This is the Horror Oscars from Rogues Portal. You may be saying to yourself, “awards are meaningless, art is subjective, let’s not pit films against each other.” If you were saying that I hope you weren’t on a bus or anything because you probably looked weird as hell. You can just say things in your mind without actually verbalizing them, you know?

Anyway, yes, we know that awards are completely arbitrary and subjective. However, we’re picking them, and we’re awesome. Besides, there aren’t any, like, actual awards we’re giving out. What are we gonna do? Mail some crappy plastic statue to the concept of a film? I don’t think so.

Without wasting any more of your precious Halloween time, on with the show…


  • Evil Dead (2013)
  • Halloween (2007)
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
  • IT (2017)
  • Let Me In (2009)

And the winner is…

Invasion of the Body Snatchers


Mike: This winner is a bit of a cheat. I’m giving Invasion of the Body Snatchers partial credit for every successful Body Snatchers movie after it as well. It’s an extremely effective premise, and this version highlights the paranoia in a uniquely ‘70s way. Evil Dead had blood rain. Halloween had Rob Zombie’s expansion as an artist. Let Me In had gorgeous cinematography and IT had a bevy of great child actors, but Invasion of the Body Snatchers has one of the best ending of any movie, not just horror, so it goes home with the win in this category.


  • Alice Sweet Alice (1976)
  • Bad Seed (1956)
  • Let the Right One In (2008)
  • Orphan (2009)
  • Village of the Damned (1960)

And the winner is…

Village of the Damned


Insha: I’m a bit of a sucker for creepy kids in villages, especially in these types of scenarios, so Village of the Damned has the best creepy kids. Yes, Alice Sweet Alice, Bad Seed, Let the Right One In and Orphan have those killer kids, but these are telekinetic kids, which are the worst of all. These kids do so much damage the short time runtime of the film. They then huddle themselves into a group, educated themselves, create their own little colony of tiny white-haired glowing-eyed children. It’s fucking creepy. It all boils to where you have to strain yourself to develop mental brick walls to get them out. Fuck that shit


  • Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers in Scream (1996)
  • Heather Langenkamp as Nancy Thompson in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
  • Jane Levy as Mia Allen in Evil Dead (2013)
  • Marilyn Burns as Sally Hardesty in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
  • Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott in Scream (1996)

And the winner is…

Marilyn Burns Texas Chain Saw Massacre


Mike: While it may seem criminal that Jamie Lee Curtis didn’t even warrant a nomination for Halloween, consider her and Sigourney Weaver in Alien as God-tier and ineligible. Even without them, the competition is stiff. Levy holds her own in Evil Dead as a surprise Ash stand-in, Cox and Campbell practically carry the Scream franchise by the end, and Langenkamp is the quintessential horror movie heroine. Still, Burns takes it. Her performance at the end — and this is a contest for the best FINAL girl — of the film is manic, frenzied and joyous all at the same time. It’s uncomfortable because it barely seems like acting. This woman has been through some shit. That’s why she wins the top spot.


  • The Collingwood Family from The Last House on the Left (1972)
  • The Firefly Family from The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
  • The Nolastname Family from The Loved Ones (2009)
  • The Sawyer Family from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

And the winner is…

The Devil's Rejects


Insha: The Firefly Family is just nuts. Pure, simple and unapologetically nuts. They’re the perfect killer family and honestly one of the best. From the little beginning of the family in House of 1000 Corpses to their full-blown adventures in The Devil’s Rejects, Otis Driftwood, Baby Firefly, Mama, R.J, Tiny and Captain Spaulding pull together to create a deranged and glorious family that highly fucked but still downright charming. The Collingwood Family manifested themselves into a killer family after their daughter gets brutalized. The Nolastname Family just wants their daughter to have a prom date. The Sawyer’s are JUST like the Firefly’s born and raised in pure hell and what the fuck-ness, but the Firefly’s embrace what they’ve become and have a hell of a good time doing what they do.


  • Dawn of the Dead (1978)
  • Evil Dead II (1987)
  • Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
  • Halloween II (2009)
  • The Devil’s Rejects (2005)

And the winner is…

Evil Dead II


Mike: If someone told you to think about Evil Dead, the chances are good that what you’re thinking of came from Evil Dead II. Sure, the other entries are enjoyable and have memorable moments like a boomstick proclamation or a pencil in the ankle, but Evil Dead II ratchets everything up to the perfect degree. The disgusting effects from the first movie have more of a budget behind them to truly freak us out, and the comedy from Army of Darkness hasn’t gone quite so over-the-top yet. Every nominee here was an improvement on its predecessor. Sometimes a minor improvement (Dawn of the Dead) and sometimes a major improvement (The Devil’s Rejects), but Evil Dead II became the definitive entry in its series. For that alone we’ve got to give it a hand.


  • Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
  • Frankenstein (1931)
  • The Invisible Man (1933)
  • The Wolf Man (1941)

And the winner is…

The Invisible Man


Insha: This one wasn’t very fair and a bit of a no-brainer for me. I love me some Universal Monsters. More than anything in this entire world, but The Invisible Man is one of the downright creative and hilarious Universal Monsters ever to grace the screen. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, “But Frankenstein and Wolf Man are classics! What about Bride of Frankenstein?! Don’t you love her?” Yes, I do, and yes, I know. Also, I have an issue with that movie being called Bride of FRANKENSTEIN, but I digress. Even though Frankenstein, Wolf Man, and Bride are incredible, none of those performances hold up to the incredible invisible acting of Claude Rains in the title role. He’s not only witty and charming with bandages on his face and sunglasses on. Claude’s fucking hilarious. He makes the story so inviting and you become invested, drawn in by him alone. You want to be friends with The Invisible Man even though he’s batshit and that’s alright.


  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
  • Lifeforce (1985)
  • The Fly (1986)
  • The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)
  • They Live! (1988)

And the winner is…

They Live!

THEY LIVE! (1988)

Mike: I can just say it won because of the six-minute fight scene where Roddy Piper tries to force Keith David to wear sunglasses, right? Oh, I can’t? Okay. Well, I’m a sucker for two things: John Carpenter and extremely on-the-nose criticisms of capitalism. This movie has both of those things. While The Fly and The Quatermass Xperiment have actual (kinda) science in them, it was always going to come down to the secret alien invasion films. You know what They Live! Has that Invasion of the Body Snatchers doesn’t? A six-minute fight scene where Roddy Piper tries to force Keith David to wear sunglasses.


  • Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010)
  • Blood and Black Lace (1964)
  • Spring (2014)
  • Suspiria (1977)
  • The VVitch (2015)

And the winner is…



Insha: This was REALLY hard. I recently just watched Suspiria and Blood and Black Lace back to back, and I have to give it to Suspiria. It’s one of my all-time favorite movies because of how intricate and details Dario Argento made each shot. The movie is about ballerina and witches, but he also creates everything like a dance. The way the camera movies makes your eyes take in all the details, so you’re leaving nothing up to the imagination. Also, can we talk about those colors though?! The whole film laces itself in the brightest and sexiest neons. Yes, I said sexy. It’s that aesthetically pleasing. Think of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives. It’s those kinds of gorgeous neon colors but MORE. He doesn’t skip out on how vibrant he wants everything to be. The blood in this movie is my favorite because it makes the violence of the film even more so but with just so much beauty. URG, love this movie. I’m going to watch it again.


  • Dead Ringers (1988)
  • Eraserhead (1977)
  • The Fly (1986)
  • The Thing (1982)
  • Videodrome (1983)

And the winner is…

The Fly

THE FLY (1986)

Mike: The field in this category has two standout features: it’s predominantly Cronenberg-y, and it’s full of movies that are gross as hell. Of course, the winner would encapsulate both features. The Fly is a slow and tragic transformation and watching Jeff Goldblum’s Seth Brundle devolve — evolve? — into a hideous Brundlefly is more terrifying than anything the other entries could conjure up. This was a close one. Every nominee deserved to be here, but the Brundlefly is the monstrosity who deserves to walk up on the stage and accept… whatever it is the trophy for this thing would be.


  • Ghostwatch (1992)
  • I  Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016)
  • The Blair Witch Project (1999)
  • The Haunting (1963)

And the winner is…

The Haunting


Insha: Paranormal films only work for me if they’re in a creepy house. Now, that only works for me if there are no fucking effects in sight. Pretty tall order right? NOPE! Apparently, not since The Haunting wins for so many things. These are mainly things that we haven’t categorized, but primarily for doing so much with just camera, sounds, lighting and the reactions of the actors. It’s a film that burst with ghosts even though there are none. It carries so much personality and constant flux within the film that you find yourself holding on to figure out what happens next. The Haunting, again, legit has no type of ghosts in it. It’s just a creepy house that people get paid to stay in because it might be haunting. It’s a film that not only slaps you in the face (in a good way) towards the end but stays with you for a long time.


  • 28 Days Later (2002)
  • Dead Snow (2009)
  • The Plague of Zombies (1966)
  • The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
  • Train to Busan (2016)

And the winner is…

28 Days Later

28 DAYS LATER (2002)

Mike: For some strange reason our nominees went further outside the box than I would have expected. A field filled with George Romero films would be well-deserved. Luckily we’re deep enough into the zombie craze that there are some gems among the piles and piles of trash. When 28 Days Later came out, despite some griping about “Rage Zombies,” it was an instant classic. For good reason, too. It’s basically defined 21st-century cinema’s conception of the undead. Varieties of media, including The Walking Dead TV series and fellow nominee Train to Busan, have paid homage to it. Plus it manages actually to pull off a “the real villain is man” type of ending without feeling lame or cliched, which is impressive.


  • Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
  • Faces of Death (1978)
  • Peeping Tom (1960)
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

And the winner is…

Peeping Tom


Insha: Peeping Tom is one of those films that either super film nerds or underground weirdos know about. Luckily, I am both of these things so let me tell you why Peeping Tom deserves to win. Peeping Tom is a film that almost full-blown destroyed the career of Michael Powell (don’t worry, he was semi-okay after this) because it was just that goddamn creepy. Peeping Tom revolves around a guy who is a voyeur. He uses his tripod to kill people then films them while doing so. The entire film is very claustrophobic in the frame, almost not allowing you a space to breathe. It was initially just way too ‘offensive’ for audiences to watch and critics at the time damned it badly. However, doesn’t make it any less of a great film. Peeping Tom is very much a portrait of a killer, but also intense, but very watchable, and I suggest everyone see it at least once.


  • Frailty (2001)
  • Hard Candy (2005)
  • Mulholland Dr. (2001)
  • Repulsion (1965)
  • The Invitation (2015)

And the winner is…

Mulholland Dr


Mike: It can be hard to define what a psychological thriller actually is. Often the word “thriller” is used to make people feel less guilty about liking a horror movie*. Silence of the Lambs fell victim to this thriller labeling when people wanted to nominate it for Oscars without getting the stink of horror movies all over their precious awards. Well, our awards are all stink, baby! In this case, we’ve gone with any horror movie that predominantly fucks with the minds of its characters. Mulholland Dr. is a mindfuck turned up to 11, for the characters and the audience. Half the fun of the movie is trying to figure out exactly what the hell is going on. Despite what some people think, David Lynch generally avoids being weird solely for the sake of being weird. Everything in this movie has a meaning or a feeling behind it. Mulholland Dr. might be the best movie of the 21st century, so it absolutely takes the top spot here.

*Other times the word “thriller” is used to name an amazing Michael Jackson album.


  • A Serbian Film (2010)
  • High Tension (2003)
  • Martyrs (2008)
  • Saw VI (2009)
  • The Loved Ones (2009)

And the winner is…

The Loved Ones


Insha: This might sound crazy, but torture porn horror is so good when it’s intimate. Don’t raise your eyebrow. You know I’m right. I love that kind of torture where you know your victims, and you’re not just hauled up in some warehouse playing a game. *eye shifts* The Loved Ones wins this hands down. I love the high stakes of Martyrs and High Tension, but in The Loved Ones, it’s just a greedy teenage girl. If you don’t know what The Loved Ones is, change your life immediately. It’s a story about a daughter and her father, kidnapping and torturing the fuck out of a guy who she wanted as her prom date. It’s simple as fuck, but brutal as well. Once Lola says, “Bring the hammer daddy.” The rest of the movie is entirely mental.


  • Dead Alive (1992)
  • Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)
  • Krampus (2015)
  • Scream (1996)
  • Shaun of the Dead (2004)

And the winner is…


SCREAM (1996)

Mike: Funny horror is an easy thing to screw up. Horror and comedy are two genres that are incredibly dependent on personal taste and finding the right balance between the two is like walking a tightrope. Some of our nominees are louder and goofier than others, but the winner is maybe the most subtly funny nominee. Scream isn’t as overtly comedic as something like Shaun of the Dead — which came very close to grabbing the award — but it lovingly jokes about the genre norms its own director helped to create. Wes Craven knows what he’s talking about when he discusses the rules of a horror movie, and he’s the perfect person to bend and subvert them.  


  • Black Christmas (1974)
  • Funny Games (1997 & 2007)
  • Hush (2016)
  • The Strangers (2008)
  • You’re Next (2011)

And the winner is…

Funny Games

FUNNY GAMES (1997 & 2007)

Insha: This one very much isn’t fair as well. Funny Games (1997 & 2007) are my personal favorite home invasion horrors because there’s no fucking explanation why. They just go house to house and do this shit, and you are left utterly confused. I’m cursing a lot in this paragraph cause I still have feelings. Funny Games is a movie of questions that no one gets answers too. In The Strangers, at least those people say, “Cause you were home.” Black Christmas was because a psychopath was living upstairs. But, with Funny Games, you don’t get any answers with these two fools. They just do shit to do it, and they keep going. I’m not giving a clear explanation of why this won over the other. These are some outstanding movies that provide you with torture, hilarity, one has Michael Pitt, and both films are the same, but very much different.


