The 100 best horror films – contributors M-N

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View the top ten lists of horror films chosen by the likes of Kim Newman and Neil Marshall

Black titles are clickable and denote top 100 placing

The Manetti Bros

Marco and Antonio Manetti made their name in their native Italy directing music videos. Their feature films include ‘DeGenerazione’ (1995) and ‘Zora Vampira’ (2000). Their latest, ‘Wang’s Arrival’, featuring a Chinese-speaking alien, premiered at last year’s Venice Festival.

Rona Mark

Writer and director Rona Marks’s debut film ‘Strange Girls’, a dark tale of murderous twin sisters, premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2008. She followed it up ‘The Crab’ and is currently working on a new film, ‘Objects Attack!’.

‘“Freaks” tops my list because it taps right into people’s fear of difference, fear of other people, and fear of sexual humiliation. “The Baby” almost made me feel as dirty as “The Sinful Dwarf” but not quite, so I can recommend it wholeheartedly. What really stuck with me about “The Witchfinder General” is the ending. I don’t want to give it away but I have never finished a film with that particular sense of despair. For the ultimate ’80s horror/satire, I’m going to go with “The Stuff” because it feels less formulaic than “The Stepfather” and deeper than “Society” (both films I LOVE).’

Neil Marshall

Neil Marshall is the writer-director who reinvigorated British horror with ‘Dog Soldiers’ and ‘The Descent’. He has recently worked on HBO’s groundbreaking fantasy series ‘Game of Thrones’.

(In no particular order)

Glen Mazzara

Glen Mazzara is the executive producer (and sometimes writer) of the hugely popular zombie TV series ‘The Walking Dead’, which screens in the UK on FX.

Nicholas McCarthy

After several acclaimed short films, writer/director Nicholas McCarthy made his feature debut this year with ‘The Pact’, an icy thriller which will be released in the UK on 8 June.

(In chronological order)

  1. Island of Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton, 1932)
  2. I Walked with a Zombie (Jacques Tourneur, 1943)
  3. The Thing That Couldn’t Die (Will Cowan, 1958)
  4. The Vampire and the Ballerina (Renato Polselli, 1960)
  5. Burn, Witch, Burn (Sidney Hayers, 1962)
  6. Les Possédées du Diable (Lorna the Exorcist) (Jesus Franco, 1974)
  7. The Last House on Dead End Street (Roger Watkins, 1977)
  8. The Car (Elliot Silverstein, 1977)
  9. Don’t Go in the House (Joseph Ellison, 1980)
  10. Martyrs (Pascal Laugier, 2008)

‘A list of the great horror movies might also include, among others, “Frankenstein”, “Eyes Without a Face”, “Psycho” and “Night of the Living Dead”, all films in the genre I love and regularly return to. But many of my “favourites” are movies that have stuck in my mind because of some mysterious power they seem to possess. This list is of some of those key titles that simply won’t go away.’

Paul McEvoy

Paul McEvoy is one quarter of Film 4 FrightFest, the UK’s leading horror movie festival. The next FrightFest kicks off on Aug 23 2012.

Lucky McKee

Lucky McKee’s debut feature ‘May’ is one of the most highly regarded horror films of the last decade. Following ‘The Woods’, his reputation as an indie director to watch was cemented last year with the release of furious feminist drama ‘The Woman’.

(In no particular order, except for 'Chainsaw' which is the greatest horror film of all time)

  1. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)
  2. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (David Lynch, 1992)
  3. Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1977)
  4. The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)
  5. The Brood (David Cronenberg, 1979)
  6. Dressed to Kill (Brian de Palma, 1980)
  7. Cape Fear (Martin Scorsese, 1991)
  8. Cujo (Lewis Teague, 1983)
  9. The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963)
  10. Straw Dogs (Sam Peckinpah, 1971)

John McNaughton

Writer-director John McNaughton’s debut ‘Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer’ redefined modern horror. His films since have included ‘Mad Dog and Glory’ and ‘Wild Things’, and he has more recently been involved with the TV series ‘Masters of Horror’ and ‘John from Cincinatti’.

Xavier Mendik

Xavier Mendik is the director of both the Cine-Excess conference and its offshoot DVD label, which has released such genre classics as ‘Suspiria’ and ‘Amsterdamned’. He is also curator of Brunel University’s Cult Film Archive. The next Cine-Excess festival kicks off on May 24.

