The 100 best horror films - contributors D-F

View the top ten lists of horror films chosen by the likes of Joe Dante and Sybil Danning

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Sybil Danning

German-born scream queen Sybil Danning has been appearing in movies since 1972. Her key roles include ‘Meteor’, ‘Battle Beyond the Stars’, ‘Chained Heat’, ‘The Howling 2: Stirba, Werewolf Bitch’, ‘Grindhouse’ and the remake of ‘Halloween’.

Sybil Danning's top ten
When a Stranger Calls (Fred Walton, 1979)
The Howling (Joe Dante, 1981)
Drag Me to Hell (Sam Raimi, 2009)
Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1976)
The Fog (John Carpenter, 1979)
Silent Hill (Christopher Gans, 2006)
Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)
Black Christmas (Bob Clark, 1974)
The Descent (Neil Marshall, 2005)
Night of the Living Dead (George A Romero, 1968)

‘“When A Stranger Calls” must have scared the hell out of babysitters at the time. I love “The Howling”, I love Joe Dante and everything about the movie. And of course I worked on “Howling 2”, which is a very entertaining, fun movie. Working with Christopher Lee is always special. “The Fog” is all about atmosphere, which is so important in a horror movie, not to mention incredible music. I’ve met and love the great dames Adrienne Barbeau and Jamie Lee Curtis as women as well as actors. That also goes for “The Descent” – a group of women on PMS, what’s not to love?!’


Joe Dante

Joe Dante has forgotten more about movies than most of us will ever know. He directed his first two features for Roger Corman’s New World Pictures: ‘Hollywood Boulevard’ and the horror classic ‘Piranha’. Both are ripe with the sense of fun that has run through all his work, from bloody werewolf satire ‘The Howling’ to ‘Gremlins’, a horror movie for all the family. He is currently working on Paris-set comedy ‘Monster Love’.

Joe Dante's top ten
The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961)
The Devil and Daniel Webster (William Dieterle, 1941)
Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale, 1935)
Night of the Demon (Jacques Tourneur, 1957)
The Body Snatcher (Robert Wise, 1945)
The Wolf Man (George Waggner, 1941)
The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)
Lisa and the Devil (Mario Bava, Alfredo Leone,1974)
Dracula (Terence Fisher, 1958)
Eyes Without a Face (Georges Franju, 1959)

‘Ask me tomorrow and I'd list ten different titles. With all due respect to "The Haunting", Jack Clayton's multi-layered Henry James adaptation, “The Innocents”, is the finest ghost story movie, period. “The Devil and Daniel Webster” is a film maudit for sure. A poetic adaptation of Stephen Vincent Benet's fable it features the greatest of all Mr. Scratches, Walter Huston. Retitled, recut and generally underrated for nearly 70 years, it's a true American classic.. Whether you're in the show-the-demon or don't show-the-demon camp, “The Night of the Demon” (or "Curse of" in the US), Jacques Tourneur’s beautiful masterpiece proves he learned a lot from Val Lewton. It’s one of the smartest and most atmospheric of occult movies (as opposed to cult movies, which this also is). Charles Laughton's only directorial effort “Night of the Hunter” is an American Gothic nightmare and certainly the most terrifying film I saw as a child (at a kiddie matinee no less!). Its critical and commercial failure robbed the world of any subsequent Laughtonian exercises in expressionistic terror.’


Frank Darabont

Frank Darabont is the writer-director behind Stephen King adaptations ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ and ‘The Green Mile’. He won his horror spurs with his terrific adaptation of King’s ‘The Mist’, and by bringing zombie-based graphic novel ‘The Walking Dead’ to the small screen.

Frank Darabont's top ten
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)
The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)
The Fly (David Cronenberg, 1986)
Night of the Living Dead (George A Romero, 1968)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Philip Kaufman, 1978)
Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931)
The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1990)
Se7en (David Fincher, 1995)
Day of the Dead (George A Romero, 1985)


Donna Davies

Donna Davies is a Canadian filmmaker whose work includes ‘Pretty Bloody’, a documentary of interviews with influential women working in horror.

Donna Davies' top ten
Rosemary's Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)
The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)
Ginger Snaps (John Fawcett, 2000)
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
May (Lucky McKee, 2002)
Day of the Dead (George A Romero, 1985)
The Changeling (Peter Medak, 1979)
Near Dark (Kathryn Bigelow, 1987)
Black Christmas (Bob Clark, 1974)
The Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman, 1957)


Greg Day

Greg Day is the co-director of Film4 FrightFest, London’s leading horror movie festival. The next instalment of the festival kicks off on Aug 23 2012.

