While I like candy and scary movies, I’m not one to dress up in costume. So here’s a list of my top 5 scary movies for religious studies.
I attempted to balance cinematic excellence with thematic diversity. I limited myself to one ghost, one possession, one cult, one psychological, and one monster film.
That’s a diverse five, but it means cutting out overlapping classics including A Nightmare on Elm Street, Ghostbusters, Frankenstein, 13 Ghosts, The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby, Frailty, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Omen, Hellraiser, Ringu, The Others, The Devils, Martyrs Videodrome, The Haunting, The Innocents, Night of the Living Dead, and Suspira. These all have their place in the annals of horror greatness.
I’m shocked to find myself leaving out Rosemary’s Baby, for instance. The joys of arbitrary limits! If you want an excellent top 100 list, the absolute best available is this one from London’s Time Out magazine. For the record, Rosemary’s Baby, Ringu, Martyrs, The Shining, and Elm Street were the next 5 up.
(I’m going to say very little about the films. That way if you haven’t yet seen one of them, I’m not ruining any great horror moments.)
Have a scary halloween.
5. Poltergeist (1982)
A classic haunted house story. It set a new bar for paranormal terror.
4. Cabin in the Woods (2012)
A self-aware monster movie that collects horror tropes like, well, kids collecting candy on Halloween.
3. The Wicker Man (1973)
Forget the Nicholas Cage remake. This is the cult classic you want to watch.
2. Carrie (1976)
Don’t mess with telekinetically-gifted teenage girls at their prom. Seriously.
1. The Exorcist (1973)
The classic possession film tops nearly every best-of horror list. Well deserved.