Many people watch scary movies during the Halloween season, but one question I have is whether or not they really know what scary is?
Scary isn’t gore, blood or guts squirting from a zombie’s mouth after gnawing off a victim’s limb.
What many people think is scary is not typically intended when the films were made. Scary is that eerie feeling you get in the pit of your stomach while watching a movie. It’s that scene that makes you jump in your seat, the one part that makes you scream and special moment that makes you cling to your friend’s arm in the movie theater.
Movies have been made since the late 1800s and horror films have been made since the late 1920s.
Films like the “Phantom of the Opera,” 1925, and the original “Dracula,” 1931, shocked the audience and caused people to faint and have heart attacks in the theater, but I am sure that wasn’t meant to happen. Films in that era were uncharted territory.
Films are meant to affect the audience in various ways. Some are meant to cause utter panic like “War of the Worlds,” written by H.G. Wells and adapted into film in 1953 by Byron Haskin.
Scary movies deliver shock and mystery to the audience. They play on the imagination of the audience, and apply it to “real” life. And that is what scary is, the possibility of being real.
I have chosen my top five scary moves of all time, based on the suspense and shock of the films.
This film, directed by the infamous Roman Polanski in 1968, is set in New York City. A young couple moves into their dream apartment and lives happily for a short time. In true horror movie fashion, their bliss doesn’t last long.
One day, Rosemary, played by Mia Farrow, becomes pregnant by the devil, or Satan, if you will. This, of course, caused a rift between Rosemary and her husband, Guy, played by John Cassavetes.
The movie gets creepier and creepier as the minutes go by, until the moment comes. Rosemary doesn’t see the baby after giving birth. Guy decided to give the baby to the evil cult of old people next door, who appear to be devil worshipers.
Rosemary looks at the baby and flips. But in the end, she somehow loves it. What adds to the suspense of the movie is Polanski never shows what the baby looks like. Only the child’s eyes can be seen.
“What have you done to him? What have you done to his eyes, you maniacs?” Rosemary said
“He has his father’s eyes,” a man said.
“What do you mean? Guy’s eyes are normal!” Rosemary said.
Earlier, I said scary isn’t gore, blood or guts squirting from a zombie’s mouth after gnawing off a limb from a victim. But when it comes to the classic created by the king of zombies, George A. Romero, gore is scary for many reasons.
This film, set in the Midwest, depicts the fall of society to a viral epidemic that turns everyone into flesh eating zombies that feed on the living.
What makes this film scary are the controversies it presents.
Many of its scenes make you question your morals and ask yourself what you would do in that situation.
In one particular scene, a few rowdy zombie kids charge at the protagonist of the film and try to eat him. He proceeds to take out his gun and shoots them repeatedly. That seems wrong, but again, what would you do?
Another scary aspect of the movie is who is becoming a zombie. A scene in the movie depicts a women running into a family member who clearly is a zombie. She goes to hug him and in doing so, the zombie bites right into her arm. It truly is a situation when losing all you have, including loved ones, is a possibility.
“The Brood” is a very creepy film that gets quite violent in some scenes. Nola Carveth, played by Samantha Eggar, goes under psychiatric theory called psychoplasmics.
This type of therapy causes the patient’s body to mutate from the release of negative emotions. Carveth begins to birth mutated demon children that come out and murder people.
Using telepathy, she tells them to act based on her emotions.
Seeing these creepy red-faced babies wearing silver jumpsuits makes me wary of having children.
From the collection of horror tales from the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, “Psycho” is a thriller that plays on the sanity of the human mind. Psycho is about a woman, Marion Crane, played by Janet Leigh, staying in a hotel room after stealing $40,000 from a job client.
Crane is stabbed to death in the famous shower murder scene by the hotel owner, Norman Bates, played by Anthony Perkins.
The realness of the stabbing and the way the chocolate syrup hits the wall and goes down the drain makes it all scary. I might add “Psycho” is the first movie to kill off the main character of the story in the first half of the film.
The suspense that follows and leads us to great revelation the end is what grants Hitchcock his title as master of suspense.
This film is probably the most realistic on the list. There are other serial killers like Dr. Hannibal Lecter, played by Anthony Hopkins, out there. They may not all like brains for dinner though. What makes this film scary is the uncomfortable-ness you get while watching.
Seeing Buffalo Bill, played by Ted Levine, kidnap a girl in his van reminds me of all the news reports of children and other people kidnapped in the same manner. All the while Clarice Starling, played by Jodie Foster, gets closer and closer to catching Buffalo Bill and keeping the girl alive.
Also, the nitty gritty scenes of the insane asylum are fairly creepy. Seeing all the insane people in their cells can really creep you out.