[Editor’s Note: The below piece was originally published on October 23, 2018. It has been expanded from the 100 greatest horror movies of all time to the 120 greatest as of April 10, 2021.]
Why does it feel like horror movies are always undervalued? One thing’s for certain: In this age of geekery reigning supreme, critics and academics no longer dismiss the genre as disreputable with the kneejerk regularity some once did. But even now there’s talk of “elevated horror,” of artier explorations of dread and terror — Ari Aster’s “Hereditary” and Luca Guadagnino’s “Suspiria” being two very recent examples — that are clearly distinguished from, well, non-elevated horror. The idea being that they engage your brain more than just showing brains being splattered against the wall.
How can films that fire your adrenal glands, send shivers down your spine, raise goosebumps, and quicken breath — that inspire such an intense physical reaction — also be cerebral experiences? We forget all the time that,