This is most definitely one the best modern werewolf movies. Even though the werewolves remind me of the ones from The Howling, this movie is one of the most original to come out in years. The military in the Scottish Highlands, fighting the children of the night? Yes, please! Expecting to carry out a routine training mission, the soldiers find the ravaged remains of a Special Forces squad who were part of the same training exercise.
The sole survivor, Captain Ryan, makes cryptic references to what attacked them. These same creatures then make their presence known as they attack the troops. Then all hell breaks loose, and it’s an awesome hour of dog-eat-soldier-eat-dog soldier!
Watching older films that star Donald Sutherland fascinates me because I’m so used to seeing him with white hair. Don’t Look Now, made in 1973 as a Hitchcock rip-off, is one of Sutherland’s older films that rules (The Eye of the Needle is amazing too). Take out the super long, super explicit, super uncalled for sex scene between Sutherland and Julie Christy and this movie is actually really, really entertaining. In the first act of the film, Sutherland and Christy’s daughter drowns. They spend the rest of the film in Venice, trying to recover. There’s a blind psychic lady that tells the couple she can talk with their daughter, relaying messages to Christy from beyond the grave, but Sutherland is skeptical, as he should be. We all know psychics are fake. However, throughout the film there have been murders taking place, around the edges of the main story. In the finale, Sutherland sees what appears to be a little girl in a red raincoat—exactly like what his daughter was wearing when she died—and he goes to talk to her. As the audience, we think this is great, because he’s going to make peace with what happened, but no. It’s a surprise ending that’s just too good to reveal.
The classic monster movie to end all classic monster movies, Dracula still remains a very powerful movie despite the fact that vampires are so commonplace now (and not scary… and they sparkle…) and you actually see so little in the film. Bela Lugosi is a strange looking guy, though, so a lot of what you do see is terrifying. Dwight Frye as the psychotic Renfield is amazing too.
I really liked The Descent. At first I refused to see the movie because the cover and poster art is a rip off of the artwork for The Silence of the Lambs, but eventually I gave in. This movie was very claustrophobic and unnerving. And that’s before you ever see the monsters. It’s also one of the few movies that features an all-female cast without descending into gratuitous nudity. The monsters are also really, really awesome looking: like human bats. Those things were vicious. Though a bit on the gory side, the movie’s ending was kind of lame, but that one girl sinking headlong into that lake of blood was awesome.
I’ll give George Romero his due, and Tom Savini is a genius, but Zac Snyder blew the original Dawn away when he made this. Then again, this movie had to be good, because James Gunn, who wrote and directed Slither, penned an early version of the screenplay, and fast zombies will always be scarier than slow ones. There is so much great stuff in this film; I’ll just list reasons why it’s awesome:
¬¬—Zombie birthing scene
—Newscast montage explaining the zombie plague in a way that newbies will understand but old timers will still be entertained
—Shows full scope of the zombie plague
—That fat old lady who turns into a zombie
I bet there are a lot of people who haven’t seen this movie, and I feel bad for them because this is old-school horror meets new-school sensibilities, written and directed by the same team that brought us Saw (the first one; the only good one). This film focuses on Mary Shaw, a ventriloquist whose main doll, Billy, with a great rhyme of, “Beware the stare of Mary Shaw, she had no children – only dolls; and if you see her in your dreams, be sure you never, ever scream.” If she does catch you screaming, she’ll rip out your tongue. I can’t tell you much besides this because this movie—like Saw—has an amazing twist ending.
What can I say about Drag Me to Hell that hasn’t already been said? Not much, so I’ll use this opportunity to say how much I love Sam Raimi. The man is a genius. His film Darkman is amazing too.
Set in 1930’s London, this film is about two men who rescue their friend Simon and another initiate, Tanit, from a devil worshipping cult. They disrupt a ceremony where Satan himself appears. This cannot end well, as you probably figured out. After a night of black magic attacks, the successful defense against the cult ultimately results in eternal damnation for having wrongly summoned the Prince of Darkness. One of Hammer’s less known films, this is one not to miss.
Also known as The Hatchet Murders, this film is a classic giallo by horror master Dario Argento. The movie follows music teacher Marcus Daly as he investigates the violent murder of psychic medium, Helga, which he witnesses in an apartment building. After his attempt to rescue the medium fails, Daly realizes he could have seen the killer’s face in a group of portraits on the wall of the victim’s apartment, but is unable to find or recognize it when the police arrive. In typical Argento fashion, one murder leads to a series of others as his obsession with this vital clue that he cannot understand endangers his life and everyone he meets. Things spiral out of control, and the movie ends with Daly staring into a pool of blood—a pool that is deep red.
10. Deliverance (1972)
Oh no, no, no, no, no. Not that! Yes, that movie. Deliverance is a movie in the vain of The Last House on the Left, in that it unflinchingly shows us the underbelly of society’s violence. (Interesting fact: In 2008, Deliverance was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”) Yeah, hearing Ned Beatty squeal like a pig is aesthetically significant. It’s also terribly frightening. Burt Reynolds is also really good in this film, as is Jon Voight. This film also illustrates one of the prime rules of horror movies: never patronize the in-bred locals.
11. Disturbia (2007)
Yes, this film is a modernized remake of Rear Window. Yes, it stars Shia LaBeouf. But this movie is also very, very creepy. For those that missed it, Disturbia follows a teenager who thinks his suspicious neighbor is a murderer. This movie’s got plenty of boo moments, teenage sex gags, and general humor, but redeems itself with some genuinely intense moments. David Morse makes a great a killer, and this movie also shows how it must be to have a serial killer next door. When real serial killers get caught, everyone says they “had no idea,” or “he was such a nice guy.” Yeah, well, he also had the semi-preserved bodies of girls shoved into the crawl space and a white-tiled kill room hidden away behind a secret door. Make no mistake about it: he may be charming, helpful, and seemingly understanding of your troubled teen’s bad attitude, but he’ll also kill you just for the fun of it.
12. The Devil’s Backbone (2001)
Have I mentioned how much of a genius Guillermo Del Toro is? I have? Oh, well, I’ll say it again: Guillermo Del Toro is a genius, if for no other reason than he made The Devil’s Backbone. This is a film about regret and the sadness that inevitably comes with reliving your mistakes. It’s beautiful, scary, and has the most frightening little kid ghost I’ve ever seen. The film also has one of the greatest endings of all time. You aren’t a horror fan if you haven’t seen this one.
13. Dreamcatcher (2003)
Did anyone actually see Dreamcatcher besides me? I’m not sure, because no one ever talks about it, which is sad, because it’s one of the best Stephen King adaptations this side of The Mist. Damian Lewis, anyone? Yes, please! Jason Lee and Morgan Freeman? Yes and yes! Thomas Jane? I’ll take two. How about Donnie Wahlberg as Duddits, where he’s nearly unrecognizable? I think we’ve got the makings of an amazing movie here! And let’s not forget the awesome special effects, cool storyline, and the fact that this movie plays off one of King’s biggest strengths: it balances scares with emotion, which people seem to forget. Fear is an emotion, sure, but there’s more to horror movies than just blood and guts and screaming. Adrenaline is a natural response to fear, but the adrenaline you get when your best friend’s life is on the line is something else altogether .
Top 13 Great Horror Movies that start with D