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Movies that terrified you 
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Post Movies that terrified you
If a comedy is designed to make you laugh, some movies have the goal of terrifying you.

We seem to be in the midst of endless non scary teen scream PG-13 movies. However, can you remember films that really scared you? I don't mean a single boo moment. I'm thinking of those films that had you leaving the viewing actually shaken. It's a very personal thing, what scares us. Over the years I've seen hundreds of scary movies to make me think I'm hardcore, and then, every so often.....


As a child:

Invasion of the Body Snatchers - I went upstairs to bed and was too scared to go to sleep. I then faced the ultimate threat. "if you don't go to sleep, we are not going to let you watch movies like that any more". What was a kid to do? No more horror movies on TV, or be turned into a mindless pod person?

City of the Dead (aka Horror Hotel) - Every Friday night my local TV station ran a horror movie at 10:30pm after the news. The BBC used to run horror double bills on Saturday night. From a very early age 912) i was consuming these movies, buying magazines and loving the genre. Nothing could scare me as i'd survived Christopher Lee in Dracula and everyone at school knew it. The came City of the Dead. It was about witches. these seemed more real than Vampires and a couples descent into hell in a small New England town had me literally shutting my eyes and covering my head with a pillow. It's an old black and white movie that I see now as more atmospheric, but at 12.....

Night of the Demon (aka Curse of the Demon) - I could make a case that this may be one of the greatest horror movies ever made. I was a year or so older and the idea that if you are given a parchment a horrific beast will come out of the woods and rip you to pieces was too much. I've since seen it many times and it's of course less horrific but a wonderful thriller. A few years ago a colleague at work asked to borrow some DVD's and i suggested this. he dismissed it, but I asked him to give it a try. He loved it.

Village of the Damned - As you can see from my picture I had blonde hair as a child and these kids were a little too close for comfort. It's a great movie - even today.


As a teenager:

The House By The Cemetary - there's another thread about this movie that inspired this idea. I left the cinema relieved to get out. I just could not have imagined that a film could be so scary.

The Exorcist - This film was banned for a while in the UK. I had no idea where it was headed and was constantly gripped as the film unfolded.

Alien - Whilst Aliens is an action movie, this is pure horror. Constant suspense begins with those creepy titles and then the bad news begins. I again saw this in a packed theater and people were screaming when SW was in the hanger and gobs of drool or something worse were dripping from above.

Rosemary's Baby - I was running the alternative film society at college and booked this movie. I was also the projectionist and was so scared and involved that I let the first reel (40 minutes of 16mm film) run out and start unspooling. I had 50 angry students pelting me with candy. The horror :-)


As an adult:

The Blair Witch Project - I saw it on opening night in a packed theater under the misguided impression that it was a documentary built on video footage that had been found. The monologue scene where the girl begs for her life into the camera by the campfire is simply masterful. I did not think that as an adult I could be this scared by a movie.

Silence of the Lambs - It took me to a place where I really could believe that anything was possible and all bets were off.

The Descent - there were two similar movies released at the same time. This movie featuring a bunch of British women who go pot holing is brilliantly executed to keep dialing up the chills. Being stuck in a small tunnel and maybe, just maybe, there's something in there with you.....

Open Water - As an ex diving instructor this was reality cinema. I had repeatedly struggled with tourists not following rules and swimming off from the group, and the count back on board was a sacred ritual, so it resonates. The sudden appearance of a shark is very scary, even when it's just swimming by. This was way too much for me.

These are mine.
Rob

PS - and no The Hottie and the Nottie doesn't count :-)


Last edited by Robert Holloway on Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Jan 30, 2009 1:15 pm
Post Re: Movies that terrified you
My list:

Alien
The first Nightmare on Elm Street
The Shining
The Ring if only when Samara crawled out of the TV

And the scariest thing I saw as a kid was the Michael Jackson "Thriller" video when MJ was turning into a werewolf, I ran out of the living room with my hands covering my ears so I couldn't hear it.


Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:19 pm
Post Re: Movies that terrified you
Here's a bit of a doozy: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. And not of E.T. As a child, I was frightened as holy hell when the NASA guys in full astronaut gear invaded the house of Elliot's family to take E.T. To this day, the moment I see the faceless space men crash through the windows and doors, I still get chills. Spielberg is a master and really understands childhood and all the fears that REALLY scare us as adults. One of my favorite movies of all time.

Also when I was little, for some reason I was terrified of It. I recently saw it again, such a sad excuse for a horror film. Made me laugh actually. And I was NEVER frightened of the big damn spider at the end. Even as a child, I knew that was a total bust of an ending.

Alien still manages to make me creep underneath a blanket.

The Exorcist. That's all that needs to be said.

Suspiria. Yeah, pretty damn terrifying. So well directed.

