1999 was a weird year. There were only a small handful of genuinely stellar pictures to arrive in direct advance of Y2K, but the absolute best of the bunch are all quite solid, enjoyable films that – for the most part – demand an occasional return visit. We’ve certainly seen years that were far more disappointing for genre followers.
Here’s a look at the best horror films released in 1999 (you can track all of our top 10 lists from the 1990s right here), which also serves as a reminder that Johnny Depp (who damn near made it on this list three times with The Ninth Gate) was on fire as the ‘90s came to a close.
10 The Astronaut’s Wife
A pair of shuttle astronauts leave their spacecraft to repair a satellite. There’s an explosion. NASA loses contact for two minutes, but the both are rescued and safely returned to Earth. Eventually it becomes evident that neither of the astronauts is quite the same.
Allegra Geller, the leading game designer in the world, is testing her new virtual reality game, eXistenZ with a focus group. As they begin, she is attacked by a fanatic assassin employing a bizarre organic gun. She flees with a young marketing trainee, Ted Pikul, who is suddenly assigned as her bodyguard. Unfortunately, her pod, an organic gaming device that contains the only copy of the eXistenZ game program, is damaged. To inspect it, she talks Ted into accepting a gameport in his own body so he can play the game with her. The events leading up to this, and the resulting game lead the pair on a strange adventure where reality and their actions are impossible to determine from either their own or the game’s perspective.
08 Deep Blue Sea
A businessman sinks $200 million into a special project to help fight Alzheimer’s disease. As part of this project, medical biologist Susan McAlester rather naughtily figures out a way to genetically enlarge shark brains, so that disease-battling enzymes can be harvested. However, the shark subjects become super smart and decide they don’t much like being cooped up in pens and being stabbed with hypodermics, so they figure a way to break out and make for the open sea…
07 House on Haunted Hill
When an eccentric millionaire offer a group of opposites $1,000,000 to spend the night in a so called “Haunted House” with a murderous past, they figure it is a quick way to get quick money and leave. All of them are sure it is some made up story just to mess with their heads a little and test their courage. But, once they stay in the house they start to think about the mistake they made in coming there when mysterious things start to happen.
06 Stir of Echoes
A man is hypnotized at a party by his sister-in law. He soon has visions and dreams of a ghost of a girl. Trying to avoid this, nearly pushes him to brink of insanity as the ghost wants something from him – to find out how she died. The only way he can get his life back is finding out the truth behind her death. The more he digs, the more he lets her in, the shocking truth behind her death puts his whole family in danger.
05 Sleepy Hollow
The curse of the headless horseman is the legacy of the small town of Sleepy Hollow. Spearheaded by the eager Constable Ichabod Crane and his new world ways into the quagmire of secrets and murder, secrets once laid to rest, best forgotten and now reawakened, and he too, holding a dark secret of a past once gone.
04 The Sixth Sense
Malcom Crowe (Bruce Willis)is a child psychologist who receives an award on the same night that he is visited by a very unhappy ex-patient. After this encounter, Crowe takes on the task of curing a young boy with the same ills as the ex-patient (Donnie Wahlberg) . This boy “sees dead people”. Crowe spends a lot of time with the boy much to the dismay of his wife (Olivia Williams). Cole’s mom (Toni Collette) is at her wit’s end with what to do about her son’s increasing problems. Crowe is the boy’s only hope.
In Tokyo, Shigeharu Aoyama is a widower that grieves the loss of his wife and raises his son Shigehiko Aoyama alone. Seven years later, the teenage Shigehiko asks why his middle-aged father does not remarry and Shigeharu meets his friend Yasuhisa Yoshikawa, who is a film producer, and tells his intention. However, Shigeharu has difficulties to approach to available women to date and Yasuhisa decide to organize a sham audition for casting the lead actress for the fake movie. They receive several portfolios of candidates and Shigeharu becomes obsessed by the gorgeous Asami Yamazaki. Despite the advice of the experienced Yasuhisa, Shigeharu calls Asami to date and he falls for her. But who is the mysterious Asami?
02 The Blair Witch Project
Three film students travel to Maryland to make a student film about a local urban legend… The Blair Witch. The three went into the woods on a two day hike to find the Blair Witch, and never came back. One year later, the students film and video were found in the woods. The footage was compiled and made into a movie. The Blair Witch Project.
Captain John Boyd receives a promotion after defeating the enemy command in a battle of the Mexican-American War, but because the general realizes it was an act of cowardice that got him there, he is given a backhanded promotion to Fort Spencer, where he is third in command. The others at the fort are two Indians, George and his sister, Martha, who came with the place, Chaplain Toffler, Reich, the soldier; Cleaves, a drugged-up cook; and Knox, who is frequently drunk. When a Scottish stranger named Colquhoun appears and recovers from frostbite almost instantly after being bathed, he tells a story about his party leader, Ives, eating members of the party to survive. As part of their duty, they must go up to the cave where this occurred to see if any have survived. Only Martha, Knox, and Cleaves stay behind. George warns that since Colquhoun admits to eating human flesh, he must be a Windigo, a ravenous cannibalistic creature.