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Box Office Theory's Top 50 Horror Movies (2018): THE REVEAL | The countdown is complete! Full list in the first post

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After nearly fourth months of buildup and submissions, it is finally time to reveal Box Office Theory’s Top 50 Horror Films! This was a lot of fun (and time consuming) to score, and after shifting through 312 DIFFERENT FILMS, our Top 50 films represents a wide variety in horror from 28 different lists. Scoring was extremely cutthroat, and films were constantly changing positions. In fact, #50 on the list beat out four other films by only half a point. There are several instances on the list where films have the same amount of points. In these cases, the film with the higher number of submissions will be higher on the list. In the even that all films have the same number of submissions, the average position from every list with the films will be calculated, and the higher average takes the higher spot. This gives a good representation of what consensus picks are.

 

Now, enough of that. It is time to dive into the countdown!

 

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The List:

 

1. The Shining

2. Jaws

3. Halloween

4. Alien

5. The Thing (1982)

6. Psycho (1960)

7. The Silence of the Lambs

8. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

9. Get Out

10. Scream

11. The Exorcist

12. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

13. The Sixth Sense

14. The Conjuring

15. Evil Dead II

16. The Ring (2002)

17. Rosemary's Baby

18. IT (2017)

19. Carrie (1976)

20. 28 Days Later

21. Aliens

22. The Evil Dead (1981)

23. Suspiria (1977)

24. The Fly (1986)

25. The Blair Witch Project

26. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

27. The VVitch: A New England Folktale

28. The Omen (1976)

29. It Follows

30. Frankenstein (1931)

31. An American Werewolf in London

32. Candyman

33. Nosferatu (1922)

34. Poltergeist (1982)

35. The Haunting (1963)

36. Bride of Frankenstein

37. Black Swan

38. A Quiet Place

39. The Cabin in the Woods

40. Diabolique

41. Shaun of the Dead

42. Don't Breathe

43. Army of Darkness

44. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

45. The Descent

46. The Babadook

47. Eraserhead

48. The Night of the Hunter

49. Split

50. Hereditary

 

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50. Hereditary (2018) (28.5 points)

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Director and Screenwriter: Ari Aster

 

Starring: Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd, and Gabriel Byrne

 

Synopsis: After the family matriarch passes away, a grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences, and begin to unravel dark secrets.

 

Box Office: 79.3M

 

89% on Rotten Tomatoes, 87 on Metacritic

 

Submissions Received: 8

Average Position: 28th

 

A surprise box office hit, Hereditary is the most recent release to appear on this list (yes, that means no The First Purge or Unfriended: Dark Web). The film shocked audiences at Sundance back when it premiered in January, and it was one of the most talked about films of the festival. Solid buzz kept building up to its June release, and Hereditary became A24’s second highest grossing movie and achieved a multiplier over 3x despite having a D+ CinemaScore. It is not hard to see why so many audiences gave this movie a low score. Hereditary is a slow burn, and although it is not afraid to show graphic imagery early on (see the end of the first act), all the movie’s disturbing moments are well earned and properly built up. I picked up the Blu-Ray last week and rewatched it a couple days before the countdown’s deadline, and my opinion on it changed quite a bit from when I saw it in theaters. On my first viewing (well, my full viewing; some of you may know my first showing was interrupted by a baby being in the theater), I thought the film was strong but didn’t *quite* transition well between the drama and horror elements. Knowing what happens on a rewatch helped me enjoy the film a lot more, and I no longer thought there was a divide between the two halves of the film. Hereditary is a film that grows on you, and if you were left a little disappointed by it in theaters earlier this year, I encourage you to revisit it.

 

As I mentioned in the introduction, this film BARELY made it onto the list. If anyone had voted this in a lower position (myself included), it would not have made it. This tended to be higher on lists that did not meet the full 25 film requirement for points, but the lower half rankings are what got Hereditary onto the list.

 

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49. Split (2017) (29.5 points)

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Director and Screenwriter: M. Night Shyamalan

 

Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Betty Buckley

 

Synopsis: Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities. They must try to escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.

