That's why I'm making an evergreen list, and I'll add to it each year. This is current up to 2019, and as new lists are created, they will find their way here, too. That means if you want to bookmark this post, it'll serve you well and you can jump on and off without losing your place.
Finally, know this: I will be updating these lists until I don't. As new movies come out, it may change the rankings of the other films. I may have an epiphany and change my mind about something. When I do, those updates will be made on the appropriate lists and I may not think to mention it.
I do feel the need to mention the criteria I'm using for these Top 5 Lists. It's a little bit different but I think you'll dig it.
1. I'm only comparing like with like. Films in the same sub-genre or under the same general heading or criteria. Werewolf movie to werewolf movie, ghost story to ghost story, etc.
2. To get on my list, you have be both scary and exemplify the sub-class and the genre. In the case of the decade movies, it must be a film made in that decade (obviously) that also is a cultural artifact of that decade.
3. I'm only using each movie once, so as not to keep talking about the same film on multiple lists. Also, I'm trying to put each movie on its best list, so, if you're thinking, Where'd he put The Shining? On Stephen King films, or Haunted Houses? The Shining is a terrible Stephen King adaptation, famous for being a thing that King hated and also containing only the most surface of King story elements. On the other hand...it's a masterpiece, one of the best Haunted House movies ever, so it's on the one list where it (forgive me) shines the brightest.
4. The reason for all of the above is as follows: I want to talk about as many films as possible. The idea for these capsule reviews is to make them accessible to fans who want to watch and enjoy these films who maybe haven't seen them before. The lists help to make that a manageable goal, and also increase the usability of the lists.
You may not like werewolf movies, but you do want to watch something spooky for Halloween. So a general interest horror movie list with The Howling and An American Werewolf in London on it is useless, especially if you're really in the mood for a good ghost story.
That's the idea behind these sometimes very specific lists. I find it helps to really put the film into the proper perspective. Let me know what you think.
These will all make their way into a book, which will (hopefully) be published next year. There will be updates to the lists, and also a number of lists that you haven't seen yet. I will continue the Lists by Decade from the Silent Era all the way to the 2010s. Drive-in movies. Bela Lugosi. Karloff. I see the book as like having your own video rental store clerk in your pocket.
As someone who has been a video store rental clerk, if you ask me for a good horror movie, I'm going to ask you to be more specific. Once I know what you're looking for, I'm going to hand you five things. One or two of those movies will certainly be films you've seen or heard about. At least one movie in the stack will be something you've not heard about. But you can look at those five movies and make your mind if (1) You trust my judgment and taste in movies, and (2) if you are interested enough in the choices to pick one or two movies to watch. And because I have ingested too much of this stuff over the years, I'm going to (3) try and give you a little context, some interesting facts, maybe a specific thing or two to look for.
Without any further ado...here's the lists, in alphabetical order.
My Top 5 Creature on the Loose Movies
My Top 5 Favorite Devils and Demons Movies
My Top 5 Favorite Dracula Movies
My Top 5 Favorite Frankenstein Movies
My Top 5 Favorite Ghost Story Movies
My Top 5 Favorite Haunted House Movies
My Top 5 Favorite Horror Anthology movies
My Top Five Horror-Comedy Movies
My Top 5 Favorite Horrors from the Deep Movies
My Top 5 Favorite Kaiju Movies
My Top 5 Favorite Killer/Creepy Kid Movies
My Top 5 Favorite Killer Doll Movies
My Top 5 Favorite Long Form TV Series
My Top 5 Favorite Lovecraftian Movies
My Top 5 Favorite Monster From the Void of Space Movies
My Top 5 Favorite Movie Maniac Movies
My Top 5 Mummy Movies
My Top Five Science Run Amok Movies
My Top Five Favorite Stephen King Movies
My Top 5 Favorite Vampire Movies
My Top 5 Favorite Vincent Price Movies
My Top 5 Favorite Werewolf Movies
My Top 5 When Animals Attack Movies
My Top 5 Favorite Witch Movies
My Top 5 Favorite Zombie Movies
My Top 5 Horror Movies of the 1940s
My Top 5 Horror Movies of the 1950s
My Top 5 Horror Movies of the 1960s
My Top 5 Horror Movies of the 1970s
My Top 5 Horror Movies of the 1980s