The horror genre is packed with low budget films that, whilst they’re fine to watch once, aren’t something you’d want to rewatch time and time again. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why there seem to be more bad horror movies than in other genres, but it may be down to the fact that it can be difficult to leave us consistently feeling scared. Especially since, when we watch a horror film, we know what we’re letting ourselves in for.
Sure the gore of Saw films and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise can make us feel uncomfortable and disturbed, but that isn’t quite the same as feeling scared.
A good horror film leaves you in suspense from start to finish, and then when you turn it off, leaves you afraid to go near your windows or sleep without the light on. With horror films of this quality so few and far between, it’s often worth rewatching some of the best.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
The Silence of the Lambs is perhaps one of the best horror movies of all time. Released in 1991 and based on a 1988 novel by Thomas Harris, the film features one of the most famous horror characters ever created, Hannibal Lecter, a former psychiatrist who has been convicted of being a serial killer.
Not only is it a great horror movie, but it’s also just a great film in general. It was ranked 48th in Empire’s 500 Greatest Movies of All Time and has been archived by the U.S. Library of Congress.
Poker Night (2014)
Poker is spread throughout pop culture, especially in cinema, and Poker Night is just another one of the many movies that feature the card game as a key part of the story. The poker sub-genre has raised the stakes in late years and many of the movies remain popular today because they’re available through streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Unfortunately, Poker Night isn’t as easily available today, but can still be bought on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Unlike other films that feature the famous card game, Poker Night stands out as one of the very few horror movies.
It sees a rookie detective get invited to a poker game with his veteran colleagues. They each tell stories about murder cases they’ve worked on. Little does he know, but this insight will become invaluable to him later after being kidnapped.
Poker Night is packed with several big-name actors including Ron Perlman and Beau Mirchoff. However, it is let down a little by a few confusing plot devices, though it’s not enough to make it not worth watching more than once.
Paranormal Activity (2007)
Most poor horror films all have one thing in common: low budgets. This leads to sub-standard effects and corner-cutting. But Paranormal Activity showed that it was possible to use these techniques while still making a great movie.
With a production budget of just $15,000 and a post-production budget of $215,000, Paranormal Activity tells the story of a young couple that find their home to be haunted. To try to make sense of the strange goings-on that they experience, they set up a video camera to capture what’s been happening in their bedroom.
Despite the incredibly low budget, Paranormal Activity manages to keep the viewer on edge from start to finish with its ever-increasing intensity.
The Shining (1980)
The Shining is a film that everyone can recognise, even if they’ve never watched it. The legendary scene where Jack Nicholson pokes his head through a hole he’s just cut in a door and says, “Here’s Johnny!” has become a legendary internet meme.
The film sees Jack, an aspiring writer, take a job as a caretaker at a hotel in the Rocky Mountains. However, his mental health quickly begins to decline and things get increasingly worse from then on.
Upon initial release, The Shining managed only a mediocre box office performance and it was ignored by the Academy Awards. However, with the benefit of time, it’s clear it is one of the best horror films ever made and one that is definitely worth watching again.