1170 Horror Films Ranked, Rated & Reviewed

by fedor8 | created - 2 months ago | updated - 1 month ago | Public

ALL THE HORROR FILMS I'VE SEEN RANKED RATED AND REVIEWED

Basically, the list should help you choose good films, while warning you which turkeys to avoid. This is why it's ranked in the order of quality. Although, you might find the bottom-pile reviews more fun, coz bashing films is more fun than praising them.

Until I was around 18 or 19 I had very little interest in horror. But once I subdued my inner snob (the same deluded snob that had prevented me from trying out metal until I was 15) I realized that there's a distinct advantage to watching demons and zombies slug it out in mindless movies over most other movie genres. The majority of horror films are pretty bad, mediocre at best, but give me a bad horror flick any time over an Oscar-awarded drama or a mediocre western, not to mention a boring, pretentious "art" film devoid of a story, with lazy actors staring emptily into walls while contemplating the meaning of life or suicide, or both. Horror films are refreshingly unpretentious, unpompous: usually cretinous but certainly more entertaining than Meryl Streep doing a Moroccan accent while tied to a wheelchair because she'd been raped and beaten by skinheads in some abominable Hollywood flick.

Which advantages does this list have over other horror lists from my highly esteemed horror-aficionado colleagues?

1. I've seen a lot more horror films than most horror fans. Over 1000. That's a sample big enough to give me some bragging rights.

2. I am a bit of a stickler for logic. This means I don't let the really dumb ones get away with contradictory, far-fetched or plain stupid scripts. If a movie is dumb, I call it out, sometimes in great detail. You don't get that from most horror critics who are quite happy to ignore blatant disregard for common sense. I try not to nit-pick though, coz they are mostly fantasy films.

3. My opinions are completely independent from the majority. If a "classic" that everyone loves stinks, I will rate it low and harass its badness. I don't let myself be influenced by general consensus. I get the impression that many horror reviewers follow the herd a little too much, and that some are afraid to admit not liking a "classic" that one is supposed to like. I don't give a hoot for these unwritten rules: I will bash and smash any overrated piece of crap. Reversely, if a good movie is underrated, I shall praise it. I am not interested, in the slightest, what is or isn't considered a classic. I decide what's classic and what isn't. (I love my arrogance sometimes!)

What is a horror film? Which kind of movies qualify? I've decided to include thrillers but only when they're filmed with an obvious horror slant, with gore or an appropriate atmosphere. So the list doesn't only deal with supernatural films, although fantasy is part of at least 90% of the titles here: that's coz I am not a fan of thrillers at all; I consider them hands down the most idiotic movie genre, far too stupid/illogical/absurd, so you won't be finding many of them here. Sorry to disappoint you if you're into home invasion and superpowerful-serial-killer flicks, there aren't many of those here. I am primarily a fan of supernatural horrors, whereas I've grown to despise horror thrillers so much over the years that I hardly even watch them anymore - except when I make a misjudgement (due to someone's flawed synopsis) and one sneaks in and I end up wasting my time on it. I don't see the point in including every thriller, far from it, as most of them are a separate genre. Sci-fi is also allowed, but only if it has emphasis on monsters and/or gore.

What isn't a horror film? Which kind of movies do not qualify? Young Frankenstein, Scary Movie, Arsenic & Old Lace - any kind of totally harmless comedy that merely uses a horror backdrop to string gags to. These movies are neither gory (or at least not in the real sense) nor remotely scary or intended to be such, and often use extreme humour such as farce or absurdist comedy which simply has zero to do with horror. There are many horror comedies on this list, but they're firmly entrenched in the horror genre. Short films don't qualify: if you think I'm going to bore you with every Tom Dick and 5-minute Harry, you're wrong. Rather than use this list as a dumping ground for EVERYTHING even vaguely related to horror, I decided it's better to focus on ACTUAL horror films, because that's what the list title promises to the reader.

RATINGS: Many of these films I'd seen in the 90s, and back then I was less strict, more easy-to-please. Hence not every rating here represents my opinions realistically. The newer movies have more reliable ratings, in general. I don't pretentiously rate films according to how ground-breaking, unique or technically accomplished they are; I focus much more on the entertainment value. AND I am a stickler for logic; I can tolerate a certain amount of stupidity (almost inevitable in horror, and just films in general), but I don't tolerate movies that break all idiocy records. So if a movie is a critics' darling but boring and/or stupid it gets a low score.

NO RATING: Movies without a rating are the ones whose level of quality I can't pin down anymore because I'd seen them decades ago. I placed them roughly where I believe they should be. But generally, films with no rating could be potentially much higher or lower ranked than they should be.

SPOILERS: I have done my best not to spoil any good films for you, even the smaller events and plot-twists that might not necessarily count as proper spoilers. However, I have hidden spoilers for the good and averages films. I can't vouch for the bad ones, for those that are rated 2 stars or lower: those reviews sometimes don't have hidden spoilers, simply because those are all turds and there is nothing to spoil. They're already spoiled. Nevertheless, even most of those have spoiler warnings.

REVIEWS: For some movies I have two reviews: a brief one consisting of one paragraph, and a proper lengthy one. Some reviews are copy-pasted in their entirety, but most only have the first few paragraphs offered. You have to go the link provided below each text to read the rest i.e. the whole thing. Some reviews aren't posted on IMDb (yet): these are, obviously, pasted in their entirety.

ADVICE: Concerning the top 100-200 movies, i.e. the ones I recommend the most, do NOT read IMDb's synopsis of any of them. They often contain spoilers which could diminish the fun factor if/when you decide to watch them. Whoever is in charge of writing "synopsises" is clearly not doing a good job i.e. some of the contributors need to finally realize that you shouldn't tell the film-goer what happens half-way into the movie, but only the broad outline of what is given early on, BEFORE the first twists.

