For my film selections, this is my criteria:
Does the movie startle you, make you anxious, get your heart pumping or just plain gross you out?
The Shining—Easily Stanley Kubrick’s greatest achievement, in my opinion. This film has a crazy concept. A husband and father is going to kill his son and wife. It’s so mysteriously atmospheric, that it creates a disturbing feeling, because it’s so unnatural, and you never know what could be hidden around each corner.But for me anyway, what’s most frightening about The Shining is the fact that I don’t know why I’m so terrified while watching it. I just am.
Halloween by John Carpenter—The synthesized music with piano and keyboards creates tension. The camera moves from 1st person (as the killer) and 3rd person (as the unsuspecting victim) quite often. The atmosphere is very Midwestern with leaves falling and taking place on Halloween, makes it a perfect and nostalgic horror film about stalking babysitters. John Carpenter wanted to make a great movie and that’s what he did. Unknowingly, he created the blueprint for modern day slasher films.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (original)—Tobe Hooper is easily known for Poltergeist from the early 80s but in this film he just went raw and gruesome. There’s just something creepy about a bunch of kids in a van ending up in the middle of nowhere in this town full of strange people and falling into a trap of a group of insane wackos, including the famous leather face, living in this old disturbing house who eventually kill almost everyone. The kills are amazing (using weapons like sledgehammers, meat hooks and of course a chainsaw) and the fact that it takes place in scenes like a home made butcher shop and a room with bones, feathers and a chicken in a cage just makes it all the more creepy.
A Nightmare On Elm Street—I first saw this when I was about 9 years old and I just loved it. The boiler room scenes, dragging the dead body through the high school hallways and a girl being attacked by the invisible killer all around the walls and ceiling in her bedroom was just astonishing. Honestly its about the way certain locations are filmed like a bathtub scene or a jailhouse one that causes shock and frustration for the viewer because only you (the audience) and the kids in the film know what’s going on. The adults disbelieve their stories because they’re covering up the truth. Another cool factor, the killer has a burnt face and knives for fingers on a glove. Visually its quite stunning. Wes Craven made his directorial mark with this one.
An American Werewolf In London—The opening sequence at the bar and the two backpackers walking down the foggy road late at night create fear and tension until that shocking attack happens.The remainder of the film, while there are plenty of comedic moments involving dead people who talk to the main character, involves our protagonist gradually becoming the antagonist and then closes with a major scene with a werewolf roaming the streets of London terrorizing everyone. I haven’t seen another werewolf film this entertaining, fun and scary. Way to go John Landis (director).