Best Scary Films

I can’t believe it’s Halloween and nobody posted this one. Come on guys. Get in the spirit of things. (No pun intended)

Now I’ll say for the record that most horror films suck. The suckage as a percentage of this genre is probably higher than any other genre. And that’s saying a lot. Still there are some genuine creepy and scary films out there.

In no particular order.

The Shining That last slow pan to the picture from the 1920’s creeps me out every time. What’s more interesting is that you’re never sure if it’s all in his mind or not. I know Stephen King hated this version (in preference to a nearly unwatchable made for TV miniseries) I believe it’s unarguable that this is not only a great film but one of the few good adaptation of a King horror novel. (His non-horror books have done better) I think Kubrick’s film really got the creep factor down as well as working on multiple levels. Plus the opening shot where they are driving by a lake is filmed near my cottage up by Glacier National Park. (Note that the exteriors of the hotel is in Colorado)

Alien Yes, it’s basically Halloween in space. But it works and is surprisingly scary.

The Thing Wow. Paranoia down pat plus some great special effects – especially considering the budget and time. What a fantastic film.

Halloween Yes, it seems dated since it’s basically been remade in various ways hundreds of times. But if you can ignore that (which definitely does affect the enjoyment of the film) it’s a very well made scary movie.

The Ring Not that scary although it creeped the heck out of my wife. But it does a nice slow burn. The kind of movie that doesn’t hit you on the head with gore but sets an atmosphere that builds over time.

What are your favorites? I know I’m neglecting some, like Psycho. That’s not because they are bad films. They aren’t. But I just don’t find Psycho or Jaws particularly scary. Likewise while some were freaked out by Silence of the Lambs it just isn’t a scary movie for me. And other great film, Frailty, from a few years back has some scary creepy moments but ultimately isn’t a scary movie. Ditto with Seven.

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35 thoughts on “Best Scary Films

  1. Misery really scared me. It’s not a great movie or anything, but I have this fear of crazy fat women anyway, and that scene with James Caan’s ankles, zomg.

    Kwaidan is pretty scary too.

    And The Wages of Fear is probably the most suspenseful movie I’ve seen, although I guess “suspenseful” and “scary” aren’t exactly the same thing.

  2. MCQ – it’s creep as heck and very suspenseful. It’s a great movie which is why it made my list. It did scare my wife to death. Not during the film but for the next two days she was jumping at everything. But weirdly it didn’t scare me in the least.

  3. The last scary movie I watched was Watcher in the Woods when I was in 3rd grade during a rainy day after lunch assembly…

  4. My husband loves scary movies because nothing phases him, ever. The Ring actually freaked him out. I only lasted through 10 minutes of it.

    I think the first two Saw movies are pretty good (only watched them on TV).

    The Sixth Sense is probably my favorite, although it’s not a horror movie really. After Poltergeist, I mean.

  5. Not a big fan of modern horror (accepting the Saw films, 28 days/weeks later and Rob Zombie’s stuff.)

    The stuff that has really creeped me out is the 70’s downer ending horror.

    – Rosemary’s Baby
    – The Wicker Man
    – The Omen
    – Invasion of the Body Snatchers

  6. Now I’ll say for the record that most horror films suck. The suckage as a percentage of this genre is probably higher than any other genre.

    Indeed. The first Saw film is really the only original horror I can think of in the last decade.

  7. Not really a horror movie, but Silence of the Lambs was terrifying – I felt drained trying to walk out of the theater.

  8. It was original but would have worked much better had it been about half as long.

    Poltergeist is a good pick Susan. I remember seeing that as a teenager and the whole face peeling scene… Ugh. Still gets me.

    BTW there’s a sequel to Bubba Hotep coming out called Bubba Nosferatu. I’ve no idea how they’ll do it.

  9. Leonard Part 6, Howard the Duck, Gigli, From Justin to Kelly, Caddyshack II, Batman and Robin?

    Scared yet?

  10. I agree on The Shining. I can’t watch that movie again. I just can’t have the image of those twins in the hallway as Danny rides his bike around in my head anymore. No siree. That’s not an image I need refreshing in my mind.

    Alien is also particularly scary.

    I don’t do horror films anymore. I think I’m traumatized. 😛

  11. I’m not a huge fan of horror films in general, and the recent torture porn fad just mystifies me.

    Someone should mention Psycho because it’s not just a great scary movie, it’s a great movie.

    I liked The Others quite a bit. Along the same ghost story lines, I liked The Changeling (not the new Clint Eastwood, Angelina Jolie drama) a lot.

    If it’s comedy/horror you’re going for, then the Evil Dead trilogy is a must. Throw Bubba Hotep and Shawn of the Dead in that category too, I guess. (I hear Bubba Nosferatu will not have Bruce Campbell–what’s up with that?)

    I should probably make an effort to watch more horror movies.

  12. Russell had one good one I missed: Blair Witch. Watch the pseudo-documentary first and then the film. If you do it with a small generator out in the woods at night it is truly freaky.

    I should also add that most David Lynch films are truly terrifying as well. Fire Walk With Me actually scared me more than most of those I listed. While it’s not as scary Lost Highway has some amazingly creepy moments.

  13. I love The Others as a nice, creepy movie with no real gore in it. Frailty was good, too; not sure I want to watch it again.

    Thanks to Eric Snider, now I want to try Felicia’s Journey Anyone see it?

    In a different vein, I’m hoping to watch Rocky Horror tonight.

  14. Doing a sequel to Bubba Ho-Tep without Campbell is silly. His Elvis impersonation basically made the movie.

    I never have finished “It.” I saw the start of it when I was very young and it scared the heck out of me. Really badly. I should probably rent it one of these days.

    Blair Witch Project is one of the most underrated horror movies of all time. I think it got some really unfair treatment after it’s initial release. One of my favorites. Throw in Dog Soldiers and The Gate as underrated ones.

    This has been discussed on Kulturblog before, but 28 Days Later blew it with the 3rd act about as badly as I’ve ever seen any movie throw away a good thing.

    I thought Frailty and Darkness Falls were really original ideas. They could have been better, but they were interesting.

    Obviously the Evil Dead trilogy is the gold standard for comedic horror films. A couple others that are worth checking out if those kind of movies are your thing:

    – Cannibal! The Musical
    – Dead Alive
    – Frankenhooker
    – From Dusk Till Dawn
    – Grindhouse (Planet Terror only)
    – The Re-Animator series

  15. I agree that the Blair Witch Project was really pretty great, even though it quickly got overhyped and imitated. The final scene is one of the best horror suspense sequences ever.

    Donnie Darko is a great unconventional horror movie.

  16. I love horror. Been a non stop watcher since I was just a runt. Favorites (in no particular order):

    Black Christmas (1974): My all time favorite. When readying themselves for their christmas plans, girls in a sorority house begin to recieve strange phone calls from an unknown stalker. His message is never clear as he seems to be able to project more than one voice at a time in different pitches. His murders are furtive and ever so errie, but the voices and the periodic scilence is what truly makes the movie. A true psycho stalker creepfest.

    Blair Witch Project
    The Thing
    The Shining- Everyones should-be faved if you know what’s good for ya. Nicholsons unhinged preformance
    along with Kubricks cinematography kills it, in a good way.
    Event Horizon
    Eraserhead
    Jesus Camp (Like actually, woh)
    Jacobs Latter
    Men Behind the Sun

    Yep, that’s a perfect list right there if I may say so.

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