Camiele’s 100 Favorite Frightening Films of All Time: 5-1
And here we are! The final countdown! The Top 5 Frightening Films that defined my horror film experience!
But first, one more honorable mention.
Pan’s Labyrinth (El laberinto del fauno)
I know it may come as a surprise to some that this one didn’t make the list, but I really did go back and forth about it for about a month. It’s one of my favorite films by Guillermo del Toro, if not actually my favorite. It’s one of the most visually stunning films I’ve ever seen. Believe it or not the monsters aren’t even what’s frightening about the film. The general, Ofelia’s step-father, is one of the most depraved, self-righteous characters I’ve ever seen. His smashing in a man’s face with a bottle sealed the deal. Why it didn’t make the main list may have more to do with it not actually affecting me psychologically like most of the films on this list did. Either way, I had to at least mention it.
Now on to the Top 5!
5. The Shining (1980)
This film actually spawned a new phobia for me I never even realized existed: the fear of doors. The Shining is the ultimate haunted house flick, a film in which you have no idea what’s around the corner or behind every door… especially doors that are inexplicably open. There was so much depth in this movie, so many thematic elements that had me wound up tight until I could hardly breathe while watching. Every singe time I’ve ever decided to watch The Shining, I’ve had the hardest time getting to sleep for the next few nights. Over fifteen years after my original viewing hasn’t diminished the power it holds over my psyche.
It’s not only my favorite Stephen King film adaptation, it’s my favorite of the legendary’s author’s stories. From the pressure of having to deliver promised work, to having to maintain a large hotel for a long and hard winter, The Shining pushed both Jack Nicholson’s character and the viewer into a corner, suffocating both with isolation and claustrophobia. Every scene was both significant and elegant, a piece of filmography that put fear in my heart and sent me on a journey to falling in love with this genre.