The 50 Best Horror Movies on Hulu Right Now

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The 50 Best Horror Movies on Hulu Right Now

In terms of comparing the major streaming services, it’s easy to think of Hulu as “the TV-focused one,” but that’s not entirely fair—the service also has a healthy number of movies at any given time, although its overall library is nowhere near the size of Netflix’s or (especially) Amazon Prime’s. Still, horror geeks who happen to have a Hulu subscription actually have access to a pretty decent library of quality films.

Kudos to Hulu for actually creating a horror-specific genre subcategory since the last time we compiled this list, when they confusingly had “horror and suspense” jumbled together into one that contained the likes of both The Babadook and Snowden. Now at least everything you see when you visit the “horror” tab makes sense being there. They’ve also added a considerable number of worthwhile titles to the library since last we checked, drawing into a dead heat with Netflix. The addition of the first 8 entries in the classic Friday the 13th series certainly doesn’t hurt here.

You may also want to consult the following horror-centric lists:

The 100 best horror films of all time.
The 100 best vampire movies of all time.
The 50 best zombie movies of all time.
The 60 best horror movies on Amazon Prime
The 50 best movies about serial killers
The 50 best slasher movies of all time
The 50 best ghost movies of all time
The 50 Best Horror Movies Streaming on Netflix
The 50 Best Movies About Serial Killers

So without any further ado, here are the 50 best horror movies streaming on Hulu:

what we become poster (Custom).jpg 50. What We Become
Year: 2015
Director: Bo Mikkelson
The thing that limits a film the likes of What We Become is its familiarity. A tight-knit family drama zombie movie, it follows a single family unit as they experience the tropes we’ve seen in nearly every “serious” indie zombie film of the last 15 years. Even the title is taken directly from one of the trade paperbacks of The Walking Dead comic, whose modern, Romero-esque outlook feels like heavy inspiration for the film. It’s not to say that it isn’t effective—it’s just a question of what still remains to be said with a film about a small family trapped inside their home by zombies that hasn’t already been said. What We Become is well shot and handles its minimal story effectively, but it struggles somewhat to justify its own existence. Its third act, thankfully, does ratchet up both the tension and action, paying off in some effective bloodletting, though it takes a bit too long to arrive. It’s a film that is very indicative of the state of modern indie zombie films, both in the U.S. and abroad: competent, fairly entertaining, but struggling for purpose. —Jim Vorel

52. abcs of death (Custom).jpg 49. The ABCs of Death
Year: 2012
Directors: Various
The ABCs of Death is an anthology film with a great premise: 26 horror shorts about death from up-and-coming directors, one for each letter of the alphabet. Unfortunately, the results are as scattershot as you would expect, and for every good entry there are two uninteresting, confusing or just plain “gross for gross sake” ones. The ABCs of Death is worth seeing, however, for three entries from three horror directors still establishing themselves today: Nacho Vigalondo’s “A is for Apocalypse,” Marcel Sarmiento’s “D is for Dogfight” and Adam Wingard’s “Q is for Quack.” The “D” entry is probably the star of the show, a grungy, uncompromising, brutal inversion of a typical story between a man and his dog. It’s beautiful looking to boot. —Jim Vorel

jason takes manhattan poster (Custom).jpg 48. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
Year: 1989
Director: Rob Hedden
The slasher genre was well and truly out of steam by the time 1989 rolled around, and not even the Friday the 13th series could maintain any kind of momentum. There are kernels in Jason Takes Manhattan of what could probably have been an entertaining installment in the series, transplanting the standard Jason formula to New York City rather than the familiar locales of Crystal Lake, but the film’s budget doesn’t allow for it to explore any of the possibilities the Manhattan setting would potentially offer. Instead, the whole “Manhattan as a draw” portion of the film comes off like a bait-and-switch, as the vast majority of the film actually takes place on a suspiciously basement-heavy boat full of high school students that is slowly steaming in the direction of New York Harbor. These scenes are interminable, highlighted only by the presence of a protagonist who is haunted by a childhood encounter she had with … child Jason? It’s a shame, given that the film picks up substantially by the time Jason (played with nice physicality by Kane Hodder) is striding through Times Square, beating up street toughs. Unfortunately, it’s too little, too late. —Jim Vorel

