The 100 best horror films - contributors I-L

View the top ten lists of horror films chosen by the likes of Alan Jones and Robert Kirkman

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David Jenkins

David Jenkins is a former Time Out film writer who now works for East London’s hipster movie bible Little White Lies.

David Jenkins' top ten
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)
Possession (Andrzej Zulawski , 1981)
Freaks (Tod Browning, 1932)
The Evil Dead (Sam Raimi, 1981)
Audition (Takashi Miike, 1999)
I Walked with a Zombie (Jacques Tourneur, 1943)
The Tenant (Roman Polanski, 1976)
The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)
Switchblade Romance (Alexandre Aja, 2003)
Pulse (Kairo) (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2001)


Alan Jones

Alan Jones is one of the UK’s leading critics of horror, fantasy and sci-fi cinema. He is co-organiser of London’s annual Film4 Frightfest, and has written countless books and articles on genre cinema. The next FrightFest kicks off on Aug 23, 2012.

Alan Jones' top ten
Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
Inferno (Dario Argento, 1980)
Martyrs (Pascal Laugier, 2008)
Braindead (Peter Jackson, 1992)
Carrie (Brian De Palma, 1976)
Cannibal Holocaust (Ruggero Deodato, 1979)
Blood and Black Lace (Mario Bava, 1964)
Dracula (Terence Fisher, 1958)


Chris Kentis and Laura Lau

Chris Kentis and Laura Lau are the husband and wife writer-director team behind DIY shark-attack classic ‘Open Water’. Their new film ‘Silent House’ will be released in the UK in 2012.

Chris Kentis and Laura Lau's top ten
The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)
Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)
28 Days Later (Danny Boyle, 2002)
Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)
The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)
Irreversible (Gaspar Noe, 2002)
Repulsion (Roman Polanski, 1965)
Evil Dead II (Sam Raimi, 1987)


Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado

Israeli writer-directing team Aharon Keshales & Navot Papushado made their debut with 2010’s horror triumph ‘Rabies’ (‘Kavelet’), which has played to acclaim at film festivals worldwide.

Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado's top ten
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)
28 Days Later (Danny Boyle, 2002)
Save the Green Planet! (Joon-Hwan Jang, 2003)
Altered (Eduardo Sánchez, 2006)
Hitch-Hike (Pasquale Festa Campanile, 1977)
Dawn of the Dead (George A Romero, 1978)
The Descent (Neil Marshall, 2005)
Battle Royale (Kinji Fukasaku, 2000)
Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008)

‘Apart from “Poltergeist”, “The Exorcist” was the only film to make us scared of ghosts and possessions. We both saw it as little kids without the permission of our parents, and we both turned out fucked up! Let that be a lesson to all you future parents. This movie also enjoys the best depiction of a real, hard hangover. “Alien” and “The Thing” are like twisted twins that were separated at birth. Two different groups in two deserted landscapes meet up with two of the most horrific monsters in movie history. “Alien” also enjoy the best depiction of a food-court food poisoning. “Save the Green Planet” is one of the best genre-blender pieces Korea has ever made. A simple man plans to kidnap and torture the corrupt CEO of a Korean chemical firm in an attempt to prove he’s an alien. “Altered” is an unrated horror film which has a great concept at its core: a group of young people wants to take revenge on the alien that killed their friend a few years before. This movie offers you rednecks v aliens in the battle of the superior species. And we can imagine the pitch for “The Descent”: it’s “Deliverance” in a cave, with British hotties instead of Ned Beatty.’


Johnny Kevorkian

Johnny Kevorkian is the writer and director of atmospheric British horror flick ‘The Disappeared’, which stars Harry Treadaway and Tom Felton.

