Another week into October and you know what that means: it’s time to unveil some more of my 31 Horror Films that are just what the mad doctor ordered to get your Halloween fix this month. This week we will reveal numbers 26 through 21!

But first, a quick reminder of the criteria on how the films are ranked:

Film Rating: First and foremost, is it a good movie. If it’s not, why even bother, right?
Maximum of 10 Points
Seasonalness: Does it take place on or around Halloween? Is it fall-esque? The more the better!
Maximum of 10 Points
Halloween Spirit: How much are traditional Halloween themes represented? Witches and whatnot.
Maximum of 5 Points
Scare Factor: Pretty self-explanatory. The closer you are to soiling your pantaloons the better.
Maximum of 5 Points
Pop Culture Value: You know what Jason and Freddy are even if you haven’t seen their movies.
Maximum of 5 Points
Rewatch Value: So you know how everything plays out. Still want to see it again?
Maximum of 3 Points

Now, let’s recap the parts of the list we have unfurled so far:

#31 – Poltergeist (1982) – 24.7/38 Points (65.00%)
#30 – Carrie (1976) – 24.7/38 Points (65.00%)
#29 – Scream 3 (2000) – 24.9/38 Points (65.53%)
#28 – Evil Dead (2013) – 25.3/38 Points (66.58%)
#27 – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – 25.5/38 Points (67.11%)

And that’s where we stand right now as I give you the next SIX movies on the list. For more in-depth explanation of the criteria, the project in general, or how the first five movies got the scores that they did, you can read the first article here. Shall we continue?

#26: Hostel (2005)


I like to think of gory movies in two categories: The Hostel movies (Parts I and II, not that strange attempt at a third one), and then everything else. Eli Roth dove headfirst into darkest depths of human desire and came back with this 90-minute film that makes every other slasher look like a Rated-G kids movie by comparison. Such is the case when a horror flick sets out to solve the question, “Hey, what is the most effed up thing human beings could do to one another?” For this and other reasons, ‘Hostel’ holds its own in scare factor, while respectable numbers both in film rating and seasonalness made sure that Eli Roth’s demented vision didn’t fall at the bottom of this list.

Film Rating: 8.1/10
Seasonalness: 7.0/10
Halloween Spirit: 2.5/5
Scare Factor: 3.5/5
Pop Culture Value: 2.0/5
Rewatch Value: 2.5/3
TOTAL INDEX SCORE: 25.6/38 (67.37%)

#25: Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Dawn Of The Dead 04

One of the points of formulating the criteria the way I did was to weed out some of the “horror” movies that are heavy on the comedy (we’re looking at you, Cabin in the Woods), but the fact of the matter is that Zack Snyder’s remake of the George A. Romero classic is just too good to ignore. While it does have its fair share of comedy, it also has some of the best horror sequences in any zombie movie to date. Snyder’s interpretation of zombies are “walkers” that are fast when they go on the hunt, and that may rub some zombie purists the wrong way, but it’s just fine by us. The 2004 remake has a lot of the elements of the original (except perhaps a prequel to set it up) that made it so great but gives a contemporary spin that makes a staple in the modern horror universe.

Film Rating: 8.7/10
Seasonalness: 5.0/10
Halloween Spirit: 4.5/5
Scare Factor: 2.0/5
Pop Culture Value: 2.5/5
Rewatch Value: 3.0/3
TOTAL INDEX SCORE: 25.7/38 (67.63%)

#24: Frankenstein (1931)


One of the all-time legends, ‘Frankenstein’ is one of the horror greats. Like Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays, you know Frankenstein even if you’re not a big horror buff. James Whale directed the 70-minute movie, but let’s be honest: it really belongs to Boris Karloff who made the creature the credits simply called ‘The Monster’. So what makes ‘Frankenstein’ so special? For one thing, it had no problem pushing the envelope, something that has caused many older horror films to fall flat as time has gone on. The film has no problem dealing in death, but where it really proved its bite was as bad as its bark was when it made a naive, innocent little girl Frankenstein’s most unsuspecting victim. Playing out like a movie designed for Halloween, ‘Frankenstein’ obviously nails the Halloween Spirit criteria, and a very strong seasonalness score makes up for a lackluster (though decent) Film Rating.

