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Published on July 1st, 2009 | by Darren & Lottie


Two Sheets To The Wind: Top 5 Horrors

Now this one I have really been looking forward to. I’ve banged on before about my great affinity for Horror Movies, the scary, gory, funny and kitsch alike. I expected to sit down to toil over one of the toughest lists so far but my Top 5 came forth with relative ease and I somehow managed to choose my top 5 each from a slightly different sub-genre of horror.

So here goes:

Lottie’s Top Five Horror Movies

5. Wolf Creek (2005)

See? Head on a stick!”

I am a firm believer that brutal violence does not a true horror make. That is the reason that the Saw Franchise won’t make my list, despite Saw I being a spectacularly horrific and clever movie. I want however to consider the movies that have really affected me and Wolf Creek certainly meets that criteria. I watched 70% of the film from behind the couch, one hand on the door.

Set in the Australian outback and based (loosely) on true events the movie follows three backpackers who whilst backpacking in the outback run into car troubles and well…mayhem ensues. It’s a bit like a Texas Chain Saw for the naughties.

The film fared pretty well in the cinemas in comparison to it’s production costs and was was nominated for a number of awards for direction.

One of my prevailing memories of watching the movie was a lack of music but I this doesn’t seem to be the case as it has a score running throughout. It must have been the cold sweats that made me imagine that bit.

4. Jeepers Creepers (2001)

“She did lose her head that night, Trish, and you wanna know what he did for her?

He sewed it back on.”

Not to be confused or in anyway associated in my mind with the atrocity of a movie that was Jeepers Creepers 2 *pah spit pah*. The sequel is an affront to the original but then that’s Hollywood for you, they see a potentially profitable franchise and jump on it like a rabid cowgirl on a bucking bronco. Sorry, I just really hate the second one.

But back to the original, which is a classic yet unconventional horror movie. Centering really only around two characters, a brother and sister pair traveling home from college. It’s funny, tense, well written and brilliantly frightening.

Because of the small cast, it has rare character development that you don’t get in horror movies as they tend normally to be a death fest where each of thirteen teenagers is picked off one by one. Jeepers Creepers is a slow burn to the death. You really get to know the characters before the credits role. The only shortfall of the film is the final reveal of the villain but it doesn’t take from the overall experience. I can’t recommend this one enough.

3. A Nightmare on Elm Street – The entire series

Whatever you do don’t fall asleep.”

It’s not cheating if I’m the one making up the rules. I can’t pick one of the Elm Streets as my favourite in isolation. They story weaves itself right through the, with 7 movies now (excluding the Freddy vs Jason), each time revealing a little more background to the best horror-bad-guy of all time.

I grew up with Freddy. He was the Jason Voorhees or Mike Myers of my generation and he was terrifying as a child. I can happily watch the movies now and laugh and find them entirely kitsch but they were, in their own time true horror masterpieces.

Last week I watched, for the first time, The People Under the Stairs and I will eventually get around to the 1972 version of The Last House on the Left…but I admit, I am a little bit scared. I would love to one day meet Wes Craven and give him a big hug for keeping my imagination over-excited as a child.

2. The Ring (2002)

“Seven Days…”

The Ring was one of the movies to blame for tipping me over the edge a few years back. It terrified me. The nails on the wall, the mirrors, the TV, the creepy child. There was nothing about it that didn’t make me uneasy. For a long time I after I couldn’t bear to watch another horror for fear that it would be even slightly as frightening as The Ring.

The Japanese version of The Grudge, entitled Ju-on had a similar effect on me and I had considered it for the list, but then some smart arse would just say I was throwing a foreign movie for the sake of it *ahem Darren*. The American retelling of The Grudge in 2004 borrowed heavily from the success of The Ring and really wasn’t a patch on the original. I recommend it if you ever want to be afraid of your own bed.

1. The Exorcist (1973)

The Power of Christ compels you!”

