Back in the 1970s, women bought fat juicy novels to take with them to the beach. Those were the days of Jackie Suzanne. Because I was a kid then I remember so many of these books floating around and my sisters and I were read them, even grossly inappropriate ones like Valley of the Dolls. It was how we first saw the novel Jaws, that giant shark swimming up to catch the unaware swimmer. And it was how I first heard of the Exorcist. The book was the scariest thing I’d ever contemplated which was why I never read it. But my older sister did. I remember her telling us younger ones about how the little girl in the book carved out the words “help me” on her stomach. It was, of course, a big deal when The Exorcist came out. Back then, parents took their kids to movies, even movies like that one.  How else can I explain that I saw The Exorcist as a child? It was the scariest thing I’d ever seen and it just got more and more scary as the years wore on. As many times as I’ve seen it, and despite my being an atheist, it still scares the shit out of me.

Today, The Exorcist is every bit as scary as it was then. It’s a class act, top to bottom – great acting, writing and directing. And Linda Blair pushes the whole thing over the top by absolutely giving it her all.  But I can’t really watch it since becoming a mom.  Truth.

Most horror movies are actually fun to watch, my favorites being:

The Birds
28 Days Later
The Silence of the Lambs
The Thing
Don’t Look Now
Rosemary’s Baby
The Shining
Near Dark
Let the Right One In

I’ve never been much into torture porn so much of today’s horror bores me to tears.  But when it comes to the scariest movie I’ve ever seen it’s The Exorcist, hands down.  And perhaps The Ring.  It takes a lot to scare me now. There is nothing more scary than a plane caught in a bad storm, for instance, or the thought of a car crashing into your house – you know, real life horror?

For this special Halloween giveaway please name your favorite horror movies and the that scared you the most! One entry per commenter. You may discuss the choices but we’ll only count one per user.

1st prize will be:

(or, if you’d rather, a gift certificate to Amazon of equal value)

We may have runners-up as well.

Happy Halloween!!


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  • purlgurly

    My favourite horror movie is “Fright Night” (the original). Saw it on late night tv when I was a teenager and loved it – especially Chris Sarandon’s portrayal of Jerry. The horror movie that scared me the most was “Dracula” (Bela Lugosi). My dad decided this was an appropriate movie to show 7-year-old me, and, no joke, I slept with a rosary under my pillow for about a year afterwards. It was Lugosi’s eyes…so creepy…

  • Kevin Klawitter


  • filmboymichael

    There have been many many movies that have scared me over the years. From Halloween to The Ring. But probably one of the scariest movies, outside of The Exorcist would have to be that great Canadian horror film (see it!!!) The Changeling.

    It still messes with my mind from the things that are suggested but never seen – doors slamming, a piano playing on its own, thumps in the night. Psychologically terrifying. Love when scary movies leave it to your imagination to find the horror. This one delivers over and over again!

  • Favourite? Rosemary’s Baby, The Silence of the Lambs, Alien, The Shining. I know, how original! Last Hallowe’en, I remember Metacritic listed Werckmeister Harmonies as a horror film. I’m not sure – there are horror-esque moments in it – but, if it is a horror indeed, it’s up there. Se7en is too.

    Scariest? Maybe The Orphanage. It would be any of the Freddy Krueger movies were I tough enough to tackle them. Won’t even go near them.

    I watched Sleep Tight today cos it’s Hallowe’en. I had it in mind, then Ryan mentioned it on Oscar Podcast, and I decided to watch it. Wasn’t great, and the scariest bit was the cockroach infestation. Fucking hell! I nearly died. Other than that, not that scary.

  • Kevin Klawitter

    Crap. Hit “enter” too early.

    I’ve never been a big fan of horror movies, but there are certain movies I’ve seen that have scared and horrified me. It might seem odd, but parts of Sam Raimi’s first two “Spider-Man” movies really got to me… the Green Goblin’s attack on the Oscorp board in 1 (not to mention the brief, but shocking dream sequence), and particularly the surgery scene in 2. That is so terrifying it almost seems to be from a different movie altogether (that contrast probably made it all the most shocking).

    In recent years, “The Grey” really got to me. It is generally considered an action movie, but to my mind it is more horrifying than crap like “Saw” will ever be. “The Grey” shook me to my core because it was visceral, atmospheric, and REAL. The people in that movie felt like real people and behaved the way real people would in that situation. The combination of the wind, the weather, the wolves… nothing in that movie was out of the ordinary, and yet the experience of watching it was frightening as hell.

  • Cory

    Psycho, hands down. It’s one of my favorite movies of all time, and I saw it for the first time when I was in elementary school. My horror-loving dad thought it would be a good idea to rent it since my mom was out of town, and she didn’t let me watch anything remotely scary. I was horrified of the shower/bathroom for weeks, and my mom gave my dad hell for forever. I loooooved it though and wanted to watch it all the time after that, even though it scared the crap out of me. There’s a reason it influenced an entire generation of slasher flicks.

