We’ve all seen the “Best Horror Movie” lists that come out every year around this time. Inevitably those things are full of films you probably would’ve liked if you’re John McCain’s age and saw them in black and white when they came out. (And you were probably just stoked that they were, um, talkies.) But, if you watch most of those old films today, you’ll be more likely to snooze than to scream. So, I present for your consideration, the Top Ten “Most Fun to Watch” Horror Movies. “Most Fun” means exactly what you think it means. A cop out? Perhaps. But, at least I don’t have to include Rosemary’s Baby.
So, without further ado, here are 10 films to rock your Halloween. (See Mom, the years of exhaustive research have paid off!) Pick one or rent all ten:
10. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)~ I realize that putting this on any best horror film list is akin to listing New York Minute as an example of great cinematography. However, this movie has all the elements of a good slasher flick. It’s actually pretty scary and what child of the 90′s doesn’t want to watch a creepy fisherman dude try to kill Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddy Prince Jr.? Yes! If this is on cable, I will stop whatever I’m doing to watch. (Great for parties, make up a drinking game!)
9. Jeepers Creepers (2001)~ If you’ve never seen this and you’re afraid of movies made before 1999, this is your rental. I resisted seeing this flick because a murderous scarecrow just seemed silly but when I finally watched it, I found myself sucked right in. The actors really bring it, the pace is good and scarecrow man is actually super scary. After watching this, you’ll jump every time you encounter an old truck with a loud horn on a deserted highway. Because, you know, that happens a lot in real life.
8. High Tension (2003)~ This raw French horror flick is somehow enhanced by the creepy English dub, which you get used to after about 5 minutes. Two college friends go to a secluded farmhouse to stay with family on their break from school. After a psychopath shows up and starts the brutal bloody murdering, the horror doesn’t stop for the rest of the film. This is not your typical horror flick; this is intense gore-on-overdrive, folks. Not for the faint of heart. (Side note…I’m not in love with the ending but I’m willing to overlook it because the rest is so overwhelmingly awesome.)
7. Saw (2004)~ I dare you to figure out the surprise ending of this one. Serial killer, “Jigsaw”, in his first movie of the franchise, plays with the lives of two men by forcing them to submit to his perverted games to save the lives of their loved ones. This film is innovative, entertaining and so freaking scary! Even after you’ve seen it once and know how it ends, it’s still fun to watch. If you like horror movies, you’ll like Saw. (The first one, anyway.)
6. Wrong Turn (2003)~ This movie never got the props it deserves. It’s terrifying! Let’s face it, there is nothing scarier than “cannibalistic mountain men grossly disfigured through generations of in-breeding,” and watching these young hot people frantically run for their lives through the deserted Virginia woods is about much horror-movie fun as you can hope for. It gets pretty gory, as expected. You’ll never take that shortcut again!
5. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)~ It’s been over 20 years since I was first introduced to Freddy Kruger, and I still cannot think of him before falling asleep! In this classic Wes Craven film, Freddy stalks kids in their nightmares, creating some of the best death scenes on film. (Anyone remember the ceiling? The phone? O.M.G!) If you’ve never seen it, run out and rent it immediately. If it’s been awhile, it’s worth a re-watch. Yes, it’s campy. Yes, you’ll laugh just as much as you jump, but this movie is nothing if not “fun to watch.”
4. The Shining (1980)~ While not quite like the other films on this list, this amazing movie is still considered a classic horror film and worthy of a “most fun” listing because it’s still scary as hell! It holds up in a way that films made ten years later do not. Jack Nicholson, as the innkeeper, will still give you nightmares today as effectively as he did twenty eight years ago. Mucho bang for your horror buck. Red Rum, yo!
3. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974, 2003) Because I’m from Texas and because I have a special place in my heart for the original, I’m willing to give it a shout-out. But, for pure scary fun, the 2003 Jessica Biel remake has my undying love. It’s everything good about the original, just polished up and more terrifying. The same basic plot (Leatherface, chainsaw, you know…) but with more gore and a fabulous young hot cast. You’ll love it and you can forget about sleeping that night.
2. Scream (1996) It doesn’t get much better than this. Oh, Wes Craven, I’ll love you forever for making this movie, a classic who-done-it teenage slasher flick! Who is it? Who’s trying to kill Sidney Prescott?!! This film really has it all. It’s campy, fast-paced and scary with a wicked sense of humor. Perfect for someone who loves horror movies, this self-aware film makes fun of the whole genre while still managing to make you jump. A great cast makes this film rock hard. Like, dude.
1. Halloween (1978) In my opinion, Michael Myers is the scariest on screen villain of all time. This classic film by John Carpenter still holds up 30 years later as a chilling look at the mind of a psychopath. With shots you will never get out of your brain and a great performance by a young Jaime Lee Curtis, this film crushes the competition. It’s compelling, it’s scary, it’s, um, perfect! It’s also believable in a way that most horror movies fail to be. Michael Myers could be a real serial killer. The story of Halloween could be true. And, that, my friends, is why it’s the best and the scariest. Mwaahaahaaaa!
*Here are the Honorable Mentions that didn’t quite make the cut (mainly because they just aren’t as scary in 2008, but I still have feelings for them): Pet Sematary, Silver Bullet, Poltergeist, and Friday the 13th.
So, what’s your favorite? Leave a comment and tell me what you think the most fun horror movie is. I’d love to hear what you think!
**Special Thanks to my ‘Horror Film Comrades’ Rox, Edi and Crystal-Pistol, who offered advice and suggestions in the compiling of this list. Roo-roo, ladies.
*photo by boogeyman.