Just a few days ago, John made some comments about the change in seasons and how that’s connected to our pre-fall existence. He also said that we like to capture these seasons by enjoying seasonal foods, as well as flicks. With that in mind, we at Reel Thinking thought we would compile another Reel List for you to enjoy (or not enjoy). Let us state up front that neither of us are huge fans of the horror genre. Therefore, some of our horror films may seem a little less horrible than those of your average horror film fan (I can only handle so much gore). So, for those of you die-hard horror fans, please sound off in the comment section and compile your own list. [Be sure to check out John’s list by clicking here.]
Blaine’s Top 5
While the Chestbursters are plenty scary, the most ineffably terrifying thing about this movie is that “in space no one can hear you scream.” Ridley Scott puts us right aboard the Nostromo with Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and company, making us experience and participate in their isolation. Roger Ebert said it well: “One of the great strengths of “Alien” is its pacing. It takes its time. It waits. It allows silences (the majestic opening shots are underscored by Jerry Goldsmith with scarcely audible, far-off metallic chatterings).”
I’m with John on this one, and I think that the restraint Shyamalan exercises is brilliant. In this way, it is not unlike the aforementioned Alien or Hitchcock’s Psycho. In making the audience wait … and wait … and wait to see the aliens, Shyamalan capitalizes on the fact that the human imagination is often better at fabricating fear than are special effects.
Forget Twilight; Guillermo del Toro’s first feature-length film, Cronos, is a unique vampire story that is a meditation on the horrors of immortality as much as it is anything else. It’s also a deeply personal film, as del Toro wrestles with his Catholic upbringing. And while I’m hardly a fan of vampire movies, I have to admit that, for some strange reason, I find this film captivating and moving. Nevertheless, it is a del Toro film and is not for the faint of heart.
One of my family members thought it would be a good idea to show me this movie when I was eleven years old. It wasn’t. Words cannot fully express what this movie did to me. I was haunted by sleeplessness for a period of three month (I’m not exaggerating or joking). I haven’t seen it since, and I doubt I’ll ever have the courage to watch it again. But since this post is all about the top horror films, I figured that my most terrifying cinematic experience should make the list. Parents, please don’t show this to your eleven year old.
Sorry Norman Bates, Jack Nicholson takes psychological horror to a whole new level in this film. I know how the film ends; I’m familiar with the twists and turns, and yet I’m always a bundle of nervous tension from start to finish. It’s also hard to ignore the formal excellence of Kubrick’s work. The soundtrack is as unnerving as the visuals, which is really saying something when you’re talking about a movie where gallons of blood pour from an elevator.
Jaws is one of my top ten favorite movies, and it definitely belongs on this list. My original list also contained Psycho and What Lies Beneath. The Birds is another one of my favorites, and it really is terrible that I didn’t have a Hitchcock film on the list. In the end, though, I didn’t want my list to look exactly like John’s (that’s no fun for our readers). What other list-worthy films did I neglect? Sound off in the comments!