Welcome back boys and ghouls, to my countdown of the twenty most terrifying movies of all time. I can see you’re a brave group to come back for a second helping. Below are the next five picks of my countdown and they’re even more frightening than the last. Let’s hope you don’t get too scared this time around.
15. Texas Chainsaw Massacre:
All right, I know I’m probably going to get a barrage of hate mail for saying this but I’ve never been the biggest fan of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I think the problem is that the movie is very dated. I have always respected the movie compared to its time. While I’m not a fan overall there are definitely moments that sent chills down my spine. The first kill in particular sent shivers down my spine. When Leatherface bash the guy over the head and dragged him into a room and slammed the door behind my mouth hung open in shock.
14. Fright Night:
Fright Night is such a classic horror movie and it’s one that holds a very special place in my heart. I remember watching this so many times when I was a kid and the movie never ceased to give me goose bumps. Chris Sarandon was great as Jerry Dandrige. He had a charm and sophistication that was the perfect façade for his more toothy side. William Ragsdale was great as Charlie Brewster and it was terrifying to see him so helpless. Roddy McDowall was great as Peter Vincent and Stephen Geoffreys loved to steal the show. My favorite scene and probably one of the creepiest was when Peter Vincent goes to Charlie’s house and vampire Evil Ed – Stephen Geoffreys – is there waiting for him. Peter runs for his life and falls at the end of the hallway and before he can get up a wolfed out Ed comes out of the bedroom slow-motion. This moment still gets me today. It pains me to think that they ever remade this movie.
13. The Strangers:
The Strangers is probably one of my favorite slasher horror movies in a long time. This movie was such a surprise and left me a little unnerved for a few days after seeing it. Why I love this movie so much is because it emulated the classic horror movies of the seventies and the eighties. This movie wasn’t about the blood and gore, but about really terrifying the audience. What was so strong about this movie is that it really makes you sympathize with the main characters. In such a short time you begin to feel for these characters and that makes their situation all the more tragic. I also liked that the assailants had absolutely no rhyme or reason why they were torturing this couple. Their only reason was because the couple was home. To me, the fact that this could happen in real life is what makes it so scary. This movie also created one of the most iconic moments when Liv Tyler’s character is standing in her living room and one of the attackers creeps out of the shadows in her living room. She stands oblivious as the character silently watches her. This movie scared me more than any other horror movie in a long time.
12. The Howling:
The Howling is my second favorite werewolf movie of all time. What was so amazing about this movie was that it hit the ground running from the very beginning. Reporter Karen White – played convincingly by Dee Wallace – goes on a much needed vacation after a near fatal sting operation to catch a serial killer – who just happens to be a lycanthrope – leaves her a little worse for wear. The Howling was equal parts horror and thriller. Karen can’t let go of what happened to her and she continues to dig deeper into the serial killer’s past and of course she doesn’t like what she finds. Story aside, the special effects are what really make this film stand out from the crowd. While a few little nuances may seem silly, the werewolf transformation still holds up perfectly today and CGI has yet to match the realism of the werewolf transformation like practical effects. Joe Dante’s film is a masterful feat of movie-making and The Howling was equal parts horror and thriller. Karen can’t let go of what happened to her and she continues to dig deeper into the serial killer’s past and of course she doesn’t like what she finds. Story aside, the special effects are what really make this film stand out from the crowd. While a few little nuances may seem silly, the werewolf transformation still holds up perfectly today and CGI has yet helped set a standard for werewolf movies. The film doesn’t let up until the credits start to roll. It’s quite unfortunate that the good name this move created was sullied by such terrible and moronic sequels. The poster to the third move says it all really. (The Howling 3)
11. Dawn of the Dead (remake):
The Dawn of the Dead remake is one of the few quality remakes and it managed to revitalize the zombie genre. I loved that the filmmakers were faithful to the original but also made enough changes to make this movie stand on its own. This is another movie that hit the ground running and never let up. What Zak Snyder did so well was to create this perfect suburban neighborhood and flip it on its head. I couldn’t help but shutter when Ana and her husband woke up to a neighbor girl eerily standing in their doorway. Every time I watch this movie I yell at the husband not to go get the little girl, but he never seems to listen. The most horrifying part of this movie is when Ana escapes her house and drives away the camera zooms out and shows this perfect town going to hell. People are running from zombies, houses are on fire and blood curdling screams resonate through the air. The biggest reason this movie was so terrifying was that zombies were no longer these slow bumbling creatures, but marathon sprinters. What’s more terrifying than running zombies? Nothing, except maybe Kathy Bates in About Schmidt. If you don’t believe me then watch the movie…I dare you.
I’m glad to see that you made it through this second time through. All I can hope is that you’ll join me again next week for my ten through six picks. If you missed twenty through sixteen please click here to catch yourself up.