Since this is the last week before Halloween it seems that there’s an abundance of horror movies showing. AMC has been airing classic horror movies all week and the 1,298th installment of Saw is about to hit theaters. So that got me thinking, what horror movies scare me? I love a good horror movie, but it takes a lot to scare me. So I thought about it for a while and came up with the top five movies that scared the crap out of me.
Number 5 – The Shining
Stanley Kubrick already does some nutty ass movies (2001, Clockwork Orange anyone), but team him up with a Stephen King novel and you got some good ‘ol fashion nightmare fuel. Now I know Kubrick didn’t stay faithful to the novel, but still it scared the hell out of me. Maybe because the first time I watched it, it was 3:00 am and I was home alone and couldn’t sleep. Why I thought watching this would help me get to sleep I have no clue. I jumped when I saw the elevator of blood, but even though I knew about the twins, nothing could prepare me for the sheer terror that is the twins.
Yeah after that I had no desire to sleep. I blame this movie for the genesis of my fear of twin little girls.
Number 4 – Signs
Ok I know this isn’t really a horror movie, and some people (like 98% of the population) consider M. Night Shyamalan a hack, but I love this movie. Mostly because it plays among one of my paranormal fears, aliens. This was different than most alien invasion movies as it focused mainly on a single family amidst a global event. When I saw this opening night I was tense, I didn’t know what Shyamalan was going to do, but I knew it involved aliens and I had already psyched myself up to be scared. I know people hate the ending, but I enjoyed it (probably that whole faith thing), but the part that really got me was this scene.
To me this is the perfect scene. You really aren’t sure what is going on, the birthday party video is chaotic, and you have Joaquin Phoenix interjecting a bit of humor with his “Move children! Vamanos!” line (even funnier since the kids were Brazilian and most likely spoke Portuguese). Right after that is the money shot, the first glimpse of the alien. And the score adds the perfect touch. From what I read they were going for a Hitchcock Psycho feeling. Well they sure in the hell got it. When I saw this, I was so on edge that when the alien finally did appear the entire audience gasped, but not me. I yelled out “Oh shit!” that’s how freaked out I was.
Number 3 – War of the Worlds (1953)
Let me just say this. I hate the remake of this film. It sucked ass and I was routing for the Martians to get Dakota Fanning. And I know it’s not a horror movie, but it’s another that scared the living piss out of me. This time I was six years old and couldn’t sleep. So my mom said I could watch TV, thinking that would get me to go to sleep. Well the thing she turned on was KMPH 26 (way before it was affiliated with FOX) and the original War of the Worlds was on. So I started to watch it. And get freaked out. Hearing that California was being invaded (and destroyed) terrified me to no end. I didn’t watch the movie for a good ten years or so and even when I finally did, the memories still had me terrified when I saw it again.
Detecting a theme here? Yeah aliens scare the hell out of me. I was almost tempted to put Communion on here, but that would have meant me watching clips of Christopher Walken being abducted by aliens and I'm not that brave.
Number 2 – The Room
Ok this isn’t a scary movie, but has to be one of the WORST movies ever made. It makes Ed Wood look like Martin Scorsese. The director/writer/producer/lead actor (who I think is part French, part Croatian, and part cyborg) claims this movie is a black comedy, but when it was first released it was labeled as a drama. Now that it has a cult following, he says it’s a black comedy.
What’s scary about this you ask? The guy spent over $6 million of his own money to make this thing.
Number 1 – The Blair Witch Project
Blair Witch Project, love it or hate it. Me, I love it. To me this is the perfect horror movie. You have an antagonist you never really show, leaving your mind to try to fill in the blanks, and you have an ending that leaves you saying “WTF?”. But you want to know what about this movie terrified me? That it could happen to me. I wasn’t investigating yet, but I would go search out local legends and take a friend or two. Watching this with my best friend Tom and thinking this could happen to us scared the shit out of me. That and we saw it when it was still thought it was real footage (best marketing ever if you ask me).
I remember driving home at 1:00 am terrified as I lived in the country and knew something would get me. Thankfully I got home safely, but I didn’t sleep very much that night. I still say it's one of the greatest horror movies ever made. It played upon our fears in a realistic way that movies over a decade later are trying to emulate.
So that’s it. Those are the top five movies that have terrified me in one way or the other. Bit different I know, but hey since when have I followed the norms here?