9 Films That Shaped Me As a Horror Fan - Bloody Disgusting!

9 Films That Shaped Me As a Horror Fan

Movies that shaped Ari as a horror fan

Hello, fellow horror fans! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Ari, a relatively new contributor and critic at BD. I helped cover SXSW 2017 this year alongside Trace, but even if you haven’t had a chance to catch any of my posts here just yet (or at Dread Central, where I previously wrote for a bit), I’m glad you decided to start with this one. I feel like this will doubly serve as a nice introduction to who I am and what gets me going as a horror fan, as well as (hopefully) inspire you all to take a trip down memory lane and reflect on the genre films that ultimately made you the horror diehards you are today.

I recently had some drinks with a few other genre fans and we began sharing memories of movie scenes that terrified us at an early age, whether from straightforward horror fare or otherwise. This got me thinking about pivotal moments over the years in my horror education–times when a shocking or unsettling scene or really unforgettable movie-watching experience managed to shift or expand my tastes in the genre right then and there. As someone who is equally content taking in an atmospheric, slow-burn Satanic thriller or simply enjoying a good ol’ girl-to-bloodthirsty-beaver transformation, my taste in dark genre films tends to run the gamut these days. Like many of you though, I have gone through different stages in my lifetime as a horror fan, gravitating exclusively towards specific subgenres at certain points and adventurously exploring unfamiliar or lesser-known titles at others.

In any case, you’ll find a list of a few films below that I feel really contributed to my horror education over the years in one way or another. Not all of these may qualify as “horror” in the traditional sense (though almost all are), but each played a significant role in my appreciation for the various aspects of the genre at a given time in my life. They are listed in chronological order based on the time of my first viewing of each film, just FYI. Happy reading and be sure to let us know what films you’d put on your list!


Beetlejuice (1988, Dir. Tim Burton)

Beetlejuice's Geena Davis & Alec Baldwin

Beetlejuice was the first film I recall being ridiculously obsessed with as a child. My mother and I actually rented the VHS so many times from our town’s video store that the owner finally just gave it to us. (I still have that VHS, too!) Still, as much as I loved re-watching about 95% of the film, I had issues finishing it. While Betelgeuse’s turn as a giant snake or the Maitlands’ transformations into horrifying monsters never phased me, the final scene in which Otho’s attempted séance-turned-exorcism causes the couple to appear and begin decaying in their wedding attire scared the crap out of me. Maybe it was the super creepy stare that Geena Davis delivers right into the camera or just the overall dark atmosphere of the scene when compared to the rest of the film… whatever the case, it took quite a while for me to finally watch the film all the way through. Needless to say, I was very proud of myself when I did and found myself searching for movies with more straightforward scares after that.


Dracula (1931, Dir. Tod Browning)

Bella Lugosi in Dracula

I first caught Browning’s Dracula on TNT at my grandparents’ house one weekend. My grandpa had recently introduced me to the amazingness that was TNT’s MonsterVision, so in my mind the network was just about the best thing on TV. While this film didn’t actually air as part of the MonsterVision lineup that night, my viewing of it was made possible in large part thanks to TNT’s support of the genre back then and Dracula immediately became one of my early favorites. As you’ll see, I got away with watching a lot of horror films at an arguably inappropriate age, and I like to think that Browning’s classic, evenly paced approach to the well-known horror story and Lugosi’s menacing, but not outright nightmare-inducing performance was a nice way to ease me into the types of films I would soon encounter in the coming years. 


Demons 2 (1986, Dir. Lamberto Bava)

Demon's 2's Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni

Now this is where things took a turn. Right before I started school (yep, I was maybe 5), I would go to the video store with my dad and he would let me pick a few movies every weekend. I naturally hung out in the horror section and due to some very loose supervision at night and the fact that the VHS tapes at our video store were packaged in clear cases instead of their original boxes, I got away with renting and watching some rather intense titles. I remembered picking movies that had the scariest cover art, and with Demons 2 boasting a more overtly unsettling (though notably busier) design than its predecessor, I actually caught this film before I ever saw Bava’s original. Let’s just say that I was definitely not ready for it. From oozing limbs to outrageous dog-to-demon transformationsDemons 2 was the first outright gore-fest I was ever witness to and it definitely gave me a few sleepless nights. Still, it somehow only served to reinforce my love for the thrill of being scared and I thus made it a regular mission as a kid to keep upping the ante with each new movie I discovered–mostly during my weekends at Dad’s, that is.


Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991, Dir. Rachel Talalay)

Freddy's Dead

By the time I saw Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare in the mid-’90s at a friend’s house, I had a pretty good idea of who Freddy Krueger was: one of the most famous boogeymen in horror who stalked victims in their dreams while sporting a killer glove, dusty hat, and that sweater. He was arguably the most well-known horror villain in pop culture at the time, but given my preoccupation with “mini monster” movies like Gremlins, Critters, and Ghoulies at that age, I just hadn’t quite made my way over to the Nightmare films up to that point. Still, while Freddy’s Dead was not the most representative of the franchise, I fell in love with the series then and there. The film’s outlandish death scenes and Englund’s maniacal performance punctuated with biting humor and those killer one-liners gave me a whole new appreciation for the power of a great, iconic villain. I soon caught up on the other five films in the series (New Nightmare had not been released on home video just yet), and A Nightmare on Elm Street fast became one of my favorite horror franchises.


Scream (1996, Dir. Wes Craven)

Gale, Randy, and Sidney in Scream.

This was where my love of horror really took a pivotal turn. As a preteen with a strong penchant for sarcasm and a love for twist endings in stories, Scream was both a breath of fresh air and a wonderful retrospective of sorts for me when I caught it on home video in ’97. Given that my family and friends who typically didn’t love horror films really dug Scream, it notably made me excited for the possibility that horror might again become something universal that I could share with others I knew without being labeled a blood-and-guts-obsessed weirdo. Most of all though, Scream solidified my love for the slasher and Sidney Prescott quickly became my favorite final girl ever. I loved how Neve Campbell brought Kevin Williamson’s sharply-written lead to life, and Sidney also became something of an empowering figure for me at the time–particularly as an admittedly effeminate young outcast who tended to gravitate towards strong female characters in film and TV. Needless to say, my love for the genre became far more unabashed after I encountered Craven’s modern classic, and the film and its sequels have since held a very special place in my heart as my favorite horror franchise.


  • David Tucker

    This is a great list. I’m always interested in what films started other horror fans on their path. I would say Predator probably kicked off my love for the genre, with The Exorcist being the first film to REALLY evoke a visceral reaction. Since then their have been some stand outs, but I will always place those two as stepping stones. A lot of your list overlaps with my own.

    • Ari Drew

      Glad you think so! I actually saw Predator at a pretty young age as well and loved it, though I was admittedly partial to the sequel growing up. I didn’t know any better then. -_-

  • Love the range of the films represented here. I think I was probably 13 when I saw the Demons movies. I think if I saw them at 5(!) I might still be locked away in an asylum somewhere.

    • I recently had a chance to rewatch the first one on the big screen and it’s still terrifying to me. Also just majorly fun though.

      • I would kill to see that on the big screen. Maybe not kill, but…

  • sliceanddice

    Absentia is a real underrated

    • Ari Drew

      It really is. I wish I knew more people who loved it, but it does give me an excuse to rewatch it a ton when I show it to someone new.

      • sliceanddice

        good point. seriously creepy moments. great story. fine acting.

        • pablitonizer

          I like most of Flanagan’s works but Absentia is BAD! like seriously

          • sliceanddice

            each to their own.

  • Paul

    My first intro to feeling horrified from a film was in the 70’s.
    My dad was a school headmaster and sometimes he would bring me and my sisters to his school at night to watch movies on an old film projecter.
    One of those was Roger Corman’s The Fall of the House of Usher.
    I must’ve been 6 or 7 years old and I have no idea what my dad was thinking of when he chose this for movie night, but it scared the crap out of me.
    Anyway after that films like Halloween, Blood Beach, The Fog etc. solidified my fascination and love for this genre.

  • Travis Ignaffo

    My aunt was a horror fan and she introduced me to Friday the 13th, Nightmare on elm street and Halloween at the age of 4 or 5. My obsession with horror grew from those early days. As i got older i branched out from 80s classics to buying After Dark Horror fest dvds and the 5 dollar Midnight Horror pack dvds and spent my high school weekends watching whatever horror dvds i could buy cheap instead of going to parties. Was called a weirdo more than once lol.

