Home / Fall 2011 / 2011-10-27 / Classic horror films still terrify
I’ve compiled a list of my ten favorite horror/slasher films to help better steer you crazy kids into a more horrific holiday; unless you consider waking up next to someone who you can’t remember their name more terrifying than any visual media…

Classic horror films still terrify

So, with Halloween right around the corner many of you are gearing up for the epic debauchery that will take place over the weekend; attractive girls in scantily clad clothes normally with a sexual or fetish nature, strange colored adult beverages being poured down the throats of naïve students, awkwardly themed parties that only get better as the night goes on—or in relation to how much hunch punch is still in the coolers.

We all know what goes on during this time as emotions run high from the stressful workload of college, and we all want an excuse to cut loose.

But before you find yourself wandering the woods alone and “missing” your boyfriend, maybe we should look back to the “historical documents” that seem to highlight the horror of Halloween.

I’ve compiled a list of my ten favorite horror/slasher films to help better steer you crazy kids into a more horrific holiday; unless you consider waking up next to someone who you can’t remember their name more terrifying than any visual media…

10. We start at the beginning—because that is always a good place to start with number 10. The Exorcist wasn’t just a scary movie; it portrayed itself as a real life story that was just adjusted for the big screen, and what better way to do that than to have your audience see it from the religious side?
Christianity has such a crazy and mysterious history and from the few tidbits of information floating around in popular culture, exorcisms are probably one of the scarier realities that hide themselves beneath normal beliefs.
Plus with the whole religious undertones following the story it gives it some substance and basis.
Also seeing a little girl crawl upside down the stairs and rape herself with a cross didn’t help.

9. Chainsaws, anyone? With its low budget gritty style and unusual use of power tools as weapons, Texas Chainsaw Massacre helped to define the slasher genre before Michael Meyers and Jason stepped onto the scene.
Leatherface played a terrifying portrait of psycho killer who wears the skin of his victims as a mask and eats the rest of them with his inbred family.
The movie can even be seen as the precursor to successful movies like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity since the budget and the time constraint kept the story and cinematography simple but yet powerful.
What can be more terrifying than running from a cannibal with a chainsaw?

8. Dawn of The Dead was Romero’s sequel to his first zombie movie, Night of the Living Dead.
His first flick was a black and white B movie that had some silly moments while Dawn was a commentary on American Capitalism back before it was cool. (Occupy Wall Street anyone?)
The heroes find themselves after many trials in a small town America mall with the intentions of living out the rest of their existence in comfort while the surrounding areas are torn apart by the undead hordes.
Of course this all breaks down in the end and we see how people really react in dire situations over loved ones, consumerism, and survival.

7. The always classic Halloween brings us the silent and deadly stalking of Michael Meyers who seems to find his way into every locked house or room to find a nubile teenage girl cowering in the corner.
The tense, silent moments watching him stalk his prey, while wearing a ghost white mast are forever burned into my mind.
Even today if anyone puts on a similar mask we all flash back to Meyers standing behind his victim just right before he cuts their throat.
In true to form, Halloween and its endless sequels will always scare audiences.

6. The Silence of the Lambs is considered more than just a horror movie by the established academia of film but in the truest fashion it was still terrifying.
Anthony Hopkins’ performance of Hannibal Lector is one of a truly original villain. Even scarier was how believable he was as a person, rather than just a theme in the flick.
Even though Lecter was stuck behind bars and didn’t actually ever physically attack Jodie Foster’s character, Clarice, he still dug into her bruised ego and memories.
With his masterful manipulation of every moment to his benefit and his daring escape from police custody, this movie can only go down in history as a must see for any movie goer and horror aficionado.

5. We all can remember the first time that we sat down and watched The Ring. Most of us didn’t really know what it was about, but had, from word of mouth, heard how terrifying it was. Very similar to how the teenagers all hear about the infamous video—anyways!
The original film was a Japanese success that was remade for the American audiences with hopes of also scaring the bejesus out of our teenagers. Well, it worked!
We all can remember the moment when the girl crawls out of the well or they find the tortured faces of dead victims. I still shudder when I think about the girl in the closet.

4. The Shining is still considered a crowning achievement in Stanley Kubrick’s directorial portfolio and with Jack Nicholson’s performance, what you get is an eerily surreal movie.
Of course if you base anything off of Stephen King’s stories and you have the directing chops to pull it off, nine times out of ten it will be good flick.
The madness slowly sets in with each scene as the audience tries to make heads or tails of what is really going on at the hotel but can never put their finger on it—until it’s too late and Jack is smashing in the door with an ax. “Here’s JOHNNY!”

3. Shaun of the Dead makes this list not for being super scary or super suspenseful but because I for one loved how it took a different approach to the stereotypical horror movie with its own twist of comedy and British wit.
I can see how a lot of you argue with its placement, but it has earned its place as a new classic. Who can forget the bashing of zombies with cricket bats while “Killer Queen” is blaring in the background and the whole “if-we-act-like-zombies-they-won’t-attack-us” bit? Especially since we all have thought about it while watching other cheesy B movie zombie fests.

2. I know you are probably sick of zombie flicks, but 28 Days Later wins a spot by being extreme in its realism and by portraying the real horrible creatures as the humans still left alive.
Nothing but empty London streets and endless silence welcomes the characters as they journey across a desolate countryside.
Not only does Cillian Murphy’s gaunt character embody the everyman, but the rest of the gang seems to fall into place with normal societal rules while the British soldiers have stepped outside of the normal parameters to exploit all the innocents that they lure in.
Plus they have assault rifles and in apocalyptic situations that normally trumps any other rule. Go figure.

1. Last but not least is Aliens. I consider it the ultimate vision of terror and horror with its dark, smoky environments and chest bursting creatures that appear at every turn.
James Cameron made every moment on the surface of the alien planet seem so…well, alien.
While the Space Marines try their best to defeat the creatures, they seem to be unprepared for what lays around every junction. The slow tick of their motion sensors indicate the enemy is closing in on their position while endless darkness envelopes all the walkways and tunnels as they explore and fight off sudden violent attacks from the aliens.
In the first thirty minutes the Marine platoon is thinned out and cornered in a secure part of the station.
Left to their own devices with Sigourney Weaver searching for a way off the planet, they deal with more than just vicious creatures—backstabbing and subterfuge also follow them no matter how dire the situation gets.

Some of you might not agree with my list of movies but take the time and watch a few if you haven’t already and just imagine how terrifying the characters’ situations are.

If you do plan on having a scary Halloween, try to remember that the pretty girl always dies first, the skinny silent guy will save you and his macho friend is probably the killer.

Unless it pertains to zombies—then, you are just screwed no matter what.

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