 

Box Office: 278.5M

 

76% on Rotten Tomatoes, 62 on Metacritic

 

22nd on Box Office Theory’s Top Films of 2017

 

Submissions Received: 6

Average Position: 21st

 

M. Night Shyamalan is hot shit again, isn’t he? Split was a massive box office hit and is considered by many to be his comeback film after over a decade of horrible movies (some argue The Visit is his comeback, but those people obviously did not submit a list because The Visit did not receive a single vote :lol: ). The main attraction of Split was James McAvoy’s powerhouse performance as Kevin Wendell Crumb. The film’s trailer made this performance look pretty campy, but many had hope Shyamalan and McAvoy could deliver. In fact, *brag time* I believed that this could’ve been a massive hit at the box office and crossed 100M domestically. I was right and glad that Split was a film worth stanning for. James McAvoy gives all his energy into playing the various personalities of Kevin, whether it is displaying innocence and humor with Hedwig or absolute terror with The Beast. Shyamalan does a great job at making you believe all of Kevin’s traits, and the result is a film that is a blast from start to finish. Additionally, Anya Taylor-Joy brings her talent from The Witch (is it on the list?) and delivers an equally great performance as Casey Cook. She is a protagonist worth rooting for, and her flashback scenes bring extra depth to the character. Overall, Split is a proper return to form for M. Night Shyamalan, and I am excited to see what the next chapter of the series brings with Glass.

 

Split is a movie that made it onto the list by only 1.5 points. 

 

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48. The Night of the Hunter (1955) (30 points)

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Director: Charles Laughton

 

Screenwriter: James Agee

 

Starring: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, and Billy Chapin

 

Synopsis: A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid $10,000 he'd stolen in a robbery.

 

Box Office: 795k

 

98% on Rotten Tomatoes, 99 on Metacritic

 

Submissions Received: 5

Average Position: 19th

Top 5 Votes: 1

 

The Night of the Hunter is a horror film instrumental in the genre’s development. Released to a poor reception from audiences and critics alike, this was director Charles Laughton’s first and final feature as the sole director before his death. The film has become more appreciated over the years, and Reverend Harry Powell’s brilliance as a villain has been recognized. In his retrospective on the film, Roger Ebert highlights why Robert Mitchum shines as the character:

 

“Robert Mitchum is one of the great icons of the second half-century of cinema. Despite his sometimes scandalous off-screen reputation, despite his genial willingness to sign on to half-baked projects, he made a group of films that led David Thomson, in his Biographical Dictionary of Film, to ask, “How can I offer this hunk as one of the best actors in the movies?” And answer: “Since the war, no American actor has made more first-class films, in so many different moods.” “The Night of the Hunter,” he observes, represents “the only time in his career that Mitchum acted outside himself,” by which he means there is little of the Mitchum persona in the Preacher.”

https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-the-night-of-the-hunter-1955

 

This is a film that I have not seen, but it has been on my Criterion to-buy list for the past few sales. Maybe this countdown will finally get me to check it out!

 

The Night of the Hunter was a passion pick among horror enthusiasts. Every list containing this film had over 25 entries on it, and three votes were in the top 15.

 

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Great start so far!  As a horror enthusiast, I am surprised I've never heard of Night of the Hunter.

Hereditary doesn't deserve to be anywhere near this list imo.  Even if you think it's a good movie, to have it on a list of the 50 best horror films is really pushing it, imo.

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2 hours ago, Dr Loomis baumer said:

Hereditary doesn't deserve to be anywhere near this list imo.  Even if you think it's a good movie, to have it on a list of the 50 best horror films is really pushing it, imo.

I didn't like Hereditary so it wasn't on my list, but keep in mind that some people here have not seen that many horror movie so being put on the list doesn't necessarily indicate that it was an amazing movie. Hereditary just came out so it has a natural advantage of being seen more and being on peoples mind. I personally put every horror movie that I reasonably liked on my list.

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3 hours ago, The Stingray said:

Hereditary is one of the best horror films of the last 10 years. I actually forgot to vote for it.


Night of the Hunter is great, but I wouldn't consider it a horror movie.
 

 

You disappoint me.  I respect your opinion immensely...you have given me some terrific horror films to check out.  Jane Doe scared the crap out of me.  I find it confusing that you like Hereditary so much.  :)

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So one thing we've learned is that everyone has a different definition of horror movies. It's generally pretty easy to look at a movie and say whether it's animated or not. But sometimes it's not so easy to tell the difference between thriller and horror.

 

Some movies we can all agree on. The Conjuring, Hellraiser, It, A Nightmare on Elm St, those are all horror movies. 

 

But Night of the Hunter? Or Split? Or Jaws?

 

Now I loved the heck out of Split, but I chose not to put it in my list because I didn't want to put any Shyamalan movies on my list. Not because I don't like him, I've liked most of his movies, but because many of them are these little niches all their own.

 

 

So here's a thought. Next time there's a list of horror movies like this in a year or two, how about banning all of the "borderline" ones? And be strict about it. Limit the list to only the most easily defined movies.

 

Not that I'm trying to badmouth this list or anything. I love Split and Aliens and I'll have no problems seeing them on any "top whatever" lists. I'll be glad to see that other people appreciate good movies. And I know I put some movies on my list that some other folks here might not consider for a pure horror list either. So it's all good.

 

Just trying to offer a suggestion to make the next iteration of this different enough to be interesting. If people have a different subset of films to choose from, they'll make a different list.

