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Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Return of the "Cyber-Horror Elite": Presenting the Top 20 Foreign Horror Films of All Time!

Once again, I, the most stat-crazy horror blogger on the web, have culled the collective wisdom of cyberspace's gurus of gore in order to give you, the readers, another list to nitpick! This time, I've chosen to take a closer look at another area which many felt was underrepresented in our original Top 50 Horror Films of All Time--namely, movies originating outside the United States.

It was quite telling that this time out, I received dramatically less participation than the previous two times. While I got over 30 submissions before, this time I only received top 10 lists from 14 participants. Now, it could be that ol' B-Sol is just wearing out his welcome, or it could very well be that this is a decidedly tougher area to consider, and many didn't feel confident enough in their knowledge of foreign horror to take part.

That said, I believe this to be a very solid list, compiled using the same points system as before, incorporating everyone's top 10 list into a final Top 20. For the third time in a row, I find myself surprised at the number-one vote-getter--this time more than ever before. Not because it isn't necessarily worthy, but rather because it is a movie that is so extremely recent. Judge for yourself:

1. Let the Right One In (2008) – Sweden
2. Suspiria (1977) – Italy
3. Cemetery Man (1994) – Italy
4. Nosferatu (1922) – Germany
5. Diaboliques (1955) – France
6. The Descent (2005) – United Kingdom
7. The Wicker Man (1973) – United Kingdom
8. Horror of Dracula (1958) – United Kingdom
9. 28 Days Later (2002) – United Kingdom
10. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) – Germany
11. Audition (1999) – Japan
12. The Host (2006) – South Korea
13. Zombi 2 (1979) – Italy
14. Dead Alive (1992) – New Zealand
15. Ringu (1998) – Japan
16. Inside (2007) – France
17. [REC] (2007) – Spain
18. Shaun of the Dead (2004) – United Kingdom
19. Wolf Creek (2005) – Australia
20. The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) – United Kingdom

Some others that missed it by that much: Heavenly Creatures, The Vampire Lovers, Jigoku, The Orphanage, Don’t Look Now, Ju-On, Riget

Country-by-country breakdown:

United Kingdom: 6
Italy: 3
Germany: 2
Japan: 2
France: 2
South Korea: 1
New Zealand: 1
Spain: 1
Australia 1
Sweden: 1

(Worth noting that only 12 of the 20 are in a language other than English.)

Our participants this time around included:

Wes Fierce of Horror Film Magazine
The Lightning Bug of The Lightning Bug's Lair
Sean T. Collins of Attentiondeficitdisorderly Too Flat, Marvel.com and Maxim
CRwM of And Now the Screaming Starts
Justin of Send More Cops
Peter Hall of Horror's Not Dead
John Kenneth Muir, horror critic (Booklist Editor's Choice)
Pax Romano of Billy Loves Stu
Scott Weinberg of FEARnet, Cinematical, Horror.com and Rotten Tomatoes
Brian Matus of FangoriaOnline
Nate Yapp of Classic-Horror.com
Carnacki of The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire
Corey of Evil on Two Legs
And yours truly, of course.

Digest. Discuss. Debate. Distribute.

* Top 25 Horror Films of the Modern Era


Pax Romano said...

Great list, B-Sol, glad to have been one of the contributors.

B-Sol said...

Happy to have you aboard once again, Pax!

Anonymous said...

I had a hard time deciding on what to include (I'm weak in the foreign film area) hence I didn't contribute this time around. But the list is pretty solid. Surprisingly, to me, I've seen just about everything on the list. Good job and always a treat to read when you put these together.

B-Sol said...

Thanks, John. I'm planning something very ambitious next time out. I'm hoping you'll take part. More to come next week...

gord said...

Hurray some Hammer films made the list! God I love them.

Other than that I agree with most everything except for REC (which I thought was awful) and Let the Right One In (which I've seen about half of and have found kinda boring). Though maybe that last one will pick up in the end.

Pierre Fournier said...

Very interesting list, B-Sol. I couldn't get started on this one. American films are foreign films to me!

By the way, no Cronenberg? I'm surprised.

gord said...

Being from Canada, I'm a little confused.

Are we really considered 'foreign'? I always thought we just fell under the North America blanket term.

The Igloo Keeper said...

I'm surprised 'Alien' or 'Aliens' didn't make it into the Top 10...

B-Sol said...

