Have Your Say: The Hunt For A Modern Horror Classic

Associate Editor, Features; Rotterdam, The Netherlands (@ardvark23)
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Have Your Say: The Hunt For A Modern Horror Classic
Those who know me a bit here at ScreenAnarchy will not be surprised to hear that I am a bit of a statistics nut: I can be quite happy poring over a sheet of numbers for minutes and see all sorts of funny stuff in them.
Even less surprising is that I like films so I'm a regular visitor of the IMDB stats (and their affiliate Box Office Mojo). In the past I have already linked articles to them when I discussed "best film ever" or "worst animated feature ever". Today I was looking at IMDB's "best horror films" list and I noticed something strange: while films in these lists tend to be considered classics and are often a few years old, for the horror genre this seemed exceedingly to be the case.

"Psycho" (1960) is currently in the lead, but in the top-10 we also see "Faust" (1926), "Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari" (1920) and "Nosferatu" (1922). It's not often that I consider "Alien" , "The Shining" and "John Carpenter's The Thing" to be the new kids on the block, but.. damn!

Moving well down the list, the first post-2000 title I see is "Shaun of the Dead" at number 16. Now I love that film but should it be carrying the banner for horror films in this century so far? And the first truly recent film (and only the second post-2000 one) is the ironic "Cabin in the Woods" at 35. Doubly ironic in this context even because it had been shelved for years.
(Interestingly when you look at the IMDB-list for the ten WORST horror films in history, 7 of them are from after 2000, but I digress...).

What the hell? I know that horror as a genre is generally being slapped around like the unwanted redheaded stepchild of cinema, and I know we've been drowned in insipid remakes and cheap garbage as of late, but surely there must be a truly great recent horror film we can all rally for? One that we can show to snobs and say: this is great recent cinema AND pretty damn scary?


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CosgroveAugust 14, 2012 11:13 AM

I would put Neil Marshall's "The Descent" somewhere on that list. "Martyrs" should maybe have a place, as well.

https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawndKohf6PDgQurJZR6qkPd4q69tb--Jm44August 14, 2012 11:40 AM

Inside

Martyrs

Kill List

28 Days Later

Hills have Eyes Remake

That will do for now.

jaymars2384August 14, 2012 11:58 AM

Sounds like a very pretentious list. Really? Cabin in the Woods? No one convince me that was a good movie, and yes, I know what it was trying to do. And I love Shaun of the Dead, but come on. Where is [REC]?

Ben UmsteadAugust 14, 2012 12:04 PM

At the moment these come to mind:
Kairo
Let The Right One In
28 Days Later

SeasonsAugust 14, 2012 12:24 PM

The Woman
Orphan
Kill List
Martyrs
Inside
Eden Lake
The Hills Have Eyes remake
The Dawn of the Dead remake
The Descent
[REC] 1 & 2
Dark Water (japanese)

huffy08August 14, 2012 1:12 PM

Like Ben said Kairo is tits. A bit much for general audiences but when it comes to intelligent (not to mention epic) horror with something to say very few films do it better. Same goes for Kurosawa's other films like Cure.

Grady HendrixAugust 14, 2012 1:40 PM

I wouldn't hesitate to call any of the following movies a "classic" with all that that implies:

DUMPLINGS - not the short, but the complete, uncut Fruit Chan feature film.

PULSE - Kiyoshi Kurosawa's end-of-the-world epic is epic.

THE RING - the original Japanese flick pretty much revamped the genre and gave us one of the most recognizable characters in modern day horror: the pissed-off dead wet girl with long hair.

JU-ON - the original, and I would say that JU-ON includes everything from 4444444444 to JU-ON: THE GRUDGE 2 (2003).

MR. VAMPIRE - launched the hopping vampire genre worldwide. And it's still a fun movie.

A CHINESE GHOST STORY - the other prong of Chinese horror style.

DR. LAMB - the movie that launched the based-on-a-true story Cat III serial killer film.

TETSUO: THE IRON MAN - it's horror.

HAUSU - Japan's most unique horror fantasy film.

