The Movie Waffler Our Horror Top Tens! | The Movie Waffler

Our Horror Top Tens!

The writers here at Waffler Towers share their favorite horror movies. Unless otherwise stated, all titles refer to originals rather than remakes.

Andy Comer
For as long as I can remember loving movies, Halloween has always been a favorite. Its music, killer and story are all iconic and I don’t know how you could call yourself a fan of horror and not like this film.
The Cabin in the Woods
This was one of the best times I’ve ever had in a movie theatre. Great cast, great monsters and not a single line of dialog goes to waste in this.
Trick r’ Treat
This is the best Halloween-themed film I have ever seen. Everyone in it is great and each of the stories has great characters and thrills to intertwine the events of the film.
The Devils Rejects
The thing I love about ‘The Devils Rejects’ is that even though I know how absolutely horrible the characters are, I find myself rooting for them to get away.
Event Horizon
The first time I saw this I had no idea what was happening. Every viewing since, I’ve loved it more and more. It has great gore and horror, what more could I ask for?
Being a fan of slasher films and Craven’s previous work, I was excited for this and it still blew me away. I love how it takes so many established horror clichés and turns them on their heads.
Normally, I stay away from haunted house-type horror, but 'Poltergeist' is the only exception and it's one of my favorites. Great cast, surprisingly great effects for the time, and the film builds perfectly.
It was hard to narrow down my top ten favorites, and finally I decided ‘Jaws’ should be in here because it has terrified generations of people. It stands up surprisingly well to this day. One of the best films ever made.
From Dusk Till Dawn
This is my favorite George Clooney role and is one of the most fun, balls-to-the-wall films I have ever seen. It  is always entertaining.
John Carpenter’s Vampires
Probably the weakest film on this list, but I have always loved revisiting this one. It has bad ass guys taking on legit vampires.

Eric Hillis
Not just my favorite horror movie but my number one movie of all time, from my favorite director and featuring horror cinema's greatest villain. What Rob Zombie failed to understand with his overly written remake is that it's Michael Myers' very lack of character development that makes him so damn scary. I also recommend the franchise's second, third, fourth and seventh installments. Read my full review here.
Speilberg's masterpiece changed the face of film distribution, terrified audiences worldwide and is probably responsible for the popularity of the Discovery Channel. Like 'Halloween', it's terrifying because it features a killer that can't be reasoned with, an "eating machine". Also features three of the greatest characters ever written, brilliantly portrayed by a trio of actors giving career best performances.
An American Werewolf in London
Mixing horror with comedy is usually a recipe for disaster but John Landis pulled it off in spectacular fashion. For years as a child I simply thought of this as a terrifying horror movie. It was only as a teenager I began to realize how hilarious it is, without losing any of its tension or atmosphere. Only 'Return of the Living Dead' and 'Night of the Creeps' have come anywhere close to repeating this formula since.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
When Don Siegel's classic was released in 1956, it provoked an equal amount of terror in conservatives and liberals. The former saw the Body Snatchers as an allegory for Communists. For the latter, they represented book burners like Senator Joseph McCarthy. As someone who is equally suspicious of liberals and conservatives, this works for me because it preys on the fear of losing your individuality.
Carnival of Souls
It's a tragedy that, thanks to a bad experience with financiers, this atmospheric chiller's director, Herk Harvey, never made another film. It may be one of the lesser known films on this list but it's certainly one of the most influential. Both Polanski's 'Repulsion' and Shyamalan's 'The Sixth Sense' mined this film for major plot elements.
Dario Argento was the first film-maker to make me realize a film needn't rely on story and plot for its success; pure unbridled terror can be enough. Horror is the most cinematic of all genres, relying on skillful use of lighting, framing, editing and sound and 'Suspiria' combines all four in a terrifying manner.
The Wicker Man
I'm sure I'm not alone among horror fans in often identifying with the monsters. I have a lot more empathy towards the free living natives of Summerisle than Edward Woodward's uptight bible-basher but I always end up rooting for his survival when it comes down to it.
Race With the Devil
This little known gem brilliantly combines horror with the road movie, so popular during the seventies. Peter Fonda and Warren Oates find themselves chased across the SouthWest by a seemingly huge network of redneck Satanists. Its downbeat ending is a classic piece of seventies nihilism.
The Hills Have Eyes
Another case of a camping trip gone wrong. In the seventies, it seemed the most dangerous thing Americans could do was take a weekend break in a Winnebago. The level of intensity in Wes Craven's film has often been imitated but never matched.
Messiah of Evil
Probably the least known movie on my list but that's a damn shame. Focusing on atmosphere over narrative, it has more in common with European horror than American. Director Willard Huyck is known more for his collaborations with George Lucas (including directing 'Howard the Duck') but this gem is as good as anything from the seventies movie brats.

