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Halloween Time!

Non-running post.  Just for fun!

I really love scary movies- less on the side of horror and more on the side of suspense.  Even the movies that scare the bejesus out of me suck me in every time they are on TV.  I will watch and re-watch, at times finding new things I love about the movie.  AMC has been running its yearly Frightfest of movies and I love it!  It got me thinking of some of my favorite thriller/horror/suspense movies- from the classics to the cheeseballs.  So in honor of the upcoming Halloween holiday…

My top ten fifteen favorite scary/suspenseful thriller movies:

  • Cape Fear– Scorcese is a genius- his movies tend to top all my favorites lists.  In this thriller, a man who served fourteen years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit spends his time out of prison going after his defense lawyer whom he feels botched his case.  The movie keeps the audience on the edge of their seat and has an all-star cast that includes Robert DeNiro, Jessica Lange and Nick Nolte.  This was the first scary movie I ever watched…at age 10.  No joke this movie did, and still does, scare the poop out of me.  To this day, I look under my car before getting into it every single time!
  • The Shining- Writer Steven King and Director Stanley Kubrick nail it with this hauntingly chilling thriller.  Jack Nicholson is as excellent as ever as Jack Torrence, a struggling writer who takes a winter job as a hotel caretaker.  His family is snowed in and suffers from serious cabin fever; Jack’s son begins having visions and Jack himself begins to slowly go mad.  Intricately constructed, this movies takes you inside one mans unbridled insanity.  And even if you have never seen the movie, I am sure you have heard the famous line…”Here’s Johnny!”
  • Seven- I remember when my friend and I decided to watch this “super scary movie with hottie Brad Pitt” and then immediately after watching, we watched again.  In one of the darkest, most brilliant serial killer films ever made, the suspense will keep you guessing and the ending will raise the hair on the back of your neck.  Morgan Freedman, Kevin Spacey and Gweneth Paltrow complete this amazing case.  I have since watched this movie more times than I can count and it never gets old!
  • The Sixth Sense- If you are in the small percentage of people who have yet to see this movie, you must see it!  M. Night Shyamalan is one of the top writers and directors of our time; he got it right in his first movie, a psychological thriller starring Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osmet about a boy who sees dead people.  This movie produces genuine scares in a movie that at its core is a poignant study about loss and what happens when you die.  I can honestly say, there is no other movie like it before or since- one that really takes intimacy, excitement and mystery and rolls them into one amazing plot.
  • Poltergeist- The sequels have left a lot to be desired, but the first Poltergeist will really give you a head screw.  This movie takes the “haunting” out of old castles and puts it right into suburban America.  Along with great special effects (for the time) the movie is consistently creepy as the viewer watches as a family tries to deal with forces they cannot control.  Adding to the weirdness, in real life many of the Poltergeist cast has since died causing a rumored “Poltergeist curse.”
  • The Ring- This film is just plain freaky.  It could have easily been a cheese fest- I mean a girl coming out of the TV (reallllly?) but instead the movie is intensely creepy.  I am not familiar with the director and I don’t even remember the cast outside of Naomi Watts; I just remember that I was totally freaked out by the “worst is yet to come” feeling I had throughout the entire viewing of the movie!  And then, when I turned the TV off later that night (I was in my then boyfriends dorm) after having watched the movie, the cable happened to be out.  That was all it took… and the TV ended up in the living room for the night and I didn’t sleep a wink.  I have heard people talk about the movies lameness and inconsistencies but have never had the guts to watch it a second time.
  • Rosemary’s Baby- Mia Farrow is perfect in the role of Rosemary, a pregnant woman on the verge of a breakdown, who moves into a Satan worshiping apartment building.  This movie truly succeeds though by what is not seen or told- the more the viewer imagines through the characters mounting sense of paranoia, the scarier the movie becomes.
  • Dark Knight- The fact that Heath Ledger died shortly after the movie was completed, made it more intense as he gave the performance of his all too short life.  With a fabulous supporting cast this movie WAS Ledger- he was riveting as The Joker and proved that one performance CAN carry a movie.  Part thriller, all action packed…and fully awesome!  This movie took the Batman legacy to a new height and Ledger lived up to every ounce of hype.  Sadly, he didn’t survive to bask in the amazing’ness that was his performance as The Joker.
  • Scream- This movie got me right from the start.  I expected a lame teenage horror flick (ie: carrie) but ended up honestly jumping out of my seat at points.  Wes Craven does horror right in this film; a semi-parody on horror films without getting silly and succeeding in a suspenseful film about tortured teenagers.  It is one movie where I can honestly say, the killer stunned me.  From the very first phone call scene with Drew Barrymore to the last scene with Naomi Campbell, I was hooked on this movie.  Seeing it ten years later can make me laugh at parts but others scenes still give me the jumps.
  • Jaws- I cannot imagine anyone old enough to read this blog hasn’t seen this movie.  In Spielberg’s scariest movie, about a killer shark and the men who are out to take it down, the scenes are amazingly intense.  I still find myself constantly brought to the edge just to be reared back and then smacked with heart-stopping suddenness when the climax occurs.  There is nothing I can say about this movie that hasn’t already been said- it is simply a classic thrill ride!
  • Deliverance- In many cases a film can be made or broken by its musical score.  In this case, the music adds a creep factor that takes the movie to a whole new level of disturbing.  It is uncomfortable and at times a bit too realistic…but that is what makes it such a damn good thriller.  To this day the “Duelling Banjos” gives me the creeps- and anytime I am in a wooded area, the music rears it ugly way into my head.
  • L.A. Confidential- This is a case where the cast really makes the movie- each main character is seamless in their portrayal of lead investigators of a crime in a story about crime, violence and corruption.  This is a rare suspense film with endless complexities not normally found in “thriller” films; it is cynical, twisted and completing worth watching more than once.
  • The Fugitive- A great example of everything coming together for a movie would be this- the characters, the plot, the suspense…everything.  Both Tommy Lee Jones and Harrison Ford give amazing performances as a man chasing a man in this thriller than converges two parallel suspense plots.  The characters bring you in and as a viewer you feel their emotions with conviction and intesity.  And soon, you find you are rooting for both men at the same time.  
  • Candyman- Sure, there is a huge cheese factor here but I would be remiss if I did not include this movie on my list.  This was the second scary movie I ever watched; at a sleepover when I was 12.  There were five of us that night and I remember we all went to the bathroom together every time someone had to go.  It would be many years before I could ever go into the bathroom without looking in the medicine cabinet.  And even now you couldn’t get me to say Candyman three times into the mirror!
  • Dolls- If Candyman isn’t cheesy enough for you, this movie will be.  Despite the fact that it was low-budget and semi-predictable this movie got me at my core.  The movie, about dolls that come to life and turn people into doll like versions on themselves freaked me out in a way that I can still remember over fifteen years later.  I couldn’t tell you much of the plot but I can tell you that to this day I cannot stand to be in a room full of porcelain dolls- especially if I have to sleep in the room.  Chills.