  • keifer

    I still take great pleasure in watching my favorite suspense movie of all time (and it is still the scariest movie I’ve ever seen, Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin’s face-off in “Wait Until Dark”.

    It’s a GREAT film – very underrated I think in the annals of filmdom.

    Hepburn deservedly received a Best Actress nomination for her role, and I think in any other year she would have won this award. Competition for BA was so great that year as Audrey Hepburn, Faye Dunaway, Anne Bancroft, Edith Evans,and Katharine Hepburn all gave such strong performances. I bet the final count on this award was one of the closest in AMPAS history.

  • Cory

    Also, the Descent is one of my most recent favorites. The film creators knew how to brilliantly blend the cave’s setting and amplify the horror of those monsters. Seeing it in a crowded theater was one of the best movie-going experiences I’ve ever had. The Strangers was surprisingly suspenseful too.

  • derek 8-track

    I’d have to say my favorte horror movie is Psycho. Tthe horror flick that scared me when I was a kid is Pet Cematary (the Zelda parts. Yikes!). But the most recent movie i found scary is The Exorcism of Emily Rose. I shared a bedroom with two other people the night I saw that movie and still had trouble falling asleep. I heard every little sound in the apt and saw every shadow move.

  • Sam

    For my money, nothing is scarier than that scene in Se7en when they discuss the “Lust” killing. You don’t need to see anything because just hearing them talk about it turns your stomach and makes your hair stand up.

  • My favourites are: The Evil Dead, Psycho and Let The Right One In.

    The one that scared me the most was The Ring. Watched it at a birthday party when I was about 14 and we were all screaming down the house. Samara haunts me to this day.

  • bill b

    The Shining!

    The Ring is the scariest though

  • Favorite horror movie: It may not be a horror movie per se, but the original Diabolique. The genius of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s movie is by the time you realize he’s turned the screws on you, you’re already in the movie’s thrall. Plus, it has my favorite twist ending of all time.

    (If that doesn’t count, then the original Night of the Living Dead would be my choice – ironic, since I don’t like most zombie movies, but this one is in a class by itself).

    The scariest horror movie I’ve ever scene, though, is Audition. I still can’t think of watching that one again, especially the last 15 minutes or so, and just the thought of that bag gives me the heebie-jeebies.

  • Rebecca

    My favorites are “Psycho” “The Silence of the Lambs” “Carrie” and

    The scariest movie for me was “The Blair Witch Project”. It messed me up for months.

  • Mac

    I was born in ’77 and have four sisters, three of whom are older than me. Some movies were off limits by decree of my older sister Nina – movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Exorcist, and The Shining were too violent, blasphemous, and could totally happen! Of course, after much pleading, she would let us kiddies watch. During some of the more terrifying parts, like when Ol’ Grampa was trying to hit Sally over the head with a hammer in Chainsaw Massacre, Nina would get really dramatic and cover my little sister’s eyes and declare “Ida shouldn’t be watching this!” It made the movies way more frieghtening and bedtime the worst possible thing. She had warned us and we didn’t listen…

    The scariest movie for me growing up (and it’s still disturbing) is The Shining. The twin girls, creepy boy, REDRUM, evil spirits, and a psycotic father hunting down his wife made for one spooky movie. The one part that affected me and my sisters the most was the moldy, naked hag. The scene starts off lewd enough, with a fully naked beauty stepping out of the tub. When Nicholson embraces her and kisses her, only to realize she’s a cackling crone, it becomes obscene (I can still hear my sister Yvonne saying “That’s what he gets for cheating on his wife”). I mean, you can see everyting, and you really don’t want to! For a kid like me, it all added up to the best worst movie of my young life.

  • (I don’t want to be entered into the sweepstakes.)

    I don’t really have a “favorite” horror movie. I’d actually have to check my all-time list to see which of my favorites counts as horror. I’m going to guess the highest ranking one is THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY*. Not to scary really. SUSPIRIA is probably my favorite of the traditional horror films.

    But I was thinking of the people who have snow on the ground right now and what would be appropriate viewing. BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974) is a great classic horror that not everyone has seen so I like recommending that one. And as I said in the state of the race thread, I think THE WOMAN IN BLACK is one of the best movies of the year still. So people can check that out if they haven’t. But the movie that scared me the most ever was TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME. Still scared of Bob.

    * Yup. I checked. 🙂 Following close behind is my all-time favorite Tom Hanks movie THE ‘BURBS. You could have guessed that, right?

