 16mm debut by aspiring director Raimi didn’t take very long to reach cult status after its theatrical premiere in 1981. Its simple story, abundant gore and flashy directing makes it hold up very well today and still makes even the ardent horror lovers cringe in their seats." - Roshiq

"A personal favorite of mine and possibly the main reason you will never hear of me going anywhere near a secluded cabin in the woods, The Evil Dead may be the best example of what a filmmaker can do with a low budget and lots of creativity. Its very rare that a film can not only be over the top, gory, and a tad silly but also very creepy and disturbing. Here is a film that manages to balance all of this quite well. The camera work is very well done, some of the shots are just outstanding. Its fun, its energetic, and hey, its definitely gross and a bit shocking.
It is also our introduction to one of the great icons of horror, Ashley J. "Ash" Williams." - Jenna26

The Exorcist (1973)

"I'll never eat pea soup again. Projectile vomiting, spinning heads, levitating demon girl...what more could you ask for in a movie.
Another one that had people fainting in the aisles, The Exorcist tells the story of little Regan MacNeil. Who had a nasty case of demon possession and wasn't quite sure where to "put" that crucifix. Father Merrin [who had dealings with this demon in the past] comes to call with "Doubting" Father Karras in tow.
Great movie that still holds up very well. I suggest you rush to see this one...just watch your step on those stairs...
Also get the DVD version with the "spider-walk" scene....that's some freaky shit!" - Newb

Honorable Mentions:

Haxan: Witchcraft through the Ages (1922)

"I'm sure we're all familiar with the Criterion Collection. Well, here's yet another reason from them to give whomever is closest to you a high five!
The 1922 pseudo-documentary Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages has been released in a badass edition which will be the envy of all your friends... especially the ones who hate witches!
This Criterion edition contains both versions of the film. The one that is silent (you know, where ya gotta read it) and the more popular one that is shorter and narrated by none other than William Burroughs (one wonders how he gets his dirty mitts into pretty much everything).
Up until recently, though experiencing a flash-in-the-pan cult following among the Beat Generation, "Haxan" was more often heard about, rather than seen. It was best known as one of those movies that you see clips from in documentaries on the History channel about Satanism, or Hell, or something nefarious like that, and scratch your head and think, "I wonder what movie that is, because I want to see that!!!!"
Look no further, viewer of History Channel Devil Documentaries, a lot of those mysterious clips come from here!
Using a wide variety of styles, including shadow puppets and some really great makeup and special effects, the film gives us an interesting perception of the history of that most misunderstood of all religions: Witchcraft.
Most of this "documentary" is pure hokum and humbuggery of course, but it does lend itself to some very interesting scenes (most notably the ones where the devil himself makes an appearance, played menacingly by the director, Benjamin Christensen, himself). It also makes some very controversial statements about the Church... such as a scene where a priest (I think he's supposed to be a priest. perhaps a friar or something. nevertheless, he is clearly representative of a "Man of the Cloth") condemns sinners, only to turn around and reveal his own hypocrisy by attempting to seduce women.
It's actually often speculated whether this is a condemnation of witches, or of the condemners themselves. But whether you view this film in one way or another, it is a visual buffet of rich imagery, the likes of which we haven't seen in a long time.
Very highly recommended buy, especially for silent horror fans and double that for fans of stuff like "Nosferatu" or "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari." - Knife Fight

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
"If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

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Telekinesis/ Mind Control Horror

Carrie (1976)

"“They’re all going to laugh at you!”
Sure high school was tough, but none of us had it as bad as young Carrie White. Made to feel insignificant by her bible-thumping mother (played deliciously by Piper Laurie) and relentlessly picked on by the cool kids in school, Carrie is the walking definition of pitiful... until she realizes she has the power to control objects with her mind. When a dream date to the prom turns into a nightmare of humiliation, Carrie snaps and uses her powers to exact revenge in vibrant DePalma color.
This is one of those rare films that truly transcends the genre and is a great piece of cinema enjoyed by old and young alike." - Roderick Usher

Scanners (1981)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari aka Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari (1920)