(Bet you thought I’d go for the other one)

Clichéd? I don’t think so. Despite being made in 1973, almost decade before I was born, I can say that I saw The Exorcist in the cinema in the late 90’s. Someone might be able to clarify if that was after the ban was lifted or simply the Director’s cut.

Like any great horror, it taps into the audience’s primal fears such as the unknown, madness, random evil and transformation. It has some of the most memorable and recognisable scenes from any film and sets the bar for what real horrors must achieve. No matter how many times I watch this movie, it will always be through my fingers and it will always scare the bejesus out of me.

Honorable mentions: So what didn’t quite make my cut but deserve a mention and recommendation? The Strangers, The Mouth of Madness, Descent, Rosemary’s Baby, Deliverance, Wrong Turn, Night of The Hunter, Cape Fear, The Village, Death Watch, Dog Soldiers and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre for a start.

I also have it on good authority that The Orphanage, (Produced by Guillermo Del Toro) is a horror masterpiece but I have yet to see it all. It’s on the to-do list.

One final question, now that the boy isn’t drinking for a month, do we need to change the title of the series?

Don’t worry about the title – I’m sure you’ll drink enough for both of us.

Firstly, apologies for the delay in posting the list this week. It’s my fault. As easy as Lottie found it to put her top five together, I’m finding it next to impossible. I am a horror nut – it’s without a doubt my favourite genre and I enjoy every piece of mulch the genre spits out. From the epic Shining, to the kitch Nightmare on Elm Street, from the torture porn of the Saw franchise to the skewed vision of Scream, I love it all. How can I pick my top five? I’m not sure I can…

Darren’s Top Five Horror Movies

5. A Nightmare on Elm Street

One, two, Freddy’s coming for you.
Three, four, better lock your door.

Five, six, grab your crucifix.

Seven, eight, better stay awake.
Nine, ten, never sleep again.

In my notepad I have a list of about 20 horrors, which I am struggling to dwindle to five. What could I put in fifth place instead of Freddy’s first outing? I looked at the lost in the woods films such as Cabin Fever, Wrong Turn and even Wolf Creek. I thought about the werewolf movies that I have watched time and time again, American Werewolf in London and Dog Soldiers. There’s a lot to be said for adding the sweeping horror-dramas of Dracula, Interview with a Vampire, Rosemary’s Baby and even M. Night’s The Village, but this list would we deficient if I didn’t include the movie that first got me hooked on horror.

Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street introduced the world to one of the greatest screen villains ever, Freddy Krueger. Because of the farcical nature of the subsequent franchise, people tend to forget how chilling the original was – it tapped into the most frightening place anyone has ever been – dreams – and played with all the common dream scenarios to create a frightening but clever horror that never took itself too seriously, but made sure to wring every drip of terror out of each scene.

The franchise that it spawned was fun and resulted in at least two great movies – the second sequel, Dream Warriors, turned the dream sequences into mini-movies and was as origianl as the first, while Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (the 7th in the series) broke the forth dimension to create a forerunner for Scream. More than Jason Voorhees, more than Mike Myers, even more than Norman Bates or Hannibal Lecter, Fred Krueger is the ultimate horror creation. Why? Because as much as we are scared by him, as much as we hate him and are disgusted by him…we love him too.

4. The Ring

What will happen to the person we show it to?

The Ring (US) did not scare me as much as The Grudge (US), but without it we would not have had the influx of Eastern inspired creepy horror that was so prevalent in the early Naughties. The creepy kid, the use of technology as an horrific force, the warped hair and body movements. In 2002, it was the first truly scary horror I had seen in years.

3. The Shining

Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya. You didn’t let me finish my sentence. I said, I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in.

A Stephen King adaptation was destined to appear in the list. The stuff of children’s nightmares, Pennywise the Clown in It, has become dated and Misery is more a thriller than horror (IMO). Carrie, Christine and Pet Semetary are fun, but The Shining eclipses all of these. Dark, grand in scale and as beautiful as it is chilling, Kubrick’s classic stands the test of time and is terrifying in a more cerebral way than many other horrors. It pains me that so many people that I know still haven’t seen this. It is one of the most ‘must see’ movies ever. Sort yourself out, O’Shea.

