What’s your favorite scary movie?
No, we’re not trying to reenact the gory opening of “Scream” — in preparation for Halloween, the Zap2it
team is compiling a list of the scariest, funniest, weirdest horror films we hold near and dear. Did all that head-spinning in “The Exorcist” freak you out as a child? What about Jack Nicholson’s terrifying turn in “The Shining”? Or perhaps you prefer the kitschy fun of a retro B-movie?
Either way, you’ll want to check out Zap2it’s list of our favorite scary movies, then leave your own suggestions in the comments. Together, we’ll create the perfect Halloweekend movie marathon playlist!
This movie has acquired a bad rap over the years because of the innumerable sequels and the ill-advised 2007 remake (which was itself followed by a sequel). But go back and watch John Carpenter’s 1978 original. It gets gory as all hell before things come to a climax, but Carpenter builds suspense throughout (aided by a super-creepy score he wrote himself) until it’s almost unbearable. Yes, a million slasher movies that came afterward ripped it off, but it’s one of the only horror films I will stop and watch whenever it’s on. Especially this time of year. — Rick Porter
“An American Werewolf in London”
As a rule, I hate gory movies. Ten minutes into the remake of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” I knew I had made a mistake, but Michael Bay was sitting behind me in the theater so I couldn’t give him the satisfaction of walking out. Which is why “An American Werewolf in London” both repels and fascinates me. On the one hand, the werewolf transformation remains a scene that I’ve never sat through without plugging my ears or without peeking through the cracks in the fingers spread across my eyes. On the other, there’s much fun to be had had from a constantly decomposing Griffin Dunne and David “I’m a Pepper” Naughton — “Mummy, a naked American man stole my balloons!” The juxtaposition of the graphic wolf action and the light comedy adds up to a sucker punch of a tragic ending. This is immediately made even more confusing by the doo-wop version of “Blue Moon” that kicks in for the end credits. Gives me chills every time. — Brill Bundy
“Jaws” & “Psycho”
I just can’t choose between “Jaws” and “Psycho.” The former is the original “summer blockbuster” and was darn scary. But it also featured fantastic performances, beautiful direction and was a Best Picture nominee. It still remains my all-time favorite movie. “Psycho” stands the test of as a ground-breaking slasher flick that featured a cool twist ending long before those were a dime a dozen. Plus, it scared the pants off me. — Andrea Reiher
I know it’s not really that scary, but “Poltergiest” really messed with my head as a kid. Because of this film, I am terrified of clowns, tubs full of goo, little old ladies with creepy voices and static on the television. — Jenna Busch
While it isn’t a text-book case horror film, the 2001 Jake Gyllenhaal-fronted indie about a depressed, super-intense teen plagued by visions of a freakish man-sized bunny rabbit, is nonetheless totally scary. Not just because of that horrid bunny, but thanks to the total mindbending premise — which involves time travel, a parallel universe and Patrick Swayze as a pedophile. Also, very smart people have spent a serious amount of time trying to completely decode
the movie. Another reason it’s a fave? One of the best soundtracks ever — including Duran Duran, INXS and Echo and the Bunnymen. (Note: Not to be confused with the lame sequel “S. Darko.”) — Liz Kelly Nelson
“The Blair Witch Project”
I saw “Blair Witch” before it became what it became. After the movie I’ll admit that I looked in the back seat of my car to make sure the coast was clear. — David Eckstein
“House on Haunted Hill”
Although the 1999 remake was fun in its own right, nothing beats Vincent Price’s 1959 horror movie about an eccentric millionaire who invites strangers to his creepy mansion for a haunted house party. The effects, though probably novel for the time, are hilarious — a ghost/corpse thing is literally rolled across the set on a very visibly dolly — as is some of the dialogue. The best quote, which is not funny on its own but wonderfully delivered: “My wife, she’s so amuuuuuusing.” — Jean Bentley