The Book of Lists - Horror: Barry Gifford's Fifteen Favorite Late-Night Tinglers (in No Particular Order)

by MinaGrentham | created - 05 Sep 2014 | updated - 05 Sep 2014 | Public

Essays by Barry Gifford on these films may be found in his books Out of the Past: Adventures in Film Noir (2001) and The Cavalry Charges (2007). His novels include Wild at Heart (1990), which was filmed by David Lynch, Night People (1992), and Memories from a Sinking Ship (2007). He has written screenplays for numerous films, including Lost Highway (1997), Perdita Durango (1997), and City of Ghosts (2003).

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1. Island of Lost Souls (1932)

Not Rated | 70 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

An obsessed scientist conducts profane experiments in evolution, eventually establishing himself as the self-styled demigod to a race of mutated, half-human abominations.

Director: Erle C. Kenton | Stars: Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen, Leila Hyams

Votes: 6,733

2. I Walked with a Zombie (1943)

Approved | 69 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

A Canadian nurse is hired to care for the wife of a sugar plantation owner, who has been acting strangely, on a Caribbean island.

Director: Jacques Tourneur | Stars: Frances Dee, Tom Conway, James Ellison, Edith Barrett

Votes: 9,134

3. Sunset Blvd. (1950)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, Film-Noir

A screenwriter is hired to rework a faded silent film star's script, only to find himself developing a dangerous relationship.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson

Votes: 168,486

4. Stranger on the Third Floor (1940)

Approved | 64 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

An aspiring reporter is the key witness at the murder trial of a young man accused of cutting a café owner's throat and is soon accused of a similar crime himself.

Director: Boris Ingster | Stars: Peter Lorre, John McGuire, Margaret Tallichet, Charles Waldron

Votes: 3,011

5. Nosferatu (1922)

Not Rated | 81 min | Fantasy, Horror

Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence and real estate agent Hutter's wife.

Director: F.W. Murnau | Stars: Max Schreck, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder

Votes: 76,995

6. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

Not Rated | 67 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders.

Director: Robert Wiene | Stars: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover

Votes: 46,743

7. The Night of the Hunter (1955)

Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

99 Metascore

A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid $10,000 he'd stolen in a robbery.

Director: Charles Laughton | Stars: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, James Gleason

Votes: 72,114

8. Repulsion (1965)

Not Rated | 105 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

91 Metascore

A sex-repulsed woman who disapproves of her sister's boyfriend sinks into depression and has horrific visions of rape and violence.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser, Yvonne Furneaux

Votes: 41,070

9. Cult of the Cobra (1955)

Approved | 82 min | Fantasy, Horror

American G.I.s who trespass on a Hindu ceremony are hunted down by a beautiful woman who has the power to transform herself into a cobra.

Director: Francis D. Lyon | Stars: Faith Domergue, Richard Long, Marshall Thompson, Kathleen Hughes

Votes: 800

10. Cape Fear (1962)

Not Rated | 106 min | Drama, Thriller

76 Metascore

A lawyer's family is stalked by a man he once helped put in jail.

Director: J. Lee Thompson | Stars: Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen, Lori Martin

Votes: 22,701

11. Lost Highway (1997)

R | 134 min | Mystery, Thriller

52 Metascore

After a bizarre encounter at a party, a jazz saxophonist is framed for the murder of his wife and sent to prison, where he inexplicably morphs into a young mechanic and begins leading a new life.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, John Roselius, Louis Eppolito

Votes: 112,738 | Gross: $3.80M

12. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Not Rated | 80 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

A small-town doctor learns that the population of his community is being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates.

Director: Don Siegel | Stars: Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Larry Gates, King Donovan

Votes: 38,820

13. Invaders from Mars (1953)

Approved | 78 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

A young boy learns that space aliens are taking over the minds of earthlings.

Director: William Cameron Menzies | Stars: Helena Carter, Arthur Franz, Jimmy Hunt, Leif Erickson

Votes: 6,056

14. Série noire (1979)

Not Rated | 111 min | Crime, Drama

Franck Poupart is a slightly neurotic door-to-door salesman in a sinister part of Paris' suburbs. He meets Mona, a teenager, who's been made a prostitute by her own aunt. Franck would like ... See full summary »

Director: Alain Corneau | Stars: Patrick Dewaere, Myriam Boyer, Marie Trintignant, Bernard Blier

Votes: 1,916

15. The Red House (1947)

Unrated | 100 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery

An old man and his sister are concealing a terrible secret from their adopted teen daughter, concerning a hidden abandon farmhouse, located deep in the woods.

Director: Delmer Daves | Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Lon McCallister, Judith Anderson, Rory Calhoun

Votes: 2,554



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