2.The Exorcist

Mother? What’s wrong with me?

How could this not be on the list? The darkest and most evil of all horrors. I think if you grow up with a belief in God, this movie is made all that much scarier. When I finally saw this film in the cinema, it was with a group of loud lads and girls, ready for a night out and not too interested in the scary side of the film – it was all abotu having a laugh at the movies with friends. Within minutes of the film starting, we were deathly silent and remained gripped until the end. Even when nothing is happening on screen, it’s scary. Though parodied to death, when watching ti for the first time, it’s the most unpredictable and terrifying of all horror movies ever made. Forget Freddy, forget inbred cannibals in the woods, forget crazed chainsaw killers or psychos with dead mothers. The evil in The Exorcist is faceless – almost.

1. Scream

Life is like a movie. Only you can’t pick your genre.

You might think this a strange choice. First and foremost, it is a horror – there are plenty of jumps and gore – but it is also a comedy and an extremely clever deconstruction and reconstruction of the entire horror genre. Scream revitalized the genre in the mid 90s, similar to the what Halloween did in the 1970’s, but it used a standard concept with a tongue-in-cheek approach that combined straightforward scares with the satirisation of slasher film conventions. For a horror movie buff, Scream both laughs at its genre and celebrates it all at once. Wes Craven created the ultimate horror homage, and managed to frighten  a few people along the way. Granted the sequels left a lot to be desired and the plans to make another Scream trilogy do not fill me with joy, but Scream is not just a groundbreaking horror, it is a seminal piece of filmmaking in terms of reinvigourating a dying genre.

Honorable mentions: It was tough to leave Saw out of this list. So too, Childs Play, Jeepers Creepers, Event Horizon, In the Mouth of Madness, Decent and a scary part of my childhood, Dark Night of the Scarecrow.

So, over to you – what are your favourite horrors? What makes you scream?

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About the Author

The couple that blogs together, stays together. Check out here and here for other posts by Darren. Click here and here for posts by Lottie.

27 Responses to Two Sheets To The Wind: Top 5 Horrors

  1. roosta says:

    1. John Carpenter’s Halloween
    Just brilliant, and also one of my favourite films of any genre

    2. The Shining
    Still terrifying

    3. The Fog
    A completely underrated film…nearly as good as Halloween

    4. Dawn of the Dead (original)
    Thought-provoking, smart, thrilling

    5. The Exorcist
    Not much to say, epic film making.

    Honourable mentions:
    Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th part 2, Ringu, Prince of Darkness, Night of the Living Dead, Day of the Dead (originals only please)

  2. Allan says:

    Don’t Look Now. Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie in Venice mourning the loss of their daughter, until Sutherland starts seeing a little girl in a red coat.
    Only time I’ve ever screamed.

  3. Lottie says:

    @Allan – I’ve heard of that. **Scurries off to seach the internet for a copy.**

    @Roosta – Ooh yes The Fog! Totally! Totally! Probably one of the best use of basic effects in any movie.

    @Darren – so much for having differing lists. Note to self – must see The Shining.

  4. Ronan says:

    I never really considered The Shining a horror film, more tense than horror. Like Pyscho. It’s a fantastic film though.

    My top 5.
    5. Ringu (The Japanese Ring)
    4. The Exorcist
    3. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
    2. The Orphanage
    1. The Omen

  5. Stan says:

    Today my top 5 horror films are The Wicker Man (1973), Santa Sangre, Freaks, Don’t Look Now, and The Shining. Tomorrow it could be a different set, e.g. Alien, The Thing (1982), The Fly (1986), The Vanishing (1988), Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1973). Or Psycho, Peeping Tom, Nosferatu, Night of the Living Dead, Evil Dead 2.

    Dammit, it’s too difficult to choose. A top 100 would be easier. Most of the above are fairly old. The only recent horror films that have impressed me came from the Far East, e.g. The Host, Ringu, Audition, Tale of Two Sisters, Kairo. I didn’t think much of The Orphanage, but then I’m very fussy. It did nothing The Innocents hadn’t already done to better effect.

