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Box Office Theory's Top 100 Horror Movies: Vol. 2 | #1 has been revealed!

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Nightmare on Elm Street is IMHO, simply one of the scariest, creepiest, chilling movies ever made.  Fred Krueger is just straight up terrifying!

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2 minutes ago, WrathOfHan said:

Oh Christ, I forgot I skipped over one film :hahaha: The real #15 is incoming soon. The Witch, Lambs, and Elm Street were one spot higher.

 

No worries bud, you're doing an amazing job.

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Technical difficulties presents:

 

15. The Sixth Sense (1999) (98 Points)

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Previous Ranking: #13 (-2)

 

Director and Screenwriter: M. Night Shyamalan

 

Starring: Bruce Willis, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams, Haley Joel Osment

 

Synopsis: A frightened, withdrawn Philadelphia boy who communicates with spirits seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist.

 

Box Office: 672.8M

 

Critical Reviews: 87% on RT

 

Nominated for Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor (Haley Joel Osment), Supporting Actress (Toni Collette), Original Screenplay, and Editing at the Academy Awards

 

Submissions Received: 12

Average Position: 25th

#1 Placements: 1

Top 10 Placements: 3

 

 

M. Night Shyamalan’s third and final film on the countdown is the one that started it all: The Sixth Sense. Coming in nearly flat from 2018, Shyamalan’s debut remains the director’s best achievement to date, both financially and artistically. A simple yet effective ghost story gets changed by its twist ending, adding a new layer of depth to the film. Shyamalan began his recurring emphasis on family with The Sixth Sense through multiple characters, be it Malcolm Crowe’s distant relationship with his wife or the son and mother bond between the Sears. The Sixth Sense radiates with warmth amidst the scares, making it one of the genre’s most heartfelt entries.

 

The Sixth Sense received the same number of submissions as it did in 2018 with an average drop of only 7 spots.

 

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Edited by WrathOfHan
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The Sixth Sense is one of the all-time great movie theatre experiences. The summer of 99 had three incredible horror movies. This one, The Blair Witch Project and the massively underrated but almost as creepy stir of echoes starring Kevin Bacon.

 

The sixth sense is definitely a trendsetter. As @WrathOfHan mentioned in his write up, it's the movie that started it all. I can remember seeing this in the theatre and just leaving with my mouth agape. I think I went and saw it again the next day.

 

But it's not just a film with fantastic twist at the end. It's genuinely scary and definitely creepy.

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11. The Blair Witch Project (1999) (112 Points)

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Previous Ranking: #25 (+14)

 

Directors and Screenwriters: Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez

 

Starring: Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, Joshua Leonard

 

Synopsis: Three film students vanish after traveling into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend, leaving only their footage behind.

 

Box Office: 248.6M

 

Critical Reviews: 86% on RT

 

Submissions Received: 13

Average Position: 21st

#1 Placements: 2

Top 10 Placements: 4

 

 

The most divisive horror classic of them all, The Blair Witch Project sees a healthy increase from the 2018 countdown just missing the Top 10. Myreck and Sanchez innovate genre filmmaking by approaching this project through a found footage angle. The film’s handheld photography gives the audience a first person perspective at what the three main characters encounter in the forest, and their anxieties project onto viewers as more mysterious events unfold. The Blair Witch Project has vocal fans and detractors; this time, the fans were loud and clear.

 

The Blair Witch Project is one of four films on the countdown to have multiple #1 placements. With three more submissions than last time, the average spot accordingly fell three spots.

 

AchingContentAsiantrumpetfish-size_restr

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3 minutes ago, DAR said:

I’m not totally crazy about the Exorcist but as time has passed I can see its merits. Rosemary’s Baby is a film whose classic status befuddles me

 

I liked Rosemary's Baby but like you, I didn't think it was an outstanding picture.  But you can see a theme here.  The Devil scared the shit out of people in the late 60's and early 70's.

 

Pretty cool that two summer horror films are in the top 15 and are also right next to each other in the countdown.

 

As mentioned before, BWP is one of my faves and the final shot still gives me chills to this day.

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This is the most time I've spent at the forums since the pandemic started.  I'm genuinely excited to see what makes the top ten and I look forward to this every day.  I love @WrathOfHan write ups and love talking horror with everyone else who makes comments.

