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The 100 best horror films: contributors C

View the top ten lists of horror films chosen by the likes of Roger Corman and Alice Cooper

Read through top ten lists for the best horror films as recommended by famous faces in the movie industry and beyond. The likes of Roger Corman and Alice Cooper provide their lists below.

RECOMMENDED: See which horror films made it into our top 100

Antonio Campas

Antonio Campos is part of the Borderline Collective with his fellow writer-director Sean Durkin. His stunning debut feature ‘Afterschool’ may be a high school drama on the surface, but it’s more shocking and unsettling than most straight horror pictures.

Antonio Campos's top ten
The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
Hour of the Wolf (Ingmar Bergman, 1967)
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961)
Black Christmas (Bob Clark, 1974)
Angel Heart (Alan Parker, 1987)
Kwaidan (Masaki Kobayashi , 1964)
Ju-on: The Grudge (Takashi Shimizu, 2002)
Turin Horse (Bela Tarr, Agnes Hranitzky, 2011)
The Other (Robert Mulligan, 1972)

‘I really wanted to put together a diverse list of films. I think “The Turin Horse” is the one that might someone scratch their head at , but to me it was one of the most frightening films I've ever seen.’

Zack Carlson

Zack Carlson has the enviable title of horror programmer for the legendary Alamo Drafthouse cinema in Austin, Texas. He’s also the co-editor of ‘Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film’.

Zack Carlson's top ten
Sleepaway Camp (Robert Hiltzik, 1983)
Tourist Trap (David Schmoeller, 1979)
Dawn of the Dead (George A Romero, 1978)
Xtro (Harry Bromley Davenport, 1983)
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
God Told Me To (Larry Cohen, 1976)
The Pit (Lew Lehman, 1981)
The Abominable Dr Phibes (Robert Fuest, 1971)
Race with the Devil (Jack Starrett, 1971)
Devil Fetus (Hung Chuen Lau, 1983)

Axelle Carolyn

Belgium-born writer-director-actor Axelle Carolyn began her career as a film journalist specialising in horror. She has appeared in ‘Doomsday’ and upcoming British film ‘The 4th Reich’, and is the director of three shorts, most recently ‘The Halloween Kid’. Her latest book is ‘It Lives Again! Horror Movies in the New Millennium’.

Axelle Carolyn's top ten
The Fly (David Cronenberg , 1986)
The Fog (John Carpenter, 1979)
The Haunting (Robert Wise, 1963)
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (Robert Aldrich, 1962)
Re-Animator (Stuart Gordon, 1985)
The Mummy (Karl Freund, 1932)
Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)
The Wolfman (George Waggner, 1941)
Sleepy Hollow (Tim Burton, 1999)

Billy Chainsaw

Billy Chainsaw is the Film Editor for Bizarre magazine. With a name like that, he’d better know a thing or two about horror movies.

Billy Chainsaw's top ten, in chronological order
Freaks (Tod Browning, 1932)
Mad Love (aka The Hands of Orlac) (Karl Freund, 1935) Night of the Demon (Jacques Tourneur, 1957)
Eyes Without a Face (Georges Franju, 1959)
Carnival of Souls (Herk Harvey, 1962)
Repulsion (Roman Polanski, 1965)
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974) Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1976)
Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)

‘“Freaks” remains a truly fascinating and disturbing film. It’s packed with melodrama, dark humour and pre-Hays Code sexuality (note: Browning and I share a birthday). “Mad Love” is a gripping tale of all-consuming obsession which sees Peter Lorre turning in a career best performance – his creepiest too. It doesn’t matter that the storyline is absurd, not when what transpires is such a perfect blend of droll humour and chills. I have fond memories of seeing “The Exorcist” on the day of its original release with priests walking the queue handing out flyers with details about after-care for those disturbed by the film. Every time there was a shot of Father Karras closing the door inside Regan’s bedroom, the fear that welled up inside regarding what further hideousness awaited me when he turned around was monumental. And yes, I slept with the lights on that night.’

Nick Cheek

Nick Cheek won our horror movie pitch competition with this idea: 'A British guy discovers he was adopted and goes to America to meet his real family. Upon arrival, he discovers his family are crazed cannibal killers. Can he stop them?'

