What's the Scariest Movie You've Ever Seen?

sorabji.com: Best movie you ever saw: What's the Scariest Movie You've Ever Seen?

By Bryan on Wednesday, October 14, 1998 - 05:46 pm:

    They had a thing going on a morning drive-time radio show this morning looking for opinions on the "scariest movie" people had seen. Obviously, there are many different types of "scary"...sociologically scary, suspensefully scary, mortifying/embarassingly scary (on this count, I must say that Police Academy 4 is one of the scariest movies I have ever seen), or just plain kick-in-the-gut good ol' fashioned horror movie kind of scary. This being halloween and all, I think we can focus on the latter category of fright. On the radio show, many of the obvious votes come in...Silence of the Lambs (good movie & well done, though overrated and not all that "scary" really...suspenseful perhaps), Halloween (definitely a good pick...still kicks ass after all these years), etc., etc. Much of this could hinge on old you were when viewing said scary movies, but there are a number of good nominees for Scariest Movie, all contingent on personal taste, of course. There's rarely such a thing as "best" anyways.

    Talking about this at work a few came to mind (and the jury's still out 'cause I'd have to think this one out a little more), but some good possible candidates...

    1) Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer
    2) Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the first one...an artful piece of early '70's celluloid nightmare)
    3) The Reflecting Skin (maybe just plain disturbing...not scary)

    .....you know, I was continue on with this but there's way too many....maybe later when I have more time

    What are your votes??

By Christopher on Wednesday, October 14, 1998 - 10:48 pm:

    Dario Argento's "Profondo Rosso" aka Deep Red: The Hatchet Murders. Surrealistic murders scenes, no hatchets, but rather a well handled meat cleaver. Almost operatic violence.

    The original "Night of the living dead". My sister woke my twin brother and I one night around 1am, because this movie was coming on. We were five. A formative film, to say the least.

    Sam Raimi's "The Evil Dead". Very nasty. Some pretty shocking stuff.

    I've got to give it to you, though. "Henry" is by far the most repulsive movie I've ever seen (although, disgusting art film "Begotten" holds a very close second). I don't know that I would call it a horror movie, but I would certainly urge the casual viewer to steer clear of this one.

    There really are so many good choices, and my list is subject to change. They don't seem to make them as violent as they did up into the mid 80's, but that was when I was in my teens. Jeez, they sure scared the shit out of me...

By Antigone on Wednesday, October 14, 1998 - 11:11 pm:

    "Brazil" gets my vote, my first Terry Gilliam experience, when I was 15. The end freaked me to no end. I was in a state of shock coming out of it and my girlfriend almost had a fit while trying to drive on the highway. Everything looked and felt surreal for hours afterwards.

By Carrie Ann on Wednesday, October 14, 1998 - 11:48 pm:

    Hands down it was 'Event Horizon.' That movie
    scared the holyheck outta me. I mean like I had
    nightmares for the next week. It even spooked my
    boyfriend pretty bad. I mean, I'd probably watch
    it again, but lemme tell you, it's one freakyass

By Carrie Ann on Wednesday, October 14, 1998 - 11:49 pm:

    ...ovie! (fucking IE4.0)

By Bryan on Thursday, October 15, 1998 - 09:44 am:

    Oh yeah...Night of the Living Dead. Classic. Didn't see it until well into my 'teens, but a viewing at five would most definitely be a formative experience so to speak. I do vividly remember my Dad taking me to see the original (from '74) Tales of the Crypt at a local campus screening when I was six or seven, and at the same age saw Legend of Hell House at a drive in with my parents. Both of these are classic examples of the "golden age" of horror flicks from the early seventies. The finest hour for movies in general...a time when the experimental and the mainstream crossed hands and a far greater number and variety of flicks regularly toured the country. Also...to Christopher's other picks; Dario is definitely quite cool. I actually haven't seen Deep Red, but Suspiria is another seventies classic (even if it is all style over substance) and Demons was pretty entertaining too. And, yeah...I have checked out that Begotten film and it is seriously disturbing...try experimenting with some different music as a background. Well done art film...not for every taste of course. I do think, contrary to your observation that Henry IS a horror film...considering that it is pretty fucking horrifying...not one for fun family viewing. Mention that film to anyone who has seen it and you'll usually get some response involving immediate facial screwing and wincing and muttered "oh yeah..whew" or something like that. Effective film, even if you don't enjoy it (actually I think it would be impossible to actually "enjoy" a film like that...appreciate perhaps, respect maybe). And hey...if you wan't REPULSIVE, then by all means seek out Cannibal Holocaust, by an italian director named, I think, Ruggero Deodato (or something like that). It's very notorious, has recently become available (sort of) on video and, for the record, is the second highest grossing (no pun intended) film in Japan behind E.T. When and if you see it, this little fact will twist your head. Hard to describe the "vibe" that this film somehow manages to capture, just trust me when I say it's one fucked up li'l nugget of a film. His "Jungle Holocaust", filmed a couple years earlier is also pretty interesting, though not as overtly disgusting. They are actually very well made...most effective.