Greg Day's top ten
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (John McNaughton, 1986)
Switchblade Romance (Alexandre Aja, 2003)
Martyrs (Pascal Laugier, 2008)
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
Rosemary's Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)
The Tenant (Roman Polanski, 1976)
Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)
Carrie (Brian De Palma, 1976)
Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008)


Ruggero Deodato

Ruggero Deodato is the legendary Italian director behind ‘The House on the Edge of the Park' and ‘Cannibal Holocaust’, a pioneering found footage film so vile and convincing that it was originally assumed to be a snuff movie.

Ruggero Deodato's top ten
The Spiral Staircase (Robert Siodmak, 1945)
Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1990)
The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
Carrie (Brian De Palma, 1976)
The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963)
Rosemary's Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
The Others (Alejandro Amenábar, 2001)
Hostel (Eli Roth, 2005)

‘“The Spiral Staircase” was the first horror-thriller I saw as a child. In its reproducing anxiety for the spectator through the vicissitudes of a mute girl, the film reaches extraordinary peaks. And at No 10, I wanted to reward the film of my friend Eli Roth, who has been able to show in a superb fashion the aggressiveness hidden in every single one of us, that aggressiveness which spectators “satisfy” by enjoying blood and death on the screen in massive amounts.’


Sean Durkin

Writer-producer-director Sean Durkin is one third of the Brooklyn collective Borderline Film. His debut feature is the icily clever arthouse thriller ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’.

Sean Durkin's top ten
The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
Rosemary's Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)
Images (Robert Altman, 1972)
Black Christmas (Bob Clark, 1974)
Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)
Hour of the Wolf (Ingmar Bergman, 1967)
The Changeling (Peter Medak, 1979)
House of The Devil (Ti West, 2009)
See The Sea (Francois Ozon, 1997)
Deep End (Jerzy Skolimowski, 1970)

‘9 and 10 are untraditional choices, but they have haunted me more than any horror movie ever could.’


Gareth Evans

Writer-director Gareth Evans made his low budget debut ‘Footsteps’ after graduating from Cardiff University. But soon afterwards, he jumped ship for the Philippines, where he makes hyperactive and gory action flicks including the stunning ‘The Raid’, which hits UK cinemas in May 2012.

Gareth Evans' top ten
Don't Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)
Ring (Ringu) (Hideo Nakata, 1998)
The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
Audition (Takashi Miike, 1999)
Misery (Rob Reiner, 1990)
Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)
Evil Dead II (Sam Raimi, 1987)
The Blair Witch Project (Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez, 1999)
Pulse (Kairo) (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2001)

‘When ‘Ringu’ got released on DVD, Tartan put a thing on the DVD, an extra feature, so you could watch the clip. And it had a disclaimer saying that if anything happens to you, we are not legally responsible for your life. And, true story, a friend of mine was too afraid to watch it, he left the room. We all watched it, but it was okay, we made a copy for someone else and they died instead. And ‘Texas Chain Saw’ is the only film that, as an adult, has made me have a sleepless night. I saw it in the cinema in Cardiff, after it had been banned. From the moment that Leatherface killed that first guy with the hammer, I couldn’t leave the seat. I was trapped. I just wanted the lights to come up so I could leave the cinema.’


David Fear

David Fear is the film editor at Time Out New York. He is the most appropriately named man on this list, with the arguable exception of Coffin Joe and Billy Chainsaw.

David Fear's top ten
Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
Dawn of the Dead (George A Romero, 1978)
Vampyr (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1932)
Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)
The Devil Rides Out (Terence Fisher, 1968)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)
Ugetsu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953)
The Brood (David Cronenberg, 1979)
The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)
The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961)


Anthony C Ferrante

Multi-disciplined horror fan Anthony C Ferrante worked as a make-up technician and occasional writer before making his directorial debut with haunted hospital horror ‘Boo’ in 2005.

Anthony C Ferrante's top ten (In alphabetical order)
Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)
An American Werewolf in London (John Landis, 1981)
Cat People (Jacques Tourneur, 1942)
The Changeling (Peter Medak, 1979)
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel , 1956)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Philip Kaufman, 1978)
Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)
The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)

‘Ten is such a limiting number for the best horror movies, because there are so many deserving films that should be on this list. I limited myself to only one film per director (hence, “The Thing” over “Halloween”). I’d also like to note a few honourable mentions – cheating, I know. “Blow Out”, Brian De Palma’s underrated thriller with a tour-de-force performance by John Travolta. “The Evil Dead”, or “Evil Dead 2” if you prefer your horror with a little Three Stooges comedy. “The Howling”, another werewolf movie from 1981 with its own mix of horror and comedy. “Martin”, the most unconventional vampire film ever. “Pan’s Labyrinth”, “Phantasm”, “Psycho”, “Re-Animator”, “Suspiria” and last but not least, “Videodrome”. Cronenberg was way ahead of his time with this surreal, strange and utterly brilliant film.’


