Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

My 13 Scares: Films to Watch… Alone in the Dark

With Halloween only a day away, a couple of articles on what scares those who review or create such fare are well worth reading. Especially, for those of us who enjoy this genre of film:

20 Horror Film You Should Know

William Friedkin on 13 Must-See Horror Movies

You can’t go wrong with any of the movies on either list. They are must see for this time of year — though I will disagree with Andrew Price’s assertion that 1976’s The Omen “… spawned the “Satan is coming” subgenre“. Nope, that would be the novel and its film adaptation the wordy one and I will soon review (but that can wait till tomorrow). Inspired by those inventories, I decided to put together my own roll call of cinema that creep so well… particularly if you watch them with the lights out, and by yourself. Since 13 remains my favorite number, I’ll follow director Friedkin’s lead and keep it to that number. BTW, my list in not in any order, priority, or ranking (it’s purely for counting purposes).

  1. The Exorcist (1973)
  2. Alien (1978)
  3. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  4. The Evil Dead (1981)
  5. Session 9 (2001)
  6. The Changeling (1980)
  7. 28 Days Later (2002)
  8. Ringu (1998)
  9. Halloween (1978)
  10. The Thing (1982)
  11. The Haunting (1963)
  12. The Innocents (1961)
  13. Carnival of Souls (1962)

What films would be on your list?

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22 Responses to “My 13 Scares: Films to Watch… Alone in the Dark”

  1. Naomi Johnson

    Nope, nope, I can’t do horror films. The only one on your list that I’ve seen and would WILLINGLY watch again is The Haunting. That was the first horror film I ever saw and it scared the bejabbers out of me. When I was about 23, I read the book during one of the hottest summers of my memory, and it gave me cold chills even on 100-degree days.

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    • le0pard13

      That is a great old one, Naomi. Robert Wise’s adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s seminal novel also works because of its great black & white cinematography. I can see the book chilling anyone who reads it. Thanks.

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  2. rtm

    I won’t even watch these with a whole bunch of people during the day, let alone at night all by myself! I think I’d probably pass out, Michael.

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  3. dirtywithclass

    I’ve seen a couple from your list, most of which i think are good choices(I think you already know which one i’m not a huge fan of). I will try to catch the rest of them at some pint

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  4. The Sci-Fi Fanatic

    Hey My friend. Well, I’ve seen the classics like Alien, The Thing, Halloween, The Exorcist and 28 Days Later. That last one was a nice contemporary classic.

    I’ve missed all the others.

    I think Session 9 has my curiosity the most. So many have written interesting things about it including JKM. I would like to see that Caruso vehicle.

    Ringu looks interesting.

    Also, I really loved both of the Island Of Dr. Moreau films including Friedkin’s much maligned version. Funny you mention the first incarnation of that HG Wells book, oops, nevermind I was thinking you meant Island Of Lost Souls. Carnival Of Souls is different. My mistake.

    Also, I have to tell you that The Descent is brilliant in its effectiveness as a film and may be one of the most scary I’ve seen in some time. Horrible little film [in a good way].

    Cheers.
    sff

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    • le0pard13

      Oh, you must when a chance opens up check out Session 9, SFF. I, and certainly J.D. and JKM, would recommend it. For me, it’s the best movie David Caruso was ever in.

      I know you appreciate Japanese art, anime, SFF. So, you should definitely check out Ringu. Like many, it introduced ‘J-horror’. It’s a slow burn of film that really pays off at the end. I’ve seen The Descent and it is great. There are so many great horror films out there. Thanks, my friend.

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  5. J.D.

    Very nice list. Good to see SESSION 9 on there. That is a creepy film and one that continues to haunt me – pun intended. The more times I watch it the more I think about Peter Mullen’s character. The slow burn and reveal of his character’s true nature is such a fascinating and unsettling aspect of this film.

    As much as I like 28 DAYS LATER, I think that 28 WEEKS LATER is even better. Boyle’s film often cribs from the Romero handbook a little too often but the sequel really builds on the world created in the first one and expands on it, deepens and enriches it, IMO.

    Also nice to see RINGU on there. Have you seen PULSE? The Japanese version is truly scary – perhaps the most horrifying of all the J-horror films I’ve seen. UZUMAKI is excellent also.

