Since today is Halloween I couldn’t think of a better top 10 than the movies that over the years have scared the bejesus out of me.
The Birds (1963)
Starring: Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Suzanne Pleshette
What happens: Birds suddenly and inexplicably start attacking people in massive flocks
Creepiest moment: When the children are singing at the school and the birds slowly but surely amass
“Mother in Diner: [to Melanie] Why are they doing this? Why are they doing this? They said when you got here the whole thing started. Who are you? What are you? Where did you come from? I think you’re the cause of all of this. I think you’re evil. EVIL! “
The Omen (1976)
What happens: After a husband agrees to swap his wife’s stillborn baby for a healthy newborn he slowly comes to discover that the child is the Antichrist.
Starring: Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, Harvey Stephens
Creepiest moment: When Damien’s nanny kills herself at his birthday party and he smiles because it’s the first time we really know he is evil.
“Robert Thorn: If there were anything wrong, you’d tell me, wouldn’t you?
Kathy Thorn: Wrong? What could be wrong with our child, Robert? We’re the beautiful people, aren’t we?“
Starring: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow
What happens: Two detectives attempt to track down a serial killer who is picking off his victims according to the seven deadly sins
Creepiest moment: When the guy who has been tied up with no food for a year revives himself. Proper jump out of your seat stuff.”David Mills: What’s in the box?”
The Ring (2002)
Starring: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson
What happens: Strange things start happening to a journalist investigating a video tape that seems to be killing people seven days after they’ve watched it.
Creepiest moment: When Samara climbs out of the TV. Getting goosebumps just thinking about it.
“Rachel Keller: Honey, the house you drew for me…
Aidan Keller: Uh huh.
Rachel Keller: Where did you see it? Did you see it in your head? Is that why you drew it?
Aidan Keller: In my head?
Rachel Keller: Aidan, why did you draw that house?
Aidan Keller: ‘Cause she told me to.
Rachel Keller: Who? Who told you to?
Aidan Keller: The little girl.
Rachel Keller: She talks to you?
Aidan Keller: No, she shows me things.
Rachel Keller: Did she show you the horses?
Aidan Keller: She doesn’t like it in the barn. The horses keep her up at night.
Rachel Keller: So she still lives there?
Aidan Keller: No, she lives in a dark place now.“
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Starring: Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López
What happens: A young girl obsessed with fairy tales escapes her family troubles by entering a secret world where she must complete three gruesome tasks.
Creepiest moment: Everything involving the dude with the eyes on his hands.
“Ofelia: My name is Ofelia. Who are you?
Pan: Me? I’ve had so many names. Old names that only the wind and the trees can pronounce. I am the mountain, the forest and the earth. I am… I am a faun. Your most humble servant, Your Highness.”
Event Horizon (1997)
Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan
What happens: A rescue crew investigates a spaceship that disappeared and then reappeared and discovered that it might have come back a little bit possessed.
Creepiest moment: I had nightmares about the woman with no eyes for weeks after this one.
“Miller: Oh. My. God. What happened to your eyes?
Dr. Weir: Where we’re going, we won’t need eyes to see.
Miller: What are you talking about?
Dr. Weir: I created the Event Horizon to reach the stars, but she’s gone much, much farther than that. She tore a hole in our universe, a gateway to another dimension. A dimension of pure chaos. Pure… evil. When she crossed over, she was just a ship. But when she came back… she was alive! Look at her, Miller. Isn’t she beautiful?
Miller: Your “beautiful” ship killed its crew, Doctor.
Dr. Weir: Well… now she has another crew. Now she has us.”
Starring: JoBeth Williams, Heather O’Rourke, Craig T. Nelson
What happens: A family’s house is haunted by ghosts who seem to be obsessed with their young daughter.
Creepiest moment: The clown doll under Carole Anne’s bed.
“Diane: You were saying about poltergeists.
Dr. Lesh: Poltergeists are usually associated with an individual. Hauntings seem to be connected with an area. A house usually.
Marty: Poltergeist disturbances are of a fairly short duration. Perhaps a couple of months. Hauntings can go on for years.
Diane: Are you telling me that all of this could just suddenly end at any time?
Dr. Lesh: Yes, it could. Unless it’s a haunting. But hauntings don’t usually revolve around living people.
Diane: Then we don’t have much time, Dr. Lesh, because my daughter is alive somewhere inside this house.”
Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair
What happens: When a teenage girl is possessed her mother calls on the help of priests to try and get her daughter back
Creepiest moment: When Regan comes down the stairs bent over backwards
“Chris MacNeil: You show me Regan’s double, same face, same voice, everything. And I’d know it wasn’t Regan. I’d know in my gut. And I’m telling you that ‘thing’ upstairs isn’t my daughter. Now, I want you to tell me that you know for a fact that there’s nothing wrong with my daughter, except in her mind. You tell me for a fact that an exorcism wouldn’t do any good. You tell me that! “
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Starring: Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
What happens: The ghost of a child murderer stalks the nightmares of the children of the people who killed him.
Creepiest moment: When Glen gets sucked into his bed and explodes out in a volcano of blood.
“Dr. King: [At the sleep clinic, referring to the monitor’s brainwave display] A nightmare now would be plus or minus five or six. She’s about three.
Marge: [Nancy begins twitching, as you hear Freddy’s knives] Doctor, what’s she doing now? Is she asleep or awake?
Dr. King: [the monitor’s number quickly increases to 30]
[Shaking his head in disbelief]
Dr. King: Something’s wrong. It never gets this high! “
28 Days Later (2002)
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston
What happens: A mysterious virus sweeps through the UK turning everyone into rampaging high speed zombies
Creepiest moment: The early scenes of a completely abandoned London
Selena: It started as rioting. But right from the beginning you knew this was different. Because it was happening in small villages, market towns. And then it wasn’t on the TV any more. It was in the street outside. It was coming in through your windows. It was a virus. An infection. You didn’t need a doctor to tell you that. It was the blood. It was something in the blood. By the time they tried to evacuate the cities it was already too late. Army blockades were overrun. And that’s when the exodus started. Before the TV and radio stopped broadcasting there were reports of infection in Paris and New York. We didn’t hear anything more after that.”