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Martin Scorsese named the 11 greatest horror films of all time


Martin Scorsese, a filmmaker synonymously linked with the New Hollywood wave of cinema, once created an emphatic list of his all-time favourite horror movies.

Scorsese, whose work on the likes of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas and more has led him to become one of the most significant and influential filmmakers of all time, is also a keen historian of the art of cinema and is an avid student of film.

“I prefer the escapism of fantasy, rather than the escapism of incredible sentimentality,” Scorsese once said of his storytelling ability. “What I’m afraid of is pandering to tastes that are superficial. There’s no depth anymore. What appears to be depth is often a facile character study… But they’re making a product, and a product’s gotta sell.”

“Movies touch our hearts and awaken our vision, and change the way we see things,” he added. “They take us to other places, they open doors and minds. Movies are the memories of our lifetime, we need to keep them alive.”

With a career spanning more than 50 years, Scorsese’s frequent use of slow motion, long tracking shots and running a trend in his lead female actors has also included nods to some of his cinematic idols such as Alfred Hitchcock and more.

Tending to stick closer to the genres of crime thrillers and verging away into thrillers which, at times, lean towards psychological and drama themes, Scorsese has successfully cracked the area of biographical sports features with huge critical and box office success.

One area Scorsese has yet to enter is the field of horror, a sub-genre of cinema that dates back to the 1890s and a period of time that is relative to the beginning of the history of film. As aforementioned, Scorsese is a keen historian and has tracked the genre closely throughout his life.

As part of an interview with Daily Beast, Scorsese was asked to pick 11 of his favourite horror films of all time. Perhaps predictably, Hitchcock’s 1960 effort Psycho makes into the pile, as does work from Stanley Kubrick, Lewis Allen, Robert Wise and more.

“Kubrick made a majestically terrifying movie,” Scorsese commented before adding: “Where what you don’t see or comprehend shadows every move the characters make.” 

See the full list, below.

Martin Scorsese’s 11 favourite horror films:

  • The Haunting – Robert Wise, 1963.
  • Isle of the Dead – Val Lewton, 1945.
  • The Uninvited – Lewis Allen, 1944.
  • The Entity – Frank de Felitta, 1983.
  • Dead of Night – Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden and Robert Hamer, 1945.
  • The Changeling – Peter Medak, 1980.
  • The Shining – Stanley Kubrick, 1980.
  • The Exorcist – William Friedkin, 1973).
  • Night of the Demon – Jacques Tourneur, 1957.
  • The Innocents – Jack Clayton, 1961.
  • Psycho – Alfred Hitchcock, 1960.