    Horror films that give me sleepless (or at least restless) nights tend to be ones that are unpleasant rather than entertaining, e.g. Last House on the Left (again, the original) and Cannibal Holocaust. But I wouldn’t exactly recommend them to anyone.

  6. Stan says:

    Writing multiple lists is cheating, I suppose. Sorry, I got carried away in my enthusiasm for horror! Should’ve followed Allan’s minimalist lead – and he picked a great one.

  7. Lottie says:

    Okay just watched The Shining…

    In 30 Seconds…



  8. fustar says:

    Impossible to pick 5 but off the top of my head (and in no order)…

    The Thing (Nyby/Hawks & Carpenter versions)
    Dawn of the Dead (Romero)
    Candyman (best horror of the last 20 years)
    Haxan (not a horror exactly, I suppose, but still)
    Frankenstein Created Woman (Hammer at their most perverse)

    Those 5 merely representing tonight’s mood.

  9. fustar says:

    Also, props to Roosta for Prince of Darkness mention. Love it.

  10. Darren Byrne says:

    You know, I can’t believe I didn’t mention The Omen. It’s terrifying. Top five though? Maybe not.

    @roosta John Carpenter is a genius.The Thing scared the bejaysus out of me when I was younger. Now I just appreciate it as a great sci-fi film.

    @Allan I sat down to watch it one evening and wasn’t in the humour, so swiched it off. I think my view of it is tainted by the many parodies that have been done of it since.

    @Ronan We have The Orphanage sitting at home to watch. Looking forward ot it.

    @Stan Listing the entire IMDB catalogue of horrors is not acceptable. You need to limit yourself. The Wicker Man didn’t do much for me though. And for some reason I’ve just been reminded of an awful old Hugh Grant horror – The Lair of the White Worm. It may have been soft core porn though. It’s many years since I’ve seen it.

    @Fustar Confession – I have yet to see Candyman.

    Thanks for all the comments guys – greatly appreciated. I really enjoy doing these posts.

  11. darraghdoyle says:

    I really can’t believe neither of you were freaked by The Omen. It is the only movie I watch specifically to be freaked by. I believe the theme has the honour of only Oscar ever won for a horror movie soundtrack? The vocal “Ave Santani” still sends shivers up and down my spine.

    Another one is The Blair Witch Project! Jaysis, shudders of seeing that for the first and only time.

    As a kid, Child’s Play was pretty terrorific, as was Carrie, Halloween and Rosemary’s Baby. Psycho and The Birds, though probably not how you’d define “horror” also come to mind.

    Couldn’t tell you the last time I saw a horror movie – oh wait, it was SAW, which was a bit meh – though I was VERY unsettled by the first Final Destination movie. I’m looking forward to the 3D one they’re releasing this year!

    Any movie where the director messes with your head is a good thing.

  12. Ronan says:

    @darragh You should definitely watch the Orphanage, the best horror film to come out since the 80s probably.

  13. Peter says:

    Well now here is a list I can get my claws/fangs/tentacles into!

    Lottie – I have to give my vote to Darren this week. For the simple reason you including such a pile of doggie doodoo as Jeepers Feckin Creepers. It could have been great – it could have been a classic. The first hour or so was very strong. So strong that the complete travesty of the last 20 minutes is unforgivable. Just felt like someone made a great movie, then gave up.

    I like Horror films. Probably my 2nd most favourite genre. It brings back thoughts and images of when I was younger and the thrill of watching a horror when you were in your low teens and were not meant to watch it. Pretending to be brave while sh*tting a brick. Fear is the quickest and most dependable emotion that movie makers can bring out in us.

    So I have a duty to my younger self to put some thought into my choices:

    Pubescent Girl with Telekinetic powers goes ape-shit
    I was hesitant to put this up as one of my fav horror movies as for me its all in the pay off with this movie. It builds up in a creepy way to be true but the climax of this movie os one of the most memorable in horror movies. I am not a huge fan of Stephen King – but this is one of the best adaptions of his work. Also – who didnt want telekentic powers when they were younger to teach bullies a lesson! This only just pipped American Werewolf in London to my list.

