The Shining (1980)
Although given rather underwhelming reviews at the time of it release and hated by horror legend Stephen King, whose book the movie is loosely based on, Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece finds itself in the top three of most peoples list of greatest horror movies ever made. Following Jack Nicholson’s aspiring author and recovering alcoholic as he descends into madness, this movie is still talked about today due to its many enduring conspiracy theories.
Kubrick had gained a reputation for being a perfectionist and Shelley Duvall, who he badgered throughout filming to get the best performance, can certainly attest to this. The infamous scene where Jack breaks through the bathroom door and utters the now iconic “Here’s Johnny!” took three days to film and Jack Nicholson chopped his way through sixty doors.
The Thing (1982)
John Carpenter receives another entry on our list for his spectacular extraterrestrial horror about a shapeshifting alien terrorizing a group of American researchers in Antarctica. Although it garnered largely negative reviews upon its release, it is now widely considered a horror classic with its masterclass in paranoia, tension and special effects wizard Rob Bottin’s groundbreaking creature effects.
Such has been the impact of the movie, it been a long standing tradition for researchers at all British Antarctic research stations to watch the movie as part of their Midwinter feast and celebration held every June 21.
The Omen (1976)
Richard Donner’s supernatural horror sees the pint-sized spawn of the devil Damien, raised by American ambassador to the U.K. Gregory Peck, as a series of mysterious events and violent deaths occur around the family. Boasting some stellar performances, especially from the utterly terrifying Billie Whitelaw, it would go on to be one of the highest grossing movies of that year, raking in over $60 million at the U.S. box office.
Peck had all but retired at the time but decided to take the role of the tortured father Robert Thorn largely because he hadn’t been there for his own son Jonathon who tragically committed suicide the previous year. Harvey Stephens, who plays the mini Antichrist, got the role after scratching Donner’s face and kicking him in the groin while acting out the scene where Damien goes berserk outside the church.