  • My favorites:

    Rosemary’s Baby
    The Exorcist
    The Sixth Sense
    The Cabin in the Woods
    The Shining
    The Silence of the Lambs
    Let the Right One In/Let Me In

    The one that scared me the most was The Ring. I was in middle school when I watched it for the first time. I watched it in my room, by my lonesome, and had to turn the light on halfway through because I was so thoroughly freaked out.

  • William Chase

    Favorite: Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow. Also, The Shining, The Ring and Dawn of the Dead(the 2007 remake)

    Scariest: Honestly, Signs will forever be the scariest movie for me. It’s the only movie I consciously remember giving me multiple nights of nightmares. Scary aliens terrify me.

    Favorite Halloween movies: Rocky Horror, Hocus Pocus and that awful awful Disney Channel movie Underwraps(haha).

  • Andrew Smith

    Favorite horror movies are probably “Sleepy Hollow”, “Rosemary’s Baby”, and “Halloween”, although I do enjoy the campiness of “The People Under the Stairs.”

    The one that scared me the most is “The Ring.” Still can’t watch that one by myself in the dark and don’t think I want to try.

  • steve50

    I think the only time I yelled out loud watching a movie was Wait Until Dark – keifer’s right, very underrated. The original When a Stranger Calls (“the caller is in the house”) and Black Christmas (never looked at dry cleaning bags the same) were both fun to watch. Wolfen was fascinating and had one of the biggest “jumps” for me (when the guy was flying thru a tunnel on his motorcycle and guess what happened just as he zooms out the exit).

    The scariest? Back in the early 60s, Blood of Dracula with Christopher Lee scarred me for years. For months I buttoned my pajamas to the neck and slept under the sheet. The scene that sticks? The guy sneaks into the crypt, stake and hammer in hand. He gets to Drac’s coffin and it’s empty. He turns around….

  • TVLuke

    Back when I was 16 or something like that “Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse” by Fritz Lang was on late night TV. I stumbled upon it, missed the beginning that contained all the exposition and watched it for some reason (probably there was nothing else on). It being late, starting in the middle of the movie and me being tired might have helped but this old and by all modern standards, boring movie scared the hell out of me. Thinking about it does that until today. It took about 8 years until I bought it on DVD and watched it again, finding it rather unspectacular (Its rather lucky I missed the first 30 minutes back then…), but the memory of this first viewing, the half transparent ghostly projection of Dr. Mabuse commanding me through the brick wall in a dark room, haunts me late at night and I love it.

  • sidenote/anecdote:

    Would you guys believe I saw “Wait Until Dark” the play, on Broadway, starring Marisa Tomei and Quentin Tarantino? lol I did. (Spoilers) They cut all the lights in the theater at that scene and everyone screamed. Ah, the good ol’ days.

  • Sam

    Horror movies are what got me interested into film in the first. As a kid they scared the crap out of me, but I just couldn’t get enough.

    My favorites are:

    Halloween- Michael Myers to me is the Alpha and Omega of slashers and its just a damn good movie.

    The Exorcist – Scares the shit out of me too. Especially with that new scene added in with her going down the stairs.

    It- I know it’s a TV movie, but as a kid it scared the hell out of me and Tim Curry was perfection as Pennywise.

    Psycho- Speaks for itself.

    The Thing – John Carpenter again giving us another classic with what I think is Kirt Russell’s best performance.

    Sleepy Hollow – Just a fun and entertaining horror movie.

    Alien – Scary and great film.

    The Last House on the Left (Remake) – Really good cast and performances and solid thriller

    The Shining – Crazy Nicholson is always great

    Jaws – I watch this once a year. Kind of a ritual

    The Evil Dead 2 – I thought it was alittle bit better than the original

    Arachnaphobia – I hate spiders and this just amped that hatred for them. Movie creeped me out.

    A few others are High Tension, Let The Right One In, 30 Days of Night and The Descent and the remakes of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Hills Have Eyes. Especially Hills. In the theater it just felt so intense and had some disturbing parts of it it stuck with me like no horror movie has when I walked out. Probably not the best movie to take a girl for a second date lol.

    I could go on and on..

  • “The Grey” shook me to my core because it was visceral, atmospheric, and REAL. The people in that movie felt like real people and behaved the way real people would in that situation.

    That’s the key for me too. I’m not scared of anything that I feel pretty sure will never happen in real life.

    A movie like Ils (2006) and its American remake Them (2008) will get under my skin in ways no cgi creature feature ever could.

    (hey, I’m not ashamed to say The Exorcist is not outside the realm of things I think are possible. I don’t think it’s necessary to be a Catholic or even religious to believe a force of Evil can find a way to get inside a vulnerable head.)

    the most recent top-notch example of real-life thoroughly believable terror I’ve seen is the Spanish thriller, Sleep Tight (which gets a brief mention at the very end of our latest episode of Oscar Podcast) (shameless plug).