    Dawn of the Dead – Remake
    Zombies take over the world while survivors hide in the pinacle of modern construction – the mall
    Being a bit controversial with this one I think. A remake of a classic on the list and not the original?!? Yeah I like Romeros 2nd outting into the Zomiverse. Its got a find place in my teen heart. But any doubts I had about a remake were quickly forgotten 10 minutes into Zack Snyders remake. One of the core films this millenium that injected some life into the Zombie franchise (geddit?!)

    The Thing
    Scientisit discover an alien frozen in the ice – set to defrost and watch the gore!
    A remake of a 50’s B horror about essentially a giant kilelr vegetable. John Captenters the thing was a one of the most graphic filsm of its day. It scores on ever level. Its creepy, its gory, it makes you jump, the music score is unbelivable, it makes you think and it has one of the best movie endings of all time. This for me was Carpenter at his pinacle.

    A Nightmare on Elm Street
    One two Freddies coming for you
    Forget the films that came after that robbed Freddy of his horror and turned him into just another slasher. This may be one of the greatest premise for a Horror – I mean what is scarrier than being attacked in your sleep? Its worn a bit with age but but is still creepy and atmospheric. This is the film that Wes craven should be the proudest of.

    Evil Dead 2
    Note to self: If you find a book covered in skin and written in blood about how to raise, not only the dead, but the EVIL DEAD – eh dont read it out loud!
    The almighty Bruce proves he is the most shameless leading man in the entire history of cinema. This is the most fun you will ever have been scared. Fresh, frentic, frightening. Banned for years and now rightly being seen as one of the best horror movies of all time. Its not intellignet (really? you say) but it is a hell of a ride. Possible one of my most favourite films of all time. In fact I am such a fan I have the graphic novels up to and including – Army of Darkness Vs the Marvel Zombies. Hail to the King baby – hail to the King

    I had a huge list like you Darren so honourable mention to – Nosteratu; Poltergeist, American Werewolf in London; The Exorcist and Jaws (yes it is a bloody horror!)

  14. Child’s play scared the living snot out of me when I was a kid. I remember seeing a newspaper headline where they had taken a single line from a review reading “Doll comes to life and kill family”.

    That’s all a 7 year old needed to hear before he cleared out his room of everything inanimate with eyes and legs.

    When I eventually saw the films, they were scarier than I could have imagined.

    The Exorcist is by far the best horror movie of all time.

    The Shining is a great movie, but I dare you to read the book. From start to finish without having to hide the book and not even look at the place where you have it hidden.

  15. Horror – also my favourite genre. My Top 5:

    5. Rec (Spanish version)
    4. 28 Days Later
    3. El Espinazo del Diablo
    2. Evil Dead II
    1. The Thing

  16. Emlyn says:

    This is a tough one!! But here’s A top five of my favourite horror movies:

    1) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – okay, it’s relatively bloodless (surprisely enough), but like a bad rash just itches and makes youe skin crawl. Grittely (pardon my spelling) shot, it looks more like a documentary and really captures a hot, sticky and downright nightmarish mood. Also borders on being blackly funny with the various clan members antics – though Leatherface is paradoxically the most pathetic of the bunch as well as being the most terrifying. A true classic of the genre.

    2) An American Werewolf in London – Scary, groundbreaking, funny, and at times quite sad. The scenes on the moors are atmospheric and quite scary, and the werewolf transformation itself being an absolute showstopper (still to this day i think). Love ‘The Howling’ as well, but this is just that bit more ahead in all departments.

    3) The Haunting – the original Robert Wise movie and not that godawful CGI-laden remake. Incredibly atmospheric use of camera, sound and suggestion – really shows the power of what-you-DON’T-show can scare you.

    4) Halloween – the original John Carpenter. What can i say? Scary, atmospheric, and again, relativly bloodless. Pity about the sequels and remakes!!

