This post is partially inspired by the youtuber/channel Drumdums. I’ve just recently started following him on there and I like the content and he did a top 10 scariest horror movies (to him) and that got me thinking, have I done anything like that? I’ve done favorites but nothing about movies actually affecting me and there are some that have! So for today’s post, we’re going to talk about my top 10 scariest/creepiest horror movies that have stuck with me in some capacity.
Here we go!
Starting off backwards, I wanted to share some great honorable mentions. These aren’t in order but at least five that will hopefully steer you into what the actual list looks like.
The Wicker Man
A Nightmare on Elm Street
10. Tetsuo I: The Iron Man (1989) – This Japanese cyberpunk/horror film, available on Shudder (at the time), really creeped me out. I knew I was going to be thrown on a ride from the description but that opening shot with the metal being inserted into a thigh just… shudders. The whole rest of the movie does not stop, it keeps going.
9. The Mimic (2017) – A beautiful and creepy Korean horror film that feels like it belongs in an extended universe with The Witch or Hereditary, at least visually. This movie, I saw last year as well, was about a family dealing with the grief of a missing child (a son, they also have a daughter) when something supernatural is lurking close by and its relation to the sudden appearance of a little girl who is brought in. It’s the little seeds and circumstances that builds up to a devastating and somber ending.
8. It Follows (2014) – One of the best horror movies that came out in the 2010s in my opinion. What makes It Follows scary or borderline creepy is the idea that you can see things no one else can, especially if it’s after YOU and only you. Our protagonist is passed down a “curse” through sex (there’s so much there but I don’t have time and this is not the post) where a supernatural like entity is after her, taking the form of different people, unsuspecting to everyone but she alone. The only way to free herself is to then pass it down to another victim, where the entity begins to follow them.
7. Demons (1985) – One of the few giallo horror films on this list! Besides Suspiria, Demons was another taste of italian horror. Directed by Lamberto Bava and produced by Dario Argento, this movie is about a free screening at a theater where one by one people are attacked and/or turned into demons, which was triggered by a moviegoer who scratched herself on a mask (a prop from the film). What creeps me out is the look of these demons, especially the eyes (you know what scene it is) but also a certain kill in Demons. I’ve mentioned it before but the neck just, really gets under my skin. The transformations, we see them on screen, are just as brutal, too.
6. Deep Red (1975) – Another giallo film but this time directed by Dario Argento. The appreciation of streaming is here in this post. Without this accessibility like Prime or Shudder, I wouldn’t be able to see a lot of these films, especially foreign horror films. And thanks to Shudder, Deep Red was available to watch and… it’s probably one of my favorite Argento films. A little hint of supernatural elements but this movie is grounded in reality. A killer on the loose, an unexpected team up of a musician/writer and a reporter and uncovering deep secrets. The kills in this are just, oh my goodness. That’s all I hav
5. Hereditary (2018) – What is there else left to say about Hereditary? Some consider it a horror, some say no it’s a thriller, it’s both in my opinion around a family drama. The entire movie itself is disturbing and it lingers with you after you watch it, almost like you want to take a shower. I had no idea what to expect out of this but what I saw on screen was nothing like what I originally pictured. Between Toni Collette and Alex Wolf’s performances, and the visuals, the entire movie in of itself is shadowed in unsettling moments. Of course, the decapitation scene… and then showing the aftermath, I just never got over that. I legit went “NO, NOT BABY GIRL!” at my screen.
4. Gates of Hell trilogy (1980) – Would this be considered cheating? Possibly but because I really wanted to put both City of the Living Dead and The Beyond on this list, it felt fine to include all 3 films. This is Lucio Fulci’s trilogy where there’s no direct connection or continuity (except the lead actress is in all 3 films) but a lot of the themes reflect each other. Initially, City of the Living Dead was going to the only entry because… I’m sorry but seeing a girl cry blood and having her eyes bleed to then vomit and then vomit up her intestines was the reason why it was going to be here. And then I thought about The Beyond, little red head girl’s head explosion… the very somber ending… the blind woman and her German shepherd, and the topper, the way the zombies/dead looks. Coincidentally, that is reflected in The House by the Cemetery and it’s not as creepy as the other two but it gets very close.
3. John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) – We know why this is scary and creepy. No one knows who the “thing is”. I read somewhere that only Carpenter and Kurt Russell knows who the “thing” is and I’m curious, especially with how the film ends. The idea of a) isolation b)playing “host” to a shapeshifting alien that then transforms into…whatever the hell it wants and c) you know you might not make it out alive makes the whole movie so damn somber. The special effects is the “sticking with you” part. Amazing and disgusting special effects done right.
2. The Evil Dead (1981) – You know what it is about The Evil Dead, especially the first one? Once the shenanigans started, it never turned off, even entering into the second film. Blood and guts after blood and guts. The claymation and later breakdown is still shudders and the pencil in the ankle is just awful. It is the most horror or “gory” of the trilogy, I think Evil Dead 2 is a close second, then followed by Army of Darkness.
1. The Exorcist (1973) – Still to this day, this movie is uncomfortable. As many times as I’ve seen this movie, it is one of the perfect horror movies out there. Religion? Check. Vulnerable child? Check. Special effects? Check. A bad mouthed demon? Check. The mention and use of an ouija board? Check. Science and medicine not solving the problem? Check. You feel bad for this girl who is basically being assaulted and abused by a demon inside of her, you want her to make it. There’s barely any blood or gore so what is it about The Exorcist that seems to top a lot of favorites lists? The answer is simple: narrative and execution. You believe every single thing that’s happening on the screen, you’re convinced it’s real. And considering I believe in those elements of demons, evil, good, spirits, it drives that notion further.
Now, these movies are in my opinion, the ones that affected me. I still think about these films vividly, especially when they are brought up in posts or conversation. I can’t remember EVERY single movie but if you do something that causes me to sit on it for days and still digest it, you did something to me. And I’ve seen tons of horror movies, since I was a kid. Nothing really shocks me much but these 10 plus the honorable mentions and perhaps others I couldn’t think of.
So what movie(s) get under your skin and legit scare you or creep you out?