    Don’t see Sleep Tight if you’re squirmish about a stalker who’s stalking you in real life.

    (is squirmish even a word? No? Why the hell not?)

  • g

    For me the scariest movie ever is Nosferatu, with the creepy German impressionistic sets, it just gave me

  • Lane

    The absolute, accept no substitutes, hands-down best horror movie has to be HALLOWEEN. The image and physique of Michael Myers, from his soulless black eyes, to his patience and silence is the grand master of all things terrifying to me. In high school friends knew of my phobia and would wear the mask from time to time. One time I punched one of my mask-wearing buddies. This was the worst idea. He was geuninely pissed, grabbed my hands and just opened his eyes very wide. Him being a 6’6 basketball player, it really did feel like Michael had finally come for me. I have no idea how Carpenter was able to get into my psyche so hard. Maybe it’s the use of shadows, the corners of frames, the opening shot, his relentless mission to kill, or the simplicity of all of it. And that music! THE BEST. While Jaws has the honor of manifesting my second biggest fear: sharks, I can’t help but see Bruce and Michael Myers as cousins in horror movie heaven. Black soulless eyes, silent, never satified, always on the hunt, lurking in the shadows, and blessed with iconic chords that let you know they’re never far away. God, I love Halloween.

  • In no particular order:

    The Exorcist
    The Omen
    The Birds
    The Thing
    The Others
    The Innocents
    The Haunting
    Jeepers Creepers
    The Shining
    The Sixth Sense
    The Mothman Prophecies
    Carnivale of Souls

  • Nick K.

    My favorite Horror films have to be (in alphabetical order):

    Don’t Look Now
    The Fly (1986)
    The Shining

    I gotta say one of the most frightening things I’ve ever seen in a film has to be from Cronenberg’s version of “The Fly”. Of all the gruesome scenes in the film (and trust me, there are plenty), the one that stuck out to me and unnerved me to the core was at the film’s climax when (major spoilers, of course) the protagonist literally falls apart in front of the woman he loves and becomes the humanoid fly monster of the title. It’s horrific because it’s incredibly disgusting (jaw falls off, eyeballs melt), but what makes it so damn scary is that I felt the horror of watching this man literally fall apart; just the prospect of watching someone you love dearly turn into some hideous, inhuman monster right in front of you is almost unthinkable to me. So many films have tried to achieve that effect, but Cronenberg will always have mastered it with that film, in my opinion.

  • tombeet

    Favorite: Hands down Suspiria. And then many classic gems like The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby

    Scariest: The movie that scare me the most in my childhood was Dead/Alive by Peter Jackson (go as far as whenever I heard the word “horror”, many scenes from that film popped up my head). Just watched it again the other day and while it was more slaptick / funny than I thould it was, I still have nightmare with it.

  • Mel

    I believe hands down, the best slasher of all times is Halloween. That movie is just pretty much flawless. I type this as I sit at work dressed as Michael Myers today. Evil has come to this little workplace today.

    Another near flawless is Texas Chainsaw Massacre. We always remember that movie as being absolutely gore-filled when it was not b/c it was so expertly disgusting and terrifying and got right to your gut without even showing much.

    My Mom was a huge horror fan and a horrible Mother, so I saw all of these way too young and happened to be a kid when the slashers and horror were hitting HUGE (late 70s, early 80s) and my most traumatic experience without a doubt was Amityville Horror. I was a wreck. 100% probably needed professional help, convinced my Dad was going to be possessed by a spirit and kill us all in our sleep. Those are always the type of films that got me as a kid….anything paranormal or about possession b/c you can’t do a damn thing about that.

    Oh and Salem’s Lot….that shit was on TV, yo!! And absolutely TERRIFYING! And again, dealt with the devil, you can’t stop the damn devil.

    Children of the Corn? Just say the name Malachi and my heart starts beating faster.

    I have probably seen them all. Horror is my favorite of the “low-brow” genres. I studied it pretty hardcore in college. And would crap golden skulls if I won this amazing Universal Monsters BD set.

  • Matthew Durham

    Favorite horror movie of all-time is definitely Carpenter’s “The Thing” with “Night of the Living Dead” and “Jaws” as runner ups.

    My parents made me watch “The Thing” at too young an age and when the blood test happens I jumped out of my skin and had nightmares. “Pet Semetary” also gave me nightmares and “Jaws” kept me from swimming in the ocean for years.