  1. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)
  2. Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1977)
  3. Cannibal Holocaust (Ruggero Deodato, 1979)
  4. The Last House on Dead End Street (Roger Watkins, 1977)
  5. Welcome Home Brother Charles (aka Soul Vengeance) (Jamaa Fanaka, 1975 )
  6. Blue Sunshine (Jeff Lieberman, 1978)
  7. Cabin Fever (Eli Roth, 2002)
  8. From Dusk till Dawn (Robert Rodriguez, 1996)
  9. Venus in Furs (Jesus Franco, 1967)
  10. Eden Lake (James Watkins, 2008)

‘Tobe Hooper’s original slice of Southern depravity, “Texas Chain Saw” remains a truly shocking cinematic feast. Often banned, frequently cut… but rarely forgotten, Italian shockmeister Ruggero Deodato’s “Cannibal Holocaust” set the framework for the current vogue of ‘found footage’ horror flicks. Look beyond the veil of primitive violence and excess that the film contains and you will discover a quite complex critique of media sensationalism. “Welcome Home, Brother Charles” is a rare entry into the so-called “blaxploitation horror” cycle of the 1970s. An alienated African-American vigilante uses his own manhood as a killing weapon against the racist cops who framed him on a drugs rap. As this brief description implies, the film is full of surreal and startling imagery, with the scene of the ill-fated hero using his own private parts to strangle an opponent remaining one of the most bizarre scenes ever committed to celluloid. “Blue Sunshine” is grindhouse horror icon Jeff Lieberman’s deliciously satirical tale of a group of seventies suburban maniacs who all exhibit hair-loss and homicidal tendencies 10 years after consuming a batch of bad acid. In the film’s off-beat finale, the horrific and the hairless do battle at a congressional campaign disco. “Eden Lake” put the cruel into Rule Britannia, a nerve shredding tale of a couple terrorised by a violent ‘hoodie’ group, reflecting fears about wayward youth gangs.’

Vincent Monton

Vincent Monton is a cinematographer who shot some of the best known Australian exploitation movies, including the likes of ‘Long Weekend’, ‘Roadgames’ and ‘Race for the Yankee Zephyr’.

Guillem Morales

Spanish writer-director Guillem Morales broke through internationally with his second film ‘Julia’s Eyes’ in 2010. His first film, home invasion thriller ‘The Uninvited Guest’, is also highly regarded among European horror buffs.

‘I chose “The Unknown” because, despite being a silent film, it is 1000 times more hypnotic without any soundtrack that most modern films with a soundtrack. The cruelty of the plot is still absolutely shocking and Lon Chaney makes you feel his excruciating pain in an unforgettable way. “The Exorcist” is in there because, even if you don’t believe in God, that film makes you believe in Satan! And “Requiem for a Dream” isn’t a genre film, but the last twenty minutes is pure horror.’

Helen Mullane

Helen Mullane spent five years at Studio Canal product managing a diverse range of films from ‘Attack the Block’ to ‘Quatermass and the Pit’, delving into the deepest recesses of the catalogue for lost gems such as ‘Lizard in a Woman’s Skin’. She now works freelance across marketing, development and festival management for film and television.

  1. The Descent (Neil Marshall, 2005)
  2. The Mist (Frank Darabont, 2007)
  3. Next of Kin (Tony Williams, 1984)
  4. The Ninth Configuration (William Peter Blatty, 1980)
  5. A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin (Lucio Fulci, 1971)
  6. The Haunting (Robert Wise, 1963)
  7. Even the Wind is Afraid (Carlos Enrique Taboada, 1968)
  8. Blind Beast (Yasuzo Masumura, 1969)
  9. Thriller: A Cruel Picture (Bo Arne Vibenius, 1974)
  10. Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (John D Hancock, 1971)

‘For me, “The Descent” is the greatest Western horror movie of recent times: claustrophobic, utterly terrifying and admirably controlled, letting the tension build unbearably until the madness of its final act. “The Mist” is a classic monster movie, especially in its beautiful black and white form, bringing together many of the best qualities of the films that preceded it. A brilliant portrayal of society’s moral breakdown in the face of fear, the power of hope and the horror of hopelessness, the film is made by the singularly bleak ending, which reduced me to tears. Many would question whether “The Ninth Configuration” is really a horror movie, comprised as it is of drama and farce, but for me the journey of the two leads and representation of the problem of evil exemplifies powerful psychological and spiritual horror. I toyed with putting “Dead Ringers” on this list, another incredible exploration of sexual obsession and madness, but for me the presentation in”Blind Beast” of the beautiful, sexy and macabre is unmatched, and its studio with walls of sculpted eyes, ears, mouths and legs is one of the most disturbing settings in horror. “Thriller: A Cruel Picture” is one of the most measured of the rape/revenge subgenre, using seemingly endless repetition of the atrocities visited on its protagonist to create an atmosphere of almost mundane horror, beating down the viewer until one of the most well earned revenge pay-offs in the genre.’

Kim Newman

Kim Newman is Britain’s leading popular expert on genre movies, especially horror. He writes for the likes of Empire and Sight & Sound, appears regularly on TV, and has a smashing hat.

(In chronological order)

Greg Nicotero

Greg Nicotero is a legend of special make-up effects whose CV includes work on the ‘Evil Dead’, ‘Nightmare on Elm St’, ‘Halloween’, ‘Hostel’ and ‘Living Dead’ sagas, not to mention creating the broken foot in ‘Misery’, the exploding head in ‘Pulp Fiction’ and the prosthetic penis in ‘Boogie Nights’. He is currently supervising effects on ‘The Walking Dead’, which screens on FX.

Andy Nyman

Andy Nyman is an actor, writer and magician who has co-written and created TV shows with Derren Brown. Last year he co-wrote (with Jeremy Dyson), directed and starred in the West End horror play ‘Ghost Stories’.


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