Why do horror movies still feel undervalued? One thing is certain: in this age where the geek and the craft reign supreme, critics and academics no longer dismiss the genre as unsavory with the instinctive regularity of the past. But even now there is talk of “high horror” (see that concept that is sensational in “Scream 5”) that appears in artistic explorations of terror and terror – “Midsommar” by Ari Aster, “Suspiria” by Luca Guadagnino, “Saint Maud “by Rose Glass – which are clearly distinct from non-elevated horror. The idea is that they involve your brain more than showing brains … eaten by zombies or splashed against the wall.
How can the films that activate the adrenal glands, send chills down the spine, cause goosebumps and speed up the breath – which inspire such an intense physical reaction – also be brain experiences? We continually forget that, as Marianne Renoir, the character of Anna Karina’s Pierrot Le Fou, says, “There can be ideas in feelings”.
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What scares people says a lot about them, as debates about “Get Out”, “Men” and similar titles have revealed. What scares people, and makes them laugh, says even more; see “Ready or not” or “What we do in the shadows”. These two genres are most often predicted to provoke an immediate and visceral reaction from the audience. Perhaps some viewers’ aversion to both is the fear of losing control: of laughing hard enough to snort or having to turn away in fear, of embarrassing yourself. Many people just don’t want to lose control no matter what. The funny thing is that horror, like comedy, is a genre in which every director has to assert his maximum control over the material, he has to perfectly calibrate the narrative, so that the audience of his art can lose it. Extreme control so that the audience can lose control – this seems to be the key.
To celebrate these intensely primal personal films, IndieWire staff has put together this list of the 170 best horror movies of all time. Our writers and editors suggested well over 170 titles and then voted on a list of finalists to determine the final ranking of the top 100 integers. Numerous additions have been made since then. It’s a list that captures the wide range and diversity of the genre, from Laird Cregar’s hidden vehicles to a Russian chiller based on a Nikolai Gogol story, from J-Horror to Mexican gem “Alucarda”. Get ready for these movies – losing control has never been this fun.
Eric Kohn, Anne Thompson, David Ehrlich, Jamie Righetti, Michael Nordine, Chris O’Falt, Tambay Obenson, Steve Greene, Zack Sharf, Jude Dry, Chris Lindahl, Kate Erbland, Ryan Lattanzio, Noel Murray and Christian Blauvelt also contributed. history.
170. “Company” (Brian Yuzna, 1989)
Zecca Films / Everett Collection
The first two thirds of Brian Yuzna’s “Society” are certainly lackluster. Played by Billy Warlock as Bill Whitney, the Beverly Hills story of a rich boy who begins to distrust the world he grew up in takes over an hour to understand the basics. But once that happens, “Society” assumes an unshakable grip from which it is almost impossible to look away. A frequent contributor to Yuzna, Screaming Mad George made the jaw-dropping visuals necessary to make the final act of “Society” one of the most memorable in horror history. Proceed with caution. – AF
169. “Willard” (Daniel Mann, 1971)
They just don’t make rat-infested emotional breakdowns like they used to. In Daniel Mann’s 1971 horror film, adapted from Stephen Gilbert’s 1968 novel “Ratman’s Notebooks,” Bruce Davison plays the protagonist Willard: an outcast man with pet mice who finds himself shipwrecked after his father’s death. Traumatized by his cruel mother and his terrible boss, Willard snaps halfway through the film and, thus, the revenge of the mice begins. While by no means scary, “Willard” is undeniably menacing and wildly funny due to its practical effects. It was followed by the sequel “Ben” – named after Willard’s meanest mouse – a year later. –AF
168. “Teeth” (Mitchell Liechtenstein2007)
When devout Dawn O’Keefe (Jess Weixler) discovers that her previously unexplored lips are covered in razor-sharp fangs, writer and director Mitchell Lichtenstein’s incomparable antics of “Teeth” take over. While not funny in your traditional sense of laughing out loud, 2007’s irreverent and cynical feminist commentary takes some impressive swings in areas most movies shy away from. Not only does “Teeth” explore topics such as sexual assault, but it also thoroughly criticizes the control of women’s bodies through religion and consensual with intimate partners. – AF
167. “The invitation” (Karyn Kusama, 2015)
Painfully slow at first, but with one last and effective one act, “The Invitation” is your staple film with mystery dinner and invitation. But with a realistic array of characters and a twisty storyline, director Karyn Kusama’s 2015 film leaves a lasting impression in a crowded horror category. After the death of his young son – who, in turn, was followed by a messy divorce – the troubled Will (Logan Marshall-Green) agrees to dine at the home of his ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard) and her new husband. David (Michele Huisman). At first, Will and his girlfriend Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi) mingle with a few bottles of wine and a very Los Angeles cast of characters. But our hero’s gut feeling that something is going wrong can’t be explained by bad starters. – AF
166. “Trick or Treat” (Michael Dougherty, 2007)
Warner Bros / Everett Collection
Writer and director Michael Dougherty’s “Trick ‘r Treat” gives John Carpenter’s “Halloween” a run for its money as the most festive movie to watch on October 31st. The anthology film explores beloved American traditions of Halloween, from pumpkin carving and ghost stories to pranking and partying, all through the eyes of a quiet (strangely adorable?) Creature named Sam (Quinn Lord). With a cast that boasts Anna Paquin and Brian Cox among others, 2007’s charming and sinister hidden gem became a staple for horror fans only after garnering a cult following for several years without a adequate exit in the halls. – AF
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