  • Brando

    I didn’t know that there were Sleestaks in a Freddy movie!

  • jimmyt1967

    My brother babysat me one saturday night back in the 70’s and I remember him letting me watch Night of the Living Dead on Creature Feature, (in Chicago), I was maybe 7? I have been obsessed with the genre ever since. 1982 was a great year as a 14/15 year old and seeing The Thing theatrically. The blood test scene made me jump out of my seat and spill popcorn all over my dad. I started working as a usher/projectionist in 84 and got to watch the original Nighmare On Elm Street in a empty closed theater by myself the night before it opened……the famous tongue/phone scene about made me crap myself.

    • Ari Drew

      Oh man I would kill to see The Thing on the big screen!

    • Kevin

      Oh Jimmy! You are I were on parallel tracks! I watched The Thing in theatres in ’82…worked as an usher in 1984 (my first job!). I also got a taste of The Omen by Richard Donner when I was young! Oh SOOOO many great horror films! But my older brother really turned me on to the classics while watching Project Terror on Friday nights. Great memories!!

  • I always wondered what shaped you as a horror fan. Wait, who are you?

    • Creepshow

      Spend less time worrying about that, and more time concentrating on personal hygiene.

  • HalesTales

    You mentioned Banshee Chapter! +1000

    • Ari Drew

      It is unbelievably underrated! People don’t give FF films much credit a lot of the time, but it is one that I will always defend without fail.

      • HalesTales

        I completely agree. It’s one I stayed absolutely swept up in. Katia Winter did a great job as our protagonist and I believed her journey. Ted Levine’s appearance is a gem and I started to feel some serious dread when everything was coming to a head. What a freaky movie.

  • Ari Drew

    That is an awesome story. I didn’t see An American Werewolf in London until much later in life (around when An American Werewolf in Paris was released), but it set a very high bar for werewolf films for me. I also went through a very intense period of soaking up as much foreign horror as I could and it was always so exciting, especially with French and Japanese offerings. Loving the love for Exorcist III as well–hands down one of my favorite sequels ever. So underrated.

  • craig smith

    I was 6 years old and my brother 9. We sneaked downstairs to watch Halloween. He was crying scared while i was in awe. Every friday i would sneak downstairs to watch dr.terrors double bill. The most memorable been “horror express” and “masque of the red death”. Two movies to this day that still are some of my favorites. They opened a whole world of vincent price, Christopher lee and peter cushing movies that still are amazing and a joy to watch. They just dont make them like that anymore.

  • Mi chiamo “Dee”

    Freddy’s Dead will always have a special place in my heart, it’s far better than the lousy 5th one. What I appreciate about the Demons movies is their imagination and ambition.

  • I was 7 years old, my parents had visits at my home I was awake watching tv, a portuguese channel has broadcasted Vampires (1998), I’ve only seen the first 15 minutes, then I went to sleep. I was enjoying, so I a person of my family lent me the DVD of Ghost Ship (2002), so this was the first horror movie I’ve seen.

    However I can do a list of some films that shaped me as horror fan, here it goes.

    – A Nightmare on Elm Street 4
    – Halloween 4
    – Child’s Play 2
    – Scream
    – The Others
    – Resident Evil
    – Final Destination 2
    – Jeepers Creepers 2
    – Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake
    – Dawn of the Dead
    – The Grudge
    – House of Wax
    – Saw 2
    – The Hills Have Eyes remake

    Okay, a lot of them aren’t good pictures and they are not on my favorite movies list, but they helped to shape my tastes as fan of horror films.

    • Child’s Play 2 was inexplicably a big one for me, too!

  • 1000

    It’s always great to see Absentia getting some love. I think it’s one of the biggest hidden gems of the horror world; startling when you consider the micro-budget.

  • CalUni

    First horror to ever scare the hell out of me (in a good way) was A Nightmare on Elm Street. Then there’s Jaws – I couldn’t walk on the blue carpet in my bedroom for a week, jumping from the door to my bed! The one that killed me the most as a youngster though was Silence of the Lambs. My innocence about our world sort of ended with that film. It introduced me to a kind of evil that was not fantasy or escapist horror. Happy times!