Filmbar70

Filmbar70 is one of London’s best outsider movie nights: a monthly club dedicated to screening amazing cult films at the Roxy Bar and Screen.

Filmbar 70's top ten
The Quatermass Xperiment (Val Guest, 1955)
The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961)
The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963)
La Cabina (Bruno Bozzetto, 1973)
Don’t Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973)
Frightmare (Pete Walker, 1974)
Vampyres (José Ramón Larraz, 1975)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Philip Kaufman, 1978)
Possession (Andrej Zulawski, 1981)
Threads (Mick Jackson, 1984)

‘The post-war father of science-horror, “Quatermass” influenced a generation of filmmakers, most notably David Cronenberg. Antonio Mercero’s blackly comic short “La Cabina” takes us through the journey of life to the final, despairing punch line, revealing that ultimately, for all our protestations, we are mere prisoners in this passage from birth to death. Set in a grubby, urban cesspit of a London mythologised by kitchen sink dramas and Lindsey Anderson’s Free Cinema, Pete Walker’s “Frightmare” is a Brit-grot masterpiece, a tea and scones take on “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. Walker’s attack on the institution of the family leads to the horrifying realisation that your parents not only cannot be relied on, but also possess the capability of turning against you. “Possession” is a film that drives you as potty as the protagonists. It straddles portentousness and profundity with an unhinged disregard for the rational. Focusing on a convulsive performance from Isabelle Adjani, Zulawski pushes his cast, and the viewer, past the brink of mania into a void where one is totally lost.’


Rosie Fletcher

Rosie Fletcher is associate editor at Total Film.

Rosie Fletcher's top ten
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
Ring (Ringu) (Hideo Nakata, 1998)
Don't Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973)
Dead Ringers (David Cronenberg. 1988)
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Lake Mungo (Joel Anderson, 2008)
The Omen (Richard Donner, 1976)
Picnic At Hanging Rock (Peter Weir, 1975)
Wolf Creek (Greg McLean, 2005)


Nigel Floyd

Nigel Floyd is Time Out’s resident horror expert, known across the nation for his encyclopaedic knowledge of the genre, not to mention his impeccable taste and his unbounded hatred of Top 10 lists.

Nigel Floyd's top ten (In alphabetical order)
Audition (Takashi Miike, 1999)
Cat People (Jacques Tourneur, 1942)
Dracula (James Whale, 1931)
Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)
Inferno (Dario Argento, 1980)
Night of the Living Dead (George A Romero, 1968)
Nosferatu: Eine Symphonie des Grauens (FW Murnau , 1922)
Rosemary's Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)
Videodrome (David Cronenberg, 1982)


Howard Ford

Howard Ford cut his teeth directing over 100 commercials. In 2010 he co-directed ‘The Dead’ with his brother Jonathan, an Africa-set zombie movie shot in Burkina Faso, Ghana and the Sahara desert.

Howard Ford's top ten
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
Dawn of the Dead (George A Romero, 1978)
The Evil Dead (Sam Raimi, 1981)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)
The Sixth Sense (M Night Shyamalan, 1999)
Jacob's Ladder (Adrian Lyne, 1990)
The Others (Alejandro Amenábar, 2001)
Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)
The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)
The Hills Have Eyes (Wes Craven, 1977)


Contributors lists: A-Z

A-B

Including Clive Barker, Emily Booth, Jurgen Bruning and Anne Billson

C

Including Roger Corman, Alice Cooper, Billy Chainsaw and Coffin Joe

D-F

Including Joe Dante, Ruggero Deodato, Frank Darabont and Nigel Floyd

G-H

Including Monte Hellman, Drew Goddard, Tony Grisoni and Robin Hardy

I-L

Including Alan Jones, Robert Kirkman, Danny Leigh and Bruce LaBruce

M-N

Including Kim Newman, John McNaughton, Greg Nicotero and Neil Marshall

O-R

Including Simon Pegg, Debbie Rochon, John A Russo and Bernard Rose

S

Including David Slade, Tom Six, Eduardo Sánchez and Reece Shearsmith

T-Z

Including Guillermo del Toro, Ben Wheatley, Ti West and Rob Zombie


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