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    • le0pard13

      Yeah, when I thought about putting together movies that really creep out the viewer late at night, I could not keep Session 9 off the list. I, too, enjoyed 28 Weeks Later. It’s the film where I really to started noticing how good Jeremy Renner was. Y’know, I’ve heard of Pulse, especially in context with Ringu, and I really do want to see it. I’ve now put it and Uzumaki into my Netflix queue because of your recommendation. J.D. Many thanks.

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  6. Castor

    Ahaha yea there is no way I’m watching The Exorcist all alone at night! I think I would have no issue managing the others except maybe for Ringu which I heard is really out there.

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  7. Ronan

    Nice list Michael, maybe I’ll do a listlike this myself, in honour of the season. I didn’t know The Changeling was a scary movie? Thought it was a drama. I thought you might have included Rosemary’s Baby on your list as you reviewed it recently. I have to get a copy of The Thing, it rocks. Looking forward to the remake. Nice post Michael, thanks for this. I’s always interesting to know what other film fans consider scary.

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    • le0pard13

      Thanks, Ronan. I’d be interested to see what films you’d put together for this. On a longer list, Rosemary’s Baby would have been included. BTW, I’m referring to the haunted house ghost story The Changeling (1980) by Peter Medak. Perhaps you’re thinking about Clint Eastwood’s Changeling from 2008? That one is a drama.

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  8. themovieblog8

    I tried horror this Halloween, something I never do! I saw Kevin Smith’s Red State (marketed incorrectly, as it isn’t actually horror), as well as a few seconds of whatever was playing on TCM.

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    • le0pard13

      I want to see Red State (I think I have it in the Netflix queue, too). Perfect time of year for horror (hell, anytime of year is good for that genre). Thanks.

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  9. Chris Voss

    So glad to see RINGU on that list – it scared the unholy hell out of me the first time I watched it. As a result I was always underwhelmed by the American remake. Same with THE THING, I think the “blood test” scene might be one of the scariest things on film.

    My favorite scary films are usually the old classics that aren’t really all that scary, so instead here’s a brief list of films that still manage to terrify me (and aren’t on your list, thus making me skip RINGU, THE THING, and NOTLD):

    1. JU-ON: THE GRUDGE
    2. AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
    3. MARTYRS
    4. AUDITION
    5. THE SHINING
    6. DEADGIRL

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    • le0pard13

      That blood test scene from Carpenter’s The Thing is awesome. The whole sequence from beginning to end, with the changing loyalties and tension, is masterful.

      That’s quite a list. The top two certainly are favorites of mine, as well. I’ve grown to love Kubrick’s The Shining (many SK fans loyal to the novel disregard that adaptation, King famously has). I’m still a little scared to watch Martyrs (knowing some of its storyline), like Irreversible (some of the discussion on this would be found on Julian’s blog on the matter). I need to see Deadgirl, though.

      Thanks for the comment and contribution, Chris.

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  10. Jamie Helton

    I would add two movies by Tobe Hooper: “Poltergeist” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” The former is probably the most fun you can have with a ghost story (thanks in large part to co-writer/producer/over-the-shoulder-director Spielberg) and the latter is raw in its relentless realism in its horror. Additionally, you can’t beat “The Shining” for its pure creepy atmosphere.

    By the way, I think “Evil Dead 2” is far superior to “The Evil Dead,” though its over-the-top humor may detract from its effectiveness as a horror film.

    filmverse.wordpress.com

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    • le0pard13

      Great additions, Jamie. Poltergeist had to be one of my most enjoyable, scary, and thrilling films I saw during that era. And The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the most influential (Rob Zombie seems to love to channel it in his films, in fact). As I noted in SK adaptation post, Kubrick’s atmosphere in The Shining has a creepy brilliance to it.

      I understand your point about Evil Dead 2. It is more than The Evil Dead with a budget. Though, I did feel less horrified with its more “over-the-top humor” than the original. Thanks very much for comment, my friend.

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  11. jackdeth72

    Hi, Michael:

    Definitely ‘Carnival of Souls!” just for its overall creepiness and well executed economy of budget!

    Great catch on ‘Session 9’. A neat little creeper that gives credence that David Caruso can act under frightening situations!

    I’ll toss in three personals. An off putting little import titled, ‘Who Can Kill A Child?’. A second, ‘Let’s Scare Jessica to Death’. And a James Coburn, Mediterranean mystery, ‘The Last of Sheila’.

    Liked by 1 person

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    • le0pard13

      Indeed. Glad to hear you’re a fan of Session 9, too, Kevin. I’ve not seen ‘Who Can Kill A Child?’, but your latter two remains real gems. Many thanks, my friend 🙂

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