A lot of excellent films have already been brought up in here, like Poltergeist, The Thing, Jacob's Ladder, Babadook, etc )and yo, Insanimator, extra points for mentioning Triangle), but since I do probably watch a few more of these than many of you, imma chime in with a few. I am not good at picking total all-time favorites of most anything, but still, some do pop back up on my head more often than others.
There's The Changeling from 1980, for example, which I personally consider my golden standard for a ghost story. It's a prime example of how you don't need to subvert or reinvent classic tropes to be effective - you just have to be skilled at your craft. This has all the tragic backstories, old mansions, stuff that moves around when you aren't looking and so forth you can imagine, and it's so freaking creepy. It has one of my favorite séance scenes ever, and the ghost's backstory may well be one of the most tragic... not to mention the excellent poster, which is basically just a drawing of a wheelchair covered in cobwebs. So goddamn effective.
Moving up a little over a decade, we have Candyman, which I won't lie and claim doesn't at least get a little extra spooklove from me because I HATE bees, heh. But seriously, aside from Tony TOdd just being an amazing villain in it, Candyman also takes on a metafictive lean by asking wether or not the fact that urban legends exist automatically grant their stories some layer of truth. Which makes the last three or so minutes of it extra annoying when it throws that out of the window but oh well
. It's still an excellently scary flick.
In more recent years, I'd point to The Autopsy of Jane Doe as a great one. Ain't nothing pleasant about an autopsy, and here we have a particularly fucked up one. A movie that basically has a maximum of four characters, sets up a situation that gets scary simply because things aren't the way they're supposed to be, and then just continues to escalate without ever letting up. Great, great stuff.
There's also stuff like Oculus (and honestly, ANYTHING Mike Flanagan makes - as far as I am concerned, he is a modern horror master), A Quiet Place, Get Out and Hereditary I really liked over the last few years (though the latter is definitely an acquired taste, I've met plenty of people who can't stand it. Diff'rent folks and whatnot).
I try to watch a lot of horror movies I ain't seen before in October, and I am aPost too long. Click here to view the full text.