Nick Cheek's top ten
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)
Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)
Night of the Living Dead (George A Romero, 1968)
Dellamorte Dellamore (Michele Soavi, 1994)
Switchblade Romance (Alexandre Aja, 2003)
Tenebrae (Dario Argento, 1982)
Society (Brian Yuzna, 1989)
The Loved Ones (Sean Byrne, 2009)
Evil Dead II (Sam Raimi, 1987)

I love so many horror films that it's almost impossible to choose just ten, so I've gone for a mix of classics and a few close personal 'friends' such as ‘Dellamorte Dellamore’, ‘Society’ and ‘The Loved Ones’. The main connection between all the films in the latter group is the seam of black comedy woven within each. As much as I adore pure 'pedal-to-the-metal' horror, leavening it with a little laughter often makes it all the more perfect (and, on occasion, bleak). It's a hard thing to do, but directors like John Carpenter, Sam Raimi and George A Romero make it look so easy.

Paul and Ben China

The China brothers – Paul writes and directs, Ben produces – are the latest horror filmmakers to emerge from Australia. Their slow-burning, low budget debut ‘Crawl’ screened as part of FrightFest Glasgow earlier this year.

Paul and Ben China's top ten
Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)
Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)
The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)
Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
[Rec] (Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza, 2007)
Rosemary's Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)
A Tale of Two Sisters (Kim Jee-woon, 2003)
Evil Dead II (Sam Raimi, 1987)
Scream (Wes Craven, 1986)

Coffin Joe (aka Jose Majica Marins)

Jose Marica Marins invented Brazilian horror with his first two Coffin Joe movies: ‘At Midnight I Will Take Your Soul’ from 1963 and ‘This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse’ in 1967. It took him 40 years to complete the trilogy – ‘Embodiment of Evil’ was released in 2008, by which time the name of Coffin Joe was known across the world.

Coffin Joe's top ten
Rosemary's Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)
Tower of London (Rowland V Lee, 1939)
Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931)
Poltergeist (Tobe Hooper, 1982)
The Abominable Dr Phibes (Robert Fuest, 1971)
Dr. Phibes Rises Again (Robert Fuest, 1972)
The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963)
The Masque of the Red Death (Roger Corman, 1964)
Carrie (Brian De Palma, 1976)
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)

‘I think “Rosemary’s Baby” is remarkable because it allows us to see abnormality beneath the surface of normality, or the subtle nuance of madness tainting our everyday existence. Steven Spielberg’s script for “Poltergeist” revolutionised fantasy cinema, creating history and taking horror into a new dimension, making a big thing out of nothing… After all, our fear comes from the unknown, from the unseen. The “Dr Phibes” films have a strange power. They allow us to gradually discover the horror in such a way that we know we will not escape. Vincent Price was an amazing actor who set himself in stone with this performance. The character is totally diabolical and true to his own self and his principles, rather like Coffin Joe himself. I defy those who argue that these films have aged. They are forever.’

Martyn Conterio

Martyn Conterio is a film critic based in London. He’s the man behind the Cinemart website, and also contributes to Little White Lies, Film International, Flux, Scream: the horror magazine, Starburst and Scene 360.

Martyn Conterio's top ten
The Beyond (Lucio Fulci, 1981)
Dawn of the Dead (George A Romero, 1978)
Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1976)
Vampyr (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1932)
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
Rosemary's Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)
Don't Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973)
Black Sunday (aka The Mask of Satan, Revenge of the Vampire) (1960)
Audition (Takashi Miike, 1999)
Martyrs (Pascal Laugier, 2008)

‘For those attuned to its dream logic scenario and nightmare sensibility, “The Beyond” is a masterwork of creeping fear and gory theatrics. Romero's second foray into the world of zombies, “Dawn of the Dead” is intelligent, satirical and most of all, terrifying.

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.

Alice Cooper's top ten
Salem's Lot (Tobe Hooper, 1979)
Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1976)
The Haunting (Robert Wise, 1963)
Carnival of Souls (Herk Harvey, 1962)
The Evil Dead (Sam Raimi, 1981)
Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)
Eraserhead (David Lynch, 1977)
Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)
30 Days Of Night (David Slade, 2007)
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.

Roger Corman's top ten
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Robert Wiene, 1920)
Nosferatu: Eine Symphonie des Grauens (FW Murnau , 1922)
Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
Les Diaboliques (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1955)
Rosemary's Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (Wes Craven, 1984)
Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)

Eli Craig

Actor turned writer-director Eli Craig’s 2010 debut feature ‘Tucker and Dale vs Evil’ is one of the wittiest, bloodiest, most loveable inversions of horror cliché in recent years. We can’t wait to see what he does next.

Eli Craig's top ten
The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)
The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale, 1935)
The Evil Dead (Sam Raimi, 1981)
Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright, 2004)
The Omen (Richard Donner, 1976)
Poltergeist (Tobe Hooper, 1982)
Scream (Wes Craven, 1986)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Philip Kaufman, 1978)
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (John De Bello, 1978)

‘“Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!” was the first B-horror movie I ever saw, and I just love that people got together and decided to make that movie!’

Read more horror films contributor lists