Anybody who knows me knows I have a serious addiction and fascination with The Criterion Collection. What kind of cinephile would I be if I didn’t salivate at the very thought of a beautifully restored classic film irresistibly packaged and loaded with special features? A really dumb one. As I have been tirelessly adding to my collection over the years, I have amassed a pretty sizeable horror collection that has been coming in handy this time of year. This was a very tough list to make because of how many incredible scary movies they have in their repertoire, but these are five of my personal favorites.
5) Les Diaboliques (1955) Dir. by Henri-Georges Clouzot
Word has it that Hitchcock made Psycho with the specific intention of making a superior film to Diaboliques. The debate has come up before as to which is more successful. I say, both of these are incredible—why choose? Make a night of it and double feature the two. Diaboliques is more of a slow burner, but the suspenseful payoff is truly worth the wait.
4) Eyes Without a Face (1960) Dir. by Georges Franju
Easily one of the best horror films of all time, this French classic still remains utterly haunting. Not to mention this awesome Criterion edition also has Franju’s first filmic endeavor, the ever-horrific slaughterhouse documentary Blood of the Beasts.
3) House (1977) Dir. by Nobuhiko Obayashi
I could probably go ten years without seeing this movie again and still vividly remember almost every detail about it. Somehow this wildly imaginative haunted house extravaganza of a movie manages to be super amusing and ridiculous while maintaining a serious level of creepiness.
2) Repulsion (1965) Dir. by Roman Polanski
Because I just recently wrote on Polanski’s better-known film from his apartment trilogy, Rosemary’s Baby (1968), I thought I would choose Repulsion for this list instead. Although comparatively it may be a little less accomplished as a film (though that’s up for debate), I’ve always found myself very captivated by Repulsion. It might be the fact that its simple scope is claustrophobic and chilling. It might also be the fact that Catherine Deneuve is hands down one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen.
1) The Innocents (1961) Dir. by Jack Clayton
I may or may not have had an audible reaction when I heard Criterion was releasing this film this month. My parents started me off really young with the horror films, and this was the first one I remember seeing and being genuinely terrified by. It has since remained in my canon of favorites ever since, never losing its effect on me. In fact, I loved this movie so much growing up that I read Turn of the Screw (the short story it’s based on) countless times and even grew to love the loosely similar film, The Others (2001).
Antichrist (2009), Peeping Tom (1960), Sisters (1973), Videodrome (1983)
Author: Catherine Haas
Catherine Haas is a native Philadelphian who received her master’s in film history from Columbia University. She is a freelance film programmer, writer, and an avid pug enthusiast.