10 Classic Horror Movies That Will Have You Sleeping With the Lights on

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Time-tested horrors.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A film about a vicious maniac in a striped sweater, directed by Wes Craven in the mid-80s, revolutionized horrors as Freddy Krueger unexpectedly burst into the cinemas and broke the grave boredom that had occupied the genre.

The director's true masterpiece was inspired by a newspaper article that reported deaths among children suffering from nightmares — a strange disorder resulting in fatal heart attacks.

The Thing (1982)

A legendary horror movie that has a chilling effect not only because of the plot, but also because of the location — the events take place at a snowy polar station where an alien creature comes to kill everyone and take the form of its victims.

Contrary to popular belief, the John Carpenter film starring Kurt Russell is not original, it is a remake of the old thriller The Thing from Another World.

Halloween (1978)

The disturbing slasher from the acclaimed horror director John Carpenter, due to the obscure nature of the genre, had no intention of being a box office success. But, contrary to all expectations, the film has collected a resounding box office and immediately became a cult movie, spawning a huge number of sequels and copies. The films with a plot about a maniac and teenagers with a blunted sense of self-preservation started springing up like mushrooms after rain.

While the main character of the franchise, a psychopath in a mask named Michael Myers, joined the list of the most charismatic villains of horror, standing alongside Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees.

Friday the 13th (1980)

The bloody story about a ruthless maniac who terrorizes a children's camp at Crystal Lake was released a year and a half after Carpenter's Halloween and proved that a genre previously considered inferior can actually make big money.

To be fair, the story of Jason Voorhees' adventures only began in the second installment of the franchise — in the first, Jason's mother was responsible for the massacre at the camp, pouring grief over her "dead" son with liters of children's blood. And we do not see the famous hockey mask, which is still considered one of the most recognizable symbols of horror, up until the third film in the series.

Scream (1996)

The ironic slasher about a masked killer, who gained experience from his colleagues from the screen, became the next stage in the genre development.

It allowed the sophisticated audience not only to shake in fear during another scary scene but also to laugh at the numerous clichés, which were impossible to ignore by the beginning of the 90s. Many horror fans, who prefer deadly serious stories and close their ears during the next conversation about the crisis of their favorite genre, consider the film too frivolous — but without a pinch of postmodernity that allowed for an ironic approach in showcasing the horror, the genre would have been dead.

The Evil Dead (1981)

An inventive and creepy retro horror that turned unknown director Sam Raimi into an idol of horror film fans in an instant. It is true that people of that time were not lucky to see The Evil Dead on the big screen, because the film was so bloody that the distributors gave it a semi-pornographic rating of NC-17 and deprived it of the opportunity to have a wide release.

The abundance of cruelty, the liters of fake blood splattered all around and the amazing special effects ensured the film a place of honor in the golden library of the genre. And the dark humor jokes that kept coming out of the mouth of Ash (played by the great Bruce Campbell) gave the horror film a bright black comedy flavor.

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

A modern classic of horror cinema, that all films of the found footage genre trace their lineage to.

This movie has mysterious videotapes from the attic confirming the existence of evil, reckless teenagers that unleash that evil and a shaky camera that creates the sense of immersion. We owe all these elements to two humble directors, Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, who in 1999 made the sensational The Blair Witch Project, a story about the survival of students confronted with unexplained phenomena in the night woods.

The Exorcist (1973)

William Friedkin's mystical horror film established the style for all paranormal films, greatly popularized the genre and added a lot of work for psychiatrists and priests.

For several years, hospitals and churches were contacted by particularly impressionable people who found evil powers inside them or their loved ones. The credit for this hysteria is largely due to the original novel by William Peter Blatty, which served as the basis for the screenplay.

The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

Wes Craven's landmark film about mutant cannibals terrorizing an American family in the Nevada desert proved that open spaces are no safer than deserted cabins and certainly do not increase the heroes' chances of escape. It is amazing how with minimal cost and a limited budget, the director managed to create a brutally violent horror film.

However, Craven has always been known for his wit and outstanding creativity. To save money on special effects and quality make-up, the director invited actors with non-standard appearance, which almost did not require the help of make-up artists, to play the roles of cannibals. The crew managed to save money on everything: even the corpse of a dog in one scene was real.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

George A. Romero's legendary zombie horror film, made back in 1968, which started the living dead trend, still gets its job done perfectly, which is to scare viewers.

This film also spawned several remakes because of the director's negligence. After the movie was ready Romero made a mistake in registering his copyrights. This allowed enthusiasts of the genre to make any kind of manipulations with the source material — as a result, at least officially there are four versions of the film, differing in color, editing and running time.