Friday the 13th!

Hey everyone, as you all know today is Friday the 13th, so if you’re suffering from triskaidekaphobia then I think I’ve got the antidote: cutting, like Jason himself, through the the swathes and droves of horror films which plague, infect and infest our screens. I have come up with a list of 13 of my favourite horror films.

As always I’d love to hear from you if you think there’s a cult classic slasher, a classic piece of gore, or a hilarious b-movie I’ve left out then please please comment below and our favourite 2 responses by 4pm win copies of A Book of Horrors!

So, in no particular order:

1. Rec
This spanish zombie film is one of the finest to use the handheld camera technique popularised in The Blair Witch Project (though utilised to better effect and earlier in The Last Broadcast to which it owes everything. Ok rant over), and focuses on a TV crew who go out with the fire department to a disturbance in a local apartment block. What follows is truly terrifying and brilliant!

2. Night of the Lepus
My token B-movie choice is from the 1970s and involves a race of giant killer bunny rabbits. Nothing more to say.

3. A Tale of Two Sisters
Korean horror involving 2 sisters who, after being released from a mental institution fall under the grip of their cruel stepmother. Fantastically subtle. Frightening and beautifully filmed with a great score, this is my favourite of the recent (and seemingly never ending) crop of asian horror films.

4. Repulsion
Polanski at his finest in this tale of a woman (played by the astounding Catherine Deneuve) who gradually descends into madness when left alone in the apartment she shares with her sister. Scary, thought-provoking and superbly directed. A true classic.

5. The Evil Dead
In Sam Raimi’s feature debut, 5 friends travel to a cabin in the woods and discover a book called the Necronomicon, evil gets released etc. Bruce Campbell basically defines cool as he battles the demonic evil dead with a chainsaw and a shotgun. Only matched in awesomeness by its sequel and superbly showing that a horror film can be both funny and scary.

6. Don’t Look Now
A film which leaves such a strong impression that whilst holidaying in Venice years after, the sight of a red coat made me shudder. A terrifying tale of a family torn apart, and of two people’s horrors as they refuse to accept their tragic loss. Astounding.

7. Suspiria
Difficult to pick between this and Profundo Rosso for the Argento slot but Suspiria wins out because I slightly prefer the soundtrack. Witches in a ballet school, amazing surrealist set design, a piano player being murdered by his guide dog. Suspiria really does have it all.

8. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
THE horror movie classic. This German expressionist masterpiece from 1919 tells of a somnambulist and his master and a series of strange murders. One of the most influential and stylish films of any decade. Its importance cannot be overstated.
Picked here over the equally wonderful 1922 Nosferatu for its fantastic ending.

9. The Thing
One of my favourites of all time. Really great idea for an alien creature which imitates other organic life. No one knows who to trust. Beautifully understated and menacing ending not to mention ‘the blood testing scene’. Oh and it’s got Kurt Russell in.

10. Halloween
John Carpenter’s second on this list and rightly so. The second king of the slasher genre and a worthy heir to the genre birthed by Psycho. This 1978 film epitomises the post-vietnam idea of the horror being inside our homes, not in some far off land of vampires and witches. Jamie Lee Curtis is excellent in the lead role and the soundtrack is (like almost all carpenter’s films) sensational. Scary, eerie and well made, forget what came after this is a true great.

11. The Devil’s Backbone
Guillermo del Toro’s ghostly tale of an Orphanage during the Spanish Civil War is mesmerising. The whole film has a strange magic to it which is difficult to pin down and the sense of fear closes in from all sides. Wonderful.

12. The Exorcist
Dated? Probably. Obvious? Definitely. Still amazing? Always. This tale of a possessed young girl set to Mike Oldfield’s fabulous Tubular Bells is unavoidable. And that’s a good thing.

13. Thirst
Of all the recent crop of vampire movies this surely has to be the best. A retelling of Zola’s Therese Raquin, this tells of a priest who contracts a strange disease and a tsate for blood. Funny, frightening and moving, this is a modern horror gem.

Honourable mentions:

1. The Mist
Another Steven King adaptation, earning its mention for the most incredible ending to a horror film in recent memory.

The Room of horror movies. No more needs to be said.


  1. “The Beyond” – doesn’t make much sense, but there’s an air about it that just carries you along from one great set piece to the next.

    The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is probably my favourite on this list & as an honourable mention, Nosferatu is fantastic as well. For roughly contemporaneous horror films I’d heartily recommend ‘Körkarlen’ (The Phantom Carriage) &/or  ‘La Chute de la Maison Usher’.
    & for sheer preposterous Japanese 70’s weirdness, ‘Hausu’ from ’77 is essential for Hallowe’en party viewing (even if it isn’t all that scary).

    • I had totally forgotten Hausu otherwise it would be sure to make the list, no one can deny the sheer wonderfulness of a piano which eats people. Have not seen The Fall of the House of Usher but love The Phantom Carriage too.

  3. The Stone Tape.  Not maybe in the standard horror genre, but icily chilling in places.  I first saw this in black and white on TV as a teenager and still remember it that way, it has resonated for me for nearly 40 years

  4. Aurelio Rico Lopez III

    Man, I always fancied myself a horror fan, but there are so many movies on this list that I haven’t seen.

  5. Alien. It had everything. at its heart its a slasher movie, but is much bigger than any similar film since. Suspense, threat and a real monster as well as the backstabbing realisation that at some point we’re all expendable. a proper, scared of the dark when the film ends, horror.

  6. Love all of these films, except Birdemic which I haven’t had the pleasure of watching yet. The trailer looks outrageously “good” though. Movies I’d add? Carrie and Pet Semetary, I was 12 years old and my friends and I hired them out to be our first ever horror films, so I carry quite the torch for both of them. Night of the Living Dead will probably tie for first with The Thing as my all time favourite horror film though.

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