Rosemary's Baby. Those damn eyes!!

And yes, I adore Blair Witch. Damn, what a fantastic movie. A 4-star film for me.


Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:09 pm
Post Re: Movies that terrified you
The Descent is definitely one of mine, that's really the only movie in recent years that actually had me terrified.

The Shining as well, when the image of the twins with blood all over shows up the first time I nearly peed my pants.


Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:15 pm
Post Re: Movies that terrified you
I've seen a few films lately that've unnerved me. One is The Fly, though that's largely due to its graphic imagery rather than its tension. I also rewatched Psycho on the big screen recently and went OHMYGOD at all the points I was supposed to (except the shower scene). The Descent definitely made me claustrophobic. I have a lot of respect for the final image of The Blair Witch Project. Jaws and Alien also have a few good boo moments.

The first time I saw The Exorcist, I was terrified. However, that was at least five years ago and I am no longer affected by it in that way. However, I love to show it to anyone I can. The Ring also scared me the first time I watched it; again, that was at least five years ago. Same with The Shining, The Nightmare on Elm Street, and Halloween. I actually really dig the horror/suspense genre. It's hard to do, but when it's done correctly, it's so satisfying.


Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:41 pm
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Post Re: Movies that terrified you
I can recall having visceral reactions to both the original HALLOWEEN and FRIGHT NIGHT when I saw them. I had the unenviable task of walking home in the dark (at about 1:00 in the morning) right after seeing FRIGHT NIGHT. That might have scared me more than the movie.

BLAIR WITCH was more creepy than terrifying. It didn't scare me but it left an impression.

There was a scene in TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME (I think it's where Laura walks into her room and BOB is in the corner) that freaked me out the first time I saw it. Something about the way it was filmed and the way sound was handled in the scene. In general, that was an unsettling experience but I don't think it works for anyone unfamiliar with the TV series.


Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:04 pm
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Post Re: Movies that terrified you
James, nice to see you too were scared by Fright Night. When I was about six, my parents showed me the scene where Brewster stabs the vampire in the hand with a pencil. I don't think I slept for days! Then after seeing the whole thing a few years later (my parents let me watch some scary stuff when I was a young kid) I also didn't sleep for days.

The Exorcist probably remains the scariest movie I've ever seen. Even though I'm an atheist, the thought of something supernatural taking control of my body creeps me out. Plus the sound effects in that movie are bone-chilling.

Of the popular slasher movies, Halloween is definitely the best. Nightmare on Elm Street is very good, but Friday the 13th bored me. I didn't think it either scary or suspenseful.

Of recent movies, there's only been a couple that have really scared me. I know you disagree James, but Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects were terrifying. I think horror movies involving real people as the villains as opposed to a supernatural force is much scarier. But the best horror movie of the last 20 years, as many of you have already mentioned, is The Descent. Moderate Spoiler Warning The scene where you first see the creatures through the camera's point of view had me literally jumping out of my seat. And I was laying down at the time!

One no one has mentioned as of yet: Saw. Again, the thought of someone being in complete control of my actions scares me. Plus I thought the director did a great job of building the tension before the payoff at the end.

Most recently, I thought The Strangers was pretty damn terrifying. Great use of sound (or lack of sound) to build tension.


Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:46 pm
Post Re: Movies that terrified you
mkratzer21 wrote:

One no one has mentioned as of yet: Saw. Again, the thought of someone being in complete control of my actions scares me. Plus I thought the director did a great job of building the tension before the payoff at the end.
.


Hi Kratz

I forgot Saw. You're right, the first one was very scary and clever. I guess that my mind has been dulled by the endless and needless sequels.

Rob


Fri Jan 30, 2009 5:07 pm
Post Re: Movies that terrified you
The Exorcist - I even tried watching this with the sound muted - still scared me.

Wicker Man - the original with Christopher Lee and Britt Eckland. Especially the last scene, with the burning and the people swaying/chanting. So freaky.

I saw Child's Play when I was under 10 years old (not a good idea). I couldn't play with my dolls for a long time after that. My parents were furious that I was allowed to watch the film lol. I think I made them throw all my dolls away.


Fri Jan 30, 2009 5:07 pm
Post Re: Movies that terrified you
I have to agree with everyone and say The Exorcist.
That is probably the only movie I've ever seen that truly terrified me. However, I do not watch many horror movies - mostly because of my inability to find any good ones.


Fri Jan 30, 2009 5:09 pm
Post Re: Movies that terrified you
the rape scene in "Irreversible" terrified me too.


Fri Jan 30, 2009 5:14 pm
Post Re: Movies that terrified you
sheryl wrote:
the rape scene in "Irreversible" terrified me too.


Yeah, I was shocked at that too. I really struggle with how movies handle that topic. I remember The Accused and wondering if the scene needed to be quite so graphic. There's often more terror in what you don't see. Strangely, that film won Oscars as well.

