We here at Horror Bound are big fans of horror. Duh. We are also big believers that any fun loving cinephile ought to be. Some people find it hard to get past their fears and some are overwhelmed at the sheer volume of horror out there. Including indie horror, which is wonderful, dozens of genre flicks come out every month. So, where does one start?
Well, we got you covered. This recurring article will be dolling out the 100 essential flicks from horror and will give you a heaping tablespoon of the various eras and sub genres. It also just so happens that this list was created by the great minds behind the Shock Waves podcast, including Charlotte’s adoptive mother, Rebekah McKendry, so it’s basically a family list.
These are not ranked, but, rather, in alphabetical order. Because they are in alphabetical order, just two entries in and we’ve hit on one of the most iconic films in horror history: A Nightmare on Elm Street.
I was born in the late 70’s into a family that ran a cemetery and LOVED horror. This all means I was the prime audience for the great horror wave of the 80’s. The king at the top of this mountain was Freddy Kreuger. And I fucking loved Freddy. He made me laugh, scared my pants off and I loved all of it.
A Nightmare on Elm Street sent the career of Wes Craven into the stratosphere. He was respected before, but a legend after. The movie was made with a budget of just over $1 million and made more than 25x that at the box office in the US alone. Nightmare also spawned TV specials, cartoons, multiple sequels, spin off’s and more than one reboot and remake. More than all that, though, it was a damn good movie that pushed the genre into new heights of film making skill. Seriously, go back and watch the original and marvel at all the techniques employed that were novel at the time and are staples now.
In fact, I’m not sure more than a handful of modern filmmakers could take the same budget and use the same technology and tools and come up with such a quality film.
Young Wes Craven got the idea reading newspaper articles about refugees from Vietnam who were refusing to sleep due to the severity of the nightmares they were having. Some even started dying and they actually had enough deaths to actually name it Asian Death Syndrome. Besides being the name of my next band, this syndrome and the articles about it put a spark into Craven’s mind about dreams that kill. The idea was terrifying to millions of youngsters in the 80’s, such as myself, as we all know we’re damn vulnerable when we’re asleep.
A Nightmare on Elm Street pushed the envelope of acceptable taste and tested the bounds of genre film making. It inspired a generation of filmmakers. I could go on and on, but instead, all I’ll say is this: watch it. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and give it a go. If you have seen it, settle in and let Freddy take you on another trip to dreamland.