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3 hours ago, WrathOfHan said:

13. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) (106 Points)

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Previous Ranking: #7 (-6)

 

Director: Jonathan Demme

 

Screenwriter: Ted Tally

 

Starring: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine

 

Synopsis: A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.

 

Box Office: 272.7M

 

Critical Reviews: 96% on RT

 

Appearances on Other BOT Lists: 26th on Top 100 of All Time (2020)

 

Won Best Picture, Director, Actor (Anthony Hopkins), Actress (Jodie Foster), and Adapted Screenplay and nominated for Editing and Sound at the Academy Awards

 

Submissions Received: 10

Average Position: 19th

#1 Placements: 1

Top 5 Placements: 2

Top 10 Placements: 3

 

 

Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs is one of two films from 2018’s Top 10 to drop out (the other one is coming up next), but fortunately, it still ranks high this year. The Silence of the Lambs is my favorite film of all time, and I firmly believe it belongs in the horror genre as it unravels ideas much more terrifying than chasing down a serial killer: trauma and vulnerability. Clarice Starling’s lowly background drives her to stop Buffalo Bill and be a hero, yet Hannibal Lecter does let her escape the demons from her past. The scariest scenes in the film are when Demme closes in on Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, creating a power imbalance between the two. The eyes of both actors pierce through the image, revealing each characters’ strengths and weaknesses. The final interaction between Starling and Lecter is one of the greatest scenes in film history because it exemplifies so much of what makes Silence of the Lambs a masterpiece. With a variety of genres on display, The Silence of the Lambs defines why we watch movies.

 

Silence of the Lambs received seven fewer submissions than it did in 2018, but the average held up well despite this and only dropped eight points. Unfortunately, the horror label for Lambs has proven to be divisive among forum members, and without the fans in full force like last time, it dropped out of the Top 10.

 

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Not a horror movie but very good film

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7 hours ago, baumer said:

I just started watching I Know What you did Last Summer, the series on Prime.  Starts off really bad but gets much better in the last 15 minutes of the first episode.

It’s very gen Z but I’ve been enjoying it too. 

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Black Swan and The Witch being up in the top 20 with these classics is jarring.

 

I need to rewatch Black Swan, I only ever seen it once, in cinemas. 
 

A Nightmare on Elm Street is top 5 for me, so glad to see it appear high on the list. One of the best of all time for sure. 

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Black Swan is probably my favourite Darren Aronofsky film and maybe my favourite psychological horror. I love the down and dirty way it's shot; the noise, the grain. Natalie Portman is just unbelievably captivating in this film. Packed with creepy imagery.

 

The Exorcist has that timeless quality to it. Everything is played so naturally and so down to earth, something that Friedkin does so masterfully in The French Connection. It taps into a tangibility of the real world. You look at it's peers in the genre from around the same time and The Exorcist is in another class for me. It blows my mind that this is Jason Miller's first film role.

 

I think the strongest aspect of The Sixth Sense is actually it's heart. I can't help by tear up multiple times at the relationship between Cole and his Mum, it's so beautiful. The car scene at the end just breaks me. It's also the cleverest Shyamalan has been about his exposition and revealing aspects of the character. The one step forwards/backwards scene is such a great idea. 

 

A Nightmare on Elm Street is one fo the most original ideas/concepts to grace the horror genre. Everything about it is just so iconic. Wes Craven was a master of the genre.  I mean Freddy is hands down one of the best horror villains of all time. 

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Seeing certain films being classed as horror such as Rosemary's Baby (which at the time I totally understand is/was by definition horror) makes me realise just how subjective this entire category is. I guess with something like RB, which I find comes off as extremely kitsch, but I appreciate that if you're religious/a woman it probably has a much stronger impact on you.

 

Requiem for a Dream is a horror movie by my standards I suppose, same with Trainspotting, but I guess that's because I lived through the entire AIDs scare and it always feels a little too close to home.

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23 minutes ago, JamesCameronScholar said:

 

 

Requiem for a Dream is a horror movie by my standards I suppose, same with Trainspotting, but I guess that's because I lived through the entire AIDs scare and it always feels a little too close to home.

 

I think this is the issue with defining horror in terms of what is scary.

 

Plenty of the scariest films aren't horror. Heck, I'd argue the three scarest films I've ever seen are Come and See, Threads and Hot Coffee: A war film, a speculative drama and a documentary. None horror or even close.

