favorite horror movies?
November 28, 2005 6:17 PM   Subscribe

What are your favorite horror movies?

I've been on a horror movie kick lately. I've seen the thread here, but I'm more interested in quality. What movies scared and/or distribured you the most? I'm in the US and am looking for movies that are available on DVD.
posted by entropy to Media & Arts (49 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
posted by johngoren at 6:24 PM on November 28, 2005

Dead Ringers is the movie has disturbed me the most.
posted by Fat Guy at 6:24 PM on November 28, 2005

There should be a "that" between movie and has. See? I was disturbed just writing about that movie.
posted by Fat Guy at 6:26 PM on November 28, 2005

The Exorcist
posted by gyc at 6:29 PM on November 28, 2005

The Entity with Barbara Hershey. The original Salem's Lot mini-series had its fair share of scary moments, especially the floating dead kid at the window scene which scared the bejesus out of me when I was a child.
posted by wannalol at 6:38 PM on November 28, 2005

I really ...dig... Stir of Echos
posted by nimsey lou at 6:41 PM on November 28, 2005

Quality and horror do not generally go hand in hand, but there have been a few ...

The only movie that scared me so bad that I literally thought I would die: Alien (ok, I was young). Still a great movie but doesn't hold up that well with the passing of time. Ridley Scott.

Jaws isn't typically thought of as horror, but it scared the crap out of me and the opening scene still gives me the willies just thinking about it. A lot of people can trace their fear of the ocean back to this one film. Steven Spielberg.

Jacobs Ladder is a somewhat muddled but intense film with some stunning (and disturbing) imagery. And at least the film tries to present a coherent explanation for its supernatural goings on unlike most modern horror. Adrian Lyne.

28 Days Later is probably the most intelligent horror film ever made and genuinely scary to boot. Danny Boyle.

The Shining. Best Stephen King adaptation ever (even if King himself disagrees). Stanley Kubrick.

And then there's Audition. Deserves its own genre. Sadism? Disturbing as hell but not in that satisfying way you expect from a horro film. Takashi Miike.
posted by zanni at 6:42 PM on November 28, 2005 [1 favorite]

If you want quality and horror, you might get Tim Roth’s directorial debut, The War Zone. Warning: Genuinely upsetting.

There’s a movie from the ’60s called Peeping Tom that’s pretty creepifying, too.

Also, on a tip from Stephen King in Dance Macabre, I rented Wait Until Dark and that’s another startling, quality, terrifying picture. Audrey Hepburn playing a blind woman trapped in her apartment by a menacing bad guy.
posted by cgc373 at 6:43 PM on November 28, 2005

Curse of the Demon (aka Night of the Demon), with its Crowley-inspired villain and chilling monster derived from medieval woodcuts. The Haunting (not gory, but very frightening). George Romero's wonderful, underrated vampire film Martin.
posted by Scram at 6:48 PM on November 28, 2005

The Changeling. And keep an eye out for Wolf Creek on DVD - has it been in cinemas in the US yet?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:49 PM on November 28, 2005

posted by jjg at 6:55 PM on November 28, 2005

Of recent Asian stuff, I was unimpressed with Ringu and Ju-On: The Grudge, but did get some chills from The Eye.

Probably my favorite is Roman Polanski's The Tenant. Not to spoil anything, but... There's this really standard horror movie trick where you get a sudden, nasty surprise that doesn't actually mean anything, and then they cut to a completely unrelated, safe, familiar, probably sunlit scene. Polanski totally subverts this.

Trouble Every Day has quite disturbing gore. So does Dead/Alive, though that's a really ridiculous (great) movie.
posted by Aknaton at 7:08 PM on November 28, 2005

Eyes Without a Face
posted by mr_roboto at 7:13 PM on November 28, 2005 [1 favorite]

The Wicker Man
posted by nicwolff at 7:17 PM on November 28, 2005 [1 favorite]

Old Boy was very disturbing to me. It's a Korean movie about a man who is locked in a room for 15 years. He has no idea why he's been imprisoned. One day he's released, and given 5 days to seek revenge on his unknown enemy. What follows is a twisted and disturbing story. There's revenge, love, extreme violence and insanity.

I had nightmares for a while after seeing this one.
posted by hooray at 7:20 PM on November 28, 2005

the shining
posted by juv3nal at 7:21 PM on November 28, 2005

While not supernatural horror, the original version of The Vanishing, Spoorloos, is the most disturbing film I've ever seen. In fact, I gave it away because I knew I could never, ever watch it again.
posted by frykitty at 7:23 PM on November 28, 2005 [1 favorite]

The Thing review I don't really know why, but I love this movie. Am I alone?
posted by cyphill at 7:31 PM on November 28, 2005

John Carpenter's The Thing has some really nice effects and has a kind of paranoia theme running through it.

Also, The Shining as others have said.
posted by Stauf at 7:31 PM on November 28, 2005

Damnit! Too slow!

