This week on My Life My Migraine’s exclusive horror takeover, our ghostwriter G.C. guides us through the halfway point of our Top 101 movies. It’s thrilling to know we are halfway through the list and that much closer to revealing what movies came in at the top spots.
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65. Coherence (2014)
One of my favorite films of the decade. Centered on a dinner party between friends on the night a comet is set to pass overhead, the film is complex, thinking man’s sci-fi that somehow maintains a sense of panicked terror no matter how hard it twists the brain.
64. Absentia (2011)
Mike Flanagan’s first film, a total independent made for just $70,000, focuses on very human emotions like grief, loss and uncertainty, and haunts through its somber tone and unpredictably placed frights. It’s understandable that some purists still think that it is his best film.
63. Depraved (2019)
The newest film on the list is the latest from indie icon Larry Fessenden. A modern take on Frankenstein that is fresh and thought-provoking, displaying a level of pure, freewheeling artistry rarely seen in horror as the stitched monster sews what the society who made him has reaped.
62. Tag (2015)
Sion Sono’s gloriously gonzo creation starts with a sequence of mass death that rivals the opening of his Suicide Squad in an unclassifiable film that plays like a combination of Sucker Punch and The Holy Mountain, with equal emphasis on wild thrills, shape-shifting narrative and existential philosophy.
61. Attack the Block (2011)
Though this action-packed, sci-fi comedy is one of the most entertaining films of the decade, it’s also quite clearly a horror movie, with relentless, gory monster attacks and escalating tension. The creature design is one of my favorites in the genre, simple, stark, beautiful and scary.
60. Bone Tomahawk (2015)
With his three features, S. Craig Zahler has emerged as America’s foremost B-movie director. This is the first of those features, setting the template for a director whose films root themselves in a specific genre only to dig below the roots and descend into the darkest crevice of genre imaginable. This is a Western starring Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Richard Jenkins and Matthew Fox.
59. Train to Busan (2016)
This South Korean film is one of the best and most purely enjoyable zombie films of the decade. It has heart, suspense and terror in equal measure.
58. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
The multi-genre spanning plot is sneaky enough to live up to the way this sequel was snuck into production and its trailer was smuggled into theaters. A wild ride that continuously evolves, and the unlikely sequel that is at least as good as the original while being entirely different.
57. The Devil’s Candy (2017)
Heavy metal horror that probes the psychic link between art and insanity in a mainlined 80 minutes.
56. Creepy (2016)
Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s return to the horror genre is a serial killer thriller in the vein of Se7en, and lives up to its title, especially due to the terrifying method of murder on display.
55. Hush (2016)
This lean, near-perfect home invasion movie, in which the invaded person is deaf, is simply so effective in both its extreme tension and its subtly artful touches that it contains no superfluous story, and is all the better for it. A more than worthy successor to Wait Until Dark, this was also made during the time that Flanagan’s film always ended with no hope in sight, lending extra suspense to where this one would land, a familiarity with the director which especially played on the nerves during a powerful sequence late in the film.
54. The Innkeepers (2012)
One of my favorites, Ti West’s The Innkeepers remains both respected and underrated because it didn’t repeat the success of 2009’s House of the Devil. But The Innkeepers, about two employees in the last days of an historic hotel who take up the mantle of amateur ghosthunters in their downtime, is just as enjoyable in its lighter, almost TV-movie like approach. The important part is that this lightness deceptively hides the fact that The Innkeepers is actually the scarier film, with well-paced scare sequences that start inconsequentially but effectively build in tension and terror right up until another of West’s patented anti-climaxes. The final shot is so subtle that most people can’t see it even when they know where they’re supposed to be looking, and it, along with the slamming door that provides a punchline, drive home the central ideas in the film about the unprovable nature of ghosts and the odd pleasures and pranks that come alongside looking for them.
53. Resolution & The Endless (2013/2018)
A film and its unexpected sequel, both which can stand alone as genre-bending mindfucks, but when combined deepen one another and form some kind of coherent opus on cults, time and brotherhood and perhaps even film itself. I get the feeling that a third film would even further enrich these two.
52. Red, White & Blue (2010)
Though this would-be American classic received very good reviews upon its release, it seems to have never really found its audience, at least not one that is still talking about it. Both my expecting it to be praised as well as its lack of praise could be because the film is made in the same no-holds-barred spirit and brutally realistic style of 70’s films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. That it’s hard to classify as horror doesn’t help, but it contains multiple different kinds of horror, ranging from a new kind of movie monster and victims turned predators in scenes of passion, despair and revenge.
51. In Fabric (2019)
Another playful riff on the giallo from director Peter Strickland, alternately poetic, haunting, darkly comic, loopy and baffling, concerning consumerism and a killer dress. Its unlike anything else and its sensuousness is nearly unmatched.
50. mother! (2017)
One of the most uncompromising and surreal studio releases of its time, Aronofsky’s hotly debated and protested film is an ambiguous allegory is loaded with potential meaning and symbology, but it’s on this list because it’s unstable intensity only grows more relentlessly nightmarish throughout.
49. Climax (2019)
Gaspar Noe’s most purely enjoyable film is still the perhaps the most disorienting on this list. A film about joyful dancing and spike-punched madness, it is a true heir to Argento’s Suspiria, a beautiful, stomach-churning symphony of violent insanity scored to bravura technique that allows for no escape from this visceral descent.
48. Black Death (2011)
Eerie, authentic and violent medieval horror, focusing on a church-sanctioned knight’s journey through plague, paganism and witchcraft, providing uneasy viewing and ambiguous answers. When this released, I was joyous over director Christopher Smith’s run of horror films. Strangely, he too has fallen by the wayside, having not directed another horror film since.
47. Cold Fish (2011)
Sion Sono’s manic film devolves into the most utterly insane third act of the decade this side of mother!
46. A Field in England (2014)
This movie – shot in black and white, set in 1648, centered on a group of deserters from a nearby battle – is one so singular that I’d almost feel bad if someone plucked it off this list expecting to watch a traditionally scary movie. Amidst its shroom-fueled strangeness and frequent incomprehensibility there is a horror movie with a handful of sequences so indescribably effective so as to make time stand still and hair stand up. You know them when you feel them, though what it is you’re feeling you’ll never know.
Up Next: Top Horror Movies of the Decade 45 – 26
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