Top 4 Greatest Horror Movies


Xavier Maier, Reporter

There are numerous horror films out there. From classic to obscure, there are thousands out there either to enjoy or despise. In recent years, horror flicks have evolved from complex and layered movies that get under your skin and into your head to shock value movies with little substantial plot content. Therefore, in light of autumn being the spookiest time of year, it seems appropriate to create a list of quality, story-rich and truly terrifying films to spend those chilly fall nights watching.

4.) The Exorcist

The oldest movie on the list is The Exorcist. It was released in 1973 and was the first big horror movie to use the idea of demonic possession. It has become one of the most well-known horror movies of all time. It follows two priests’ attempt to exorcise the demon Pazuzu from a 12-year-old girl, Regan MacNeil. It is based off of reportedly true events that were recorded by the Catholic Church during the 1940s, which makes it dually frightening. The low quality effects that it utilizes as a result of the time period take away slightly from the suspense. However, the dark and representative idea behind a demonic possession create ample room on the list for this movie.

3.) A Nightmare on Elm Street

“One, Two, Freddy’s Coming for You.” Despite its low budget, this movie earned back the $1.8 million used for all expenses during the first week of its release in 1984, and for good reason. It follows a teenage girl, Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp), and her friends as they share dreams about the same killer. He calls himself “Freddy,” and whatever damage he inflicts in their dreams, using his iconic knife-fingered glove, stays with them in reality. So if he kills them in their sleep, they die in real life as well. The twisted idea about your nightmares being able to hurt you is frightening enough to give it a spot on the list.

2.) The Shining

An obvious yet worthy choice, The Shining has been a horror classic since it was released in 1980. Starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall, this movie boasts some of the greatest plot and character developments that can be found in the cinematic world. It was based on Stephen King’s book bearing the same title. The Shining tells the tale of a depressed alcoholic, Jack Torrance (Nicholson), his wife Wendy (Duvall), and his son Danny (Danny Lloyd) who stay in the isolated Overlook Hotel during its off season. Jack’s gradual descent into psychopathic insanity is periodically foreseen by Danny through his gift, which he calls “shining.” Although the book is arguably scarier than the movie, it still has the same haunting theme about how isolation and emotion can turn a loving father into a monster.

1.) The Silence of the Lambs

There are very few good horror movies that manage to combine realistic ideas with a fictional genre. Even fewer still manage to do it with such a hauntingly relatable main character as Clarice Starling, portrayed in The Silence of the Lambs by Jodie Foster. Clarice is an FBI trainee who is approached to investigate a case involving a murderer called “Buffalo Bill,” who targets women and skins their corpses. In order to solve the case, she turns to the aid of the incarcerated cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter, played with unparalleled skill by Anthony Hopkins. Clarice’s pursuit of saving the innocent juxtaposed alongside the twisted nature of Buffalo Bill’s design alone would be enough to make this movie stand out. Combined with Dr. Lecter’s constant manipulating yet protective actions (towards Clarice, at least), it creates a hybrid truly unique to this thriller. No other scary film has as brilliant a balance between the horrifying darkness of human nature and the twisted empathy that can be felt for the main character’s noble cause. The number one position on this list of the best horror films merits no less than the poise this masterpiece demonstrates.