  • WOLF

    I can see how if you are a young kid Freddy’s Dead might get you into Freddy. But man, I think it’s the worst Elm Street by a mile. I can’t even watch it today.

    • A couple of decades later, I cannot say I disagree.

  • nowaygetreal

    The Gates of Hell trilogy is probably what shaped me most. That, plus the Evil Dead movies. These films had a profound effect on my growing passion for horror.

  • Chris Genth

    I remember it was 1979 and I was 6, my grandmother would watch me when my mother was working. My grandfather was an over the road truck driver, when he came home everyone had to watch what he wanted to. Here iam 6 year old boy watching in amazement that a guy with bag over his head was killing people. Back in those days the kids didn’t bitch or complain u watched what the adults did and u kept your mouth shut. Jaws, Amityville, Halloween, all shaped me who I am today. Now I’m 44 and my grandmother just passed away last year, she was the best grandma a boy could ask for. When I watch any of the movies I referenced i think of being 6 and grandma watching me.I think after I write this article I’m gonna put in Halloween and enjoy a masterpiece and think of the wonderful memories of my dear grandmother.

    • Sounds like a badass grandma to me. Mine were very similar!

      • Chris Genth

        That’s cool, thanks u for the kind words my fellow horror brother

  • Biscoito18

    Slashers and disaster movies played a big part in shaping me as a horror fan in my early years. Movies like:

    – Scream and Scream 2 (Tatum’s death and Gale’s chase were my favorites scenes)
    – Dante’s Peak (the scene when the grandma jumps inside the boiling lake was my favorite alongside the horrible death of the protagonist’s wife in the beggining) ;
    – Titanic (Rose hanging off the back of the ship thinking about suicide and Jack’s description of what feels like falling in icy waters was fantastic for me);
    – Final Destination 1, 2 and 3;
    – Twister;
    – The Faculty;

    Other movies:
    – The Ghost and The Darkness;
    – The Craft;
    – Interview with the Vampire;
    – Anaconda;
    – The Blob (remake)
    – Starship Troopers;
    – The Good Son (with Macaulay Culkin and Elijah Wood);
    – Wolf Creek;
    – The Devil’s Rejects;
    – The Hills Have Eyes (remake);
    – 30 Days of Night;

    • So many favorites of mine. Love seeing mentions of The Good Son and The Faculty!

  • Kevin

    Great list! Welcome to Bloody Disgusting!

    • Thank you so much! Truly appreciate a warm welcome online in this day and age.

  • mark long

    What a fun topic! I’ll throw in…
    The Town That Dreaded Sundown
    Black Christmas
    Halloween
    The Fog
    The Hammer Dracula films w/ Christopher Lee
    The Evil
    Friday the 13th
    The Hills Have Eyes
    Creepers

    I grew up in the 70’s & 80’s and saw most of these at the Drive in or theatre with my mother, lol. I still watch most of these every chance I get and even their more modern incarnations. Honorable mention to The Ring remake, as that got me into the Asian genre and I would agree that Audition is the among the best.

    • Great list! Glad to see people having fun with this. Reminiscing while writing this was a great experience.

    • Chris Genth

      Hey man, I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s too. I don’t know about u but I sure do miss those warm summer nights at the drive in

      • mark long

        Nothing like it!

        • Chris Genth

          Amen brother, sure do miss those days.

  • Elizabeth

    Demons and Demons 2 are two of my favoritest(?) movies. I make non-horror friends watch them and they’re like, “WTF is wrong with you?”

    • Right?? Such an excessive and bizarre, but super entertaining set of films. I feel like most non-horror folks just aren’t ready for those.

      • Elizabeth

        “Hi…………………..mynameisgeorge!” The dubbing and the terrifying areolas are my favorite part of the first movie.

  • Creepshow

    Welcome Ari, and great article. Everyone has their own unique (long) path of what shaped them as horror fans, and everyone’s story is fascinating to hear. One topic that would be fun to hear is… What was the one or several horror films that completely RUINED us as kids? Ya know, the movies growing up that we saw as kids, that made us sleep on the floor in our parents room or with a nightlight on. The ones that scared us shitless, and for some god-forsaken reason, left us wanting MORE. It’s always fun to hear what horror movies originally WRECKED certain people.