Obviously not, cyphill!
posted by Stauf at 7:32 PM on November 28, 2005

kairo (pulse, 2001)

if you can wrap your mind around it, it might be the scariest movie ever
kurosawa kiyoshi has done some more great horror movies
posted by suni at 7:33 PM on November 28, 2005

The Fly, both the original and Cronenberg's remake.

"Help me, please, help me."
posted by beowulf573 at 7:33 PM on November 28, 2005

The Exorcist III is a seriously under-rated horror flick, which has the single most shocking/frightening/creepy scene I have ever seen in a movie. Also The Woman in Black, which is very low-key and English but very creepy, and which has the SECOND most shocking/frightening/creepy scene (and gave me nighmares).

Seconding The Vanishing (even the remake is creepy),The Eye and Peeping Tom. I also recommend Don't Look Now (seventies-a-licious), the new Dawn of the Dead (one of the few horror movies where people don't act like complete idiots, and fast-moving zombies are really creepy, as 28 Days Later also shows us). I found the US remake of The Ring to be extremely creepy, but many disagree. The original Nightwatch (AKA Nattevagten) is brilliantly creepy-atmospheric.
posted by biscotti at 7:40 PM on November 28, 2005

I've got a soft spot for zombie movies, so:

Night of the Living Dead
Dawn of the Dead
Day of the Dead

Night is an all time classic. The other two are interesting uses of zombies as metaphor.

The Exorcist, for sheer style.

I'll second 28 days Later as well.
posted by griffey at 7:58 PM on November 28, 2005

biscotti writes "I found the US remake of The Ring to be extremely creepy, but many disagree."

The American version of The Ring has put me off ghost movies for good, I think. Zombies, vampires, psycho killers, and demonic beasts I can all deal with, but after the sleepless nights I spent thinking about that goddamn waterlogged ghost.... I still have the occasional nightmare.
posted by mr_roboto at 8:01 PM on November 28, 2005

I second Kairo. I also want to say that Ichi The Killer was the most disturbing movie I ever saw (tho ocasionally kinda funny), somewhat tied with Man Bites Dog. Neither of them are truely horror, but both deeply disturbing to me.

Snowblood Apple has a good list and reviews of messed up Asian movies thats worth going through if you like that kind of stuff.
posted by atom128 at 8:33 PM on November 28, 2005

The Sound of Music.

posted by Doohickie at 8:38 PM on November 28, 2005

Don't Look Now
posted by muckster at 9:03 PM on November 28, 2005

What Scram said.

Dario Argento's Suspira never fails to freak me out. Maybe not technically horror, but Don't Look Now can be pretty tense.

And I still worry about that reanimated Zuni evil doll creature from Trilogy of Terror. The original Cat People also, it is hard to go wrong with a Val Lewton produced horror flick.
posted by marxchivist at 9:05 PM on November 28, 2005

This is my field of expertise, heh.

For something gritty and disturbing, you can't do much better than Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Also, check out Possession. It's sort of like David Lynch meets Cronenberg.

Suspiria has one of the most impressive opening kills ever.

Coffin Joe made some of the most disturbing movies of the 60's.

The old Hammer Horror films are also very good, especially the Dracula and Frankenstein movies with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. The Devil Rides Out is pretty creepy if you can get past some of the hokey special effects.

For more modern fare, I recommend The Descent and The Devil's Rejects. While House of a Thousand Corpses was entertaining, it's wasn't anything more than a glorified music video. Rob Zombie sure surprised the hell out of me with Rejects - I didn't know he had it in him. A mainstream horror film with balls - rare in this day and age.

I got tons more if you want them.
posted by spungfoo at 9:10 PM on November 28, 2005

Sybil (starring Sally Field)

The Night of the Lepus (starring giant bunny rabbits)

Mommie Dearest ("I'm not mad at you... I'm mad at the dirt!")
posted by hermitosis at 9:50 PM on November 28, 2005

Session 9
posted by surferboy at 6:31 AM on November 29, 2005

I'll second the living dead trilogy, Session 9, Suspiria and The Devil's Rejects (a big suprise for me).

The French have been making incredibly visceral, harsh horror movies for the last few years, including: Irreversible, High Tension and, in its own way, Baise Moi.

The Hills Have Eyes and Last House on The Left still pack a fair punch.

Haunted houses? Check out The Changeling.

Oh, I could go on...
posted by theinsectsarewaiting at 6:41 AM on November 29, 2005

In the Mouth of Madness is great, and more recently I would recommend May and Cabin Fever. I also recommend Showtime's new Masters of Horror series if you have access to that on cable.
posted by Heminator at 6:56 AM on November 29, 2005

I'm gonna throw my lot in for The Thing.
There's just something about being unable to escape in an arctic wasteland that doesn't sit well with me.

I was also genuinely disturbed by In the Mouth of Madness, but that was 10 or so years ago. I should really give that a rewatch.

I've made it a habit to rent any/all horror movies I come across. I've seen Audition, Ichi the Killer, and a few of Mikke's other movies. While not scary, he's got some disturbing stuff.

28 days later came closest to actually scaring me. Great pacing, great camera work to make it really tense.

