36% Said This Was The Best 90s Horror Movie Ever Made – Do We Agree?

(Welcome to Survey Says, a feature where we conduct a movie-related survey for a random group of people and explain why they're completely right, completely wrong, or somewhere in-between.)

The 1990s is one of the most interesting time periods for horror movies, a genre trying to grow from the ashes of the slasher boom and Reagan presidency. Horror creators knew they could no longer rely on masked mad men wielding phallic weapons, and needed to find new ways to terrify audiences. This opportunity for inventive and experimental storytelling may have led to some of the more ... questionable contributions (looking at you, "Troll 2"), but also gave way to some of the very best films in horror history. 

We conducted a poll of 613 horror fans in the United States and asked them to tell us what they believe to be the best horror movie of the 1990s. The top choice won by an overwhelming percentage, but might be another instance of why "best" is always going to be subjective and how these surveys are the equivalent of film fan "Family Feud." Wait ...does that make me Steve Harvey for the day? I'll take it.

But first, the bottom three

Squeaking in with 5.06% of the votes was "Bram Stoker's Dracula" from 1992, a horror movie featuring one of the most mind-boggling A-list casts ever assembled, including Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves, Anthony Hopkins, Sadie Frost, Monica Bellucci, and Cary Elwes. It seems like people forget that this is an Academy Award-winning movie, bringing home the gold for Best Costume Design, Best Sound Editing, and Best Makeup. Next in line is the cinematic adaptation of Stephen King's "Misery," a film I'm honestly surprised placed this far down the list, with how Annie Wilkes has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity thanks to Kathy Bates starring on "American Horror Story."

The big shocker (for me), however, is "The Blair Witch Project" coming in third to last at 7.99%. I have no scientific data to back this up, but I firmly believe that people forget how genuinely terrifying and culturally impactful "The Blair Witch Project" was, because the film was mocked so relentlessly in the wake of the "Scary Movie" films. Then again, I could also be projecting as someone who fully admits to have been a second grader who fully believed "The Blair Witch Project" was real and fell into a conspiracy theory hole on early-era Internet forums desperately trying to find the truth and scaring myself half to death.

Slashers take the middle

Neck in neck in the middle of the pack are "Candyman" with 12.40% and "Scream" with 12.72%. While both films laughed in the face of "slashers are dead" claims, both films were groundbreaking in how they tackled the accepted formula of the subgenre. "Candyman" used the slasher formula as a means to interrogate issues of class and race, delivering us an iconic performance from Tony Todd and that unbelievably stunning score from Phillip Glass. 

A few years later, Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson completely changed the slasher genre forever with their meta-horror masterpiece, "Scream." The film's sharp satirization of genre clichés ushered in a new wave of intelligent teen slashers, and showed it was possible to have more than one Final Girl with Sidney Prescott, Gale Weathers, and Dewey Riley. 

Both "Candyman" and "Scream" continue to thrive with horror audiences today, and likely will for years to come.

Oscars don't define greatness

The top two films on the list were M. Night Shyamalan's "The Sixth Sense" at 17.94% with "The Silence of the Lambs" taking home the gold with a whopping 36.22%, more than the previous two films' percentages combined. Only six horror films in the history of the Academy Awards have been nominated for Best Picture, with both of these films representing two of those slots. "The Silence of the Lambs" historically is the only horror film to win Best Picture, as well as becoming the third film in history to win Academy Awards in all the major five categories (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Original/Adapted Screenplay). The question remains though, does critical acclaim and statues of golden men dictate what it means to be "best?"

There's a strong argument to be made for all of these films, and "The Silence of the Lambs" is without question the most cinematically proficient film mentioned on the list, but when has that ever been a requirement to be one of the horror greats? Call it blasphemous, call it a hot take, but given the controversial history of "The Silence of the Lambs," a film like "Scream" feels far more definitive as the best 1990s horror movie, mostly because of how unapologetically '90s the film feels. A film like "The Silence of the Lambs" could easily be considered a "crime thriller" to wash the supposed stink of "horror" off of itself when convenient, but "Scream" is a horror classic through and through. 

That's the beauty of horror, though — there's always something for everyone.