“We all go a little mad sometimes.” Norman Bates, Psycho

  

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“You don’t need eyes for where we’re going.”  ~ Event Horizon

 

“Oh Yes, there will be blood!” ~ Saw II

the-exorcistAfter I finished my favorite 100 movies, I began to realize that I couldn’t stop with just that one list. I felt that I really needed to do a list of my favorite scary/horror movies since I am such a big fan of the genre. Let me clarify, though. I don’t like slasher movies like the whole Friday or Nightmare franchises or Texas Chainsaw movies. I also don’t do zombies, with just a few exceptions. And in movies like Scream and I Know What You Did, I just couldn’t get over the silliness.

You won’t find a lot of movies on my list that you normally find on a best horror movies list simply because I like psychological scary more than gorey blood scary. I like ghost stories, and I really enjoy plots in which perception and reality are questionable. Some of the movies that I have included may not be considered horror movies to purists, but there was some element within them that gave me the willies. For example, The Exorcism of Emily Rose isn’t really a scary movie in the traditional sense, but since the plot was supposedly based on a real event, I was left with a definite feeling of discomfort after watching it. 

“Fear is only as deep as the mind allows” ~ Japanese Proverb

I am a big fan of Korean and Japanese horror movies, as well as vampire movies and movies about serial killers. I will warn you about a few of the foreign films that I have listed. Audition/Odeshon seems pretty normal and a bit slow in the beginning, but the last thirty minutes are absolutely horrifying and pretty graphic. In fact, I’m not sure that I would have watched it if I had known that beforehand. The same goes for the pacing of Ju-Rei: It’s slow in the beginning, the quality of the filming is not great, but it delivers in the end.

“Listen to them, the children of the night. What sweet music they make.”  Dracula, Bram Stoker’s Dracula

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Kiefer Sutherland in "The Lost Boys"

Sometimes I have chosen the remake, and sometimes I have chosen the original. It may have to do with casting or effects. Can’t really explain that one. I do include some classics, like “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” which was pretty scary to me when I watched it as a girl. There used to be these creature feature fests on Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. That’s how I first became addicted to scary movies, and “Creature from the BL” was rerun several times.

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” ~ H. P. Lovecraft

Don’t ask me why I like to scare the crap out of myself because I really don’t know. I think that part of the reason is that watching these movies goes back to the old Aristotlean concept about audiences and tragedies. That is, people watch these sorts of things (of course, he was referring to plays) to purge their own emotions about pity and fear.

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Brad Pitt in Se7en

That being said, Aristotle’s premise about why people want to see tragedies, including some of Shakespeare’s goriest plays (Titus Andronicus anyone?) is because as common people, we cannot experience tragedy on our own, so we empathize with the tragic hero/heroine, and thereby rid ourselves of our own pity and fear.

In true tragedies—in the Aristotleansense—the protagonist must be someone with power, influence or something that places him or her above everyone else; otherwise, there could be no fall. The fall comes from hubris, or conceit: that is, the hero believing that his life is untouchable, or the heroine believing in her infallibility.

The horror often came from the factors that actually worked to bring down the protagonist; for example, in the play Dr. Faustus, the audience was treated to the doctor being dragged down to hell because of his deal with the devil. Renaissance special effects.

Don’t really know what sent me off on that tangent other than my own reasoning for watching the things that I watch sometimes: If you watch a scary movie, perhaps you can get rid of your real-life fears. Of course, the opposite may be true: you watch something so scary that you are unable to leave it alone; it haunts you and keeps you up at night.

All righty then. So here is my list of horror/scary movies. Some are scarier than others, and some are campy scary. It goes without saying that you will probably not agree with my choices, but oh well. At least I tried. As always, please feel free to comment on my choices and suggest others, just remember, I’m not claiming that these are the best, just the ones that I like the most.

