Tobe Hooper's 1974 gorefest The Texas Chain Saw Massacre has been voted the top horror film ever by a veritable bloodbath of luminaries of the genre including John Carpenter, George Romero and Robert Englund. Total Film asked 63 leading lights to pick their personal faves, then compiled a top ten based on the results. Here's …
In what fucking universe is Jaws a horror film? I'd even class Alien as more of an 'Action' film rather than 'Horror'.
Clearly these 'experts' have never seen real horror films. For instance, where are any of the Evil Dead trilogy (Hail to the king, baby) or the seminal Braindead?
Sorry, had to mark you down. Alien not a horror movie, please. If you had said Aliens, I would have been in 100% agreement. I am not saying Alien is top 10 good, but how many people do you think fell out of their chairs when John Hurt's burst open. A much more original a concept than all the cliched slasher movies that are in this top 10.
The movie did everything a good horror should, so sorry but have to strongly disagree with your comment....
... ok, well some, others however, Jaws? Suspiria?
And no Asian horrors? Now they are a people who make good horrors!
Aargh, the bees!
I think Dumplings is pretty good but the theme in the comments here seems to be that horror films can't have a more psychological element.
"And no Asian horrors? Now they are a people who make good horrors!"
My first thought exactly.
I don't get it
Why do people keep calling The Exorcist a horror flick? It's not at all scary, hell it's more of a comedy than anything. At least Texas Chainsaw had some horrific stuff in parts rather than some simulation of a girl with ADHD on a sugar rush, or something.
no, you don't get it..
don't you have children? Or just no imagination?
Exorcist is more horror than gore. I don't think cutting people up and going overboard with the claret makes a good horror. The thought of someone you love being possessed by something totally evil, that's something I find much more horrible. Admittedly if you don't go with the story in the exorcist then it's just a comedy, but the same is true of all the films on this list.
Guess we'll just have to agree to differ....
On reading this bit
"We see nothing, feel everything, the aggressive camera, brutal editing, clanging sound design and grainy, grubby visuals striking home like a sledgehammer to the skull.""
the first thought that flashed into my mind was "New Labour"
Slasher movies, really?
I never considered 'slasher' movies to be proper 'horror' movies. So that half the top 10 out. So bored of movies about some human nutter running run dispatching people. Give me something supernatural or with a proper non-human monster and I am happy....
Many people accociates Aliens with Alien. Those two are completely different types of films. Alien is a horror. Aliens is a great action movie.
A horror doesnt have to be a gore-fest although both of Alien and Jaws actually do quite well.
Horror films incite suspense, fear, disgust,nightmares ? I think they do as well as any movies of that genre.
Somehow, many people equate slasher gore movies to be horror movies - well guess what they thats not the only kind.
Horror movies is about putting you in a place and situation you dont want to be. Films like Alien, Jaw, Hostel all work with different plots but are all horror movies.
Jaws is a horror movie
it includes gore and has enough terror moments to call it a horror ... i think some commentards are confusing slasher pics as the be all and end all of horror.
including Suspiria in the top 10 when compared to many others, does suggest that this was voted in only so that some "experts" aren't viewed as ignoramuses
I guess the Texas Chain Saw Massacre was scary when it was first released, but it has not aged well (unlike, say, The Exorcist or Wicker Man). Too much repetition of shots, and the ridiculous chase scene at the end, had me almost falling asleep when I went to see it 10 years ago in the local art cinema.
I not too that the majority of the judges seem to have only picked English-language films - for supposed "experts" this cultural myopia is very disappointing.
I'd have to agree...
..with Doug on that one. TCSM was a bit of fun, but totally unscary. The Exorcist and, to a large degree, Jaws aim for a more psychological target. the Exorcist also goes to the extreme of taking something very fragile (a young girl) and bestowing upon her the very epitome of evil. Very clever and, in its day, a lot more frightening than a big man in a mask brandishing a chainsaw (but it WAS so much fun!).
As for non-English language films, where were the Japanese?? Even the quite-chilling-but-not-the-best-example-of-its-genre The Grudge didn't make the top 10. Nor the manga-esque steampunk classics like Tetsuo!
Some deserve the spot, some not
TCSM was nauseating. While I have not watched the original Exorcist (whatever sequel I watched, it was corny and stupid), I do remember that the original Omen scared the crap out of me, and I'm not even a religious man! "Ave Satani" still sends a chill down my spine if played in the right environment. So does Tubular Bells, even when I haven't watched the movie, so probably The Exorcist is equally frightening.
About Japanese horror ... those are more of a hit-or-miss with non-Asian audiences. I've watched Ju-On (The Grudge) and I was mostly bored. I'll grant them that some scenes were actually creepy, though ... the girl going down the stairs was definitely creepy as hell!
And what about...
The Burning. Classic horror movie!!!
Will probably get slated for this but...
I have to agree with the majority above, slasher and action films aren't horror films, they may have scarey elements, but that makes them scarey action / slasher films.
This is why (and this is what I'm going to get slated for) I really like 1408 with John Cusack, and (even more so here) Event Horizon. Totally over done, admittedly, but still, I like it.
concur on event horizon
I still dont like to watch that movie.
Not that scary really, but great fun to watch.
You! Won't! Take! My! Crew!
Texas CSM is a bit shit, though. Really. No love for Ichi the killer, then? They used real jizz in that film. Director had the crew wank into a bucket until he had enough for his shot. That's a craftsman for you. And is that the new crappy version of Dawn or the original satire on consumerism?
I never saw Ichi... as a horror flick. Infection certainly was though. Creepy japanese hospital horror with fucked up goo thrown in for good measure.
The Sillier Season
It's safe to say, given the jury, and karma, and whatever else, that it's Romero's "Dawn", not the fast-cut Snyder actioner.
