Tuesday, 18 August 2009

My Top 20 Horror Films Of The Last 20 Years

A couple of weeks ago I expressed my disbelief at Entertainment Weekly critic Owen Gleiberman's choice of the best 20 horror films of the last 20 years. I said then I would come up with my own list and here it is, a little later than I'd originally planned, but here nevertheless.

I decided not to put the titles in any order of preference — too difficult — so the list runs alphabetically.

Please feel free to chime in and agree or disagree, your comments are always welcome and positively encouraged. I'm sure there will be some disagreement, certainly over what constitutes a horror film, since some of my choices probably wouldn't fit everybody's idea of horror, but I'd argue that every single one is, to some degree or other, horrific and scary.

So, here you have it, reel world matters' Top 20 Horror Films Of The Last 20 Years:

Audition (Dir. Takashi Miike) Man's worst nightmare.

Battle Royale (Dir. Kinji Fukasaku) Kids with guns. And knives.

The Blair Witch Project (Dirs. Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez ) Gets me every time.

Candyman (Dir. Bernard Rose) Chilling urban horror.

The Descent (Dir. Neil Marshall) With the UK ending, obviously.

The Devil's Backbone (Dir. Guillermo Del Toro) Poetic and horrific in equal measure.

Ginger Snaps (Dir. John Fawcett) Puberty + werewolves.

Irreversible (Dir. Gasper Noe) Every woman's (and man's) worst nightmare.

Jacob's Ladder (Dir. Adrian Lyne) Paranoia and demons, a winning combination.

Let The Right One In (Dir. Tomas Alfredson) Best vampire film in an age.

Lost Highway (Dir. David Lynch) Freaky deaky scary.

May (Dir. Lucky McKee) Odd. And crazy.

Oldboy (Dir. Park Chan-wook) Crazy Koreans.

Ravenous (Dir. Antonia Bird) Robert Carlyle's cannibal. Nuff said.

[REC] (Dirs. Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plazo) Scary as hell.

Ringu (Dir. Hideo Nakata) The original and best.

A Simple Plan (Dir. Sam Raimi) What greed can do.

Se7en (Dir. David Fincher) A mind fuck, pure and simple.

28 Days Later (Dir. Danny Boyle) The best zombie (ok, infected) movie since Dawn Of The Dead. And they run.

Wolf Creek (Dir. Greg Mclean) Throughly nasty villain.


Unknown said...

Nice inclusion of CANDYMAN and GINGER SNAPS, two horror films that don't get enough love IMO.

As far as J-horror goes, have you ever seen UZUMAKI? It is a genuinely creepy and unsettling film.

Mark Salisbury said...

Can't say I have. I will have to check it out.

I love Ginger Snaps. Never saw the sequels, but the original was top drawer. And not a bit of CGI in sight.

As for Candyman, if I had to choose one title to head this list, it would probably be that one.

Gerard said...

No Sweeney? Or Coraline? :P

Top list! And I really liked Ginger Snaps, too. Oldboy's an interesting inclusion. I've never thought of it as a horror film, but I certainly understand why it's here.

And, just for the record, I love A Simple Plan. Mightily underrated, that film.

Mark Salisbury said...

I think A Simple Plan is Raimi's best film. It's a great book too. And a terrific adaptation. In some ways, Scott Smith improved upon his book when adapting it for film.

Loved Sweeney, of course, but it didn't scare me or horrify me in the way the others did.

As for Oldboy, I agree it's not the most obvious choice, but the idea of keeping a man locked up for that length of time, with the psychological cruelty inflicted upon him, strikes me as terrifying and cruel and horrific...

Unknown said...

UZUMAKI is definitely worth checking out. As for other top horror films in past years, I really thought that THE DEVIL'S REJECTS was something special. A lot of people like to hate Rob Zombie but I think he shows a lot of promise and this is definitely the best thing he's done so far.

Mark Salisbury said...

You know, I've never seen The Devil's Rejects. Keep meaning to, but just never happened.

Uzumaki I will definitely make a point of seeing, though.

Adam Newell said...

I'd include Dead Ringers: no film has left me more disturbed as I left the cinema....

Gina Sackman said...

Oldboy - just watched that finally last night. Didn't want to go to sleep last night. Still don't want to tonight. Good choice for this even though one probably would find it in "Action" rather than "Horror"; to me it is very much the latter.

Mark Salisbury said...

@ Adam

Good choice. I could easily replace Audition with it.

@ Gina

I´d argue that if you didn´t want to sleep after watching it, it´s more horror than action. I think the best horrors are the ones that get you inside, rather than films that rely on boos and jumps.

Gina Sackman said...

Agreed completely, Mark - did I word something badly? lol Regardless, that's exactly what I meant; that Oldboy certainly is horror to me, more than action anyhow. I just meant that it'd probably be found under Action in a store. A friend who told me to watch the film as soon as I had the chance to didn't warn me of the horror factor - of course, he wanted to avoid spoiling me, but a little warning would have been nice.

Mark Salisbury said...

Sorry, my mistake. I thought you were suggesting it was action...

I saw the film the first time at the big cinema at Cannes. Boy, that was a shock. The hammer pounding and the squid especially...

Melody Perkins said...

28 Days Later and Wolf Creek are the ones that jump out from that list. However, I think the best horror films of the last twenty years are the "All Night Long" trilogy. They are very much in the same vein as Audition - although they precede that film. Parts 2 & 3 are deeply unsettling. Part 2 I think is the standout as the homosexual leader of a vicious gang of street thugs takes a liking to shy locally resident computer programmer, and decides that he's going to be his next boyfriend much to the young man's horror! If you have Audition on your list you really have to check out these films.