Todd BrownAugust 14, 2012 1:54 PM

Oh, god ... DUMPLINGS makes me so intensely uncomfortable that I can't imagine I'll ever watch it again. So, yes, in full agreement there. Nice to see all the KILL LIST love, too.

panikAugust 14, 2012 2:21 PM

We need people outside the genre to come in from time to time.
Bergman's Hour of the Wolf, Kubrick's The Shining, Herzog's Nosferatu the Vampyre.

When we have horror fans making films, which most horror directors are, we most often get regurgitation.
Which modern horror will people still watch in 50 yrs time...very few.
I think Ringu, The Blair Witch Project and Let The Right One In will be thought of as classic.

Kurt HalfyardAugust 14, 2012 2:34 PM

The extended version of DUMPLINGS happens to be my favourite ASIAN horror film period. So yea, I concur on that choice.

A TALE OF TWO SISTERS, AUDITION, KAIRO and THE HOST, are certainly up there for me as well.

Leaving Asia but still everyone around the world: THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE, 28 WEEKS LATER..., CALVAIRE, GRACE, HIGH TENSION, WOLF CREEK, THE OTHERS, INSIDE, MAY, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, HOUSE OF THE DEVIL and yes, even Sam Raimi's often humourous DRAG ME TO HELL.

JoeInTheBoxAugust 14, 2012 3:02 PM

28 Days Later
Severance
The Descent
Inside
Martyrs
REC
Let The Right One In
You're Next
Devil's Backbone
Pan's Lanbyrinth
Stake Land
Cabin In The Woods
Dawn of The Dead 2004
The Hills Have Eyes 2006
Tucker and Dale VS. Evil
Kidnapped
Shaun of the Dead
Juan of the Dead
Audition
Session 9
The Mist
The Devil's Rejects

friendsarevilAugust 14, 2012 4:27 PM

The Descent is surely a great candidate.
I would add Kim Jee-woon's A Tale of Two Sisters.
And Jacob's Ladder.

kidlazarusAugust 14, 2012 5:08 PM

for the 2000s... In My Skin, Kairo, A Tale of Two Sisters, Uninvited (4 Inyong shiktak/2003), Cold Fish, the Meat Grinder (Cheuuat gaawn chim),
Inside, Shutter, Dumplings, Calvaire, Descent, Let the Right One In, Ginger Snaps... probably missing some.

Major_RagerAugust 14, 2012 5:11 PM

The Descent
Let The Right One In
May

I'm sure there are others, but those are the ones that come to my mind when you say horror classic, even if that means "cult" classic.

MarsHottentotAugust 14, 2012 5:19 PM

Ichi The Killer


Let The Right One In

The last filmed that actually made me uncomfortable to the point where I considered leaving the theater wasn't even a horror movie: Gummo
Greg FasolinoAugust 14, 2012 5:39 PM

Just for the last dozen or so years:

The Host
Slither
30 Days of Night
The Descent
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
The Last Exorcism
Pan's Labyrinth
28 Days Later
Cloverfield
Sheitan
Land of the Dead
The Ruins
House of 1,000 Corpses/The Devil's Rejects
Teeth
Dead Snow
The Blair Witch Project
Blood Creek
Quarantine
Zombieland
Trollhunter

"The Mist" would have made the list if it hadn't been for that awful, trite ending that ruined the entire movie for me.

I must be the only zombie-film fan who was totally underwhelmed by "Shaun of the Dead." Did nothing for me at all.

I found "Let the Right One In" a bit overrated too but that's maybe just me.

Greg FasolinoAugust 14, 2012 5:42 PM

Also would mention another Marshall film, "Dog Soldiers." While it's not as solid as "The Descent," I'd add it to the list.

shamrock33August 14, 2012 6:42 PM

IMDB’s top 50 is beyond pathetic. THE EXORCIST is 8? 8!?! THE EXCORCIST is #2 minimum! HALLOWEEN languishing at #24?? HALLOWEEN is top 10 of all time. 24 is a goddamned insult and you’re an asshole if you think otherwise. The real crime is TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE doesn’t even appear on the list. I mean, we’re talking about a list that features SAW, GRINDHOUSE, and ZOMBIELAND but SCREAM, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM ST are nowhere to be found. I need to murder something

GohattoAugust 14, 2012 10:22 PM

Here is some listed above and others.