  • Oh speaking of TV, “IT” was scary as hell. Tim Curry’s Pennywise is probably the scariest evil character ever. Besides Bob. lol

  • Nathan

    When others go out for Halloween to parties or looking for candy, I do the exact opposite and stay in. I love scary movies. I even love the scary movies that aren’t even scary. There is something about even the absolutely terrible ones (Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers?) that I love. In a way it’s a crude version of Umberto Eco’s “When all the archtypes burst in shamelessly, we reach Homeric depths.” This is of course taken from Eco’s “Casablanca, or, the Cliches are Having a Ball.” Once you’ve fallen in love with a formula, you love it for the rest of your life. This is why I gave up on Trick-or-Treating early on as a kid and exchanged it for a marathon of horror movies, a reunion with my favorite archetypes. AMC used to host a fantastic series of older horror films, featuring many from that Blu-Ray box set.

    However, having expressed my love for horror movies it may be surprising that I consider The Shining my #1. Perhaps genre-defining films such as Psycho or Halloween would make more sense for someone who loves formula. The Shining doesn’t top my list, because it is masterfully constructed or because I literally find something new in it (editing, cinematography, acting, etc.) every time I watch it. No, instead The Shining is the hallmark for me, because its tone reaches underneath my skin and scares me to death. I love losing sleep over it. Contemplating the isolation, the setting, the psychological takeover. Horror in the finest presentation.

    Honorable mention: The Sixth Sense. I know it seems like it has lost something because we all know the surprise ending (a top 3 surprise ending on any list, btw), but there is far more to this film than just the ending. The acting, from Bruce to Hali to Toni, is all excellent. And of course it has lost its allure, because we know what M. Night Shyamalan eventually became, but it truly is a beautiful film. Meticulously constructed in tone, color, cinematography, and editing. I’ve always appreciated how patient the film is in its buildups and reveals. I watch it every Halloween.

  • Antoinette


    I actually really liked THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS. A) I liked the kid and B) I liked the explanation. I like movies with unanswered questions but then I like them even better when they get answered later. lol So I liked that they explained him and it also gave him a good reason to keep coming back.

    I also really liked Shyamalan. I hope he’ll get over whatever happened. SIGNS was the scariest of his, imo. I kept thinking I saw shadows in the TV after that one. Yup.

    I always think of THE EXORCIST and THE SHINING as the accepted top two that people pretty much don’t disagree with. At least I’ve never met anyone who did.

  • Jim

    “Halloween” is a masterpiece because of its simplicity – a boogeyman who can not die, and will not go away. The terror is always there. With no blood and just suspense and craftmanship, John Carpenter made one of the scariest films of all times.

  • Not really scary, but my favorite in the genre is the 1963 version of The Haunting with Julie Harris. Based on Shirley Jackson’s book The Haunting of Hill House–less scary, I guess, than just creepy.

  • Rich

    In terms of untraditional horror: Requiem for a Dream – I dare anyone to watch that movie and not be shocked and terrified and disturbed. The credits rolled and I sat there frozen unblinking wondering what the hell I just saw happen to these characters.

    Tradtional horror film: Halloween – Amazing cinematography, brilliant music and story, and very little (if any) gore, just old fashioned everyday scares. That’s what true horror is, not tons of gore and lout noises, moreso what’s in the dark and lurking in the shadows. I saw it when I was 11 against my dad’s wishes and it stayed in my mind.

    Both films are what made me want to make movies, because they focus on what true horror is.

  • Raygo

    I saw THE EXORCIST on opening day, which was Christmas day 1973. I was too young, maybe 14, but I guess we looked almost 17, and they let us buy tickets. Standing room only. It remains to this day one of the most memorable movie experiences of my life. SCARED THE LIVING S#@T out of me. A *good* Catholic boy going to see THE EXORCIST on Christmas. It seemed sinfully bad.

  • Bob in Vegas

    I’m with you, Sasha — “The Exorcist.” My parents and sister saw it first and I had nightmares just from hearing them talk about it. My grandmother took me and I loved the story — but it scared the hell out of me . . . and has again, every time I’ve seen it since. I used to have nightmares that it was playing . . . in the other room!

    On TV, the original “Night Stalker” was great — especially since it took place in my home town.

  • Amanda

    Some of my favorite “scary” movies that don’t really scare me are Alien and Aliens (mostly for Ripley and Newt.) For ones that do scare me, I really love the Paranormal Activity series, with 4 being my favorite. Really unpopular opinion, but I think the PA series gets better as it goes on. They used the XBox Kinect’s tracking dots to show the motion of the invisible demon in the house and the result is one of the creepiest and most innovative things I’ve seen in a horror movie in a while. And what they did in The Descent just wasn’t right.

  • Five Easy Pieces

    I second “Pet Cemetery,” which as a kid I thought was so so scary, especially the woman in the bed (Zelda). I remember sitting with a group of other 13-year olds watching it and it was so scary that it gave me an excuse to grab the hand of the cute blonde boy next to me under the guise of being “too scared” to watch it otherwise.

