My Top Five Scariest Movies

I was watching a movie called House of the Devil last night and it got me to thinking about what makes a movie scary.  This movie wasn't particularly shocking or even good, but it kept me on the edge of my seat.  It made me scared and kept me wondering what would be around the corner.  It was a scary movie.  I believe there is a difference between the best horror movies and the most terrifying horror movies.  The most terrifying movies may not be the best,  but they produce real fear in a way that other movies can't.  I think that as fear differs for each person,  this list differs for each person.  I just read about twenty top 10 scariest movies lists and they were all very different.  This is my list, and as I explore fear this Halloween, I would love to hear how your lists differ from mine and why.

5.  Jeepers Creepers (2001)  The idea of winged, indestructible demon that can not be stopped until its mission is complete is pretty scary to me.  There is no running from this beast and no place safe you can go. 
Once you are marked,  your painful death is inevitable.  Also, the scene with all the people stitched together in the basement of that church was remarkable.

4.  The Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)  I saw this movie on television when I was ten or eleven.  I couldn't sleep for a month.  The slow building terror of knowing that those you love aren't who they are and knowing that if you give in to sleep (my favorite pass time) you'll never wake up haunted me for years.

3.  Hellraiser:  I was scared by both the movie and the book, The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker.  The book and the movie is about the evil that lurks in people and the darkness it summons.   The cenobites will always scare me and that thing that comes down the hall with its crazy hands bothers me.

2.  The Thing  (1982):  Isolation and paranoia work together to make the plot of this movie a living nightmare.    Imagine you are trapped in Antarctica with a handful of men and any of them could be monsters waiting to kill you or worse.  This is the plot of The Thing. 

1.  The Exorcist:  This movie has always terrified me and apparently I am not alone, because after looking at 20 scariest movies of all time lists this is the only movie that made every single list.


Pam Morris said…
in it's day, I have to say "the exorcist". I had visions of that movie playing in my head for months afterwards.
Durkin said…
The Exorcist is definitely the scariest i've seen so far. Absolutely hated watching it!
laughingwolf said…
nothing 'scary' about the exorcist, unless you're 'religious', esp rc... but take 'alien', that's scary!
Jessica Penot said…
I knew there had to be at least one person who isn't afraid of the exorcist! Good for you laughingwolf. I've never been afraid of Alien but it would be in the top five if I were rating the best horror movies. It is a wonderful movie.
Pale said…
Of the movies on your list, I've only seen The Exorcist. I'll have to check those out.

These are just off the top of my head. I haven't seen most of them for years; impossible to say if they stand the test of time (probably not for most). But I remember being entertained and sometimes disturbed or creeped out by them or by a part of them or by the premise. Most horror movies disappoint.

The Mothman Prophecies (Interesting. True?)



Hide And Seek

The Prophecy (good devil scene, Christopher Walken is fun)

Constantine (another good devil scene)

The Omen

The Exorcist

Rosemary's Baby

The Others (I don't always enjoy Nicole Kidman's movies, but I didn't mind her in this one ... classic ? ghost story)

The Orphanage

The Seventh Sign (more angels)

White Noise (This one bothered me, for some reason)

Sixth Sense

The Skeleton Key

Salem's Lot (I thought it was a good book at the time I read it, but I was just a kid. Not sure how it holds up today. The movie is surely dated and sufferes a lot for that. Didn't see the remake with Rob Lowe. Pet Sematary was also a scary read at the time that I read it ... but I remember disliking the movie very much.)
Pale said…
Oh, I forgot ...

What Lies Beneath (entertaining)
Jessica Penot said…
PaleMother... Great List. I loved the Prophecy too,,, what always bothered me most about this movie was how attractive I found the devil. Now I realize I just like Viggo Mortenson.
Pale said…
"Now I realize I just like Viggo Mortenson."

Ha! Touche. I recently caught that scene and
I was amazed because the last time I'd seen The Prophecy (pre-Lord Of The Rings), of course I had no idea who Viggo Mortensen was. I remembered that scene but I was surprised to discover who'd played the devil.

When I looked that clip up on You Tube just now, I also recognized Virginia Madsen in retrospect.
sister midnite said…
I love the Hellraiser movies! ...well, at least the first 4. ;)

One of my favorite movies is an old one - The Changeling. It's a classic ghost story, and I love the way they did it.

The Exorcist is one of my favorites, too. But I agree with PaleMother: most horror movies do disappoint terribly. I remember being psyched to see The Evil Dead and Pet Sematary, then laughing my azz off instead of being scared. For more recent movies, I'd also have to go with The Sixth Sense and The Others - at least they weren't as cheesy as most horror movies are!
Pangs said…
I remember seeing The Prophecy (and not knowing Mortensen at the time) and thinking, yup...that guy is the perfect Satan.
Jessica Penot said…
Pangs...He was the perfect Satan,, which still makes me a little wierd for being so attracted to him in that role.

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