Jason Abbey
Growing up in the eighties was a great time to be a horror fan. A mixture of morbid curiosity, dread and a new fangled VHS player. This, coupled with a complete dereliction of parental duty when it came to my viewing and reading habits, made it the perfect time to be a ghoulish child. Rather than list a top ten of my favorite horror films, I thought I’d pick those that had moments that either filled me with childhood terror or scenes that have resonated over the years. Not all are what you could describe as classic horror and one film on the list I have not even seen. These are like family album snapshots of my most memorable horror experiences.
It’s not often that Richard Attenborough gets on a list of horror films, and in truth 'Magic' is not really a scary movie. However, as a young boy off to watch 'Watership Down' (as if that wasn’t a grizzly and depressing enough experience for a seven year old) with his older brother, I was subjected to this trailer.
Now imagine, this is a pre multiplex cinema with a massive screen and suddenly you are accosted by a massive creepy doll's head talking about death. Popcorn was shaken, tears were shed and I had to hold my brothers hand throughout the film, only to be depressed by the rabbit holocaust that followed.
Salem's Lot
There are so many good things in this TV mini series. James Mason urging you to “throw down your cross, embrace your master”, a jeep with a plastic door that seems incapable of closing every time David Soul drives away, a head Vamp who looks like Nosferatu’s uglier brother. But, for sheer chills down the spine creepiness, nothing beats a spooky kid scratching his nails on your windows in the dead of night.
Evil Dead
I couldn’t wait to see this after looking at the pictures in Starburst magazine and seeing that rotten zombie in the cellar and what looked like copious amounts of blood. Then the BBFC, in their infinite wisdom, tried to ban it on obscenity grounds, which only added to its grizzly mystique. When it was released in our local cinema it played as double bill with a British anthology horror called 'Screamtime'. This featured killer gnomes attacking David Van Day. Full time Burger Man, one time ‘Dollar’ front man. Difficult to choose between the “we’re gonna get you” sing song lullaby or any scenes with the dweller in the cellar.
The Brood
David Cronenberg has always dealt in the chillier, more conceptual edge of horror. This, along with 'The Fly', are the ones most in tune with the ickier elements of horror and that night time fear of what’s under the bed. In his rage spawn homunculi we have the perfect blend of psychoplasmic intellectual horror and paedophobic grizzly murder. Who hasn’t wanted to bludgeon their teacher to death with a mallet at one stage in their life!?
The Shining
I’m afraid it’s another ad; the film is far too controlled and sardonic to be truly terrifying. Dread and desolation are more its metier. As a child watching the TV spot though with it’s otherworldly music, shuffling mad man with an axe and Nicholson looking far more spooky than in the film itself, I was terrified and both compelled at the same time. I needed to see it as soon as I could.
Trilogy of Terror (Amelia segment)
Is it wrong to include a film I haven’t even seen in my top 10? Particularly as I am not even remotely familiar with the other two stories in this triptych. However my brother did such a number on me describing this film when I was about eight years old, that I had to regularly check under my bed before going to sleep. This was not helped by my brother making scampering noises once the lights went out. The image of the fetish doll running around with a knife and the climax are etched in my brain to this day, all without having seen a single clip of the film. I have made it my mission this year to finally watch it; I’m scared to, not because it will bring back nightmares but because it will destroy the vivid imagery and horror that had kept me awake for many weeks.
No one has been better at conjuring nightmarish imagery as well as Dario Argento in his prime. And this first part of his Three Mothers Trilogy may not be the best, (to my mind 'Inferno' just shaves it) but in the score from Argento and his Goblins you have the finest melding of fairytale horror imagery and deranged off kilter electro psychedelic lullabies. Without the music, by turns disturbing, grating and unnerving this film would have half the impact.
Don't Look Now
Roeg's supernatural meditation on grief, loss and marriage is undeniably a great film. But a horror film? No not really. It’s always eerie, somehow strangely off kilter and otherworldly as it winds its way through the canals of Venice. Then the coup de grace. He catches up with his little girl in the red anorak. The bells ring and she turns around. Beautiful cinema and terror, horror and acceptance in one. Exceptional.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Always something of a cause celebre in the UK where it was only possible to see it in London because it was banned in the rest of the Isles. It is such a relentlessly grimy and nasty piece of work and in Leatherface has one formidable nemesis, an unreasoning mountain like force of nature that views you purely as meat. You are there to be dispatched without mercy, judgement or prejudice. The nearest you can get in the cinema to the experience of being trapped by insanity and knowing that you are going to die. Tobe Hooper has never bettered it.
You have to include the granddaddy of all slasher films in an All Hallows Eve top 10. From its bravura opening, the insistent, spartan but once heard never forgotten soundtrack, the beauty of the widescreen composition. It’s machine tooled relentless drive to entertain and scare. The way it makes a William Shatner mask turned inside out look so damn scary. You may have seen it more times than you care to remember, but once you start watching it you can’t turn it off. One of the most meticulously crafted films in any genre and one that should be the focal point of any Halloween movie marathon.

