Hello everyone and welcome to the final Fright Day. It’s been an awesome ride over the past few weeks reveling in horror, and I intend to make today the best post yet. Horror films have captured audience imagination since their inception, and I would say the first great horror film is Nosferatu. Since then, horror has spawned into so many subcategories that it’s hard to keep them all straight. Nevertheless, horror has progressed since then to become a signature genre in today’s cineplexes. And what better way to end our Fright Day category than to list, in my opinion, the best decades in horror, from the 1920’s to the 2010’s. Without further ado, here are my personal rankings:
10. 1940’s- The 1940’s, unfortunately, couldn’t capture the magic of the 1930’s movie monsters. My favorite from the decade would probably be the Wolfman, but by this time it really seemed like producers were simply riding the coattails of the decade before. I’m not saying there aren’t great movies from this decade, I’m just saying my own personal list has very few choices from here.
9. 2000’s- If you ask me my favorite horror movie from this decade, it would probably be Zombieland. I thought this decade was too peppered with remakes and unoriginal reboots to be as effective as the ones that rank higher. There’s a couple gems to be sure, but the competition puts this decade at 9.
8. 2010’s- In much the same vein as the decade that preceded it, we were entitled to more reboots and unnecessary remakes here. While I enjoyed some of them, such as the Halloween reboot, there were too many other ones that I felt were lacking. Movies like The Thing, Prometheus, and countless others couldn’t save this decade. If we had a few more like Get Out, this decade might rank higher. As is, the competition is simply too good. Though, I must say, horror movies started making a comeback in the second half of the decade. Let’s hope that continues.
7. 1920’s- With two of the greatest horror movies of all time in Nosferatu and The Phantom of the Opera, it is hard to put this decade here. I would say this decade is the one that started it all, and some of the scares depicted here are still the standard by which other classics are compared. Nevertheless, horror did get better from this point on. It was a worthy beginning, but a beginning is what it was.
6. 1990’s- I could flip this with the seventh spot, but Anthony Hopkins iconic turn as Hannibal Lector puts the 90’s here. I feel this is the decade where people in horror movies started getting respect for their acting, with movies like Scream becoming the launching pad for young actors. There’s fun movies too, like From Dusk til Dawn and Vampires. I feel the 90’s wasn’t as good as what came before it, but the craft began to be taken more seriously.
5. 1950’s- These last five could easily be ranked in any order. A lot of the movies from these decades are great, and it’s hard to put them in order. But that’s what I’m here to do, and the top five starts with the 50’s. Several iconic films and stars became prominent here, like Vincent Price and movies like The House on Haunted Hill and The Fly. It’s a lot of fun, B-movie camp in this decade, and much like the 20’s, it set the stage for what was to come.
4. 1930’s- There isn’t a more iconic decade than the one that gave us Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, King Kong, and countless other tales of horror. Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi remain synonymous with the monsters they portrayed. This was the decade of the Monster, and all the reboots are compared rightly to this. It was magic at the movies, and the characters became larger than life.
3. 1960’s- Now it gets really hard. The 1960’s gave us Hitchcock at his best. It gave us Romero’s zombies and some of the great Vincent Price’s best films. The 60’s showed a sophistication in horror, progressing naturally from the camp of the 50’s. Horror began to be shown as something real and tangible, as opposed to the monster lurking under the bed or in the closet. Psycho and Night of the Living Dead are among the best horror films of all time, and those two movies alone would be enough to earn a high place for this decade. Luckily, we have more than just that for horror from here.
2. 1970’s- I would say this was the most influential decade. With movies like Halloween, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the Exorcist, the Omen, Rosemary’s Baby, and scores upon scores more, this decade more than holds its own. Some of the scariest movies are here, and it encompasses just how much horror had grown at this point. These movies further refined the techniques of the 60’s, and brought us into the top decade of horror.
1. 1980’s- Perhaps a controversial choice, but upon examination, the right one. There’s the iconic villains to match the 30’s, with Jason, Freddy, and Chucky serving this decade. There’s great movies in multiple genres, like Fright Night and the Lost Boys for vampire tales, The Fly and the Thing for creature features, the Fog and the Shining for ghost stories. The list goes on and on. Sure, there’s plenty of terrible horror movies from this decade, but horror had never been more accessible than it was here. The directors of great 70’s horror movies got more of a chance here, with Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street series and Carpenter directing the Fog and the Thing. And I’m only scratching the surface. I can’t actually do this decade justice with words, so you’ll have to check out some of these movies for yourself. If you want horror, you go to the 80’s.
Well I hope you enjoyed the article. It really wasn’t easy ranking these decades, and I could see an argument for any decade in the top 5 to be considered the best. Regardless, I had a ton of fun writing it, and we will bring this column back next year. Thanks for joining with us, and make sure you get a good scare this Halloween. You’ll even have an extra hour for crying out loud. Until next time…..
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