3: Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Being a huge fan of zombies, “Night of the Living Dead” was a must for my list of horror films. George Romero’s classic is the staple for the modern zombie genre that has caught the popularity of the mainstream culture and took hold. A young couple are driving along a country road, when they are attacked by a strange man. The young women is able to flee to a farm house in which she finds others who are also escaping these strange creatures. They soon learn over the radio that these creatures are the living dead, reactivated by satellite radiation. The people in the house are forced to survive against the horrors that face them outside. With a simple idea, George Romero started a genre revolution. Today we have countless zombie movies, TV shows, and video games.

2: Psycho (1960)

Another Hitchcock classic, “Psycho,” creates a monster of a seemingly innocent motel manager. When an office worker, Marion Crane, decides to steal $40,000 and make a run for it, trouble is bound to follow. Marion Crane soon arrives at a motel after the long drive and meets a man who seems to be a rather nice and empathetic manager, Norman Bates, who helps get her settled into a room. Next we see one of the most iconic scenes in Hollywood history; a mysterious figure slashes Marion Crane in the shower, killing her in the process.  The music in this scene is enough to give the viewer nightmares.  Hitchcock leaves you on the edge of your seat throughout this entire film, something he is the best at, wondering who is the killer? Who is going to die next? What is the matter with Norman Bates? Predating Hollywood slasher films, Hitchcock creates a slasher but in an artistic way. There is no instance when the viewer can see the weapon make contact with the women, there was no gore and the very little blood that was seen was entering the drain. Hitchcock creates a masterpiece with a new type of killer, a mentally unstable human.

1: Halloween (1978) [John Carpenter]

Number one on the list shares the name of the holiday. “Halloween” can be explained in a few simple phrases. Chilling. Terrifying. Horrifying. “Halloween” takes the story of “Psycho” to a whole new level. I had trouble deciding between “Psycho” and “Halloween” for the number one spot. It soon became obvious that “Halloween” was my number one horror/Halloween film (and it’s not because of its name). After killing his 15 year old sister at the age of six, Michael Myers is institutionalized for 15 years, until he breaks out the day before Halloween. Nothing in my mind is scary than a maniacal killer roaming the streets with one of the scariest Halloween masks of all time, the expressionless white mask. This mask screams terror. It shows that Myers thinks nothing of killing, it may even be boring to him. It is also frightening how many times during the film we believe that Myers has been killed, but when in fact he is still alive and has just moved onto another hiding spot. Much like “Psycho” the score in this film is frightening enough by itself. “Halloween,” like psycho creates a new version of a monster, the homicidal maniac, who in my opinion is scarier than Dracula, Wolf Man, and Frankenstein can ever be. “Halloween” is simply a frightening movie and is my number one horror/Halloween movie of all time.

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