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August 19, 2004


Back in college, my buddy Keith and I would rent or view at the theater EVERY horror flick that came down the chute (what else was there to do? Go to class? Please). There's a brilliant discussion here that brings that joy back to mind, starting with a truly scary film: Scream.

Now, I am a fan of dramatic cinema. I've taken screenwriting classes, and my favorite films of all time are dialogue-driven. I enjoy a good thematic script.

Still and all, there's just something about a movie that's really and truly SCARY. I don't mean there's a cat that jumps out at you in the dark... that's startling, not scary. I remember in John Carpenter's The Thing, a scene where the monster, disguised as a friendly mutt, reveals itself. There was a feeling of slow inevitability, as innocent victims were trapped and just had to watch the transformation happen. SCARE-EEEEE!

The Thing still holds a place in my heart as the scariest flick I ever saw. That movie-long sense of paranoia is a wonder that could only be created by inspired writing and film direction. (Note here that I don't count the time we were watching Alien at the Farwell's house and at a critical moment, Mrs. Farwell, who had snuck outside, pounded on the viewing room window. I very nearly wet 'em.)

So, how about you? What's the scariest movie you ever saw? When were you most scared in a movie?


Posted by Dan at August 19, 2004 07:58 PM

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Tracked on August 22, 2004 10:39 AM


"Signs" and "The Sixth Sense" were pretty scary recent films, at least on first viewing.

Posted by: Big Dan at August 19, 2004 08:50 PM

I love "The Thing" as one of the three or four best scary movies of all time, but "Event Horizon" always was the creepiest for me...even though it isn't as good a movie overall.

Posted by: Nathan at August 20, 2004 02:02 AM

I'm with Nathan, as much as I hate to agree with him on anything. Event Horizon isn't a particularly great movie, but it is creepy as all hell. Usually, gory isn't all that impressive to me, but they made it work in that movie.

Posted by: Joel Caris at August 20, 2004 03:35 AM

Just as a note, my roommate also agrees that Event Horizon is creepy as all hell. She says, "baaabyyy beearr...?!"

Posted by: Joel Caris at August 20, 2004 05:09 AM

Alright, I'm monopolizing the commenting at this point, but I wanted to add that I thought "The Ring" was pretty creepy. Not Event Horizon creepy, but good nonetheless. I hear the Japanese original is even better, but I haven't had a chance to get it up to the top of my Netflix queue yet. Soon, soon . . .

"Signs" had a couple creepy moments, I'll agree. The part where they're watching the news and they show the video with the quick shot of the alien walking by--that got to me a bit. However, I didn't find "The Sixth Sense" scary--just suspenseful. I consider that different. "The Others" is another good one that falls into the suspenseful category.

Now, when I was a kid, I was scared much easier. "Critters" kind of freaked me out. The part when they band into a huge ball and roll over people--man, that messed with my head. "Child's Play" and the sequel also got to me pretty well.

But for the one that most affected me, that honor has to go to a really cheesy movie that I don't know the name of. All I remember was watching it over at my friend's house when I was staying the night, when I was very young. I think it was a haunted house movie, basically. There was a scene in the attic where a lamp came to life and strangled a woman with its cord, then threw her out the window down to the ground below. Sounds quite cheesy, right? I'm sure it was, but it scared the hell out of me then. I couldn't go to sleep that night, I was terrified, and I ended up having to go home in the middle of the night.

Now I just think back on that and shake my head.

Posted by: Joel Caris at August 20, 2004 06:41 AM

There are moments that are pretty horrifying, too, even in movies you wouldn't expect. I saw the silly Pet Sematary and scoffed my way through it, but when the kid cuts the back of dad's ankle with the scalpel from under the bed, I freaked out. Also, the tunnel scene in Willy Wonka never ceases to scare me. I don't even watch any more.

I never saw The Ring, because the promos made it look dumb, but everyone I talk to about it mentions moist undies, which is a sure sign of a good horror movie, so I might have to look into it.

Posted by: Big Dan at August 20, 2004 09:05 AM

The Exorcist. I was a young teenager and the whole thing was sort of creepy.

Posted by: Ralph at August 20, 2004 09:14 AM

Exorcist was scary, to me, because it was the first decent horror movie I had ever seen in which Evil was not vanquished. The idea that the good guys just weren't good enoughwas not lost on me, even at that age.

Posted by: Mr. E. at August 22, 2004 09:33 AM

The Ghost and the Darkness scared the pants off of me. I think because it is based on a true story.

Posted by: el Seco at August 24, 2004 12:20 AM

el Seco,

You just reminded me of The Amityville Horror, which I saw and read as a kid. The movie wasn't too bad, but the book scared the Dickens out of me, mostly because they kept selling it as a true story.


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