Monday, August 10, 2009

Top 10 Horror Movies that Shaped Me

I figured that with as much Top 10 Horror Movie lists there are, if I were to create one it would only encompass the movies that people have already said and wrote about. That wouldn’t really be original and nor would making a list like ‘Top 10 Horror Movies that You Should Watch.’ So I decided to take a new approach and create my own list of top 10 horror movies; not movies that you should watch, not movies that I am recommending you to view but rather a Top 10 Horror Movies that have Scared Me When I Was A Kid.

DISCLAIMER: Just as a reminder, these are not movies that I am encouraging readers to view, there are just some horror movies that I have personally selected the scared the crap out of me. 

1. The Thing (1982) – This was a movie that I so vividly remember because of the magnitude that it scared me. I was 8 or 9 years old and I decided to challenge myself and watch an R-rated movie and this happened to be the one that I saw. When it came to the dog kennel scene where the Thing takes over I turned off the TV and I was so frightened that I could not sleep for a few days. The image of that dog and all the blood and twisted body parts… too much for me to handle. I viewed it again when I was 11 and I still had difficulty getting through it but it turned out that it was my favorite horror movie of all time.

2. The Blob (1988) – Strangely enough, I thought I could handle 2 R-rated movies that day and I got The Blob in the same day that I got The Thing. Of course when I saw The Blob later on that evening I got to the hospital scene when that kid was slowly melting away as the blog was devouring him and…. I turned off the TV again. The image of that kid’s mouth opening as the acid ate away at this body and when Shawnee Smith pulls off his arm will never leave my memory and that movie truly repulsed me. It’s sad to say that in the same week I could not sleep because I thought the Thing or the Blob was going to eat me.

3. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – No other movie made me feel so dirty and appalled then this independent film. When I saw it I watched it all the way through and I was frightened in the aspect of ‘how could you do this to a person?’ The grittiness, rawness and washed out coloring of the movie made it seem like I was watching a real life documented account and I felt so sorry for the kids in that movie. When Leatherface appeared it always made me jump and I always wanted to see what was behind that door but in a way… I was too scared to look. It was just one of those movies where I was left speechless after the ending and wondered did that really happen? It had the same effect on my dad too.

4. The House on Haunted Hill (1999) – I have read mixed reviews on this movie and I was shocked to see so many horror fans disapproving it. This movie scared me in a very cowardly way… when I watched the edited version of it on TNT when it was rated TV-14. I watched it all the way through and it was this movie that I got frightened by, even more so when I saw the unedited version, to the point where I developed an obsession with those ‘shuttering head ghosts.’ This movie had so many freaking scenes it that disturbed me; one in particular was the Saturation Chamber where all those ghosts came out of nowhere with twisted, mangled heads. It freaks me out and it kind of still does today.

5. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – To be fair, I was never creeped out by this movie but what made me so obsessed with Freddy was his method of killing teenagers. Most killers slice, dice, machete hack or shoot their victims in person but Freddys attacks you when you are the most vulnerable… when asleep. See, you can always stay away from camps, shoot a killer or kill him/her in some way shape or form but you have to fall asleep and therefore there is not escaping Freddy.

6. The Fly (1986) – To be honest, there were only two scenes that scared me and that was the infamous maggot-births scene and when Seth Brundlefly breaks into the hospital and takes Gina Davis. What always made this movie so memorable was how sad and how tragic this movie was and how the ending almost made me cry for how powerful it was. Seth was a good guy, with good intentions and very very brilliant but it was like the Frankenstein story… it turned bad.

7. Night of the Living Dead (1968) – I have to attribute this movie for scaring me when I was really, really younger when my grandmother and me watched Svengoolie on WGN. It was after the whole Blob/Thing fiasco and what always frightened me was not so much the zombies or the gore but rather that haunting quote that has stuck with me forever: “They are coming to get you Barbara!” It’s like… whatever they are, they are coming for you and there is no way to stop them.

8. Sleepy Hollow (1999) – This was the first R-rated movie I saw in the theater with my friend Zack and his older brother, back when you could see rated R movies with an adult. Nearly every scene made me cover my face up with my hands or made me jump out of my seat and scream; specifically the scene when young Ichabod see his witch mom fall out of the iron maiden and blood starts flowing everywhere. That scene scared me for life and it kept replaying over and over in my dreams. That, and the scene when the Headless Horesman kills that fat guy… goddamn you Tim Burton… goddamn you!!

9. My Bloody Valentine (1981) – Along with the already known and cliché slasher movies out there this movie is perhaps one of my favorite mainly because I hate Valentine’s Day. It never scared me but I always thought the idea of having a killer dressed, as a miner would be haunting. The breathing, those bug looking goggles, the pickaxe and the idea that his whole body is covered and he tears out the hearts of teens. It’s really gritty and gruesome stuff.

10. Halloween (1978) – This movie freaked me out not because of the jumping out shit but rather the mask the Michael wore… the cold, white, ghostly gaze that he would look at you with, that same gaze that lets you know that there is nothing behind the mask but pure evil. The fact that he could walk and still catch up to you, that fact that he doesn’t say anything to you or even pants when he kills made him out like a machine. Funny enough, the mannerisms of Michael Myers were based on Yule Brenners cowboy character from Westworld.

So, there you have it… the top 10 movies that scared me and left an impression on me when I was a kid. Looking back on this list I think it’s fair to say that it was because of horror movies that I developed such a crazy sleep pattern and insomnia. Although if it wasn’t for these movies I would have never been the person that I am today.

The Rundown:
1. The Thing (1981) (Dir. John Carpenter)
2. The Blob (1988) (Dir. Chuck Russell)
3. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) (Dir. Tobe Hooper)
4. House on Haunted Hill (1999) (Dir. William Malone)
5. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) (Dir. Wes Craven)
6. The Fly (1986) (Dir. David Cronenberg)
7. Night of the Living Dead (1968) (Dir. George Romero)
8. Sleepy Hollow (1999) (Dir. Tim Burton)
9. My Bloody Valentine (1981) (Dir. George Mihalka)
10. Halloween (1978) (Dir. John Carpenter)


Jonathan Maberry said...

Great list, Rick. Solid commentary. Some of these make it onto my own Best Of list.

Jonathan Maberry

BJ-C said...

House on Haunted Hill (1999) I fully dedicate my obsession with old school horror for. After I saw the film, I went on Ask Jeeves to look up and see if Chris Kattan really did do a horror movie, and I kept getting pictures of Vincent Price. Being only 9 I had no idea who the HELL he was so I went to my local video store and asked if they had any Vincent Price. The video store owner sent me out with a ton of classics and I'v been hooked ever since.

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