Written by Kirk BairdWith Halloween upon us, I put together a quick list of some horror films sure to deliver some scares.
The Shining (1980): So what if Stephen King dislikes Stanley Kubrick’s take on his horror novel — so much so he wrote another version as a TV miniseries? The master director’s musings of the psychology of fear remains terrifying on its own as husband-father Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is induced into madness by the spirits of a Colorado hotel closed up for the winter and goes after his family.
The Ring (2002): Gore Verbinski (the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies) imported the scary-as-hell Japanese film Ringu with almost equally chilling results, as Naomi Watts confronts the vindictive spirit behind an urban legend about a video tape that delivers death to all who watch it.
The Woman in Black (2012): In his first post-Harry Potter role, Daniel Radcliffe plays a young lawyer sent to an English village to shore up the will of a recently deceased woman. What he discovers, in this scare fest that specializes in bump-in-the-night shivers, is a vengeful ghost terrorizing the town.
The Blair Witch Project (1999): An initial sensation when it hit theaters with a then-revolutionary viral marketing campaign, it was strong word-of-mouth that kept new audiences coming. The film offers a slow scare, much like a really good ghost story, as three twenty-somethings decide to make a movie about a legendary witch, get lost in the woods, and wind up becoming part of the horrifying legend.
Paranormal Activity (2007): This low-budget single-camera ghost film, which started the now annual October franchise, borrows a lot from The Blair Witch Project, including a horror movie that offers only a few frights along the way, saving its biggest scare for the end as a boyfriend and girlfriend confront a poltergeist living in their condo.
Suspiria (1977): Italian filmmaker Dario Argento (Once Upon the Time in the West) directed this intense and frightening tale of an American ballet dancer played by Jessica Harper who travels to Europe to join a famous ballet school and discovers it’s a front for a coven of evil witches. Look for a remake of this critically acclaimed cult classic next year.
The Thing (1982): Thirty years after its release, John Carpenter’s classic remake remains chilling with its “who can you trust?” vibe. The creature effects still hold up, and Kurt Russell has never been better as one of the Americans trapped in an Antarctic research station with a bloodthirsty alien that can assume the form of any animal or man it comes in contact with.