 

Horror tends not to be defined in academic circles (not that they are the most important or anything, but it's where people try their most to be precise) in terms of generating fear, but in terms of a combination of what they include (tropes) and what they appeal to (ie. affective senses, rather than cognitive emotions). 

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1 hour ago, Ipickthiswhiterose said:

 

I think this is the issue with defining horror in terms of what is scary.

 

Plenty of the scariest films aren't horror. Heck, I'd argue the three scarest films I've ever seen are Come and See, Threads and Hot Coffee: A war film, a speculative drama and a documentary. None horror or even close.

 

Horror tends not to be defined in academic circles (not that they are the most important or anything, but it's where people try their most to be precise) in terms of generating fear, but in terms of a combination of what they include (tropes) and what they appeal to (ie. affective senses, rather than cognitive emotions). 

My partner is from Sheffield, which I think is where some of Threads is set. When he showed it to me, I think I sat in stunned silence for 10 minutes afterwards. You're totally right - fear/horror can take many forms.

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Well just to expand upon what both of you were saying, one of the scariest films I've ever seen is assassination Nation. When that film was screened at the midnight madness portion of TIFF it finished in third place. And yet for some reason when it was released it was marketed as a comedy which is about a hundred eighty degrees from what it really is. Now it's not scary in the boogeyman/hings that Go bump in the night kind of horror movie but the reason why it scared me is because it's a story that could really happen to anybody. And I literally got shivers watching that film. 

 

It's basically a story about the assassination of one's character and it's being done by malicious malcontents who are bored with their lives. If anybody hasn't seen assassination Nation I'd love for you to do so and I'd love to talk to somebody about it because there's not that many people that I know that have seen it and can talk to me on the same kind of emotional level that I viewed it with.

 

I didn't include it on my list because I knew it would be futile in other words nobody has basically seen that film or really appreciated it so put it on my list would just be a waste of a spot. 

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Suspiria was and is my number 2 horror film of all time, and until recently was my favourite. On first watch it captivated me. I watched it under optimum circumstances on my own at 11 at night at the age of 17 having never seen a giallo before, having decided I didn’t really enjoy slashers and found them unsatisfying, and didn’t know what I was in for. So it was perfect, each sequence is burned - the opening spectacle, the overnight stay all together, the razor wire chase, the dog scene, the atmosphere, the goblin soundtrack. It hit me over the head with a hammer of atmosphere that lasted years. In hindsight it feels shorter and shorter with each rewatch and I wish to a degree that it had an extra 10 minutes of plot and character to breathe. But ultimately that’s not the point, and with those things it would potentially lose so much of what made that first watch so impactful and stretch to eternity despite the shortish running time.

 

 

Black Swan was my number 46. A great think piece and effective film, albeit one that sits at a distance from the audience member and doesn’t appeal to affect much until the later stages. I wish it had a bit more atmosphere because other than that it has everything that appeals to me in terms of big ideas and disturbing concepts prioritised over set pieces and individual scares. The disease builds slowly and festers within the characters - I just wished it festered outside the characters a bit more too. The performances lift it as well as the visual style. It’s a must watch, even if it isn’t necessarily for everyone.

 

 

Rosemary’s Baby was my number 12. It’s broad and has British-style sensibilities and yeah, I think that it’s probably better thought of in the long run in Europe than it is in the US because of that. It isn’t rooted in full realism and for that I think it got caught between ‘prestige’ horror film and ‘trashy’ horror film…and I think some still find it unsatisfying because of that. For me, however the cat and mouse between cult and protagonists is what makes the film work. It’s a tense race against the clock between tangible, real agents with a looming bigger-than-anyone presence looming over the top. Unlike the later Hereditary (which would be ABOUT the demon presence) it’s more about the human figures involved and as such it is something that one can dissociate from the overtly Christian story and make purely about secret societies, paranoia, being watched, being a pawn in a grander plan and not being able to trust even loved ones that makes RB so effective.

