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The Top 10 Horror Films of the 1990s

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The Top 10 Horror Films of the 1990s

January 17, 2014
By Matt Molgaard - Staff Writer

Army of Darkness

For a decade often derided by fans for a lack of high quality pics, the 1990s actually produced some serious gems. Slashers made a comeback, psychological horror thrived and we even saw an amazing remake wriggle its way onto the big screen. It wasn’t a bad decade, as evidenced by this list of the 10 best genre pieces to see release between 1990 and 1999!

10 The Blair Witch Project (1999): Although The Blair Witch Project loses its luster after a single viewing, there’s no denying the chills it created that first time it unraveled across the big screen. It’s also impossible to deny the amazing promotional campaign that accompanied the pic. Prior to release, believe it or not, countless film fans actually believed this was a “real” film. That’s major, major relevance!

Sleepy Hollow

9 Sleepy Hollow 1999: Probably the most stylish feature to make the cut, Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow remains one of his career defining pictures. Visually it’s a glorious wonder to behold, and with the profoundly versatile Johnny Depp taking on the role of Ichabod Crane, you know something special awaits viewers. Grandiose on every scale imaginable, and awfully creepy in a few key segments (the moment in which Brom tangles with the horseman completely crawls under the skin), Sleepy Hollow was the perfect horror film to usher out the 90s.


8 Ravenous 1999: A period piece of epic deception and gnarly twists, Ravenous is one of the finest cannibal features on the market. It’s an intelligent pic, played out by a number of extremely talented performers (Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle and Neal McDonogh to name a few) and boy does it have a savage twist that will leave your head spinning. Throw in a completely desolate location and things feel really, really bleak!

The Frighteners


7 The Frighteners 1996: For my money, this is the single most overlooked film of the 1990s. That’s kind of ludicrous when you take into consideration the talent involved. Peter Jackson writes and directs, the always awesome Michael J. Fox fronts the film, Jake Busey has the role of his career, Jeffrey Combs turns crazy up from 10 to 15 and R. Lee Ermey shows up for the greatest cameo known to man. Even Dee Wallace shows up for some haunting fun. Still a gorgeous picture with strong special effects, The Frighteners has aged remarkably well and still deserves full attention.

Misery Gif

6 Misery 1990: This is a disgustingly good film that puts insane fandom on full display. Annie Wilkes is one of the most terrifying antagonists ever created, and Kathy Bates deserves unending praise for helping bring the character to startling life. Hands down one of the finest King adaptations, Misery is loaded with tense exchanges, frightening outbursts, one unsettling act of hobbling and a body count that actually manages to depress. It’s just that damn powerful.

Candyman Gif

5 Candyman 1992: Clive Barker’s creation isn’t just frightening, it’s urinate in your clean trousers frightening. Sure the film differs from the source material significantly, but no matter what medium you pursue, you’re preparing to be scared stiff. Bernard Rose’s film is crammed full of dark, moody atmosphere and drawn out camera shots that leave the dread growing ever stronger until the final chaotic conclusion. Tony Todd is powerful and Virginia Madsen is his perfect counterpart. This one will disrupt the sleep.

Cape Fear Rape


4 Cape Fear 1991: The stud remake of the 1990s, Martin Scorsese’s rendition of Cape Fear is absolutely perplexing. Fear shouldn’t feel this palpable on film, but in this case, it does and it’s staggering. Robert De Niro does such a powerful job portraying Max Cady that it’s actually easy to forget that Robert Mitchum ever tackled the same role. Cape Fear is must-see material that boasts one of the greatest final acts you’ll ever see.

From Dusk Till Dawn

3 From Dusk Till Dawn 1996: To be honest, the 1990s kind of sucked when it came to bloodsuckers. But Robert Rodriguez, Robert Kurtzman and Quentin Tarantino wanted to remind audiences that vamp flicks didn’t have to suck. From Dusk Till Dawn was offensive, bloody; aggressive, demented and, get ready for it, it even features the gorgeous Selma Hayek. Between Hayek and Sex Machine’s genital extension, there’s loads to love from this perfectly over the top vampire feature.

Scream Best of the 90's

2 Scream 1996: Let’s accept Scream for what it was: The official return of the high caliber slasher. Ghostface was frightening. His telephone gimmick was remarkably eerie, and his methods of murder were executed without a hint of remorse. To add to such a wonderful foundation we were also gifted an assortment of memorable, accurate and likable characters. Not a single misfire here, and the true introduction of the finest Scream Queen – Neve Campbell – since the legendary Jamie Lee Curtis. A stupefying good time awaits!

Silence of The Lambs


1 Silence of the Lambs 1991: Psychological terror at its absolute finest, Silence of the Lambs is a haunting picture that refuses to vacate the memory. Once you’ve seen this one, you just cannot unsee it. Jodie Foster turns in an amazing performance as Clarice Starling, but it’s Anthony Hopkins who truly commands attention as the extremely intelligent cannibal, Hannibal Lecter. What happens when an FBI agent must turn to a monster in order to track a different beast altogether? Movie magic, that’s what.

Honorable mentions: Cube, Audition, Cronos, Mimic, Army of Darkness, Dead Alive, Event Horizon, The Sixth Sense, Cemetery Man, Tremors


Also on the Web


January 18, 2014
Scream! Silence! And no Event Horizon?
By: The Uz
Wash your keyboard and apologize to your hands for making them type such blasphemy.
January 19, 2014
By: Matt Molgaard
I thought the Event Horizon honorable mention clarified the fact that it was right in the mix of things. Maybe I needed to be more.... simple with my message. You may have perhaps then caught the message.
January 20, 2014
Great list with just a couple of misfires
By: Nuno
Would probably just take out "Ravenous" and "Cape Fear" and put "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (another 90s vampire flick that didn't suck) and "Ringu" (originator of the J-horror boom) instead and maybe have "Dead Alive" and "The Frighteners" switch places. But overall a good read, as well as the 1970s and 1980s Top 10. Looking forward to the 2000s Top 10.
January 21, 2014
Not bad
By: sdaveak47
I like most of those films - If you are going to include Cape Fear & Silence surely Seven would qualify too? Nice to see The Frightners & From Dusk till Dawn make the list Ringu would be my number 1
January 29, 2014
Who Picked This So Called Top 10 List?
By: Rza34
First off, I never heard of Ravenous. Second, they're really only "4 Horror Movies" on this list and 2 of them don't deserve to be on this list. The rest are "Thrillers". There's a difference between the 2. My top 10 in NO PARTICULAR ORDER is End Of Days, Exorcist 3, Halloween - The Curse Of Michael Myers, Graveyard Shift, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Jacob's Ladder, Jason Goes To Hell, The People Under the Stairs, Urban Legend and Wishmaster.
February 8, 2014
Where is Seven?!
By: Giovanni
To me Seven is even better than Silence. I mean not even an honorable mention?

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