Consensus: Top 10 Horror Films

By Jenny Guffy

When the horror genre first entered the film industry, it took audiences worldwide by surprise. Capitalizing on primal human fears, the genre toys with the terrifying concept of death. Monsters, serial killers, and the supernatural are some examples of the antagonists that are featured in horror films. In a consensus of friends, family, and peers, 40 great horror films have been narrowed down to a list of 10 that could be considered the best of all time. 

10. It  (1990)

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Photo courtesy of http://www.mmepr.com/shakedownnews/2013/10/top-10-horror-movie-villains-favorite-phish-songs/

This Stephen King production installs a fear of clowns in a vast majority of audiences with its demonic possessed antagonist. A remake of the terrifying original is scheduled to come out in 2017. 

9. Jaws (1975)

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Photo courtesy of http://hellogiggles.com/jaws-is-the-scariest-movie/

After the first Jaws movie made its debut in 1975, audiences worldwide were terrified of the unknown creatures that may lurk below them in the vast ocean-- a fear that is still present today due to spinoffs such as Deep Blue Sea (1999) and The Shallows (2016.)

8. Halloween (1978)

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Photo courtesy of http://movieweb.com/halloween-movie-franchise-rights-dimension-films/

Halloween produced serial killer Michael Myers, who terrified many in his psychopathic rampage on Halloween night in his hometown. It continues to leave audiences on the edge of their seats waiting to see how far he'll go. 

7. Blair Witch Project (1999)

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Photo courtesy of http://mentalfloss.com/article/66812/17-found-facts-about-blair-witch-project

The Blair Witch Project introduced a new kind of psychological horror film by giving the illusion of reality through the filming of a handheld camera. Audiences watch in horror as they try to decipher the realities and fantasies of the legend of "The Blair Witch."

6. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

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Photo courtesy of https://lloydmoviereviews.com/2015/10/05/a-nightmare-on-elm-street-1984/

Boundaries of imagination and actuality are blurred immensely in Nightmare on Elm Street as the characters are unable to escape their hellish reality through sleep, leaving them with nowhere to be safe. 

5. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

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Photo courtesy of http://www.ptsnob.com/2014/08/2014-blind-spots-series-texas-chainsaw.html

This gruesome film is known for its horrific violence, leaving Texas Chainsaw Massacre banned in several countries. However, those able to stomach the gore sit in suspense, waiting to see who will be able to escape the infamous Leatherface. 

4. The Conjuring (2013)

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Photo courtesy of http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2013/07/22/conjuring-true-story-perron/2457209/

As the most recent horror film on the list, The Conjuring is based on a true story and capitalizes on supernatural phenomena to install fear in its audiences.

3. The Exorcist (1973)

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Photo courtesy of http://www.filmicsite.com/2016/01/03/the-exorcist-an-analysis/

The Exorcist is absolutely terrifying for many because it mixes horror and religion through demonic possession. The special effects used throughout the movie are eerily powerful, haunting those who question the existence of demonic forces. 

2. Silence of the Lambs (1991)

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Photo courtesy of http://www.sky.com/tv/movie/the-silence-of-the-lambs-1990

In this psychological horror, cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter acts as a confidant for an FBI agent on the hunt for another serial killer. Hannibal Lecter was one of the first extremely intelligent antagonists who was able to outsmart those around him. 

1. The Shining (1980)

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Photo courtesy of http://homemcr.org/film/the-shining/

An all-time favorite of the horror genre, The Shining takes the number one place on this list. The quickly deteriorating mindset of protagonist Jack Torrance turns him into the antagonist of the film as he chases his family through an empty hotel.