Listomania: My Top Horror Films of All Time (Runners Up)

As you may have noticed, I get pretty excited about horror movies during October.  I’ve already listed My Top 10 Horror Movies Of The Decade, but what about All Time?  While making my Top 10 list for All Time I realized it just left off too many great films.  Some are not strictly horror (Aliens is more action, Young Frankenstein is a spoof, etc.), but all are great for watching this month.  So here is the list of runner-up’s: 24 films I love almost (but not quite) as much as the final 10.  Here they are alphabetically. 

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Can you figure out which films made My Top 10?

TOP HORROR FILMS OF ALL TIME (RUNNERS UP) (ALPHABETICALLY)

  1. Aliens (1986) James Cameron
  2. Bride of Frankenstein(1935) James Whale
  3. Dead of Night(1945) Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer
  4. Dracula(1931) Tod Browning
  5. The Evil Dead(1981) Sam Raimi
  6. The Fly(1986) David Cronenberg
  7. Frankenstein(1931) James Whale
  8. The Frighteners(1996) Peter Jackson
  9. Horror Of Dracula (1958) Terence Fisher
  10. Invasion of the Body Snatchers(1956) Don Siegel
  11. Let The Right One In(2008) Tomas Alfredson
  12. The Lost Boys(1987) Joel Schumacher
  13. The Monster Squad(1987) Fred Dekker
  14. Near Dark(1987) Kathryn Bigelow
  15. Psycho(1960) Alfred Hitchcock
  16. Re-Animator(1985) Stuart Gordon
  17. The Ring(2002) Gore Verbinski
  18. Rosemary’s Baby(1968) Roman Polanski
  19. Se7en(1995) David Fincher
  20. Shaun of the Dead(2004) Edgar Wright
  21. The Silence of the Lambs(1991) Jonathan Demme
  22. Sleepy Hollow(1999) Tim Burton
  23. The Thing(1982) John Carpenter
  24. Young Frankenstein(1974) Mel Brooks

Listomania: My Top 10 Horror Films of The Decade

It’s October and that means I’m going to be watching as many Horror movies as I can in 31 days.  The golden age of Horror films seems to be mostly behind us but the last decade has brought us a handful of gems for your seasonal viewing.  Here are my favorite Horror films released between 2000-2009.

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1. THE RING (2002)
The best horror film in a decade manages to overcome two potentially crippling handicaps: it’s a remake and it’s rated PG-13.  But it’s a good mystery, it’s scary as hell and the American version manages to improve upon the original in every way creating a modern horror masterpiece.    


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2. SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004)
It’s not a spoofEdgar Wright’s debut is a near perfect genre mashup: the Zom Rom Com.  Few films have succeeded as spectacularly at mixing horror and comedy, which puts the film in the rarefied company of Evil Dead II and An American Werewolf In London as a classic of it’s kind.

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3. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2008)
If you haven’t seen it, you’ve never seen anything quite like it.  It’s a horror film that puts its characters first, deftly handles switching between horror, dark comedy, and coming of age film and doesn’t shy away from gore.  The American version is great but the original is unforgettable.


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4. JEEPERS CREEPERS (2001)
While it contains many familiar horror elements, this underrated film spins them in such a way that you never know what will happen next.  The film starts out as Duel, becomes The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and then turns into a full-on monster movie. 


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5. 28 DAYS LATER (2002)
Danny Boyle’s (technically not zombies) film single-handedly resurrected zombies for the next decade (and beyond). Plays more like a story of survival than a standard horror film where the scares come from actually being invested in the characters.  While the film steals liberally from Romero’s Zombie Trilogy, it does so without ever feeling like a throwback or an homage.

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6. THE OTHERS (2001)
A very creepy atmospheric ghost story in the vein of The Changeling and The Sixth Sense.  It’s a spooky well-made movie for people who don’t normally like horror movies.  It’s also probably the last time Nicole Kidman could move her face.


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7. HOSTEL (2005)
Maligned for being “torture porn”, the scenes of gore are actually used sparingly, though for maximum impact.  While it’s not a perfect horror film (it’s a little fratty at times), it manages something that few horror films can nowadays: it’s effectively scary.


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8. THE DESCENT (2006)
The less you know about it the better.  Contains some of the most claustrophobic scenes ever filmed as well as a 2nd act twist that spins the film in a whole new direction.

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9. SAW (2004)
Guilty of spawning the “torture porn” genre as well as a half dozen terrible sequels, it’s easy to forget that the original Saw was actually a good movie.  (It even played Sundance!)  It was an original mystery (yes, with a few horrific moments), that kept the audience guessing until the end.


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10. CLOVERFIELD (2008)
On the surface it’s Godzilla meets the Blair Witch project.  But Matt Reeves update of a monster movie was a pretty great thrill ride, especially to see it in New York.  (I recognized my street!) 

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BONUS. FREDDY VS. JASON (2003)
Probably the most fun horror movie of the decade.  Not as good as the original Nightmare on Elm Street, but better than pretty much every Friday The 13th movie.  Takes the highlights from 17 films and distills it to 90 minutes of nostalgic slasher fun.

