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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

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Simon Pegg
Tinseltown/Shutterstock

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

Stephen King

Author and screenwriter Stephen King is the most powerful force in horror in the past century. He picked 13 films, but we let it go because he’s Stephen King.

In no particular order:

Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008)

The Last House On the Left (Dennis Iliadis, 2009)

Dawn of the Dead (George A Romero, 1978)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (Wes Craven, 1984)

The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)

The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)

The Devil’s Backbone (Guillermo Del Toro, 2001)

The Fly (David Cronenberg, 1986)

Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)

The Sixth Sense (M Night Shyamalan, 1999)

Poltergeist (Tobe Hooper, 1982)

The Blair Witch Project (Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez, 1999)

Neil Marshall

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

In no particular order:

Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)

The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)

Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)

An American Werewolf in London (John Landis, 1981)

Braindead (Peter Jackson, 1992)

The Fog (John Carpenter, 1979)

Deliverance (John Boorman, 1972)

The Haunting (Robert Wise, 1963)

The Omen (Richard Donner, 1976)

Evil Dead II (Sam Raimi, 1987)

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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:

The Old Dark House (James Whale, 1932)

Cat People (Jacques Tourneur, 1942)

A Bucket of Blood (Roger Corman, 1959)

Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960)

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

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (John D Hancock, 1971)

Daughters of Darkness (Harry Kümel, 1970)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)

Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)

Mulholland Dr (David Lynch, 2001)

Greg Nicotero

Greg Nicotero is a legend of special make-up effects whose CV includes creating the broken foot in ‘Misery’, the exploding head in ‘Pulp Fiction’ and the prosthetic penis in ‘Boogie Nights’.

1. Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)

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

3. The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)

4. Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)

5. The Changeling (Peter Medak, 1979)

6. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

7. The Omen (Richard Donner, 1976)

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

9. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

10. The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)

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Bernard Rose

Bernard Rose is a British-born writer-director with a diverse CV ranging from period dramas ‘Immortal Beloved’ and ‘Anna Karenina’ to modern fare like ‘ivansxtc’. His work in the horror field includes the astonishing ‘Paperhouse’ and cult favourite ‘Candyman’.

1. The Devils (Ken Russell, 1971)

2. The Changeling (Peter Medak, 1979)

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

4. Saló (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1975)

5. The Tenant (Roman Polanski, 1976)

6. The Kingdom (Lars Von Trier, 1994)

7. Come and See (Elem Klimov, 1985)

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

9. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

10. The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)

Reece Shearsmith

Reece Shearsmith is an actor and writer most famous for horror-influenced TV comedy shows ‘The League of Gentlemen’ and ‘Psychoville’. He also appeared in ‘Shaun of the Dead’, ‘The Cottage’ and ‘Burke and Hare’.

1. Rosemary's Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)

2. The Exorcist III (William Peter Blatty, 1990)

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

4. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

5. The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)

6. The Omen (Richard Donner, 1976)

7. The Haunting (Robert Wise, 1963)

8. The Wicker Man (Robin Hardy, 1973)

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

10. The King of Comedy (Martin Scorsese, 1983)

‘“Rosemary’s Baby” is probably the best study of evil operating in the modern world. Polanski’s film gives us completely real people living next door to very ordinary devil worshippers. John Cassavetes is perfect as the husband who forfeits his wife to Satan to better his own career. And Ruth Gordon as insistent Satanist Minnie Castevet is probably the best depiction of the insidious nature of evil you are ever likely to see. I think “The Exorcist III” is one of the great horror films. It’s brilliantly written, with an extremely funny script by William Peter Blatty, as well as some truly shocking moments of terror. George C Scott is particularly brilliant, with great support from Brad Dourif maintaining yet another one of his impeccable variations on evil. And “King of Comedy” is just a deeply unpleasant film. This is real horror, depicting the kind of desolation that these days is presented to us every Saturday night as our most watched entertainment.’

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Peter Straub

Peter Straub is one of the great American horror novelists. His books include ‘Ghost Story’ (filmed in 1981), ‘Koko’ and ‘The Talisman’, with Stephen King.

In no particular order:

Jacob’s Ladder (Adrian Lyne, 1990)

Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008)

Rosemary’s Baby (Roman Polanski, 1969)

The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)

Repulsion (Roman Polanski, 1965)

Cat People (Jacques Tourneur, 1940)

Ringu (Hideo Nakata, 1998)

Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960)

Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

Eraserhead (David Lynch, 1977)

Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro is the Mexican writer-director and genre aficionado whose work blends horror and fantasy to astounding effect. His films include ‘Cronos’, ‘The Devil’s Backbone’, ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’, ‘Pacific Rim’ and the ‘Hellboy’ series.

1. Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale, 1935)

2. Possession (Andrzej Zulawski , 1981)

3. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

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

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

6. The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961)

7. Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)

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

9. Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (Benjamin Christensen, 1922)

10. Freaks (Tod Browning, 1932)

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Ti West

Ti West is the American writer-director behind minimalist chillers like ‘House of the Devil’ and ‘The Innkeepers’.

1. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

2. The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)

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

4. Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)

5. The Changeling (Peter Medak, 1979)

6. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

7. Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)

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

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

10. Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)

Ben Wheatley

British writer-director Ben Wheatley’s second film, 2011’s ‘Kill List’, is quite simply the best crime-horror crossover ever made, and he’s gone on to make genre-blenders ‘Sightseers’, ‘A Field in England’, ‘High-Rise’ and ‘Free Fire’.

1. Come and See (Elem Klimov, 1985)

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

3. Videodrome (David Cronenberg, 1982)

4. The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)

5. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

6. Scum (Alan Clark, 1979)

7. Threads (Mick Jackson, 1984)

8. Cannibal Holocaust (Ruggero Deodato, 1979)

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

10. Evil Dead II (Sam Raimi, 1987)

‘What is a horror film? “Come and See” is strictly a war film but it scared me rigid. “Scum” is oppressive and harrowing in a way that vampires and ghouls never can be. I will never watch “Don’t Look Now” again. Even writing the title makes me feel ill. I’ve gone soft since becoming a father. And I’d put a lot of my anxiety and nightmares as a kid down to “Threads”. It still packs a punch today. We had real worries in the ’70s and ’80s!’

Read the list

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