Genre explanations:

non-supernatural - Since the vast majority of these films are supernatural, I've decided to simply mark those that aren't.

non-supernatural(?) - Can't remember for sure.

zombapocalypse - When the plague is shown to be all-encompassing, and when the movie shows the outbreak itself not just the later events.

zombie - When the plague is focused in a smaller area, or is occurring in a post-apocalyptic environment.

infection - Of course every zombie plague has to do with infection of some sort, but I've added it when a zombie movie focuses on the whys and whats of the plague, rather than just show the resulting mayhem.

townsfolk conspiracy - When the inhabitants of a little town or village are all part of some sinister conspiracy or have a major secret. This is nearly always within a spoiler.

camcorder - I don't like the name "found footage". I thought of calling it "wobbly footage" or "found-in-sewage" but this will do.

mono-setting - When at least 90% of a movie is set in just one room/house/whatever. Does not apply to a large singular area, only smaller spaces/areas.

religious - Films with Biblical themes or a priest running around fighting demons.

mono-colour - A bunch of modern horror films are filmed in doom-n-gloom-o-vision, with only 2-3 colours, or are photoshopped to have just one colour dominate. I am very much an opponent of both these drab-o-vision styles and this descriptor serves to warn you when a film is visually unappealing, when it is drenched in blue, green or just overall grey. I.e. some movies labeled this way may not be drab-looking but are dominated by just one colour basically.

teens - Obviously, teens doesn't mean literally teens coz most "teen" actors are in their 20s, but refers to any flick with all the sheep-for-the-slaughter being presented as teens.

older teens - 20somethings; instead of "a group of teens goes out into the woods for a picnic" it's "a group of 20somethings goes out into the woods for a picnic", for example a bunch of dim-witted students.

malevolent - Films with a lack of moral compass that tend to glorify evil. Often they reveal the film-maker's or the writer's latent misanthropy.

nickotrash - Films with Nicholas Cage.

kingotrash - Films based on Stephen King's trashy writing.

wesocravenia - Films by Wes Craven, the master of crappy, shoddy horror.

argentontoidiota - Films by Dario Argento, legendary for his idiotic movies devoid of logic.

Some genres include others by definition: i.e. haunted house is automatically mystery as well, hence I don't add mystery to that descriptor. A western horror is automatically historic, so no need to add "historic" as a descriptor.

Here is where you can comment:

https://vjetropevsmusic.blogspot.com/2020/07/horror-movies-list.html

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1. The Shining (1980)

R | 146 min | Drama, Horror

66 Metascore

A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where a sinister presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from both past and future.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers

Votes: 877,973 | Gross: $44.02M

haunted building, remote location, based on kingotrashy novel

10/10

Strengths: visuals, sets, tension, soundtrack, setting, suspense, originality, ominous mood, Jack Nicholson, the film annoys Stephen King (because it was heavily re-written i.e. all the garbage was taken out)

Weaknesses: none

Visually stunning, with a degree of eeriness only Kubrick and very few others could have achieved; some of the scenes are unsurpassed in this respect. Ghost stories are notoriously unscary, so hats off to Kubrick for making all the right choices to elevate this trite genre to very lofty heights.

The cinematography is immaculate. Kubrick even makes the toilet look good. OK, bathroom... whatever.

Nicholson is incredible and provides much of the entertainment. What he did here isn't overacting: it's precisely what the film and story required. (He has been criticized for his performance here by a small and very clueless group of detractors - who probably consider Rob Zombie the greatest ever film-maker.) After all, he is going insane, right? Should this kind of psycho-lunacy be underplayed? Just as with "A Clockwork Orange", Kubrick picked literally THE best actor for the job. Both movies heavily relied on the main-character casting for the movies to reach their full potential.

Shelley Duvall is excellent, too, and well-cast. The poor thing really struggled during the filming; Kubrick was merciless toward her. Considering the shoot lasted a whopping 11 months, this is no minor thing.

I can't believe they re-did this though; what's the point? Re-doing TS is like sending 23 year-old Helen Mirren to a plastic surgeon and breast-implants doctor. What's there to improve?

That vastly overrated clod Stephen King always hated the fact that Kubrick had his flawed original story heavily re-written, and he despised Kubrick for it. The ego on that man-hick! "How dare he re-write MY words??? They are MY words, the great Stephen King! Blasphemy!" (This is how I picture an egomaniac hack writer reacting to someone "messing" with his garbage.)

Stevie should be forever flattered that the best director of all time decided to pick up one of his crummy books and make a movie out of it. In fact, this left-wing putz had actually dared to publicly criticized Kubrick's adaptation of his irrelevant little novelette, thereby exposing his ignorance to all. Stephen King criticizing Kubrick is like a guy in a wheelchair criticizing his boxing coach for not making him the WBA heavy-weight champion of the world (with the difference that Kubrick made something great out of "Shining"). King criticizing Kubrick is like an eight year-old Flat Earth Society member telling Einstein that his theories are stupid. King criticizing Kubrick is like Michael Moore criticizing old BBC nature documentaries for being unrealistic and staged. King criticizing Kubrick is one of the biggest jokes in the history of mankind. If you still want to watch the remake, your problem. There are great Youtube clips mocking it: I recommend those instead.

TS is so heavily re-written that it's a mistake to even consider it a "Stephen King movie".

Excellent soundtrack, similar to that of "2001". I wouldn't listen to it separate from the movie though...

I strongly suggest you find the 140-minute version.

https://www.imdb.com/review/rw1559997/?ref_=tt_urv

Downer ending: Sort of First Viewing: 1988 (altogether at least 5 times)

2. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Unrated | 127 min | Action, Adventure, Horror

71 Metascore

Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger, Gaylen Ross

Votes: 109,959 | Gross: $5.10M

zombapocalypse, splatter, semi-comedy

10/10

Strengths: setting, humour, soundtrack, mood, unpredictability

Weaknesses: ending is a bit weak

Downer ending: Sort of

First Viewing: 1989 (altogether at least 5 times)

3. 1408 (2007)

PG-13 | 104 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

64 Metascore

A man who specialises in debunking paranormal occurrences checks into the fabled room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel. Soon after settling in, he confronts genuine terror.

