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Simon Pegg

The 100 best horror films: contributors

You’ve read our list of the best horror films, now explore the top ten lists from guest contributors Alice Cooper, Stephen King, Simon Pegg and more

By Time Out London Film

We asked actors, directors, writers and famous fans of all things scary to share with us their favourite horror films, using the results to inform our list of the best scary movies ever made. Find below the top ten entries from some of our most notable contributors, including Guillermo del Toro, Simon Pegg and even Alice Cooper.

RECOMMENDED: Read our list of the 100 best horror films 

The best horror film contributors

Simon Pegg

Simon Pegg is the comic writer and actor behind ‘Spaced’, ‘Hot Fuzz’ and, of course, ‘Shaun of the Dead’. He later upped sticks to Hollywood, where he’s appearing as Cheeky British Chappie in the ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Mission Impossible’ series.

1. Dawn of the Dead (George A Romero, 1978)

2. The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)

3. An American Werewolf in London (John Landis, 1981)

4. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

5. The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)

6. Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)

7. Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1977)

8. Rosemary’s Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)

9. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)

10. Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale, 1935)

Clive Barker

Clive Barker spearheaded the renaissance of British horror with his ‘Books of Blood’ short story series and his 1987 debut as a writer-director, ‘Hellraiser’. He hasn’t directed a film since 1995’s ‘Lord of Illusions’, but his stories remain a treasure trove for horror directors, from ‘Candyman’ to the ongoing ‘Hellraiser’ franchise.

1. Cannibal Holocaust (Ruggero Deodato, 1979)

2. The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)

3. Education for Death (Clyde Geronimi, 1943)

4. Ataque de Panico (Fede Alvarez, 2009)

5. A Serbian Film (Srdjan Spasojevic, 2010)

6. Saló (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1975)

7. Don't Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973)

8. High Tension (Alexandre Aja, 2003)

9. Eyes Without a Face (Georges Franju, 1959)

10. Le Sang des Bêtes (Georges Franju, 1949)


Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper is the dark lord of heavy rock, who has used horror movie imagery on stage and in album art throughout his career. We are still a long way from being worthy.

1. Salem’s Lot (Tobe Hooper, 1979)

2. Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1976)

3. The Haunting (Robert Wise, 1963)

4. Carnival of Souls (Herk Harvey, 1962)

5. The Evil Dead (Sam Raimi, 1981)

6. Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)

7. Eraserhead (David Lynch, 1977)

8. Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)

9. 30 Days Of Night (David Slade, 2007)

10. Silent Hill (Christopher Gans, 2006)

Roger Corman

Roger Corman is the King of the Bs, the producer of over 1,000 low budget exploitation movies and mentor to everyone from Joe Dante to James Cameron. He’s also a very fine writer and director in his own right, whose works include Poe adaptations like ‘The Masque of the Red Death’ and ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’. Almost every film in our top 100 owes a debt to this man.

1. The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Robert Wiene, 1920)

2. Nosferatu: Eine Symphonie des Grauens (FW Murnau, 1922)

3. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

4. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

5. Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)

6. The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)

7. Les Diaboliques (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1955)

8. Rosemary’s Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)

9. A Nightmare on Elm Street (Wes Craven, 1984)

10. Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)


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 runs through all his work, from bloody werewolf satire ‘The Howling’ to ‘Gremlins’, a horror movie for all the family.

1. The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961)

2. The Devil and Daniel Webster (William Dieterle, 1941)

3. Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale, 1935)

4. Night of the Demon (Jacques Tourneur, 1957)

5. The Body Snatcher (Robert Wise, 1945)

6. The Wolf Man (George Waggner, 1941)

7. The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)

8. Lisa and the Devil (Mario Bava, Alfredo Leone, 1974)

9. Dracula (Terence Fisher, 1958)

10. 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. 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. 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.

1. The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)

2. Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)

3. The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)

4. The Fly (David Cronenberg, 1986)

5. Night of the Living Dead (George A Romero, 1968)

6. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Philip Kaufman, 1978)

7. Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931)

8. The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1990)

9. Se7en (David Fincher, 1995)

10. Day of the Dead (George A Romero, 1985)


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.

1. The Spiral Staircase (Robert Siodmak, 1945)

2. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

3. The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1990)

4. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

5. Carrie (Brian De Palma, 1976)

6. The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963)

7. Rosemary’s Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)

8. The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)

9. The Others (Alejandro Amenábar, 2001)

10. 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.’

Robert Eggers

Robert Eggers is an American filmmaker whose stunning debut ‘The Witch’ was one of 2016’s big indie successes.

In no particular order:

Nosferatu (FW Murnau, 1922)

The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

Possession (Andrzej Żuławski, 1981)

Twentynine Palms (Bruno Dumont, 2003)

Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

The Piano Teacher (Michael Haneke, 2001)

The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961)

Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene, 1920)

Hour of the Wolf (Ingmar Bergman, 1970)

Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)


Robin Hardy

Robin Hardy was the director of beloved British classic ‘The Wicker Man’, a film whose reputation grows with each passing year. He passed away in 2016.

1. Carrie (Brian De Palma, 1976)

2. Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)

3. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

4. The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963)

5. Rosemary’s Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)

6. Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)

7. Don’t Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973)

8. Straw Dogs (Sam Peckinpah, 1971)

9. Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)

10. Hour of the Wolf (Ingmar Bergman, 1967)

‘I like Hammer horror films for their camp improbability, and also for making me want to cast Christopher Lee in a role worthy of his extraordinary screen presence. But sheer, unbridled horror I don’t enjoy. It’s like lingering at the sight of an accident. I’ve listed the films that most impressed me, because they had dimensions well beyond the horrific. Dimensions of pathos, beauty, humour, in short of “real life”, which made what was horrific in them palpably more real.’

Monte Hellman

A product of the Roger Corman school, Monte Hellman is the cult director behind ‘The Shooting’ and ‘Two-Lane Blacktop’. In 1989 he directed slasher sequel ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!’, which has been hailed as a lost classic of the genre.

1. Don’t Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973)

2. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel, 1956)

3. Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931)

4. Dracula (Tod Browning, 1931)

5. Dead of Night (Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer, 1945)

6. The Ghost Breakers (George Marshall, 1945)

7. The Mummy (Karl Freund, 1932)

8. The Picture of Dorian Gray (Albert Lewin, 1945)

9. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

10. Rosemary’s Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)

‘Honourable mentions: “The Omen”, “The Silence of the Lambs” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. And of course I’m fond of my own “Better Watch Out!”, but I recognise the possibility of bias.’

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