||Top 10 Halloween Movies
10. Frankenstein (1931)
is a 1931 Pre-Code Horror Monster film from Universal Pictures directed
by James Whale and adapted from the play by Peggy Webling which in turn
is based on the novel of the same name by Mary Shelley.
The film stars
Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles and Boris Karloff, and features
Dwight Frye and Edward van Sloan. The Webling play was adapted by John
L. Balderston and the screenplay written by Francis Edward Faragoh and
Garrett Fort with uncredited contributions from Robert Florey and John
Russell. The make-up artist was Jack Pierce.
Frankenstein received universal acclaim from critics and is widely regarded as one of the best films of 1931, as well as one of the greatest movies of all time. It holds a 100% "Fresh" rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.
In 1991, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant". In 2004, The New York Times placed the film on its Best 1000 Movies Ever list. Frankenstein also received recognition from the American Film Institute. It was named the 87th greatest movie of all time on 100 Years... 100 Movies.
The line "It's alive! It's alive!" was ranked as the 49th greatest movie quote in American cinema. The film was on the ballot for several of AFI's 100 series lists, including AFI's 10 Top 10 for the sci-fi category, 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition), and twice on 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains for both Dr. Henry Frankenstein and the Monster in the villains category.
The film was ranked number 56 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills, a list of America's most heart-pounding movies. It was also ranked number 27 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments. Additionally, the Chicago Film Critics Association named it the 14th scariest film ever made.
9. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
An American Werewolf in London is a 1981 British-American horror film, written and directed by John Landis. It stars David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, and Griffin Dunne.
The film starts with two young American men, David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) on a backpacking holiday in England. Following an awkwardly tense visit to a village pub, the two men venture deep into the moors at night.
They are attacked by a werewolf, which results in Jack's death and David being taken to a London hospital. Through apparitions of his dead friend and disturbing dream sequences, David becomes informed that he is a werewolf and will transform at the next full moon.
Shooting took place mostly in London but also in Surrey and Wales. It was released in the United States on August 21, 1981 and grossed $30.56 million at the box office.
Critics generated mostly favourable reviews for the film. The movie won the 1981 Saturn Award for Best Horror Film and an Academy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup. The film was one of three high-profile wolf-themed horror films released in 1981, alongside The Howling and Wolfen.
Over the years, the film has accumulated a cult following and has been referred to as a cult classic. Empire magazine also named An American Werewolf in London as the 107th greatest movie of all time in September 2008. The film was followed by a 1997 sequel, An American Werewolf in Paris, which featured a completely different cast and none of the original crew, and is distributed by Disney's Hollywood Pictures.
8. Dracula (1992)
Dracula (also known as Bram Stoker's Dracula) is a 1992 American Gothic horror-romance film directed and co-produced by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker.
It stars Gary Oldman as Count Dracula and Winona Ryder as Mina Harker, also featuring Anthony Hopkins as Professor Abraham Van Helsing, Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker, and Sadie Frost as Lucy Westenra.
Dracula was greeted by a generally positive critical reception and was a box office hit. The film's score was composed by Wojciech Kilar and featured "Love Song for a Vampire" by Annie Lennox as the closing credits theme.
The film won three Academy Awards, Best Costume Design (Eiko Ishioka), Best Sound Effects Editing (Tom C. McCarthy, David E. Stone) and Best Makeup (Greg Cannom, Michèle Burke, Matthew W. Mungle) and was nominated for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Thomas E. Sanders, Garrett Lewis).
It also won four Saturn Awards, with Best Director and Best Actor for Coppola and Oldman, respectively. In 2011, Total Film named Oldman's portrayal of Dracula as one of the ten best performances of his career.
7. The Ring (2002)
The Ring is a 2002 American psychological horror film directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Naomi Watts and Martin Henderson. It is a remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ring.
Both films are based on Koji Suzuki's novel Ring and focus on a mysterious cursed videotape which contains a seemingly random series of disturbing images.
After watching the tape, the viewer receives a phone call in which a girl's spooky voice announces that the viewer will die in seven days. The film was a critical and commercial success.
In order to advertise The Ring, many promotional websites were formed featuring the characters and places in the film. The film was financially successful; the box office gross actually increased from its 1st weekend to its 2nd, as the initial success led DreamWorks to roll the film into 700 additional theaters.