As you can see, I had a tough time narrowing it down!  As much as some of them haunt me, and as much as they freak me out when watching, I can’t help but to love them!

What are your favorite scary movies?

32 thoughts on “Halloween Time!

  1. Great list! There are s couple I have heard of but never seen for some reason (Deliverance and Cape Fear), so I added them to my Netflix list.

    One good suspense movie I can think of is What Lies Beneath with Harrison Ford. I saw this back when I worked a movie theatre and we got to watch the movies before they came out. I saw it at about 2:00 am with a bunch of co-workers. I’m sure that added to the fear factor.

    Also, Silence of the Lambs and the 28 Days/Weeks Later movies.

  2. I love The Fugitive. Just non-stop excitement and great lines.
    BTW, thx for your advice on ODM and I particularly like how you never listen to anyone. That makes 2 of us. 🙂

  3. I can’t believe you don’t have The Blair Witch Project on there! I used to love scary movies too, but honestly, that one freaked me out so much that I seriously have not been able to watch them since then. I even have to turn the channel if a preview of a scary movie comes on…it’s ridiculous!

    • We just talked about this at my lunch the other day- I just did not buy into Blair Witch. I would never camp alone BEFORE seeing the movie, so watching it really just made me laugh. But I get the fear factor…many of my friends feel the way you do.

