I thought I’d get everyone in the mood for Hallowe’en by posting my picks for top five scariest movies of all times. Most of them should be available at Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, and Netflicks. Got one not on this list? Drop it in the comment box.
This classic thriller from Alfred Hitchcock is my personal favorite. Glamorous actresses Tippy Hedren and Suzanne Pleshette star with hunkola Rod Taylor. It’s scary because it takes an ordinary everyday subject (birds) and, much the way Stephen King does years later with a dog, turns it into something to be feared.
This is Werner Herzog’s remake of Max Schreck’s 1922 classic, Nosferatu, and Klaus Kinski is an excellent vampire. If you haven’t seen the 1922 version, you should do so. It would make you appreciate this one that much more. You might also enjoy Shadow of the Vampire, starring Willem Dafoe (it’s not a remake of Nosferatu, but rather a film about the making of the movie).
We rented this movie when it became available on DVD. As it turns out, Robert had to go out of town that weekend and I ended up watching it alone. Suffice it to say that there were times during the movie that I was watching it from the damn doorway, scared to look at the screen at times. The fact that it was shot in 16mm black and white, in documentary format, lent it a realism that made it all the more frightening. As an aside, the production company, Haxan, is a silent nod to the Ultimate Best Horror Movie of All Time, Haxan. If you can ever get your hands on a copy of this irreverent film, please grab it, it would be a rare gem.
This film works, not only because of the genius of director Roman Polanski, but because the acting of all the principals, especially Mia Farrow, just works. It’s a film of ultimate betrayal and while you will have figured out the movie’s ending halfway through, you must watch helplessly as Rosemary comes to terms with the fact that the man she loves has sold her soul to the devil. Charles Grodin has a small part (his first) as Rosemary’s gynecologist.
This Roman Polanski film predates Rosemary’s Baby by three years. It’s a dark and brooding film, and the horror lies in the slow descent into madness that the film’s protagonist, played by Catherine Deneuve, takes when she’s left alone for several weeks in the apartment she shares with her sister. Introverted, she’s soon courted by a handsome man. But what happens during the course of that courtship … well, I won’t tell you. Rent the movie.