ghost stories 2018 poster (Custom).jpg 47. Ghost Stories
Year: 2017
Director: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman
Ghost Stories, a joint directorial effort by Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson, who adapted the movie from the successful stage play they wrote together back in the late 2000s, isn’t workaday horror hackery. For most of its duration, it’s confidently made, atmospheric and deliciously macabre, a movie that feels like a throwback to yesteryear’s horror without consciously acting like a throwback. Those acquainted with horror history might detect echoes of Nicolas Roeg, Robin Hardy, Michael Powell and the productions of Hammer Films, that beloved British outlet of all things gothic and spooky, but even knowledgeable horror geeks must trace Ghost Stories’ influences on a molecular level. They’re ingrained instead of inserted. It’s the difference between knowing homage and unconscious referencing. Nyman and Dyson love horror. You can sense that love in Ghost Stories’ embrace of classic multi-narrative structure, wrapping a triptych of horror subcategories around the labors of its lonely hero, Professor Phillip Goodman (Nyman), a man who tasks himself with exposing paranormal charlatans. (Think John Edwards, Theresa Caputo, or Ed and Lorraine Warren.) It’s tough being the guy who charges the stage during televised psychic readings to rain on the audience’s parade, but that’s Goodman’s life. Then he gets a letter from Charles Cameron, a famed paranormal investigator and Goodman’s boyhood idol. Now decrepit and living alone in a van by the ocean, Cameron challenges Goodman to explain three supernatural cases he couldn’t solve himself. We’re off to the races, but we always come back to sad sack Goodman, who throughout his investigations can’t help noticing weird phenomena in between visiting subjects (notably recurring and increasingly abrupt encounters with an ominous parka-clad figure). He’s haunted, too, but mostly by his memories of growing up with his rigid, borderline abusive and presently deceased father. That’s the hook on which Ghost Stories hangs its ghastly musings, the thing we expect the film to circle back to once Goodman completes his inquiries and renders his verdict on the authenticity of each incident. As an abstraction, that sounds like a stairway leading to Frank Capra levels of sentimentality: By wrestling with his skeptical biases, Goodman will confront his buried feelings about his dad and reconcile with his past. Maybe it’s for the best that the movie never goes there. —Andy Crump

mom and dad poster (Custom).jpg 46. Mom and Dad
Year: 2018
Director: Brian Taylor
In Mom and Dad, Nicolas Cage whimpers, explodes, hollers, spasms, grins, gurns and weeps. Each line he lets escape from his mouth as if he’s exploring every crevice of every word, ultimately settling on an emotion or tone somehow slightly off from the way any typical person would use language. He brandishes power tools (“Sawzall…saws…all,” he repeats, mantra for no one) and breaks out in stab wounds like he’s solely composed of rubbery flesh and blood; he is an anthropomorphic double-take; he is finally embracing his male-pattern baldness. Though by now, in 2018, Cage’s appearance in a film is never as rare or as compelling as it was when last he worked with writer-director Brian Taylor on 2012’s Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance—he is a punchline to a good joke we’ve willingly forgotten—Cage is still an American (er, National) treasure, a Hollywood actor who no longer makes any sense as a Hollywood actor. Mom and Dad does nothing to refute that. About a case of mass hysteria breaking out in an upper class suburb, causing parents to viciously attack and murder their children, the film is surprisingly tame considering the pedigree it promises. Cage plays Brent Ryan, an office drone suffering a mid-life crisis, spending most of his time avoiding his wife Kendall (Selma Blair), falling asleep while watching porn at work and refusing to sell the Trans Am gathering dust in his garage. Their daughter, aimless rebel Carly (Anne Winters), steals money from her mom to buy designer drugs, generally hating everything about her family despite her mom’s pleas to be more thoughtful. Carly’s younger brother Josh (Zackary Arthur) is of indeterminate age, young enough to idolize his dad but old enough to seemingly understand that Brent is probably one beer away from snapping and murdering everyone at his office. Being a parent is hard: You love your kids, you hate your kids, you repress your dreams and desires so completely that they metastasize, primed to destroy your life from the inside out. You do the Hokey Pokey, turn yourself around, and then you smash the pool table you just built to bits with a sledgehammer. —Dom Sinacola