Listomania: My Top 25 Films of The Decade

The 00’s were a decade that started out with the handicap of having to follow 1999, probably the most exciting year for film in my lifetime.  Magnolia, Fight Club, Being John Malkovich, Eyes Wide Shut, Three Kings, American Beauty, The Matrix, among others were all released within the span of a few months.  It seemed like every time I went to the theatre I was witnessing something new and exciting.  The 00’s by contrast, seemed to be slow going, and how could I not compare them to the films I had seen the previous Fall?

In retrospect I can now see that the 00’s were indeed an exciting time for film as I loved more films than I had a place for on this list.  I saw every one of these films in theatres and while some hold up better than others, I can appreciate each for the impact they had on me at the time.  It may be impossible for me to rank these in preferential order, it was hard enough narrowing down the last decade to only 25 films, so they are presented alphabetically.  If you don’t have the time or inclination to see hundreds of films a year, this is probably a good place to start.

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But if I had to pick just one, my favorite film of the decade would be There Will Be Blood.

TOP 25 FILMS OF THE DECADE (ALPHABETICALLY)

  1. Almost Famous(2000) Cameron Crowe
  2. Amélie (2001) Jean-Pierre Jeunet
  3. Children of Men(2006) Alfonso Cuaron
  4. City Of God(2003) Fernando Meirelles
  5. The Dark Knight(2008) Christopher Nolan
  6. The Departed (2006) Martin Scorsese
  7. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind(2004) Michel Gondry
  8. The Fountain (2006) Darren Aronofsky
  9. The Incredibles(2004) Brad Bird
  10. Kill Bill: Vol. 1(2003) Quentin Tarantino
  11. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) Shane Black
  12. Knocked Up (2007) Judd Apatow
  13. Let The Right One In (2008) Tomas Alfredson
  14. Lost In Translation (2003) Sofia Coppola
  15. Memento (2001) Christopher Nolan
  16. Minority Report (2002) Steven Spielberg
  17. Moulin Rouge! (2001) Baz Luhrman
  18. Mulholland Drive (2001) David Lynch
  19. Punch-Drunk Love (2002) Paul Thomas Anderson
  20. Rachel Getting Married (2008) Jonathan Demme
  21. Ratatouille (2007) Brad Bird
  22. Requiem For A Dream (2000) Darren Aronofsky
  23. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) Wes Anderson
  24. Shaun of the Dead (2004) Edgar Wright
  25. There Will Be Blood(2007) Paul Thomas Anderson

Top Films 2008

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1. THE DARK KNIGHT
Impossibly lived up to my expectations. A relentlessly suspenseful, incredibly dark, complex drama where all the pieces fall into place. The acting is great all around, the action sequences are thrilling and the story is constantly surprising. The worst part about watching the film is knowing there will never be another Batman film as good as this one.

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2. RACHEL GETTING MARRIED
Completely unexpected nearly perfect little movie.  The script, the direction, the acting all work together perfectly to hit just the right notes. You spend the first half of the film trying to put together who’s who as the story unfolds naturally. The film is unpredictable and steers away from cliche while revealing more about the characters. This was a really nice surprise.

3. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
This is a horror film that puts its characters first and is unlike any I’ve ever seen. It deftly handles switching between horror, dark comedy, and coming of age film. The horror scenes are scary and stylish and doesn’t shy away from gore. The cinematography and score are beautiful and I can’t imagine finding better child actors.  You will hold your breath during the climax.

4. AMERICAN TEEN
Underrated, engrossing, entertaining documentary.  It was fascinating watching these kids facing the pressures of high school and seeing the drama in their lives. The animated interludes were unnecessary but there were enough genuinely affecting moments to make the film a great experience.   Makes me remember how glad I am to have survived high school.

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5. WALL·E
A surprisingly dark film from Pixar whose dark view of the future I was not prepared for.  Still, it’s a brave film and the genuinely emotional moments work like a charm.

6. SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
A mix of City of God and Danny Boyle’s own film Millions, this is the feel good/bad/good film of the year! Though some of the scenes veer into melodrama and the premise itself is fairly preposterous the film itself is charming. The youngest actor playing Jamal was so cute I wanted the whole film to be about him!

7. THE WRESTLER
While the story is familiar, the way it is told makes it worthwhile. Mickey Rourke really makes feel for his character as much of the film is shot from behind him you really experience things from his perspective. A complete reinvention for filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, he elevates this material with some of his more personal touches.

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8. CLOVERFIELD
Knowing so little about this film going in made for one of the most effective theatrical experiences of the year.  Though the scariest part of the film is what happens before you actually see the monster the 9/11 imagery is still frightening.

9. REVOLUTIONARY ROAD
Not the film I wanted it to be, it takes a sometimes comical look at early 60’s suburban angst.  The trailers sparse heavy dialogue set to the music of Cat Power & Nina Simone evoked such an emotional response I was disappointed not to find that in the film.

10. PINEAPPLE EXPRESS
Though it was uneven it was still one of the most entertaining films of the year.  Franco and McBride give hilarious performances and the final scene almost makes the whole thing worth it.

NOTABLE: The Foot Fist Way, Frost/Nixon, Milk, Synecdoche NY, The Fall, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Che, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Waltz With Bashir, Religulous