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8 Horror Movies That Deserved Oscars

15 October 2013 | Features, Film Lists | by David Zou

horror movie oscars

The Academy used to respect horror films, to a degree.

In 1931, they at least let Fredric March’s Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde turn tie with Wallace Beery’s The Champ for Best Actor.

These days, Daniel Day Lewis’ Jason Vorhees could bear down on Oscar holding a bloody machete and a bunch of flowers and the golden bugger wouldn’t so much as glance in his general direction.

But what if things were different? What if the Academy had always held horror flicks to its sentimental old heart? We reckon past winners would suddenly look a lot like this.


1. The Exorcist (1973)


Should’ve Won: Best Picture

Who Actually Won That Year: The Sting

Why The Exorcist Deserved It More: This is easy, there was only real competition between William Friedkin’s The Exorcist and George Roy Hill’s The Sting among the five nominations that year. William Friedkin’s French Connection had already won the Best Picture 2 years ago, while George Roy Hill’s classic Western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was nominated before and was very popular that year, the director teamed up with superstar Paul Newman and Robert Redford again and the script this time around was even better, Oscar had to pay the old debt.

But 40 years later? Who can remember The Sting anyway? But who WON’T remember The Exorcist as one of the scariest horror movies of all time? It was a groundbreaking horror film for many ways: It’s the first horror film to be nominated in the Best Picture category, it’s the first horror film that earned so much money, and it’s also one of the earliest examples of horror films that were based on true stories.

What The Exorcist Should Have Done To Win: Cut the scene in which Regan uses a crucifix to masturbate, also the scene where Regan vomits those disgusting stuff. The remaining movie is still scary enough, right?


2. Halloween (1978)


Should’ve Won: Best Director – John Carpenter

Who Actually Won That Year: Michael Cimino for The Deer Hunter

Why Carpenter Deserved It More: The Deer Hunter is a film full of performance powerhouses. Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, all at the summit of their skills. A headless giraffe could point a camera at that trio and get a decent film from the footage.

John Carpenter, on the other hand, managed to take a cast of unknowns – including one wearing a William Shatner mask and create one of the most influential films of all time.

We’d wager you’ve seen Halloween more times than you can count, whereas you can probably add the amount of Deer Hunter viewings you’ve had on the two fingers we’d like to give the Academy for ignoring JC’s masterpiece.

What Carpenter Should Have Done: Included a scene where Myers takes off his mask and gives a lengthy speech about his tour of duty in ‘ Nam.

Either that or included a scene where Myers makes a couple of his victims flip a coin to decide who gets a knife to the forehead first.

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  • David Louis Krownes.

    “The Deer Hunter” is a masterpiece. I agree with “The Exorcist” over “The Sting” but Halloween is not a better film than The Deer Hunter and no where near as emotionally complex. Halloween is a simple stalker film at it’s core. It’s one of the best of it’s kind but saying that about “The Deer Hunter” is a complete misstep.

    • J Pablo R Hdz

      Agree… but “The deer hunter” could have gotten the oscar for best picture anyways. The point here is that Carpenter directing for “Halloween” is better, he sure made school for slashers, even composed the score and all– and the Academy should have recognize his creativity to pull a great project from zero resources.

  • RC13

    Why not Psycho instead of The Birds?

  • Ana

    Thanks for your post – an interesting array of films, many of which I haven’t seen since I’m not really into the horror genre. But your discussion makes me think that with a bit if effort, I could learn to apprecite it more. But… can’t agree with you on The Birds having great special effects. On the contrary, I saw it recently for the first time (shocking, I know) and felt precisely that in our age of slick SFX, they stand out as rather clumsy – and it’s very obvious that many of the birds are fake in the close-up shots. However, where I thought it was brilliant was in the creation of its really ominous, tense even horrifying mood – which was achieved largely through camera movement and editing. In true Hitchcockian style, what’s left out of the frame was almost more important than what was in it – just think of that amazing scene when Tippi Hedron is smoking her cigarette on the bench outside the school and we KNOW – but can’t see – that the birds are gathering in the jungle gym behind her… Totally brilliant!

  • McGygas

    The “Horror” Genre its a tabu for the academy, FTA!