Pick 3 Challenge

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Rue Morgue magazine recently published a list of 200 Alternative Horror Films You Need to See. It’s a great list with a wide variety of foreign and domestic films spanning several decades. The list has prompted me to develop my own selections, organized by decade. Here’s my challenge to you monsterminions out there. What 3 horror films would you pick from each decade?

Naturally, to get things started, here are my selections. It’s basically a favorites list, but I am mixing it up a bit to provide diversity.

The 20’s
Nosferatu
The Phantom of the Opera
The Cat and the Canary

The 30’s
The Mummy
The Black Cat
Island of Lost Souls

The 40’s
The Wolf Man
Cat People
I Walked with a Zombie

The 50’s
The Thing from Another World
Horror of Dracula
Curse of the Demon

The 60’s
Eyes Without a Face
Night of the Living Dead
Rosemary’s Baby

The 70’s
The Wicker Man
Jaws
Halloween

The 80’s
Friday the 13th
The Thing
The Evil Dead II

The 90’s
The Blair Witch Project
Ringu
Hardware

The 00’s
Let the Right One In
Pan’s Labyrinth
Jeeper’s Creepers

The 10’s
Insidious
Let Me In
The Woman in Black

For me, the easiest selections were from the 20’s. There simply isn’t a whole lot of surviving horror films from that era, and I haven’t seen all of the remnants. I opted for Cat and the Canary as an old dark house thriller, rather than the expressionist Caligari. The hardest decades to narrow down were by far the 30’s and the 70’s. I could have easily picked Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein and Son of Frankenstein, Lugosi’s Dracula, Mad Love and so many others. I picked The Mummy for Jack Pierce’s most amazing makeup and Karloff’s eerie performance, The Black Cat for myriad reasons and the first teaming of Lugosi and Karloff the Uncanny, and Island of Lost Souls as a comparison to Universal horror.

The 70’s was an awesome decade for horror. I left The Exorcist, Alien, Dawn of the Dead, Suspiria and several other notables off the list and opted for the oddball The Wicker Man (stay away from the remake), which has one of the most horrifying endings ever; Jaws, which was the greatest thrill ride I ever had in a theater; and Halloween, which is perhaps the greatest slasher film of all time.

I could’ve gone hog Hammer wild in the 50’s. Horror of Dracula is my favorite of the Hammer films. Howard Hawk’s The Thing reminds me of a Frankenstein film, and has both horror and sci-fi elements. I’m calling it horror. Curse [Night] of the Demon is one of the best films dealing with witchcraft ever made.

In the 60’s Eyes Without Face defies description. It’s one of the most beautiful horror films ever made. Please only watch the gorgeous Criterion prints.

I saw a lot of horror films in the 80’s. I like John Carpenter’s The Thing the best. Oddly, I hated it initially watching it on a laserdisc about a year after it was released. By the 90’s I think horror films started a downward trend to gore and crappiness (is that a word?). Some Asian horror and the hand-held Blair Witch saved the decade. I also like the Aussie film Hardware, which is different.

In the last few years we are seeing some great horror again with the return of Hammer, plenty of zombie films, and an explosion of indies.

So -what are your picks?

2 Responses to “Pick 3 Challenge”

  1. Here’s my list. I’m going to skip the 20s because I haven’t
    seen enough from that era but, Nosferatu would certainly be one of
    my picks. The 30s The Bride of Frankenstein Freaks The Island of
    Lost Souls The 40s Cat People I walked with a Zombie The Seventh
    Victim The 50s Gojira Invasion of the Body Snatchers Night of the
    Demon The 60s Mr. Sardonicus Psycho Rosemary’s Baby The 70s The
    Andromeda Strain Equinox The Exorcist Killdozer The 80s Halloween
    III: Season of the Witch Pet Sematary The Thing The 90s In the
    Mouth of Madness The Resurrected Scream The 00s Behind the Mask
    Pontypool The Ring I really couldn’t get down to 3 in the 70s.
    Consider two of them tied for third or something. The 90s is a bit
    Lovecraftian for me, although I only saw The Resurrected fairly
    recently, it is a very good adaptation of my favorite Lovecraft
    story. The 00s was a little tough for me as well because I
    ultimately had to dump Cloverfield, The silent Call of Cthulhu film
    and Let the Right One In to get down to three. I like Pan’s
    Labyrinth, too, but consider it more of a fantasy film, personally.
    As for the 10s, I haven’t seen enough to pick three yet. The
    Crazies would be one at the moment, though.

    • Sweet! You’ve got some good ones in there! I love the Val Lewton films. I like his films with Karloff. The Seventh Victim is underrated in my book. I also like Dead of Night, but that film is over-powered by the dummy sequence and that alone makes it worth seeing. Great list. Lots of people really like Halloween III, including myself.

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