Flavorwire’s 50 Essential Horror Films, Part 2

As Halloween draws near, you’ll undoubtedly see dozens of lists analyzing the scariest, goriest, and even the funniest of horror films. Nostalgia surrounding the spooky holiday conjures a breathless excitement to seek and share the movies that toy with our deep-seated fears. If you’re new to the horror genre, we don’t want you to feel left out of the fun. We’ve created a list of 50 essential films that will educate and entertain you all month long. Each week, we’ll be counting down to number one and exploring a breadth of titles. Whether you’re looking for a creepy tale to watch on Halloween night, or you’re interested in honing your horror knowledge, check out the second installment in our must-see movies below. Then, catch up with part one, and continue the countdown with parts three, four, and the top ten.

40. Carrie

Proms have never felt the same since Brian De Palma’s 1976 classic, which stars Sissy Spacek as the titular girl drenched in gore. Carrie is a character most of us can relate to. She’s an awkward teenager who suffers unjust humiliation from her peers. She struggles to survive puberty and the confusing feelings that sex and love stir up. Meanwhile, her religious mother (the amazing Piper Laurie) forces doomy scripture on her, locks her in closets, and refers to her breasts as “dirty pillows.” Our hearts break for Carrie throughout the film, but it becomes unbearable during the scenes leading up to her shining moment on stage, accepting the crown for prom queen. We know what her bullying classmates have in store for her, and the image of Carrie covered in pig’s blood makes a lasting impression. De Palma elevated what could have been a mere B-horror adaptation, maintaining author Stephen King’s dark, feminist subtext. Hitchcock references throughout the film make it signature De Palma (those violins are from Psycho and Carrie attends “Bates High”).