Although my Korean mother disapprovingly shook her head when I watched them and called them "oh so stupid," she couldn't stop my fascination with them. So I kept watching.
I'm not easily scared, but I am easily amused. I believe that a good horror movie should evoke both emotions. In honor of Halloween, here is my pick for the top 20 horror movies. Some made me laugh, while others gave me nightmares.
20. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Brain-eating zombies. Punk rockers. A Tarman. Although this is more of a black comedy, it's still highly entertaining and will make you think twice about partying in a graveyard.
19. Demons 2 (1986)
This Italian horror film doesn't have the best plot (the demons come out of a television screen and take over an apartment complex), but the makeup is amazing and the gore factor is out of this world.
18. The Descent (2005)
There's something very frightening about being trapped in a cave with flesh-eating monsters. Especially when you find out that these monsters used to be human. Or could possibly be related to Honey Boo Boo.
17. Fright Night (1985)
If you found out that your next door neighbor was a vampire, and you told your family and friends and they didn't believe you, what would you do? Probably not much, considering that your neighbor could eat you for lunch.
16. Dead Alive (1992)
This New Zealand horror comedy by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson is super gory, has a zombie baby, an awesome lawnmower decapitation scene and an ass-kicking priest.
15. 28 Days Later (2002)
This British horror movie is frightening because the zombies are not like traditional slow-moving zombies that go for your brains. They are fast and intense and ready for blood, just like most people in reality TV shows.
14. Hellraiser (1987)
Clive Barker introduced us to one of the most memorable horror villains of all time with Pinhead, a former human who preys on human souls. And seriously, take a look at the chains!
13. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
This second film in George Romero's "Dead" series takes a look at what would happen if you're trapped inside a shopping mall with zombies. Or in other terms, what happens during holiday shopping season.
12. Prince of Darkness (1987)
This was the second of John Carpenter's "Apocalyptic" films (the others being The Thing and In the Mouth of Madness). This was particularly frightening to me because it features a huge cylinder full of green matter, and it's in no way, shape or form ectoplasm.
11. The People Under the Stairs (1991)
Wes Craven directed this amazing horror film that takes place in an L.A. ghetto. It's the only film ever made that features an African American child hero and a band of cannibals who live under the stairs.
10. Silver Bullet (1985)
Before Corey Haim passed away, and before Gary Busey became certifiably insane, they starred in this '80s classic based on a Stephen King book. It doesn't have the best werewolf makeup, but it does get bonus points for having a hero in a wheelchair.
9. Poltergeist (1982)
Scenes that gave me nightmares for years: When the clown comes out from under the bed, dead bodies in the swimming pool, a tree grabbing Robbie and the dead goldfish. Of course something co-written and produced by Stephen Spielberg would be amazing!
8. Nightbreed (1990)
I love this movie because it's a horror/fantasy/slasher/love story all in one, and it was written and directed by Clive Barker. Although it didn't receive good reviews when it was first released, it has now achieved cult status.
7. Halloween (1978)
John Carpenter created an iconic character in Michael Myers that is still as frightening today as it was over 30 years ago. You'll never see Jamie Lee Curtis as scared in a movie ever again, unless it's about the disappearance of her Activia yogurt.
6. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Freddy Krueger is the epitome of your worst nightmare: he's ugly, he kills you in your dreams and he has knives for fingers. Plus, it's pretty frightening to see Johnny Depp get swallowed by his bed.
5. The Evil Dead (1981)
This Sam Raimi film can make you laugh one minute and scream the next. That's why it's such a cult classic. Plus, with Bruce Campbell as the hero, and a crazy zombie in the basement, what more could you ask for?
4. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
This black and white George Romero classic is one of the greatest horror movies of all time because it now only shows up what happens when we turn into zombies, but what happens to the human condition under apocalyptic conditions.
3. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Leatherface is one of the most terrifying horror villains in movie history. Why? Because director Tobe Hooper based him on real-life serial killer Ed Gein, who actually created clothing out of human flesh. And because of that damn chainsaw!
2. The Thing (1982)
Kurt Russell is known for his comedic roles, but there's nothing funny about the role he played in this John Carpenter classic. This film is amazing because it has everything that a horror and science fiction buff would love: aliens, monsters, gore, violence, parasites and blowtorches.
1. The Exorcist (1973)
For a movie that was made almost 40 years ago, it certainly stands the test of time as the scariest. Linda Blair possessed by the devil, spinning her head around and puking green pea soup, is seriously the most frightening thing you'll ever see. That, or Octomom.