In order to avoid arbitrary and unfair comparisons, all the movies were ranked according to how much they creeped me out, instead of their cinematic qualities. Yep, it’s all about the chills! I prioritized, however, those films capable to build really scary atmospheres, matching very perfectly the supernatural, psychological tension, suspense, mystery, cinematography and use of music (or none of it), rather than isolated scary scenes.
Paranormal Activity, for example, not even in one hundred years it will be a better film than Psycho, but in terms of giving me the creeps (in a manipulative way, but I’m fine with that), is vastly more effective and immersive than the hitchcockian classic. Same thing to Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, George A. Romero’s Night of The Living Dead and Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People: they’re all canonical and incontestable genre masterpieces, but lost some of its creepiness impact today.
On the other hand, some films remain creepy masterpieces: Jack Clayton’s The Innocents, Peter Medak’s The Changeling, Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Vampyr and Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht. These films combine – masterfully – several elements of a good/inventive/transgressive horror film, never underestimating or manipulating the public and, above all: they’re still scary as fuck.
All suggestions are welcomed.Read less