As I watch The Shining, tense and captivated, I wonder what happened to good horror movies. There are few things I love more than films, and there are few things I love more than a good Horror film, and following a previous post ‘5 things I want to come out of this year‘ in which I mentioned I wanted a decent horror movie, I have created this list of my 5 top ‘classic horror’ movies. They scare, scar and suffice and if you haven’t already seen them, I heavily, heavily recommend. Be considerate as gore effect levels were obviously not as high as today, so directors had to riddle different ways of scaring. Well, enough of explaining and making excuses, I will now begin my countdown.
at Number 5-
I feel completely obliged to put Psycho on this list, not necessarily for its scare rating, or its chilling score, but because of its influence alone. Hitchcock’s masterpiece was well ahead of its time, its male perpetrator with a disturbing family background was completely modern and set this film aside from any of Hitchcock’s pre-Psycho or post-Psycho films. Despite the film showing no gore, and only suggesting violence, it is still extremely tense and frightening. In my opinion, it is one of the best psychological horrors made. This film inspired so many film makers, with both Hitchcock’s careful editing and Bernard Herrmann’s clever and cold score.
P.S there are reasons why people are so scared of men too close to their mums (and this is the reason)
Horrors come in 2 types- there are creepy psychological thrillers that chill and captivate, and then there are in-your-face full on horrors that send shivers down your spine- and Texas Chain Saw Massacre can be regarded as the latter. With many attempting to remake this classic, it must be scary, right? Of course it is stereotypical- it started the stereotypes- innocent people being torn apart (literally) as they are chased through the woods with a masked killer bearing a chainsaw. Can you get more classic? This film is simple, sick and damn scary. Once Leatherface makes his entrance, be prepared for psychological terror.
I know you were awaiting The Exorcists arrival on this list, it was just a matter of what placement it would make. The Exorcist blended gritty gore with psychological, religious narrative and logic with a dream like story. Terrible things come out of that girls mouth, all whilst her head is spinning, literally, due to demonic possession. When the film was released, some cinemas had to provide ‘exorcist sick bags’ for cinema-goers that just couldn’t take it. I wonder if there will ever be a film of our time, that actually provides sick bags for viewers (maybe a film that Miley Cyrus is in but I mean sick bags for scary, not cheesy).
What is more terrorizing and torturous than a trusted family member slowly turning crazy and killing everyone they love? Of course the Stephen King masterpiece had to make it somewhere on this list (I was close to also adding Carrie). Although, I suppose I can’t give Stephen King all the credit, Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece is so tense is has me in bits. (although King was famously unimpressed with the film, as Kubrick stripped it of its supernatural side). Jack Nicholson is so fantastic in this, his insanity is almost infectious, with him improvising the most famous line in the whole movie (possibly of the 20th century) ‘hereeee’ssss Johnnyyyyyyy’. The psychotic thriller sticks with you and plays on your mind constantly, the screeching soundtrack just adds to the never ending suspense throughout the film.
and finally, at number 1
The Creme de le Scream….
The scariest part of this film isn’t even the gore, nor is it the music, or even the vicious performance by (one of my favorite actors of all time) Anthony Hopkins, it is the dialogue. And I know it may sounds stupid, however, the dialogue in this film is just as important as the gore in this film, so you really have to listen. The gore does not disappoint, however, it is extremely unusual to have a film that would still be equally as frightening if you blocked out the acting and cinematography and just listened to the chilling conversations. The suspense is so heavy in the movie that it will completely wear you out.
Maybe some of the reasoning behind this film being both my number 1 classic horror movie, and my number 1 horror movie of all time may be the age that I watched this at. Being the youngest in the family really does subject you to a lot of horror movies that are way before your age, having first watched this film when I was 8 years old (yes, 8). Either way, I would highly recommend, sufficing all needs- be it psychological horror and gore levels. The double story-line excites and intrigues.
p.s Hannibal Lecter seems like he would be a nice, smart and charming guy, if he got over this whole ‘face eating fiasco’. Just a thought.
Well, that concludes my Top 5 Classic Horrors, I hope I have won you over with at least one of these films, or I hope that if you have seen these, that you agree a little bit. I would love to here people’s opinions so please leave a comment. Now go get scared.