1. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)
This was the movie that introduced me to the notion that film is an art form.
2. Night Tide (Curtis Harrington, 1961)
I was fortunate to befriend Curtis Harrington, the writer/director of Night Tide, before he passed away in 2007. I always felt that his film was a perfect combination of mystique, love and horror.
3. Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1977)
The ultimate cocaine movie.
4. Night of the Living Dead (George A. Romero, 1968)
Sometimes the first of a genre ends up being the best.
5. Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)
The ultimate example of how a B-movie concept in the hands of a great Hollywood director equals a blockbuster masterpiece.
6. Flesh for Frankenstein (Paul Morrissey, 1973)
Paul Morrissey, Andy Warhol, Frankenstein, camp, sex, death… all in the name of good taste.
7. Videodrome (David Cronenberg, 1983)
All I can say is that I love, love, love this film for its insanity and apocalyptic view of the digital revolution. And with a last line like “Long live the new flesh,” it’s pure poetry.
8. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
Seeing The Shining is like watching a painting of pure terror. It has no purpose, sexuality or function other than to completely terrorize you.
9. Kwaidan (Masaki Kobayashi, 1965)
When it comes to ghost stories, no one does it better than the Japanese.
10. Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)
For me, Night of the Hunter has always been one of the greatest horror film titles. It is truly a very frightening fairy-tale. MM
Refn’s book Nicolas Winding Refn: The Act of Seeing (released fall 2015) is a hardcover volume showcasing the director’s personal collection of 300-plus vintage exploitation-era posters. His next feature film, The Neon Demon, opens in theaters summer 2016.
This article appears in MovieMaker‘s Fall 2015 issue and Guide to Making Horror Movies.