Johnny Kevorkian's top ten
The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963)
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
Rosemary's Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)
The Blair Witch Project (Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez, 1999)
Salem's Lot (Tobe Hooper, 1979)
The Omen (Richard Donner, 1976)
The Vanishing (George Sluizer, 1988)
The Wicker Man (Robin Hardy, 1973)
Friday the 13th (Sean S Cunningham, 1980)
Nosferatu: Eine Symphonie des Grauens (FW Murnau , 1922)


Robert Kirkman

A longtime employee of Marvel Comics, writer Robert Kirkman co-created the comic book series ‘The Walking Dead’ with his colleagues Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard. He is credited as an executive producer on the succesful TV show based on the comic, which screens in the UK on FX. For some reason, he only suggested 8 films.

Robert Kirkman's top ten
The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)
The Evil Dead (Sam Raimi, 1981)
Evil Dead II (Sam Raimi, 1987)
Dawn of the Dead (George A Romero, 1978)
Night of the Living Dead (George A Romero, 1968)
Day of the Dead (George A Romero, 1985)
Hellraiser (Clive Barker, 1987)


Bruce LaBruce

Bruce LaBruce is a writer and director working in Canada’s independent gay movie scene. His most recent work, ‘LA Zombie’, was about a man who tries to bring the dead back to life by anally raping them. It provoked walkouts at its London premiere and was banned in Australia.

Bruce LaBruce's top ten (In no particular order)
The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961)
Night of the Living Dead (George A Romero, 1968)
Martin (George A Romero, 1976)
Night Tide (Curtis Harrington, 1961)
Carnival of Souls (Herk Harvey, 1962)
Rosemary's Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
Carrie (Brian De Palma, 1976)
The Legend of Hell House (John Hough, 1973)
The Entity (Sidney J Furie, 1982)

‘There were two Canadian horror films tied for 10th place and I couldn’t decide between them. “The Entity” stars Barbara Hershey as a single Mom who is brutally and repeatedly raped by a poltergeist – supposedly based on a true story! The other was “Pin”, about a teenage boy whose paranoid schizophrenia makes him believe that his doctor father's medical mannequin is his psychic twin and best friend, with murderous results. And “Night Tide” is interesting: Dennis Hopper's first starring role casts him as a sailor who is sexually fixated on the girl who plays the mermaid in the seashore sideshow. Is she really a mythic creature who lures men to their death at sea, or just a disturbed girl who pretends to be one in the carnival? Low budget, but beautifully atmospheric and romantic.’


Yam Laramas

Yam Laramas is the writer-director-cinematographer behind succesful Philipino horror flicks ‘The Echo’, ‘Patient X’ and ‘The Road’.

Yam Laramas's top ten
The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
M (Fritz Lang, 1931)
Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
The Changeling (Peter Medak, 1979)
Jacob's Ladder (Adrian Lyne, 1990)
The Devil's Backbone (Guillermo del Toro, 2001)
Rosemary's Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)
Ring (Ringu) (Hideo Nakata, 1998)
The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1990)


Danny Leigh

Danny Leigh is an author and journalist who writes for many publications including The Guardian, and co-hosts BBC1’s evergreen film show.

Danny Leigh's top ten
The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
Dead of Night (Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Deardon, Robert Hamer, 1945)
Eraserhead (David Lynch, 1977)
Threads (Mick Jackson, 1984)
Seconds (John Frankenheimer, 1966)
Carnival of Souls (Herk Harvey, 1962)
Kwaidan (Masaki Kobayashi , 1964)
The Black Cat (Edward G Ulmer, 1934)
Dawn of the Dead (George A Romero, 1978)
The Vanishing (George Sluizer, 1988)


Jeff Lieberman

One of America’s great undiscovered outsider filmmakers, Jeff Lieberman rose to prominence with killer earthworm flick ‘Squirm’ before going on to write and direct the archetypal psychedelic schlock classic ‘Blue Sunshine’ and post-modern alien invasion movie ‘Remote Control’.

Jeff Lieberman's top ten
Dead of Night (Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Deardon, Robert Hamer, 1945)
Incredible Shrinking Man (Jack Arnold, 1957)
The Day the World Ended (Roger Corman, 1955)
Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)
Freaks (Tod Browning, 1932)
Triumph of the Will (Leni Riefensthal, 1935)
Cape Fear (Martin Scorsese, 1991)
Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis, 1993)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Julian Schnabel, 2007)

‘“Triumph of the Will” shows how easily “truth” can be spun from whole lies. “Groundhog Day” might be a comedy, but the central idea gives us a glimpse into an identifiable living hell. And “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” allows us to empathise so much with the main character, it makes for an excruciatingly horrifying experience.’


