This list of Horror Classics is made up of films best suited to a mature audience. If you're looking to get into art-house horror but don't know where to start, you've come to the right place.
Horror Classics To Consider This Halloween
5. Videodrome – Canada – 1983 – Dir. David Cronenberg:
Videodrome does not seek to make horror a fun experience. The film will likely make you feel some truly unpleasant things. I recommend skipping the popcorn on this one. After all, body horror involves the gruesome degeneration of the body. In terms of story, Max Renn searches for new content for his television station. He happens upon Videodrome, a sadomasochistic sex program. Cronenberg explores the relationship between bodies and media with frightening effect. There’s probably nothing more disturbing to a media-lover such as myself. You’ll think twice about how much you frequent a screen.
4. The Wicker Man - United Kingdom – 1973 – Dir. Robin Hardy:
A policeman arrives on an island village to investigate the disappearance of a girl. The film delivers on mystery and features villagers doing lots of creepy things. Hardy’s story also includes a gut-punch conclusion. Christopher Lee stars, and I think we all know that Christopher Lee automatically makes everything better. In an interview, Christopher Lee notes that he and the filmmakers do not consider The Wicker Man to be a horror film. I debated whether or not to include this one on the list due to the filmmakers’ intentions; however, it presents an interesting opportunity to consider for yourself how you would classify the film.
3. Onibaba – Japan – 1964 – Dir. Kaneto Shindo:
A daughter-in-law and mother murder wayward samurai in order to make a living. The duo lives in a grassy swamp. Shindo uses the windy grass as a key image system to convey atmosphere and meaning. Truly, Onibaba presents the audience with one of the most memorable settings in a horror film to date.
2. Repulsion – United Kingdom – 1965 – Dir. Roman Polanski:
Carol is left alone in an apartment while her sister heads off on vacation. Over the course of the film, Carol rapidly falls into psychosis. The loneliness that accompanies her psychosis is acutely expressed by the film’s atmosphere. A literary equivalent that is comparable would be Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. In addition, the film boasts one of the most horrifying climactic set pieces of all time. You’ll never want to be left alone in your apartment ever again.
1. Diabolique – France – 1955 – Dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot:
If Edgar Allan Poe were to make a film, this would be it. For that reason alone, Diabolique is probably the most traditional horror film on this list -- "traditional" in that it makes the experience of terror and suspense an entertaining one. In other words, it is the polar opposite of Videodrome. The basic premise is that a timid wife and the more assertive mistress seek to do away with the wife’s abusive husband. More details should not be divulged here, as the plot is something very special. What I will say is that, despite having had the plot spoiled for me, the summary I read left my heart pounding. If I were an executive and someone pitched that summary to me, I’d greenlight it on the spot.
I hope you all have a terrifying experience with my picks.