The Ring made $8.3 million in its first two weeks in Japan, compared to Ring's $6.6 million total box-office gross. The success of The Ring opened the way for American remakes of several other Japanese horror films, including The Grudge and Dark Water. A sequel, The Ring Two, was released in North American theaters on March 18, 2005. It was directed by Hideo Nakata, the director of Ring.The Ring met with generally positive reviews from film critics, receiving 72% favorable reviews out of 167 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and a Metacritic score of 57/100 (mixed or average) from 36 reviews.
6. Halloween (1978)
Halloween is a 1978 American independent horror film directed, produced, and scored by John Carpenter, co-written with Debra Hill, and starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis in her film debut and the first installment in the Halloween franchise.
The film is set in the fictional midwestern town of Haddonfield, Illinois. On Halloween, six year old Michael Myers murders his older sister by stabbing her with a kitchen knife.
Fifteen years later, he escapes from a psychiatric hospital, returns home, and stalks teenager Laurie Strode and her friends. Michael's psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis suspects Michael's intentions, and follows him to Haddonfield to try to prevent him from killing.
Halloween was produced on a budget of $325,000 and grossed $47 million at the box office in the United States, and $60 million worldwide, equivalent to over $203 million as of 2010, becoming one of the most profitable independent films.
Many critics credit the film as the first in a long line of slasher films inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). Halloween had many imitators and originated several clichés found in low-budget horror films of the 1980s and 1990s. Unlike many of its imitators, Halloween contains little graphic violence and gore.
In 2006, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". Some critics have suggested that Halloween may encourage sadism and misogyny by identifying audiences with its villain.
Other critics have suggested the film is a social critique of the immorality of youth and teenagers in 1970s America, with many of Myers's victims being sexually promiscuous substance abusers, while the lone heroine is depicted as chaste and innocent hence her survival (the lone survivor is seen smoking marijuana in one scene). Carpenter dismisses such analyses. Several of Halloween's techniques and plot elements, although not founded in this film, have nonetheless become a standard slasher movie trope.
5. Poltergeist (1982)
Poltergeist is a 1982 American horror film, directed by Tobe Hooper and produced by Steven Spielberg, and is the first and most successful film of the Poltergeist film trilogy.
Set in a California suburb, the plot focuses on a family whose home is invaded by malevolent ghosts that abduct the family's youngest daughter.
The film was ranked as #80 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments and the Chicago Film Critics Association named it the 20th scariest film ever made.
The film also appeared as #84 on American Film Institute's 100 Years... 100 Thrills, a list of America's most heart-pounding movies. Poltergeist was also nominated for three Academy Awards. The Poltergeist franchise is often said to be cursed due to the premature deaths of several people associated with the film. "The Poltergeist Curse" has been the focus of an E! True Hollywood Story.
Poltergeist was a box office success worldwide. The film grossed $76,606,280 in the United States, making it the highest-grossing horror film of 1982 and 8th overall for the year. Poltergeist was well received by critics and is considered by many as one of the best films of 1982.
The film received three Academy Award nominations: Best Original Score, Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Visual Effects. Nearly 30 years after its release, the film is regarded by many critics as a classic of the horror genre and maintains an 86% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Poltergeist was selected by The New York Times as one of The Best 1000 Movies Ever Made. The film also received recognition from the American Film Institute. The film ranked number 84 on AFI's 100 Years…100 Thrills list, and the tag line "They're here" was named the 69th greatest movie quote on AFI's 100 Years…100 Movie Quotes.
4. The Shining (1980)
The Shining is a 1980 psychological horror film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, co-written with novelist Diane Johnson, and starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and Danny Lloyd. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King.
A writer, Jack Torrance, takes a job as an off-season caretaker at an isolated hotel. His young son possesses psychic abilities and is able to see things in the future and past, such as the ghosts who inhabit the hotel.
Soon after moving in (after a winter storm that leaves the family snowed in) Jack becomes influenced by a supernatural presence at the hotel; he descends into madness and attempts to murder his wife and son.
Unlike previous Kubrick films, which developed an audience gradually by building on word-of-mouth, The Shining was released as a mass-market film, opening at first in just two cities on Memorial Day, then nationwide a month later.
Although initial response to the film was mixed, later critical assessment was more favorable and it is now viewed as a classic of the horror genre. Film director Martin Scorsese, writing in The Daily Beast, ranked it as one of the 11 scariest horror movies of all time. Film critics, film students, and Kubrick's producer, Jan Harlan, have all remarked on the enormous influence the film has had on popular culture.
