It's fairly simple. Or, maybe not so much depending who you are. Here is the scenario: You are hired by a theater to program a 24 hours of horror film festival. What films would you choose and why? Be creative and have fun with it. Keep in mind the audience when scheduling it though.
The idea was inspired from the AV Club's feature 24 Hours of Horror where they picked several genre directors (Joe Dante, Eli Roth and recently Edgar Wright) and asked them to program a 24 hour horror marathon.
You can see an example of how they did it here: http://www.avclub.com/articles/24-hours-of-horror-with-eli-roth,2066/
Here is how I would do mine.
Dir. Vincenzo Natali
What better way to kick off a 24 hour horror marathon than a movie about a bunch of people trapped in a cube? Well, at first it sounds dull. Cube isn't concerned about the how or why. It just is. Filmed on a small budget in Canada, Cube is a movie that invites you to sit back and become enthralled in its clever puzzle.
Dir. William Lustig
The New York sleaze movies of the late 70's and early 80's are in a class entirely by themselves. Joe Spinell is absolutely terrifying as the crazed psychopath who hunts down people on the grimy streets of New York City. Oh, did I mention the effects were done by Tom Savini?
Dir. Bill Paxton
A gothic horror film based around obsession and delusions. Frailty is about taking religion and following it down the rabbit hole to a place far removed from reality. The implications of the characters actions are as terrifying as any monster a writer can dream up.
Dir. Tod Browning
After getting under the skin of the audience with Frailty, it's good to follow it up with Freaks. This is the kind of movie no studio would have the balls to make today. Released during the pre code era, this film ended up ending Tod Browning's career after the controversy of casting real life freaks for the film. But not before cementing its place among horror classics.
Don't Go In the House
Dir. Joseph Ellison
Since we are on the topic of controversial movies we should go deeper . This is one of the video nasties that was originally put on the list of British censors in the 80's. Beyond just being a film that makes the viewer uncomfortable with its graphic scenes, it functions as a seriously dark and psychological mindfuck.
The Monster Squad
Dir. Fred Dekker
Essentially The Goonies for horror fans, Monster Squad is a Universal monsters fan wet dream come true. In the 80's, the kids film had a sense of danger and peril. Something Wicked This Way Comes, Flight of the Navigator, the aforementioned Goonies, and several scenes from Lost Boys. Monster Squad was the film that got everything lined up and knocked it out of the park thanks to Fred Dekker's direction.
An American Werewolf In London
Dir. John Landis
We are now at the midnight movie so it's good to throw in a classic. There's not much praise I can heap upon this one than there already is. It's hard to find anything wrong in the film. Endlessly quotable dialogue. Scenes that terrify you one minute and make you laugh your ass off the next. It's horror comedy done right. Also, Rick Baker's werewolf transformation is why practical FX will always trump CGI.
Dir. Alexandre Bustillo
We've had back to back horror movies that gleefully dabble in comedy. Now it's time to go for the jugular. Inside's first act is packed to the gills with atmosphere and mood before releasing a relentless bloodbath. Once it starts it never lets up until the haunting final shot of the movie.
Dir. Michael Soavi
This, in my opinion, was the last great Italian zombie film. People always lose their shit over The Evil Dead series. And for good reason. I mean c'mon it's Bruce Campbell. But I feel that it kind of maligns everything else
in this sub genre. Cemetery Man was the film that finally perfected the formula.
Dir. Carl Theodore Dreyer
You can almost draw a straight line from David Lynch's Eraserhead to this movie as far as camera technique and surrealism goes. Watching this movie at this level of sleepiness is perfect.
Dir. Jack Clayton
Adapted from Henry James' Turn of the Screw, The Innocents remain the pre eminent 'ghost story' film and one that countless haunted house movie have been borrowing from since. Atmosphere so thick you can cut it with a knife.
Dir. Lucio Fulci
This is the way you send the audience out. Lucio Fulci wanted to make a haunted house film and at the time the market wasn't ready to invest in that type of subgenre. They wanted a zombie film. So the zombie footage you see here was thrown in for the hell of it. This only amplifies the dreamlike quality of the picture. More so than any other Fulci film. Fulci's film was intended as an homage to Antonin Artaud who inspired him with the philosophy of entertainment should not have a storyline but should be images assaulting the senses.