” To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another.” ~ Katherine Paterson
 

My Favorite Scary Movies

1.   Event Horizon: Scared the crap out of me the first time and every other time

2.   Silence of the Lambs: Fava beans and a nice Chianti

3.   Saw 1-4: Where does he get those toys?

4.   Jaws: We need a bigger boat.

5.   Ju-On/Ju-On 2 (The Grudge, Japanese): Evil houseand woman crawling on walls; part 2 still has evil house

6.   Bram Stoker’s Dracula: Gary Oldman as Dracula in a visually stunning production

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7.   Ryeong (The Ghost, Korean): Sometimes amnesia can be a good thing

8.   The Others: The entire mood of this one really got to me and stayed with me for a while

9.   Psycho: Hitchcock. What else needs to be said?

10. The Ring: Creepy, ultra creepy.

11.  Dusk ‘til Dawn: Vampires, Quentin Tarantino, Salma Hayek and a snake

12.  Ils (They, French): Come out and play?

13.  El Orfanato (The Orphanage, Spanish): Surreal and ultimately, heartbreaking

14.  Stir of Echoes: Kevin Bacon wields a jackhammer

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15.  The Lost Boys: Young Kiefer Sutherland with fangs—too cool.

16.  Se7en: Gruesome deadly sins played out on screen with nothing spared

17.  The Grudge: American remake not quite as good as the Japanese version, but still jumped during the shower scene

18.  Dead Calm: The whole premise still gets to me.

19.  The Dark: Sean Bean and people jumping off cliffs in Wales

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20.  Rosemary’s Baby: Don’t drink the milkshake

21.  Misery: Don’t make Kathy Bates angry.

22.  The Birds: Oh man. This one gave me nightmares for days

23.  Underworld: Victor doesn’t like to be awakened before his time. One of the more stylish vampire movies to come along in a while.

24.  The Exorcist: First scary movie I almost saw when I was a teenager.

25.  The Shining: Heeeeere’s Johnny!

26.  Halloween: First scary movie I actually saw most of

27.  Hostel: I didn’t want to see but I couldn’t stop watching

28.  Interview With a Vampire: The vampire revue was bizarre, and Kirsten Dunst as perpetual child Claudia was truly disconcerting

29.  Stigmata: Gabriel Byrne as a priest and Patricia Arquette as the victim of stigmata. Religious fervor gone wild

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30.  Alien: Hate those drooling creatures, love Ripley

31.  Aliens: Paul Reiser as sleazy corporate guy in outer space. They should have listened to Ripley

32.  Sei mong se jun (Ab-Normal Beauty, Chinese): Girl likes to take morbid pictures

33.  I Am Legend: I know that it’s a remake, but I still liked it. In the end, sadder than I thought that it could be

34.  Ju-Rei (The Uncanny, Japanese): Slower paced, reverse action; different but still scary

35.  Carrie: Revenge is not served cold in this movie

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36.  The Strangers: Movies based on true events always freak me out, and masks take the scary factor up a notch.

37.  Ringu (The Ring, Japanese): Very scary with lots of long black hair

38.  Chello hongmijoo ilga salinsagan (Cello, Korean): Makes teachers everywhere afraid to fail someone

39.  Gawi (Nightmare, Korean): With friends like these, who needs enemies?

40.  The Abandoned: Woman returns to rural Russia to claim family farm but should have stayed home

41.  Frailty: A creepy Matthew McConaughey in an unexpected turn

42.  The Exorcism of Emily Rose: How did she get her body to do that?

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43.  Subject Two: Medical student gets involved in science project over and over and over again

44.  The Exorcist III: Legion: Based on a really good novel, and let’s pretend Exorcist II never happened

45.  Chakushin Ari (One Missed Call, Korean): Don’t answer that phone

46.  Conjurer: What is real and what is imagined?

47.  Shutter (Thai): Spirit pictures are not good things

48.  Rinne (Reincarnation, Japanese): Bad casting comes back to haunt director

49.  Orora-gongju (Princess Aurora, Korean): Little girl lost, mom loses mind; everyone pays

50.  Odishon (Audition, Japanese): Makes Annie in Misery look like a character from Walt Disney

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51.  Sinderella (Cinderella, Korean): That’s taking plastic surgery too far

52.  Resident Evil 1: Laser room had me yelling at the TV: Run!!

53.  Resident Evil II: Why don’t they just die?

54.  Blair Witch Project 2: Darker and more disturbing than the first

55.  The Descent: Caves, claustrophobia, creepy monsters. Enough said.

56.  Predator: Those dreads don’t do a thing for you, but you are better looking than the Alien creature

57.  Blade: Vampire half-breed with an attitude and über-cool leather coat

58.  Blade Trinity: Watch out for the Pomeranian

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59.  1408: They told him not to stay.

