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6. THE EXORCIST (1973)*
This movie so terrified audiences that some even checked themselves into mental hospitals after seeing it.
William Friedkin, the Director, was a bastard to be sure in the handling of his actors. That said, the movie became an all time classic and it's all right there on screen. Ellen Burnstyn was tortured by her director during the movie. To make
her appear scared or jump he would come up behind her - just out of
range of the camera, and fire a gun. During one torturous physical
scene, she suffered permanent back injury.
Then again, can you think
of another Burnstyn movie that will still be remembered a century from now?
For that matter, are there any other Ellen Burnstyn movie titles that immediately come to mind for you now? The woman has 135 to her name as of 2013.
7. JAWS (1975)
Like THE EXORCIST, this movie so terrified audiences that there
were people by the thousands (in letters to
newspapers and on talk radio shows) who refused to get more
than knee deep in the ocean ever again (it didn't
help matters when shortly after these declarations, some people in
Florida were attacked by sharks in knee deep water!). My father
was a body surfing fiend until he saw this movie. He never swam in
the ocean again. This Horror / Scary movie is a tribute to Steven
Speilberg, who made this film at the very height of his hunger as
a film maker. He has made many other good movies in his career, but
none so breathtaking as JAWS.
This movie, in fact, was so damn scary and influential, that it spawned an entire industry of shark hunters - men fighting their fears by killing sharks. In various interviews, they had all seen Jaws and admitted that it had an effect on them (whether this was for real or just an excuse, who knows?). In the late 1970s and on throughout the 1980s, shark hunting became such an epidemic that the author of JAWS, Peter Benchley, went on record as saying that he was sorry he ever wrote the book. Peter spent the rest of his days volunteering, working, and supporting various shark preservation efforts world wide.
And as for those message board clowns who think that a Horror movie can't be scary unless it's rated "R"? JAWS was and still remains rated PG.
8. CARRIE (1976)
This movie was a career launcher both for Stephen
King and Brian DePalma (John Travolta was already hitting his stride with a popular non-horror TV show).
DePalma started this movie off as a slow burner, using the Vincent
Price tactic of humor and frights, and creeping us out every time
we had to deal with Carrie's (Sissy Spacek)
house and her Mother (Piper Laurie).
The grand finale scene was truly just that and everyone who has seen it, knows that
"shock" moment in the movie when it's a good idea to suddenly GRAB your unsuspecting partner and make them lose their shit!
9. ALIEN (1979)
20th Century Fox
Shock after shock had audiences leaping from their seats. From the
"Face hugger" scene to the infamous chest burster and beyond, Ridley
Scott's amazingly claustrophobic movie did what some would consider
the impossible: frightened audiences with a premise so futuristic it
couldn't possibly ever happen to them. With a creature both hideous
and elegant, the world was now formally introduced to the amazing
art of H.R. Giger.
10. RINGU (1998)
Omega Project / Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Company, Ltd. (Japan) / Golden Scene
Director Director Hideo Nakata, working off a screenplay by Hiroshi Takahashi, from the novel by Kôji Suzuki, made a movie so terrifying that it made all of their names. And though all three men have gone on to make other successful Horror novel and movies, none have so resonated world wide as the original RINGU.
The movie was remade as THE RING in the U.S. and received astounding success far beyond expectations, and turning director Gore Verbinski into an A-List director.
The movie was also remade as THE RING VIRUS in South Korea, again, to amazing success. While lesser sequels have been made of the various original RINGU and THE RING movies, it is Hideo's original vision (one that even he was unable to duplicate through sequels both in Japan and the U.S.) that remains the most terrifying.
So there you go. Now argue with me.
March 18, 2002:
I just want to say "Thanks!" to all the folks who have wrote
me over this list saying how much they agree with my choices. Some have
thought of other scary movies they could add, making the list a top fifteen
or twenty, but none felt they could argue with my choices.
Am I amazed?
And how: having been
in numerous chat rooms and message boards, I am very surprised that no
one has criticized my choices. Not that I'm asking for a kick in the ass,
you understand. I'm just... surprised is all. Thanks to everyone who wrote
to let me know that I'm on the right track here.
January 4, 2013:
Still no arguments even with all of the new movies that have come out since this was originally posted. No one argues with what I have up here, but many have asked me to expand this list to 15 or 20. Sorry. If it can't make the top ten it doesn't deserve to be here.
July 26, 2013:
On further reflection, it takes away from the Top Ten (the most searched for term for "Top" anything", to knnock out the deserving films just because a newer one can replace it. at the same time, some deserving films have come along. So go to Page 3 for more Top Scares!
Continued on Page 3
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This review copyright 2013 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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