Thursday, October 25, 2007

Scariest Movies Ever

When a Stranger CallsIt seems appropriate for the month of October to list the movies that have scared me the most. I have to note however that I've only listed movies I've seen. Generally I don't like horror movies--suspense yes, horror, no--so there are a lot of "classics" that I've left off the list but feel free to add your bids in the comments.

1. When a Stranger Calls. The original with Carol Kane about the babysitter bearing terrorized? Maybe it scared me because those were my babysitting years but I remember listening to the dialog from the next room and it still freaking me out completely. Never actually seen the movie, just heard that dialog and that was enough.

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?2. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Honestly? Bette Davis is enough to scare anyone anyway, but cast her as a psychotic ex-actress with a grudge and you've got some serious creepiness. And side note: if anyone ever tells you you have "Bette Davis eyes," slug them.

3. Twilight Zone: The Movie. "You wanna see something scary? You wanna see something REALLY scary?" Another movie that probably scared me more then than it would now but the scene with the little girl's mouth missing was mind-altering. And have you ever flown at night and looked out on the wing and not thought about John Lithgow's famous scene?

4. Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Not to be confused with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this one might surprise you but where else are you going to get decapitated chickens, millipedes and horror in a kids' movie? This one is disturbing. And don't get me started on those Oompa Loompas. Oh and the witch in Sleeping Beauty? She gave me nightmares for a good part of my childhood. What was with those horns??

5. The Abyss. This one would rank higher if the whole movie were as scary and tense as the first part--have you seen the part where the underwater laboratory begins to get dragged across the ocean floor and . . . and . . . and . . . can't give it away, but it's a great scene.

Deceived6. Deceived. Goldie Hawn does a great job in this 1991 thriller that kept even my father (who's famous for catching up on his sleep during a movie) awake. Can't say a whole lot without ruining it but it's scary and suspenseful and guarantees that you'll never want to marry John Heard.

7. Poltergeist. This scared me but more in a "I want to be scared" kind of way. To me the scariest things are the things that could really happen. I'm pretty certain my house isn't buried on a secret Indian burial ground so this one didn't scare me in the same way other movies could but I remember it as being a big thing for me back in Junior High. Kind of Ghost Busters on crack or something.

8. Silence of the Lambs. This one, however, REALLY bothered me. I tried watching it on television and couldn't get more than a half an hour into it without having a nasty case of The Willies and turning it off. Ghosts zapping my children through the television set seems an unlikely event but somehow Anthony Hopkins eating the local census taker seems right there and it terrified me. Never saw the last half of the movie.

9. Jaws. And speaking of eating . . . loved this movie. How many of you think of this when you're swimming in the ocean and something accidentally bumps you? When I was a kid we went to California on vacation and toured Universal Studios. I knew we'd get to see the mechanical shark from the movie and wanted a front row seat on the tram so I could get a really good picture when he came out of the water. When the shark finally jumped out at me I nearly killed my Dad trying to climb over the top of him to get away. Left an impression on me.

10. The Sixth Sense. This is possibly the most masterfully done scary movie in the world. Watch how he uses the color red, watch how he uses Latin to heighten the tension--as if casting one of the New Kids on the Block isn't enough--this is classy scary and I love it.

11. Signs. I'm not into aliens--not into that kind of thing--though I am into Joaquin Phoenix and this movie is terrific at building suspense. My only gripe is the dumb M. Knight Shyamalan cameo. He should stick with directing and leave the acting to Mel and Joaquin. Rent this tonight if you haven't already seen it. Rent it now.

12. Dracula. Same thing with this movie. I never actually saw it but I saw a trailer for the Winona Ryder-Gary Oldham version and it creeped me out enough that I dreamed about it. Not actually nightmares but creepy dreams that surprised me because I hadn't had dreams like that since I was a child. Wouldn't go see this one either.

13. Wait Until Dark. Favorite scary movie with the best "jump" scene in all of movies. Only thing is, I've seen it so many times I had forgotten the power of the movie and let Grace show it at her 12th birthday party. I checked with parents and thought everyone was okay with it until the movie was over and we found one little girl crying under a pillow. Great. I felt horrible for letting them see it--I thought Audrey was pretty tame compared to what kids are seeing nowadays. Great film.

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53 comments:

Anonymous said...

How about Nichole Kidman in "The Others", "Aliens" and "What Lies Beneath" MOMM

FRIDAY'S CHILD said...

Poltergeist is sure scary.

Loralee Choate said...