odd thomas poster1.jpg 45. Odd Thomas
Year: 2013
Director: Stephen Sommers
2016 was a year we lost numerous Hollywood icons, but the loss of Anton Yelchin is especially bitter, as he was only 27. The Star Trek star had already put together one hell of an incredible portfolio, and he radiated an innate likability that could well have made him an A-list leading man in Hollywood. With that said, Odd Thomas isn’t exactly his best film, but Yelchin is most definitely the best thing in this movie, playing the title character of “Odd,” a young man with abilities to both see and fight restless ghosts and malevolent spirits. The script is jumbled and has a tendency to loop back in on itself repeatedly, but Yelchin is charming, and it’s buoyed by a fun supporting role from Willem Dafoe as the unusually open-minded town sheriff—refreshing, given that this type of character almost never is helpful to the protagonist. It’s not without its problems, but it deserved better at the American box office than the “bomb” status it earned. —Jim Vorel

48. children of the corn (Custom).jpg 44. Children of the Corn
Year: 1984
Director: Fritz Kiersch
It’s not often that the adults should be the ones afraid to watch a horror movie with kids, but it would be hard not to look at kids differently after 1984’s Children of the Corn, one of the higher-profile entries in horror’s “kids kill all the adults” subgenre. The film focuses on a cult in a fictional Gatlin, Nebraska, led by child preacher Isaac, who is convinced by an entity called He Who Walks Behind the Rows that all adults over 18 should get the axe. We see Burt and Vicky (played by Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton) struggle to escape the small town after driving through and hitting a young, dying boy with their car. There’s plenty of slasher scares and creepy visuals, but like any good horror movie, it’s a commentary on society, man, and like Lord of the Flies before it, this Stephen King-based story looks toward our kids to point out the oddities of our culture (including an obsession with religion). —Tyler Kane

mother-movie-poster.jpg 43. mother!
Year: 2017
Director: Darren Aronofsky 
Try as you might to rationalize Darren Aronofsky’s mother!, mother! does not accept rationalization. There’s little reasonable ways to construct a single cohesive interpretation of what the movie tries to tell us. There is no evidence of Aronosfky’s intention beyond what we’ve intuited from watching his films since the ’90s—as well as how often Aronofsky loves to talk about his own work, which is usually worth avoiding, because Aronofsky likes thinking the movie is about everything. The most ironclad comment you can make about mother! is that it’s basically a matryoshka doll layered with batshit insanity. Unpack the first, and you’re met immediately by the next tier of crazy, and then the next, and so on, until you’ve unpacked the whole thing and seen it for what it is: A spiritual rumination on the divine ego, a plea for environmental stewardship, an indictment of entitled invasiveness, an apocalyptic vision of America in 2017, a demonstration of man’s tendency to leech everything from the women they love until they’re nothing but a carbonized husk, a very triggering reenactment of the worst house party you’ve ever thrown. mother! is a kitchen sink movie in the most literal sense: There’s an actual kitchen sink here, Aronofsky’s idea of a joke, perhaps, or just a necessarily transparent warning. mother!, though, is about everything. Maybe the end result is that it’s also about nothing. But it’s really about whatever you can yank out of it, its elasticity the most terrifying thing about it. —Andy Crump

51. proxy (Custom).jpg 42. Proxy
Year: 2013
Director: Zack Parker
If the measuring stick for a “horror film” is that it makes you feel vaguely unnerved the entire time it’s playing, then Proxy is certainly successful. Zack Parker’s unconventional debut feature feels in brief stretches like some kind of bizarre masterwork of squirm-inducing, uncomfortable imagery, but it eventually unravels into an overly confusing, portentous morass. It’s a film about many things—motherhood, relationships, mental illness and concepts that are almost too abstract to grasp in a conventional horror movie plot. The acting is uneven, but there’s some really disturbing, fascinating stuff in there, all beginning with the shocking opening scene, which I won’t spoil for you, but it’s one a hard-to-watch sequence that will stick with you for a long time. —Jim Vorel

