Almost a Top Ten: My Pick of Six Scary Flicks

Photo: New Line Cinema

It’s Halloween time and I considered doing a top ten scariest films, but horror is such a subjective (not to mention massive) genre no list of mine would ever be complete. So I decided to go with six films I can remember actually scaring me or giving me some legitimate creeps.

I already know many of you will browse this list and scoff at some of my choices, “Really? That stupid movie scared you?” Before you ask, the answer is “yes”. On some level or another all six of these film creep me out or legitimately scared me when I first saw them. As with all scary/creepy movies the second time you see them they don’t scare you as much or at all, but I stand firmly by the six below and believe they all hold up to multiple viewings.

What scares me most when it comes to movies is the unknown. Sure, things that jump out at you offering cheap thrills scare everyone, but a truly scary movie will frighten you without having to throw a black cat into the scene. Then again, some of those jump scares can be so perfectly in tune with the film you are watching you forgive any cheap attempt they offer up. One such example is on this list.

You’ll also notice gore does not scare me and I’m not convinced it actually scares anyone. Gore is like nudity in films to where it only satisfies prurient interests. Real scares tap into your human instincts. We place yourself in the shoes of the character on screen and you think, “Oh shit, that person better run!” or “What the hell are they going to do?” It’s also about those movies where you ask, “What are they going to do?” and the answer doesn’t make you say, “No! Don’t do that you dummy!”

I love those moments in horror films where the camera settles on a figure in the distance just standing there. Why is that person just standing there? You don’t know, but that knife in their hand gives you a serious moment of pause.

I love the moments where only a sliver of light gives you the smallest amount of the setting. While I didn’t add it to this list, when The Blair Witch Project came out I thought they used the creepy ability of a flashlight to give you only the smallest idea of what is going on to the greatest of advantage. It was a brilliant decision.

As I am sure you have assumed, movies such as Saw, Hostel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc. aren’t films that necessarily scare me. However, films such as the first A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween and The Thing are great films. They just aren’t on this list, and neither is Alien, which was hard not to include, but then I would have had a top ten and it would have left too much out. I don’t watch a lot of J-horror. I haven’t seen Les Diaboliques or Suspiria. Basically, I am not qualified to make a bonafide top ten on this subject, but a list of my favs I am sure to handle.

With those factors in mind, let’s move forward. However, at the end of this feature I would love to hear what your top five/ten scary movies are. I am positive it will be different from mine and on top of that, it will give me even more films to add to my Netflix queue just as it did the last time I asked and so many of you added your voice. I watched several of the films you suggested and while none of them made this list, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy them. But it does speak to how subjective the idea of being scared actually is.

So here they are, six flicks that gave me the chills, and in no particular order. What a cop out eh? Click “Next Page” to begin…

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