No.5 Psycho (1960)
Directed Alfred Hitchcock
Going back to another classic, in fact it’s probably THE classic, we have Alfred Hitchcock’s amazing Psycho. I’ll venture that most people have probably seen this film at some time or another, but that’s no reason not to watch it again during this scariest of holiday seasons. Also, if you happen to be a fan of Psycho, and aren’t satisfied with the somewhat lackluster set of sequels, I would also highly recommending checking out the television series Bates Motel. It’s a prequel to Psycho and actually works remarkably well thanks to strong lead performances. Take a trip with Norman Bates and mother this with both these selections!
No.4 A Serbian Film (2010)
Directed by Srdjan Spasojevic
Switching gears a little bit here, A Serbian Film is less about the psychological scares or the atmospheric ones. A Serbian Film goes right for the jugular with some truly gruesome imagery. The film involves and ex-porn star who gets offered another job. Of course he accepts, but the job ends up being a hell of a lot more than he bargained for. I wouldn’t say this is the most hardcore film I’ve ever seen, but it’s certainly up there. While other shock films tend to be super gritty, A Serbian Film is shot like a Hollywood feature, making it very easy to watch, at least in that sense. I should warn people that this movie is for the hardcore, as it involves a lot of sexual based violence, including the infamous “new born porn” scene. You have been warned! Enjoy!
No.3 The Shining (1980)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Here is a movie that shows up on just about everyrecommendation list I’ve ever written. The Shining is a classic horror film in every sense of the term, and one of the first I ever saw as a kid. This movie scared the pants off of me then and it still does today, a fact that can be credited to Stanley Kubrick’s masterful direction and Jack Nicholson’s unforgettable performance. This is one film that needs hardly any words at all to describe it. Just go watch it and be amazed.
No.2 Suspiria (1977)
Directed by Dario Argento
Realistically, I could have recommended any number of Dario Argento’s classic films, but I had to go with the granddaddy of them all, Suspiria. This is one of the first horror films I owned on DVD and having watched it within the last year I can safely say it’s still a strong, atmospheric horror film. Following a young woman as she transfers to a dance school, things start to get strange and the young woman discovers the school is harboring a dark secret. A brilliantly told story with blindingly bright visuals and one of the best horror scores from Goblin. Fans of the slightly over-the-top horror genre should love this movie!
No.1 Zombieland (2009)
Directed by Ruben Fleischer
Finally, to cap off this list off we have Zombieland. I wanted to add at least one horror comedy and settled on the incredibly fun road-tripcomedy film, Zombieland. With four knockout performances, a nonstop funny script, and often cringe-worthy zombie effects, Zombieland ranks not only among the best horror comedies, but also among the best zombie films in general. Even though they sort of failed with the television spin off, I still hope that we get to go for another round with these awesome characters. For those looking for a lighter horror film, Zombieland is the one for you!
[Editor’s note: Zombieland 2 is currently in development.]