3. Psycho (1960)
Psycho is a 1960 American horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins. The film is based on the screenplay by Joseph Stefano, who adapted it from the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The novel was loosely inspired by the crimes of Wisconsin murderer and grave robber Ed Gein, who lived just 40 miles from Bloch.
The film depicts the encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane (Leigh), hiding at a secluded motel after embezzling money from her employer, and the motel's disturbed owner and manager, Norman Bates (Perkins), and the aftermath of their encounter.
Psycho initially received mixed reviews, but outstanding box office returns prompted a re-review which was overwhelmingly positive and led to four Academy Award nominations.
Psycho is now considered one of Hitchcock's best films and is highly praised as a work of cinematic art by international critics. The film spawned two sequels, a prequel, a remake, and a television movie spin-off. In 1992, the film was selected to be preserved by The Library of Congress at The National Film Registry. The film is often categorized by multiple sources as a drama, horror, mystery and thriller film.
The public loved the film, with lines stretching outside of theaters as people had to wait for the next showing. It broke box-office records in Japan, China and the rest of Asia, France, Britain, South America, the United States, and Canada, and was a moderate success in Australia for a brief period. It is one of the largest-grossing black-and-white films and helped make Hitchcock a multimillionaire and the third-largest shareholder in Universal. Psycho was, by a large margin, the top moneymaking film of Hitchcock's career, earning $11,200,000.
2. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Night of the Living Dead is a 1968 American independent black-and-white zombie film and cult film directed by George A. Romero, starring Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea and Karl Hardman.
It premiered on October 1, 1968, and was completed on a USD$114,000 budget. After decades of cinematic re-releases, it grossed $12 million domestically and $18 million internationally.
Night of the Living Dead was heavily criticized during its release because of its explicit content. However, it eventually received critical acclaim and was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry as a film deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant."
The film entered the public domain due to an error by the distributor. The plot of the film follows Ben Huss (Duane Jones), Barbra (Judith O'Dea), and five others, who are trapped in a rural farmhouse in Pennsylvania and attempt to survive the night while the house is being attacked by mysteriously reanimated ghouls, otherwise known as zombies.
Night of the Living Dead is the origin of six other Living Dead films directed by George A. Romero and became the inspiration for two remakes of the film, a 1990 film of the same name directed by Tom Savini, and Night of the Living Dead 3D in 2006, which was directed by Jeff Broadstreet and contained a much different storyline.
More than 40 years after its release, the film enjoys a reputation as a classic and still receives positive reviews; Night of the Living Dead currently holds a 96% "Certified Fresh" rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, and it is regarded by many as one of the best films of 1968.
In 2008, the film was selected by Empire magazine as one of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time. The New York Times also placed the film on their Best 1000 Movies Ever list. In January 2010, Total Film included the film on its list of The 100 Greatest Movies of All Time. Rolling Stone magazine named Night of the Living Dead one of The 100 Maverick Movies in the Last 100 Years.
1. The Exorcist (1973)
The Exorcist is a 1973 American horror film directed by William Friedkin, adapted from the 1971 novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty and based on the exorcism case of Robbie Mannheim, dealing with the demonic possession of a young girl and her mother’s desperate attempts to win back her daughter through an exorcism conducted by two priests.
The film features Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Jason Miller and Linda Blair. The film is one of a cycle of 'demonic child' movies produced in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including Rosemary's Baby and The Omen.
The Exorcist was released theatrically in the United States by Warner Bros. on December 26, 1973. The film earned ten Academy Award nominations—winning two, one for Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay, and losing Best Picture to The Sting. It became one of highest earning movies of all time, grossing $441 million worldwide. The film has had a huge effect on popular culture. It was named the scariest movie of all time by Entertainment Weekly and Movies.com and by viewers of AMC in 2006, and was #3 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments. The film was selected in 2010 to be preserved by the Library of Congress as part of its National Film Registry.
Many of the film's participants claimed the film was cursed. Writer Blatty stated on video that there were some strange occurrences during the filming. Lead actress Burstyn indicated some rumors are true in her 2006 autobiography Lessons in Becoming Myself. Due to a studio fire, the interior sets of the MacNeil residence (with the exception of Regan's bedroom) had to be rebuilt and caused a setback in pre-production.
Friedkin claimed that a priest was brought in numerous times to bless the set. After difficulties encountered in the New York production, Blatty asked Fr. King to bless the Washington crew on its first day of filming at the foot of Lauinger Library's steps to 37th Street. The incident was recounted in Fr. King's 2009 Washington Post obituary.
