Alfred Hitchcock stunned theaters everywhere with Norman Bates and his trademarked knife in Psycho. This movie may not be particularly scary by today’s standards, but if you could time travel back to the 60’s and you would see some very horrified faces. What made this movie especially terrifying was Hitchcock’s use of the first person perspective during the famous shower scene. It was the first time audiences got to see through the killer’s eyes and it disturbed quite a few folks.
Sometimes the scariest things aren’t just monsters or demons. Sometimes they are things that are real, much like the great white in Jaws. Spielberg managed to create one of the most haunting creatures that has kept people out of the water for decades, myself included. The movie pits man vs. beast and considering there’s three or more of these movies I would say the beast seems to be winning.
Fear is a fluid concept. What frightens some doesn’t frighten others, but something that gets to almost everyone is gore and Saw had lots of it. The movie revolves around a psychopath who kidnaps his victims and pits them against others to try and see who’s will to survive is stronger. Unlike most horror movies before it Saw is one of the leading purveyors of the torture porn subgenre of horror. The camera couldn’t get enough of the blood and guts and the final scene had most clutching their stomachs begging for it to stop. What most don’t know is that final scene was edited to eledue the even more horrifying NC-17 rating. So if you think you’re brave enough go find an unrated copy and decide for yourself if it should have been CUT out or not.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Since the original film there have been several sequels and even a remake or two, but the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre doesn’t pull any punches. The film’s harsh cut scenes and camera work coupled with its sharp music really aide in helping the audience feel a sense of panic. The viillain, a chainsaw toting madman, is one of the most iconic of all time because he runs around in a mask…made of people’s faces. If chainsaws and human face masks aren’t enough to scare you maybe all the severed body parts and dead bodies will help.
The Thing (1982)
If anyone tells you the remake of this is scarier they are flat out lying to you. John Carpenter’s The Thing is a vision to behold. A group of scientists are left stranded in Alaska when their expedition goes very very wrong. They uncover a parasitic creature that inhabits its hosts, the crew, and turns them into a murderous monsters. The only problem is that there is no way to tell who’s infected until it’s too late. The graphics are archaic if you consider all the CGI in today’s world, but there is just something visceral about the stop motion graphics of this cult classic.
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Silence of the Lambs is terrifying on multiple levels. On one hand you have Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal as the infamous Hannibal Lectre and on the other you have the female skinning murderer Buffalo Bill. Jodie Foster plays Clarice Starling, a studying FBI student, tasked with finding a serial killer and the only way to do that is to interview Hannibal Lectre. Hopkins’ won an Oscar for this role in which he had around only 10 minutes of dialog. If that doesn’t tell you how scary he can be with just his voice we don’t know what will. Oh, you do get the pleasure of seeing him bite a man’s nose off and wear another’s as a mask, but the scariest scene might be Buffalo Bill dancing in front of the mirror…if you’ve seen it you know what we are talking about.
Evil Dead (2013)
Sam Raimi did the comedy horror world a favor, accidentally albeit, with the original Evil Dead trilogy. However, the remake is just downright disturbing. Unlike the torture porn movies that just use senseless blood and gore for poor storyline the Evil Dead remake uses it to scare the s*** out of you. A group of friends try to help their friend detox and when she tries to escape they awake an evil spirit from the necronomicon, an ancient evil book. What unfolds is a demon spirit that systematically tears the group apart through murder and self mutilation. Not quite sure how this one didn’t warrant a more severe rating than the hard R it already got, but this movie is not for the faint of heart or to be watched alone in the dark.