Film Rating: 6.5/10
Seasonalness: 7.5/10
Halloween Spirit: 5.0/5
Scare Factor: 1.5/5
Pop Culture Value:4.5/5
Rewatch Value: 1.0/3
TOTAL INDEX SCORE: 26.0/38 (68.42%)

#23: Scream 4 (2011)


Normally sequels done way, way after the fact have mixed results (to put it kindly), but ‘Scream 4’ was built to succeed. For one thing, they got the original director, Wes Craven, to helm the ship for the new voyage, something most of these way, way after sequels fail to do for one reason or another. Second, it stays true to what makes the Scream franchise special: a simple, scary premise, paying homage to great horror flicks of days past, and the ever-enticing whodunit factor. Some may look at this and write it off as Scream 4 bringing nothing new to the table, but that’s the glass-have-empty point of view. Also, it’s incorrect. There’s no wrong answers here, except that one. If a recipe works, why on earth would you tinker with it. And as you probably already surmised by the news that ‘Scream 4’ made this list, yes, the whole franchise is on here thanks to said recipe.

Film Rating: 8.0/10
Seasonalness: 6.0/10
Halloween Spirit: 3.5/5
Scare Factor: 3.0/5
Pop Culture Value: 3.5/5
Rewatch Value: 2.0/3
TOTAL INDEX SCORE: 26.0/38 (68.42%)

#22: An American Werewolf In London (1981)

American Werewolf

No Halloween is complete without werewolves, so why not have The Godfather of all werewolf movies? An American Werewolf In London is a member of a lost generation. Before Taylor Lautner was ever born and thus set upon a course helping to forever ruin vampire and werewolf subgenres, there was David Naughton playing David Kessler, an American backpacker who had an, ahem, unusual experience during his time across the pond. Being one of the more classic horror flicks, it does very well in Pop Culture Value while the werewolf themes and cool, foggy weather of England makes sure it racks up a number of points for Halloween Spirit and Seasonalness, respectively. On a personal note, the first time I ever watched ‘Werewolf’ I enjoyed put up with some of the worst pizza I’ve ever had. I mean, story-worthy bad. Hence, me sharing it with you. And if this movie is that good with literally a bad taste in my mouth, surely you can’t do wrong by it.

Film Rating: 8.3/10
Seasonalness: 6.0/10
Halloween Spirit: 3.5/5
Scare Factor: 2.0/5
Pop Culture Value: 4.0/5
Rewatch Value: 2.5/3
TOTAL INDEX SCORE: 26.3/38 (69.21%)

#21: Dawn Of The Dead (1978)

Dawn Of The Dead 78

In chopping up the list to reveal over several articles, it is by coincidence that both the remake and the original ‘Dawn Of The Dead’ appear in the same segment. So, to call George A Romero’s arguably finest work incomparable probably isn’t fair, because we have the perfect already in this very article to compare it to. Even though I have personally given the remake a higher Film Rating, the fact that the original scores better overall is a testament to the objectivity I have sought out to create in formulating this criteria. Because the truth is, most film fans disagree with me and think the original is the better movie. And while we could go back and forth on that all day, there is no denying that Romero’s work is better for Halloween. This can almost be entirely chalked up to the reverence it holds as one of the classic horror flicks. For this, it gets maximum points for Pop Culture Value as well as a higher score than the remake in Scare Factor. This all leads to an overall score that is one point better than the remake.

Film Rating: 8.2/10
Seasonalness: 3.0/10
Halloween Spirit: 4.5/5
Scare Factor: 3.0/5
Pop Culture Value: 5.0/5
Rewatch Value: 3.0/3
TOTAL INDEX SCORE: 26.7/38 (70.26%)

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