10 Reasons to Scream

UT Staff Writers
Niner Online
University of North C

Every year, everyone dusts off their DVD collection to scare themselves silly. This is a pastime that has been passed down for generations. Movies have been handed down from parents to children to scare them, and a new generation is opened to new and frightening scenes from the twisted minds of directors and producers who have made films that make your heart skip a beat, your stomach leap into your throat or just keep you awake at night scanning your bedroom for creepy-crawlies.

This is a list of the Top 10 most frightening and hair-raising stories as voted on by students who love the thrill of a good scary film. So go to your video store and check out these films for an awesomely scary night.

10. “Se7en” (1995)

Gist: There is a lunatic traveling around and attacking civilians based on the seven deadly sins. For instance, a man obsessed with appearances is disfigured, a glutton is forced to eat to death – you get the picture. The only thing that is stopping this madman is Detective David Mills (Brad Pitt) and Detective Lt. William Somerset (Morgan Freeman), who force the killer to turn his attention to the detectives and their families.

Glamour: You can argue whether or not this is truly a horror film, but it is certainly a scary look into the psyche of a deranged madman. Kevin Spacey plays a terrifying psycho-killer who does God’s work. And isn’t there something just terribly frightening about a head in a box?

9. “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968)

Gist: Settling down with your husband in an apartment with a bad reputation can’t be that bad, even when a neighbor mysteriously dies, you start having disturbing visions and you get more attention from certain block residents than needed. But when it looks like your newborn child might be a critical element for a satanic ritual, you might get a little pessimistic.

Glamour: Psychological horror is an art rarely appreciated today, and it may not even have been very popular until the release of “Carrie” (1976), which came very close to making the list. Still, with an Oscar for Best Actress, a Critics Award and a Golden Globe, it’s very hard to ignore old-school mind trips like this one.

8. “Nosferatu” (1922)

Gist: When one of the oldest vampires on earth has risen in Transylvania and is looking for fresh blood, you’ll want to get something more than stakes and garlic. A last will and testament comes to mind.

Glamour: Yes, it’s black and white, yes, it’s silent and yes, it will make you believe in vampires for a good while. Based on Stroker’s “Dracula,” this German classic manages to capture vampirism in its most graphic depiction. Though you may have to do some deep digging to find this movie, you’ll be pleased with what you uncover. It is considered one of the scariest films of all time; it just happened to be released before good marketing.

7. “Psycho” (1960)

Gist: Welcome to the Bates Motel, where you’ll be spending most of the night wondering if the attachment the knife-wielding owner has toward his mother is really all that stable. But hey, you get a free continental breakfast and HBO! And as always, hot showers are available.

Glamour: To the Great Director, this film was a comedy, but to everyone else this film reminds us of why we love(d) slasher movies in the first place.

Whether the murder scenes are indeed shot like love scenes (as Hitch would have had it) is your call, but you can’t ignore the eerie romance put into the beautiful directing and cinematography of this epic.

6. “Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984)

Gist: Killing children by appearing as a nightmare in their dreams is a pretty clever M.O., and Nancy Thompson must figure out the mystery behind this man if she wants to get through the night alive. Whether Kruger gets a manicure and a face-lift between movies is just speculation.

Glamour: For a movie that deliberately drowned itself in sequel-mania, “Nightmare on Elm Street” is remarkably satisfying. You can say most of its appeal is generated from special effects, but you can’t dismiss it as a “psychotic killer versus hyperactive teenagers” plotline any more than you can forget Wes Craven’s worthwhile work — you know, before “People Under the Stairs.”

5. “Jaws” (1975)

Gist: If a veteran shark hunter tells you you’re going to need a bigger boat to make sushi out of a giant great white that’s been turning the local beach resort into a smorgasbord, better listen to him. Nothing can turn families away quicker.

Glamour: What else can be said about the epic that instigated Spielberg’s career that wouldn’t be redundant? This movie made sure no one felt safe swimming. It’s the reason why people still have a fascination with these deadly beasts of the sea.

It’s the perfect horror/thriller/monster movie that gives new meaning to the phrase “sleeps with the fishes.”

4. “The Ring” (2002)

Gist: A magazine reporter has gotten hold of a mysterious videocassette that kills people a week after they watch it. Behind the disturbing images on the tape and those in her dreams lies a mystery she has seven days to figure out. That’s what you get when you don’t pay late fees.

Glamour: Who would have thought an American adaptation of a hit Japanese horror film would translate so well? BalanceGist: The next time you want to spend the winter in an isolated hotel in the mountains of Colorado with your bipolar parents and a telepathic ability that can show you images of the past and possibly save your life, don’t. And make sure to leave a “Stop building things on ancient American Indian burial grounds” note on your comment card when you check out.

3. “Alien” (1979)

Gist: Something is after you and you don’t know what it is. All you know is it spawned from your friend’s chest after he was bitten by an alien parasite, it’s killed off half your crew, and you’re trapped on a mining ship in the middle of deep space with it. People are going to die.

Glamour: While not quite the dawn of Ridley Scott’s career, it took a lot more than special effects to morph an ancient alien spacecraft full of eggs into three sequels.

This movie reminds us, despite today’s constant reassurance to the contrary, that Sci-Fi/Horror CAN work, if you have the right direction, backdrop and concept.

2. “The Shining” (1980)

Gist: The next time you want to spend the winter in an isolated hotel in the mountains of Colorado with your bipolar parents and a telepathic ability that can show you images of the past and possibly save your life, don’t. And make sure to leave a “Stop building things on ancient American Indian burial grounds” note on your comment card when you check out.

Glamour: Kubrick was never one to specialize in any single film genre, and his one attempt at horror couldn’t have been better. You don’t have to be a Stephen King fan to realize this film’s scariness.

1. “The Exorcist” (1973)

Gist: When a preteen girl is beset by a bizarre mental disturbance to which scientific and medical treatment has no effect, her mother calls for the work of a local preacher and his exorcist friend, with the wonder as to how far they must go to save her. The good news is that her HMO covers it.

Glamour: Not even laughably pathetic sequels and a re-released cut of the movie could ruin it, and in three decades it hasn’t gotten any less scary. Watch it, watch the cut scenes, watch the interviews, debate about it online, and understand why it is the reason we indulge in this genre.