Director: Mikael Håfström | Stars: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack, Tony Shalhoub

Votes: 253,086 | Gross: $71.99M

haunted house, based on kingotrashy story, mono-setting

9/10

Strengths: story, mood, eeriness, plot-twists, suspense

Weaknesses: the director's cut ending isn't very good (watch the cinema version)

Is Cusack hallucinating or is it me? A good movie based on King's material?!

Of course, it's only based on a short story, i.e. it's been vastly peppered up and improved by no less than THREE writers. (It takes many writers to turn a mediocre mess into a quality product, similarly to how it took 56 plastic surgeons to turn Khloe Kardashian into a half-way decent-looking woman.)

Set mostly in a hotel suite, this entertaining film is never dull. It's slickly directed, and a great ride. There are even a twist or two, which is amazing considering that King, the King of Predictability, wrote the story this is based on. But then again, how much of this is his own writing?

This is only the second time - since Kubrick's phenomenal "The Shining" - that a movie based on a Stephen King book or story turns out very good. It took nearly three decades for it to happen again, but here it is. My guess is that the story was re-written in a major way (that is to say drastically improved), so kudos to the writers for being so bright i.e. capable of turning crap into gold, which is a rare talent. It's cinematic alchemy.

Take a look at Mary McCormack's new lips. She looks like a frog. Her plastic surgeon should have his license revoked.

https://www.imdb.com/review/rw1737534/?ref_=tt_urv

Downer ending: cinema version: no, director's cut: yes

First Viewing: 2007 (altogether 3 times)

4. The Evil Dead (1981)

NC-17 | 85 min | Horror

71 Metascore

Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor, Betsy Baker

Votes: 184,097 | Gross: $2.40M

haunted cabin, splatter, demonic, possession, remote location

9/10

Strengths: visuals, setting, originality, mood, suspense, special effects

Weaknesses: some of the acting is mediocre

First Viewing: early 90s (altogether at least 3 times)

5. Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

R | 97 min | Horror, Thriller

41 Metascore

Kirsty is brought to an institution after the horrible events of Hellraiser (1987), where the occult-obsessive head doctor resurrects Julia and unleashes the Cenobites and their demonic underworld.

Director: Tony Randel | Stars: Doug Bradley, Ashley Laurence, Clare Higgins, Kenneth Cranham

Votes: 41,328 | Gross: $11.09M

demonic, based on novel

9/10

Strengths: visuals, sets, story, soundtrack, originality, mood, suspense

Weaknesses: dated special effects

Downer ending: no

First Viewing: 1990 (altogether at least 3 times)

6. Evil Dead II (1987)

R | 84 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy

72 Metascore

The lone survivor of an onslaught of flesh-possessing spirits holes up in a cabin with a group of strangers while the demons continue their attack.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley DePaiva

Votes: 145,880 | Gross: $5.92M

haunted cabin, self-parody, splatter, comedy, possession, demonic, remote location

9/10

Strengths: visuals, setting, originality, mood, humour, plot-twists

Weaknesses: a little derivative of the first part

First Viewing: 1990 (altogether at least 3 times)

7. Triangle (2009)

R | 99 min | Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller

A group of friends suffer a yachting accident and take refuge on a cruise drifting on the open sea, but quickly realize they were better off on the upturned yacht.

Director: Christopher Smith | Stars: Melissa George, Joshua McIvor, Jack Taylor, Michael Dorman

Votes: 100,869

mystery, haunted ship, time loop

9/10

Strengths: story, unpredictability, setting, premise, suspenseful, enigmatic

Weaknesses: the main plot twist isn't new

This Christopher Smith has much more to offer than first meets the eye - or met the eye. After the blood-spurting, somewhat dumb "Creep" and the unsuccessful blend of horror and comedy in its follow-up, "Severence", Smith comes up out of left field with this excellent horror mystery. Perhaps he'd finally realized that it's not necessary to portray the graphic butchering of female anatomy ("Creep") or to rip off current horror-film fads such as "Hostel" ("Severence"). Sometimes you just need to sit down, focus, and write a script that actually deserves several months of preparation and shooting, instead of letting your pet hamster write it in 30 minutes...

I almost always bash British horror films, because they're so dull and overrated, but this is a rare exception. It's one of the best I've seen in years. But perhaps that also has something to do with this being an Australian co-production...

You can read the entire review here:

https://www.imdb.com/review/rw2227977/?ref_=tt_urv

Downer ending: there is a major twist that can be seen as downer, so yes

Viewings: 2010, 2016

8. Silent Hill (2006)

R | 125 min | Horror

31 Metascore

A woman, Rose, goes in search for her adopted daughter within the confines of a strange, desolate town called Silent Hill.

Director: Christophe Gans | Stars: Radha Mitchell, Laurie Holden, Sean Bean, Deborah Kara Unger

Votes: 212,031 | Gross: $46.98M

demonic, religious, remote location, satanic cult, based on computer game

9/10

Strengths: visuals, sets, setting, story, soundtrack, originality, mood, suspense, eerie, special effects

Weaknesses: none

SPOILERS

There aren't many horror films I can think of in which the hero or heroine is stuck between two sides battling each other, both of which are equally nasty. Essentially, this is the premise: a fundamentalist Christian sect lead by a deranged woman (suitably cast with Krige) used human sacrifice to fight Satan (or at least a demon), but they played with fire rather clumsily – literally – which lead to a minor incident in which most of the population got destroyed and sent to some sort of a Hell. (It's too depressing-looking and contains far too many ugly bite-happy insects to be Purgatory.) The girl they burned (?) became the demon's BFF, but because there was still a speck of goodness left in her, a child, Sharon, was "created" (don't ask me how); that same girl that had been adopted by Sean Bean and that actress who looks exactly like Roman Polansky's wife, the French actress Emmanuelle Seigner. The two look so much alike that for a long time I didn't realize I was watching two different women in movies! Emmanuele played Satan (or a demon?) in "The Ninth Gate", and so we come full circle. (Well, it's a sort of circle; perhaps a pentagram.) We come full pentagram. Polansky privately also likes little girls, so we have at least two circles or pentagrams here to come full to.

