I’ll cut to the chase by giving you the top-5 best horror movies of all time, according to tomatometer levels and critical reviews available on the virtual, spookiness radar, apart from my personal bias in the mix. So, brace yourself for a horrifying blast from the past!
1. DAS CABINET DR. CALIGARI (THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (1920) – This brilliant film by Director Robert Wiene hits 100% on the tomatometer. It is, arguably, the first true, horror film that sets such high standards for the silent, horror genre and has held the same spot for almost a century now. Starring: Warner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover, and Friedrich Feher.
2. NOSFERATU, A SYMPHONY OF HORROR (NOSFERATU, EINE SYMPHONIE DES GRAUNES) (NOSFERATU THE VAMPIRE) (1922) – In the silent tradition, this film by Director F. W. Murnau hits 97% on the tomatometer. It is vampire Max Schreck’s chilling performance here that Nosferatu owes its eerie and gothic feel to, forging the template for succeeding, horror films! Starring: Max Schreck, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim, and Greta Schröder.
3. REPULSION (1965) – Roman Polanski breaks barriers in this first-ever, English film of his. Hitting 100% on the tomatometer, this film tracks a schizophrenic woman’s plight as she succumbs to the tightening grips of her mental affliction, bringing the audience into the same, claustrophobic space. Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser, and Patrick Wymark.
4. KING KONG (1993) – This film collaboration by Directors Ernest B. Schoedsack and Merian C. Cooper hits 98% on the tomatometer. It is an investigative venture into the soul of a monster that’s driving audiences to the edge of their seats screaming and crying in its entirety, as its breakthrough, special effects cast a binding spell. Starring: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot, and Sam Hardy.
5. PSYCHO (1960) – Behold Director Alfred Hitchcock’s modern, horror creation! Hitting 96% on the tomatometer, this is filmed with precision, tact, wisdom, grace, and art, hence validating modern – avant-garde even – horror, a testament to Hitchcock’s brilliant artistry. Truth be told, Psycho is infamous for its shower scene and yet immortal for raising the standards for the genre a notch higher. Starring: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, and John Gavin.
In hindsight, delivering this info with a creepy air of authority has rendered me oblivious to the imperative that you should be privy to the gory details yourself. So, toughen up, indulge, and enjoy!