    One more note. Haven't seen it since I was a kid, but Burnt Offerings really fucked with my head as a young lad. It may dissapoint if I saw it now, but it nailed a fairly distinct memory into my cranium years back. Would anyone else agree with that one...

By Agatha on Thursday, October 15, 1998 - 01:33 pm:

    i got really scared watching "valley of the dolls" when i was a little girl. i saw it again a couple of years ago, and thought it was pretty funny. i have heard that "young poisoner's handbook" was pretty disturbing and vile, but i haven't seen it yet. nobody has mentioned "the shining" yet.

By Sell you Lloyd on Thursday, October 15, 1998 - 01:59 pm:

    When I think of Scary Movies, I think of the movies I would watch on saturday afternoons when I was a kid. "Creature Double Feature", I believe it was called. This was when I was young enough not to have specific, practical fears - just a sort of mystical sense of dread. One of the movies - I think it was called "The Hand", about the dismembered hand of a killer or some evil character crawling around this dank mansion- kept me up nights. God forbid a bedbug should crawl over me while I lay in bed. All the stuff about ufo's and bigfoot scared me, too. It was the seventies and I was little and they might be real.

    In my early teen years the slasher movies I would manage to sneak into scared me, especially the surprise attack scenes like when someone puts their hand under the bed and is suddenly dragged under.

    The only movie that really scared me after I became experienced and jaded was "Eraserhead."

    "Oh, you are sick."


By Blindswine on Thursday, October 15, 1998 - 03:53 pm:

    burnt offerings...
    i was about eleven or twelve... watching "Creature Double Feature" on Channel 48 (PhilaDELPHia)

    i still vividly remember the scene in which the hearse driver comes barrelling through Karen Black's bedroom door decked out in mirrored cop-shades and a casket he uses as a battering ram...

    that scene scared the shit out of me and had me twisting in my sleep for weeks...

    and then there's always Phantasm with the Tall Man. i think Phantasm was the impetus of a period in my youth when i found looking into mirrors extremely unsettling... i always expected to see some mind-shattering horror in the reflection...
    fortunately, the only horror i ever saw was the expression on my own face.

    i have a friend who swears that he used to see Angus Scrimm (the actor who played the Tall Man) in his lower east side neighborhood... but i imagine the massive amounts of psychotropic residuals stored in his fat cells are just reactivating and triggering b-movie inspired flashbacks...
    but who knows?
    maybe angus is back...

    i think by far the most violent reaction to a horror scene i've ever witnessed was during a viewing of Salem's Lot. i was over at a friend's house. (he wasn't too fond of horror movies, but, as with everything else during those days, i talked him into it.) i can't remember if the scene was the appearance of Mr. Barlowe or the boy-vampire's entrance in the hospital... but when the beast appeared, matt did two screaming back-flips and ended up cowering in the corner of the room, crying hysterically.

    his mother made me go home and prevented me from *ever* coming over to their house again.

    matt wouldn't talk to me in school for months afterward...

    even now (15 years later) when i run into him during visits home, he still gives me distrustful side-long glances as if i might just pull something else outta my pocket to fuck with his head...

    mental note: make sure to schedule some time this christmas to go over to matt's house in the middle of the night and scratch on his window...

By Lloyd on Thursday, October 15, 1998 - 04:29 pm:

    I just thought of another scary movie. I think it was called "Trilogy of Terror." I think it was made-for-tv. One of the shorts was about this woman (Karen Black) who brings home a spirit doll from Africa or wherever as a souvenir. There is a gold chain around its neck to keep the spirit in, and of course it falls off and it starts hunting her in her apartment.

