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10 Best Barbara Crampton Horror Movies

Deadly malls, glowing goop, and vicious home invasions. These are the best films of Barbara Crampton’s iconic career.
Barbara Crampton Horror Movies
By  · Published on October 7th, 2021

5. You’re Next (2011)

You're Next

Providing us one of the best final girls in recent memory, not to mention one hell of a home invasion thriller, You’re Next is a thoroughly invigorating and merciless horror movie. The Adam Wingard film is also a brilliant ensemble piece that features Crampton as the matriarch of a rather dysfunctional family. When masked killers interrupt the family reunion, it doesn’t take long for chaos to unfold. The film wastes no time in cutting to the very violent chase, so it’s not too hard to figure out who’s doomed, but boy is it fun to watch it all unfold. (Anna Swanson)

4. Chopping Mall (1986)

Chopping Mall

Chopping Mall is a film that truly has something for everyone. As long as we assume that everyone is eager to watch a group of teens who are partying in a mall after hours get slaughtered by killer robots. The 80s mall culture in the film is gleefully nostalgic, the characters are exactly what you want from a film like this (including a delightful turn from Barbara Crampton as teenager Suzie), and the violence is plentiful. Oh, and the cherry on top? An absolutely fantastic head explosion. (Anna Swanson)

3. Castle Freak (1995)

Castle Freak

There are many things to love about Stuart Gordon’s Castle Freak, but high on that list is the fact that this film delivers on its promise: there is indeed a castle, and in it there is a freak. The castle is inherited by John (Jeffrey Combs) who moves there with his daughter and estranged wife Susan (who else but Barbara Crampton?). While this isn’t the best film that Gordon made with his frequent collaborators, it is a thoroughly entertaining direct-to-video cult favorite. The film is gnarly, off the wall, and delivers exactly what you ask of it. (Anna Swanson)

2. From Beyond (1986)

From Beyond

In the small grouping of H.P. Lovecraft-inspired films starring Barbara Crampton, From Beyond is the eternal bridesmaid. Re-Animator always claims the top spot while seated at a back table you’ll find the likes of Castle Freak and the underseen Sacrifice. I’m not here to challenge the status quo, and while her adventure with Herbert West was my favorite early on it’s From Beyond that has continued to grow in my esteem with every rewatch. Crampton is once more joined by director Stuart Gordon and co-star Jeffrey Combs, but her character here is a bit richer, more dynamic, and in control when it comes to the more adult antics. She was strapped down in Re-Animator, but here she’s just moments away from wearing a strap-on as the power player in some very enlightening interactions.

The ideas at play here are far loftier than merely bringing back the dead, and Gordon’s vision brings the inter-reality shenanigans to beautifully crafted and colorful life. Creature effects, cruelty, and an increasingly icky Combs butt up against Crampton’s shyly conservative scientist who finds herself suddenly open to leather, toys, and a truly funky vibe. It’s the best of the Crampton/Lovecraft collaborations in my humble opinion as it delivers across the board, and it remains one of Crampton’s best characters too as she’s given a broader range than genre women tend to find. And no, I’m not just saying that because of the wardrobe. (Rob Hunter)

1. Re-Animator (1985)

Re Animator

If there’s a holy trinity of horror, it’s gotta be Barbara Crampton, Jeffrey Combs, and Stuart Gordon. The three have already well-populated this list, but when you add in a horror-comedy riff on HP Lovecraft and a reanimated cat you’ve got yourself a winner. Crampton stars in Re-Animator as Megan, the fiancee of medical student Dan (Bruce Abbott). When Dan gets a new roommate in the form of maniacal wannabe doctor Herbert West (Combs) who has some experiments planned, things get a little weird. It’s all fairly nasty, ludicrously funny, and brilliantly realized by the actors who embrace the schlock and deliver fearless performances. (Anna Swanson)

We spoke with Barbara Crampton’s best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s mailman, and she says you should read more 31 Days of Horror Lists!

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Anna Swanson is a Senior Contributor who hails from Toronto. She can usually be found at the nearest rep screening of a Brian De Palma film.