Guy Lodge

Guy Lodge is a freelance film critic and writer at Time Out
Guy Lodge's top ten
Repulsion (Roman Polanski, 1965)
Dead Ringers (David Cronenberg. 1988)
The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961)
The Last Wave (Peter Weir, 1977)
The Vanishing (George Sluizer, 1988)
Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960)
Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
Wolf Creek (Greg McLean, 2005)
Carrie (Brian De Palma, 1976)
Ginger Snaps (John Fawcett, 2000)


Marek Losey

Marek Losey’s feature debut ‘The Hide’ was one of the best British thrillers of 2008. He is the grandson of iconic director Joseph, in case you were wondering.

Marek Losey's top ten
Angel Heart (Alan Parker, 1987)
The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963)
Don't Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973)
Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)
Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)
The Orphanage (JA Bayona, 2007)
An American Werewolf in London (John Landis, 1981)
Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008)

‘Pure gore bores the hell out of me. I like my horror to be strong on narrative with all the atmospheric aspects of a taut thriller. The music and the overall look is the fabric of great horror. If you think about it, you can instantly recall the setting of any great horror flick, because the ambience plays as important a role as the actors. But ultimately it is the actors' great performances that carry us through, only when we connect with them on an emotional level are we convinced the horror is real. It's hard to strike the perfect balance between all these elements, but when you see it, there is nothing else quite like it.'


Tim Lucas

Tim Lucas is the publisher and editor of Video Watchdog magazine. He’s also a novelist, and his books include ‘Throat Sprockets’ and ‘The Book of Renfield – A Gospel of Dracula’. We wish we could’ve found space for more of his extensive comments, because they were brilliant.

Tim Lucas's top ten
Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
Toby Dammit (Federico Fellini, 1968)
The Black Cat (Edward G Ulmer, 1934)
Black Narcissus (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1947)
Kwaidan (Masaki Kobayashi , 1964)
The Unknown (Tod Browning, 1927)
Kill, Baby… Kill! (aka Operazione Paura, Curse of the Dead) (Mario Bava, 1966)
The Tomb of Ligeia (Roger Corman, 1964)
Hakujitsumo (Tetsuji Takechi, 1981)
Les Possédées du Diable (Lorna the Exorcist) (Jesus Franco, 1974)

'My Top 10 changes all the time. The absence of some traditional contenders -- “The Bride of Frankenstein”, “Night of the Living Dead”, “Witchfinder General” etc -- is due to overfamiliarity, but I think it’s right to take into account which films continue to deliver the goods even when we know what’s coming. I limited myself to one film per director, and my list is offered in the order I think is best. That said, I’ve opted to champion a couple of worthy titles unlikely to make other lists. “Toby Dammit” defines invention and innovation within the genre. Working from a classic Edgar Allan Poe text, Fellini and Bernardino Zapponi adapt a work of horror and satire from another era and contemporise it, reinventing the very totems of horror and finding its analogy in the trappings of Hollywood, human goals (like the perfect wife, the perfect car), and (as Sartre said) other people. Made at a time when the horror genre was still externalising its monsters, “Black Narcissus” took the unusual step of demonising scenic beauty and dealing with the angel-wrestling that is the conflict between the spirit and the flesh. “Hakujitsumo” was the first Japanese hardcore film. It is also the most purely (and abstractly) nightmarish film I’ve seen, and the one that most successfully eroticises horror while making the sexual act itself seem demonic. And no other filmmaker has given more to the genre than Jesus Franco in terms of quantity and quality. Though it has rough edges, I find “Les Posedées du Diable”, a Faustian variation on the Rumplestiltskin story, more toxic and frightening than most other horror films, and the finale is as apocalyptic in its own way as any I’ve seen.’


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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