"Dr. Caligari and his somnambulist subject Cesare are an attraction at a carnival. The Doctor claims his subject can answer any question. When Alan, a visitor at the carnival asks Cesare when he will die, Cesare predicts he will die the next morning at dawn. And he does. It turns out that Caligari is the head of a local asylum and is obsessed with the story of an earlier Caligari who used a somnambulist subject to kill people.
What's astounding about this picture, in addition to Conrad Veidt's portrayal of Cesare, is the art direction. Painters Walter Reimann and Walter R÷hrig provided expressionist sets full of twisted angles and creepy shadows that greatly contributed to the unsettling impact this film still has today. It seems to be set in a nightmare - or the mind of a madman." - Neverending

The Fury (1978)

White Zombie (1932)

"Lays claim to being the first zombie film EVER, and also one which mines the zombie beliefs of Haiti the most accurately. If you're one who needs steady doses of action to keep you interested, this film isn't for you, but if you thrive on atmosphere, this is Heaven.
Lugosi turns in a menacing performance as Murder Legendre, the owner of a sugar plantation who happens to posses an army of zombies to work the plantation. Some of the shots of these zombie minions are truly scary - particularly the scene with zombies working the mill. Trouble comes when Lugosi fancies the fiance of a visiting couple and decides to make her a zombie as well.
Slow and ponderous, but also sureal and chilling." - Neverending

Honorable Mentions:

Firestarter (1984)

The Devil Doll (1936)
"If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

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Human Monsters

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

"This is a rare example of a sequel that equals or even outshines its parent movie. Colin Clive, Dwight Frye & Karloff return from Frankenstein, but its Elsa Lanchester as Mary Shelly/The Bride and Ernest Thesiger as the effete, decadent Dr. Pretorius that steal the show. Pretorius is the real monster of the story, blackmailing Dr. Frankenstein into helping him create a female mate for the creature.
This film is also more subversive than the original. Anti-religious references abound. Karloff did an amazing job reprising his role as The Creature, giving the monster a creditable voice. A near perfect horror film." - Neverending

Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

"One of my favorite Hammer films and certainly one of the best adaptations of Mary Shelley's novel (a loose adaptation for sure, but a good one), The Curse of Frankenstein relies mostly on one very powerful performance. Christopher Lee is just fine, and certainly memorable, as The Creature but the film focuses on the creator, rather than on the creation, so it is Peter Cushing that stands out. His Baron Frankenstein is not over the top, though the character is certainly obsessive and quite mad. He's also cold blooded, and not likable in the least, but he's fascinating to watch. That performance coupled with an ominous atmosphere makes this film a real treat for fans of Gothic horror." - Jenna26

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1931)

"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one of the oldest and best portraits of dualism in the human psyche. What other stories try to do with elaborate Freudian chicanery, this story puts in your face. Thus, the actor portraying Henry Jekyll has an elaborate and special problem: directly portraying the dualism with no frills or artificial complexity attached. The diabolical smile of Fredric March's Hyde does this in ways that few other movie villains can do. He confronts you with the grin and the twisted face, you cannot help but see a force of raw evil. Great makeup, great acting, and a worthy heir to John Barrymore. March is to this day one of the true faces of horror." - Doc Faustus

Frankenstein (1931)

The Invisible Man (1933)

Honorable Mentions:

The Abominable Dr Phibes (1971)

"The centerpiece of this highly entertaining film is the florid performance of Vincent Price. He imparts such emotional depth to the role, despite a makeup that rendered his face immobile.
The plot involves Phibes, who is thought to be dead, seeking revenge on the people he considers responsible for his wife's death. He is murdering them one by one in deliciously gruesome manners based on the nine plagues of the bible. Can Phibes be stopped before he kills all his intended victims? Well, let's just say there IS a sequel.
The film is bouyed considerably by a script full of black humor and stylish direction by Robert Fuest, who had worked on television's The Avengers. The art direction also lent great atmosphere, creating a Rococco environment for Phibes that included an ornate pipe-organ and a bandstand of clockwork dummies that play tin pan alley songs (with vocals by masterful voice man Paul Frees impersonating stars of the 20s-30s). Add to that an atmospheric score by Basil Kirchin and you have perfection.
If it all sounds a bit delirious, it is - and that's what makes it such an outstanding film." - Neverending

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
"If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

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