You can read the entire review here:

https://www.imdb.com/review/rw3139164/?ref_=tt_urv

Downer ending: no

Viewings: 2007, 2014, 2016

9. Event Horizon (1997)

R | 96 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

35 Metascore

A rescue crew investigates a spaceship that disappeared into a black hole and has now returned...with someone or something new on-board.

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson | Stars: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson

Votes: 156,971 | Gross: $26.67M

space sci-fi, mystery, demonic

9/10

Strengths: visuals, sets, setting, premise, mood, special effects, eeriness, suspense

Weaknesses: occasionally dumb characterization and silly dialog

Downer ending: mostly

First Viewing: 1998 (altogether 3 times)

10. Eraserhead (1977)

Not Rated | 89 min | Fantasy, Horror

87 Metascore

Henry Spencer tries to survive his industrial environment, his angry girlfriend, and the unbearable screams of his newly born mutant child.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph, Jeanne Bates

Votes: 100,532 | Gross: $7.00M

surreal, drama, arthouse

9/10

Strengths: visuals, sets, soundtrack, uniqueness, mood, sense of mystery, eeriness

Weaknesses: perhaps a tad too abstract, occasionally repellent

Perhaps the most morbid, darkest movie ever made. Totally abstract; to discuss the "plot" here would be to miss the point. Did I say "point"? I'm not sure there is a point. But there doesn't have to be one. Eraserbrain is almost totally free for interpretation. Part horror, part futuristic drama, part mystery. It defies definition.

Some scenes are downright chilling, some are absolutely gross, and in-between there is plenty of eerie, dark, confusing, abstract melodrama. The few dialogues that take place - even though mostly weird - give a little bit of a breather. Hard to watch, especially repeatedly, this is definitely not entertainment in the classic sense.

Nevertheless, it is utterly fascinating. Hard to believe that it was directed by the same David Lynch who gave us such beautiful-people yuppie-mystery crap like "Twin Peaks", and who started casting Laura Dern in his films, probably because he saw "talent" in her. Or maybe because he is fascinated by freaks? There is a very nice song(!) here, sung by the "radiator lady", somewhere in the second half.

In hindsight, decades after the fact, it is almost funny that Eraserbrain has no proper story (or at least no proper story development), considering that Lynch became later notorious for setting up complex mysteries - but then completely unable to untangle/resolve them in any logical, meaningful way. Of course, Lynch's rabid fan army would vehemently deny that; they all used generous helpings of glue to help them "explain" all these quasi-profound "arty" films.

Whoever claims that "this is the movie that got me interested in cinema" is a lying attention-seeking insecure hipster. "Star Wars" or "Dumbo" were what got you into cinema, you pompous clods! Stop pretending you enjoyed this when you were 11.

https://www.imdb.com/review/rw1570486/?ref_=tt_urv

Downer ending: this movie doesn't have an ending, or a coherent story

First Viewing: 1990 (altogether 2-3 times)

11. Images (1972)

R | 104 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

Schizophrenic housewife, engulfed by terrorizing apparitions, kills off each, unknowing if these demons are merely figments of her hallucinatory imagination or part of reality.

Director: Robert Altman | Stars: Susannah York, Rene Auberjonois, Marcel Bozzuffi, Hugh Millais

Votes: 5,268

drama, mystery

9/10

Strengths: visuals, mysterious, originality, mood

Weaknesses: only one nude scene with York

Like so often with Robert Altman's movies, it's hit or miss: his films are either quite bad or terrific (not counting the mid-90s onwards, when everything he touched was crap).

There is much to recommend here. First of all, the eeriness Altman creates shames 99% of all horror films - and this isn't even a proper horror film in the classic sense, but more like a psychological drama with strong "Twilight Zone" influence.

No time is wasted here; right from the start strange things start happening. It's a weird mystery that will keep you guessing - until the decidedly UNhappy ending.

I have no idea why this movie is both hard to come by and totally forgotten. Instead, whenever Altman's name is mentioned, we hear how great "The Player" is supposed to be. That movie is mediocre. Forget "The Player" and that boring nepotist Tim Robbins; instead, check out "Images", "3 Women", "Vincent & Theo", and of course "M*A*S*H*", to see Altman at his best.

https://www.imdb.com/review/rw1721552/?ref_=tt_urv

Downer ending: yes

First Viewing: 1997 (altogether 2-3 times)

12. In the Mouth of Madness (1995)

R | 95 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

53 Metascore

An insurance investigator begins discovering that the impact a horror writer's books have on his fans is more than inspirational.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Sam Neill, Jürgen Prochnow, Julie Carmen, David Warner

Votes: 60,264 | Gross: $8.95M

mystery, lovecraftian

9/10

Strengths: story, plot-twists, unpredictability, originality, premise

Weaknesses: not an ideal cast

John Carpenter comes up with a winner every now and again, and this is one of them. Could this really be? A horror film that is unusual and unpredictable, with the sort of plot that quite clearly could never stem from a buffoon writer like Stephen King.

