Audiences love them but the Academy has never quite felt the same way. True, there have been a few horror films nominated. The Exorcist was a major contender. Jaws was nominated. So was The Sixth Sense. Silence of the Lambs won.
But, for the most part, horror films have struggled to get Academy recognition. While the Academy has recently shown a willingness to honor science fiction, the horror genre has yet to benefit from the decision to increase the number of best picture nominees.
Because I love horror and I love movies and I love lists, here are ten horror films that I think deserved a best picture nomination:
- Frankenstein (1931)
One of the most popular and influential horror films of all time, Frankenstein was sadly ignored by the Academy. It’s certainly better remembered than the film that won best picture of 1931, Cimarron.
2. Psycho (1960)
Psycho may have received nominations for best director, supporting actress, cinematography, and art design but the film that made people afraid to take showers did not receive a nomination for best picture. The winner that year was a legitimate classic, The Apartment. But it’s hard not to feel that Psycho should have, at the very least, received a nominations over the other 4 films nominated.
3. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
George Romero’s zombie classic may have set the standard for zombie movies to come but it was not honored the Academy. The Academy was more comfortable with Oliver!
4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
1974 was a very good year for the movies and certainly, I would not argue that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre deserved a nomination over The Godfather Part II, The Conversation, or Chinatown. But over The Towering Inferno? That’s another story.
5. Suspiria (1977)
Oscar nominee Dario Argento? In a perfect world, yes.
6) Halloween (1978)
The night he came home … to Oscars! If nothing else, John Carpenter’s score definitely deserved to win.
7) Dawn of the Dead (1979)
Few sequels have been nominated for best picture. Dawn of the Dead definitely should have been one of them. Who wouldn’t want to see, at the very least, Tom Savini’s speech as he accepted his special award for best makeup?
8) The Shining (1980)
Stanley Kubrick’s film may be recognized as a classic now but the reviews, when it was first released, were mixed. So, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that it wasn’t given any recognition by the Academy. It’s a shame because I’ve watched The Shining a few dozen times and it still scares the Hell out of me.
9) The Cabin In The Woods (2012)
One of the best films of the new century, this joyful tribute to the horror genre was sadly overlooked by the Academy in 2012.
10) The Neon Demon (2016)
Is Nicholas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon truly a horror movie? It’s close enough. Though the film opened to mixed reviews, it’ll be recognized as a classic in another ten years.