Scrolling down the list I was initially aghast at not seeing Romero, and then he popped up, and I was sated. It took some soul-searching to allow that Dawn could be trumped by a couple of the selections, but I'm reasonably content.
The problem with most of the comments I see, which is to say those who made them, is, I think, that of timing. Y'all are probably on the younger side and don't remember the shock and outrage that some of these films produced in their day, which provides them sufficient merit for their relative placement. Still, I'd warrant, if you were nine years old, alone in the house, and hadn't had much if any exposure to horror of any (real) stripe - still scared of the dark and what's under the bed or in the closet - you'd have lifelong nightmares and a radical change of position had you experienced most of the films on the list in such a way. On the whole they appear to represent a reasonable cross-section of "haunted house", "spilled entrails", and more "cerebral" fare. I mean, I never found "Suspiria" particularly scary, but it's beautifully made and keeps you guessing, and I do know some people who found and still find it terrifying.
S'all a matter of taste. Clearly my taste is for the fleshy parts. GAR's my mon. We'll just nod politely at everything post-Day.
You guys got there just before me. And I disagree on the "not scary". Perhaps at home, sure. But I saw it at the cinema, and it creeped me right the hell out. Particularly the lights fading up and down - you *know* something's going to happen, but the light effect keeps going for long enough that you're not prepared for it when it happens. And the kid airlocking himself was simply amazing - not for blood and guts, but bcos you *absolutely* believe him, both when he's under the alien influence, and then when he comes back to himself and realises he's about to be ejected from the airlock.
There are lots of films I'm glad I saw but I don't want to watch again bcos they didn't really do anything for me. Event Horizon is the only film I'm glad I saw but I don't want to watch again bcos it'll just screw my head up for a second time.
That's why Jaws is horror, incidentally. Horror isn't what you see, it's what you think. If it messes with your head, it's horror all the way.
Liberate tu-tamek EX INFERIS
I didn't catch this one on cinema, but did watch it on a 50" TV screen at the dorm's common area. I know what Graham's talking about, I know what *scene* he's talking about. Probably the only one that I would consider topping the Dallas in the crawlspace scene from Alien. Sheesh, those movies have probably made me fearful of any crawlspace at all...
Same old Industry back-patting.
TCSM was more comic than horror. The Excorcist is soooo overrated. Jaws? Seriously?
Where's "Ringu"? But, then, the sort of people that enjoyed "Halloween" are probably not the sort that would like "Pulse" (Kairo).
Good call on "Suspiria", but to miss that would be as serious an omission as missing out the French film "Martyrs" (which is a whole different level of horror altogether). Oh, wait...
Come on guys. This list is getting boring. It would also imply that the film industry has been unable to put together a decent horror flick in some thirty-odd years. Time to broaden your horizons, open your eyes. May I recommend for a soft start with some amazing visuals the Chinese film "Gwai wik" (aka Re-cycle). It might only be an 6/10 on IMDb, but - visuals aside - it starts like a normal generic horror film and then goes way different...
It was good, but belongs to a different time.
I disagree with what many people above me have said about TCSM not being scary.
When the film was un-banned in the UK in the late 90s many cinemas showed it on the big screen and I went to see it with a friend, and it is way more effective on the big screen with a big sound system pumping out the sound of the chainsaw combined with the sheer relentlessness of Leatherface.
Granted when I came out I did feel somewhat disappointed by how few chainsaw murders there was on screen and how little gore there was, but I think that was more due to the change in film style since the 70s and my expectations from the film title (usage of the word massacre) and it being a film that was banned as a video nasty for 20 years thanks to the efforts of Mary Whitehouse and co on this country.
But to be honest with the lack of special effects back in the day we are judging a film that is over 30 years old by today's standards. I think they did very well for making up for that weakness with good editing and atmosphere. True it has not aged well, but very little does in the film industry.
Not so much a list as totally sunk
English language movies they may be in that "top 10" but that language certainly doesn't figure in whatever rationale prompted those choices: the word "suspense" seems to be beyond the ken of the hit pickers.
Neither Spielberg nor anyone else with a functioning brain cell would regard "Jaws" as a horror flick: it was an exercise in suspense, a natural progression from that same director's TV-to-theatrical release "Duel". Hitchcock similarly would never grubby his hands with "horror": "Psycho" is there to scare an audience witless -- which it did. Not "horrify" them.
Interesting to see Carpenter featuring as both a list-maker and list nominee, for if ever an early talent was sadly dissipated it's his: "Assault on Precinct 13" is still one of the best "suspense" movies ever made, and still one of the best-scored (by Carpenter.) By contrast, "The Thing" is a nauseating over-the-top indulgence.
Of course, being nauseated by a movie is what so many seem to think "horror" is all about, but if that's the case then this list misses by a mile: "I Spit On Your Grave" and "Driller Killer" are as nauseating (in the most literal sense) as it gets, even though both are actually directed with skill and intelligence and are original in their own right -- unlike the past 35 years of me-too slasher and schlock films which seem to have been (a) made by psychotics for (b) the entertainment of other psychotics.
The list fails entirely to define what it actually means -- "horror": what is it anyway? -- so is worthless. And even including "Wicker Man" wouldn't change things: "Wicker Man" is suspense, not horror, as well as being a wonderfully whacky celebration of the era in which it was made.
As to what might more appropriately have figured on that list -- that is, movies which build suspense to scare (tell-not-show: implicit) and then go on to horrify (show-and-tell: explicit) --then likely nominees like "Late Night Trains" are a world away from all that big-budget commercial fodder the list-makers seem so predictably obsessed with (well, with one notable exception: Ken Russell's "The Devils" is as repellently horrific an entertainment now as it was on first release.)
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