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Night of the Horror Movies that Terrified Directors

by Anne Thompson and Maggie Lange
August 19, 2011 6:43 AM
7 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood

The NYT is running a meaty list of the horror movies that scared the bejeezus out such tough-guy thrill-meisters as Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) and Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead). While the list of their go-to fright picks is not unexpected, their descriptions of the films are worth exploring.

The same titles keep cropping up: it seems that Stanley Kubrick's The Shining will never loose its power to terrify. The movie "proves that great horror can be both shocking and a highly artistic endeavor," says Del Toro, while indie director Ti West (The House of the Devil) admits that it was the "first film to actually make me uncomfortable with the idea of ever watching it again." Come to think of it, West was perhaps inspired by Kubrick's infamous abandoned hotel with his sixth film, SXSW entry The Innkeepers, a wittily atmospheric haunted inn flick starring Last House on the Left's Sara Paxton.

What are your scariest memories? The ones that keep you up at night? Mine is the ultimate haunted house movie, Robert Wise's The Haunting.

7 Comments

  • Manuel | August 21, 2011 8:18 AMReply

    The American version / remake of The Grudge. Scary as hell for me as an adult, experienced movie goer and film academic. Never want to see that one again.

  • FlyBro | August 19, 2011 10:07 AMReply

    The original "The Fly" with Vincent Price is a movie I saw when I was 5 years old, and at the end you see a Fly with a Human Head crying "Help Me!" because he's caught in a spider web and a Giant Spider is coming after him. That scared the Dookie out of me. It is still scary to me now.

  • Stacy Charest | August 19, 2011 7:39 AMReply

    my scarest movie that I have ever seen would have to be Darkness Falls it was one of the first horror movies that I had ever seen and I was about 7 years old but even at that young age I already knew that I loved horror movies just because of the thrill oh and The Exorcist was also scary.

  • Griff | August 19, 2011 7:27 AMReply

    In wading through the hundreds of reader comments accompanying the article on the Times' site, I was elated to see many cite THE HAUNTING as a great personal favorite. I was also pleased to see a number of readers mention Roeg's DON'T LOOK NOW. While a lot of New Yorkers were quick to bring up Polanski's ROSEMARY'S BABY, I was glad to note that at least some also brought up REPULSION.

  • David Hollingsworth | August 19, 2011 7:27 AMReply

    The movie that still keeps up at night is John Carpenter's Halloween. The scene that really gave me nightmares was the close-up of Michael Myers mask, after he strangles P.J. Soles's character, Lynda, with a telephone chord.

  • Grease1739 | August 19, 2011 7:20 AMReply

    The "Eyeball Scene" in "Black Christmas".

  • Ray | August 19, 2011 7:11 AMReply

    For me, it will forever be the scene in The Exorcist when the priest comes to the house and their is a close-up on young Reagan's glowing green eyes. I was about 12 years old when I saw that and it still unnerves me twenty years later.

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