splinter 2008 poster (Custom).jpg 41. Splinter
Year: 2008
Director: Toby Wilkins
Splinter begins with a strong, though bordering on cliché, hook. Two (naturally, young) people driving from a campsite spot a woman in the road and are soon carjacked by her hick cohort. When forced to drive away, they hit and kill something monstrous in the road, quickly combining both the “something’s in the woods” theme with the less politically correct but frequently more frightening “rednecks are serial killers” concept. From here, though, the film becomes less interesting, as the cast ends up locked into a gas station, fighting to escape If Splinter incorporates a third type of horror film, it’s the zombie movie. Whenever the monster strikes someone with its quills (which, incidentally, should’ve been the title for the movie: Quills), the victim becomes a creature as well. The film especially emulates the disembodied hand concept of Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn, and with some good reason. For how low-budget the production clearly is, the design on the monster is inspired and doesn’t look like anything else out there. It’s a case of better-than-average production design elevating a film out of forgettable territory. —Sean Gandert

survival of the dead poster (Custom).jpg 40. Survival of the Dead
Year: 2009
Director: George A. Romero
In a lot of ways, 2005’s Land of the Dead still feels like the last “true” entry in director George A. Romero’s career-spanning series of zombie epics, in the sense that it was the last to indisputably justify its own reason for existence and further the overall canon of a world consumed by the undead. 2007’s Survival of the Dead was clearly too much of a response to the surge in gimmicky found footage horror films experienced in the explosive wake of Paranormal Activity, but in his final film, 2009’s Survival of the Dead, you can at least feel Romero attempting to tell a more genuine story. The thing is, that story had become achingly recognizable, some 41 years after the original Night of the Living Dead—but Romero was still there, decades and decades later, banging on the same themes of disunity and man’s inability to put aside old hurts for the sake of a common good. If anything, the island setting and feuding Irish families almost make Land of the Dead feel like what Romero really wanted to do was to tell some kind of zombie period piece, but he was instead constrained by the tie-in to the previous movie in the series. Ultimately, Survival of the Dead may not do anything to turn over new ground—aside from the fact that it features the oddity of a zombie riding a horse, at one point—but it’s competently made, if a bit familiar and low rent. —Jim Vorel

friday new beginning poster (Custom).jpg 39. Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning
Year: 1985
Director: Danny Steinmann
Slasher sequels of the 1980s so often grappled with the same existential question: “How do we allow our protagonists to triumph over the killer, or even kill the killer, but still bring that marketable murderer back for another installment?” With Friday the 13th, the problem was only exacerbated by the intentional finality of a fourth installment that was literally titled The Final Chapter, complete with Corey Feldmen taking a machete to Jason’s skull. Still, the box office demands what it demands, and the Friday the 13th series, like Halloween 3: Season of the Witch before it, came back for an installment without its central character—or more accurately, someone shows up wearing the hockey mask in A New Beginning, but it turns out to be a Jason copycat killer. Suffice to say, that’s enough to turn off many fans entirely, although there’s a vocal contingent of A New Beginning defenders out there as well who claim the film is among the best in the series. In truth, A New Beginning is a perfectly competent mid-’80s slasher, with some goofy characters, decent kills and a uniquely meanspirited and misanthropic tone that tends to be divisive among horror fans. Which is fitting, because everything about A New Beginning is divisive. It will always be the black sheep of the series. —Jim Vorel

vhs1 poster (Custom).jpg 38. V/H/S
Year: 2012
Directors: Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, Radio Silence
As has been said before, horror anthologies are, by nature, almost always uneven in terms of quality, but if there’s one constant, it’s usually that fewer stories is better than many. That’s one of the factors that helps V/H/S work better than, say, the unrestrained insanity of The ABCs of Death. It also bears a more coherent framing narrative, featuring segments by some of the best young directors in horror, such as Adam Wingard and Ti West, but it’s ultimately David Bruckner, who also directed the genre-bending 2007 horror flick The Signal, who steals the show with his segment, “Amateur Night.” That story, about a group of douche-y guys who bring home a strange girl from the bar and get much more than they bargained for when she turns out to be a literal monster, eventually received a full-on feature film treatment under the title of Siren. As for which of the first two V/H/S entries is strongest, though, it’s a bit of a toss-up. Both of them have highlight segments and a few downers. The one thing there’s no doubt about is that both of them are fun, and much better than the abortive 2014 second sequel, V/H/S: Viral. —Jim Vorel

