Spine-tin­gling fare

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES - By RAFER GUZMAN

’tis the sea­son for some creepy scares.

THE more hor­ror movies change, the more they stay the same, as the re­lease of Para­nor­mal Ac­tiv­ity 3 seems to prove. It’s the kind of low-bud­get, home-video-style hor­ror flick that’s pop­u­lar with the so­cial-net­work­ing gen­er­a­tion, but it’s also a throw­back to the haunted house movies that have thrilled au­di­ences for decades.

Will it fit the bill as your Hal­loween sea­son must-see? That de­pends. Hor­ror movies can be as sub­jec­tive as come­dies: What sends you into hys­ter­ics might leave your seat­mate un­moved. With that in mind, here’s my list of the 10 best hor­ror movies of all time, with enough demons, se­rial killers and space creeps to sat­isfy just about ev­ery­one.

If these don’t keep you awake long af­ter your pump­kin can­dles have burned out, noth­ing will. 1. The Shin­ing (1980): Stan­ley Kubrick’s tow­er­ing mono­lith of hor­ror gave us some of the most mem­o­rable mo­ments in movie his­tory: an el­e­va­tor gush­ing blood, a ter­ri­fy­ing Jack Nicholson (“Heeere’s Johnny!”) and lit­tle Danny Lloyd rid­ing his tri­cy­cle through the silent halls of the Over­look Ho­tel. Af­ter more than 30 years there have been few im­i­ta­tors and ab­so­lutely no equal. 2. Alien (1979): The se­quels be­came ac­tion movies, but Ri­d­ley Scott’s orig­i­nal about an acid­blooded crea­ture run­ning amok on a space­ship re­mains a hor­ror land­mark. It’s dark, claus­tro­pho­bic and mer­ci­lessly in­tense, but also hugely en­ter­tain­ing, with a jolt around ev­ery cor­ner and the cur­dling screams of an ex­cel­lent cast that in­cludes Sigour­ney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Harry Dean Stan­ton. 3. The Ex­or­cist (1973): The story of a young girl (Linda Blair) pos­sessed by Satan, The Ex­or­cist turned so­phis­ti­cated modern au­di­ences into hys­ter­i­cal vil­lagers who re­port­edly fainted, vom­ited and went into seizures at screen­ings. Me­dia hype aside, it’s still a whop­pingly ef­fec­tive shocker. 4. Jaws (1975): Steven Spiel­berg’s epic hor­ror-ad­ven­ture about a killer shark is part oceanic slasher flick, part Moby Dick and one white-knuckle ride from start to fin­ish. The trail­ers alone per­ma­nently scarred most of Amer­ica: Has any­one since 1975 ever gone for a swim with­out look­ing around for a fin? 5. Eraser­head (1977): This ex­tended hal­lu­ci­na­tion so de­fies de­scrip­tion that first-time wri­ter­di­rec­tor David Lynch called it sim­ply “a dream of dark and trou­bling things”. One of the most ghastly things about its cen­tral crea­ture – a mal­formed fe­tus grow­ing in a dark ho­tel room – is that Lynch still won’t dis­cuss how he made it. 6. The Thing (1982): The story of Antarc­tic re­searchers bat­tling a shape-shift­ing alien, John Car­pen­ter’s re­make of the 1951 clas­sic was panned for its stom­ach-churn­ing spe­cial ef­fects but has since be­come a pop­ulist favourite. Part of the rea­son is its cast of tasty hams, in­clud­ing Kurt Rus­sell, Keith David and an un­hinged Wil­ford Brim­ley los­ing his Quaker Oats. 7. Seven (1995): Few movies can elicit the emo­tional and phys­i­cal nau­sea that truly de­fines hor­ror, and one is David Fincher’s Seven, about two cops (Brad Pitt, Mor­gan Free­man) track­ing a grue­somely pa­tient se­rial killer. The Saw films can’t hold a can­dle to its per­va­sive at­mos­phere of dread, de­cay and doom. 8. Au­di­tion (1999): This Ja­panese film be­gins as a sen­si­tive drama – it’s about a wid­ower search­ing for a new wife – then sud­denly be­comes a scream­ing freak-out with eye-wa­ter­ing scenes of tor­ture. Even if you go in pre­pared, it won’t lessen the shock. 9. The Blair Witch Project (1999): A low-bud­get film about back­pack­ers in a haunted for­est, Blair Witch re­lied on non­pro­fes­sional ac­tors, hand-held cam­eras and zero ef­fects. It spawned a new genre of 10. Di­abolique (1955): The head­mas­ter of an iso­lated board­ing school, his un­happy wife and his schem­ing mis­tress are the play­ers in this ghostly, goose-pim­ply French chiller. Robert Bloch, author of Psy­cho, called this his fa­vorite hor­ror movie. – News­day/ MCT In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices

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