Blair Witch does get a mention as it was novel, but the charm wore off.
posted by fnord at 7:00 AM on November 29, 2005

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Carrie. So awesome.
posted by mandlebrotz at 7:59 AM on November 29, 2005

Another vote for Audition. My wife couldn't watch it. It is beautiful, by the way.
posted by Aknaton at 8:02 AM on November 29, 2005

Kubrick's The Shining, hands down.

Incidentally, it isn't really scary at all, but am I the only person here who likes the old version of The Thing?
posted by unreason at 8:07 AM on November 29, 2005

John Carpenter's The Thing. Very well done, and very, very scary.
Kubrick's The Shining. Probably the masterpiece of horror, in my book.
I also have to chime in with The Exorcist III and what biscotti has to say about it.

Audition. If there's one movie that can unnerve you, it might be this one.
posted by malaprohibita at 8:12 AM on November 29, 2005

I don't know if it's necessarily "quality" or "scary", but the Last House on the Left is certainly disturbing.
posted by sad_otter at 8:35 AM on November 29, 2005

Begotten is a truly alien and horrific film.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:36 AM on November 29, 2005

Yeef! I'm so late. Some titles off the top of my head, most of them repeated from other posters:

In The Mouth Of Madness
Don't Look Now
The Ring (American)
Would You Kill A Child?
Night of the Living Dead (the original)
Dawn of the Dead (both versions)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (70's version)
Night of the Hunter
The Innocents
The Haunting (the original)
The Exorcist
The Exorcist III
The Thing (Carpenter version)
The Wicker Man
The Tenant
The Fly (both versions)
Rosemary's Baby
Session 9
Shaun of the Dead

Possession is AWESOME. I second this recommendation in every way possible. Oh, man. That movie has, I dunno, at least five times as much movie per square inch than most movies. The world's greatest divorce movie, it is.

Hausu is an amazing Japanese horror visual extravaganza. Dario Argento meets Max Fleischer. Snag it here as a bootleg, although I'd love to get my hands on a legit DVD...

Also, check out the Val Lewton horror flicks. There's a whole box set of them out now. These were some strange and classy jobbers from the days - the 40s, natch - when the studios would just write a check and expect a movie with a certain title. You know: "Here's $x. Make a movie called Cat People."

You'd get a creatively rich, cheap little movie almost every time. They're quality. Check 'em out!
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:32 AM on November 29, 2005

Well, here are a few (probably tons of repeats as well):

The Thing
28 Days Later
Night of the Living Dead/Dawn of the Dead (original)/Dawn of the Dead (remake from 2004 or so; pretty scary)
Lots of Dario Argento movies - I thought Tenebrae and Profundo Rosso were scarier than Suspiria, but it sure looks cool.
The Shining
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the original, of course)
May was great, if not really that scary.
Session 9 (awful title) was extra creepy.

Last House on the Left, Lost Highway, Mullholland Drive (and most of the rest of Lynch's work), Dead Ringers/The Fly (Cronenberg), and Audition all fall into the category of disturbing-type scary, although the music from LHotL makes it a little less effective. Or maybe more effective, depending on how terrifying weird 60's folk music is to you.
posted by sluggo at 9:46 AM on November 29, 2005

Event Horizon

However, people go two ways on that movie. Either you'll think it was absolutely terrifying or no big deal. Watching it in the dark with some loud surround sound will help the effect..
posted by Sasquatch at 10:41 AM on November 29, 2005

I've got to give a shout out for John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness. Dream messages from the future, Satan in a jar, the blond guy from Simon & Simon, and Alice Cooper as a zombie. Cheesy, but with some geniunely creepy moments, including the last shot.
posted by kindall at 11:50 AM on November 29, 2005

Event Horizon
In the Mouth of Madness

I like horror and I like Sam Neil and I like the respective premises but in the end I did not really like either of these.
posted by cortex at 1:49 PM on November 29, 2005

"Jacob's Ladder". Not really horror, but very disturbing and profoundly moving. I found it so, anyway.

I'm with the 50% of the population who thought
"Blair Witch Project" was scary as hell.

"Don't Look Now" is awesome, although again, probably more supernatural thriller than horror.

Old school chills and giggles aplenty can be found in "Dead Of Night".
posted by Decani at 5:24 PM on November 29, 2005

Seconding "Rosemary's Baby" (probably my favorite movie of all time) and the 1978 "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." (Why don't they do paranoid horror any more? Seems like the times would be perfect for it.)

Seven, with Morgan Freeman and Brad Whats-his-name. Scary in that gets-under-your-skin way.
Bully, which isn't horror at all unless, like me, you consider murderous, hyper-sexualized teens with no moral compass horrifying.
Donnie Darko, a horror, sci-fi, mind-game, teen romance that deserved its second life.
posted by CMichaelCook at 8:22 AM on November 30, 2005

Oh, yeah. And Near Dark, for modern-day mobile-home vampires.
Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2, though I prefer the latter.
The Green Mile, for horror with a heart.
Requiem for a Dream, if you're looking for stylish and disturbing drug addiction horror.
posted by CMichaelCook at 8:33 AM on November 30, 2005

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