Good point, Pierre! Leave it to us self-centered Americans, huh? Well, I think in the case of Cronenberg, a lot of folks may have even been unaware that his films are Canadian in origin, or like gord, didn't think of Canadian films as necessarily "foreign". My criteria called for anything non-American in origin, however.

gord said...

I also figured that with an American cast, it would still be classified as American, regardless of the fact that Cronenberg is Canadian, and it was filmed in Toronto.

While I'd love for people to recognize some classic horror films as Canadian, if they don't already, (like say Cronenbergs films, the Ginger Snaps movies, Black Christmas, My Bloody Valentine, Prom Night, The Changeling etc.) I would never, on the opposite side of the fence, literally and metaphorically, consider American films 'foreign'.

B-Sol said...

Gord, my criteria for conclusion were that the movie in question a) was produced by a non-American company, and b) was released first outside the U.S. Nationality of the director, or location of filming, were not considered.

Christopher Zenga said...

Hey B,

There are sooooo many missing! I understand now that these lists bring nothing but heartache! sure newcomers to the genre will jump for glee at a list of movies they should see and add to there DVD collection but for the rest of us it just bring out fan boy rage, " what do you mean (insert film here) is not on that list, that is the greatest cinematic experience of all time!!!!" I know EVERY film can't be on the top 20 list but I will not complain further, here is my suggestion. What do you say we gather the troops, ask your go to crew, hell, I'll throw my hat in the ring. And lets all post a list of OUR INDIVIDUAL top 10 - 20 films of all time, and add a little write up on said films. This way every one gets a say, Newcomers get a HUGE list to pick from and the loyal fans and friends of VOH may learn a little more about one another, not to mention, even Fans like us who are eyeball deep in the macabre can't have seen EVERYTHING! and it would be great to know that film A affected Fan B so much that, I don't know,....... he opened his own special effects company. A movie that inspired someone like that I would need to see! What do you say B, Everyone reading, let's make the ULTIMATE must see list!

Later days,

Christopher Zenga,

B-Sol said...

Unfortunately, Chris, your timing is not the best! As my list compatriots know, I'm now waist-deep in my most ambitious project yet. Not ready to reveal it just yet, but suffice to say that your idea, while admirable, may have to wait for a later date!

Christopher Zenga said...

I will gladly wait for the right time for the Uber List, but not forever, THE LIST MUST BE EXPOSED!!!!!!! HA!
However I am quite anxious for you to reveal this "most ambitious project yet"

Later days,

Christopher Zenga

gord said...

Oh B, I'm not calling into question your methods, I'm just saying, even though Cronenberg's films are usually distinctly Canadian, I never saw The Fly that way.

Pierre Fournier said...

In Canada, American films are foreign films, both geographically and culturally. You could even say that for roughly 30% of all Canadians, and 92% of the Quebecois, American films are also in a foreign language.

I understand that American distributors regard Canada as a “domestic” market and use the same unadapted promotional material in English Canada as they do in the US, but unless you’re in a rush to assimilate, don’t let commerce trump culture.

The nationality of a film is determined by the location of its production company. Doesn’t matter where it’s shot, where the director, crew or cast were born, or where the financing comes from. The production base is the recognized country of origin.

Regarding Cronenberg, take Videodrome and The Fly. Both shot in Toronto by a Canadian-born director, using a Canadian crew and mostly Canadian casts. Videodrome, co-produced by Filmplan, Famous Players and Victor Solnicki Productions, is a Canadian film. The Fly, produced by Brooksfilm and 20th Century Fox, is American.

B-Sol said...

Thanks for summing it up perfectly, Pierre!

gord said...

Well, hello mister fancy pants.

But seriously, thanks for the clarification. Though, this has never been about logistics in determining Canadian vs. American films for me, I wasn't going on facts, more 'feel'. Early Cronenberg films, and stuff like 'Fubar' feel Canadian to me, whereas The Fly didn't. And as per your information, there's a reason behind that.

Roby said...

WTF??? :| where is Ginger Snaps :| that movie was so damn good!

Dale said...

Aw, Britain is my favourite country for both horror and films in general, so this list makes me very happy.

If I didn't dislike living here, I would probably also be pleased that one of Australia's few horror movies made it onto the list.

It is a pity about the Canada thing though, I would have liked to see something by Cronenberg and Ginger Snaps. Oh well.

Anonymous said...


LaMort said...

WOW, No Mario Bava or David Cronenberg and you kids call yourselves "horror-buffs"?

Wow, just wow....

Anonymous said...


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