    The original version of “The Hidden” from the 1980s is scary as hell. Also the Donald Sutherland version of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” The old TV show “V” too, not the remake.

    Individual scenes: the Pale Man in “Pan’s Labryinth” with the eyeballs chasing the little girl; the “1, 2, 3, knock on the wall” scene from “The Orphanage;” Samara climbing out of the well in “The Ring.”

    But for me nothing haunts me more than “Don’t Look Now.” I saw it years ago and it still scares me so much that if I think about it my heart starts racing. Donald Sutherland chasing that little girl through the cold Venice streets will stay with me always.

  • Jerm

    Well I hope Im not late to enter, considering it is 50 minutes past midnight but either way here is mine.

    I dont know if you would consider Sixth Sense horror or not but it was one of the first “scarier” movies I had seen. I was around 7 or 8 at the time. My parents were watching it and I came in to see what the family was watching on tv for some odd reason, as a curious kid does, and I started watching it. My parents didnt say a word to warn me not to watch it. But I saw the part where the boy is talking to his mother in like a dream or something and she turns around and her wrists are all cut up and the mom is freaking out. SCARED ME FOR WEEKS. I was terrified of my own mother for awhile. I was scared to be alone anywhere. To the point where when I had to shower I was in and out in less than 3 minutes in fear of a little boy saying he sees dead people and a mother with cut up wrists. I never saw the whole thing, and Im 20. lol

  • Mel

    Oh, I hated The Curse of Michael Myers. I’m a purist. Both of the “Jamie Lloyd films” don’t exist for me. So imagine my elation when Kevin Williamson pretended they never happened when he wrote H2O! And let’s not even talk about the 3rd movie. I remember my teenaged sister coming home from that and I stayed up just to ask her all about it…..what a rip-off!

  • Adam B

    Some favorites include The Shining, The Blair Witch Project, The Ring, The Silence of the Lambs, and Se7en. I also love all the campy classics like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, but I also really love awful horror movies like Thirteen Ghosts.

    I’ll make my official entry The Blair Witch Project. Scared the bejesus out of me!

  • Mel

    I’d like to add that my favorite modern horror franchise is Scream. Those first two were just so much fucking fun. Genius stuff…..that is now copied over and over.

  • Andrew Sidhom

    – BLACK SWAN scared the sh!t out of me. I think more than any other film. I don’t see people mention it at all as a truly scary film so perhaps it’s an odd choice, but to me personally, the idea of the unreal completely blending with the real (with the former involving all kinds of weird, scary imagery that you expect to pop up anytime), is something to which I’ve always been very sensitive.

    – My favorite horror movie is PSYCHO.

    – My favorite semi-horror movies is SE7EN.

    So there are these, and then… there’s ZODIAC.

    We Need to Talk About Zodiac.

    Is it in any way a horror film at all? It is what it is, but what’s absolutely certain to me is that the few very basic horror elements that are there, executed with such restraint, are incredibly compelling and permeate the whole atmosphere of the film. It’s not horror as we know it, it’s horror as I think it should be. It’s all suggestive. The film whispers possibilities, scenarios, little details in our ears all along, and what we have at the end is a delightfully intricate puzzle that’s spooky because it’s so real and because it’s unresolved.
    You’re left wondering if this creep who Robert stares in the eye at the end, who the victim identifies in the last scene – or desperately wants to believe he’s identified – is he where the mystery starts and ends? What’s his story? Was he troubled, was he on some occasions “weak” and reached out for help? What if there were two killers? What if the Zodiac set Leigh Allen up as a dummy, someone who fit the people’s conception of him,… and in that case, was Leigh Allen in the know or another victim?

    Any one truth, if we knew it was the right one, might in itself be uninteresting. It’s the unknowability that fascinates. I don’t know how far from “horror” that is, but I love this film because I so much prefer to be scared and intrigued by suggested realities, motivations, acts… than to be terrified to the bone by the nightmarish supernatural, or sickened by the “101 Ways To Butcher Human Bodies” that some filmmaker came up with.

    Happy Halloween!

  • ok, time out for a brief message from a great pumpkin.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    P.J. Soles!!!

    Aside from the usual suspects The Exorcist, Psycho, The Shining etc… my favourite horror films are usually those that are not really horror films. Jaws is very much an adventure film (a survival of three very different men fighting a mostly unseen evil), The Silence of the Lambs a psychological thriller (a rather perverted love story), Let the Right One In a drama (love story/friendship between two young boys). Ok, Alien is more horror than science-fiction, I would say.

    Torture porn does not interest me, but the French seem to know something that the rest of us don’t. These films CAN BE scary as well. Haute Tension, À l’intérieur, Frontière(s) and Martyrs are good recent examples.

