October 28th, 2011
12:00 PM ET
It would be a waste of time to figure out why, but it goes without saying that scary stories can be extremely entertaining. And there’s no better way to get in the mood for Halloween than by locking your door, staying up late and watching your favorite flicks that’ll totally freak you out.
Hollywood has invented numerous ways to give us nightmares. Monster movies (really the first foray into making audiences scream) employ werewolves, vampires, reanimates and other supernatural beings. The monsters are often conflicted, guilt-ridden creatures that suffer as a result of the crimes they commit against humanity.
Horror films could technically encompass all of the sub-genres of scary movies but for the sake of simplicity, let’s just say they shock and awe audiences as they torture their characters. These films present imagery so disgusting and horrific that instinctively you want to turn away.
Naturally, you keep watching until you’re completely grossed out or thoroughly desensitized. Slasher films, probably the simplest formula of the entire genre, unleash relentless killers into suburbia, summer camps and boiler rooms where they prey on a large majority of the film’s cast.
Now it’s obvious that the scope of this week’s topic is too broad to simplify into a single list. It really requires two, with the first being the A-list. These films transcend the label of "scary" movies because of their critical acclaim and the legends that directed them.
The second list is devoted to B-list cult classics. These low-budget drive-in favorites are not known for their quality of acting but are entertaining nevertheless. The movies on both lists will scare the bejeezus out of you all the same.
So if your Halloween just isn’t complete without watching a zombie marathon, if masked maniacs are more your speed, or if you think Santa Carla blood-suckers are the best boogie men… tell us what movies make you scream. If you want to take this further, share the scariest theme music too…Bernard Herrmann anyone?
Top 5 A-List:
1. "Psycho" (Alfred Hitchcock/1960): “Oh, but she's harmless. She's as harmless as one of those stuffed birds.” – Norman Bates
2. "The Shining" (Stanley Kubrick/1980): “I said, I'm not gonna hurt ya. I'm just going to bash your brains in.” – Jack Torrance
3. "The Exorcist" (William Friedkin/1973): “What an excellent day for an exorcism.” – Demon
4. "The Silence of the Lambs" (Jonathan Demme/1991): “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.” – Hannibal Lecter
5. "Cape Fear" (Martin Scorsese/1991): “Counselor! Come out, come out, wherever you are!” – Max Cady
Top 5 B-list (Dedicated to the slashers and the cheesy film taglines):
1. "Friday The 13th" (Jason Voorhees): “If you think this means bad luck...YOU DON'T KNOW THE HALF OF IT.” – movie tagline
2. "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (Freddy Kruger): “One, two, Freddy's coming for you. / Three, four, better lock your door. / Five, six, grab your crucifix. / Seven, eight, gonna stay up late. / Nine, ten, never sleep again.” – Children
3. "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (Leatherface): “America's most bizarre crime! Brutal beyond description! Grisly beyond comprehension!” – movie tagline
4. "Halloween" (Michael Myers): “The Night he came home.” – movie tagline
5. "Hellraiser" (Pinhead): “It will tear your soul apart.” – movie tagline
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