1.) [Rec]
2.) Kairo (Pulse)
3.)The Sentinel
4.) Suspiria ( dumbfounded not on list)
5.) Blair Witch Project
6.) Ichi the Killer
7.) Burnt Offerings
8.) The Descent
9.) Dog Soldiers
10.) Invasion of the Body Snatchers ('78)
11.) Rabid
12.) They Came from Within ( Shivers)
13.) Ju-On (Japanese)
14.) Memories of Murder
15.) The Hearse
16.) Red State
17.) La Horde
18.) Martyrs
19.) Inside
20.) Thirst (Korea)
21.) Hellraiser
22.) Lords of Illusion
23.) Beyond the Door
24.) Meat Grinder
25.) M
26.) Ringu
27.) One missed Call
29.) Uzumaki
30.) Hypnotist

Why is Grindhouse on there?

GohattoAugust 14, 2012 10:24 PM

I also forgot the Australian film FEED.
This film is a total mind*&^k.

whitechapelAugust 15, 2012 12:49 PM

Agreed. The Descent is the first title I thought of when I read this post.

JasonAugust 16, 2012 10:22 PM

Pan's Labyrinth
Orphan
Let the Right One In
Dead Snow
Zombieland
Cabin in the Woods

Tom StoneAugust 18, 2012 6:41 PM

The image above actually reminded me that I absolutely love Herzog's Nosferatu the Vampyre. Maybe even my favourite Herzog.

Tom StoneAugust 20, 2012 7:02 PM

KILL LIST is the most terrifying movie I've seen in years.

Tom StoneAugust 20, 2012 7:09 PM

Speaking of Aussie, John Hillcoat's GHOSTS... OF THE CIVIL DEAD should be on this list. Not really a horror but it's scary as hell. Or is actually hell.


Also, WOLF CREEK. I own it and never been able to finish it.

luskasSeptember 4, 2012 6:35 AM

Really? I've never thought of Kill List as an horror movie, much less a terrifying one. I certainly think it's uncomfortable (and amazing by the way) just not horror. Was it the final scene that made it for you? Or maybe the weird reactions of the victims?

Tom StoneSeptember 5, 2012 3:01 PM

The whole unsettling tone, the insane violence, and the last third freaked me the hell out. Keep in mind I watch maybe one or two 'horror' films a year - intentionally scary movies are something I try to avoid. I get all my tension from Breaking Bad and normal thrillers etc. I went into Kill List knowing absolutely nothing besides the recommendations of friends.

luskasSeptember 7, 2012 9:38 AM

Yeah, not knowing anything about a movie can have that effect. I've got to remember to do that more times. Following movies, from production to release, seeing trailers and reading reviews (even non-spoiler ones) can ruin the surprise effect and sometimes even the whole movie...

For me what's most uncomfortable about the Kill List was what isn't in the movie more than what is. Not knowing exactly what was happening, the backstory, what happened after, etc. left me thinking about every single moment in the movie and reliving it for the rest of the night. Which is exactly how I know I've seen a good movie.

trojinxx24September 7, 2012 2:10 PM

Kairo is far and away my favorite horror film ever. Kurosawas ability to completely instill dread and hopelessness on screen is something i don't think will ever be matched.

If you want to count the "off horror" films I Saw the Devil and Memories of Murder are both wonderfully crafted films.

28 Weeks Later, The OTHERS, The Signal, Frontier(s), The Crazies remake, The Final Destination series and my favorite slasher film The Dentist all should be recognized for their excellence.

trojinxx24September 7, 2012 2:23 PM

The Excorcist is a well crafted film but if having a 12 year old girl spew curse words doesn't shock you, not in the least for me, then the movie has little power over the viewer. I would argue that it's too high on the list.

The Blair Witch Project is still something that baffles my mind as to how people see that as a horror film. Absolutely NOTHING happens the entire run time. I'm all for the unseen killer/threat but having a non existent one is just silly.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre i've never really been a huge fan of, the remake was far more effective for me or even The Next Generation with McConaughey was brilliant in it's hilarity, but it definitely deserves inclusion for being a ground breaker.