40. vhs 2 (Custom).jpg 37. V/H/S/2
Year: 2013
Directors: Adam Wingard, Gareth Evans, Simon Barrett, Timo Tjahjanto, Jason Eisener, Eduardo Sánchez, Gregg Hale
Your taste in the V/H/S series will likely depend on which entry has your personal favorite segment, but the first two are relatively neck and neck. At the very least, this one contains what might be the single best segment in the entire series, Eduardo Sanchez’s “A Ride in the Park.” Without giving everything away: It involves bicyclists, zombies and helmet-mounted GoPro cameras, which help give us a perspective we’ve never really seen in horror while deftly avoiding the question of “Why would anyone be filming this?” There’s still some not-great segments—really the ideal V/H/S would be a compilation that takes only the best segments from each entry to create a really solid horror anthology. One has to wonder if Viral killed this series for good, or whether they’ll eventually act like it never happened and release a straight-up V/H/S/3 one of these days. —Jim Vorel

the burrowers poster (Custom).jpg 36. The Burrowers
Year: 2008
Director: J. T. Petty
The Burrowers qualifies as an entry both in the “underground monster” subgenre that is home to Tremors or The Descent and the “Western frontier horror” subgenre that gave us Ravenous and Bone Tomahawk. This one is sort of like a mashup of all the above—a group of settlers in the American old west begin to suffer losses from some kind of marauding monster, so they set out on an expedition that reveals a race of subterranean, tunneling beasts that use toxins to incapacitate their victims before consuming them at their leisure, spider-style. It’s a lean, mean sort of horror thriller, which makes the most out of its stark western settings and delivers some admittedly icky looking monsters. The presence of veteran character actor Clancy Brown lends a little gravitas to a story that also attempts to make itself an allegory for brutality in American imperialism, but it’s the solid performances and director Petty’s understanding of how to work within his own limitations that makes The Burrowers work better than most indie horror period pieces. —Jim Vorel

blair-witch.jpg 35. The Blair Witch Project
Year: 1999
Directors: Eduardo Sánchez, Daniel Myrick
Where Scream reinvented a genre by pulling the shades back to reveal the inner workings of horror, The Blair Witch Project went the opposite route by crafting a new style of presentation and especially promotion. Sure, people had already been doing found footage movies; just look at The Last Broadcast a year earlier. But this was the first to get a wide, theatrical release, and distributor Artisan Entertainment masterfully capitalized on the lack of information available on the film to execute a mysterious online advertising campaign in the blossoming days of the Internet age. Otherwise reasonable human beings seriously went into The Blair Witch Project believing that what they were seeing might be real, and the grainy, home movie aesthetic captured an innate terror of reality and “real people” that had not been seen in the horror genre before. It was also proof positive that a well-executed micro-budget indie film could become a massive box office success. So in that sense, The Blair Witch Project reinvented two different genres at the same time. —Jim Vorel

stir of echoes poster (Custom).jpg 34. Stir of Echoes
Year: 1999
Director: David Koepp
Stir of Echoes is one of those movies where any discussion of it always tends to revolve around another film from the same year that received far more attention—in this case, The Sixth Sense. Because it had the misfortune of hitting theaters a month after M. Night Shyamalan’s ghost thriller set box offices ablaze, and because it contains several of the same elements—including a young boy who can communicate with the dead—Stir of Echoes was widely derided at the time as knowingly derivative, but that assessment was never really fair. Unlike The Sixth Sense, which leans so heavily on atmosphere and tension, Stir of Echoes is more of a true popcorn thriller, a supernatural whodunit that sees Kevin Bacon descending into frothing hyperactivity after having the doors of his perception thrown wide open during a botched hypnosis session. Today, the film’s growing fandom seems to be trying to reclaim its status as an underrated horror classic, but the reality is that Stir of Echoes is an effective potboiler full of themes that have been common in ghost movies for as long as we’ve had ghost movies, complete with the warm likability of Kevin Bacon. —Jim Vorel