Rob


Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:25 pm
Post Re: Movies that terrified you
Yeah I totally forgot about Saw.

But I have to disagree on The Exorcist, I watched it and I know what's supposed to be scary but it didn't really affect me. Except for the subliminal images that was unnerving.


Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:58 pm
Post Re: Movies that terrified you
Ju-On and Ju-On 2, when I first saw them a few years back, both wigged me out -- they're both such quiet, almost documentary looking films. Far, far better than their American remakes.

(And here's my post about The House by the Cemetery, which I just watched a few nights ago. While it didn't terrify me, it is awesome :))

The Exorcist is a great movie, but it never scared me that much; I suspect that's because, for whatever reason, I never got around to actually watching it until a few years ago, and by then I'd had enough secondary exposure to the movie (catching bits of it on cable, parodies, people talking about it, etc) that I already knew what was going to happen.

Oh, and when I was little, I was so scared of The Count on Sesame Street I'd have to leave the room whenever he came on. "One chocolate chip cookie. Two chocolate chip cookies. Three chocolate chip cookies! AH AH AH AH AHHHHHH!" :shock:


Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:04 pm
Post Re: Movies that terrified you
I can think of three...

1. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - I saw this when I was maybe 9 or 10 years old. It's a very dark film even by today's standards.

2. Full Metal Jacket - We studied Kubrick in my media studies class at school. I would have been I think 16 at the time and one sudden, graphic scene (even before they got to the war) shocked me to my core. If you've seen it I think you will know which scene I mean. None of the students should have been watching it given FMJ is rated R-18+ here in Australia.

3. The Descent - Sustained tension and suspense like no other film I've ever seen. All the comments previously in this thread ring true with me as well.

I'm more desensitized these days, and don't generally seek out pure horror genre films, except for the odd one that catches my attention - typically more horror/thriller type films.

Seeya,
nuxx.


Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:08 pm
Post Re: Movies that terrified you
This isn't necessarily a horror, but the alien abduction scene in Fire in the Sky scared the crap out of me as a child, and still continues to. It's very disturbingly realistic, even though on the surface it's your ordinary torture scene that you would get out of Hostel and Saw, except this features menacing aliens! (shivers)


Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:22 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:55 pm
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Post Re: Movies that terrified you
mkratzer21 wrote:
Of the popular slasher movies, Halloween is definitely the best. Nightmare on Elm Street is very good, but Friday the 13th bored me. I didn't think it either scary or suspenseful.


My fondness for Halloween is well-known (It's in my Top 100). Nightmare didn't scare me but it engaged me. I found the entire concept fascinating and Craven's direction is effective. I have never seen Friday the 13th all the way through. The first time I tried watching it, I fell asleep 20 minutes in. The second time, I made it all the way to the 80 minute mark. I suppose I should rectify that before the remake comes out. Not looking forward to that. Then again, it's hard to imagine the remake could be WORSE than the original. That's the one benefit of remaking bad movies. There's a chance the second version could be better than the original.


Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:18 pm
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Post Re: Movies that terrified you
James Berardinelli wrote:
mkratzer21 wrote:
I have never seen Friday the 13th all the way through. The first time I tried watching it, I fell asleep 20 minutes in. The second time, I made it all the way to the 80 minute mark. I suppose I should rectify that before the remake comes out. Not looking forward to that. Then again, it's hard to imagine the remake could be WORSE than the original. That's the one benefit of remaking bad movies. There's a chance the second version could be better than the original.


http://retrocrush.buzznet.com/scary/43.html

There's the big, scary twist at the end, consider yourself up to speed.

On a side note, I met the guy playing Jason at Horrorhound, a horror movie convention, and he was a very nice guy.


Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:26 pm
Post Re: Movies that terrified you
Definitely The Exorcist. It's amazing how no film has reached that stature since.

Recently, it's been really hard for me to get scared from horror films, so I've started paying attention to the technical details, instead of the emotional impact more closely in order to label it as good or not.


Sat Jan 31, 2009 12:47 am
Post Re: Movies that terrified you
I will give another kudos like the rest of you to The Descent. When the one girl sees the creature for the first time in the depths of the cave and then it disappears in the shadows, just thinking about it now gives me the chills. I loved The Ruins, and Cabin Fever. I can't remember who mentioned Ju-On, but I watched it twice in a row the first time I saw it. The American remakes are shameful. The best horror film I saw in 2008 though, had to be Funny Games. Not necessarily a horror film per say, but the atmosphere is so intense and dark, and the villains are the most intellectual psychopaths this side of Hannibal Lecter. (Heath Ledger's Joker has nothing on Michael Pitt's Paul, so where is his nomination?)


Sat Jan 31, 2009 1:46 am
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