Top 5 Must-Watch Horror Classics


IMAGE / Creative Commons

Film technology at the time of the original release of many classic horror films

Although movies have changed time and time again since the age of classic horror in the 1980’s, there are still many films that still hold up as timeless classics.

Alien (1979)

This 1979 classic is often defined as the trailblazing film that helped define the science horror genre at the turn of the decade.

Although there were plenty of science horror movies before this one, this is the one that laid the boundaries for what could be done in the genre and popularized it as a main staple for 1980’s horror flicks.

Alien premiered at the fourth Seattle film festival to initially mixed reviews from critics, however, mixed reviews are merely from the contemporary nature and new ideas of the film.

The film follows a human crew far in the future aboard a spaceship during their return to where then one of the crew discovers many alien eggs in a corner of the ship, before becoming patient zero of an alien horror.

Despite the contrasting opinions the movie went on to be a box office hit and has went on to be labeled as one of the best films of all time by the National Film Registry.

The film has been described as intensely scary and original with a sense of seamless poetry and cynicism all blended into this one idea, making a masterpiece of a film.

Videodrome (1983)

Another product of the science horror genre, This David Cronenberg film also went on to define what has been called the “body horror” genre.

The film follows an executive of an adult entertainment television network who receives a tape for a mysterious and dangerous show, who then goes on a journey to find the producers before producing himself into madness.

The movie is regarded as a classic that was ahead of its time and deals with them the theme of what a sprawling technological world can have on the human senses.

This message feels even more relevant today as the digital world has grown to an insurmountable size and the dangers of this world still remain unknown.

Halloween (1978)

A staple and pioneer of the slasher film genre, Halloween still kills.

Directed by John Carpenter, Halloween released Oct. 25, 1978 and was only made on a budget of $300,000 dollars.

But despite the low budget of it, it went on to gross over 60 million dollars at the box office becoming one of the most successful independent films of all time.

The film itself though, follows the story of Micheal Myers, a boy who killed his sister on Halloween night when he was six years old. He was then locked away in a sanitarium for 15 years before escaping, making his return home.

The story is a classic one, kicking off the whole slasher genre and establishing Micheal Myers as a horror icon.

The movie also went on to spawn a media franchise, with 11 films and reboots including a direct sequel in 1981 with several spin offs coming in the years after that, before continuing the original story with Halloween (2018), Halloween Kills (2021) and Halloween Ends.

Halloween is a must watch for any slasher or horror fans and the impact and legacy of the movie continues to show.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Released on Oct. 11th 1974, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” was released with a low budget and unknown cast but managed to change the world of horror forever.

The story follows a group of friends as they plan to visit an old Texas homestead, but fall victim to a family of cannibals, including the infamous Leatherface.

The film was made by up-and coming director Tobe Hooper who produced and directed the movie along with creating the screenplay and story partially inspired by the real life killer Ed Gein.

The movie was created using a budget of around $140,000 but grossed over $30 million dollars annually and sold over 16.5 million original tickets in 1974.

This movie is also the beginning of a media franchise consisting of eight movies, comic books, and a video game adapted from the original movie.

The movie was a proto-slasher pioneer and defined how a classic should be.

The Thing (1982)

While many don’t think of The Thing as perhaps the best movie, It is one of the most under-appreciated classics of all time.

The Thing follows the story of an antarctic research crew headed by helicopter pilot R.J. MacReady

Shot of the frigid Antarctic landscape, as similarly portrayed in The Thing

(Kurt Russell), as they fall victim to a faceless alien horror and realize that any one of them could be, “The Thing.”

The film was, and still is, terrifying as the mystery of the horror, the loss of trust, and the impending doom of ” The Thing” sets the stage for a horrifying story.

This movie quality is also aided by the extremely impressive, but terrifying special effects which were far ahead of its time.

Although the film, upon release, received negative reviews from audiences and critics, this has mostly been attributed to the positive perspectives on aliens in media due to films such as E.T. which contrasts heavily with the themes and tones presented in The Thing.

Times have changed greatly since the original release, the greatness and impact of the film along with it.