Halloween is the time of year when you can depend on a few things happening – first, Halloween decorations will disappear from stores two weeks before the actual holiday to make room for Christmas decorations, prompting every shopper to say, “gosh, they set the Christmas stuff up earlier every year!” Second, the usual Halloween specials will start showing up on TV, including “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”, probably in it’s 30 minute incarnation which leaves out the best and scariest bits (and can you believe that this cartoon is from 1966?!). And of course, there’s the list of “scariest movies”, which allows people to argue over what film is the scariest they’ve ever seen, and a chance to polish one’s geek-cred by mentioning indie horror-flicks (“It’s like Jaws but ten times scarier, and it was shot with a cell phone, man!”)
I have no intention of making a list of what I consider the most scary movies. Why should I, when so many others have done that work for me? Besides, I would have to categorize the films as “movies that scare me” and “scary movies I really like”, which would be two different lists. For example, Poltergeist is one of my favorite movies of all time, and it’s a scary movie, but it in no way scares me, because I’ve seen it so many times. Meanwhile, The Grudge probably isn’t the scariest movie out there, but I’ve only watched it once and I know it was pretty damned scary at the time. It’s too subjective for me, as someone who is in the horror biz, and therefore biased, to make a list. And as I said, there’s plenty of folks who are ready to step in and fill that role for me.
Let’s start with io9, one of my favorite sites. They have a list of the 50 Scariest Movies of All Time, which will be an ongoing feature through the end of October.
To keep it just in 2011, Movie-Moron has a list of the Top 30 Best Horror Movies of 2011 (sic).
AMC has several lists to choose from, including Best Horror Movies of the Eighties and Scariest Non-Horror Movies (which includes films like Silence of the Lambs and Jaws, which are not horror films, no matter how scary they are). Check out the entire section here.
Let’s get international here…well, sort of. Canada’s Ottawa Citizen has a list of the 10 best horror movies of all time. I will point out that Alien is on the list, but the picture accompanying the article is from Alien Resurrection, which is, well…I liked it, but then I’m a Joss Whedon fan…but it’s not considered a very good or scary movie.
O.k., let’s really get international – The People’s Movies has a list of the top 10 scariest foreign language films. This must have been a hard list to narrow down, because there’s a ton of J-Horror and K-Horror out there. It does have Let the Right One In, so it’s clearly well thought out.
Finally, ScreenRant has a list of 10 ridiculously fun ‘horror’ films. The list gets props for including Zombieland and Rocky Horror, but fails for not including Slither or Tremors.
As we get closer to Halloween, I’ll add new lists – they seem to spring up like daisies on a freshly filled in grave in the last week of October.