The Changeling- 1980

Awesome mystery/thriller starring George C. Scott and his wife, Trish Van der Mere. NO gore. Squeeking doors, pianos that play themselves. I watch this and "The Lady in White" every Halloween and still get freaked out.

And who can forget Disney's "Watcher in the woods"! Bette Davis is the queen of freaky scary.

bernie said...

Good list, I linked to you from mine: 13 Things Egyptian your grandchildren will never see

Robin said...

I still get nervous swimming in the ocean thanks to Jaws, but the hands-down scariest movie EVER (and the reason I both hate scary movies and have a permanent fear of suffocating) was The Fall Of The House Of Usher. What that camp director was doing showing THAT to impressionable 10 year olds I will never know, but I had nightmares for months afterwards.

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Hannibal - I found that one scarier than Silence of the Lambs...and my husband had such a death grip on my knee while watching it that I think I've scarred him forever.

Great list.

Wolfie said...

Err..I've not watched most of them cos I'm a scary cat.."dare not watch horror movies"..hehee..

Sandy Carlson said...

I'm with you on Baby Jane! What a freaky movie, not least because Janey reminds me of some loved ones! Better for me Haunted Mansion! I need silly...

Malcolm: said...

I like the fact that you didn't choose a bunch of slasher flicks for your TT. Good call on "Jaws". Steven Spielberg definitely understood how to build suspense (something that the makers of the Jaws sequels didn't). The first time the shark appears scared the hell out of me.

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane is another good choice too. I love the following quote:

Blanche: You wouldn't be able to do these awful things to me if I weren't still in this chair.

Jane: But cha AAH, Blanche, ya AAH in that chair.

Veronica Mitchell said...

Once when I was sick, my husband brought home a movie to entertain me. He thought it was a silly sci-fi movie. It was Event Horizon. It is actually a horror movie, and it was the most horrifying thing I have ever seen.

Little Miss Moi said...

Dear scribbit. What about Deliverance? Someone made some referencce to me about the banjo scene, so I googled it and it sounds awful.

Christine said...

Yes! I'm a big fan of scary movies and your list is great. The movie that scared me more than anything (and still gives me nightmares from time to time)? The Exorcist. *shiver*

Happy TT!

Hootin'Anni said...

I love scary movies. I notice you added some classic ones here in your list. And JAWS...wow, the first time I saw that ever, I was jumping outta my seat a few times.

Try and find "Wrong Turn"...the first movie [I think there is a sequel out now, not sure] ---that'll put the fear in you.

Happy T T-ing

snarflemarfle said...

I have to second The Changeling. It's a great thriller with only one really greusome part (if I remember correctly).

The only problem with when I saw it was that my high school band rented the local movie theatre and we all went to see it. There were 400 kids in the band, mind you, so lots of yelling, "Here it comes!" and "Watch out for the wheelchair!"

There was a guy sitting in front of me that would lean forward before every scary part...so I knew to be ready. By the end of the movie I was cracking up!

That's bad to laugh at a thriller movie!

Nap Warden said...

Silencs of the Lambs...that movie creeped me out for a long time...

Melissa Garrett said...

I love your list and have seen most of those movies. Although the one that never fails to creep me out, the one that my dad let me watch when I was four years old (for some odd reason) is The Changeling with George C Scott, 1980. My palms still sweat just thinking about it. Here's the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Changeling-George-C-Scott/dp/0783116926

Scroll down for customer reviews. I dare ya to watch this one and NOT be scared!!

Babystepper said...

Abyss freaked my out, too. I still have the occasional day-mare of that man holding his wife as she "drowns".

Lisa Milton said...

I love scary movies, ones done right. Great list!

Janet said...

I saw the Carol Kane version of "When a Stranger Calls" at the theater on a Tuesday during the summer between high school and college (1980). There were about 4 people in the theater. About halfway through we got up and moved to the back row in the middle so there wouldn't be anyone behind us. Absolutely the scariest movie I ever saw. And the only time you see any blood is on his hands, and very little of that. They used camera angles, ticking clocks, and complete silence (no ominous music to give you clues. Stuff like Poltergeist is scary in a different way, but I can't watch most of those kinds of movies because they seem to think that someone throwing up is a nice feature, and I can't watch it (smart of me to have kids, huh?). I never saw Exorcist because I was warned beforehand. I now just ask someone who has already seen it. If anybody barfs, I don't watch it. I never saw "Parenthood" for that reason either.
The first Halloween was good - my freshman year of college it was on at a drive-in. We started out sitting on the hood of the car. We ended up back in the car with the doors locked.
And you're right about Wait Until Dark. I saw that for the first time a few years ago and slept with the lights on for a week.
As to showing that to the girls, it's always a guessing game what's going to affect them, especially in this day and age when they're watching stuff like CSI on TV. But a number of years ago my uncle's secretary's daughter (work that out) was at a slumber party where the mom showed them "Nightmare on Elm Street." These girls were 8. Some things should be obvious.

