There are some amazing quality horror movies, but some of them, because of the timing or the methods, became a movie that others wished to emulate, that changed forever our perspective of horror.
Here are my top 10 pivotal horror movies:
Nosferatu - Even with crude methods and relatively no makeup, this vampire movie launched horror movies into the public's view. Smart filmmakers saw the audience fascination, hunger, and also reaction to the adrenalin rush and learned much about future revenues.
The Wolf Man - The original The Wolf Man with Lon Chaney Jr changed the horror movie venue by introducing the magic of makeup for true transformations.
King Kong - Mutant monsters, fear of radiation, and the concept of Man not being the biggest baddest thing on the planet, opened up many possibilities for bigger-than-life horror including the introduction of Godzilla.
Psycho - Hitchcock hit us with the concept of an unsuspecting setting, unsuspecting killer, and unguarded moment. Stalker/killer movies would never be the same.
Night of the Living Dead - Zombies and end-of-world scenarios exploded ever since the introduction of this simple budget movie. It's these indie projects like this, Halloween, Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity that bring the new blood and concepts into the industry.
The Haunting - A classic ghost story concept. Almost no special effects. Just the twist of your mind, a dark house, and unknown motivations of the dead. This set the standard for ghost stories and the use of music, acting, and silences to create more tension. The concept of unseen forces took hold.
The Exorcist - This movie hit a true horror note with near-hysterical viewers. Such levels of terror had not been experienced by the general public until this gem. It forever changed how far filmmakers can take people into paranormal armageddon.
Jaws - We used to swim at the beach and not think about it, but since the coming of this mid 70s horror film, we have never been the same, even in ponds! The concept of nature turning on you took hold.
Halloween - Slashers had been around, most notably "Black Christmas," but this simple budget film changed what constitutes a killer and also plagued us with the concept that a killer could be slow, dim-witted, and still manage to get us in the end.
Silence of the Lambs - This elevated horror to the general population. This movie took award-winning actors and won awards for terror executed to perfection.