This list isn’t comprehensive or complete. These are just 10 films I think you should watch if you love my work as a horror author.
Halloween 1 + 2. Masterpiece. My favorite horror film of all time. They are 1 movie to me since the 2nd one literally just starts with part 1’s ending and continues without a cut or anything. It just keeps going as if the first movie didn’t end. Just so many little things in the first two Halloween movies make it my favorite horror film. I even love the cheap cheap CHEAP fan films that were shot on VHS like “The death of Michael Myers” because they understood what made Michael scary. Something almost none of the sequels did right until Kills.
Halloween 3. I both love and hate that movie. If it weren’t for the Silver Shamrock thing where they are in the fake living room with the snake biting the guy, I’d say it’s pure shit. I love the atmosphere, and the “WTF is going on” feeling I get watching it, but as a movie just kinda love-hate it. But won’t say it’s not scary at points.
The original Scream has some decent tension in it, the sequels are more fun horror and not scary horror, but the reason I put it on this list is that damn scene where Ghostface hides behind the door in Fonzy’s office. I always check behind my doors now because of that.
Halloween 5. The movie sucks, but one scene scares me to death still. The one where the girl looks in the closet and doesn’t see Michael, but he somehow is in there and then kills her in the house. That made me never trust closets again.
Nightmare On Elm Street 2. The first one is great, I love it, but 2 just had a much darker feel for me. It was a lot scarier for some reason; maybe it was the atmosphere or something.
Suspiria. Pure atmosphere. Dark as fuck. Just creepy. Opening kill is so scary, and it also inspired a kill in the scariest game ever made, Clock Tower for the SNES, which might as well be Suspiria, the video game.
Jacob’s Ladder. Just all kinds of fucked up. Silent Hill took so much from this movie that it’s crazy.
Hellraiser Inferno / Deader / Hellseeker. Three movies that are all rip-offs of Jacobs’ Ladder, BUT while you may think they suck for not being about pinhead, really sit down and watch them. They really are incredible films if you look at it on a more atmospheric level.
Stop worrying about pinhead and think of it as another take on Jacob’s Ladder “WTF is going on” type of horror. The imagery in some of the scenes is so horrific and hellish.
These films, while not great as narratives, really explore the concept of hell that’s not just a lake of fire, torture for eternity. It visualizes what the hell would look like for these 3 people.
Hell being more personalized. These are basically what Halloween 3 would have ended up becoming if they kept going that route without Michael. 3 really weird, fucked up movies that make you question reality just like H3 did.
Saw 1. I don’t think it’s scary, but it’s a movie every horror fan needs to see at least once. I’ve taken a huge amount of inspiration from the first saw and the 3 hellraisers I mentioned above in my writing. The white room saga in Second Sight, Condemned was based on Saw 1, and an entire 3rd of The Snow White Murders is done in the same atmospheric styling of Hellraiser inferno’s “snow” scene. Sequels are unnecessary but fun.
Criminally Insane from the 70s. It’s bad. It is stupid. It’s shot on shitteo, as Cinema Snob would say. But it’s a film that’s so bad it’s infinitely rewatchable. Nick Phillips really was the Ed Wood of the 70s when it came to his shitty slasher films like Death Nurse 1 & 2, Criminally Insane, etc.