halloween h20 poster (Custom).jpg 33. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later
Year: 1998
Director: Steve Miner
It’s sort of funny how, despite the fact that Halloween 6 was dead-set in the middle of the decade, it’s H20 that feels so distinctly 1990s—just call it the “Josh Hartnett Effect,” I guess. But H20 is a bit of an odd beast: an attempt to bring the series back to its roots after it reached its peak of absurdity in Halloween 6, while also existing in the wake of the genre’s most famous meta-dissection in the form of Scream. The latter fundamentally changed the landscape of making a classical “slasher movie,” but H20 doesn’t quite seem cognizant of this, despite the script being punched up by Scream screenwriter Kevin Williamson. As such, it felt a little bit dated even in 1998, although it does supply some suitably tense action—the shot of Laurie coming face-to-face with Michael after two decades is definitely a classic. With an ending that would be more fondly remembered if it wasn’t undone by the atrociousness of Resurrection, H20 attempted to bring the Michael and Laurie story full circle, and it does a decent job of it, despite not really having any of the most memorable “slashings” of the series. If anything, it feels just slightly undercooked in the “horror” department. With that said, you almost have to wish the Blumhouse Halloween was a direct sequel to H20, if only so it could be called Halloween H2020. —Jim Vorel

friday the 13th part 3 poster (Custom).jpg 32. Friday the 13th Part III
Year: 1982
Director: Steve Miner
Also known as Friday the 13th Part 3-D, the third installment in the Friday the 13th series is impossible to ever fully extricate from its visual gimmick, coming as it did during the second great wave of 3D filmmaking. This makes for some particularly hilarious and ham-handed lampshading when you watch the film within a modern context, as this entry is constantly sending objects careening in unnatural ways toward the camera, whether they’re yo-yos, freshly rolled joints, speargun ammunition or parts of the human anatomy. The story picks up where the second film left off, with an unmasked Jason (no more sack cloth with one eye hole!) on a rampage. Notably, this is the film where he first acquires the iconic hockey mask that would come to define the character, but the film’s human characters are more of a let-down—especially the sad sack Shelly, who plays grisly practical jokes on people and then can’t understand why no one likes him. Still, Part III is packed with enough unintentional laughs that it’s certain to scratch a particular itch for ’80s slasher cheese. It hits all the slasher cliches with such boundless enthusiasm that at times it almost feels like a very early genre parody. —Jim Vorel

wolfcop poster (Custom).jpg 31. WolfCop
Year: 2014
Director: Lowell Dean
Wolfcop is full-on horror comedy, and delirious good fun. When an alcoholic small-town Canadian cop (Leo Fafard) gets cursed and turned into a werewolf, he retains all of his human faculties—above all, a respect for the LAW. Using his newfound werewolf superpowers, he opposes the local cabal of reptilian shapeshifters. Yep. That’s your film. It’s one of those carefully calculated, modern, indie horror-comedies that was created explicitly in the hopes of someday being labeled “cult classic,” but it does its job better than most, dipping a bit into the neo-grindhouse aesthetic of Hobo With a Shotgun, perhaps thanks to the gore effects, although it’s nowhere near as nihilistic. More than anything, you will undoubtedly feel a very genuine love for the utter ridiculousness of the premise. —Jim Vorel

would you rather poster (Custom).jpg 30. Would You Rather
Year: 2012
Director: David Guy Levy
Would You Rather is the kind of somewhat reductive horror film that follows in the wake of the Saw and Hostel generation of the 2000s, where characterization is just an excuse to reduce each character to one driving motivation. Here’s our heroine—oh, she needs money to pay for the treatment of her sick brother, but what will she do to get it? Films like this are careful to not present any of the other characters as equally or more sincere in their desire than that protagonist, because that would introduce real moral ambiguity rather than the illusive choices here. Regardless, you’re not watching for the story—you’re watching to see what a bunch of strangers will be forced to do to each other in order to win a demented millionaire’s payday. ’80s horror icon Jeffrey Combs plays that villain, and although he’s clearly having a good time, there’s some spark of vitality to his performances in Re-Animator or From Beyond that has long since been reduced to paycheck-minded professionalism or self-parody of his earlier characters. If this movie had been made in 1985, perhaps it would have been a minor classic. Today, it’s just a fun B movie. —Jim Vorel