      The only one I wish I had included, is Misery. I would have had to do 16 though…

      • I’ve heard rumors that the Blair Witch Project was filmed in the park where I just ran that 10k trail race. Supposedly it used to have those things hanging from the trees like in the movie! I didn’t live here back then and there are no traces left as far as I’ve seen so I have no idea if it’s true!

  4. I’ve seen a few of these movies – the ones that are on the suspense side of things. I love thrillers, but don’t like horror/scary movies. I haven’t seen The Fugitive in a really long time, but it’s such a great movie! I thought that the Sixth Sense was going to be too scary for me, so I didn’t see it until this year, but I loved it! (I managed to go years without knowing how it ended, so it was still a surprise!) I agree with you about the Dark Knight. It is amazing. Every time the Joker is on screen, I find myself holding my breath.

  5. I’ve actually seen five of these movies!! Me… the all time scaredy cat! Maybe you weren’t switched at birth after all…

    • I only have proof of you watching Sixth Sense and the fugitive. Jaws, or any movie you watch with your hands over your eyes, doesn’t count 🙂

      • I’ve watched Deliverance, The Fugitive, Jaws, Sixth Sense and L A Confidential.

        And I raised you… talk about scary! ha!

  6. Actually I just looked up info on the Blair Witch and it was filmed near me, but not in the park where my race was… but a park I’ve been to many times.
    That being said, I love your list! I don’t think I have anything to add in particular. I do enjoy scary/suspense movies sometimes. I also like cheesy movies on the Sci Fi channel. haha…

  7. Thank you for the insight on Boston…I basically freaked out and booked whatever was left which was a little expensive. Of course there is a cancellation fee but I was just happy to have a room. It all makes more sense now.

    Does the grand finale race have a new location? I heard they are moving it from last year. Let me know where you will be and I will come say hi!

  8. cool list! I usually watch the same types of movies all the time so it was neat reading about some of these movies that I haven’t seen 🙂

    I love The Fugitive too! And Primal Fear. Those are probably two of my favorites.

  9. i am reeeeeeeally too scared of scary movies. but i like the fugitive!!! i feel like there are others that i like… i liked shutter island and inception (oh leo..!) i feel like those were scary, but sort of “mind” scary. well actually i was freaking out during shutter island basically the whole time. yeah i am bad at watching scary movies. 🙂

  10. Two others that are more thrillers than outright scary are Marathon Man which REALLY freaked me out and Fatal Attraction.

    I did remember one other that you always watched when it came on… The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.

  11. I am the biggest wuss. Sometimes I still freak myself out thinking of Ernest Scared Stupid from 5th grade. I saw The Ring in college with my roomies – screamed and squirmed the whole time haha.

  12. You and me are not movie compatable!! I had to watch “Silence of the Lambs” from my bathroom b/c I had to shut the door and turn on the water whenever it got really bad – which was 9/10 of the movie.

    • Ha! It cracks Jill up that I always bolt from the room during the scary parts. I give you credit… I would never even attempt Silence of the Lambs!

  13. Oh…and I meant to add that I don’t watch scarey movies anymore. Zilch!! Sorry. When we get together, we obviously are not going out for a movie night. Haha.

  14. I remember watching Cape Fear for the first time. I’ve always found Robert de Niro attractive but seeing him in Cape Fear wiped that away immediately, he’s brilliant in that movie, definitely one of my favorite movies.

    Have you ever seen Misery? Based on a Stephen King book. One of my favorite movies ever. If you haven’t: watch it one day.

  15. Great choices. I like that none qualify as “gore porn.” I’d add Paranormal Activity to that list. We were jumping and squirming in our seats, which surprised me since I knew it was filmed just a mile from our house so it was easy to convince myself it wasn’t real but it still gave me the major creeps.

  16. OMG! I am so freaked out by scary movies! My kids think I am a dork…I can’t watch horror! I end up with bad dreams:(

    Happy Halloween Jill!

  17. Oh man, I could’ve used reading this list earlier than today! Hahahaha! I watched John Carpenter scary movies this year – They Live and The Thing. A good combo of weird, freaky and 80’s cheese!

    Hope you had a fab halloween!

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