Friday the 13th (1980)
It's the old tale of a bad thing happening in a nice place, and nothing ever being right again. Things go downhill when Camp Crystal Lake has a bit of a hiccup in its health-and-safety record, and somebody's not happy about it. Not one bit.
Its edge may have been dulled by the endless sequels (such as Saw 3D, in cinemas now), but taken in isolation this is a clever shock-fest with a good cast and a grimy feel that rekindled the horror genre. Two men (including The Princess Bride's Cary Elwes) awake chained up in a bathroom and given impossible choices by their captor, the mysterious Jigsaw. It's good, honest.
More after the break...
The Exorcist (1973)
This iconic, head-twisting tale of demonic possession is the most famous and profitable horror film of all time. It's also seriously chilling, tense and worryingly well acted. Watch it – the power of Christ compels you!
The Evil Dead (1981)
Director Sam Raimi's CV now includes Xena: Warrior Princess and the Spider-man series, but this film was the one that kick-started his career. Bruce Campbell and the rest of the cast head off to an isolated cabin in the woods and unwittingly resurrect an ancient evil, resulting in squelchy gore, crazy camera movements and an unforgettable tree-rape. The two sequels are all about slapstick and one-liners – brilliant but without the scare factor and invention of the original.
The original slasher flick sees six-year-old Michael Myers kill his older sister on Halloween and then get locked up in a mental asylum. 15 years later he escapes and terrorises the residents of his old town with a big knife, no motive, no mercy and definitely no running.