Camiele’s 100 Favorite Frightening Films of All Time: 80-61
Moving right along, here are the next twenty films that made an impression on me in one way or another, providing me with years of entertainment (and nightmares) from the moment I saw them.
80. Poltergeist (1982)
Another classic. Word of advice, guys. Don’t buy property that you’ve been told has been built deliberately on the burial ground of Natives. For the love of God, what good could possibly come out of that? No amount of saved cash is worth the turmoil of having to appease the spirits of some very (understandably) pissed-off tribesmen. This is another film that had me gripped and terrified for most of its duration, then sort of just fizzled out in the end. Leading up to the final battle, however, there was some exceptional work with special effects and lighting. There were even more brilliant uses of sound (and more importantly silence) to give some real texture to the suspense. Truly a frightening film.
79. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Okay, seriously don’t laugh. This film actually made it impossible for me to sleep for weeks when I first saw it. Levi Stubbs played the role of Audrey II like nobody’s business, and in the process created probably one of the most frightening animatronic characters ever conceived. Forget the fact that I love the film and it’s absolutely one of my favorite musicals of all time, I really couldn’t get away from the idea of a gigantic plant from outer space trying to take over the planet… starting with my bedroom.
78. The Legend of Hell House
When I first saw this I wasn’t convinced I was going to enjoy it, but as the story progressed I was hooked. I can’t help it. I’m a sucker for stories in which our main characters constantly question each others’ sanity. Psychological horror works best when all the players are convinced everyone else is out of their minds. Paranoia is high, and the tension is so thick it almost chokes you. Sometimes you just gotta give things a chance, and I’m sure glad I did with this 1973 classic.
77. The Plague Dogs
The Brits are actually out of control, and they were in rare form in in the ’70s. At some point a few creative types got together and decided to make animated films to truly horrify children and make parents squeamish about their own humanity. The Plague Dogs is the second in what seemed to be a series of films meant to give insight to the souls of animals… and they did it in the most grisly, raw, and unrepentant manner possible. The opening sequence alone made me almost stop watching this film, but it was worth the heartbreak of watching these poor animals being experimented on, then preyed upon because they dared to attempt to navigate their freedom.
76. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Though definitely horror, the creep factor didn’t impact me nearly as much as just how gorgeous this black-and-white film was. It skimped on the gore to deliver some stunning camera work and even more brilliant storytelling. As a result, I was never really sure what was going to happen, despite the film itself making use of very typical horror conventions: stalking, paranoia, and, of course, the beautiful vampire (played by the absolutely flawless Sheila Vand). A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night was truly unexpected. I wasn’t aware Iran made horror, but it seems the country is churning out some truly beautiful work that makes heavy use of music and thick atmosphere to set viewers on edge.