10 Movies That SAVED Horror In The 90s

The 90s were plagued with some disappointing franchise reboots, cue the shower killing music, Eeee-eeee-eeee. It was the decade where they recreated Hitchcock’s Psycho, and bombarded us with sequels from the usual slasher gang, Freddy, Jason, and Michael. Don’t get us wrong, these horror tropes were great in the 80s, but audiences were beginning to crave something different. 

Despite our intro, we’re not here to talk about the flops, instead we’d like to remind you of the horror films that resurrected a dying genre from the grave. I’m Scott and today, Scarlett Media presents our top 10 Horror films that SAVED Horror in the 90’. 

Spoilers for 2 decade old movies ahead.

Number Ten, I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

Please don’t click off the video! We know this isn’t a popular choice, and maybe you think it belongs on a “movies that RUINED the 90s” list, as people either love this film or hate it. “I Know What You Did Last Summer” didn’t get rid of the slasher trope, but what it did do was become an ultimate time capsule of the 90s. I mean come on, the cast alone. We’ve got Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Geller, and Freddy Prinze Jr., all playing recent high school graduates. 

On July 4th, 1996, a group of friends out for a drive accidentally run over someone standing in the road. The group panics, deciding to cover up their crime by dumping the body into the ocean. After this unfortunate event, they go their separate ways, until an ominous note arrives, bringing them all back together.  “Next time you leave a man for dead, make sure he’s REALLY dead!”

Number Nine, Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

The 90’s were a great year for horror thrillers, pushing the boundaries, and giving audiences a darker atmosphere. This is what they did with Jacob’s Ladder, a movie about a postal worker who is haunted by flashbacks. We follow him as he relives his marriage, serves in the Vietnam war, and spends time with his son who dies in a tragic accident. Tim Robbins is great in this film, bringing the audience along through all the pain and confusion that comes with watching these hallucinations. We also can’t forget about the demonic creatures that the movie sneaks in, leaving us with haunted nightmares of smooth faces with missing features, and hospital equipment – yikes! As Jacob says: “If you’re afraid of dying, and you’re holdin’ on, you’ll see devils tearin’ your life away.” This film wasn’t overly successful at release, but grew a cult following, and influenced some of the horror we see in the Silent Hill video game franchise.

Number eight. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

“Welcome to slavery… No thanks, I already had a wife” 

Quentin Tarantino wrote and starred in this action horror flick, so you know it’s bound to have cinematic flair. George Clooney and Tarantino play brothers on-the-run, Seth and Richard. After robbing a bank and leaving several police officers dead, they are left with one choice – flee to the Mexican border. In Mexico, they come across a strip club filled with beautiful women, a seductive Salma Hayek, and a gang of vampires that call this place their home. The brothers find themselves mixed up in a whole new realm of trouble, far more than what they’d bargained for. Audiences couldn’t help but see the fun in this wacky action horror film! It certainly is a wild ride.

Number seven. RINGU (1998)

Ringu is a Japanese horror film that grew popular across the world. It’s a terrific ghost story, with authentic characters and a captivating mystery. A reporter named Reiko investigates a mysterious video tape, one that kills the people who’ve viewed it seven days after watching. This film inspired plenty of imitations, like the well-known American film The Ring. Ringu also helped popularize J-Horror internationally, paving the way for movies like The Grudge and helping revitalize horror in the late 90s and early 2000’s. 

Number six. Candyman (1992)

Candyman is based on a short story, “The Forbidden”, written by the talented Clive Baker. An excellent piece of fiction that captivated the reader’s attention and pulled them into its intense atmosphere. The movie had masterful performances with some arguing that this was Tony Todd’s best role. In the film, a semiotics graduate named Helen, skeptically investigates the mystery surrounding a local legend – the one-armed Candyman. Unfortunately, she soon confronts true horror when a series of murders start taking place. Has the Candyman, a murderous creature with a hooked hand, actually been summoned? Or is he just a myth? Whether she likes it or not, Helen’s questions are answered. Grab your popcorn and avoid all the bees!

Number five. The Sixth Sense (1999)

“I see dead people”. This brilliant and iconic movie stars Bruce Willis who plays Malcolm, a child psychologist, treating Cole, who is played by Haley Joel Osment. Cole is haunted by dead people, and with Malcolm’s help, figures out what they are really asking for. Toni Collette, who plays Cole’s mother Lynn, also stars in this movie and her performance tugs on our heart strings while spooking us to our core. The Sixth Sense was the second highest grossing film of 1999, just behind Star Wars, a serious feat for new director M. Night Shyamalan.

Number four. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

The Blair Witch Project was the start of the found footage craze we see used so often in horror today. It was marketed as the actual footage left behind by three student filmmakers: Heather, Michael, and Joshua, who had hiked in the woods to investigate the legend behind the Blair Witch. They disappear, but a year later their footage is recovered. The marketing behind this film was genius, they released false police reports, and handed out flyers that asked viewers to come forward with any information about the “missing” students. A low budget horror mockumentary that grossed millions and changed the way film makers would look at the horror genre forever.

Number three. Misery (1990)

No 90s horror list would be complete without the acclaimed author, Stephen King. Misery follows Paul, a best-selling novelist who crashes his car, only to get dragged away by Annie Wilkes. Annie Wilkes, who is a fan of Paul’s books, is a nurse and promises to “take care of him” as he heals from his accident. After a few freak-outs: “He didn’t get out of the COCKADOODIE CAR!”, Paul realizes he’s more of a prisoner than a patient. By the time “operation hobble” comes around, audiences are squirming in their seats. It’s a great film, and Kathy Bates went on to win an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Annie Wilkes. 

Number two. Silence of the Lambs (1991)

In the 90s many of us had “an old friend for dinner”, as we watched the critically acclaimed Silence of the Lambs. The Academy Award winning movie drew plenty of people into the horror genre. It again demonstrated that pairing dark horror with thrillers was a formula for box office success. Not to mention, a character as unique as Hannibal Lector would certainly go down as one of history’s most iconic horror villains, especially after the way Anthony Hopkins portrayed him on screen. Jodie Foster played Clarice Starling, an FBI agent who is seeking help from Hannibal, trying her best to track down another killer who has been kidnapping and skinning his female victims. “Put the lotion in the basket”, and remember to keep your skin moisturized for Buffalo Bill.

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Number one. Scream (1996)

“There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to successfully survive a horror movie”. Wes Craven further experimented with meta horror by making fun of tropes from the past, creating what’s been described as a “breath of fresh air” in the horror genre. Scream might be self-aware, but it also didn’t shy away from gruesome killings. We all remember the classic garage door scene, yeah – it blew our minds, literally. Another thing that made Scream special was the fact that Sidney Prescott, played by the talented Neve Campbell, was a main protagonist that we could root for. Neve Campbell brought strength to this scream queen, that we hadn’t seen since Halloween’s Laurie Strode. With a well-written screenplay by Kevin Williamson, Wes Craven’s directorial skills, and a talented cast that included Courtney Cox & David Arquette, Scream was a horror masterpiece. “Movies don’t create psychos. Movies make psychos more creative!”

What other horror movies did you enjoy from the 90s? Do you like the order we’ve placed them in, or do you think they deserve to be rearranged? Let us know in the comments below, and consider hitting the like button if you enjoyed todays video. 

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Writer: Laura Townsend
Editor: AB Scarlett
Voice: Scott | http://bit.ly/3bD679R
Video: @_FearOK

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