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The most frightening motion pictures?

Naphtali

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The most frightening motion pictures? Not the most shocking or scariest. I'm not confident I can define what I mean except by example. Horror and nearly all science fiction having disgusting aliens I find silly rather than scary or frightening. "Scary" doesn't have staying power.

The most frightening reach something in me so disquieting I cannot describe what it is. Among them, for me, are:

- "The Manchurian Candidate" (Frank Sinatra, Janet Leigh, Laurence Harvey) 1962.

- "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter) 1956.

- "Pork Chop Hill" (Gregory Peck, Rip Torn) 1959.

- "The Bedford Incident" (Richard Widmark, Sidney Poitier) 1965.


What are yours?
 

Mike in Seattle

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I like all of those that Naphtali listed, and I think I'll add Night of the Living Dead - the original. Yeah, it's got some campy bits (the sheriff on the news report), but still good. 28 Days Later as well - I believe that's the first mainstream film where the zombies weren't slow and lumbering, and instead, very fast moving and more vicious.
 

Edward

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I like all of those that Naphtali listed, and I think I'll add Night of the Living Dead - the original. Yeah, it's got some campy bits (the sheriff on the news report), but still good. 28 Days Later as well - I believe that's the first mainstream film where the zombies weren't slow and lumbering, and instead, very fast moving and more vicious.

We-ell.... if I wanted to get picky, I could say that the folks in the 28 Days films are living persons infected with the Rage virus - much like the folks in The Crazies, they are not dead, and therefore might be argued not to be properly zombies within the horror film cannon. Or, at least, the Romero Rules, which define the modern zombie. Of course, in the original Jamaican legend, the zombie was, if memory serves, a person ut into an artificial, trance-like state and thus controlled as an automaton. So it can cut both ways (anal, moi?). I remember Danny Boyle and Alex Garland were both very keen to distance it from the idea of being a 'zombie film', viewing it more as a thriller than horror themselves. It does sit best in the zombie genre, though, to my mind. Cracking film. The sequel was good too, though I still prefer the original - probably because it was just so unlike anything else at the time. I loved that it had no-one in it who was an A-lister at the time. How many times have you watched a film where all the suspense is gone because you know the big Hollywood name will make it to the end because they're the big name? (Janet Leigh was, of course, the exception that proved this rule, and her early departure in Psycho really did shock simpy because it was so not the done thing. That they paid homage to this with Drew Barrymore in Scream was one of the few elements of that franchise I appreciated). The best of all were those beautiful, haunting scenes of a deserted central London. One of my favourite film genres coupled with my adoptive home city, a great combination. As for fast-moving zombies.... a lot of genre fans are upset by this notion. Personally, I don't mind it, as long as they are consistent within the film or franchise. It makes sense to me that a zombie would initially have little restriction of movement, becoming more and more limited as the body rots and key muscles start to waste away. The Dawn of the Dead remake made very good use of the fast zombie. AS truly exhilarating film - I loved that they had the nerve to make something actually rather bleak while being so intense, for a mainstream Hollywood market. Superbly done. Sure, it missed some of the finer points of social commentary from the Romero original, although I felt it added its own, such as the sniper game with the zombie celebrity lookalikes. That's one of the things that make a remake of a Romero so interesting, actually: the changes you see in the social commentary. Like the 1990 redux of Night of the Living Dead, directed by the great Tom Savini. Here, instead of the black guy being the last, lone survivor, we see the woman in that role. Also, the final scenes with the rednecks torturing the zombies for sport and the 'who is the real monster' notion... superb stuff. It seems to me that Romero remakes are among the few remakes which can often be as entertaining as the originals.

Now, in terms of films that really gave me the willies.... I think top honours there must go to The Wick Man. The original, as a brilliant piece of quite disturbing, cult cinema, and the remake, for rather different reasons....

The Others.... I wouldn't say it gave me the willies per se, but it did stick with me for days. There are also a lot of other films that didn't give me a scare as such, but really did stick with me in terms of their intensity. Event Horizon was one of those. I'm something of a horror fan. My folks never liked it, though my maternal grandmother loves them (her favourite: the original Halloween). I must have inherited it from her!
 

Miss Golightly

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For me it would be the following:

[REC] - the most tense and scary movie I think I have ever seen.
Haute Tension (Switchblade Romance)
El Orfanato (The Orphanage)
28 Days Later
Silence of the Lambs (I literally ran home after seeing it in the cinema - the girl being kept in the pit terrified me)
 

Snowdrop

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I just love a good, spooky movie that makes me hide behind a throw cushion. Zombies, lynch mobs etc., don't really do it for me, I'm all about the ghosts!

