The Top 10 Horror Films of the 1990s
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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