mimic poster (Custom).jpg 29. Mimic
Year: 1997
Director: Guillermo del Toro 
It’s so very tempting to want to write a revisionist history of a film such as Mimic, 20 years after it was initially released to mixed and negative reviews. Just about any film from Guillermo del Toro, after the likes of Pan’s Labyrinth and The Shape of Water, will attract a few impassioned defenses as a “lost classic” if you look hard enough—even this one, about giant, mutated cockroaches in the New York sewers who have evolved to blend in among humans. The truth is, though, that Mimic does not represent a fully formed del Toro as the auteur we know him today—the film contains some of his stylistic flourishes and fascination with the macabre, but he was by no means given free rein to create the derelict insect society that no doubt haunted his dreams. Mimic is a studio potboiler, and a decent little thriller, with a better than average cast who are let down by a script that feels like its first priority is appeasing the multiplex crowd, wrapping itself up in a neat little package in the process. If you let del Toro produce the same film today, it would surely have ended up as something far more esoteric, and ultimately more memorable. —Jim Vorel

friday-13th.jpg 28. Friday the 13th
Year: 1980
Director: Sean S. Cunningham
The Friday the 13th film that started them all. Years after two summer camp counselors are offed while they’re getting it on, a new group with similar extracurricular activities arrives at Camp Crystal Lake. Hack, slice. A pre-Footloose Kevin Bacon (one of the series’ many casting gems) gets lucky and then immediately gets an arrowhead through the back of the throat. Bummer. It’s a competent and formative slasher flick, though it barely resembles the series it spawned, in ways both positive and negative. Its impact, however, can’t be argued, and it’s the film most singularly responsible for properly kicking off the slasher boom of the ’80s. Jason makes only a brief, but extremely memorable appearance. And the ending reveal is among the most shocking in horror history. —Jeffrey Bloomer

simon killer poster (Custom).jpg 27. Simon Killer
Year: 2012
Director: Antonio Campos
Simon Killer is a disorienting film to an American viewer. It asks us to follow along with Simon, a young American man living in Paris following some kind of devastating breakup, and observe his daily life. It doesn’t explicitly ask us to empathize with Simon, and yet it doesn’t really have to. He is the central character; the lens through which we perceive this gritty urban Paris. We watch him video chat with his mother. We watch him live a sad, lonely life. Empathy is almost inevitable, and that’s just the point where we start to learn that perhaps Simon and his sociopathic tendencies don’t quite deserve it. But by that point, as Simon finds himself wrapped up in a criminal enterprise with a stripper girlfriend and the blood begins to flow, our feelings are likely to be conflicted. If anything, one is likely to leave the film feeling a little bit ashamed for ever seeing life through Simon’s eyes at all. Ultimately, he’s not quite Henry from Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, but there’s an uncomfortable suggestion that perhaps he just might be someday. —Jim Vorel

friday the 13th part 2 poster (Custom).jpg 26. Friday the 13th Part 2
Year: 1981
Director: Steve Miner
In the days before producing half a dozen sequels to any successful film was an automatic given, Friday the 13th Part 2 likely felt slightly less cynically calculated than it does now, looking back. It’s about as prototypical a slasher movie as you can possibly offer as an example of the genre, benefitting from the established mythology surrounding “Jason, the little boy who drowned in the lake” laid down in the first film, and especially in its shocking ending. Jason appears here for the first time as your central antagonist, fully grown and suitably deranged. This is pre-hockey mask, you must recall, although I’ve always found the alternative—a sack cloth over his head with a single eye hole—to be considerably more disturbing a look for a slasher villain. Seriously, how the hell does he see anything? Part 2 is held in high esteem by most Friday the 13th fans for its still (more or less) realistic tone, unconventional characters (especially the wheelchair-bound Mark) and arguably series-best final girl, Ginny, who manages to outsmart Jason in a thrilling conclusion that is referenced regularly for the rest of the series. It’s not the most stylish or purely entertaining of the Friday entries, but it’s probably the most foundational. —Jim Vorel

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