The film moves at a brisk pace. There are no time-wasting scenes like in so many other horror movies, with their very thin plots. The special effects are okay, the soundtrack is solid, and the dialogue and acting aren't moronic. Pretty much Carpenter's last good movie. What followed was junk like "Escape From L.A." and "Ghosts Of Mars".

Certainly one of the best horror film of the 90s.

https://www.imdb.com/review/rw1722484/?ref_=tt_urv

Downer ending: yes, but it's spectacular

First Viewing: 1996, 2016 (altogether 3-4 times)

13. The Ninth Gate (1999)

R | 133 min | Mystery, Thriller

44 Metascore

A rare book dealer, while seeking out the last two copies of a demon text, gets drawn into a conspiracy with supernatural overtones.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Johnny Depp, Frank Langella, Lena Olin, Emmanuelle Seigner

Votes: 165,088 | Gross: $18.66M

religious, road movie, mystery

9/10

Strengths: story, dialog, visuals, enigmatic

Weaknesses: the ending isn't bad but not ideal

Satan gets pregnant? Interpretations of the ending abound.

It's interesting that Polanski went back to Satanism as a subject matter, dealing with it in a more sophisticated i.e. serious manner than is usually the case. TNG could easily have been a goofy, unintentionally funny movie in someone else's hands. Kudos to the little formerly-house-arrested kiddie-fiddler for tackling such an idiotic (but fun) topic with such style and competence; not a small achievement by any means. Especially given what a disappointment the vastly overrated "Rosemary's Baby" was, 3 decades earlier.

Speaking of competence, or a lack thereof, the Devil couldn't have been a very competent book distributor, what with having written one that only a handful of people ended up ever seeing. Was Satan perhaps shy or insecure about his work, fearing that it would not stand up to the great commercial success of his adversary's work, the Great Book? Chances are that Satan's little opus couldn't possibly be any dumber – or duller – than the said collection of rants and raves that are obsessed over in various over-decorated, suspiciously financed buildings throughout the world by men of cloth paid to (mis)interpret that crap to their weekly gatherings of bored but fearful flock. Besides, it would be only fair to hear both sides of the fence, i.e. to read what the opposition has to say.

You can read the entire review here:

https://www.imdb.com/review/rw2571512/?ref_=tt_urv

Downer ending: hard to say, ask Polanski, maybe he knows

First Viewing: 2000 (altogether 3 times)

14. Ringu (1998)

Not Rated | 96 min | Horror, Mystery

A reporter and her ex-husband investigate a cursed video tape that is rumored to kill the viewer seven days after watching it.

Director: Hideo Nakata | Stars: Nanako Matsushima, Miki Nakatani, Yûko Takeuchi, Hitomi Satô

Votes: 62,812

haunted technology, long-black-hair-ghost-chick, japanese

9/10

Strengths: story, premise, originality, mood, suspense, eerie

Weaknesses: spawned dozens of long-haired-Asian-chick-ghost clone films

First Viewing: early 00s

15. The Exorcist III (1990)

R | 110 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

48 Metascore

A police Lieutenant uncovers more than he bargained for as his investigation of a series of murders, which have all the hallmarks of the deceased Gemini serial killer, leads him to question the patients of a psychiatric ward.

Director: William Peter Blatty | Stars: George C. Scott, Ed Flanders, Brad Dourif, Jason Miller

Votes: 25,209 | Gross: $26.10M

religious, possession, demonic, based on novel

9/10

Strengths: story, moody, mysterious

Weaknesses: smooth sailing

Downer ending: not really

Viewings: 1991, 2005 (altogether 3 times)

16. The Endless (I) (2017)

Not Rated | 111 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

80 Metascore

As kids, they escaped a UFO death cult. Now, two adult brothers seek answers after an old videotape surfaces and brings them back to where they began.

Directors: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead | Stars: Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson, Callie Hernandez, Tate Ellington

Votes: 31,629 | Gross: $0.27M

religious cult, time loop, mystery

9/10

Strengths: premise, mood, originality, dialog

Weaknesses: none

I am not a big fan of writing positive reviews, much less ones as positive as this film deserves. Handing out compliments to film-makers and the cast isn't my forte, and isn't anything I enjoy doing. I am not even sure I know how to do it. This is exacerbated by the fact that it's been such a long time since I've had a chance to write one: a movie this good comes up once in a Blue Moon, certainly as far as 21st-century filmic produce is concerned. I come across a 9/10 film once a year at the very most, though probably as rarely as every other year, so I don't even get to have much practice at writing only good things about a movie.

Whatever...

TE is a great mystery, in the vein of the very best that 60s "Twilight Zone" has to offer (check out my IMDb list of TZ episodes, which include brilliant reviews, as brilliant as all my reviews - which are brilliant). In fact, if TE were (miraculously) compressed into a 22-minute TZ episode it would rank among the best 5, easily.

You can read the entire review here:

https://www.imdb.com/review/rw5903884/?ref_=ur_urv

Downer ending: not for the protagonists

First Viewing: 2020

17. Cube (1997)

R | 90 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

61 Metascore

Six complete strangers with widely varying personalities are involuntarily placed in an endless maze containing deadly traps.

Director: Vincenzo Natali | Stars: Nicole de Boer, Maurice Dean Wint, David Hewlett, Andrew Miller

Votes: 208,698 | Gross: $0.50M

sci-fi, mystery, thriller, mono-setting

9/10

Strengths: visuals, premise, story, originality, enigmatic, setting, special effects, sets, unpredictable, suspense

Weaknesses: shoddy characterization and occasionally cartoonish dialog, weak ending

Downer ending: yes

First Viewing: 2000 (twice)

18. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

R | 83 min | Horror

78 Metascore

Two siblings and three of their friends en route to visit their grandfather's grave in Texas end up falling victim to a family of cannibalistic psychopaths and must survive the terrors of Leatherface and his family.