Other issues include Blair's harness breaking when she is thrashing on the bed causing permanent damage to the actor's spine. While filming the vaginal crucifix stabbing scene, Ellen Burstyn was seriously injured when the crew pulled her harness too hard after Blair hits her across the bedroom. Irish actor Jack MacGowran died from influenza shortly after he filmed his role as director Burke Dennings. The son of Mercedes McCambridge killed himself, his wife, and children in a murder-suicide in 1987.
Upon its December 26, 1973 release, the film received mixed reviews from critics, "ranging from ‘classic’ to ‘claptrap'." Stanley Kauffmann, in The New Republic, wrote, "This is the scariest film I’ve seen in years — the only scary film I’ve seen in years…If you want to be shaken — and I found out, while the picture was going, that that’s what I wanted — then The Exorcist will scare the hell out of you."
The Exorcist was also at the center of controversy due to its alleged use of subliminal imagery. A detailed article in the July/August 1991 issue of Video Watchdog examined the phenomenon, providing still frames identifying several usages of subliminal "flashing" throughout the film.
In an interview from the same issue, Friedkin explained, "I saw subliminal cuts in a number of films before I ever put them in The Exorcist, and I thought it was a very effective storytelling device... The subliminal editing in The Exorcist was done for dramatic effect — to create, achieve, and sustain a kind of dreamlike state."
However, these quick, scary flashes have been labeled "[not] truly subliminal" and "quasi-" or "semi-subliminal". True subliminal imagery must be, by definition, below the threshold of awareness.
In an interview in a 1999 book about the film, The Exorcist author Blatty addressed the controversy by explaining that, "There are no subliminal images. If you can see it, it's not subliminal."
Variety noted that it was "an expert telling of a supernatural horror story…The climactic sequences assault the senses and the intellect with pure cinematic terror."
In Castle of Frankenstein, Joe Dante stated, "An amazing film, and one destined to become at the very least a horror classic. Director Friedkin’s film will be profoundly disturbing to all audiences, especially the more sensitive and those who tend to 'live' the movies they see…Suffice it to say, there has never been anything like this on the screen before."
However, Vincent Canby, writing in the New York Times, dismissed The Exorcist as "a chunk of elegant occultist claptrap…A practically impossible film to sit through…it establishes a new low for grotesque special effects..."
Andrew Sarris complained that "Friedkin’s biggest weakness is his inability to provide enough visual information about his characters…whole passages of the movie’s exposition were one long buzz of small talk and name droppings…The Exorcist succeeds on one level as an effectively excruciating entertainment, but on another, deeper level it is a thoroughly evil film."
Writing in Rolling Stone, Jon Landau felt the film was, "Nothing more than a religious porn film, the gaudiest piece of shlock this side of Cecil B. DeMille (minus that gentleman’s wit and ability to tell a story) …"
Numerous of audiences have reported to have fainted during the movie, and went to therapy. Ellen Burstyn had said in an interview that while filming her successful Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, she took the crew to see the film as a gift. She said that the audience did not faint with the vomiting scene or any other, but the needle in the neck.
She saw a woman fainting on the aisle and she and other people came to help her. As Burstyn did that, she realized that if the woman saw her, she (the woman) would faint or possibly have a heart attack.
Also, Burstyn said that while watching the news, it said that a long line was outside a theater and that it was blizzard waiting to see the film. None of the cast or crew thought this movie would be so interesting, have psychological problems with people, and scare the audiences so badly.
Over the years, The Exorcist's critical reputation has grown considerably. The film currently has an 84% "Certified Fresh" approval rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website, based on 40 reviews the website collected. Some critics regard it as being one of the best and most effective horror films; admirers say the film balances a stellar script, gruesome effects, and outstanding performances.
Chicago Tribune film critic Gene Siskel placed it in the top five films released that year. However, the movie has its detractors as well, including Kim Newman who has criticized it for messy plot construction, conventionality and overblown pretentiousness, among other perceived defects. Writer James Baldwin provides an extended negative critique in his book length essay The Devil Finds Work.
Director Martin Scorsese placed The Exorcist on his list of the 11 scariest horror films of all time. In 2008, the film was selected by Empire Magazine as one of The 500 Greatest Movies Ever Made. It was also placed on a similar list of 1000 movies by The New York Times.