 

 

The Exorcist was my number 22. Loads of people have written about the Exorcist. I don’t know if I have much to add. Or at least I didn’t, until it seems some of the members here are a little down on it. I didn’t expect to be in a position to defend the Exorcist since it’s not beloved to me and I generally rank it lower than the average horror guy, but I suppose the cap fits here. I think it’s not just about strictly Christian fear that does it so much as the unknown in general and the unknown finding its way into a domestic environment - no different from the dynamics Halloween presents but internally instead of externally - meaning that rather than being *anywhere* the unknown shape is *trapped inside* your loved one and slowly takes them away. Yeah, I think that’s pretty horrific regardless of religious sensibilities. It’s eerie…the hollowing and weirdifying and internal abuse of your daughter. I absolutely think that’s scary. I do wish we saw the agency of Regan earlier in the film (whether an innocent befriending or some such as suggested by lore/the TV show) but the duel-with-priests is satisfying for me.

 

 

The Sixth Sense was not on my list. It’s another film I can’t appraise to be honest. I knew it was about Bruce Willis and ghosts and I saw the first scene. I just made the association. As such there was no twist for me and thats effected the way I see the film ever since. Just be be clear, I didn’t “guess the twist”………that wouldn’t have been as bad. What I did was  “go through the entire movie on first watch thinking the thing that turned out to be the twist was just what the film was”. Probably because I wasn’t paying full attention (this wasn’t in the cinema) and all I knew was that the film was about ghosts and so Bruce Willis got shot in the first scene I took that literally. I just can’t walk that back and see the film ‘normally’ now. I don’t doubt that if I’d watched the film in the cinema and been paying more attention it would have worked. As it is I honestly prefer Unbreakable by a distance. Heck, I probably even prefer Devil.

 

 

The Witch was my number 18. It’s a special, special film and yes I 100% believe it’s an instant classic that belongs with, and in many cases above, the traditional titans of the genre straight away. Candyman heralded it, even Hellraiser to a degree, and Freaks was the pre-cursor but nothing really perfected the inverted horror until The Witch came along. It’s a perfect horror movie in one direction and you can reverse it 180 degrees and it’s a perfect horror movie in the other direction. The performances, especially Ralph Innes, are flawless, the script is brilliant and the use of liminality - the borders of sanity, the borders of society, the borders of the unknown, the borders of the forest, the borders of nature, the borders of morality……oooooh it makes me purr. The exposure, recklessness and hidden fears of self-reliance in a tale about the early US has probably not been commented on enough. The last dialogue with Thomasin could be corny in lesser hands but instead is perfectly calibrated and gave us one of the great movie lines in any genre of the 21st century.

 

 

Silence of the Lambs was not on my list. And just to clarify this is not due to me not considering if a horror movie. It is a horror movie. It is because I don’t think it’s one of the best 100 horror movies. I wish to tread lightly here since Wrath of Han has made it clear this is his favourite film and Wrath loves movies enough to have made this awesome list and clearly knows plenty about movies too! Silence is still the most critically acclaimed horror movie ever in terms of awards and acclaim. Jodie Foster puts in an excellent performance. These are historic accomplishments. I just wish I understood them. So, yeah the ‘another monotone….’ performance from yesterday was referring to Anthony Hopkins. I don’t see it, his performance remains to me easily only the third best performance of this character and a near generic ‘pscyho’ performance that compares horribly with both his counterparts in the same role and with Todd’s performance in Candyman. I don’t remotely buy he ingratiated himself into society the way I completely buy Mikkelson, and I don’t remotely buy that he has some kind of supernatural strength the way I completely buy Cox. And to me that makes the dynamic that people rave about fall apart. And that’s before how little I buy the threat of the actual antagonist. Look…..I’m clearly wrong. I’m in the minority and the plaudits this film has are overwhelming. I just wished when I watched it what I saw wasn’t just…..*some above average thriller*.

 

 

A Nightmare on Elm Street was my number 47. Freddie Krueger - at least in the first film and New Nightmare is an excellent combination of the slasher villain and the fantastical, with a hint of real-world menace. This means that the first movie was able to play to the strengths of each of those subgenres as appropriate to create a horror that circumvents the accusations of ‘silliness’ that is generally flung at fantasy horror, and accusations of ‘generic’ flung at slashers PLUS having a villain rooted in sincere real-world evil. Sometimes those dovetails are jarring (as they would become in later instalments since eventually they are irreconcilable) but the film mostly stays well above water here. It also creates enough iconic aesthetics and cares just enough about its main characters. At times, Krueger justifies icon status as something truly terrifying in a primal manner. Unfortunately, for me it loses points for its absolutely abysmal and unnecessary sequel-bait last scene whereby unlike most horror franchises which fall apart in the second movie, Elm Street does in the last 5 minutes of its first. Had the film just resolved and finished when it should I’d probably place it a dozen or so places higher.