Director: Tobe Hooper | Stars: Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain

Votes: 134,273 | Gross: $30.86M

serial-killer, thriller, cannibal clan, exploitation, evil peasants, remote location, non-supernatural

9/10

Strengths: moody, suspense, gritty

Weaknesses: gets too hammy during the dinner scene

You will not find many of these "cannibal peasant" films on this list, and the few that there are nearly all scored low.

I am not a fan of this garbage sub-genre. TCM however was the first of its kind and it works because its grit looks real. It is genuinely suspenseful.

Downer ending: no

First Viewing: 1990

19. Aliens (1986)

R | 137 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

84 Metascore

Ellen Ripley is rescued by a deep salvage team after being in hypersleep for 57 years. The moon that the Nostromo visited has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, colonial marines have impressive firepower, but will that be enough?

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn, Paul Reiser

Votes: 643,551 | Gross: $85.16M

space sci-fi, action, conspiracy, monster

9/10

Strengths: setting, mood, suspense, special effects

Weaknesses: Paul Reiser's speech impediment, Sigourney Weaver's over-seriousness, the exaggerated gung-ho faces of the soldiers

Downer ending: yes, as always in this franchise

First Viewing: 1989 (altogether at least 3 times)

20. Kairo (2001)

R | 119 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

70 Metascore

Two groups of people discover evidence that suggests spirits may be trying to invade the human world through the Internet.

Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa | Stars: Haruhiko Katô, Kumiko Asô, Koyuki, Kurume Arisaka

Votes: 16,301 | Gross: $0.05M

haunted technology, apocalypse, japanese

9/10

Strengths: mood, premise, suspense, eerie

Weaknesses: having to rely on the subtitles

I'm a jaded horror-movie fan, hence approximately once in a blue moon do I get to watch a film from this genre that has me glued to the screen rather than bored or sneering/almost laughing at the gore when I'm not supposed to. But perhaps that was the key here, the essential ingredient - or rather the lack of it: the fact that there is no gore. Just like in the Japanese "Ringu", the eeriness comes out of what is insinuated rather than catchup-stained limbs flying through rooms as if they had wings.

"Kairo" remains interesting in spite of its 2-hour length, although a little editing snip here or there might have made it a little more compact. The dialogue is mostly standard, i.e. not that interesting (with some exceptions), so it's the ghost scenes that elevate this movie above 98% of the usual horror crap. The story is slightly muddled (or were my subtitles bad?) but it matters not.

And even if you disliked it: it still beats watching a Stephen King, Dario Argento or Wes Craven film, doesn't it? Plus, Japanese actresses are so much better-looking than the increasingly homely, masculine blondes Hollywood serves us lately...

"Printo screenki": this is how one male character referred to a certain computer-keyboard feature...

https://www.imdb.com/review/rw1797452/?ref_=tt_urv

First Viewing: 2008

21. The Hunger (1983)

R | 97 min | Drama, Horror

52 Metascore

A love triangle develops between a beautiful yet dangerous vampire, her cellist companion, and a gerontologist.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, Susan Sarandon, Cliff De Young

Votes: 22,766 | Gross: $5.98M

vampire

9/10

Strengths: premise, soundtrack, mood

Weaknesses: not always impressive, Susan Sarandon too skinny, Catherine Deneuve still can't act

Vampire films are so very boring - but not this one. Somewhat underrated perhaps, but it's probably the best vampire film.

Seems to be regarded as some kind of a trashy lesbian story, with a little bit of horror and gore thrown in for good measure; well, that's nonsense. I'm the first to blast a movie for throwing in cheesy lesbianism, but it doesn't get in the way at all, and does have a purpose story-wise i.e. isn't thrown in randomly to titillate horny sexually inadequate hipsters as in Lynch's idiotic "Mulholland" flick. These critics would have us believe that some silly Dracula film from the 30s is a masterpiece while this original approach to vampirism is a cheap, exploitative, erotic tale.

The film is visually terrific, very atmospheric, has a good cast (Sarandon is excellent), and a superb soundtrack. Sarandon naked in bed is not exactly a deterrent, either. (This virtue-signaling activist's greatest talent, probably.)

The last scene - with its masterful combination of visuals and music - is the absolute highlight of the film.

https://www.imdb.com/review/rw1570379/?ref_=tt_urv

Downer ending: not really

First Viewing: 1989 (twice)

22. The Abandoned (2006)

R | 99 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

42 Metascore

An adopted woman returns to her home country and the family home that she never knew and must face the mystery that lies there.

Director: Nacho Cerdà | Stars: Anastasia Hille, Karel Roden, Valentin Goshev, Valentin Ganev

Votes: 12,383 | Gross: $1.26M

remote location, mystery

9/10

Strengths: story, mood, eeriness, plot-twist

Weaknesses: too greenish

An ultra-gloomy depiction of backwoods Russia practically requires no plot.

As so often, any (horror) movie with a voter average between 5 and 6 could very well be an overlooked gem (much as any film rated above 8 - made in this century - is almost certain to stink). Any and all criticism of this movie must have come from people who either:

1) become automatically disappointed if the quantity of blood gushing out of living bodies doesn't exceed 80 gallons, 2) got too depressed by TA's morose, somber, and downright suicide-inducing mood (but won't admit it, hence nitpick for meaningless flaws), or 3) are too used to watching slasher films, where no amount of thinking/speculating/guessing is ever required in the slightest, and in which predictable clichés make for a cozy but apathetic viewing experience.

TA is too green. That would be its one "flaw". They over-did it during the "photoshoppying" sessions, slapping various hues of green on everyone and everything. Apart from this exaggerated, almost fetishistic greenness (sort of like the blue-o-mania in recent sci-fi flicks), there isn't much to pick on here.

