1. Halloween (the original)
This film by writer/director John Carpenter could very well be considered the first slasher movie that gave birth to a whole new genre. He doesn’t beat you over the head with gore, the character of Michael Myers is left somewhat mysterious, and it masters the meaning of the word “suspense” with the long tracking shots and the memorable score.
2. The Exorcist
The whole idea that one could be possessed and controlled by a demon has been around for centuries. To think that this could actually happen to you or someone you love is one of the most frightening things I can think of. To see the change of a sweet young innocent girl into a demon who can contort it’s head 360 degrees and levitate is one of the most horrific things about the movie but to me, the whole idea that you need to be strong enough in your faith to be able to be able to cast the demon out without letting it enter your body next is also a compelling subplot in the movie.
3. The Shining
This movie represents director Stanley Kubrick’s genius at the top of his game. The camera work is second to none. The build up of that sense of dread and suspense leaves you on the edge of your sanity as you witness Jack Nicholson’s amazing portrayal of a man’s descent into psychosis.
4. The Thing
Rick Baker’s make-up affects are the best of all time even by today’s standard. In my opinion, John Carpenter is the most underrated director/writer of all time. Sure he’s made some colossal flops, but this movie shows him at the top of his game.
5. The Omen (the original)
This may be considered a controversial choice but there is something about the whole idea of an anti-christ that really makes the hair on the back of my neck stand straight up. Where did they find that little boy actor? They say that a child actor can make or break a movie and that little boy really did a good job of making this movie work. The performances were phenomenal, the pacing was perfect and the subplot of possibly knowing that you are going to die before you do is terrifying.