Melissa Markham said...

You have listed a bunch of great movies! I would add Halloween, The Birds, The Changeling, Aliens, The Exoricist, The Others, The Messengers, The Ring, and the 1st Nightmare on Elm Street.

I love scary movies!!!!

SabineM said...

For me on this list I would have to add:
SILENCE OF THE LAMB
The SIXTH SENSE
AND the scariest of all, THE SHINING!!!!
;-)
great list though!!

Chris said...

I love scary movies!

Malificent was the witch. My dd went around for weeks pretending to be her. It was weird. Of course, Sleeping Beauty scares me. She's kind of useless!

What about The Omen and Rosemary's Baby? Devil babies always scare me.

Darla said...

There were parts in Willy Wonka that scared the heck out of me when I was a kid.

I'd expected the Abyss to be scary, and nearly didn't go with my husband to see it, but I wasn't scared at all--I just thought it was cool. Same with Sixth Sense.

And Signs I just found slow and annoying.

Funny how we all have different things we find scary, isn't it?

Joyful Days said...

I am just going to take your word for the ones I haven't seen. I've had to give up movies that are even suspense filled. Action ones are fine though.

I've seen 3,4,5,7,8 & 12. I liked Dracula in an odd way and I liked The Abyss. The others--could've done without.

Have you seen Se7en? That messed with me.

Summer said...

Ohhh, good list! I used to love horror movies, but somethign about becoming a mom has made me more squeemish.

Happy TT!

Kendra said...

what about some stephen king movies such as pet cemetary or the shining?

happy TT!

My Ice Cream Diary said...

I also love Signs. The scene where he slides a knife under the door and then the fingers come out, very scary. I too love any of the eery Betty Davis movies. Which reminds me, I need to rent Watcher in the Woods.

Scribbit said...

Okay let's see . . .

I liked The Others, though What Lies Beneath not so much. Saw parts of Aliens (ha! get it, parts?) and it was okay but not enough to get me.

I'll have to look up The Changling, given all the comments here. It's got me interested now. And The Lady in White was one we traditionally saw in high school and liked, I'd forgotten that!

Fall of the House of Usher sounds good, the story was certainly crazy. Event Horizon? Never heard of it but now I'll have to look it up.

I don't like gory movies, bloody movies, or slasher films. So most of Stephen King is out. Ditto Se7en.

Don't like evil movies like The Omen, The Ring or Rosemary's Baby or The Exorcist. In fact, I saw The Devil's Advocate on t.v. once and hated it, turned it off because it was too evil feeling. But then I'm weird that way.

Loralee, have you seen Child of Glass? That was a Disney movie that was a favorite when I was a kid. Classic scary for kids.

jubilee said...

I recently saw "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane." And you're so right, I'd definitely slug someone if they told me I had Bette Davis eyes!

Watching "Silence of the Lambs" is one of my big regrets. Way too realistic.

Carinne said...

I made the mistake of watching THe Ring thinking that it would be a great suspence movie. I mean 'hey - it was PG-13, how bad could it be? Big mistake!! That movie was so horribly creepy. I couldn't get it out of my mind for days. I will never watch it again. I wish I hadn't watched it the first time.

In a more "good" creepy - I What Lies Beneath with Harrison Ford is pretty creepy in a fun way.

Heather said...

i'm not a fan of slasher movies and i hate to be scared. but i've seen a few movies that i consider to be good, although most i'll never ever see again.

you must watch the changeling. the only "gore" is from a car accident and it's minor. for those that have seen it, the wheelchair didn't scare me as much as the sound it made. the thing that got me the most was the ball.

the original hitcher was really good and scary, but more in the suspense way. rutger hauer is so sexy and so scary.

i've seen a bunch of stephen king movies, i prefer the ones he had a hand in making, so it's usually mini series. although "it" scare the poop out of me and confirmed my fear of clowns. i love tim curry, so having him be the evil thing just screwed with my head.

i do like classic horror. the hand of the mummy is good.

Geo said...

Uh-oh. I work with a group of teen girls 12-18 and we're supposed to be watching Wait Until Dark together next week. Maybe we're gonna have some trouble. Nah, it's worth the risk. It's a classic!

Lisa said...

