Scariest Movies Ever! Countdown 10 to 6

Five classics make the list

We are almost there! Next week will be my choices for the five scariest movies of all time! If you need to get caught up, check out the write-ups for my picks for 31-25, 24-18, and 17-11.

As always let me know if you agree, or more importantly if you don’t agree. On to 10!

10. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Full disclosure: I have actually never seen this movie all the way through. In high school, a bunch of friends decided we should watch a classic horror movie. So later that night we popped in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The movie began, but once the blood-curdling, torturous screaming started, I was done. Covering my head with the sheet, I tried to tune out the screaming for the next hour. I could not.
Oh … the screaming.[SIGNUP]

9. Scream (19991996)
From Carrie Denny, Philly Mag fashion editor: “I would have to say that the most traumatized I ever was during a scary movie (which, as a rule, I not-surprisingly don’t really watch), was during the first scene of Scream. It was a friend’s birthday party, and I thought it was going to be funny horror, campy. Nothing I could relate to as perfectly as being a teenage babysitter, like Drew Barrymore. I left the theater when that scene was over, gathered myself, and then came back in and watched the rest sitting on the floor in the back of the theater in case I needed to bolt again. Then, I slept on the floor in my parents’ bedroom for two nights. I was 16.”

8. Poltergeist (1982)
Where to even begin? Like Amityville Horror, the movie transforms an idyllic, charming home into a grotesque backdrop. But nothing — NOTHING — traumatized me more than that damn clown doll. And apparently I wasn’t alone. Michael I.: “Is there anything more frightening in the world than having a clown doll try to kill you? Nothing is funny about a face that looks like it’s smiling the whole time it’s trying to strangle you to death.” And Clare: “It’s really not about staying away from the light. I can do that. What I can’t do is know for sure that there is nothing under my bed. Thanks Poltergeist! You have scared young children into becoming adults incapable of allowing even a fraction of an arm or a leg to dangle off the bed.”

“They’re here.”

7. Alien (1979)
The crew sits around the dining table. Now that Kane was awake — and apparently unscathed from that freaky, creature thing stuck to his face — everyone was calm. And laughing. But then Kane starts coughing … and choking … and convulsing. And then …

6. The Shining (1980)
Without a doubt, Kubrick’s fright flick is one of the most iconic, deeply disturbing movies ever made. Who can forget Nicholson breaking through the bathroom door shouting “Here’s Johnny!” as his Gumby-like wife Shelley Duval cowers in terror? Or the psychic son whose finger talks to him (“redrum. redrum. REDRUM!”) There are so many horrific images that stick in your mind. But, special attention must be made to the twins. This is the part that stuck with Philly Mag’s senior art director Andy Zahn. “The scene with the twins. ‘Won’t you come play with us Danny, we can play forever, and ever…’ I’m not sure what’s more scary about this scene, their iron-deficient skin-tones or the split-second frame of their dead bodies with blood everywhere.”

Stay tuned for the final countdown. Until then, here are some suggestions (including my favorite write-in) of movies not on the list.

From Anonymous: Back in 1964, the movie Strait-Jacket, with Joan Crawford and Lee Majors, was being publicized as a fun, scary date movie. Since I was a high school senior, I thought I could handle being scared a little. And they did say it was a fun date movie. So, my steady boyfriend and I went to a late showing. I think I had my eyes closed through most of the movie — I must have missed that advertised fun part. We got home really late. And since my boyfriend lived really far away, my Dad said that my boyfriend could just spend the night on the couch. What my Dad didn’t know was that my boyfriend was known to sometimes sleepwalk.

He slept on the living room couch, which was located next to the kitchen. I waited in my room until I knew that he was asleep. I tiptoed into the kitchen and took all of the knives, and anything else that could be used to stab or bludgeon us, and hid them where he wouldn’t find them. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep that night and listened for every door opening and every footstep. He did not sleepwalk, but it reinforced in me that it’s not worth seeing scary movies — give me the chick flicks!

Jess Hawkes (Philly Mag associate photo editor): Beetle Juice. I saw it when I was seven. I had to wait in the lobby of the theater for my brother cause I was so scared I couldn’t watch it, to this day it scares me, the makeup, the attack … I am sure others think it is fun, but I am a chicken.

Victor Fiorillo (Philly Mag research and A&E editor): I just can’t watch all those ultra-gore, ultra-demonic Rob Zombie movies like The Devil’s Rejects or House of 1,000 Corpses. Or those Hostel movies. Severe graphic torture, degradation. I have no problem with The Exorcist, The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby. And I love me some Law & Order-style torture. But the new level of gore and the pure evil of the characters just hits me somewhere that makes me unable to watch. I literally have to turn them off.