    5) Jaws – and to agree with Pete, it is a horror movie! Still makes you afraid to venture into water of any sort. Brillantly paced, scored, acted and directed! Almost my favourite movie of all time actually!!

    Honourable mentions – Dawn of the Dead, The Thing, Salem’s Lot, Hellraiser, Onibaba, Ringu, The Exorcist and many more…

  17. Emlyn says:

    Damn, if there was a number 6, then it would be The Wicker Man (original)!!

  18. Virtual Haze says:

    1. Wolf Creek
    2. The Grudge
    3. The Hills Have Eyes (the first one)
    4. The Omen
    5. Blair Witch Project


  19. Allan says:

    @Stan, everyone should follow my lead.
    Wickerman is a classic as well. I agree that the Shining transcends horror somewhat, it actually plays on specific nerves instead of the jumpy guts that ent(r)ail most horror.

  20. Stan says:

    @Darren: Fair enough – I’ll mention Bride of Frankenstein, Re-Animator, Videodrome, Eyes Without A Face, and Rosemary’s Baby some other time ; )

    @Allan: Another Allan wrote a pretty good book about the production of The Wicker Man; it’s an even stranger story than what ended up on film, e.g. the original print was buried under a motorway, and Rod Stewart tried to block the film’s release because of Britt Ekland’s (his then-girlfriend) naked wall-slapping scene. Hence the butt-double. Great soundtrack too, though The Shining’s is better again.

  21. Lottie says:

    Ooh that featured image image is freaky. Brrr!

  22. Blarrrrgh says:

    Both those lists are unbelivably weak. Im disapointed with you both 😉

  23. Lottie says:

    @Blarrrrgh- well come on then-contribute. Give us your top 5.

  24. Rick says:

    I’ve seen The Exorcist out of both your Top 5s…

    And I genuinely think the only movie that’s scared the bejeesus out of me was 28 Days Later.

  25. Darren Byrne says:

    @Doyle Really looking forward to the next Final Destination. I know it’ll be stupid and void of plot, but that’s not why I watch them. 3D dude, 3D!!

    @Ronan Finally watched The Orphanage. Not sure if it’s worthy of my Top 5, but it really was an incredible movie. So moving. I was amazed by it.

    @Peter Thank you, Sir. I look forward to your weekly contribution. Maybe we should post as Darren, Lottie and Peter. 🙂

    Carrie hasn’t aged well, I think. I couldn’t put it in my top 10 even. As for the Dawn of the Dead remake – thank you – I agree. It took the original and added adrenalin and proved that remakes can be as good as the original, of not better (of course Cape Fear is also good evidence of this). I never really got into the whole Evil Dead thing. I must give them another go.

    @The Colonel I’m not sure I even finished reading The Shining when I was young. Terrifying.

    @Venntertainment Kudos for including The Thing.

    @Emlyn Jaws? Really? Granted, I’m not a fan of the beach since seeing that movie, but best horror?

    @Virtual Haze I’m one of the people who loved Blair Witch – I even enjoyed the sequel. *ducks for cover*

    @Rick 28 Days Later is a phenomenal film. I really should have included it.

  26. Peter says:

    @ Darren – nah – my brief updates aren’t a patch on you and Lottie!
    Carrie has aged badly but I am measuring this and putting it in the context of when it was originally out. Its also been copied to death but if you look at it without the filters of films that came after it then its a great movie. It nearly made my list just on the final 60 seconds!
    And by the way – if you ever want me to talk to you again you will never EVER say a bad word about evil dead! But one word of advice – you need to watch these movies in company to get their full effects. Evil Dead 2 is by far the pinacle of the trilogy – although I am happy to loan you Evil Dead Vs Marvel Zombies

  27. Virtual Haze says:

    @darren wow it takes guts to admit that you liked the sequel; it’s the kind of admission that should only be muttered under the covers with a flashlight 🙂

    As for 28 days later – I 100% agree with all. It’s right up there….

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