11- [REC] (both 1 and 2)
A forefront winner in the cinema verite category that engages the user much like a video game might. The things that pop out and attack the camera are damn creepy and frightful to behold. The American film “Quarantine” was a direct copy, but lacked some of the original appeal. This goes to show that foreign films are some times best left foreign, Camcorder fear is alive and well. Throw in some creatures that look like zombies and you’ve got a winner.
12- Event Horizon (1997)
A movie that got slightly mis-marketed ended up being a cold eerie hell ride. I am including this one because it scared the crap out of me when I viewed it in theatre setting. I was half expecting a science fiction thriller which ended up being more horror than anything. The highlights hear include a notion that the ship has been thru a place called “Chaos” (or hell for that matter). The flashes of nightmares showcased a inner world that happened to also infect the ship itself. Sam Neil was easily cast in his scariest role yet in a film that leaves a residue of evil on your psyche.
13-Salems Lot (1979)
By today’s standards, Salem’s Lot comes across a little weak, a little Brady Bunchy. However those stark images of a vampire child scratching at the window were forever drilled into our fear of things just outside the window. David Soul does his best job at vampire hunting. This Stephen King written story was first released in a much longer mini series. Audiences tuned in and talked about how scary the night before was. Because it featured some notable thrills and a awfully scary vampire (played by Reggie Nalder, who is scary without the makeup), it deserves a firm place in scariest history.
14- The Amityville Horror (1979)
The Amityville Horror was not only a movie but an media frenzy at the time of release. A best selling book told of a proposed true story about a real house with real residents. That ominous house that almost looks like a fact itself was another reason to fear the devil. How about a portal to hell into the cellar? Yep got one of those too. The remake didn’t really capture the fear that was evident at the time of the original. Amityville Horror stands as one of the most noted hauntings in our history. The movie really sold that aspect to scared viewers.
15- Halloween (1978)
We would be pissing off readers if we didn’t include this iconic scare film. Michael Myers took the element of a real killer and sort of intertwined it with a sense of supernatural. In other words, the killer who won’t die. That William Shatner mask has survived probably longer than anything out there. Though it really comes down to Michael and his cold, lurking stance. His lack of compassion which separates him from humanity and more in line with a beast. Carpenter, had his formula down at the time. It was fresh, timed, and scored to perfection.
16- Suspiria (1977)
Dario Argento’s most noted film to date. This chilling experiment not only scared a few bodies but it inspired future filmmakers with it’s lush use of color, sound and eerie pieces. Dario never topped his game on this one, which is why it’s one of horrors most influential pieces. Schools that front for more diabolical means?…..yep, check. Check your brochure for covens and creepy old witches who want your soul.
17- Friday the 13th (1980)
Friday the 13th was indeed a trendsetter. It shocked folks who weren’t that used to seeing axes weighed into heads, Jason was born thru some careless camp counselors. The use of score, kills and timing kept this one on edge awaiting the next gruesome thing. That ending…the one with umpa lump headed Jason gets me every time. For slasher films, this one was a classic in its genre. Then again they all start out that way don’t they. And to think, Jason really didnt have much to do with this one??????
18- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Early Freddy was something that got under your skin. Not the campy Fred that came later. The movie had a way of making you feel like reality and fiction were becoming blurred if even for a few minutes. 1984, Robert Englund scared the crap out of us and set the franchise in motion. Oh ya, the fact that it was a Wes Craven probably has something to do with it (absolutely!!)
19- The Sentinel (1977)
Watching this today, may not have the same effect of when this debuted in 1977. Though I was much younger, I still remember the creepy commercials leading up to this. The film is actually highly recommended for its surreal off beat nature. Like “Burnt Offerings” it also has a face in the window premise. Burnt Offerings came out in 1976, so I guess for those 2 years…face in the window concepts were all the rave. The film ends on a “hell on earth” kind of thing. It’s damn scary to watch, more scary of course when your in your pre-teens. Burgess Meredith was at his peak and starting to make horror genre appearances. A personal scary fav of mine…at least check it out.
20- Shutter (2004)
Shutter had to go into my top 20 based on pure effectiveness of a well written ghost story. Though make no mistake, there are plenty of jump moments and scares that stick with you far longer than other releases from this genre. If you made the mistake of buying into the US remake of the this film, then you really should toss that one aside and view its original. A fine piece of scary work indeed.
The Changeling (1980)
The Grudge (2004)
Ju-On (aka The Grudge) (2002)
Dark Remains (2005)
The EntityΒ (1982)
The Descent (2005)
Children of the Corn (1984)
Prince of Darkness (1987)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
28 Days Later (2002)
The Fog (1980)
Grave Encounters (2011)
Top 20 Scariest Movies of All Time – Part 2