When Jess suggested that the Filthy Horrors crew come up with our 15 favorite horror films, I thought of a couple of different ways of approaching it. I could of course try to figure out my actual, fifteen all-time favorite horror movies, ranked from most favorite to 15th favorite. But that sounded like a lot of work that would probably be inaccurate as soon as I started posting it. My favorites change all the time depending on the day and my mood.
So instead I've come up with a list of favorites from different decades. I've got at least one movie to represent each decade from the 1920s to the 2010s. Instead of ranking them by my personal preference, I'll just go through the list chronologically starting with 1922 and FW Murnau's unofficial Dracula adaptation, Nosferatu.
I've written about it before, but the gist is that while Nosferatu does have story problems (Professor Bulwer, the Van Helsing character, has no purpose in the movie, for example), the style of the film is so strong, and its vampire is so utterly horrifying (thanks both to Max Schreck's performance and the way Murnau filmed him), that nothing else matters. It's not only a great adaptation of Dracula, it's possibly the best vampire movie ever.
In addition to its style though, I love how the film handles Ellen, the Mina Harker character. Like in the novel, she's the one who figures out what's going on and understands how to defeat the vampire. But in the movie, she learns that the only way to do this is to willingly letting the Count feed on her until daybreak so that he's trapped and destroyed by the sun. It's a horrible, but emotional fate for her and I'm always moved by it no matter how many times I've seen the film.
She's such an interesting character: extremely sensitive and at first glance, irrationally paranoid. But her fears are always proved prophetic and I end up loving her insight and her sacrifice.