The setting will inject depression into the most cheerful, grin-happy optimist. The overall feel makes one root for "the bad guys" - simply so the two central characters can finally be put out of their misery. I haven't seen this kind of gloom and doom since "Hostel".

https://www.imdb.com/review/rw2222033/?ref_=tt_urv

Downer ending: I believe yes

First Viewing: 2010

23. eXistenZ (1999)

R | 97 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

68 Metascore

A game designer on the run from assassins must play her latest virtual reality creation with a marketing trainee to determine if the game has been damaged.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ian Holm, Willem Dafoe

Votes: 92,718 | Gross: $2.84M

mystery, sci-fi, thriller

9/10

Cronenberg's last good movie. After this, dunno what happened. He must have had the same cinematescopy performed on him that Scorsese got in the 90s.

First Viewing: 1999 (twice)

24. Alien³ (1992)

R | 114 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

59 Metascore

After her last encounter, Ellen Ripley crash-lands on Fiorina 161, a maximum security prison. When a series of strange and deadly events occur shortly after her arrival, Ripley realizes that she has brought along an unwelcome visitor.

Director: David Fincher | Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton, Charles Dance, Paul McGann

Votes: 273,692 | Gross: $55.47M

space sci-fi, prison, monster

9/10

Strengths: visuals, sets, moody, special effects

Weaknesses: watching a bald Sigourney Weaver - as if she weren't hideous enough with hair, girl power

Avoid the director's cut. Fincher is clueless. Get the cinema version.

Downer ending: if you see the sequel it is, otherwise not really

First Viewing: 1992 (3-4 times)

25. YellowBrickRoad (2010)

R | 98 min | Horror, Thriller

52 Metascore

1940: the entire population of Friar, New Hampshire walked up a winding mountain trail, leaving everything behind. 2008: the first official expedition into the wilderness attempts to solve the mystery of the lost citizens of Friar.

Directors: Jesse Holland, Andy Mitton | Stars: Michael Laurino, Anessa Ramsey, Alex Draper, Cassidy Freeman

Votes: 5,735

mystery, remote location

9/10

Strengths: premise, story, plot-twists, eerie, moody, originality

Weaknesses: slow start

YBR is yet another example of why one should NEVER pay attention to this site's rating average. It's a meaningless figure.

An investigative team goes into a remote forest to investigate a mystery revolving around why all 250 people from a small village decided to leave one day, never coming back.

I know, it sounds like yet another amateurish, idiotic, hand-held-camera piece of garbage like "Paranormal Activity", "Rec", "The Blairwitch Project", or "The Poughkeepsie Tapes", but there is no reason give up in disgust because thankfully this is not the case. It's a REGULAR movie. No dilettante actor talking over a wobbly recording of Something Vague This Way Comes, while the special-effects crew takes a nap and hopes that the camera falls off into the mud so they won't have to do anything.

You can read the entire review here:

https://www.imdb.com/review/rw2531768/?ref_=tt_urv

Downer ending: big yes

First Viewing: 2011

26. The Legend of Hell House (1973)

PG | 95 min | Horror

Physicist Lionel Barrett and his wife lead a team of mediums into the Belasco House, which is supposedly haunted by the victims of its late owner, a six-foot-five serial killer.

Director: John Hough | Stars: Roddy McDowall, Gayle Hunnicutt, Pamela Franklin, Clive Revill

Votes: 11,830

haunted building

8/10

Strengths: setting, mood, visuals, suspense

Weaknesses: uneven

Downer ending: no...

Easily the best of all haunted house movies, this movie has a good story, surprise twists, a good cast (including the cute Pamela Franklin), and most importantly - a high visual quality and atmosphere without which almost any horror film is doomed.

https://www.imdb.com/review/rw1745732/?ref_=tt_urv

First Viewing: 1995 (twice)

27. Dead & Buried (1981)

R | 94 min | Horror, Mystery

A suspense horror film set in a small coastal town where, after a series of gory murders commited by mobs of townspeople against visiting tourists, the corpses begin to come back to life.

Director: Gary Sherman | Stars: James Farentino, Melody Anderson, Jack Albertson, Dennis Redfield

Votes: 9,694 | Gross: $0.22M

remote location, townsfolk conspiracy, mystery

8/10

Strengths: plot-twist, mood, suspense

Weaknesses: can't remember

Downer ending: yes

First Viewing: 2003

28. Dead Birds (2004)

R | 91 min | Horror, Thriller, Western

A group of Confederate soldiers hole up in an abandoned plantation after robbing a bank and find themselves at the mercy of supernatural forces.

Director: Alex Turner | Stars: Henry Thomas, Patrick Fugit, Nicki Aycox, Michael Shannon

Votes: 9,757

haunted house, western, crime

8/10

Strengths: setting, mood, visuals, eerie, suspense

Weaknesses: creatures a bit stereotypical

Much better than most of the horror stuff that gets thrown our way these days. The premise of a deserted house in the middle of nowhere being occupied by supernatural forces is hardly a new one, but it matters not. What does matter is the appropriate soundtrack, a good atmosphere, and a gradual but effective set-up of events. Yes, the movie does tend to be a tad too slow in the first half, but as long as there is a sense that something ominous i.e. interesting will happen that is never a problem. The effects are good, the direction is skillful, and the dialogue and acting are above-par for a horror film. The creatures do not look too original, but at least they're not an n-th rehash of "Alein" monsters, which I think we can all do without. There are smaller problems with how certain characters react in certain situations. The ending is interesting: have they all become demons the moment they entered the property? Or was that symbolic of the fact that they were all sinners i.e. murderers hence automatically demons in a sense? The Civil War setting is certainly fairly unusual.

https://www.imdb.com/review/rw1632134/?ref_=tt_urv

Downer ending: no, coz the protagonists are murderers, but then again yes in a way

First Viewing: 2007 (twice)

29. Hellraiser: Inferno (2000 Video)

R | 99 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

A shady police detective becomes embroiled in a strange world of murder, sadism and madness after being assigned a murder investigation against a madman known only as "The Engineer".

