With Halloween coming up, I thought I’d share with you my choices for the Top 5 scariest movies of all time. I suggest these as rentals (or if you already own them) for viewing on Halloween eve. Or over the weekend. And as always, horror movies are best shared with friends. Preferably ones who scare easily and scream. 😉
Now keep in mind, these are movies that freaked me out in someway and left a lasting impression. You won’t find too much gory torture horror, but more along the lines of things that go beyond shock value and leave you thinking about them and pondering them long after the lights go up.
#5 John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982)
Scientists in the Antarctic are confronted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of the people that it kills. While John Carpenter has some other scary classics (in “In The Mouth Of Madness” and “Prince of Darkness”) this one fills my J.C. top spot just because of the impact it had on me as a kid. Tension, gore, shock moments and an overall sense of unease make this a must see. Plus it is a prime example of the golden age of practical effects.
#4 Don’t Look Now (1973)
A married couple grieving the recent death of their little daughter are in Venice when strange murders begin taking place. Are the murder somehow connected to the Baxters and their haunting past? Wow did this movie freak me out. It’s another one that’s difficult for me to watch again but it’s well worth it. It may seem dated now, in it’s 1970’s style, but it really delivers.
#3 House on Haunted Hill (1999)
A millionaire offers a group of diverse people $1,000,000 to spend the night in a haunted house with a horrifying past. You gotta love Geoffrey Rush doing his best James Woods impression. This is just a fun fright flick with tension, twists and a really creepy feel. It’s got three things that really creep me out: Jeffery Combs, twitchy frenetic monsters, and ghosts/creatures with fast, shaky blurred faces. *shudder*
#2 Event Horizon (1999)
A rescue crew investigates a spaceship that disappeared into a black hole and has now returned…with someone or something new on-board. This was a real surprise when I saw it in the theaters. I expected some schlocky Sci-Fi spooker and got some really creepy, disturbing moments. Lawrence Fishburne and Sam Neil are in top form and for added creepiness, you can frame by frame the “vison” scenes. Yergh.
#1 Session 9 (2001)
Tensions rise within an asbestos cleaning crew as they work in an abandoned mental hospital with a horrific past that seems to be coming back. This is hands down my favorite scary movie. So much so that I am actually reluctant to watch it again. It lead to a great deal of discussion between me and my wife about meanings and subtext. Granted, it is a slow boil, but when it all comes together … WHOOF!
Runner Up: Santa Sangre (1989)
In Mexico, the traumatized son of a knife-thrower and a trapeze artist bonds grotesquely with his now-armless mother. A Mexican/Italian horror film, I caught this one years ago and I’m still not exactly sure what the hell I saw. It was subtitled but the visuals were truly disturbing and it was a real odd take on the “momma’s boy” theme. Norman Bates and Jason Vorhees have nothing on this guy.
You can’t miss with these picks, so get out there, get renting and then curl up on the couch, in the dark and prepare for a fright filled evening.