Horror cinema is a monster. Mistreated, misunderstood and subjected to vicious critical attacks, somehow it keeps lumbering forward, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. For some, horror films are little better than pornography, focused purely on evoking a reaction—be it terror, disquiet or disgust—with little thought for higher aspirations. For others, they’re just a bit of fun: a chance to shriek and snigger at someone’s second-hand nightmare.
But look again, and the story of horror is also the story of innovation and non-conformity in cinema, a place where dangerous ideas can be expressed, radical techniques can be explored, and filmmakers outside the mainstream can still make a big cultural splash. If cinema itself has an unconscious, a dark little corner from which new ideas emerge, blinking and malformed, it must be horror. The question is—which are the best horror films?
We polled well over 100 horror enthusiasts—with big names like Roger Corman, Guillermo del Toro, Simon Pegg, Clive Barker and Alice Cooper, and horror legends like Coffin Joe, Kim Newman and Tom Six—and came up with a definitive top ten list.
By Derek Adams, Dave Calhoun, Cath Clarke, Sarah Cohen, Nigel Floyd and Tom Huddleston, with the generous support of everyone at FrightFest and Cine-Excess.
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