    • Very nice idea! For me it was probably Demons 2 for a while and then the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The latter fucked me up for a while as a kid. Admittedly though, the first filmed sequence that made me straight up cry as a kid was Michael Jackson transforming into a werewolf in the “Thriller” music video.

    • MarsupialRebellion

      This was definitely Hoopers Eaten Alive and The Evil Dead for me. They kept me up many nights, wondering whether it would be the Deadites, or the crazy old fucker who would chase me with his scythe into the swamp where his huge alligator(s) were waiting to dispose of me.

  • mark long

    For sure. Wasn’t too bad. I need to watch them both again!

  • cinetredici

    Great concept! I had a rocky road to horror, as my parents were very religious growing up and I didn’t really get much exposure until I started getting older and realized I could sneak things by them…

    1. Ghostbusters (84)/ Real Ghostbusters (86): I was a teenager before I realized this wasn’t an actual career I could follow.
    2. Trilogy of Terror (75): The first movie I ever watched that kept me up and gave me nightmares.
    3. Doctor Who (80s credits/theme song): Never got into the show but to this day find that song terrifying. From an early age on PBS I carefully avoided it, until I started craving that scared feeling.
    4. Motel Hell (80): Thank you Joe Bob Briggs.
    5. It (90): I remember almost pissing myself because I was afraid to leave my friends living room to go to the bathroom.
    6. Make Them Die Slowly (81): My favorite oversized VHS box/ no one under 18 experience. I felt like we were doing something wrong watching it in my friends basement.
    7. Night of The Living Dead (68): When I realized how powerful horror could be.
    8. Profondo Rosso/Suspiria/The Beyond: When I realized how beautiful horror could be.
    9. The Walking Dead (Season 1): When the undead finally died for me. It was heartbreaking. They finally mainstreamed what I thought would forever be underground.

  • Gore Hound

    The first horror movies that I can remember seeing are Sleepy Hollow, Lake Placid, and Deep Star 6 at probably 5 or 6 years old. I also watched the Goosebumps show and Tales from the Crypt when I was little; mostly from behind the couch. I also saw a few minutes from Child’s Play 2 at that age and it left me scarred for a long time. In my preteens, before I could get these movies on my own, most of my horror came from edited for tv slasher movies; usually on the Syfy(back when it was spelled right) and AMC channels. Halloween was always my favorite part of the year because of all the horror movie marathons that would play; especially FearFest. Some horror movies that had an impact on me or influenced me as a horror fan, including the three I watched first, are Evil Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street 2, Gremlins, Dead Alive, It, Final Destination, and Friday the 13th Part 6.

  • Anthony DeRouen

    Watching Aliens in theaters when I was six was just about enough to scare me shitless and rope me into horror. The Thing achieved the same thing a couple years later on VHS.

    • Andrew A.

      Aliens in theaters is a glorious experience!

  • MarsupialRebellion

    Nice article, I enjoy hearing about this as horror is very nostalgic to me and I always like to hear about what horror films came first for friends etc. My first experience was most likely the original Dawn of the Dead. I had seen a clip from Day of the Dead on Movie Magic and went in search of it but ran into Dawn at the local mom and pop store. Needless to say it scared and grossed the living hell out of me. Next I very specifically remember renting Tobe Hoopers Eaten Alive with a friend and being terrified. From there it was mostly whatever looked the scariest/goriest from the local mom and pop, mostly 70s and 80s films like The Evil Dead, Driller Killer, The Slumber Party Massacre, Toolbox Murders etc.

  • Shawn Simpson

    This doesn’t mean every movie on this list is one of my favorites all time. It just means these films helped mold me into the viewer I am today. Granted about half of them are some of my favorites lol!.