    I think there's just something scary about 1970's cinematography. And it was short and compressed and had more of a direct effect. And it fed on my basic fear of a hidden danger, one that I know is there but can't quite find.

By Bryan on Thursday, October 15, 1998 - 05:19 pm:

    Yes, there is most certainly a certain, almost undefinable quality to '70's cinematography. It's something that's come up more than a few times in discussions I've had, but is very hard to quantify. It seems to be more of an intangible type of "vibe" that permeated the essence of film-making sensibilities...the type of thing that Mr. James Cameron couldn't buy if he had twice the money 'Titantic' cost him. Part of it, I think (and I'm not trying to simplify things here), is due to the quality of the film stock and the look it had from that time period. There is, of course, much more to it than that but I think this simple fact has more to do with it than you might think. At that point in time, there were also many more films being made, they did not cost nearly as much, didn't rely on the obscenities of modern cannibalistic-consumerism styled mass marketing and spoon feeding to gullible masses to stand on their own. As I commented earlier, the experimental seemed to meld with the mainstream to produce a most potent cinematic brew, the likes of which I doubt we will see again anytime soon. Glad to see that Blindswine had a similar "Burnt Offerings" bit of nostalgia...virtually identical headfuck of an experience to mine. Have held said video in my minds many a time, but haven't had the guts to revisit. And oh yeahhh...Phantasm! Saw that in the theatres when it came out as an impressionable youth and it most definitely left it's own very incisive mark on my psyche. Angus Scrimm has popped up in several movies actually, and at one point a friend and I, both Phantasm fans, began to check out movies purely on the basis of having 'the tall man' in them. Perhaps we should start the first regional chapter of The Angus Scrimm Fan Club. The movie has recently been reissued on video by the way as a directors cut of sorts with "additional footage", etc. I was given the soundtrack recently and many fond memories followed (dammit though!...the porchside jam between Reggie and big bro' isn't on it). Check out http://www.phantasm.com. I shit you not...there is actually a website there. There are, if I remember, modestly extensive biographies of the actors and perhaps we should check out Mr. Scrimm's whereabouts to see if perhaps your friend is not actually suffering chemical-induced delusions. And yeah, that segment of Trilogy of Terror is a classic one too...another one you can't forget.

By Dave on Thursday, October 15, 1998 - 11:31 pm:

    I just gotta say that the exorcist was and is the scariest movie I ever seen. First time I sar it, I was about 9 years old and I was watching it from behind the couch because I was supposed to be in bed and I definitely wasn't supposed to be watching stuff like THAT at 9 yrs of age. I swear the devil lived under my bed for months after that. You wanna fuck up a 9 year old for a while, show 'em the Exorcist and they'll be losing some sleep for sure.

By PetRock on Friday, October 16, 1998 - 11:16 pm:

    The Exorcist is definitely a good movie to watch with the lights out....good creepy vibes.

    Two movies that made me shove my face under the couch and cry when I was 5 or so --

    1 - The Wizard Of Oz (when Elmira Gulch(?) grabbed Toto, stashed him in the picnic basket, and rode away on her bike. Something about cruelty to small dogs just made me cry back then - heh)

    2 - Don't know the name of this one but it's a b/w movie featuring a gigantic black spider strolling through town and knocking down buildings and causing lots of mayhem. Still don't like spiders to this day (esp. 2 story-tall ones).

    But a movie that really really scared me when I was a teen was that "Night Stalker" tv movie with Darren McGavin as the newspaper reporter who went in search of vampires. For a tv movie with no gore or excess violence, that was one effective piece of scary shit....

By PeePee Pants on Tuesday, June 15, 1999 - 09:12 am:

    The scariest movie I ever saw?....Showgirls...or did I see/hear that in a movie....don't know...movies, life, movies, life, life, movies, all a blur....chuckie must go now time to open presents....or is/was that on screen....life, movies...
    The scariest movies are those that upset us the most....who would have thought Wizard of Oz would make ANYBODY'S list? and yet it did...so yeah the scariest movies are those that trigger the response.....

