Halloween is right around the corner. This is the time of year for ghosts and goblins, witches and monsters, and anything else scary. Many Halloween costumes are based on a scary theme, and so often one of the prizes at Halloween costume party contests is for scariest costume.
What is it about us wanting to get scared, especially around the time of Halloween? Does it get our blood pumping? Is it something for thrill-seekers? Whatever the reason, people love to be scared, and to watch scary movies. Around Halloween, even more people have the desire to watch something really scary.
The next question is, what gets you scared? Is it a movie about Dracula and werewolves? Is it a movie about witches? Do you like movies with lots of blood?
For me, the scariest movies are ones that give a psychological thrill. It’s not just about people being slayed, or lots of blood and gore. I find the scariest movies to be the ones that really haunt your soul, and get to the core of your being.
To be scary, a movie has to have suspension of disbelief. This means, it has to seem real in order for it to be believable, and for you to think it’s real and not just a movie. The reason many horror movies don’t scare me is because they don’t really attain suspension of disbelief.
For example, when watching Resident Evil, where humans are transformed into something else, I don’t find this believable. There’s no way this would really happen. So, anything that happens in the movie isn’t scary. When people come back from the dead in movies like “Night of the Living Dead,” I don’t believe this so I don’t get scared.
So what are my choices for the top ten scariest movies of all time?
1. 1984. Most people wouldn’t put this on the list for scariest movies, even scary movies. Yet, this movie finds it to the top of my list. Why, do you ask?
This was the elite psychological thriller. This movie is about the government wanting to be able to get into everyone’s mind.
To me, that’s pretty scary. Once you can’t have your own thoughts, freedom is pretty much gone. Somehow, if you had “bad” thoughts, you could actually be arrested in this movie.
And what do they do to people who commit thought crime? You don’t just go to jail. You don’t just get put in the gas chamber. Instead, you are tortured.
You are tortured by them getting inside your mind and finding out what scares you most. For Winston, the main character in this movie, he was most afraid of rats.
So, they put a rat in a cage and let it loose with his head inside, and the rat begins to chew on his eyes. This was the most dreadful thing that could have happened for him! Tell me something scarier than this movie!
2. The Matrix. The reason I find this movie scary is because what if we really aren’t living in reality?
What if we are being programmed to see all of the things we see and do what we do, and there is another total reality where we are actually just brains with no bodies and we are in a matrix where we think we have bodies.
What if all this time, we have really just been in some sort of game and there is no earth, no solar system, and no life forms as we know it?
I don’t necessarily think any of this is true, but it’s scary to think that we may not really know what reality is.
3. Blair Witch Project. This movie has the minimum blood and gore, and the scary part is how the movie messes with your mind. The people in this movie don’t see any witches, but somehow they know something is around them.
Something is rearranging the rock pile, for instance. The movie gets into your psyche, where the witches are messing with these people to scare them.
Really, we don’t know if the witches exist, or whether the three teens are just scared by their own minds. (In other words, are they just so scared to be out in the forest that they are making things up in their mind?)
This is scary because you can actually scare yourself without anyone even doing anything, if you become scared in your own mind.
4. Nightmare on Elm Street. This will be one of the few classic horror movies that makes my list.
It makes the list because it’s about getting inside your dreams. This woman was so scared because “Freddie” had gotten inside her dreams, and thus inside her head.
Although I didn’t find “Freddie” to be very believable, and would rather have seen a more realistic scary person, it was believable that this is the image that would have scared this particular woman, so I found it to be believable.
I know that sometimes nightmares can really get the best of you, and sometimes they seem truly real. It would be really scary to have something bother me so bad that it invaded my dreams and nightmares.
5. Open Water. Open Water is a movie about two people who have left behind on a diving expedition, out in the ocean. One of them has an open cut, meaning the blood attracts sharks.
Of course, you can guess what will happen next. The movie is scary because it is so real- this is something that can and does happen (this movie was based on a real story.)
Sharks are something we all think about any time we go to the beach. And, in the past few years, there seem to be more sharks killing people near popular beaches.
Imagine how scared you would be if you were stranded out in the ocean, and sharks started to swim around you.
6. Vanilla Sky. Vanilla Sky is one of my favorite movies of all time. It was pure genius, to have people be able to live in a separate reality than their own.
This movie is scary because it means we can allow someone else to change our realities, by implanting something in our heads.
It’s also about the denial of reality when something really bad happens, that can prevent us from being able to see the difference between what is imagine and what is real.
If you watch this movie, you will have a whole new idea about life.
7. Final Destination. This movie is about how even if you escape an accident, if it was your destiny to die at that time, something else will inevitably find you.
The movie is scary because it makes you wonder if we really have any control over our destinies, or whether our lives are already programmed, at least to some extent.
If we make a choice to not get onto a plane that crashes, does that mean our destiny was not to die that day, or does it mean we escaped our destiny and started down a new path?
It’s scary to think that we may not have the ability to escape what is going to happen.
8. Flightplan. This is about getting inside your mind. In this movie, Jodie Foster is flying back to America with her daughter.
Somehow, her daughter disappears and everyone on the plane tells her that her daughter was never on the plane with her.
It’s as if she has lost total control of reality.
She has to find someway to find her daughter, with everyone not believing her story about having her daughter with her. Talk about scary!
8.5. The Forgotten. This movie is very similar to Flight Plan, in that people are trying to tell this woman that her child never even existed!
9. Paparazzi. If you were Princess Diana, you would understand greatly why this movie is scary.
Once you become famous, it’s like you have no private life anymore. Just because you share pieces of yourself with the public, the public, and especially photographers, think they can have any piece of you they would like.
This movie scares you to the core because it is very possible, and does happen, that you could be chased by crazy fans or photographers to the point that it ends up costing you your life.
There is no stopping an obsessed fan or photographer from getting what they want.
10. The Ring. At first, you wouldn’t think it’s believable that you could watch a tape and then die seven days later.
But the believable part, and the reason the movie is so scary, is that it brings up the idea of someone being able to control your mind through telepathy.
For me, the little girl in this movie was a symbol for someone being able to get inside your mind and tell you things.
Of course, the movie was more about the little girl having unresolved issues of her death and this was a way to resolve them.
But, you can see what I mean. It was less believable because she was dead, but if she had been alive, I would have agreed to the possibility that people can send us thoughts, such as that they are in danger and need our help.
10.5 Dragonfly. So, if people, dead or alive, can send us thoughts, then Dragonfly also becomes incredibly believable.
This movie is scary because it makes me think, what if we close our minds off so much to what we don’t think is real that we never find out the truth about anything?
If the main character in this movie had just never believed the signs his wife was sending him about their child, he would never have found his child!
What if we are getting messages we don’t even know about, or what if there are aliens that are actually contacting us and we ignore the signs, etc.
These two movies at number 10 and 10.5 show us the importance of sometimes believing in the unbelievable. It’s scary for me because I have a hard time doing this, and wonder if there is something important I am missing. How about you?
So, what is your scariest movie of all time?