Director: Scott Derrickson | Stars: Craig Sheffer, Nicholas Turturro, James Remar, Doug Bradley

Votes: 14,811

demonic, crime, mystery

8/10

Strengths: story, plot-twists, mood, special effects

Weaknesses: the basic premise isn't new

Downer ending: sort of

Viewings: 2004, 2014

30. The Last Winter (2006)

Not Rated | 101 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

69 Metascore

The American oil company North Corporation is building an ice road to explore the remote Northern Arctic National Wildlife Refuge seeking oil. The independent environmentalists together ... See full summary »

Director: Larry Fessenden | Stars: Ron Perlman, James Le Gros, Connie Britton, Zach Gilford

Votes: 8,548 | Gross: $0.03M

remote location, mystery

8/10

Strengths: setting, mood, ambiguous, mysterious, Connie Britton

Weaknesses: politics (boring green message)

Many viewers are whining like babies about the ending.

SPOILERS

Once again, this site's viewers got it all wrong. The rating should be much higher.

If nature doesn't care then why would it take revenge? The notion that ghosts of millions-of-years old fossils would decide to take revenge on man is a bit too preposterous, even for a horror film. Why would they care about man polluting the Earth? No clues are given as to why fossils/oil would protest against them/it being used to fuel economies around the world. Does it physically hurt the fossils/oil hurt when they're/it is being turned into energy? Or are they upset because they didn't get a cut of the profits? Maybe if Perlman had offered this living oil a percentage they'd been fine with the plans to drill... Perhaps those dragons aren't so much anti-business as they're just plain greedy. On the other hand, dragons have their families to support, too, hence a few dollars from Exxon and the like might help them lead a more luxurious life... No idea. E-mail me what you think the dragons were upset about here, or if you think they were merely being a**holes.

You can read the entire review here:

https://www.imdb.com/review/rw1957122/?ref_=tt_urv

Downer ending: yes

Viewings: 2008, 2014

31. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

Unrated | 83 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

80 Metascore

Henry, a drifter, commits a series of brutal murders, supposedly operating with impunity.

Director: John McNaughton | Stars: Michael Rooker, Tracy Arnold, Tom Towles, Mary Demas

Votes: 31,506 | Gross: $0.61M

serial-killer, thriller, drama

8/10

Strengths: gritty, realistic

Weaknesses: it's been a while, dunno

Downer ending: yes

First Viewing: 1993

32. The Exorcist (1973)

R | 122 min | Horror

81 Metascore

When a 12-year-old girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, Lee J. Cobb

Votes: 356,778 | Gross: $232.91M

religious, demonic, possession, based on novel

8/10

Strengths: mood, visuals, gore effects, originality

Weaknesses: very boring prologue

Downer ending: yes and no

First Viewing: 1988 (twice)

33. Possession (1981)

R | 124 min | Drama, Horror

72 Metascore

A woman starts exhibiting increasingly disturbing behavior after asking her husband for a divorce. Suspicions of infidelity soon give way to something much more sinister.

Director: Andrzej Zulawski | Stars: Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill, Margit Carstensen, Heinz Bennent

Votes: 24,380 | Gross: $1.11M

drama

8/10

Strengths: originality, weirdness, unpredictability

Weaknesses: can't remember

SPOILERS

Now that I've seen this highly stylized semi-nonsense, which was fun in itself, I can look forward to additional fun by reading laughable reviews written by people who actually believe this movie has meaning. But I guess if you try hard enough (or if you're sufficiently deluded) you can read stuff into just about anything. Projection of one's own imaginary world into the empty vessel (the (European) movie) is the main tool of any self-respecting fan of surreal (European) cinema.

I could see it coming, way ahead, that the monster was becoming a double of Neill. After all, Neill's voice could be heard talking to Neill (1) on the phone, early on in the film. And why not? Adjani gets to have a nonsensical double, so why not poor ol' Neill. I think they shouldn't have even stopped there; the German granny should have been doubled, ditto her strange Kung-Fu-loving son, and the all the rest of the cast, turning this into a "body snatchers" kind of scenario. Not that this would distract from the essence of the movie, the real message, the main story, for there is no message and no essence at all, and the story becomes increasingly disjointed and comical as the movie ends its amazingly bizarre conclusion. To be fair, occasionally I had the impression the director wanted laughs. But how can I be sure? It's all guess-work.

You can read the entire review here:

https://www.imdb.com/review/rw2529720/?ref_=tt_urv

First Viewing: 2011

34. Se7en (1995)

R | 127 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

65 Metascore

Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives.

Director: David Fincher | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, Andrew Kevin Walker

Votes: 1,414,451 | Gross: $100.13M

serial-killer, thriller, non-supernatural

8/10

Strengths: visuals, mood, story, Paltrow's head in a box

Weaknesses: Paltrow and her incessant Gwyn-grinning

Downer ending: Gwyn's head in a box? of course not!

First Viewing: 1996

35. Wind Chill (2007)

R | 91 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

52 Metascore

Two college students share a ride home for the holidays, but when they break down on a deserted stretch of road, they are preyed upon by the ghosts of people who have died there.

Director: Gregory Jacobs | Stars: Emily Blunt, Ashton Holmes, Martin Donovan, Ned Bellamy

Votes: 21,581 | Gross: $0.02M

remote location

8/10

Strengths: mood, premise, suspense, eerie

Weaknesses: ending

Downer ending: yes

First Viewing: late 00s

36. The Thing (1982)

R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

57 Metascore

A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Richard Masur

Votes: 363,643 | Gross: $13.78M

sci-fi, remote location, thriller, body snatchers

8/10

Strengths: setting, visuals, suspense, twists

Weaknesses: can't remember

Downer ending: yes

First Viewing: 1988 (twice)