My local newspaper’s website published a Halloween list of the 13 top scariest scenes in (supposedly) “horror” movies. A few are okay, but I have some issues with the list, because some of what they put on there just isn’t horror, and some stuff is clearly just there to give a nod to the last few years, but caused some GLARING omissions. So here’s their list, and my relevant disputes.
· ‘Alien’ (1979) – NOT HORROR – I’m sorry…but it’s sci-fi. I know some people don’t see a difference, but there is a HUGE difference. Horror should not involve aliens. (Ya’ hear that M. Night Shamalamadingdong?) I’ll give you that “Alien” could be classified “scary,” but it is NOT horror (I might even let it slide as “suspense,” but I’m more inclined to just leave it at “sci-fi”). A scary movie is not synonymous with a movie that is supposed to be horrific.
· ‘Carrie’ (1976) – This was a good one. Involves the concepts of payback, revenge, fear, rising from the dead, and loads of blood. All the classic horror elements, and I’m fine with this one.
· ‘When a Stranger Calls’ (1979) – NOT HORROR – Technically suspense. Sorry folks, but home-invasion is terrifying, but it isn’t horror. It’s just suspense. Shoot, Indiana Jones had to run away from the Nazis, but it certainly wasn’t horror…it was just trying to get away from someone who wants to kill you. If we’re going to accept “When a Stranger Calls” as horror, we may as well also accept Dennis Leary’s “The Ref.” (And, yes, even though I am totally freaked out by the concept of “The Strangers” which just hit DVD — this is in the same boat. Suspense, not horror.)
· ‘Deep Sea Blue’ (1999) – NOT HORROR, and also not the correct title, as it’s supposed to be “Deep Blue Sea,” but they messed it up. Well done, there. It’s Samuel L. Jackson running around with a bunch of genetically engineered sharks. Where’s the horror? Where’s the dead guy out to avenge his own murder? Where’s the fake-out where the killer jumps out of the closet wearing a pelt made of Grandma? I’ll admit that the thing where the shark jumps through the glass was awesome…but it’s not horror. Better classified action/semi-sci-fi. May as well put “Jurassic Park” and “Orca” on the list if this is horror.
· ‘Saw’ (2004) – Not that scary…but passable. Qualifies as horror, though the sub-genre of torture-flicks, which I don’t really approve of, but I can let slide.
· ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ (1974) – Definitely deserves to be on there. Ed Gein himself would be proud.
· ‘Dressed to Kill’ (1980) – Haven’t seen it…can’t judge. Don’t even really know what it’s about.
· ‘The Descent’ (2005) – Not list-worthy, but passable. It’s mostly a monster-flick, and that always works as horror. This one, though, I think is just trying to bow to the present movies and acknowledge that something’s been made since the 80s. I can let that go, though.
· ‘The Exorcist’ (1973) – Actually a good one. Based on a true story that happened not too far from where I live, in fact. This is the one that made my dad want to sleep in the car after he saw it, years ago. I never quite understood that, since sleeping outside is always scarier than sleeping inside with the lights on…but whatever.
· ‘Final Destination’ (2000) – Just supernatural enough to qualify. No problems here.
· ‘Friday the 13th’ (1980) – Good one.
· ‘Happy Birthday to Me’ (1981) – I haven’t seen it, so I’m not really sure what it’s supposed to be…but the site described a scene of a kid getting a shish-ka-bob rammed down his throat, upon which he chokes to death…and I want to see that…so I’ll let this one stay.
· ‘The Ring’ (2002) – Good God that was creepy…good call on this one.
So…we’re missing a few.
I was glad I didn’t see “Psycho” on the list, because it’s more suspense than horror. So, well done there…but come on… No “Elm Street” movies? None of the classic Draculas, Frankensteins, Mummies, etc? No “Scream?” No “Shining?” No “Night of the Living Dead?” Shoot, I’d even let the first one or two “Child’s Play” movies sneak in if they wanted to… Or…hello? “Evil Dead???” A tree rapes someone in that movie! How can THAT not be on a list of scary movies??? Yet, they go with “The Descent” and “Final Destination” which are decent movies, but not really classics and not really unexpectedly thrilling (I could have let them pass with “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” or the aforementioned “Scream,” though). …and come on, “Deep Blue Sea?” The “Boy Meets World” Halloween episode was scarier (and truer horror) than “Deep Blue Sea!”
…ehh…at least it’s better than most and didn’t list things like “Terminator,” “Jaws,” or “Fargo” — all of which I’ve actually SEEN on other lists! (And all of which aren’t horror, btw.)
Also, if you’re looking for some advice on some lesser-known scary movies, check out my brother’s blog for a list he posted.
EDIT: I have no idea why the shade of black changes throughout this post. Can’t seem to find a way to fix it, and it bugs me… DOUBLE EDIT: …and why the hell is this green?!?