    1. Child’s Play-When I was a little kid I had a fascination with Rugrats(as did most of my generation)so I’m sitting on my parents bed with my Dad who poses the question”Wanna watch some Chucky?” My little brain had no idea what was coming. I answered “YES!!!” and little ole me was ready for a Rugrats marathon with my good ole red headed buddy Chucky to make me laugh…nope wrong Chucky son! The moment I saw the real Chucky everything in my life changed. It took me until I was at least 16 to fully get over my fear of dolls. Now I own every single Chucky film and watch them regularly. Thanks Dad! Now if only someone would get me a life size Chucky for my birthday 🙂
    2. Halloween-My mother and I had a tradition while I was growing up of going to the movie store on Halloween and renting as many horror films as we could. This is how I discovered Freddy, Jason and Michael. But the first time I saw Myers in his Shatner mask it elicited a feeling of dread for days. I remember feeling like I was being watched every second of every day for weeks. To this day Halloween is my favorite slasher film of all time. No offense Freddy…you’ll get your time soon enough.
    3.The Blair Witch Project-The first film to truly wreck every part of me. I wasn’t supposed to see this movie…but I did anyways. I remember the marketing campaign, the news reports made to make the film feel real and then the film itself. I found a vhs copy of this at my Grammys house(my dads mom)and while everyone was outside enjoying each others company and swimming I popped this into the vcr and watched what would become one of the most influential films in my life. It was the first time I felt like I was watching someone go truly insane. The first time I felt I was watching something real. The first time I felt like I was watching something I shouldn’t. I still can’t look at the woods the same because of this movie. Timeout as a kid took on a whole new meaning when I was told to go put my face in the corner after watching Blairs final scene. Say what you will about this movie but it messed me up as a kid and still to this day holds a high place for me.
    4. Anaconda-I have always had an outright fascination when it comes to reptiles(snakes mostly)and I remember getting Anaconda for Christmas when we still lived in our old house in Eau Claire. You may not call Anaconda a horror film but to a little kid who visited the zoo almost weekly for the sole person of seeing the Anaconda…this film made those trips so much more exciting. Looking back on this film now it has a lot of flaws but it still helped shape me into the outlandish creature feature loving idiot I am today. Plus let’s not act like the scene Sarone gets swallowed whole my the mother of all Anacondas isn’t uber satisfying!
    5. Freddy vs Jason-Once again courtesy of my father this bad boy makes the list. This was the first outright horror film I ever saw in a theater at the tender age of 12. I had recently concluded the Nightmare franchise after many years of watching the films during my Halloween horrorthons. So I posed the question to my Dad as to whether we could go see Freddy vs Jason at the movies. He said yes and I still to this day believe he said yes in an attempt to see if the film would break me….oh how wrong you were father…how wrong you were. The slapstick comedy stitched into it, the over the top kills and the final scene all left me saying the same thing. THIS…RIGHT HERE….IS MY……SHIT!!!!! Sure a lot of people can’t stand this movie but it holds a very special nostalgic place in my heart. I still to this day watch this film almost once a month and its easily one of my favorite movies of all time.
    6. Evil Dead 2-My first step into the world of “extreme” films was the Evil Dead franchise. I finally got around to seeing them when I was in middle school. Evil Dead holds a very special place in my heart but Evil Dead 2 was where it all clicked for me in all the right ways. The horror, the comedy, THE BLOOD!!!! It just sang to me like a chainsaw through a Deadite. Don’t believe Evil Dead had a lasting impact on me as a person then look no further than my life size Ash Williams who guards over my living room. Groovy!
    7.House of 1000 Corpses-I saw this gem when I was still in middle school in the most unlikeliest of places….my Memaw’s(my moms mom.) She always let me watch essentially whatever I wanted as long as it wasn’t well…you know. We watched this together once it came out on dvd and this film opened a door for me that never closed. I immediately fell in love with grindhouse cinema. That gritty and grimy way of film making that makes everything look absolutely vicious. Bill Moseley and Sid Haig remain to this day 2 of my favorite actors because of that film. The title track for this movie is still one of my wake up alarms on my phone to this day. Well tooty fucking fruity!
    8. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre-Let’s slip into something a bit more…excessive shall we? By the time I got around to finally seeing TCM I was a freshman in highschool and thought I was an outright horror vet and nothing…..NOTHING! could phase me. Then I put a dvd of Tobe Hooper’s timeless classic in and watched in sheer horror for the entire runtime. No other movie outside of 1 more on this list scared me as much as TCM did. TCM felt like it violated me viscerally and emotionally. I loved it! No other film for years came close to what TCM made me feel. Granted I am in the minority when I say the remake might actually be a better overall film but the original will always be one of the most terrifying films I have ever seen. LET GRANDPA DO IT!
    9. The Orphanage-While not strictly a horror film this still shaped me as much if not more than any other film on this list. I rented this in high school not knowing a damn thing about it other than the fact that Guillermo Del Toro produced it. I watched in awe, terror, happiness and sadness. To this very day the final scenes of this film and the twist cause me to cry like a baby. I never realized just how beautiful a film that’s so tragic could be. This isn’t just one of the films that shaped me as a horror fan…its one of my favorite films of all time.
    10.Pan’s Labyrinth-While The Orphanage opened a door for me to more psychological horror this film took that door off the hinges and threw it in a fire. This is my favorite movie of all time. There is no second guessing that. No other film elicit’s as much emotion from me as this one. Every last ounce of this movie is pure cinematic bliss. I’ve never even come close to finding a movie that changed me quite the way this did. This film not only helped mold me into the horror fan I am today…it helped fully open my mind to the world of cinema and it created the cinephile I am today.
    Honorable mentions:
    Alien-I saw Aliens first as a kid and I immediately fell in love with Xenomorphs. It wasn’t until years later I saw the original Alien and I was already a full on horror fan by then. Xenomorphs are still my favorite movie monsters to this day. However Alien does rank on my all time favorite films list even if it didn’t outright mold me.
    Inside-Won’t watch it again….ever. One of the most violently disturbing films I have ever seen which is also the most recent of the bunch. I watched this earlier this year and you can ask my roommate and my fiance just how I feel about this film. I sat outside questioning what I had just done to myself and had nightmares about Beatrice Dalle for days. I absolutely love this movie but I still refuse to rewatch it until I have a horror newbie to watch it with 🙂