60.  Blade II: Daddy isn’t such a nice guy

61.  From Hell: Johnny Depp as drug addict takes on Jack the Ripper. Abattoir is an understatement

62.  Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: I actually felt sorry for Kenneth Branagh for his folly

63.  Frankenstein (original): I always felt sorry for the monster when he tries to talk with the little girl

64.  Funny Games: Why are they wearing white gloves?

65.  Dead Birds: Crime doesn’t pay

66.  The Omen (original): Decapitation is never good

67.  Blair Witch Project: Original concept works as long as audience doesn’t leave thinking that it’s real

68.  End of Days: Gabriel Byrne as the Devil is very charming if you can get over that whole evil power thing

69.  What Lies Beneath: Harrison Ford plays against type as the unexpected bad buy

70.  Thirty Days of Night: Vampires everywhere and not a sunset anywhere

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71.  The Jacket: A cadaver drawer is not prescribed treatment for mental patients

72.  Creature from the Black Lagoon: I loved this movie when I was a kid

73.  The Sixth Sense: Psychological thriller that messes with your mind

74.  The Vanishing: That whole buried alive thing really bothers me

75.  Haunted: If she looks too good to be true, she probably is

76.  Silent Hill: The ashes should be the first clue.

77.  Dead Silence: Very creepy ventriloquist dummies

78.  Sleepy Hollow: Johnny Depp, hollow tree full of skulls, lots of blood

79.  Signs: Creepiest alien noises

80.  The Ghost of Mae-Nek (Thai): New couple buys old house; ghost included

81.  The Prophecy: Christopher Walken as an angel with jet black hair

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82.  The Hitcher(original): Why would anyone mistake Rutger Hauer for a safe passenger?

83.  Wind Chill: Don’t get lost in the snow

84.  The Mothman Prophecies: I’m scared, but I don’t know why

85.  Red Dragon: A tattooed Ralph Fiennes and Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter: great combo

86.  The Ruins: These plants are not for smoking.

87.  The Bad Seed: That is one scary little girl

88.  The Secret Window: Johnny Depp plays an eccentric who may be seeing things. Really?

89.  The Skeleton Key: Why doesn’t anyone ever pay attention to their best friend?

90.  House on the Haunted Hill: Whose party is this anyway?

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91.  Hannibal Rising: Serious childhood issues and brutal forms of retribution

92.  Salem’s Lot (the original): Floating dead kids at the window

93.  The Reaping: Lakes of blood, locusts. Time to go now

94.  Spirit Trap: Student housing certainly has changed

95.  Constantine: Unique use of the electric chair

96.  The Craft: More campy than scary, except for the snakes.

97.  American Psycho: Black humor, Christian Bale, lots of plastic, and a chainsaw

98.  Flatliners: Young interns play with life and death, and Kiefer Sutherland sees things that aren’t there

99.  Near Dark: Vampires in love. Very campy

100. Taking Lives: Ethan Hawke has an identity crisis, or two, or three

You sleep well now. Okay?

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More later. Peace.

“Every great film should seem new every time you see it.” ~ Roger Ebert

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” A lot of movies are about life, mine are like a slice of cake.” ~ Alfred Hitchcock 

“Cinema should make you forget you are sitting in a theater” ~ Roman Polanski

Today is at least 25 degrees cooler than yesterday. It’s overcast and windy and therefore, the perfect day to compile my favorite 100 movies.

kill-bill-vol-2Unlike my top 100 rock ‘n roll songs, which contained 115 songs, I have managed to keep this list to 100 movies, almost. In a few cases, I have listed sequential movies as one listing because it makes more sense. For example, I only used one entry for “Lord of the Rings,” as that was always intended to be one story. The same goes for “Kill Bill,” which was intended to be one movie, but was considered too long for one movie.

On the other hand, I have listed two of the Indiana Jones movies separately because I did not like the second movie. But for “Star Wars,” I only used one entry for episodes 4, 5, and 6, as I view those as one storyline with the same group of actors. I know. I know. More Lola logic.

The movies that I have listed are my favorite movies, not necessarily what I would consider the best movies ever made. I did omit any foreign language films, and some cult classics (like “The Lost Boys” or “Rocky Horror”) because those could be lists of their own. However, the list contains movies spanning six decades and includes musicals, drama, a few comedies, and suspense movies. I have included the main actors rather than the directors, just because.

the-godfatherYou can tell that I am fond of certain actors (Kevin Spacey, Al Pacino, Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins) and certain directors (Alfred Hitchcock, Anthony Minghella, Quentin Tarantino, and Francis Ford Coppola). One thing that may surprise you is the lack of romantic comedies. I am just not a romantic comedy kind of person, preferring instead intense movies with complicated storylines, beautiful cinematography, classics, and science fiction.

