10. Night Of The Living Dead (1968)
George Romero’s “Night Of The Living Dead” was one of the first zombie movies. The story is about a group of people who end up in a farmhouse to hide from bloodthirsty “ghouls”. The movie was an independent production with a low budget, but eventually became a financial success and a cult classic. Romero revolutionized with “Night Of The Living Dead” the horror film genre, because the movie redefined the use of the word “zombie”. The film introduced zombies for the first time as reanimated, flesh-eating cannibals.
Genre: Zombie movie
9. Psycho (1960)
In Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” a young woman steals money from her employer and ends up in a remote hotel. There she ecounters the strange owner of the motel and the domination of his mother. Now “Psycho” is considered as one of Hitchcock’s best films and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the US Library Of Congress due to its significance.
Genre: Thriller-horror, slasher film
8. The Exorcist (1973)
“The Exorcist” tells the story of a young girl who gets possessed by the devil. After all attempts to save her were in vain, her mother seeks the help of two priests who conduct an exorcism. The novel of the same name is hitting the “New York Times” bestseller list and the successful screen adaption influenced later horror figures such as Stephen King.
Genre: Demonic child film
7. The Night Of The Hunter (1955)
In “The Night Of The Hunter” the plot focuses on a serial killer who claims to be a priest and marries a gullible widow. His agenda is to find money that her executed husband hid after a robbery. The expressionistic style of the movie has supposably influenced directors like David Lynch, Jim Jarmusch and Martin Scorsese.
Genre: Horror film-noir
6. Carrie (1976)
“Carrie” was adapted from Stephen King’s novel by the same name and is about a tennage girl with telekinetic powers. After being tortured by her classmates she unleashes her powers and takes revenge on the school. “Carrie” was the first of over 100 films that were adapted from works of Stephen King.
Genre: Demonic horror movie
5. The Wicker Man (1973)
In “The Wicker Man” a police sergeant visits the Scottish island of Summerisle to search for a missing girl. The townsfolk claim that that the girl never existed, but the sergeant eventually finds out that strange rites take place on the island. The film magazine “Cinefantastique” described the film as “The Citizen Kane of horror movies”.
4. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
“Rosemary’s Baby” is based on the bestselling novel of the same name. The story is a about a pregnant woman who just moved with her husband into a new appartment. There she finds herself surrounded by peculiar neighbors who she thinks made a pact with her husband. She suspects him of having promised them the baby to be used as a human sacrifice for an occult ritual.
Genre: Psychological horror film
3. Freaks (1932)
“Freaks” is about a beautiful trapeze artist who works in a circus and seduces a sideshow midget to marry her. Later his deformed friends discover the real reasons why she agreed to marry him. In the film the characters were played by people who had real deformities and worked as carnival performers. The original version of the movie no longer exists because it was considered too shocking to be released.
Genre: Pre-Code horror film
2. Frankenstein (1931)
James Whale’s “Frankenstein” is about a mad scientist who digs up parts of exhumed corpses in order to build a monster. Unfortunately the scientist’s assistant accidentally gives the monster a murderer’s brain. In 1991 the movie was also selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry due to its culturally, aesthetically and historically significance.
Genre: Horror monster film
1. Dracula (1931)
In Tod Browning’s “Dracula” the traveler Renfield goes to Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania on a business matter. There he becomes a victim of Dracula’s powers and eventually his slave. Renfield then helps Dracula to reach England where the ancient vampire begins to prey upon a young woman named Mina. “Dracula” is widely regarded as a classic of the horror genre and its era. Especially Bela Lugosi’s portrayal of the character is regarded as the definitive Dracula.
Genre: Vampire-horror film