2017-10-11 / Arts and Entertainment

My Top 8 Horror Films

By JASON GUYER

— WARNER BROS. PICTURES— WARNER BROS. PICTURESCome October, the temperature drops, the leaves change colors, and the smell of pumpkin wafts through the air.

One other October staple that can titillate the senses is the screams.

Screams come in many forms throughout the month of October and are caused by many things, ranging from costumes to haunted houses.

Some people, like myself, may even scream from the overuse of pumpkin spice.

My preference is for the ones echoing through a movie theater after a well done jump scare, or a “nested” cat scare, or maybe even a Lewton Bus scare. Then again, maybe what warrants a good scream is just good old-fashioned loud noises.

Personally, I prefer smart, thought-out horror films rather than the cheaper levels of horror filmmaking like blood and gore.

Ratcheting up the blood and gore only accomplishes one thing for me, and that is to shoo me right out the door.

Now, I do really enjoy horror films, but only when the horror element is done well, and I do believe this will be the category that has the largest personal preference and opinion gap — a gap so large that by the end of this top eight horror list, you may be the one screaming at me.

Agree or disagree, here are my Top 8 favorite horror films:

8. “Audition” — “Audition” is a film about a widower who takes an offer to screen girls at a special audition and when he finds the girl he fancies they go on a date, but he soon finds she is not who she appears to be.

A film by Takashi Miike, “Audition” is his finest work in my opinion and one of my personal favorite horror films. The movie is very slow going in the beginning, but the payoff is well worth it.

The torture scene at the end is nightmare-inducing, especially when she makes that noise as she uses the acupuncture needles. It still gives me the creeps.

7. “Cat People” — When an American man marries a Serbian immigrant who fears intimacy, a fear that is based in the belief that she will turn into a cat person.

“Cat People” is the film that made the Lewton Bus scare tactic famous. It still gets me, and now I know it's coming.

It has been a long time since I last saw “Cat People,” but it still is one of my favorites.

6. “Jacob’s Ladder” — About a man mourning his dead child, 1990’s “Jacob’s Ladder” tells the story of a haunted Vietnam War veteran as he attempts to discover his past while suffering from a severe case of dissociation as he tries to decipher reality and life from his own dreams, delusions, and perception of death.

One of Tim Robbins’ best films, it is no “Shawshank Redemption,” but still one of his best. “Jacob’s Ladder” is a psychological horror film and it truly is psychological. I first saw this film when I was 13 and it truly wigged me out, to steal a term also from the 90s.

5. “Jaws” — Everyone knows “Jaws” — or at least you should, the score is enough to make you want to. Spielberg himself gives the “Jaws” theme credit for half the success of the film.

Then there is the scene when Roy Scheider’s character Martin Brody first sees the shark, gets spooked and slowly backs up to Quint and says “You’re going to need a bigger boat.” It’s one of the best scenes in all of cinema.

4. “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” — The story of a murderous family in Texas, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” brings us face to face with Leatherface, an iconic horror film character.

When I watched “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” for the first time I had to stop, the dinner scene was too much for a young kid; but after many subsequent viewings that same dinner scene is also cinema legend in my opinion.

The screaming and laughing mixed with the extreme eye closeups just makes the scene uncomfortable to watch.

3. “A Nightmare on Elm Street” — Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger is hands down my favorite horror film character.

I will say that “A Nightmare on Elm Street” never actually scared me as a child, and if you watch it today the corny special effects definitely do not hold up, but the humor and psychological aspect to Freddy made him my personal favorite horror character.

The bedroom scene in “A Nightmare on Elm Street” is iconic, and even though it happened in the fourth film, the “soul pizza” scene is still my favorite Freddy moment.

2. “The Shining” — “Here’s Johnny,” the twins, and “Redrum.” Enough said.

1. “The Exorcist” — “The Exorcist” is about a girl who is possessed by a mysterious entity, and when her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter, that entity strikes back.

“The Exorcist” is by far the scariest movie I have ever seen. The Linda Blair vomiting pea soup scene is forever seared into my brain.

For my money though, the cross scene is the most haunting in “The Exorcist.” In my opinion, all other horror movies try to be “The Exorcist,” but none even come close.

Jason Guyer is an avid moviegoer and works in the Graphics Department at the Eagle Times. For questions or comments he can be emailed at guyer@eagletimes.com


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