Part 1: 50 Greatest Horror Movies (50-41)

Part 1: 50 Greatest Horror Movies (50-41)

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Gary Raymond and Gray Taylor present a list of the greatest horror movies you may not have heard of – the perfect list for all those who are looking for something a little different on Halloween. We count down, revealing the top 10 on Halloween itself.

(Banner by Dean Lewis)

[Warning: Some of the accompanying trailers in this article are not for the fainthearted]

50. Audrey Rose (1977. Dir: Robert Wise)

It’s perhaps fitting to start this countdown with an unsung corker from the director of cinema’s greatest ghost story, Robert Wise. Audrey Rose is not really a horror movie in the traditional sense, but like some others that get thrown into this genre (like Let the Right One In or The Babadook, for instance) it is a film about grief, loss or loneliness, that uses elements of supernatural storytelling to explore the depths of the subject. Here, an excellent Anthony Hopkins plays the aggrieved father certain that his daughter is reincarnated in the form of a little girl (Susan Swift), and the always magnificent Marsha Mason is the mother who gradually comes to believe it to. There is much to chill the bones, and Wise knows how to pace this type of thing perfectly, but it is perhaps the emotional impact that will stick with you. GR

49. Housebound (2014. Dir: Gerard Johnstone)

A strangely compelling, genre mash up that works on all the levels it attempts. The term horror-comedy makes most people shudder in fear. But this New Zealand low budgeter is genuinely nerve tingling, intriguing, and funny, even pulling off some successful slapstick. The actors’ performances are pitch perfect and the story absolutely beguiling, eventually. Fun for all the dysfunctional family. GT

48. Kuroneko (1968. Dir: Kaneto Shindo)

It will be difficult to argue there is a more beautiful horror film on this list than this delicious black and white Japanese interpretation of an ancient folk tale. The title translates as ‘A Black Cat in a Bamboo Grove’, but it has so much more depth and artistry than the insinuation that this is a prowling movie, a movie waiting to pounce. It is, in essence, a supernatural revenge tragedy; the spirits of a mother and daughter raped and murdered by itinerant soldiers return to exact a frenzied retribution. But Kaneto’s artfulness, his use of the shadows from the hanging trees to the folds in the clothes, meant that Kuroneko was a shoe-in for the Palm d’Or in the year the Cannes Film Festival was cancelled due to civil unrest. It’s a shame the award might have made it more of a household name. GR

47. Tombs Of The Blind Dead (1972. Dir: Amando de Ossorio)

One of the most purely terriffying creations in the annals of horror, the Knights Templars of de Ossorio’s blind dead films are zombie killers on horseback, atmospherically filmed in slow motion, they hunt modern day victims in fever dream nightmare that culminates in brutal, terrifying slaughter. Search out the sequels for more of the same classic terror, except The Ghost Galleon, which is basically Carry On Blind Dead! GT

46. Sisters (1977. Dir: Brian de Palma)

Before Brian de Palma hit the big time and had his movie posters tacked up on the walls of every student house in the western hemisphere, he was maker of a great deal of schlock (some might convincingly argue the schlock never left him). Sisters, by far his best movie prior to Scarface, is a slightly awkward beast, wearing its influences (Hitchcock, giallo etc) heavily on its bell sleeves. But when it bursts into life it is a heart-thumping, visceral experience. De Palma, we know, is a twisted son-of-a-bitch, even when at his most lachrymose, and how he managed to get this performance out of Margot Kidder should probably be left to the imagination. Lois Lane she is not. To its bones, Sisters is a nasty little potboiler, a quick, bloody unpleasant low-budget movie straight out of the same fears that drove people to freak shows in the 19th century.  GR

45. From Beyond (1986. Dir: Stuart Gordon)

After updating and twisting HP Lovecraft in Re-Animator, Stuart Gordon went even further with his next Lovecraft adaptation, From Beyond. A surreal, wild horror film that twists and turns like the gooey creatures that inhabit it. More classic performances from Re-Animator‘s Barbara Crampton and Jeffery Combs, as well as Dawn Of The Dead’s Ken Foree, mix with Gordon’s unique vision of body horror to make this an absolute eighties horror classic. GT

44. Kill, Baby… Kill (1966. Dir: Mario Bava)

Certainly one of the most influential and beloved of horror movie directors, it’s a bit of a surprise that this little gothic gem from Mario Bava doesn’t get more of an appreciation – it’s never had the DVD or Blu Ray attention it so obviously deserves. A doctor is called to a small village to perform an autopsy on a young dead girl, murdered, it turns out, like so many others, by the spirit of Melissa, a little girl with a petrifying habit of appearing at windows in the dead of night. Cobbled street spookiness and hammer-esque colour schemes (although it was Hammer who looked up to Bava, rather than the other way around), lead us all the way to Villa Graps, the mansion on the hill, for a breath-taking finale. The high point of this is the scene where the doctor finds himself chasing himself through a room, on a spiral loop of terrifying connotations – one of the most mesmerising and discombobulating moments in all horror history. GR

43. Uzumaki (2000. Dir: Higuchinsky)

The threat in this marvellously imaginative Japanese horror are malevolent, tormented spirals which inhabit the members of a small Japanese town. The strange and obsessive visuals have divided those who can and can’t take the overwhelming visual insanity. The film is an adaptation of Junji Ito’s horror manga serial from weekly manga magazine, Big Comic Spirits, and the Lovecraftian theme of unknown power battling mere mortals resurfaces again here, nothing more scary than confusion or the unknowable. GT

42. Hour of the Wolf (1968. Dir: Ingmar Bergman)

It is a gift from whichever supreme being you ascribe to that Ingmar Bergman directed Max von Sydow and Liv Ullman in what is only superficially described as a psychological horror film. Like all the greats, it is so much more than just that, but in this case the greatest film director of them all put two of cinema’s finest actors on a remote Swedish island, washed them in monochrome and steered them toward delirious, surreal, murderous madness. This is the film everyone who thinks The Shining is the greatest horror movie of all time should see, so that they can understand what psychological disintegration truly looks like, but also that Kubrick was a vaudevillian compared to Bergman. The surreal scenes in the final chapter are not only haunting, they have a punch as stark as the Swedish landscape. Bergman always drew on his deepest feelings and experiences for his films. Poor sod. GR

41. The Cabin In The Woods (2012. Dir: Drew Goddard)

Many horror fans may have bipassed this film expecting it to be another in a long line of dull slashers, but this is perhaps the most truly original American horror film of the last twenty years. To give away it’s many twists and turns would be unforgivable to the uninitiated, but director Goddard and Buffy creator Joss Whedon’s witty, knowing script lays on the thrills, the good old fashioned laughs that some of the best party horror films always delivered, as well as the post-modernism we have come to expect from Whedon with his franchise hits, The Avengers and Age Of Ultron. GT

 

Click Here to find out our choices for 40-31.