I am fascinated by the horror genre. From afar. As in: I am not at all fascinated by the horror genre but am endlessly curious about why it provokes so much feverish fandom in others. So I find myself reading about the horror genre a lot in an intermittent effort to understand it. From afar. Time Out London just came out with a poll of horror biggies and horror enthusiasts to form an eclectic list of the 100 best horror films. Some of them that I love I hadn't really thought of as "horror" (though on second thought they clearly are) like Dead Ringers, The Night of the Hunter and Ken Russell's The Devils.
I knew my three all time favorites would rank high though my fourth favorite horror film (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?) did not make the list.
The films on the list that prompted the most nightmares were The Silence of the Lambs (which I weirdly dreamt up constantly before seeing it) and The Omen which I saw on television by myself (after my parents had gone to bed) as a kid. It was probably severely edited but I was so terrified that Damien shared my birthday (June 6th) that I raced to the bathroom mirrors afterwards to check my head for a 666 mark -- no joke! I was so scared I had nightmares for a full week afterwards and vowed to never watch another scary movie.
As an adult the films I was most terrified of while I was watching them were: Halloween which I didn't see until the early 90s on VHS when a friend would not let me be until I watched it; The Descent which I saw in a completely empty theater... like one big dark cave, The Blair Witch Project's last ten minutes in which I basically thought I would die (though that experience seems unrepeatable); Audition because... holy hell; and The Shining which I saw for the first time in basically .... wait for it... a cabin in the woods.
In the interest of full disclosure and to illustrate my scaredy-cat nature I have seen but 32% of the 100 wide list which I've included in a visual after the jump if you must mock me. How many have you seen? And which 10 do you think should be mandatory viewing?