From the mid 70’s until the late 90’s we’ve been blessed with some of the most compelling horror movies – the classics, the foundations the genre was built on. Themes covering telekinetic powers, slasher scenes, gory scenes, supernatural elements, religious connotations, haunted burial grounds and serial killers all setting the tone for the genre that makes our hearts beat faster, our palms sweat, and hairs stand on end.
I think this list needs to be listed chronologically because that way we can see the foundations and the subsequent layers upon layers, building the monument that is ‘horror’. These movies are so iconic that they’ve been remade, some several times over. To be clear – This list exclusively focuses on the original films.
1973 – The Exorcist
I was 5 years old when I found this VHS hidden under the TV cabinet. I waited until my parents were preoccupied and watched it. This was the beginning on my love affair with the Horror genre.
Theology, the Church, demonic possession, some projectile vomit, swear words, and head spinning. How can you go wrong? You can’t.
This is the premise of horror, while it was made in the early 70’s, the themes transcend time and blur out the dated cinematography.
1974 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Leather face. While in fact his mask was not made of leather, but of human flesh. His weapon: a rusty chainsaw.
I think the entire story of leather face is what makes him so ominous, some hill billy town on the outskirts of civilisation in America. You mess with him, you mess with the chainsaw.
6 June 1976 – The Omen
Firstly. Note the date. 6/6/76. If we remove the decade, we get 6/6/6. The number of the beast.
Damien, the antichrist. He’s just a small child that makes his nannies jump off buildings, adorable.
1977 – Carrie
Carrie holds a dear place in my heart for several reasons. Firstly, it was the story that made Stephen King, my idol. Secondly, I love a good revenge of the nerds story, and this is the quintessential high-school revenge film.
Carrie is the school punching bag, her mother is a bible basher, in the most extreme forms. She probably has good reason as Carrie has some fancy powers, these powers give her the fuel to get her revenge.
I kind of feel like this is the sequel to Rosemary’s Baby, it’s certainly not – but you could understand the parallels if Rosemary had a girl.
1978 – Halloween
Good old Michael Myers. The 6 year old who killed his 17 year old sister. He got put away, but managed to escape 15 years later on Halloween. Returning to his home town for his next victims.
The perfect slasher film!
1979 – Amityville Horror
An absolute favourite – because the legend is based on some truths.
The house is a real place, if you look it up, I swear it has a face that looks at you!
A dad that basically goes cray cray and kills his entire family after his house tells him to.
I’m going to go with demonic possession over haunted house or ancient burial ground because the family that lives there now has no issues.
1980 – Friday 13th
Note: released Thursday 12th June 1980, a day before Friday 13th. Paraskevidekatriaphobia – the actual name given to the phobia of Friday 13th.
Ahhh Jason and his machete, but if we’re being accurate the killer was actually Jason’s mother – until the sequels anyway. Camp Crystal Lake, where Jason drowned – his killing field.
1980 – The Shining
Another Stephen King narrative – one that Stanley Kubrick butchered. We still love you Stan.
Jack Nicholson plays Jack Torrance, a winter caretaker at an isolated hotel. He takes this opportunity to get some money and work on his novel. His wife and son move into the hotel. The hotel has a dark secret – and let’s just say ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” – or a homicidal maniac.
1982 – Poltergeist
Note: there is said to be a curse on this film because they used actual human bones in the scenes rather than plastic ones.
The girl who gets sucked into the TV. Poltergeist- a house built on an ancient burial ground, a portal to another dimension.
1984 – Nightmare On Elm Street
Wes – you’re killing it on this list!
Freddy Krueger – kills teens in their dreams. Basically you’re not safe when you sleep, uh oh – V energy drinks won’t save you, neither will cocaine apparently!
1985 – Fright Night
Note: released 31st October 1985 – Halloween
I had to throw in a few Vampire ones – and between you and I. I had, still have, a huge crush on Chris Sarandon – okay he’s 74 now, but a babe back in the day.
Now imagine your neighbour is a vampire, and no one believes you – he even seduces your girl!
An 80’s classic, the hair, the music, and the horrible clothes.
1987 – Lost Boys
Peter Pan’s lost boys have nothing on Kiefer Sutherland’s gang. The boys are a group of Vampires in Santa Monica in the late 80’s. Michael follows Star, a beautiful girl and ends up being turned into a blood sucking vampire – ladies, he has to be the sexiest vampire on the face of the earth – just saying.
1989 – Pet Semetery
Is it clear by now how much I love Stephen King?
Okay, so if your 3 year old kid dies, take its body over to the pet semetary (spelt this way) and it will basically come back to life! Sure, it will come back to life severely disfigured and homicidal, but you got your baby back! Congrats!
1997 – Scream
Note: 13 feb 1997 released the day before Valentine’s Day
Woodsboro – where serial killers like to play a game, a game of trivia, they basically want to know how well you know your horror movies before they kill you! A fun killer!
90’s high-school kids running around without any parental guidance – while there’s a serial killer on the loose.
1999 – Blair Witch Project
The Blair Witch Project was the first of its kind – the horror and uncertainty of the authenticity of the hand held documentary – could it be real? Phenomenally done.
I mean the Blair Witch sounds creepy, you wouldn’t catch me running around those woods.