When it comes to a scary film, people have their favourite types – there are the tense and jumpy/hide behind the sofa types, the crazy person on a murderous rampage type and then the all out blood baths. As a general rule of thumb, if I want a good quality scary film then I tend to go classic or foreign. I can't stand gore when there is no plot so I'm afraid films like the Saw series haven't made my list.
There are only two films that have freaked me out so much the feeling of unease has lingered with me for hours/days/weeks after seeing the film - and they are both foreign. Ring (Japanese version here people don't get me started on how horrendous the American remake was!) and The Devil's Backbone (Spanish) both stayed with me even when the film had finished. I still shudder at the sight of a long haired Oriental looking person on my TV screen if they move too slowly.
And then there are the classics which I can appreciate for their genius but don't find as scary simply because times have changed. Case in point - The Exorcist was dubbed the most terrifying film for generations on its release but by the time I watched it in the late 1990s it had lost its originality. Then there are timeless horrors like The Shining (though apparently a terrible rendition of the Stephen King book) and basically anything by Hitchcock! - Psycho, The Birds, North by Northwest etc, which still manage to be creepy at any age in any year.
Then there are apocalyptic horrors like 28 Days which are all out blood baths but with seriously good and clever plots.
What does seem to have happened more recently is the rise of the comedy horror genre. Films which have the typical blood and gore but have humour right alongside it. Think of Scream, a terrifying film when it first came out thanks largely to THAT mask, but it fundamentally mocked horror films and used parody to completely destroy any preconceived ideas of what a good horror film required. Then there are the all out comedy horrors like Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland which manage to be hilarious while completely showering the screen with blood and guts.
Special mention should go to Severance, a 2006 British film with Danny Dyer which somehow managed to be laugh-out-loud funny and scare the shit out of me! An entirely new genre perhaps?
Top 5 scary films:
- Ring (Ring 1 is the most terrifying but try to get through 2 and 0 - the prequel - as the 3 together are seriously great movie making in action)
- The Devil's Backbone (Franco, an orphanage and a dead kid walking around with blood floating out of his head *shudder*)
- The Shining (the twins, Here's Jonny!, the blood coming out of the lift, those twins!)
- Scream (when it first came out that mask scared the hell out of me! admittedly Scream 2 sort of changed that but still clever and make you jump horror at its finest)
- The Birds (the final scene will have holding your breath so tightly you might just forget to breathe!)
So, what's your favourite scary movie?