The Corpse Bride is not actually classified as horror (told you these were tame) but it's fun. The artistic quality alone makes it worth seeing at least once. I really appreicate Tim Burton believing in the craft of stop-motion animation enough to pursue this project. You have to check out the extras on this DVD, especially The Animators.
Tim Burton makes wonderfully imaginative and colorfully artistic films. Beetle Juice and Sleepy Hollow are also good selections.
My Geek said that I couldn't put Shaun of the Dead on my list because it was a comedy. IMDB lists it as a Comedy/Horror. The movie's tag line is "A romantic comedy. With zombies." The gross factor alone qualifies it as a horror for me. Shaun is having a really bad day. His girlfriend dumped him because he has no real ambition and hangs out at the pub all the time. He gets no respect at work or from his family. Then zombies start taking over London! Shaun and his best mate try to rise to the occasion and save their friends and family from these flesh eaters. Funny and gross. See our dilemma?
Tremors is one of those films that didn't get much fan fair on release but has a significant cult following. The best part of this film is that it doesn't take itself too seriously. The characters are small town folk who find themselves breakfast, lunch and dinner for giant underground worms who track vibrations made on the surface. The worms are not complicated or super smart which makes it all the more entertaining to see these simple folk try to out smart them and survive. There are plenty of laughs and scary moments.
Identity is the closest I get on this list to a modern day slasher. It's scary, creepy and gross but the plot line is typical. Several strangers end up stranded together at a roadside motel during a torrential rain storm. One-by-one they are murdered. While trying to figure out what is going on, they discover they have one very strange thing in common. As easily frightened as I get, I was able to make it through this film because it stars John Cusack, one of my favorite actors (and also by watching through the holes in my afghan.)
Nosferatu is the 1922 German black and white vampire classic based on the Dracula story. What I love is the idea that Count Orlok is so evil that death, famine and hoplessness consumes the entire town of Bremen simply from his presence.
There was also a good film in 2000, Shadow of the Vampire, that is a fictional account of the making of Nosferatu . It plays on a rumor that the actor who played Count Orlok was actually a vampire who was promised the leading lady at the end of filming if he would make the movie.
If you're interested in truer Halloween fair, try one of My Geek's selections:
Halloween II, 1981
American Werewolf in London, 1981
Fright Night, 1985
Lost Boys, 1987
Near Dark, 1987
Session 9, 2001