One of the key reasons behind the long-standing fascination with horror is that every era of the genre provides insight into what that particular generation was afraid of, and what was considered taboo. From a modern perspective, the 1970s and 1980s remain of particular fascination, as this period really blew the door open on what horror films were allowed to do, not only in terms of violence and sexual content, but also in the themes and issues dealt with.
So what happened in the 1990s? The most iconic franchises of the time fizzled out, the great filmmakers of the past two decades all seemed to hit dry spells; it was as if the genre itself suffered an identity crisis. Movies which tried to preserve the spirit of years gone by frequently failed; those which tried to do something new typically came up wanting.
This is not to suggest there was no great horror in the 90s: justly revered genre entries from the decade include The Silence of the Lambs, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Candyman, From Dusk Till Dawn, Ring, and Scream (although, as we'll see, the latter film's legacy is by no means 100% positive).
But were these and others like them enough to fend off the stink of an era that otherwise struggled to produce horror movies to the standards of years gone by? Consider the following 20 films, and judge for yourself...