Uncle E’s Top 10 Horror Flicks

Nosferatu
This has gotta be #1. Is anyone more frightening than Max Schreck in this 1922 expressionist horror flick? A variation on the Dracula theme, this subtitled, black and white wonder (and all the more frightening because of it) continues to scare the bejesus out of me, not for it’s gore, but for it’s atmospheric eeriness.

Silence Of The Lambs
I’ve seen this movie so many bloody times that it has ceased to be scary, but I still marvel at the acting chops of Jody Foster, Anthony Hopkins and ESPECIALLY of the underrated and terrifying Ted Levine as “Buffalo Bill”. When he puts on that wig cap, tucks away his manhood and dances in front of the mirror to some creepy modern goth tune…I mean, man, that’s an image that’ll stay with you for decades!

The Shining
Stephen King has denounced the movie due to the fact that Jack Nicholson is “clearly crazy from the get go” whereas the character (Jack Torrence) in the novel goes crazy eventually and very subtly, as the ghosts of the Overlook Hotel slowly assimilate him as one of their own. I, myself, love this movie, and the scenes with the two creepy twin ghost-girls in the hallway are giving me goose bumps as I type this. Jesus.

Freaks
A 1932 pre-code horror film that utilized real people with real physical disorders to portray persecuted circus freaks who eventually get revenge on a couple of “normals”. The “snake man”, who has no arms nor legs (really!), who gets around by slithering, is simply one of the weirdest, most terrifying scenes on celluloid. The film is a cult classic and revered by one of my favorite bands, The Ramones, who immortalized the movies “Gabba Gabba hey, you’re one of us” lines in a few of their songs and used a “pinhead” from the movie in their stage shows and album cover for Rocket To Russia.

The Exorcist, pt. III
George C. Scott is a God! The first Exorcist was great, but this remains my favorite. No green barf, no twisting heads, this movie is all atmospheric weirdness. Based on the concept of the Zodiac inhabiting the priest’s dying body from the first movie and “making” old folks from a geriatric hospital do his killing for him, the scenes from this movie will stick with you for a long, long, long time, especially the one’s from the hospital and an old lady skittering across a ceiling as Scott is discussing a recent murder with a hospital administrator.

Nightbreed
This is a fun one. The acting is a little dated, as are the special effects, but for variety of monsters and sheer horror ‘fun’ you really can’t beat this Clive Barker adaptation! I could have picked Hellraiser for this spot as well.

Dawn Of The Dead
Funny and very, very gory. A classic of the genre and probably the most influential movie on this list.

A Nightmare On Elm Street
Freddie, who was eventually became a parody, was in the first flick a scary dude (a pedophile) who was burned alive at the hands of his victims parents and who comes back to kill kids by using their dreams against them. The first time I saw this as a young teen I didn’t sleep for a week. It’s notable also for a young, inexperienced actor’s first role by the name of Johnny Depp.

Hot Fuzz
Again, pure gory fun, written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright. It’s about a hyper do-gooder cop who is transferred to a small, seemingly beatific country town in England. He soons finds out that things aren’t what they seem when a series of murders go down. I won’t blow the rest of the plot for you, but suffice it to say it’s a bit of a shocker.

The Sixth Sense
I stupidly showed this to my daughters (ages 7 and 11), and the youngest has been sleeping in our bed ever since! Although the “big surprise ending” isn’t a surprise once you’ve seen it, the film rewards repeat viewings for the little details. It’s such a good story that it keeps me engaged all these years later. Not gory in the least (other than a few pg-13 scenes), just eerie in the best possible way.

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