The Exorcist (1973)
When a young girl plays with a Ouija board and ends up summoning the demon Pazuzu into her, two priests step up to perform an exorcism. This movie is outright creepy, not only with the way that the possession is depicted onscreen (showcasing the incredible acting versatility of Linda Blair), but also in the notion that the Catholic Church officially recognizes possessions as real thing. Regan (the possessed girl) ends up in a demon’s thrall for simply trying a board game that anyone can pick up out of sheer curiosity. The catalyst for the possession is so subtle and mundane that it is a distinctively strong contrast to the actual effects of what the demon does in her body afterwards.
The Evil Dead (1981)
Campy horror film The Evil Dead is a work of love by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell –it is pretty much the granddaddy of all slasher films and is one of the most iconic ‘abandoned cabin in a forest’ style horror movies. In this film, Ash and his friends stay at a cabin in the woods, uncover a strange basement with even stranger things, and then end up unintentionally unleashing the wrath of the undead upon the world. This first film is just pure, unadulterated classic horror at its best. There are jump scares, lots of gore, and yes, some of the cheesiest acting and dialogue of its time. But it works splendidly, catching the audiences’ attention early on and not letting go until the final scene.
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Of all of Roman Polanski’s films in the Apartment Trilogy, it is Rosemary’s Baby that is the least surreal in story and delivery (as compared the Repulsion, which had too many questions left hanging, and with The Tenant, which was very symbolic). The film focuses on a young woman named Rosemary Woodhouse who has just moved into an apartment with her husband. The apartment itself seems filled with suspicious, if not outright creepy individuals. And while the Woodhouse’s initial interactions with their neighbors seem benign and harmless at first, things take the turn for the totally strange when Rosemary and her husband decide to conceive a child.
Evil Dead II (1987)
In what is probably one of the best examples of things that don’t need fixing since they are not broken, the Evil Dead sequel movie proves that sometimes, the audiences simply want more. An isolated cabin, accidentally summoned deadites, cheeky-dialogue, and plenty of gore are all elements that already existed in the first film. With this sequel, they just turned everything up a notch much to the benefit of horror fans everywhere. No need to discuss the story details here, just know that Ash is still far from being out of the woods and that the Necronomicon has some really crazy things line up for him. And yes, for those who are wondering, this film explains where the term boomstick actually comes from.
The Stand (1994)
The Stand is an old made for TV miniseries that depicts a post apocalyptic world caused by a supervirus. When the remaining immune survivors are split apart by visions of two very different leaders calling to them, lines are drawn and factions are made. One sides with the saintly Mother Abagail, the other to the obviously-the-bad-guy demon, Randall Flagg. Like most works based on Stephen King’s works, there is something that feels both fascinating and macabre (which is mostly death and tragedy with the occasional hint of human sexuality) about the delivery of this story.
Night of the Demon
This old timey film should resound with the modern audiences of the internet generation –as this one’s story serves as one of the inspirations for the concept of a chain letter. In the case of a film, an ancient parchment is the centerpiece of a very demonic version of Pass the Parcel/Gift. Whoever is held the parchment before it self-immolates will be killed by a demon (who surprisingly kills victims in ways that may be interpreted as suicide). This kind of cursed-object storytelling has been repeated time and again in horror films (like The Ring), and is particularly scary for the sheer fact that the audiences can easily see themselves as falling victim to it.
The Omen (1976)
The story of Damien Thorn is staple fare for fans of the horror genre for its incredibly well-laid out narrative that is interspersed with amazingly horrifying scenes. In this movie, the birth-child of the Robert Thorn and his wife Katharine is pronounced dead by the hospital. The hospital priest then urges Robert to adopt the just-born infant of woman who also died that day and prevent Katharine from knowing that their real child is dead. Since this is a horror movie, you can already expect that the new adopted child is not what it seems to be. This movie is a definite must-watch for horror fans and anyone who can appreciate good filmmaking in general.