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?