The 185 best horror movies of all time

The 185 best horror movies of all time

Why do horror movies still feel undervalued? One thing is certain: in this age where the geek and the craft reign supreme, critics and academics no longer dismiss the genre as unsavory with the instinctive regularity of the past. But even now there is talk of “high horror” (see that concept that is sensational in “Scream 5”) that appears in artistic explorations of terror and terror – “Midsommar” by Ari Aster, “Suspiria” by Luca Guadagnino, “Saint Maud “by Rose Glass – which are clearly distinct from non-elevated horror. The idea is that they involve your brain more than showing brains … eaten by zombies or splashed against the wall.

How can the films that activate the adrenal glands, send chills down the spine, cause goosebumps, and speed up the breath – which inspire such an intense physical reaction – also be brain experiences? We continually forget that, as Marianne Renoir, the character of Pierrot Le Fou by Anna Karina, says, “There can be ideas in feelings”.

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What scares people says a lot about them, as debates about “Get Out”, “Men” and similar titles have revealed. What scares people, and makes them laugh, says even more; see “Ready or not” or “What we do in the shadows”. These two genres are most often predicted to provoke an immediate and visceral reaction from the audience. Perhaps some viewers’ aversion to both is the fear of losing control: of laughing hard enough to snort or having to turn away in fear, of embarrassing yourself. Many people just don’t want to lose control no matter what. The funny thing is that horror, like comedy, is a genre in which every director has to assert his maximum control over the material, he has to perfectly calibrate the narrative, so that the audience of his art can lose it. Extreme control so that the audience can lose control – this seems to be the key.

To celebrate these intensely primal personal films, IndieWire staff has put together this list of the 185 best horror movies of all time. Our writers and editors suggested dozens of titles and then voted on a list of finalists to determine the final ranking of the top 100 integers. Numerous additions have been made since then. It’s a list that captures the wide range and diversity of the genre, from Laird Cregar’s hidden vehicles to a Russian chiller based on a Nikolai Gogol story, from J-Horror to Mexican gem “Alucarda”. Get ready for these movies – losing control has never been this fun.

Eric Kohn, Anne Thompson, David Ehrlich, Jamie Righetti, Michael Nordine, Chris O’Falt, Tambay Obenson, Steve Greene, Zack Sharf, Jude Dry, Chris Lindahl, Kate Erbland, Ryan Lattanzio, Noel Murray and Christian Blauvelt also contributed. history.

185. “Killer Klowns from Outerspace” (Stephen Chiodo, 1988)

“Killer Klowns from Outerspace” – Credits: Transworld Entertainment / Everett Collection

Transworld Entertainment / Everett Collection

“Killer Klowns from Outerspace” by the Chiodo brothers is exactly what it sounds like: a colorful, silly, irreverent and exaggerated alien saga in which the invaders look just like creepy circus clowns. The 1988 horror comedy, which has become a cult favorite, extends its silly premise to outrageous extremes, wrapping victims in cotton candy nets and forcing unforgettable lines like “What are you going to do with those cakes, guys?” Even in the crowded field of so-called one-of-a-kind horror films, “Killer Klowns” looks, sounds and, in its own weird way, feels unlike any other science fiction show on the market. – AF

184. “They live” (John Carpenter, 1988)

“They Live” – ​​Credit: Universal / Everett Collection

Universal / Everett Collection

“I came here to chew gum and kick ass … and I’m out of chewing gum.” It’s with those stupidly funny words that actor Roddy Piper cemented the nameless, spectacled hero of John Carpenter’s “They Live” as a great action hero of all time.

When an aimless wanderer arrives in Los Angeles, only to discover a couple of science fiction shows that allow him to see alien invaders living among humanity, he begins a quest to eradicate the mind-controlling parasitic visitors. Ranked in IndieWire’s collection of Scariest Alien Movies, “They Live” was panned by critics upon release, but has since grown to be regarded as a hidden gem similar to “Prince of Darkness” (another of Carpenter). – AF

183. “Zombieland” (Ruben Fleischer, 2009)

“Zombieland” – Credit: Columbia Pictures / Everett Collection

Columbia Pictures / Everett Collection

Was any post-apocalyptic zombie killing madness as fun as “Zombieland”? Directed by Ruben Fleischer, the 2009 horror comedy stars Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin as undead assassin wanderers on this road trip across the United States that has seen better days.

Co-writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick strike the right balance of splatter and wit with a plot held together by the brilliant lines of his incredibly funny characters, the famous rules of the film to survive the apocalypse (“Beware of bathrooms!”). to Stone’s impassive delivery of phrases like “I told you we should go to Russell Crowe!” A sequel, titled “Zombieland: Double Tap” premiered in 2019, nearly 10 years after the original. – AF

182. “Company” (Brian Yuzna, 1989)

“Company” - Credit: Mint Films / Everett Collection

“Company” – Credit: Mint Films / Everett Collection

Zecca Films / Everett Collection

The first two thirds of Brian Yuzna’s “Society” are certainly lackluster. Played by Billy Warlock as Bill Whitney, the Beverly Hills story of a rich boy who begins to distrust the world he grew up in takes over an hour to understand the basics. But once that happens, “Society” assumes an unshakable grip from which it is almost impossible to look away. A frequent contributor to Yuzna, Screaming Mad George made the jaw-dropping visuals necessary to make the final act of “Society” one of the most memorable in horror history. Proceed with caution. – AF

181. “Willard” (Daniel Mann, 1971)

“Willard” – Credit: Everett Collection

Everett Collection

They just don’t make rat-infested emotional breakdowns like they used to. In Daniel Mann’s 1971 horror film, adapted from Stephen Gilbert’s 1968 novel “Ratman’s Notebooks,” Bruce Davison plays the protagonist Willard: an outcast man with pet mice who finds himself shipwrecked after the death of his father. Traumatized by his cruel mother and his terrible boss, Willard snaps halfway through the film and, thus, the revenge of the mice begins. While by no means scary, “Willard” is undeniably menacing and wildly funny due to its practical effects. It was followed by the sequel “Ben” – named after Willard’s meanest mouse – a year later. –AF

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