    My all-time top prize goes to Halloween. I was six years old when my mother had rented the VHS and being curious about the cover (the legendary pumpkin/knife-thing) – of course – I watched it secretly the following day when she and my stepfather were working. Scared the hell out of me, so later it was obvious to my mom that I had watched it. She tried to bullshit me by telling a ridiculous story that the killer glued the guy to the wall with perfume and that no knife was used. Didn’t buy it.

    What do I and P.J. Soles have in common then? A few minutes after I went to sleep the following evening, my stepfather came standing at my room’s door wearing nothing but a sheet and his eyeglasses on the cut eye holes. Pretty evil thing to do for a child. OK. Lesson learned, and probably due to that reenactment of Halloween, Michael Myers still comes to my dreams today. No other movie monster comes repeatedly like he does – walking slowly as we know, but still catching me.

  • Antoinette

    And let’s not even talk about the 3rd movie.

    Deal. That movie was like, worse than famine.

  • therealmike

    @ Andrew Sidhom, I just feel the same about Zodiac. The only movie that scared the shit out of me as an adult.

    But my first true “horror” experience was with “The Nutty Professor” with Jerry Lewis. The transformation scene was so disturbing it actually had me in tears. I couldn´t sleep for six months and I think I´m still not over it.

  • Bandito

    The scariest movie I’ve ever seen is Psycho. Besides being expertly crafted and scaring me by shockingly killing off the sympathetic heroine halfway through the film, my parents suggested I watch it at too young an age. They justified a 5th grader seeing it because it was so highly regarded in the classic film canon. I was terrified by everything: the haunting score, violent murders, and shocking twist. But most of all I was frightened by how real it felt. I grew up in a city of midwest city of 20,000 and Bates Motel seemed like a very tangible place in for my 10 or 11 year old world perspective.

    It took me a couple nights before I could stop camping out in my older sister’s room. And a month before I could shower with the shower curtain properly closed.

    But one thing that will always stick with me is how my mom told me how I reminded her of a young Norman Bates before he’s stark raving mad. All she meant (I hope) was that I was handsome and polite and similar to Norman minus the psycho part.. but no matter how mild mannered and kind a kid is, his mom should never tell him he reminds her of one of the most haunting villains and characters in cinema.

  • Jenly L

    RINGU never ceases to send chills down my spine and keep me on the edge of my seat. There is something about Japanese horror that really appeals to my dark side. 🙂

  • naruse

    Lots of great choices and comment. I will say that “birds” and “the changeling” are special to me as they scared the shit out of me while watching them in theatres as a very young man. And I could not get the images from my mind for weeks.

    Surprised at the lack of mention of the Great Italian giallo flicks. Argento’s “deep red” and “suspiria”, quite a few titles from bava’s filmology, Dallamoano”s excellent “What have they done the Solange?”, Martino”s “torso”, “the strange vice of Mrs. Wardh”, and “your vice is a locked room and only I have the key”.

    And don’t forgot “Don’t look now”, both a great work of horror film and a masterpiece of any kind of genre.

  • Jonathan

    A tie between “Jaws” and “Alien.” Now I’m talking about seeing them initially, on first release, in theaters filled with people who didn’t know what was going to happen next. I guess I’d have to give an extra point or so to “Alien.” The scares in “Jaws” really made the audience jump, but (and?) Spielberg gave us something pretty quickly to relieve the tension. In “Alien” Scott doesn’t give us anything like that amount of release. The tension subsides a bit from time to time, but it never goes away, and the sense of dread builds and builds. I had to go back and see it again the very next day to deal with the tension.

  • Tony

    I’m a traditional Catholic, and my late mother was a VERY traditional Catholic. When I was about 14 or 15, a few friends of mine and I asked her to take us to a re-release of “The Exorcist.” She and I enjoyed the film, but weren’t scared one bit. (She could have done without the rough language, though.) I think that traditional Catholics generally aren’t afraid of movies like this one. We’re used to statues and paintings of the crucifixion, martyrdom of saints, etc. We do things like the Stations of the Cross. I noticed something similar with “The Passion of the Christ.” Because evangelicals aren’t accustomed to the brutal imagery, the movie affected them differently.

  • Alexa McIlrath

    My Favorites:

    Fright Night
    Blair Witch Project

    Scariest: Blair Witch Project

  • D2

    My top 10:

    1. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
    2. The Exorcist (1973)
    3. Psycho (1960)
    4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1973)
    5. Frankenstein (1931)
    6. Let the Right One In (2008)
    7. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
    8. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
    9. Alien (1979)
    10. The Wicker Man (1973)

    Runners-Up: Eraserhead (1977), Freaks (1932) and The Shining (1980)

    The movie that scared the shit out of me was Tobe Hooper’s 1974 horror masterpiece, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I was 20. My exposure to horror/Halloween movies was limited to spoofs (Young Frankenstein), the dated yet classic (and hardly scary) Universal monster movies and The Exorcist, which didn’t scare me but amazed me.

