Stephen Scarlata’s Top 25 Horror/Suspense Films

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Many years back, Brian Saur of The Pure Cinema Podcast introduced me to creating a Top 100 movies list. Every year I try to update that list here on Letterboxd to see how my tastes change. Sometimes The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is on my list, then the following years, it's bumped off, then it returns. But strangely, a movie like Superfights stays on the list, and The Road Warrior will exit.

This is my first genuine attempt Top 25 horror movies list, and it was tough. Like with my top 100 list, my number one movie never changes horror list or not. Jaws will forever be at the top. To me, it's a perfect film. I tell people, this is the film that cursed me. Why? Because it's the film that made me want to become a filmmaker, and also a movie that made me begin a lifelong fascination with sharks and with aquatic horror.

Click here to check out Stephen Scarlata's Top 25 Horror / Suspense Films on Horrorville.

I had to include here the Neon Maniacs. This strange and mysterious film will also always be a favorite because I'm always trying to find the meaning behind it. I also think it's a movie that ages well with time. I will never forget the disappointment the first time I watched it back in 1988. But, I couldn't stop watching it and breaking it down to understand it. Now, after watching it an insane amount of times, I genuinely believe it's a masterpiece.

If I had done this horror list last October, I know that Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter would have appeared on it. But for some reason, I can't lose any of the top 25 at the moment to make room for it today.

The same goes with Cruel Jaws. That's always remained on my top 100 list. But recently revisiting Great White for the first time in almost a decade, it reminded me of how sought after this film was to me. I first read about it in Chas Balun's Deep Red or Gore Score and had to find it. At the time, it being the late 1980's early 1990s, it was nowhere to be found. None of my video stores carried it, mainly because Universal Pictures had it banned. It wasn't until the dawn of eBay where I first scored a copy and fell in love with it. Over the years, the madness of Cruel Jaws took its place. But now, after my revisit, I can't help to have it in my top ten.

Next year, it will be interesting to return this list to see what stays and what goes. If you made it this far, I urge you to do the same here on Letterboxd. Start a best-of list—your all-time favorites or favorite genre and every year, update it. It's interesting to see how your tastes in cinema change.

Stephen Scarlata is known for his work on Jodorowsky's Dune (2013) and Beyond the Gates (2016). You can follow him on Instagram, Letterboxd and Twitter.