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Night of the Horror Movies that Terrified Directors

Photo of Anne Thompson and Maggie Lange By Anne Thompson and Maggie Lange | Thompson on Hollywood August 19, 2011 at 6:43AM

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.
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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.

This article is related to: Directors, Genres, Lists, Guillermo Del Toro, Horror


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.