What scares you? Noises in the dark? Bats? Bees? Sharks? Are you scared of strangers or squirrels, or maybe even your own shadow?
So what scares you? I don't know, but for those who like to be scared, here's my countdown of the top ten best horror movies out there.
Coming in at Number 10. . .
The Exorcist just narrowly makes it into my top 10 of horror, primarily because I don't find it to be nearly as scary as it's been billed to be. What makes The Exorcist a top 10 of horror is that it's just plain fun. A child speaking in tongues, spinning her head around like a whirlygig, projectile vomiting pea soup. Who can resist such supernatural fun? The Exorcist reminds me that you can't take horror too seriously all the time. Sure, I like to be scared, but horror is also about having fun, suspending your disbelief for a few hours. The movie also has a superbly spooky soundtrack - great for a few chills.
Number 9. . .
"Which one?" you ask.
My answer: It doesn't matter. The original and the remake are both great. The original black and white version could just as easily be listed as one of the top 10 campiest movies, but who can forget the old man with his arm encased in goo, being eaten alive. Hey - this was the fifties - classic, campy, terrifying fun, and what's great about it is that if you don't feel like screaming, you can go ahead and laugh your way through it. If, however, campy 50s sci-fi/horror isn't your thing, then substitute the remake. Great special effects update a classic without ruining the campiness.
Number 8. . .
There aren't any monsters in this one. No ghosts, no ghoulies, no creepy-crawlies. So why did I put Audrey Rose on my top 10 list? Because Audrey Rose is absolutely chilling in concept: if you die a tragic death, are you doomed to relive it again and again through nightmares in another life? If Audrey Rose doesn't make you shiver, nothing will.
Tops in creepiness: Audrey Rose burns her hands on cool, wet glass.
Number 7. . .
The Thing (80s remake)
You're isolated from the rest of the world; outside the complex, the wind screams. You won't last long on your own, but inside the complex, the thing is loose, and someone in your small group is not who he or she appears to be. A wonderful remake, The Thing is the stuff of nightmares. Suspenseful and horrifying, this is not one to watch alone at night. The special effects are wonderful; watch as the husky transforms into the thing.
Number 6. . .
More funny than frightening, The Mummy works any way you look at it. Brendan Fraser is perfect as the swashbuckling, and sometimes bumbling hero. Fraser and his leading lady, Rachel Weisz have incredible chemistry and they kept me chuckling throughout. The special effects of The Mummy are top notch. I particularly liked the face-shaped sandstorm - very creative.
My single pet peeve: If cats keep the creature at bay, why not surround yourself with cats?
Answer: Because then there would be not movie.
Halfway there at Number 5. . .
Before I say anything about the movie, I must say that you just have to love Michael Ironside as he plays yet another evil-doer. He always gets the job done, and he does it superbly in Scanners. Taking its inspiration from children of Thalidomide, children born deformed after mothers had taken Thalidomide during pregnancy. In Scanners, the children are born as scanners - telepathic, psychokinetic misfits. It was a side effect of drugs taken by their mothers during pregnancy - an inadvertent side-effect. . . or was it? Now they're being studied, and exploited. Scanners plays on the not-so-paranoid fears of a generation. It's an underappreciated movie that's well worth a watch.
Number 4. . .
Darkly humorous and delightfully subversive, Night Breed definitely ranks among my favorite horror films. While on the quest for Midian, the place of his dreams, Boone, our protagonist, stumbles onto a mystical, mythical underworld. Both terrifying and fascinating, Boone is drawn into this self-contained society. Based on the novel, “Cabal, " by Clive Barker, Night Breed perfectly captures the surrealism that is Barker's forte. Dizzying and disorienting, Midian is a place where reality and nightmares converge. This movie is, at heart, a study of the duality of human nature, light and dark, good and evil, civilized and wild.
Closing in with Number 3. . .
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
This is classic, Grade B horror all the way. The acting is bad, the effects are terrible, and yet it makes it into my top three. I think old horror movies tend to be the best since they don't rely so heavily on special effects to score their scare. They have to earn their spookiness with lighting, plot (even a bad one), and sound. Don't be Afraid. . . makes great use of sounds, particularly the sibilants as the demons call the name of the heroine “Sally" over and over again. What's all the better is that nobody believes Sally until it's much, much too late. . .
Number 2. . .
Wow. There's little more to say about The Shining. Okay, so there's a lot to say about this movie. Jack Nicholson makes the movie work as well as it does. I couldn't imagine another actor playing the role. For sheer terror, few horror movies pack as much punch. Moody and shivery, The Shining is one of the best adaptations of a Stephen King novel out there. The long, empty corridors of the Overlook Hotel lend the perfect atmosphere to the Shining. Expanses of empty hallway metamorphose until they are painfully claustrophobic. The backdrop of silence is somehow overwhelming. Even the sound of Big Wheel tires through the empty hallways is strangely ominous. There is no escape as a family descends into the horror of the Overlook, as a man descends into the supernatural grip of madness. REDRUM.
Tops in Creepiness: Those two little girls
And my favorite. . . Number 1
Who didn't get chills the first time the kitchen furniture was rearranged almost instantly by an unseen hand? Poltergeist is everything a great horror movie should be - creepy, startling, with just the right balance of awe and childlike wonder. I teetered between wild-eyed wonder and edge-of-my seat suspense during the entire two hours of Poltergeist. And what's wonderful about Poltergeist is that it holds up after multiple viewing. You can watch this one time and time again and it loses nothing. From Carol Ann's initial whispery conversation with the “TV" people, to the oft-quoted “They're here, " Poltergeist is the best of the best in horror.
Music is also of great importance in horror films, and Poltergeist comes in ahead of most in this department as well. With an eerie, wordless tune sung in soprano, childlike voices, this one will chill even the most hardened horror fan.
So run, quick, to your local video store. It's getting dark, and the witching hour is approaching. Come home, video tucked safely under your arm, and pop it into the VCR. Curl up on your sofa under a toasty blanket, and settle back for a night of thrills and chills.
And whatever you do, don't forget to leave a light on. . .
Lisa is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Writers .