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Ringside Report Looks Back At Classic Horror Movies


By Geoffrey Huchel

Horror is my absolute favorite movie genre- zombie movies, monster movies, slasher flicks, home invasion, psychological, supernatural thrillers…I love them all. Each one has their own “jump out of your seat” moments. I relish in the idea of sitting in the dark being completely engrossed in a good horror story. Historically, horror films are often criticized for having too much gore, not enough gore, being too predictable, or not being scary enough. True horror fans have high expectations of what they want to see. This goes back to the amount of gore and the scare factor. When I watch a horror movie, I want goose bumps. I want to be torn between looking away and not wanting to take my eyes off the screen. I also enjoy a little humor mixed in, whereas other horror movie fans wouldn’t. I have no preference with the amount of blood and gore; some movies can still be scary without it. Most of all, I am looking for a well written story with interesting characters.

I put together a collection of some of the most popular horror flicks throughout film history. Narrowing down the list was an extremely difficult task, but I did my best to include the ones I felt are the most popular with viewers and have made an impact on the genre.

The 1930s:

THE INVISIBLE MAN (1933) Running Time: 1 hour 11 minutes
Directed by: James Whale
Starring: Claude Rains
Gloria Stuart
Plot: A scientist finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doinf so, he becomes murderously insane.

The 1940s:

THE WOLF MAN (1941) Running Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Directed by: George Waggner
Starring: Claude Rains
Warren William
Lon Chaney Jr.
Plot: A practical man returns to his homeland, is attacked by a creature of folklore, and infected with a horrific disease his disciplined mind tells him can not possibly exist.

The 1950s:

HOUSE OF WAX (1953) Running Time 1 hour 28 minutes
Directed by: Andre DeToth
Starring: Vincent Price
Frank Lovejoy
Phyllis Kirk
Plot: An associate burns down a wax museum with the owner inside but he survives only to become vengeful and murderous.

INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956) Running Time: 1 hr 20 mins
Directed by: Don Siegel
Starring: Kevin McCarthy
Dana Wynter
Plot: A small-town doctor learns that the population of his community is being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates.

The 1960s:

PSYCHO (1960) Running Time: 1 hour 49 minutes
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Anthony Perkins
Janet Leigh
Vera Miles
Plot: A Phoenix secretary embezzles 40,000 from her employer’s client, goes on the run and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968) Running Time: 2 hours 7 minutes
Directed by: Roman Polanski
Starring: Mia Farrow
John Cassavetes
Plot: A young couple moves in to an apartment only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins to control her life.

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) Running Time: 1 hour 36 minutes
Directed by: George A. Romero
Starring: Duane Jones
Judith O’Dea
Plot: There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The film follows a group of characters who barricade themselves in a farmhouse in an attempt to remain safe from these bloodthirsty, flesh-eating monsters.

The 1970s:

THE EXORCIST (1973) Running Time 2 hours 2 minutes
Directed by: William Friedkin
Starring: Ellen Burstyn
Max Von Sydow
Linda Blair
Plot: When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974) Running Time: 1 hour 23 minutes
Directed by: Tobe Hooper
Starring: Marilyn Burns
Allen Danziger
Gunnar Hansen
Plot: Two siblings and three of their friends en route to visit their grandfather’s grave in Texas end up falling victim to a family of cannibalistic psychopaths.

JAWS (1975) Running Time: 2 hours 4 minutes
Directed by: Steven Spiielberg
Starring: Roy Scheider
Robert Shaw
Richard Dreyfuss
Plot: A local sheriff, a marine biologist and an old seafarer team up to hunt down a Great White shark wreaking havoc in a beach resort.

THE OMEN (1976) Running Time: 1 hour 51 minutes
Directed by: Richard Donner
Starring: Gregory Peck
Lee Remick
Harvey Stephens
Plot: Mysterious deaths surround an American ambassador. Could the child he is raising actually be the Antichrist?

CARRIE (1976) Running Time: 1 hour 38 minutes
Directed by: Brian DePalma
Starring: Sissy Spacek
Piper Laurie
John Travolta
Plot: Carrie White, a shy, friendless teenage girl who is sheltered by her domineering, religious mother, unleashes her telekinetic powers after being humiliated by her classmates at her senior prom.

HALLOWEEN (1978) Running Time: 1 hour 31 minutes
Directed by: John Carpenter
Starring: Donald Pleasance
Jamie Lee Curtis
Plot: Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night in 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental institution and returns to the small town of Haddonfield, to kill again.

The 1980s:

THE SHINING (1980) Running Time 2 hours 26 minutes
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Jack Nicholson
Shelley Duvall
Plot: A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific
forebodings from the past and of the future.

FRIDAY THE 13th (1980) Running Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Directed by: Sean S. Cunningham
Starring: Betsy Palmer
Adrienne King
Plot: A group of camp counselors are staled and murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to reopen a summer camp which, years before, was the site of a child’s drowning.

