Fear and Film

[Top Ten Movies That Scared Me Senseless]

10. Jurassic Park (1993): Before you mock, if you saw this for the first time in a theater with a huge screen and surround sound, weren’t you at least a little shrieky during the T-Rex vs. The Kids In The Car scene? This selection is tied with The Ring (2002), but only the scenes with uber-creepy dead girl lurching around. Still, that’s plenty. Shiver.

9. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984): Thanks, Wes Craven. I didn’t want to sleep during my college years, anyway. Tied with Poltergeist (1982): Demonic clown and those people in the tv. Enough said.

8.The Entity (1981): Not sure if this were more frightening or disgusting, actually, but it was enormously disturbing. I wish I could unsee it.

7. The Blair Witch Project (1999): C’mon. Tell the truth: it was freakin’ scary. Especially if you had unwisely scheduled a camping trip for right after you saw it, like we did.

6.When a Stranger Calls (1979): “The call came from inside the house” moment marked the definitive end of my babysitting career.

5. Halloween (1978): It was all just too much. I wanted to flee every minute. (The only reason I watched the entire film? My date was cute.)

4. A Clockwork Orange (1971): Terrifyingly bizarre. Watching it felt like being kicked repeatedly in the stomach by a steel-toed boot for two hours straight.

3. Alien (1979): The first film I ever snuck into. And then wished I hadn’t because for the next several months, I lived in genuine fear of something leaping out unexpectedly from behind doors and whatnot. Tied with Psycho (1960) for general mind-bending properties.

2. The Shining (1980): Haunting and suspenseful on about 4,000 levels. It all freaks me out: redrum, the weird twins, the elevator of blood, the chases, and pretty much everything Jack says for the final third of the film. I still can’t watch it without covering my eyes at certain points.

1. The Thing (1982): I didn’t expect this to be scary at all, for some reason. Maybe because I knew Kurt Russell of Disney fame was in it. But Holy Flubber! Prepare to scream, my friends.

Your turn!  What movies scared you?


16 thoughts on “Fear and Film”

  1. I love this post! Mainly because I’ve always been a bit of a scaredy cat so there are movies that the entire rest of the world saw in their childhoods that I’ve only recently watched. I am SO GLAD to have found someone else who is as scared by A Clockwork Orange as I am. I do not like it.

    Other scared my pants off movies: Night of the Hunter (Robert Mitchum in any role scares me now) and Night of the Living Dead. Not a fan of zombies. But interestingly enough, after avoiding The Exorcist for the first 40-mumble years of my life, I have a strange affinity for it. So, now, it’s on the Halloween list. Every year.


  2. I will never get that very last image of Blair Witch Project out of my head. How can something as simple as a guy standing against a wall be so incredibly terrifying! Yikes.
    I think I’ve avoided scary movies since then. Great post!


  3. The Swedish film “Let the Right One In” scared the freaking pants off me. I didn’t see the American version, but I’ve heard it’s not as nuanced as the original. Great post!


  4. Scary movies – don’t watch them. Some college friends tried to talk me into watching The Exorcist. I think I lasted a whole 15 minutes. Clockwork Orange was disturbing. So was “It,” but not nearly as disturbing as the book. But while I don’t like horror flicks, I do love psychological thrillers. The Sixth Sense sent shivers down my spine – but in a good way. Too early for me to think of other titles, but if I do, I’ll come back.

    My daughter, however, is looking for the ultimate in scary book movie. She read IT and CARRIE, neither of which were “scary enough.” She’s 13 and weird, that’s all I can say.

    Great post!


  5. Aliens for sure. When I saw Clockwork Orange, I thought they could never do another violent film because they’d taken it over the top and satirized it. I was young.


  6. Oh, those are great additions. Thanks, all!

    Diane, I avoided The Exorcist my whole life, too. Just watched it last year for the first time and…I probably could have handled it sooner, turns out. Helps that it’s a bit dated now. 🙂

    Kristi, you are so right about that guy-facing-wall moment! Context is everything.

    Sarah, I’m sort of scared to watch that one, ha!

    Mary, I actually started writing this post about scary books but couldn’t think of enough for a top ten list. The Shining was on there, though, and The Stand. And Into Thin Air, which is not horror but so suspenseful that it was hard to put down…just grueling and based on true experiences. I thought Jaws was really scary when I read it the first time. And Poe stories but they are more cerebral than scary.

    Theresa, that’s interesting about Clockwork. And yes to Psycho, which is on my list at #3 (I squeezed a few more than ten on my top ten list, oops). The Birds was pretty intense, too!

    The thing that has scared me most recently was American Horror Story (especially season two, though season one had its moments). I didn’t actually want to keep watching but the characters were so compelling that I had to see what happened to them…


  7. American Psycho is the only book I have ever hurled across the room. It was absolutely horrifying. (The movie was scary the first time for sure, but the second time I was more interested in the character’s unraveling, somehow. And the whole corporate-culture satire. Those scenes with the business card comparisons…ha!)


  8. Totally agree about that first T-rex scene in Jurassic Park. I saw that movie when I was about 8 years old. At a drive-in movie theater. From my parent’s car. While it rained. The fact that I didn’t cry was incredible. No scary movie experience has ever matched that one for me.

    The Thing is an awesome list topper too. Great list.


  9. Oh, yes, yes, yes. I can’t watch horror. However, I remember in middle school there was a trend of renting the library rec room for movie parties. Of course, all the movies were horror movies, but that was the point, right? Scared girls, strong boys, and teenage hormones. Not sure why this was allowed. However, the scariest movie I ever saw, and still sometimes have nightmares about, was Something Wicked this Way Comes, which I saw on a Sunday afternoon in my living room. So bizarre that I still remember! I must have been, perhaps, nine? I shiver even now.


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