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Best Horror films of all times by Priyanka ,  Jul 19, 2013

Horror cinema is a monster. Mistreated, misunderstood and subjected to vicious critical attacks, somehow it keeps lumbering forward, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. For some, horror films are little better than pornography, focused purely on evoking a reaction - be it terror, disquiet or disgust - with little thought for 'higher' aspirations. For others, they're just a bit of fun: a chance to shriek and snigger at someone's second-hand nightmare.

But look again, and the story of horror is also the story of innovation and non-conformity in cinema, a place where dangerous ideas can be expressed, radical techniques can be explored, and filmmakers outside the mainstream can still make a big cultural splash. If cinema itself has an unconscious, a dark little corner from which new ideas emerge, blinking and malformed, it must be horror.

Scene to watch with the lights on: Alice has survived a hellish night that saw all her friends butchered around her. She managed to take down the killer herself and sought refuge in a small boat. The cops arrive. She is relieved. And then the deformed boy, Jason, leaps out of the water behind her. And we all scream like hell.

"Ki ki ki, ma ma ma!" There were a ton of movies that attempted to emulate the success of Halloween, but only one of the imitators, Friday the 13th, would prove to be a juggernaut in its own right a huge hit that spawned one of the most successful and long-running franchises in film history.

Sure, we might scoff at some of the cheesier elements of the film, like Crazy Ralph (and some amazing 1980s fashion), but Friday the 13th worked where it counted. Aided by the invaluable makeup effects of Tom Savini, it brought us more vivid (and dare we say, creative) murder scenes than we'd seen before in this type film, and has plenty of "Did you see that?" memorable moments, such as the arrow pierced through the back of poor Kevin Bacon's neck.

Pamela Voorhees is the killer in this film, and her son, Jason, is little more than a memory, only appearing in the "Was it a dream or not?" final scare. But the ground had been laid for a legend that would be built upon in sequels, eventually evolving into the story of a hockey-masked, seemingly immortal juggernaut that audiences still can't seem to get enough of 30 years later.

Night of the Demon (1957) MR James's "Casting the Runes" provided the delectably sinister plot — a curse is passed from body to body, often by subterfuge — and Jacques Tourneur fashioned a British occult chiller around it whose sly wit and aura of dread are unsurpassed.

Scene to watch with the lights on: Renfield's midnight ride is full of dramatic tension as he meets the world's creepiest carriage driver and passes unearthly lights burning in the fog. By the time Renfield finally arrives at the castle and is introduced to its master, he and the viewer are much the worse for wear.

All of today's mega-popular vampire franchises, from Blade to Twilight, owe a debt of gratitude to Count Dracula. And as much as Bram Stoker's original novel helped popularize the vampire story, it was Universal's 1931 adaptation that cemented the image of Dracula in the minds of most moviegoers.

Dracula is a fairly straightforward adaptation of the novel, with many of the main characters being condensed down and combined. The film opens with the poor Mr. Renfield's arrival in Transylvania. After falling victim to Dracula's influence, the pair head to London so Dracula can feast on the city's inhabitants. Only the courageous Dr. Seward, his ally Professor Van Helsing, and their friends can prevent Dracula from slaughtering innocents and making the fair Mina his newest bride.

Dracula isn't the scariest film by modern standards (though the alternate Spanish cut is superior in that regard). What it does have is plenty of atmosphere and a very memorable lead villain. This adaptation diverged from the source by making Dracula a handsome, charismatic figure. Bela Lugosi captured the imaginations of millions with his performance as Dracula.

For better or worse, it was a role that would follow him for the rest of his life. It's a role that remains the definitive portrayal of this classic villain for many.

Dawn of the Dead (1974)

Dir George A Romero (Ken Foree, Gaylen Ross, David Emge)

Supermarket sweep.

Now that’s he’s become a one-man zombie factory (with steeply diminishing returns), it’s hard to remember that George Romero was, at first, dubious about the idea of making a sequel to his 1969 game-changer ‘Night of the Living Dead’. But with his most personal project (and, perhaps, his masterpiece), ‘Martin’ (see No. 87), failing miserably at the box office, Romero decided to bite the bullet – and reinvigorated his career in the process. Though ‘Night’ changed the face of horror, this is the film he’ll be remembered for: the wildest, most deliriously exciting zombie flick of them all, and the movie which pretty much defines the concept of socially aware, politically astute horror cinema. Its influence has been felt in every zombie film since (and even on TV in ‘The Walking Dead’), and it remains a near-flawless piece of fist-pumping ultraviolence. TH

Scene to watch with the lights on: The last 10 minutes of the movie, where we see what the house has planned.

Jackson's chilling novel The Haunting of Hill House has been adapted twice to the big screen. Avoid the 1999 Jan de Bont failure, and instead watch with the lights on director Robert Wise's 1963 original.

The movie provided early audiences with a legitimized look at dealing with the paranormal, as Dr. John Markway leads three others all touched by the supernatural at some point to an old mansion with a sinister past. Of the group, a lonely woman named Eleanor is the one most sensitive to the evil spirits moving throughout the house, spirits we never really see but rather sense through ambient sound cues, brooding music and stark shadows.

The Haunting has appeared on many a "Top Scary Movie" list, which says a lot for a horror film that doesn't have a drop of blood in it. If you like a movie that relies on mood and character to deliver scares, as opposed to Jigsaw traps and entrails, then put The Haunting at the top of your Netflix queue.

Psycho (1960) Hitchcock welcomes us in with a ticklish story of petty larceny, then slashes up the screen with a comfort-shattering attack on convention.A whole genre was born here, but few of its directors know how to keep twisting the knife with such mutinous verve.
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