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20 Classic Horror Movies in Criterion Collection

07 October 2012 | CC Lists, Features | by David Zou

I’m not a horror movie fan,but when I counted the horror movies in Criterion Collection,I surprisingly found that I owned and watched two thirds of them.From the earliest movie in the whole collection(Haxan) to one of the latest released film in the set(Antichrist),Criterion collects more than 30 horror gems from different decade and culture.If you are tired of monsters and zombies,this list may bring you something new to experience in the horror world.Before all those horror movie lists flood in around Halloween,let’s do some warmups for the horror carnival.

Antichrist Lars von Trier 2009 Denmark

Antichrist

Lars von Trier’s dark and disturbing fairy tale of possessed human mind and battle of sexes,the love-making scene is one of the most controversial movie scene in recent times.

The Blob Irvin S. Yeaworth 1958 United States

Classic Hollywood sci-fi horror movie with a monster you may have never seen before.”Beware of the Blob!”.

Carnival of Souls Herk Harvey 1962 United States

One of the most successful small budget classic horror movies,a creepy scary story that inspired Romero’s famous zombie movie Night of the Living Dead.Criterion has included both the original theatrical version and director’s cut version in the package.

Diabolique Henri-Georges Clouzot 1955 France

Diabolique

Arguably “French Hitchcock” Henri-Georges Clouzot’s best work,a highly suspenseful horror thriller that inspired Hitch made his masterpiece – Psycho,Criterion upgraded it to Blu-ray format last year.

Empire of Passion Nagisa Oshima 1978 Japan

Empire of Passion

Released as a double bill with Japanese New Wave auteur Nagisa Oshima’s notorious In the Realm of the Senses,this film took a different approach to present the extremity of love and passion,a beautiful haunting ghost story that will stay in your head for a long time.

Eyes Without a Face Georges Franju 1960 France

An atmospheric horror gem with an effective score that would make you sick to your stomach, the short film Blood of the Beasts included in the DVD is nothing less horrifying.

Fiend Without a Face Arthur Crabtree 1958 United Kingdom

A groovy sci-fi/horror hybrid that reflected the fear of nuclear power in the late 1950s,Criterion also released a monster set which includes The Haunted Strangler, Corridors of Blood, First Man into Space, and The Atomic Submarine,horror classics that from Gordon Films.

Haxan Benjamin Christensen 1922 Denmark

As one of the earliest movies in the horror genre,Haxan’s daring cinematography and documentary style keeps its effect up-to-date,if you want to know more about the tales of witches and Satan in Middle Age,this is the film you need to check out.

House Nobuhiko Obayashi 1977 Japan

House

Everything you expect to appear in a Japanese horror film are all here.Soon after its Master of Cinema release,House started to receive tons of loves from horror fans in UK,the later Criterion release satisfied those American horror lovers.

Kwaidan Masaki Kobayashi 1965 Japan

The title is the very definition of Japanese ghost stories, adapted from traditional kwaidans,the film consists of four haunting stories that will keep you on the edge of your seat,both cinematography and score are first class for a horror movie.

The Night of the Hunter Charles Laughton 1955 United States

The Night of the Hunter

Gothic horror at its best,Charles Laughton’s directorial debut proved that horror movies can be shot without monsters and ghosts,Robert Mitchum’s role remains one of the most terrifying villain of all time.

Onibaba Kaneto Shindo 1964 Japan

A very unique Japanese war movies under the mask of horror,eerie and dark,this unforgettable folktale is one of the best that explores the human survival instinct.

Peeping Tom Michael Powell 1960 United Kingdom

One of the weirdest movie about making a movie,an unique British horror film that captures the essence of human mental illness,it gives you shivers until the last minute.

Repulsion Roman Polanski 1965 United Kingdom

Repulsion

Beautiful woman is dangerous,hysterical beautiful woman is fatal.I believe you won’t dream of living with Catherine Deneuve in the same room again after seeing this film.

Rosemary’s Baby Roman Polanski 1968 United States

Though not released yet,this horror classic was always the most wanted one by fans in the collection,the reason is simple,people can’t make such good horror pictures again nowadays.

The Silence of the Lambs Jonathan Demme 1991 United States

Probably the most famous horror classic in this list,the Criterion edition DVD is already out of print,but Dr. Hannibal is never out of our mind.

Sisters Brian De Palma 1973 United States

A scary suspense film with the score of Hitchcock’s veteran collaborator Bernard Herrmann,Brian De Palma’s early experiment of varies film techniques and attempt on the horror subject never looks so good on a Criterion DVD.

Vampyr Carl Th. Dreyer 1932 Denmark

Vampyr

One of the creepiest vampire film you can’t live without in Halloweens,Carl Theodor Dreyer achieved his ideal effects without any CGIs,that is a lesson for any subsequent horror movie directors to learn.

The Vanishing George Sluizer 1988 Netherlands&France

An ignored horror gem that might be forever forgotten without a Criterion release,the build-up of character and plot is a little bit slow,but if you can stay to the end,it will scare the hell out of you.

Videodrome David Cronenberg 1983 Canada

Videodrome

As one of the most influential sci-fi horror film in the 1980s,Cronenberg’s provocative work brings to a world that people get absorbed by technology,a mind-blowing film that will make you think a lot.

Over to you,what have you seen in this list?What other classic horror movies that should be picked up by Criterion Collection?

 

Read more Halloween lists on Taste of Cinema by clicking the pumpkin image below!

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  • http://thevoid99.blogspot.com Steven Flores

    The ones I’ve seen so far in that list are Antichrist, Videodrome, and Eyes Without a Face.

    The films I will be watching for this month hopefully are Kwaidan, Repulsion, Diabolique, Empire of Passion, Vampyr, and Haxan.

    • http://www.tasteofcinema.com/ David Zou

      Those are all excellent picks,Steven.The most unique ones here are Kwaidan and Haxan.

  • http://www.whitecitycinema.com michaelgsmith

    What a great list of titles for Halloween! The one obvious omission though is Island of Lost Souls.

    • http://www.tasteofcinema.com/ David Zou

      Thanks! I haven’t seen that one yet,Mike,but I know a film in both CC and MOC worth a blind buy.

  • http://andsoitbeginsfilms.com Alex Withrow

    Great list here David! Antichrist, Diabolique, Repulsion, The Vanishing… some seriously great stuff here. Not to mention Blood of the Beasts, the most horrifying film I’ve ever seen.

    • http://www.tasteofcinema.com/ David Zou

      Thanks Alex.Your love for Blood of the Beasts inspired me to mention it here,a horror short that should never be ignored.

  • http://lightscamerareaction.co.uk/ Lights Camera Reaction

    I’ve always wanted to check out Peeping Tom! I’ll make sure I do in the upcoming weeks. Great list by the way.

    • http://www.tasteofcinema.com/ David Zou

      Thanks,Peeping Tom is an unique British technicolor thriller that never left my mind.Looking forward to your reviews.

  • http://simplyindonesia.blogspot.com/ novie

    Great selection of films, although some i have never seen!

    • http://www.tasteofcinema.com/ David Zou

      Thanks,Novie.You really need to check them out one by one because they are equally great!