THE FOG (1980) Running Time: 1 hour 29 minutes
Directed by: John Carpenter
Starring: Adrienne Barbeau
Jamie lee Curtis
Janet Leigh
Plot: An unearthly fog rolls into a small coastal town exactly 100 years after a ship mysteriously sank in its waters.

POLTERGEIST (1982) Running Time 1 hour 54 minutes
Directed by: Tobe Hooper
Starring; JoBeth Williams
Craig T. Nelson
Heather O’Rourke
Plot: A family’s home is haunted by a host of ghosts.

CUJO (1983) Running Time: 1 hour 33 minutes
Directed by: Lewis Teague
Starring: Dee Wallace
Danny Pintauro
Plot: Cujo, a friendly St. Bernard, contracts rabies and conducts a reign of terror on a small American town.

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984) Running Time: 1 hour 31 minutes
Directed by: Wes Craven
Starring: Heather Langenkamp
Johnny Depp
Robert Englund
Plot: This monstrous spirit of a slain janitor seeks revenge by invading the dreams of teenagers whose parents were responsible for his untimely death.

CHILD’S PLAY (1988) Running Time: 1 hour 27 minutes
Directed by: Tom Holland
Starring: Catherine Hicks
Chris Sarandon
Plot: A single mother gives her son a much sought-after doll for his birthday, only to discover that its possessed by the soul of a serial killer.

The 1990s:

MISERY (1990) Running Time: 1 hour 47 minutes
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Starring: James Caan
Kathy Bates
Plot: After a famous author is rescued from a car crash by a fan of his novels, he comes to realize that the care he is receiving is only the beginning of a nightmare of captivity and abuse.

THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991) Running Time: 1 hour 58 minutes
Directed by: Jonathan Demme
Starring: Anthony Hopkins
Jodie Foster
Plot: A young FBI cadet must receive the help of am incarcerated and manipulative cannibal to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.

CANDYMAN (1992) Running Time: 1 hour 39 minutes
Directed by: Bernard Rose
Starring: Virginia Madsen
Xander Berkeley
Tony Todd
Plot: The Candyman, a murderous soul with a hook for a hand, is accidentally summoned to reality by a skeptic grad student researching the monster’s myth.

BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (1992) Running Time: 2 hours 8 minutes
Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: Gary Oldman
Winona Ryder
Anthony Hopkins
Plot: The centuries old vampire Count Dracula comes to England to seduce his barrister Jonathan Harker’s fiancée Mina Murray and inflict havoc in the foreign land.

SCREAM (1996) Running Time 1 hour 51 minutes
Directed by: Wes Caven
Starring: Neve Campbell
Courteney Cox
David Arquette
Plot: A year after the murder of her mother, a teenage girl is terrorized by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game.

SLEEPY HOLLOW (1999) Running Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Directed by: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp
Christina Ricci
Plot: Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy hollow to investigate the decapitations of 3 people with the culprit being the legendary apparition, the Headless Horseman.

The 2000s:

WHAT LIES BENEATH (2000) Running Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer
Harrison Ford
Diana Scarwid
Plot: The wife of a university research scientist believes that her lakeside Vermont home is haunted by a ghost-or that she is losing her mind.

THE OTHERS (2001) Running Time: 1 hour 41 minutes
Directed by: Alejandro Amenabar
Starring: Nicole Kidman
Christopher Eccleston
Fionnula Flanagan
Plot: A woman who lives in her darkened old family house with her two photosensitive children becomes convinced that the home is haunted.

THE RING (2002) Running Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Naomi Watts
Martin Henderson
Plot: A journalist must investigate a mysterious videotape which seems to cause the death of anyone one week to the day after they view it.

THE STRANGERS (2008) Running Time: 1 hour 26 minutes
Directed by: Bryan Bertino
Starring: Scott Speedman
Liv Tyler
Plot: A young couple staying in an isolated vacation home is terrorized by three unknown assailants.

The 2010s (so far):

INSIDIOUS (2010) Running Time: 1 hour 43 minutes
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Patrick Wilson
Rose Byrne
Plot: A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further.

THE CONJURING (2013) Running Time: 1 hour 52 minutes
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Vera Farmiga
Patrick Wilson
Plot: Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse.

GET OUT (2017) Running Time: 1 hour 44 minutes
Directed by: Jordan Peele
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya
Allison Williams
Bradley Whitford
Plot: A young African-American visits his white girlfriend’s parents for the weekend, where his simmering uneasiness about their reception of him eventually reaches a boiling point.

A QUIET PLACE (2018) Running Time:
Directed By: John Krazinski
Starring: Emily Blunt
John Krazinski
Plot: In a post-apocalyptic world, a family is forced to live in silence while hiding from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing.

HALLOWEEN (2018) Running Time: 1 hour 46 minutes
Directed by: David Gordon Green
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis
Judy Greer
Andi Matichak
Plot: Laurie Strode comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.

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