My Go-To Horror/Thriller Films

My attempt to coalesce core horror and thriller films that shape my movie expectations. Always a work in progress.
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1.
Halloween (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield to kill again. (91 mins.)
Director: John Carpenter
“ So much is left to the imagination. The physical presence and movement of "The Shape" is what sells this movie. ” - gordonspeter
 
2.
Slither (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A small town is taken over by an alien plague, turning residents into zombies and all forms of mutant monsters. (95 mins.)
Director: James Gunn
“ This works a dual role as one of my favorite comedy and horror films. There is no happy ending and the devolution of the infected from (barely) human to mindless eating machine is striking. ” - gordonspeter
 
3.
The Amityville Horror (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Newlyweds move into a large house where a mass murder was committed, and experience strange manifestations which drive them away. (117 mins.)
“ While not the best movie, it scared the hell out of me as a child and still unsettles me today. It also features Margot Kidder at her peak. ” - gordonspeter
 
4.
Session 9 (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Tensions rise within an asbestos cleaning crew as they work in an abandoned mental hospital with a horrific past that seems to be coming back. (100 mins.)
Director: Brad Anderson
“ Witness an overburdened man's descent into madness or spiritual possession. You decide. Also, some quotable lines from a perfectly cast David Caruso. ” - gordonspeter
 
5.
In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
An insurance investigator begins discovering that the impact a horror writer's books have on his fans is more than inspirational. (95 mins.)
Director: John Carpenter
“ This film combines my affinity for horror and H.P. Lovecraft. While I do not agree with casting Sam Neill in the lead, the movie does an excellent job setting an atmosphere that illustrates "cosmic horror." ” - gordonspeter
 
6.
Event Horizon (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A rescue crew investigates a spaceship that disappeared into a black hole and has now returned...with someone or something new on-board. (96 mins.)
Director: Paul Anderson
“ Yes. Sam Neill again, but with no regrets. Gory and overly dramatic at times, Laurence Fishburne brings authenticity to the situations and plot. ” - gordonspeter
 
7.
Hatchet II (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
Marybeth escapes the clutches of the bayou-butcher Victor Crowley and returns to the swamp with an army of hunters and gunmen, determined to end Crowley's reign of horror once and for all. (85 mins.)
Director: Adam Green
“ Full of veteran horror actors not taking themselves too seriously, as well as a plot meant to set-up and deliver bloody sight gags at a brisk pace, I believe this movie is more of a love letter to the slasher sub-genre than a functioning story. ” - gordonspeter
 
8.
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
The next great psycho horror slasher has given a documentary crew exclusive access to his life as he... (92 mins.)
“ Another love letter to a few horror sub-genres, specifically the unstoppable killer and found footage, the movie is knowing and plays with standard horror tropes. It starts out like a spoof and then takes a different path. ” - gordonspeter
 
9.
Head Trauma (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
After a 20 year absence, drifter, George Walker, returns home to settle his grandmother's estate. As if awakening from a long dream... (84 mins.)
Director: Lance Weiler
“ A homeless drifter returns home to clean-up and sell his grandmother's house before it is condemned. A simple premise complicated by an entity possessing the house that feeds off a horrific incident from the past. It is a movie that sticks with you and leads to moments of panic in your basement. ” - gordonspeter
 
10.
Insidious (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further. (103 mins.)
Director: James Wan
“ This film renewed my faith in the US horror movie industry. A striking use of practical effects and editing establishes a consistent feeling of unease. Even with plot problems in the third act, the premise shifts haunting from the supernatural to something more terrifying. ” - gordonspeter
 
11.
Antichrist (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A grieving couple retreat to their cabin in the woods, hoping to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage. But nature takes its course and things go from bad to worse. (108 mins.)
Director: Lars von Trier
“ This is one of the few movies that actually made me queasy. Late in the film, I had to pause and take a break or I believed I would become ill. For those who saw this in the theater, I salute you. The reveal in the third act identifies where evil springs: the human mind. ” - gordonspeter
 
12.
The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
When two bumbling employees at a medical supply warehouse accidentally release a deadly gas into the air, the vapors cause the dead to rise again as zombies. (91 mins.)
Director: Dan O'Bannon
“ While I enjoy George Romero's zombie films, I think they represent the sub-genre better than actually tell a story. This movie, however, delivers on the premise and interprets re-animation of the dead to the extreme, as represented by a number of iconic zombie 'species'. As for the plot, it is simple and intentionally comedic. ” - gordonspeter
 
13.
Day of the Dead (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A small group of military officers and scientists dwell in an underground bunker as the world above is overrun by zombies. (96 mins.)
“ I include this movie as I think Sherman Howard's interpretation of a zombie (Bub) is one of the best, exhibiting Romero's theme of zombie evolution and the fear of losing one's humanity. Bub is the most sympathetic figure in the film, which may be intentional and telling. ” - gordonspeter
 
14.
30 Days of Night (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
After an Alaskan town is plunged into darkness for a month, it is attacked by a bloodthirsty gang of vampires. (113 mins.)
Director: David Slade
“ I am not really a fan of vampire movies or Josh Hartnett. This film, however, represents the vampire as an apex predator with nothing in common with their prey. They torture, maim and kill for sheer fun. No one wants to come back as this type of vampire. ” - gordonspeter
 
15.
Fright Night (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
When a teenager learns that his next door neighbour is a vampire, no one will believe him. (106 mins.)
Director: Tom Holland
“ A modern vampire tale if "modern" means the 1980s. Another creature who enjoys being a predator, but the romancing of Amy (Amanda Bearse) by Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon) seems more of a callback to Bram Stoker's original story than a plausible plot point. Otherwise, Chris Sarandon joins the ranks of Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee's iconic interpretations of Dracula. ” - gordonspeter
 
16.
Fright Night (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
After a new neighbor moved into the house next door, Charley discovers that he is an ancient vampire and goes in search for the help of Peter Vincent, a famous "vampire killer" to save his neighborhood from the creature. (106 mins.)
Director: Craig Gillespie
“ I expected the worst and was pleasantly surprised. Colin Farrell does a great job barely suppressing his inherent brutality under a facade of bland attractiveness. David Tennant outdoes Roddy McDowall in his role as Peter Vincent. ” - gordonspeter
 
17.
The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A suburban American family is being stalked by a group of psychotic people who live in the desert, far away from civilization. (107 mins.)
Director: Alexandre Aja
“ While "re-make" is sometimes a dirty word, this film is more horrific and plausible than the original. Overall, the acting is better. While I recognize the 1977 version is a classic, I believe it is more of an artifact of its time than a film that stands the test of time. ” - gordonspeter
 
18.
The Thing (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A research facility in Antarctica comes across an alien force that can become anything it touches with 100% accuracy. The members must now find out who's human and who's not before it's too late. (109 mins.)
Director: John Carpenter
“ Another entry from John Carpenter. With creature effects that stand the test of time for grotesqueness and realism, plot and logic easily go by the wayside. ” - gordonspeter
 
19.
The Fly (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong. (96 mins.)
“ You can make an argument that most of David Cronenberg's films are horrific in their own way, especially when it comes to deterioration of humanity as represented by the perversion of flesh. In this case, watching Seth Brundle's (Jeff Goldblum) skin, hair and teeth literally rot off of his body is almost as disturbing as his eating habits. ” - gordonspeter