Nick Sauer
I’m generally kind of bored by vampires as they are a known quantity (especially these days) and I have always found an unknown threat much scarier. However, the cinematography in this film is incredible with a large number of iconically creepy images.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers 
Being an American, losing one’s sense of identity is a culturally inbred fear and this movie hammers on that pretty mercilessly. I really wish the movie had been allowed to end as originally intended with doctor Bennell yelling at the camera as opposed to the added framing sequence as I’m sure that would have kept me up a night or two.
Curse of the Demon
A great classic horror tale with a flawlessly executed build up of dramatic tension. The demon is pretty awesome, too.
This one is probably the scariest film for me because it could really happen. I really wish I could have seen this without knowing about the punch line because I’m sure that reveal scene in the fruit cellar would have been good for a couple of feet out of my chair.
Rosemary’s Baby
Great surreal camera work adds to the horror of Rosemary’s paranoia turning out to be true because everyone around her really is part of the conspiracy. Her resignation at the conclusion in accepting her child was a really nihilistic gut punch.
Night of the Living Dead
The authenticity of this film is what makes the otherwise fantastic situation credible. The news reports are in the same style as Orson Welles’ 1938 War of the Worlds radio play and the characters' self-motivated behavior makes them that much more believable as well. The real horror is that, if they were just able to cooperate, they all could have easily survived the night.
The Exorcist
While there is a gore element that the movie is famous for, the more profound effect on me was the sheer randomness of Regan’s possession. The scene of Pazuzu at the end is some incredibly creepy cinematography.
The Wicker Man
I guess finding out that everyone really is out to get you is one of my weaknesses as, like in 'Rosemary’s Baby', Sergeant Howie lands in this situation from the start of the film. The end scene where Howie finds out that his god either doesn’t exist, doesn’t care, or at the very least is not powerful enough to help him is a pretty devastating final moment for the character.
When I talk about the unknown being more scary to me this is one of my “go to” examples. In addition to not knowing exactly what is coming next, the film’s tension is unrelenting to the point that I remember one reviewer of the day comparing it to an inquisition torturer.

The Ring (2002)
I watch a lot of stuff on DVD now but before that it was video tape so, the scene of the girl coming out of the TV set really hit me where I live. I also liked the faux conclusion with the attempt to help the girl proving to be a red herring and, instead, Rachael having to save her son by forcing him to do something that is likely to leave him deeply psychologically scared.