I reworked the list at least eight or nine times, removing a few titles and replacing them with movies that I felt were being more true to my preferences. At first, I had included some movies that I like and that were critical favorites, but upon reflection, I realized that they were in fact not my favorites, even though I liked them.

“Movies are like an expensive form of therapy for me.” ~ Tim Burton

You won’t see big blockbusters like “Titanic,” even though I liked it, simply because it was not in my top 100. You will see some movies with which you may not be familiar: “Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai,” “Beyond Rangoon,” “The Red Violin,” “The World According to Garp.” The first and third are movies that have stayed with me over the years that I find much more humorous than the more popular broader comedies such as those by Adam Sandler. “The Red Violin” is one of those movies like “The English Patient” in that its storyline is haunting and remains with you.

beyond-rangoonOf the much older movies, no, I never saw them in the theater. However, I watched many of them over and over again on television in the days before cable. As for “The Ten Commandments,” you are probably surprised by its inclusion, but it was one of those movies that used to be on television every Easter, and I would watch it with my father, who loved it, so I don’t even remember how many times I have seen that or “Ben Hur.” Even though it isn’t necessarily one of my all-time favorite movies, my father loved it, and I loved watching it with him from the time that I was a very young girl.

The rest, well let’s just say that it’s an eclectic list that reflects my eclectic tastes. Please feel free to question entries, suggest others, or argue vociferously over some of the movies that I have included. I would love to hear what other people have to say. Just remember, I called it my favorite 100 movies (a suggestion that I took from Memphis Mafia).

That being said, enjoy.

“The movies we love and admire are to some extent a function of who we are when we see them.” ~ Mary Schmich

 

My Favorite 100 Movies    

1.            “The English Patient” (Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas)

2.            “Lord of the Rings” (Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Sean Astin)

3.            “The Usual Suspects” (Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey)

4.            “Shawshank Redemption” (Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman)

5.            “Braveheart” (Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau)

6.            “The Princess Bride” (Cary Elwes, Robin Wright)

7.            “Dead Poets Society” (Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard)

8.            “Silence of the Lambs” (Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster)

9.            “Star Wars: Parts 4-6” (Harrison Ford, Mark Hammill, Carrie Fisher, Sir Alec Guiness)

10.       Philadelphia” (Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington)

11.       “The Godfather: Parts 1 and 2” (Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Diane Keaton, Robert DeNiro)

12.       “Se7en” (Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey)

 seven usual-suspects

 

13.       Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark” (Harrison Ford, Karen Allen) 

14.       Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (Harrison Ford, Sean Connery)

15.       “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton)

16.       “Pulp Fiction” (John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson)

17.       “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, John Cleese)

18.       “Henry V” (Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Derek Jacobi)

19.       “Sleepers” (Brad Pitt, Robert DeNiro, Kevin Bacon, Jason Patric)

20.       “Heat” (Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino)

 

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21.       “Toy Story” (Tom Hanks, Tim Allen)

22.       “The Green Mile” (Tom Hanks, Michael Clark Duncan)

23.       “E.T.” (Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore)

24.       “Gladiator” (Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix)

25.       “Elizabeth/Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Joseph Fiennes, Clive Owen)

26.       Brokeback Mountain” (Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal)

27.       “Capote” (Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener)

28.       “Children of Men” (Clive Owen, Julianne Moore)

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29.       “Dangerous Liaisons” (Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer)

30.       “Sense and Sensibility” (Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman)

31.       “Schindler’s List” (Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes)

32.       Mystic River” (Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon)

33.       “A Room With A View” (Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham Carter, Julian Sand)

34.       “Dead Again” (Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Derek Jacobi)

35.       “Alien” (Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt)

36.       “Beyond Rangoon” (Patricia Arquette, U Aung Ko)

37.       “Kill Bill: Vols. 1 and 2” (Uma Thurman, David Carradine)

38.       “Witness” (Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis)

39.       “Goldeneye” (Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean)

40.       L.A. Confidential” (Kim Basinger, Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe)

41.       “Platoon” (Willem Dafoe, Charlie Sheen)