 

 

The Blair Witch Project was my number 41. Others have sung its praises. Instead I’ll take a moment to discuss the backlash and how it facilitated Hollywood snobbery that this upstart little film had done something it shouldn’t. This was especially manifest in the treatment of Heather Donahue, which demonstrated that for all its supposed liberal and progressive veneer, Hollywood and the film industry was and is riddled with some of the worst misogyny. Donahue was the lead role in one of the most successful films pound for pound in history. She was part of instantly iconic moments. She led a moment in horror history just as Weaver and Kerr had done before. She was fantastic. Unfortunately she hadn’t done it with permission and SHOCK HORROR had done it while having the sheer gall to be not especially traditionally attractive and not having placated the right people. That couldn’t stand. She was mocked pillar to post. Her “ugly” moments (which if an approved male actor had done them would have been praised to the rafters as brave and raw) emphasised as “hilarious”.  She ‘won’ the Razzie for worst actress - an award previously designed to prick the pomposity of the Hollywood machine now weaponised as the sword of Hollywood approval. “Worst Actress”! For being the lead role in an upstart film of unprecedented success that changed the horror genre forever. She was effectively blacklisted and struggled to find work for a decade. F Hollywood and F the treatment of Heather Donahue.

 

Edited by Ipickthiswhiterose
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49 minutes ago, Ipickthiswhiterose said:

 

The Blair Witch Project was my number 41. Others have sung its praises. Instead I’ll take a moment to discuss the backlash and how it facilitated Hollywood snobbery that this upstart little film had done something it shouldn’t. This was especially manifest in the treatment of Heather Donohoe, which demonstrated that for all its supposed liberal and progressive veneer, Hollywood and the film industry was and is riddled with some of the worst misogyny. Donohoe was the lead role in one of the most successful films pound for pound in history. She was part of instantly iconic moments. She led a moment in horror history just as Weaver and Kerr had done before. She was fantastic. Unfortunately she hadn’t done it with permission and SHOCK HORROR had done it while having the sheer gall to be not especially traditionally attractive and not having placated the right people. That couldn’t stand. She was mocked pillar to post. Her “ugly” moments (which if an approved male actor had done them would have been praised to the rafters as brave and raw) emphasised as “hilarious”.  She ‘won’ the Razzie for worst actress - an award previously designed to prick the pomposity of the Hollywood machine now weaponised as the sword of Hollywood approval. “Worst Actress”! For being the lead role in an upstart film of unprecedented success that changed the horror genre forever. She was effectively blacklisted and struggled to find work for a decade. F Hollywood and F the treatment of Heather Donohoe.

 

Awful! Poor girl. 
 

I f***ing hate the Razzies. 

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10. Get Out (2017) (124 Points)

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Previous Ranking: #9 (-1)

 

Director and Screenwriter: Jordan Peele

 

Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, Catherine Keener

 

Synopsis: A young African-American visits his white girlfriend's parents for the weekend, where his simmering uneasiness about their reception of him eventually reaches a boiling point.

 

Box Office: 255.4M

 

Critical Reviews: 98% on RT

 

Appearances on Other BOT Lists: 9th on Top 100 of the 2010s

 

Won Best Original Screenplay and nominated for Best Picture, Director, and Actor (Daniel Kaluuya) at the Academy Awards

 

Submissions Received: 18

Average Position: 29th

Top 5 Placements: 3

 

 

Jordan Peele’s Get Out stays in the Top 10 and remains the highest ranking film from this millennium like it did in 2018. Peele’s directorial debut has significantly changed the horror landscape with its timely message and innovative storytelling. The atmosphere on-screen feels uncomfortable as we follow Chris in an isolated retreat, and Peele injects small details into the environment that make the larger ideas more impactful. Modern audiences desire social commentary in many horror films now thanks to Get Out, and Peele crafted the current genre conversation with his emergence into directing.

 

Get Out received one more submission than it did in 2018 but without any #1 placements and two fewer Top 5s. Recency bias from last time inflated the average, but fortunately, its average held better than other new films.

 

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