Joseph Conrad once said, “There is something haunting in the light of the moon,” making me wonder if the sailor turned novelist of the late 19th Century/early 20th Century was a fan of Halloween and things that go bump in the night (excluding trick or treaters).
Now, with Halloween (and its many sequels) looming ominously over a dark, daunting sky, I’m inspired to reflect on the ultimate, scariest films guaranteed to make grown movie goers cry (or at least tremble slightly). The long, chilling list is, of course, subjective; one person’s horror is another person’s delight.
In honor of all things Terrifying, and in no particular order because they’re all so freaking scary, a Top Ten list of the ultimate horror flicks:
Friday the 13th (1980) The #1 reason for teenagers not to go to an abandoned campsite is terrifyingly depicted in Director Sean S. Cunningham’s slasher flick. Well, they were warned…
Dawn of the Dead (1978) Director George Romera created the ultimate zombie universe within an apartment building in urban Philadelphia. I defy you to eat while watching this flesh-eating film.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) Director Wes Craven showed that reel/real world versus dream world made no difference: Freddy Krueger found his victims.
Poltergeist ( 1982) Quaint suburban town meets haunted house where clowns, zombies, trees and televisions eerily spring to life in director Toby Hooper’s frightening film .
The Ring (1998) In Gore Verbinski’s remake, the spectators of a “certain” tape die a week after they’ve watched it. Whether coming out of a television or a well, it’s never good seeing a creepy undead girl clearly in need of a serious makeover.
The Exorcist (1973) is more than a little girl possessed by a demon (although that would have been enough). Director William Friedkin’s film attacks mind, body, and soul, as issues of faith take center stage, with its participants’ beliefs determining their consequences.
The ocean is at its most chilling in Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975). The local sheriff, who ironically has a fear of water, is determined to take down the massive man eater. John William’s foreboding theme music lives on decades later.
Halloween (1978) features the legendary, unstoppable Michael Myers on a killing spree leading to the feisty girl of his murderous dream (and her never ending nightmare).
Psycho (1960) Well, the name says it all. A girl on the run, unfortunately for her, runs right in to the Bates Motel. To say Norman Bates has a little family secret would be like saying the ocean contains a few drops of water. Many scary “don’t take a shower” films followed this one, but it set the bar extremely high.
Paranormal Activity (2007) When film promoters put the words “supernatural” and “horror” together, you know you’re in for it. In this case, a young couple is haunted by a supernatural being in their home, compelling them to set up cameras in an attempt to photograph and figure out what is haunting them. BIG MISTAKE.
Should you mistakenly find yourself stranded in a seemingly abandoned house on All Hallow’s eve, where the suspiciously missing tenants have ceased paying the electric bill, here’s wishing you the brightest of flashlights and the biggest of imaginations to keep you safe from the horrors occurring in all their gory glory on the Big Screen…