By Cyst on Tuesday, June 15, 1999 - 09:22 am:

    there's a scene in "twilight zone the movie," a film I haven't seen in forever, where there's like a second-long shot of a girl without a mouth. I loved that, it was just a glimpse of horror.

    also, I remember a similar scene in "poltergeist" that affected me. it's early on and they're in the kitchen and everything's normal, then a couple seconds later the camera turns back to the table, and the chairs are all stacked on top of it. I found that really frightening.

By Cyst on Tuesday, June 15, 1999 - 09:25 am:

    and the dream sequence at the very end of "carrie." the grave. I almost had cardiac arrest in my parents' basement at age 10.

By Jim aka PajamaBoy on Wednesday, June 16, 1999 - 09:52 pm:

    I can't believe I didn't see this thread when it first started. I agree with Burnt Offerings, but the movie that spooked the hell out of me was "The Ammityville Horror."

    I was maybe 11. Would not sleep anywhere NEAR the closet for weeks.

By Margret on Wednesday, June 16, 1999 - 10:08 pm:


    The Deer Hunter.

    Summer of My German Soldier.

    Nightmare on Elm Street (the original).


    Das Boot (despite the amazing Jurgen Prochnow fixation it gave me).

    The Shining.

    The Killing Fields.

By Swine on Wednesday, June 16, 1999 - 11:43 pm:

By R.C. on Thursday, June 17, 1999 - 01:35 am:

    Something must've happened when I hit puberty /but scary movies just haven't seemed scary to me since I was a kid.

    Any of that alien-type shit set on some other planet/or some spaceship/never gets to me. Becuz I KNOW my ass will never be in outer space!

    The only modern-day horror flick that scared me as an adult was "The Hunger"/a vampire flick from the 1980's w/Susan Sarandon/Catherine Deneuve & David Bowie. It was directed by Tony Scott & set in the present-day. Which I think is what scared me abt it -- the fact that it wasn't the usual Anne Rice-gothic vampire tale.
    And the science angle/when they were studying Sarandon's blood. I remember watching it on cable during the middle of the day one Saturday when I was babysitting a friend's kids.

    And it scared the shit out of me! Gave me nightmares so bad I had to sleep w/the light on for 2 nites.

    The only other horror flicks (vs. suspense/ /thrillers/which I consider to be a different category) that ever really scared me were 3 movies I saw as a kid:

    -- "Night Of The Living Dead": (the '68 Romero version. That one STILL scares me)
    -- "The Mephisto Waltz": A flick from the early 70's & the 1st R-rated movie I ever saw (I asked my Dad to take me). It starred Alan Alda & Jackie Bisset. It was another present-day tale abt a bunch of Satanists who seek eternal life & other personal perks by switching bodies w/other human beings. Scared me but good!
    -- "Nosferatu"

    Those are the only ones that ever really got to me. The horror movies today are all slasher flicks & usually way too camp to be seriously frightening.

    But I too am looking forward to "The Blair Witch Project".

By Gee on Saturday, June 19, 1999 - 04:06 pm:

    I don't ever remember being really frightened by a movie before. I feel so gyped.

    The closest I ever came might be when I saw the Abyss (which was only a few months ago) and I was very tense throughout most of it. It didn't exactly Scare me, but it did make me wonder if my heart was still beating.

    Oh my god, I loved that freaking movie.

By Nelly on Sunday, June 20, 1999 - 01:45 am:


By Markus on Monday, June 21, 1999 - 07:20 pm:

    The Andromeda Strain very late at night when I was about 12. I was a science geek even then, and microbiology my passion. That shit was scary; monsters, never.

By J on Monday, July 5, 1999 - 10:30 am:

    The Night of the Living Dead scared the shit out of me too.I,ll never forget it cause this real hot guy named Dana took me to see it,I wore a dress and 6inch platform shoes.I made it through most of the movie,but the last 20 minutes got to me and I got up and told Dana I was going to the restroom,and proceeded to make my way out,my fucking leg had fell asleep,and I fell down in the aisle.Dana tried to help me,but I said I was O.K.got up and fell down again.Humiliated,I finally made it out,waited for Dana outside the door.

