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Essential Horror Films
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Stephen King

Writer

Earlier this month, Stephen King tweeted:

"God, how I wish I could go to a movie tonight. Popcorn, Junior Mints, big old soda, sitting in the third row and watching some action flick or goofball comedy. I'd love that."

We couldn't agree more. Until then, the author shared with us his top five horror movies to watch at home.

1

The Blair Witch Project

1999

WHERE TO WATCH

“Blair Witch” scared the living daylights out of me, I think because it was so unpolished. And nothing tops the final shot.

WHERE TO WATCH
The Blair Witch Project
1999
87 Mins | R
Filmmakers (Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, Joshua Leonard) seek clues about a legendary witch.


2

Alien

1979

WHERE TO WATCH

In “Alien,” I loved the working-class ethic of the guys on the ship (Ripley included), and all the swinging chains. But of course, with that one, it’s all about the “chest bursting” scene. At that time, no one had ever seen anything like that.

WHERE TO WATCH
Alien
1979
117 Mins | R
A merciless horror stalks the crew (Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver) of a deep-space freighter.


3

The Exorcist

1973

WHERE TO WATCH

“The Exorcist” is scary from the start, when—in the prologue—the clock suddenly stops. It’s very claustrophobic for a studio movie, and every time we go back to that bedroom with Regan, we dread even more what we’re going to see. But for me it’s the grisly grace notes that make the film. Who can forget, “Couldja help an old altar boy, fadder?”

WHERE TO WATCH
The Exorcist
1973
122 Mins | R
An actress calls upon priests to try to end the demonic possession of her 12-year-old daughter.


4

Dawn of the Dead

1978

It’s like "Alien," only instead of one amazing gross-out we’ve never seen before, there are half a dozen, like the woman biting into the cop’s neck or the top of the zombie’s head getting cut off by a helicopter blade. Kudos to Tom Savini, who dreamed up the special effects, with no CGI. And again, there’s the constant claustrophobia of the diminishing band of survivors being trapped in a shopping mall.

WHERE TO WATCH
Dawn of the Dead
1978
139 Mins | 18
Cannibal zombies pursue Philadelphians (David Emge, Ken Foree, Gaylen Ross).


5

The Brood

1979

WHERE TO WATCH

“The Brood” is David Cronenberg’s first great film, with Samantha Eggar (“BAD mummies! FUCKED-UP mummies!”) and Oliver Reed (who looks on the verge of exploding) playing parents from hell. Only hell turns out to be the children.

WHERE TO WATCH
The Brood
1979
92 Mins | R
Mad psychoplasmic therapist (Oliver Reed) treats raging woman (Samantha Eggar).


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