 

 

And regarding this specific collection of lists, yeah, if YOU selected YOUR top horror movies, then it's all good. You did it right, and this list will be an accurate reflection of that.

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4 hours ago, The Stingray said:

Hereditary is one of the best horror films of the last 10 years. I actually forgot to vote for it.


Night of the Hunter is great, but I wouldn't consider it a horror movie.
 

I'd consider Night of The Hunter more a psychological/crime thriller/drama but I'd say the same for Silence of The Lambs, Manhunter or Deliverance.   Even Jaws as scary as it can be is a film I'd classify as an action thriller/drama  

 

I put it on my list b/c it's been classified also as horror and I saw other listing it as well - same reason I chose SOTL.  I would have done the same for the other two had I seen them listed before I did my list.


 I usually associate horror with more supernatural or otherworldly elements but then there are all those slasher films where it's mainly about psychos killing and stalking and if that's the criteria then Night of The Hunter, Deliverance, SOTL etc certainly qualify even if their killers and or films are more sophisticated. 
 

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On this topic an article from 2 days ago

 

Halloween director David Gordon Green names his all-time favorite horror movie

 

https://ew.com/movies/2018/10/20/halloween-david-gordon-green-favorite-horror-movie/

 

 

Quote

 

On Friday, we revealed that the favorite horror movies of director John Carpenter, the man who brought us 1978’s slasher classic Halloween, are 1951’s The Thing from Another World and 1958’s The Fly. But what does David Gordon Green, who directed the just-released sequel Halloween, regard as the best-ever creep-out? The answer is Charles Laughton’s 1955 film The Night of the Hunter, in which the great Robert Mitchum plays a preacher-cum-serial killer named Reverend Harry Powell.

 

Night of the Hunter is the film from my youth that really opened the door,” says Green. “That was a stepping stone into the more gratuitous genre horror. I guess you’d probably call it more of a thriller, but that was a movie that really affected me in terms of everything from the music and songs Robert Mitchum’s character would sing, and Charles Laughton’s amazing camerawork. It got under my skin, it really disturbed me as a kid, and then I used that as a stepping stone into more obvious genre work.

 

 

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Happy to see both Hereditary and Split making into the least. I can definetely see how people may not like Hereditary. But somehow it did work for me quite well. I wouldn't say that anything that went on scared me or made my adrenaline levels go high but there was some delicious spooky/disturbing atmosphere going on.

Split on the other hand is not quite a masterpiece but it's a blast. McAvoy's performance is one of the best of the last years.

2/3 on my list so far. (Haven't seen Night of the Hunter)

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58 minutes ago, kitik said:

So one thing we've learned is that everyone has a different definition of horror movies. It's generally pretty easy to look at a movie and say whether it's animated or not. But sometimes it's not so easy to tell the difference between thriller and horror.

 

Some movies we can all agree on. The Conjuring, Hellraiser, It, A Nightmare on Elm St, those are all horror movies. 

 

But Night of the Hunter? Or Split? Or Jaws?

 

Now I loved the heck out of Split, but I chose not to put it in my list because I didn't want to put any Shyamalan movies on my list. Not because I don't like him, I've liked most of his movies, but because many of them are these little niches all their own.

 

 

So here's a thought. Next time there's a list of horror movies like this in a year or two, how about banning all of the "borderline" ones? And be strict about it. Limit the list to only the most easily defined movies.

 

Not that I'm trying to badmouth this list or anything. I love Split and Aliens and I'll have no problems seeing them on any "top whatever" lists. I'll be glad to see that other people appreciate good movies. And I know I put some movies on my list that some other folks here might not consider for a pure horror list either. So it's all good.

 

Just trying to offer a suggestion to make the next iteration of this different enough to be interesting. If people have a different subset of films to choose from, they'll make a different list.

 

 

And regarding this specific collection of lists, yeah, if YOU selected YOUR top horror movies, then it's all good. You did it right, and this list will be an accurate reflection of that.

Maybe, I just got into Horror films a few years ago, I don't think it's really necessary to be super strict about it. I still have seen less then 100 Horror films I would say. but I did at least like every film on my list. 

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haven't gotten a chance to see Hereditary so can't speak on that one.

 

Not surprised Split is on here since it's more recent.  I didn't have it on my  list because other than McAvoy's great performance, there really isn't anything else in the movie.

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The Night of the Hunter is exemplary enough to play a big role in the curriculum for the Film Studies class I'm taking, so that's definitely something. The clip I watched was about lighting and how it can be used for thematic purposes.

 

I think 49th and 50th are excellent positions for the two recent films. I'm really passionate about Hereditary; that's a really great film! Split is also a good thriller imo!

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