No one is exactly clamoring to find out what my favorite horror movies are and honestly, I wasn't sure if I could come up with a list, but here it is:

Psycho: the ideal popcorn movie. The black and white terror film made to perfection based on a classic novel that made me a Robert Bloch fan for life.

Halloween (1978 original): the definitive slasher with timeless commentary on the existence of evil. Michael Myers haunted my thoughts as a teen. Its combination of clever camera angles, music, and the build-up of suspense makes this an indispensable entry.

Halloween II (original 1981 sequel, not that Rob Zombie crud): Although John Carpenter was not a fan of his involvement in this, this one preserved some of the flavor of the first. This one makes a good example for the argument that poor lighting makes a film more terrifying. The desolate atmosphere of a small-town hospital, as depicted in this movie, haunts me to this day.

The Thing (1982): cosmic horror and paranoia team in another remarkable John Carpenter film. The monster in this one is so terrifying because it could be anyone.

In the Mouth of Madness: this homage to H.P. Lovecraft is a real braintwister. An awesome study on metafiction that hints at worse things to come.

The Horror of Dracula: not the definitive adaptation (there isn't one) of Stoker's classic novel, but iconic with horror idols Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee as Van Helsing and Dracula respectively. I love this one.

The Wolfman (1940): while the remake is quite good, this one is unforgettable. I have a soft spot for werewolves, but not for nudity which is why you won't see An American Werewolf in London or The Howling on this list although they are good ones too.

Black Sunday: classic vampire film by Mario Bava. The use of light and darkness in this black and white gem is ideal.

Black Sabbath: yes, the band where Ozzy became famous named themselves after this movie. It's actually an anthology horror film with Boris Karloff as the host. I prefer the English language version where you can actually hear Boris' voice.

Blood and Black Lace: with this early gialli and proto-slasher, Bava directed a moody whodunnit that hits all the right places.

The Black Cat (1934): made in pre-code Hollywood, this weird epic depicts Bela Lugosi in a rare anti-hero role with Boris Karloff as the leader of a devil-worshipping cult and architect of a futurist house.

Suspiria (1970s): Color usually plays a role in Dario Argento's movies, as it did with this surreal and bloody film about a young dance student, whose school turns out to be the headquarters of a coven.

Inferno (1980): a thematic sequel to Suspiria, this story involves a young man investigating his sister's disappearance in a sinister apartment building. While short on logic with this one, it becomes a visual poem in some places with ends with an amazing climax.

Curse of the Demon (1950s): based on M.R. James' tale "Casting the Runes," this one is about a man who becomes cursed by a sorcerer and must lift the curse before the demon tears him to bits. Directed by the underrated Jacques Tourneur.

The Haunting (1960s): based on Shirley Jackson's Haunting of Hill House, it is the quintessential haunted house story that can still get under your skin 60 years later.

The Cat People (1940): the first of Val Lewton's productions, this story is more psychological thriller than supernatural. He took the high rode by playing on terrorizing the viewer than showing a monster.

Cronos (1990s): Guillermo del Toro's first full-length feature with a unique take on vampirism. Ron Perlman played a standout role as one of the villains.

The Resurrected (1990s): an underrated adaptation of Lovecraft's short novel The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, directed by Dan O'Bannon, the screenwriter of Alien. This one is another moody tour de force with a sinister performance by Chris Sarandon.

A Nightmare on Elm St. (1984): all the other films featuring Freddy Kruger pale in comparison to the original film. This broke boundaries in the horror field.

Evil Dead 2 (1987): while the first was good, this one helped Sam Raimi find his sea legs with a combination of graphic bloodletting and wacky humor.

Runners Up: Prince of Darkness, Targets, Alien, Aliens, Brides of Dracula, Crimson Peak, The Whip and the Body, The Leopard Man, The Whisperer in Darkness, The Fog (original), Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein (1930s), King Kong (original), The Mummy (1950s), Hellboy (2004), The Bird With the Crystal Plummage, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula (1931), Shaun of the Dead, I Walked With a Zombie, The Exorcist (1973), Opera, Misery, It and It 2 (remake), Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser 2, The Dead Zone, Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, Last Voyage of the Demeter, and Army of Darkness.

Written by Nicholas Montelongo

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