By J on Sunday, July 25, 1999 - 02:38 am:

    I saw The Blair Witch Project this last Monday,It,s only showing at one theater in town till 7/30/1999,the Mill Mall,we got advanced tickets,and still had to wait in line,ended up in the fucking 2nd row,my eyes were going crazy on me,and my neck hurt too.But like she always did, R.C. did right by us.It was hella scarey,and with out all the gore and "model cast"They really fucked with the cast,and it showed.WOW!!!I haven,t seen anything like it in eons,it,s that good.

By Gee on Sunday, July 25, 1999 - 04:08 am:

    Don't tell me what happens!!! I can't freaking WAIT to see that movie.

By J on Sunday, July 25, 1999 - 04:18 am:

    I wouldn,t dream of it,just want to make sure
    people check it out,it was made for around $25.000,and it is just scarey!!

By Gee on Monday, July 26, 1999 - 01:22 am:

    I saw a "Making Of..." special on Space tonight for the Blair Witch Project. It was weird, but really neat. I expected it to be your typical making of movie, explaning...well...how they'd made the movie. But no. It was like a short version of what I imagian the movie to be like. A documentary about the three kids and the Blair Witch. I watched it with my sister and when it was over I accedently let it slip that it was all fiction, and she was Really dissapointed. She still thought it was good, but she liked it better before she knew.

    Space is having a contest for people who want to make a documentary. Send them a lil' one page treatment and they'll give you a bunch of money and equipment to make your film. Then they'll air it on their network. That sounds neat.

By Wisper on Monday, July 26, 1999 - 02:36 am:

    Swing Kids

    I watched it for the second time ever last year, and cried like a baby. Yeah I had nightmares.
    Movies never scare me, much less make me cry. But I suppose the 'scary' thing about swing kids is totally different than the average fake blood and latex horror that bores me so.

By Waffleboy on Monday, July 26, 1999 - 12:41 pm:

    I am gonna be in a movie after the new year. A friend/writer who used to produce Unsolved Mysteries and is now producing some other new program on Lifetime is making a film. It's about a man in the 50's. sorta of a beat, addicted to Benny Poppers, and the relationship with his wife.
    Our budget is about 10-15 grand. Especially with digital cameras, it's so easy to do a film cheap. And in Hollywood, few people are working after the new year and in the heart of winter. So we will pull all our strings an basically get a crew for cheap. The location will be his house. His brother is a Key Grip who will act as Direct/Producer, and we have many other friends who work as set dressers, electricians, set carpenters, and sound. To rent a digital camera for a week is next to nothing and much easier to work with than 16 or 35 mm. It' can be done......

    Yeah I want to see the Blair Witch as well but it's only playing in 4 theaters in LA, and well for this town it's sold out almost daily......

By J on Tuesday, July 27, 1999 - 11:26 am:

    I think the 30th,it,s gonna be at more theaters.Are we gonna see your movie Waffles?

By Waffleboy on Tuesday, July 27, 1999 - 11:39 am:

    maybe in a year or two, since it's a super independent feature, it may take time to get through production and we will be lucky if we get distribution.........however thats the pessimistic view. We won't start working onit until Feb 2000

By BABEL16 on Tuesday, July 27, 1999 - 01:53 pm:

    i think LORD OF ILLUSIONS has to be number 1 or 2 on my scary movie list. it was just freaky. cant even specify why, just after watching the movie i came away with a weird vibe.

    EIGHTEENTH ANGEL was also pretty suspenseful and just generally freaky.

By WAFFLES on Tuesday, July 27, 1999 - 02:03 pm:


By BLAKESNAKE on Monday, April 3, 2000 - 06:10 am:

    Rosemary's baby was a good movie, as well as the Blair witch both endings keep you guessing.

By Dementia 13 on Saturday, September 1, 2001 - 01:54 am:

    another Polanski film, "Death and the Maiden" is quite frightening.

By D- 13 on Saturday, September 1, 2001 - 01:55 am:

    "The Tenant" gave me nightmares. (Also by Roman Polanski)

By X on Saturday, April 5, 2003 - 11:51 am:

    Home Alone 2 terrified me

By X on Saturday, April 5, 2003 - 11:52 am:

    Home Alone 2 terrified me

By Indiana Jones on Friday, June 6, 2003 - 06:14 am:

    Child's Play 1 & 2, who issn't affraid of a killer doll ?


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