  • Bumper

    The way you felt about Martyrs is the way I felt about A Serbian Film.
    Revolted and disgusted at first I had nothing but hate for that movie but something kept tugging at me to watch it again so I did and on second viewing I found it to be almost uplifting.

    • I 100% agree about A Serbian Film. I know a lot of people that abhor it, but the second time I saw it, I just couldn’t help but be really affected by it on a deeper level.

  • Shit, I forgot how chilling that lake scene in Zodiac was. Lures you into a sense of security with the awkward comedy of it, and then the tone changes so much in seconds. Gave me shivers all over again

    • Absolutely terrifying every time.

  • Charles Cumella

    It’s always great to talk about and share what brought us into the genre. It is a nostalgic feeling and always brings back nice memories. The first few things I started with were: Godzilla, Child’s Play, Aliens, Scream, Nightmare on Elm Street, Anaconda and (kind of off topic) Jurassic Park, which I think (for a kid at least) has a good amount of thrills and horror in some cases. It’s always good to be well-rounded between monster movies and stashers 😀 But my fondest memories are with Godzilla, I probably watched every single one of his movies while others watched Disney or cartoons haha. I, as must many other horror fans, appreciate what my parents put on that TV so many years ago, and I’ll do the same with my daughter!

    • Hank_Scorpio

      Well said, and I’m in total agreement. Godzilla started me off followed by the classic Universal Monster movies which led to the wonderful Hammer films.

      But it was Godzilla movies that put me on the path….

  • Colonel Ives

    when I was 7 I had strep throat and my grandma had made me a bed on the floor to lay and stay put and watch TV, and when she went off to work my dad put on the shining and we both watched in silence and that shit fucked me up for good

    • Colonel Ives

      also, I watched return of the living dead when I was 10. noting that I had also just been exposed to Frankenchrist by dead kennedys and a void album my homies older brother let me borrow and also the screamers o_O ..since then it’s been genre film, classics, contemporary greats, blast beats and running kitchens (with lots a gore stories and profanity). TREAT YOUR CHILDREN THE WAY YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE TREATED. WITH A SENSE OF HUMOR AND REALIZATION

  • Hack Snyder

    I’ve tried posting three times and every time disqus marks my posts as spam. What the hell?

  • Halloween_Vic

    Halloween (78′), Halloween 2 (81′), Scream, Urban Legend, Aliens, Jurassic Park, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th part 2&3, Child’s Play are the reason and the start for my fascination.