If you’ve been coming to Rotten Tomatoes regularly for a while, you’re probably already familiar with our Five Favorite Films interview features. We wanted to do things a little differently for the month of October, leading up to Halloween, so we decided to speak to a number of actors and filmmakers who have a special connection to the horror genre and ask them specifically what their Five Favorite Horror Films are. We begin with none other than Bruce Campbell.
Bruce Campbell and director Sam Raimi had the good fortune of meeting each other in high school, and in 1978, the two collaborated on a short film called Within the Woods that would eventually become The Evil Dead. The legacy of that movie speaks for itself, spawning a pair of widely beloved sequels, a number of video games, a comic book franchise, a stage musical, a 2013 remake, and finally, the Starz television series Ash vs. Evil Dead, which stars Campbell and serves as a serialized sequel to the original trilogy.
Campbell was kind enough to take a quick break from a book tour he was on and offer us his Five Favorite Horror Films, which included a few established classics and a couple of unexpected choices. Read on for the full list!
The granddaddy of them all. A landmark achievement in technical innovation, social awareness, and sheer terror. The handheld look so many filmmakers use today was very new in the ’60s, when visual styles were very “locked down.” It was my first experience watching someone get disemboweled, and you don’t easily forget that.
The opening scene was almost enough to make me not watch the rest of it. Images of illegally exhumed corpses, grotesquely draped over their own tombstones, set the tone for this classic. What I really like about this movie in particular is its relentlessness. Once the horror starts, it never lets up, and that’s something we kept in mind when shooting the original Evil Dead.
This flick is great because of its approach and tone. Director William Friedkin cast strong actors, giving entirely credible performances. Linda Blair is a revelation. What’s cool is how the characters in the flick treat possession like it’s a clinical disorder. The cherry on the cake was the groundbreaking special effects makeup by master Dick Smith.
This movie proves that horror can also be cerebral. You know a film is good if it messes with your mind, and this one does a great job of it. It’s virtually bloodless, which is also unique in horror, and the twist ending, for me, is easily top five.
An early example of combining horror and comedy, which is a delicate balance. This is a fun, silly romp. Who says you can’t do slapstick with a monster? This movie is also an interesting example of early “cross-pollination,” where a studio takes two popular movie personalities and puts them together.