There are some great movies listed here. And "The Others" was scarey (to me) as was "What lies Beneath" and "Silence of the Lambs."

My husband likes those "Saw" movies. I think he's seriously disturbed!

Laura said...

I haven't thought about "Decieved" in a long time! That was a good, freaky one. And I feel totally un-American admitting that I've never seen Jaws...

One of my old favorites is "Dial 'M' for Murder" -- scary!

Danielle said...

I love the Silence of the Lambs movies as well as anything by M.Night Shamalyn {Signs}.

I enjoy scary movies that get into the pysche not just blood and guts.

My scariest movie however is Cape Fear when Deniro calls for the character "Danielle" my blood just runs cold.

Wishing you well!

Danielle

Nicholas said...

Some very scary movies there, in the sense of scary, not gross. I loved Poltergeist and Jaws. I would also humbly suggest The Others, Don’t Look Now and The Haunting (the 1963 original not the crap 1998 remake).

Denise Patrick said...

Very interesting list. My daughter loves "Signs" but doesn't think it's scary.

Like you, I don't watch horror films, so I don't have any that I think would make the list, but the last movie I saw that I thought was scary - The Exorcist. How's that for dating me - I was a teenager!

Happy TT!

pussreboots said...

Silence of the Lambs didn't scare me. It struck me as pretentious. Happy TT. Mine is here.

RandomGirl said...

What about the Saw Series? Those movies are totally terrible.

Another one that just kills me is Birds. I can't see a flock of crows without freaking out just a little bit...

Cocoa said...

The first time I watched Deceived was at Ricks College. It was one of the cheap $1.00 weekly movies they showed on campus so it was packed. The scene where the housekeeper goes back to the house and looks in the mirror and you can see his eye peeking through the door, I swear the boys in the audience screamed louder than the girls! After the screams there was a lot of laughter because all those guys were embarrassed because they screamed. It was great!

gretchen from lifenut said...

I have to agree that "The Shining" is the scariest---the Jack Nicholson version, not the newer ABC miniseries (although that one has its moments).

"The Others" is great, too. Surprise endings are a bonus. "What Lies Beneath" is another brooding, ominous movie with a few jump-off-the-couch surprises.

Anonymous said...

I would have to say that "What Lies Beneath" is probably my favorite scary movie of all time, though the new "War of the Worlds" would be up there on the list for sheer thrill factor. For classics, I would say "Rear Window" and "Wait Until Dark" would be my favs.

Southern Girl said...

Oh, I love "The Abyss," but yes, that scene IS scary. "Silence of the Lambs" scared me the first time I saw it, but I've seen it oodles of times since and hardly flinch now. But the best on your list is "Wait Until Dark" -- that "jump in your seat" scene? Try watching it LIVE from about 30 feet away! The first time I saw "Wait Until Dark" it was as live theatre in a very small venue. I thought I was going to jump out of my seat in that scene. The movie is great, but nothing will ever take the place of seeing it live. :)

crazy working mom said...

Wow, GREAT list! :)

I remember seeing Jaws in 3D when I was a kid. It was VERY scary.

J. Lynne said...

M. Knight Shyamalan makes cameos in his movies like Hitchcock did. In some movies the cameo is hidden, in others, it's part of the story. I really love his movies. I think they're very well done.

However, much as I've been looking for a scary movie, I have yet to find one that wasn't cheesy or obvious.

Karen (miscmum) said...

It's Oldman, hon, not Oldham.

I only say so because he's my favourite actor.

;) :)

Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings said...

What ever happened to Baby Jane is one of my favorite movies!

oh amanda said...

OK, yeah! Thank you for thinking Baby Jane is scary. *shudder* That's the first scary movie I ever saw and it still gives me the creeps!

What about the Bad Seed?

The Others?

wayabetty said...

I don't do horror flicks simply b/c I'm such a chicken and can't go to the bathroom by myself afterward. How about "the Shining"? "Red Room, Red Room", creepy. And I can never finish it.

Shauna said...

I still have a fear of clowns thanks to Poltergeist.

my4kids said...

Poltergeist freaked me out for a long time. Don't know why but I still get the creeps when the tv goes fuzzy!
I have similar opinions about scary movies. I'm not a big fan and prefere the suspense to really horror myself.
Wizard of Oz and Willy Wonka were both advertized as childrens movies but I didn't like them when I was little and Madison will not watch either.

The Wooden Porch said...

The Village and Blair Witch Project.

I love in the woods (deep, deep woods) and those movies terrified me.

Hairx said...

I love to scary movies, its really great.