  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
  • Carrie (1976)
  • Final Destination (2000)
  • Scream (1996)
  • The Craft (1996)

And the winner is…


CARRIE (1976)

Mike: We’ve defined teen horror as any horror movie starring high school kids predominantly. That gives us a lot to work with. We ended up with a solid group of nominees that includes classics (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream) and fun guilty pleasures (The Craft, Final Destination) but the winner in this category has to be Carrie. You instantly pity and empathize with Sissy Spacek’s title character. She’s a shivering bundle of nerves throughout most of the movie, dealing with a monster of a mother and some of the worst bullies Stephen King could cook up. When her psychic powers finally explode, and she takes her revenge, you kind of root for her to burn the whole damn gym down.


  • Abby (1974)
  • The Evil Dead (1981)
  • The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
  • The Last Exorcism (2010)

And the winner is…

The Exorcism of Emily Rose


Insha: People are already probably yelling at me about this choice, but very much hear me out. The Exorcism of Emily Rose is the best possession film. The Evil Dead was TOTALLY up for my pick, but then looking back, The Evil Dead has nothing on what Emily Rose brings to the table. This one is loosely based on the true story of Anneliese Michel, a girl who died in her exorcism from emaciation, malnutrition, and starvation. It makes the film even more terrifying and disturbing to know that someone went through that much of torment inside their mind and their body. I think another reason you HAVE to give it to this movie is for the utterly brilliant performance of Jennifer Carpenter. I mean, come the fuck on. Those faces. Those body moments. The guttural sounds that came from her mouth. *shivers*


  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
  • Halloween (1978)
  • Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  • Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
  • The Exorcist (1973)

And the winner is…

The Exorcist


Mike: This is a true murderer’s row of classic horror, but The Exorcist stands pretty tall amongst them. I mean, people actually thought this movie had a real damn demon living in it. You know your movie’s effective when something like that happens. The fact that The Exorcist manages to be terrifying to this day is a testament to the atmosphere they were able to create. Barely anyone actually dies in the film, and there’s very little graphic violence. It all hinges on two priests and a possessed girl. The fact that we actually spend time getting to know Father Karras, his motivations, and his fears, make the exorcism even more intense. We’re not just waiting to see who will get puked on or whose head will spin around 360 degrees. We actually want to see them succeed. The Exorcist holds up. It’s as exciting and chilling to watch today as it was the first time I watched it. That’s a true sign of a classic horror.


  • Beetlejuice (1988)
  • Return to Oz (1985)
  • The Monster Squad (1987)
  • Watership Down (1978)

And the winner is…

Watership Down


Insha: Fuck this movie. NEXT.


  • Jeffrey Combs as Herbert West in Re-Animator (1985)
  • Peter Cushing as Baron Victor Frankenstein in Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)
  • Pierre Brasseur as Dr. Genessier in Eyes Without a Face (1960)
  • Werner Krauss as Dr. Caligari in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

And the winner is…

Peter Cushing in Frankenstein Created Woman


Mike: There’s some heavy competition in this category, but Peter Cushing still runs away with the win. His work as Baron Victor Frankenstein in the Hammer Film Productions series is rightfully iconic. My favourite Frankenstein performance from him, the pure essence of a Cushing Frankenstein, is in Frankenstein Created Woman. In other entries, in the series, the character has been written as too sympathetic or too villainish, but this movie hits the perfect sweet spot. He’s giddy and lively, excited about his particularly awful brand of science, and it makes us excited about it too. But he’s also kind of a dick. He basically dooms his poor young assistant while taking the stand at his trial, all so he can experiment with his remains. That’s what you sign up for when you throw your lot in with Frankenstein, I suppose. And that’s what makes Cushing such a joy to watch.


  • Beware the Slenderman (2016)
  • Cropsey (2009)
  • Mommy Dead and Dearest (2017)
  • Team Foxcatcher (2016)
  • There’s Something Wrong With Aunt Diane (2011)

And the winner is…

Beware the Slenderman


Insha: I think I weirdly suckered Mike into letting this category be a thing. (Sorrrrrrryyyyy.) I watch a lot of true crime documentaries and quickly fall in love with them. (That’s a sentence is just as weird to say out loud as it is to type.) The winner of the true crime documentary has to go to Beware the Slenderman (2016). I reviewed this film for Rogues Portal awhile ago, but it’s still a film that I think about now and again, mostly because the case is ongoing, but also because it’s just that mental. The film is haunting but essential. It gives a portrait of two girls slipping from reality to where they attempt to murder their friend… in the name of Slenderman. BtS provides a ton of different perspectives of what the girls may have been feeling, mainly as the blurred lines between fantasy and reality caused them to do what they did. It’s an excellent documentary that makes you think about how much we overstimulate ourselves to the point of no return. Honestly, my second pick would have been Mommy Dead and Dearest. You should go and watch that too.

Michael Walls-Kelly

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