SURVEY SAYS: What's Your Favorite Scary Movie?

October 29, 2008 ( - Friday, of course, is Halloween.

Topping the list – appropriately enough – was “Halloween” (and, so far as it was explained, we’re talking about the John Carpenter/Jamie Curtis version, not the Rob Zombie remake).    Still that garnered only about 14% of the vote.

Second-most highly suggested was “The Exorcist”, which garnered nearly 11% , while just over 9% suggested “The Shining”.   “Poltergeist” got 6% , “The Birds” drew just over 5% , while “The Omen” and “Alien” drew the support of nearly 5% each.  

Multiple votes were received for the following:

  • Dracula
  • Jaws
  • Last House on the Left
  • Night of the Living Dead
  • Psycho
  • Scream

Also noted were:

  • 1984
  • Aliens
  • The Amityville Horror
  • Cat People (the original with Simone Simon)
  • Daddy's Gone A Hunting
  • Dawn of the Dead (original)
  • Dracula - Christopher Lee
  • The Eyes of Laura Mars
  • Fright Night
  • Ghost Story
  • The Haunting
  • Hocus Pocus
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • The Legend of Hell House
  • Mars Attacks
  • The Mist
  • Nightmare on Elm Street
  • F.W. Munerau's 1922 "Nosferatu. the Vampyre"
  • Race With The Devil
  • Seven
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • Silence of the Lambs
  • Stephen King's Storm of the Century
  • The Ring
  • W.
  • The Wizard of Ox

But this week's Editor's Choice goes to the reader who responded; "My own wedding video !!!" - signed, now divorced HR Mgr".

Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!

Now, not that it (perhaps) matters lots, but as I thought back over my history with scary movies, I realized that WHERE you see a movie, WHEN you see a movie, and sometimes WHO you see it with, all have influences.  

Without question, the movie that most unnerved me when I saw it in the theater was "The Exorcist."  Of course, that was back at the time when people were coming out of that film claiming to be possessed (or having seen it with someone who started acting that way), returning home and experiencing objects moving around, etc.   That, and unlike movies about fictional monsters, or reanimated zombies, it seemed like it could happen.   Perhaps the best evidence of how it affected me - I slept with the lights on that night (and I was still living at home with my parents at the time).   But, as creepy as it was, I wouldn't call it the scariest movie I ever saw.

As for the where you see it, I saw "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" for the first time at a drive-in theater.   Now, it's one thing to see a scary movie in a crowded theater.   But even though the screen is far away, and the picture tends to be grainy (that added to the realism - and it was, after all, based on "actual events"), I was so scared that - well, let's just say I wasn't interested in sticking around for the second feature.

The scariest black-and-white movie I ever saw was "The Haunting" .   If you haven't seen it - or haven't seen it in a while - check it out.   One of the best ghost movies ever!  

Let's face it - there are lots of great scary movies - every time I get goosebumps, I still think of "The Sixth Sense" , I'll never forget that scene from "Poltergeist" where the clown comes from under the bed, and yes, if I had lived near the ocean after I saw "Jaws" , I surely would have skipped the beach that summer.  "Halloween?"  A true classic (the soundtrack is wonderful!).   Looking for a good werewolf movie?  "Silver Bullet" is great - or check out "Dog Soldiers" for a new twist on the genre.   One with a really creepy (no pun intended) ending?   Check out "Jeepers Creepers" - or for a new selection, how about the closing scene in "Shutter?"   For my money, the scariest ending ever?  "Carrie."

Still, the scariest movie I ever saw on a television screen - and my choice for scariest movie - was "The Evil Dead."  Oh, sure parts of it look kind of campy now (Sam Raimi was a long way from Spider-Man), but it scared the (*&*(& out of me the Saturday night I watched it with some friends - fortunately we weren't in a cabin in the woods!