The only ones I can think of right now, would be;

'The Haunting' (1963) - Mainly because it's all left up to your imagination, that whole hand holding scene in the dark was incredibly eerie but you never actually SEE anything. It was vastly superior to the awful 1999 remake, although that's probably stating the obvious.

'The Sixth Sense' - Hated the twist at the end, but some of the ghosts did make me jump! Especially the woman in the pink bathrobe, although the guy up the winding staircase was equally as creepy.

'Poltergeist II' - I know, I know, not REALLY a great movie, but I will say that Julian Beck, the actor who played the scary preacher, literally gave me nightmares for WEEKS!
 
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JimWagner

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For me, Poltergeist had some scenes in it that really did make the hairs on my neck stand up. For example, the scene in the kitchen where the chair moved across the room towards the little girl. Not at all scary when describing it, but as done in the movie it was quite eerie. Same with the clown in the boy's room and the coming storm.
 

Neophyte

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John Carpenter's The Thing.

Paranormal Activity.

A Nightmare on Elm Street, the original.

A Clockwork Orange.

El Orfanato.
 

Neophyte

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Cigarrette Burns

Sharktopus

The Amityville Horror

Hellraiser

The Blair Witch Project

The Dark Half

Pan's Labrynth

Misery

A Boy and His Dog

Needful Things

It
 
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Benzadmiral

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For me, Poltergeist had some scenes in it that really did make the hairs on my neck stand up. For example, the scene in the kitchen where the chair moved across the room towards the little girl. Not at all scary when describing it, but as done in the movie it was quite eerie. Same with the clown in the boy's room and the coming storm.
And the dialogue! Take the little medium lady at the film's climax:

"It lies to [Carol Ann, the girl lost in the other world]. To her, it simply is another child. But to us . . . it is the beast. . . . It knows what scares you. It has from the very beginning."

As for me, "Wait Until Dark," with Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin, is probably the most frightening suspenser I've ever seen. The utter darkness of that apartment as Susy struggles for her life against Roat . . . brrr.

That said, "Silence of the Lambs" is up there for the cold brooding tone that seems to inform every scene in the film. Harris's first two novels about Hannibal Lecter gave me that weird feeling I knew in childhood when I first peeked into grown-up books: that I'm going to find out something I won't like at all, but I still can't stop reading. "Lambs" the film managed that too.
 
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flat-top

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Sex And The City II.





But seriously.
The Exorcist has some of the most frightening images ever, and worse yet, when those deleted scenes that were released decades later. Has anyone ever seen the "spiderwalk"?? Just the most disturbing thing ever. The primative special effects make it more troubling.
 

K.D. Lightner

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The most frightening were from my childhood. I recall seeing House of Wax when I was 12. When Vincent Price rose up under the sheet in that morgue, it gave me the willies -- couldn't sleep for weeks without a cover over my head.

It didn't help I was a bit of a necrophobic when I was a kid.

Psycho scared me silly when I was a teenager.

karol
 

Miss sofia

One Too Many
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East sussex, England
For me it would be the following:

[REC] - the most tense and scary movie I think I have ever seen.
Haute Tension (Switchblade Romance)
El Orfanato (The Orphanage)
28 Days Later
Silence of the Lambs (I literally ran home after seeing it in the cinema - the girl being kept in the pit terrified me)

I thought The Orphanage was really scary, that stayed with me for days after.
28 days later
The Blair Witch project (Especially as i watched it alone in my creaky old cottage with a storm boiling outside. I liked the fact the director crept around on location scaring the actors, it was very realistic i thought).
Cat people (The original), the bit in the swimming pool gets me every time!
 

K.D. Lightner

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Those Val Lewton movies could scare you to death and you never saw the gore. Cat People was one, also try The Leopard Man. There are several scary scenes in that one.

karol
 

Kirstenkat

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New Jersey
I'm not much of a creepy movie fan and I'm only 20 so I haven't seen the classics but here's mine
"The Strangers" a lot of people thought it wasn't good but the fact that that kind of thing happens all the time and it was more about the fear and suspense than gore really got me.

"Blair Witch Project" mostly because the end, and the realism

Another vote for "The Orphanage" I had no idea where the story was going and it was an upsetting and frightening movie.
Masked people freak me out as it makes them seem less human, which is part of the reason "The Orphanage" and "The Strangers" freaked me out

And "Sybil" not a scary movie but disturbing
 

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