As we approach Halloween, there is no better time than now to look at one of my favorite genres: horror. Instead of simply looking at what are the best horror films in general, we will look at the most spooktacular films in each sub-genre of horror.
Best Alien Movie:
To say any alien horror movie is better than Ridley Scott’s “Alien” would be an insult to not only the film, but the entire genre. While there are certainly many great horror movies in this category, none capture the true feeling of terror as well as “Alien” does.
The main reason why this movie works so well is in its simplicity. The main characters are stuck somewhere and a monster kills them off one by one.
Scott did a fantastic job of taking the “haunted house” concept and doing something new with it, namely putting it in space. There are few films that really get the feeling of a soulless area across, but Scott did it wonderfully here.
Special effects that are remembered fondly, including a creative alien design and the famous chest bursting scene, makes this the quintessential sci-fi horror movie.
Best Zombie Movie
Not only did George A. Romero invent zombies as we know them today, but he also created three of the greatest zombie movies ever made. It is hard to choose which is best, but “Dawn of the Dead” might just be the one.
As great as Romero’s other zombie movies are, “Dawn” has the advantage of taking place in the absolute best location for a zombie movie: a shopping mall. The movie speaks about consumerism while providing a location perfect for zombie killing.
Romero made the movie flat out fun with a group of four likable survivors and lots of innovative kills, courtesy of horror makeup master Tom Savini. Besides, what other movie has a biker gang throwing pies at zombies?
Best Silent Horror Movie:
The best horror movies are those that rely on atmosphere and suspense rather than jump scares. What better example of this then silent horror films?
While there are many from this era, none are as terrifying as “Nosferatu”, a dark and very creepy film.
The actor who played Count Orlock, Max Shreck, is one of the key reasons this film is so scary. His slender appearance with his long, pointed fingers and sunken in face is absolutely terrifying.
The only thing more terrifying is seeing his shadow cast on the wall as he makes his way up to his latest victim.
Just how terrifying is Shreck in this film? His performance in “Nosferatu” was the inspiration for Robert Englund’s as Freddy Krueger in “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. When your movie influences horror over sixty years after its release, you know it is terrifying.
Best Horror Comedy:
Choosing a favorite horror comedy is like choosing your favorite child. There are many great movies that flip the genre on its head, but none as revered as “Evil Dead II” and “Ghostbusters”.
It is difficult to choose between these two because of how they handle the balance of screams and laughs.
“Evil Dead II” is a horror movie full of violence with hilarious slapstick and one-liners thrown in. “Ghostbusters” is a comedy with great dialogue and characters, featuring creative ghosts and monsters.
If you want more horror than comedy, “Evil Dead II” featuring Bruce Campbell is the way to go. If you want something more light-hearted, watch “Ghostbusters”. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson are great on-screen chemistry. Either way, you cannot go wrong.
Best Horror Remake:
Not only is it difficult to find a good remake in general, but horror remakes are nearly impossible to find. Despite that, there is one that stands as the shining pinnacle.
John Carpenter is a huge fan of “The Thing from Another World,” a sci-fi horror classic. Because of this, he took great care in creating his own version of the film, “The Thing.”
Instead of recreating the original, Carpenter added a dose of 1980s special effects that are astounding even today. The film is a mess of vomit-inducing gore and it is incredible. Charismatic, macho stars like Kurt Russell and Keith David wrap this up into the perfect horror package.