 

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42.       “The Matrix” (Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss)

43.       “The Bourne Identity” (Matt Damon, Franka Potente)

44.       “Saving Private Ryan” (Tom Hanks, Matt Damon)

45.       “The Untouchables” (Kevin Costner, Sean Connery)

46.       “The Red Violin” (Samuel L. Jackson, Greta Scacchi, Eva Marie Breyer, Jason Flemying)

47.        “Star Wars: The Wrath of Khan” (William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Ricardo Montalban)

48.       “Trading Places” (Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Lee Curtis)

49.       “Dead Calm” (Sam Neill, Nicole Kidman, Billy Zane)

50.       “Beyond Borders” (Angelina Jolie, Clive Owen)

51.        “Misery” (James Caan, Kathy Bates)

52.       “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl” (Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightly) 

53.       “Age of Innocence” (Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfieffer)

54.       “Trainspotting” (Ewan McGregor, Johnny Lee Miller)

55.       “The Great Gatsby” (Robert Redford, Mia Farrow)

56.       “Running Scared”  (Gregory Hines, Billy Crystal)

57.       “Apocalypse Now” (Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen)

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58.       “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (Jude Law, Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow)

59.       “Jaws” (Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss)

60.       “Doctor Zhivago” (Omar Sharif, Julie Christie)

61.       “It’s a Wonderful Life” (Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed)

62.       “Throw Momma From The Train” (Danny DeVito, Billy Crystal)

63.       “Vertigo” (Jimmy Stewart, Kim Novak)

64.       “Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai” (Peter Weller, John Lithgow)

65.       “The Blues Brothers” (John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd)

66.       “Amadeus” (Tom Hulce, F. Murray Abraham)

67.       “Rear Window” (Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly)

68.       “The Graduate” (Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft)

69.       “Animal House” (John Belushi, Tim Matheson, Tom Hulce)

70.       “All The President’s Men” (Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman)

71.       “Witness for the Prosecution” (Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton)

72.       “Ordinary People” (Timothy Hutton, Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore)

73.       “Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid” (Paul Newman, Robert Redford)

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74.       “The Elephant Man” (Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt)

75.       “Psycho” (Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh)

76.       “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher)

77.       “The Piano” (Holly Hunter, Karvey Keitel, Sam Neill, Anna Paquin)

78.       “The Way We Were” (Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand)

79.       “Stand By Me” (River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell)

80.       “White Nights” (Gregory Hines, Mikhail Baryshnikov)

81.       “2001: A Space Odyssey (Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood)

82.       “To Kill a Mockingbird” (Gregory Peck, Robert Duvall)

83.       “M*A*S*H” (Donald Sutherland, Elliot Gould)

84.       “Some Like It Hot” (Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon)

85.       “Dial M for Murder” (Ray Milland, Grace Kelly)

86.       “The World According to Garp” (Robin Williams, John Lithgow)

87.       “Saturday Night Fever” (John Travolta, Karen Lynn Gorney) 

88.       West Side Story” (Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer)

89.       “Body Heat” (William Hurt, Kathleen Turner)

90.       “The Dirty Dozen” (Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine)

91.       “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” (Bette Davis, Joan Crawford)

92.       “Oliver” (Ron Moody, Shanni Wallis)

93.       “Othello” (Orson Welles, Suzanne Cloutier)

94.       “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly” (Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach)

95.       “On Golden Pond” (Jane Fonda, Peter Fonda, Katherine Hepburn)

96.       Casablanca” (Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman)

97.       “Tess” (Nastassja Kinski, John Collins)

98.       “I Want to Live” (Susan Hayward, Theodore Bikel)

99.       “The King and I” (Yul Brynner, Deborah Kerr)

100.   “The Ten Commandments” (Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner)

  

“You know what your problem is, it’s that you haven’t seen enough movies—all of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.” ~ Steve Martin

body-heat

Well, I hope that you enjoyed my list. I tried to fit in some of the more evocative movie posters—”Platoon,” “Body Heat,” and my particular favorite, “The Red Violin”— as well as a few of the ones that I think are particularly well-designed, like “Mystic River” and “Untouchables.”

Not to mention Alfred Hitchcock’s wonderful poster for “Vertigo,” which shows Jimmy Stewart clinging to the top border of the poster—great design for something that came out four decades ago. How about that?

So that’s all for now. As always, there will be more later. Peace.