    What made the original TCM so truly frightening was the fact that the killer was allowed to live/survive at the end. Yes, the girl got away, but the killer could (and would continue to) kill. The film is unrelenting in its use of horror. It just never stops and it takes its campiness (yes, the film does have some elements of black humor) quite seriously.

    The use of non-professional actors took you out of your own world and got you fully invested in their characters – you COULDN’T know who (if anyone) would survive and who would die. The introduction of the now-cliche horror tropes of the hook and chainsaw made you squirm in your seats, but you CAN’T look away.

    There had been slasher films before, notably Psycho (1960), but this wasn’t dressed up or stylized in any way, shape or form. It was gritty, intense, low-budget and REAL. The film is the grandaddy of the slasher/serial killer franchises – Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Candyman, Scream and Saw franchises to follow.

    When I look back, TCM isn’t the best horror movie ever made – it was made for a mere $80,000 back in 1973…the low budget shows on screen. But it is definitely the scariest and the most real. I guess the lesson is – the higher the budget, the less scary the movie.

    And here’s a bit of trivia – multi-Emmy winning actor John Larroquette provided the narration at the start of the movie. It was his first film job.

  • Ronald Oliver

    For me, my favorites has ALWAYS been the Universal Monsters Classics! From Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, The Phantom of the Opera, The Creature from the Black Lagoon..and all their follow up films, remain amongst my very favorite horror movies to this very day. But the scariest horror movie in my book has always been: The Exorcist! *(and I am not saying this to try and garner any points for the giveaway). The Exorcist, in my opinion remains the scariest horror movie that I have ever seen! And while often imitated, it can never be duplicated in my opinion. It is a TRUE horror masterpiece! No TRUE horror fan should be without it in their collection.

  • Roberto

    1. The Exorcist
    2. Jaws
    3. Alien
    4. The Silence of the Lambs
    5. The Shinning
    6. Se7en
    7. Rosemary’s Baby
    8. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Tobe Hooper version)
    9. It
    10. An American Werewolf in London

  • Kevin Kunze

    ‘It’ by far… especially because when I first saw it I was in Maine and my cousin dressed up a clown mask after.

  • w.j.

    Went to an all night horrorama at the drive in back in the very early ’70s. Second movie on the bill was Night of the Living Dead. We weren’t expecting much, had never heard of it. Almost put my head through the roof of the car when the little girl starts hacking at her mother with a trowel. SCARE-EY!!!!

  • Patryk

    I’d have to say “Repulsion.” I saw it at the Castro Theater in San Francisco in 1998 or 1999. It was a matinee and there weren’t many people in the theater. What an introduction to Polanski, pre-Rosemary. Speaking of, that would be number 2. My parents took me to see that at a drive-in theater and all I remember was my Mom being afraid, which of course made me cry. Ruth Gordon’s scenes horrified both of us. And I just purchased my Criterion edition of it. How appropriate for the day after Halloween…if only my damn power would come back! We need our electricity back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Patryk


    Rosemary’s Baby

    The Exorcist


    Dressed to Kill


    The Innocents

    The Honeymoon Killers

    Carnival of Souls

    Ils (Them)

  • AnthonyP

    The one that scared me the most as a kid was Burnt Offerings. I had nightmares for at least a couple years of Karen Black’s transformed face from the ending. Of course I would go back and watch it on Creature Features just to get scared (or scarred) again.
    I was 8 at the time I believe.

  • James

    Must watch J-Horror Theater hexology:

    Premonition [2004]
    Infection [2004]
    Reincarnation [2005]
    Retribution [2006]
    Kaidan [2007]
    Kyofu [2010]

    Great scares, amazing stories!

  • My favourite horror movies are too many but if I had to pick some:

    “The Innocents”
    “The Exorcist”
    “The shining”

    But I have so many more in my mind…

    Have a nice scary day!!

  • Jamie Martin

    Strangeland is my favourite!

  • Jonathan

    I honestly can’t think of evey scary movie I enjoy. Here are some:

    The Innocents
    The Haunting
    Bride of Frankenstein
    The Black Cat
    The Old Dark House
    Rosemary’s Baby

  • Jamesintoronto

    Sasha, I think it’s hilarious that you talk about your parent(s) taking you to see The Exorcist. That was my experience growing up in the ’70s as well. When I was 8 my father took me and my sisters to see The Godfather. Not that it qualifies as a scary movie but I did have trouble sleeping after seeing the horse head scene. Oh the ’70s!

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