My top ten horror movies by Justin Hurt
Horror is my jam! In my humble opinion, it is the most underappreciated genre in film. What I love about good horror is that it begs the question, “when pushed to the absolute limit, who do you become? A hero? Or a villain? George Romero, Clive Barker, Wes Craven, John Carpenter…They know this. Now it's 2021, and because of incredible talents like Ari Aster and Jordan Peele, Horror is not only making a come-back, It is once again going through a metamorphosis to address the issues of our day.
I am often asked what my favorite horror movie is, and, honestly, I don't believe in the idea of “favorites.” It could change from day to day. I can, however, make a list of horror that I believe is ESSENTIAL! And while I am only listing 10 here, there are hundreds more that would make my list had I made it on any other day. This list is “essential” but also “arbitrary” because good art shouldn't be compared…just enjoyed. Without further adieu, and in no particular order, here are ten to watch. Ask me tomorrow, and my list will be different:
CUBE–This film, while not only being super inexpensive to film, created a universe as big as the viewer's imagination. The character-driven script pitted people against each other in a fight for survival. It was ahead of its time.
PHANTASM–This was the first horror movie I ever saw. It may have been a poor choice, but my dad watched this with me when I was seven. I will never forget the imagery. I recently rewatched this, and it is a fever dream that doesn't make a ton of sense, but it doesn't matter, because it is visceral, and unforgettable. It's like watching a painting.
YOU'RE NEXT–This movie is just an incredible time. Dark humor drips off of it. You find yourself laughing and cringing all the way through the “home-invasion” concept.
GET OUT–This movie started a moment. Jordan Peele, a successful comedian in his own right, decided to make a horror movie, and it kicked off a genre and filmmaker for the ages.
WES CRAVEN'S NEW NIGHTMARE–While I love “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” the series floundered in mediocre sequels, besides part 3: DREAM WARRIORS–it was awesome. NEW NIGHTMARE takes the series to a whole new meta-level.
ROSEMARY'S BABY–It took me a long time to watch this movie, but when I finally did, it blew my mind. It literally created a whole new genre of horror, which I like to refer to as “The devil made me pregnant.”
HELLRAISER–This is a gothic romance for the ages. the practical gore effects still hold up, and who can forget Pinhead? (which is actually not his name.)
LORD OF ILLUSIONS–Another Clive Barker film. Not only does this film have the super hot Famke Jensen and Scott Bakula, but it's also a mash-up of horror and film noir ala Chinatown. Plus, it's a fun ride through 90's Los Angeles.
SCREAM–Another Wes Craven, but let's be honest, starting with A Nightmare on Elm Street, he realized that there was money in scaring teenagers. Then by the '90s, he realized he could make fun of the genre he helped create. I miss Wes Craven.
CANDYMAN–While this movie is problematic on several levels, it gave us Tony Todd and Virginia Madsen. I look forward to seeing what Jordan Peele and Nia DiCosta do with the property.
Written by: Justin Hurt